12th Century Japan is on the brink of a bloody civil war centered around Imperial Succession. Our heroes must secure their place in the ever changing political landscape with shrewd diplomacy and fierce battle prowess lest they and their family fall into ruin.
Gempei Monogatari is set in an alternate reality of Japan, starting in the year 1160. Your characters are the retainers of minor nobles, or they are the minor nobles themselves (members of a branch family of a clan that holds rank and titles in the Capital). You are all either related or childhood friends and know one another well. Think “Game of Thrones” in 12th Century Japan where the players are members of a noble house of their own making.
Upon deciding which character class you wish to be the party may then decide who is and isn’t a member of the noble family. Playable character classes are as follows: Bard, Fighter, Shaman (oriental adventures), Samurai, Rogue (ninja/shinobi), Ranger, Bard, and Sohei (oriental adventures), sorcerer, and Wu Jen (Oriental adventures equivalent of wizard).
Certain classes correspond to certain ranks in the caste system. The caste system is broken into two general groups: Nobles and commoners. Note that during this time period it is entirely possible for a commoner to become a high ranking noble. Additionally, player characters are all from an insignificant rural area in which the distinction between noble and commoner is not very clear. As such player characters will naturally view one another as equals, even if NPCs treat them differently.
Kuge: Imperial courtiers. Compatible character classes are Samurai, Shaman, Wu Jen, and Sorcerer. Characters in the Kuge caste will be descendants of Imperial courtiers who were exiled to the countryside for displeasing a higher ranking official.
Samurai: The land holding warrior caste. Compatible classes are Samurai, Shaman, Wu Jen, Sorcerer, Sohei, Ranger, and Rogue. (Note that being a member of the samurai caste does not require that one play the samurai character class, and vice versa).
Merchants: The moneylenders, traders, and sellers of goods. Compatible classes are anything except Samurai and Bard.
Craftsmen: Woodcarvers, metalworkers, potters, etc… Compatible classes are anything except Samurai and Bard.
Artists and Entertainers: Painters, musicians, actors, etc… Compatible classes are anything except Samurai. This is the only caste that is compatible with the Bard character class. This caste would also be great for Ninja/Shinobi!
Farmers: Pretty self explanitory. Compatible with all classes except Samurai and Bard.
Every character should be at least proficient in both combat and social skills. This campaign involves a great deal of political intrigue. If you build a combat monster with low charisma and/or no ranks in anything but intimidate you will have only yourself to blame when you’re useless for half the campaign!