Player characters are samurai and other agents of the daimyo of the Tanomura Clan, in the (Mythic Medieval Japan-like) Lands of Nippon. All are native Nipponese humans – warriors, sorcerers, holy men, or commoners.
Starting Points: 250, with up to -50 in disadvantages, and up to 5 quirks. This is the level assumed in the DF Adventurer templates.
Base Starting Wealth: $1,000 (silver pieces); Signature Gear is 1 point/$500. Only samurai may start with above-average wealth, and they generally forgo wealth in favor of Signature weapons & armor. Speaking of armor, see Armor by the Suit.
Social Traits, such as Status, Patrons, and Legal Enforcement Powers, are assigned by fiat to the various character types – all samurai get high Status, Legal Enforcement Powers, and powerful (if distant) Patrons for free, while commoners get diddly squat for the same price. Life isn’t fair.
Campaign Tech Level: “Mostly” TL3, Medieval Nipponese.
Character Types and Templates
The standard Dungeon Fantasy Adventurer Templates are close-but-not-quite for the Lands of Nippon. The following character types are appropriate for the campaign; some use existing DF templates with little or no change, others use altogether new templates.
Samurai – Warriors and spell-slinging sorcerers; the knights and elemental wizards of the Lands of Nippon.
Priests – Invested priests and holy warriors; the clerics, druids, monks, and paladins of the Lands of Nippon.
Commoners – Peasant soldiers and others who are neither noble nor priest; the common fighters, martial artists, rangers, and thieves of the Lands of Nippons.
Ninja – Master spies and assassins, stalking the shadows of the Lands of Nippon.
Mahoutsukai – The rare spell-casters of the Lands of Nippon who aren’t samurai or priests.
The abilities of each of the traditional FRPG archetypes (cleric, fighter, magic-user, and thief) will be useful in the course of the adventure, so a good mix of templates and specialties is advisable. Additionally,
• The party must include at least one samurai (fighter or magic-user), who is the default leader; if there are multiple samurai, the eldest or highest-ranking leads. More samurai will improve the party’s combat effectiveness, but a group of nothing but samurai has few options in many situations beyond violence and threats of violence.
• At least one priest is highly advisable; the busso is the most like a traditional fantasy cleric, but the various priest templates overlap quite a bit, and all can provide the archetype’s basic abilities. They’re distinct enough that two different kinds of priests could both be useful, however – an elemental-focused shugenja could even stand in for a samurai magic-user, or a combat-seasoned sohei for a samurai warrior.
• Thieves will come exclusively from the hinin caste, whether disguised ninja or actual Eta servants. The party may include no more than one ninja.
• It will be useful to have someone who can easily interact with the lower social classes – samurai tend to inspire only fear, and get the answers that the commoners think are the least likely to lead to beheading. Most heimin find priests easier to talk to, but many Eta and other hinin are distrustful of anyone but another non-person.