Monk Schools

Playing a Monk

The first thing you need ot know about playing a monk character is that you may earn the undying hatred of your GM! Monks, while respected and given leeway by the samurai of Rokugan, are nevertheless a complicating factor in a great number of political and social situations, and you should make absolutely sure you have your GM’s permission before you even consider attempting to play one. Assuming you have permission, however, keep in mind the following mechanical considerations regarding playing a monk.

  • A monk’s Traits all begin at 2, just like any other character. Monks begin with a Void of 3, however.
  • All monks in the Empire of Rokugan are affiliated to some degree with the Brotherhood of Shinsei. For our purposes, you may select one of the Monk Schools listed below, or you may choose to be an unaffiliated monk. Choosing the latter puts you at a significant disadvantage, however.
  • In addition to the benefits of their School, monks begin the game knowing 3 kiho. They must meet all prerequisites in order to use these Kiho, however. Brotherhood monk characters gain 2 new Kiho each time they advance in School Rank.
  • In addition to the Kiho listed above, a monk may purchase additional Kiho by spending a number of Experience Points equal to the Kiho’s Mastery Level. These are essentially ‘bonus Kiho’, and a character may never know more of these than his cumulative School Rank in all Monk Schools.
  • Monks possess Glory 1 and Status 0. A monk’s Status may increase normally but gains only half the normal amount of Glory, since they eschew fame.
  • All monks begin with the following outfit: Bo (or pair of jo), course and plain Traveling Clothing, a Scroll Satchel with passages from the Tao, and 2 zeni.

Monk Basic Schools

Monk Schools are like shugenja Schools in that they possess only a single basic Technique they learn at character creation, and never gain others. The other abilities possessed by a monk are represented by the Kiho he knows. Each of the follow Monk Schools, also called Temples, represents a network of temples devoted to a particular sect within the Brotherhood of Shinsei, and reflects where the character was trained and indoctrinated into the order.

The entry noted Devotion on each School describes the primary focus of that particular sect, whether it is on the Tao of Shinsei or the study of the Fortunes’ strictures. All monastic sects study both, as dictated by Imperial law, but most study one or the other with greater emphasis.

First Dawn Scholars [Monk]

  • Devotion: Fortunism
  • Benefit: +1 Intelligence
  • Starting Honor: 5.5
  • Skills: Etiquette, Jiujutsu, Lore: Nonhumans, Lore: Theology (Fortunes), Meditation, Staves, any one Skill
  • Technique: Way of the Ancient World – Your recognition that enlightenment and understanding transcend both race and time allows you to learn one additional Mystical kiho and grants you a +1k0 bonus on all Etiquette and Lore skills.

Four Temples Monk [CR]

Many sects believe that monks must retreat into seclusion to achieve harmony with the elements. The monks of the Four Temples sect know that man is a social creature and it is in his nature to interact with others. The Four Temples monks believe they must maintain a strong connection with civilization to unravel the mysteries of the world. The Four Temples monks remain in direct contact with the political heart of the Empire – indeed, one of its biggest monasteries lies within the Imperial capital. Four Temples monks may become advisers to major generals or daimyo, or they may travel the road, helping the unfortunate who cross their path.

  • Devotion: Shintao
  • Benefit: +1 Awareness
  • Honor: 6.5
  • Skills: Courtier, Etiquette, Jiujutsu, Lore: Theology (Shintao), Meditation, any 2 Skills
  • Technique: Soul of Civility – Brothers of the Four Temples are accustomed to interacting with extremely important visitors and receiving invitations to influential courts. When you spend a Void Point to augment a High Skill Roll or a Social Skill Roll, you gain +2k2 instead of the normal +1k1.

Fudoist Order [Monk]

The resurgence of Fudoist philosophy in the Colonies has given rise to a new generation of monks who subscribe to its ancient and forbidden texts. Many are benevolent and enthusiastic adherents of this mindset, but some among their ranks are beginning to display the sort of malevolent behaviors that doomed the first incarnation of the sect. (GMs may also use this School to represent the followers of the original Fudoist heresy from the early days of the Empire.)

  • Devotion: None
  • Benefit: +1 Willpower
  • Starting Honor: 1.5 or 4.5
  • Skills: Courtier, Etiquette, Jiujutsu, Lore: Theology, Meditation, any two Skills
  • Technique: For Each, One Path – Monks of Fudo must choose their own path, and it can vary wildly from one to another. At the time of character creation, you must choose a low or high Honor Rank (as indicated above). Likewise, you must choose to specialize in either opposed Social Skill Rolls or in Attack rolls. You gain a bonus to your total in the selected roll type equal to twice the difference between your Honor Rank and that of your opponent.

