The following are Skills, Advantages, Disadvantages and more, based on Swordmaster. Use them or lose them; hopefully more will come later.
Finance (Intelligence - Merchant Group)
This is the skill of managing an estate and followers; it is quite different from Commerce. Though a character with Commerce can govern an estate (at +10 to all TNs), a skilled master of Finance can keep an area well even under extremely inhospitable times. Members of the Doji House encourage their daughters in this skill, so that they might better tend to their husband's lands. This is a High Skill.
Known only to a few Moto warriors, this is the specific skill using the heavy, curved knives found in the Burning Sands. Relying on a darting style of thrusting and countermoves much different than Rokugani fighting, this skill allows the use of such an item without penalty (while using Tantojutsu increases all TNs by 10). This skill is considered to be a Bugei Skill for all Unicorn characters and a Low Skill for all other characters.
Lore [Martial Arts] (Intelligence - Lore Group)
Where Know the School represents a specific school of martial knowledge, this skill encompasses many legends, rumors and fighting styles in the Emerald Empire, and even some beyond its borders. A character with this skill can gain insight into an opponent with a successful skill check (TN as determined by the GM), which might remove an enemy's advantage or grant a Free Raise in combat. This is a Bugei Skill.
Master of Forms (2 Points)
A character with this Advantage is unnaturally skilled at performing kata, both in combat and for show. When preparing a kata, this character reduces the time required by a number of minutes equal to their School Rank x3. When performing a kata for show, this character gains a Free Raise on his roll.
Renown (3 Points)
The opposite of a Bad Reputation, a character with Renown has already made a good name for himself or herself in the Empire. Other characters roll an additional die to recognize the character, and start with a positive opinion of them. Characters should come up with a story behind their good reputation. A GM should remember that not everyone considers the same things "good;" benevolence and mercy are not considered virtuous by all.
Retainer (1-4 Points)
This character is retainer to a powerful and influential person, whose Glory is equal to twice the cost of this Advantage. In all social situations, the character uses his master's Glory, making challenges and other attacks more dangerous for his enemies. In return, the character gains a permanent Obligation (2 Points) to his Retainer. Should the character gain more Glory than his master has, then this Advantage is lost, though the Obligation remains for one normal use.
Oath (1-5 Points)
Though all samurai swear oaths of loyalty, courage and honor, some speak higher volumes still. This character has sworn a powerful oath before a prominent member of the Empire, and is bound by honor to keep it. The cost of this Disadvantage is equal to the size and difficulty of keeping the oath. Breaking an Oath can mean exile or seppuku, in addition to the loss of a number of Honor boxes equal to twice the Oath's cost.
Path of Blood (3 Points)
For some samurai, for one reason or another, have been exposed to blood and carnage to such an extent that it rests on their body forever. Such characters gain little respect from monks, shugenja, and most other characters with a Shintao above two, rolling two less dice for all social rolls with such characters, and the result can never be better than indifference.
Standing as Void
"When one with All and Nothing, there is no place for failure in the stroke." - Koshin
Other: This kata may only be learned by someone with at least Rank 1 in Iaijutsu.
Effect: While many schools of combat have mastery over open combat, they neglect the training of one on one dueling. This kata was originally developed to combat more intensive dueling schools, though it is now found as often in the very schools that it was designed to defeat.
While focused on Standing as Void, the samurai is calmed and collected; the perfect temperament for a duel. Such a character rolls an extra die for all Awareness rolls and attacks using Iaijutsu and may increase their TN to be hit by 2 during a strike. Such a character has trouble reacting to open combat, however, rolling one less die for initiative and attack rolls when not using Iaijutsu.
But the Scorpion was faster than his clumsy motion; impossibly she forced her weapon to the right, dragging Koshin with it, spoiling his strike…
School: Bayushi Bushi
Special: This kata may only be performed with the sodegarami or bo.
Effect: Created by Bayushi Anukeiko during her training under Bayushi Akijin, this strange kata uses a staff weapon in a long horizontal swings, crossing the bushi's body. When complete, the warrior is prepared to use their enemy's own speed and momentum against them in battle.
While Crossed Tail is active, the bushi may make a Weapon Skill/Perception roll versus a TN of 5x the School Rank of their opponent whenever their enemy misses a melee strike. If successful, the Scorpion has used her weapon to entangle and off-balance the enemy's joints and muscles, dealing an automatic 1k1 damage and reducing the number of dice rolled for the foe's next attack by two. Crossed Tail is a kata that requires both concentration and balance; the user cannot declare Full Defense or a Full Attack.
