TABLE OF CONTENTS 

The Burning Sands: 
The Fire‐Bearers 
An order of monster‐slayers guided by Mekhem and armed with primal fire. 
Yodotai Gladiators 
Within the hellish gladiator pits are forged incredible warriors… and powerful 
techniques. 
Merenae: 
Awakened Marksmen 
Spellcasters born from a fusion of eastern magic and western engineering. 
Sages of the Sword 
Explorers and archeologists who venture into the most hostile of landscapes to 
uncover buried truths. 
Santa Vera Fencing Style 
A style inspired by the techniques of bullfighters, now well‐respected as a legitimate 
combat art in its own right. 
Nonhuman (Originating): 
Acolytes of the Dream 
Bearers of the legacy of another race, and the strange powers that come with it. 
Kenku Raptors 
The oldest of the old masters demonstrate why their feathers aren’t just for show. 
ROKUGAN: 
Disciples of Narai 
Mistrusted by their peers and by Rokugan as a whole, they just don’t care as long as 
they can keep blowing stuff up. 
Kolat Kingpin 
You thought the Kolat lasted as long as they did without a single Basic School? Well, 
that’s just what they wanted you to think… 
The Seekers 
A spark of hope rising from disaster; proof that even the power of an Empire can’t kill 
an idea. 
THRANE: 
Royal Expeditionary Corps 
An elite taskforce that has served generations of Thranian royalty. 
Ulminster Heavy Pugilists 
Soldiers whose bravery and pragmatism safeguarded their city during the darkest of 
times. 
Skalds of the Whistling Heath 
Mysterious wanderers shrouded in legend, wielding power over nature itself. 
PATHS: 
Trained Surgeon 
For anyone wishing to pursue the healer’s art. 
Daigotsu Reformist 
A counterpart to the Narai school: untainted Spider bushi. 
Togashi Spirit‐Born 
Love knows no boundaries; not even those between the Spirit Realms. The Togashi 
invite those born of strange unions to train and achieve their full potential. 
The Many Parallel Roads 
Not a single school, but a collection of similar teachings, each trying to express a 
mastery of combat in its own unique way. 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
THE FIRE-BEARERS
If Yussuf had not already felt half-starved from his long fast, the sight that met him in the
grand stone chamber might have left him stunned. As it was, he could only muster the energy
to stagger weakly forward. Towards his destiny.
They were all there; every brother and sister in the citadel, standing in ordered
concentric circles around the sunken pit in the center of the hall, within which blazed the
most intense flames he had ever seen. Smoke rose to the roof faster than the narrow chimney
could disgorge it into the night air high above, creating a haze and making it hard to breathe.
Even staying upright was becoming a challenge, but disgracing himself at this point in the
ritual was unthinkable, and the fear somehow kept him going.
They all turned to look at him as he entered, never once ceasing their rhythmic chants
of praise of Mekhem. Their eyes followed him down the narrow gap that led to the fire, where
the Grandmaster of the order awaited. He felt their judgment, but it did not matter. The only
judge whose opinion mattered was the Fire itself.
Grandmaster Yanik greeted him with a subtle nod as he reached the edge of the
inferno, and signaled the rest to be silent.
'Initiate Yussuf, do you offer yourself willingly to the Fire, knowing in full the
consequences if you are weak of heart?' The older man's voice boomed loud, seemingly
unimpeded by the heat and the lack of air.
'Yes.' Yussuf managed to croak.
The Grandmaster reached out, and Yussuf's world seemed to shake as he felt his right
arm being grabbed and thrust into the blaze. For the briefest of moments he was filled with
doubt and terror, but he lacked the strength to resist. His hand disappeared into the tongues
of red and it burned with a pain so great he thought his heart might stop.
But then something changed. The pain faded, and he felt his twitching hand
instinctively grasp something within the fire. The Grandmaster released his arm, allowing
him to finally withdraw it... and reveal the thing he now held. A sword. A magnificent, long
and thin blade that felt solid but appeared to be made of flickering fire.
The weapon dissolved into motes of light as quickly as it had appeared, but Yussuf
knew it wasn't gone. It was still there, incorporeal, part of his very soul. Ready to be called
upon whenever he wished.
A thunderous cheer arose from the assembly, each of whom summoned their own
blade and held it aloft. 'We are strengthened, brothers and sisters!' called the Grandmaster
over the din, 'A new brother has joined us this day!'
And with an overwhelming sense of relief, Yussuf finally surrendered to
unconsciousness.
The Burning Sands is a land of a thousand and one stories. Some are fable, some are half-
truth, but a small few turn out to be surprisingly accurate. The tale told of the origins of the
Fire-Bearers is one of these.
In the early days of Medinaat al-Salaam, before the city proper had even been
founded, the prophet Mekhem wandered the Burning Sands, exploring and preaching. It is
said that one day he came across a community of impoverished and fearful folk, who refused
him entry, claiming that their god would not allow word of other faiths to be spoken in his
domain. Curious, Mekhem called out a challenge to this jealous “god” and sure enough, it
appeared before him; a terrifying being standing twice as tall as a man and wreathed in flame.
He immediately knew that this was no god, but merely an efreet, a cruel fire-spirit. The efreet
attempted to intimidate him, but he stood firm and overwhelmed it with a holy incantation,
causing its body to dissolve into fire.
Mekhem explained to the villagers the true nature of their god, and they were at once
angry and relieved. The chieftain bowed before him, offering their eternal loyalty... but
Mekhem turned it down, saying that he was no king and that he only sought to teach others so
they could stand on their own.
The chieftain asked him if he could teach them the method he used to destroy the
efreet, but this was apparently not possible. Instead, Mekhem indicated the creature's still-
burning remains and told him; “Though that being was evil, the Primal Fire from which it
drew its strength is not. If you truly wish for the power to fight back against such evils, then
take it; harness it... but beware, for that is not an easy road to walk”.
And thus was founded the Fire-Bearers; an order of warrior-monks dedicated to
hunting down supernatural beings who terrorize or enslave mortals. With Mekhem's help,
they devised a series of rituals that would allow them to implant a bit of the “Primal Fire”
into their souls. This would grant them tremendous supernatural power, if they were strong
enough to handle it. And if they weren't? They would burn to ash in an instant. Even
successful initiates receive painful-looking burn scars on their arm during the initiation, but
part of the magic of the Flame ensures that these remain purely cosmetic and do not impair
the limb's function in any way.
In the beginning, over half the applicants who came to join the order were found
wanting and ended up dying in the harsh initiation process. However, by the time Mekhem
left the Burning Sands, they had developed a stringent system of apprenticeship that weeded
out most of the unfit long before they had to put their lives at risk. Though the danger was
never completely eliminated, there was never any shortage of recruits, for the order's
ceaseless work in combating supernatural evil had become well-known. Wherever a mummy
rose from its crypt, or a spirit began wreaking havoc, one or more of their hunters would soon
be dispatched.
The rise of the Immortal Caliph, however, almost brought them to an ignoble end.
Though Khadi are mostly human, their need to prey on other humans to retain their
immortality classified them as a supernatural threat according to the order's rules, which put
the two factions into conflict. It wasn't long before the Caliph proclaimed them outlaws and
sent a force of soldiers to drive them out of their headquarters. Fine warriors though they
were, they couldn't best an entire army, and they were forced to retreat into the Western
Wastes, although several did return to the Sands to take part in the final battle in which she
was slain.
The subsequent era brought with it even greater challenges, including a northbound
incursion by some of Kali-ma's forces, but through it all the Fire-Bearers remain undaunted in
spirit. Now based out of a hidden fortress deep within the Wastes, they are ever-vigilant for
new threats approaching from either horizon, and many of their number continue to wander
the known world in search of people to save, as their founders were saved so long ago.
Though the new regime in Medinaat al-Salaam would undoubtedly welcome them back, they
have refrained from setting up more than a small outpost within the city, stating that a more
isolated location suits them better.
The myriad evil forces that threaten Rokugan make it particularly interesting to the
Fire-Bearers, so them sending one of their number into the Empire would not be surprising.
They would likely have to be of Rokugani descent, but many such people exist in the Burning
Sands, especially during and after the Scorpion's exile. At the GM's discretion, it is also
possible that the Fire-Bearers have had limited contact with groups such as the Toritaka,
(whose role is similar to their own) or the Togashi (who have expressed an interest in
Mekhem's teachings) that could have arranged their member safe passage into the Empire.
Benefit: +1 Void
Skills: Meditation, Lore: Theology (Mekhem), Swordsmanship (Soulblade), Lore: Spirit
Realms, Investigation, any one Skill
Integrity: 6.5
Outfit: Sturdy Traveling Clothing, Basic Armor, Traveling Pack, 1 Koku or equivalent
Techniques:
RANK ONE: FIRST LESSON OF THE SPARK
The true initiation for novice Fire-Bearers ends when they plunge their hand into the Primal
Flame and accept a piece of it into themselves, gaining the ability to summon a flaming
sword from nowhere. A Soulblade (as it is known) has a DR of 3k2, has the Radiant quality
and appears in the wielder's hand when summoned as a Simple Action. It may be dismissed
as a Free Action, and will also immediately vanish if removed from the hand for any reason.
Additionally, whenever you are making Skill Roll to detect the presence of a supernatural
creature (Hunting to track it, for example, or Investigation to see through a false guise it
might be using) you gain +1k0 to the roll.
RANK TWO: SECOND LESSON OF THE HEARTH
As you become one with fire, you learn to channel its harmful effects away from you. At this
rank, you become immune to all damage and TN penalties resulting from mundane fire or
heat. If you wished, you could even sculpt molten steel like clay or swim in boiling water.
Note that this protection only affects your body, not your clothing or equipment. Magical fire
attacks may still target you, but their damage is reduced by an amount equal to your Fire Ring
plus your School Rank.
RANK THREE: THIRD LESSON OF THE FORGE
As they delve deeper into the Flame's mysteries, a Fire-Bearer learns how to temporarily
break off a shard of his or her own soul, in the form of a large feline beast with a fiery mane.
Summoning or dismissing this firecat requires twenty seconds of uninterrupted concentration
(two Complex Actions, in a skirmish), and it has the stats of a tiger (EoTE, pg. 17). Once
summoned, you may direct its actions telepathically, since it is still a part of you and not a
truly separate entity. You may ride on the back of your firecat without being injured by the
flames emanating from it, as can any one additional passenger.
If the cat is slain, it will vanish in a burst of flame and you will receive 2k2 damage from the
shock of your soul shard unexpectedly returning. If this happens you may not summon it
again for a full day.
RANK FOUR: FOURTH LESSON OF THE BRANDING IRON
This technique, an abbreviated form of a lengthy ritual taught to the first Fire-Bearers by
Mekhem himself, allows the user to seal the powers of their most dangerous opponents. By
spending a Void Point as a Complex Action and winning a roll of your Meditation/Fire versus
your opponent's Meditation/Earth, you may prevent that opponent from using one
supernatural ability of your choice for a number of hours equal to your Fire Ring.
A “supernatural ability”, as defined by this technique, refers to any such power a target
possesses that they can choose to activate. Examples include an Inner Gift, a Shadowlands
Power, a single Kiho or a Shapeshifter Ability. This can only affect powers that must be
activated; ones that are on all the time, such as Invulnerability, or ones that are mundane,
such as a winged creature's Flight, cannot be sealed.
Lastly, while your firecat is not summoned and you are not currently sealing any enemy
abilities, you may make attacks with your Soulblade as Simple Actions.
RANK FIVE: FIFTH LESSON OF THE INFERNO
Master Fire-Bearers harness the power of the inferno to cleanse the world of evil. Your firecat
sprouts wings, and may now carry you through the air. It gains two ranks of Swift while
flying unburdened or with only one passenger, but loses all of its Swift ranks while flying
with two people.
Additionally, once per month, you may command your firecat to unleash a massive burst of
flame, dealing 8k7 damage to all targets within a 40’ radius of it. This dismisses the cat, and it
may not be summoned again for a full day.
__________________________________________________________________________________ 
YODOTAI GLADIATORS
War, for all its pageantry, is a poor showcase for the skills of an individual soldier. It is the
playground of kings and generals and tacticians, with each of the rank-and-file contributing
little, no matter how talented. To truly put a warrior’s mettle to the test, we must look
elsewhere; to the great arenas, where man is pitted against man- or sometimes beast- with
naught but the steel in his hand and the wits in his head to aid him. And what a glorious
display it is. How privileged we are to witness this culmination of the fighting arts!
-Unknown Yodotai Scholar.
Far from the dojos of Rokugan, where eager students absorb the wisdom of their ancestors in
the form of ancient techniques, an entirely different class of warriors is being born. Most of
them are not even allowed to know who their ancestors were, and the training they receive is
crude and haphazard at best. And yet they fight, and win, because to not do so means death.