The Order of Eternity

  • Benefit: +1 Intelligence
  • Devotion: Shintao
  • Skills: Defense, Divination (Astrology), Jiujutsu, Meditation, Lore: Theology, any two High Skills
  • Technique: The Touch of Eternity – The monks of this Order believe that time is an illusion and that the events of the past, present, and future are all coexistent. This causes them to engage in many strange actions, but also allows them an unusual degree of insight into the world around them. You may contemplate a noncombat situation, for an amount of time determined by the GM (the monks of this Order have been known to size up a complex situation in an instant, but also to spend an hour considering whether to eat a bowl of rice). At the end of your contemplation, you roll Meditation / Void at TN 25 (higher for complex situations). With a success, you gain a bonus of +1k1 +Void to any Skill Rolls you make to try to resolve that specific situation.

The GM should exercise good judgment in considering the application of the Order of Eternity Technique – some situations may be too complex to master with a single consideration. In general, the monk should not be able to apply this Technique’s benefits to more Skill Rolls than his Void Rank – any rolls beyond that will require further contemplation and another Meditation / Void roll.

Order Of the Five Rings [Monk]

  • Devotion: Shintao
  • Benefit: +1 Awareness
  • Starting Honor: 4.0
  • Skills: Courtier, Defense, Etiquette, Jiujutsu, Lore: Elements, Lore: Theology (Shintao), Meditation
  • Technique: Cracks Within the Elements – Monks of the Order of the Five Rings excel at seeking out the imbalances within others and exploiting them to their own advantage. Whenever you are making an attack roll or a Social Skill Roll against a mortal opponent, you gain a bonus to the roll equal to twice the difference between your opponent’s highest and lowest Rings.

Order of Heroes Monk [CR]

A small sect that is not well known among those outside the Brotherhood, the monks of the Order of Heroes are among the most proactive sects in Rokugan. Adherents are followers of the Tao, the Thunder Dragon, and the Fortune Goemon (The Fortune of Heroes). They believe the potential for greatness exists within the soul of all men. With the proper encouragement, any samurai can become a hero of legend to inspire and teach others. The Order actively seeks out threats and problems that exist within the Empire, and then seeks out individuals who possess the proper talents to deal with the matter conclusively. In this way, the Order has quietly assisted in the births of hundreds of heroes and legends, tales remembered in plays and novels throughout history. The Order remains all but unknown, however, since adherents consider it vital to perform their duties without ever drawing attention to themselves.

  • Devotion: Shintao
  • Benefit: +1 Perception
  • Honor: 4.5
  • Skills: Athletics, Defense, Jiujutsu, Lore: Theology (Pick an Emphasis), Mediation, any 2 Skills
  • Technique: Destiny’s Hand – The Order’s esoteric methods allow for the passage of chi from a monk to another without difficulty. You may spend a Void Point as a Free Action to confer a bonus of +1k1 to any one roll this round by an ally who has not yet taken his Turn. You may not enhance a roll that cannot normally benefit from Void Points (such as damage roll, for instance).

Order of the Nameless Gift [Monk]

An offshoot of the Shrine of the Seven Thunders, this Order believes the fate-altering power of the Seven Thunders resides in all mortal souls. Its teachings are not for the faint of spirit or body, since the monks of the Nameless Gift delve into their secrets through physical rigor and endless trials of endurance. Training in the Order involves a great deal of focus on the physical world and seeing the vastness of the universe reflected in the mundane.
Monks of the Order of the Nameless Gift have a direct and uncomplicated approach to all things mental, physical, and spiritual. Instead of attempting to view the world in a subtle or complex manner, they embrace what is obvious and contend with that instead. This has led many to believe the Order is somewhat simple-minded, and its members do not bother to argue the point. The serenity and enlightenment they gain by keeping their perceptions and expectations simple gives them insight, endurance, and expertise at the most unusual times.

  • Devotion: Shintao
  • Benefit: +1 Stamina
  • Honor: 4.5
  • Skills: Athletics, Defense, Jiujutsu, Lore (pick one), Meditation, any two Skills.
  • Technique: Shinsei’s Gift – A monk taught by the Order of the Nameless Gift can be an endless well of endurance, patience, and insight. Because they are much more worldly than many other monks in the Brotherhood, their training and experience add to a typical monk’s canny mind and strength in combat. You gain a number of Void Points per day equal to your Earth Ring, but these Void Points may only be spent to reduce damage or to raise your Armor TN. These Void Points may not be spent simultaneously with other Void Points or in any other fashion.

Order of Peaceful Repose [SE]

Pockets of this sect may be found throughout Rokugan, especially in places where warfare or local spiritual conditions make ghosts more common. They dedicate themselves to serving Emma-O by laying ghosts to rest, without regard for whether those ghosts are the spirits of heimin or samurai. In the twelfth century the monks of this Order form an alliance with the newly-formed Brothers of Rebirth, whose aims they see as harmonious with their own.

