This document was last updated on November 27, 2016 by the Winter Court 5 GM Staff.
All rulebooks published by Alderac Entertainment Group for the 4th Edition of the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game will be used by Winter Court 5 and players are free to use them and all material contained in them will be valid for Winter Court 5 excepted as noted herein.
It should be noted that the exception to this rule are the Imperial Histories, Imperial Histories 2 and Enemies of the Empire supplements, which are banned from use except where mechanics are specifically stated as being allowed below. This policy is adopted due to the amount of material in those supplements which is outside of the scope of either the canon storyline or the storyline for Winter Court 5.
A NOTE ON TERMINOLOGY
This document uses the terms “restricted” and “banned” in numerous locations. These terms are defined as such within this document:
Banned: These mechanic cannot be used for a player character, no matter how much the player begs, prods, or bribes the GM Team.
Restricted: These mechanics, while not open for widespread use on player characters, can be obtained with express written permission of the GM Team. Typically permission is granted when a player shows reasonable effort on their part as to why their character should be allowed to have a particular restricted mechanic. The granting of permission to use restricted mechanics on player characters is fully under the GM Team’s discretion, and players wishing to have their characters have a restricted mechanic must contact their Clan or Faction AGM to start the conversation to see whether or not permission will be granted.
Homebrew characters will be allotted 175 experience (XP), with a possible extra 15 XP for providing a compelling story about your character. Insight Rank 5 player characters are not allowed.
A character may have no more than 2 skills at rank 1 at character creation.
Starting characters may have a single skill at rank 6 at character creation.
Starting characters may have only one Trait or Void Ring at 5 at character creation.
Craft: Butchery is considered a merchant skill within the lands of the Dragon, Unicorn and the Onyx Empire. It is a low skill anywhere else in Rokugan. Mastery Ability at Rank 3: +1k0 to rolls to disguise meat as non-meat.
Firearms (as published in Imperial Histories) is restricted to Crane Clan characters. It is considered a Bugei Skill.
All characters are required to have a total of 8 ranks in the following skills: Battle, Courtier, Etiquette, Sincerity, and Weapon skills.
GLORY AND STATUS
A character’s starting glory and status may be adjusted by the GM team if they feel it is necessary for the character’s position, duties, or other story reasons. A publicly-accessible thread managed by the GM Team and locked so that only the GM Team can comment on it will be posted to the OOC Sub Forum with the official record of each character’s current Glory and Status. This post shall be periodically updated throughout the duration of Winter Court.
For players overly concerned about their character’s Glory and Status, please send a PM to your Clan or Faction AGM with your concerns and they will help you as much as they can with your questions. For those simply trying to fill in their character sheet, the following can be used:
Glory:: Samurai start out with Glory 1.0 at Insight Rank 1 and increase by 1.0 Glory each time they increase in Insight Rank. All other castes (such as monks, for example) continue to be affected by modifiers to their Glory as per the 4th Edition core rulebook.
Onyx Spider and Loyalist Scorpion Faction characters shall start with the Infamy Disadvantage. This Disadvantage gives the character no XP and does not count against their total number of XP spent on Disadvantages.
Status: Samurai start play with a Status of 1.0. Those with prominent duties or positions or of rare talent may have their Status increased by the GM team. And as above, all standard modifiers to Status remain to monks and other non-samurai characters.
SCHOOLS AND PATHS
All Schools and Paths are available as options that are presented in allowed rulebooks for characters unless explicitly stated otherwise noted herein.
All Advanced Schools are restricted and require the player to write both a fiction explaining how their character could have reasonably and logically been invited to train at the particular Advanced School requested and must obtain approval from the GM Team prior to taking an Advanced School at character creation. This notice does not stop the GM Team from handing out such invites during Winter Court; however, note that Winter Court’s narrative takes place over a very short consecutive number of in-game days and that (as further notes herein will explain further) Insight Rank advancements will be slightly modified for those that occur during play.
