Samurai Classes

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    Samurai

    Ancestral Honour

    The samurai take their families very seriously and believe a samurais true potential can only be

    measured by a careful study of his ancestors. Some noble families have such exalted histories it

    is believed that any samurai who comes from their ranks must surely become one of the greatest

    warriors of all time. Such projections of ancestral honour may, ultimately, prove to be untrue,

    however, and a samurai who fails himself and his honourable family in this way may never live

    down his disgrace. Children who rise from such lines find their every victory lavishly praised, but

    their failures are loudly and universally condemned as horrible personal shortcomings. This leads

    many samurai into cycles of elation and depression as their families alternately praise or

    condemn their actions.

    Adventuring: Samurai with families rich in honourable traditions must strive to prove

    themselves again and again. While other samurai are content to perform the occasional heroic

    deed or submit an honourable service to their daimyo, those with this character concept are in a

    race against time to accomplish more than the previous generation. This can lead to a dangerous

    tendency to overestimate the capabilities of an adventuring party and following a samurai from

    this type of family can be extremely hazardous.

    Role-playing: Desperate to prove themselves to a demanding family, samurai with this

    character concept are hell bent on proving their worth to themselves and their ancestors. Ready

    to accept difficult challenges without pause, this samurai appears brave and confident to

    everyone. Inside, however, there is always the fear of not measuring up, of falling short of what

    is expected by his family and himself. Where others fall behind and reconsider their options, this

    samurai presses on, battling his own fears for the chance to become worthy of his own name.

    Bonuses: The first time each level that a character with this concept gains honour, he gains an

    additional 1 point of honour.

    Penalties: The first time each level that a character with this concept loses honour, he loses an

    additional 1 point of honour.

    Ashigaru

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    In times of war, lords must often rely on less-than-ideal warriors, arming their peasants as best

    they can in the hope of protecting their territory or assaulting the nearby domains of their

    enemies. Known as ashigaru, these peasants are poorly trained and horribly equipped, often

    operating without armour and using only the crudest of weapons. Still, those who survive long as

    an ashigaru are able to distinguish themselves amongst their peers, standing out as capable

    combatants. A few of these survivors come to the attention of their lord and, if they act

    honourably, become samurai. Hardened by the worst battle conditions and well aware of the

    contempt with which samurai and the nobles they serve view their social inferiors, ashigaru are

    often tough, cynical men able to do whatever their lord asks of them.

    Adventuring: Former peasants can be an embarrassment to keep around the lords court. As a

    result, many samurai elevated from the ranks of the ashigaru find themselves assigned to the

    hinterlands of their lords estates. While all samurai are regarded as more valuable than a simple

    peasant, the samurai lifted up from such common stock may be seen as just a bit less vital to a

    lord than his noble-born peers. Because of this, these samurai are often given the mostdangerous tasks and assigned missions that take them far from home. It is only natural then,

    that they fall in with common adventurers while pursuing other goals.

    Role-playing: The ashigaru know exactly where they stand in the universe somewhere just

    above dung beetles but far below the elite samurai and godlike nobility. When given the coveted

    position of samurai, former peasants often have difficulty relating to their former superiors and

    feel more comfortable around their old friends. Naturally, this association with other peasants

    does little to improve the standing of the new samurai amongst the courtiers of his lord, leading

    to a nasty cycle in which the peasant samurai doubts his position and other samurai look down

    upon him for his choice in companions. This can lead to a former ashigaru severing all ties with

    his family and old friends as he struggles to become a member of the elite samurai cadre.

    Bonuses: The samurai who rise from the ranks of the ashigaru are given a great deal more

    latitude in their actions than noble-born or more respectable samurai. Their assignments tend to

    be of longer duration and have less focus than other samurai, giving them the freedom to pursue

    their own goals and adventures. A samurai who comes from the ranks of the ashigaru need only

    render 3 services each year, rather than the more typical 6 required of other samurai.

    Penalties: Coming from peasant stock, this samurai suffers a social stigma, which often leaves

    him excluded from the upper tiers of samurai society. The first time each level this samurai gains

    honour, he gains one point less than he would normally, to a minimum of zero honour gained.

    Dragon Family

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    Amongst the samurai, dragons are sacred creatures. They represent the fierce warrior spirit, the

    indomitable samurai will and the wisdom that comes only with true enlightenment. In legends,

    the greatest of samurai are said to descend from the dragons themselves. Characters with this

    background come from families which, right or wrong, are believed to have draconic ancestry

    many generations in the past. Destined for noble fates and blessed with the powerful spirit of the

    dragons, these samurai are impressive figures.

    Adventuring: Seeking a connection to their past, samurai from dragon families are often given

    leave to seek out the secrets of their ancestry. While the daimyo may not be entirely comfortable

    with allowing his samurai to leave for extended periods of time, the chance to gain an ally from

    the dragon families is a tempting lure. Adventuring bands find the company of a dragon family

    member quite pleasant as well his noble standing and commanding aura can often handle

    problems with local authorities quickly and efficiently. Of course, outside of his own lands, the

    samurai may not be so ready to expose his true allegiances

    Role-playing: The dragon families believe strongly in their mystical heritage and do their best

    to make sure others believe as well. For the dragon family, the past is a glorious bridge to a

    future of honour and prestige and it is crucial to maintain contact with their heritage. Most

    members of the dragon families have a superiority complex, believing in their own grand destiny

    and the power of their ancestral spirits. While this may not always be a wise belief, it gives the

    samurai a sense of self-assurance few can equal.

    Bonuses: Samurai from dragon families carry a near-mythical aura of honour and prestige with

    them wherever they go. During social challenges, the samurais honour is treated as if it were 1

    point higher than it actually is. This bonus does not translate in areas where honour is

    unimportant or is simply measured differently.

    Penalties: With such mighty boots to fill, the samurai hailing from a dragon family is judged

    much more harshly than others when it comes to matters of honour. Whenever a dragon family

    samurai loses honour, he loses one point more than normal. When the samurai is travelling

    through areas which do not consider honour important, or which judge honour differently, this

    penalty does not apply.

    First BornAs the legitimate offspring of a noble father, you stand to inherit all the titles, property and

    responsibilities granted to your family by the local lord. On the other hand, you may find yourself

    at the centre of a plot to remove you from the running, especially if you have younger siblings or

    more distant relatives with an eye on your birthright. Still, there is something to be said for your

    position and your line of descent. Places closed to others open when your familys name is

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    mentioned and even the most exclusive of martial schools are ready to accept you into their

    ranks in exchange for the favour provided by your family.

    Adventuring: First born are rarely allowed to adventure openly. Those who do seek out such

    base pursuits must be careful never to reveal their true identity lest word of their exploits get

    back to their parents or guardians, who will surely do their utmost to rein in the rebellious nature

    of youth. Thus, many first born samurai travel incognito, disguising themselves as lowborn

    warriors or even pretending they are not samurai at all.

    Role-playing: You are destined to rule over a small chunk of land, on which you will have

    absolute power. Sadly, it is still some time before you inherit what is rightfully yours and, as

    such, you spend most of your time wondering what it will be like to rule and contemplating

    clever ways to remove your father from his post before he is quite ready to turn over the reins of

    power. These thoughts lead you to more carefully scrutinise those close to you, however, as you

    contemplate the dangers inherent in your position.

    Bonuses: You are able to move