Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Great Clans Preview: Tamori Master of the Mountain

Written By
Kakita Seigi

Today the Dragon Clan Preview is going to focus on the first advanced school for Dragon Shugenja, the militant Masters of the Mountain. Students from this school usually not only shake the very foundations of mountains, but metaphorically the very pillars of tradition holding Rokugan up. And while the Phoenix are still the traditional masters of all the Elements, the power of the Tamori Masters of the Mountain comes from its perfect union of Earth magic and the martial ways of the warrior. To many traditionalist sects, the ways of the Tamori are an anathema, but the Way of the Dragon is hardly one that observes the traditions of other clans and instead emphasizes self-discovery.

The Tamori Master of the Mountain mechanically offers synergistic bonuses not just to the Tamori shugenja school, but also with the Tamori Yamabushi path. As the Master of the Mountain increases in school rank, he gains a new ability that is fueled by sacrificing spell slots to increase the Tamori's flexibility in other areas. One downside to this school, is that it doesn't offer as much ways to increase the shugena's school rank to access more powerful spells. So players that are planning on getting access to all the high level spells will have a more difficult decision to make. If they don't want to sacrifice high level spells and keep the very powerful techniques, they will need to wait to enter the school.

However more militantly minded shugenja will probably want to join the school earlier. The techniques will allow them to trade spells for increased combat proficiency just like the Yamabushi path. A great example of this power is the Master of Mountain's Rank 2 technique. By sacrificing a spell slot and making spells slightly more difficult to cast, the shugenja can increase their combat survival. If the Tamori is caught unaware in an ambush, this technique is a great asset to help the Tamori get out of jam. Even better, if the character has time to buff themselves with the Earth kami beforehand (i.e. with spells like Armor of the Emperor or Be the Mountain), the shugenja can become quite the tank. This technique reverse mirrors one of the Tamori Yamabushi's ability that allows a yamabushi to increase their ability to hit by expending a spell slot.

There are a number of great shugenja builds that allow a character to excel in combat. But mirroring the story, the 4th Edition RPG provides a versatile arsenal for the Tamori to lead the shugenja pack as the premiere warrior priests in Rokugan.

New Advanced School: Tamori Master of the Mountain [Shugenja]
The Great Wall of the North is a treacherous mountain range that kill those who are unready for its sudden, vicious changes in weather. Despite its dangers, the range is admirable to those who can see the beauty of its cold violence. Mountaineers who brave the fierce peaks are forged into powerful men. The Tamori Masters of the Mountain learn to harness the power churning within their own souls, a violent echo of the strength of the Elements themselves. It is an old tradition, dating back to when the Agasha family first explored the mountains and studied their secrets. The name may have changed over the years, but the traditions remain true.

The Master of the Mountain is a loose organization with few sensei and fewer regulations. The Masters induct shugenja into their ranks when they spot one with the proper potential. The elders tend to choose impetuous and brash shugenja who trust only their own strength, a preference those outside of the school often question (albeit usually under their breaths). They worry the Masters of the Mountains will be influenced by the impatient natures of their young recruits. However, usually the opposite is true, as the wild students are taught proper methods of venting their anger through their powers, making them wiser as well as more powerful.

Technique Rank: 2
Technique: Inner Fortitude - The Master of the Mountain draws power from within his own body as well as from the Elements outside himself. Your Shugenja School Rank increases by one. Additionally, you may spend a spell slot as a Free Action to gain Reduction 2 and +10 to your Armor TN. This effect lasts for a number of Rounds equal to your Earth Ring, ending during the Reactions Stage of the final Round. You may choose to end the effect early as a Free Action. While this effect is active, you find it more difficult to tap into the Elements around you. You must call one Raise to no effect every time you cast a spell.

Sample NPC
Tamori Yue - Clan War Hero
Cheerful and amiable are not usually words associated with the militant Tamori Yamabushi. Rather Yue reaffirms the notion that there really are no stereotypical Dragon Clan samurai. Like the enduring mountains, she has been a stabilizing influence upon the Dragon Clan during her long appointment as a Clan Magistrate. Yue's positive demeanor did not sour, even during the dark days of the Scorpion Clan Coup, the confusing times of the great Clan War, or even when most of her family defected to the Phoenix. And while many Tamori held a grudge against the Agasha who defected to the Phoenix, Yue continues to have close ties with the Agasha family. Her closest friend was Agasha Hisojo, who she worked tirelessly with to help the Agasha transfer peacefully over to the Phoenix.

With her close connections to samurai in both the Dragon and Phoenix clans, Yue has become a particular terror upon the Kolat and those guilty of supernatural crimes. She is a proponent of the Kitsuki Method, so whenever a law is broken, she believes that evidence leads the way to the guilty. No matter how small or seemingly insignificant the evidence, Yue unerringly uses the Kitsuki Method to solve crimes. And whenever those who are guilty resist arrest, her training as a Yamabushi and Master of the Mountain make her success in combat all but a given.

Only twice has she failed an investigation. The first was to discover an insidious link between the Lying Darkness and Lady Hitomi, while the other was a more private endeavor to apprehend Master Tiger. She was very close to catching Master Tiger, but a traitor in the Phoenix Clan pre-warned Master Tiger of her arrival. The trail has now long gone cold and, for now, she has given up her search. While both bear a heavy burden on her heart, she looks positively towards the future and employing her skills to make the Empire a better place.

Tamori Yue
School Rank: Tamori Shugenja 4 (Warrior Priest)/Master of the Mountain 2
Earth: 5
Water: 3 -Perception: 5
Fire: 4
Air: 3 -Awareness: 5
Void: 4
Glory: 6.6
Status: 4.5 (Clan Magistrate and Revered Sensei)
Honor: 4.8

Skills: Athletics 2, Calligraphy (Cipher) 3, Courtier 5, Defense 5, Divination 3, Etiquette (Courtesy) 5, Investigation (Notice) 7, Kenjutsu (Katana) 5, Lore: History (Mysteries) 5, Lore: Law 4, Lore: Theology (Shintao) 4, Lore: Underworld (Kolat) 6, Medicine (Antidotes) 3, Meditation 4, Spellcraft 5, Sincerity 3

Techniques: Flesh of the Elements, Integration of the Gods, Inner Fortitude
Spells: Sense, Commune, Summon, Armor of the Emperor, Be the Mountain, By the Light of Lord Moon, Earth Becomes Sky, Earth's Touch, Elemental Ward,
Fires From Within, Jurojin's Balm, Katana of Fire, Light of the Sun, Mental Quickness, Never Alone, Reflections of Pan'ku, Reversal of Fortune
Kiho: Earth Needs No Eyes, Touch of the Void Dragon

Advantages: Allies (Many), Clear Thinker, Hero of the People, Social Position (Dragon Clan Magistrate), Seven Fortunes' Blessing (Benten), Wary
Disadvantages: Compulsion (Be Bubbly, 4), Idealistic, Sworn Enemy (Kolat)

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