All of the larger Yodotai cities contain at least one gladiatorial arena, home to the
multitude of slaves and convicts who spill blood and have it spilled for the entertainment of
the crowd. The ones who have not yet proven themselves are fed just enough to keep them on
their feet, and watched carefully by their masters for any sign of rebellion. It is a true
nightmare, and yet, for a few, there is still hope for escape.
Rarely, a gladiator manages to survive long enough to learn the ways of the arena, and
through understanding it, master them. They watch scores of their fellows die, and learn from
their mistakes. They have been broken down and reforged into something else. Something
pure and deadly. Something with unique insight into the ways of combat. Such veterans
sometimes manage to win their freedom, or attract the attention of wealthy patrons who
purchase them for work as soldiers or bodyguards. Others manage to overpower their jailors
and flee. Either way, the harsh lessons of the arena can escape its confines and prove their
worth in other settings.
Rather than being an organized school as the Clans would understand the term, these
techniques represent instruction by one who has survived the Yodotai gladiator pits. Some ex-
gladiators form street gangs or mercenary armies and train their followers, while others only
walk the path of the teacher once age begins to catch up to them. It is unlikely that a PC will
have been a gladiator themselves, unless the game begins at a higher Insight Rank than
normal. Within Rokugan, a character is most likely to have picked it up from a school
operating out of the gaijin district at Outsider Keep.
Training in this style, while less hellish than actually being a gladiator, is still
incredibly harsh. Students are expected to endure long fasts in the wilderness, sword-fight
while holding a massive chunk of stone in their offhand, and similar trials. Those who have
survived it say that it's as much about frustration and desperation as it is about memorizing
maneuvers, and places an emphasis on bizarre tactics such as throwing melee weapons and
trapping your opponent in a net.
Benefit: +1 Stamina
Skills: Athletics (Throwing), Hunting, Defense, Intimidation, Any one Weapon Skill, Any
two Skills.
Integrity: 3.5
Outfit: Light or heavy armor, any two weapons, shield, basic net, traveling pack, 2 Koku or
equivalent.
Techniques:
RANK ONE: ABOVE ALL ELSE, SURVIVE
The first lesson of the arena is to put whatever you can get your hands on between yourself
and your opponent. You receive no penalty of any kind as a result of carrying a non-weapon
object (such as a shield or net) in your off-hand. You add +0k1 to the Damage Roll of any
attack made with Athletics (Throwing), and you may throw any Small or Medium weapon as
you would a wakizashi.
RANK TWO: VETERAN'S CHILLING GAZE
Experienced warriors can cow the weak-willed into submission before a single blow is struck.
Opponents you have successfully Intimidated in the past hour receive a -1k0 penalty to all of
their attack, damage and Defense rolls when facing you.
RANK THREE: DO OR DIE
Even a moment's hesitation can cost a combatant their life. You may make melee attacks and
throwing attacks as Simple Actions.
RANK FOUR: BOUNCE BACK
Arena fighters must be able to overcome any impediment. You may spend a Void Point as a
Free Action to immediately recover from any one Conditional Effect, including those that
normally prevent you from making actions. In most cases this recovery is permanent,
however, Fatigue brought on by a lack of rest will only be alleviated until the end of the
current skirmish.
RANK FIVE: CONQUEST'S UNKNOWN CHAMPION
The greatest of the arena champions are renowned as unstoppable engines of destruction.
Once per Round you may re-roll any Bugei Skill Roll or Damage Roll, keeping the higher
result.
___________________________________________________________________________
AWAKENED MARKSMEN
I saw the dust-cloud in the distance around noon, and it didn't take a genius to figure out who
they were. McAllister and his gang. No doubt one of 'em had overheard me bragging about
my latest find last night after I'd had a couple or... five whiskeys too many. Now they wanted a
piece of the action, and a piece of my hide just for the sake of it.
The Tomb of Kanahauk; a famed tribal chieftain. Lost for ages amongst the winding red-
stone canyons, it was an amazing archaeological find. It would be useless to the likes of
McAllister, of course, but his type hear the word “tomb” and their minds get clouded by
images of gold and jewels. There'd be no chance of him seeing reason if he caught me, so I
could only ride east across the desert and hope I hadn't dug my own grave with my big
mouth.
They closed in fast. Faster even than I'd thought possible. One minute they were just a blurry
image in the heat-haze, next they're so close I could practically feel their horses' breath on
my back. They weren't shooting, at least; probably didn't want to risk me falling off and
breaking my neck before they could get the location of the tomb out of me. A small mercy. I
got off a few shots of my own, but I was never the best marksman in the world and the saddle
shaking under me didn't help.
The noise of them shouting, jeering, mingled with the sound of hooves. I think it was at that
moment that a part of me finally gave up, finally accepted that I'd played my last card. Then
everything seemed to go quiet as my thoughts raced.
I remembered my mom, and the tales she'd told me around the fireside. Tales about her
homeland and the spirits they called on; the “kami”. She said they were always following her,
protecting her. I was never the churchgoing sort, but in that moment I knew nothing less than
a miracle could get me out of this one.
Exactly how it happened I don't really know, even now. As I prayed in desperation for
anything that could save me, I felt a surge of... something. Warmth, wholeness; like my soul
and the world and the weapon in my hand were resonating. Maybe it was those kami guiding
me; maybe it was old Kanahauk trying to ensure his resting place wasn't ransacked by
ignorant thieves. Maybe it was just instinct. However it happened, I found myself raising my
empty gun and aiming it at one of those sneering faces. I pulled the trigger and...
Light. Energy. A ball of crackling power like a will-o-wisp leaped from the barrel and struck
a fatal blow. The rest dropped back, their horses startled. They didn't pursue me anymore,
which was good because I was probably the most shaken one of all, and I had no idea
whether whatever I had just done would work again.
I reached the coast on the sunset of the second day, finding by merciful chance that a boat
bound for more familiar shores was to depart shortly. It would be a long journey, but that
suited me. I had much to think about...
-From the journal of Lynn Azami Braddock; Adventurer and Sages of the Sword member.
It would be over a year before Lynn truly understood what had come over her that day in the
desert, and several more before she could reproduce the effect reliably. Essentially it was a
kind of instinctive command to the elements, which temporarily awoke the spirits within the
gun and asked them to “remember” being fired. While she had never learned to speak to the
kami, in that moment her thoughts had reached them directly.
Traditional shugenja magic (or “spirit-channeling” as the Sages of the Sword classify it) is
poorly-understood outside of Rokugan and the few other communities where it is practiced,
mainly because of how fussy the spirits are regarding who they will speak to. With a little
work, however, Lynn managed to find someone who could teach her; an old druid living in
the highlands of Thrane, with whose help she managed to master her abilities.
Of course the obvious question is, why her? Out of all the shugenja or potential shugenja who
have ever been in peril, why was Lynn the one who stumbled upon this new way of using
magic? Truthfully it is unlikely we will ever know for sure, but aid from an outside source
remains a possibility. Stranger things have happened. Some old legends even speak of the
warriors of Kanahauk's tribe pelting their enemies with arrows of light...
Lynn herself never lost the appetite for adventure despite her brush with death, and continued
to go on expeditions to the farthest reaches of the world, well past the age at which most
would have retired. Students wishing to study her methods were required to sign on as
research assistants and train in the field, where encounters with bandits and monsters proved
to be excellent learning opportunities. Even now, generations later, Lynn's style is
traditionally taught one-on-one amidst the danger and isolation of the wilderness, rather than
within a school.
Should the Rokugani ever encounter a practitioner of this style, their reaction is likely to be
mixed. On the one hand it invokes the sacred elemental kami... but on the other it involves
the use of illegal firearms. Use of this school is best suited to games set outside Rokugan, or
in alternate timelines where firearm use is permitted. Alternatively, GMs may rule that the
technique is legal so long as the practitioner [i]only[/i] fires magical shots, thus using no
actual gunpowder.
Benefit: +1 Intelligence
Skills: Firearms, Spellcraft (research), Meditation, Medicine, Hunting, Craft: Explosives, any
one Skill
Integrity: 4
Outfit: Sturdy Traveling Clothing, Pistol or Musket and ten rounds, Knife, Spellbook,
Traveling Pack, 3 Koku or equivalent
Affinity/Deficiency: Fire/Earth
TECHNIQUE: AWAKENED SHOT
Masters of the Awakened Shot learn to call upon the kami within their guns, briefly
transforming the weapons into nemuranai. As a Complex Action, while wielding an unloaded
firearm, you may spend a Spell Slot to fire a magical blast. This is treated as a normal attack;
rolling Intelligence/Firearms for the Attack Roll and applying all relevant modifiers (e.g.
Mastery Abilities, Perception Rank to damage), but the base DR of the shot varies depending
on which type of Spell Slot was used to activate it. However, because no solid projectile is
being fired, Awakened Shots do not benefit from firearms' normal ability to bypass the
target's armor.
The different Types of Awakened Shot are listed below:
Air: High-velocity Shot: DR 2k1, target is pushed back 10' and must roll Earth vs. your Air or
be knocked down.
Fire: Homing Shot: DR 1k2, Gain a Free Raise towards the Called Shot maneuver.
Earth: Ensnaring Shot: DR 2k2, distance of target's Move Actions are halved for two
Rounds.
Water: Power Shot: DR 3k3, no additional bonus.
Void: Choose one of the above.
Spells: Sense, Commune, Summon, 3 Fire spells, 2 Air spells, one Water spell. Spells are
typically written on pages of a notebook rather than on individual scrolls.
___________________________________________________________________________
THE SAGES OF THE SWORD
I have traveled to the plateau where the sun never rises; home to the Twelve Immortals who
sit in repose, listening eternally to the mantras of the stars. What exactly do they hear? None
but them know, for they have never spoken.
I was a guest for a time in the city of Xibalba, home of the Winged Ones who in ages
past were gifted their wings by the goddess Tzalcaza, for their aid in slaying the vile
Behemoth of Earth. Even now they excavate its bones to carve into artifacts of wondrous and
terrifying power.
I visited the Coast of Dreams, where the primordial stuff of creation leaks continually
into the realm of man, only to be sculpted and re-sculpted into a thousand vistas by the
imaginations of slumbering gods.
Once, for but a moment through a telescope, I glimpsed the fabled Living Island;
birthplace of the Teacher-Who-Wears-Many-Names. I wept like a schoolchild at the sight of
it.
I am not the first to tread such paths, nor am I the first in doing so to feel an
overwhelming sense of my own smallness and insignificance. For all that I have seen, I truly
understand nearly none of it, and as a scholar I must admit there is a part of me that is
disheartened.
And yet I do not sink into despair, as some might. Instead I uncover what truths I can
in the time I have, then gather them up and pass them on to the next generation, trusting that
they will do likewise and that someday we will have amassed enough to comprehend the
greater whole. That is what it means to be a Sage of the Sword; to seek knowledge not for
one's self, but for the sake of the whole world.
-From a speech by Lady Louisa Gascoigne, Chair of the Department of Exotic
Phenomena.
Much was lost in the Great Plague that swept through Merenae and the nations surrounding
it. The disease itself of course extracted its bloody toll on the populace, but what would not
become apparent until much later was the loss of [i]knowledge[/i]. Libraries and other public
buildings had been looted and burned; priceless antiques had been stolen and ancient
traditions had died along with those who followed them. For a time, learning itself dwindled
as most of the survivors struggled to stay alive.
It was from this crucible that the Sages of the Sword arose. A group formed from the
remains of several pre-plague academic institutions, they were part scholar, part explorer and-
by necessity- part warrior. Seen as foolhardy at best, it was their self-appointed task to ride
forth from the walled cities in pursuit of every scrap of information, every wayward book and
every pilfered artifact that might be tucked away amidst the lawless wilds.
Their early results were mixed, to say the least. The fact that they managed to talk a
few nobles into funding them attracted many new recruits who cared more about finding
employment than what exactly that employment was, which led to expeditions being sent out
that consisted mostly of confused amateurs. Worse, although they were given basic combat
training, it did little to help those who were set upon by the bandits that roamed the
depopulated land.
If it weren't for a few noteworthy successes- such as one team managing to retrieve a
set of ancient manuscripts from the old palace at Vortaia- the Sages might well have
vanished. But those successes were just frequent enough to increase their reputation, and
gradually the fledgling organization managed to hone itself into something better.
Incompetent members were weeded out, and those that remained had become more
experienced. By the time the dark ages began to lift over a century later, the Sages of the
Sword were a potent force, commended by the Queen herself for their tireless efforts to
