Spider Clan Schools

Basic Schools

Chuda Shugenja [CR]

The Chuda possess an ancient tradition of maho, passed down from one to another in secret for centuries, ever since their family was eradicated by the Phoenix Clan hundreds of years ago. Within the Spider Clan, the heirs of the Snake have found a new home as the reinvigorated Chuda, and they serve their masters well. The Chuda are among the most powerful and progressive maho-tsukai that have ever existed, always pushing the envelope of what is possible with blood magic, never content to simply accept the power available to them. The atrocities committed in the name of increasing their School's knowledge and power are without limit.

Maho is unquestionably the strength of the Chuda family, but the costs associated with it can make them less prolific spell-casters than other shugenja. Fortunately, their Technique permits them to conceal the corrupted nature of their magic, and to mitigate the rate at which they acquire the Taint.

  • Benefit: +1 Willpower
  • Skills: Calligraphy (Cipher), Hunting, Lore: Maho, Lore: Shadowlands, Spellcraft, Stealth, any one Skill
  • Honor: 0.5
  • Outfit: Robes, Wakizashi, Knife, Scroll Satchel, Traveling Pack, 3 koku
  • Affinity / Deficiency: Chuda Shugenja have an Affinity for any non-Void Maho spell. Select one non-Void element, You have a Deficiency for all non-Maho spells of the selected element.
  • Spells: Sense, Commune, Summon, 3 Maho spells of one element, 2 Maho spells of a second non-Deficient element, and any 1 spell of any non-Deficient element.
  • Technique: Blood Like Water - The Chuda have existed for centuries, hidden among the people of Rokugan and concealing the true nature of their dark arts. When casting a maho spell, you may declare one Raise to conceal the corrupted nature of the magic. The spell functions exactly as normal, but there will be no outward sign that it is anything other than traditional elemental magic. You may declare a second Raise to reduce all Shadowlands Taint normally acquired by a maho spell to only one Point, regardless of the spells Mastery level. Alternatively you may sacrifice one point of Honor to reduce all Taint normally acquired by the spell to one Point.

Daigotsu Bushi [CR]

The legions of warriors loyal to Daigotsu employ a fighting style cobbled together from the various techniques they possessed in their former lives. As a result, the Daigotsu Techniques are mildly eclectic, but can be brutally effective when used in conjunction with one another. Skilled bushi can use these secrets to devastate their foes and then harness their dying life essence to replenish themselves, an act that forever marks them as traitors and blasphemers in the eyes of the Empire.

The techniques of the Daigotsu bushi clearly indicate the favor in which they are held by their god and master, Fu Leng. Their ability to increase their damage and instill fear in their opponents makes them potent opponents for virtually any enemy, and their power level can increase dramatically if they employ their Shadowlands Taint as well (although this is, of course, not without risk).

  • Benefit: +1 Strength
  • Skills: Hunting, Intimidation, Jiujutsu, Kenjutsu (Katana), Kyujutsu, Lore: Shadowlands, any one Bugei or Low Skill
  • Honor: 1.5
  • Outfit: Light Armour, Sturdy Clothing, Daisho, any 1 weapon, Traveling Pack, 3 koku

Techniques

Rank 1: The Way of the Spider
The Daigotsu Bushi must walk the fine line between using the Taint to power his body, and hiding its effects in public. At the beginning of each Round, you may choose to either reduce your TN penalties from Wound Ranks by your Strength Trait Rank plus your Taint Rank until the end of the Round, or increase your damage rolls by the same amount. Additionally, the TN on any roll to detect the presence or effects of the Shadowlands Taint on you is increased by 10.

Rank 2: Aura of Blood
The presence of the Daigotsu Bushi can be unsettling to those who are unprepared to face it. You may spend a Void Point as a Simple Action to activate this Technique. While this Technique is active, you and all of your allies within 30' add +2k0 to the total of all damage rolls. This lasts for a number of Rounds equal to your Taint Rank plus your Strength Trait Rank. This bonus is not cumulative with any other applications of Aura of Blood. Using this technique while under its effects refreshes its duration.

