Bugei Skills

Athletics (Strength)

Sub-type: None
Emphases: Climbing, Running, Swimming, Throwing
Description: The training that every bushi student receives includes vigorous physical conditioning. For some, this results in a lifelong enjoyment of athletics. Like many who pursue a martial lifestyle, some bushi spend their off duty hours engaging in competitions with one another, or simply pitting themselves against challenges designed to test the limits of their physical abilities.
Athletics covers many areas normally governed by Trait rolls. If you have a background in Athletics, however, you can perform these activities, principally climbing, running, and swimming, with considerably more ease than most. Athletics can also increase your capacity for movement, even when restricted by heavy armor and the like. The Throwing Emphasis allows you to throw items with greater accuracy, including certain weapons such as knives or even the wakizashi. Using Athletics to throw a weapon offensively is considered an attack roll.
Athletics Skill Rolls to climb, run, or swim use Strength, whereas the Throwing Emphasis requires Agility.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: Moderate Terrain no longer impedes movement, and movement across Difficult Terrain reduces the character's Water Ring by 1 instead of 2.
  • Rank 5: The character no longer suffers movement penalties regardless of terrain.
  • Rank 7: The character may add 5 feet to the total of one Move Action per Round (this does not increase his maximum possible movement per round).

Battle (Perception)

Sub-type: None
Emphases: Mass Combat, Skirmish
Description: A samurai's calling is to war, whether on the battlefield with steel in hand, in the courts confounding the enemies of one's lord, or behind the lines, summoning the kami to punish the sins of one's enemies. The study of war is highly regarded among all divisions of the samurai caste, and many lengthy debates can be enjoyed both in court and in the temples over tactics, strategy, maneuvers, and the like.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 5: The character adds his Battle Skill Rank to his Initiative Score during Skirmishes.

Defense (Reflexes)

Sub-types: None
Emphases: None
Description: A warrior who cannot defend himself is of little use, for he will serve his lord but once in battle before he falls and must be replaced. The Rokugani understanding of battle does not permit things such as parries and ripostes, but instead involves positioning one's blade and body so that the katana and armor deflect incoming blows.
Defense is an essential Skill necessary to adopt the Defense and Full Defense stances, both of which increases your Armor TN and make you more difficult to hit in a skirmish or a duel.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: The character may retain the result of a previous Defense / Reflexes roll rather than make a new roll if the Full Defense Stance is being maintained in subsequent rounds.
  • Rank 5: The character's Armor TN is considered 3 higher in Defense and Full Defense Stances.
  • Rank 7: One Simple Action may be taken while in the Full Defense Stance (no attacks may be made).

Horsemanship (Agility)

Sub-types: None
Emphases: Gaijin Riding Horse, Rokugani Pony, Utaku Steed
Description: The ability to use a mount is essential to participation in cavalry units, and to swift travel through the Empire. It is a utilitarian skill, taught in most bushi schools in the Empire without having any real degree of prestige attached (save among the ranks of the Unicorn Clan, who consider an inability to ride roughly equivalent to a crippling physical disability). In general, all samurai can ride a horse at normal speed on level ground without the need for a Skill roll - the Skill only comes into play when riding a horse in difficult or stressful situations (bat terrain, thunderstorm, combat, etc.).
Individual types of horses react differently to various circumstances, and some can be much harder to control under stressful situations such as combat.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: The character may utilize the Full Attack Stance when on horseback.
  • Rank 5: Mounting a horse is a Simple Action rather than a Complex Action, and dismounting is a Free Action rather than a Simple Action.
  • Rank 7: Mountain a horse is a Free Action rather than a Simple Action.

Hunting (Perception)

Sub-types: None
Emphases: Survival, Tracking, Trailblazing
Description: Hunting is a sport favored by warriors, even though game is rarely if ever consumed by members of the samurai caste. The types of game hunted in Rokugan can be quite dangerous, however, and as a result there is a great deal of survival knowledge associated with the sport of hunting. Hunting is never done with a samurai's daisho; it is typically performed either with bow and arrow or, in cases of particularly large game, spears.
The Survival Emphasis allows you to forage for sustenance and shelter in the wilderness, with a TN varying upon the severity of the conditions (the forest is simpler than the mountains, which are simpler than the desert, etc.). The Tracking Emphasis allows you to locate and follow the tracks of prey through rural environments, although repeated Skill Rolls are necessary for longer trails. Trailblazing allows you to forge a trail through the wilderness that others can follow, making better time and requiring less work in order to follow.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 5: The character receives a bonus of +1k0 to the total of all Stealth Skill Rolls made in wilderness environments.

