High Skills

Acting (Awareness)

Sub-types: Social Skill, Acting is considered a Perform Skill for the purposes of effects that target Perform Skills
Emphases: Clan, Gender, Profession
Description: This is a measure of an individual's ability to convincingly pass himself off as someone else, whether assuming a role in a play or attempting to infiltrate the fortress of his lord's enemy. It also represents a character's knowledge of the primary theater styles in Rokugan: Kabuki, a flamboyant high-action style; and Noh, a more subdued, stylistic manner of play.
The TN to disguise yourself is 15. This assumes that you are taking on the role of a non-specific individual who shares the same Clan affiliation, gender, and profession (bushi, courtier, or shugenja). Each of these basic features that are changed increases the total TN of the Skill Roll by +5 (for example, a male Scorpion bushi attempting to impersonate a female Crane courtier would have a base TN of 30). Attempting to imitate a specific individual is significantly more difficult, and increases the TN by a total of +15 in addition to any other increases of Clan, gender, or profession. You may also Raise on your roll to make your disguise harder to see through. A character who is trying to see through your disguise must roll Investigation / Perception against a TN of 15, +5 for each Raise you made.
Master Abilities:

  • Rank 3: The TN to crease a disguise is reduced by 5.
  • Rank 5: The TN to create a disguise is reduced by 10 (total).
  • Rank 7: The TN to create a disguise is reduced by 15 (total).

Artisan (Awareness)

Sub-types: Macro-skill (includes Bonsai, Gardening, Ikebana (Flower arranging), Origami (paper folding), Painting, Poetry, Sculpture, and Tatooing, among others)
Emphases: Varies by sub-skill
Description: This is a catch-all that represents a character's talent in one of the many recognized noble arts of Rokugani society. In addition to being soldiers and priests, samurai are the epitome of culture, adn as such an occupation as an artisan is regarded by many Clans as a noble and honorable pursuit. Artisan Skill Rolls are used to create works of art, and generally have variable TNs as decided by the GM.
Mastery Abilities: None

Calligraphy (Intelligence)

Sub-types: Calligraphy is considered an Artisan Skill for purposes of effects that target Artisan Skills
Emphases: Cipher, High Rokugani
Description: Calligraphy is considered an art form by many, and is typically used not only among shugenja, who use advanced ciphers and scripts to protect their mystical secrets, but also by artisans and courtiers, who use it to impress others as part of their complex schemes to gain favor in court. Training in calligraphy is not necessary as part of literacy, as all samurai are literate, but it does allow one to show refinement and sophistication.
If you possess the Cipher Emphasis, you are assumed to know one cipher commonly used by your Clan. Ciphers can be very difficult to break, with varying TNs depending upon their commonality of use and means of creation. Typically, the TN to break a cipher is the result of the Calligraphy (Cipher) / Intelligence roll used to create it. The High Rokugani Emphasis is used to make use of the ancient, florid, and sophisticated style of language used in the Imperial Court.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 5: The character gains a bonus of +10 when attempting to break a code or cipher.

Courtier (Awareness)

Sub-types: Social Skill
Emphases: Gossip, Manipulation, Rhetoric
Description: The essential skill of any Rokugani court, this is a measure of a character's ability to participate in the deadly political games that are so prevalent in the Empire's highest social echelons. Courtiers have their own style of warfare, and are able to maneuver one another into disadvantageous positions through their skill with words.
Essentially, Courtier is the "social offense" Skill. Socially-adept characters that are on the offensive against their opponents use Courtier, often with the Manipulation or Rhetoric Emphases, to outmaneuver their opponents, influence their views and opinions, steer conversations in a desired direction, win arguments, or deliver cunning put-downs. Courtier can also be used to obtain or spread rumors about someone, using the Gossip Emphasis. This can be more difficult depending upon the target's Glory, with a suggested TN of 10 plus the target's Glory x 5, minus your Glory x 5. GMs can have players Raise on the roll to conceal that they are the source of the gossip, and it should be noted that attempting to spread malicious rumors about someone with higher Status is generally unwise and can easily lead to a death sentence in Rokugan.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: The character gains an additional +3 Insight above the total normally indicated by his Rings and Skill Ranks.
  • Rank 5: The character gains a bonus of +1k0 to the total of all Contested Rolls made using Courtier.
  • Rank 7: The character gains an additional +7 Insight above the total normally indicated by his Rings and Skill Ranks (in addition to the bonus from Rank 3).

