To understand Nezumi history one must ﬁrst understand how a Nezumi thinks, as well as how they are regarded in the Empire they sometimes call home. From the Nezumi’s perspective, they are a proud and heroic species with a history marked by tragedy. From the viewpoint of most Rokugani, however, the Nezumi are nothing more than ﬁlthy vermin and scavengers. They scurry through the Shadowlands and live on the fringes of civilization. They feed on garbage. They spread disease in their wake. They have no nobility, no culture, and no real place in the Celestial Order. Nothing typiﬁes their lowly status more than the pejorative name they have been given – Ratlings.
- 1 Nezumi Tribes
- 2 Basic Schools
- 3 Advanced Schools
- 4 Nezumi Physical Abilities
- 5 Nezumi-only Advantages
- 6 Nezumi-only Disadvantages
- Beneﬁt: +1 Awareness
The Blue Fur are a small tribe that split off from a larger one at some point in the distant past. They ranged widely through the Shadowlands for generations, unable to ﬁnd a stable territory of their own. That changed when they discovered an abandoned Nezumi warren on the southern border of the Hiruma lands. The Hiruma were using the warren as a base for scouting the Shadowlands, and after a tense initial confrontation, a wily scrounger from the Blue Fur tribe suggested the two groups share the warren. Initial reactions on both sides were disgust and derision, but the leading Crab ofﬁcer took the idea seriously, and negotiations ensued. Eventually the two groups agreed that the Hiruma could use the warren as a safe haven and call on the tribe’s scouts in exchange for supplying the Blue Fur with food. The Blue Fur are a rare example of a Nezumi tribe living in close contact with humans for an extended period of time. They tend to litter their speech with human words and even incorporate human body language into their gestures, often to the irritation of other Nezumi. Despite their close relationship with the Hiruma, the Blue Fur were happy to join the One Tribe when it formed in the mid-twelfth century, and served it loyally to the end. Tomorrow hurts them badly, and in the After Times only a few families scurry through the warren where once the Blue Fur prospered.
- Beneﬁt: +1 Stamina
The Broken Shinbone are a small tribe which held territory in the northern Shadowlands for most of their history. Early in the twelfth century, during the conﬂict known as the Clan War, they were driven out of their home territory and ﬂed into Rokugan, wandering from one clan’s lands to the next. Through a series of accidents they wound up serving in battle under the command of the Lion war hero Matsu Gohei, who offered them food and sanctuary if they would ﬁght for him. The Broken Shinbone fought against the forces of Fu Leng with such courage that the Lion warrior came to greatly admire them, and continued to provide them with supplies and shelter after the Clan War came to an end. Eventually, fate drove the Lion away from his Nezumi allies, and the tribe wandered across the northern Empire, taking shelter where they could ﬁnd it. In later years the Dragon Clan would discover them again and make use of their talents in protecting its borders.
The Broken Shinbone seems to be one of the few major Nezumi tribes that did not join the great One Tribe when it came together in the mid-twelfth century – perhaps because their remote territory kept them largely ignorant of the great events affecting the rest of their race. They also seem to have a certain sense of superiority toward other Nezumi tribes due to their long migrations and sufferings. Tomorrow did come upon them, for their Shamans sensed the threat like all the rest, but it struck a lighter blow on their tribe than it did on many others. Having survived such a terrible event, the Broken Shinbone face the future with less fear than most Nezumi.
- Beneﬁt: +1 Agility
Many centuries ago, these Nezumi were hunters and gatherers in the southern Yasuki provinces. That changed when the notorious pirate Yasuki Fumoki needed a new crew. He took note of these odd creatures and their potential, and trained them to serve as crew on his vessels, a task the Nezumi embraced with their typical energy and resourcefulness. With their extraordinary agility, resistance to disease, and natural swimming ability the Nezumi made excellent sailors. After Fumoki’s death, the Crab learned about the great skill of these Nezumi sailors and began to make use of them throughout their navy. After a few generations the Chipped Tooth Nezumi developed webbed ﬁngers to aid them in swimming. In time, Mantis ships hired Chipped Tooth crew as well, further increasing the wealth and prestige of the tribe. When Tomorrow came for the Nezumi, the Chipped Tooth were not hit nearly as hard as the rest of their race. Only a few of the Chipped Tooth went into Yume-do to face Tomorrow, and the rest of the tribe continued to serve the Crab and Mantis as sailors. In fact, they were granted ownership of the mighty vessel known as the Deathless, using it to hunt pirates and other threats in the seas to the south of Rokugan. The Chipped Tooth seem likely to continue to prosper even in the After Times.
