The Fortress of Xie'e Wu Xing
Samurai may be traditional warriors, most often learned in the use of the katana (longsword) and dai-kyu (great bow), or they may be sorcerers (see mahoutsukai, below) specialized in one or more kinds of elemental magic. Each samurai warrior chooses a weapon style (or multiple styles) to focus on, and will often possess an exceptional specimen of his favored weapon. All samurai possess, and are skilled with, the daisho – the paired katana and wakizashi (shortsword) that are their badge of office, worn slung in the obi (belt).
The samurai template includes a number of social advantages and disadvantages that neither cost nor grant points, but are considered “campaign features” for samurai characters only. Additionally, all samurai begin play with a loadout of high-quality Signature Gear, and may obtain even more such gear at sharply discounted prices, representing their access to the clan’s armory and weapon-smiths.
On the downside, all samurai must adhere to the code of Bushido (the Way of the Warrior) – the virtues of Wisdom, Justice, Benevolence, Courtesy, and Fidelity. Specifically, this includes absolute loyalty to one’s daimyo, and the fearless execution of orders and obligations to the daimyo and the bushi caste. A samurai is expected to die rather than fail in his task, and to commit ritual suicide without hesitation if ordered to do so by his daimyo. He must answer any challenge or insult to his clan or daimyo; pain, discomfort, and death must be faced with honor and stoicism. He must always be polite to his equals, respectful to his superiors, and cannot overlook overt disrespect from a social inferior. Gross violation of the code is grounds for ritual suicide (seppuku, “belly-cutting,” wherein the samurai disembowels himself with his wakizashi – and hopefully, a friend beheads him so he doesn’t suffer too long); if a dishonored samurai doesn’t kill himself voluntarily, his daimyo will often order his other samurai to assist in the task. Those who escape, or whose daimyo doesn’t enforce the death sentence, become ronin.
Samurai Mahoutsukai (Sorcerer)
Some samurai have learned to wield elemental magic as their contemporaries wield sword and bow. The magic of the Five Elements (Earth, Fire, Metal, Water & Wood) is, like the katana and dai-kyu, considered to be the sole province of the bushi. Samurai mahoutsukai have their own template; socially, they are no different than their brethren, with all of the benefits and drawbacks of nobility.
Clanless samurai – either from having been dishonored or otherwise dismissed from a clan, or whose clan was wiped out – retain the status of bushi and the right to carry the daisho, but are otherwise very nearly outcasts. Seldom looked kindly upon by upstanding samurai, they must often find work as mercenaries or brigands, or else hope to show enough valor in the service of a clan that’s not their own to be adopted by the sitting daimyo.
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