Rank 3: Ashura's Wing
The Daigotsu Bushi moves and strikes as swiftly as ash borne away by the wind. You may make melee attacks as a Simple Action instead of a Complex Action.

Rank 4: Devouring Wrath
By the power of Fu Leng, the Legionnaire feeds on the strength of his enemies. Any time you hit an opponent in melee, you immediately regain 5 Wounds. This can potentially grant additional Wounds beyond your normal maximum, but this bonus will not increase over 20 wounds. Excess Wounds are lost at the end of the skirmish.

Rank 5: Inhuman Assault
The wrath of a Daigotsu bushi is like that of a rampaging beast. Once per skirmish, you may launch into a series of bone-shattering blows by making a melee attack as a complex action. This attack ignores the bonuses and effects of armor, including Reduction from armor, and any Stance the target assumes. If the strike hits, the target cannot gain the bonuses of armor or Stance to his Armour TN for a number of rounds equal to your Taint Rank plus your Strength Trait. If your opponent is in the Full Attack Stance Posture, he still retains the -10 to Armour TN penalty.

Daigotsu Courtier [CR]

Perhaps the greatest success of the Spider Clan has been the slow and subtle infiltration of many courts of the Great Clans. Disguised as ronin and emissaries of minor branches of other families, the Daigotsu courtiers have used the Spider Clan's network of contacts, blackmail victims and willing subordinates to assume positions of power in the courts of numerous clans, even one of the Imperial Families. From this position of power, they attempt to subtly manipulate others into conflicts that best serve their true clan, keeping their enemies away from them and gradually undermining the notions of honor possessed by many weak-willed samurai.

The greatest strength of the Daigotsu courtiers is not their techniques, which are admittedly useful, but rather their ability to mask their Taint, should they possess it. Their Techniques focus on the disruption of others, providing an environment on which the Spider can capitalize, and deflecting both attention and blame away from themselves. This is essential both to their survival and to their ability to benefit their clan.

  • Benefit: +1 Perception
  • Skills: Acting, Courtier (Manipulation), Etiquette, Meditation, Sincerity (Deceit), Temptation, any one High Skill.
  • Honor: 1.0
  • Outfit: Sensible Clothing, Wakizashi, Calligraphy Set, Travelling Pack, 3 koku.

Techniques

Rank 1: Insidious Whispers
Every student of the Daigotsu Courtiers is accomplished at the art of masking his nature, preventing his true intentions from being discovered by others. You are skilled at hiding your intentions and the symptoms of Taint. You gain a Free Raise when using Sincerity (Deceit). Any rolls made to detect your Taint (such as the techniques of the Kuni) have their TN increased by an amount equal to 5 x your School Rank. You add your School Rank to your Honor Rank whenever another is attempting to discern your Honor Rank.

Rank 2: Cracks in the Wall
The Daigotsu courtier is taught to drop subtle, seemingly innocuous conversational hints that disrupt the focus and attention of those around him. Any time you are engaged in conversation, you may spend a Void point and make a Courtier (Manipulation) / Awareness roll (as a Simple Action) at TN 25 to force everyone within 20 feet of you to suffer a penalty of -1k1 to all their Etiquette and Perform Skill rolls for the next hour. They are not aware of the source for their lack of focus. This effect cannot be stacked.

Rank 3: Darkness Cannot be Trapped
At this rank, the Spider courtier is taught to deflect attention and blame away from himself, spreading disharmony among his foes while avoiding the price of his own actions. Any time you are the focus of suspicion or accusation, you may spend a Void point as a Simple Action to try to shift the blame to someone else who is present at the moment of the accusation. You must make a Contested Roll of your Sincerity (Deceit) / Awareness versus the victim's Sincerity (Honesty) / Awareness in order to make the shifting of blame stick. (If your attempt seems weak or poorly justified, the GM can award bonuses to your victim's attempt to defend himself.) With a success everyone who heard you will believe your target is the real culprit, until presented with evidence to the contrary.

