Friday, October 7, 2016

Skills of the Samurai, Part 2: A - L

Alright, now for the fun of actual Skills!

Anatomy (Hinin) (Wind)
Aspects: Autopsy, Diagnosis, Torture, Specific Nonhuman

You have a working knowledge of how bodies are put together. This sort of knowledge is generally reserved for burakumin, since excessive contact with flesh is necessary to truly master this Skill. The Skill can also be used to determine the manner in which a person died; every Scene past their death increases the difficulty by a step. It may also be used to diagnose a living person, making a simple roll using Anatomy/Void to lower the difficulty of a subsequent Medicine roll with the same target by 1 step. Additional difficulty reductions are gained by making additional Raises, with 1 Raise per step.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Torture: Similar to Investigation, you break down the willpower of your victims to more easily interrogate them, usually involving tools of pain and humiliation. You can spend a Scene to torture your victim with an active TN roll, using your Anatomy/Fire (although a torturer may resort to brute force using Earth, or by setting up a manipulative situation using Wind) against the victim's opposed raw Earth (although they may also use Zen if they have it). If successful, you receive the benefits of interrogation as if you had used Investigation. Also, you can make repeated attempts to get the target to tell you what you want to hear (of course, they could just be telling you what you want to hear to make the pain stop...). You do not necessarily have to physically commit the torture itself, as it usually involves sweat and blood making it dishonorable, but you still must directly handle the interrogation.
  • Specific Nonhuman: Select a specific nonhuman type; this can be either a supernatural creature (kenku, oni, etc.) or a mundane animal (horse, dog, etc.). Any application of this Skill on a nohumant without this Aspect is an unskilled roll.

Artisan (Chonin) (Varies)
Aspects: Bonsai, Gardening, Ikebana, Origami, Painting, Sculpting, Specific Art

This is a catch-all category for a variety of different Skills, each covered under different Aspects. Unlike most Skills, you only have skilled knowledge and ability in those arts you have an Aspect for. However, your Skill Rank applies to all the arts you practice with your Aspects, representing a broad arts education and inclination across different media.

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 1: You gain a free Aspect in the Skill.
  • Rank 7: Even if you have no Obligations, your commercial wiles see you through the Season, giving you effective shelter. Taking advantage of this ability causes you to lose Honor equal to your Virtue. Samurai view art as above money-making; reality disagrees.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Bonsai: Miniature tree tending.
  • Gardening: Covers meditative rock gardens, koi ponds, and garden flora.
  • Ikebana: The Hachigoku art of flower-arranging.
  • Origami: Origami is the art of paper-folding, where delicate and intricate forms are created by folding square pieces of rice paper into artistic shapes.
  • Painting: You are skilled and painting and drawing. Hachigoku painters tend to use strong, thin lines drawn in ink, focusing mostly on battles or breathtaking landscapes, and paint in watercolor. Painting is generally categorized in one of two distinct styles; there is the premeditated art of sculpting, brushing, or woodblock creation that designs intricate and stunning displays, or the impromptu art of wayo, which involves the brushing of kanji and other relatively simple designs in front of an audience within a limited time span. Though some wayo are less spontaneous and other paintings are quickly done as wayo, the two styles tend to be rather distinct. Paintings can not only be given as a gift (like poetry or ikebana), but can also be honorably sold or traded for favors from others.
  • Sculpting: You are skilled at making statues and other artistic imagery in permanent forms, usually in wood, stone, bronze, clay, or even jade. Sculptures can not only be given as a gift (like poetry or ikebana), but can also be honorably sold or traded for favors from others.
  • Specific Art: There are many other arts practiced in Hachigoku. Do some research on Asian art, be creative, and get the SD’s approval.

