- 1 Basic Schools
- 2 Advanced Schools
- 3 Alternative Paths
- 3.1 Bayushi Distractor [Courtier]
- 3.2 Bitter Lies Swordsman [Bushi] [CR]
- 3.3 Fading Shadows [Shugenja]
- 3.4 Kuroiban [Shugenja]
- 3.5 Saigo’s Blades [Bushi]
- 3.6 The Scorpion Elite Guard [Bushi]
- 3.7 Scorpion Loyalist [IH]
- 3.8 Scorpion Maskmaker [Courtier/Artisan]
- 3.9 The Scorpion’s Tail [Bushi/Ninja]
- 3.10 Scorpion Weaponmaster [Bushi]
- 3.11 Shadow Blades [Ninja]
- 3.12 Shadow Hunter [Shugenja] [CR]
- 3.13 Shosuro Assassins [Ninja]
- 3.14 Shosuro Defilers [Courtier]
- 3.15 Sons of Shadow
- 3.16 Soshi Deceivers [Shugenja]
Bayushi Bushi [CR]
The greatest villains in Rokugan’s most successful plays are always Scorpions, because it is so easy for most samurai to believe. It is the actions of students from the Bayushi Bushi School that have brought this stereotype to life and reinforced it over and over again. Every student in the Bayushi dojo is trained to be the perfect weapon of discord, capable of turning the Clans against one another with minimal effort. Weapons training is only one aspect of their education, which often includes social manipulation, stealth, and even the use of poisons when the student is deemed suitable for such things.
The Bayushi Techniques might best be described as dirty tricks. They focus on granting the character an advantage, such as an increase in Initiative, or ruthlessly exploiting any other advantage that might already exist. In particular the ability to cripple an opponent with Conditions can turn the tide of a battle against a vastly superior opponent, if one has but a little luck.
- Benefit: +1 Intelligence
- Skills: Courtier (Manipulation, Defense, Etiquette, Iaijutsu, Kenjutsu, Sincerity, any one Skill
- Honor: 2.5
- Outfit: Light Armor, Sturdy Clothing, Daisho, any 1 weapon, Traveling Pack, 5 koku
Rank 1: The Way of the Scorpion
Scorpion bushi always seem to get the jump on opponents. You gain a bonus +1k1 to your Initiative Rolls. You also gain a bonus of +5 to your Armor TN against any opponent with lower Initiative.
Rank 2: Pincers and Tail
The infamous Scorpion feint has been the demise of many foolhardy samurai. You may make the Feint Maneuver for one Raise instead of two.
Rank 3: Strike at the Tail
Scorpion bushi strive to keep their enemies off guard, stopping their attacks and slowing them down. When you assume a Stance at the start of your Turn, you may choose a target within 30′. If you successfully hit him during your Turn, the target is Fatigued as if he had gone without rest for 24 hours. During the Reaction Stage, an affected opponent may attempt an Earth Ring roll against a TN of 25 to negate the effects of this Technique. If he fails, the effects of this Technique end during the next Reactions Stage (the second Reactions Stage after he was struck).
Rank 4: Strike From Above, Strike From Below
The swiftness of the Scorpion allows him to cut down foes before they realize they have been attacked. You may make melee attacks as a Simple Action instead of a Complex Action.
Rank 5: The Pincers Hold, The Tail Strikes
Striking an opponent’s weakest point is the Scorpion’s true path to victory. Once per encounter, you may spend a Void Point as a Complex Action to attack your opponent with a melee weapon. If the attack is successful, the target is Stunned. During the Reactions Stage, an affected opponent may attempt an Earth Ring roll against at TN equal to the amount of damage dealt to end the Stun effect. If he fails or does not attempt this roll, the Stun effect ends during the next Reactions Stage (the second Reaction Stage after he was struck).
Bayushi Courtier [CR]
The reputation of the Scorpion in court is nearly equal to that of the Crane, and certainly more fearsome. This is a direct result of the malevolent machinations of Bayushi courtiers over the course of centuries. The much vaunted information network of the Scorpion is largely a product of their masterful courtiers, ferreting out even minute bits of information that can be used as a whole to bring ruin to individuals, families, or even Clans.
A Scorpion courtier is a master of manipulation and deceit. Even more than that, however, they excel at discovering the weaknesses and dark secrets of their opponents (or even allies!) and ruthlessly exploiting them for the good of the Scorpion. Any foe, no matter how seemingly implacable, can be the target for a Bayushi courtier’s abilities, opening avenues previously closed.
- Benefit: +1 Awareness
- Skills: Calligraphy, Courtier (Gossip), Etiquette, Investigation, Sincerity (Deceit), Temptation, any one High skill
- Honor: 2.5
- Outfit: Extravagant Clothing, Wakizashi, any 1 weapon, Calligraphy Set, Traveling Pack, 5 koku
Rank 1: Weakness is My Strength
The Bayushi are masters of ferreting out and exploiting the weaknesses and failures of others. Even if they do not know the exact nature of a rival’s secrets, there mere realization that he has some sort of secret is enough for them to work with. When you are making a Contested Social Roll against someone else, you gain a Free Raise to your roll for every 3 points of Mental or Social Disadvantages (rounded off) he possesses. Disadvantages which did not award Experience Points still count for their normal point value for the purposes of this Technique. This technique cannot award more than 5 Free Raises.
The Bayushi are also known as the masters of both truth and lies, speaking so smoothly that both are indistinguishable in their mouths. You gain a Free Raise when using the Courtier skill to spread gossip, and need not Raise in order to conceal that you are the source of that gossip.
