• The player announces the desired action
  • The GM assigns a target number (TN)
  • The player roles a number of dice equal to the combined relevant trait and skill
  • Any tens rolled explode. This means that the player rolls the dice again and adds the result of the second roll to the ten that was rolled in the first place. If the dice comes up ten again then the dice continue to explode until a number other than ten is rolled
  • The players keeps a number of dice equal to the relevant trait and adds them together
  • If the total rolled is equal or greater to the TN then the character succeeds
The player may choose any of the dice rolled to make up his total, as it’s sometimes desirable not to roll too high (when trying to strike to disable rather than kill, or if for some reason, you deliberately wish to fail a roll without making it obvious)


  • Unskilled rolls: when making a skill roll in an area you are untrained in the following applies:
    • No dice explode
    • No raises maybe made, and no free raises apply
    • No Kata or techniques can be used in conjunction with an unskilled roll
    • You may only spend one void point on an unskilled roll, regardless of any advantages or otherwise that would normally allow you to do so
  • Mastery level – skills represent your characters ability in a given area. As your skill increase so will your insight, the amount of emphasises you can have in a skill and your glory (as you become known as a great courtier/swordsman/weapon-smith
Skill Rank Title Maximum Number of Emphasises Other
1 Apprentice 1 N/A
3 Novice 3 You may now teach this skill to others
5 Journeyman 5 +2 Insight, 1 Free Raise
7 Master 6 N/A
10 Grand Master Unlimited +5 Insight, Raises not limited by void
  • Mastery abilities – achieving higher ranks in a skill can allow you to use the skill in more ways, or in more advanced ways. Every time you increase a skill rank you should lookup the skill you have increased to see if you should gain any mastery abilities
  • Emphasises – Emphasises represent a character’s knowledge of a specific area within a skill group (such as the Katana emphasis of the Kenjutsu group). Whenever you make a skill roll that relates to an emphasis you possess you can add your skill rank to your roll total.
  • Emphasis abilities – certain emphasises will give you additional capabilities within the skill group. Anytime you buy an emphasis you should check to see if you should also gain the benefits of an emphasis ability
  • Skill roll types
    • Cooperative skill rolls – when the combined efforts of party do not necessarily make a task easier as not all party members are highly skilled (or skilled at all). Examples would be a group sneaking around a village, or climbing a mountain
      • The roll is made using the average trait and skill of the party, rounding down
      • If half or more of the party are unskilled the roll must be made as an unskilled roll
    • Cumulative rolls – when the combined efforts of party help to make a task easier, such as when a group try to break open a door or investigate a room for clues
      • One character is nominated the as task leader
      • They declare the raises they wish to make
      • Every other member of the party roll against the TN – 5, adding any free raises they are entitled to themselves
      • Every member who succeeds adds a free raise to the task leaders roll
      • If the task leader fails, even if others succeed, the task fails overall
    • Contested roles – when an action you take is in confrontation with another character you make a contested role
      • All characters involved make the roll as normal
      • The highest result wins
      • In the case of a tie, where a tie makes no sense, the tying characters must re-roll
      • If a TN is set and both characters succeed in reaching the TN, again the character who rolls highest will win
      • If a TN is set and no character succeeds, then assuming it makes sense for there to be no winner, there will be no winner. Otherwise re-roll until a winner is found


  • Void – Sometimes people can touch that place where the other elements come together perfectly. Such moments of clarity allow them to perform beyond their normal capabilities
    • You may spend a void point to:
      • Increase a trait for one roll. This will mean that the character is rolling and keeping (if appropriate) an additional dice for that round. Raising your reflexes will also up your initiative as well as your TN to be hit. Void cannot be spent on damage rolls.
      • Gain a free raise (not limited by your void)
      • Gain a single rank in a skill for one roll
      • Encouragement – You may spend 2 void points so that one of your comrades can gain a void point to spend on their next action. They must be able to see or hear you for this to work. They may also add their own void to this roll. They may not gain more bonus void points in this manner than they have in their void ring
      • Final Strike – If you are down or out you may spend 3 void points to make an action before you go down. This attack will have a penalty of +30 TN. If you have taken enough wounds to kill you, you must spend 5 void points to make a final attack
      • Extra action – you may spend 2 void points in order to gain an additional action. You may not attack with this action
      • Persistence – you may spend a void point before making a skill roll to negate any wound penalty modifiers (not any other kind of modifiers)
      • Speed – You may spend 2 void points to add 1K1 to your initiative roll
      • Switch Initiative – after initiative is rolled you and a comrade may spend a void point each in order to switch initiative for the combat
      • TN Increase – you may spend a void point to increase your TN to be hit by +10. You may combine this with full defence
      • Wound Reduction – once a round you may spend a void point in order to reduce the damage taken from an attack by 10
    • You may only spend one void point per roll
    • Each void spent removed one from your temporary void reserves
    • Void is regained through:
      • Rest – 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep restores a void point
      • Mediation – 1 hour of uninterrupted mediation restores a void point
      • Tea ceremonies – all who partake regain a void point. Takes 30 minutes to complete
      • Dice rolls – you may recover one void point if more than two dice explode on a single roll. You can recover a number of void in this manner equal to your void ring
    • Void cannot be gained back if a character goes without food, water or a restful nights sleep for more than one day