Rank 4: The Touch of Sin
At this level of training, the Spider's mastery of manipulation and misdirection allows his words to twist the thoughts of others, temporarily leading them into weakness, aggression and confusion. A number of times per session equal to your School Rank, you may speak with someone for a few minutes and then make a Contested Roll of your Courtier (Manipulation) / Willpower against their Etiquette (Courtesy) / Willpower. If you succeed, they acquire one of the seven Consumed by Shourido Disadvantages (your choice) for a number of hours equal to your School Rank. By calling two successful Raises on this roll, you can inflict a second Consumed by Shourido Disadvantage of your choice on the same person for the same period of time. (You cannot use this technique on the same person twice in the same day).

Rank 5: The Embrace of Darkness
The final lesson of the Daigotsu Courtier School teaches its students to lead their enemies into paths of aggression and violence. By speaking with someone for at least 15 minutes, you may make a Contested Roll of your Sincerity (Deceit) / Awareness against their Etiquette (Courtesy) / Perception. If your target currently has one of their Consumed by Shourido Disadvantages, you gain a 5k0 bonus to this roll. With a success, you may convince your target to treat some other person, group, institution or clan as their enemy. This cannot be used to turn someone directly against his lord or the Emperor. Subject to that limitation, the target will continue to believe in this enmity until presented with evidence to the contrary. This technique cannot be used against the same person more than once per month.

Goju Ninja [GC]

The Goju are essentially the brawn of the forces controlled by the Lying Darkness and its successor, the Shadow Dragon. They are certainly the most numerous of its minions (although still relatively few in number compared to any real samurai family) and consist of men and women from all backgrounds and families who have been absorbed into the Lying Darkness and lost their identity, becoming faceless creatures of darkness. All members of the Goju have had their identities at least partially consumed (in most cases almost completely so) by the Nothing. All are able to draw upon the power of the Nothing to varying degrees, using it to generate supernatural capabilities that invariably center around infiltration, deception, and murder

  • Benefit: +1 Agility
  • Skills: Athletics, Kenjutsu, Ninjutsu, Sincerity (Deceit), Stealth 2, any one Skill
  • Honor: 0.0
  • Outfit: Black Clothing, Ninja-to, Tanto, 6 Shuriken or Tsubute, any one weapon, 50 feet of Rope and Grapple, Traveling Pack, 1 koku

Techniques

Rank 1: The Cloak of Night
The first lesson a Goju masters is the art of wrapping oneself in shadow, gaining concealment from enemies in exchange for making direct action more difficult. You may increase your Armor TN up to a maximum amount equal to your School Rank x 5. The TN of all your rolls other than Athletics, Defense, and Stealth Skill Rolls is increased by the same amount. Activating this Technique is a Simple Action and it lasts for the duration of the skirmish.

Rank 2: Melting into Shadow
A Goju is not merely protected by the darkness but part of it, and can blend easily within it. You gain bonus rolled dice equal to your School Rank on any Stealth Skill Roll. Any uncontested roll made by an opponent trying to detect you automatically has its TN increased by an amount equal to your School Rank x 5. You gain one Free Raise on all attack rolls made against opponents who are unaware of your presence.

Rank 3: The Shadowed Blade
The Goju is a swift and merciless foe. You may make an attack as a Simple Action rather than a Complex Action when attacking with knives or any weapon that uses the Ninjutsu Skill. Alternatively, when wielding shuriken, you may take a Complex Action to make a number of ranged attacks equal to your School Rank.

Rank 4: Step Within Shadow
As all darkness is one with the Goju, so too can the Goju use the darkness to move between shadows without crossing the space in between. You may enter any shadow large enough to conceal an individual of your size and emerge from any other similarly-sized shadow nearby. This is considered a Simple Move Action. The range of this movement is equal to your School Rank x 100 feet.

Rank 5: Shadow upon the Moon
A true Goju no longer even vaguely resembles anything human. Your facial features are permanently erased, leaving only a tell-tale eggshell mask in their place. In darkness or shadows, you may dissolve your physical body into a vague cloud of inky vapor. This is a Simple Action; changing back into corporeal form is a Free Action. You may move at your full speed while in incorporeal form but may not physically interact with any object or individual and cannot be harmed by anything except crystal. You may pass through solid matter in a thickness of up to your School Rank x 5 in inches. You gain +5 to your Initiative Score during the first Round (only) each time you change back to your corporeal form.