The following Schools and Paths are restricted: all Imperial Family Schools and Paths, Chuda Shugenja (see notes below), Doji Marines, Isawa Seaguard, Kaiu Shipmaster, Kenku Bushi, Shosuro Actor, Shosuro Infiltrator, The Nameless Ones
The following Schools and Paths are banned: Chuda Necromancer, Goju Ninja, Ninube Shugenja
Chuda Shugenja: The version of the Chuda Shugenja School that is restricted is the version presented on page 213 of the core rulebook. The other version of this school is banned.
Crab Clan:: The following Schools and Paths are associated with the Crab Clan, even if they normally would not be: Toritaka Bushi
Crane Clan: The following Schools and Paths are associated with Crane Clan, even if they normally would not be: Tsume Pikemen
Ronin Paths: All Rank 1, 2, 3, and 4 Ronin Techniques as listed in the Enemies of the Empire supplement are allowed.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
Characters may have a maximum of 15 XP spent on Advantages and may have a maximum of 10 XP in Disadvantages.
All Advantages and Disadvantages listed in allowed rulebooks are available to characters except as noted herein.
The following Advantages are restricted: Allies, Different School, Forbidden Knowledge, Great Destiny, Multiple Schools, Spy Network, Touch of the Spirit Realm
The following Advantages are banned: Chosen by the Oracles (Fire), Darling of the Court, Imperial Spouse
Any Advantages or Disadvantages that reference Tengoku are banned.
The following Advantages are explicitly allowed, even if other notes in this file would say otherwise: Inheritance (Trained Falcon), Shadowed Heart
The following Disadvantages are restricted: Dark Fate, Dark Secret, Sleeper Agent
The following Disadvantages are banned: Hostage
The following Advantages and Disadvantages have had the following modifications and/or conditions placed upon them:
Allies: May only be taken at character generation in regards to NPCs at Winter Court 5. There are no restrictions for players taking other player characters as allies, so long as both players consent to it.
Bitter Betrothal: If this Disadvantage is taken in regards to another player character, you must obtain written consent from the player of that character.
Blackmail: May only target another player character with the written consent of the player of that character.
Blackmailed: The character who blackmailed you, if a player character, must themselves possess the Blackmail Advantage, where their Blackmail Advantage involves your character.
Blissful Betrothal: If this Advantage is taken with another player character, both characters must have the Advantage and both players must mutually consent to their characters having such a relation.
Crafty: This Advantage does not apply to the Lore: Maho skill.
Cursed by the Realm (Jigoku): This Disadvantage functions as written in the core rulebook, but is amended to additionally have the following effect: Any time you voluntarily gain any amount of Shadowlands Taint, the total amount of Taint gained is increased by 1 point.
Dangerous Beauty/Lechery: Always apply to non-player characters. In regards to any use to the seduction rules require express consent for player characters.
Fame: This Advantage may be taken up to 3 times.
Gaijin Gear: This Advantage may be used to add either a pistol or musket weapon to a character’s starting outfit (as depicted in Imperial Histories). However, such also requires the Forbidden Knowledge advantage with Gaijin Pepper as the selected skill. This specific variant of the advantage is restricted to player characters from the Crane Clan only.
Gentry: This Advantage works as normal but cannot be taken in regards to Two Heavens Village, Iron Mountain Dojo or Shiro Mirumoto.
Infamous: May be taken up to 3 times, each time replacing an additional rank of Glory gained from Insight Rank.
Enlightened Madness/Lord Moon’s Curse: These Disadvantages are banned mechanically. While a player may have it as an affliction, it provides no experience points and can only be expressed through role play.
Sacred Weapon (Black Steel Blade): May only be purchased by members of the Onyx Spider Faction. Being struck by this blade cannot raise a character’s Shadowlands Taint above 1.0.
Sage: This Advantage works as normal, except it does not grant any knowledge at all whatsoever, in any fashion, on any subject that falls under the Forbidden Knowledge Advantage.
Shadowlands Taint: This Disadvantage may be taken multiple times, up to a maximum of 2.0 Ranks of Shadowlands Taint.