Breath of the Duel
Kaori moved with no limp now, as if the injury did not bother her at all. She was the dancer once more, the sword her song. Koshin realized for the first time how silent it was now when he drew…
School: Kakita Bushi
Special: This kata may only be performed using a katana.
Effect: Developed by the Kenshinzen of the Crane Clan to create greater focus, the Breath of the Duel kata is one of the slowest and most unique skills in all Rokugan. Moving like a half-frozen dancer, the bushi caresses and attunes to her sword between strikes, gaining a powerful connection to the sword they bear.
The first attack from the bushi's katana is the only one to gain the benefits from this kata, and if this attack misses the effects are lost. This first attack (which must be done from an iaijutsu stance) deals double the normal amount of damage to the Crane's opponent, providing that her Honor Rank is higher than her opponent's Honor.
He saw the Yoritomo style now; it was not one of weapons, but of the twisting wave motions, which brought every attack to bear…
School: Yoritomo Bushi
Other: This kata may only be learned by a bushi with Nofujutsu 3 or higher.
Effect: Developed as a tool to maximize the many unique advantages of the weapons favored by the warriors of the Mantis Clan, this kata consists of wide, spinning and twisting motions where the practitioner seizes hold of his own kimono and hakama, actually discarding his weapons halfway through. When it is finished, the bushi is capable of changing weapons with god-like speed.
Immediately after a melee strike (successful or failed), the user may discard his weapon and make a Weapon Skill/Reflexes roll versus a TN of 25. If successful, then the user may immediately draw and bring to bear one of his other weapons carried. If the roll is failed, however, then the attempt fails, and the bushi must sacrifice his next attack to ready himself again.
The Spear Rushes Forth
"…it has become obvious that he has a deep affinity for the sword. While the Daidoji Ryu teaches kenjutsu, it does not do so in a fashion that would bring out Ujirou's full potential." - Daidoji Gisei
School: Daidoji Yojimbo
Rank: 1 (Kakita Bushi 2)
Special: This kata may only be performed using a yari.
Effect: The favored weapon of the Daidoji Iron warriors, the yari is a powerful weapon that has been focused on since the creation of their school. This kata consists of powerful thrusting motions and turns, helping the user to bring the full power of the long spear to bear without the aid of a charging steed.
While using The Spear Rushes Forth, the Daidoji's yari deals damage as if it were being used from horseback (2k3). If the bushi loses her yari, or changes weapons for any reason, this kata ends immediately.
Drawing the Threads
"On the battlefield, your enemy may come from any side." - Koshin
School: Kouryo no Ken
Effect: Designed by Koshin as a training tool in open field combat for his student, this kata consists of a number of elaborate twists and parries, directed at targets while moving in different directions and speeds. The kata's principle is a principle taken from the wanderer's time with the Kakita; to draw the enemy into a one on one fight.
While focused on Drawing the Threads, the samurai's movements are designed to lure and draw in enemies; using their numbers against them by applying the warrior's grace and speed. When facing more than one opponent in a melee, any opponent with a lower Agility score may not target this character with strikes. This kata does not apply to the first attacker. Drawing the Threads is a difficult kata to perform while attacking; all the user's TNs are increased by 5.
Kouryo-no-Ken (6 Experience Points)
Required Traits: Agility 4, Void 4
Required Skills: Katana 3, Meditation 3
Other: Must have an Honor of at least 3.0
Technique: "The Traveling Sword" style developed by Koshin over his many years of study, Kouryo-no-Ken can only be mastered by training at his side. While wielding a katana, kodachi or wakizashi (in one or two hands), this character adds his twice his Void Ring to his TN to be hit (including during an Iaijutsu Duel). When this technique is learned, the character chooses a Ring (not counting Void) to all his attack and damage rolls while wielding one of the above swords.
Sayo-no-Unchi (10 Experience Points)
Required Traits: Awareness 4, Void 5
Required Skills: Any weapon skill 5, Meditation 5
Technique: More a state of mind than an actual technique, this skill (called Invincibility without Drawing the Sword) can be acquired only through a great deal of mental and physical training, by a skilled warrior. While using Sayo-no-Unchi, the character may make no attacks, and must win a contested Void roll versus the highest Void score among his or her opponents. If the bushi wins the roll, no one can attack the character this turn, so long as he does not threaten to attack. Using Sayo-no-Unchi requires a calm spirit; a character who is not calm and in proper mindset may not use this technique at all until he regains his inner balance.