Divination (Intelligence)

Sub-types: None
Emphases: Astrology, Kawaru
Description: Some individuals possess the ability to glimpse the strands of fate and destiny that make up the universe, and can gain some glimmer of insight into the future as a result. This sometimes involve studying the stars and their placement via astrology, but most often comes from the use of kawaru, small stones, sticks, and cones with variety of hexagram symbols engraved upon them. Kawaru are typically thrown into a bowl or other receptacle and then examined to determine the patterns.
You may attempt a divination once per day. The TN for this Skill Roll is 15, although depending upon the circumstances the GM may dictate a higher TN. If the roll is failed, a second roll may be attempted immediately if you expend a Void Point. (As usual, the TN for the second roll is increased by +10.) The results of divination attempts are notoriously vague, but should give some indistinct inkling of what is to come in the immediate future (i.e. "you see difficult times ahead," "an old enemy returns soon," "a shadow will fall over your father's house," etc).

Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 5: A second Divination Skill Roll may be made without the cost of spending a Void Point. All other conditions for making the second Skill Roll still apply.

Etiquette (Awareness)

Sub-type: Social Skill
Emphases: Bureaucracy, Conversation, Courtesy
Description: In a rigid hierarchical society such as the Emerald Empire, knowledge of appropriate conduct is essential for all but the most jaded and uncourth bushi. In many ways a proper code of etiquette is a defense for samurai, who can use their knowledge of how one should behave in a court setting as a shield against the manipulation of others. It can also allow them to avoid embarrassing faux pas by ensuring that they know to whom any particular concern should be addressed in the vast and often confusing Imperial bureaucracy, as well as the lesser bureaucracies maintained by the Great Clans.
Etiquette is essentially the "social defense" Skill of honorable characters in Rokugan's courts. When someone tries to tempt, manipulate, or otherwise influence you (typically with skills like Courtier or Temptation), Etiquette is usually used in the ensuing Contested Roll, most often with the Courtesy Emphasis. Courtesy also allow you to offer an opinion without risking offense (at the TN chosen by the GM) or to remember important social mores that might otherwise be forgotten (TN of anywhere from 5 to 20, depending on obscurity). The Bureaucracy Emphasis is used when trying to maneuver through governmental channels appropriately, such as trying to arrange a meeting with someone of high Status (the Imperial bureaucracy is notoriously difficult to navigate). Conversation allows you to determine an appropriate, non-offensive topic for discussion (TN 15+).
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: The characters gain an additional +3 Insight above the total normally indicated by his Rings and Skill Ranks.
  • Rank 5: The character gains a bonus of +1k0 to the total of all Contested Rolls made using Etiquette.
  • Rank 7: The character gains an additional +7 Insight above the total normally indicated by his Rings and Skill Ranks (in addition to the bonus from Rank 3).

Games (Various)

Sub-types: Macro-skill (includes: Fortunes & Winds (Awareness), Go (Intelligence), Kemari (Agility), Letters (Awareness), Sadane (Awareness), Shogi (Intelligence), etc.)
Emphases: Varies by sub-skill
Description: Games are an important diversion for the normally somber samurai caste of Rokugan. Although some clans generally prefer direct physical activities such as wrestling or other competitive pursuits, virtually everyone in the Empire plays a game of one form or another on a regular basis. Some popular games include: kemari, which involves one or more participants kicking a small ball to keep it off the ground; go, a strategic game that uses colored stones placed on a game board; letters, in which two or more individuals correspond with one another, using elaborately written letters as a sort of back-and-forth; shogi, a chess-like strategic game; and sadane, a game of trading impromptu criticisms on an agreed subject. Games Skill Rolls are typically Contested Rolls made between two individuals, each attempting to defeat the other at the game in question.
Mastery Abilities: None

Investigation (Perception)

