L5R: Ivory Kingdoms Rahu-Ketu Courtier School of the Midnight Sun

   Perhaps there are worlds out there built upon mathematics, upon inanimate forces, upon things that men find unimaginable.

   But they are not Rokugan. In Rokugan, even the Void is aware, a part of the great ocean of consciousness that permeates the world. All lesser minds, all fragmented and unfragmented souls, all that is, lies embedded in the fathomless awareness of the elemental forces. It is only their sheer scale, the fact that they exist in an endless array of local aspects, and the limited awareness of humans and the other races, that prevents mortals from understanding all things, from simply reaching out to tap the near-infinite knowledge and strength of the elements, from achieving transcendence.

   The founder of the Rahu-Ketu school sought to change that. To extend the perceptions of the human mind into the hidden depths of the cosmos and illuminate them.

   The founder failed. Ultimately, even the mind of a human turned Asura or Deva, focused, unified, and trained across a dozen mortal lifetimes, could not comprehend or accept the full sweep of the cosmos, it’s heights and it’s depths.

   His/her school, however, persists. Not because it provides infinite knowledge – although it does offer a great deal of knowledge indeed – but because it offers the leverage to turn what knowledge the user CAN achieve into raw power. What cannot be fully comprehended can still be tapped – even if that does sometimes go disastrously wrong.

   The Rahu-Ketu School is a loremasters and ritualists school. That isn’t to say that it can’t be effective in a fight at higher levels, where it’s users can easily unleash some very powerful magical effects (and unleash even greater ones at great risk), but it’s primarily concerned with knowledge and giving advice. The magical stuff is fundamentally secondary, if only because it’s quite conspicuous. Still, if you want an advisor who really knows his stuff, or a court mage, you would be well pleased if you could locate a Raku-Ketu Scholar.

Ivory Kingdoms Rahu-Ketu Courtier School of the Midnight Sun:

  • Basic Modifiers: Perception +1, Glory 3, Status 2, Wealth 1, and Honor 2
  • School Skills: Defense, Divination, Engineering, Investigation, Lore (Light / Void, Darkness / Shadow, Void / Shadow Magic, and The Elements), Meditation, Theology, and any two Lore skills.

   First Technique: Yin calls to Yang, The Opening of the Ways.

  • May invoke (Rank+2) magical effects each session using the Light / Void, Darkness / Shadow, or Void / Shadow Magic skills. Such effects take an hour or so of ritual and meditation to invoke, but can be of up to level (the rank of the skill used/2, rounded up). If a roll is required, use the relevant lore check (10).
  • May roll and keep one extra die which counts as being skilled with all Lore skills. If this is used to enhance the level of an invoked magical effect it requires a successful Lore check at difficulty (20 + 5x the level of the effect) to avoid a very conspicuous magical display whether or not the desired effect is successfully invoked (8 – 5 = 3). Even if the check succeeds, the display is likely to be quite noticeable anyway.
  • +4 rolled dice which count as being skilled with Void / Shadow Magic. These can only be used to increase the level of effect available, require the expenditure of two effects (if it matters, one each of Light/Void and Darkness/Shadow), will greatly increase both the severity and radius of the side effects produced if the control check fails, may increase the difficulty of the control check at the option of the game master (although the user must be notified in advance of this and of how much, and may opt to do something else instead if the game master does choose to exercise this option), and will require the user to make an additional (normal) control check to avoid being killed in the disaster if the control check fails (16 – 10 = 6).
  • The Rahu-Ketu Scholars sense of universal unity makes it hard to conceal false information among true statements or author prejudices from him or her. Any such attempts have their target numbers increased by 5 (1).

   Second Technique: Yin becomes Yang, A Waiting for Promises to be Fulfilled.

  • Gain (School Rank) free raises on all Lore Skill rolls (10).
  • May roll and keep a second extra die which counts as being skilled with all Lore skills. If this is used to enhance the level of an invoked magical effect it requires a successful Lore check at difficulty (20 + 5x the level of the effect) to avoid a spectacular magical display and minor magical side effects whether or not the desired effect is successfully invoked (8 – 5 = 3). Even if the check succeeds, the display is likely to be fairly spectacular anyway.
  • Gain an additional (Rank+2) invocations per session (5).