Ninube Shugenja [GC]

The individuals who call themselves the Ninube are not truly shugenja in the conventional sense of the word, but then they are not truly individuals either, so the terminology here is largely a matter of convenience. The Ninube are minions of the Lying Darkness who seem to retain a portion of their individuality (whether they truly do is impossible to say). After the Darkness was defeated but before the Shadow Dragon usurped its place as the avatar of Nothing, the Ninube chose to go their own way, forsaking loyalty to this new master. (Or so they believe… in truth, they remain every bit as much a part of the Shadow Dragon’s machinations as their more willing former comrades among the Goju.)

  • Ninube Family: +1 Reflexes
  • Benefit: +1 Awareness
  • Skills: Calligraphy, Knives, Sincerity (Lying), Spellcraft, Stealth 2, any Low skill
  • Honor: 0.0
  • Outfit: Black Clothing, Wakizashi, Knife, Scroll Satchel, Traveling Pack, 2 Koku
  • Affinity / Deficiency: Air / Earth
  • Spells: Sense, Commune, Summon, 3 Air spells, 2 Fire spells, and 1 Water spell
  • Technique: Mask of the Nothing - As a Complex Action you may expend a spell slot to dissolve your physical self and become a shadow. As a shadow you are invisible in darkness and gain a bonus of +5k0 to your Stealth Skill Rolls under all other circumstances. You are immune to most mundane attacks, but crystal and magic can affect you. Magical attacks that involve crystal or generate light double their rolled damage dice against you. When in shadow form, if you suffer damage that would kill you, you instead return to physical form at once with either half of your Wounds or with the Wounds you possessed when you entered shadow form, whichever is lower; you are Stunned when this happens. You may not inflict damage on others in any way while in shadow form, but you may cast non-damaging spells and can speak in the form of a disembodied whisper. You gain a Free Raise on all Nothing spells. You may not cast maho spells. Several existing spells may be cast as Nothing spells. When this is done the spells invoke a very unsettling atmosphere obvious to any shugenja (although they may not know what causes it, only that they feel unwell), and may even make non-shugenja uncomfortable. Common side-effects of such spells, in addition to their normal effects, include the deepening of shadows, the dimming of lights, the presence of faint undecipherable whispers, etc. GMs may of course add or exclude any spells from this list as it suits the needs and style of their campaigns.
    • Air: By the Light of Lord Moon, Cloak of Night, Way of Deception, Hidden Visage, The Eye Shall Not See, Your Heart’s Enemy, Gift of Wind, Cloud the Mind, Echoes on the Breeze
    • Fire: Extinguish, Hurried Steps
    • Water: Reflections of Pan Ku, Wave-Borne Speed

The Order of the Spider Monks [CR]

The origins of the enigmatic Order of the Spider are a mystery to many even within the clan that holds their loyalty. The Order began with the teachings of the fallen monk Roshungi, but not until his greatest student Michio began spreading the gospel of finding one's own path, regardless of the consequences to others, did the Order begin to grow in earnest. Brothers of the Spider are merciless opponents with a well deserved reputation for brutality. Their training includes devastating hand-to-hand styles and many heavy weapons techniques as well. Although some succumb to the Shadowlands Taint, many have remained pure simply because it has not suited their needs to draw upon the power of darkness.

The Spider monks are peerless hand-to-hand combatants who, unlike most monastic fighting styles, cripple foes rather than simply disabling them. Their steely resolve grants them significant bonuses to resist both manipulation and actual magic, as well as resilience and improved capacity to inflict damage.

  • Benefit: +1 Agility
  • Skills: Athletics, Jiujutsu 2, Lore: Theology, Meditation, Polearms, any one Skill.
  • Honor: 1.5
  • Outfit: Light or Heavy Armour, Sturdy Clothing, any Heavy Weapon or Polearm, Travelling Pack, 3 koku.

Techniques

Rank 1: The Dark Path
The Order of the Spider teaches strength and mastery of oneself, even the darkness that hides within the Soul. You gain a bonus of 1k0 to the total of all attack rolls made using unarmed strikes or with polearms. You also add twice your School Rank to your Armour TN against all melee attacks.

