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Thursday, 21 March 2013

Fate of the Five Rings: Dragon Clan Tattoos

This is really a continuation of the last post on the Dragon Clan stunt trees. In it I outline the rules for tattoo use by the Ise Zumi and list up some of the tattoos.

All F5R tattoo effects last for a scene unless otherwise noted.

You are yin and yang, positive and negative in perfect harmony. On activating the tattoo you may choose for spells targeting you to be either +2 or -2 difficulty to cast.

Flexible yet resilient, gain a defensive boost at the start of each turn.

Your unarmed strikes are imbued with the power of flame as sparks dance and crackle around your fists. Gain an offensive boost at the start of each turn.

Unceasing movement. You may cross vast distances in minutes as long as you keep moving, and could cross the empire in a single day. As soon as you stop you fall to the ground exhausted and my take no physical actions for the next day.

The crab is protected by a thick shell. You gain armour: 2

As symbol of grace and beauty. Gain a boost with three free invokes for use in any social test.

Mighty and fearsome, activating the dragon tattoo enables you to breathe a cone of fire five feet across and ten feet plus your Shintao in length. You use your Shooting skill to hit opponents with the blast which has a weapon rating equal to your Shintao. Each use of this causes you two stress.

Light and agile, you may leap up to your Physique x 25 feet.

Noble and proud, the lion tattoo grants a boost to a Bugei skill of your choosing.

The mantis is small but fearless. This tattoo is active at all times and renders you immune to any effect that causes fear.

Unmoving and eternal, while active your minor consequence slot acts as a two point stress box instead. If you use this slot then when the tattoo is deactivated you suffer a consequence as normal.

The ocean is boundless and fruitful. When you receive this tattoo you no longer need to eat or drink to receive sustenance, although you may still partake for the pleasure of it. Activating the tattoo leaves you refreshed as if you had just had a full night’s sleep and a good meal. You may only activate this tattoo once every three days.

As soon as it is destroyed the phoenix rises anew. If you are taken out, this tattoo automatically activates and heals and amount of stress equal to your Shintao as long as you spend a fate point. This ability may only be used once per milestone.

While the scorpion tattoo is active you gain a boost to any stealth test and if you succeed with style on an unarmed combat test you gain an additional boost, dazing your opponent.

Activating the Spider tattoo grants you the ability to move over any terrain as if is was level ground and you may scale sheer, vertical or inverted surfaces as if it was normal terrain.

This tattoo imbues you with the fearsome power of the storm. When you make a successful unarmed attack you do two additional shifts of damage.

This tattoo, a bright black kanji, represents the void. When activated, you become aware of all life within a radius equal to your Shintao times ten feet, even if you cannot see it. You may use this power to recognise individuals that are well known to you.

On activation of this tattoo you gain the superhumanly sharp “Senses of the Wolf” for the remainder of the scene.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Fate of the Five Rings: Dragon Clan Stunt Trees

Updated after feedback. 

Next up in F5R are the Dragon.

The tattoo list is pretty long so that's getting it's own post.

The master document is here: Fate of the Five Rings if you want to read more.

The Dragon Clan

Mirumoto Bushi Clan

Rank One - Tail of the Dragon
The Mirumoto school is the only school to focus training on the principles of Niten, Mirumoto’s two sword technique. Students at the school learn to use the Wakizashi to block strikes that would otherwise leave them open to attack if armed only with a Katana. You roll d8-d6 for your defence when wielding the both of your blades.

Rank Two - The Calm in the Midst of Thunder
As the traditional rivals of the the Mirumoto are the Kakita, students of the Mirumoto school study duelling alongside kenjutsu. When in the centre stance you gain +2 to duelling tests.

Rank Three - Strong and Swift
As the student progresses in their understanding of Niten they learn to overwhelm their opponent with a flurry of strikes seemingly coming from all directions at once. You roll d8-d6 for your attack when armed with both katana and wakizashi.

