Saturday, April 18, 2009

New Skill rules

If you want to create a new spell or technique, use the mechanic provided below. This is particularly useful for shugenja who do try to understand the kami in their own way. Shugenja often recreate spells that have already been created by other shugenja. The penalties for unfamiliarity will not affect shugenja as they commune directly with the kami, so they are never truly unfamiliar with a technique.


  • Martial Research: (Lore Skill, Intelligence) Analogous to spell research for the shugenja, this allows the bushi to create new techniques, kiho, and kata. You can take emphases in Rank Techniques, Kiho, and Kata. The TN to create a new Technique/Kiho/Kata is the insight rank of the technique x 5 plus the base TN of 15 (for kata, this is the point cost divided by two, for kiho it is the mastery level). For example, a rank one technique has a TN of 20, while a rank 4 technique has a TN of 35.
  • Spell Research: (emphasis on Spellcraft, these rules supersede the core L5R rules). Just like for martial techniques, the TN is 15 plus 5x Rank of the spell.
  • Tattoo Research: (emphasis on Artisan: Tattooing). Allows for the creation of new tattoos with mechanical effects similar to those in the book. Requires a meditation of rank 5 to do any research. The time and TN will be determined by the GM.

All these skills have a restriction in terms of the rank of the technique/kata/etc. You may only create a technique (etc) with a Rank value no more than two less than your skill rank.

Skill Mechanics:

  • Spell Research/Martial Research: Many bushi and shugenja who know the principles of martial arts or of communing with the kami are able to create their own spells or techniques. This is a time consuming process, and it requires considerable dedication and often protracted amounts of isolation. Detail the effect that you want, discuss it with the GM to get approval and an appropriate rank, and then spend the time doing the research, and make a roll. For a rank technique, the character has to have enough insight to gain a rank technique before beginning the official study, though in role-playing terms, the character should be working toward the technique/spell/tattoo as often as s/he likes. There are several modifiers to the TN for the roll, listed below:

(TN Mod) Effect
(+5) First time researching a technique/spell without assistance
(-15) Under tutelage of a master in developing techniques/spells (master is rank 7 in the appropriate skill).
(-5) Access to a major library/dojo (to gain this bonus, the library/dojo must have significant resources available to the character).
(+5) Character is in distracted circumstances (having a pupil, not having exclusive access to library/dojo, commitments to family/lord). This penalty is cumulative per distraction.
(-5) Undistracted solo study (no distractions at all; this is usually achieved by sequestering oneself at a shrine or in the wilderness). It is very difficult to gain a bonus for dojo/library and undistracted.
(+10) Have never seen/experienced/trained in a technique similar to the one you are developing.
(+5) Limited experience with similar technique/spell.
(+0) Technique/spell mimics a known effect with which you have experience.
(-5) Technique/spell that mimics a known effect with which you have great experience, have observed in depth, or have trained alongside and studied extensively.
(+10) Spell is from an element with which you have a deficiency.
(-10) Spell is from an element with which you have an affinity.
(+var) Technique/spell has an effect that runs counter to the philosophy of your basic training/school (minimum penalty is +5).
(+10) Creating an advanced technique (one that is past rank 5)
(+2/day) Each day that is taken away from continuous study. If you spend a day where you work on the task for 1 Rokugani hour or less, you incur this penalty.

The base time to create a technique is 5 days (one half of a Rokugani week) plus 5 days per rank of the technique. Advanced techniques take an additional 5 days per rank past the fifth. This assumes that you are spending 6 Rokugani hours researching, meditating, and practicing. If you spend less than this, the number of days is increased proportionally (the final hour total must be the same). You may make raises to reduce the time that you spend developing the technique/spell. Each raise reduces the time by 5 days, down to 5 days total time, then each subsequent raise removes one day, down to a minimum of one day. So if you wanted to make a rank 8 technique in one day, you would need to make 12 raises - not really within the realm of possibility, but you could try it.

This is really to allow for people to develop their own unique styles, like Musashi's Fire and Stones cut, or Sasaki Kojiro's Swallow's Wing cut. Also, the development of unique and personal spells enhances a individual's connection with the kami; so many masters demand that their students do this - it is also just a nod to the self-perfectability that is implicit in this style of game.

1 comment:

  1. Example: I am a Ronin Shugenja with an affinity for Earth. I decide to create what the GM and I agree is a rank 3 spell. My spellcraft is 5 and my intelligence is 3, giving me 8k3 for the roll. I have used this skill before, so the first time penalty does not apply. I sequester myself in the mountains so as to commune with the kami. The base time is 20 days, the base TN is 30, with the following modifiers:-5 (undistracted solo study), -10 (affinity). I will make two raises to develop the technique in 10 days (one Rokugani week) and my total TN is 25. Since I roll a 29, I am successful and have created a new spell I can use. Note, I still need the scroll, and must pay experience to make it innate.