Friday, July 8, 2011

Great Clans Preview: Moto Vindicator

Written By
Kakita Seigi

Today's preview we are featuring the Moto Vindicator, the original Moto Bushi school from 1st Edition. Canonically this school was developed by the Moto Family after many of their samurai succumbed to the Shadowlands Taint during Moto Tsume's infamous campaign against the Shadowlands. For many centuries after this shameful incident, the Moto family was single-mindedly focused on eradicating the forces of the Shadowlands. Often Moto Vindicators could be seen fighting side-bg-side with the Crab on the Kaiu Wall. It was not until the modern era that the Dark Moto were finally defeated. After this victory and the rise of the wild Moto within the Unicorn, that many Unicorn began to wonder about the school's relevance. Recent events involving the Shadowlands, such as Iuchiban's Rain Blood and the Kali-ma's Plague, have changed many minds and the school's ranks have swelled with many vengeful Unicorn seeking revenge against the Shadowlands.

Moto Vindicators resemble the classic Crab schools with a Unicorn touch. The school emphasizes endurance and fighting against incredibly odds. A Moto Vindicator is death incarnate. Vindicators are Unicorn Clan samurai who are "already dead," their bodies just don't know it yet. All that matters is how many enemies the Vindicator vanquishes before death finally catches up to him. Mechanically, this means the Vindicator school emphasizes minimizing wound penalties with a high armor TN, and holding a grudge. And boy do the Vindicators hold special grudges for their enemies. For example, the school gains bonuses based on the Vindicator's wound penalties, regardless of who attacked them. So boys and girls, remember that a wounded Moto is enraged Moto!

A notable aspect of the Moto Vindicators is the school's powerful Rank 1 technique. This technique provides a Moto Vindicator with the unparallel flexibility to switch from an Armor TN bonus over to negating wound penalties. This can be very handy as a Moto Vindicator initially possesses great defense abilities, but once hit a Vindicator will often need to focus on minimizing wound penalties so he can retaliate. This is a very powerful ability, but during playtesting we found that it was more-or-less balanced by two factors. First, the school requires certain advantages/disadvantages at character creation. Namely to join this School, you must have either the Higher Purpose (Defeat the Shadowlands) Advantage or the Driven (Defeat the Shadowlands) Disadvantage. Also, the school starts with Heavy Armor. Normally, Heavy Armor is a great defensive bonus, but at Rank 1 this means the school suffers from a -5 attack penalty for wearing Heavy Armor. This also means wound penalties can prevent a character from effectively attacking and a Vindicator will often be forced to switch his Rank 1 technique over to minimizing wound penalties.

New Basic School - Moto Vindicator [Bushi]
The Moto family suffered a great blow to their morale and honor during the ninth century when their daimyo Moto Tsume, fueled by pride and arrogance, rode into the Shadowlands with the majority of his forces. He and his men fell to darkness and became some of Jigoku’s greatest tools in its fight against Rokugan. Those Moto who survived or remained behind were deeply shamed and swore to eradicate all those Tainted creatures who bore their name. This oath gave rise to both the elite White Guard and to the Moto Vindicator school. Although the order of Vindicators existed before the fall of Moto Tsume, they did not have an intense personal hatred of the Shadowlands and their Techniques had not yet advanced to form a full school. The disgrace of Tsume’s defeat changed everything.

The Dark Moto were terrible creatures. They rode monstrous steeds that never tired, struck with inhuman strength, and used foul magic to destroy their foes. The threat forced the Vindicators to become stronger, strong enough to overcome their fallen cousins. They trained to spot the signs of the Shadowlands Taint and to neutralize their opponents’ advantages. The Moto called every favor at their disposal to learn from the best, and the Crab were glad to help, especially since the Shinjo had offered help to their Hiruma family.

The Moto Vindicator School focuses the fury and dedication of the Moto to a destructive point. If a Vindicator spots his sworn nemesis, he will not retreat until either he or his foe is dead.

Technique Rank: 1
Technique: Purity of the Breath - The Vindicator knows the only way to combat the Shadowlands is to maintain integrity in the face of the foulest corruption. At the beginning of each Round, you may choose one of two effects to apply until the end of the Round. You may reduce your TN penalties from Wound Ranks by an amount equal to your School Rank plus your Willpower. Or, you may instead choose to add a bonus to your Armor TN equal to your School Rank plus your Willpower.

If you are in a skirmish against creatures of the Shadowlands, the chosen bonus is doubled.

Sample NPC
Moto Yesugei - "The Purple Crab"
Moto Yesugei is a grizzled old veteran, now well into his fifties. He's first hand seen the devastation that the Shadowlands has wrought upon his own clan. As a young teenager just right out of his gempukku, he had swelled with pride when he assisted his family defeat the Dark Moto during the tumultuous events in 1132. However, over the years, he's lost so many loved ones to the accursed Shadowlands that his youthful optimism has been replaced with grim determination. He truly believes now that the battle against the Shadowlands can never be ultimately won. Perhaps affectionately many of his friends have dubbed him with the nickname, "the Purple Crab."

Personal tragedy struck Moto Yesugei recently during Iuchiban's Rain of Blood, when his only son and two grandchildren fell to the corrupting influence of the Shadowlands. Although having been retired for some time, Moto Yesugei decided to take up his swords again and hunt down his corrupted kin. When Yesugei finally confronted his son and two grandchildren, he surely would have perished and failed without the timely aid of Akodo Akio. The two samurai together overwhelmed Yesugei's kin, but regrettably the Lion succumbed to mortal wounds incurred during the ensuing battle.

The greatest irony now is that Yesugei is mortal enemies with Akodo Akio's son, Akodo Kazutoshi. As a favor to the deceased Akio, Moto Yesugei has spared Kazutoshi for each life that Akio helped Yesugei avenge. Now that he has spared Kazutoshi three times, he hopes he will not have to kill the young man. Although Kazutoshi and Yesugei now serve together in the same unit fighting off the Destroyers, Yesugei has yet to tell Kezutoshi why he has repeatedly spared the young Lion officer's life.

Moto Yesugei
School/Rank: Moto Vindicator 5
Air: 2 -Reflexes: 4
Earth: 5
Fire: 3 - Agility 5
Water: 4 -Strength: 5
Void: 5
Glory: 5.4
Status: 3.5 (Gunso)
Honor: 4.3

Skills: Athletics 3, Battle 3, Etiquette 2, Horsemanship (Gaijin Riding Horse) 5, Heavy Weapons (Ono) 5, Hunting (Tracking) 4, Iaijutsu (Focus) 3, Investigation (Notice, Search) 5, Jiujutsu 3, Kenjutsu (Katana, Nodachi, Scimitar) 6, Kyujutsu 5, Lore: Shadowlands (Dark Moto) 4, Lore: Theology (Fortunes, Lords of Death) 4, Meditation 2, Tea Ceremony 2

Techniques: Purity of the Breath, Facing the Dark Within, Justice of Our Ancestors, Avenging Our Own, Bloodied but Unbowed
Kata: Indomitable Warrior Style, Striking as Earth

Advantages: Balance, Higher Purpose (Defeat the Shadowlands), Large, Strength of Earth, Seven Fortunes' Blessing (Jurojin’s Blessing)
Disadvantages: Lost Love (His Family), Obligation (Akodo Akio), Sworn Enemy (Akodo Kazutoshi, 3)

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see the 1st edition Moto School is back at 4th edition, it was one of my fauvorites :)