preserve the nation's culture.
It was also around that time that the Sages' objectives began to shift. They had always
been focused on lost fragments of Meranae's history, but as civilization returned to the land
that purpose was becoming less relevant. There was still work to do, naturally, but not nearly
as much as there had been... at least, not within Meranae itself. But what about the world
beyond? Surely there were many wildernesses left unexplored; many ancient enigmas
awaiting a keen mind to unravel them. Boats returning from foreign lands always brought
with them tall tales of the places they had visited, but what was truth and what was fiction?
Questions such as these were the bread and butter of curious souls, and there was no shortage
of those among the Sages.
Louisa Gascoigne and pioneers like her set the model for what the organization would
become, while also laying down rules for how it was to operate. While they sought
knowledge they were also civilized people, which meant that they had to avoid using theft or
dishonest means in order to acquire it. In one memorable indecent, an overly-enthusiastic
Sages member broke into a warehouse in Anisrana in order to procure a priceless engraved
tablet; he was promptly turned in to the local authorities by his own superiors, who offered a
groveling apology for his transgressions.
The Sages are a truly international force nowadays, with branches in several major
trade hubs including Medinaat al-Salaam and the ancient Yodotai port of Akkanon. Their true
home, however, will always be the Royal Academy campus in Vortaia, where they moved
after the city was brought back under Meranese control. Members hail from all over the
world, and membership is even open to non-humans and demi-humans, whose unique
experiences and insights are highly valued.
Rokugan is a source of both curiosity and frustration to the Sages. On the one hand,
it's full of ancient mysteries they'd love to sink their teeth into, but on the other hand the
entire nation is shrouded in secrecy and refuses most contact with outsiders. They have
recently established limited contact with the organization known as the Seekers, which
resulted in a valuable exchange of knowledge, but they are wary of developing too strong a
relationship with a group that has such a murky past.
Another point of interest are the Ivory Kingdoms, or what is left of them. A number of
Sages members were in the Kingdoms when the Destroyers' bloody campaign occurred, and
none ever reported back. There is talk among the governing council of mounting another
expedition to search for their remains, or to recover items from the Meranese embassy in the
old capital, but a consensus has yet to be reached on whether this is a good idea considering
the Rokugani presence in the region.
With regards to Schools, the Sages are an eclectic bunch. Their archives probably
contain information on hundreds of Techniques from almost as many sources, and some
members already have training when they join up. There are always a few sahir professors in
residence at the Royal Academy for those wishing to pursue magic, as well as practitioners of
many other arts both unusual and mundane. The only truly forbidden areas are those that deal
with “Subversive Infectious Paranormal Agents” or SIPAs, such as the taint of J igoku, the
corruption of the Nothing, or vampirism.
The School presented here represents a program of study developed in-house in order
to prepare field researchers for dangerous expeditions. It grants a mixture of combative,
investigative and mystical abilities to ensure versatility.
Benefit: +1 Intelligence
Skills: Investigation, Swordsmanship, Medicine, Meditation, any two Lore skills at 2 ranks,
any one Skill
Integrity: 5.5
Outfit: Basic Armor, Fine Clothing, Saber, Traveling Pack, 5 Koku or equivalent.
Techniques:
RANK ONE: A RAZOR-SHARP MIND
Understanding the nuances of combat can win the day where brute strength flounders.
Whenever a combat Maneuver (yours or your opponent's) causes you to engage in a
Contested Strength Roll, you may instead use your Intelligence Trait. Also, whenever you
make a Lore Skill Roll, the appropriate Lore skill is considered one rank higher than it
actually is.
RANK TWO: A STEADFAST WILL
A devotion to honest and forthright conduct helps one see past the schemes and
manipulations of others; even fae and similar creatures who delight in tricking mortals.
Whenever someone initiates a Contested Social Roll against you for the purpose of deceiving
or misleading you, you gain a +2k0 to your roll. If your opponent is a supernatural being of
any kind, or a mortal suffused with supernatural energy (e.g. a khadi or one of the Lost) you
gain an additional +0k1.
RANK THREE: A FLEXIBLE SOUL
Every Sages member picks up a few mystical tricks during their career, though the exact
nature of these tricks varies wildly. At this rank you gain two kiho. For the purpose of
meeting the requirements to learn kiho, this technique is considered a rank in a Brotherhood
Monk School.
RANK FOUR: A SWIFT ARM
The only good fight is one you can win quickly and efficiently. You may make melee attacks
with Small and Medium weapons as Simple Actions.
RANK FIVE: AN ETERNAL CURIOSITY
The truly wise seek knowledge not for its own sake; nor even for their own sake, but for the
sake of the entire world. You gain a number of additional Void Points per day equal to your
Intelligence. Whenever these Void Points are used to enhance a Roll that involves a mental
Trait, you gain an additional +1k1 to the roll.
___________________________________________________________________________
SANTA VERA FENCING STYLE
A curious blend if I ever saw one. One second the practitioner is sidestepping with all the
grace of a dancer at a royal gala, and the next they’re lunging forward like a drunk in an ally
brawl! One might think that such a rapid change of posture would make the movements
awkward and slow, yet somehow they flow together seamlessly. Some say a master of this
style could dodge a bolt of lightning, and I am tempted to believe them.
--Excerpt from A History of Fighting Styles, volume II
Off of Meranae’s southwestern coast lies a chain of islands collectively known as the “Five
Saints”. Considered some of the country’s finest real estate for their bountiful fishing and
balmy climate, they have long been host to sun-seeking tourists, with numerous summer
homes where well-off citizens can spend the winter months. Even the lower classes enjoy a
better standard of living on the isles than they do in most parts of the mainland, which has
made them a magnet for the ambitious and opportunistic from all walks of life.
Alphonso Montes was born into Meranae’s rising middle-class, just as the
Reconstruction (the common name for the period of rebuilding following the plague) came to
an end. His father had started out as a lowly fisherman, but through tireless effort and no
small amount of luck, ultimately ended up in command of a small fleet of fishing and trading
vessels operating out of the port of Santa Vera. However as the boy grew, it quickly became
clear that the eager but brash Alphonso lacked the same innate head for business, as he ended
up spending most of his time at the bullfighting arena, watching the graceful yet brutal art of
the matador, rather than studying.
Wishing to give his son every advantage, Alphonso’s father enrolled him in a
prestigious private school in the nation’s distant capital. However, upon arriving in Vortaia
Alphonso experienced something of a culture shock; unlike in the provincial territories, the
ancient distinction between rich and poor, old blood and new, was in full effect. What few of
the noble houses that had survived the plague with their influence intact now jealously
guarded it, and they did not appreciate upstart commoners interloping in their domain.
And so Alphonso’s school life was a trying one. He and the other non-noble kids were
ostracized and scorned by students and teachers alike who insisted they didn’t belong there.
Frequently they were taught in separate classes from the nobles, and made to use different
facilities. The one outlet he found was the fencing club, where his fascination with, and talent
for, swordplay earned him some degree of respect among his fellow club members. However,
this brought with it its own share of problems.
As his first year drew to a close, the fencing club was invited to participate in an inter-
school athletics tournament, sponsored by the king himself and intended to “celebrate the
achievements of our nation’s young sportsmen”. And while the royal family weren’t
attending personally, several important nobles were, which made it a very important event.
During one of his matches, Alphonso found himself up against the son of a duke, exactly the
sort of boy who had bullied him at every opportunity, and he decided to have a little fun.
Inspired by the matadors he had watched with such fascination, Alphonso had begun
developing a new style of defensive fighting, where distracting gestures and multiple feints
are used to confuse and provoke one’s opponent into a reckless attack. This style, though
embryonic in its design, proved spectacularly effective that day; overwhelming his opponent
by forcing him to stumble forward into a waiting counterattack. The crowd at the tournament
(most of whom were unaware of his humble origins) applauded his efforts, though not
everyone was so happy.
Despite his victory that day, the stress of his living conditions combined with his
mediocre academic ability was causing Alphonso’s grades to slip, and he was frequently
forced to stay up long into the night to complete his required assignments. Ironically, if he
[i]had[/i] been asleep at a reasonable hour his story might have ended far sooner, because it
was thanks to one of these late-night sessions that he had the chance to hear the quiet thud of
his dorm’s window opening behind him.
With a fighter’s reflexes he spun around, seeing a man in dark clothes creeping inside.
He grabbed his sword from where it always lay, next to his bed, as the assailant likewise drew
a long, curved dagger. They fought, and even though Alphonso’s blade was only a training
weapon with a dulled edge, he still managed to survive long enough for the dorm-master and
some of the other students to awaken and restrain the intruder. Some hours of “questioning”
by the city watch later, it was uncovered that the man was an assassin hired by the duke
whose son Alphonso had humiliated. All of this proved to be the final straw for Alphonso,
who packed up his bags that very day and left to return to Santa Vera, swearing that he was
done with high society forever.
Several years went by. Alphonso kept himself busy helping out at the family business
where he could, and when he had a spare moment he continued to hone his fencing style.
This was nominally to protect himself from further assassination attempts, but he doubted
that anyone back in Vortaia would care about him anymore. Really it was just because his
swordsmanship was the only aspect of himself that he was actually proud of, and he was
loathe to give it up.
As one particular autumn began to fade into a mild island winter, the number of
passenger vessels sailing into Santa Vera increased, carrying the latest batch of nobles
seeking an escape from the northern snows. Alphonso tended to avoid these people when he
could, which was easy since they in turn disliked mingling with the locals and preferred to
stay within their walled estates. This year, however, was different. One of them sought him
out. It was a young man by the name of Heinz Fennik, hailing from the northeastern border
territories, and he had quite a story to tell.
It turned out that, after Alphonso’s sudden departure, truth of things had become
clouded by rumor. The assassination attempt had been the talk of the school for months
afterward, with the details gradually mutating until some versions of the story now had him
killing an entire squad of assassins before escaping in a daring chase through the streets. To
some, Alphonso of Santa Vera was now a bit of a folk-hero; the fisherman’s son who beat the
blue-bloods at their own game and rode off into the sunset. Apparently many, commoner and
noble alike, were eager to learn the secrets of his “legendary invincible fencing style” and
sure enough, prospective students began turning up at his door, slowly at first but in ever-
increasing numbers.
He thought of sending them away at first, but after a bit of thought he came upon an
idea. He rented a building just off of the marketplace and told any who wished to learn from
him that the lessons would be held there. What he didn’t tell them was that the classes would
be fully integrated, with everyone learning together regardless of their background, and any
sign of discrimination or bullying was grounds for instant expulsion.
Alphonso never again left the isles he called home, though the techniques he created
certainly did. He placed no restrictions on students passing what they had learned on to
others, except that he hoped they would carry on his policy of equality and teach anyone who
had the will and the talent, regardless of who their families were. Because of this, the Santa
Vera style (Alphonso was too modest to even consider naming it after himself) eventually
became known and respected throughout Meranae, and even beyond.
Benefit: +1 Reflexes
Skills: Defense, Swordsmanship (Saber), Athletics, Etiquette, Medicine, Any one Lore skill,
any one Skill.
Integrity: 4
Outfit: Sturdy Clothing, Saber (3k2 Medium Sword), Knife, Traveling Pack, 4 Koku or
equivalent.
Techniques:
RANK ONE: THE WAY OF THE MATADOR
A student of the Santa Vera style learns that maintaining a strong defense is a crucial part of
any fight, even while on the offensive. You may add twice your Defense Skill Rank to your
Armor TN when not in the Full Attack stance. However, such quick reactions require
complete freedom of movement, so you may not take advantage of this bonus while wearing
any armor heavier than basic/ashigaru or while carrying a shield.
Additionally, you gain a +2k0 bonus to all Initiative rolls, and to your Investigation (Notice)
rolls to avoid being surprised in an ambush.
RANK TWO: TURN ASIDE THE CHARGE
The unfocussed assault of a wild bull may look fearsome, but it has plenty of holes waiting to
be exploited. If an opponent attempts to attack you in the Full Attack stance, you may force
them to first make a Contested Roll of their Weapon Skill/Agility vs. your Defense/Reflexes.
If they fail, they are denied the benefits of their Stance for the Round. You may only employ