- Beneﬁt: +1 Strength
This ancient and powerful tribe long made its home deep in the Shadowlands, cut off both from humanity and the rest of the Nezumi race. The dangers of their homeland changed them, making them ﬁerce and savage, much larger and stronger than a typical Nezumi. They became a tribe of fearless berserkers, far less likely to run from danger than a normal Nezumi – and in the lands where they made their home, there was often nowhere safe to run. In the early twelfth century, however, even the Crippled Bone Tribe was forced to retreat. Powerful new monsters called Elemental Terrors arose from the Festering Pit and turned their inhuman eyes upon the Crippled Bone. The Nezumi fought bravely but were ultimately forced to ﬂee north toward the Kaiu Wall. There they encountered both humans and other Nezumi tribes. Their strength and ferocity quickly earned the Crab Clan’s respect. Though the Crippled Bone never set aside their distrust of humans, they recognized a useful ally when they saw one. Eventually, the Crippled Bone became the military backbone of the new One Tribe. Te’tik’kir, the mighty Nameseeker Shaman who ﬁrst conceived of a reunited One Tribe, hailed from the Crippled Bone and he drove his tribe relentlessly to unify their race. For many years the Crippled Bone stood deﬁantly on the front lines against the Shadowlands. They were nearly wiped out by the Stained Paw Tribe and its Tsuno masters, but the timely intervention of the Nezumi hero Ik’krt delivered jade weapons that turned the tide of the battle. When Tomorrow came for the Nezumi, most of the Crippled Bone Tribe was in their tribal holdings beyond the Kaiu Wall, ﬁghting the Shadowlands as they had always done. After losing most of their warriors to Tomorrow, they came under relentless attack from hordes of goblins, and only the timely arrival of the last remnant of their old foes the Stained Paw allowed them to survive. The two remnant groups banded together, under the darkly humorous name of “Crippled Paw.” In the After Times they are the most powerful warrior tribe left among the Nezumi.
- Beneﬁt: +1 Intelligence
The Crooked Tail are one of three tribes that emerged from the break-up of a much larger group, the Forever Racing Tomorrow Tribe. Centuries ago this great tribe broke up after a violent and bitter encounter with a remote human village that was completely controlled by the Lying Darkness. Only a small piece of crystal allowed anyone to survive the strange faceless “humans.” Horriﬁed to encounter creatures without Name, the tribe could not decide what this meant about humans as a whole. Were they irredeemably evil, a whole race of creatures without Name? Had the Nezumi misunderstood the situation? What was the signiﬁcance of the crystal? Ultimately, the disagreement tore the tribe apart. One group remained where they were, becoming the Third Whisker Tribe. Another moved north to try to learn more about humans, becoming the Tattered Ear. And the third ﬂed westward to a great outcropping of crystal, where they remained. They became the Crooked Tail Tribe. The Crooked Tail are the only Nezumi tribe ever to try to understand and ﬁght against the Lying Darkness, a force which can consume a ratling as easily as it can anything else. They remained near their precious crystal outcropping (“Driving-Out-Darkness Rock”) throughout their history, ﬁghting off assaults from both the Darkness and the Shadowlands, and maintaining a powerful sense of paranoia toward all outsiders, Nezumi or otherwise. Although they nominally joined the One Tribe when it came together in the twelfth century, they sent only a few token emissaries to its gatherings and never revealed the location of their home territory. Tragically, when the time came to face Tomorrow, the Crooked Tail paid one of the highest prices of any tribe. Their numbers were nearly all wiped out, leaving only a few lone and maddened survivors behind.
