Shadowlands Schools

Basic Schools

Chuda Shugenja [CR]

The Chuda possess an ancient tradition of maho, passed down from one to another in secret for centuries, ever since their family was eradicated by the Phoenix Clan hundreds of years ago. Within the Spider Clan, the heirs of the Snake have found a new home as the reinvigorated Chuda, and they serve their masters well. The Chuda are among the most powerful and progressive maho-tsukai that have ever existed, always pushing the envelope of what is possible with blood magic, never content to simply accept the power available to them. The atrocities committed in the name of increasing their School’s knowledge and power are without limit.

Maho is unquestionably the strength of the Chuda family, but the costs associated with it can make them less prolific spell-casters than other shugenja. Fortunately, their Technique permits them to conceal the corrupted nature of their magic, and to mitigate the rate at which they acquire the Taint.

  • Benefit: +1 Willpower
  • Skills: Calligraphy (Cipher), Hunting, Lore: Maho, Lore: Shadowlands, Spellcraft, Stealth, any one Skill
  • Honor: 0.5
  • Outfit: Robes, Wakizashi, Knife, Scroll Satchel, Traveling Pack, 3 koku
  • Affinity / Deficiency: Chuda Shugenja have an Affinity for any non-Void Maho spell. Select one non-Void element, You have a Deficiency for all non-Maho spells of the selected element.
  • Spells: Sense, Commune, Summon, 3 Maho spells of one element, 2 Maho spells of a second non-Deficient element, and any 1 spell of any non-Deficient element.
  • Technique: Blood Like Water – The Chuda have existed for centuries, hidden among the people of Rokugan and concealing the true nature of their dark arts. When casting a maho spell, you may declare one Raise to conceal the corrupted nature of the magic. The spell functions exactly as normal, but there will be no outward sign that it is anything other than traditional elemental magic. You may declare a second Raise to reduce all Shadowlands Taint normally acquired by a maho spell to only one Point, regardless of the spells Mastery level. Alternatively you may sacrifice one point of Honor to reduce all Taint normally acquired by the spell to one Point.

Daigotsu Bushi [CR]

The legions of warriors loyal to Daigotsu employ a fighting style cobbled together from the various techniques they possessed in their former lives. As a result, the Daigotsu Techniques are mildly eclectic, but can be brutally effective when used in conjunction with one another. Skilled bushi can use these secrets to devastate their foes and then harness their dying life essence to replenish themselves, an act that forever marks them as traitors and blasphemers in the eyes of the Empire.

The techniques of the Daigotsu bushi clearly indicate the favor in which they are held by their god and master, Fu Leng. Their ability to increase their damage and instill fear in their opponents makes them potent opponents for virtually any enemy, and their power level can increase dramatically if they employ their Shadowlands Taint as well (although this is, of course, not without risk).

  • Benefit: +1 Strength
  • Skills: Hunting, Intimidation, Jiujutsu, Kenjutsu (Katana), Kyujutsu, Lore: Shadowlands, any one Bugei or Low Skill
  • Honor: 1.5
  • Outfit: Light Armour, Sturdy Clothing, Daisho, any 1 weapon, Traveling Pack, 3 koku


Rank 1: The Way of the Spider
The Daigotsu Bushi must walk the fine line between using the Taint to power his body, and hiding its effects in public. At the beginning of each Round, you may choose to either reduce your TN penalties from Wound Ranks by your Strength Trait Rank plus your Taint Rank until the end of the Round, or increase your damage rolls by the same amount. Additionally, the TN on any roll to detect the presence or effects of the Shadowlands Taint on you is increased by 10.

Rank 2: Aura of Blood
The presence of the Daigotsu Bushi can be unsettling to those who are unprepared to face it. You may spend a Void Point as a Simple Action to activate this Technique. While this Technique is active, you and all of your allies within 30′ add +2k0 to the total of all damage rolls. This lasts for a number of Rounds equal to your Taint Rank plus your Strength Trait Rank. This bonus is not cumulative with any other applications of Aura of Blood. Using this technique while under its effects refreshes its duration.

Rank 3: Ashura’s Wing
The Daigotsu Bushi moves and strikes as swiftly as ash borne away by the wind. You may make melee attacks as a Simple Action instead of a Complex Action.

Rank 4: Devouring Wrath
By the power of Fu Leng, the Legionnaire feeds on the strength of his enemies. Any time you hit an opponent in melee, you immediately regain 5 Wounds. This can potentially grant additional Wounds beyond your normal maximum, but this bonus will not increase over 20 wounds. Excess Wounds are lost at the end of the skirmish.

Rank 5: Inhuman Assault
The wrath of a Daigotsu bushi is like that of a rampaging beast. Once per skirmish, you may launch into a series of bone-shattering blows by making a melee attack as a complex action. This attack ignores the bonuses and effects of armor, including Reduction from armor, and any Stance the target assumes. If the strike hits, the target cannot gain the bonuses of armor or Stance to his Armour TN for a number of rounds equal to your Taint Rank plus your Strength Trait. If your opponent is in the Full Attack Stance Posture, he still retains the -10 to Armour TN penalty.

Daigotsu Courtier [CR]

Perhaps the greatest success of the Spider Clan has been the slow and subtle infiltration of many courts of the Great Clans. Disguised as ronin and emissaries of minor branches of other families, the Daigotsu courtiers have used the Spider Clan’s network of contacts, blackmail victims and willing subordinates to assume positions of power in the courts of numerous clans, even one of the Imperial Families. From this position of power, they attempt to subtly manipulate others into conflicts that best serve their true clan, keeping their enemies away from them and gradually undermining the notions of honor possessed by many weak-willed samurai.

The greatest strength of the Daigotsu courtiers is not their techniques, which are admittedly useful, but rather their ability to mask their Taint, should they possess it. Their Techniques focus on the disruption of others, providing an environment on which the Spider can capitalize, and deflecting both attention and blame away from themselves. This is essential both to their survival and to their ability to benefit their clan.

  • Benefit: +1 Perception
  • Skills: Acting, Courtier (Manipulation), Etiquette, Meditation, Sincerity (Deceit), Temptation, any one High Skill.
  • Honor: 1.0
  • Outfit: Sensible Clothing, Wakizashi, Calligraphy Set, Travelling Pack, 3 koku.


Rank 1: Insidious Whispers
Every student of the Daigotsu Courtiers is accomplished at the art of masking his nature, preventing his true intentions from being discovered by others. You are skilled at hiding your intentions and the symptoms of Taint. You gain a Free Raise when using Sincerity (Deceit). Any rolls made to detect your Taint (such as the techniques of the Kuni) have their TN increased by an amount equal to 5 x your School Rank. You add your School Rank to your Honor Rank whenever another is attempting to discern your Honor Rank.

Rank 2: Cracks in the Wall
The Daigotsu courtier is taught to drop subtle, seemingly innocuous conversational hints that disrupt the focus and attention of those around him. Any time you are engaged in conversation, you may spend a Void point and make a Courtier (Manipulation) / Awareness roll (as a Simple Action) at TN 25 to force everyone within 20 feet of you to suffer a penalty of -1k1 to all their Etiquette and Perform Skill rolls for the next hour. They are not aware of the source for their lack of focus. This effect cannot be stacked.

Rank 3: Darkness Cannot be Trapped
At this rank, the Spider courtier is taught to deflect attention and blame away from himself, spreading disharmony among his foes while avoiding the price of his own actions. Any time you are the focus of suspicion or accusation, you may spend a Void point as a Simple Action to try to shift the blame to someone else who is present at the moment of the accusation. You must make a Contested Roll of your Sincerity (Deceit) / Awareness versus the victim’s Sincerity (Honesty) / Awareness in order to make the shifting of blame stick. (If your attempt seems weak or poorly justified, the GM can award bonuses to your victim’s attempt to defend himself.) With a success everyone who heard you will believe your target is the real culprit, until presented with evidence to the contrary.