Sworn Enemy: This Disadvantage may only be purchased at character creation in regards to another consenting player character. You are required to obtain written consent from the other character’s player.
The following new Advantages are available for characters to purchase during character creation:
Daigotsu’s Blessing, 4, 8 Points: The Onyx Emperor, Daigotsu Kanpeki, has shown you his favor as an instrument of his will. While a character has this advantage, their effective Taint rank is considered to be 0.1, regardless of their actual Taint rank. Unless they have any outward physical mutations, their Taint does not appear visibly, and while they have this advantage, the Taint is not contagious. While under the effects of this advantage, the Taint has no effect upon the character’s psyche or mental state. Using any Shadowlands powers, or any abilities/actions that would give the user Taint Ranks/Points (including Maho), removes this advantage. The exception to this is consuming Tainted food, which will give sustenance without applying additional points of Taint. The Taint becomes contagious, the character becomes vulnerable to effects that target Tainted creatures, and their Taint Rank returns to its actual value. After the true value is restored, the character gains an additional +1.0 Taint Rank. At 8 points, the character is a conduit of Kanpeki’s will, and can allow willing characters to take the Blessing at the 4 point level.
Sacred Weapon (Gyushi Blade), 5 Points: (3k2 Katana) Forged by the smith-priests of the Gyushi, each blade is a minor nemuranai that reflects the ego of its wielder. One who strikes with a Gyushi blade adds their glory rank to their attack roll and infamy rank to their damage roll. This item is available to Emerald Spider characters only.
SPECIAL MECHANICS FOR ONYX SPIDER AND LOYAL SCORPION CHARACTERS
All players from the Onyx Spider and Loyalist Scorpion Factions are considered to be Tainted with a Taint Rank of 1.0. All such in attendance at Winter Court begin with the Advantage Daigotsu’s Blessing (see the New Advantages section for details) at 4 points. No XP is gained or lost due to the Shadowlands Taint or Daigotsu’s Blessing.
All shugenja spells listed in all available rulebooks are available, except as noted herein. For those unclear on the shugenja spells listed in Imperial Histories 2, this notice also applies to all shugenja spells in Chapter 2 of that supplement.
All Mastery Level 6 shugenja spells are restricted.
Maho: While anyone can technically “cast” maho, the knowledge of maho and the rituals required to cast the spells as described in the rulebooks is still very heavily suppressed and/or little due to the Empire successfully suppressing it for as long as it has. Therefore, while maho itself is not banned, access to maho spells is very restricted and any player wishing to create a character using maho should contact their Clan or Faction AGM and receive approval prior to going forward with their character idea.
Nageteppo as a form of equipment are restricted.
Openly carrying any firearm temporarily applies the Disturbing Countenance disadvantage when interacting with samurai. Any Samurai who already has this disadvantage will have the effects of that disadvantage doubled. Restrictions regarding the Gaijin Gear and Forbidden Knowledge advantage still apply.
The following mechanical systems will not be used: Ancestors, Heritage Tables, Honor Rolls (except for Tests of Honor, which are still allowed)
AVAILABLE CLANS AND FACTIONS
The following Clans and Factions are considered banned for Winter Court 5: Falcon Clan, Snake Clan
The following Minor Clans are available for Winter Court 5 as Minor Clans: Centipede Clan, Fox Clan, Oriole Clan, Wasp Clan
NOTES ON CLANS/FACTIONS AND THEIR FAMILIES
The following rules apply to Families and what CLans or Factions they are associated to:
- The Toritaka family is a Crab Clan family.
- All Imperial Families are banned.
- The Centipede, Fox and Wasp Clans are each associated with the Moshi, Kitsune, and Tsuruchi families respectively. Characters from these families may be alternately aligned with the Mantis Clan. Trait bonuses for each family can be found on pages 120 and 219 of the core rulebook.
- The Chuda family is an Onyx Spider Faction family.