Rank 2: Shallow Waters
The Scorpion know how to assess others, sensing their weaknesses so as to determine how best to bring them down. By conversing with someone for a few minutes, you can make a Contested Roll of your Investigation / Awareness against their Etiquette / Awareness. With a success, you learn the identity and rank of their lowest Mental and their lowest social Skill that has at least one Rank (The GM chooses in the case of ties). You may spend a Void point to also learn their next lowest Mental Trait and next lowest Social Skill.
Rank 3: Secrets are Birthmarks
At this rank, the Scorpion has become so adept at ferreting out secrets that he can lure others in revealing them in casual conversation. By speaking with someone for a few minutes, you may make a Contested Roll of your Courtier (Manipulation) / Awareness against their Etiquette (Courtesy) / Awareness to force them into revealing one Mental or Social Disadvantage they possess. If they have no such Disadvantage, this will instead reveal one Mental or Social Advantage. (Note this will only reveal the rulebook title of the Advantage / Disadvantage, not the specific nature of it. For example, you might learn that the target has “Dark Secret,” but not the specific nature of the secret.) If the roll succeeded in revealing a Disadvantage, with the GM’s permission you may take a 2-point Blackmail Advantage against this individual, for no cost in Experience Points.
Rank 4: Scrutiny’s Sweet Sting
At this rank, the Bayushi Courtier has learned to use all the information he has collected to subtly wreck his enemies, undermining their every word and deed. Any time you make a Contested Social Skill Roll against someone on whom you have Blackmail, his dice cannot explode. In addition, any time you make a Contested Social Skill Roll against someone, regardless of whether you have Blackmail on them or not, you may spend a Void Point to force them to use a mental Trait of your choice (instead of the normal Trait used for the roll).
Rank 5: No More Masks
The final lesson of the Bayushi School is to force the rest of the court to see the corrupt, dishonorable world he knows, shattering the reputations of those he speaks against. A number of times per session equal to your School Rank, you may make an Opposed Social Roll of Courtier (Gossip) / Awareness against an opponent’s Etiquette (Courtesy) / Awareness. If you have Blackmail on the person you are targeting with his technique, you gain a bonus of +5k0 to the total of this roll. With a success, you may inflict one Social Disadvantage on the target: Social Disadvantage, Sworn Enemy, or Obligation (to someone of your choice). The Disadvantage lasts for one month, unless the GM judges that the target has taken action which can expunge it sooner. (This Technique cannot be used on the same target until its effect expires.)
Shosuro Actor [Ninja]
The Shosuro Butei (Acting) Academy is a famous acting school, rivaling the actors of the Kakita Artisan Academy, but its students are also taught methods of infiltration and impersonation. The most promising students receive instruction in poison, stealth, and assassination, and are given contracts within the Scorpion spy network to help them to build up the false personas which they use in their later espionage careers. For the vast majority of its students, of course, the Butei Academy is simply as school of the arts – the Scorpion students are aware the school is more than it seems, but are content to ignore such unpleasantness and focus on pursuing their craft.
The skilled infiltrators who emerge from the Butei Academy are a matter of rumor and supposition to the rest of the Empire. There are fanciful tales of Scorpion infiltrators so skilled they could convince a doting mother to place an entire family’s welfare into their hands. These are exaggerations, but the Shosuro Actors are certainly quite skilled and they take their clan’s sacred duty to protect the Empire extremely seriously. In their view, whatever deceptions they must perpetrate are more than justified, and they are as ready to die for the clan as any other Scorpion.
- Benefit: +1 Awareness
- Skills: Acting, Etiquette, Knives, Meditation, Sincerity (Deceit), Stealth, any 1 High or Low Skill
- Starting Honor: 1.5
- Outfit: Fine Clothing, Assorted Costumes and Disguises, Knife, Traveling Pack, 10 koku
Rank 1: The First Face
The Shosuro Actor begins his career by learning the basics of deception and mimicry, and takes his first steps on the path of infiltrating the Empire. You learn one persona. Any time you spend a Void Point on an Acting or Sincerity (Deceit) Skill roll, you gain a bonus of +3k1 instead of the normal +1k1.
Rank 2: The Subtle Sting
Shosuro Actors are expected to serve their clan as both infiltrators and assassins. You gain a bonus of +2k0 to your attack rolls when wielding a Small weapon.
Rank 3: The Second Face
The Actor’s training has now advanced enough to make him a far more flexible and capable infiltrator. You learn a second persona. In addition, you may now spend 2 Void Points (rather than just one) when enhancing a Skill Roll with any of your School Skills. This stacks with the effects of your Rank One ability.
Rank 4: The Viper’s Kiss
The Shosuro Actor intensifies his martial training to enable swift and deadly assassinations of his targets. You may attack as a Simple Action instead of a Complex Action when using a Small-sized weapon.
Rank 5: The Third Face
The Shosuro Actor is now a true master of deception, infiltration, and murder. You gain a third persona. In addition, if you attack a foe who is unaware or does not expect danger form you, your Raises are not limited by your Void.
Shosuro Infiltrator [Ninja] [CR]
Few outside the Scorpion Clan are aware of the existence of the Shosuro Infiltrator School, and those few who do are either so inextricably bound to the Clan that they dare not reveal its existence, or have been so thoroughly discredited that no one takes their wild accusations seriously. The Shosuro are that which most believe all Scorpion to be, but without the arrogance and cruelty that such villains are commonly ascribed in plays and poems. The Infiltrators are silent, merciless killers who take no pleasure or satisfaction from their role. They are simply fulfilling their duty, and experience neither joy nor remorse as a result.
The specialization of the Shosuro Infiltrators is relatively simple: they attack unknowing targets and destroy them utterly. Their bonuses to stealth make them virtually impossible to detect and, once hidden from an opponent, they can strike from shadows and inflict incredible amounts of damage.