Rank 4: The Touch of Sin
At this level of training, the Spider’s mastery of manipulation and misdirection allows his words to twist the thoughts of others, temporarily leading them into weakness, aggression and confusion. A number of times per session equal to your School Rank, you may speak with someone for a few minutes and then make a Contested Roll of your Courtier (Manipulation) / Willpower against their Etiquette (Courtesy) / Willpower. If you succeed, they acquire one of the seven Consumed by Shourido Disadvantages (your choice) for a number of hours equal to your School Rank. By calling two successful Raises on this roll, you can inflict a second Consumed by Shourido Disadvantage of your choice on the same person for the same period of time. (You cannot use this technique on the same person twice in the same day).

Rank 5: The Embrace of Darkness
The final lesson of the Daigotsu Courtier School teaches its students to lead their enemies into paths of aggression and violence. By speaking with someone for at least 15 minutes, you may make a Contested Roll of your Sincerity (Deceit) / Awareness against their Etiquette (Courtesy) / Perception. If your target currently has one of their Consumed by Shourido Disadvantages, you gain a 5k0 bonus to this roll. With a success, you may convince your target to treat some other person, group, institution or clan as their enemy. This cannot be used to turn someone directly against his lord or the Emperor. Subject to that limitation, the target will continue to believe in this enmity until presented with evidence to the contrary. This technique cannot be used against the same person more than once per month.

Dark Moto Cavalry [Bushi]

After the Dark Moto became a new force within the Shadowlands, they began to modify their traditional Moto fighting techniques to their new nature as creatures of the Shadowlands. Over time, a new school evolved, one known at first only to the Dark Moto themselves but later taught to other Lost who served alongside Tsume’s fearsome legions. After the destruction of the Dark Moto in the twelfth century, their school survived among a handful of Lost and eventually was passed down to Daigotsu’s forces. The later Spider Clan also employed some of the techniques of the Dark Moto.

  • Benefit: +1 Strength
  • Honor: 0.0
  • Starting Skills: Defense, Horsemanship, Kenjutsu, Kyujutsu, Lore: Shadowlands, Polearms, Spears, any one Bugei or Low Skill.
  • Outfit: Armor (light, heavy, or cavalry), katana or wakizashi, spear or polearm, bow (yumi or dai-kyu) with 20 arrows, onikage steed
  • Requirement: Must be Tainted. The Dark Moto have sometimes taught their techniques to those of their allies who not yet Lost, but never to those who have not at least been firmly touched by the power of Jigoku.


Rank 1 : Power in the Darkness
The embrace of the Taint grants the Dark Moto strength beyond that of mortals. Your maximum Raises are now limited by your Taint Rank or your Void, whichever is higher. You add your Taint Rank in unkept dice to all attack rolls. However, you no longer gain any benefit from the Full Defense stance.

Rank 2 : Ride beyond Death
Not even death can break the connection between a Unicorn and his steed. The Dark Moto are bonded to onikage, the monstrous creatures created from horses that fall to the Taint. You may mentally summon an onikage as a Simple Action. The creature will appear at the start of the next Round, bursting forth from the ground.

Rank 3 : Dark Lord’s Fury
The rage of Jigoku courses through the Dark Moto’s body, driving him to inhuman speed and fury. You may make attacks as a Simple Action instead of a Complex Action.

Rank 4 : Visage of the Damned
The Dark Moto radiate a powerful aura of terror and malignance, and can intensify this power to the point where it will cripple their foes. Once per skirmish as a Simple Action you may create a Fear effect equal to your Taint Rank against all those who gaze upon you. Any opponent who succumbs to the Fear is, in addition to the normal penalties, limited to one Simple Action (and no Complex Actions) on their next Turn. They may take Free Actions as normal.

Rank 5 : Death is an Illusion
The corrupted forms of the Dark Moto are nearly impervious to injury, and they can continue to fight until they are destroyed. You no longer suffer any Wound penalties, not even at the Down or Out Ranks, and you heal Wounds equal to your Taint Rank during the Reactions Stage of each Round.

Free Ogre Bushi [Bushi]

The so-called free ogres, once they begin to slip free of Jigoku’s direct control, quickly discover they remember an ancient set of techniques that can be put to tremendous use in a fight. While an average ogre is already a respectable opponent, those who know the techniques of their bushi school are much more dangerous. Muhomono, the legendary king of ogres and supposedly perfect ogre warrior, epitomized these techniques, so mastering them is a source of pride and glory for free ogres. They revel in the rediscovery of their culture and try to approach the excellence of their long-dead king.
The techniques of this school emphasize the ogres’ superior strength and size, focusing these natural advantages into deadly weapons. While the school’s techniques outwardly barely look different from a savage ogre’s normal assault, this is deceptive; the free ogre school is actually quite sophisticated in its methods. The fact it is not recognized as such by humans is only one more advantage for the ogres. This school can only be taken by an ogre. No other race would ever be allowed to learn Muhomono’s sacred techniques.

  • Benefit: +1 Strength
  • Skills: Battle, Defense, Jiujutsu, Heavy Weapons (ogres treat any large club, tree-trunk, etc, as a Heavy Weapon), Hunting, Intimidation (Bullying), Stealth
  • Honor: 0 (Ogres have their own concept of Honor, but it is not one shared by the Rokugani.)
  • Outfit: Heavy Armor, Tattered Clothing, any 2 weapons.


Rank 1: Muhomono’s Strength
Named for the legendary king of ogres, this technique comes as a profound revelation to most free ogres as they reconnect with their race’s ancient legacy. It allows the ogre to focus its strength into more powerful blows, instead of wasting it like his savage cousins. Before rolling Initiative, you may choose to inflict a -1k1 penalty on your Initiative roll. If you do, you gain +2k0 on all damage rolls for the rest of the skirmish. Also, you gain a Free Raise on all Intimidation (Bullying) rolls.

Rank 2: Muhomono’s Eyes
The great Muhomono won many fights with his terrifying gaze, striking fear into his opponents before the fight even began. Your Fear rating is increased by 1, and you add +1k0 to your attack rolls against any opponent who failed to resist your Fear.

Rank 3: Muhomono’s Speed
The ogre warrior strikes his opponent with speed and strength, certain in his superiority over any opponent. You may make attacks as a Simple Action instead of a Complex Action while using large weapons, Heavy Weapons, or unarmed attacks.

Rank 4: Muhomono’s Arm
The broad and powerful arm of the ogre bushi carries over from one opponent to another, never slowing down. Once per skirmish, if you successfully hit an opponent with a melee attack, you may immediately inflict the same damage roll on another opponent of your choice within 5 feet of the first one, without making an attack roll against the second opponent. This does not count as a separate attack.

Rank 5: Muhomono’s Armor
A true ogre bushi knows that physical armor is only a disguise – the true warrior needs nothing more than his skin and determination. Your natural Reduction increases to 20.

Free Ogre Mage [Shugenja]

Some very rare free ogres discover that they have the ability to influence the elements by sheer force of will. Called mages by their peers, these ogres slowly remember how to carve sigils in their skin to summon forth magical powers. Ogres can cast spells of all four elements, although they tend to favor Fire due to its destructive nature. Their flexibility with the kami has greatly disturbed the few Rokugani shugenja who have noticed.
This school can only be taken by an ogre. Humans are incapable of manipulating the kami in this manner even if an ogre was willing to teach them – which none are.

  • Benefit: +1 Willpower
  • Honor: 0 (Free ogres have their own concept of Honor, but it is not one shared by the Rokugani.)
  • Outfit: Tattered Clothing, any 2 weapons.
  • Skills: Battle, Defense, Hunting, Jiujutsu, Intimidation (Bullying), Lore: History (Ogres), Spellcraft
  • Technique: Strength of the Mind – The ogre mages do not use the same techniques as the Rokugani shugenja, but instead coerce the kami into submission through mystical sigils and sheer strength of will. You can never learn or use the spells Sense, Commune, or Summon. You do not need spell scrolls; instead you call on the power of sigils carved into your own skin (in mechanical terms, all of your spells are considered to be memorized). You have no Affinity or Deficiency.
  • Spells: 3 Fire, 2 Earth, and 1 Air.

