Imperial Family Schools

Basic Schools

Miya Herald [Courtier] [CR]

The Miya are Imperial messengers, charged with spreading the words of the Emperor and the Imperial Court to even the most remote regions of Rokugan. While they are protected in most areas by the Imperial status, the Miya must often travel to places of great conflict and danger. Occasionally bandits and criminals become unreasonable or desperate and attack the herald. Thankfully, the Miya is well trained for that eventuality.

The Miya Herald School focuses on building trust and cordiality with everyone in the Miya's path. He speaks with confidence and composure to ease tensions and smooth altercations. The Miya learns ways to boost his defenses and spread peace to achieve the dream of a strong, united empire.

  • Benefit: +1 Awareness
  • Skills: Courtier (Rhetoric), Defense, Etiquette (Courtesy), Horsemanship, Lore: Heraldry, Sincerity, any 1 High or Bugei skill
  • Honor: 6.5
  • Outfit: Sensible Clothing, Wakizashi, Calligraphy Set, Horse (Rokugani pony), 10 koku


Rank 1: Voice of the Emperor
The Miya learn the ways of the Empire, so they can spread the word of the Emperor far and wide, and the art of non-aggression, so their words will be heard by all who respect the Emperor. While inside the borders of the Empire, you may spend a Void Point to gain the Way of the Land Advantage for the province you currently occupy - this effect lasts until you next sleep. Also, any Rokugani who reveres the Emperor and who knowingly and deliberately attacks you will automatically lose a number of points of Honor equal to twice your School Rank.

Rank 2: Eyes of the Emperor
The Miya serve as peacekeepers as well as messengers, brokering treaties between warring factions in the Empire, and learn to remain impartial under the most intense pressure. You may add your Honor Rank to all Etiquette (Courtesy) skill rolls made to resist others' attempts to influence you.

Rank 3: Hand of the Emperor
The Miya's aura of peacefulness and non-aggression has now reached the point where it becomes difficult for honorable foes to attack him at all. At the start of a skirmish, or during the Reactions Step of any later round in a skirmish, you may spend a Void Point as a Free Action to prevent any Rokugani who reveres the Emperor from being able to harm you before the next Reactions step. (They can still attempt to capture or restrain you in a non-damaging way.) This Technique only takes effect as long as the Miya is not participating in the skirmish or in a duel.

Rank 4: Blessing of the Emperor
At this rank, the Miya have developed a personality strong enough to impose their demand for peace on the more violent individuals around them, in what is essentially a specialized form of the Otomo technique of obiesaseru. This may be done a number of times per session equal to your School Rank, but you may only use this Technique against honorable samurai (Honor Rank 1.0 or better) who revere the Emperor - criminals, bandits, the Lost, and nonhumans are immune to its effects. To use this Technique, you take a Complex Action to step forward and forcefully demand an end to violence. ("This brawling will cease, in the name of the Emperor!") You make a Contested Roll of your Courtier (Rhetoric) / Awareness against the Etiquette (Courtesy) / Willpower of all affected person within hearing. All individuals who lose the roll must immediately cease all aggressive action, and cannot attack or cast offensive spells until they take damage or you give them permission to fight. (They can still use defensive abilities and the Defense and Full Defense stances.) The effect lasts for one minute, and the Technique can be used on the same targets again if it is resisted or expires. This Techniques affects both enemies and allies.

Rank 5: Glory of the Emperor
The Herald is now a true master of non-aggression and diplomacy. When rolling with the Courtier or Etiquette skills against a target with at least Honor 1.0, you may add a +5k0 bonus to the roll.

Otomo Courtier [CR]

Like the Seppun, the Otomo are dedicated to the safety of the Emperor. The Otomo simply choose more underhanded methods to prove that devotion. The power of the Emperor must remain strong and unchallenged. This can only happen if no one can gather enough strength to topple the pillars of the Emperor's authority. The Otomo sow suspicion and distrust amongst the Great Clans to prevent any malicious schemes from taking root among them.

The Otomo Courtiers, also known as Seiyaju, focus on fully utilizing the tools at their disposal. As an Imperial family, the Otomo automatically garner respect and power from every honorable samurai. The Otomo learns to push this advantage as far as he can to make others cower under the weight of Imperial decree. He uses every underhanded trick in the book, knowing that his blood protects him from the repercussions.