- Benefit: +1 Reflexes
- Skills: Acting, Athletics, Ninjutsu, Sincerity, Stealthy (Sneaking) 2, any one Skill
- Honor: 1.5
- Outfit: Ashigaru or Light Armor, Sturdy Black Clothing, Daisho, Bow or Knife, Traveling Pack, 5 koku
Rank 1: The Path of Shadows
The first lesson of an infiltrator is to mask all signs of one’s true nature. You lose no Honor for use of Low Skills or Ninjutsu Weapons in the service of the Scorpion Clan (subject to GM approval). You gain a bonus of +2k0 to the total of all Stealth Skill rolls.
Rank 2: Strike From Darkness
A student of the Shosuro Techniques never fails to exploit any advantage held over a foe. Whenever you declare an attack against an opponent who is unaware of your presence until the moment of the attack, your Raises are not limited to your Void and you roll additional dice equal to your School Rank on the attack roll. You also roll half this number of additional unkept dice on an attack roll made against an opponent who is suffering from a Condition effect (such as Stunned or Fatigued). These two effects are not cumulative, and if both could apply, you must choose one of them. (You do not add one and one half times your School Rank in dice to an attack roll against an opponent who is both Blinded and unaware of your presence, for example.)
Rank 3: Steel Within Silk
Striking quickly and effectively is the hallmark of a true shadow warrior. When attacking from ambush as described above, or when using ninjutsu weapons (including any weapons with the Ninja keyword), you may make a melee attack (or ranged attack, in the case of shuriken or tsubute) as a Simple Action rather than a Complex Action. Alternatively, when wielding shuriken, you may take a Complex Action to make a number of ranged attacks equal to your School Rank.
Rank 4: Whisper of Steel
A master assassin strikes from shadow without ever revealing his presence. Even after attacking a target, your opponents and bystanders must succeed at a Contested Roll using Investigation (Notice) / Perception against Stealth / Agility to detect you. You may only use this Technique if you make a single attack per round. (The GM may rule that this technique does not work in situations where concealment is impossible.)
Rank 5: The Final Silence
The true assassin requires but a single strike. After you make a damage roll as a result of a successful attack, you may spend a Void Point to increase any two dice to show 10s. These 10s do not explode. You may spend multiple Void Points in this manner, with each Void Point spent increasing the result of up to two damage dice.
Soshi Magistrate [Bushi] [EE]
The Soshi magistrate school is descended from a set of techniques taught to the yoriki of Soshi Saibankan during his many years as a judge, and some rumors claim the first three techniques were invented by Saibankan himself. Whether this is true or not, the school remains the principle method the Scorpion use to educate those who must maintain order within their lands – magistrates, yoriki, city guards, and border patrols. Like many such schools, the Soshi Magistrate school teaches a mixture of armed and hand-to-hand techniques, allowing its students to suppress brawls and defeat lethal bandits with equal skill.
- Benefit: +1 Agility
- Skills: Athletics, Defense, Intimidation (Control), Jiujutsu, Kenjutsu, Lore: Underworld, any Bugei Skill
- Honor:** 2.5
- Outfit: Light Armor, Sturdy Clothing, Daisho, any 1 weapon, Traveling Pack, 5 Koku
Rank 1: The Face of Justice
The Soshi magistrates are trained to control their environment through a mixture of fear and force, intimidating even the most violent street gang with ease. You gain a +1k0 bonus to the Intimidation skill; when you use it against someone of lower Status Rank than yourself, the bonus is +2k0 instead. You also gain a +1k0 damage bonus with melee attacks.
Rank 2: Rise to Meet the Challenge
Soshi magistrates often deal close-up with criminals and thugs who employ dishonorable tactics, so they are taught brawling techniques and learn to quickly recover any time they find themselves in a vulnerable position. Any time you are Prone, you may take a Free Action to roll Athletics / Agility at TN 20 to regain your feet. You gain a +1k1 bonus to any roll made to control a Grapple.
Rank 3: The Magistrate’s Cut
Soshi magistrates prefer to disable foes rather than kill them outright, since prisoners can be useful when ferreting out criminals and enemy spies. In a skirmish, once per opponent, by successfully making three Raises for a Called Shot on a melee attack you may temporarily Blind a foe. They are considered Blinded until the Reactions stage of the following Round.
Rank 4: Certainty of Purpose
When the time comes to fight, the Soshi magistrate does so with vicious speed and ruthlessness. You may make melee attacks (including unarmed attacks) as Simple Actions rather than Complex Actions.
Rank 5: Relentless Resolve
The Soshi magistrates are taught to wait for the perfect moment and then overwhelm their enemies with fear and aggression, crushing lawbreakers with a few swift blows. Once per skirmish, you may gain extra unkept dice equal to your Intimidation skill rank on all your attack rolls for one Round. This technique cannot be used in the Center Stance.
Soshi Shugenja [CR]
Although it is admittedly rare, there are times when the prodigious physical abilities of the Bayushi and Shosuro are inadequate to accomplish a task requiring stealth and subtlety. When this happens, a student of the Soshi Shugenja School is brought in to deal with the matter. The Soshi understand better than most that the kami are not honorable beings as many envision them, but rather completely alien creatures with no firm concept of human behavior or even of honor itself. They can and will do virtually anything asked of them if properly entreated, so long as the request is not a violation of the natural order such as blood sorcery. The Soshi excel at exploiting this to channel the kami into feats of stealth, trickery, and deception.
Although all shugenja have the potential to cast spells discreetly, none excel at is as the Soshi do. Their ability to cast virtually any non-damaging spell without any outward indications of its origin make them perfect for infiltration and subtle manipulation at court.
