Friday, October 7, 2016

Skills of the Samurai, Part 3: M - Z

The final installment of Skills. If you do the math, you'll see that there are 11 Skills per Skill Group... except for the Hinin Skills, which have only 8. Frankly, I wanted it to be an 11 so it would be symmetrical throughout the Groups, but, really, samurai aren't supposed to have Hinin Skills. Not much, anyway. And frankly I can think of any more necessary Skills that don't fall under an Aspect somewhere else. Can you?



Medicine (Chonin/Lore) (Wind)
Aspect: Antidotes, Atemi, Disease, Herbalism, Ofuda, Wounds, Specific Nonhuman

This Skill is used to cure a variety of ailments and injuries. A medicine kit (a pouch containing a variety of herbs, bandages, needles, and remedies) is needed to use Medicine.

A given person may have his Wounds treated only once per day. To do so, you must spend an entire Round tending to the victims injuries, during which time neither of you can move or engage in any other significant action. You make a Medicine/Water roll with a passive TN equal to the total number of Wounds x 5. If successful, you heal 1 Wound, with an additional Light Wound per Raise or an additional Heavy Wound per 2 Raises (Heavy Wounds heal first, of course). Those who are Down, Out, or Dead cannot have their Wounds healed at all.

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 5: You may treat the Wounds of someone who has already been treated once more today.
  • Rank 7: You may treat the Wounds of someone who has already been treated twice more today.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Antidotes: Required to cure poisons.
  • Atemi: This is the art of nerve and blood flow manipulation taught to many who study the internal arts of the body. When using it as a healing art, you can reduce the Wound penalties of a target by making a Medicine (Atemi)/Wind roll with a passive TN equal to their Wounds x 5; this can even negate the Down and Out penalties. It does not, however, reduce the Wounds themselves, and any new Wounds suffered destroy this benefit. Any bleeding from the targeted area stops.
  • Specific Nonhuman: This is required for each nonhuman race you want to use this Skill on.

Ninjutsu (Hinin/Bujutsu/Karate) (Wind)
Aspects: Blind Shot, Blind Strike, Block, Cover Shot, Disarm, Grapple, Knockout, Kuji-kiri, Metsubishi, Parry, Specific Weapon

You know how to wield the traditional weapons and fighting style of those who depend on speed and the shadows. Of course, no one mentioned ninja. Why do you ask? Unlike many Skills, this is both a Bujutsu and Karate Skill, as ninjutsu covers both weapon training and its own unique brand of hand-to-hand combat focusing on being where the enemy least expects you to be, vanishing like smoke before making precise, unexpected strikes. All attacks and active defenses use Wind instead of Fire or Water. The Skill covers a variety of unique and difficult weapons to master, but Ninjutsu training is very thorough. The Skill covers the following weapons: blowgun, kamayari, ninja-to, shinobi-shuko, shuriken, and toami jutsu.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Kuji-kiri: You must have both hands free to use this Aspect, moving your hands in a mesmerizing pattern. You make a contested Kuji-kiri/Void roll against your opponent's Void roll. If you're successful, your opponent is dazed for 1 round for every point your Void Ring is higher than your opponent's (minimum one). While the target is dazed, they cannot move and can barely speak coherently so long as they are not subjected to any immediate stress. Such stress would include, but not be limited to: an attempt to attack them, an ally "snapped them out of it" by yelling or shaking, etc. The target is completely aware of the world around them, they just cannot seem to react to it very well. You cannot attempt to use this Aspect twice on the same target twice in one hour. It is ineffective against creatures without Void (or its equivalent) or without an intelligent mind (like animals or madmen).
  • Metsubishi: The art of crafting and using metsubishi, powders, dusts, and related compounds used to distract or blind.