Athletics (Bugei) (Varies)
Aspects: Acrobatics, Climbing, Cover, Dive!, Dodge, Guard, Karumijutsu, Kemari, Leaping, Running, Suieijutsu, Swimming, Throwing

Athletics covers a variety of physical tasks, from running to the sport of kemari. The Elements used depend upon the situation. Some uses of Athletics are especially useful as Group rolls. Climbing is a Group roll if all the characters are securely linked with sturdy ropes. Swimming can be a Group roll to keep another person afloat. A kemari team makes Group rolls opposed by the other team.
Athletics can also be used as an active defense in combat, depending on the situation.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Acrobatics: This is the art of tumbling and agility, and acrobats are found throughout the Empire's courts as entertainers. Those who hone their bodies to such an extant also find it useful in more stealthy pursuits or feats of athleticism.
  • Karumijutsu: Through muscle control and wieght-distribution techniques, the master of karumijutsu prevents falling damage. For every 2 Ranks in Athletics, you reduce damage from falling by 1 Wound.
  • Kemari: Kemari is a sport where one team plays against another, keeping a ball aloft between them using anything except for their hands. It is a popular game among samurai who regularly attend court functions, made more difficult by the fact that all players must be in full court dress.
  • Suieijutsu: You must also have the Swimming Aspect to have this Aspect. This is the art of combative swimming; with it you can swim in armor (negating the Athletics penalty from light armor, but not heavy armor), carry heavy burdens (weapons, banners, flags, etc.), and even use your melee weapons when submerged and ranged attacks when partially submerged.

Bajutsu (Bugei) (Varies)
Aspects: Charge, Gallop, Jumping, Norikata, Suibajutsu, Specific Beast, Specific Horse

Bajutsu is the art of horsemanship. It encompasses a host of skills related to combat in addition to just knowing how to ride, for cavalry is an important part of warfare in Hachigoku. There are three distinct breeds of horse in Hachigoku: the Hachigoku pony, the Hachigoku riding horse, and the Northern war-horse. A Rank in this Skill automatically makes you knowledgeable in riding all three, but you can still take an Aspect for each one to increase your ability.

Norikata is the correct manner of mounting, including training in proper posture and loin strength to ride long distances. It is useful for long journeys and quick mounting; you can attempt to mount and move with a single Action with Hard difficulty.

Certain acrobatic moves can be attempted on horseback, but increase the difficulty, including:
  • Mounting a steed without using stirrups. (Moderate)
  • Riding bareback without using reins. (Hard)
  • Jumping off the horse and landing ready to act. (Hard)
  • Leaping to mount the steed and set it into motion as a single Action. (Heroic)
  • Jumping from one moving steed to another. (Heroic)

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 1: You can fight while mounted.
  • Rank 3: You can use an active Defense while mounted.
  • Rank 7: Your steed uses your Defense, if it is higher.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Suibajutsu:Water horse-art,the art of maneuvering your mount through the water, be it fording a stream or swimming a river. Remaining mounted while moving through water more than chest-high requires this Aspect.
  • Specific Beast: Man can ride more beasts than just horses in Hachigoku, although this is exceedingly rare. Examples include hellbeasts, dragons, foo dogs, and other fantastic creatures. Each exotic beast requires a separate Aspect.

Commerce (Chonin) (Wind)
Aspects: Alliance, Appraisal, Blackmail, Mathematics, Merchant, Vendetta

You are skilled in bartering, merchandising, and handling currency. It is not considered seemly for a samurai to personally indulge in financial matters, but many samurai adopt this Skill to oversee their vassals properly. You can use Commerce to haggle (Merchant), to estimate the price of a valuable item (Appraisal), or when calculating how much tax you owe the Empire (Mathematics). More importantly, this is the Skill to use when in need of items outside the province of your duties and your superior's generosity. For rules on making Commerce rolls to purchase things, see the Outfits & Equipment section in this chapter.

This is considered a Hinin Skill if a samurai is seen conducting trade in public. Exceptions are made for minor transactions such as buying a meal, purchasing a gift, or arranging lodging. Also, a samurai can avoid this Honor loss bycoordinatinga transaction, then turning over the actual task to an underling.

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 5: Even if you have no Obligations, your commercial wiles see you through the Season, giving you effective shelter.