- The Gyushi family is an Emerald Spider Faction family and has a trait bonus of +1 Intelligence
- The Order of the Dark Lotus equates to the Kokujin family. They align with the Onyx Spider Faction and have a trait bonus of +1 Agility.
- The Order of the Spider aligns with the Emerald Spider Faction.
- The Goju and Ninube families are restricted.
- All Imperial families are restricted.
- The Horiuchi Family no longer exists and are banned.
- The Kaeru family is restricted.
- The Tsi family is legal and aligns with the Oriole Clan.
- The Yotsu family exist as ronin, though player characters may choose to align them with the Emerald Spider Faction instead.
- The Susumu family are legal and align with either Spider Faction.
NEW FAMILIES AND SCHOOLS
Gyushi Family: +1 Intelligence
An offshoot of the insidious Chuda Family, the Gyushi family are the more spiritually-appropriate shugenja family of the Spider Clan. Their founder, Daigotsu Gyushi, is an exceptional swordsmith, and, after the defection of the Chuda from the Spider, he wanted little to do with the practices and power struggles of his former family, wanting only to focus on his art and providing the Spider Clan with the tools of war. The family that bears his name take after his passion for creation, and are responsible for outfitting the Spider war machine. As young as the family is, many of the families in other Clans with blacksmithing traditions have taken notice of the quality of work this family produces.
The Gyushi Shugenja School
As morally reprehensible as the Spider Clan is, as viewed by others, the Gyushi family can be seen as the Spider’s attempt at gaining acceptance from the Empire. While still a young family, they have made a lot of progress in establishing their practices and school due to the help of the Tamori Family of the Dragon Clan. Because of a treaty between the Spider and Dragon Clans, the number of members of the Gyushi family swelled to include a number of Tamori shugenja through political marriage. Skilled in weaponsmithing, the new additions to the family helped to improve upon the techniques of the budding Gyushi Shugenja School dramatically. As a result, the Gyushi family’s practices are influenced by those of the Tamori, with a few exceptions.
The Gyushi Shugenja School emphasizes the Family’s role as crafters and artisans. The versatility of the Tamori Technique has influenced the Gyushi Technique in that it allows for more uses of Spell Slots outside of casting spells. The Gyushi call upon the kami to aid them in creating weapons, armor, and works of art, thus increasing their chances at success or adding additional properties.
Gyushi Shugenja School
- Benefit: +1 Stamina
- Skills: Calligraphy (Cipher), Craft: Armorsmithing or Craft: Weaponsmithing, Defense, Lore: Theology, Spellcraft, Any 1 Artisan Skill, Any 1 Weapon Skill
- Honor: 3.0
- Outfit: Robes, Wakizashi, any one weapon, Scroll Satchel, Traveling Pack, 3 Koku
- Technique: Elements of the Forge – The Gyushi have learned how to call upon the kami to aid in their crafting. Whenever you are making a Craft: Weaponsmithing, Craft: Armorsmithing, or Artisan Skill roll, you may expend a number of Spell Slots of an appropriate element (GM discretion if unsure) equal to your School Rank to gain a number of Free Raises equal to the amount of Spell Slots expended in this manner. This is in addition to whatever other raises you call. You also gain a Free Raise on all Spells with the Craft keyword.
- Spells: Sense, Commune, Summon, 3 Fire, 2 Earth, 1 Air
The following rules shall apply to all characters (either carded or homebrew) during Winter Court:
As with Winter Court 4, we hope to keep dice rolls to a minimum. If a roll is required, or you think a roll should occur in a particular situation, please contact your Clan or Faction AGM for assistance.
Increasing Insight Rank does not automatically increase School Rank. That is, increases in Insight Rank shall not grant extra Glory, Spells, Kiho, Kata, Techniques, or anything else your character may gain from going up in School Rank. This is because Winter Court takes place over a continuous period of time and samurai do not have enough time to go and study at their dojo to (in story terms) gain those benefits.
For mechanics which can only be used a set number of times per session, one session shall be defined as 3 in-game days.