Nofujutsu (Chonin/Bujutsu) (Fire)
Aspects: Disarm, Entangle, Knockdown, Knockout, Parry, Tessenjutsu, Specific Weapon

You know how to wield the traditional weapons of the peasantry. Such weapons are often repurposed agricultural implements, or even the tools of firefighters. This Skill covers a wide range of such weapons, including: jo, kama, kenka kiseru, okemka kiseru, masakari, nunchaku, ryoba, sai, sling, tobikuchi, otobikuchi, rokushakubo, tonfa, and whip.

Aspect Abilities:
  • 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 clubs, and the heavy tessen used to signal troops on the battlefield.

Obujutsu (Bugei/Bujutsu) (Fire)
Aspects: Charge, Knockdown, Parry, Specific Weapon

You know how to wield large crushing weapons. These are commonly used against nonhuman foes; if used outside of a Battle against samurai, this is considered a Chonin Skill. This covers the following weapons: the ono, otsuchi, and tetsubo.

Oratory (Jutsugaku) (Wind)
Aspects: Battle, Boasting, Calligraphy, Correspondence, Jesting, Nemesis, Ofuda, Poetry, Rhetoric, Storytelling

You are a skilled and versatile speaker, able to weave a spellbinding tale or impassioned speech with your words and gestures. Storytelling is used to entertain, boast, and maintain an oral history, especially among the omoidasu, of Hachigoku's earliest days and myths. The Skill applies to both the spoken and written word respectively. An average story is a simple TN, although a particularly tough audience may require an opposed roll, with the critic using Oratory/Void. You may also use your Oratory to imitate the gossip and manipulation abilities of the Influence Skill.
 
Among sophisticated samurai, calligraphy is highly important. Calligraphy is not just penmanship, but an ancient and honored form of art. You are skilled at not only writing, but at writing and reading beautiful and complex forms of intricate calligraphy. The unscrupulous may also use their Skill for forgery; doing so loses you Honor equal to your Virtue, or worse if discovered.

You are also skilled in all forms of poetry in Hachigoku, particularly the haiku in its 5-7-5 syllable form and its 5-7-5-5-7 syllable form, as well as the four-line form favored by the older literature of Longguo and the odd "travel poetry" of the Northern steppes.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Jesting: Jesting is the province of the jesters, those dancing figures meandering through court and mocking everything in sight. Unlike traditional Western jesters, jesters in Hachigoku are much more subtle than wacky, and a lot more sarcastic and sardonic. They sing, dance, tell stories, quote the Dao just a little wrong, and make sure you know when you've acted inappropriately. They speak in rhymes and foretell doom to those who mock them back.

Performance (Chonin) (Varies)
Aspects: Bunraku, Dance, Kabuki, Mimicry, Music, Noh, Sleight of Hand, Song, Tessenjutsu

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. The Performance Skill usually uses Wind (when dealing with the audience) or Fire (for executing the performance itself), but can use other Elements in certain situations. The average performance is a simple TN, but a tough audience may require an opposed roll. Critics use Investigation (Notice)/Void or Performance (appropriate Aspect)/Void to find flaws in your portrayal. When several performers are performing at once, all significant contributors must make a Group roll.