- Benefit: +1 Awareness
- Skills: Calligraphy (Cipher), Courtier, Etiquette, Lore: Theology, Spellcraft, Stealth, and one Skill
- Honor: 2.5
- Outfit: Robes, Wakizashi, Knife, Scroll Satchel, Traveling Pack, 5 koku
- Affinity / Deficiency: Air / Earth
- Spells: Sense, Commune, Summon, 3 Air, 2 Fire, and 1 Water
- Technique: The Kami’s Whisper – The Soshi cast their spells as quietly as the kami themselves. You may sacrifice an additional spell slot (of the same Element) when casting any spell with no potential to inflict damage in order to eliminate all visible signs of the spell having been cast. All spell effects take place normally; there is simply no outward sign of what has happened. You also gain a Free Raise on any spell with the Illusion keyword.
Yogo Wardmaster [Shugenja]
The school founded by Yogo is known for an unusual style of magic that focuses on special protective charms known as wards. These are similar to the exorcism wards used by the Toritaka, but are significantly more flexible in their use and application. The Yogo guard their methods carefully and seldom allow others to study in their dojo; even their shugenja cousins in the Soshi family know little about the secrets of ward magic.
- Benefit: +1 Intelligence
- Skills: Calligraphy (Cipher), Etiquette, Investigation, Lore: Theology, Spellcraft, Stealth, any 1 High or Low Skill
- Honor: 1.5
- Outfit: Robes, Wakizashi, Knife, Scroll Satchel, Traveling Pack, pack of twenty paper wards, 3 koku
- Affinity / Deficiency: Yogo Shugenja do not have an elemental Affinity or Deficiency. Instead, they have an Affinity for all non-Void spells with the Wards keyword, and a Deficiency for all spells with the Travel or Craft keywords. They may treat certain spells as having the Wards keyword – see below.
- Spells: Commune, Summon, 3 Ward Spells, 3 other spells (may not be Void Spells)
- Technique:Way of the Wardmaster – The Yogo are masters at creating wards for later use. When you cast any spell with the Wards keyword, you may Raise a number of times equal to the spell’s Mastery Level to instead place the spell into a paper ward. Once this is done, the paper ward will hold the spell “latent” until you activate it (as a Simple Action) by placing it on a target. Only you may activate your wards. The ward sticks to the target and immediately discharge the spell, whose duration is measured normally from that moment. If an area-effect spell is discharged onto a living target, it will only affect that target. Placing a paper ward on an unwilling target requires an unarmed melee attack using a roll of Spellcraft / Agility. An active ward may be physically torn/destroyed, which instantly ends any ongoing spell effects; this requires a Simple Action. You cannot recover the spell slot of a spell which has been cast into a paper ward until after the ward is discharged. If a ward is damaged or destroyed before it is discharged, it loses all power and you may regain the spell slot normally. The following spells are treated as having the Wards keyword for purposes of spell selection and use of their technique:
- Air – To Seek the Truth, By the Light of the Moon, Benten’s Touch, Summon Fog
- Earth – Armor of the Earth, Courage of the 7 Thunders, Force of Will, Wholeness of the World
- Fire – Extinguish, Fires of Purity, Disrupt the Aura, Haze of Battle, Globe of Everlasting Sun
- Water – Reversal of Fortunes, Rejuvenating Vapors, Wisdom and Clarity, Near to Ice
Scorpion Instigator [Courtier] [CR]
The Scorpion Clan is the Clan of Secrets, and the Scorpion Instigator strives to maintain mastery over that domain. These courtiers are given access to rigorous training designed to exploit their own weaknesses until they become strengths. The Instigator learns to control the flow of conversation so that his falsehoods can pass undetected even against the most trained investigators. His ability to mask the truth keeps his opponents unsettled and unable to perform at their best.
- Rings/Traits: Awareness 5, Intelligence 5, Perception 3
- Skills: Courtier 6, Etiquette 5, Sincerity 5, Stealth 4
- Advantages: Blackmail (on at least 4 different individuals)
- Other: All members of the Instigators must possess at least one Dark Secret and must divulge this secret to their sensei upon joining.
Rank 1: The Depths of Dishonor
The Instigator learns to turn his own dishonor into a weapon and to use his opponent’s Honor against him, subverting their beliefs. When making a Contested Social Skill roll, you gain a bonus of +Xk0, where X is the difference between your Honor Rank and that of your opponent.
Rank 2: Sheath Your Lies in Truth
An Instigator is taught to constantly reassure himself the lies he speaks are actually the truth. This causes some mild psychological discomfort, but is extremely effective on others trying to see through his lies. If anyone is trying to tell whether you are lying, you may spend a Void Point to gain a bonus of +3k3 to the Contested Social Skill roll to conceal your falsehood (instead of the normal +1k1). Note that if you use this Technique to make statements that are blatantly and obviously false (“the sky is red”), you will quickly become known as a madman.
Rank 3: Pull the String
Those who are weak and unworthy are nothing more than pawns to the Instigator. If you possess Blackmail on someone, you may spend 10 minutes conversing with them and then spend a Void Point as a Complex Action to suggest an action they should take. This also requires you to win a Contested Social Skill roll of your Courtier (Manipulation) / Awareness against their Etiquette (Courtesy) / Willpower. If you win the roll, so long as the action is not life-threatening and its consequences will not be worse than revealing the Blackmail, the target must either take the action or lose 4 points of Honor.
Scorpion Saboteur [Ninja] [IH]
The saboteurs are the military elite of the Scorpion shinobi forces. While the clan’s other shinobi focus on spying and assassination, the saboteurs undertake the military defense of the Scorpion lands, using every sort of tactic defense of the Scorpion lands, using every sort of tactic (including the forbidden gaijin pepper) to weaken, distract, and cripple enemy armies. Although they prefer to operate by stealth, they are more than capable of defending themselves should the need arise.