this Technique once per Round.
RANK THREE: REVERSAL OF FORTUNE
Practitioners of this style are feared, not just for their ability to evade blows but for their habit
of delivering fierce counterattacks when an opponent least expects them. Once per Round, if
you are in theDefense Stance and an opponent makes an unsuccessful melee attack targeting
you, you may immediately make a single melee attack against them as a Free Action. This
causes you to assume the Attack Stance.
RANK FOUR: FURIOUS THUNDER
Speed is truly the essence of the Santa Vera style. You may make melee attacks as Simple
Actions with any knife or one-handed sword.
RANK FIVE: THE THRILL OF VICTORY
With mastery of the Santa Vera style comes almost supernatural levels of dexterity, with the
ability to adapt effortlessly to the flow of battle. You may spend a Void Point at any time to
switch from the Defense stance to the Attack stance or vice versa. Additionally, you may use
your Rank Two and Three Techniques a maximum of two times per Round, rather than once.
___________________________________________________________________________
THE ACOLYTES OF THE DREAM 
The aging Nezumi shouldered his pack, clutched his walking stick firmly, and paused for a 
moment to savor the scent of his home for the final time. 
He was watched by another; decades his junior yet a promising student of name‐
magic, and eternally stubborn. Waves of doubt and disapproval wafted from the youngster, 
threatening the ruin of that precious scent. 
‘Will you truly betray us?’ This was not the first time the elder had heard that 
accusation, but he had long since gone past the point where he could be swayed from his 
path.  
The elder spoke, quietly. ‘Our people are dying a long death, my boy… others may 
think we have banished Tomorrow, but I am not so sure.’ 
‘But for humans to learn our ways is unthinkable!’ 
‘No. For our ways to be forgotten; that is unthinkable.’ 
If one were to look at them now, it would be easy to dismiss the Nezumi as pathetic 
creatures; living relics clinging to the brink, long after they were due to exit the stage of 
history. Centuries of living in the Shadowlands speak of an unrivalled tenacity among the 
ratlings, but as the years go by the future beckons, and they have never been closer to 
annihilation. 
Nezumi culture is one that revolves around memory. While something continues to 
be remembered, they believe, it never truly dies, instead continuing to exist in [i]K’thatch[/i] 
(“yesterday”) and within the endless dreamscapes of Yume‐do. Even the long‐vanished 
Nezumi Empire remains out there, somewhere, whispering of its lost glories to the current 
generation… so long as there is a current generation to remember it. 
As the dust settled after the battle with Tomorrow, the surviving shamans and 
rememberers came upon a grim realization. Victory may have been achieved, but at what 
cost? Their civilization, already broken and beaten down, was hanging by a thread and with 
the loss of so many, extinction was a very real possibility. What would become of those 
memories then, they wondered; were they doomed to vanish as well, with no‐one left to 
pass them on? Their people had long gotten used to the endless flight from the Future, but 
now the endgame loomed larger than ever, its consequences becoming more and more 
apparent. 
N’tarvkh was once a shaman of the scholarly Squeaky Eyeball tribe. He possessed a 
memory that was impressive even by human standards and a powerful gift for name magic, 
which might have led to him becoming a legendary chief in more stable times… but these 
were not stable times. Instead, it was his keen sense of pragmatism that was to guide his 
path, as he meditated on the future of his shattered race. 
If the idea of the Nezumi being forgotten was a tragedy, then the idea of Nezumi 
traditions being forgotten was enough to chill the blood in the old shaman’s veins. Over a 
thousand years of wisdom, of learning the intricacies of weaving Names, passed down from 
mentor to student, and now it was all teetering on the brink of being lost. Something had to 
be done to ensure that the ancient techniques and spells he carried would not meet such a 
horrible fate, even if it left him branded a criminal and a madman. 
He had discovered something, many years previously, on one of his trading 
expeditions to a human village. That something was a human‐ a drab, otherwise 
unremarkable man‐ within whose soul N’tarvkh could sense a fragment of Yume‐do. It had 
been little more than a curiosity at the time, but as he progressed with his magical studies, 
he began to develop an intriguing idea. Name Magic was intrinsically linked to the Realm of 
Dreams and vice versa, so could a human who bore a connection to that Realm possibly 
learn to manipulate Names?  
And if there were other such humans out there, was there a glimmer of hope for 
Name Magic’s survival, even after the Nezumi themselves pass into Yesterday? 
Against the advice of his tribe, N’tarvkh sought the council of the humans known as 
the Brotherhood of Shinsei, among whom he had made a number of friends. They found his 
ideas interesting and his cause a worthy one, and put out the call for Brothers and Sisters 
who bore the so‐called Touch of Yume‐do to come and see what they might learn of this 
strange sorcery.
Early results were mixed, to say the least. Although the basics of his theory were 
proven correct, the students balked at the aspects of Name Magic that involved 
bloodletting, and N’tarvkh was eventually persuaded to let them devise an alternative on 
the grounds that such a thing simply would not be permitted in Rokugan. They eventually 
discovered a way to use channeled ki energy rather than blood to fuel the magic, which he 
considered to be an acceptable compromise, however details of the original methods 
remain carefully archived within his dojo. 
The resultant group, now an independent monastic order with the title Acolytes of 
the Dream, is still a young one, but it shows promise. A steady trickle of plane‐touched 
neophytes arrives at the monastery regularly, where they are subjected to rigorous 
examination before they are even considered as candidates for the study of Name Magic. 
Those only interested in power are turned away, while those who show a genuine respect 
for the Nezumi and their history are looked upon favorably. 
Benefit: +1 Void 
Skills: Lore: Nezumi, Lore: Spirit Realms (Yume‐do), Meditation, Spellcraft, Perform: Nezumi 
Dance, any two skills. 
Honor: 4.0 
Starting Outfit: Daisho or any one weapon, Sturdy Clothing, Traveling Pack, 2 Koku 
Requirements: Must have the Touched by the Spirit Realms: Yume‐do Advantage or at least 
one rank of Yumeji. 
TECHNIQUE: NAME MAGIC  
The Acolytes learn and cast spells as per the Nezumi Shaman school (Enemies of the Empire, 
pg. 112), with the following changes: 
‐Substitute references to the caster’s Name rank/points with their Void equivalents. 
‐The “Bleeding” requirement does not involve actual bleeding. Wounds are inflicted as 
normal, but they represent tiredness brought on by drained ki, not physical injuries. 
‐Similarly, the spell Bonds of Blood is referred to as “Bonds of Force” and involves a blast of 
incandescent energy fired from the caster’s hands. 
‐As humans do not have a Niche score, the normal rule involving Niche is waived. Instead, 
because of the extreme level of concentration involved in casting Name spells, all penalties 
to Spell Casting Rolls caused by Wounds, intoxication and similar effects that disrupt 
concentration are increased by 5. 
While they are affiliated with the Brotherhood of Shinsei for storyline reasons, the Acolytes 
do not count as Brotherhood monks for any mechanical purpose.[/quote] 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
THE KENKU RAPTORS 
'Someday, death may claim us... but first it must catch us.' 
‐Inscription on an ancient monument discovered in the Twilight Mountains, translated from 
the tongue of the Five Races. 
Many legends speak of the Kenku. Immortals… hermits… teachers… supposedly they 
brought the katana and the art of Iaijutsu to Rokugan, or at least mastered them. That they 
are one of the few nonhuman races with access to the Void speaks volumes about their 
nature, but can the nature of such beings ever be truly understood by outsiders? 
For example, as anyone ever heard of a Kenku getting angry? As in, really, completely 
pissed off? Such a thing might be hard for some to imagine, but it happened, and to such a 
degree that at one point the fires of that anger gave rise to a very unusual School. 
Long ago, before the coming of the Kami and their Celestial Order; before the dawn 
of mankind itself, a war was fought in the lands that would become Rokugan. This was the 
war against the vicious Rakshasa who bargained with Kali‐ma for power and sought to 
dominate the world, and along with the Kitsune it was the Kenku who led the charge against 
them. 
It was during that conflict that some Kenku came down off their proverbial perch. 
They had already lost one; even earlier war, seeing their home destroyed, and they would 
not let such a tragedy happen again. Faced with frenzied opponents who could not be 
tricked or taught the error of their ways, they were forced to develop a new style of fighting 
focused on seizing every advantage they had, no matter how unsporting. And their main 
advantage was, of course, their wings. 
Gone, or at least buried somewhat was the genteel wisdom and humor which would 
go on to shape how they were perceived by other races. These Kenku fought with every bit 
of their soul, caring nothing for the artistry of a maneuver if it granted them victory. And 
victory was indeed achieved, though the more conservative among them wondered whether 
they had lost something of themselves in the process. 
Some of these “raptors” have survived into modern times, and would be willing to 
pass on their unusual techniques to those they deem worthy. Ironically, while they regard 
these techniques as crude and would be far more willing to share them than those of their 
“true” school, most potential students simply don’t meet the anatomical requirements. 
Benefit: +1 Strength 
Skills: Athletics (flight), Hunting, Investigation, Defense, any one Lore skill, any two Weapon 
skills. 
Honor: 5.0 
Starting Outfit: Light Armor, Daisho or any one weapon, Spear or Polearm, Traveling Pack, 3 
Koku 
Requirements: Must be a humanoid capable of winged flight. 
Techniques: 
RANK ONE: DEATH FROM ABOVE 
Raptors use their momentum to skewer enemies with high‐speed aerial charges. If you fly at 
least 15* towards an opponent and then immediately make a melee attack with a spear or 
polearm, you may add your Swift rating to your Strength for the purposes of determining 
how many damage dice you roll on that attack.  
You also gain a rank of Swift while flying, which is cumulative with any other sources of Swift 
you have. Lastly, your maximum total movement per round is not limited in any way. 
RANK TWO: PIERCE THE SKY 
A Raptor must be able to race to the battlefield at a moment’s notice, and still be strong 
enough to fight. You may fly for a full day without becoming tired, and you gain a bonus of 
2k0 to your Athletics rolls. 
RANK THREE: FURY OF THE ANCIENTS 
Hone your anger to a razor‐sharp edge, and swift and terrible destruction ensues. You may 
make attacks with as a Simple Action when wielding any spear or polearm, or a katana. 
RANK FOUR: ELUSIVE AS A BREEZE 
While in combat a Raptor’s wings are constantly beating; always ready to push or pull them 
out of the way of incoming blows. If your wings are free to move you gain a bonus of twice 
your Athletics skill rank to your armor TN. You gain an additional rank of Swift while flying. 
RANK FIVE: WHO DARES WINS 
The greatest of the Kenku warriors fought with a ferocity that gave even the “immortal” 
Rakshasa pause. If you successfully hit an opponent with your Rank One charge attack, you 
gain an additional Simple Action this round. Only one additional attack per Round may be 
gained using this Technique. 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
THE DISCIPLES OF NARAI
The childhood of Moshi Narai, born to a modest vassal-family household, was marked by
two things; tremendous promise, and equally tremendous disappointment.
She was only five years old when her gift for the kami first manifested, as she
accidentally invoked them to split a tree in half during one of her frequent squabbles with her
sister. She was discovered to have an exceptionally powerful gift, perhaps among the
strongest of her generation, which soon earned her the attention and adoration of many senior
members of her Clan. She also had what her family diplomatically called a “rebellious
streak”, but her parents were certain she would grow out of it and turn into a fine samurai
eventually.
They were wrong.
One thing that comes from speaking to the kami at such an early age is the ability to
view them with a perspective unclouded by preconceptions, and what young Narai saw in
them did not impress her. Certainly they were powerful, but they were also stupid; lacking
free will and barely able to even tell two humans apart. Worship of Amataseru and the other
powerful Fortunes she could almost understand (though she was more interested in tales of
the gaijin sun goddess Shilah, whose wrath scorched a nation), but why pray to these dumb
little motes of light? It didn't make sense. The true role of the shugenja was not to revere the
elements, she grew to believe, but to [i]command[/i] them…
As she became older, Narai's attitudes isolated her from those around her. She would
openly mock her family's devout ways, and even Bushido itself, and spent hours communing
with the kami of fire in a manner that was more like someone training a pack of attack dogs.
Naturally she was reprimanded many times for such behavior, but every punishment only
strengthened her resolve; the scorn of her peers bouncing off her like arrows off a rock wall.
Those in authority who had once celebrated her began to take note of her again, for
entirely different reasons. Plans were discussed to send her to another clan, but what clan
would have her? Exile and seppuku were also brought forward as options, but even they
hesitated to place such a sentence on a child. So they dithered and, in true samurai fashion,
did their best to ignore the problem until it was too late to deal with by all but the most
extreme measures.
Things came to a head shortly before her gempukku, when the corpse of a servant was