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:
  • Dance: There are two styles of dancing in Rokugan: court dancing and peasant dancing. Court dances are stately and elegant, and almost exclusively performed by noble women, though men of the Kakita artisans are often skilled dancers, as are kabuki actors. Peasant dances are lively and celebratory, performed by both genders.
  • Kabuki: This gives you a working knowledge of kabuki theatre and even the training as an actor of the style, one of the two main forms of drama in Hachigoku. It tends to be loud, garish, and wild, with elaborate costumes and sets.
  • Mimicry: You can disguise your voice. Attempts to mimic particular voices or nonhuman, even inanimate sounds, may require Raises. With a Hard difficulty, you can alsothrowyour voice.
  • Music: This gives you the knowledge and ability to play and compose the music of Hachigoku. This covers everything from simple peasant songs to court orchestras. For each rank in this Skill, you also know how to play an instrument, such as: biwa (wide-bodied flute); fue (long, bamboo flute); hichiriki (double-reeded flute); koto (zither); sanisen (lute / banjo); san-ko (drum triad); taiko (huge drums). Because the instrumentalist must have good manual dexterity and a fine sense of tempo, pitch, and harmony, all rolls when playing an instrument use the lower of your Fire or Wind Traits.
  • Noh: Noh is the primary form of drama among the samurai caste, and emphasizes strong but controlled emotions, drama and tragedy, and minimal stage construction. Most performers wear either masks or facepaint that indicates their status and emotional state.
  • Bunraku: You are skilled in puppeteering, a popular form of drama and entertainment among the lower castes of Hachigoku society, but the finest practitioners are also enjoyed by the samurai caste.
  • Sleight of Hand: You are skilled at palming items, picking pockets, and other acts of prestidigitation. This is a Performance/Water roll with a passive TN against the target's Void x 5. If it's an active TN, the opponent uses Investigation/Void. If used to pick pockets, this becomes a Hinin Skill.
  • Song: You have a gifted voice and skill at writing lyrics, including flowery court songs, earthy peasant folk songs, and even monastic chanting.
  • 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 clubs, and the heavy tessen used to signal troops on the battlefield.

Poison (Hinin) (Varies)
Aspects: Antidotes, Narcotics, Specific Poison

You know how to create and apply poisons, as well as create their antidotes. Identify and creating poisons is a simple TN, but each imposes a particular difficulty.

Poison should be injected as close to the heart as possible, or in a major artery or vein. While going for the neck may seem the obvious choice, don't forget those big fat veins on the top of the hands.

Rangaku (Hinin/Lore) (Wind)
Aspects: Alphasian, Altaric, Imperium, Logos, Marchenspaak, Parsi, Specific Subject

You are learned in certain areas of expertise pertaining to the gaijin, or “red learning.” This Skill does not represent an understanding of all subjects covered by Rangaku, 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 yet focuses on the gaijin can probably be represented by an appropriate Aspect. Examples include: specific nations, fields of science, philosophical logic, languages, their monsters, etc.

While the actual knowledge is not considered dishonorable (private use makes it only a Chonin Skill), its subject matter and Hachigoku's characteristic xenophobia makes public displays (a public consisting of samurai) of the Skill and mastering it a Hinin Skill.

It's important to know that making Strategy rolls against gaijin forces requires Rangaku with an appropriate Aspect, instead of Senjojutsu; gaijin do not fight “honorably.”

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 3: You gain a Free Raise on all social rolls with gaijin.
  • Rank 5: You gain a Free Raise on all social rolls with gaijin.
  • Rank 7: You gain a Free Raise on all social rolls with gaijin.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Alphasian: You can speak, read, and write Alphasin. Spoken on the southern continent across the sea, in the kingdom of Alphasia. It is a heavy mixture of Imperium, Logos, and Marchenspaak, with a highly developed written tradition.
  • Altaric: You can speak, read, and write Altaric. Spoken on the southern continent across the sea, in the republics, principalities, and kingdoms of Altara. It is a modified form of Imperium, and often called Low Imperium. It has a written tradition, but most of its “highest” work is still done in Imperium.
  • Imperium: You can speak, read, and write Imperium. Spoken by the ruling class of Nova Imperium, and by the educated classes of the southern continent. It continues to function as a language of learning and trade among nations once connected by the Old Imperium.
  • Logos: You can speak, read, and write Logos. Spoken by the sea kingdoms between the southern and northern continents, and as a common tongue throughout the Nova Imperium. It has a long and storied written tradition, much of which has been translated into Imperium.
  • Marchenspaak: You can speak, read, and write Marchenspaak. Spoken by the republics, principalities, and kingdoms of Drachenmarch on the southern continent. It is a harsh language whose written form is runic and going through a cataclysmic change as it still absorbs Imperium.
  • 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.