During the Clan War era, with most of the Scorpion Clan dead or scattered, the saboteurs bear the burden of protecting their lands and punishing those who occupy them. Both the Imperial Legions and the Crab invaders suffer heavily at the Saboteurs’ hands.
- Rings/Traits: Fire 4, Reflexes 4
- Skills: Craft: Explosives 3, Stealth 5, Knives 4, Ninjutsu 4
- Other: Must be trained in one the Scorpion schools with the [Ninja] tag.
Rank 1: Follow the Pincers
The saboteur are trained to an extreme degree of focus and alertness, assuring they can slip through enemy lines and silence anyone who spots them. You gain +1k1 bonus to all Stealth rolls and suffer no Initiative penalties for being surprised, Dazed, or Fatigued.
Rank 2: No Mistakes
The saboteur specializes in using demolitions to destroy vital targets such as walls, bridges, supply dumps, and castles. When you spend a Void Point on a roll with Craft: Explosives, you gain a +2k2 bonus instead of the normal +1k1. Due to your extensive training with gaijin pepper, you suffer no ill effects from low rolls with Craft: Explosives and if the optional “fizzle” rule is in effect you are immune to it as well.
Rank 3: Seeking Weakness
The saboteurs are trained to strike at their opponents’ weak points with lethal and shocking speed. When fighting with a Small weapon (melee or ranged) you may make a single attack as a Free Action each Round in addition to any other Simple Action or Complex Action attacks you might make. Also, when fighting with a Small weapon (melee or ranged), you may ignore the effects of your opponent’s armor on his Armor TN and Reduction.
Bayushi Distractor [Courtier]
The Scorpion Clan often approaches court, like war, as a domain where misdirection and confusion are its most potent allies. Although the Bayushi Courtier School focuses primarily on blackmail as its favored weapon, the school’s sensei also teach specialized techniques in spreading false information. The more rumors and confused gossip suffuse a court, the easier it is for the Masters of Secrets to prevail.
- Technique Rank: 3
- Replaces: Bayushi Courtier 3
- Requirements: Sincerity (Deceit) 3
- Technique: Smoke Screen – The Distractor specializes in spreading false information in order to confuse and disrupt his opponents. When in conversation with another individual, you may roll Sincerity (Deceit) / Awareness against the target’s Investigation / Awareness to inflict misinformation on a specific topic. (If the target possesses a directly relevant Lore skill, he may substitute Lore / Intelligence for the Investigation roll.) If successful, the target’s future discussions of that topic are weakened by his false information; he must call a Raise for no effect any time he makes a Social Roll involving that topic. You may call Raises on the Contested Roll to increase the number of non-effect Raises the target must call.
If the target fails to call the Raises (or is unable to call them due to insufficient Void Rank) he is considered to automatically fail the Social Skill Roll. At the GM’s option, a character who calls the Raises and then fails his Social Skill Roll due solely to those Raises may embarrass himself in public due to his display of false information, resulting in a loss of 1-5 points of Glory (depending on the importance of the topic).
The effects of this Technique last one week, and it cannot target the same person within the same week.
Bitter Lies Swordsman [Bushi] [CR]
The fact that the Bitter Lies technique works at all is astounding. The founder of the Bitter Lies style, Bayushi Tangen, was a man who capitalized on chance and reaches success through sheer force of will. He refused to accept anything as out of his reach and would take insane risks to accomplish his tasks. He passed this style of no-holds-barred adventurous fighting to a single student, who later found several students of his own. The Bitter Lies Swordsmen carry on this legacy with their own reckless antics. The Swordsman’s natural fortune helps him survive situations where logic says he could not.
- Replaces: Bayushi Bushi 3
- Requirements: Kenjutsu 3
- Technique: The Dark Sword of Bitter Lies – The Bitter Lies Swordsman charges into battle with no regard for his own safety. You may spend a Void Point to immediately re-roll any one roll. This re-roll suffers no penalty to the TN, even if you failed the original roll. You may keep either result that you prefer. However, you may not re-roll the same roll another time through any means.
Fading Shadows [Shugenja]
The Fading Shadows are a tiny sect operating out of the Hidden Moon Dojo, the secretive Scorpion organization devoted to studying the Nothing and its manifestations in Rokugan. The Fading Shadows recognize that a link may exist between the Nothing and the Void, a disturbing idea but one that provides useful means of defeating the Nothing’s machinations. They are predominantly Soshi, but the Hidden Moon Dojo does not hesitate to recruit shugenja from other Scorpion families if it seems advantageous to do so.
- Technique Rank: 5
- Replaces: Any Scorpion shugenja 5
- Requires: Void 4, Spellcraft 5, Forbidden Knowledge: Lying Darkness
- Other: Must be inducted into the Hidden Moon Dojo (exact circumstances up to the GM, but only Scorpion characters of irreproachable loyalty and discretion will even be considered)
- Technique: Unravel the Shadow – The shugenja of the Fading Shadows are trained to perceive the lies and distortions of the Nothing and to disrupt the powers of the Shadowspawn by exploiting their vulnerability to the Void. As a Simple Action, you may spend a Void Point to try to strip away the false identity of any Shadowspawn and other minions of the Nothing within your sight, revealing them for what they are. This requires a Contested Roll of your Void against their Willpower. With a success, the creatures are revealed as what they truly are, and are unable to reassume a false identity as long as they remain in your sight. As a Free Action, you may spend a Void Point when you cast a spell or make a physical attack. That spell/attack will have full effect on a minion of the Nothing, regardless of normal resistances or immunities.