  • Devotion: Fortunist (Emma-O, the Fortune of Death)
  • Benefit: +1 Awareness
  • Honor: 4.5
  • Skills: Athletics, Calligraphy, Jiujutsu, Lore: Ghosts, Lore: Theology (Emma-O), Meditation, any one Skill
  • Technique: Emma-O’s Insight – You may detect the presence of ghosts (yorei or goryo, but not gaki) by spending 10 minutes in meditation and making a roll of Meditation / Awareness at TN 25. You may do this a number of times per day equal to your Void Rank. You may call Raises on this roll to learn the following additional information (one piece of information per Raise): the ghost’s identity, its manner of death, and its connection to the mortal world. For three Raises, you can gain specific insight into what will lay the ghost to rest. (GM’s discretion as to exactly what you learn, but it will always be directly useful to resolving the ghost’s presence in the mortal world.)

The Order Of Rebirth [Monk]

The Brothers of the Order of Rebirth come from a militant tradition of sohei who once served in the ranks of the Order of Thunder devoted to Osano-Wo, the Fortune of Fire and Thunder. The Order embraces new paths and philosophies in an attempt to unlock new truths about both the self and the universe. Their subtle disregard for tradition has earned them a fair amount of disdain from other sects, but the brothers of Rebirth tend to ignore this hostility; as an oft-repeated maxim of their sect observes, the first step upon a new path is always the most difficult.

  • Devotion: Fortunist
  • Benefit: +1 Intelligence
  • Honor: 6.5
  • Skills: Athletics, Jiujutsu, Lore: History, Lore: Theology, Meditation, any two Skills.
  • Technique: Changing the Way The Brothers of Rebirth celebrate different approaches in all their myriad of forms. Each time in a given encounter that you attempt to utilize a Kiho of a different Element than any Kiho previously used in the same encounter, you gain a bonus of +5 on the activation roll.

Order of the Wind [BoA]

There are many divisions within the Order of the Wind, but while the core tenets vary wildly from one group to the next, the core beliefs are the same throughout the Order. The essential beliefs of the Brothers of Wind are that the world is a naturally chaotic and unpredictable place, and this cannot be changed. Rather than struggle against this, a Brother of Wind simply accepts it and remains resolute in the face of uncertainty. This belief grants them control over themselves and, in a limited way, over the world around them. This latter portion of their belief system is not generally discussed outside the ranks of the Order, naturally.

  • Devotion: Fortunism
  • Benefit: +1 Reflexes
  • Honor: 4.5
  • Skills: Athletics, Defense, Jiujutsu, Lore: Theology, Meditation, Staves, any one Skill
  • Technique:** Essence of the Wind – A true Brother of the Wind allows the world to move around him like a breeze, remaining centered and assured throughout the chaos of existence. Any effect that targets you and attempts to influence your behavior, whether it be a spell, a courtier Technique, a social Skill or Advantage, or any other mechanic, requires an additional Void Point to take effect. (However, this can bypass the normal limit on spending one Void Point per Round for enhancement effects.)

Shinmaki Order [EE]

The monks who are admitted to the small Shinmaki sect spend much of their lives studying the controversial Diamond sutra and meditating on the Seven Thunders, who are supposedly avatars of Shinsei from other cycles of the world. They remain in their dark and isolated monasteries for years, and some of their practices there are highly controversial (for example, some claim they copy sutras onto dried flesh). However, they do occasionally emerge to explore the world or to gather for meetings of the entire sect.

  • Devotion: Shintao
  • Benefit: +1 Void
  • Honor: 6.5
  • Skills: Divination, Jiujutsu, Lore: Theology (Diamond Sutra), Meditation 2, any two Skills
  • Technique: The Diamond Sutra – The monks who study the Diamond Sutra are known for their strange and bizarre behavior and esoteric practices, but also for their extreme spiritual purity and lack of respect for conventional etiquette. You start play with the Disturbing Countenance Disadvantage for no points, but gain a +1k0 bonus to Meditation rolls, Fear rolls, and to all Social Skill Rolls involving members of the heimin and hinin castes. You do not lose Honor for touching dead flesh (but lose Glory or gain Infamy normally).

Shrine of the Seven Thunders Monk [CR]

When Rokugan desperately called for heroes to defeat the threat of the dark god Fu Leng, seven mortals sacrificed everything to save their Empire. The monks of the Shrine of the Seven Thunders honor these heroes by dedicating their entire lives to enlightenment through contemplation and tranquility. These monks rarely leave the monastery, choosing instead to become one with their environment.

