Author Topic: The Rokugan Setting; Samurais, Ninjas, Shugenjas, Ohmy!  (Read 5824 times)

Offline vaz

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The Rokugan Setting; Samurais, Ninjas, Shugenjas, Ohmy!
« on: April 30, 2014, 11:10:18 AM »
Just a few placeholders as I'm writing stuff up based on the Rokugan Campaign Setting, detailing the families and playing within the Empire and the use of these books. Too often these get forgotten or ignored, and with the wealth of material that's out there for 3.5E, I feel it deserves some discussion regarding including that new stuff within it.

I would just like to point out that there's a lot of references to 3.0 Mechanics such as partial actions which are no longer part of the 3.5 game. There is a 3.5 update booklet available which will help you. For the sake of clarity, I'll include a suggestion next to the relevant part which will allow you to play along with the original intent of the particular item/feat/whatever. I kindly request that you don't post in this thread for the time being, and instead direct questions/suggestions/corrections to the discussion thread.

Ciao for now.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 05:26:36 AM by vaz »

Offline vaz

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2014, 11:11:02 AM »
What Books Will You Need?

As mentioned in the opening post, the books from the Rokugan Campaign Setting were designed for 3rd Edition D&D. As such, while reading them, you may find references to outdated rules. This is where the 3.5 Edition Update Booklet comes in to help. It is a bit of a pain to learn terms which are not then applicable to any other game, but actually have meanings you are aware of by a different name, but it gets fairly easy. Please, please, please, make sure you're at least acquainted with this wonderful aid. I'll do my best here, but some stuff may escape my notice.

Other than that, here are the books you will need.
  • Player's Handbook; it might seem obvious, but these books are not standalone. The rules are rooted in the core of the game after all. [PHB]
  • Rokugan Campaign Setting; Again, Captain Obvious is obviousColonel Cliche, but it makes sense to cover all bases. [RCS]
  • Oriental Adventures; contained within these hallowed pages are the basic rules of playing in an Oriental Setting. Which containing Samurai and stuff, I'd guess you could count Rokugan as. [OA]
  • Dragon Magazine #318; Included within is a collection of suggested updates to bring the 3.0 [OA] ruleset into 3.5. All references to [OA] could also potentially include content from here, but should be noted as such.
One other thing DMs and Players might find easier to search through when newly come to the setting is the wiki; it is fairly well maintained, and accurate, and from what I've seen, homebrew is not allowed. There are no mechanics either on the wiki to worry about players snagging silly Lightning Warrior-esque classes from. Oh, and Katana's are certainly not underpowered.

On top of that, you might find use of the following. I'll have taken content from the following books from the setting. The following books contain mechanical rules within. Other books within the setting contain fluff and canon which is admittedly helpful, but the mechanical rules within are dedicated to the L5R ruleset.
  • Way of the Ninja; [Ninja]
  • Way of the Samurai; [Samurai]
  • Way of the Shugenja; [Shugenja]
These detail the three major classes which are prevalent within this setting. It is rare that a major NPC from this setting will not have at least some, if not many or even all of its levels from one of these base classes.
  • Secrets of the Crab; [Crab]
  • Secrets of the Crane; [Crane]
  • Secrets of the Dragon; [Dragon]
  • Secrets of the Lion; [Lion]
  • Secrets of the Mantis; [Mantis]
  • Secrets of the Phoenix; [Phoenix]
  • Secrets of the Scorpion; [Scorpion]
  • Secrets of the Unicorn; [Unicorn]
These books detail the major clans, and their constituent major families, holdings, etc, and what roles they tend to fulfil, as well as some mechanical benefits, like Prestige Classes, Training Schools, Magic Items, new feats, and Clan specific Courtier abilities.
  • Bloodspeakers; [Bspk]; the antithesis of the Rokugani setting. These are the Sith to your Samurai Jedi.
  • Complete Exotic Arms Guide; [CEAG]; How are you equipped? It's no longer a Masterwork Bastard Sword, but a Katana. But which Katana?
  • Creatures of Rokugan; [CoRok]; fairly obvious. [CoRok] is intended to differentiate between the commonly used "Champions of Ruin" from Faerun setting with a similar Acronym.
  • Fortunes and Winds; [Crab]; Details the Spirit Realms and adventuring within.
  • Magic of Rokugan; [MoR]; Details Magic users and Items
  • Secrets of the Shadowlands; [Shadow]; It might make more sense to be on the previous list, but these are typical antagonists, and only rarely participate in parties involving members of the Great Clans, hence, they're here.
  • Way of the Daimyo; [Daimyo]; Want to become a clan ruler? You'll need this.
  • Way of the Open Hand; [OpenHand]; Punch things harder with this book. It's for monks.
  • Way of the Thief; [Thief]; Yet another threat to the Great Clans, contains details regarding  the naughty boys of Rokugan, the Kolat agents.
These books are tertiary to the setting. These are mainly for the fine tweaking of your characters after their creation. You might still be able to find some feats and things within these, but they are mostly niche. The one exception being Magic of Rokugan, which is obviously extremely helpful for Shugenja.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2014, 04:37:42 PM by vaz »

