The same principle applies at a smaller scalefor individual samurai who desire retainers. There is acertain expectation that a samurai of significant loyalty(and income) will attract followers and troops, therebyincreasing his value to his lord. The keeping of retainers adds to the samurai’s prestige, but requires askill with finances than few samurai possess. Thesamurai must perform a balancing act between thenumber and quality of his retainers, counter-balancedagainst his wealth. A retainer who has served for yearsdeserves greater reward than any three new bushi puttogether. And like a daimyo, if he cannot afford toproperly reward his retainers, he loses face. Further,well equipped and skillful retainers reflect credit ontheir leader, while scraggly followers are worse thannone at all. The upkeep of followers is in fact one of the most common uses of a samurai’s funds.
There are three ways in which a samuraitypically receives his pay. Junior samurai and thefollowers of other low ranking samurai sometimes taketheir income as actual rice. Samurai who receive lessthan five koku annually may go to the granaries of their lord and receive a twelfth part of their incomeeach month. The samurai will generally trade part of this rice for coin or other goods and eat the rest. Theseallotments of rice are distributed on the last days of themonth. Mid-ranking samurai receive their income asa stipend of coin. This is made possible by thedaimyo’s merchants, who trade the rice harvest onbehalf of the lord and provide the coin to pay thevassals. The stipend is generally granted in threeuneven payments. Two fifths are paid at the start of thesummer, the beginning of the season of war. Anotherfifth is given at the end of the summer to prepare forthe winter court season. The remaining two fifths aregiven at the beginning of the Setsuban festival (NewYear’s Eve), when all debts come due. The finalmethod by which samurai are rewarded with income isthe granting of a fief. The samurai receives a parcel of land from his daimyo. What remains after thedaimyo’s and imperial taxes becomes the samurai’sincome. The effective management of the farms,villages, mines, fishing, crafts, and trade that a fief may include is covered by the Govern skill (see below).A samurai receiving a fief is being granted the mostsacred task of administering the Emperor’s lands. It isa mark of high favor from one’s lord. A samurai incharge of a small fief may also receive a stipend.
Three types of coins are commonly used inRokugan. The most valuable is the
, an oval shapedplate of gold about two inches by one inch. This is thebasic unit of exchange for expensive items and largetransactions. Each
is worth about five
, a smallersilver coin.
is actually short for
ichi bu no [silver]
,literally “one bu of silver”. A typical
is a rectangleabout one inch by three-quarters of an inch.
areused for the purchase of moderately expensive itemssuch as furniture. Each
is in turn worth four to five“strings” of
. These are small (3/4” diameter)round coins made of copper. They have a round orsquare hole through the middle and are commonlystrung on cords to make cash strings. A standard“string” is 100 coins.
are used for all manner of minor items, like tea and food. Whole strings are usedfor items like clothing or liquor.For very large transactions either stacks of
or a forth coin, the
, are used.
are stacked inlots of twenty-five or fifty and wrapped in heavy paper.The stack is then stamped by the local magistrate’soffice and ready for use. The rarely seen
is aheavy disc of gold. In weight and value they areequivalent to forty
are often specifically castfor a particular transaction, and have pictures or textcommemorating the event. They may become far morevaluable as historical items than for their weight of gold.The reason that descriptions and exchangerates are given only in general terms is that each Clanmints their own coinage. The symbols stamped on thecoins vary from place to place, as does the exact sizeand quality of the metal. Identifying the source of coinage and its relative value is just another part of theCommerce skill, a skill most samurai disdain.Paper money is not in use in Rokugan, at leastby samurai. Merchants sometimes use a system of paper IOUs amongst themselves. Samurai who hear of it consider the idea ridiculous.
You may have noticed that samurai are paidin
, but the coins are
isliterally five bushels of rice, or enough to feed oneperson for a year. Samurai who receive a stipend arereceiving
for their rice at the current exchangerate. Given an average rice harvest brokered by anaverage merchant, the samurai receives one ryo foreach koku. The GM is free to modify that exchangerate to reflect current conditions. When the rice harvestis poor, the value of rice increases and the samurai’sallotment of rice fetches more coin. When the harvestis good the reverse is true. The skill of the lord’s