Craft (Chonin) (Varies)
Aspect: Animal Husbandry, Armorer, Bowmaker, Husbandry, Locksmith, Swordsmith, Weaponsmith, Specific Craft or Trade

You are skilled in certain areas of expertise. Specific crafts and trades must be taken as separate Aspects, even though your general expertise as a disciplined craftsman applies across all various Aspects you learn. Craft is a Chonin Skill, but some Aspects may be considered Bugei or Hinin Skills depending upon the nature of the trades. Any trade that deals with something unclean or dead, such as the Butcher or Leatherworker Aspects, is a Hinin Skill. The Aspects Armorer, Fletcher, and Swordsmith are all considered Bugei.

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 1: You gain a free Aspect in the Skill.
  • Rank 5: Even if you have no Obligations, your commercial wiles see you through the Season, giving you effective shelter. Taking advantage of this ability costs you an Honor, unless you have the Armorer or Swordsmith Aspect.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Animal Husbandry: This covers the care, evaluating, and training of animals, mostly domesticated mammals such as horses, dogs, cats, cattle, goats, etc., but can include falcons and even tropical fighting fish. With the Senjojutsu Skill as well, you can train animals for battle, although only dogs and horses are really suitable animals for warfare. At first, you can only train an animal to follow or stay (simple TN), but with increasing difficulty you can train the animal to perform more complicated feats. With Moderate difficulty you can tame a common domesticated animal, with Hard difficulty you can teach an animal to attack or perform a complex trick, and with Heroic difficulty you can command any animal you have trained with only subtle body language (requiring no action or speech on your part to command them). You can also tame an animal that cannot normally be domesticated (bears, lions, wolves) with Legendary difficulty. It also allows you to treat the injuries of animals under your care, as per the rules for healing injuries under Medicine. In regards to horses, this acts as the Bajutsu Skill except for Aspects and Experienced Abilities.
  • Locksmith: Not only are you skilled at making locks and other such mechanisms, but you can also disable them. This is a favorite of both honorable engineers and dishonorable ninja. Locks are uncommon in Hachigoku, and are typically limited to chests, secure vaults, and the fireproof buildings used by the wealthy in cities. Picking a lock requires Craft (Locksmith)/Void with a simple TN, but the kind of locked item incurs a difficulty modifier. Fire doors usually require Moderate difficulty, chests Hard difficulty, and the secure vaults of samurai estates Heroic. More elaborate lock systems may incur even more difficulty. Although the Skill is not inherently dishonorable, using the lockpicking ability to commit a dishonorable deed (such as theft) makes it a Hinin Skill. And people do often wonder about those who are skilled in such things...
  • Specific Craft or Trade: Any realm of crafting and work which is not covered by a specific Skill can be represented by an appropriate Craft Skill Aspect. Common Hachigoku trades include: Baker, Blacksmith, Brewer, Butcher, Carpenter, Ceramics, Chandler, Confectioner, Cook, Cooper, Distiller, Dyer, Gardener, Glassblower, Innkeeper, Jeweler, Masseur, Miller, Paper Maker, Perfumer, Potter, Sail Maker, Seamstress, Shipwright, Tailor, Weaver, etc.

Engineering (Chonin) (Wind)
Aspects: Architecture, Chikujojutsu, Clockworks, Mathematics, Traps, Specific Faction

You are skilled at building, repairing, and analyzing structures and other constructions. This includes understanding and replicating clockwork wonders from the Novus Imperium and siege weapons. Any large fortification, whether mere earthen walls or castle battlements, you spend a Season building requires Raises equal to its Fortification Rating.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Chikujutsu: This is the art of overseeing a siege, withstanding one, and operating siege weaponry. If engaged in a Battle under siege, you may use this Skill instead of Senjojutsu for your Strategy roll.
  • Clockworks: You are skilled in creating and maintaining both small and large clockwork contraptions, like those imported from the Nova Imperium. The most common devices are clocks or simple, entertaining mechanical automations. By combining this use with the Traps Aspect, you can create startling and innovative death traps for your enemies, or prisons for the most vile criminals and monsters.
  • Traps: This is the ability to construct and detect traps. You make a Traps/Wind roll when constructing traps and Traps/Void (or Investigation/Void) roll when detecting them. Disarming a trap requires at least a minute for simple traps and a Traps/Fire or Wind roll (whichever is lower) passive TN equal to the original crafter's Skill Rank x 5, modified by the difficulty level of the trap.