Goju Ninja [GC]

The Goju are essentially the brawn of the forces controlled by the Lying Darkness and its successor, the Shadow Dragon. They are certainly the most numerous of its minions (although still relatively few in number compared to any real samurai family) and consist of men and women from all backgrounds and families who have been absorbed into the Lying Darkness and lost their identity, becoming faceless creatures of darkness. All members of the Goju have had their identities at least partially consumed (in most cases almost completely so) by the Nothing. All are able to draw upon the power of the Nothing to varying degrees, using it to generate supernatural capabilities that invariably center around infiltration, deception, and murder

  • Benefit: +1 Agility
  • Skills: Athletics, Kenjutsu, Ninjutsu, Sincerity (Deceit), Stealth 2, any one Skill
  • Honor: 0.0
  • Outfit: Black Clothing, Ninja-to, Tanto, 6 Shuriken or Tsubute, any one weapon, 50 feet of Rope and Grapple, Traveling Pack, 1 koku


Rank 1: The Cloak of Night
The first lesson a Goju masters is the art of wrapping oneself in shadow, gaining concealment from enemies in exchange for making direct action more difficult. You may increase your Armor TN up to a maximum amount equal to your School Rank x 5. The TN of all your rolls other than Athletics, Defense, and Stealth Skill Rolls is increased by the same amount. Activating this Technique is a Simple Action and it lasts for the duration of the skirmish.

Rank 2: Melting into Shadow
A Goju is not merely protected by the darkness but part of it, and can blend easily within it. You gain bonus rolled dice equal to your School Rank on any Stealth Skill Roll. Any uncontested roll made by an opponent trying to detect you automatically has its TN increased by an amount equal to your School Rank x 5. You gain one Free Raise on all attack rolls made against opponents who are unaware of your presence.

Rank 3: The Shadowed Blade
The Goju is a swift and merciless foe. You may make an attack as a Simple Action rather than a Complex Action when attacking with knives or any weapon that uses the Ninjutsu Skill. Alternatively, when wielding shuriken, you may take a Complex Action to make a number of ranged attacks equal to your School Rank.

Rank 4: Step Within Shadow
As all darkness is one with the Goju, so too can the Goju use the darkness to move between shadows without crossing the space in between. You may enter any shadow large enough to conceal an individual of your size and emerge from any other similarly-sized shadow nearby. This is considered a Simple Move Action. The range of this movement is equal to your School Rank x 100 feet.

Rank 5: Shadow upon the Moon
A true Goju no longer even vaguely resembles anything human. Your facial features are permanently erased, leaving only a tell-tale eggshell mask in their place. In darkness or shadows, you may dissolve your physical body into a vague cloud of inky vapor. This is a Simple Action; changing back into corporeal form is a Free Action. You may move at your full speed while in incorporeal form but may not physically interact with any object or individual and cannot be harmed by anything except crystal. You may pass through solid matter in a thickness of up to your School Rank x 5 in inches. You gain +5 to your Initiative Score during the first Round (only) each time you change back to your corporeal form.

Ninube Shugenja [GC]

The individuals who call themselves the Ninube are not truly shugenja in the conventional sense of the word, but then they are not truly individuals either, so the terminology here is largely a matter of convenience. The Ninube are minions of the Lying Darkness who seem to retain a portion of their individuality (whether they truly do is impossible to say). After the Darkness was defeated but before the Shadow Dragon usurped its place as the avatar of Nothing, the Ninube chose to go their own way, forsaking loyalty to this new master. (Or so they believe… in truth, they remain every bit as much a part of the Shadow Dragon’s machinations as their more willing former comrades among the Goju.)

  • Ninube Family: +1 Reflexes
  • Benefit: +1 Awareness
  • Skills: Calligraphy, Knives, Sincerity (Lying), Spellcraft, Stealth 2, any Low skill
  • Honor: 0.0
  • Outfit: Black Clothing, Wakizashi, Knife, Scroll Satchel, Traveling Pack, 2 Koku
  • Affinity / Deficiency: Air / Earth
  • Spells: Sense, Commune, Summon, 3 Air spells, 2 Fire spells, and 1 Water spell
  • Technique:Mask of the Nothing – As a Complex Action you may expend a spell slot to dissolve your physical self and become a shadow. As a shadow you are invisible in darkness and gain a bonus of +5k0 to your Stealth Skill Rolls under all other circumstances. You are immune to most mundane attacks, but crystal and magic can affect you. Magical attacks that involve crystal or generate light double their rolled damage dice against you. When in shadow form, if you suffer damage that would kill you, you instead return to physical form at once with either half of your Wounds or with the Wounds you possessed when you entered shadow form, whichever is lower; you are Stunned when this happens. You may not inflict damage on others in any way while in shadow form, but you may cast non-damaging spells and can speak in the form of a disembodied whisper. You gain a Free Raise on all Nothing spells. You may not cast maho spells. Several existing spells may be cast as Nothing spells. When this is done the spells invoke a very unsettling atmosphere obvious to any shugenja (although they may not know what causes it, only that they feel unwell), and may even make non-shugenja uncomfortable. Common side-effects of such spells, in addition to their normal effects, include the deepening of shadows, the dimming of lights, the presence of faint undecipherable whispers, etc. GMs may of course add or exclude any spells from this list as it suits the needs and style of their campaigns.
    • Air: By the Light of Lord Moon, Cloak of Night, Way of Deception, Hidden Visage, The Eye Shall Not See, Your Heart’s Enemy, Gift of Wind, Cloud the Mind, Echoes on the Breeze
    • Fire: Extinguish, Hurried Steps
    • Water: Reflections of Pan Ku, Wave-Borne Speed

The Order of the Spider Monks [CR]

The origins of the enigmatic Order of the Spider are a mystery to many even within the clan that holds their loyalty. The Order began with the teachings of the fallen monk Roshungi, but not until his greatest student Michio began spreading the gospel of finding one’s own path, regardless of the consequences to others, did the Order begin to grow in earnest. Brothers of the Spider are merciless opponents with a well deserved reputation for brutality. Their training includes devastating hand-to-hand styles and many heavy weapons techniques as well. Although some succumb to the Shadowlands Taint, many have remained pure simply because it has not suited their needs to draw upon the power of darkness.

The Spider monks are peerless hand-to-hand combatants who, unlike most monastic fighting styles, cripple foes rather than simply disabling them. Their steely resolve grants them significant bonuses to resist both manipulation and actual magic, as well as resilience and improved capacity to inflict damage.

  • Benefit: +1 Agility
  • Skills: Athletics, Jiujutsu 2, Lore: Theology, Meditation, Polearms, any one Skill.
  • Honor: 1.5
  • Outfit: Light or Heavy Armour, Sturdy Clothing, any Heavy Weapon or Polearm, Travelling Pack, 3 koku.


Rank 1: The Dark Path
The Order of the Spider teaches strength and mastery of oneself, even the darkness that hides within the Soul. You gain a bonus of 1k0 to the total of all attack rolls made using unarmed strikes or with polearms. You also add twice your School Rank to your Armour TN against all melee attacks.

Rank 2: Drawing in the Strike
Mastery of the body is a step to the path of power, and this mastery affords tremendous endurance to those who reach it. You may select any non-void ring. You gain Reduction equal to this Ring, plus your Rank in Shadowlands Taint, if you have any.

Rank 3: Speed of Darkness
The alignment of body and mind allow tremendous speed, When using a polearm or an unarmed attack, you may make melee attacks as Simple Actions rather than Complex Actions.

Rank 4: Guarded by Chi
Following mastery of the body comes mastery of the soul. When you learn this Technique, you may select any one non-Void Ring. You add twice your Rank in this Ring, plus your Shadowlands Taint Rank (if you possess any), to the TN of any spell being cast against you. You may choose to suppress this effect if you wish.