- Beneﬁt: +1 Reﬂexes
While it is true that the Nezumi race does not grasp the human concept of personal property, the members of the Grasping Paw tribe suffer an even more pathological version of their racial perception, and other tribes look upon them as consummate thieves. Although this has sometimes caused the tribe difﬁculty in the past, they do simply know no other way. The Grasping Paw tribe was created by refugees ﬂeeing north after the Terrible Day and the destruction of the Nezumi Empire. The tribe members were ill-suited to their new lives and many perished in the early months. To save his people, the chieftain sought out a long-shunned group, Nezumi who had been exiled from their society long before Fu Leng’s fall. These unusual individuals had been cast out due to their extreme thieving habits, which caused them to even take things vitally needed by others. The chieftain offered these outcasts a superior share of food and treasure if they would join his tribe and help save his people. The outcasts readily agreed and after a short period of adjustment became extremely valuable members of the Grasping Paw Tribe.
The Grasping Paw were renowned among the Nezumi for centuries as the greatest thieves and scavengers of their race. This accolade was balanced by the reputation they have for taking from anyone, even other Nezumi. The Grasping Paw seemed to have no concept that others valued objects at all. They were also notorious for a prominent bloodline within their tribe, bred from the descendants of the original outcasts, who had little or no fur and strange colorless eyes. Although such mutations occasionally appeared in the other tribes as well, they never did so in such numbers as in the Grasping Paw. Tragically, the Grasping Paw were largely wiped out by the battle with Tomorrow, leaving only a few scattered survivors to wander alone or join other tribes.
- Beneﬁt: +1 Perception
Following the devastation on the Terrible Day, the Nezumi scattered far and wide, but none ranged so far as the tribe then known as the Black Moonset tribe. At ﬁrst the tribe settled in the Shadowlands, like many others, and prospered there for generations. They were unseated in the eighth century by the assault of the Oni Lord known as the Maw. Fleeing in desperation, they went north into the Empire of men. They sought aid from their allies among the Tattered Ear, but that tribe was in dire straits itself and could only lend token assistance. Through terrible trial and difﬁculty, the Black Moonset tribe moved north and ﬁnally reached lands unknown to all their people: the northernmost reaches of Rokugan, in the domain of the Phoenix Clan. The tribe’s new name was taken from their surroundings, the evergreen forests of Phoenix lands and their winter coat of snow. Due to the heavy losses they suffered to humans along the way, not to mention the perceived abandonment by their allies, the renamed Green-Green-White tribe underwent a signiﬁcant cultural change after they settled in their new home. They became highly xenophobic, isolating themselves from other tribes with both geography and deliberate policy, and engaging in open hostility with humans. Shiba bushi made frequent efforts to hunt them down and eradicate them from the northern provinces. Members of the Green-Green-White tribe were at best minor players in what passed for Nezumi society. They had little use for the other tribes, even the Tattered Ear. The creation of the Ox Clan in the early twelfth century dramatically reduced the lands available for the Green-Green-White in their annual migrations, further exacerbating their anti-human bias. Their situation did not change until the emergence of the One Tribe, when their chieftain Kan’ok’tichek became ruler of the entire uniﬁed ratling race. Although this brieﬂy vaulted the Green-Green-White into a hugely inﬂuential position within Nezumi culture, it held within it the seeds of tragedy: the Green-Green-White Nezumi would also spearhead the battle against Tomorrow, and suffered accordingly. In the After Times, only a few scattered survivors can claim descent from the once-formidable tribe.
- Beneﬁt: +1 Awareness
No Nezumi tribe was so popular with other Nezumi as the Squeaky Eyeball, revered far and wide for having the ﬁnest Rememberers of any known tribe. The tribe seems to have been formed by a large number of surviving scholars and historians who came together to survive after the Terrible Day, and their gifts were passed down to their descendents. Unlike many of the early Nezumi tribes, the Squeaky Eyeball did not try to reclaim their old territory from the armies of Fu Leng – they instead traveled in all directions, collecting every story and legend they could ﬁnd, not only within the Shadowlands and Rokugan but also to the west in the gaijin territories. They focused their attention most closely on tales of Nezumi heroes and stories of how the world began. In modern times their Rememberers are capable of recounting literally hundreds of different versions of how the world began, how it was formed, and what happened in the ancient times before the Terrible Day. Whether any of these stories are even mildly related to reality is an open question, and indeed the Rokugani would consider all of them blasphemous. Because of their wide travels, extensive knowledge, and gregarious and friendly natures, the Nezumi of the Squeaky Eyeball are welcomed by almost all other ratling tribes, even the xenophobic Green-Green-White. They also get along better with humans than many other Nezumi tribes, since they regard humans as yet another source of stories and knowledge. The Squeaky Eyeball’s home territory was in the northern Crab lands and the northern fringe of the Shadowlands, in the Mountains of Twilight. They joined the One Tribe along with almost all the other tribes, and often served as ambassadors or messengers during the great Tribe’s brief period of near-equal relations with the Empire. During Tomorrow they suffered very heavy losses, but were not wholly extinguished, and their exploratory and curious nature allowed them to recover more quickly than most.