Etiquette (Jutsugaku) (Wind)
Aspects: Ada-uchi, Blackmail, Conversation, Diplomacy, Forgery, Heraldry, Keigo, Ryugokugo, Sado, Tessenjutsu

You understand the customs and manners of Hachigoku's samurai, knowing what to say and how to say it. Demonstrating a lack of concern for etiquette is a mark of low character, and a serious loss of face. One of Etiquette's most important uses is diplomacy, interpreted as a defense against the Influence of another.

You are also adept at small talk and other forms of conversation. A successful passive TN Etiquette/Wind allows you to find an inoffensive topic to chat about. This can be a pleasant way to past the time, but can also distract listeners while allies perform tasks nearby. A suspicious listener may impose a difficulty penalty, and a highly suspicious target can break off the conversation any time, although not without looking foolish and arrogant.

Finally, all samurai have some experience recognizing the mon of uji and specific samurai of the realm. Recognizing a mon you can closely study requires a simple Etiquette (Heraldry)/Wind roll, with varying diffullty modifiers. Recognizing one from a distance (especially those on the banners of commanding samurai in an army) requires a simple Etiquette (Heraldry)/Void roll, with the difficulty advanced a single step.

Mon Difficulty
Dainagon Uji Mon, or their vassal Easy

Shonagon Uji Mon, or their vassal Simple

Otokodate Mon Hard

Personal Mon Hard

Stricken from the Imperial Registry Heroic

Aspect Abilities:
  • Keigo: This is the cultivated language of the highest classes in Hachigoku; only those who serve in the Imperial government at Hikari Toshi or of Kuge blood regularly use it. Technically it is only a dialect of Goshimago, but its grammar and formalities are excruciating for most; those without the Aspect may still try to speak, read, or write in it, but with Heroic difficulty. Official government laws, orders, and charters are still written in its style. And someday, should a new Emperor sit under Heaven, they will revive its use. So the scholars say.
  • Ryugokugo: You can speak, read, and write Ryugokugo, the language of Longguo (Ryugoku to the samurai) before conquest. It is still used by the majority of the Empire's lower caste, depending on the realm, and any serious lover of the classics learns to read it.
  • Sado: The “way of tea,”, this more than just simply brewing tea. It requires some time to complete the tea ceremony, and an appropriate ritual location (a carefully tended garden, or a noble enclosure with a meditation chamber). It is a detailed ritual, designed to free the mind of outside concerns, thus liberating and cleansing it of distracting and impure thoughts. This takes a complete Scene to perform, using an Etiquette/Void roll with a passive TN against the highest Virtue in the room. If successful, you and all the guests (up to your Void) gain Honor equal to your Void. This is a Group roll, and cannot cover more guests than your Void, nor can you do this for the same guests more than once per Story.
  • Tessenjutsu: Tessenjutsu is the art of the fan. These included the reinforced fans used by teishin for protection, the “fake” fans used by commoners as small clubs, and the heavy tessen used to signal troops on the battlefield.

Explosives (Hinin) (Varies)
Aspects: Demolition, Fuses, Kagaku

Gaijin pepper(gunpowder) has been outlawed in Hachigoku for centuries. The fact that not all explosives use gunpowder is immaterial at best. Still, you are skilled at making explosives that do more than provide mere entertainment. Your chemical concoctions create destruction and wreak havoc. This is a dangerous Skill, and not just because of custom and law. Explosives in Hachigoku lack the refinement and stability of those made by the gaijin, and thus are unstable; working with military rockets and firearms requires the specialize Teppojutsu Skill. While the polvara, the primary explosive element, can be reasonably transported, the explosive itself must be built at its point of explosion. If you attempt to transport one over any distance, you must make an Explosives/Water roll per hour with a passive TN against the Damage of the explosive x 5.