The Kuroiban were originally created by the Yogo, and the Yogo family still leads the organization. However, it draws recruits from both the Scorpion shugenja Schools. Only the most trustworthy and skillful shugenja are recruited into the Black Watch, since its very existence is known to only a handful of people. Outside the Scorpion Clan, only the Kuni family is full aware of the Kuroiban, although the Asako Inquisitors have a vague realization that something of the sort exists.
Students of the Kuroiban are taught a secret technique to call on their connection with the kami and root out those who are corrupted by Jigoku’s touch.
- Replaces: Any Scorpion shugenja 4
- Requirements: Willpower 4, Lore: Maho 3, Lore: Shadowlands 3. Must have been chosen to serve in the secret order of the Kuroiban.
- Technique: The Black Watch – You have been taught to sense the presence of the Taint through your connection to the kami. Any time you target someone with a spell (including a benign or helpful spell) you may expend an additional spell slot (in any Element) and take a Free Action to make a Contested Willpower roll with the target. If you succeed in the roll, you can sense whether or not the target is Tainted (e.g. has at least one full Rank of Taint). Normally this technique can only be triggered with targeted spells that have an instantaneous effect. However, if you are trained in the Yogo Shugenja School you may also use this technique with your wards, activating it when the ward is placed. If the spell has a duration, you may only use the technique at the moment you place the ward.
Saigo’s Blades [Bushi]
The iaijutsu duel is a sacred tradition in Rokugan and a lynchpin of the Empire’s legal system. Given the history the Scorpion Clan has in the creation of that system, it comes as no surprise that a small but effective branch of the clan’s primary bushi school is devoted to the art of iaijutsu. Through much of the Empire’s history the group did not have an official name, but during the years immediately prior to the Clan War it drew attention for the deeds of Bayushi Saido, one of the finest graduates of its training program. Saigo’s victories over other clans’ duelists were so notable that the graduates of the dojo became known – first informally, then later formally – as Saigo’s Blades.
- Replaces: Bayushi Bushi 3
- Requirements: Iaijutsu 3
- Technique: Saigo’s Technique – A true Scorpion duelist knows that intimidation and deception are the keys to victory. When dueling any opponent that you have previously used the Intimidation Skill upon successfully, you gain a bonus of +5 to the total of the your roll during the Assessment Phase of the duel. Additionally, by spending a Void Point, you may report one statistic of your choice as being one rank higher during the Assessment Phase.
The Scorpion Elite Guard [Bushi]
Most clans and families maintain a highly skilled force known as an Elite Guard or House Guard, usually tasked with protection of the Clan Champion and/or of key clan holdings. Appointment to such a force is a privilege and reward, a mark of great trust from the clan’s rulers. The Scorpion Elite Guard, however, is a very different sort of force. Each member of the Scorpion Clan’s Elite Guard trains to adapt his fighting style to that of a specific enemy clan, becoming an intimidating opponent to any members of that clan – and also gaining the ability to pose as one of that clan’s samurai if necessary. Of course, this is a secret largely unknown outside of the Scorpion Clan, and most opponents believe the Scorpion Elite Guard is merely a highly proficient bushi unit like the comparable force of other families and clans. Within the ranks of the Scorpion Clan itself, the warriors of the Elite Guard are sometimes called “Violators”.
- Technique Rank: 3
- Replaces: Bayushi Bushi 3, Shosuro Actor 3
- Requires: Lore (selected clan) 3, Kenjutsu 5. At the GM’s option, characters may substitute “Heart of Vengeance [Selected Clan]” for the Lore requirement.
- Technique: The Eyes of My Enemy – You select a specific Great Clan when you learn this Technique (this choice cannot be changed). You may attack as a Simple Action when targeting a samurai from this clan. When fighting a Skirmish against a samurai from this clan, as a Simple Action you may spend a Void Point to prevent that samurai from using his School Techniques for his next two Turns. (This Technique cannot be used in iaijutsu duels.)
Historical Note: In the twelfth century, the Scorpion Clan is exiled for a time in the Burning Sands. During that period, a warrior named Bayushi Eiyo encounters one of the legendary Ashalan and learns a fighting technique that also disrupts the enemy’s fighting style; Eiyo later teaches this technique to a number of successors, and the members of this group also call themselves “Violators”. Mechanically, the GM can use this Path to represent both the Elite Guard and Eiyo’s later group.
Scorpion Loyalist [IH]
The long period of relative peace and tranquility the Empire enjoyed took its toll upon the Scorpion just as it did all the clans. When the whispering of Ambition began to take hold in Bayushi Shoju’s mind, his demeanor changed, affecting those closest to him, then their vassals, and so on. When the Scorpion discovered the prophecy that foretold the return of Fu Leng through the last Hantei, this growing seed of dissent and paranoia blossomed into a loyal cadre who would do anything to make Shoju’s vision a reality. These warriors, priests, and courtiers, conspirators one and all, formed the bulk of the forces in the Imperial City during the Clan Coup, commanding even senior officers and agents in the successful capture and security of the city as a whole.
The technique which these men and women employed was not wholly exclusive to their era, however. The Scorpion Clan has always had those willing to do anything at all to fulfill their lord’s commands, and in truth the technique of the Scorpion Loyalists can probably be traced back to the internal split within the clan during the Gozoku era.
- Replaces: Any Scorpion School at Rank 2
- Requirements: Courtier 4 (courtiers), Spellcraft 4 (shugenja), one Weapon Skill at 4 (bushi or ninja)
- Technique: No Matter the Cost – Those Scorpion agents who embrace their duties to the fullest strike viciously at the clan’s many enemies without regard for the constraints of honor, custom, or propriety. You may sacrifice points of Honor up to a maximum number equal to your Scorpion School Rank to gain a bonus on one roll made against non-Scorpion opponents. Bushi and ninja gain a bonus of +1k0 per point of Honor on attack rolls, courtiers gain the same bonus on Contested Social Skill Rolls, and shugenja gain the bonus on spell-casting rolls made on Air spells (only) targeting those opponents.
