PC commoners will mostly be professional soldiers of some sort, primarily of the heimin caste, but it’s not uncommon for a party of samurai to have a hinin along to do things that are beneath the nobles’ dignity – search or otherwise handle dead bodies, touch wounded animals or animal carcasses, and even act as the party’s liaison with local hinin communities. Magical professions are very limited for commoners: alchemists, diviners, and spirit mediums, none of whom are particularly likely to be found traveling in the company of the daimyo’s samurai. Templates with Brawling or Wrestling skills may trade those for Karate or Judo respectively, but need not if the character isn’t trained in a formal martial art.

Martial Artist
A peasant warrior trained in the arts of fighting without the forbidden weapons of the samurai – using mostly weapons adapted from agricultural tools (kama, nunchaku, etc), or altogether unarmed. While any farmer may pick up his sickle or threshing flail in defense, the martial artist has studied a traditional fighting style under a true master – often taught in secret to those wishing to rise against the samurai, and therefor not always looked upon kindly by the nobility. Use the Martial Artist template (DF1, p. 9) as written, save that peasant warriors do not subscribe to Bushido. They may have their own code of honor, but it will more closely resemble the soldier or freedom fighter than a samurai.

A ranger, woodsman, or huntsman. Because the dai-kyu (longbow) is forbidden to the peasant class, archery is less common among Nipponese scouts than their traditional western counterparts; those that do focus on archery must be content with the han-kyu (short bow). Use the Scout template (DF1, p. 10), but if desired, trade Heroic Archer for another 20 points chosen from among the template’s advantage selection, and some or all of the 17 points in Bow and Fast-Draw (Arrow) to improve melee weapon skills or any skill covered by the Outdoorsman talent. Non-archer scouts will probably focus on a commoner soldier’s or martial artist’s melee weapon – but the Lands of Nippon know no shields.

Soldier (Ashigaru)
A non-noble man-at-arms, the rank-and-file infantry of any army, militia, or town guard. Limited to non-noble weapons, soldiers choose from among the chigiriki (war flail), kusarigama (sickle-and-chain), masakari (axe), tetsubo (great club), wakizashi (shortsword), yari (spear), and the farming-tools-turned-weapons of the peasant martial artist. Use the Knight template (DF1, p. 8), choosing weapon skills from among those above. Shields are not used in the Lands of Nippon. Peasant soldiers will not hold to a Code of Honor like Chivalry (or Bushido), but may follow a Soldier’s code.

At best a roguish drifter, at worst a larcenous sneak. A known criminal is always a hinin non-person, and a drifter is generally assumed to be one – in either case, the traditional fantasy thief is relegated to the fringes of Nipponese society, even moreso than his western counterpart. Use the Thief template (DF1, p. 12) as written, but replace the template’s 2 points in melee/fencing and defense skills for 2 points in any peasant or martial artist weapon.


The Fortress of Xie'e Wu Xing Lex