  • A raise increases the TN of the roll by 5 per raise
  • The number of raises that can be applied to a roll is limited by the characters void
  • Examples of raise benefits:
    • Non-Combat
      • More useful information from an investigation roll
      • Make a better impression with a courtier roll
      • Remember more information, or more obscure information from a lore roll
    • Combat
      • Call shot (hit a specific location) – location aimed for determines the amount of raises required, does no extra damage but brings about the results of hitting the location
      • Do more damage – one raise adds 1K0 to the damage roll, 2 raises adds 1K1 to the damage and so on
      • Disarm an opponent – 3 raises on your to hit roll allows you to attempt to disarm your opponent
      • Extra attack – 4 raises allows you to attempt to strike your opponent a second time. You may only gain one extra attack a round by raising and you may only use the extra attack on the opponent you raised against
      • Feint – 1 raise allows you to make a non-damaging attack that grants you a free raise against that opponent in your next attack.
      • Guard – you may protect an adjacent ally. Each raise adds 5 to the TN of your ally. You may only guard one ally at a time, but you may guard them from different people, making the raises and attack roll against each opponent. You need not attack to guard, but you need to make the attack roll. This indicates your PC adopting a protective stance beside his ward. Multiple attacking against an opponent in this manner do not stack, instead the attack with the highest amount of raises counts.
      • Knockdown – 3 raises allows you to try and knock your opponent down
  • Raises can also be used to achieve specific results not mentioned above
    • Inform the GM of the desired results
    • They will tell you the required amount of raises
  • Free raises –
    • A free raise gives you the benefits of a raise without increasing the TN
    • This doesn’t count towards the limit of raises that may be normally made on a roll
    • Free raises may be gained through describing combat actions, bringing 15 angry men with you to intimate somebody, being clever, good role-playing, etc
    • Free raises are not limited by a characters void, nor do they hinder the character from making raises as normal

Some new additions

  • Kata – the practise manoeuvres of Samurai, these dance-like patterns also have applications in combat. A Samurai who practises his kata can use the technique in combat for a period of time after his practise.
    • Kata have a preparation time – the amount of time you must practise the kata to be able to utilise it in combat. If you spend twice the preparation time practising the kata, then you may disregard the duration period
    • The kata’s duration is how long the kata’s benefits and penalties are in effect for after it is practised. Once this time is up you can spend 3 void points to keep the kata active for another full duration period
  • Dojo – The great clans have many Dojos across the empire, and the training received in them can vary slightly. Some of the more prestigious of these Dojos have been detailed in some of the new books and the details they offer are also covered. Entry into these prestigious dojos in invitation only and as such receiving training there comes hand in hand with both glory and responsibility
    • Schools – the schools that can receive training in the dojo
    • Social Benefit – the social benefits (if any) that you receive for being a student of such a prestigious school
    • Training Benefit – the benefit (if any) you receive for being trained by some of the greatest sensei your clan has to offer
  • Technique paths – Technique paths provide alternative school techniques at various ranks depending on the direction your clan has chosen for you to follow. These technique paths cost nothing to enter as long as one follows the paths of entry and egress. The new paths are taught in specific dojos across Rokugan
    • Technique rank – the rank of the new technique, this is the rank the new path will replace in your standard school teachings
    • Path of entry – the schools and ranks you require to enter this new path
    • Path of egress – the schools you can progress into after you learn this technique
  • Advantages – advantages have been split into three different categories to allow for players buying them during play (with ST approval) for twice the original costing. The different types are:
    • Inherent – advantages that may only be bought at character creation
    • Granted – advantages that may only be bought once events in the game make them available
    • Other – advantages that can be bought at any stage of game play
  • Vassal families – Families of Samurai who serve the great clan families
    • Vassal family samurai are known by their minor family name inside of their clan, but by their great clan name outside of it
      • Eg: Goraiku Chojin is a member of the Goraiku family of the Moshi family of the Mantis clan. Inside the Mantis clan he is known as Goraiku Chojin, however, outside of the Mantis clan he is known as Moshi Chojin of House Goraiku. Inside his own lands he is known as Goraiku Chojin by all, even by members of the other great clans.
    • Vassal families can sometimes receive different family traits and school skills, as well as occasionally gaining certain other ability/benefits