  • Benefit: +1 Awareness
  • Skills: Courtier (Manipulation), Defense, Etiquette, Intimidation (Control), Investigation, Sincerity, any 1 High Skill
  • Honor: 5.5
  • Outfit Traditional Clothing, Wakizashi, Knife, Calligraphy Set, 10 Koku


Rank 1: The Voice of Heaven
The Otomo believe that nothing done in the name of the Emperor and Imperial authority can ever be truly dishonorable. Their appointed role within the Empire is to spread conflict between the clans so they cannot unite against Imperial power, and the Otomo do this without hesitation. You do not lose Honor for using the Intimidation (Control) Skill. Any time you are in conversation with someone from one of the clans (Great or Minor), you may make a Contested Roll of your Courtier (Manipulation) / Awareness against their Etiquette (Courtesy) / Awareness to provoke a disagreement or argument between them and someone from another clan or faction of your choice.

Rank 2: Destiny Has No Secrets
The Otomo have information networks that rival those of the Scorpion, and can call on them in almost any part of the Empire. If you have the opportunity to seek out your contacts, you may spend a Void Point to roll Courtier / Awareness at TN 25 to learn one piece of critically useful information (chosen by the GM).

Rank 3: My Master's Voice
The Otomo speak with the direct authority of the Emperor, and the more experienced among them have mastered the art of "obiesaseru", using the authority of the Son of Heaven to stun their foes. You may only use this Technique against honorable samurai (Honor Rank 1.0 or better) who revere the Emperor - criminals, bandits, the Lost, and nonhumans are immune to its effects. To use obiesaseru, you must take a Complex Action to pause, gather your willpower, and shout an appropriate command (typically something like, "Stop in the name of the Emperor!"). You make a Contested Social Skill roll of Intimidation (Control) / Willpower against the target's Etiquette (Courtesy) / Willpower. (If the target sincerely believes he is acting honorably, he gains a Free Raise to his roll.) If you win the roll, on his next Turn the target may not move, attack, cast spells, or perform any other action that would directly obstruct or threaten you or your immediate friends/allies (GM's discretion as to who is considered your ally). He may, however, attack others who are not your allies, and regardless he can always use the Defense and full Defense Postures.

Rank 4: The Emperor's Protection
As a favored servant of Imperial power, the Otomo is under special protection , and can easily crush those foolish enough to disagree with him in public. Any time you are in an argument or debate with another person, you may spend a Void Point to make a Contested Roll of your Courtier (Manipulation) / Awareness against their Etiquette (Courtesy) / Awareness. If you win the roll, they must either agree with your position or immediately lose 5 points of Honor.

Rank 5: The Virtues of Command
The Otomo is now able to bring the full power of Imperial authority to bear on those who displease him. When making an Contested Social Roll against someone who reveres Imperial authority, you may gain a +5k0 bonus on your roll.

Seppun Guardsman [Bushi] [CR]

A Seppun knows from birth that he is born to protect the Emperor from anything that may threaten him. A safe Emperor means a united Rokugan, and Seppun ensure the bright future of the Empire by fulfilling their duty. When chosen for this prestigious service, the Seppun Guardsman, also known as a Miharu, sacrifices everything in his life for the job. After all, nothing else is significant when set against the task of protecting the Imperial House.

The Seppun Guardsman School holds defense as its highest priority. The Guardsman learns to put the life of his charge above everything else, including his own survival. The Guardsman becomes stalwart against any sources of corruption that may interfere with his job, and learns to be always aware of his surroundings, ready to identify any threat before it may approach his change.

  • Benefit: +1 Perception
  • Skills: Battle, Defense, Etiquette, Iaijutsu, Kenjutsu (Katana), Kyujutsu, any 1 High Skill
  • Honor: 6.5
  • Outfit: Light Armor, Sturdy Clothing, Daisho, any 1 Weapon, Traveling Pack, 10 koku


Rank 1: Never in Darkness
The Seppun are taught to be unswerving in their Honor, and nothing can draw them away from their duty. Any time you are rolling to resist a Social Skill roll which could tempt or lead you away from your duty - such as Temptation, Intimidation, or even Courtier - you roll additional unkept dice equal to your School Rank. You gain a +1k1 bonus any time you are making an Investigation roll to detect an ambush or surprise attack.