Rank 5: Darkness Unleashed
True mastery of the self requires drawing upon the darkness within. You gain an additional number of Void Points per day equal to your Shadowlands Taint Rank, or your Earth Ring, whichever is higher. These may be spend exactly like normal Void points, except they may also be spent to add a bonus of +1k1 to the total of your damage rolls.

Advanced Schools

Dark Paragon [Monk] [EE]

There are those among the Spider Clan, particularly among the ranks of the Daigotsu bushi and the Order of the Spider monks, who have embraced their own sinister variant of honor and devotion. Even the touch of Jigoku itself can be used as fuel for their power, a power that strangely resembles the oneness many Brotherhood monks have with the universe. Some believe this is an indication that the path of the Spider, while radically different from the paths of the Brotherhood, is a true path to enlightenment. Those among the Brotherhood who are aware of the existence of the Dark Paragons vehemently refute this claim, insisting they are nothing but more seductive tricks of the Realm of Evil. The Paragons themselves insist instead that their power reflects their absolute mastery of themselves, and Jigoku has no reason to leave its mark on its servants when those servants are willing, devoted, and able to enact its will far more effectively without the constraints of the Taint.


  • Ring/s Traits: At least one Trait at 5
  • Skills: Lore: Theology 4+
  • Other: Dark Paragon Advantage, Honor Rank 4+, must have the ability to make melee attacks as a simple action.


Rank 1: Ruthless Determination
A student of the dark paths learns to flow from one thing to the next, and learns the secrets hidden in between. You gain two Kiho, for which you must meet all prerequisites. If you possess the ability to make a melee attack with a weapon as a Simple Action, you also gain the ability to make an unarmed attack as a Simple Action, and vice versa.

Rank 2: Rising Shadows
The strength of the pious is that surety of purpose can lead one to overcome virtually any failure if one is but strong enough in one’s beliefs. A number of times per skirmish equal to your Void Ring, you may immediately re-roll any failed Bugei Skill Roll using your Lore: Theology Skill in place of the Bugei Skill originally used.

Rank 3: Absolute and Unwavering
A true paragon of darkness can eschew the restrictions of honor or even the touch of another realm in order to accomplish greater things in the mortal world, simply by tapping into his true connection to the universe. You gain two Kiho, for which you must meet all prerequisites. You may sacrifice 2 Honor points or voluntarily reduce your Taint by 1 point rather than spending a Void Point in order to activate any Kiho. You do not lose any physical deformities previously gained as a result of your Taint Rank in this manner, but you can lose Shadowlands Powers. If you gain subsequent ranks of the Shadowlands Taint, you regain lost abilities rather than getting new ones.

Maho-Bujin [Bushi]

Throughout the history of the Empire, Lost warriors of great power have occasionally appeared who manifested fighting skills of terrifying capability. These individuals had not learned at a school, or from the words of a sensei – rather, they were instructed by Jigoku itself, whispering into their bodies and minds through the medium of the Taint. When the Lost began to form communities, they saw these warriors as receiving special blessings from Fu Leng and revered them accordingly. Although the Spider Clan later made some attempts to form organized schools around the maho-bujin techniques, they were not successful – the ways of the maho-bujin can only be learned from the Taint itself. The Spider developed simpler techniques that could be taught normally.


  • Skills: Jiujutsu 3+, any Weapon Skill 5+
  • Other: Must be chosen by Jigoku to learn the ways of the maho-bujin.


Rank 1 : Carve the Crimson Road
The maho-bujin’s body flows freely with the Taint that inhabits it, and his blows strike with a terrible power no mortal flesh can match. Your maximum Raises are now limited by your Taint Rank or your Void, whichever is higher. You gain a bonus in unkept dice equal to your Shadowlands Taint Rank on all damage rolls. You can now make the Extra Attack maneuver with only 2 Raises instead of 5.

Rank 2 : Corruption Rewards
The fighting instincts of a maho-bujin sense blood and leap for it, striking with preternatural skill and speed, and as his foes grow weaker the maho-bujin moves relentlessly faster and faster. During each Reactions Stage of a skirmish, you increase your Initiative by your Taint Rank. You may now make attacks as a Simple Action instead of a Complex Action.

Rank 3 : Devourer of Purity
The warriors of Jigoku are able to heal themselves by feeding on the suffering of their enemies, even consuming their honor and strength of soul. Moreover, the maho-bujin has now transcended the Celestial Order and fully embraced the power of the Taint, making him nigh-indestructible. Any time you reduce someone to Down or Out or kill them, you instantly heal a number of Wounds equal to 2 x (their Honor Rank). This may be done any number of times per Round, but you cannot heal off the same person more than once in the same Round. In addition, you gain the creature ability of Invulnerability. (If you are already Invulnerable due to a Shadowlands power, you gain Reduction 10 instead.)

Obsidian Warrior [Bushi] [CR]

This terrifying school was created by a deadly Lost bushi, but has since been taught to many Spider warriors with little or no Taint, for its methods of raw power and force of will can be used by anyone ruthless and cruel enough to master its techniques. Reputedly, most of the students at this school’s handful of dojo never survive their training, but the minority who make it through are among the Spider Clan’s most formidable warriors, able to match or defeat the mightiest of Rokugan’s bushi.


  • Rings/Traits: Earth 4, Agility 5, Reflexes 5
  • Skills: Iaijutsu 5, Intimidation 5, Lore: Shourido 4
  • Other: Must survive a skirmish with an Obsidian Warrior sensei


Rank 1: Darkness is My Light
The Obsidian Warrior’s devotion to Shourido frees him from the constraints which bind and restrict lesser mortals. Your maximum Raises are no longer limited in any way.

Rank 2: The Power of Impurity
The power of the Shadowlands courses through the Obsidian Warrior, disorienting nearby foes. All your opponents within 30′ are affected by this Technique. The total of their Bugei and Damage rolls are reduced by your Strength Rank plus your Taint Rank. Opponents may ignore this Technique for the Turn by spending a Void point.

Rank 3: My Strength Has No Limits
The Obsidian Warrior’s complete devotion to the ways of Shourido allows him to shrug off anything that might deter him, and to funnel his power into devastating blows. You roll extra unkept dice equal to your Strength Rank plus your Taint Rank when resisting an Intimidation attempt or a Fear effect, you gain the same bonus in unkept dice to any Damage rolls you make with Melee weapons.

Alternate Paths

Chuda Necromancer [Shugenja]

  • Technique Rank: 3
  • Replaces: Chuda Shugenja 3
  • Requirements: Lore: Shadowlands 3, knowledge of the maho spell Summon Undead Champion
  • Technique: The Dead do not Rest – The Chuda are unparalleled masters of undeath. As a Simple Action you may expend a spell slot of any element to immediately create from existing corpses a number of zombies equal to your Taint Rank. These undead will obey simple commands from you. They last for one week or until you choose to dismiss your power over them-either way, at that point the corpses disintegrate into rot and dust.

Chuda Subversive [Shugenja] [CR]

The Shadowlands Taint offers great power to those who would listen to the seductive beckoning of the dark realm. This comes with certain drawbacks, often including grotesque disfigurations. Witch Hunters and Jade Magistrates learn to spot these changes and kill these blasphemers on sight. Those who use these profane rituals must find ways to lessen the consequences of their actions if they wish to live within the Empire. The Chuda Subversives are well versed in masking the effects of the Shadowlands Taint and passing as normal citizens of the Empire. Their abilities have grown so great that they may even fool the kami.

  • Replaces: Chuda Shugenja 4
  • Requirements: Lore: Shadowlands 4
  • Technique: The Dark Kami’s Discretion – Certain sects of the Shuda have extensively studied means by which the influence of Jigoku in the mortal realm can be concealed from others. By expending three spell slots, you may completely suppress your own Taint, or that of a willing target you touch, for a number of hours equal to your School Rank. In the case of a human who possesses the Taint, this will render them temporarily immune to damage from jade or other effects that target the Taint, but will deny them access to any Taint based powers. In the case of inherently Tainted creatures targeted by this effect, such as oni or goblins, the effect only renders them immune to Taint detection abilities. They gain no immunities and lose no abilities. This technique in no way disguises physical mutations.