While creating an effective explosive has a simple TN, each Damage higher than 1 Wound raises the difficulty by 1 step. Also, you must set the fuse of the explosives with either short-burning or long-burning fuses. If it is a short-burning fuse, roll 1 die; this is the number of Moments before the explosive goes off. If it is a long-burning fuse, roll 1 die; this is the number of minutes before the explosive goes off. Long-burning fuses may also lower Fortification Ranks by their Damage.
You can also use this to defuse explosives with Explosives/Water against a passive TN of the explosive's damage x 5.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Fuses: You can add or subtract your Skill Rank to the number of Moments or minutes before the explosives go off.
  • Kagaku: You are able to create kagaku items and are knowledgeable about the study of elemental observation, experimentation, and reaction. While many regard it as a magical art, its practitioners realize it is merely a study of chemicals and how they interact with one another.

Sidebar: Explosives

The Damage for explosives is not a flexibly determined roll the way it for most weapons. Instead they inflict Wounds at a fixed rate determined at their creation. However, they also affect a wider area, a range determined by their Damage. For each range increment beyond the detonation point, Damage is reduced by 2 if short fuses are used, and by 1 if long fuses are used. Thus, a 5 Damage explosive deals 5 Wounds at Close range, 3 at Near range, 1 Wound at Long range, and no further Wounds farther away.

The only active Defense against explosives is to dive for cover.

Games (Jutsugaku/Lore) (Varies)
Aspects: Gambling, Go, Mahjong, Shogi, Specific Game

This is a catch-all category for a variety of intellectual games that have no pronounced mechanical effect. The Skill grants the user a wide base of knowledge for playing the popular games of Hachigoku, if not flair or expertise. Exceptional insight and ability with the game is granted by Aspects; you can play any of these games using this Skill even if you dont have the Aspect, and different games may use different Elements. Playing any of these games for money makes this a Hinin Skill.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Gambling: This is the art of professional gambling; in other words, cheating. Dice games are the most popular gambling games in Hachigoku. Every player finds their own method: their hands are quicker than the eye (Fire), their attention to details is intense (Void), or they “play the player, not the game” (Wind). A good huste is finding strength in weakness, and akin to a deceptive battle strategy (Water). Once chosen, a gambler cannot change their method without spending an Honor.
  • Go: One of Hachigoku most popular games, it is seen as a meditation on combat and strategy. White and black stones are placed on a square board and used to surround andcapturethe other players stones. Its military applications casts Water as its Element.
  • Mahjong: A domino-style game using brightly painted carvings, it is often played to pass the time. Unless gambling is involved, the game uses Void.
  • Shogi: Shogi is a game similar to chess, with a square, checkered board using pieces with unique abilities, where the object is to capture the other players king piece. More direct and aggressive than its more meditative cousin go, shogi uses Fire.
  • Specific Game: There is an endless variety of other games and leisure hobbies throughout Hachigoku. With some research and GM approval, almost any can be made into an Aspect. If a game is not covered by a listed Aspect, then it is obscure enough to rate its own Aspect that is required to skillfully play it.

Hunting (Bugei) (Void)
Aspects: Aitok, Khaligo, Parsi, Survival, Tracking, Trailblazing, Traps, Wilderness Lore, Specific Environment

You are trained in all the rigors for outdoor life, such as how to track, how to make a fire, set up camp, etc. You can also obscure your own tracks, and have a general knowledge of animals, plants, and weather. Trailblazing helps you cut down travel time, or even forge new, reliable paths in uninhabited wilderness. Different types of terrain may modify the difficulty of your roll.

Terrain Difficulty
Desert Hard
Jungle Moderate
Marsh Moderate
Mountains Moderate
Plains Simple
Tundra Hard
Woodlands Average

Aspect Abilities:
  • Aitok: You can speak the Aitok language. Spoken by the indigenous people of Kitagoku, who have been pushed far north into the forests and moors beyond land controlled by the Ii uji. There is a written form, but it survives only in carved glyphs on stone ruins; you can attempt to decipher them with Heroic difficulty.
  • Khaligo: You can speak, read, and write Khaligo. Spoken by people native to the mountains on the western borders of Mizugoku, who have a rich tradition of philosophical and cosmological literature samurai interested in the teachings of the Pilgrim often study.
  • Parsi: You can speak, read, and write Parsi. Spoken by the mostly nomadic tribes that dwell in the deserts between Hachigoku and Nova Imperium. It has a written form that survives mainly as poetry and occult literature.
  • Survival: You can use Hunting to survive in the wilderness if you have no provisions or guides, depending on the terrain. You can also use Hunting to give you shelter for a Season, depending on your Rank and the Season. In the Spring, you can do this with only Rank 3. In the Summer and Autumn, you need Rank 5. In Winter, you need Rank 7.
  • Traps: This is the ability to construct and detect traps. You make a Traps/Wind roll when constructing traps and Traps/Void (or Investigation/Void) roll when detecting them. Disarming a trap requires at least a minute for simple traps and a Traps/Fire or Wind roll (whichever is lower) passive TN equal to the original crafter's Skill Rank x 5, modified by the difficulty level of the trap. Using Hunting, you can only construct traps out of non-urban surroundings.