Rank 2: Drawing in the Strike
Mastery of the body is a step to the path of power, and this mastery affords tremendous endurance to those who reach it. You may select any non-void ring. You gain Reduction equal to this Ring, plus your Rank in Shadowlands Taint, if you have any.

Rank 3: Speed of Darkness
The alignment of body and mind allow tremendous speed, When using a polearm or an unarmed attack, you may make melee attacks as Simple Actions rather than Complex Actions.

Rank 4: Guarded by Chi
Following mastery of the body comes mastery of the soul. When you learn this Technique, you may select any one non-Void Ring. You add twice your Rank in this Ring, plus your Shadowlands Taint Rank (if you possess any), to the TN of any spell being cast against you. You may choose to suppress this effect if you wish.

Rank 5: Darkness Unleashed
True mastery of the self requires drawing upon the darkness within. You gain an additional number of Void Points per day equal to your Shadowlands Taint Rank, or your Earth Ring, whichever is higher. These may be spend exactly like normal Void points, except they may also be spent to add a bonus of +1k1 to the total of your damage rolls.

Advanced Schools

Dark Paragon [Monk] [EE]

There are those among the Spider Clan, particularly among the ranks of the Daigotsu bushi and the Order of the Spider monks, who have embraced their own sinister variant of honor and devotion. Even the touch of Jigoku itself can be used as fuel for their power, a power that strangely resembles the oneness many Brotherhood monks have with the universe. Some believe this is an indication that the path of the Spider, while radically different from the paths of the Brotherhood, is a true path to enlightenment. Those among the Brotherhood who are aware of the existence of the Dark Paragons vehemently refute this claim, insisting they are nothing but more seductive tricks of the Realm of Evil. The Paragons themselves insist instead that their power reflects their absolute mastery of themselves, and Jigoku has no reason to leave its mark on its servants when those servants are willing, devoted, and able to enact its will far more effectively without the constraints of the Taint.

Requirements:

  • Ring/s Traits: At least one Trait at 5
  • Skills: Lore: Theology 4+
  • Other: Dark Paragon Advantage, Honor Rank 4+, must have the ability to make melee attacks as a simple action.

Techniques

Rank 1: Ruthless Determination
A student of the dark paths learns to flow from one thing to the next, and learns the secrets hidden in between. You gain two Kiho, for which you must meet all prerequisites. If you possess the ability to make a melee attack with a weapon as a Simple Action, you also gain the ability to make an unarmed attack as a Simple Action, and vice versa.

Rank 2: Rising Shadows
The strength of the pious is that surety of purpose can lead one to overcome virtually any failure if one is but strong enough in one’s beliefs. A number of times per skirmish equal to your Void Ring, you may immediately re-roll any failed Bugei Skill Roll using your Lore: Theology Skill in place of the Bugei Skill originally used.

Rank 3: Absolute and Unwavering
A true paragon of darkness can eschew the restrictions of honor or even the touch of another realm in order to accomplish greater things in the mortal world, simply by tapping into his true connection to the universe. You gain two Kiho, for which you must meet all prerequisites. You may sacrifice 2 Honor points or voluntarily reduce your Taint by 1 point rather than spending a Void Point in order to activate any Kiho. You do not lose any physical deformities previously gained as a result of your Taint Rank in this manner, but you can lose Shadowlands Powers. If you gain subsequent ranks of the Shadowlands Taint, you regain lost abilities rather than getting new ones.

Obsidian Warrior [Bushi] [CR]

This terrifying school was created by a deadly Lost bushi, but has since been taught to many Spider warriors with little or no Taint, for its methods of raw power and force of will can be used by anyone ruthless and cruel enough to master its techniques. Reputedly, most of the students at this school's handful of dojo never survive their training, but the minority who make it through are among the Spider Clan's most formidable warriors, able to match or defeat the mightiest of Rokugan's bushi.

Requirements:

  • Rings/Traits: Earth 4, Agility 5, Reflexes 5
  • Skills: Iaijutsu 5, Intimidation 5, Lore: Shourido 4
  • Other: Must survive a skirmish with an Obsidian Warrior sensei

Techniques

Rank 1: Darkness is My Light
The Obsidian Warrior's devotion to Shourido frees him from the constraints which bind and restrict lesser mortals. Your maximum Raises are no longer limited in any way.