Colonial Conqueror [Bushi]

The dangers of a new land are ideally suited to unleashing the full power and horror of the Spider Clan. When the Divine Empress struck her bargain with the forces of darkness at the end of the Destroyer War, she knew what would become of those corrupted vassals entering her service. She would send them away, to ensure that her own people, the just and the honorable, would be spared their company and their threat. What she could not know, what she did not foresee, was the incredible joy the Spider would take in fulfilling her command: “Go forth, and conquer in my name.”

  • Replaces: Daigotsu Bushi 3, Order of the Spider Monk 3
  • Requirements: Earth 3, Strength 3
  • Technique: All Fall Before Me – A Spider Conqueror is an unstoppable juggernaut of destruction that crushes all in its path without hesitation or remorse. Once per Round when you make a successful melee attack, you may immediately take a Free Action to make a Contested Willpower Roll with your opponent. If you win the Contested roll, your damage for that strike is doubled.

Daigotsu Scout [Bushi]

In addition to serving as the lords of the Spider Clan, the Daigotsu are also the rank and file of its legions. Of the many samurai who have joined the clan since its inception, those with a talent for speaking to the kami join the Chuda, those whom the Shadow Dragon has chosen as his own become members of the Goju, and a small handful take up the path of the monk as members of the Order of the Spider. All the rest join the Daigotsu, and among those legions, the cruel and sinister sensei of the Spider dojo select those with the greatest affinity for stealth, athleticism, and sheer physical prowess to serve as the small but distinguished group known as the Daigotsu scouts. These individuals are trained extensively in the art of remaining unseen regardless of circumstances, and are allowed to travel through the Empire with impunity, observing and remembering everything they have seen to report back to their master Daigotsu. In addition to their physical talents, the scouts are chosen for mental acuity; they dare not keep records of their observations, as capture could reveal too much about the family or clan. Likewise their loyalty to the Spider is of paramount importance. In the event that one of them is captured, the Daigotsu sensei must be confident that the scout will not betray the family’s secrets even under pain of torture or death. Together, these traits result in an elite cadre of scouts who are intelligent, talented, and completely ruthless. Those few who know of their existence regard them as extremely competent and dangerous enemies.

  • Technique Rank: 2
  • Replaces: Daigotsu Bushi 2
  • Requirements: Stealth 3
  • Technique: The Cloak of Shadows – Although not as talented as the inhuman minions of the Shadow Dragon or the Lying Darkness, the Daigotsu scouts are still highly skilled in moving about without being detected. Stealth is now considered a School Skill for you, and you gain one additional Emphasis in the skill above any you may already possess, and in excess of the maximum normal number of Emphases you may posses. Your Move Actions are not reduced when using Stealth, and when using Stealth you may also ignore any terrain penalties that would normally reduce your Move Actions.

Dark Path Sohei [Monk]

The Order of the Spider is an enigmatic and sinister order, with its origins in the diseased and diabolical mind of the fallen monk Roshungi. Under his teachings, enlightenment could only be discovered by completely unlocking an individual’s greatest physical and mental power. The path to doing that, Roshungi reasoned, was completely up to the individual to discover. In his order, those who wished to embrace their full potential and thus unlock enlightenment and the secrets of the universe were encouraged to embrace whatever means were necessary to achieve power. To some, this meant embracing the Shadowlands Taint. To others, it simply meant becoming physically and mentally disciplined and powerful on a level virtually unprecedented among the Brotherhood. Roshungi’s greatest pupil and eventual successor, the monk Michio, embodied this philosophy to its utmost, but there are others among the order who believe that they have been successful in finding the first steps down the road to enlightenment. Some of these individuals call themselves the Dark Path sohei, or warrior monks. These individuals combine all the power and ruthlessness of their order with the strange, almost supernatural powers normally seen only among the Brotherhood. Together, the two are an exceptionally dangerous combination that ensures the Dark Path sohei are a deadly threat to any they choose to label as enemies.

  • Technique Rank: 2
  • Replaces: Order of the Spider 2
  • Requirements: Theology 3
  • Technique: Walk upon the Dark Path – Even the most devout member of the Brotherhood of Shinsei would attest that there is no one true path to enlightenment, and certain members of the Order of the Spider seem to bear out that theory. You gain two Kiho, for which you must meet all normal prerequisites. These Kiho do not count against the normal number of Kiho you may learn as determined by your School Rank.

The Dark Whisper [Courtier]

Dark Whisper courtiers use the power of a bound Air kansen to dig out the secrets and sins of their foes, allowing them to subtly inflict chaos on the courts they attend. Because of the danger that their supernatural nature might be uncovered, they are deployed selectively, preferably in courts where their kansen ally is unlikely to be uncovered.

  • Replaces: Daigotsu Courtier 3
  • Requires: You must have an Air kansen bound into your body by a special Chuda ritual. This does not directly Taint you, but the presence of the evil spirit can be sensed by those with the ability to detect spirits, and it will trigger the spell Ward of Purity.
  • Technique: Voice of the Kansen. – You may call on the power of your kansen to ferret out dark secrets within the minds and hearts of those around you. As a Simple Action you may attempt to sense the secrets of any one person within 100 feet, making a Contested Air Roll against them. The target will be aware of a vague sense of unease but there will be no other outward sign of your action. If the roll succeeds, you learn one meaningful secret about the target (chosen by the GM, but it will always be something useful and, if possible, will be related to sinful or dishonorable behavior). You may attempt this Technique against an individual person once per day, but once you successfully learn a secret, you cannot target that person again for one month.

Obsidian Magistrate [Bushi] [CR]

When the Spider Clan was formed out of the Lost, its founder Daigotsu decided to organize his forces as a subversion of the values Rokugan holds dear. He created an ideology and a set of laws with which to rule his own empire. The Obsidian Magistrate acts as the dark mirror of the Emerald Magistrate. He imposes the law of the Spider on everyone he meets, and his fanaticism fuels ferocious charges against his foes on the battlefield.

  • Replaces: Daigotsu Bushi 1
  • Requirements: Investigation 2
  • Technique: Strength in Terror – The Obsidian Magistrate is the bastion of Shourido and enforcer of Daigotsu’s will. You gain the Benefit, Skills, Honor and Outfit of a Rank 1 Daigotsu Bushi, you may add your Perception Trait plus your Taint Rank to the total of all High and Bugei Skill Rolls. This bonus does not apply to Weapon Skills. You may also add the difference between your Honor and that of your opponent to the total of all attack rolls made against that opponent.

Susumu Courtier

At the end of the twelfth century, the Susumu have existed as a family for only a single generation, and have barely begun to differentiate themselves from the earlier methods of the Daigotsu family. This is represented mechanically by giving them a Path rather than their own full School.
From a strictly “historical” sense, the value of the Susumu Path is limited, since it can only be used in games set in or after the Age of Exploration. However, as with other such specialized mechanics in L5R, GMs can freely modify the Susumu Path to fit other eras or storylines. For example, if Shourido emerged earlier in Rokugan’s history, any number of different groups might have developed a Technique based on embracing and exploiting the Way of Victory.