found in a storeroom, burned almost beyond recognition. The culprit was obvious, but when
Narai was summoned for questioning she told a bizarre story. She claimed that the servant
was actually a maho-tsukai who had come to her in secret, representing a “certain group”
who understood her potential and offering an invitation to join them. She had incinerated him
on the spot, or so she said.
The fact that the body proved to be tainted lent weight to her account, but this incident
plus her history of blasphemous conduct finally galvanized the head of the dojo into action.
Narai was to be ordered to commit seppuku. However, when they summoned her again to
report the sentence, she had fled and was nowhere to be found. That was the last anyone in
the family saw of her, and most were quietly glad that she wasn't their problem anymore.
There was actually one part of her encounter with the maho-tsukai that Narai hadn't
mentioned: the fact that she had extracted the approximate location of his hideout out of him
before he died. Full of anger, Narai was determined to go there and put a stop to what she
assumed was a small maho cult. In her own strange way she pictured herself as a hero, or a
general leading an army of kami to glorious victory over Rokugan’s enemies.
She had planned to track down her targets by interrogating the local heimin, but the
cult found her first, ambushing her on the road. She fought with all her might, but there was
little an untrained girl, even one so gifted, could do against what turned out to be an entire
cell of Spider agents. She was beaten, put in chains and brought before their Chuda leader,
who offered her a choice. She could serve the Spider willingly, or she could die and serve
them as a zombie.
She chose the former, but insisted that she would never resort to maho no matter what
task she was given. The Chuda, who had heard that sort of thing from many new recruits,
laughed it off. Like her parents and sensei all those years ago, he thought he had the girl's
future all figured out. In truth, maho held no appeal for Narai because she knew that the
kansen were far smarter than the kami, and couldn't be commanded; only bargained with.
Being forced into the Spider was infuriating, but as she lived amongst them Narai
began to feel something she had never felt before: a sense of belonging. Shourido made far
more sense to her than Bushido ever had, and she made a number of friends among the
monks who, like her, preferred to rely on their own power over that of the taint. For every
friend she made, however, she made many enemies among those who felt threatened by her
rejection of maho. Her skill at commanding the kami and successful mission record gradually
earned her a degree of respect from her superiors, because the Spider respect success above
all else, but she was under constant scrutiny.
And then the Destroyer War happened, and with it came something few had ever
thought possible; the Spider and the Great Clans fighting together against a common foe.
Narai never became the champion she had aspired to be, but she did fight on the front lines of
several battles, calling down rains of fire upon the forces of Kali-ma and tearing open the
earth beneath their feet. Her efforts even earned her an audience with Daigotsu himself,
whose implicit approval abruptly silenced her foes (even though in truth he seemed more
amused by the oddity of her existence her than anything else).
The aftermath of the war brought with it much infighting amongst the Spider, with
many in the clan competing for positions within the new order. Narai was not one of them,
even though she had by this point achieved quite a high status, since she found herself far
more at home on the battlefield than in the courts.
However, it turned out that rumors of her exploits had reached the ears of several
ronin shugenja, all eager to swear fealty to the newly-ascended clan but wary of opening their
souls to the predation of J igoku. The first two were a brother and sister who had lost their
parents in the war and wished to become strong, so that they wouldn't have to suffer the same
fate. They begged Narai to teach them, and while she disliked begging as a rule, the concept
of passing on her skills intrigued her. She had made several interesting discoveries over the
years, but until now she had thought of them as being hers alone. Could this be another way
of leaving her mark on the empire?
She sought the ruling council's permission to set up a dojo, and they readily agreed.
Having untainted shugenja among their number would go a long way towards making the
clan look more legitimate, after all. The number of students swiftly rose, although it remains
a relatively small and obscure school compared to the more established ones.
Benefit: +1 Intelligence
Skills: Spellcraft (Spell Research), Defense, Lore: Shadowlands, Lore: Shourido,
Calligraphy, any one Low Skill, any one Skill
Honor: 3.0
Outfit: Fine Robes, Any 1 Weapon, Wakizashi, Traveling Pack, Scroll Satchel, 5 Koku
Affinity/Deficiency: Fire/Water
TECHNIQUE: BLAZE A TRAIL THROUGH HISTORY
Those who follow the Narai’s teachings learn how to whip the kami into a spectacular,
destructive frenzy. You gain a number of bonus spell slots per day equal to your School Rank,
which may only be used to cast spells that inflict damage on a single target. Each spell cast
using one of these bonus slots has its DR increased by +1k0. Additionally, you gain a Free
Raise on all Spell Casting Rolls for spells that inflict damage, regardless of the slot used.
You do not begin play knowing the Commune spell, but you may research it later.
Spells: Sense, Command, Summon, 3 Fire, 2 Earth and 1 Air
___________________________________________________________________________
KOLAT KINGPINS 
There is little that can be said about the Kolat in general beyond what has already been 
written. Born from the noble ideals of setting the humans of Rokugan free, many of their 
members ironically found themselves succumbing to the all‐to‐human flaws of greed and 
arrogance; becoming little more than gangsters. They were, however, very [i]effective[/i] 
gangsters, which is part of why they lasted so long. At the peak of their power, they had even 
managed to develop several schools of their own, where they trained those members who 
did not have access to the teachings of the Clans.    
One of these, called the Kingpins, were an elite group of agents specializing in urban 
infiltration. They would move into a town (or neighborhood within a larger city) and seize 
the reigns of the local underworld by any means necessary. Gang members would be beaten 
into submission; smugglers and syndicates would be bribed and manipulated. By controlling 
crime from the street level up, the Kingpins would secure a sizable income for their Kolat 
superiors, as well as a large pool of disposable assets in the form of gullible thugs and 
would‐be ninja. Naturally this line of work required the agent to possess both a sharp blade 
and a silver tongue, and those who did not make the cut tended to live very short lives 
indeed.
It was after the destruction of the Hidden Temple that things got a little hazy. The 
Kolat was shattered, but most of their field operatives remained unaffected, including the 
Kingpins embedded within criminal organizations across Rokugan. Some of them used their 
newfound independence and existing connections to continue their work, with varying 
degrees of success, while others packed up and went to ground, fearing that magistrates 
were already on their tail. Either way, the conspiracy’s techniques began leaking out into the 
rest of Rokugan’s underworld, as the now‐free agents began training disciples of their own 
or just selling their secrets to the highest bidder. Someone possessing training in this school 
nowadays may never have even heard of the Kolat, though most have some inkling that the 
techniques they use must have come from somewhere. 
Benefit: +1 Awareness 
Skills: Intimidation, Courtier (Manipulation), Lore: Underworld, Investigation, Commerce, 
any one Weapon Skill, any one Skill. 
Honor: 2.0 
Outfit: Fine Clothing, Daisho or any one weapon, Oni’s Tear (if Kolat member), Wrist 
Crossbow, Traveling Pack, 5 Koku. 
Requirements: You must either be a member of the Kolat before its destruction (with the 
appropriate Dark Secret disadvantage or Forbidden Knowledge advantage) or reduce your 
starting Koku by 3 to represent paid tuition if the game takes place after this event. 
Techniques: 
RANK ONE: THE PULSE OF THE STREETS 
A Kingpin must be able to read both places and people. You gain the Spy Network Advantage 
for free, and are considered to have the Way of the Land Advantage in any urban area. Also, 
when in an urban area, you gain a +1k0 bonus to your Social Skill Rolls. 
RANK TWO: NO HONOR AMONG THIEVES 
With a growing knowledge of the underworld comes an understanding of how shallow and 
worthless a samurai’s honor truly is. Whenever you make any kind of Contested Roll, your 
opponent’s Honor (or equivalent score) is treated as though it were lower than it actually is 
by a number of Ranks equal to your School Rank. 
RANK THREE: DANCE OF THE PUPPETS 
A criminal mastermind must be able make friends quickly, especially if they require a few 
“disposable assets” for some nefarious task. Once per week you may make a Courtier 
(Manipulation) or Intimidation (Control) Skill Roll against TN 20. You gain a number of 
experience points equal to the amount by which your roll exceeds the TN, but these 
experience points may only be used to purchase the Allies Advantage. These Allies are 
temporary and last for a period of time equal to your School Rank in days.  
The allies purchased via this technique must all be of low moral caliber and/or already be 
connected to the criminal underworld. The GM is the final arbiter of whether a particular 
person may be made into an Ally. 
RANK FOUR: LETHAL ENFORCER 
While they place themselves far above common thugs, Kingpins aren’t afraid to settle 
business personally. You may make attacks as Simple Actions with any Small weapon. 
RANK FIVE: LORD OF THE UNDERWORLD 
Few are immune to the machinations of the true Kingpins, who seem to weave schemes 
within schemes and have backup plans for any eventuality. When you make Raises on any 
Social Skill Roll, if you meet or exceed the original TN (before Raises) but fail to meet the 
Raised TN, you still succeed without the benefits of Raises. 
___________________________________________________________________________ 
THE KOLAT SEEKERS 
Particularly in its later years, the Kolat began to fracture, with more and more members 
losing heart and hoarding personal power at the expense of the conspiracy’s true goals. It 
would be hard to blame them, in a way, for their faced a truly terrifying enemy; not only 
legions of samurai loyal to the Emperor, but also an entire pantheon of Fortunes who had a 
vested interest in keeping them shackled. 
And yet, even in the darkest of times, there were still those who believed. Some 
believed you could fight gods through raw power… they were fools. Some believed you 
could fight them with cunning, and forethought… they were less foolish, but still ultimately 
met with failure as the Hidden Temple fell. And then there were those who believed that 
they didn’t have to fight at all, because the battle had already been won. 
The Seekers did not exist as an identifiable faction until after the Hidden Temple’s 
destruction, but even before that certain members of the conspiracy had already banded 
together to refine their own personal theories as to how to move forward. Primarily 
members of the Jade and Cloud sects, they focused their study on a number of obscure 
Shinseist texts that had long since been deemed heretical and abandoned by most of the 
empire; documents that seemed to predict the upheaval of recent centuries with surprising 
accuracy. 
According to the texts, which were just a fraction of the Kolat’s vast collection of 
banned theological literature, the Rise of Man and the abandonment of the Fortunes was 
not only possible, it was inevitable, and already well underway. Humanity was not a species 
that could be contained or forced to fit within such a rigid order and it [i]would[/i] break 
free, sooner or later. The only question was when, and how much fallout the changeover 
would create. 
This wasn’t exactly a rare opinion amongst the Kolat, but this small group took it 
even further. They believed that since the Rise would happen anyway, it must not be forced; 
that the conspiracy’s aim should be to smoothly aid in the transition, not to make it to 
happen before it was due. By employing vile, subhuman tactics such as those of the Dream 
sect and by fanning the flames of organized crime, the conspiracy was only going to cause 
chaos.  
This belief earned them more then a few enemies, and if the Kolat had not fallen 
around this time they would likely have been silenced by their own sects. What actually 
happened was that they fell back and regrouped, determined to do what they could to 
prepare for the coming changes. This meant looking for resources; typically in the form of 
obscure knowledge, magical items, and alliances with gaijin and nonhuman forces. It is these 
activities which earned them their name.  
In modern times the Seekers are based out of the Colonies, where they are able to 
operate somewhat more openly. To the public, they appear to be an independent group of 
monks and scholars investigating the Ivendi ruins and preparing for any supernatural threats 
that may still lurk within the former Ivory Kingdoms. Researching the deaths of the native 
pantheon is of particular interest to them, as it serves as a precedent for the downfall of a 
large number of cosmic beings... although they hope that Rokugan's future revolution will be 
far less bloody. 
Among their most treasured resources are a number of flying carpets, which are 
used for travel and communication between their headquarters and the main Empire, as 
well as with their Qolat contacts to the north. Still, they have nothing like the organizational 
structure of their predecessors, and their espionage capabilities are almost nonexistent. It 
will be a long time yet before they can be considered true heirs to the most powerful 
conspiracy in Rokugan's history. In the meantime their agents have worked hard to develop a 
school, or rather, to cobble one together out of esoteric meditative techniques and 
borrowed gaijin practices, in a blend which has proven surprisingly effective against magical 
and monstrous threats. 
 