Influence (Jutsugaku) (Wind)
Aspects: Ada-uchi, Alliance, Blackmail, Gifts, Gossip, Maneuvering, Manipulation, Politics, Sadane, Specific Faction

You understand the intricacies of court life, and are able to discern who holds the real power and how to deal with them. Along with Etiquette, this is the most important Skill in the teishin's arsenal. An Influence (Politics)/Wind simple TN roll will give you a good idea as to who holds the reigns of power in the court; those who wish to disguise their influence may use Etiquette/Wind to make it an active defense roll.

The Skill also manipulates others. It cannot force another to take an action against their own will, but it can persuade those on the fence about a matter, or more cunningly maneuver someone into going against your wishes only at the risk of their own Honor; this would be a contested roll against their Etiquette/Wind.

By political maneuvering, you can determine the needs and desires of another; this is not the same as Investigation, since its not factual information you're looking for. Wind is the passive defense, and Etiquette/Wind the active. With the proper Aspect and Hard difficulty, your target will not realize they have revealed anything, if successful.

Gossip is highly frowned upon at court, and eagerly expected. This Skill can be used by you in two ways: to learn the latest rumors or to spread them. To hunt down rumors about a specific topic, you must spend a day at court discussing the particular topic, and make an Influence (Gossip)/Wind roll with a simple TN. If the roll succeeds, you learn one juicy rumor. You can state one true thing about those at court; additional Raises of course can embellish this rumor. This will not necessarily make the rumor useful. To spread rumors about a target, you must spend a day in court discussing the target, and then make an Influence (Gossip)/Wind roll with a passive TN equal to the target's Glory x 5. To spread rumors about a topic, it is only a simple TN. If you have the proper Aspect and accept Hard difficulty, you conceal the fact you are the hunting or spreading rumors.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Gifts: Goods and services, by means of money, are the backbone of even Hachigoku's economy. Unless they collect taxes, most samurai don't grasp this simple truth. Their world is financed by gifts given and received. Only the lower castes engage in bribery; samurai exchange gifts, as is proper. With this Aspect you may use Influence in place of Commerce to obtain items, or use Koku to benefit your Influence rolls.
  • Sadane: A popular game among teishin, it’s a verbal game of competing insults. Masters are considered great wits and cunning diplomats. The game uses Wind.

Investigation (Jutsugaku) (Varies)
Aspects: Blackmail, Interrogation, Nazado, Notice, Ryugokugo, Search

You know what questions to ask, who to ask, and where to look for clues in uncovering the truth. The Element used by the Skill varies on its application. Use Void when looking for clues, Earth when adding up the facts and making conclusions, and Wind when asking questions and other forms of interrogation. You can only investigate a place, person, or mystery once with a roll regarding any particular matter. Only compelling evidence makes you reconsider a conclusion.

When using the Skill to search an area, a simple TN roll will reveal a relevant clue after a reasonable search time. Raises may find more items or more useful clues.

When questioning a subject, its a contested roll. The opposed Skill/Element depends on how they reply to your questions. If they wish to hide the truth or lie, they use Sincerity/Earth (supplant with the Intimidation Aspect if they wish to reply with threats or obstinate silence). If they wish to change the subject, use Etiquette (Conversation)/Earth or Sincerity (Seduction)/Earth. Other Skills could also be used to resist questioning if they make sense in the context of the situation.

Investigation can also be used against Stealth as active defenses. The Notice Aspect applies to seeing through such subterfuge, as well as to detecting forgeries.