Renkinjutsu (Jutsugaku/Lore) (Varies)
Aspects: Jigokugo, Onigo, Tsukigami, Yang Maho, Yin Maho, Yokaigo, Specific Onmyoji Discipline

You understand the fundamental aspects of Hachigoku's magic and the Elements of Godai philosophy, known as renkinjutsu (roughly, “alchemy”). Onmyoji are trained in either gai-renkinjutsu (“outer alchemy”) or nai-renkninjutsu (“inner alchemy”). While this covers the general knowledge of magic and prayers for onmyoji, it also allows those unable to speak with the kami knowledge to identify prayers, magical sites, and tsukigami.

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

Aspect Abilities:
  • Jigokugo: You can speak, read, and write Jigokugo. This is the language spoken and written in among the corrupt spirits of Jigoku, the akuma, and their masters the Yama Kings. Most Yang Maho ofuda are written in this language. Speaking this language makes this is a Hinin Skill, no matter the reason.
  • Onigo: You speak Onigo. This is the language spoken by monstrous oni; it has no written form. “Educated” oni write in Jigokugo.
  • Yang Maho: Those with this Aspect are trained to identify and fight those corrupted by too much Yang energy, the forces that destroyed ancient Goshima. Alternatively, this Aspect also allows you to use corrupting Yang magic; doing so is not only an Act of Vice, but also counts as using a Hinin Skill.
  • Yin Maho: Those with this Aspect are trained to identify and fight those corrupted by too much Yin energy, a force responsible for hungry undead and necromancy. Alternatively, this Aspect also allows you to use corrupting Yin magic; doing so is not only an Act of Vice, but also counts as using a Hinin Skill.
  • Yokaigo: You can speak, read, and write Yokaigo. This is the language spoken by the various yokai, both those who emigrated to Hachigoku and those corrupted and left behind in Goshima. It has a written form similar to Goshimago, but without the ideographic forms.

Sailing (Chonin) (Varies)
Aspects: Navigation, Ryukyugo, Strategy, Swimming, Weather, Specific Sea, Specific Ship

You are skilled in the lore of the sea and working on a boat. You can use this Skill not only to handle a boat but also to identify seascapes and marine life and survive the rigors of the sea, like storms.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Navigation: Using stars, triangulation, and memory, you can plot lengthy journeys through unmapped lands and seas with your Wind, or use Void to find your way to recognizable landmarks within no reference point (such as being left blindfolded in an unknown forest).
  • Ryukyugo: You speak, read, and write Ryukyugo. Spoken by the southern islanders off the coast of Nigoku, where the Yamanouchi uji rules. There has been an attempt in the last century to create a written form to rival Hachigokugo.
  • Strategy: With this Aspect you can use Sailing instead of Senjojutsu in a Battle on any large body of water.

Senjojutsu (Bugei/Lore) (Water)
Aspects: Battle Lore, Logistics, Skirmish, Strategy, Tessenjutsu, Specific Terrain, Specific Enemy

You have made a study of warfare, of strategy and tactics. Not only do you use this Skill when using the Battle rules, but it grants you the knowledge of how Hachigoku's armies are organized and maintained and guides you in choosing terrain for skirmishes. You may spend a Scene studying an area for terrain advantages. If you do so, any rolls you make in a skirmish or battle fought in that area for the next day have a Simple difficulty. Also, if enemies are lying in wait, you can make a Senjojutsu/Void roll opposed by their Stealth/Water roll to detect them (instead of the normal Investigation/Void roll). You may make Raises to determine more information about your enemies (number, what weapons theyre using, and if they are aware of your presence).

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

Aspect Abilities:
  • Battle Lore: You can use this Skill as a Lore Skill as it applies to Hachigoku's history of warfare, including famous wars, battles, and generals, and their tactics.
  • 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 clubs, and the heavy tessen used to signal troops on the battlefield.
  • Specific Enemy: Choose a specific faction (uji, otokodate, etc.). You gain the benefits of this Aspect at all times when facing this enemy in combat. It's important to know that making Strategy in a Battle rolls against nonhuman forces requires an appropriate Aspect, instead of just Senjojutsu; nonhumans do not fight “properly.”

