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Archpaladin Zousha

Kuni Questions

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Hello folks!  I'm just getting involved with L5R as a separate game, though I'm already familiar with the basics of Rokugan from 3rd Edition D&D's Oriental Adventures book from years ago.  I've been reading the setting wiki, but I'm a little confused as to what is and isn't outdated as this latest edition of the RPG is a reboot of the setting.  I had some questions about the Kuni family so I can better roleplay the character I've built for a game my friends have invited me to.  I know the Kuni aesthetic, with the makeup and being experts on Shadowlands monsters and tainted stuff.  But is the Kuni Purifier school of this edition the same thing as a Kuni Witch Hunter from previous editions?  Does this require my character to be celibate, like the article here suggests?  If so, how do the Kuni get "new blood" so to speak?  Do any Crab who show potential to be a shugenja just change their name to Kuni and become part of the "family," similar to how the Togashi work?  How strict do I have to behave?  And, possibly most importantly, can I balance the duties of a Kuni with pursuing glory as a sumo wrestler when I'm not hunting Bloodspeakers or tainted infiltrators?

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The Witch Hunters are an elite force in the Kuni (now rendered as a title in the Shadowlands book), which is not necessarily limited to Shugenja. If you can, I recommend tracking down the Shadowlands splat because it also covers a lot of the basic but current overview of the Crab clan, but as of right now, there are two Kuni schools. The Purifiers in core are their basic Shugenja, they all know how to apply their abilities to fight the Shadowlands and are important members of the Crab Clan but are not automatically the actual Witch-Hunters, who will go out of their way to track maho or tainted artifacts across Rokugan. In Shadowlands non-shugenja Kuni might also become Kuni Wardens, a Monk school which basically reflects their very rigorous, aesthetic living and spiritual connections (which is a big deal because the Kuni provinces are a semi-dead wasteland right now) - and know how to physically manhandle the Tainted if needed. 

In general, anybody born with the shugenja talent in a Clan will be shuffled off to the school of their Shugenja family (though Kuni prefer to train via apprenticeship than in dojos or temples) and would probably be married into the family or adopted, but not necessarily. And depending on their station, they might keep their own name even if they did marry a member of the family. Shugenja in general should behave probably with a certain amount of propriety for basically being a samurai-caste warrior-priest, but the Kuni like most crab are incredibly pragmatic, and their stereotype is being paranoid, standoffish, unfriendly and entirely too interested in dead things. Sumo does though have some religious significance normally, so that's probably an acceptable pastime for a shugenja. Kuni Purifiers even get Kata, so you could take open-hand or coiling serpent for some grappling. 

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Thank you for the info!

That basically ties into some ideas I had for her (yes, her!  If Rokugan allows women samurai, it stands to reason they don't have the same rigid restrictions real-world sumo does!), like having one of her parents be a Hida who married into the Kuni.  And the standoffish bit works really well with my plan to intimidate opponents by looming over them and glaring (thanks to the Large Stature advantage).

It's a bit of a relief that I don't necessarily need to be an ascetic to be a Kuni.  Sumo wrestlers need a lot of food, and a vow of poverty would complicate that...

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10 hours ago, Archpaladin Zousha said:

But is the Kuni Purifier school of this edition the same thing as a Kuni Witch Hunter from previous editions? 

As @UnitOmega says, not quite.

The core rulebook Kuni Purifier (core book) is a shujenga, but the Kuni Warden (shadowlands) is a monk, and Witch Hunter (also shadowlands) is a title that theoretically anyone from any school could acquire by convincing an existing Witch Hunter you deserve it.

Not every Kuni will be a member of any given school, and even if they go through the purifier school they won't necessarily 'graduate' to the status of witch hunter.

Somewhere, there will be Kuni courtiers, and bushi, and artisans. There just won't be many, because most members of a given family study at that family's signatures schools. You do get cross-family training, it's just uncommon (and often accompanied by adoption anyway).

10 hours ago, Archpaladin Zousha said:

yes, her!  If Rokugan allows women samurai, it stands to reason they don't have the same rigid restrictions real-world sumo does!

Rokugan is, so far as we've seen, pretty much equal opportunities. I mean....it's not. It's the most socially stratified society imaginable where lower castes are literally property and can pretty much be killed on a whim 'to test a sword'. But provided you're born samurai, the empire doesn't really care what your gender is. The only real restriction is the Utaku, and that's the Utaku Steeds themselves refusing to accept male riders rather than any member of the clan.

10 hours ago, Archpaladin Zousha said:

And the standoffish bit works really well with my plan to intimidate opponents by looming over them and glaring (thanks to the Large Stature advantage).

The Hida do do a good line in 'looming'. That's one of our PC's default job in any intrigue.

10 hours ago, Archpaladin Zousha said:

It's a bit of a relief that I don't necessarily need to be an ascetic to be a Kuni.

If you take the purifier school, you're essentially an Oni Hunter as well as a shujenga. You have technique access to Kata for a reason, and maintaining a 'fighting weight' is perfectly acceptable; after all, one of the crab's signature weapons is the tetsubo and I can't see some rake-thin hermit wielding one of those effectively.

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3 hours ago, Archpaladin Zousha said:

Do the game rules let you do that?

No reason they don't. Nothing in the rules says "thou shalt be of the family for which your school is named." The rules just say, "Pick a Clan. Pick a Family in that Clan. Pick a School in that Clan, or talk to the GM if you want a school from a different Clan."

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You don't even need to be the same clan to learn a shugenja school, let alone the same Family. For example Minor Clans sometimes organise to send their samurai children to learn from Great Clans that they have connections to. If a Falcon is trained to be a Kuni shugenja, they do not stop being Toritaka family but they do carry the traditions of the Kuni school that trained them.

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I know one of the things that Kuni do as they’re traveling the empire fighting tainted beings, is look for possible shugenja who can be adopted and trained by the Kuni.

  As far as I know, samurai aren’t necessarily adopted by the families of their school (many are, but not all) but many more simply choose to wear the mon of that family in order to honor them.  At that point, most of the empire would refer to them as being part of their school’s family.

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4 hours ago, Black_Rabbit_Inle said:

As far as I know, samurai aren’t necessarily adopted by the families of their school (many are, but not all) but many more simply choose to wear the mon of that family in order to honor them.  At that point, most of the empire would refer to them as being part of their school’s family.

I don't think any samurai would wear their school's family mon in place of their own.

Some dojo at least had markings that you could place on your family mon to indicate where you trained.

A student of the Kakita Dueling Academy would put a silver stripe on the right side of their family mon, whereas graduates of Sunda Mizu Dojo would use a splash of grey to the lower left.

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5 hours ago, Scrivener Spills said:

OOO, interesting information Hida-san.  I'm curious where you found it, and if there's a listing of other such school markings? 

The links are in the school names.

I think it was discussed in one of the 2e/d20 books, but I don't quite recall? Looks like, according to the Wiki, the two I cite come from Way of the Samurai.

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ah, I see.  those aren't the schools, they are the dojo's!  So its specific famous dojos, some of which have multiple schools that train there. 

 

I would think that you could get taught in a specific School, but at a different, satellite dojo?  So the embellishment to your mon would only be for graduates of the specific Dojo. 

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I agree, but I think the better way to represent your training is by a mark of your dojo, not a different family's Family Mon.

Especially where one family has multiple schools (Yasuki, Hida, to a lesser extent Moto), then a family mon that isn't your family also doesn't even convey your School.

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