Benefit: +1 perception 
Skills: Meditation, Spellcraft, Lore: Gaijin (pick a country), Lore: Nonhumans (pick a race), 
Investigation, Sincerity, any one Skill 
Integrity: 5 
Outfit: Sturdy Clothing, Oni’s Tear (if Kolat member) or any one weapon (if not), piece of 
Jade or Crystal, Traveling Pack, 4 Koku. 
Requirements: You must either be a member of the Kolat if the campaign takes place before 
its destruction, or the Seekers if not. Whichever you belong to, you must have the 
appropriate Dark Secret Disadvantage or the appropriate Forbidden Knowledge Advantage. 
 
Techniques: 
 
RANK ONE: FLASH OF INSIGHT 
 
Through intense meditation, Seeker agents learn to recognize the aura given off by magic. 
Whenever you first encounter any kind of localized supernatural effect (eg. if you are about 
to enter a warded area or touch an enchanted object), the GM should roll your 
Meditation/Perception at TN 25. If you succeed, you have a vague sensation alerting you to 
the presence of the effect and its source. You do not know the exact details, but you do gain 
a vague awareness of whether or not it is potentially dangerous. 
 
You also gain one instance of the Languages Advantage for free, and gain +2k0 to any Social 
Skill Rolls made specifically to convince those of a different nationality or species of your 
goodwill. 
 
RANK TWO: MANY TONGUES, ONE TRUTH 
 
With assistance from their Qolat allies, the Seekers have incorporated the study of Hakhim's 
Seal into their own training. You learn two Mastery Level 1 or 2 Sahir spells from the 
Discipline of Summoning. 
   
If you do not have access to the Third Edition book Legend of the Burning Sands, you instead 
learn two Air elemental kiho. You may add your School Rank to your Ring in order to meet 
the prerequisites for these kiho as though you were a Brotherhood monk. 
 
