Yoritomo Makir or Madhb (the foreigner)
Yoritomo Makir had made a couple of writers wrote tales about his tragic life, and they would write more if he was to ever come back to Rokugan. Makir was nothing else than your common Yoritomo sailor. He felt deeply in love with the daughter of a Tsuruchi daimyo of a small part of the southest province of the Tsuruchi lands. He made everything he could to get the daimyo’s attention and conquer the beauty. He joined the Tsuruchi school to prove his value at the job the daimyo asked him to, to hunt bandits. He mastered the bow as much as he could, but nothing seems to be able to match the requirements of the daimyo.
Then he learned. Tsuruchi Maya, the daughter, was inspired by her Matsu mother. She was a lady that needed to be conquered and if she was unmarried for now, it’s because she had always made her possible husbands go through difficults challenges to won her had like Moto Chai’s daughter, who made those who wanted to marry her do a horse race with her and loose horses if they failed. Makir then gone to his love and told her he knew she was using her father. He asked for one final challenge. Maya looked at him and told him he would have his answer the next day.
And Makir came back. She handed him a really long arrow, twice longer than the usual arrow. “Find me feathers that could fit it, and I will be yours.”
And the young Yoritomo started looking everywhere in Rokugan for that. He travelled south of the Mantis islands and then headed north of the Unicorn lands. He killed the giant hawks of the Yobanjin but it wasn’t enough. Then he heard. The Unicorn had legends about a giant bird named the Roc. And so he travelled through the desert. And for Rokugan, his tale ended here. Storytellers recite his story to show the foolishness of love.
But his story didn’t end here. He was found half-dead in the middle of the desert by a band of sand pirates. Now, he is one of them. The boat he is on may be floating on the sands, but it’s still a boat and he feels at his place here. He hunts peoples he doesn’t understand for his new friends, looking for the day a Roc will cross his path… And he will be ready.
School/ rank : Yoritomo bushi 1/ Tsuruchi bounty hunter 1/ Tsuruchi swordman 1/ Ronin warrior 1
Glory 0.0 (reported dead)
Fire 4 (agility 5)
Advantages and Disadvantages: multiple schools, quick, strength of the earth (one rank), quick healer. Bad fortune, true love (Tsuruchi Maya), gullible.
Skills: athletics 5, battle 2, commerce 5, craft : sailing 7, defense 5, kenjutsu (katana) 5, peasant weapons (kama) 3, hunting 5, kyujutsu (Tsuruchi longbow) 3, stealth 3, navigation (sea, sand, land) 7, craft : shipbuilding 5, knives (katar) 7, games : winds and fortunes 3.
Katas : strike as water, strike as air.
With the smell of sake following him around, a half-shaved beard, and a scruffy brown kimono that isn’t really dirty, but is never really clean either, Okujo isn’t the kind of man to inspire confidence and trust. Most of the time, with a bottle of sake and some cards or dice in his hands, he just looks like a professional ronin gambler out to get some money for his next drunken binge.
According to the records, Okujo was once a student of the bounty hunter school. He was talented, but a month before his gempukku, he got drunk while he was playing winds and fortunes, and he killed the man he was playing against. It was another member of the Mantis clan, Yoritomo Tegoshi. The Tsuruchi sensei didn’t take it lightly. He was made ronin and thrown a broken wakizashi as a symbol.
He left Ashinagabachi to live life as a ronin. Often, he is seen going from sake house to gambling house, in shame.
When left to his own devices, Okujo discovered he had a “knack” with numbers. While it appears he might drink too much and gamble too much, the truth is he is good with numbers–very good.
He makes the money to drink and gamble by selling his skill with numbers to those who need a little help around the prevailing bureaucracy. It turns out he is really very good at finding ways to hide money and goods from tax collectors and others ways to “cook the books.” And, if the goods are stolen to begin with? Well, Okujo doesn’t ask any questions. Jizumai (bandit groups) and Wakos (pirates) often call for his services, and to all appearances, Okujo is glad to work to get more sake.
The truth is a little more complex than that. Long ago, Okujo was, as the records say, a student of the Tsuruchi Bounty Hunter School. However, he was not a drunken lout. He was one of a select group chosen and trained for his role in life. Tegushi was a traitor to the Mantis who joined the Black Lotus. They needed someone to infiltrate the bandit groups for information, and Okujo was chosen. It tooks him three years of carefully maintaining his facade, scrounging at bit jobs here and there before he found his first real connection.