Offline vaz

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2014, 11:11:20 AM »
Races

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Offline vaz

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2014, 11:11:51 AM »
Classes

So, you want to play in Rokugan, eh? First things first though. There are some ground rules, as ever, to the setting. You've got to bear in mind a few things. Firstly; in [RCS] it explicitly calls out a few classes which aren't part of the setting*, while adding on some more different base classes. While other, later editions to the game (read, anything not in the PHB) are not called out, most are of a similar-enough nature that it's fairly obvious to guess which ones are available, with 3 notable exceptions. I'll let you guess what those are right now. I'll give you a hint. They're in the title. These new classes contain mechanics that may not be a relevant part of the game, and would need a considerable amount of "refluffing" to allow within a game of Rokugan. These classes will be addressed in the latter section of this handbook, detailing what can, and cannot be achieved, and suggested (personally, and also including your suggestions). Secondly, the point of view from the writers of the setting has come as if you were a human member of one of the families. Some things are not intended to be used by other races, which could lead to some... unexpectedly powerful results.

*Of course, obligatory mention to Miko. I'll steadfastly hold by the approach given in the Rokugan Campaign until the last section. While I personally agree with the linked belief that you can call yourself whatever, and that, at the end of the day, the fluff is what you make of it, and the mechanics behind the individual class are independent of the fluff for the most part, the purpose of a handbook is to show you what's possible within the book, and not what's within DM purview, and essentially "rule zero", which all too often is used in a negative light, but this time, is purely pleasurable. However, please note, as ever, that stuff that's not "RAW" may not fly by all DM's, and so please, please double check. The purpose of this handbook after all is to introduce a new campaign setting, and new set of mechanics to a campaign, so by all means, direct your DM's here. Hopefully it can allay some fears regarding the use of "3rd Party Material"; after all, it's not exactly dandwiki it's up against here.


Involving the Game Outside of the [RCS]; sounds obvious, but this spoiler is a MUST read if you wish to include classes not mentioned in the [RCS]
(click to show/hide)
--WIP--
« Last Edit: May 04, 2014, 05:09:52 PM by vaz »

Offline vaz

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2014, 11:12:15 AM »
The Families - Crab

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Offline vaz

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2014, 11:12:28 AM »
The Families - Crane

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Offline vaz

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2014, 11:12:41 AM »
The Families - Dragon

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Offline vaz

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2014, 11:12:55 AM »
The Families - Lion

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2014, 11:13:11 AM »
The Families - Mantis

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2014, 11:13:50 AM »
The Families - Phoenix

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2014, 11:14:04 AM »
The Families - Scorpion

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2014, 11:14:27 AM »
The Families - The Unicorn

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2014, 11:14:37 AM »
The Ronin

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2014, 11:14:58 AM »
Spellcasting in Rokugan

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2014, 11:15:12 AM »
Monsters in Rokugan

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2014, 11:15:29 AM »
Culture in Rokugan

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Re: The Rokugan Setting; Samurai's, Ninja's, Shugenja's, Ohmy!
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2014, 11:16:01 AM »
Bringing Rokugan into an Existing Campaign

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Notes;

Incarnum - a very similar idea to Void point expenditure. With a bit of refluffing, works well, including adaptations to things like Ironsoul Forgemasters which could be anyone of the fantastic smiths of Rokugan. Totemists or Incarnates Could represent Dragon Clan Tattooed Monks with the soulmelds. Sapphire Hierarch's ability to use Commune to contact the Kami rather than the Sapphire Eidolon (gaining the Law domain is tricky without access to Clerics - Contemplative is only available at ECL11, meaning you cannot finish Sapphire Hierarch pre-epic. I suggest either waiving that requirement, or changing it to requiring Honour). If it's not already in use by any characters within an ongoing campaign, you could even introduce Incarnum AS void points. It's something I have done in my own personal take on Rokugan, and it's quite well liked by my players but YMMV.

Psionics; This is another take on spending Void points, and nearer to what the mechanics are like for expending Void Points; however, the results are not exactly similar. It would take a bit more work, as well as some banned powers (especially those which replicate arcane magic) to be a part of the Rokugan setting. Also, Power Points cannot just be expended on anything similar to how Void Points can be.

Eberron Action Points; Another similar mechanic, spend an independent resource to gain bonuses to roll. However, limited access makes them a poor substitute.

Heroes of Horror Taint; As mentioned earlier, Heroes of Horror includes optional rules for Taint, which are updated and originally based on the Oriental Adventures system, which Rokugan uses/modifies. As one of the primary settings involving an immense tainted area, and its applications that create penalties regarding social and status which are often large parts of Rokugani adventures, it is something I definately recommend. Especially when some of the things which abuse taint are fairly no-go anyway, no Necropolitan abuse for 4 free feats etc.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2014, 06:19:01 PM by vaz »