Sub-type: None
Emphases: Interrogation, Notice, Search
Description: One of the most prestigious appointments a samurai can receive is that of magistrate, an official tasked with enforing the laws within his lord's domain. As magistrates, samurai must often determine what has taken place under mysterious circumstances, and search out who is to blame for violating the word of their daimyo. Those with a keen eye and a sharp mind are often promoted to higher positions, serving their family, clan, or even the Empire as a whole.
Investigation represents your ability to assess your surroundings and gather information based on physical clues. It can also represent an ability to gather information from others over a longer period of time, hours or even days, in order to piece together different bits of information into a cohesive picture. Unlike other Intelligence or Perception Skill Rolls, Investigation can be re-rolled if you fail the initial roll. The second rall may not be made for at least an hour, however, and suffers a +15 increase to TN.
Investigation is most frequently used to locate something (or someone) hidden or concealed. If this is a person in hiding, a Contested Roll will be used, pitting the character's Investigation (Notice or Search Emphasis according to the circumstances) against the target's Stealth. The Interrogation Emphasis can be used to try to figure out if someone is lying, typically in a Contested Roll against the target's Sincerity.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: A second attempt to use the Search Emphasis may be made without an increase in the original TN.
  • Rank 5: The character gains a bonus of +5 to the total of any Contested Roll made using Investigation.
  • Rank 7: A third attempt to use the Search Emphasis may be made even if the second attempt fails.

Lore (Intelligence)

Sub-types: Macro-skills (including Anatomy*, Architecture, Bushido, Great Clan (choose one), Elements, Gaijin Culture (choose one), Ghosts, Heraldry, History, Maho*, Nature, Nonhuman Culture (choose one), Omens, Shadowlands*, Shugenja, Spirit Realms, Theology, Underworld*, War, and almost anything else)
[Sub-skills marked with a * are considered Low Skills]
Emphases: Varies by individual sub-skill
Description: Many among the samurai caste are called to pursue the role of the scholar in order to better serve their lord, or for their own purposes. Although this is most common among shugenja, it is not unusual for a courtier or a bushi to study some subject or another that catches their interest. History and heraldry are among the most common and useful, but literally any subject can be taken up. Lore Skill Rolls are made to determine if a character possesses certain information regarding the subject area (i.e., a bushi character might make a Lore: Shugenja Skill Roll to see if he could determine the purpose of a ritual being conducted).
Mastery Abilities: None

Medicine (Intelligence)

Sub-types: None
Emphases: Antidotes, Disease, Herbalism, Non-Humans, Wound Treatment
Description: War is the purpose of all samurai, and war often results in those who are wounded but not slain. A wounded samurai is a burden on his lord, unable to perform his duties and yet still requiring resources. Those who practice medicine have the sacred task of ensuring that a samurai recovers from his wounds and can rise again to serve once more.
Medicine can be used to treat many different injuries and ailments, including some spiritual ones. Specific diseases may be treated with the Disease Emphasis, although the TN for treatment will vary depending upon the disease in question. The same applies to poisons and the Antidote Emphasis. Non-human races may be treated using the Non-human Emphasis, but it must be purchased separately for each race (i.e. Nezumi Medicine, Naga Medicine, Zokujin Medicine, etc.) When you treat Wounds that an ally has suffered from damage, a successful Medicine (Wound Treatment) / Intelligence roll (TN 15) will remove one die (1k1) of Wounds from the victim. Each successful Raise on this roll allows an additional die to be rolled, but no more than one die is ever kept on such a roll. An injured individual may only benefit from a single Medicine Skill Roll per day, and each such roll made requires the use of a Medicine Kit, which allows for ten Medicine Skill Rolls before being consumed.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 5: The amount of Wounds healed on a successful Medicine roll is increased by +1k0.

Meditation (Void)

Sub-types: None
Emphases: Fasting, Void Recovery
Description: A dutiful samurai is a spiritual soul. In order to fully embrace the code of Bushido, all samurai are expected to study the Tao of Shinsei and meditate upon its wisdom. In practice, of course, this is rarely the case among many martial families, but a surprising number of soldiers can often be found meditating in a shrine or temple to prepare themselves for war.
Meditation is the simplest means other than resting that you can recover spent Void Points. A Meditation (Void Recovery) / Void roll versus TN 20 allows you to recover one Void point with ahalf hour of uninterrupted meditation. The Fasting Emphasis allows you to make a Meditation / Stamina roll (TN 15 + 5 per day of fasting) to ignore the effects of going without food or water.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 3: A successful Meditation Skill Roll restores up to 2 Void Points.
  • Rank 5: The TN for all Meditation (Fasting) Skill Rolls is reduced by 5.
  • Rank 7: A successful Meditation Skill Roll restores up to 3 Void Points.