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 7: You may make one additional attempt to search for clues or interrogate a subject after you have already failed once. This is an entirely new Skill Roll and attempt; you approach the problem from a new direction.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Nazado: You are skilled at a form of investigation that relies on evidence and logic, disdaining the unreliability of testimony. It is also useful in understanding and solving puzzles, riddles, and logic games. It is used almost exclusively by samurai from the Lakelands and teishin trained by them, and often frowned upon by the other samurai. You can also use this in place of the Search Aspect.
  • Ryugokugo: You can speak, read, and write Ryugokugo, the language of Longguo (Ryugoku to the samurai) before conquest. It is still used by the majority of the Empire's lower caste, depending on the realm, and any serious lover of the classics learns to read it. You can also use this Skill in place of Etiquette when dealing with lower caste citizens of the Empire.

Ishiyumijutsu (Chonin/Bujutsu) (Void)
Aspects: Blind Shot, Cover Shot, Disarm, Specific Weapon

Before the coming of the samurai over the ocean, the ishiyumi, or crossbow, was the standard issue missile weapon of Lungguo's Imperial army. Its standard method of construction allowed ammunition to be produced en masse for the soldiers, and its mechanical power meant that any peasant picking it up could fire it with little trouble. Now it is only used by peasants and the conscript armies of mostly the Western realms, both North and South. The ishiyumi is the classic crossbow; the sokusha ishiyumi is a more exotic repeating crossbow.

A skilled user can spend extra Actions to aim a crossbow and lower the difficulty of a shot; each Action lowers the difficulty 1 step.
Jujutsu (Bugei/Karate) (Fire)
Aspects: Blind Strike, Block, Charge, Disarm, Dodge, Feint, Grapple, Knockout, Stun, Throwing

You are skilled in basic hand-to-hand combat, specifically the Skill of hitting the opponent. Jujutsu encompasses a variety of kicks, punches, and the occasional headbutt. This is the most common hand-to-hand technique taught throughout Hachigoku among samurai.

Kenjutsu (Bugei/Bujutsu) (Fire)
Aspects: Blind Strike, Charge, Counterstrike, Disarm, Feint, Gaijin Blades, Iaijutsu, Noto, Nukitsuke, Yadomejutsu, Specific Weapon

This is the art of swordsmanship in the Empire, widely seen as the most noble of all martial arts. It covers the most common swords of the Empire: katana, nagamaki, ninja-to, odachi, shikomijo, tachi, and wakizashi.

Mastery Abilities:
  • Rank 5: The sword is a swift and deadly weapon. When wielding a katana, you can add your Rank to your Initiative Total.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Gaijin Blades: Learning the myriad of gaijin swords used outside Hachigoku (scimitar, longsword, rapier, etc.) requires this Aspect. Use of such swords makes this a Low Skill.
  • Iaijutsu: This is the art of the fast-draw, drawing the katana in one quick, fluid movement and cutting with it in the same motion. It may only be used with a katana and shikomijo; although the tachi is virtually identical to a katana, it's manner of being worn is ill suited to iaijutsu's required form. Mostly used for the ritualized iaijutsu duels, it also allows you to draw your katana and attack with a single Action. There are four components to the art: nukitsuke (draw), kiritsuke (cutting), chiburi (removal of blood from the blade), and noto (sheathing).
  • Noto: You must have the Iaijutsu Aspect before taking this Aspect. The noto (sheathing) is the final step in the iaijutsu ritual, and with this Aspect you can choose to resheathe the sword after using Iaijutsu to attack immediately (unless you somehow lose it, or the environment precludes graceful and swift movement, such as underwater or in quicksand).
  • Nukitsuke: You must have the Iaijutsu Aspect before taking this Aspect. The nukitsuke (draw) is the first step in the iaijutsu ritual, and was originally designed as a defensive maneuver for samurai reclining, crouching, or seated, easy prey for a quick assailant. With this Aspect, you can make Iaijutsu attack rolls from such positions without penalty.
  • Yadomejutsu: This is the practiced ability to cut down arrows in flight, preventing them from striking their target. It is exceptionally difficult to master, and it is taught in only a handful of dojo across Hachigoku. Yadomejutsu can be used in two ways. As an active Defense, you can make a Kenjutsu/Void roll (see the Combat rules for Active Defenses) against a Ranged Attack targeting anyone (including yourself) at Close range. If successful, the arrow is sliced in two and inflicts no damage.