  • Technique Rank: 1
  • Replaces: Daigotsu Courtier 1
  • Benefit: +1 Willpower
  • Starting Honor: 1.5
  • Skills: Courtier (Manipulation), Etiquette, Sincerity (Deceit), Temptation, Lore: Shourido, Investigation, any one Low or High skill
  • Outfit: Same as Daigotsu Courtier
  • Technique: The Way of Victory – Susumu courtiers learn how to use the Code of Shourido to strengthen their own efforts in court and to ferret out and intensify the selfish impulses of other samurai. You gain the Student of Shourido Advantage for free (if for some reason you already possess this Advantage, the Experience Point cost is refunded). After a few minutes’ conversation with another samurai, you may make a Contested Social roll of your Temptation/Willpower against your opponent’s Etiquette/Willpower; with a success, you detect whether the character has any personal flaws which would make him amenable to the appeal of Shourido. (You do not learn the specific nature of the flaws, merely whether they exist. From the GM’s viewpoint, in addition to role-played flaws, this could also detect the presence of Disadvantages such as Brash, Compulsion, Consumed, Contrary, Disbeliever, Driven, Failure of Bushido, Cast Out, Dark Paragon, Forbidden Knowledge, and Perceived Honor.)

Shadowlands Taint

The Shadowlands Taint is a manifestation of Jigoku’s corruptive influence on the moral world. It functions as a disease, spreading upon contact, but corrupts the soul as readily as the body. Those subjected to the taint slowly face strange mutations, exhibit unnatural strength and unholy powers, and become violent and malicious as the taint subverts their thoughts and dreams. Corpses suffused with the taint return as undead abominations.

Much like Honor and Glory, one’s Taint is representing through Ranks and Points. Whenever a character is exposed to Taint from an outside source, they must make an Earth roll to resist it. The roll’s TN depends on the circumstance (from 10 from a simple contact to 30 for being swallowed alive by an oni). Failure means gaining a single point of Taint.

Furthermore, a character infected by the Taint must regularly (once per month for level 0 or 1 infection, twice per month for level 2, once per week for level 3, once per day for level 4) make an Earth roll. The roll’s TN is 5 at level 0, then increases by 5 for each level thereafter. Failure means gaining a single point of Taint. A character drinking Jade Petal tea gains +2k2 on such rolls, and living a life of spiritual purity grants from +1k0 to +3k0 on such rolls.

A character can always “embrace the taint” and add +1k1 to any physical roll in exchange for immediately gaining a single point of Taint. This cannot be prevented. Whenever a character has ten points of Taint, they gain one rank instead. The Taint manifests in various symptoms, such as the following:


are the result of gaining ranks in Shadowlands Taint and represent deformities that must be concealed.

  • Albinism
    Your skin and hair become deathly pale, perhaps even stark white. This is very unsettling in appearance. but can be concealed with cosmetics. You suffer a -1k0 penalty to social rolls if your true appearance is known.
  • Beast of Fu Leng
    The most terrible of mutations, this causes you to completely lose human form, distorting into a bestial or monstrous body – typically a quadruped or a bloated, ogre-ish humanoid. This severe deformity cannot be hidden, and causes a Fear 1 effect in anyone who sees it.
  • Chitinous Armor
    Your skin has hardened into an insect-like shell that protects you physically but also exposes your inhuman nature. This grants you Reduction of 10 (which stacks with any Reduction you gain from armor, spells, or other effects).
  • Demonic Eyes
    Any time you are in darkness or shadow, your eyes glow with an unnatural blue light. This allows you to see through darkness or other visual impairment ‘such as smoke or fog).
  • Discolored Skin
    Your skin turns an unnaturally pale or dark shade. This can be explained away as the result of an indoor or outdoor life, but regardless, it inflicts a +5 TN penalty to all Social rolls.
  • Distorted Limbs
    One of your arms or legs, randomly chosen, becomes misshapen or twisted, rendering it useless. This is an obvious deformity that is extremely difficult to conceal. although it can probably be explained away as the result of an injury. If the deformed limb is a leg. you gain the Lame disadvantage. If It is on arm, you suffer a -3k0 penalty to any rolls made with that arm.
  • Extra Digit
    You sprout an additional finger or toe. This is an obvious but minor deformity. It does not automatically suggest the presence of Taint. but it does make those who notice it uneasy, causing you to suffer a -1k0 penalty to all social skill rolls. If the digit is cut off, it will regrow within 48 hours.
  • Extra Eye
    An additional eye sprouts somewhere on your body. This grants you +1k0 to Perception rolls and Perception-based Skill rolls, but the eye must be uncovered (and thus possibly noticeable to others) to gain this benefit.
  • Extra Limb
    Your character sprouts an additional arm or leg. This limb is obviously Tainted, with discolored skin, claw-like nails, etc. It Is 50% likely to be non-functional, hanging limp from the body, In which case the resulting obstruction and clumsiness causes you to suffer a -1k0 to all Agility-based and Reflexes-based rolls.
  • Forked Tongue
    Your tongue becomes long and forked, like a snake’s tongue. Concealing this mutation while speaking or eating requires a roll of Acting 1 Awareness at TN 20.
  • Foul Odor
    You manifest an exceptionally putrid and disgusting body odor. Impossible to ignore. No amount of bathing or perfume can suppress it. You suffer a – 1k0 penalty to all Social rolls.
  • Jigoku’s Blood
    Your blood becomes black and foul-smelling. Anyone who sees you injured will recognize this as an obvious symptom of the taint.
  • Tentacles
    You sprout one or more tentacles, which you are able to partially control. You can use them to pick up small objects, to make attacks with Small weapons. or to initiate a Grapple. Anyone seeing these tentacles will immediately recognize you as Tainted.
  • Tough Hide
    Your skin becomes rough and leathery. This causes you to appear unnatural or diseased, inflicting a -2k0 penalty to all Social rolls However. your unnatural skin does provide some resistance to harm. granting you Reduction 5.
  • Undead Visage
    You gain the outward appearance of being undead. with deathly gray skin, visible skin decay. and deeply sunken eyes. This deformity cannot be concealed. and causes a fear 3 effect on anyone who sees it.
  • Vile Teeth
    Your teeth become distorted and/or discolored, to the point of appearing inhuman. They might become palmed or jagged, sprout animal-like fangs. turn a deep brown or sickly yellow color. etc. Concealing your grotesque teeth while talking or eating Is difficult, requiring a roll of Acting / Awareness at TN 20.
  • Wings
    Your body has sprouted large wings that allow you to fly for short distances. These wings may be birdlike (feathered), leathery, or reptilian in nature. They can be folded up and with some difficulty can be concealed beneath a cloak or haori (with a roll of Acting / Awareness at TN 25). Folding or unfolding the wings is a Simple Action. When unfolded, the wings allow you to fly, with your Move Actions calculated at Water +2

Minor Shadowlands Powers

are powers usable by the least powerful Tainted individuals. Using them forces the user to make an Earth Taint roll (TN 15) or gain an additional point of Taint.

