While thinking about the world of my manga, and thinking of Samurai, Rokugan had crept back out of my memories. I wondered what it could be like to run a Rokugan campaign again. After all there is a lot about Rokugan that does make it work for what it is designed for.
To be clear, the Emerald Empire is High Fantasy. Adventures in the Emerald Empire isn't low fantasy, nor is it Anime, where anything goes in terms of power level. It's more like the Chanbara flicks with a lot of magic mixed in.
Secondly, its made by Americans who speak English. So the Japanese probably think it's funny. To be fare, the Japanese commit the same sins when they create High Fantasy European settings for anime. Tell me that Gourry and Lina Inverse are perfectly respectable names for European Fantasy: so really, L5R is laughable to them just the same as the Slayers anime series is laughable to us.
Still . . . A campaign in Rokugan is entirely possible.
System: The d20 System. Okay, those who like 4th Edition hear me out. The 4th Edition does not support Oriental Adventures at the present time. Classes like the Samurai, Courtier, and the Shugenja are really not supported by 4th Edition.
Time Period: The time of Empress Iweko. Everything is open out for me to use.
Races: Human, Nezumi, and Naga only. :) This is simply because there are no elves, dwarves, halflings, half-elves, or half-orcs in the setting. Nor spirit folk, or Hengeyokai. However, each Great Clan has several different families that have a favored class. For instance, the Akodo (Lion) family favors Samurai, the Bayushi (scorpion) favors rogues, and the Ide (Unicorn) favors Courtiers.
Flavor: I would like to do an Emerald Magistrate campaign. The players are out to mete the Empress' justice in the face of crime. So here's the break down:
- At least one Samurai from the Crane clan.
- At least two characters with Knowledge (Rokugani Law).
- 1 Shugenja who is a Jade Magistrate.
- 1 Courtier connected to the Lion, Unicorn, or Scorpion clans (the Samurai from the Crane Clan can often fit as a courtier, although is less adept than a full Courtier).
- No Characters from the Crab and Mantis Clans.
- Absolutely no ninja. I don't care how cool you think Naruto is. Konohagakure does not exist in Rokugan. This is a high fantasy world, and not a ninja campaign. No ninja, absolutely.
Going beyond the Character Sheet
Bonus points are awarded for those who use The Way of the
Books you may use:
Just about any of The Way of [insert clan's name here] books are useful, even though they are for the first edition of the L5R RPG. Particularly the Heritage tables. Also they are great sourcebooks on Clan Lore and what is expected of a particular Samurai from that Clan.
- Oriental Adventures out of print.
- Rokugan (d20 Campaign Sourcebook, Available through Drivethru).
- Magic of Rokugan
- Way of the Shugenja
- Way of the Samurai
Kakita Iaijutsu Duelist [Samurai 1]
Dojo: Kakita Dueling Academy
Social Benefit: +5 bonus to all Diplomacy or Bluff checks with any individual of the Samurai class who is of lower overall Character level than the student.
Training Benefit: Gain a competency bonus equal to half your Iaijutsu focus to your Intimidation checks with other Samurai.
Kata: Striking as Wind
Skills and Feats: Diplomacy 4, Iaijutsu Focus 4, Intimidate 4, Sense Motive 4, Spot 2, Listen 2; Know the School (Hoturi's Blade), Weapon Focus (Katana), Void Use
Shiba Ishi [Shugenja 1]
Dojo: Gisen Toshi
Social Benefit: none.
Skills and Feats: Concentration 4, Heal 4, Knowledge (Arcana) 4, Knowledge (Elements) 4, Knowledge (Rokugani Law) 4, Sense Motive 2, Swim 2; Element Focus, Ishiken-do, Know the School (Gisen Toshi), Sense Elements, Void Use
Spells known: 0 level - Be the Mountain, Cleanse, Drawing out the Void, Flight of Doves, Purity; 1st level -- Aura of Flame, Look into the Void, Path to Inner Peace
Akodo Lawyer [Courtier 1]
Dojo: Ikoma Dojo of Law
Social Benefit: +5 circumstance bonus to Diplomacy when dealing with any Samurai.
Training Benefit: +5 bonus to any Sense Motive check.
Skills and Feats: Bluff 4, Decipher Script 4, Diplomacy 4, Gather Information 4, Intimidate 2, Knowledge (History) 4, Knowledge (Etiquette) 4, Knowledge (Nobility and Royalty) +4, Knowledge (Rokugani Law) 4, Listen 4, Sense Motive 4, Spot 4; Know the School (Ikoma School of Law), Skill Focus: Diplomacy, Soul of Sincerity (Ancestor: Bayushi Tangen)
Class Abilities: Wealth, Talent (Diplomacy),] Style and Grace
Bayushi Samurai [Samurai 1]
Dojo: Honor's Lesson Dojo
Benefit: Add +2 to Bluff checks against Fighters, Ninja, Samurai, and Rogues who do not have any levels in the Courtier Class.
Training Benefit: When a character trained at Honor's Lesson Dojo is caught flatfooted, his Armor Class is considered 1 pt. higher.
Kata: Striking as Fire
Skills and Feats: Bluff 2, Craft (origami) 4, Diplomacy 4, Intimidate 4, Knowledge (Rokugani Law) 2, Sense Motive 4, Spot 2; Know the School (Honor's Lesson Dojo), Way of the Scorpion, Void Use