RANK THREE: ESSENSE OF COLD IRON 
 
The origins of this technique lie with an ancient order of priests in distant Thrane, although 
the Seekers got ahold of it via the Meranese archivists known as the Sages of the Sword. By 
focusing as a Simple Action, you may cause spells (all spells, regardless of the type of magic) 
cast within 100' of you to have the TN of their spellcasting roll increased by an amount equal 
to your Earth Ring x5. This effect lasts for one round, although you may continue to spend a 
Simple Action each round to maintain it.  
Spellcasters who are in the process of casting when this technique comes into effect must 
succeed at Willpower roll at a TN of your Earth Ring x5 or have their casting interrupted. 
RANK FOUR: PULL THE STRINGS OF FATE 
This ability, actually a minor aspect of Ashalan sorcery, involves the subtle manipulation of 
fortune and destiny. A number of times per day equal to your Void Ring, you may cause a re‐
roll of any roll whose subject is within 30' of you. You may choose which result to keep. 
However, such meddling with the forces of the universe causes a certain amount of psychic 
backlash; every time you use this technique, you suffer 3 Wounds. 
RANK FIVE: LEGACY OF KALI‐MA 
First developed by the Destroyer armies, this technique was turned against them by a 
cunning guru and his followers, who eventually passed it on to the Seekers. By spending a 
Void Point as a Simple Action, you may imbue a weapon with immense power. Attacks made 
using this weapon ignore all forms of supernatural protection the target possesses (spell 
effects, Invulnerability, the Spirit quality etc.) and bonus of +Xk0 to their Damage Rolls, 
where X is your Fire Ring. You must touch the weapon once as you activate this Technique, 
but you do not need to wield it yourself. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to 
your Fire Ring. 
___________________________________________________________________________
THRANIAN ROYAL EXPEDITIONARY CORPS
I do apologize, but I have been called away once again. Looks like those You-Know-Whos are
having a spot of trouble with You-Know-Whats again and it’s up to yours truly to sort it all
out. Shouldn’t take more than a couple of months. I’ll be sure to pick up some of that tea you
like on the way back.
-Neither the first, nor the last letter Cpt. Adrian Hastings left for his wife during his long and
illustrious career in the Expeditionary Corps.
The nation that emerged from the ashes of plague-wracked Thrane was not the same one that
had fallen centuries before. Now keenly aware of the dangers posed by foreign powers (the
plague had been introduced by Senpet merchants, and was at the time falsely believed to have
been a deliberate act of war), the King set aside considerable resources towards the founding
of a new military unit.
Where their Meranese neighbors were looking outward in a search for academic
knowledge, the new Royal Expeditionary Corps was focused on research of a more practical
kind. Officially they were merely explorers and cartographers, hence the innocuous name, but
they also had a true nature known only to a select few outside their ranks. They were, in fact,
highly-trained covert operatives; Thrane’s first line of defense against whatever might
threaten it in the future.
Their purview mainly deals with reconnaissance deep within foreign territory, but also
includes sabotage, assassination and all other aspects of guerilla warfare. Corps agents must
be capable of surviving alone in the wilderness, or undercover in a hostile city, for months or
even years at a time. They might also be placed within diplomatic entourages in order to
protect VIPs, or sent to interfere in distant wars to manipulate events towards their
government’s desired outcome.
As time went on and the power of the throne gradually gave way to a new system
headed by a Council of Ministers, the Corps remained largely unchanged, although word of
their activities began to slowly leak out. In tavern backrooms across the land it would
sometimes be whispered that the government maintained a stable of elite operatives for off-
the-books assignments, but nothing has yet been proven and no evidence has ever been
found. More troubling still are the rumors that a few such agents have not taken the regime
change well, and have gone rogue and begun selling their services to the highest bidder…
The nature of their work makes it not only possible, but highly likely that the Council
would send one or more of them into Rokugan to provide intelligence on the reclusive nation.
However, explaining why they would actually be working alongside samurai and monks is a
little trickier. One possibility is that the character has enough Rokugani blood to pass for a
native, and while such people are rarer in Thrane than they are in the Burning Sands, they do
exist, and the Corps might have scouted them for that exact reason. Another possibility is that
the characters have been thrown into the midst of a conflict with a greater foe, such as the
Lying Darkness (called the False Maker by the Thrane) which they will be forced to team up
to defeat.
Benefit: +1 Agility
Skills:[/b] Athletics, Investigation, Craft: Traps, Firearms, Craft: Explosives, Medicine
(Wound Treatment), Stealth
Integrity: 3.5
Outfit:Rugged Clothing, Basic Armor (ATN +3 Red. +1), Saber (3k2 Medium Sword),
Knife, Pistol and 10 rounds, Traveling Pack, 2 Koku or equivalent.
Techniques:
RANK ONE: THE BEST OF THE BEST
A Member of the Expeditionary Corps must survive by wit and willpower, even when all else
fails. You gain a bonus of +1k0 to all rolls using your School Skills. All terrain and
environmental penalties you suffer are halved, rounded down. Lastly, you learn an additional
foreign language for free.
RANK TWO: ONE STEP AHEAD
Through careful preparation, a battle can be won before it is even fought. When crafting any
trap or explosive, or when loading a firearm, you may spend a Void Point to increase the
damage it inflicts by +1k1. The effects of this Technique expire if the device is not triggered
within a day, and the number of your devices that can benefit from this Technique at any one
time is limited to an amount equal to your School Rank.
RANK THREE: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Drill with it enough and a using a weapon becomes instinct. You may make attacks as Simple
Actions whenever you have five or more ranks in the appropriate Skill.
RANK FOUR: BEFORE THEY KNOW WHAT HIT THEM
Your greatest weapon is surprise. Surprise… and cold steel. When attacking a target who is
unaware of your presence until the moment of the attack, your Raises are not limited by your
Void. Additionally, when you have made such an attack successfully, or when you have
surprised an opponent with a trap or explosive, you may spend a Void Point to automatically
Daze the target.
RANK FIVE: SURVIVAL IS THE ONLY OPTION
Nothing is beyond the reach of those with absolute dedication. When making a Skill Roll
using a School Skill, your dice explode on a result of 9 as well as 10.[quote]
___________________________________________________________________________ 
ULMINSTER HEAVY PUGILISTS
The first of them- and to this day, the most famous- was Charles Holsten of Ulminster. While
his siblings spent their time learning the family trade, he could usually be found in one of the
town's seedier taverns, learning how to give and take punches like the toughest of bastards.
All were surprised when the King's call sounded and he managed to sober up long enough to
march to war, but not nearly as surprised as the enemy was when they got a taste of his steel-
clad fist!
-Excerpt from A History of Fighting Styles, volume III
In Rokugan, unarmed fighters come in two general groups: wise monks, and drunken
brawlers, who seem to be competing with each other over whether hand-to-hand combat
should be considered an honorable activity... or a supremely dishonorable one. Over the
ocean in Thrane, things are a lot simpler, with it falling squarely into the latter category.
Which is what makes the existence of the Heavy Pugilist style a very strange thing indeed.
Charles Holsten was a humble man, modest in ambition and- at least at first glance-
lacking any real strengths as a soldier. It was only after getting into a drunken fistfight with
several men and handily beating them all that his true talent for unarmed combat became
apparent. His basic philosophy was simple: in a real fight, you can't always rely on weapons.
No matter how much you drill with a sword or a spear, it's meaningless if it gets knocked out
of your hand or broken, or when you're fighting in a confined space and can't swing it
properly. Isn't it better, then, to focus on how to fight without a weapon from the start?
This didn't mean being completely unarmed, however. Pioneers of the style quickly
figured out that a pair of heavy gauntlets could strengthen blows considerably, and this led to
the design of a reinforced glove known as a panzerhand, made specifically for attacking.
These became standard equipment for all Heavy Pugilists (as they had been nicknamed), who
sometimes added spikes or blades to the knuckles for further damage. Holsten himself
eventually retired to a teaching position among the Ulminster City Guard, where he passed
his techniques on to a new generation of recruits.
Decades later, during the Great Plague, the Heavy Pugilist style proved its worth once
again. At that time, Ulminster ended up being one of the last uninfected holdouts in all of
Thrane, and the superbly-trained guardsmen were instrumental in suppressing riots and
turning back attempts by plague-bearing refugees to breach the city walls. In the centuries of
turmoil that followed, what had once been a minor trading port became a bastion of
civilization.
At last, when King Hereford the Reformer rallied a number of bickering feudal lords
to his cause and finally began to rebuild Thrane as a unified nation, he gave the by-then-
famous Ulminster Guard an official commendation for their tireless work. Soldiers from all
across the reborn country gathered to learn it, and even those who did not fully adopt the style
absorbed some of its teachings.
There is some debate among modern historians over when exactly the style's
techniques began to take shape, though most agree that Charles Holsten only developed a few
of them himself, with the others being born out of necessity during the dark age of the plague.
What is now considered the third seems to have been a later substitution, designed to
counteract the growing popularity of firearms, though what exactly it replaced is unknown.
Another concession to the realities of modern combat is the wearing of a pistol, which has
become common in recent years despite the style's focus on melee.
Encountering a Heavy Pugilist in Rokugan is unlikely, but not impossible. The
Ulminster Guard and some other Thranian military units aren't nearly as obsessed with
secrecy as Rokugani Schools are, so a ronin or monk who has traveled overseas could have
picked it up. The Mantis, who are known to interact with foreigners and who possess an
unarmed combat School of their own, might also have developed an interest in it.
Benefit: +1 Strength
Skills: Unarmed Combat 2, Defense, Athletics (Running), Intimidation, Firearms or
Crossbows, Medicine, any one Skill.
Integrity: 4
Outfit: Heavy armor, Set of panzerhands, traveling pack, pistol and 10 rounds (or repeating
crossbow and 10 bolts), 3 Koku or equivalent.
Techniques:
RANK ONE: FISTS OF STEEL
A Heavy Pugilist may look slow and lumbering, but you would be foolish to judge them on
appearances alone. You may ignore penalties for wearing heavy armor for all skills except
Stealth. Also, your unarmed/panzerhand attacks gain a +2k0 bonus to their Damage Rolls.
RANK TWO: PUT AWAY YOUR TOYS
Overreliance on weaponry can be a weakness, which Heavy Pugilists learn to exploit. You
may perform the Disarm maneuver for one less Raise when attacking unarmed or with a
panzerhand. If you are successful, you may add your Unarmed Combat skill rank to the total
of your ensuing Contested Strength Roll.
RANK THREE: DODGE THE BARREL
Dodging a bullet is impossible, but if you pay attention to the shooter you can learn to predict
where the shot will go. You gain +15 to your TN to be hit against ranged attacks whose origin
point you can see.
RANK FOUR: SWIFT STRIKE
Experienced Pugilists learn to overwhelm opponents with a hurricane of fierce blows. You
may make unarmed/panzerhand attacks as Simple Actions.
RANK FIVE: THE STRENGTH TO PROTECT
A true Heavy Pugilist will always keep fighting as long as his or her heart is strong. You may
spend a Void Point to completely negate the effects of one attack (including spells and other
supernatural attacks) on yourself or one ally within 5'. This not only nullifies the damage the
attack would have inflicted, but also any secondary effects such as poison applied to a
weapon.
___________________________________________________________________________
SKALDS OF THE WHISTLING HEATH
Gathered wind whips across a rustling field
Merry laughter tracing trails in shaken straw
Sea-foam drifts from open ocean’s calm
Forming footprints on a lonely shore
Marsh-lights rise in the night shining gaily
A glimmer of eyes peering through the trees
Dolmens loom from on a silent mountaintop
Stilled fingers clutching earth with cold stone
There is hardly a person in all of Thrane that hasn’t heard at least one story of Gwen o’ the
Whistling Heath, and hardly a scholar who can agree on exactly who and what she was. A
witch? A spirit? A folk-hero with an inflated reputation? Nothing about her life is possible to
pin down, although there is just enough evidence that someone like her did exist at some
point. Even her name could refer to one of countless wildlands throughout the country,
resulting in many different towns and villages jockeying to proclaim themselves her
birthplace.
Gwen makes an appearance in most of Thrane’s mythic cycles, and even some of its
known historical events. She is rarely the star of an entire tale; instead popping up at odd
moments to offer advice, to perform some impossible feat, or simply to accompany a hero for
a time for reasons she never specifies. Her actions inevitably steer the story toward a happy
ending, albeit sometimes in a roundabout way.
One tale speaks of her standing atop the walls during the First Siege of Morriston,
where she inhaled for ten minutes straight before finally giving voice to a great shout that
sent a blast of air over the heads of the invaders. Later it turned out that a fleet of enemy
reinforcements had been sailing up the coast, only to be driven onto rocks by a sudden
windstorm, which demoralized their fellows and allowed the Morriston forces to break the
siege. In another story, she was among a company of legendary figures who set sail in a
flying ship to return the King of the Stars to his rightful home after he fell to earth. There is
even a much later, controversial account of her meeting with the sage Kharsis, which is
accepted largely as fact among Thrane’s clergy, but condemned by the Merenese Council of
Churches who consider him a blasphemer and a false prophet.
However, there is one account which carries special relevance for a small number of
people in modern Thrane, and that is the story of how she taught her first apprentice.
Supposedly, she had just finished off a mob of marauding ogres by challenging them to a
singing contest (she won by singing so beautifully the earth itself “applauded”; opening up
beneath the ogres’ feet and then slamming shut) when a small boy, a street urchin, approached
her and asked how she managed to do all the amazing things she did. To him she simply
replied; ‘I could tell you, but it would grant no understanding. Come along with me, and
perhaps you will see for yourself”.
And so the boy, whose name was Taliesin, journeyed with Gwen on her adventures.
He watched her sing to the rocks and the trees, but every time he bean to doubt her she would
always pull of some kind of amazing feat. At first her magic seemed as incomprehensible as
ever, until one day he stubbed his toe on a rock and let out a startled cry… only for a nearby
bush to burst into flame. Gwen smiled at this, and stated that after all these months on the
road he had finally taken his first step.
She explained that the world of around them, of divided objects, was an illusion. On
some level everything was deeply connected, and controlling a rock, for example, required
nothing more than becoming the rock, merging its essence with your own until you could
move it as you move your own limbs. This was achieved through the medium of sound;
bringing your own vibrations and those of the world into harmony.
This explanation did not sound particularly helpful, and indeed it never does to those
who have not committed themselves to understanding, but Taliesin felt his eyes open at that
moment to a new world. He continued to travel and learn, gaining full control of the power
that he had begun to awaken. Eventually he and Gwen parted ways, and while she took on no
more apprentices (that are currently known of, anyway) he did, and they in turn did likewise
as they matured. In time the students of Gwen’s technique numbered in the hundreds,
although they maintained no formal organizational structure or records of membership.
Though the vast majority of these practitioners never forged their own legends in the
way that Gwen had, they generally remained content with retelling the tales of others and
keeping watch for new events of note to record for posterity. They gradually became known
as the Skalds of the Whistling Heath; each one a unique blend of historian, musician,
storyteller and sorcerer. In terms of personality they are incredibly diverse, united only by a
certain sense of wanderlust and a great respect for the immense power of the natural world.
Benefit: +1 Awareness
Skills: Lore: History, Perform: Storytelling, Perform: Singing, Investigation, any three Skills
Integrity: 4.5
Outfit: Sturdy Traveling Clothing, Any one Weapon, Traveling Pack, 3 Koku or equivalent.
TECHNIQUE: IN HARMONY WITH THE WORLD
Skalds of the Whistling Heath learn magic in the same manner as the Sahir from the Burning
Sands, though their method of tapping into the power is quite different. You begin play
knowing the first rank of The Primal Elements, plus two further ranks in any spell type or
types of your choosing. You gain three further ranks in any combination of spell groups each
time you increase in School Rank. You may add your ranks in Perform: Singing to all Spell
Casting Rolls.
___________________________________________________________________________
PATHS
Trained Surgeon
The Rokugani’s squeamishness about touching flesh and blood has stunted the progress of
medical knowledge in the Emerald Empire. Not so in the nations beyond, particularly
Merenae and Thrane, where coping with a devastating plague led to advancements in the field
almost as a necessity. Nowadays it has become a cultural norm in these lands that every
professional adult should have at least a basic knowledge of how to diagnose common
ailments and perform basic first aid.
Some take this even further, however, and it is common even for those who are not
doctors to seek more advanced training, especially if they are in a particularly hazardous
occupation. This Path is a semi-generic one, representing the kind of abilities that might be
possessed by, for example, an army field medic.
Technique Rank:2
Replaces: Any
Requirements: Medicine (Wound Treatment) 3
TECHNIQUE: FIRST DO NO HARM
Anyone can learn to set a broken limb or sew shut a wound, but there’s a difference between
doing such things competently and doing them well. When using the Medicine skill to treat
wounds, the number of Wounds you heal is increased by +1k1. At the GM’s discretion,
treating a very large number of wounds at once may require a prolonged operation.
Daigotsu Reformists
The Age of Exploration marked a time of great change, both for Rokugan in general and
particularly for the Spider Clan. They had achieved what many had thought impossible; Great
Clan status, and grudging recognition by those that had until recently spurned then. But there
was still much to be done, and severing their ties to maho (or at least, appearing to do so) was
necessary if they were to consolidate their position among the rest of the Great Clans.
Thus, it was ordered that their dojos begin work on creating modified versions of their
techniques, which were be less reliant on the power of J igoku. Those members who were
already tainted would continue to pursue the clan’s goals in the colonies, while back in
Rokugan proper their fellows would put on a show of remaining pure. Some of them, such as
the sect that follow the kill-happy shugenja Narai, genuinely believe themselves stronger for
rejecting the taint, while for others this is simply a masquerade meant to placate the other
clans.
Benefit: +1 Strength
Replaces: Daigostu Bushi 1
Skills:Hunting, Intimidation, J iujutsu, Kenjutsu (Katana), Kyujutsu, Lore: Shadowlands, any
one Bugei or Low Skill
Honor: 1.5
Outfit: Light Armor, Sturdy Clothing, Daisho, any 1 weapon, Traveling Pack, 3 koku