Now, of course, he is starting to accumulate enough contacts to be truly useful for his clan and worth the trouble they went to to establish his cover. He has begun to be one of the people who knows what is sold, where, and for how much.
He never acts directly. The information is passed off to the other Tsuruchi in a circuitous fashion so it cannot be tied back to him when his fellow Tsuruchi move in to eliminate the groups they are targetting.
Okujo is a careful man. He even writes his letters in a palimpeste. He writes the text he wants on pieces of scrolls, then clean them up and ties them together, like normal, blank, scrolls. But when his superiors receive the scrolls, they cut the scrolls in a certain way, then reconstruct them in a different pattern. To see the actual writing, they then use lemon juice and the text appears. It takes quite some time to write anything this way, and very nearly the same amount of time to read it, but even using magic will give only random texts. It’s quite a clever cypher because it’s really simple, but hard and really long to do. Even if somebody knew there is an hidden message, it would take months to find the proper combinaison.
School / Rank : Tsuruchi bounty hunter 1/ Master of games 2
Honor : 1,5 Glory : 3,5 (for those aware of his mission, otherwise this count as his infamy rank) Statut : NA (technically ronin)
Earth : 2 (willpower : 4)
Fire : 3
Air : 4
Water : 2
Void : 2
Advantages : crafty, irreproachable (4 points)
Disadvantages : compulsion (sake 2 points), small.
Skills : athletics 2, defense 3, hunting 2, kyujutsu (Tsuruchi longbow) 2, stealth 4, knives 1, acting (disguise) 2, calligraphy (palimpeste) 4, courtier (manipulation) 3, etiquette (bureaucracy) 5, games : wind and fortunes 5, games : oichu-kabu (hanafuda) 3, investigation (search) 2, commerce 4, deceit (lying) 5, forgery (calligraphy) 5, underworld 3, storytelling 1, lore : law 4
Katas : strike as wind.
Kimari is really different from your average Mantis. A young athlete, hardened in the harsh mountains of the North, he has short hair tied in his back with a Dragon clan scarf and wears an unusual yellow kimono with green decorations of the Mantis clan.
When Kimari was six-years-old, he was taken sailing by his father. A member of the Rolling Waves vassal family, his father was a well-know pirate among the Mantis clan. He believed firmly in taking children out on the sea as soon as possible. How else were they to learn of the sea?
Kimari didn’t really enjoyed the sea, but he had no problems until his father’s ship entered a fight with a Dragon clan ship. It was supposedly an easy target, but the fight didn’t go well. Soon the Mantis vessel was in a bad position, but the Dragon captain also knew his ship would sink if he kept pushing the fight. So, the two captains decided to negotiate a truce. As part of that truce, Kimari was sent as an hostage to the Dragon clan.
Kimari loved the Dragon mountains. He felt much more at home there than anywhere else. From the bloodline of Yoritomo Tsuyu on his mother’s side, he had always listened to the tales of the famous Mantis clan duellist who had challenged Toku of the Monkey Clan, the Captain of the Imperial Guard, to a naginata duel. Though the Monkey hero had defeated him, Tsuyu had not given up. He proved his worth by defeating lots of duellists of many different clans during the Clan War and later until his death.
In honor of this tradition, Kimari spent his time with the Dragon learning the way of the sword and the Mirumoto duellists.
After his gempukku, Kimari returned to the Mantis isles. He discovered he had a phobia of the sea, born of the bloody events that had ended with him being sent to the Dragon. When he finally met his father Otago again, he was ordered to show what he had learned.
He challenged his older brother Rikiso to a duel and beat him easily, but no one aknowledged his success. Otago told him he hadn’t learned anything useful; and his brother demonstrated the skills of the Kobune pilots and the kama duelling style of the Mantis clan. His proclamation that “That is our tradition, not that of the mainland. You are a shame to us,” devastated Kimari, but it did not deter him.
Now, Kimari looks for a way to prove his worth to his clan. Though he continue to practice his dueling, he also tries desperately to learn the way of his older brother–a way at which he, all too often, fails.
One day, he hopes to carve his own path. But, then, that is the way of the Mantis.