  • Devotion: Shintao
  • Benefit: +1 Stamina
  • Honor: 4.5
  • Skills: Athletics, Jiujutsu, Lore: Theology (Shintao), Lore (pick one), Mediation, any 2 Skills
  • Technique: Walk with the Prophet – Brothers of this shrine emphasize training in one element over all others. All three of your initial Kiho must be selected from the same element. Your Insight Rank is considered 1 higher for the purposes of meeting the Mastery Level of Kiho from this element.

Temple of Kaimetsu-uo Monk [CR]

The adherents of Kaimetsu-uo, the founder of the Mantis Clan, have a considerably different view of that heroic individual than the samurai who belong to the Clan he founded. They believe Kaimetsu-uo performed legendary deeds because he wanted to avoid the destruction that would have come if he had stayed and contested the claim to the Crab Clan’s leadership. The monks of the Temple of Kaimetsu-uo believe enlightenment comes from conciliation and peace with others.

  • Devotion: Fortunist
  • Benefit: +1 Willpower
  • Honor: 4.5
  • Skills: Defense, Jiujutsu, Lore: Theology (Fortunes), Mediation, any 3 Skills
  • Technique: The Path of Purity – You soul dwells in a place of wisdom and serenity, and your ire is difficult to arouse under any circumstances. When making a Contested Social Roll initiated by your opponent, you may use any Ring in place of the normal trait used (typically Awareness) for the purposes of that roll.

the Temple of Heavenly Wisdom [Monk]

The Temple of Heavenly Wisdom is one of the eldest, perhaps the eldest, monastic traditions within the Crane Clan’s provinces. The temple itself was ancient when the Lady Doji first approached it, having been created by primitive men to revere the oldest of the Fortunes. These monks and their studies aided the Lady Doji in the promotion of culture throughout the Empire, and in the process their temple became something of a sensation in early Rokugan, affording the brothers there an unexpected amount of social prestige and influence. This was something of an anomaly in the early Brotherhood and created some difficulties for the sect, but in the intervening centuries the impact of monks upon Rokugan’s society has long since been accepted by the Brotherhood’s leadership.

  • Devotion: Fortunist
  • Benefit: +1 Intelligence
  • Honor: 6.5
  • Skills: Courtier, Etiquette, Lore: History, Lore: Theology, Meditation, Sincerity, any one High Skill.
  • Technique: The Largesse Of Fukurokujin – The Fortune of Wisdoms showers his blessings upon those monks who revere him, granting them insight into the ways of politics and diplomacy where others might make grievous errors. When making any Social Skill Roll, you may select any one Kiho you possess. You may not use that Kiho for the remainder of the day, but you gain a bonus of +1k1 to the Social Skill Roll. You may only select each Kiho you know once per day for this purpose.

Temple of Osano-Wo Monk [CR]

Perhaps the most militant of all Brotherhood sects, the Temple of Osano-Wo stands apart from the other Fortunist orders because of its extraordinary focus on physical prowess and martial arts. Adherents believe enlightenment comes with hard work and physical exertion, and a well-trained body leads to a well-trained mind and soul. Monks of this order are notorious for ritually scarring their skin to mark the progress of their training, giving them an alarming appearance.

  • Devotion: Fortunist
  • Benefit: +1 Strength
  • Honor: 4.5
  • Skills: Battle, Jiujutsu 2, Lore: Theology (Fortunes), Meditation, any 2 Bugei Skills
  • Technique: The Hand of Thunder – The emphasis of the Thunderer’s monks on the purity of unarmed combat is obvious to all who encounter them. You gain a +0k1 bonus to all damage rolls stemming from unarmed attacks. This effect is cumulative with any other effects that allow you to roll or keep additional dice on unarmed damage.

Temple of Persistence [Monk]

Devoted to the ideal of unyielding defiance and endurance, the monks of the Temple of Persistence believe the ultimate test is to persevere in the face of adversity, rather than merely accepting it. While they are largely a martial order, they accept any initiates who show an unflagging spirit and willingness to persist in their goals despite overwhelming odds. Training in the Temple tests both body and mind, as the monk is constantly given tasks aimed at finding his limits physically, mentally, and even emotionally.
The Temple is something of a home for monks who are viewed as overly stubborn by the rest of the Brotherhood. Monks of Persistence are not necessarily hot-headed or brash, but they very rarely accept defeat and are extremely difficult to deflect or deter from what they set out to do. While the membership of the Order is small, its monks are often called upon to represent the Brotherhood in situations where tenacity is more important than traditional diplomacy or martial prowess.