   Third Technique: Illuminating the Darkness, the Containment of Multitudes.

  • The Rahu-Ketu has now attuned him- or her-self to the forces of the Void and Shadow to such an extent that he or she no longer needs meditation and ritual to call upon them, and may do so as a single action (Immunity/Time Requirements, 10).
  • May spend a Void point to attempt to counter an incoming spell or other supernatural effect with an invocation, regardless of whether or not it is the user’s action. Unfortunately, this counts as one of the user’s (2x Rank +4) daily invocations. (5).
  • May roll and keep three extra dice which count as being skilled with all Lore skills. If this is used to enhance the level of an invoked magical effect it requires a successful Lore check at difficulty (20 + 5x the level of the effect) to avoid a spectacular magical display and notable magical side effects whether or not the desired effect is successfully invoked (8 – 5 = 3). Even if the check succeeds, the display is likely to be extremely noticeable and generate trivial side effects anyway.
  • Stirring the Sleepers: The Rahu-Ketu Adept may simply touch an item of excellent or higher and spend a void point to temporarily awaken it’s spirit as a Major Nemuranai, although the item will return to sleep in – at most – a day (4).

   Fourth Technique: Scholarly the Darkness which Reveals, Ignorant the Light which Blinds.

  • Add (2x Intelligence) to all School Skill rolls (10).
  • May roll and keep four extra dice which count as being skilled with all Lore skills. If this is used to enhance the level of an invoked magical effect it requires a successful Lore check at difficulty (20 + 5x the level of the effect) to avoid an awe-inspiring magical fireworks display and major magical side effects in a wide radius whether or not the desired effect is successfully invoked (8 – 5 = 3). Even if the check succeeds, the display is likely to be conspicuous and to generate minor side effects in a fair radius anyway.
  • Gain an additional (Rank+2) invocations per session (5).
  • Gain a minor spirit ally or “Familiar” (Influence; Minor/provides minor services or 5 points worth of special techniques [1], Devotion; Minor [0], Eccentricity; Major/Spirit [2], Inconvenience; Minor [-1]) (2).

   Fifth Technique: Shadow of the Void, the Voice of Enlightenment.

  • May spend ten minutes and a void point giving advice related to a lore skill and make check with it at difficulty 60. If successful, those who listened may recall your advice at a later date, gaining at that time two free Void Points each to spend in ways which are somehow related to the lore skill used. Such points must be spent within twenty-four hours of the time the advice is recalled, but are not subject to the usual limits on accumulating or spending void points. Unfortunately, no single individual may have more than (Intelligence) pieces of advice from you latent in their memory at any one time (20 – 5 – 5 = 10). You may gain similar benefits for yourself by indulging in deep meditation upon a particular topic (Immunity to the normal others-only aspect of this power, 5).
  • May roll and keep five extra dice which count as being skilled with all Lore skills. If this is used to enhance the level of an invoked magical effect it requires a successful Lore check at difficulty (20 + 5x the level of the effect) to avoid a an awe-inspiring magical fireworks display and severe magical side effects in a great radius whether or not the desired effect is successfully invoked (8 – 5 = 3). Even if the check succeeds, the display is likely to be spectacular and will generate notable side effects in a fair radius anyway.
  • Gain a second minor spirit ally or “Familiar” as per the fourth level technique, but it represents a counterbalancing force or viewpoint (2).

   In practice, like any pair of major dualities, Light / Creation / Void and Darkness / Destruction / Shadow magic can be assumed to be able to handle most magical effects somehow. While, unlike a Shugenja, a Rahu-Ketu scholar has no easy way to refresh his or her powers and must be cautious about using the greater ones, this is still – as befits an advanced Ivory Kingdoms school that can easily kill the user and cause massive disasters if mishandled – an extremely powerful school. That’s what you get when you squeeze every point for maximum efficiency.

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