  • Stances
    • Attack – the standard combat stance, unless stated otherwise you are assumed to be in the attack stance
    • Full Attack – in this stance you charge your foe with wild ambition, bearing little concern for your own safety
      • When in the full attack stance you gain 2 free raises on your attack rolls which can only be used to inflict extra damage or to lower your opponents TN to be hit (each raise lowers the TN by 5) Full attack is the only time you can use raises to lower an opponents TN to be hit
      • Anyone attacking you gains 3 free raises as you are left open
    • Full Defence – in this stance you have turned every effort towards self protection
      • You roll (Agility + Defence)K(Agility) adding the result to your TN to be hit
      • You can only protect yourself in this manner against a number of foes equal to your insight rank
      • You can only protect yourself in this manner against foes you are aware of
      • You are limited in the number of actions you may make while in full defence and you may only move at half speed
    • What can be done in a combat round?
      • Focus – you may focus on an opponent for the perfect strike in a later round. Your opponent must be within range when you begin focusing and if either you are your opponent move you lose the benefits of focusing. For every round spent focusing you gain 1 free raise that can only be used to increase damage up to a maximum equal to your void ring. You may focus with both melee and ranged attacks
      • Melee attack – in the attack stance you may attack as normal without moving. If you move and attack you will need to make 1 raise to hit your opponent. If you are in full attack you may move and attack without raising
      • Miscellaneous complex action – either an action that requires a skill roll or some amount of skill and precision. You may move at half rate, but you must raise once to do so
      • Miscellaneous simple action – you may perform a single action that requires no skill roll. You may perform one single action per round and still perform any other action you wish. Performing more than one simple action counts as a complex action.
      • Move – you may move at a speed of (water ring * 10) feet per round, unless you are in full defence in which case you can only move at half that rate
      • Ranged attack – you may perform a single ranged attack. You may not be in Full attack for ranged attacks
      • Ride a horse – whilst riding a horse you may not enter full attack or defence without either a high level of horsemanship or a technique that allows you to do so. Without any ranks of horsemanship you cannot fight while on a horse
      • Run – you may move up to three times your normal speed in a straight line. You may perform no other action while running
      • Speak – you may speak during any action without penalty (assuming speaking won’t interfere in your action eg sneaking)
      • Stand up – it takes an action to get up if you have been knocked off your feet. If you are in the full attack stance you may make 2 raises to get up and attack in the same round
      • Use special ability – any technique, kata, etc that requires you to specifically activate it and this action takes up the entire round
    • Initiative
      • Initiative is determined by rolling (Insight rank + Reflexes)K(Reflexes)
      • Remember to add any benefits from advantages, school ranks and so on
      • Wound penalties are subtracted from the result
      • Initiative is rolled once for the entire combat
      • Tide of battle – at the end of each round any participant who has suffered no wounds that round rolls one dice (this dice does not explode) and may either
        • Add the result to you own initiative
        • Subtract the result from the initiative of any opponent’s who you successfully attacked or inflicted wounds upon since your last turn
    • Ranged attacks
      • A TN penalty is added imposed for shots made over long distances
      • Firing from horseback imposes a TN penalty of +10
      • Damage for ranged attacks are determined by the bow and arrow used. When rolling damage with a bow use the lower value of either the archer’s strength or the bow’s strength and then add the damage rating of the arrow
    • Iaijutsu Duels
      • Each duellist takes up a stance facing each other
      • Each duellist makes a awareness/iaijutsu roll against a TN of 5
      • For each increment of 5 the duellist makes the roll by they may gleam one item of information from the following list:
        • The opponent’s agility
        • The opponent’s awareness
        • The opponent’s current wound penalty
        • The opponent’s iaijutsu skill rank
        • The opponent’s insight rank
        • The opponent’s reflexes
        • The opponent’s total void
        • The opponent’s remaining void
      • Once the samurai have sized each other up, either may declare the opponent to be a better duellist and thus the victor. There is no shame or honour loss in this
      • Each duellist chooses one of his opponent’s traits – either reflexes, agility or void – this becomes the opponents ‘choice’ trait, the trait that the opponent must make all focuses off.
      • The duellists begin with a TN to be hit of 5 plus armour (though most duellists remove their armour)
      • The duellist who had the highest total on the awareness/iaijutsu roll goes first, though they may pass this option to their opponent. Doing so gains the Samurai 1 honour point.
      • You may choose to focus or strike
        • To focus you must make a choice/iaijustsu roll versus your opponent’s current TN to be hit – you may only focus a number of times equal to your ‘choice’ trait, you may also spend void to be able to focus an additional time, and may continue to do so as long as you have void remaining
          • If you succeed both your TNs increase, and your opponent may choose to focus or strike
          • If you fail you must declare strike
        • Once you declare strike, your opponent makes a reflexes/iaijutsu against you – using the TN built up during the duel – gaining a free raise for each focus he declared
      • If the duel is to the death and neither Samurai dies after the first blow then both Samurai may spend any remaining void, doing one dice of damage for each void spent. If neither Samurai dies from this ‘kharmic strike’ then the duel becomes a normal kenjutsu fight
      • If the duel is to first blood then the first hit to damage wins, if both Samurai fail to land a damaging blow, the duel is over. If a Samurai aims to severely damage his opponent in a duel to first blood he may loose honour
    • Wounds – each wound level now adds a penalty to the TN of all actions


