The Nadare Family (+1 Stamina)
The Nadare stem from the need for guides and protectors among the chill, harsh Dragon mountains. Their founder, Mirumoto Kojiki, was an ordinary bushi with a small fief. His skill in combat was notable, though not exceptional, and he earned honor in his youth through war. Towards middle age, he put his knowledge of the mountain passes and skill at surviving the worst weather to use, guiding monks going to and from the monasteries in safety.
Kojiki’s son Kouma continued the practice and organized a association of Dragon bushi and shugenja. Anyone who wanted to learn the ways of the mountain could come and learn of the more difficult passes and ways to get over them. They kept the ways in an out semi-secret to prevent an enemy from gaining advantage thereby, but aided anyone in need. In fact, they saved several raiding samurai from certain death and thereby smoothed over many conflicts through favors.
The Mirumoto Clan Champion saw this as a worthy effort and named Kouma minor family daimyo (technically, the aged Kojiki was the daimyo but he died soon after and never ruled). Kouma took the name ‘Nadare’, or avalanche, after his father’s nickname from the wars.
The Nadare formed into small groups around the borders of the Draon mountains, but mostly near the Phoenix lands. In keeping with the monasticism of the Dragon, they learned to train in the mountain cold and developed impressive stamina. Likewise, they developed skill in scouting and great knowledge of the Dragon lands.
Master of the Hidden Mountain (Bushi)
This school was developed for a specific purpose. The old mountain warders and guides in the early days of the Dragon helped travelers through the mountains. Without them, many an aspiring monk would have starved or frozen in the hills, while other travelers would have lost their way in the rugged peaks.
As the Yamabushi gained more adherents, they expanded their training to include more martial disciplines. The Dragon, like the Phoenix, do not go to war as often as other clans, but it does happen. And like all the clans, they need scouts to watch for approaching enemies and to discern their enemies’ purposes. The Masters of the Hidden Mountain performed that function.
For them, killing an opponent was of less use than making a getaway. Likewise, on their own lands it was often easier to knock an enemy off a rocky cliff than to kill outright. Thus, they study how to disable enemies temporarily and keep them off their feet.
The “Hidden Mountain” itself was actually not much of a secret, but was deep within northern Dragon territory and received few visitors even from other Dragon families. Only the Tattooed Monks routinely arrived, as the Hidden Mountain also housed a small but respectable temple to the Fortunes.
Over the years, the family learned to tap into the Darkness using their inner Void. They tapped into a limited amount of Shadow without becoming its slave. However, they were ignorant of the technique’s true nature, believing it a sign of their increasing connection to the Void. Nonetheless, their stealth abilities were impressive and the Lying Darkness could only manipulate them indirectly as it could anyone else.
Sadly, this led to the family’s downfall. The Lying Darkness grew curious about the possibilities of Phoenix research, hoping they might have some truth it could use against Fu Leng. Its minions convinced the Masters of the Hidden Mountain to spy on the Phoenix. When the Maho-using traitor Iga Suki Kago discovered this, she used them as a tool to gain secrets she desired from the more secretive libraries, then began a bloody pogrom against the Hidden Mountain. The Masters’ stealth proved no use against her magic and they were soon surrounded and murdered.
Iga Suki Kago disappeared, of course, but only after gathering the spirits of her victims into magical masks. With her immortal slaves, she wandered the Empire gathering more tools and magical research. What activities she engaged in until discovered by Master Alex, Shigure, Bayushi Michio, Kitsune Okari, and Tamori Kochige is not known. However, given her disposition toward secrecy, magical power, and eventual fall into undeath, she most likely sent her servants to scour the Empire for magical artifacts and knowledge. Since she was not discovered with much, she may have an unknown number of safe-houses, defensible caverns, and other hiding spots to hole up in.
Trait: +1 Perception
School Skills: Athletics 2 (Climb), Defense, Hunting, Kenjutsu, Meditation, Staves, Stealth
Rank 1 – Wisdom of the Earth
You have absolute immunity to the effects of bad weather and cold temperature (5). You gain Rank Free Raises on any Hunting Checks in mountainous terrain (5). You gain Way of the Land for the Dragon provinces (3). Add your Earth Ring to Defense (5). You gain +2k0 on actual Knockdown checks, but not Knockdown attack rolls (2).
Rank 2 – Rush of the Avalanche
You gain an extra attack per round (10). Add your Water Ring to Attack rolls (5). Your dice on Stealth checks explode on an 8, 9, or 10 once per die (5).
Rank 3 – The Unseen Mountain
You gain +2 Shadow Ranks but cannot gain any more (10). You become immune to Taint (0). The Knockdown maneuver requires one fewer Raise for you to use (5). Your dice on Stealth checks also explode on a 6 or 7 once per die while in mountainous territory (5)