Shingaku (Jutsugaku/Lore) (Wind)
Aspects: Ahiru, Ancestors, Battle, Divination, Folk Magic, Fortunism, Jigokugo, Mantra, Shakuhachi, Yokaigo, Specific Spirit Realm

You have studied the religions of Hachigoku, learning about the kami and the Fortunes as well as studying the mysteries of the Dao. You are able to discuss both matters of philosophy and enlightenment, as well as the religious history of Hachigoku's rituals and prayers associated with the worship of the Fortunes and kami.

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 5: You gain a Free Raise on social rolls dealing spirits or other creatures from beyond the mortal realm.
  • Rank 7: You can now have Elements above Rank 5.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Ahiru: You can speak, read, and write Ahiru. The language of Tengoku, spoken by Fortunes and the kami. Sometimes. The written form is used by onmyoji to write ofuda, although they admit their clumsy attempts barely approach the true beauty of the heavens.
  • Divination: You are skilled at using divination techniques outside the normal domain of onmyoji magic to catch a glimpse of the future. Often dismissed aspeasant magic,they have become quite popular and are often practiced by samurai or even used by onmyoji (who have much more reliable techniques) to supplement their magic, usually for entertainment value. This includes studying omens (birds, earthquakes, etc.), astrology, and even kawara coin tossing. Once per day, you can make a Divination/Wind roll with a simple TN. If successful, you may define a near future fate of some character or organization, although divinations of this type are notoriously vague or cryptic. And if it is not positive to those more powerful you, trouble no doubt awaits. You may spend an Honor Point to make an additional attempt. This Aspect also reduces the difficulty of a Dao of Heaven roll in a Battle by 1 step.
  • Jigokugo: You can speak, read, and write Jigokugo. This is the language spoken and written in among the corrupt spirits of Jigoku, the akuma, and their masters the Yama Kings. Most Yang Maho ofuda are written in this language. Speaking this language makes this is a Hinin Skill, no matter the reason.
  • Shakuhachi: You are skilled in a rare weapon, the shakuhachi.
  • Yokaigo: You can speak, read, and write Yokaigo. This is the language spoken by the various yokai, both those who emigrated to Hachigoku and those corrupted and left behind in Goshima. It has a written form similar to Goshimago, but without the ideographic forms.

Sincerity (Jutsugaku) (Wind)
Aspects: Apologies, Intimidation, Lying, Misdirection, Seduction

Samurai rarely respect the truth. They respect sincerity, but they abhor lies. An enigma wrapped in a conundrum. This Skill is used to compel others to believe that which is untrue, and the ability to appear to believe it is true yourself. Only the vulgar truly lie; it is far better to avoid the truth or a shameful reply. It also very important when apologizing to reduce Glory losses caused by actions towards others.

When used to cloak the truth, it is usually an opposed roll against the listeners Investigation/Void. If you are lying about something that the listener has knowledge of (such as a Lore Skill), they can use that Skill instead. The same rules apply if it is an outright lie, but then its use is considered a Hinin Skill.

This Skill is also used to seduce others. Honorable samurai do not act seductively; they imply the fulfillment of desire in return for compliance. Although it is often a matter of the flesh, it is essentially a matter of offering others that they desire to meet your own ends. Seduction usually involves an opposed Sincerity (Seduction)/Wind roll against the target's Etiquette/Earth. If the seduction is overt, or fails in any case, its use is considered a Hinin Skill.

Sincerity can also be Intimidation, the manipulation of others through threats; you are very good at looking very bad and making people believe in your worst capabilities. Keep in mind that the promise of outright violence requires no roll; either you are intimidated by the blood-soaked behemoth bearing the well-used tetsubo or you arent, and likely it's a dishonorable attempt. The Intimidation Aspect denotes subtle coercion, threatening the target with dangers not readily apparent. Of course, the samurai could still use the Skill to look even more threatening than they actually are. Usually, this is a Sincerity/Earth roll vs. Investigation/Void (if they dont believe your threats) or Sincerity/Earth (if they want to counter with bravado).