  • Above the Elements
    The power of Jigoku renders you resistant to normal (non-maho) magic. All normal elemental spells that could affect you suffer a +10 TN penalty to their Spell Casting Rolls. However, you are more vulnerable to the power of the kansen. and any maho spell that targets you gains a Free Raise. Any shugenja who casts Sense within range of you will notice a distinct absence of kami around you.
  • Blackened Claws
    You have claws of obsidian. concealed within your fingertips, which you can extend as a free Action. The claws grant you a DR of 2k3 with unarmed attacks (in place of the normal 0k1) and are considered obsidian for the purpose of bypassing Reduction and Invulnerability. However. you feel the urge to use these claws every time you fight – you must make a Willpower Roll at TN 10 any time you start a fight with a weapon other than the claws.
  • Blessing of The Dark One
    You have an unnatural resistance to pain and physical harm. Your Wounds at each Wound Rank are increased by 3.
  • Blood Knows Blood
    You may continually sense the location of any portion of your blood or flesh (any-thing but hair and fingernails), no matter where they may be. If you also possess the Blood Domination power. you can track the location of any creature that has consumed your blood.
  • Calligraphy of Thought
    You can read the surface thoughts of anyone within your line of sight. This is a Free Action and requires you to win a Contested Air Roll. With a success, you sense whatever the target is thinking about at that moment. This power cannot root out deeper emotions or subconscious knowledge.
  • Child of Darkness
    The power of the Taint protects you from other servants of Jigoku. Shadowlands creatures will not attack unless you threaten them. If you can communicate with them, they might obey your commands. especially if you seem powerful or persuasive.
  • Eyes of Hell
    The power of the Taint allows you to see with an unnatural clarity under any circumstances. You may choose to see through darkness, shadows, fog, smoke, or any similar visual impairment. However, whenever you use this power your eyes glow with an unnatural light (usually green or blue), betraying your presence and nature.
  • Fear
    The power of the Taint allows you to unleash a wave of inhuman terror, freezing the blood of your enemies. Once per skirmish you can project an aura of fear, inflicting a Fear 5 effect on all your enemies within sight.
  • Jade Sense
    You have an Innate sense for the presence of sacred substances such as jade. You can detect the presence of all jade, crystal, and obsidian near you, out to a maximum distance equal to Earth x 10 in feet. Concealing magic can obstruct this sense. You cannot detect Jade Petal Tea.
  • Master of Blood
    The kansen are your friends, and you have an Innate talent for casting maho spells. You may cast maho for one less Wound than normally required, and the amount of Taint you gain from casting maho spells is reduced by your Earth (to a minimum of 1 point of Taint). All non-maho spells you cast. however, are at a +10 TN penalty.
  • Master of Shadows
    You have an unnatural affinity for darkness and shadows. You may add your Taint Rank in unkept dice to all Stealth Skill rolls you make. You gain the Discolored Skin mutation if you do not already have it, as your skin develops a dark and shadowy tone.
  • Mind of Darkness
    You may embrace the Taint to enhance your rolls with mental Traits (Intelligence, Willpower. Awareness. and Perception) in the same manner as you would normally enhance rolls with physical Traits. If you become Lost. you may add your Taint Rank to the total of all rolls made with mental Traits as well as all rolls with physical Traits.
  • Monstrous Strength
    The Taint suffuses your muscles, giving you a swollen, unnatural build that unsettles those who meet you. You suffer – 1k0 to all Social rolls. In return, you add your Taint Rank in unkept dice to all Strength rolls, Strength-based Skill rolls, and Damage rolls you make.
  • Sense Purity
    The absence of Taint calls to you, setting your teeth on edge with the knowledge of purity and honor. As a Free Action you can sense the presence of non-Tainted humans within fifty feet by winning a Contested Awareness Roll. (This naturally makes you extremely difficult to surprise.) You can sense them at greater distances, up to a half mile, but this requires a Complex Action and they receive two Free Raises on their Awareness roll.
  • Uncanny Speed
    The Taint grants you speed greater than should be possible for someone of your size and strength. Your Water Ring is considered to be two Ranks higher for the purpose of how far you can move with a Simple or Complex Move Action. In return, you are fidgety and nervous. unable to sit still for more than a few minutes.
  • Unholy Stamina
    You may go without rest or sleep for up to three days with no penalties of any kind. This power must be reactivated after three days, requiring another roll to resist gaining Taint.

Major Shadowlands Powers

are powers usable by the most powerful Tainted individuals. Using them forces the user to make an Earth Taint roll (TN 20) or gain an additional point of Taint.

  • Armor of Death
    The power of the Taint allows you to strengthen yourself by spilling the blood of others, making you resistant to their attacks. Each time you inflict at least 15 Wounds on an opponent, you gain Reduction of 10 (5 to jade) for the remainder of that skirmish. This effect stacks with other sources of Reduction but cannot stack with itself.
  • Beside the Darkness
    You have the ability to temporarily suppress your Taint. making it impossible for others to detect. If you meditate uninterrupted for a period of 2 hours and make a Meditation/Willpower roll at TN 20, you can “metabolize” your Taint for a period of 8 hours, During that time, you are not considered Tainted for mechanical purposes. and spells and Techniques which target Tainted creatures will not affect you. Physical mutations (such as extra limbs) will remain in place, however. This power cannot be ended before its duration expires. While it is in effect, you cannot use any of your other Shadowlands powers, cannot cast maho, and cannot embrace the Taint to enhance your rolls.
  • Beyond the Elements
    Your Taint makes you extremely resistant to the power of the kami, inflicting a +15 TN penalty on any elemental magic that targets you. In exchange, however, maho spells that target you gain two Free Raises. This power stacks with the effects of Above the Elements.
  • Blood Domination
    Your blood carries your will, and any creature who drinks or otherwise ingests so much as a spoonful of your blood (equal to 1 Wound) will be subject to your demands. You may make a Contested willpower roll against such a target to force them to obey your commands for a number of hours equal to your Taint Rank. You cannot force them to directly kill themselves, but all other commands – including potentially lethal orders like ‘Fight that oni’ – must be obeyed. If you fall the Contested Willpower Roll. the target will be aware of your attempt. and you may not try to command that target again for one full day.
  • Blood Shouting
    Your blood carries a sinister power that allows you to share your injuries with anyone who has ingested it. It works on anyone within hearing who has ingested any of your blood (even as little as a drop). When you take Wounds, you emit a ghastly and terrifying scream, and half the damage you would have taken is instead inflicted on the person who ingested your blood. If there are multiple such persons within hearing of you, the damage is divided between them (rounded up).
  • Chosen of Fu Leng
    The Taint grants you an unnatural strength of will. allowing you to shrug off any attempt to influence your mind or opinions. Any attempt to influence you with Social skills or Techniques, or to control your mind through spells, will automatically fail.
  • Disrupt the Chi
    Your aura of power and dominance causes lesser persons to succumb to their own inner weakness. Using this power is a Simple Action and it can only target an opponent within your sight. You make a Contested Willpower Roll against the target. You add your Taint to the total of your roll, while your target adds his Honor to the total of his roll. If you succeed, the target must use his lowest Trait for all Skill and Trait rolls for the next ten Rounds.
  • Drawing Out the Darkness
    The Taint has the power to evoke Taint in others, spreading corruption far and wide. If you can maintain physical contact with another creature for at least 1 minute. you may make a Contested Willpower roll. If you win the roll, the victim gains a number of points of Taint equal to your current Taint Rank. If you fail the roll, nothing happens, although the victim will feel a sense of unease and perhaps a physical chill.
  • Evade the Unworthy
    You can become completely invisible, undetectable to any normal sight. Activating this power is a Simple Action and it encompasses both your body and anything you are carrying (including helpless or unconscious persons). This invisibility does not conceal noise or scent, and can be penetrated by magical effects such as the spell By the Light of the Moon. It comes to an end immediately after you make an attack.
  • Father of Lies
    The Taint thrives on deception, and strengthens your own efforts to trick. deceive, and manipulate others. You may add your Taint Rank in kept dice to any rolls made with the Temptation or Intimidation skills or with the Deceit emphasis of the Sincerity skill.
  • Feeding on Flesh
    The Taint draws strength from un-natural acts, especially the taste of blood and raw meat. You may take a Simple Action to feed on the flesh of a person or creature who is either dead or helpless to resist you, eg: Down or Out, bound securely, etc. This inflicts 1k1 Wounds on the target (if they are still alive) and heals you a number of Wounds equal to 5 x your Taint Rank.
  • Flight of Darkness
    You may call upon the Air kansen to carry you through the sky, moving across air as easily as the ground. You can fly at will, without need for spells or wings, and moving at the same speed as your normal ground movement.
  • Protection of the Dark
    You are considered to be Invulnerable. in the same manner as some creatures. Whenever you ignore damage due to this Power, your skin glows with a throbbing black energy that is impossible to hide.
  • Strength of Madness
    You can draw on your own physical essence to enhance your actions, much In the way that normal humans draw on the Void. A number of times per day equal to your Earth Ring, you may suffer Wounds equal to your Earth to replicate the effect of spending a Void Point. This power can-not be used to reduce damage, but any other normal effect of Vold Points – including activating School techniques or awarding a +1k1 bonus to rolls – can be duplicated.
  • Strength of the Dark One
    The power of the Taint enhances your physical resilience, making you extremely difficult to kill. You gain +5 Wounds per
    Rank. This power’s effects stack with those of Blessing of the Dark One.
  • Thy Master’s Will
    The Taint will not allow you to truly die – you are too useful to Jigoku’s purposes. If you are killed, you will return from the dead at some later time, as an intelligent undead creature. You retain all Rings. Traits, abilities. School techniques, and Skills, but no longer have a Void Ring. Your body is undead. and will begin to rot and decay over time.
  • Undead Strength
    our body does not feel pain, and continues to function normally even after suffering devastating injuries. You do not suffer Wound penalties – no matter how many Wounds you suffer, you continue to operate at full effect until you are actually killed.
  • Unearthly Regeneration
    The Taint infuses your body with a horrible vitality, healing injuries within minutes. Each Round at the start of your Turn, you heal a number of Wounds equal to your Taint Rank. Healed injuries leave no scars behind, and while you do not regrow lost limbs, such limbs will reattach If held in place for a few minutes.
  • Unholy Beauty
    Jigoku considers you to have use as an Infiltrator within the Empire. You do not suffer any outward. visible effects of the Taint. and any physical mutations you already possess will fade away. You may still gain Shadowlands Powers normally but they do not exhibit any perceptible physical symptoms. However, your body will mutate internally to compensate for the lack of external change, exhibiting redundant or distorted organs, cancerous tumors, and other distortions.

