Universal Spells

Commune [CR]

  • Ring/Mastery: All 1
  • Range: 20′
  • Area of Effect: Self
  • Duration: Concentration
  • Raises: See below

This spell can be cast in any element save Void. It allows the caster to speak with one of the local elemental kami, asking it a few questions, which it will answer honestly to the best of its ability. Typically this spell will invoke the most active and energetic spirit of the chosen element in the area of effect; if all of the local spirits are quiescent, the GM may require the caster to call 1 or 2 Raises to “wake up” a local spirit enough to answer questions.

A spirit reached with Commune will answer two questions. The caster may Raise to get more questions (one per Raise). The caster may also Raise for clarity, to get a more accurate and informative answer to the questions. (Kami are notorious for their inability to fully comprehend human behavior, and asking questions without Raises for clarity can often result in confusing, enigmatic, or incomplete answers.) Spirits do not forget anything, so theoretically a shugenja can ask a spirit about something that happened decades ago; however, they also do not experience time in the same way as mortals, so trying to ask about something from long ago will usually require Raises in order to make the caster’s wishes clear to the spirit. The nature of the information which spirits can impart varies by element:

  • Air spirits tend to be playful and easily distracted, conveying information as emotions or as riddles and jokes. Since they are more interested in feelings than in facts, and enjoy playing games with those who speak with them, communing with an Air spirit can sometimes be very frustrating.
  • Earth spirits are straightforward and matter-of-fact, often blunt, but are also often rather uninterested in the behavior of mortals, have a poor understanding of human emotion, and tend to be overly focused on obscure details such as the color of a piece of clothing or the weight of a horse.
  • Fire spirits are irritable and temperamental, and are often angry at being summoned unless they are propitiated with an offering of something to burn. On the other hand, if a shugenja can please them they tend to offer the clearest and most accurate information.
  • Water spirits communicate their knowledge through soundless visual images. This can be very helpful to a shugenja trying to investigate a past incident, but since the spirits cannot convey scent, sound, or emotion, the information they provide can often be incomplete or misleading.

Sense [CR]

  • Ring/Master: All 1
  • Range: Personal
  • Area of Effect: 50′ radius from caster
  • Duration: Instantaneous
  • Raises: Range (+10′)

This spell can be cast in any of the four standard elements. It allows the caster to sense the presence, quantity, and rough location of elemental spirits (not the evil spirits known as kansen) of that element within the range of the spell. This is most frequently applied when looking for spirits with which to Commune, but can also be useful as a crude, basic location device. For example, a caster lost in the wilderness could cast Sense (Water) in hopes of locating a source of drinking water.

Summon [CR]

  • Ring/Master: All 1
  • Range: 30′
  • Area of Effect: 1 cubic foot of summoned material
  • Duration: Permanent
  • Raises: Range (+10′), quantity (+1 cubic foot), composition of material (1-4 Raises, as outlined below)

This spell can be cast in any of the four standard elements. It allows the caster to summon a modest quantity (one cubic foot) of the chosen element. The summoned matter appears (usually in a rough ball shape) in any open space within the spell’s range. This cannot place the summoned material inside another physical object or living creature. The summoned element will behave in a normal mundane matter – earth falls to the ground, water soaks anything it lands on, air blows away, and fire winks out unless there is something present for it to burn. In general it is impossible to use this spell effectively in combat, although clever shugenja may find a few modest combat uses, such as Summon (Fire) to ignite a foe soaked in cooking oil. More commonly, the spell’s value is in simpler functions, such as summoning Water while in a desert, or summoning Fire to light a campfire without flint and tinder.

Raises may be used with this spell to summon a more specific type of the appropriate element, such as wood or iron with Earth, or tea with Water. The GM should choose how many Raises (generally anywhere from 1 to 4) this requires. However, these Raises cannot be used to create rare/precious materials (such as gold) or spiritually powerful substances (such as jade or crystal).


  • Ring/Mastery: All 1
  • Range: 30’
  • Area of Effect: 1 cubic foot of affected material
  • Duration: Permanent
  • Raises: Area (+1 cubic foot), Range (+10’), Special

A controversial spell devised by Iuchi during the Ki-Rin Clan’s exile, this spell eschews the traditional method of entreating and praying to the elemental spirits in favor of commanding the Elements directly. Outside of Rokugan, where the kami were quiet or altogether silent, this spell was used to great effect, but inside the Empire, it brings the wrath of the spirits down upon the unwary.
This spell can be cast in any of the four standard elements. Once this spell is cast, the caster may create a quantity of the element in question (per the Summon spell) or affect the shape of an existing quantity of that element. A stone table, for example, could be commanded to break, or change its shape so that it is round instead of square. The GM may require Raises for more complex uses of this spell (such as attempting to create a complex shape out of fire). Using this spell within Rokugan (or anywhere that the elemental kami exist) can be dangerous, as it forces the will of the caster over the spirits rather than beseeching their aid. Every use of this spell increases all of the caster’s Spellcasting rolls in the commanded element for the next 24 hours to be at +5TN.
This spell may also be used in place of Commune roll when Importuning. If this is done, the Spellcraft roll is automatically successful, but the penalty for casting spells of that Element is +10 to the TN rather than +5 (including the spell being Importuned) if in Rokugan.


  • Ring/Mastery: Any non-Void 2
  • Range: 10’
  • Area of Effect: One material object (up to 10 cubic feet)
  • Duration: Instantaneous
  • Raises: Range (+10’), Area of Effect (5 cubic feet), Special (one additional Element per 2 Raises)

The Transmute spell is the product of Agasha’s deep and intense study of the Elements and their interconnected nature. It is taught secretly among the highest ranks of the Agasha and Tamori schools (only shugenja of Rank 5 or higher may learn it normally). However, Agasha herself has been known to bestow the spell’s secrets on her favored descendants.
This spell allows a shugenja to transform the Elements in a single physical object into other Elements. For example, a wooden table (Earth) could be turned into Air, Water, or even Fire. (The spell cannot affect Void in any way.) The spell is most easily used to turn a single Element into another Element, such as in the example of the table; for an object made of multiple Elements, the caster must Raise twice for each additional Element, both those in the original object and those which he wishes to transmute them into. For example, a lit candle (Earth and Fire) would require 2 Raises to turn into a single Element. A wooden table (Earth) transformed into Fire and Air (quite the spectacle!) would likewise require 2 Raises. Only individual inanimate objects can be affected by the spell-it has no power over living creatures. It cannot target a complex structure or device (e.g. something made from many separate objects), although it could target a specific object within such a device (such as the axle of a wagon). The spell cannot affect an object whose mass is greater than the spell’s area of effect.
The GM is the final arbiter of how many Elements are found within a physical object. As a general guideline, the more complex and sophisticated the object, the more Elements it will contain. The swords of th