Perform (Varies)

Sub-types: Macro-Skill (includes Biwa (Agility), Dance (Agility), Drums (Agility), Flute (Agility), Oratory (Awareness), Puppeteer (Agility), Samisen (Agility), Song (Awareness), Storytelling (Awareness), etc.), Social Skill
Emphases: Varies by sub-skill
Description: While not as numerous as other artisans, performers are still considered by many Clans to fulfill a vital aspect of maintaining Rokugan's culture. Musicians, orators, poets, and even acts are lauded in the highest circles of court because of the entertainment they provide. Many bushi have a different opinion on the value of a performer, but even they must admit that nothing rouses the spirits for war like a play wherein the actions of their ancestors are memorialized and the actions of their enemies demonized. Performers are not merely entertainment, but a form of living memory that all samurai enjoy, even if some of them do not always respect those who provide it. Perform Skill Rolls are made to complete a performance successfully. The TN for such a roll generally depends upon the mood of the audience and is determined by the GM.
Master Abilities: None

Sincerity (Awareness)

Sub-types: Social Skill
Emphases: Honesty, Deceit* [Emphases marked with a * are considered Low Skills]
Descriptions: Many in the Empire have a curious stance on the notion of lying; in many courts, it is not considered dishonorable to lie so long as the individual speaking genuinely appears to believe what he says is the truth. This is a skill that many have honed in order to defend themselves from the predation of more skilled opponents in court. Even bushi attending court as yojimbo often practice such things, to ensure that they are not viable targets of their charges' enemies. This can also be used to avoid offering insult.
Honest is used when you must speak the truth in a convincing manner, while Deceit is used when you must tell a lie and appear to tell the truth ("I assure you, magistrate, I was meditating in the shrine well after sunset last night"). Sincerity can also be employed to tell the truth in a very cautious manner to avoid giving insult (when a morbidly obese governor asks a samurai if he is not the greatest warrior in the Empire, the samurai cautiously respons with "All other warriors would surely vanish within your might shadow"). Rolls made with Sincerity can be opposed with Investigation by those who doubt the truth of the speaker's words.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 5: The character gains a bonus of +5 to the total of all Contested Rolls made using Sincerity.

Spellcraft (Intelligence)

Sub-types: Use of the Importune Emphasis when interacting with kami spirits is considered use of a Social Skill
Emphases: Importune, Spell Research
Description: The path of the shugenja begins with the innate ability to speak to the kami, but it continues with a life of rigorous study and devotion to research. Although non-shugenja can take up this craft, the essential understanding of how the invocation of the kami works makes it primarily the domain of shugenja. This research also allows scholarly shugenja to create new prayers that others can use, and allows them to entreat certain types of kami to perform tasks for them.
The Spell Research Emphasis allows you to formulate new spells. This typically requires a Spellcraft (Spell Research) / Intelligence with a TN equal to 10 plus the new spell's Mastery Level x 10. This requires a number of weeks of uninterrupted study equal to the new spell's Mastery Level. New spells should be submitted to the GM for consultation and approval before they are used.
The Importune Emphasis is used in a manner of a Social Skill when using the Commune spell to converse with a spirit, and especially when trying to persuade that spirit to be helpful.
Mastery Abilities:

  • Rank 5: The character gains a +1k0 on Spell Casting Rolls.

Tea Ceremony (Void)

Sub-types: None
Emphasis: None
Description: The tea ceremony is an ancient and sacred tradition that was created in the Empire's earliest days, ostensibly by Lady Doji herself. It is a ritual that is handed down from parent to child, often with as much weight and attention as the passing down of a family blade from one to another. In a formal tea ceremony, the individual conducting the ritual formally sets the table, prepares the tea, and pours it for all participants, who then consume it in unison, all in complete silence. The ceremony has great spiritual significance, and helps clear the mind for those involved.
When conducting a tea ceremony, you must make a Tea Ceremony / Void roll (TN 15 + 5 for each participant after the second). The ceremony is intended for two people, but you may conduct it alone if desired, or up to five people total may be included. If the Skill Roll is successful, all participants regain a spent Void Point. The ceremony takes thirty minutes to complete successfully, and requires a quiet location to be conducted.
Master Abilities:

  • Rank 5: All participants regain 2 Void Points rather than 1.
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