  • Devotion: Fortunist
  • Benefit: +1 Stamina
  • Honor: 3.5
  • Skills: Athletics, Defense, Jiujutsu (Martial Arts), Lore: Theology, Meditation, any one Bugei skill, any one skill.
  • Technique: Unyielding Spirit – Members of the Order of Persistence are known to be stubborn in both body and soul. They do not simply endure the wrathful assaults of others, but learn to push forward actively toward their goal. You may spend a Void Point as a Free Action to ignore all penalties to an immediately subsequent die roll. If you use this Technique when making either a Contested Roll you did not initiate or an Attack Roll, you may also add +Xk0 to the roll, where X is your Earth Ring.

Temples of the Thousand Fortunes Monk [CR]

Rokugan is a devout Empire filled with thousands of shrines and monasteries across the land. The Temples of the Thousand Fortunes are as diverse as the gods they revere. It is almost impossible to categorize all of the monks Temples of the Thousand Fortunes as one group, but most believe they must work diligently to prove worthy of enlightenment.

  • Devotion: Fortunist
  • Benefit: +1 Agility
  • Honor: 4.5
  • Skills: Jijutsu, Lore: History, Lore: Theology (Fortunes), any 1 Lore Skill, Mediation, any 2 Skills
  • Technique: The Thousand Forms – There is no limit to the variety of blessings bestowed upon the loyal members of the Brotherhood by their divine patrons. You begin the game knowing 4 Kiho, rather than the normal 3 possessed by all Brotherhood monk characters. These do not count against the additional Kiho you can purchase with Experience Points (which you may do as normal).

Tengoku’S Fist [Monk]

Centuries ago, the Order of Tengoku’s Fist was created as an offshoot of the Shrine of the Seven Thunders. The divide was philosophical, and although it was amicable, the two sects no longer have much to do with one another (this causes some observers to assume hostility where none exists). The monks of Tengoku’s Fist see violence not as an inherently evil thing, but rather as a natural part of existence found in all aspects of life regardless of good or evil, honor or dishonor. They are among the Brotherhood’s more serene sects of sohei, however, for they do not view violence as a first resort, merely as a viable option to be considered equally with all others. When violence is called for, they tend to prove exceptionally gifted at dispensing it.

  • Devotion: Shintao
  • Benefit: +1 Agility
  • Honor: 4.5
  • Skills: Athletics, Battle, Jiujutsu 2, Lore: Theology, Meditation, any one Skill.
  • Technique: The Hand of the Heavens – The monks of Tengoku’s Fist strike with surety and purpose, and their strength is magnified by the influence of the divine. When making an unarmed attack against an opponent, or an attack using a bisento, a bo staff, or a weapon with the Monk property, you may gain a Free Raise on the attack roll if your Fire Ring is higher than your opponent’s Fire Ring.

Wind’s Grace Order [BoA]

Created in the aftermath of the Clan War, the Wind’s Grace Order was home to a great number of formerly serene monks who answered the call to defend the Brotherhood’s temples during that extensive conflict, but who could not regain their former peace and serenity afterward. The Brotherhood seized upon the practice of archery as a way for these unfortunates to find both spiritual focus and purpose, leading to the creation of the Wind’s Grace Order, a new sect with strong ties to the Asahina family and to other prominent archery traditions throughout the Empire, including both the Dragon and the Mantis. Through focus and proper contemplation, the once-lost brothers managed to recover from the horrors of the Clan War and resume the long path toward enlightenment.

  • Devotion: Shintao
  • Benefit: +1 Reflexes
  • Honor: 6.5
  • Skills: Calligraphy, Jiujutsu, Kyujutsu, Lore: Theology (Shintao), Meditation, any two Skills
  • Special: Members of the Asahina family may potentially attend this school. See sidebar for details.
  • Technique: Pillars of the Mind’s Eye – By clearing the mind and embracing absolute serenity and focus, a brother of the Wind’s Grace can grasp the simple truth: the arrow and the target are already one. You make an archery attack as a Complex Action; for every Kiho you have that is presently active, you gain a bonus of +1k0 to the total of that roll. Active Kiho may not have any other effects during a Round in which you employ this Technique, and only one Martial Kiho can confer this benefit. However, any time you use this Technique to make an attack that directly results in the death of an intelligent being, you lose 3 points of Honor.

Alternate Paths

Abbot [Monk]

Those whom the Brotherhood honors with election to a position of leadership are given additional training from senior monks, and also gain influence and social status within their Orders and the Brotherhood as a whole.

  • Technique Rank: 4+
  • Replaces: Any Brotherhood Rank 4 or higher (potentially lower Ranks as well, see Special below)
  • Special: The character must gain an

appointment as the abbot of a monastery. This is ordinarily reserved for The Order of Eternity monks of Insight Rank 4 or higher, but unusual circumstances may result in a less experienced character being promoted by his brethren (GM’s adjudication in such situations).

