Iron Guardian Yojimbo School

   The Iron Guardian school is a school of taoistic defense – a cultivated ability to flow with the currents of fate which approaches precognition. A master may move only subtly, but will – somehow – channel opponents into poor positions, edge friends and allies out of the path of blows and attacks, and – occasionally – simply happen to be standing where an opponent will stumble onto his or her blade. True masters are so capable of subtly manipulating the flow of events that they can extend a limited amount of magical and even social protection to their charges.

Iron Guardian Yojimbo (Bushi) School:

   Trait Bonus: +1 Agility

   School Skills: Courtier, Defense, Divination, Etiquette, Horse Archery, Pole Arms, Staves, Sword, choice of 2.

  • First Technique/Reed Bends in the Wind: You are always considered to be on Full Defense unless specifically in another posture (10) and may make a single attack every other round while remaining on full defense (10).
  • Second Technique/Riding the Currents of Fate: When on Full Defense you may share your AC increase with up to 3 allies within 10′ and may apply your Full Defense bonus against up to (5 x Rank) opponents at the same time.
  • Third Technique/Entering the Karmic Vortex: When on Full Defense you may share your AC increase with all allies within 15′ (+10) and may apply your Full Defense bonus against an unlimited number of opponents at the same time (+10).
  • Fourth Technique/Outside the Hourglass: You may double the Style bonuses from your Defense Skill (5), Gain a pool of (Athletics) free raises for use with your Defense skill per Skirmish (5), When you or someone you’re defending is targeted by a spell you may raise or lower the target number for it by up to 5 (10).
  • Fifth Technique/One with the Tao: You may now raise or lower spell target numbers by up to 10 (+5), gain 5 Free Raises on Medicine, Investigate, and Etiquette Checks (10), and may extend the benefits of any defensive style elements of your Etiquette skill to those you are defending (5).

   Yes, this is another monomaniacal school – in this case, focused on Defense to the point of utter absurdity. It can also be absurdly powerful if he game master lets a group of them get together and allows them to stack their defenses. Given decent Defense and Athletics skills, each practitioner can easily contribute sixty or more to the groups total armor class. Player characters, of course, are less likely to take this particular school. It’s just too passive for most players, however useful it is to the group.

Yodatai Scout School

   Thanks to their insistence on discipline and standardization the Yodatai have relatively few schools compared to other nations – and most of them tend to be more than a bit monomaniacal. The members of their schools are expected to fulfill specialized purposes in the Yodatai Legions as a part of a combined-arms military force, rather than meeting the contingencies of a wide variety of combat and social situations, acting as administrators, preserving etiquette and culture, and upholding a particular social position like a Samurai.

   For the Yodatai, being a Legionnaire is a job – something that may be left behind while off-duty, which you may leave for reserve status and return to, for which you expect appropriate pay and privileges, and which is a pathway leading to other careers later on. Many Yodatai will choose death over shame or dishonor, but its hardly as common as in Rokugan – which in itself makes it less shameful for the Yodatai.

   For a Yodatai commander, to lose is shameful – but to fail to withdraw when you obviously should, and to get your men captured or massacred thanks to such foolishness, is a grotesque criminal disgrace.

   In contrast, the sword may not literally be the soul of a Samurai – but it is a fitting metaphor to express their total commitment. In Rokugan being a Samurai is your life; to set it aside is to set aside your life – and begin another as something entirely different. To abandon its duties, honor, and status is to die, whether or not your body survives – and who could choose to begin a new life of shame and unworthiness?


Yodatai Scout School:

   While the Yodatai Scout School is primarily designed for outriders and pre-battle scouting – to get in, get information, and get away fast – everyone in the Yodatai army must be able to hold their own in a battle, even if only as skirmishers.

   Of course, even in battle, the school retains its focus. Their job is to carry messages, make high-speed assaults against sudden vulnerabilities, circle around the enemy to make quick attacks against their mages and rear echelons, and otherwise to hit and run – not to try and stand up to heavy troops in sustained battle. Their ideal tactic is to launch a long-range attack while closing, strike with a pole arm, javelin, or lance with their momentum behind it at the moment of impact, and switch to a sword for a brief exchange of blows as they move through or past the enemy line and retreat from combat while heavier troops move in – hopefully breaking off the engagement so that the higher ranks (4+) among them can refresh their raise pools.

   Given the efficiency of the Healing skill in Rokugan, as long as you give an opposing force a few minutes between engagements, they may be able to virtually start fresh each time – having fully healed any wounds you managed to cause in the last attack. It’s best not to allow this to happen.

   Trait Bonus: +1 Reflexes

   School Skills: Investigation, Medicine, Athletics, Defense, Archery, Horsemanship, Hunting, Spears/Pole Arms, Swords, and Stealth.

   Unlike Rokugani schools, the training of the Yodatai is pretty rigid: their schools do not generally offer a choice of skills. They also don’t usually bother naming their techniques.

  • 1) Add +5 to the user’s – or his or her mounts – Water Ring for Movement purposes (5), User is Immune to Weather-related damage (5), User is immune to Terrain Penalties on Movement (for example, the user may move through forests and swamps without being slowed, climb sheer cliffs as if on a ladder, and so on, 5), and may add his or her athletics skill to his or her AC/Target Number to be Hit (5).
  • 2) The user gains Double Style Bonuses for Athletics (5), now adds twice their Athletics Skill to their AC (+5), and Gains (School Rank) free raises on Athletics, Hunting, and Stealth checks (10).
  • 3) The user gains now adds three times their Athletics skill to their AC (+5), and adds their Athletics skill to their Initiative (5), and Rolls to Hit (5), and receives (Athletics) Free Raises per skirmish with their choice of Pole Arms/Spears, Swords, or Bows (5).
  • 4) The user gains an extra attack (10) and now receives (Athletics) free raises per skirmish with the remaining two types of weapons from among Pole Arms/Spears, Swords , and Bows (10). Note that these are separate pools: it will be to a scout’s advantage to switch weapons.
  • 5) The user may add his or her Athletics Skill to all Damage Checks (5), opponents must make two raises to gain the benefits of one when making an opposed Athletics check against the user (5), and the user now adds twice his or her Athletics skill to both Initiative (+5) and Rolls to Hit (+5).

Updated Index Pages

   First up for today, it’s updating the various index pages since they have (once again) gotten a bit more than a week behind. Unfortunately, even with an index, the current 320 posts and 185 sub-pages are getting a bit clunky to navigate. I’ll have to see if I can do something about that: if its gotten this long since October 19’th, 2007, its going to be completely unmanageable in another year or two.

   Along the same lines, I’ve turned off the snapshot previews: given that virtually all they ever show is more text, I think they’ve become more bother than they’re worth.