L5R Schools

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Setting-Driven Changes

The following changes are due to alterations in the setting - things were different before the Clan War.

  • Usagi Bushi: Kolat are unknown, Shadowlands Lore replaces Lore: Kolat.

Note - All Minor Clan and Ronin schools (save for Shugenja - see below), are limited to three ranks. The Mantis are a minor exception to this in that their Bushi school (only) has four ranks (Yoritomo himself has 'unlocked' it). Exceptional individuals may develop their school one rank further, at the GM's discretion. Also, during the Clan War, all schools will eventually unlock another school rank, bringing the total to five through one means or another.

Minor Clan and Ronin Shugenja - In order to study past Rank 3, they must find a willing tutor, or gain entrance into another school. It is a fairly simple matter for Tonbo and Moshi shugenja to find acceptance or tutelage among the Phoenix, but the Kitsune will need to find a minor ally and end up owing a minor obligation to the Crane or Phoenix. Ronin have a considerably tougher time, and must usually find an acceptable tutor (such as Naka Kuro). Failing that, an extensive period of service to the Phoenix will net some tutelage, but no more than one spell will be granted per school rank.

  • The Moshi School has, obviously, changed since Amaterasu's death and their 'betrayal' through joining the Mantis. See below.
  • The Yoritomo technique is (slightly) weaker, not gaining free raises to Water spells.
  • The Tonbo have not been so nearly destroyed, and thus, have not developed their technique further. Only the first paragraph (the 'Silvered Tongue') applies.
  • The 'Militant Shugenja' do not exist yet (nor does their technique).

Moshi Shugenja School

The Moshi are devoted servants of the goddess Amaterasu. Their strength is a gift from the Sun Goddess herself, and their mastery of Fire rivaled only by the Phoenix, and they are notable masters of Air magic. They rarely study Earth or Water magic, and in a clan as small as theirs, such talent is scarce indeed.

Only females of the Moshi family may attend this school, though many are welcome to study with them. The Moshi give birth to few males, meaning that nearly the entire clan belongs to this school.

  • Benefit: +1 Agility
  • Honor: 1.5
  • Skills: Athletics, Calligraphy, Lore: History, Meditation, Shintao (Theology), any two High Skills
  • Outfit: Wakizashi, Tanto; Kimono, Sandals, Scroll Satchel, Traveling Pack, First Aid Kit, 2 koku
  • Affinity/Deficiency: Affinity with Fire and Air spells. Deficiency with Water and Earth spells.
  • Spells: Sense, Commune, Summon, Counterspell. 3 Air Spells, 3 Fire spells.

Technique: The Morning Star
The Shugenja of the Moshi are some of the finest practitioners of Air and Fire magic in Rokugan. A number of times per session equal to her Void Ring, she gains a free raise on any roll involving her Air or Fire ring, or a trait depending on them (Agility, Reflexes, Awareness, Intelligence).
Should a Moshi shugenja climb Yama sano Amaterasu, and pray at the Shrine at its top, she instead get this bonus to all such rolls, so long as she remains within the Valley of the Centipede, up to a number of years equal to her Void. When she leaves the Valley, this effect fades after a number of weeks equal to her Void.

Other Changes

What follows are changes made for balance or flavor and setting purposes.

Small Changes

  • Asahina shugenja technique: Does not add honor rank to ring for determining spell effect purposes. In addition, the honor dice added are rolled, not kept (this is the default interpretation of the rules but bears repeating). It should not have to said that this ability cannot be applied in an action that would cause a loss of honor or violate the Asahina's pacifistic code.
  • Isawa shugenja technique: The standard Isawa shugenja school (not the Tensai) also provides a free raise on all ritual spells cast as such. This is in addition to the other technique benefits. See also the Isawa Tensai and Elemental Guard, below, for a different (and more drastic) take on those schools.
  • Asako Courtier and Hiruma Scout Rank 5: Only 9's and 10's explode, but the dice can explode repeatedly on a 9 as well as a 10 (this is to make it more OpenRPG friendly).
  • Ikoma Spymaster: Their Starting skill package should read: Courtier, Defense, Etiquette (Sincerity), Investigation (Notice) 2, Stealth, Kenjutsu.
  • Grand Master of the Elements Rank 1: If a character has no deficiencies when entering this rank (such as from entering this school from the Isawa shugenja school), she instead gains a free raise when casting spells of an element with which she has an affinity.

Isawa Tensai

This school got hit with the Tame stick for no good reason.

The Ishiken use these same mechanics to represent their power - they are merely called Ishiken instead of Void Tensai.