- Beneﬁt: +1 Stamina
The Stained Paw, like the Crippled Bone, was once a powerful tribe of savage warriors that lived deep in the Shadowlands. Their story became a tragic one in the twelfth century when an unusually virulent disease, one which even Nezumi constitutions could not wholly defeat, wiped out their Rememberers. Cut off from their traditions and past, the tribe was left helpless and alone. The sinister race known as the Tsuno learned of the Stained Paw’s fate and took cruel advantage of it. A Tsuno Soultwister disguised himself as a powerful Nezumi Shaman and seduced the Stained Paw with lies and false tales, convincing them to willingly become allies of the Dark Lord. The Tsuno turned the Stained Paw against their fellow Nezumi with vicious effect. It was the Nezumi hero known as Ik’krt who helped the Stained Paw recognize the Tsuno treachery. With his help they defeated the Tsuno and recovered their identity as Nezumi, eventually seeking to join the One Tribe. The Crippled Bone, bitter over past conﬂict, opposed them at ﬁrst, but when Ik’krt himself stepped forward to lead the Stained Paw the Crippled Bone set the past aside. Tomorrow devastated the Stained Paw like every other tribe. Most of their great warriors, including Ik’krt, perished. But when they saw the plight of their old rivals the Crippled Bone, they rushed to their side. Side by side, the Stained Paw and Crippled Bone fought against the Shadowlands – and won, forming the new Crippled Paw tribe.
Tattered Ear Tribe
- Beneﬁt: +1 Awareness
For many centuries the Tattered Ear was the largest and most successful of all the Nezumi tribes. The greatest of the three tribes to emerge from the break-up of the Forever Racing Tomorrow tribe, they migrated north and made their home in the Shinomen Forest, surviving by scavenging off of humans in the surrounding territories.
The tribe was so large and successful that it eventually divided into seven semi-independent packs and ranged throughout Rokugan. The lands of the Crab, Crane, Scorpion, and Unicorn, not to mention several Minor Clans, were all at various times home to nomadic Tattered Ear packs. Each pack had a migratory circuit which required three and a half years to complete, followed by a year and a half dwelling in their ancient home in the Shinomen – which they called M-atikf’chtr-foo (“the Great Home”). A massive hollow tree in the center of their village would come to house some of the greatest treasures of the Nezumi: random shiny objects and artifacts collected over centuries of scouring the Empire’s rubbish. Because of their wide range, the Tattered Ear frequently came into contact with Nezumi in other lands. They quickly realized it was to their beneﬁt to befriend these tribes, trading goods and information. Because of their gregarious nature they became the unofﬁcial communication network of their race. If a Nezumi behind the Kaiu Wall wished to know what was happening in the lands of the Unicorn, all he needed to do was wait for the Tattered Ear to arrive and ask them. The Tattered Ear’s fortunes changed in the early twelfth century when the Naga race began to reawaken from their long sleep. The ﬁrst encounters between the Naga and Nezumi were violent. Many Naga considered the Nezumi to be no more than food animals or rebellious pets. Skirmishes between the two races were frequent, and many Tattered Ear packs ﬂed the Shinomen altogether. Gradually, many of the Naga came to recognize that the Nezumi were no longer the simple creatures they once knew, but an intelligent race worthy of respect and compassion. They realized the Nezumi, like themselves, were enemies of both the Shadowlands and the Lying Darkness. Though relations between the Tattered Ear and the Naga continued to be strained, they were no longer hostile, and when the Naga returned to their slumber decades later, the Tattered Ear expanded throughout the Shinomen once more. Though it was the Crippled Bone who ﬁrst proposed the idea of the One Tribe, it would have been impossible without the Tattered Ear. Their connections throughout the Shadowlands and the Empire allowed all the Nezumi tribes to move and act as one, and the Great Home was considered the de facto capital of the One Tribe, where the leaders of many powerful Nezumi tribes often met to decide the fate of their people. When Tomorrow ravaged the Nezumi race, the Naga understood precisely what had happened. The sleeping Naga sensed the conﬂict in the world of dreams and communicated the truth to their waking guardians through the bonds of the Akasha. The remaining Naga extended their hands to the surviving Nezumi in friendship. They helped the Tattered Ear to clean the Great Home, tending to the dead and organizing those who remained. Soon the other wandering packs returned, and the Tattered Ear was whole once more – if greatly diminished. In the After Times, the Tattered Ear again send forth their migrating packs, but now with a new goal: to look for survivors. The Tattered Ear made it their duty to seek out the scattered tribes left behind, to gather the orphans and widows struck down by Tomorrow’s wrath, and to bring them all back to the Great Home.