Scorpion Maskmaker [Courtier/Artisan]
Although every clan has artisans who specialize in the creation of courtly masks, the Scorpion Clan takes such artistry to a much higher level. This is hardly surprising given the importance of masks to Scorpion culture.
- Technique Rank: 2
- Replaces: Bayushi Courtier 2, Soshi Shugenja 2, Yogo Shugenja 2
- Requires: Craft: Maskmaking 5, Sincerity (Deceit)
- Technique: Conceal the Eyes – The artisans who craft masks for Scorpion samurai know how to direct attention away from the wearer’s face (and any social cues it might reveal) to the distracting mask itself. Once every three months, you may craft a mask which is especially effective at concealing thoughts and emotions; this mask matches the abilities of the Inheritance Advantage with the Sincerity Skill, and creating it requires two Raises on your Craft: Maskmaking roll. Also, your experience at using masks to conceal emotions teaches you how to read others’ intentions without relying on facial expressions. You gain a +2k0 bonus on any Social Skill roll to detect falsehood or concealed intentions in others.
The Scorpion’s Tail [Bushi/Ninja]
Chain weapons are taught in the Scorpion Clan’s shinobi organizations, and in addition there is a showier type of chain fighting taught at the Shosuro Acting Academy which is designed to appear as a form of dance. Those few Scorpion bushi and assassins who actually specialize in chain weapons above other types of armament train in the small dojo which calls itself the Scorpion’s Tail. Their style specializes in the kusarigama, using it as both an infiltration tool and as a vicious weapon. They especially appreciate its ability to disable and even cripple opponents at a distance.
- Rank: 3 or 4
- Replaces: Bayushi Bushi 3, Shosuro Infiltrator 4
- Requires: Athletics 4, Chain Weapons 4
- Technique: The Tail’s Reach – The Scorpion’s Tail dojo teaches students several effective ways to employ the kusarigama and its brethren. If you use any chain weapon as a climbing tool, you gain a +1k1 bonus to any Athletics rolls made for that purpose. You may attack with a kusarigama at a distance of up to 15’ from your target. Also, any time you attack with a kusarigama, you may call three Raises on the attack to inflict the Lame Disadvantage on your opponent ; the Disadvantage lasts until the Wounds from the attack are healed.
Scorpion Weaponmaster [Bushi]
The Scorpion are not generally known as a clan of great warriors, at least not in the same manner as their rivals among the Lion and the Crab. They are much more commonly perceived as villains, thieves, and assassins, accusations that are vehemently contested and yet not without a kernel of truth. Still, there are many within the Scorpion Clan who excel at martial pursuits, and the Scorpion army is rightfully feared on the battlefield. A small handful of Scorpion, however, possess the perfect combination of natural talent and extensive training to elevate combat beyond the simple act of war; in the hands of a Scorpion master, a weapon is but a brush and combat is his art. Perhaps ironically, the greatest weaponmasters among the Scorpion are typically found within the ranks of the Bitter Lies legion, which has led some within the clan to speculate that the prodigious physical talents these samurai possess are in fact some manner of compensation for their damaged psychological state.
- Replaces: Bayushi Bushi 4
- Requirements: Any three Weapon Skills at 2
- Technique: I Am A Weapon – A true weaponmaster understands the common thread between all weapons, and draws upon it. When wielding any melee weapon, a number of times per skirmish equal to your school rank, you may as a Free Action use any other melee Weapon Skill you possess for attack rolls using your current weapon. For example, you could spend a Void Point to use Kenjutsu when wielding a tetsubo if you had no ranks in Heavy Weapons. You gain no benefits from any Mastery Abilities or Emphases when utilizing this Technique. The effect lasts a number of Rounds equal to your School Rank, and while this Technique is in effect you may make melee attacks as a Simple Action rather than a Complex Action.
Shadow Blades [Ninja]
Among the military ranks of the Scorpion, there is one unit that is known to the clan’s leadership but which appears in no formal documentation anywhere in the clan’s annals. These men are trained by sensei of both the Bayushi and Shosuro families, and are among the most proficient killers in the entire Empire. When they take the field, there are no survivors to tell tales of their abilities. Even their allies never lay eyes upon them. The location of their secret dojo is unknown to all save those who dwell within it, and those of family daimyo status or higher among the Scorpion. A persistent rumor among the attendants of those who know of the Shadow Blades’ existence places the dojo within Zakyo Toshi, but no one knows if this is simply conjecture or if there is a kernel of truth to the matter.
- Replaces: Bayushi Bushi 3 or Shosuro Infiltrator 3
- Requirements: Ninjutsu 3
- Technique: Never Beyond My Reach – The flawless blend of warrior and assassin works unlocks a samurai’s true potential as a killer of men. You may make melee attacks as a Simple Action instead of a Complex Action when wielding a katana or any weapon with the Ninja keyword. When wielding a weapon with the Ninja keyword, you may also add +1k1 to your attack and damage rolls with that weapon.
Shadow Hunter [Shugenja] [CR]
The Scorpion Clan never publicly acknowledges the existence of many of their elite forces. Their assassins and ninja can slip past powerful defenses to reach their targets. However, these ninja are only human and have limits to their abilities. The Soshi’s Shadow Hunters are adept in speaking with kami, bypassing normal thresholds of power. The Shadow Hunters can alter the world with the help of their spells. These elite assassins meld with the darkness, revealing themselves only to devastate their foes.