Iaijutsu (Reflexes)

Sub-types: None
Emphases: Assessment, Focus
Description: Iaijutsu is the form dueling system of Rokugan, an ancient and venerated tradition that even the most irreverent bushi would never imagine slandering . When two parties are in dispute, and the matter cannot be resolved in any other manner, a duel is often the result, and the form of a duel is almost always iaijutsu. The winner of the duel is proven correct, and the defeated party is proven to be wrong. There can be no contestation of a duel's outcome, barring dishonorable conduct on the part of the winner during the duel.
Mastery Abilities:**

  • Rank 3: Readying a katana is a Free Action rather than a Simple Action.
  • Rank 5: During an Iaijutsu Duel, the character gains one Free Raise on his Iaijutsu (Focus) / Void roll during the Focus Stage.
  • Rank 7: During the Assessment portion of an Iaijutsu Duel, the character gains a bonus of +2k2 to the total of all Focus Rolls if his Assessment roll exceeds his opponent's by 10 or more (instead of the normal +1k1).

Jiujutsu (Agility)

Sub-types: None
Emphases: Grappling, Improvised Weapons, Martial Arts
Description: The art of unarmed combat is something that all bushi appreciate, although not all pursue it in the dojo. Many rely upon the weapon-based techniques they learn from their sensei to defend them even without their weapons, and while this can be marginally effective, the actual study of unarmed combat is much more useful. Monks in particular devote a great amount of time to the art of hand-to-hand combat, believing they both one the body and unify it with the mind.
Jiujutsu can be used as a Weapon Skill, rolling Jiujutsu / Agility against an opponent's Armor TN to hit and rolling a number of dice equal to your Strength, keeping one for damage (so if you had Strength 3, you would roll 3k1 damage for an unarmed attack). Jiujutsu is also used for initiating and maintaining Grapples. The Improvised Weapons Emphasis allows you to use almost anything you can get your hands on to increase your capacity to inflict damage. The GM is the final arbiter of what damage a particular improvised weapon inflicts, but generally it should grant additional rolled or kept dice, but not both.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: The damage of all unarmed attacks is increased by +1k0.
  • Rank 5: Use of Jiujutsu confers a Free Raise toward initiating a Grapple.
  • Rank 7: The damage of all unarmed attacks is increased by +0k1 (+1k1 total).

Weapons (Various)

Sub-types: Marco-Skill (Includes all the Weapons Skills listed below as well as any other weapon not covered by one of the pre-existing listed Skills, such as Weapon: Crossbow, used by some tribes of Yobanjin in the mountains north of Rokugan).
Emphases: Varies by sub-skill
Mastery Abilities: None

Chain Weapons (Agility)

Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Kusarigama, Kyoketsu-shofi, Manrikikusari
Description: Chain weapons are considered unconventional by most traditional bushi, but they have become accepted as legitimate weapons because of the complexity and effectiveness of their use. Generally, chain weapons see a higher degree of use among the Mantis Clan, who favor exotic and unconventional weapons, but see only periodic use among other Great Clans, and typically then only by small groups of specialized warriors.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: Chain weapons may be used it initiate a Grapple.
  • Rank 5: Characters wielding a chain weapon gain a bonus of +1k0 on Contested Rolls against opponents who are entangled or Grappled via their weapon.
  • Rank 7: Use of a Chain weapon confers one Free Raise toward use of the Disarm or Knockdown Maneuver.

Heavy Weapons (Agility)

Sub-types: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Dai Tsuchi, Masakari, Ono, Tetsubo
Description: Training in the use of heavy weapons, a skill known as tsubojutsu, is the hallmark of bushi in service to the Crab Clan. While the dojo of virutally all Great Clans address the use of heavy weapons during training, they are seldom seen in use in the ranks of any army other than the Crab. For the sons of Hida, however, the sheer power of these weapons is an essential component in their defense of the Great Wall, where the use of weapons such as the tetsubo and ono allow them to defeat formidable enemies that a katana would not be able to harm.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: Opponents with a Reduction Rating have their rating reduced by 2 when attacked with a heavy weapon.
  • Rank 5: Use of a heavy weapon confers one Free Raise toward use of the Knockdown Maneuver.
  • Rank 7: Damage dice explode on a result of 9 and 10 when using heavy weapons.

Kenjutsu (Agility)

Sub-type: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Katana, Ninja-to, No-dachi, Parangu, Scimitar, Wakizashi
Description: Kenjutsu is the path of the sword, teh essential training in use of the katana and other blades that all bushi receive as part of their training. Almost without exception, the principle weapon training that all bushi recieve centers around the katana, the signature weapon of the samurai caste and the representation of a warrior's soul. All dojo offer weapon training in other areas for those interested in learning, but only the katana is considered mandatory, save perhaps for the bow in some areas.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: The total of all damage rolls made with a sword is increased by 1k0.
  • Rank 5: A sword may be readied as a Free Action rather than a Simple Action.
  • Rank 7: Damage dice explode on a result of a 9 and 10 when using a sword.

Knives (Agility)

Sub-type: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Aiguchi, Jitte, Kama, Sai, Tanto
Description: The art of wielding a knife, or tantojutsu, is not typically considered a priority at most bushi dojo. The katana is the principle weapon of the samurai, of course, and even if one chooses to take up another weapon instead, there are many more effective, more lethal weapons than a simple knife. Yet despite this, virtually every bushi in the Empire is trained in the use of the knife, and carries on at all times. Bushi are imminently practical warriors, after all.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: Off-hand penalties do not apply when using a knife.
  • Rank 5: Use of a sai or jitte confers one Free Raise toward use of the Disarm Maneuver.
  • Rank 7: Use of any knife confers a Free Raise towards use of the Extra Attack Maneuver.