School / rank : Mirumoto swordmaster 2
Honor : 2,5 Glory : 2,0 Statut : 1,0
Fire : 3
Air : 2 (reflexes 3)
Water : 2 (strength 3)
Earth : 2
Void : 3
Advantages : bland, different school (Mirumoto Swordmaster), kharmic tie (1 pt : older brother).
Disadvantages : bad fortune (seasick), black sheep, hostage, doubt (peasant weapons).
Skills : craft : weaponsmith 2, defense 3, iaijutsu 5, kenjutsu (katana) 5, kyujutsu 1, meditation 1, peasant weapons 1, etiquette 2, athletics 3, battle 2, commerce 1
Katas : strike as fire.
Kitsune scout school [bushi]
The Fox clan is the oldest recorded minor clan in history. Even if Kaimetsu-uo and his followers created the Mantis clan before that, they were recognised as one after the creation of the Fox. The Kitsune were originally talented riders as they were holding to the tradition of Lady Shinjo their founder. But when the Lion attacked their lands to conquer them, they couldn’t defend the lands of the Ki-rin. The Emperor saved them from annihilation by moving them to Kitsune Mori, what gives them their new name. Here, they discovered a new land, a new way of life. They still felt the wanderlust of the children of Shinjo, and so explored their new territory. They made new discoveries and new allies, but also new dangers. And then was born the Kitsune scout school. The Kitsune scout school helped the Kitsune during years to held their ground and explore the forest, but somewhat felt antiquated and unadapted to the modern society, especially after the creation of the Mondai Ketsu. That why Kitsune Ryukhan didn’t join it at first, selecting like many of the young generation to join allies’ schools to feel less out of the modern world. But now, the Mantis is growing stronger and closer to the Fox, and they seem to have a lot of use for the Kitsune scouts and their abilities.
The actual sensei of this school is Kitsune Shudo, a gunso that once served in Yoritomo’s alliance of minor clans. He is a talented warrior, particularly skilled in ambushes and skirmishes where the small number of his warriors can be used as an advantage when combining with a superior scouting operation. He is from the bloodline of Kitsune Shudo, who he shares the name and the position : Shudo was the one who unified the old and new scouts techniques when the Fox moved to Kitsune Mori.
Bonus : + 1 perception.
Honor : 2,5
Skills : spears (nagamaki), hunting, stealth, defense, athletics, navigation and kyujutsu.
Starting outfit : katana, wakizashi, nagamaki, kimono and sandals, two travelling packs, 3 koku, a yumi and 20 arrows (any kind).
Rank 1 : Way of the Fox.
The Kitsune searched for ways of surviving in the harsh new environment they have been sent to. But the fox spirits showed themselves to them and teached them the way of the forest. They listened well and that when asked for their name, they took the Kitsune name and the fox as symbol, making now their own path instead of only being the remnants of the Ki-rin. The knowledge of the way of the forest allows the Kitsune to ignore the penalties of wearing a Light Armor. As long as the Fox bushi is not wearing an armor heavier than a light armor, He has a bonus to his TN to be hit and all his stealth rolls equal to two times his agility rank.
Rank 2 : Shudo’s trail.
Kitsune Shudo unified a lot of techniques and habits of the original scouts of the fledging Fox clan to create a unique style that could he teaches in a school. He used to takes his students to some parts of the forest, and leaves them here. Up to them to find the clues he left and follows the trail. He was always watching them, but those who couldn’t found the clues were not ready for more training and returned to the beginner’s classes. After spending at least 1 hour exploring a particular small region, you can spend a void point to gain the “way of the land” advantage for this region. This advantage last for 24 hours. If you spent a month in the region, the advantage became permanent.
Rank 3 : Skirt the edge.
The warriors of the Fox clan learned to master the blade to protect their brethren for numerous creatures from this realm and others, like the dangerous Winter Ravager. Their own unique fighting style grants them one additional attack per turn. You can buy the blessing of the land, draw upon the land and lore of the land advantages (Emerald Empire pages 30-31) for respectively 6, 2 and 4 exp instead of their normal cost.
Rank 4 : Surveying the land.
The Kitsune bushi learned to observe and assess everything in his surroundings. This knowledge allows him to spectacular feats in his job and a great help to those who listen to his reports. He can survive easily in any kind of natural wilderness. The scout add now two times his insight rank to all stealth, medicine (herbalism) and hunting rolls, three times when he is in a region who he has the way of the land advantage related to. When making stealth (ambush) rolls, every void point spent count as two void points.