TECHNIQUE: THE FURY OF THE SPIDER

Students of the “pure” Daigotsu Bushi School learn to tap into the power of their own anger
and passion, rejecting the taint while still subtly mocking the traditional stoicism of the
samurai. At the beginning of each Round, you may choose to either reduce your Wound
Penalties by your Strength Trait Rank plus half your Fire Ring (rounded up) until the end of
the Round, or increase your damage rolls by the same amount.

Additionally, the strength of your convictions grants you +5 on any roll you make to resist
Intimidation, Temptation and Fear effects.

Lastly, whenever subsequent Techniques in the Daigotsu Bushi School reference your Taint
Rank, you instead use half your Fire Ring (Rounded up).


Togashi Spirit-Born

Togashi Hoshi is a figure who needs little introduction for anyone even casually acquainted
with Rokigan’s history, and yet at the same time much of his long life is shrouded in mystery.
Born from the union of a dragon and a mortal, among other rare insights he was gifted with
an understanding of the challenges of trying to contain the immortal power of the Spirit
Realms within a mortal body.
Most samurai are aware of the existence of people like him, or Yoritomo Komori or
some members of the Kitsune family, but they are believed to be extraordinarily rare.
Something Hoshi discovered during his travels through the Empire, however, was that this
wasn’t the case; while human-spirit interbreeding is by no means common, quite a lot of it
had indeed happened over the years. The reason it usually goes unreported is that, in the vast
majority of cases, the human parent is a peasant and thus beneath the notice of the Clans.
But the Togashi have always been more aware of peasants than most samurai families,
and this is no exception. So during his tenure as leader of the Dragon, Hoshi founded a small
offshoot of the Tattooed Orders specifically to train people with otherworldly ancestry. There,
they learned methods that he himself developed in order to bring both halves of their soul into
balance and mitigate the harmful side-effects of their nature. It remains a small and obscure
sect, its members difficult to tell apart from regular tattooed monks, but they do not concern
themselves with such things.
One notable development in recent years concerns the Spider, and a practice of theirs
that is rarely discussed outside their own number. For all their wickedness, Daigotsu’s clan
has always had a bizarre streak of egalitarianism to it, in that they readily accept nonhumans
such as pekkle-no-oni, bog hags, and so on into their ranks. One natural result of this is
relationships developing between these tainted creatures and the clan’s human members, to
say nothing of the activities of shape-shifting spies embedded within the rest of Rokugan.
In the past, any child conceived from such a pairing would have been easily
consumed by the taint before it was even born, becoming little more than a mindless
abomination, but the changes to the infection have resulted in one rather unexpected
consequence. Since a fetus is unable to comprehend the taint let alone consent to it, they are
now born pure, yet with subtle powers and mutations as a mark of their not-quite-human
nature. Thus, as part of the Dragon’s duty to oversee the Spider, the Spirit-Born have opened
their doors to a select few of these. A small shrine to Okura-no-Oni has even been constructed
within the monastery grounds, to remind everyone that the circumstances of one’s birth need
not define the course of their entire life.

Benefit: +1 Void
Replaces: Togashi Tattooed Order 1
Skills: Athletics, Defense, Craft: Tattooing, J iujutsu, Any one Lore Skill, Meditation, any one
non-Low Skill
Honor: 4.5
Outfit: Robes, Bo, Traveling Pack, 5 koku
Requirements: Must have the Child of Chikushudo Advantage

TECHNIQUE: THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

Following Hoshi’s teachings allows a monk to safely tap into power inherited from his or her
nonhuman ancestors. When you acquire this Technique, you lose the special penalty
associated with your Child of Chikushudo Advantage. Instead, you gain one of the normal
Lesser Spirit Penalties on page 245 of [i]Enemies of the Empire[/i], which affects you as
though you were a spirit yourself. You also gain one Tattoo at this Rank.


The Many Parallel Roads

For as long as life has existed in the mortal world (and possibly before even that) the art of
combat has been in a state of constant growth and evolution. From the graceful movements of
the Kakita duelists to the relentless blows of the Yodotai gladiators, warriors continually
strive to hone their skills and to seek a mythical perfection in one style or another. Rarely,
they even succeed, and even more rarely they manage to teach a few worthy disciples. The
most successful go on to found true Schools, while others remain obscure and fade from
history as quickly as they arrive.

Comparisons could be made to the monks and their study of higher wisdom, and indeed some
in Rokugan have described these fragmentary insights into combat mastery as “the many
parallel roads”, referencing the quote from Shinsei that everyone finds their own path to
enlightenment. What is known is that these rare masters and their students develop
extraordinary skills with a specific weapon or other method of fighting, but often lack the
versatility of someone with more formalized training.

Technique Rank: 4
Replaces: Any non-spellcaster 4
Requirements: One Skill which may be used to make an attack at 6; at least one Emphasis in
the same Skill.

TECHNIQUE: WALK MY OWN ROAD

This technique represents many fighting styles, as diverse as stars in the sky, and yet the
abilities gaited from them remain surprisingly similar. You may make attacks as Simple
Actions when employing the Emphasis you used to qualify for this Path.

___________________________________________________________________________


NEW EQUIPMENT

Net:

A simple tool, yet very effective if used skillfully. Nets made for use in combat are typically
weighted at the corners, both to increase the distance they can be thrown and to make it
harder to break free. Using a net requires an Athletics (Throwing)/Agility roll opposed by the
target's Defense/Reflexes, and has a range of 25'. If the attack is successful, the target is
Entangled. The default TN to break free of the entanglement is 20, but this may vary
depending on the quality of the net's construction. A net that has been broken out of is useless
until repaired using an appropriate Craft (Rope) or Sailing (Knot-work) roll.

Panzerhand:

Early practitioners of the Ulminster Heavy Pugilist fighting style used plate gauntlets to
strengthen their blows, but they found that such armor quickly became dented and unusable.
Eventually, one armorsmith worked out how to reinforce the gauntlets so they would be
strong enough for the task while still being reasonably flexible, and result came to be known
as a “panzerhand”.

Attacks made with a panzerhand count as unarmed attacks for mechanical purposes, and gain
+0k1 to the damage roll. This stacks with all other effects that improve unarmed damage
except the Advantage Hands of Stone. Also, atemi strikes may not be delivered using a
panzerhand attack.