Kusarigamijutsu (Chonin/Bujutsu) (Fire)
Aspects: Disarm, Entangle, Knockdown, Parry, Specific Weapon

You are skilled with a variety of chain weapons; the most well known is the kusarigama. With such weapons you can disarm, entangle, or even trip (Knockdown) your foes. This Skill covers: the kaginawa, kusarigama, and manrikikusari.

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 3: A skilled user can also use such a weapon to help them climb appropriate surfaces (places where you can get a grappling hook over, or where the surface is soft enough to sink in the point), lowering the TN by their Rank.
  • Rank 5: A skilled user may use their weapon to grab any hand-held object otherwise free and bring it to them with an Action, if it is in range.
  • Rank 7: A skilled user uses the weapon as an extension of themselves, allowing them to add their Rank to any Athletics roll (they use the weapon to swing from branches, wrap around poles to change direction, etc.).

Kyujutsu (Bugei/Bujutsu) (Wind)
Aspects: Blind Shot, Cover Shot, Disarm, Fletcher, Yabusame, Specific Weapon

This is the Skill used for bows and arrows. It covers the daikyu and hankyu. The traditional Hachigoku method is to bring the bow into position and fire in one movement. Instead of aiming, a Zen-like focus on making the warrior, weapon, and target as one is emphasized, thus its reliance on Wind.

Samurai are trained to carry their bows unstrung, and then assemble them quickly for battle. If carried with the bowstrings in place, the strings can wear out and lose their tension, making the bow less powerful and the strings prone to breakage. Assembling a bow takes 2 simple Actions. Readying it can be done in 1 complex Action with a Kyujutsu/Fire simple TN roll.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Fletcher: This is the craft of making arrows and bows. Making specialty arrows instead of normal ya arrows requires Hard difficulty.
  • Yabusame: Ranged attacks from horseback have a Hard difficulty without the Yabusame Aspect. You must have at least 1 Rank of the Bajutsu Skill to take this Aspect.

Law (Jutsugaku) (Wind)
Aspects: Battle, Bureaucracy, Contracts, Imperial Law, Metsuke Lore, Vendetta, Specific Region or Faction

You are familiar with the legal systems of Hachigoku and the profession of the metsuke (magistrate), regardl1ess of if you serve as one. You can argue cases with metsuke, defend or prosecute the accused, and write up legal contracts.

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 3: If you are not a teishin, you gain a Free Raise on all social rolls with teishin.
  • Rank 5: If you are not a teishin, you gain a Free Raise on all social rolls with teishin.
  • Rank 7: You gain a Free Raise on all social rolls with teishin.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Bureaucracy: You know how to navigate the sometimes bizarre bureaucracy that surrounds the officials of the daimyo and the Roju. If you are seeking information and do not know where to obtain it, a successful simple TN Law/Wind roll reveals the most likely candidate, although the more obscure the information, the more Raises are needed. With this Aspect you can even use Law as an offensive social roll (similar to Influence); you can disguise your involvement with Hard difficulty, burying your identity behind “red seals.”

Lore (Jutsugaku) (Wind)
Aspects: Specific Subject

You are learned in certain areas of expertise. This Skill does not represent an understanding of all subjects covered by Lore, but only those for which you have Aspects, with each topic a separate Aspect. Any realm of knowledge which is not covered by a specific Skill can probably be represented by an appropriate Lore Aspect. Examples include: bushido, onmyoji, specific uji, specific nonhuman types, history, the classics, etc. Lore counts as a Hinin Skill if it is used to display extensive knowledge of a dishonorable subject.
Subjects exclusive to the world outside Hachigoku and particular to gaijin (including their people, monsters, religion, sciences, etc.) are the province of Rangaku, while criminal knowledge belongs to Underworld.

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 1: You gain a free Aspect in the Skill.

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