Rank 5 : Find a way through it.
The Kitsune scout learned to survive in every kind of environment. They were granted the blessing of the Kitsune hengeyokais (shapeshifters) and the fortune Inari of rice and foxes. Every time they spend a void point to reduce damage, they reduce the damage by 20 points instead of 10. They can now spend more than one void point on their stealth and hunting rolls, and also for the damage reduction ability. Every morning, they earn a number of void points equal to their insight rank that can only be used for the damage reduction ability and that are lost after 24 hours if not used.
Kitsune librarian school [courtier]
When Shinjo left with her clan, those who stayed behind had for mission to record the events of Rokugan so when the Ki-rin returned they could learn about what happened during their exile. This also included a lot of genealogic recording so the bloodlines of all the servants of the Kamis would never be forgotten. That how the Fox clan started a long tradition of librarians, that survived centuries. They are the keepers of the past of Rokugan and their libraries held some of the most complete genealogies still available after the destruction of the Ikoma histories during the War against the Shadow. The Miya and the Ikoma often requested to read documents from their holdings. The Librarians being at first the most public face of the Fox clan, they quickly turned their abilities into a full courtier school to help voice their concerns at the Imperial court : they were after all the only ones allowed to go the court among the Minor clans until the sponsoring of the Tortoise clan’s ambassadorship of the Minor clans by the Dragon. As the voice of the Ki-rin and later as of the Minor clans, the Kitsune where never really threatened in court, for they had little others clans would like to use. It started to change during the reign of Hantei XXXVIII when the Mondai Ketsu were created and housed in the Fox clan’s embassy of Otosan Uchi. It granted a much more important political power to them, power that faded away with the destruction of this unit during the burning of the Imperial city. Now, the Kitsune are back to being helpers to others clans at court, those diligent agents that provides you with information about lore and past. Especially for the Yoritomo courtiers who can use their new clansmates’ abilities to compensate some of their own techniques’ weaknesses.
The actual leader of the school is the imperial courtier Kitsune Tsutaro. This young lady is extremely talented and depressed: she cannot stand the empty throne and the wars it’s creating. After weeks of genealogic research, she found that Seppun Matsuo is the closet relative to the Hantei bloodline. She is supporting him as an imperial candidate, but winning little support : he is so far removed for the ruling bloodline that barely anyone would consider him, especially since he has no great support among his own family. But Tsutaro doesn’t despair : now, she is a member of a great clan and have more influence than she ever had.
Bonus : + 1 intelligence.
Honor : 3,0
Skills : lore : genealogy (specific clan or family), courtier, etiquette, calligraphy, storytelling (oratory) and any 2 high skills.
Outfit : wakizashi, two kimonos and two pairs of sandals, travelling pack, 3 koku, steed and tanto.
Rank 1 : Credit where due.
The Fox held tales of the past and the great blessings ancestors brought on their descendant. They can easily list all the famous parents of a samourais and their greatest deeds. When making the raw awareness roll to recognise somebody by his glory, you roll a number of additional dice equal to your insight rank. When you have recognised somebody, you add your lore : genealogy rank to all your social rolls when interacting with this person, if you have his clan or family emphasis. Add two times the bonus if you have both. You can add your air rank to all your awareness and storytelling rolls.
Rank 2 : Blue skies.
The Kitsune held for a long time a special place in the heart of the Hantei, as they were the reminder of Shinjo’s legacy. They were favoured and blessed for centuries and learned to enjoy the benefits of this position. When you are making a contested social roll, you roll additional dice equal to the difference between your status and your opponent’s status if your status is higher, or 1 die if it’s lower. When spending a void point for a courtier or etiquette roll you can add your lore : genealogy rank to the roll.
Rank 3 : Homecoming.
Home has always a special place in the heart of the Kitsune. They are feeling one with the forest, whatever their link to it by blood or spirit. When they feel at peace, the Fox courtier is able to use some inner strength he wasn’t aware of. When waking up after a resting night, the courtier gains a void point for the day. This void point follows the same rules as the one granted by the Spirit of Maigo no Musha advantage and then can’t be cumulated with it. When they spend a void point, they add 1k1 + their insight rank to the roll instead of 1k1.
Rank 4 : Open arms.
