Friday, July 29, 2011

Great Clans Preview: Tsuruchi Bounty Hunter

written by Kakita Seigi

Even in the early days of the Tsuruchi family before the family joined the Mantis Clan, the small family was legendary throughout the Empire for its tenacious bounty hunters. These bounty hunters are a peculiar breed of law enforcement in Rokugan. Most duties are handled by magistrates, but an enduring contract made between the Tsuruchi family and the Emerald Champion authorizes the Tsuruchi family to hunt down known fugitives on the run. They are mercenaries for hire and magistrates, often busy with other important duties, will employ a Tsuruchi for a fee. So welcome to the world of Rokugan's bounty hunter.

From a mechanical perspective, Design was strongly interested in developing a new Mantis Clan bushi school that focused on law enforcement, but one that was unique. Like other magistrate schools though, the requirements needed for an effective magistrate require a different set of techniques than the regular bushi. And the Tsuruchi Bounty Hunter is an interesting half-way marriage between the normal magistrate and an investigator. There is the usual set of magistrate schools, such as the Doji and Soshi Magistrates, that focus on more martial techniques to disable opponents. And while this works well for standard magistrates, the trail is often already "cold" by the time a Bounty Hunter is hired. So very much like a Kitsuki Investigator, an effective Bounty Hunter needs to specialize in tracking down his prey, sometimes with very little information to initially utilize.

To represent both of these aspects, the Tsuruchi Bounty Hunter specializes in two major themes: tracking down fugitives and disabling opponents guilty of a crime. The first two techniques of the school actually solely focus on the hunt and its not until later that the school begins to focus on disabling the Tsuruchi's target. This means often that the more inexperienced bounty hunters will be sent on missions, in which the bounty hunter is asked to execute the target. After all it's usually much easier to just outrightly kill a criminal, than to be bothered with capturing him.

In Tsuruchi fashion, the favored weapon of the school is unsurprisingly the yumi. However unlike their cousins in the Tsuruchi Archer school, the modern day Tsuruchi Bounty Hunter also trains with other weapons, such as a katana and knives, as often the Bounty Hunter may find himself in a social situation where it is unacceptable for the Bounty Hunter to carry his beloved yumi with him.

Now I mentioned earlier that the school focuses on two themes. As a consequence that the Bounty Hunter often must devote a significant amount of his training to learn how to hunt down convicted criminals. This leaves a Bounty Hunter with much less time to fully master the martial arts like regular bushi. A Bounty Hunter is pretty much focused on fighting criminals declared guilty of a crime by an Imperial or a higher Mantis authority. Many of the Tsuruchi's more martial techniques reflect this more focused martial training

Thus, a Tsuruchi Bounty Hunter is aptly comparable to the Lion's Shadow with respect to their combat competency. While very much skilled in the ways of the warrior, a Bounty Hunter is not nearly as a skilled combatant as a seasoned bushi. But what the Bounty Hunter lacks in the martial pursuit is made up in the extra focus of tracking down criminals. For gamers that enjoy magistrate games, the Tsuruchi Bounty Hunter promises to be an excellent and exciting school that complements the party's other bushi.

Tsuruchi Bounty Hunter [Bushi]
During the early days of the Tsuruchi family when they were known simply as the Wasp Clan, the vassals of Tsuruchi were well known for two things: their incredible skill at archery and their unwavering tenacity as bounty hunters. The clan was authorized by the Emerald Champion to hunt down fugitives from justice for a fee, and for many
years the Wasp survived largely on the income generated by this practice. Although many samurai condemned this mercenary practice, no one could deny Tsuruchi prowess
and few clan magistrates refused to employ them.

Since the Tsuruchi family joined the Mantis clan, its two iconic pursuits have separated somewhat, becoming distinct schools which young Tsuruchi may choose between depending on their aptitudes and preferences. The majority choose to pursue a career as soldiers and archers within the Mantis military (the Tsuruchi Archer School), but a select few continue the family’s original tradition by becoming members
of the small but famed Tsuruchi Bounty Hunter School.