Sojutsu (Bugei/Bujutsu) (Fire)
Aspects: Charge, Guard, Knockdown, Parry, Specific Weapon

You know how to wield spear-like polearms. This covers: the magari-yari, naginata, and yari.

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 3: You gain a +1k0 bonus against opponents who charge you.
  • Rank 5: You gain a +1k0 bonus against mounted or much larger opponents.

Stealth (Hinin) (Varies)
Aspects: Ambush, Disguise, Shadowing, Sneaking

You know how to move quietly through the shadows and avoid detection, and how to move through a crowd of people unobtrusively. This usually involves a Stealth/Water roll against a passive TN equal to the highest observer's Void x 5. If they are actively searching for you, they use Investigation/Void. This commonly considered Sneaking, the most common application of the Skill, and requires some form of shadow or cover to be effective. While sneaking you may only move half your maximum normal speed and remain unnoticed (this is a complex action, so you cant attack while sneaking).

You may also use the Skill to find areas where a large number of people can be hidden easily. Upon finding a suitable place, you can make a Stealth roll (with the Ambush Aspect if you have it) for a number of people up to your Skill. If any of these allies moves from their assigned place, they must use their own Stealth to remain unseen.

You can also use the Skill to shadow people, not truly hiding but following them unnoticed. This can only be done in crowded areas, usually urban, but doesnt require a hiding place.

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 5: You may now hide a number of allies up twice your Skill when setting up an ambush.
  • Rank 7: You may move normally while sneaking (although attacking or other obvious interaction with the environment negates the Skill).

Sumai (Bugei/Karate) (Earth)
Aspects: Block, Charge, Dance, Grapple, Knockdown, Knockout, Stun, Throws

This is a common form of ritualized competition and a hand-to-hand combat style emphasizing wrestling and shoving. For some, sumai is a refined sport practiced by large (the gaijin mistakenly think they are “obese”) men; for others it is a complicated, brutal form of complicated close-quarters combat for the samurai otherwise unarmed in an urban environment, useful for metsuke especially. Among ronin, it often becomes the fallback trade as low-paying enforcement muscle.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Dance: There is a specialized dance refined over the centuries to spiritually purify the ring of a sumai bout. With this Aspect you are not only trained in the dance, but may use Sumai as a social roll against creatures from beyond the mortal plain.

Taihojutsu (Chonin/Bujutsu) (Fire)
Aspects: Hojojutsu, Specific Weapon

The weapons of the metsuke, both at the level of samurai and their lower-caste aides, are taught as taihojutsu. These include: the jutte, sasumata, sodegarami, and tsukubo.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Hojojutsu: The art of binding people, usually criminals, with rope and complex knots. There are dozens of highly specialized methods for different kinds of criminals, depending on their sex, build, and even specific crime. This can also be used to attack people with ropes as a kind of grappling attack maneuver, usually with special ropes known as torinawa.

Tantojutsu (Bugei/Bujutsu) (Fire)
Aspects: Conceal, Throw, Specific Weapon

You know how to wield knives and similar weapons. The Skill covers: the aiguchi, kogatana, parangu, and tanto.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Conceal: You can conceal a knife in a way not normally done (an aiguchi is commonly concealed beneath a women's kimono, and a kogatana in a katana hilt, for instance). Those searching for the weapon must make an Investigation/Void roll with a passive TN equal to your Rank x 5. Any use of this Aspect counts as making a Hinin roll.

Teppojutsu (Hinin/Bujutsu) (Void)
Aspects: Blind Shot, Cover Shot, Gaijin Gunnery, Specific Weapon

Firearms, like explosives, are not considered proper weapons for a warrior; they are even more strictly forbidden than normal explosives, which at least may be applied to mining and festival fireworks. Still, they are powerful and easy to use (too easy for peasants), tempting the lone, overly-pragmatic samurai to learn their use. The Skill covers: the bajozutsu, bohiya, and tanegashima.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Gaijin Gunnery: The black market trade still brings in weapons from gaijin gunsmiths, despite both samurai and Secret Society bans. These cannons, muskets, and pistols are sufficiently different in both design and ammunition mixture they require a separate Aspect. However, this Aspect covers all such firearms.

