All Shugenja, through their three starting spells, are proficient in "basic sorcery",
ie what everyone with the talent was doing before Isawa invented
spells, the "sorcerers" of the first era. Generally I allow Shugenja to
achieve almost any supernatural effect they can think of if they are
prepared to spend enough time, effort, and resources bargaining and
making pacts with the right spirits.
It's more time
consuming than spells, and not something anyone in their right mind
would do in the middle of a fight, but it's open ended and can make for
Gaijin pepper = Mountain pepper
Developed by the
Agasha during the Two Rokugans era, thus the name-change. Partly a
response to a worrying decrease in children with a talent for sorcery.
No muskets until much later, mostly explosives/fireworks. Takes a few
years to really take hold in Rokugani culture, first as a tool of war,
then as entertainment.
Kiho are different things to different people, but on a metagame level I think of them as psychic powers. Some people have a natural affinity and kiho can occur untrained, but this is rare. They're a common side-effect of dedication to Bharata (Shintao), which has caused adherents to regard them as a sign of enlightenment. In reality, they're the result of a quiet, "uncluttered" mind, which is something Bharata helps with, and something Ancestor Worship, Fortunism, and Xavism generally do not.
I'm reversing the Bushi/Shugenja relationship, making it easier for Bushi to learn and harder for Shugenja, as well as making them harder to learn and execute for anyone with abilities, advantages, or disadvantages that imply a strong spiritual connection (anything that involves contact with ancestors, for example).
Many shugenja schools gradually move towards kiho use (in meta-game terms filling their ranks with "monks" instead of shugenja) as the talent for spellcasting grows rarer over time (the Tamori's more martial focus and kiho-like blade-summoning strikes me as a clear example of this, as does the kuni witch hunters, which I would populate primarily with Kuni who were born without the gift).
Because of its anti-spirit overtones, kiho are highly controversial in the Lion, and not uncommonly viewed with skepticism or scorn among dedicated adherents of non-Bharata religions.
Unarmed combat skills split into a more pugilism oriented and a more grappling oriented skill. Regional differences accounted for with kata/kiho and by "knowing the school". These are still experimental, so game balance may be non-existent.
alt names: Pugilism / Foot and Fist / "Kenpō"
Armor-based damage reduction counts double, but no need to ready a weapon and no risk of getting disarmed (even if they cut your arms off, you can still kick and headbutt). Also covers improvised weapons. Practiced primarily by monks and peasants.
0k1 (roll dice equal to strength and keep one, dice explode)
Rank 3: 1k1
Rank 5: 1k2
alt names: Jiujutsu / Kaze-do
Used to either grapple as per the grappling rules, or to disarm, redirect, or trip an opponent that is attacking you.
Reactive Grappling: Unarmed disarm attempts do 0k1 dmg instead of 2k1, but require only one raise if done against someone who's just attacked you (with three raises you take your opponent's weapon). You also get a free raise when you make a Grappling / Agility roll against someone attacking you at close range to trip or throw them (as "throwing" in the grapple rules). Taught in most bushi schools, practiced by everyone. Requires one extra raise to use while holding a weapon larger than a knife.
Rank 3: Reactive grappling (against opponents who've attacked you) is now a simple action (2 per round)
Rank 5: Free raise when initiating a grapple
No longer a skill. Ninja-weapons are all covered by whichever weapons skill seems relevant.
Ninja experience a golden age during the Two Rokugans era, especially on the Shogunate side. Many villages that struggle to survive, whether because the war ruined the harvest or their land was barren to begin with, switch focus to training ninja for the local clan in exchange for economic support.
The average ninja would beat the average samurai in a fight. Their skillset is more pragmatic (fewer court-related skills), they're a lot less predictable (using rarely seen weapons), and they do not "fight fair" (most samurai would not willingly do things like coat their blade in excrement). Most are peasants, some are eta, very few are samurai. Way of the Land is common, as is carrying a kitten beneath your clothes as a pocket watch.