Members of the Tsuruchi Bounty Hunters are usually treated as clan magistrates within the Tsuruchi provinces and often within the Mantis Clan’s territory as a whole. The contract between Tsuruchi and the Emerald Champion still exists and thus the family can impart authority to a select number of students that is roughly equivalent to an Emerald Magistrate, at least insofar as the ability to apprehend known criminals. The Tsuruchi are extremely cautious in whom they trust such authority, however, since they are keenly aware the contract could be nullified if it is abused or misused.

Tsuruchi Bounty Hunters traverse the Empire in search of fugitives, those accused of crimes by superior authorities who have escaped the justice they deserve. Although they can technically only hunt those decried by an Imperial authority, the Tsuruchi also accept individual bounties from clans or families who wish their assistance. Bounties are usually a number of koku equal to the Insight Rank of the target. This fee is doubled if the target is a violent criminal or a shugenja, and may increase even further if special or unusual circumstances apply.

Technique Rank: 1
Technique: A Hunter’s Sense: A Tsuruchi bounty hunter is well known as a fierce and terrible opponent of all who seek to evade justice, and even those who are without guilt find them intimidating. You gain a bonus of +1k1 to any Intimidation Skill Roll used against someone of lower caste who you believe can help you find your prey. When interacting with samurai, this bonus is reduced to +1k0 but applies to all Social Skill Rolls, not just Intimidation. Also, when you are hunting a particular target, you may roll additional unkept dice equal to your School Rank on any Hunting or Investigation Skill Rolls used to track the quarry down.

Sample NPC
Tsuruchi Kita – The People's Bounty Hunter!

Kita is a confident bounty hunter who makes her business other people's business. And she thinks that she has developed a revolutionary way of obtaining information. By treating the lower classes with respect and helping them in need, they are only so happy to return the favor when Kita has need of it.

She tirelessly works upon crafting a reputation as a "noble" hero of the lower classes, so that whenever her Tsuruchi lords have need of information she is the one there to provide. Her many successes were recently noticed by the Emerald Magistrate, Doji Gohei. The two became fast friends and Gohei has provided Kita with endless employment as a bounty hunter. After a few years of working for Gohei, the Crane magistrate confided to Kita about a personal investigation. A very close friend of the Doji had asked Gohei to help him find a certain stolen item with the utmost discretion. While Gohei was skeptical of finding it, Kita boasted that not only could she find it, but that she would find the item before the winter. The two made a sizable wager of koku and Kita set off to find the missing artifact.

Through her many contacts, Kita found that the missing artifact was actually Kaiu Armor and that two ronin were also searching for it in the North. After many months elapsed with no sign of either the armor or the ronin, she almost decided to give her search up. Two days before she was going to return home empty-handed, an eta in Nanashi Mura renewed the trail with some critical information. He had recently spotted a tattooed monk sporting a cart with magnificent armor.

Traveling north upon the Dragon Heart Plains, Kita happened upon the two ronin she had earlier heard about. Instead of directly approaching them, she painstakingly crept upon them. Overhearing their rowdy and crude conversations, she learned that they were Crab ronin attempting to retrieve the same artifact she was. She also learned a great many personal things about both the samurai, most of which Kita didn't particular care to hear.

During the night, Kita moved on and tracked down the monk after a few days. Kita attempted to ambush the monk, but the monk was too fast and strong. Instead of killing her, the monk restrained her and revealed himself as Togashi Kaiden. Kaiden offered her a hefty bounty by the Dragon Clan if she helped him dispose the armor in the Dragon furnaces. The Togashi asserted that a dark spirit had possessed the armor and that he was tasked with destroying it. Although she was undecided on whether this was true or not, Kita still agreed to help knowing the monk might kill her otherwise. However, while journeying with the monk, she left a trail that even an ignoramus could follow.