Underworld (Hinin/Lore) (Wind)
Aspects: Karyukai, Ninja, Nusubito, Ryugokugo, Secret Societies, Smuggling, Scrounging, Tattooing, Wako, Specific Region

You know your way around Hachigoku's criminal world, including the major bandit gangs, smuggling cartels, and pirate organizations. You also know your way around the less reputable, but not necessarily criminal, floating world of the pleasure quarters. You may use this Skill to arrange a meeting with criminals, find sources of illegal goods, or identify who seems to be a criminal mastermind or common thug in an area. Knowledge gained through this Skill is reliable, but based on rumor and hearsay and thus cannot be used to convict a criminal of a crime in and of itself. If you are a metsuke, you can use this Skill without losing Honor, but only in the interests of justice.

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 3: You gain a Free Raise on all social rolls with criminals.
  • Rank 5: You gain a Free Raise on all social rolls with criminals.
  • Rank 7: You gain a Free Raise on all social rolls with criminals.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Nusubito: The professional term for a thief in Hachigoku. You can use your Skill to case a place, appraise the most valuable goods quickly, and even fence your ill-gotten goods. With this Aspect, all Stealth rolls have a Simple difficulty modifier.
  • Ninja: There are no ninja.
  • 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.
  • Scrounging: Even if you have no Obligations, your wiles see you through the Season, giving you effective shelter. If you take advantage of this ability you lose either 1 Virtue or 1 Glory.
  • Tattooing: The art of tattooing is a very specialized Aspect. It is respected only by a few uji, and among the lower classes, especially criminal organizations. If its use has your uji's respect, this is a Chonin Skill.

Zen (Jutsugku/Lore) (Void)
Aspects: Begging, Fasting, Mantra, Mathematics, Meditation, Philosophy, Trance, Zanji

Zen aids you in finding clarity and calming a troubled mind, becoming more in touch with your inner Void and extending that peace outward. By cultivating mindfulness with meditation, you may spend an Honor to substitute your Zen for any social roll. Zen practitioners also practice mathematics and philosophy as a means of mindfulness.

You can also use your inner calm to fight off the effects of starvation for a number of days equal to your Earth (but still need water). Each day, you must make a Zen/Void roll with a simple TN. Failure means you must soon eat or pass out and suffer the effects of starvation. Fasting is usually done during religious holidays or retreats, but can be done in dire situations of survival.

Experienced Abilities:
  • Rank 7: You can now remain in a trance for 8 hours or more, gaining all the benefits of sleep as well as meditation. When fasting, the TN modifier is only 1 x the number of days without food.

Aspect Abilities:
  • Begging: Even if you have no Obligations, your wiles see you through the Season, giving you effective shelter. If you take advantage of this ability you lose 1 Glory, unless you are an onmyoji.
  • Trance: You can enter a state of deep meditation straddling the distance between sleep and awareness, giving the benefits of sleep while still remaining able to respond to the outside world. If you do so, you lose the trance and cannot reenter it until the end of the Scene.
  • Zanji: Zanji is a form of meditation that focuses more on the ki around you than the ki within. You must meditate and spend an Honor, then make a Zen/Void roll with a simple TN. If successful, you are aware of all sentient beings nearby (animals, humans, etc.) within Near range. For each range increment beyond this, add a step to the difficulty modifier. Distractions may add more difficulty modifiers. You only have a general sense (there is life, it's in this direction, it's all around, etc.), and it does not detect life as small as insects (unless you add another difficulty step). That which is not alive, or connected to the Void in any way (i.e. has no Void or its equivalent), is not detected, making it useless against most demonic monsters or even spirits. If you meditate for a full hour in zanji style, you will also gain a Free Raise on all Void rolls during your next scene; this is different from regular meditation or a trance.


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