- Replaces: Any Scorpion Shugenja School, Rank 3
- Requirements: Stealth 3
- Technique: Scourge in Shadow – There are some targets the Shosuro ninja are unable to eliminate, either because of their protection or simply because they are too difficult to kill. For such targets, the Soshi send in their Shadow Hunters. When casting a damaging spell targeting an opponent who is unaware of your presence, you gain a bonus +2k0 on the Spell Casting Roll. You may also spend a single spell slot as a Free Action to gain a bonus of +1k1 on a Knives or Stealth Skill Roll.
Shosuro Assassins [Ninja]
The Assassins are the venomous sting of the Scorpion, their activities one of the greatest sources of paranoia in all Rokugan. They are trained to dispatch all manner of targets in every sort of circumstance, relying on tanto as small, easily concealed weapons which are ideal for infiltration work. The Shosuro Assassins learn to employ precise knife cuts and stabs to slay their targets in a matter of seconds with a minimum of noise and commotion.
- Rank: 6
- Replaces: N/A
- Requires: Craft: Stealth 5, Knives 5, must have attained Rank 5 in either the Shosuro Infiltrator or Shosuro Actor school
- Technique: The Hidden Blade – The Assassins are the elite killers of the Shosuro shinobi orders, trained to kill their targets with a single precise stab or slice. When attacking a surprised or unaware opponent with a knife, you may activate this Technique by spending a Void Point (as a Free Action). Your attack will target a vital spot, and any Raises for damage you make on that attack are kept dice (+1k1 per Raise) instead of unkept (+1k0).
Shosuro Defilers [Courtier]
The Defilers are an elite group within the Scorpion who specialize in the destruction of reputations, skillfully spreading lies and calumnies against their opponents, often lies backed with just enough truth to make them effective. They tend to be prominent figures whose vicious tongues earn them many enemies, and their tactics can sometimes rebound back on them – especially if the target of their words has a better dueling champion than they do. However, a true Defiler is more than ready to give his life in return for shattering the name, honor, and repute of an enemy of the Scorpion.
- Replaces: Bayushi Courtier 3 or Shosuro Actor 3
- Requirements: Sincerity (Deceit) 3, Glory Rank 3.0 or better
- Technique: Shameless Slander – The Defilers forsake blackmail and manipulation in favor of smearing and destroying their foes. If you slander someone in court, either directly or indirectly, you may roll Sincerity (Deceit) / Awareness against their Etiquette (Courtesy) / Willpower; if you are able to base your slander on a real secret or disgrace involving the target, you gain a +1k1 bonus to the roll (GM’s discretion). If you succeed in the roll, the target is humiliated and disgraced, losing a number of points of Honor and gaining a number of points of Infamy equal to your current Glory Rank. If he does not promptly and effectively answer your slander (GM’s discretion, but in general the victim should have to make a concerted effort within the first week after he has been targeted), he also loses 1 Rank of Devotion from all of his Allies. The Defiler’s attacks are not without rank. If you lose the Contested Roll, your blatant insults degrade your own reputation, lowering your Glory by 3 points. This technique cannot target the same person more than once per month.
Sons of Shadow
The Colonies are a vast area in which many dangers and secrets are hidden. The other clans are interested in those secrets, interested in what resources and power might be contained or unleashed by them, interested in how they can benefit from such things. But while the clans understand the physical dangers of such things, only the Scorpion understand the spiritual threat. Only they know the razor’s edge on which they walk, risking the integrity of their honor and indeed their souls by studying such gaijin artifacts. The two branches of the Soshi family, those who follow the path of the priesthood and those who follow the ways of combat and law enforcement, have both dedicated themselves to ensuring the danger presented by the Colonies is never fully realized. Whatever horrors they must perform, they accept them as necessary burdens to prevent even greater horrors from being unleashed. If all goes as planned, the other clans will never know the suffering the Scorpion have spared them.
- Technique Rank: 3
- Replaces: Soshi Magistrate 3, Soshi Shugenja 3
- Requirements: Lore: Shugenja 3 or Lore: Law 3 (whichever applies to the opposite School)
- Technique: None Shall Know My Path – The Sons of Shadow train extensively with their cousins throughout the Soshi family, learning the skills of both of the family’s schools. If you are a Soshi Shugenja, you may as a Simple Action spend a spell slot to gain temporary ranks equal to your School Rank in Athletics, Defense, Intimidation, or Lore: Underworld. If you are a Soshi Magistrate, you may as a Simple Action spend one Void Point to gain temporary ranks equal to your School Rank in Calligraphy, Courtier, Etiquette, Lore: Theology, Spellcraft, or Stealth. These temporary Skill Ranks last for one hour. No Mastery Abilities are gained for any of these temporary Skill ranks.
Soshi Deceivers [Shugenja]
For centuries the Soshi Deceivers are the darkest secret of the Soshi family: a secret group who combine Air magic and the power of Nothing to produce a host of sinister effects. They are notably adept at illusion magic, cloaking their actions in concealing shadows, rendering themselves invisible, or taking on the visage of others to deflect blame for their actions. After the exposure and apparent defeat of the Lying Darkness, the original Deceivers are purged from the clan, but the organization is later re-started in the belief that its powers can be replicated without relying on the dangerous influence of the Shadow. Whether this effort is truly successful, or the Soshi are merely deceiving themselves, remains to be seen.
- Replaces: Soshi Shugenja 3
- Technique: Way of the Shadow – A master of Shadow gains many powerful abilities. You may sacrifice a spell slot of an Element to gain perfect vision when in absolute darkness. Alternatively, you may spend an Air or Void spell slot to gain a bonus of +1k1 to the total of any Stealth, Sleight of Hand, or Sincerity (Deceit) Skill Roll. You may not spend more spell slots than your Insight Rank in this manner on any one Skill Roll.