- Beneﬁt: +1 Willpower
The Third Whisker are one of the smallest of Nezumi tribes, never numbering more than a few dozen individuals. However, they have always included a disproportionate number of prophets and Shamans and an especially strong link to the Transcendents. They are the third tribe that emerged from the centuries-old fracture of the Forever Racing Tomorrow tribe, and from their earliest origins they were beset with dire prophecies about terrible events lying in their future. Paralyzed by these visions, they remained in the Shadowlands until the eighth century, when the rise of the Maw forced them to ﬂee north to the Crab lands. When the Maw was ﬁnally beaten back, the Third Whisker remained, living in tunnels beneath Shiro Kaiu and the newly built Kaiu Wall. There they remained, eventually forming an uneasy alliance with the Kaiu family. The Crab engineers often found the Nezumi highly annoying, but could not deny that the little creatures contributed to the Wall’s defense and upkeep – after all, it was their home too. The Third Whisker are some of the smallest of Nezumi, with an average height of only three feet. They are also among the grimmest and most stoic of ratlings, believing that the world is doomed and they are the only ones who know the truth. Although their Shamans are skilled, other tribes often regard them with trepidation due to their dour natures. The Third Whisker were one of the ﬁrst tribes to join the One Tribe, believing it might offer a way to avert their prophecies. When Tomorrow came, however, they believed their visions had ﬁnally come true, and their handful of survivors gave in to despair. To the best the Kaiu could determine, no Third Whisker Nezumi survived the ﬁrst harsh winter of the After Times.
Nezumi Warriors (“Ch”) [Bushi]
Nezumi warriors are a cunning, hardy lot that make the most of their physical abilities. They are adept at utilizing guerilla tactics and ﬁghting as a team. They serve as the hunters and protectors of the tribe.
- Beneﬁt: +1 Agility
- Skills: Athletics, Defense, Hunting (Survival), Jiujutsu, Lore: Shadowlands, Stealth, any one Weapon skill
- Niche: 3.5
- Starting Outﬁt: Any one Weapon, Light or Heavy Armor, crude leather pouch, 1 koku worth of scavenged items and shiny objects
Rank 1: Speed Of The Rat
Nezumi are lightning fast creatures with incredible reﬂexes. A Nezumi warrior may re-roll his Initiative a number of times per day equal to his Rank in this school. The warrior may choose which of the two rolls to keep. The warrior adds half of his ranks in the Athletics skill to his Armor TN while not in the Full Attack Stance
Rank 2: Strength Of The Pack
Young Nezumi warriors hunt and ﬁght in packs to increase their chances of survival. For every ally who has attacked the Nezumi’s target since his last Turn (whether their attacks were successful or not), he gains a +1k0 bonus on his next melee attack roll. The total dice bonus may not exceed his School Rank.
Rank 3: Strike-Strike Fast
The warrior has learned the true lightning speed of the Nezumi. He may make melee attacks as a Simple Action instead of a Complex Action.
Rank 4: Darting Strike
Accustomed to ﬁghting larger, stronger opponents, the warrior has learned to rely on his speed to avoid their blows. The warrior adds +10 to his Armor TN against any attack roll from an opponent with a lower Initiative score.