Rank 2: The Power of Impurity
The power of the Shadowlands courses through the Obsidian Warrior, disorienting nearby foes. All your opponents within 30' are affected by this Technique. The total of their Bugei and Damage rolls are reduced by your Strength Rank plus your Taint Rank. Opponents may ignore this Technique for the Turn by spending a Void point.

Rank 3: My Strength Has No Limits
The Obsidian Warrior's complete devotion to the ways of Shourido allows him to shrug off anything that might deter him, and to funnel his power into devastating blows. You roll extra unkept dice equal to your Strength Rank plus your Taint Rank when resisting an Intimidation attempt or a Fear effect, you gain the same bonus in unkept dice to any Damage rolls you make with Melee weapons.

Alternate Paths

Chuda Subversive [Shugenja] [CR]

The Shadowlands Taint offers great power to those who would listen to the seductive beckoning of the dark realm. This comes with certain drawbacks, often including grotesque disfigurations. Witch Hunters and Jade Magistrates learn to spot these changes and kill these blasphemers on sight. Those who use these profane rituals must find ways to lessen the consequences of their actions if they wish to live within the Empire. The Chuda Subversives are well versed in masking the effects of the Shadowlands Taint and passing as normal citizens of the Empire. Their abilities have grown so great that they may even fool the kami.

  • Replaces: Chuda Shugenja 4
  • Requirements: Lore: Shadowlands 4
  • Technique: The Dark Kami's Discretion - Certain sects of the Shuda have extensively studied means by which the influence of Jigoku in the mortal realm can be concealed from others. By expending three spell slots, you may completely suppress your own Taint, or that of a willing target you touch, for a number of hours equal to your School Rank. In the case of a human who possesses the Taint, this will render them temporarily immune to damage from jade or other effects that target the Taint, but will deny them access to any Taint based powers. In the case of inherently Tainted creatures targeted by this effect, such as oni or goblins, the effect only renders them immune to Taint detection abilities. They gain no immunities and lose no abilities. This technique in no way disguises physical mutations.

Colonial Conqueror [Bushi]

The dangers of a new land are ideally suited to unleashing the full power and horror of the Spider Clan. When the Divine Empress struck her bargain with the forces of darkness at the end of the Destroyer War, she knew what would become of those corrupted vassals entering her service. She would send them away, to ensure that her own people, the just and the honorable, would be spared their company and their threat. What she could not know, what she did not foresee, was the incredible joy the Spider would take in fulfilling her command: “Go forth, and conquer in my name.”

  • Replaces: Daigotsu Bushi 3, Order of the Spider Monk 3
  • Requirements: Earth 3, Strength 3
  • Technique: All Fall Before Me - A Spider Conqueror is an unstoppable juggernaut of destruction that crushes all in its path without hesitation or remorse. Once per Round when you make a successful melee attack, you may immediately take a Free Action to make a Contested Willpower Roll with your opponent. If you win the Contested roll, your damage for that strike is doubled.

Obsidian Magistrate [Bushi] [CR]

When the Spider Clan was formed out of the Lost, its founder Daigotsu decided to organize his forces as a subversion of the values Rokugan holds dear. He created an ideology and a set of laws with which to rule his own empire. The Obsidian Magistrate acts as the dark mirror of the Emerald Magistrate. He imposes the law of the Spider on everyone he meets, and his fanaticism fuels ferocious charges against his foes on the battlefield.

  • Replaces: Daigotsu Bushi 1
  • Requirements: Investigation 2
  • Technique: Strength in Terror - The Obsidian Magistrate is the bastion of Shourido and enforcer of Daigotsu's will. You gain the Benefit, Skills, Honor and Outfit of a Rank 1 Daigotsu Bushi, you may add your Perception Trait plus your Taint Rank to the total of all High and Bugei Skill Rolls. This bonus does not apply to Weapon Skills. You may also add the difference between your Honor and that of your opponent to the total of all attack rolls made against that opponent.
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