The Kitsune are a friendly group and always welcomed travellers to their houses. This helped them learn many customs and habits, and how to live with those. They also learned about many little secrets in the Empire. Choose a number of school skills equal to your rank in this school : your 9′ explodes as well as 10′ when making a roll with one of those skills. This effect may be used only once per die per roll : if you roll 9′, then reroll and get a 9′, it explode only once. A 10′ rolled after a 9′ still explode normally. You can choose an additional school skill to be affected by this technique each time you earn a new rank in this school.
Rank 5 : The price of innocence.
The Kitsune learned the dear price of innocence when they were manipulated and used by some clans, and often left betrayed, mostly by the Crane. They learned harshly and that helped them mature their own techniques. You earn a number of free raise equal to your insight rank to all your socials rolls. When you loose a contested social roll, you can pay 2 void points and both characters involved reroll all their dice.
The Storm Legion [bushi]
The Storm Legion started as a group of 12 Mantis. The 12 first followers of Kaimetsu-uo when he founded the Mantis clan, they came from the Lion and the Crab to follow their leader. Kintari, Kaimetsu-uo’s right hand man, trained them and created his own techniques by following his master’s example. They learned to lives on the sea, to learn from the secrets of the old Komouri shape shifter that guided the first Mantis lord, and they became a famous unit, unit that stormed the Phoenix’s lands when they hunted Osano-wo’s assassin. Later Kindari looked at the other 11 original followers of the first Mantis, and they wondered. They teached their techniques only to their child, and the tradition was hold upon until Kitao’s reign on the Mantis.
Kitao was a member of the Storm Legion, because her bloodline was one of those who followed Kaimetsu-uo before the Mantis clan was created. She looked at the techniques that were teached only to those who shared the blood of the 12, and was upset of it. Half of those who had the blood where courtiers and shugenjas, and so couldn’t learn the techniques of the Storm Legion. She then ordered those of the Legion to teach to only their family and those they felt was worthy of it. From a blood-restricted group, the Storm Legion moved to a military unit only the best of the Mantis could join. During the Mantis civil war, the Storm Legion opposed the Yoritomo House Guard as the first stepped for Kitao and the second for Kumiko. The Legion showed her talents and turned into one of the best military asset of the clan.
The actual leader of the legion is Yoritomo Soetsuko, a former Kitao follower during the civil war and a blood relative of Kindari the original founder of the Legion.
Rings and traits : agility 4, water 4
Skills : peasant weapons (kama) 7, athletics 5, craft (sailing) 5
Special : the advantage : Blood of the Storm reduce one of the requirements of one trait or skill by 1.
Rank 1 : UTZ !
The Mantis’ two weapons strike style is a powerful advantage in combat. The Yoritomo developed it through the Yoritomo bushi school, but the Storm Legion perfected it. Masters of feint and strike with their two weapons, they gain an additional attack per turn when they have one weapon in each hand. The additional attack of this technique is done with the weapon in the non-directive hand.
Rank 2 : Kaimetsu-uo’s formation.
Kaimetsu-uo teached to his followers techniques to use every resources at their disposal, as a group or as an individual. They learned to spot anything that could help them during the fight. Your opponents can’t reduce affect your initiative score by any way (tides of battle, combat reflexes for examples). You can use the tides of battles on every opponent you hit with a melee attack, even if you have been hit by them. You can once per turn target an ally and spend a void point to increase his initiative score by the value of your tides of battle roll of this turn instead of adding it to your own initiative score.
Rank 3 : The Mantis’ strength.
The Mantis’ strength is versality. They are adaptable peoples who can found a way through or around any problems. Mantis warriors are survivors and this is the ultimate lesson of the Yoritomo : versality, imagination, adaptation to win. You can spend void points to add additional dice to your rolls after rolling them. You can spend more than one void point when using this technique. You earn a number of void points per day useable only for this technique equal to your void rank. Those points are given in the morning and are lost after 24 hours.
Advantage : blood of the storm [innate] 6 cp. You are from the bloodlines of one of the 12 original Mantis or from the line of Kaimetsu-uo. You are by title a member of the Storm Legion, but will be a real member only when you join the Storm Legion advanced school. You have + 1 full rank of status, and a second full rank of status among Mantis characters. You can only join schools from the Yoritomo family, not from another clan or even another family : doing so would be highly dishonourable and could let to a big loss of status or even ending as a ronin.