Honour is the measure of both a character’s self worth and of how others in the Empire perceive him. Honour is determined by a character’s actions.
  • Gaining and losing honour
    • Honour is measured on a scale of 0.0 to 5.9
      • the first digit shows the honour rank
      • the second digit shows the honour points
    • Gain and loss of honour points is determined by the action involved and the current honour level of the Samurai involved
    • Honour points are added and subtracted as soon as they are gained, with the ranks changing as follows:
      • Eg – a Samurai with 2.7 honour gains 5 honour points, his honour immediately raises to 3.2
      • Eg – a Samurai with 3.2 honour loses 4 honour points, his honour immediately falls to 2.8
  • Spotting honour – it is possible to try and discover a characters honour through observation:
    • Make a raw awareness against a TN of 30 – (Glory level and insight of target character). You get a free raise if you know the characters reputation
    • Honour ranks
      • Rank 0 – honourless dog
      • Rank 1 – untrustworthy
      • Rank 2 – what is expected
      • Rank 3 – exceptional
      • Rank 4 – a soul above question
      • Rank 5 – strength of a thousand ancestors
  • Honour roll – once per session, after failing a roll, you may attempt to make an honour roll in it place
    • You re-roll the failed roll using your honour trait as either the skill, trait or ring involved (you must substitute honour for one of these) against the same TN
    • If you succeed you pass the original test
    • If you fail you lose 10 honour points and also fail the original test
  • Test of honour – anytime a character is forced to do something that will cause them to lose honour they may make a Test of Honour.
    • Done in the same way as an honour roll, but this can be done anytime your honour is put to the test. While there is no limit to how many honour rolls you may make per session, you may make only one roll per situation.
    • If the roll is successful the character resists the action that would bring about the honour loss and also gains 2 honour points
    • If the roll fails the character succumbs to the action that would lose the honour and also loses 10 points of honour


Glory is a measure of how the world views the character, how well known and how well respected they are.
  • Effects of glory
    • Recognition – Any time a character meets people he hasn’t met before, he may be recognised by reputation alone
      • A raw Awareness roll is made against a TN of (60 – characters Glory rank * 5)
      • Void may be spent on this roll as normal
      • This TN is reduced by 10 if the character introduces themselves
      • If the roll is successful then the characters past deeds and exploits are known of
      • If the roll fails then they do not necessarily disbelieve the character is who he seems to be, but they are not particularly impressed
      • The roll is automatically successful if a mutual acquaintance introduces the character or if legitimate proof is presented Once recognised, a character may add his glory rank to all social skill rolls
    • Infamy – If a Samurai is known to behave in a dishonourable or criminal manner, he may have infamy in place of glory.
      • Infamous characters are recognised in much the same way as glorious characters, though people tend to be terrified rather than honoured to meet them…
      • An infamous character may add his infamy rating to his intimidation rolls
      • They may also add their infamy rating to all social rolls with other infamous characters
      • Infamy increases and decreases just as Glory does
      • For a Samurai to become Glorious again, he must publicly redeem himself
    • How to raise it
      • Glory is measured on a scale of -10.0 to 10.0
        • the first digit shows the glory rank
        • the second digit shows the glory points
      • Following is a list of actions that can affect your glory points. Once tales of your deeds spread across the land your glory will change accordingly
      • Ranks change in exactly the same way as Honour ranks
      • No glory is gained for secret, unknown or unacknowledged actions
    • Some ways to gain glory
      • Acknowledgement of one’s actions
      • Avenging a blood feud
      • Warfare
      • Completing quest set upon them
      • Crafting weapons and armour
      • Duels
      • Giving and receiving gifts
      • Getting married
      • Insight rank advancement
      • Honourable actions
      • Public bragging
      • Courtly glory
      • Status
      • Stealing credit
      • Romance
      • Having stories, poems, paintings written/made about you
    • Some ways to lose glory
      • Caught lying
      • Defeat
      • Dishonour
      • Idleness
      • Indifference