The Boundless Echo (Advanced Path)
Point of Entry: Shiba Bushi 3
Point of Egress: Shiba Bushi 4
Other: Must have Defense 5 or higher.
Technique: Developed by Shiba Dekai during the last three years of his intense training, this technique is known to only a few of the assistant swordmaster's students and himself. Though Dekai has no problems teaching such a technique, it is difficult to learn, requiring a mental outlook that even most Phoenix do not possess.
This samurai may use The Boundless Echo once per turn on a successful strike against them, before damage is dealt. The user makes a Defense/Strength roll versus the attacker's total roll to counter the attack with the exact same strength. If successful, the attack is negated and the Phoenix has his TN to be hit increased by 2 during the remainder of this skirmish.
The Mountain Thrust (Advanced Path)
Point of Entry: Shinjo or Moto Bushi 2
Point of Egress: Shinjo or Moto Bushi 3 (reenter same school)
Other: Must have Knife 3 or higher.
Technique: One of the many secret techniques learned by the Moto in their days of the Burning Sands, no living Unicorn knows the truth of where The Mountain Thrust originated. Delivered using any one-handed stabbing weapon, this technique is unusual for the Unicorn, favoring raw power over technique.
Charging with a powerful stab, a bushi may sacrifice all of her attacks for the round in exchange for a single Mountain Thrust. This attack moves with such speed and power that techniques that its opponent finds it nearly impossible to block or dodge. Damage from a Mountain Thrust may not be reduced or negated, and the target gains no benefits from armor, carapaces, or the Full Defense action against this move.
Dhul Fiqar Knife (1k3)
Forged from heavy steels from lands beyond the Empire, few of these weapons have ever made it through the borders of Rokugan. Though not folded in the style of the Empire's blades, each weapon is created in an unknown style that affords them great strength and power. Such a knife reduces the effects of all Armor and Carapace ratings by three points, to a minimum of one point of protection. A Dhul Fiqar Knife can only be used with the Knife skill (see above). Unicorn Personalities may purchase a knife as a piece of Gaijin Gear.
Sometimes mistaken for its cousin the wakizashi, the ko-dachi is in many ways similar to its neighbor. Made for combat, the ko-dachi has a longer blade than a wakizashi, and uses its lightness and speed to allow for blinding defensive moves. Any bushi using a ko-dachi may add his Defense score to his TN to be hit, and may add and additional +5 to his TN to be hit when declaring a Full Defense. A ko-dachi is wielded using the Kenjutsu skill, or using the Ko-dachi skill.
Special: Due to the length of its blade, a ko-dachi cannot easily be used for seppuku and adds 5 to all TNs if using the optional seppuku rules.
These heavy iron gauntlets are different from those that are worn with standard armor; they are double plated; heavier and more resistant to damage, even from a katana of quality. Wearing a pair of these items provides a +2 bonus to the wearer's TN to be hit, but this bonus cannot be combined with Heavy Armor. Skilled warriors can use their Kurokote to shatter a parried blade; this requires a contested Agility roll with the user, along with two Raises.
Some kurokote are studded for striking; these allow the user to keep an additional die in hand to hand combat with his or her fists. This is only cumulative with the Hands of Stone or the sohei bonuses to damage.
The sheath for a samurai's katana, these statistics represent the stronger, coarser wood of certain versions designed for use in a desperate situation. Usually made with a thin iron coating, these saya are often employed by bushi of the Scorpion, and occasionally the Crane Clan as a "last ditch" sort of offense. It should be noted that even an iron sheath will not stand up against a samurai's blade for long. A saya is wielded using the Kenjutsu skill, but due to the strange balance it cannot be learned as a specific skill. A normal saya is thinner and weaker; it's damage is 0k1.
Three-Section Staff (2k2)
One of the many useful weapons developed from peasant weapons, this weapon is formed form three short (~2 feet long) sticks joined with metal rings. Capable of being used as both a shield and a weapon, the whirling ends are able to break armor and bones. Parrying a three-section staff is difficult; all attempts to block, disarm or parry such a weapon must Raise an additional time to succeed. Three-Section Staff can be used with the Nofujutsu skill, or learned as a specific skill.
A small javelin shaped much like an iron arrow, this small projectile can be used as a stabbing weapon as well, a lot like its larger cousin, the nage-yari. Like a tanto or aiguichi, the uchi-ne is easily concealed, making it a prized weapon for assassins and other nefarious sorts. When thrown beyond twenty feet, the small item is less effective, and its damage is reduced to 1k1. Most samurai can hold one javelin in either hand, the same as for a nage-yari.