Today it’s another school for Legend of the Five Rings – in this case a relatively non-adventuresome school, the Fox Clan Temple Administrator Courtier School. It doesn’t produce mighty heroes or subtle courtiers. It just makes sure that they’ve got the information they need to act on, good advice, and a secure home to come back to. Heroes are nice, but everyone has to eat.
Almost alone among the notable clans, the Fox routinely trains children to take up careers in the temples of Rokugan as a first choice, rather than awaiting retirement or some other need for a change of life. Perhaps it is because the constant infusion of fox-spirit blood into the clan leaves even those members of the clan without the innate potential to train as a Shugenja strongly attuned to the spirit world, opening a choice other than to train as a Bushi. Perhaps it comes simply of having long lifespans, large families, and little room to expand – or the recognition of a chance to expand quietly.
The Fox Administrator really isn’t the best at anything – and it certainly isn’t the best in combat or at court, where it offers few abilities of any use whatsoever. It does, however, offer access to some basic magic and is pretty good at answering questions, organizing festivals, being welcome everywhere, supplying others, and supporting their efforts.
Fox Clan Temple Administrator Courtier School:
Basic Modifiers: Awareness +1, Glory 2, Status Special, Wealth 3, and Honor 3
School Skills: Courtier, Ceremony, Commerce, Divination, Etiquette, Instruction, Investigation, Meditation, Perform, Storytelling, Theology, and any one Lore skill of choice.
First Technique/The Wisdom of the Scholar: The Fox Administrator gains (School Rank) Free Raises with all Lore Skills, provided that he or she has time to meditate and – if possible – consult his or her scrolls (10 -5 = 5), and gains (School Rank) Free Raises with Theology, Meditation, and Perform (Religious Ceremonies), provided that he or she has time to consider his or her words and actions before the roll is required (10 – 5 = 5). Through the quoting of precedents and instructive tales, the Fox Administrator may claim (Rank + 2) favors each games session. Sadly, while the base rank of such favors is equal to the (Skill being used/2, rounded up), the influence of the temples and scholarly words is somewhat limited: the user must select one type of favor which he or she may obtain at -1 rank, the other two can only be obtained at -2 ranks. The Fox Administrator can employ Instruction to obtain services from other groups, Ceremony to gain immediate responses to Peasant Magic, and Storytelling to gain special privileges (10 – 5 for the reduced rank of favors = 5). Finally, the Fox Administrator’s growing awareness of the spirit world makes him a Sensitive (vaguely senses oddities and mystical disturbances in the immediate area, a level one self-powered psychic power, 3), and allows him or her to make contact with friendly spirits, gaining a 2-point ancestor spirit ally.
Second Technique/The Pulse of the Tao: The Fox Administrator begins to feel the flow of energy throughout the cosmos, gaining access to Kabari Magic – although he or she must purchase Spellcasting normally if they wish to make use of this affinity. Whether for good or ill, those trained by the Fox are always attuned to Ningen-Do – which is useless as long as they are within it – and to Chikushudo, but do get to pick their third affinity, whether plane or fortune, normally. (10-5 = 5). Most Fox Administrators do pick up the basics, although they rarely develop any great powers. Still, even unconscious and untrained powers over plants and animals are of great aid to the peasants who support the temples – allowing the Fox Administrator to gain a disposable Income of (Rank x 10) Koku per Month, although this comes at the cost of taking responsibility for managing the Temple finances (10). Those who listen to the Fox Administrators inspiring and guiding tales will also begin to feel the power of the cosmos flowing through them. Provided that they listen for at least ten minutes, they will gain (Administrator’s Rank) Free Raises and two extra Void Points (these must be spent within twenty-four hours, but are not subject to the usual pool or spending restrictions) to spend on things related to the topic of the tales, but this will only work on those who truly do look to the Fox Administrator for sacred guidance and inspiration (10 -5 = 5).
Third Technique/The Shaping of the World: The Fox Administrator learns to subtly shape the essence of the worlds spiritual essence, lending grace and strength to all that he or she touches. The Fox Administrator gains (School Rank) Free Raises with all Craft or Artisan skills, provided that he or she is working on something appropriate to one of the Fortunes or Planes which he or she can draw upon for Kabari Magic (10 – 5 = 5) and may change up to two Rolled Dice into Kept Dice when actually rolling for any direct act of Kabari Magic (5 – 5 = 0). In addition, he or she may readily create a selection of minor Nemurani appropriate to the temple in which the user is currently serving, and may reduce the cost of doing so by 2 XP – but this ability may only be used while actually working on the temple grounds and requires the assistance of several novices (5 + 10 – 5 – 5 = 5). This subtle touch extends to greater projects as well. The Fox Administrator may employ the Commerce skill without appearing to do so (Immunity to Honor losses from the improvement or use of the Commerce skill, 5), and may bolster the resources of the temple at which he serves with his or her subtle guidance (+2 Each to Fire and Air/effectively +2 ranks when calculating effective rank for the accumulation of Political Position Points only, however these extra points can only be spent to expand the resources and influence of the temple at which the character serves, they may not be spent on Connections, Contingencies, or Army Enhancements, 10 – 5 = 5).
Fourth Technique/Drawing Upon the Infinite: The Fox Administrator’s influence continues to expand, subtly channeling more and more power into enhancing the world around him or her. His or her presence and aid now greatly enhances the temple or shrine at which he or she serves (+2 Each to Earth and Water/effectively +2 ranks when calculating effective rank for the accumulation of Political Position Points only, however these extra points can only be spent to expand the resources and influence of the temple at which the character serves, they may not be spent on Connections, Contingencies, or Army Enhancements, 10 – 5 = 5) and he or she may now draw on supernatural resources to materially support his or her chosen causes; the Fox Administrators income is now (Rank x 50) Koku per month, but the balance above the cash income from the rank two technique comes in the form of useful goods and supplies, only turns up (from somewhere) after the user pays proper respect to the local powers at a temple or shrine, and must be shared with those in need in the area (+10 -5 for conditions). When necessary, the Fox Administrator may momentarily touch the true essence of the cosmos, spending as many Void points as he or she desires on anything which uses them (10).
Fifth Technique/The Butterfly and the Storm: The Fox Administrator may now call the attention of the cosmos to things as small as an individual or area. He or she may take his or her turn and call the attention of a desired patron spirit to a particular individual or place for the next twenty-four hours – although only one such spirit will pay attention to a particular target at a time (grants a six-point spiritual ally advantage for the next twenty-four hours, 20).
The Fox Administrator school focuses on buying a LOT of support-and-logistics style abilities on the cheap. Of course, the fact that it DOES focus on support and logistics is all that makes it acceptable with so many limited powers: the abilities it grants are extremely convenient, but aren’t likely to directly upset the game. It isn’t that strong in a fight, or at court, or in magic. It simply allows it’s users to answer questions, feed, supply, and enhance many other people, and make themselves generally useful.
Of course, there are times when that’s beyond price. Being besieged? How much is someone who can supply food and weapons, work some minor magic, and grant free raises, void points, and the support of spirits to every man in the garrison worth?