Rank 2: The Clouds Part
The Seppun's blows are infused with his dedication to the Emperor's cause. At the start of your Turn, you may spend a Void Point to add your Honor Rank to the total of your attack and damage rolls until your Next Turn.

Rank 3: Sun's Light Reveals
The Seppun's dedication now allows him to see through all manner of deceptions, even magical ones. At any time you may choose to spend a Void point as a Free Action to roll Investigation (Notice) / Perception at TN 25. With a success, you immediately see through all disguises and illusions around you, whether normal or magical in nature. If you are in the presence of the Emperor, his immediate family, or a major Imperial Official (Chancellor, Shogun, etc) you do not need to spend a Void Point to activate this Technique. Once you have pierced a specific disguise/illusion, it no longer has any effect on you (although a new disguise or illusion you encounter later will function normally).

Rank 4: Speed of Heaven
The power of Heaven infuses the Seppun's arm, allowing him to strike with greater speed. You may now attack as a Simple Action when using weapons with the Samurai keyword.

Rank 5: Heaven Never Falls
The true Seppun bodyguard is never caught off-guard, and can protect his charge even when surprised or disabled. Any time you are within 20' of a person you are guarding, you may spend a Void Point to leap in front of a blow or spell which is targeting your charge. The damage is automatically applied to you instead of your charge. If you are still standing (not Down or Out) after this damage, you may immediately take an extra Simple Action, which may be used for any purpose including an attack. This Technique can be used even if your character is Blinded, Prone, Stunned, Dazed, Entangled, or at the Down Wound Rank (but not Grappled or at the Out Wound Rank).

Seppun Shugenja [CR]

The best bushi of Rokugan are granted the privilege of guarding the Emperor. There are threats steel cannot answer, however, and against these the Seppun Shugenja stand ready. As members of the Hidden Guard, the Seppun Shugenja wait and stand vigil at all times of the day for signs of an attack. Their wards are among the best in Rokugan, and the Seppun constantly practice their prayers to the kami in preparation for an assault on their territory. They are the last line of defense for the Emperor and they will not be broken.

The Seppun Shugenja School focuses on defense of the Emperor and his retinue. When danger approaches, the Seppun calls upon the kami with his entire soul, amplifying spell effects and performing magical feats he would not be able to do normally. The Technique is versatile and works with a large variety of offensive and defensive spells, as long as the shugenja is trying to save the life of the Son of Heaven.

  • Benefit: +1 Intelligence
  • Skills: Calligraphy, Defense, Etiquette, Investigation (Notice), Meditation, Lore: Theology, any 1 High or Bugei Skill
  • Honor: 6.5
  • Outfit: Robes, Wakizashi, Bo, Scroll Satchel, Traveling Pack, 10 koku
  • Affinity / Deficiency: Fire / Water
  • Spells: Sense, Commune, Summon, 3 Fire, 2 Water, and 1 Air
  • Technique: In Defense of the Throne - The Hidden Guard exist only to defend their Emperor, and are terrible opponents for any who might pose a danger to the sanctity of the Son of Heaven. You gain a Free Raise on any spell cast to protect the life, personal belongings, family, or reputation of the Emperor, as long as the action taken would not cause you to lose Honor. This includes members of the Imperial families (though not yourself). You also gain a Free Raise on any spells known only to the Imperial families.

Advanced Schools

Imperial Scion [Courtier] [EE]

The Imperial families are not generally given a great deal of consideration by the average citizen of Rokugan. Even most members of the samurai caste go their entire lives while glimpsing only one or two true Imperials, and many of the more remote family branches never encounter one for generations at a time. The Imperial families are simply smaller than most of those who serve the clans, and their spheres of influence are relatively limited in comparison to their clan counterparts. Even the well-traveled Imperial heralds of the Miya family tend to stick to clearly defined travel routes, avoiding the Empire’s more remote districts for decades or even centuries at a time. In some cases this can lead to a misperception of the Imperials as dangerous or hostile individuals who desire only the obedience and submission of other samurai. While this is untrue in the main, there are a few individuals who prove it correct.

Scions of the Imperial families are utterly ruthless individuals who have mastered the manipulation of their own social standing to decimate their enemies. Standing against a scion in court is tantamount to ruination for all but the most skilled or highest-ranking samurai. These scions most often come from the Otomo family, which teaches their secret techniques in its most prestigious and elite dojo. Much more rarely, members of the Miya or Seppun families are permitted to train there as well. The scions are rarely liked, frequently sought as allies, and almost always feared for the power they can and will bring to bear on any who arouse their ire.