  • Technique: The Reverence of Wisdom – Your fellow monks have chosen to honor you by elevating you to the position of abbot at your monastery. Within the Brotherhood, you are now considered to be Status 4.0. When interacting with members of your own Order, you gain +1k1 to all Social Skill rolls (except Temptation). With outsiders of all types, you add +1k0 to those rolls instead.

Barefoot Breathren [SE]

The Barefoot Brethren carry messages all across Rokugan, asking no price except food for their journey. They are famed for their endurance, regularly outpacing even Unicorn horses over long distances. Many of those they serve are heimin, who have few other ways to communicate with distant kin, but samurai also make use of the Barefoot Brethren.

  • Devotion: Koshin, Fortune of Roads
  • Replaces: Any Fortunist Brotherhood Monk 2 (may not belong to the Order of Osano-Wo)
  • Requirements: Ascetic, Meditation (Fasting) 3, Athletics 4
  • Technique: Koshin’s Favor – You gain only one Kiho at this Rank. The strength of Koshin prevents you from becoming Fatigued from travel or lack of sleep, but not from the lack of food/drink. You gain a +1k1 bonus to all Meditation rolls.

Brotherhood Spy [Monk]

To combat the growing influence of the Gozoku conspiracy, Emperor Hantei VI turned to a completely unexpected source to assist him: the Brotherhood of Shinsei. Although the monks of the Brotherhood were of course willing to obey their Emperor without question, they had never been involved with anything like this, and were more accustomed to changing the perceptions of small local tyrants rather than facing a nationwide organized movement stripping power from the Emperor in the name of progress. Some were so horrified by the suggestion that they were simply incapable of providing useful assistance. Others did help but with great reluctance, and a few rose to the occasion in truly spectacular style. Unfortunately, the Brotherhood’s leadership was completely inexperienced in this sort of endeavor and was either unwilling or unable to differentiate between these three different groups, leading to the exposure and downfall of the whole effort-and ironically, contributing directly to the downfall of the Gozoku as well. Some later historians speculated this was the plan of the Emperor all along, but in truth, if he had possessed that level of manipulative cunning it seems unlikely the Gozoku could so easily have co-opted his rule in the first place.

The monks who succeeded as spies were predominantly (but by no means exclusively) former Scorpion samurai who had retired for a life of quiet contemplation. Many were delighted by the chance to be active once again, and they were not entirely alone. Sadly, the failures of the more numerous monks ill-suited to espionage led to the capture of all.

Although the Brotherhood Spies officially only existed during the reign of the Gozoku, they could have appeared in almost any era where the Brotherhood of Shinsei found itself drawn into the Empire’s political affairs. The technique created by the retired Scorpion-turned-monks could well have been preserved in the Brotherhood’s ranks and brought out again in later eras when the monks of Shinsei had need of it. In the twelfth century a perverted form of the technique could even have found its way into the ranks of the Spider Clan by way of the heretical Order of the Spider and Order of Venom.

  • Technique Rank: 2
  • Replaces: Any Brotherhood Monk School at Rank 2
  • Requirements: Lore: Theology 3
  • Technique: Bearing The Emperor’s Shame – Acts committed in the Emperor’s name are done with certainty that can overcome the shame associated with them, even when they are against one’s personal code of honor. When acting against a known or suspected agent of the Gozoku conspiracy, or when acting on orders from a legitimate Imperial authority, you gain a Free Raise on all Stealth and Deceit Skill Rolls. You lose no Honor for these Skill Rolls when made under these specific circumstances.

Defender of the Brotherhood [Monk/Courtier]

Although the Brotherhood of Shinsei generally holds itself apart from the Empire’s politics, on some occasions they do send emissaries to the courts to make sure their own concerns – the protection of the common people and of the Brotherhood’s shrines and temples – are properly expressed. Over the centuries, those of the Brotherhood with an aptitude for patient diplomacy have devised a Technique which is now taught within several monastic orders. The Defenders of the Brotherhood are most commonly found among the more peaceful and contemplative sects, such as the Temple of Kaimetsu-Uo, but even the sohei of Osano-Wo have occasionally trained their monks in its simple but effective methods.

  • Rank: 2
  • Replaces: Any Brotherhood Monk 2 (may not be a Four Temples monk)
  • Requirements: Willpower 3, Courtier 3, Etiquette 4
  • Technique: Harmony in Chaos – The power of Earth grants infinite patience and endurance, strengthening the inherent tranquillity of monastic reserve and thus allowing a Defender to deliver telling remarks within the courts. Any time you spend a Void Point on an Etiquette or Courtier Social Skill roll, you gain a bonus of +Xk1 to the roll (where X is your Willpower) instead of the normal +1k1.