Days later, her salvation finally came. The two Crab ronin attacked, and Kita took her opportunity to dispose of the tattooed man. After a short bloody battle, the monk was dead and the armor rescued. Kita and the two Crab headed back to Crab lands. She was going to claim her prize no matter what. After all, the monk could not have been right?

Tsuruchi Kita
School/Rank: Rank 3
Air: 3 -Reflexes: 4
Earth: 2
Fire: 3
Water: 3 -Perception: 4
Void: 3

Glory: 3.2
Status: 1.5
Honor: 3.9

Skills: Athletics 3, Commerce 3, Hunting (Trailblazing, Tracking) 5, Etiquette 3, Intimidation 4, Investigation (Notice, Search) 5, Jiujutsu 3, Kenjutsu (Katana) 3, Kyujutsu (Yumi) 5, Lore: Heraldry 3, Lore: Underworld 4, Sincerity 2 (Honesty), Stealth 2

Techniques: A Hunter’s Sense, No Prey Escapes, Justice of the Wasp
Kata: Striking as Air, Striking as Fire

Advantages: Ally: Doji Gohei (Inf. 2, Dev. 1), Hero of the People, Seven Fortunes' Blessing (Ebisu), Spy Network
Disadvantages: Greedy, Overconfident

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Naked Steel #2

Shawn's column Naked Steel went up last week.

Covered in this article is the Matsu Beastmaster for Great Clans. The Kitsuki Justicar from Imperial Histories and a first look at the Daidoji Trading Council and the Doji Innocents from the Book of Air.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Great Clans Preview: Kaiu Engineer

Kakita Seigi

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.

Sample NPC
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.

Kaiu Genzo
School/Rank: Kaiu Engineer 4
Air 2
Earth 5
Fire 4
Water 2
Void 5

Glory: 4.4
Honor: 4.7
Status: NA

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

Friday, July 15, 2011

Great Clans Preview: Asako Inquisitor

I apologize for the lateness of the preview.

written by

I'm not sure many know this but Phoenix happen to be my second favorite clan. I know at times it looks like the Crane. But that's only because I have so many wonderful friends in the Crane clan :). I've always had a soft spot for the magical. My traditional PC in other games was either a rogue or a wizard. As you can guess Mage was my favorite oWoD game. The fact that Shiba and Bayushi are twins just makes the two clans even cooler.

The Asako happen to be my favorite family of the Phoenix. Don't get me wrong, the arrogance of the Isawa is appealing and the Shiba are some of the best bushi's in the setting. I don't really count the Agasha as true Phoenix :P. So with Great Clans I'm glad to see that the Asako get some real love. The family has a lot to offer. They are courtiers. They are shugenja. They are monks. And I'm sure they could be bushi too.

The Asako Inquisitor is a solid addition to the taint fighting schools in the game. After Great Clans I'm sure I'll finally be able to run my Mod Squad of taint hunters (maybe I'll recruit Seigi and Rixy to help too). The Inquisitor is unique in that it offers something both for the taint hunting shugenja and the taint hunting bushi of the Phoenix clan.

The strongest element of the Inquisitor is it's ability to disrupt maho users. Every technique offers a means in which the Inquisitor can make a maho tsuki's day into a bad day. And this disruption ability is why it's such a solid taint hunter.

Overall you'll find the Asako Inquisitor not only a good addition to the Phoenix clan line up, but a good addition to any party formed around the idea of hunting down those who traffic with magics that are forbidden.

New Advanced School: Asako Inquisitor (Monk)

The Asako are generally regarded as a peaceful and serene family, the very picture of the pacifistic Phoenix. For the most part this is an accurate picture of the family and their philosophy, but there are those who stand apart from it. The Asako are the primary force behind the Inquisitors, the Phoenix order devoted to eradicating the corrupt and blasphemous from within the ranks of the Empire’s shugenja. It is a mission they embrace completely and enact at any cost. The order has existed since the Empire’s earliest days, long before the creation of the Jade Magistrates, an organization that fulfills much the same purpose. The Inquisitors sometimes work in cooperation with the Kuni Witch Hunters and have even had a few limited contacts with the Yogo family’s secretive Kuroiban.

