Secrets of the Elders

   Have you ever noticed that, in Legend of the Five Rings, aging has no effect – and there is no requirement that a character ever actually die?

   OK, there aren’t any rules for children either – but apparently people remain hale and hearty (at least to judge by their undiminished Rings and Skills) until, it is vaguely assumed, they abruptly fall over dead at some undefined time. Obviously, aging must be voluntary – and if its voluntary, why do so many people do it? What secret techniques do the elderly gain?

   At last, the Secrets of the Elders can be revealed! Read now, and glory in, the secret knowledge of the “Courtier” SCHOOL OF SENILITY.

  • Trait Bonus: +1 Void
  • School Skills: Calligraphy, Ceremony, Courtier, Defense, Etiquette, Meditation, Storytelling, and Theology. Free choice of any two Lore skills and any two other skills.
  • Special: Any character may start taking ranks in the School of Senility at any time after reaching 40 without explanation. At 60 they may start trading in ranks in old schools for ranks in the School of Senility.

First Technique: Retiree

  • Hard of Hearing: The elder may ignore the effects of any social skill check by simply invoking the mystic mantra “Eh? What was that you said? (random sentence with a word or two which vaguely sounds like what was said)” or some variation thereof (Immunity/Social Effects, 10 Points).
  • Nearly Blind: You don’t have to see anything that you don’t want to, and thus lose no honor for “overlooking” any misbehavior or situation (Immunity/Honor Losses for overlooking things. 5 Points).
  • Querulous Demand: You may select a skill for which you may obtain Favors. (5 Points)

Second Technique: Respected Grandparent

  • You Don’t Get To Be My Age Without Becoming Very Good At Not Dying. You may increase the TN for all attacks or spells used against you by (Void x 5) at the cost of accepting a similar penalty to all other rolls except Defense. (15, -5/Limited Activities, net 10 Points).
  • Rambling Digression Prana: You may make a contested Void check against up to three targets in the immediate area. If you win, they are trapped listening to you tell some long and incoherent story of your childhood, looking at pictures of your grandchildren, or some similar digression, and may not move, attack, or take other actions unless violently disturbed for one minute, plus one minute per rank by which the user’s void exceeds theirs. While this occupies the user as well, he or she may continue to invoke the Rambling Digression Prana against any new targets who make the error of getting too close. Fortunately, an individual target may only be so pinned down once per hour by any single user (Contested Void Paralysis 10, -5 for occupying the user, +5 for extended duration. Net 10 points).

Third Technique: Doddering Old Fool

  • There’s No Cure For Old Age: The effects of this schools techniques cannot be negated, blocked, or otherwise taken away (5 Points).
  • Doddering Elder Technique: Anyone who attempts to attack you, or who lays violent hands upon you, loses honor points equal to your rank in addition to any other honor losses they would normally take for such an action (5 Points).
  • Senile Dementia: You may ramble on incoherently, saying anything you please to anyone you please, and no one will take offense. In addition, you lose no Honor for anything you say (Immunity/Giving Offense, 10 Points, plus Immunity/Honor loss for saying things, 5 Points. Unfortunately, due to your general incoherence, no one will take anything you say too seriously, -5 points. Net 10 points)

Fourth Technique: Withered Geezer

  • Moment of Clarity: Experience counts for something you young whippersnapper! During those rare moments when you focus on something properly, you may demonstrate all your old skill and insight. Gain a daily pool of (2x Void) Free Raises which may be used on any desired roll – but they must all be used on a single roll and you will lapse back into senility – unable to take any non-defensive actions on your own – for at least a minute (in combat) or an hour (out of combat) after completing the task in question. (15 Points – 5 Points – 5 Points, taken twice = 10 Points)
  • Imperious Demand: Your dementia now lets you see beyond the usual boundaries; you may select an additional four skills with which you can request Favors. Unfortunately, you must spend a Void point to invoke this privilege (10 Points, -5 for Void requirement, net 5 Points).
  • Practiced Reflexes: You have trained so long that your Kata have become ingrained: you may keep one of them active at all times, spending either the usual practice time or a void point to switch (5 Points).

Fifth Technique: Wizened Ancient

  • Obvious Harmlessness: So long as you carry no weapon and make no threatening moves, you are so obviously harmless that no one will pay attention to you, allowing you to pass where you will. At most, guards will gently steer you away from the most secure locations or keep your hands away from the most dangerous or important items. Sadly, you must either spend a Void point or spend at least fifteen minutes talking to yourself to activate this technique. In other ways it is generally similar to the Steal the Air Dragon Kiho (10 Points).
  • Blessings of the Patriarch / Matriarch: You have hordes of descendants, relatives, and connections through them. You may make a TN 20 Void check to call on a “floating” 2-point human ally once per session (10 Points).

   OK, so this is a bit tongue in cheek and stretches the rules a bit here and there – but no more than most schools. I can see some circumstances under which someone might actually want to start taking ranks in it. In heavily social games, it might even be seriously overpowered. It doesn’t have any real offensive potential, but it will let you get away with all kinds of things.

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