The great Carpenter Wall has stood for over a millennia as a monument to the perseverance and strength of its creators, the Kaiu family. They make up the diverse group of engineers and craftsman that have aided the Lords of Hida since the Dawn of the Empire. Whenever or wherever the Crab needed something, the Kaiu family has been there to provide. It mattered not whether they had to build the sinister Tomb of Iuchiban to trap an incalculable foe, craft unbreakable Kaiu Blades to help the Hida combat the Shadowlands, or even make siege weapon to bring down the largest Oni. The Kaiu have never shirked in their duty to supply the giant Crab war machine; not even during the darkest days the Empire has ever seen has prevented the Kaiu from enabling the Crab Clan to fight their perpetual war against the Shadowlands.
Fitting this diverse set of themes into a single school has been difficult for the L5R RPG to represent. In the 1st Edition of the RPG, the Kaiu Engineer only had one technique that got better with each rank and allowed the Kaiu to diversify or specialize inri a multitude of skills. This led to a rather vanilla and oddball school. 2nd Edition and 3rd Edition attempted to solve this problem by creating individualized techniques to satisfy each specific niche the Kaiu had to fill.
For 4th Edition, Design wanted to start with something fresh and try a different approach. So now in 4th Edition, the Kaiu get to do all these things with a single school and five techniques. Kaiu enthusiasts need not worry abut the school lacking any punch. Instead each Kaiu has the opportunity to provide for the Empire in a great manner of functions, not just a single specialty. They are the Crab's jack-of-all trades. It's also important to note that the school functions both as a bushi and artisan school. The school starts with both keyword tags and takes into stride this dual approach.
The first rank technique provides the basis the Kaiu technique which provides bonuses to the Kaiu's different themes. From a mechanical perspective, this technique shares a lot of similarity with the original technique of the Kaiu in 1st Edition. However, with each subsequent rank, the school's technique emphasizes the Kaiu's four paths of approaching war: the path of stone, the path of shell, the paths of war, and finally the path of steel. So grab your hard-hat and let's see what the Kaiu Engineers learns!
In the path of stone, the Kaiu gain powerful bonuses in an entire new combat system: siege warfare. Now I can't spoil all of the particulars, but broadly speaking it's a simple and exciting system to help players model the construction of fortresses and then bring them down with siege weaponry. Other characters can take advantage of this system, but the Kaiu Engineer is the master of siege warfare. For our next path, the path of shell, the Kaiu start constructing much tougher armor for his Crab brethren. And while the Kaiu Armor is strong, it's very expensive and takes time to produce. Moving on to path of war, the Kaiu gain some abilities to help them thrive during the chaos of mass battle and even smaller skirmishes. Finally we have the path of Steel, the very pinnacle of a Kaiu Engineer's achievement. It is the path that allows a Kaiu Engineer to craft tough weapons, including the legendary Kaiu Blades.
There was a great temptation to show off how the Engineers might make cool weapons like Kaiu blades, but today's preview is going to highlight on something more broad to the Crab audience. When visualizing a Crab samurai it's hard to imagine them without armor. To this end, today's preview is going to focus on crafting Kaiu Armor. Crab players will want to note that these items are intended for Crab characters only, just like Kaiu blades. However, if you're not a Crab Player, don't despair! Other characters can get access to this equipment, such as a Kaiu Blade, but its good to be mindful that it's a significant gift to receive Kaiu Armor. You see the Crab aren't very keen on parting with badly needed equipment that could be instead used against the Shadowlands.
Kaiu Engineer School [Artisan/Bushi]
The Kaiu Engineers are the most formidable crafters in the Empire, and their skills are turned almost entirely to the Crab Clan’s duty of defending Rokugan against the Shadowlands. Masters of construction and siege craft, they are also formidably talented at the manufacture of arms and armor. Many Kaiu also serve as battlefield commanders, turning their talents at siege to the service of war.
Technique Rank: 3
Technique: The Path of the Shell - The security and protection of Crab samurai is a somber duty all Kaiu take very seriously indeed. When crafting any set of armor, you may double the crafting time and cost in order to add your School Rank to the armor’s Reduction value. You may also add half your School Rank (rounding up) to the armor’s Armor TN bonus.
Kaiu Genzo - Dishonored Armorer
In an Empire constantly at war, Genzo is a man of peace and to him bloodshed is an anathema. However, his samurai duties require him to walk a very narrow path. Fortunately Kaiu Fumiyo, his sensei and aunt, recognized that sending Genzo to the front lines would break his spirit. Noticing the great talent Genzo had with constructing magnificent artifacts, Fumiyo instead niched him into the craft of armor making and fostered the belief that Genzo was saving lives by creating fantastic armor for the Crab to defend themselves.
The favor did not go unnoticed by Genzo and he immersed himself completely in his work. Armor after armor he fashioned for his Crab comrades and, with each new creation, every armor became progressively more perfect. After many years in the Kaiu Forges, he had finally perfected his greatest masterpiece. The Kaiu Armor was so impressive that his sensei wished to gift it to the Crab Champion's son upon his gempukku.
Unfortunately before the armor could be delivered to the Hida family, the armor was stolen enroute by a hooded monk. The Captain of the Guard, Hida Aki, requested permission for seppukku to atone for his failure to protect the armor. However, the Captain's request was denied by the Crab Champion and instead Aki was ordered to become ronin until he could find the stolen armor and return it to the Crab.
An uncontrollable rage awakened in Genzo's soul to right this injustice done to the Crab and he begged for permission from his Kaiu lords to embark upon a Musha Shugyo, a warrior pilgrimage to better his craft. While his lord was not fooled by the request, he allowed Genzo to go anyway with a final order, “Find what you are looking for and cleanse your personal demons. Only then can you return.”
Not long after two ronin were seen leaving Crab lands.
School/Rank: Kaiu Engineer 4
Skills: Battle 3, Craft: Armorsmithing 8, Craft: Weaponsmithing 2, Defense 5, Engineering (Construction) 4, Etiquette 1, Lore: Architecture 3, Lore: Theology 4, War Fans 4, Sincerity 1
Techniques: The Kaiu Method, The Path of Stone, The Path of the Shell, The Path of War
Kata: Striking as Earth
Advantages: Ally: Kaiu Fumiyo (Inf. 2, Dev. 2), Dark Paragon (Perfection), Great Potential (Craft: Armorsmithing)
Disadvantages: Fascination (Armorsmithing), Driven (Find the stolen Kaiu Armor), Social Disadvantage (Ronin), Soft-Hearted