  • Rings/Traits: Awareness 5, Perception 4
  • Skills: Courtier 6, Etiquette 4
  • Other: Only members of the Imperial families may take ranks in this Advanced School; Status 4 or higher


Rank One: The Awe of the Throne
A true scion of the Imperial families knows how to use his social position to his advantage in nearly any situation. Any time you are called upon to make a Skill Roll, or to use your Glory or Honor rank, you may spend a Void Point to instead substitute your Status Rank.

Rank Two: The Strength of the Throne
As a champion of the Imperial line, you can ensure that those who oppose you suffer mightily for their temerity. After conversing with an opponent of lower Status Rank for a few minutes, you may force that opponent to make an opposed Courtier / Etiquette roll against you. If you defeat your opponent at the roll, you may reduce his Status by a number of points up to a maximum of twice your Insight Rank.

Rank Three: The Terror of the Throne
There is virtually no one who is immune to the power of an Imperial scion. While conversing with an opponent of equal or lower Status Rank, you may force a Contested Void Roll. If you are successful, you can permanently give the opponent any one Social Disadvantage. Alternatively, you can force the opponent to become ronin, but the technique can only be used in this manner once every six months. Forcing a samurai to become ronin in this way costs you 5 points each of Glory, Honor, and Status.

Alternate Paths

Otomo Bureaucrat

The methods of the Imperial bureaucracy began in the time of Hantei Genji, but came to full flower in the years after the Reign of the Gozuku, when the Otomo family was tasked with obstructing and dividing the Great Clans, ensuring they would never again be able to subordinate the Emperor. Otomo bureaucrats specialize in delay, obfuscation, and subtle but persistent obstruction, using such indirect and seemingly passive methods to block and foil the goals of the Great Clans.

  • Replaces: Otomo Courtier 3
  • Requirements: Etiquette (Bureaucracy) 5
  • Technique: Imperial Scrutiny - Where a normal Otomo relies on the awesome power of Imperial authority to overawe his rivals, a Bureaucrat relies on the intricate and obscure complexities of the Imperial government to stymie and obstruct his opponents. Any time another samurai is trying to accomplish something in the courts (building an alliance, negotiating a treaty, making a trade deal, requesting a favor from the Throne, etc), you may employ the intricacies of the Imperial bureaucracy to delay him. This may take up to several hours to carry out, and is represented mechanically by a Contested Roll of Etiquette (Bureaucracy) / Willpower; if you spend a Void Point on this roll, you gain +2k2 instead of the usual +1k1. If you win the Contested Roll, the samurai cannot make any progress toward his goal for the next two weeks, no matter what he does.

Satoshi's Legacy [Bushi] [SE]

Miya Satoshi died in disgrace, but his effort to militarize the Miya family left a legacy of trained warriors who wished to continue serving their family and to cleanse the dishonor which Satoshi had brought on himself. Their warrior tradition is carried on by the Satoshi vassal family. Of course, GM’s may also use this Technique to represent the legacy of any Miya leader who tried to militarize his family.

  • Replaces: Miya Herald 4
  • Requirements: Kenjutsu 5
  • Technique: Fire and Ice - The Satoshi vassal family teaches an aggressive fighting style derived from their founder’s training with the Matsu family. You may make attacks as Simple Actions when you are in the Full Attack stance.

Seppun Hidden Guard [Shugenja] [SE]

Although all Seppun shugenja are tasked to help protect the Emperor and the Imperial City against magical and supernatural threats, but the elite order of the Hidden Guard receives special training for this purpose. The Hidden Guard are in charge of the direct magical and spiritual protection of the Emperor, his family, and the Imperial Palace. Many of them spend their entire lives doing nothing but endlessly watching, reinforcing, and maintaining the wards and other magical protections over their charges.

  • Replaces: Seppun Shugenja 3
  • Requirements: Must be chosen for service in the Hidden Guard
  • Technique: Harmony in All - The Hidden Guard are tasked with warding and protecting the Emperor, the Imperial family, and their possessions and holdings. You gain a Free Raise with all spells that have the Wards or Defense properties.
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