Kyujutsu (Reflexes)

Sub-type: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Dai-kyu, Hank-kyu, Yumi
Description: The art of the bow is an accepted part of all bushi's training, save perhaps for a handful of esoteric warriors who have placed misguided principle above practicality. To all others, the value of the bow in striking at an enemy who is not within range is obvious. Indeed, the wya of the samurai has sometimes been called the Way of the Horse and Bow. The Rokugani form of archery does not rely upon aiming, however, rather, the practitioners are taught to assess their target, then draw and fire as a smooth, fluid motion, the bow held near the waist at all times. As the saying goes, the arrow knows the way. A character making a ranged attack who is firing at someone within melee range suffers a penalty of -10 to the total of his attack roll.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: Stringing a bow for use is a Simple Action rather than a Complex Action.
  • Rank 5: The maximum range of any bow is increased by 50%.
  • Rank 7: When using any bow, the Strength of the bow is increased by 1.

Ninjutsu (Agility or Reflexes)

Sub-types: Weapon Skill, considered a Low Skill
Emphases: Blowgun, Shuriken, Tsubute
Description: A disgraceful practice, ninjutsu is the art of using specialized weapons created specifically for use by the deadly assassins and shadow warriors known as ninja. No honorable warrior would ever humiliate himself and his ancestors by demonstrating knowledge of such a shameful nature, and indeed many samurai, when confronted with the bizarre implements of the ninja, have difficulty fathoming their use altogether, other than as crude and relatively ineffective weapons.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: The damage of all ninjutsu weapons is increased by +1k0.
  • Rank 5: Dice on damage rolls made for ninjutsu weapons explode normally (Ninjutsu weapon damage dice do not normally explode.)
  • Rank 7: The damage of all ninjutsu weapons is increased by +0k1 (+1k1 total).

Polearms (Agility)

Sub-type: Weapon Skills
Emphases: Bisento, Nagamaki, Naginata, Sasumata, Sodegarami
Description: Long-reaching weapons with considerable power and versatility, polearms are essentially a stopgap between heavy weapons and the traditional katana. They consist of bladed weapons mounted atop sturdy poles of wood or metal, granting a warrior skilled in their use the ability to keep his opponents at bay while taking a terrible toll on them at the same time. The practice of using polearms is sometimes referred to as umayarijutsu.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: During the first round of a skirmish, a character wielding a polearm gains a bonus of +5 to his Initiative Score. This lasts for only the first round.
  • Rank 5: Damage rolls made with polearms against mounted or significantly larger opponents is increased by +1k0.
  • Rank 7: Polearms may be readied as a Free Action.

Spears (Agility)

Sub-type: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Mai Chong, Kumade, Lance, Nage-yari, Yari
Description: Yarijutsu, the art of the spear, is a longstanding tradition in many bushi families, most notably the Daidoji family of the Crane Clan. Unlike polearms, which are primarily slashing weapons, spears are typically designed for puncturing or thrusting, and can be an extremely effective weapon against cavalry.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: During the first round of a skirmish, a character wieldign a spear may ignore 3 points of Reduction when making melee attacks against his opponent.
  • Rank 5: Ranged attacks made using a spear increase their maximum possible range by 5'.
  • Rank 7: Spears may be readied as a Free Action.

Staves (Agility)

Sub-type: Weapon Skill
Emphases: Bo, Jo, Machi-kanshisha, Sang Kauw, Tonfa
Description: Seldom seen among the ranks of most respectable bushi families, the practice of using staves (also known as bojutsu) is more common among monks and even some peasants, given that a walking stick cannot reasonably be assumed to be a weapon. Staves are excellent for delivering brute force to stun or incapacitate an opponent difficult and messy work without proper training. Also staves have tremendous trouble overcoming armor, which diffuses their impact very effectively. Armor bonuses to the Armor TN are doubled against attacks made with a staff.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: Opponents' armor bonuses are no longer doubled against staff attacks.
  • Rank 5: Use of a staff confers one Free Raise toward use of the Knockdown Maneuver
  • Rank 7: Staves that are large may be readied as a Free Action instead of a Simple Action. Staves that are small gain a bonus to damage rolls equal to +1k0.

War Fan (Agility)

Sub-type: Weapon Skill
Emphases: None
Description: War fans, or tessen, are tools that serve a number of purposes, not the least of which is a weapon. They were originally created for the purposes of sending signals to different units on the battlefield, and were specifically made from metal because paper fans were so ill suited to the unpredictability of battlefield conditions. While they continue to serve such a purpose, as well as the various purposes of the traditional paper fan, some groups have made excellent use of these metal fans as weapons as well, particularly among the Lion Clan and a group of ronin called the Tessen, who make Toshi Ranbo their home.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: Off-handed penalties do not apply when using a war fan.
  • Rank 5: When using a war fan, the wielder's Armor TN is increased by +1.
  • Rank 7: When using a war fan, the wielder's Armor TN is increased by +3.
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