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New Mechanics
This section provides a new mechanical option for players
of the L5R 4th Edition role-playing game: the Shiba Artisan
school, repository of the Phoenix artistic traditions. Although
not as prestigious or politically connected as the Kakita Artisans, the Shiba Artisans are still much-admired in the Empire
and few Phoenix or Dragon daimyo will let themselves go
without a sample of their work.

New Basic School:
Shiba Artisans


There may be social situations where this Technique is not
applicable; when in doubt, the GM has the final say.

Rank Four: Bounty of the Craft
When presenting your art to others, you increase not only
your own understanding of your place in the universe, but
you aid others in perceiving theirs as well. Once per day you
may make an Artisan Skill Roll against TN 30. If successful,
you and a number of other people up to your School Rank
who are present at the time regain all Void Points. This ritualized presentation of your craft requires at least fifteen
minutes to complete. This Technique cannot be used in the

Rank Five: The Touch of Destiny
The work of a true master requires no explanation to inspire
others to greatness. When your work is on display in court or
in the home of a lord, all present in the chamber where it is
displayed gain one additional Void Point. If you are present,
you gain two additional Void Points instead, and you may
choose to deny the benefit of this Technique to any in attendance. An individual may only receive a maximum of one
additional Void Point per day in this manner (or two, in your

Chapter Five

Benefit: +1 Intelligence
Skills: Artisan (pick two), Calligraphy,
Etiquette, Lore (pick one), Sincerity,
any one High or Bugei Skill
Honor: 4.5
Outfit: Sensible Clothing, Wakizashi, tools necessary to practice
your chosen specialty, Traveling
Pack, 5 Koku.

Roll, you may use your Ranks in the Artisan Skill in place of
whatever Social Skill is called for. You gain no Mastery Level
benefits when using this Technique, since you do not actually
possess ranks in the Social Skill in question.

Rank One: Soul of Brilliance

Rank Two:
The Way of Sincerity
Through use of his craft, a Shiba
artisan can forge close bonds
with others that allow for longterm alliances to be formed.
Once per month you may make an
Artisan Skill Roll against TN 15. 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 spent to
purchase the Allies Advantage (subject to
GM approval). These Allies are temporary and
last for a period of time equal to your School
Rank in weeks.

Rank Three: The Art Speaks
An artisan has the ability to fall back on his art
when pressed in a social situation, allowing
its beauty and simplicity to speak for him.
Choose one Artisan Skill. When you are
called upon to make a Social Skill

The Arts

A true child of the Shiba line finds his
perfect center in the serenity and beauty
of creation. Select any one Artisan Skill.
Whenever you spend a Void Point making
a Skill Roll using that Skill, you gain a
bonus of +2k2 instead of the normal


sum of all its individuals. This makes it easy for them to
sacrifice their lives for the greater good. The Phoenix Clan
has struggled through very difficult times more than once,
but has always come back as strong as before.


The following section contains new Phoenix Clan game
mechanics for the L5R 4th Edition role-playing game. GMs
and players can add some or all of these mechanical options to their games to flesh out options for PCs and NPCs.

You have a great capacity for drawing upon the strength
of the Void as it exists within other elements. Select any
one non-Void Ring. You may expend spell slots associated with that Ring to use Void spells in addition to their
normal use. Only shugenja with an Affinity for Void spells
may purchase this Advantage.

There are few groups in the Emerald Empire as enigmatic
and poorly understood as the monastic Asako sect known as
the Henshin. Even among the Phoenix, very few outside the
Asako family have any real understanding of the Henshin’s
ways. Most Rokugani believe the Henshin are merely a mo-



Benefit: +1 Willpower
su, Lore: Elements (pick
Skills: Calligraphy, Jiujutsu,
an Emphasis), Lore:5re Theology, Meditation 2,
any one Skill (must not bee a Low Skill)
Honor: 5.5
Outfit: Robes, Bo, Scroll Satchel, Traveling Pack,
5 koku

The first lesson of the mysterious Henshin is the relationship between the individual and the
he Elements that comprise
all things. You may, as a Simple Action,
ction, increase or decrease
both Traits associated with one of your Rings by an amount
equal to your School Rank. This lasts
asts for a number of minutes equal to your Insight Rank and may be done a total
number of times per day equal to
o five times your Insight
Rank. You may instead increase or decrease the Traits of
another in a similar manner, but only by an amount equal
to half your School Rank, rounding down (to a minimum
of 1). Altering the Traits of an unknowing or unwilling target requires a Contested Willpower Roll. Traits reduced in
this manner do not affect a target’s Rings (and thus do not
change Wound Ranks when the Earth Ring is targeted, etc.).

The stoic and straightforward kami of Earth are the simplest to entertain with one’s riddles, and their blessings are
potent indeed. As a Simple Action, you may invoke this
Technique and gain Earth’s blessing; you are immune to
all Conditional Effects (excluding Grappled and Mounted)
for a number of hours equal to your Earth Ring.

The capricious spirits of Air can be delighted into conferring their blessings upon you. As a Simple Action, you
may invoke the blessing of Air. The blessing lasts a number of hours equal to your School Rank. For the duration


New Game

The Henshin follow the Path of Man as revealed by Shiba
to Asako. By developing perfect unity with the universe,
tricking the Elements and learning
g their secrets, the Henshin can attain absolute perfection of the soul, which in turn
grants divinity. The Henshin are essentially
sentially monks of a sort,
and as apprentices they are known as michibuku. Once they
have learned the secrets of the Path of Man, they are inducted
into the ranks of the secretive fushihai,
hihai, the true masters of
the Henshin order. The fushihai hold
ld deep knowledge of the
universe and are essentially immortal,
tal, able to live far beyond
the normal mortal span. Some among
mong the fushihaii ascend
to the Celestial Heavens upon theirr mortal death, becoming
minor Fortunes and validating the Path of Man.