Rank Four - Furious Retaliation
The Mirumoto will not rest while an enemy stands before them. Gain a boost with a free invoke against any opponent who has attacked you in the previous round.

Rank Five - Heart of the Dragon
The master of Niten is a whirling tornado of steel. You may strike twice in the same turn when wielding a katana and wakizashi. Your second attack occurs at the end of the turn but you may interrupt the order of initiative to take it at an earlier time.

Tamori Shugenja School

Affinity of the Earth (Shintao)
The Tamori school specialises in earth magics; +2 when casting earth based spells. However, your mastery of the element of air is poor in comparison and you suffer a -2 penalty when attempting to cast spells of this element.

Flesh of the Elements (Shintao)
The Tamori have mastered the technique of containing the essence of magic within the liquid of specially prepared potions. You may cast a spell that has a self or one person/target area of effect and store that effect in a potion. This potion can then be activated later by anyone possessing it. Spells stored in this way last for a number of days equal to your Shintao modified by any shifts gained on your Shintao test.

Kitsuki Investigator School

Rank One - Kitsuki’s Method
The Kitsuki are trained in the unusual methods of investigation. They gain +2 to Awareness when examining a crime scene for evidence.

Rank Two - Wisdom the Wind Brings
It is exceptionally difficult to deceive a trained investigator. Kitsuki school investigators gain +2 to spotting attempts to lie to them, either through Sincerity or outright Deception.

Rank Three - Know the Rhythm of the Heart
Ichi Miru is the art of assessing someone at a glance. An investigator can, after only a short conversation learn key facts about their target. Gain +2 to Awareness when used to uncover someone else’s aspects.

Rank Four - Finding the Path
Investigators are adept at navigating the shifting currents at court, figuring out the complex networks of alliances and enmities. After a few minutes conversation with someone you may make an Awareness test to uncover the identity of either one of their allies or one of their enemies. You may choose choose whether an enemy or ally is revealed, but the GM decides on their identity.

Rank Five - The Eyes Betray the Heart
High rank investigators are almost impossible to lie to. Anyone knowingly attempting to deceive you must overcome an obstacle equal to your Awareness or give themselves away in some small way, even if you did not actively suspect them of lying.

Togashi Order

Rank One - Blood of the Kami
You have been tattooed using ink containing the blood of the Kami Togashi. You may select two tattoos.

Rank Two - Body of Stone
Mind and body acting together are the strength of the Ize Zumi. You roll 1d8-1d6 when engaging in unarmed combat.

Rank Three - Blessing of the Kami
Once again you have received the blessing of your patron Kami in the form of two additional tattoos.

Rank Four - Will of Stone
Mastering the flesh requires mastery of the will. You may make a second unarmed attack each round. This attack occurs at the end of the round.

Rank Five - Touch of the Kami
You are truly blessed by your patron Kami. The order has awarded you two additional tattoos.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Thirst

I'm about to start playing in a 20th Anniversary Vamipre game. 

This got me thinking about some of the house rules that we had for our live action vampire game Recrudescence. 

Then I saw a post in the he fate core community about skills acting as their own obstacles (apologies that I can't remember whose post it was to give them credit) and thought that I could address some of the issues from the game that we had had all those years ago. 

I like VtM although I must admit that I prefer VtR. Anyway our game was based on VtM but diverged significantly from canon in both system and history by the time the game finished. 

We (the guys who ran it) always said that if we did it again we would still do modern day vampire but we would divest it entirely from VtM to freshen up the whole concept. 

Then we all got jobs and moved away and nothing came of it. 

I can't say that I'll run another vampire larp but I feel the need to put down some of the thoughts I have on paper just to get them out of my head so I can move on.

So what are the main ideas? 


The dead have the same skills as they had when they were alive and most likely have kept them reasonably current unless serious ennui has set in and they have slept away the centuries. 

Blood Potency. 