Rank 5: Tail Sweep
The tail is an often-overlooked advantage of the Nezumi warrior, and at this rank the Ratling has learned to make full use of it. During any round in which the Nezumi makes a successful melee attack, he may immediately take a Free Action to make another attack against the same target with his tail. This is normally considered an unarmed attack, although a Nezumi with the Clever Tail Advantage may use Small weapons instead.
Nezumi Scrounger (“Ithith”)
The term Scroungers is a catch-all for Nezumi who serve their tribe in many roles: scouts, spies, and thieves. They are extremely cunning and have a knack for using minimal resources to maximum efﬁciency. They are also masters of defensive combat, able to confound and confuse enemies while they make their escape.
- Beneﬁt: +1 Perception
- Skills: Athletics, Defense, Hunting, Lore: Shadowlands, Stealth (Sneaking), Sleight of Hand, any one Skill
- Niche: 2.5
- Starting Outﬁt: Any Small or Peasant weapon, Ashigaru Armor, large sack, and 3 koku worth of scavenged items.
Rank 1: Scurry-Scurry Through the Darkness
The ﬁrst lesson taught to every Scrounger is to rely on speed and cunning. You gain a bonus of +2k0 to all your Stealth Skill rolls, and you may add your Stealth Skill Rank to your Armor TN at all times (even if you are caught unaware).
Rank 2: Fight and Fly
Scroungers are taught the art of distraction in order to avoid dangerous foes. If you successfully strike an opponent in a skirmish, and there is cover or darkness available nearby to conceal you, you may forego inﬂicting Wounds. Instead, you spend a Name Point and make a Contested Roll of your Stealth (Sneaking) / Agility against your opponent’s Investigation (Notice) / Perception. If you succeed, your opponent loses track of your location.
Rank 3: Yours Is Mine
Scroungers are such swift and instinctive thieves that they can steal even from those who are aware of their presence. If you are within 5’ of a target, you may take a Simple Action to make a Contested Roll of your Sleight of Hand (Pick Pocket) / Agility against your opponent’s Defense / Agility. If you succeed, you snatch a random item from the target’s obi, pocket, or any other accessible place. (You cannot steal items directly out of your opponent’s hands.)
Rank 4: Riding The Shadow
The Scrounger who has reached this level of skill is now so lightning fast that he may make melee attacks as a Simple Action instead of a Complex Action when he is using unarmed attacks or weapons with the Small or Peasant qualities.
Rank 5: Hide From Tomorrow
At this rank, a Scrounger becomes so swift and cunning that he can literally hide in his enemy’s shadow. You may attempt to hide behind your opponent as a Complex Action, making a Contested Roll of Stealth (Sneaking) / Agility against your opponent’s Investigation (Notice) / Perception. If you beat your opponent by at least 15, you successfully hide behind him. Your opponent may suspect where you are, but you move too quickly for him to catch a glimpse of you. You may not hide behind more than one opponent at a time. On each subsequent Round you must take a Free Action to make the Contested Roll again, thereby remaining concealed from your opponent. So long as you continue to succeed, you may take any other actions you desire (including attacking other enemies or using other Techniques). However, if you successfully attack your opponent, you are discovered and this technique cannot be used against that opponent again for the rest of this skirmish.
Nezumi Shaman (Nameseeker/”Kir”) [Shugenja]
The powers of Nezumi Shamans are both strange and formidable, and are discussed in depth later.
- Beneﬁt: +1 Name
- Skills: Lore: Shadowlands, Lore: Spirit Realms (Yume-do), Meditation, Perform: Nezumi Dance, Stealth, any two Skills
- Niche: 4.0
- Starting Outﬁt: Any Small or Peasant weapon, poor quality robes, leather pouch, two Koku worth of scavenged items.
- Technique: Name Magic – A Nezumi shaman is capable of casting Nezumi Name Magic spells. See the section later in this chapter for details. All Shamans begin play knowing three Name Magic spells of appropriate Mastery Level of their choice.
Nezumi Rememberer (“Tch’tch”)
Nezumi Rememberers are the keepers of the history, culture, and ethics of the Nezumi race. They are responsible for making certain the deeds of the Nezumi people are not lost to Yesterday. The Rememberers aid their memories with special items called Memory Sticks.