Akutenshi Powers 

are powers usable only by Akutenshi, and by exceedingly rare other individuals. They are otherwise treated as Major Shadowlands Powers.

Akutenshi Powers

  • Awe of the Dark One
    The akutenshi may exert its will against other Shadowlands creatures, forcing them to do whatever it might desire. No die roll is needed. This power will work against any undead creature and any beast or oni of the Shadowlands, as well as against any Lost with lower Willpower. It will not work against Lost with equal or higher Willpower, nor against Tainted humans who are not Lost. This power cannot affect uniquely powerful creatures such as Oni Lords or other akutenshi.
  • Body of Damned Time
    The akutenshi can force those gazing upon it to see their own deaths. This power requires a Simple Action to use, and may target a number of opponents up to the akutenshi’s Taint Rank, all of whom must be able to see it. (Thus it will not work against blind opponents, for example.) Anyone who is affected by this power momentarily does not see the akutenshi, but instead a terrible void within which they can see their own future death. The akutenshi makes a Contested roll of its Taint against the Void of the targets; all targets who lose the roll immediately age by 1-10 years.
  • Breath of Taint
    The akutenshi breaths forth an invisible cloud of pure Taint, corrupting and befouling everything it touches. The cloud can target any one creature within ten feet, forcing the target to make an Earth Roll at TN 25 or immediately gain 1-10 points of Taint. The breath can also be directed against a physical object (as large as a door or wagon), causing it to become Tainted – anyone subsequently touching that object must roll Earth at TN 15 or gain 1 point of Taint. Jade targeted with the Breath of Taint will instantly corrupt into black sludge, but crystal is immune.
  • Claim the Body
    The akutenshi has the ability to send out its spirit and possess other Shadowlands creatures, controlling them like puppets. The akutenshi remains aware of its own body (which is immobile and inactive) but can see, smell, feel, and otherwise sense everything the possessed creature perceives. This power can target any Shadowlands creature the akutenshi can see. If it has previously possessed a particular creature, it can now do so at any distance, even from all the way across the Empire. Each such possession attempt is a Simple Action and requires the akutenshi to win a Contested Willpower roll. If the possessed creature is killed, or the akutenshi’s body is harmed or disturbed, the akutenshi’s spirit immediately returns to its own body. It can also return to its own body voluntarily as a Free Action.
  • Mastery of Darkness
    The akutenshi is a supreme master of the art of maho, and its spells are fearsomely powerful and effective. It knows all maho spells and can cast them without the need to spill blood. (If the akutenshi does spill blood to cast a maho spell, it gains 3 Free Raises on that spell.) In addition, the akutenshi can cast non-maho elemental spells as maho, although it must spill blood in the normal way to do so.
  • Passing Through the Light
    The akutenshi moves with inhuman and unnatural speed, to the point that it seems to warp or fall through space from one location to another. The akutenshi can move up to its Water x25 as a Free Action, and up to its Water x50 as a Simple Action.
  • Shapeshifting
    The akutenshi can freely alter its appearance, so long as it remains broadly human-like in size and shape. It can shift its body and features instantly, combining human and monstrous features, making itself as beautiful or as horrible as it desires. It can imitate anyone it has seen before, although its monstrous nature means that those familiar with the original person can try to see through the akutenshi’s deception (this is a Contested Roll, typically Investigation against the akutenshi’s Acting). Shapeshifting is a Free Action that may be taken any number of times each Round.
  • Soul Drinking
    The akutenshi can consume the soul of a victim, sucking it out through the mouth. This is normally done to a dying victim, but can also be employed against a living but helpless target by making a Contested Roll of the akutenshi’s Taint against the target’s Honor / Willpower. The consumed soul is stored within the akutenshi’s intestines, where it exists in endless torment and agony. Imprisoned souls can only be freed by killing the akutenshi.
  • Terror of Fu Leng
    The akutenshi unleashes a wave of monstrous, supernatural terror that freezes the blood of everyone within sight. Activating this power is a Complex Action and it affects everyone within line of sight. All targets are afflicted with a Fear 10 effect.

Taint ranks

  • Level 0 : Seeds of Darkness
    A character with less than a full rank of taint is not treated as actually tainted. Spells that target tainted individuals do not register against them. At worst, they may have a few nightmares.
  • Level 1 : Passive infection
    A character with a full rank of Taint is recognized as Tainted by specific spells and abilities, but otherwise functions as normal. They suffer from occasional nightmare, and may feel sick or tired.
  • Level 2 : Active infection
    A character with two full ranks of Taint now experiences painful symptoms, such as nightmare, nausea and vomiting, muscle tremors, and mild hallucinations. They also develop a single Shadowlands power (minor or major, but most often minor).
  • Level 3 : Consuming
    A character with three full ranks of Taint becomes paranoid and transformed, suffering from a -1k0 penalty to all Social skill roles. They also develop a single Shadowlands power (minor or major), and a physical mutation.
  • Level 4 : Deadly
    A character with four full ranks of Taint barely function in normal society, and are haunted by madness, becoming obsessed with blood, death and flesh. suffering from a -2k0 penalty to all Social skill roles. In stressful situations, they must make Willpower rolls (TN 15) or resort to violence. Their maximum number of Void points is reduced by one. They also develop two Shadowlands powers (at least one major), and one physical mutation. If discovered, the character may be forced to commit seppuku, or be killed as an enemy of the empire.
  • Level 5 : Lost
    A character with five ranks of Taint becomes Lost, unless they are exceptional (such as having one Ring as rank 6 or higher), in which case they wait until seven ranks. Several things can then happen: most often, the character is disintegrated, or becomes permanently mad as it is claimed by the Shadowlands, with all its mental traits reduced to one, and is treated as a creature.

Some characters manage to survive the ordeal as the Lost, or Akutsukai, becoming abominations under the GM’s control. They have no longer any penalties for having the Taint, gain 0-3 additional mutations, and 0-3 additional Shadowlands powers. They can no longer embrace the taint, but instead add their Taint rank to all their physical rolls. Although they can be perceived as self-willed, Lost characters are in fact only driven by Jigoku, and are completely evil, without self-will, and with a twisted remnant of their former self as their only personality.

Even rarer are the Akutenshi, truly self-willed abominations. Sometimes claimed to bear the blood of Fu Leng himself, while supposed by others to be powerful Lost imbued with the power of Jigoku itself, Akutenshi exhibit a high level of free will and personality, although the full extent of such attributes is uncertain. Akutenshi can have any number of lesser and greater Shadowlands powers, but always have at least three of each. Furthermore, they have between one and four additional abilities exclusive to Akutenshi and extremely powerful Lost.