Just like fine racehorses and royalty some bloodlines are more potent than others. This is measured by the non pyramid pseuo-skill Vitae. The higher your Vitae rating the funkier your mojo but it also acts as an obstacle at its rating for certain tasks. Thanks to +Michael Moceri for this suggestion.

The Thirst.

Why do the dead thirst? The power of blood sustains them and gives them life. But more than that, the dead do not feel. The passions of the living are now nothing but pale echoes. In the taking of blood they also take in something of the life of their victim, able to feel again after days of numbness. Human emotion is a powerful drug.

The power of the blood is not only in the vital and emotional link it provides to the world of the living. The vitality it provides can be eked out for days and weeks at a time, a candle flame in the darkness of a dead soul. It can also burn bright as the sun gifting the risen dead with power beyond that of mortals. 

In the game, thirst is measured by a custom stress track. Activating supernatural powers causes stress on this track as do some kinds of attacks. The track is healed by feeding. If you are taken out on this track you become the GM's plaything for the remainder of the scene.


To exist forever is a curse as well as a blessing. To exist without feeling doubly so. If the dead fail to feed or simply find themselves directionless for too long they can drift into a fuge state. Initially they just become withdrawn, but over time this becomes worse until they fall into an endless, deathlike sleep.

Player characters rarely suffer from ennui, however it is common enough amongst the elder dead. Staving off ennui is reason enough for them to create elaborate plots against each other. For the dead, boredom kills.

Sample Stunts

Unholy Prowess (Blood Potency)

This stunt can be activated to grant the dead supernatural speed, strength, endurance or any other physical attribute. Replace one of your fudge dice with a d4 for the relevant test or if using the MHR initiative variant gain a (speed) interrupt. Each activation only affects one attribute and causes stress on the thirst track if the Blood Potency test would otherwise fail.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Fate of the Five Rings: Crane Clan Stunt Trees

More F5R, this time the stunt trees for the Crane Clan schools. These were much harder to translate than the Crab schools as there was more technical, system stuff to deal with. Particularly the Daidoji who got the most changes.

It's worth noting that I'm going to use a version of the MHR initiative system that was proposed in the G+ community for this game so there are a number of stunts that facilitate interruptions in the order of initiative.

There is also a reference to stances which will be discussed in a separate post.

The master document is here Fate of the Five Rings if you want to read more.

The Crane Clan

Kakita Bushi School

Rank One - The Way of the Crane
The Kakita duelling academy specialises in training samurai in the art of iaijutsu. You may spend a fate point to interrupt the order of initiative and act at any time.

Rank Two - Speed of Lightning
Slow enemies are weak enemies and easy prey for the Kakita, +2 to Fighting against opponents who act after you.

Rank Three - First and Last Strike
The Kakita school produces the most feared duellists in the Empire. Gain +2 to Fighting to your first strike when duelling.

Rank Four - One Strike, Two Cuts
Advanced students of Kakita’s techniques are able to change the direction of their cut mid strike to inflict even more damage to their opponents. You gain two additional shifts of damage on a successful strike with any weapon that has a Bushi aspect.

Rank Five - Strike With No Thought
Masters of Kakita’s teachings do not need to think about the strike, it is now instinctual. While in the centre stance you gain all the advantages of that stance in the current exchange. Additionally, you may take a single action while in the stance and maintain the stance for consecutive actions.

Asahina Shugenja School

Affinity of the Fire (Shintao)
The Asahina school specialises in air magics; +2 when casting air based spells. However, your mastery of the element of fire is poor in comparison and you suffer a -2 penalty when attempting to cast spells of this element.

The Soul’s Grace (Shintao)
The Asahina favour art over war, you may spend a fate point to reduce the number of shifts of damage done by your opponents by one for a number of turns equal to the number of shifts gained on your Shintao test.