- Beneﬁt: +1 Intelligence
- Skills: Lore: Nezumi History, Lore: Nezumi Culture, Lore: Shadowlands, Perform: Storytelling, Stealth, any one Skill
- Niche: 3.5
- Starting Outﬁt: Any Small or Peasant weapon, leather pouch, two Koku worth of scavenged items, four wooden sticks (suitable to be made into memory sticks)
- Technique: Remembering – Rememberers are taught from earliest youth how to create Memory Sticks, tangible reminders of the past. A Rememberer may normally create any Memory Sticks with a Mastery Level equal to his Rank in this School, but may also create one type of Memory Stick that is one Mastery Level above his current School Rank. (Thus a Rank Two Rememberer can create all Mastery Level One and Two Memory Sticks, and one type of Mastery Level Three Memory Stick). See the rules for Memory Sticks for more details on how these items are created and used. All Rememberers begin with the Precise Memory Advantage at no Experience Point cost.
- Requirements: Agility 4, Strength 5, Earth 4, any Weapon skill (or Jiujutsu) at Rank 5.
- Special Requirement: The “brave-bold-sunlit-warriors-with-great-skill” are trained from those of their race born without fear, a rare trait indeed. You must have the Fearless Advantage.
Rank 1: Mad Fury
The Berserkers are touched by a power most Nezumi do not understand, and in combat they are a torrent of furious attacks. You gain a +1k1 bonus to all attack rolls made while in the Full Attack Stance. You may make melee attacks as a Simple Action rather than a Complex Action.
Rank 2: Dance Of The Doomed
The Berserkers do not feel pain, instead ﬁghting all the harder as their life-blood leaks out. Once per skirmish, at the start of your Turn you may take a Free Action to activate this Technique. Once it is active, you may ignore Wound Penalties (including Down or Out) for a number of Rounds equal to your Strength Rank. This ability does not allow you to keep ﬁghting after you are dead.
Rank 3: Sever Tomorrow
For a true Berserker, failure is worse than death. If you suffer enough Wounds to kill you, before dying you may immediately take a Free Action to make a ﬁnal melee attack against an opponent within melee range (this must be the opponent who killed you if he is within reach). You gain a +3k0 bonus to this attack roll. You die after this attack is resolved (whether or not it succeeds).
Nezumi Physical Abilities
These abilities are automatically available to all Nezumi at character creation, without any cost in Experience Points.
- Bite: A Nezumi can inﬂict normal unarmed damage with its bite, and can chew through wood and soft stone at the rate of 1’ per hour.
- Burrowing: Nezumi can burrow through soft earth at one tenth their normal movement speed. If they wish to leave a stable tunnel behind, they may only burrow one foot per hour.
- Disease Resistance: All Nezumi are immune to most normal diseases and infections. If the GM judges a disease sufﬁciently virulent to infect a Nezumi, the character still gets a +3k0 bonus to any rolls made to resist its effects.
- Nezumi Agility: All Nezumi gain +2k0 on any Athletics rolls that involve climbing or jumping, and on any Sleight of Hand rolls made to escape bonds.
- Nezumi Scent: A heightened sense of scent grants Nezumi +1k1 on any Hunting Skill rolls where scent may be a factor.
- Pheromones: Nezumi can leave pheromone trails that indicate gender, tribe, and the direction in which they are traveling. These are imperceptible to humans, but can be detected by other Nezumi up to twenty feet away. Pheromone trails linger up to one month, unless washed away earlier. Some animals, notably horses and dogs, become extremely aggressive when they encounter Nezumi pheromones.
- Swift: All Nezumi have Swift 2 (as per the creature ability from the Book of Void, L5R 4th Edition Core rulebook).
- Taint Immunity: All Nezumi are completely immune to the Shadowlands Taint and, consequently, cannot cast maho spells.
Clever Tail [Physical] (4 Points)
Many Nezumi use their tails only for balance, but some manage to “train” their tails to function as a prehensile limb. You may use your tail to pick up and manipulate small objects (including Small weapons). If you make a Knockdown attack with your tail, you gain a +1k1 bonus on the Contested Roll to see if the Knockdown succeeds.
