Playable Returned Spirits

Playing a Spirit PC

If a GM is prepared to allow returned spirits as PCs, there are several important considerations. First of all, such a PC gains some meaningful advantages from his spirit nature, something which may lead to accusations of unfairness. Secondly, while roleplaying a character misplaced in time can certainly be fun, it is also challenging to do effectively while not interfering with the overall flow of the game or claiming disproportionate attention. This can be a particular problem in clans like the Unicorn where the presence of a spirit may automatically lead to conflict and throw obstacles in front of the group. GMs and players must also be wary of “metagaming” (whether deliberate or inadvertent), since the spirit PC will have great knowledge of past events but little to no understanding of the current era. A returned spirit (whether PC or NPC) is always clearly recognizable as such, because their exposed skin glows softly but distinctly with a golden light. This makes their nature impossible to conceal and also makes it somewhat difficult for them to employ stealth—which may explain why Hantei XVI was so willing to go along with Bayushi Paneki’s declaration that the Scorpion would support both sides.

The exposed skin of a returned spirit glows with a soft golden light. The glow will not penetrate clothing or armor that is completely opaque but otherwise cannot be obscured and only fades when the spirit dies. The spilled blood of a returned spirit glows in a similar way until the blood dries. Mechanically, a returned spirit (whether NPC or PC) can be represented by applying the following Special Ability to a human character from any clan or school.

  • The greater toughness of returned spirits grants them Reduction 3 (0 against jade, crystal, or obsidian).
  • They have one rank of the Magic Resistance Advantage. This does not function against spells with the Jade, Crystal, or Obsidian keywords, or spells that are specifically described as affecting spirits. (Additional Ranks of Magic Resistance still cost 4 or 6 Experience Points to purchase.)
  • For the purposes of healing Wounds, resisting poison, and resisting the effects of Fatigue, Fasting, and Drowning, a returned spirit is considered to have a Stamina two Ranks higher than his actual Stamina.
  • Returned spirits have three Ranks of the Lore skill in the Spirit Realm of their origin—generally Meido, Yomi, or Toshigoku.
  • Returned spirits suffer a –2k1 penalty to Stealth rolls in any situation where their glow may give them away (GM’s discretion).
  • All returned spirits have the Cursed By the Realm Disadvantage pertaining to the Spirit Realm from which they originate. They receive no Experience Points for this Disadvantage.

Blessed Guard

Samurai from every century of Rokugan’s long history reside within Yomi’s borders. The Blessed Guard, an elite unit of shiryo, chooses only the best to join its ranks. Members of the Blessed Guard are the finest heroes ever produced by the human race, and can hold their heads up proudly even amid the inhabitants of Yomi.

Every member of the Blessed Guard was once a normal ancestor, yet each of these samurai have earned great importance in Yomi. As Yomi is a Spirit Realm that looks favorably on the humans living in Rokugan, the enemies of Rokugan regularly attempt to destroy it. The denizens of Yomi needed to protect themselves from the predations of Jigoku, Gaki-do, and Toshigoku. Out of this need arose the Blessed Guard.

  • Rank: 6
  • Replaces: N/A
  • Requires: Member of the Blessed Guard; Rang 5 or higher.
  • Technique Light of Yomi - Once per skirmish, a Blessed Guard may take a Complex Action to target an opponent with lower Honor Rank (creatures without an Honor Rank are considered to have 0 Honor for the purposes of this ability). That opponent may not perform any Complex or Simple Actions during his next Turn.
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