Doji Courtier School

Rank One - The Voice of Honour
Courtiers of the Doji school rely on the strength of their honour when dealing with others. As long as you are not suffering from any honour based consequence you gain +2 to Sincerity tests when speaking the truth or dissembling, but not when outright lying.

Rank Two - Speaking in Silence
As as samurai progresses through the ranks of the courtier school they learn the art of cadence, the ability to communicate through body language and subtle gestures.

This is limited to simple ideas or instructions such as “in our favor”, “follow her” or “danger comes” and obviously only over line of sight. Others from the Doji school recognise your cadence. Other Crane may make an Etiquette test at Great (+4) difficulty to understand the message.

More complex conversations may also be carried out by especially skilled practitioners, although this requires a successful Etiquette roll by both parties to understand.

Rank Three - The Perfect Gift
The Doji are known for building relationships and networks through the giving and receiving of valued gifts in return for future favours. When in the city or at court you may use your Etiquette in place of Commerce to obtain suitably rare or fitting gifts. If the gift is accepted then the recipient “Owes you a favour” until it is repaid.

Rank Four - Soul of Honour
High ranking Doji courtiers are capable of pursuing carefully crafted arguments that are synonymous with honour making your opponent's arguments therefore, dishonorable. Gain two additional shifts of damage on a successful Etiquette attack.

Rank Five - The Gift of the Lady
You are now a master at influencing the emotions of others, capable of converting even the bitterest enemies into allies, at least for a time. As long as you can engage in conversation for even a few moments with an enemy or rival then they will act as your ally for the remainder of the scene, as long as you make a successful Sincerity test. They are not under your direct control however and will not actively betray their basic loyalties.

Daidoji Iron Warrior School

Rank One - The Force of Honour
The Daidoji are shield of the Crane, defenders of home, hearth and honour. You roll d8-d6 to defend in combat with any Bushi weapon.

Rank Two - The Shield of Faith
When you may declare that you are guarding someone then your charge gains the aspect “Guarded by …” with a free invoke. This lasts until your next turn.

Rank Three - Strike Beneath the Veil
An attacker reveals something of themselves during their attack. The Iron Warriors learn to exploit this weakness. Gain a boost against the last opponent to attack whoever you are guarding.

Rank Four - Vigilance of  Mind
The Daidoji school teaches its students to be alert to danger at all times. You may spend a fate point to act first even if surprised.

Rank Five - To Tread on the Sword
The Iron Warriors believe in the higher purpose of dedicating themselves to protect their charge. If you have not acted yet you may spend a fate point to interpose yourself between your protectee and their attacker, forcing them to attack you instead.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Fate of the Five Rings: Crab Clan Stunt Trees

Working on F5R tonight. First draft of the Crab Clan School stunt trees.
Note that there are only two stunts for the shugenja school but then they can cast magic spells and talk to spirits, which seems like a fair exchange.

The Crab

Hida Bushi School

Rank One - The Way of the Crab
The Hida school trains the heavy infantry of the Rokugani. This counters the “Reduces Movement” aspect of heavy armour (except when using stealth) and allows you to roll a d8 as your positive die, instead of a d6 on attack rolls with heavy weapons.

Rank Two - The Mountain Does Not Move
The Crab are known as doughty warriors able to withstand punishing blows that would injure or kill lesser men. This stunt grants an extra two point stress box.

Rank Three - Two Pincers, One Mind
Hida school bushi are relentless. If an attack takes out an opponent then you may immediately make a follow-up attack against another opponent in the same zone as long as you are equipped with a heavy weapon.

Rank Four - Devastating Blow
Once angered the Hida Bushi is an even more formidable foe. Once per encounter you may automatically inflict the consequence “Stunned” on an opponent following a successful attack with a heavy weapon. For purposes of determining success

Rank Five - The Mountain Does Not Fall
The Hida are indomitable, nothing short of death can prevent them fulfilling their sworn duty. On your action you may spend a fate point to prevent any invokes or compels against any consequences that you have taken until the start of your next action.