The Asako Inquisitors do not concern themselves exclusively with maho or Shadowlands corruption, although these crimes are among their most frequent targets. They also investigate gaijin magic and any religious groups with heretical beliefs, such as the Bloodspeaker Cult. Members of the Inquisitor order are selected primarily from the ranks of Phoenix shugenja, but many bushi serve with them and a few Henshin and Brotherhood monks have been inducted as well. Those who are inducted into the order and take the necessary vows of duty and secrecy are granted a stylized tattoo of an eye, the symbol of the order, somewhere on their body. The back of the hand is the most common location.

Rank Two: The Trials of Jade
An Inquisitor finds the weakness in his enemies and exploits it, bringing them the Emperor’s justice. When casting any spell, you may spend a Void Point for the spell to count as jade or crystal for the purposes of reducing or defeating your target’s Reduction or Invulnerability traits. If you cannot cast spells, you may instead make a melee attack as a Simple Action instead of a Complex Action when facing an opponent you know has violated the Empire’s laws regarding the legal forms of magic.

Asako Fuyu – Artistic Inquisitor

Asako Fuyu shows amazing talent and promise. He possesses a level of innate understanding for earth magic that is normally only had by the Masters themselves. His understand of the Earth kami seems so deep that sometimes he goes a bit to far with his magics. It is no wonder that he is one of the Master of Earth favorite students. It is even rumored that Fuyu could in fact succeed the current Master of Earth when he retires.

The Phoenix feel that it would be a waste of of Fuyu's talent not to put him on the front lines in some form or fashion. And the Inquisitors always need talented earth shugenja to help in their fight against maho and the servants of Jigoku.

Like a good samurai Fuyu does as he is told. He serves with distinction and honor among the Inquisitors. But this is not where Fuyu's heart lies. He yearns to use his talent for more peaceful means. While he admits that the Emperor's enemies are his, if he had a say in such matters he would spend his time creating as opposed to destroying.

In his free time Fuyu creates amazing sculptures. His skill is such that the stone literally melts away in his hands as he molds the earth into any shape or form that his heart desires. His work has been featured not only at Kyuden Isawa and Kyuden Asako but in Kyuden Doji and the Imperial Court itself. If Fuyu could have his way he would do nothing more with his life than create.

But that is not his fate. So he will tirelessly hunt down those that the Phoenix ask him too. And maybe one day he will become the Master of Earth. And perhaps then he can spend more of his time creating instead of destroying.

Asako Fuyu
School/Rank Isawa Shugenja 1/Isawa Tensai 1/Asako Inquisitor 2
Air: 3
Awareness: 4
Earth 4
Fire 3
Water 3
Void: 4
Glory 4
Honor: 5
Status: 4

Skills: Artisan: Sculpture 5, Calligraphy (Cipher) 2, Defense 3, Investigation 4, Kenjutsu 3, Lore: Theology 2, Lore Elements: Earth 4, Lore: Shugenja 4, Lore: Law 4, Medicine 3, Lore: Maho 3, Meditation 4, Spellcraft 3

Advantages: Elemental Blessing (3), Friendly Kami (5), Friend of the Elements (3), Great Potential: Artisan: Sculpture (5), Sacred Weapon: Inquisitor's Strike (6)

Disadvantages: Compulsion: Sculpting (2), Elemental Imbalance: Earth (3) Fascination: Sculptures (1),

Techniques: Isawa's Gift, Embrace the Elements, Eye of the Inquisitor, The Trial of Jade

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Shawns new column

Shawn has started a new column that discues the rpg, allows for more transperancy and lets players give input into the design proccess of the game. You can find it here

Also if you want to discuss the article on the forums there is a thread here to let you talk about it.


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)