  • Benefit: +1 to Mental Trait of chosen specialty (or Void in the case of Void)
  • Honor: 3.5
  • Skills: Calligraphy, Lore: History, Meditation, Theology (Shintao), Tea Ceremony, Any two High Skills
  • Outfit: Wakizashi, Tanto; Kimono, Sandals, Scroll Satchel, Traveling Pack, any one book (pillow or otherwise), 4 koku
  • Affinity/Deficiency: Affinity with Chosen element. Deficiency with all other elements.
  • Technique: You have a true, unwavering command of your chosen element. Innate abilities of your chosen element cost one experience point less for you. In addition, when casting an innate ability of your chosen element, you gain a number of free raises equal to your shugenja rank. You gain no additional free raise for possessing the spell scroll when you cast an innate ability of your favored element, or from the 'friendly kami' advantage. When you spend a void point to enhance a spell of your favored element, you instead add your entire Void Ring to the roll.
  • Spells: Sense, Commune, Summon, Counterspell. All mastery level 1 spells of chosen Element as innate abilities. Choose six mastery rank 2 spells of chosen element, which are not innate abilities unless you pay for them.
  • Special: Attending a school outside of the Phoenix clan is nigh unthinkable. If you manage to obtain the Multiple Schools advantage for another school outside of the clan, gain the Black Sheep disadvantage, and no points for it. No non-shugenja school inside the Phoenix Clan will accept you - it would be a dishonor to waste such potential. If you take any Path, or any Advanced School besides the Elemental Guard or Grand Master of the Elements, these do not add to your Shugenja Rank for the purposes of your school technique. Note that the Seppun Family shugenja school currently does accept Phoenix and is considered a 'Phoenix' school for these purposes.

Elemental Guard

The School Update version of this advanced school has a problem with the secondary ability - the 'free casting' ability. The rank 1 and 2 abilities are comparatively useless.

  • A Fire-affinity Shugenja with a Fire of 5 and Void 5 entering this school for their rank 6 technique rolls 13k6 (becoming 10k7) for their fire spells. This averages to 54.
  • Casting a Mastery 3 spell in one action without using a spell slot takes five raises, for a total TN of 50.
  • Let's say bringing their Fire and Void up to 6 lets them get the second rank in the school. Their total roll becomes 16k7, or 10k10. This averages to 60, on the dot.
  • Casting a Mastery 4 spell in one action without using a spell slot takes six raises, for a total TN of 60.

Thus the problem. Also, this school again reflects the sacrifice presented in earlier editions of the game.


  • Rings: Chosen Ring at 6, all other Rings at 3.
  • Skills: Meditation 5, Spellcraft (Chosen Element) 6, Theology (Shintao) 6
  • Advantages: Blessing of the Elements (Chosen Element)
  • Other: Only Phoenix shugenja of a Phoenix school may join the Elemental Legions. You must possess at least one spell of mastery 4 or higher as an innate ability in your chosen element. Upon joining, the shugenja must select one element in which she has an Affinity as her chosen element for the purposes of the Techniques described below and the requirements above.
  • Special: The Elemental Guards have special names depending upon their elemental alignment. They are as follows: Hurricane Initiates (Air), Avalanche Guard (Earth), Firestorm Legion (Fire), and Tsunami Legion (Water). The Void Guard (Void) is an unknown order within the already secretive ishiken.

Rank 1: Name of the Elements

  • Your chosen element is a powerful, unerring force, but your enhanced focus comes at a price. You gain a deficiency in all elements besides your chosen Element for each rank you gain in this school.
  • When casting a spell of your chosen Element, add your Elemental Guard School Rank in kept dice to your casting roll.
  • Finally, you reduce the number of raises required to cast a spell without using a slot by your Elemental Guard School Rank.

Rank 2: Touch of the Elements

  • Concentration requirements for spells of your chosen element are reduced by one step. Total Concentration becomes Full Concentration, Full Concentration becomes Casual Concentration, and Casual Concentration effectively becomes 'while conscious'.

Rank 3: Shape of the Elements

  • You gain the ability to summon the power of the dragons. Hurricane Initiates may call Whim of the Air Dragon, the Avalanche Guard may call upon Protection of the Earth Dragon, The Firestorm Legion may summon the Ferocity of the Fire Dragon, the Void Guard may conjure the Mystery of the Void Dragon, and the Tsunami Legion may summon Tranquility of the Water Dragon, all as effectively Mastery level 7 spells. Casting these spells consumes two spell slots (even considering their rank 1 ability), and may not be reduced below one spell slot with raises.
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