Favored Pup Of The Chief [Social] (5 Points)
You are the favored child of a prominent Nezumi – most likely a tribal chieftain, although a famous Rememberer or Shaman would also be applicable. Other Nezumi treat you with respect and tend to offer you gifts and friendship in hope of future reward. You start play with +1 Rank of Niche.
Fearless [Mental] (5 Points)
You are that rarest of Nezumi, one born without fear, ready to always ﬁght rather than back down and ﬂee. You gain +3k3 when resisting Fear effects, and you may potentially join the Nezumi Berserker Advanced School.
Forever Memory [Mental] (6 Points, Rememberer Only)
While other Rememberers can draw upon memories from a few generations past, a Nezumi with Forever Memory can recall stories from ancient times, sometimes even from when the Nezumi Empire was at its height. This extended memory allows the Rememberer to create Memory Sticks with an ease that other Rememberers can only envy. You gain a +1k1 bonus every time you create a Memory Stick. Other Nezumi who are aware of your talents will regard you will awe, respect, and deference.
Human Allies [Social] (4 Points)
You have friends and allies among a group of humans, most likely in the Crab Clan although your speciﬁc tribe and history might dictate otherwise. You gain one additional item of human equipment (which can be a weapon) and may potentially learn human-speciﬁc Skills, at the GM’s discretion.
Namebound [Spiritual] (5 Points, Shamans Only)
Some Nezumi Shamans have exceptional gifts. Choose one Name magic spell – it does not count against the maximum number of spells you may know, and you gain a +1k1 to your Spell Casting Roll when casting this spell. You may purchase this Advantage again each time you gain a School Rank (subject to GM’s permission).
Shine-Shiney Eyes [Physical] (3 Points)
Nezumi mate for a period of one year, the females choosing new mates each autumn. Competition for the more desirable tribe members is ﬁerce. You are considered exceptionally attractive by Nezumi standards, and gain a +1k1 bonus on all Social rolls with Nezumi of the opposite gender.
Teeth Of Stone [Physical] (4 Points)
All Nezumi have extremely sharp and powerful frontal incisors, but some are truly formidable. Your unarmed bite attacks inﬂict an extra +1k1 damage, your speed of chewing through wood and soft stone is doubled, and you may chew through hard stone or metal at the rate of 1’ per hour.
Tribal Wanderer [Social] (3 Points)
When a Nezumi tribe is too small to properly train all its youth, some of them will travel to larger tribes to seek learning – especially if they have gifts that their own tribe cannot properly evoke. You have trained with Nezumi from another tribe, and may learn a school from them that would be unavailable in your own tribe. You also have friendly contacts in the tribe where you train, which may come in handy if your own tribe faces danger.
Kwa’thch [Physical] (2 Points)
This word roughly translates as “ugly as the boiling pit.” You are considered unattractive by Nezumi standards, and suffer a –1k1 penalty to all Social rolls with other Nezumi, regardless of gender.
Lost Tail [Physical] (4 Points)
Some gruesome accident or battle has cost you your tail, severely impacting your balance. This carries great stigma in Nezumi social circles (-1k0 to all Social rolls with other Nezumi) and also reduces your natural bonus when running and jumping from +2k0 to +1k0.
Nameless [Spiritual] (9 Points)
A Nezumi Shaman has cursed you to remove your Name, cutting you off from your race. Your friends and relatives no longer remember you and you have been cast out from your tribe. Your Niche Rank is zero and cannot increase, and you may not spend Name Points. If you manage to join a new tribe, you may begin to form a new Name and remove these restrictions, but such a quest may only succeed at the discretion of the GM.
Nezumi Madness [Social] (5 Points)
A Nezumi with this Disadvantage is considered insane by other Nezumi, although their judgment may not be accurate. You are not allowed to mate and are unable to gain Niche while you are considered mad. However, other Nezumi will not harm you for fear of becoming mad themselves.
Nose Blind [Physical] (2 Points)
You do not have the normal Nezumi sense of smell. You may have been born without it or you may have suffered some sort of accident or trauma. You cannot use a Memory Stick and cannot read the pheromone messages from other Nezumi. You are something of a pariah in Nezumi society, and suffer a -1k0 penalty on all Social rolls with other Nezumi.