Kaze-do Fighter [Bushi/Monk]

The ancient techniques of Togashi Kaze, which formed the basis for almost all modern Rokugani martial arts, still survive in a somewhat abbreviated form among the peasants of Rokugan and the monks of the Brotherhood of Shinsei. The technique is rare and those who know it usually pass it down privately to a few select students, preserving its secrets from the samurai who Kaze opposed.

  • Rank: 2
  • Replaces: Any Rank 2 for a character who qualifies.
  • Requirements: Jiujutsu (Kaze-do) 3
  • Special Limitation: Normally, only peasants and monks of the Brotherhood may learn this Path, which represents those portions of Togashi Kaze’s teachings which survive among the common people of Rokugan. At the GM’s option, a ronin or a Tattooed Man might also be able to learn this Path if he is able to befriend a suitable teacher among those groups, but this should be an extraordinarily rare occurrence.
  • Technique: The Way of Air – The students of Kaze’s ancient techniques learn how to use the speed of their opponents against them while evading enemy weapons. When you are fighting unarmed, any opponent attacking you with a melee weapon suffers a penalty of -Xk0 to his attacking Skill Roll, where X equals his Air Ring. This penalty cannot apply to more opponents within the same Round than your Insight Rank.

Order of Ebisu [Monk/Courtier]

The monks of this small order spend most of their time among the common folk, but do occasionally interact with the samurai caste to offer counsel or to report abuse of the heimin. They seek to teach those who forsake Compassion and to bolster those who already practice it, subtly influencing the courts with their ideals. They use teaching, education, and example to spread their views rather than relying on actual political negotiation, and their effect can often be quite subtle. Monks who serve Ebisu are known to be extremely patient and will labor without complaint for endless days, awaiting the moment when their work can bear fruit among the samurai.

  • Devotion: Fortunist
  • Rank: 3
  • Replaces: Thousand Fortunes Monk 3, Jurojin’s Blessing Monk 3
  • Requires: At least two heimin Craft Skills at Rank 3 or higher
  • Technique:** The Voice of Humility – The monks of the Order of Ebisu spend their time among the peasants, seeking enlightenment by sharing the simple work of the heimin. However, on those occasions when they offer counsel to the samurai caste or make appeals on behalf of the peasants, their humble labors grant them an aura of serene enlightened harmony which even the most stubborn or callous samurai finds difficult to resist. In order to use this Technique, you must spend time working alongside the peasants at humble tasks (e.g. utilizing the Craft Skills associated with this Path). For each week you spend laboring in this manner, you gain a bonus Void Point which you may only spend on those Craft Skills, on Medicine Skill Rolls made to help peasants/hinin, or on Social Skill Rolls made against samurai. The maximum number of these bonus Void Points you may “hold” are equal to your Void Rank

Pure Song Shrine [SE]

For this sect, purity is more than merely a standard – it is the road to Enlightenment. Pure Song monks not only refrain from eating the flesh of any living creature, they also forgo eggs and even root vegetables whose loss kills the plant. They refuse all garments of silk, wearing robes woven from hemp. Those who have taken full vows wear bells on their ankles and their staves to warn creatures of their approach. Under no circumstances will a Pure Song monk take violent action, even to defend another – though he will not hesitate to lay his own life down to save others’ lives, even if it is only a momentary reprieve.

The Pure Song is a movement within the Shrine of the Seven Thunders for some time before achieving formal recognition as a separate sect.

One odd talent of the order wins them admission to unexpected places: their beautiful music. Several Pure Song monks have risen to great fame as singers and musicians, rivaling even the best Kakita artisans. All members of the order habitually chant or sing while meditating, or improvise harmonies around their bells as they pursue their duties.

  • Devotion: Shintao
  • Replaces: Shrine of Seven Thunders Monk 4
  • Requirements: Willpower 4, Defense 4, Meditation 3, any one musical Perform Skill at 3
  • Special: You may not learn or use Martial Kiho
  • Technique: The Pure Song – You gain a +1k0 bonus to all Perform Skills that involve music. You may never deliberately attack another living creature; if you ever do so, the spiritual pollution causes you to permanently lose the ability to perform Kiho. However, while you remain nonviolent and thus spiritually pure, you gain a +1k1 bonus to all Defense rolls, and any time you spend a Void point to negate Wounds, you negate 20 Wounds instead of 10.

Silent Ones [SE]

This tiny order, never encompassing more than a dozen full members in total, is unknown outside the Scorpion lands and barely known within them. However, the upper ranks of the Scorpion Clan find the Silent Ones a deeply useful order, and keep careful note of the temple’s location. These monks spend most of their lives in meditation, but this is not merely due to preference; it is because they literally cannot speak. When an initiate takes the full vows to join the Silent Ones and serve the Fortune of Secrets, as soon as the last word is spoken his tongue vanishes from his mouth.