Chapter Six

Players and GMs can use the concepts of kharma and reincarnation to add many new elements to their games. For
example, the GM can have a character experience dreams
or gain strange insights due to a kharmic connection to
an earlier life. Although no mortal ever fully remembers
a previous incarnation, fragmentary memories and kharmic destinies are common and can provide all kinds of options for plot and character development. Players who wish
to actively introduce this element to their characters can
choose to play reincarnations of previous samurai or even
of notable heroes (or villains), though of course these cannot be ancestors who have ascended to Yomi. Whether they
struggle against their past life’s demands or fully embrace
their destiny, either way the character gains a strong new
story element. Of course, no reincarnation lives exactly the
same life, and some interesting spice and variety can be
added by making a reincarnation who is now in a different
family, a different clan, or even has the opposite gender.

nastic group of courtiers and historians
orians within the Asako,
although their strange behaviors do distinguish them from
other Asako and suggest they possess
ess some manner of mystical or supernatural talent. Unfortunately,
tunately, that recognition
does little to assist in understanding
ng the Henshin’s ways.

of this effect, you cannot be deceived by any illusion or
other false images, and can perceive them as transparent
falsehoods. If an illusion is created by a spell of higher
Mastery Level than your Insight Rank, you and the spell’s
caster must engage in a Contested Air Roll. If you are defeated, you do not perceive the falsehood of the illusion.

The wrathful spirits of Fire can be entertained by your
riddles, if only briefly. As a Complex Action you may invoke Fire’s blessings to increase the number of kept dice
on an unarmed damage roll (which is normally 0k1) to
your Fire Ring. This effect lasts a number of Rounds equal
to your School Rank.
Alternatively, when an opponent strikes you with a melee
attack, you may spend a Void Point to force a Contested Fire
Ring Roll. If you are successful, the number of damage dice
your opponent rolls is reduced by your Fire Ring.


The mercurial spirits of Water can confer their speed and
fluidity in exchange for your riddles. You must succeed at
a Lore: Elements (Water) / Water Skill Roll against TN 20.
If successful, you may take one Complex and one Simple

The Nature of the Void

Chapter Six


The Void is not a discrete Element in the manner of
Earth, Fire, Air, or Water. It is everywhere, everywhen,
all at once. Void shugenja often describe their initial
experiences of sensing and entering the Void as being
like stepping into a rushing river, pulling them along
through a perpetual flood of sensation. Those who lack
sufficient will and focus can even become lost within
the Void, swept away by its immense power. Even the
most powerful and experienced Ishiken sometimes lose
control over the vast power coursing through their bodies, the perpetual flow of sensations as they merge with
all and nothing. Mortal senses are usually inadequate
to properly describe the Void—those who try have offered many different accounts, such as a constantlychanging kaleidoscope of colors or a black emptiness
interspersed with sparkles of indefinable light.
As is apparent from this discussion, there are no Void
kami. A shugenja who casts Void spells is directly communing with the Void and calling on a small portion
of its limitless power. Since there are no Void kami,
does a shugenja still have to read scrolls and speak
prayers when casting Void magic? Perhaps not—some
witness accounts have depicted Void shugenja simply
closing their eyes and meditating to call on the Void’s
power. On the other hand, from a game balance viewpoint Void magic is already quite powerful. Allowing a
Void shugenja to cast his spells without the constraints
placed on spells of other Elements may be excessive.
Ultimately, it is up to the GM whether flavor or play
balance should prevail in his particular game.

Action per Turn, or you may instead take three Simple
Actions per Turn.

The Asako are generally regarded as a peaceful and serene
family, the very picture of the pacifistic Phoenix. For the
most part this is an accurate picture of the family and their
philosophy, but there are those who stand apart from it.
The Asako are the primary force behind the Inquisitors,
the Phoenix order devoted to eradicating the corrupt and
blasphemous from within the ranks of the Empire’s shugenja. It is a mission they embrace completely and enact
at any cost. The order has existed since the Empire’s earliest days, long before the creation of the Jade Magistrates,
an organization that fulfills much the same purpose. The
Inquisitors sometimes work in cooperation with the Kuni
Witch Hunters and have even had a few limited contacts
with the Yogo family’s secretive Kuroiban.
The Asako Inquisitors do not concern themselves exclusively with maho or Shadowlands corruption, although
these crimes are among their most frequent targets. They
also investigate gaijin magic and any religious groups
with heretical beliefs, such as the Bloodspeaker Cult. Members of the Inquisitor order are selected primarily from the
ranks of Phoenix shugenja, but many bushi serve with
them and a few Henshin and Brotherhood monks have
been inducted as well. Those who are inducted into the
order and take the necessary vows of duty and secrecy
are granted a stylized tattoo of an eye, the symbol of the
order, somewhere on their body. The back of the hand is
the most common location.


Rings/Traits: Void 4, any two other Rings at 3
Skills: Lore: Law 4, Lore: Shugenja 3
Other: Must be able to cast spells of Mastery Level
4 in one element OR have the ability to make melee
attacks as a Simple Action and possess the Phoenix
Sacred Weapon (the Inquisitor’s Strike). May not
be Tainted

The Asako Inquisitors are taught to focus their will to
disrupt the unnatural magic of blasphemers and criminals. You are considered one Rank higher in your original
Shugenja School for the purposes of casting spells. Nonshugenja Inquisitors instead gain one Kiho, for which you
must meet all prerequisites.
During a skirmish you may use a Complex Action to
prepare a disruption of enemy magic. At any point later
in the same skirmish when an opponent is casting a spell,

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