Status is a measure of a Samurai’s niche in Rokugan’s society. It is a measure of rank within the armies of his clan, and a measure of his official standing in the Emperor’s lands.

  • Effects of status
    • As rank is all important within Rokugan, so is status – the measure of rank
    • Samurai follow orders from the most senior of Samurai in a situation, the most senior of Samurai being the one with the highest rank
    • In ceratin situations Samurai will only follow the orders of somebody with authority over them
      • Eg: A Lion Daimyo over a Lion; The Emerald champion over an Emerald magistrate; The Emperor over everyone
    • A samurai who disobeys his superior suffers immediate honour loss, regardless of the reason for the disobedience. They may also suffer a loss in status
    • In the case of two Samurai of equal standing, a Samurai need only follow the orders of one as best he can to avoid suffering the effects of disobedience
  • Gaining status
    • Status is measured on a scale of -10 to 10
    • Status may only be awarded by a Samurai of higher status and usually indicates a promotion of some sort.
    • Status may only be awarded by an individual with some authority over the recipient
      • Eg: A Lion Daimyo over a Lion; The Emerald champion over an Emerald magistrate; The Emperor over everyone
  • Losing status
    • Loss of status indicates a loss of social standing
    • Status may be revoked by an individual with some authority over the recipient
      • Eg: A Lion Daimyo over a Lion; The Emerald champion over an Emerald magistrate; The Emperor over everyone
    • You may appeal your loss of status. You can seek somebody of higher status to reassess your case. Beware that going over your superior can result in honour loss if your status loss is deemed fair, or possibly a duel from your superior over the insult of questioning his ability to do his job
    • Stepping down / Refusing status – A samurai may step down from a position or refuse to accept a position. Doing so in not automatic and must be approved by ones lord. If your reasons are deemed to be dishonourable you can lose honour and glory and your resignation/refusal could be turned down. If your reasons are deemed honourable you can keep your honour and glory, though your request may not be granted
    • Retirement – when a samurai retires he may step down from his position without any possible honour or glory loss
  • Benefits of Status
    • As well as the effects of status, shown above, status carries with it other benefits:
      • Military ranks, troop command and squadron sizes
        Position Translation Troops Commanded
        Clan Daimyo Clan Leader Entire Clan
        Rikugunshokan General Army (Daimyo’s discretion)
        Shirekan Commander 25,000 (Five legions)
        Taisa Captain 5,000 (One legion)
        Chui Lieutenant 800-1,000 (One unit)
        Gunso Sergeant 50-200 (One platoon)
        Nikutai Corporal 5-10 (One squad)
        Hohei Private None
  • Army Sizes
    • As a related side note here are the approximate army sizes in 1121
      Clan Approximate Size
      Crab 300,000
      Crane 150,000
      Dragon 200,000
      Lion 500,000
      Scorpion 200,000
      Phoenix 100,000
      Unicorn 270,000
      Minor clans and Ronin 200,000


This is the code that all samurai live by. It is constructed of seven basic virtues:

  • Gi (Honesty) – A samurai is honest in all things
  • Yu (Courage) – A samurai fears nothing
  • Jin (Compassion) – A samurai goes out of his way to help others
  • Rei (Courtesy) – A samurai is always respectful in his dealings with others
  • Meyo (Honour) – The only true judge of a samurai’s actions is himself
  • Makoto (Sincerity) – Word and action are the same. If a samurai says he will do something, then it will be done
  • Chugo (Duty) – A samurai does not balk at responsibility. A samurai never fails to protect his lord


City of Lies LordGonzo