  • Devotion: Fortunist (Tsugumu, the Fortune of Secrets)
  • Replaces: Any Fortunist Brotherhood Monk 3
  • Requirements: Willpower 4, Meditation 4
  • Special: A character who joins this Path becomes mute (his tongue vanishes from his mouth)
  • Technique: Tsugumu’s Silence – A member of this order who is voluntarily told a secret can never give it up. The knowledge is guarded by the power of the Fortune of Secrets, and can never be taken from the monk’s mind in any way, even through torture or intrusive Air magic.

Student of Hitsu-Do [Monk]

Hitsu-do is an extremely offensive martial art with few defensive maneuvers. It focuses on speed and power, striking with punches and kicks that commit all of the martial artist’s strength and infuses each strike with the power of Fire.

  • Rank: 2
  • Replaces: Any Brotherhood Monk 2, Kikage Zumi 2, Kuni Witch-Hunter 2, Asako Henshin 2
  • Requires: Jiujutsu (Hitsu-do) 4, Fire 3, access to a Hitsu-do dojo
  • Technique: the Way of fire

The practitioner of Hitsu-do learns to harness his inner Fire chi, using it to empower his strikes … but this has a price, since such use of one’s own Fire is also harmful. When making an unarmed attack, you may opt to call on your inner fire, but you suffer Wounds equal to your Fire x2. (Any Wound Penalties from this damage are applied after your attack roll is completed.) In return, your unarmed damage for that attack has a base DR of 0k[Fire] instead of 0k1. (This does not stack with the unarmed damage bonus from the Advantage Hands of Stone.) For mechanical purposes, using the Hitsu-do technique is considered to be the same as using a Mystical Kiho. The practice of Hitsu-do makes it easier for its students to master the ways of Fire. Your Fire Ring is considered to be 1 Rank higher for the purpose of learning Fire Kiho.

Student of Mizu-Do [Monk/Artisan]

Mizu-do is a Crane martial art, originally developed from stage performance. It is a defensive and “soft” that focuses on using the enemy’s strength against him. It relies on locks and throws that neutralize an enemy and end the fight swiftly, all while protecting the foe from any permanent injury. The form is quite popular among the Crane and in the Brotherhood of Shinsei, but bushi – especially Crab and Lion bushi – tend to look down on Mizu-do as impractical and pretentious. The form is unusually popular among certain groups of courtiers, who see it as a way to defend themselves without the crude violence of weapons. Courtiers from other clans, especially from the Unicorn and Phoenix, sometimes exchange favors to be able to train in Mizu-do. If the GM wishes to incorporate this into the campaign, this Path should be made available to any courtier school, subject to suitable negotiations to arrange the training.

  • Technique Rank: 3
  • Replaces: Any non-martial Brotherhood Monk 3, Doji Courtier 3, Kakita Artisan 3, Asahina Shugenja 3
  • Requires: Jiujutsu (Mizu-do) 4, Water 3, access to a Mizu-do sensei
  • Technique: The Way of Water – Masters of Mizu-do techniques are able to avoid nearly any strike, subduing their attackers by using their own strength against them. When performing a Grapple, you use your opponent’s Strength Rank in place of your own. While you are in the Defense or Full Defense stance, when a melee attack misses you, you may immediately take a Free Action to spend a Void Point and make a Jiujutsu (Mizu-do) / Strength roll against a TN of the opponent’s attack roll, but using the opponent’s Strength Rank in place of your own. If you succeed in this roll, you may either immediately Throw the opponent (as per the option in Grappling) or immediately take control of a Grapple against the opponent.

The Taoist Archers [Bushi/Monk]

The Taoist Archers seek perfect harmony through the study of kyujutsu and have existed within the Brotherhood of Shinsei for centuries. In the Pre-Coup era a ronin named Gahei learns the Technique and begins to teach a selected students, and thereafter this Path is also available to ronin characters (assuming they can find someone who knows it and is willing to teach them).

  • Rank: 5
  • Replaces: Any Brotherhood Monk or Ronin 5.
  • Requirements: Void 4, Kyujutsu (Yumi) 5, Lore: Theology 3, Meditation 4
  • Technique: Flight of Innocence – The Taoist Archers practice their art blindfolded. When making archery attacks, you ignore all TN and dice penalties for being Blind, for having a Missing Eye, or for the target being concealed by darkness, magical illusion, camouflage, and similar visual obstructions. Penalties for physical obstacles and obstructive conditions (such as the target being Prone, a normal or magical wind, etc.) are applied normally. In addition, when wielding a bow you may spend a Void Point for a +1k1 bonus on damage.