Kuni Shugenja School

Affinity of the Earth (Shintao)
The Kuni school specialises in earth magics; +2 when casting earth based spells. However, your mastery of the element of air is poor in comparison and you suffer a -2 penalty when attempting to cast spells of this element.

Gaze into Shadow
Shugenja from the Kuni school have extensively studied the sinister and disturbing creatures of the shadowlands in search of ways to better combat them. Gain +2 when casting spells where the target is a creature that has been tainted by the shadowlands.

Yasuki Courtier School

Rank One - Way of the Carp
The Yasuki school produces masters of the art of commerce. You may substitute your Commerce skill for Intuition when trying to discern facts about their wealth or desire for material objects or services.

Rank Two - Do As We Say
The Yasuki can use the high pressure tactics and verbal dexterity they have learned as traders to confuse, bamboozle and persuade others into doing what they want. Once per scene you may reroll a failed Sincerity or Deception test substituting Commerce for the other skill. You must accept the results of the rerolled test however. This reroll does not cost a fate point.

Rank Three - Treasures of the Carp
The contacts you have among the Rokugani merchant class and their masters make it possible for you to obtain almost any item. Gain +2 on any Commerce test used to locate a rare or useful item desired by someone else. Note that locating an item and getting it are two different things. This stunt also allows you to declare that you have in your possession (although not necessarily on your person) any mundane item.

Rank Four - Wiles of the Carp
Being a ruthless merchant, skilled in the arts of barter, you are adept at seeing through the deceptions of others. You may use your Commerce skill to resist attempts to deceive you either with Sincerity or outright Deception.

Rank Five - What is Yours is Mine
Knowing someone’s hearts desire is the key to power over them. If you know of an item that someone needs and obtain it for them you gain +2 in all social contests with them until the next milestone.

Hiruma Bushi School

Rank One - Torch’s Flame Flickers
The Hiruma are taught to survive in the harshest of environments, the Shadowlands. Gain +2 Hunting when used to find water, food or shelter. You can also make supplies go further, food water and jade rations last twice as long for a number of people up to your Hunting skill rank.

Rank Two - Wolf’s Little Lesson
Hiruma bushi learn to harry their opponents dashing in to attack and withdrawing in the same fluid movement. You gain a +2 bonus to defend against the last opponent you successfully attacked in close combat until your next turn as long as you can freely move.

Rank Three - Hummingbird Wings
The hummingbird can move quickly in any direction. The Hiruma are taught to apply this lesson in battle. You may spend a fate point to avoid a single attack against you as long as you are free to move.

Rank Four - Shark Smells Blood
Hiruma bushi are adept at exploiting the misfortune of wounded opponents. If you force an opponent to take a consequence you gain two free invokes against it instead of one.

Rank Five - Daylight Wastes No Movement
The Hiruma school teaches its pupils to expend no more effort than is required to kill an opponent and then move on to the next. If you generate any additional shifts over and above those needed to take out your current opponent then you gain a boost.

All Quiet on the Western (Scotland) Front

Some of you will have noticed that my posting frequency is down a bit. 

There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly with the new arrival due in June there's loads of things to be done at home. Secondly, my day job is really busy right now too. 

There are only so many hours in the day and unfortunately all the real life stuff does squeeze out some of the gaming.

The third reason is that, apart from this post, I only really want to post up vaguely useful or interesting articles.

It's not been a total bust on the gaming front though. I'm actively working on Fate of the Five Rings (F5R) for my own gaming group as well as writing up backgrounds for some other FATE based adventures.

FATE has quickly become my go-to system because it's very quick to modify and bench test ideas with.

I've also still got my own home brewed d12 based system cooking away in the background. Although I will freely admit that work on this has stalled. Partly because of fatigue on my part having written and re-written the core document four or five times now. It's also hit a speedbump because of how much I'm enjoying doing things with FATE.