The Fortress of Xie'e Wu Xing
The following languages are relevant in the Lands of Nippon.
• Nipponese – the language of Nippon, native for most characters.
• Mainlander Tongues (Cantonese, Mandarin, etc) – various gaijin tongues of the mainland, regional dialects and modernized corruptions of Old Imperial.
• Yuan (New Imperial) – Language of the conquering Horse Lords who rule a large and fractious empire atop the ruins of the fallen Dragon Empire.
• Old Imperial – the ancient language of the Empire of Dragon, found mostly in scholarly works.
There aren’t really enough languages to make Language Talent worth much; instead, for 10 points, it simply gives Accented fluency in all of the languages above (save for the character’s own native tongue, in which he’s still fully fluent). From there, any language can be bought up to fully Fluent for 2 additional points.
The Lands of Nippon are a dangerous place, and those who wish to survive a life of adventure need a certain edge.
Action Hero Advantages: Combat Reflexes, Daredevil, Danger Sense, High Pain Threshold, Luck, etc. These enhance a character’s general survivability in hazardous situations, which will be found in abundance; all characters should have at least one or two of these, in addition to any Chambara Advantages they might possess.
Chambara (Cinematic) Advantages: Trained by a Master or Weapon Master. These unlock full Chambara Fighting options (GURPS Martial Arts, p. 128), and are prerequisite to any Martial-Arts Style Wildcard (MA, p. 60) or Martial-Arts abilities.
Trained by a Master gives access to any Style Wildcard, armed or unarmed (provided all other prereqs are met), and allows the character to use full Chambara rules with any and all combat skills.
Weapon Master applies to armed styles, or weapon mastery added to unarmed styles (see below), enabling Chambara rules only when using the weapons and/or styles covered.
Because of significant overlap, the Chambara advantages receive a discount if taken together. A character with Trained by a Master can add Weapon Master for the normal cost, minus 15 points (e.g., 5 points for a single weapon, or 15 points for a handful of related weapons). The same goes for adding weapons to an existing version of Weapon Master. A character with Weapon Master can add Trained by a Master for 15 points. Either way, this effectively breaks down to: Trained by a Master (30) + Weapon Master (One weapon) (5) to (All weapons) (30).
Bushi Styles: Traditional samurai weapons of war – Dai-kyu, Katana, Nagamaki/Naginata, Nodachi, Tetsubo, Wakizashi, and Yari. Most weapons have their own style, and thus their own 20-point specialization of Weapon Master; swords are the exception. Each Bushi Sword style counts as a “weapon” for the purpose of Weapon Master, so Weapon Master (Nito Ryu) 20 covers both katana and wakizashi when wielded using Nito Ryu!. 20 points for a single style, 25 points for two styles, 30 points for three, or 35 points for all armed Bushi style.
Jujutsu, while technically a Bushi style, is unarmed, and thus requires Trained by a Master (15 points to add to Weapon Master). Because armed combat is the samurai’s preference and forte, Jujutsu masters are somewhat rare.
Kobujutsu (Karate/Peasant) Weapons: Traditional Karate weapons, many adapted from farming implements and other tools – Bo, Jitte/Sai, Jo, Kama, Kusari, (and Kurasi-gama), Nunchaku, and Tonfa. Weapon Master (Kobujutsu Weapons) is normally added to the Karate! Wildcard (which requires Trained by a Master), rather than taken by itself: +5 points for a single Kobujutsu weapon, +10 points for any two (or kusari-gama), +15 points for any four, or +20 points for all.
Kung Fu Weapons: Exotic gaijin weapons from the mainland, primarily studied by wandering holy men from mountain temples that dot the ruins of the Empire of the Dragon – Butterfly Swords, Chain Whip, Dao, Hook Swords, Jian, Monk’s Spade, Qian Kun Ri Yue Dao, Slashing Wheel, and Three-Part Staff. Weapon Master (Kung Fu Weapons) must be added to the Kung Fu! Wildcard (which requires Trained by a Master and Unusual Background (Gaijin Monk)), rather than taken by itself: +5 points for a single Kung Fu weapon, +10 points for any two, +15 points for any four, or +20 points for all.
Ninjutsu is actually two styles, both requiring Trained by a Master and Unusual Background (Ninja Training): Shinobi! and Taijutsu! Although it doesn’t include any kind of Weapon Master damage bonuses by default, it does include Throwing Art, which gives similar bonuses to “ninja throwables” – daggers, shuriken, etc.
Ninja Weapons: Specialized Ninja weapons, many built for concealment and/or disguised as more innocuous items – Blowpipe, Han-kyu, Jitte/Sai, Kama, Kusari, (and Kurasi-gama), Neko-de, Ninja-to, and Tonfa. Weapon Master (Ninja Weapons) must be added to the Taijutsu! Wildcard, rather than taken by itself: +5 points for a single Ninja weapon, +10 points for any two (or kusari-gama), +15 points for any four, or +20 points for all.
Unusual Background usually represents some kind of special training.
Bajutsu Training: Samurai (and some warrior-priests) frequently receive training in the use of one or more Bushi fighting styles from horseback. Kyujutsu has the benefits of this advantage by default; bajutsu training for all Bushi Sword styles known to the character costs 5 points.
Gaijin Monk: Training in a mountain temple of the mainland, somewhere in the ruins of the Empire of the Dragon. This UB is required to learn the Kung Fu style, or to be familiar with any of its unique weapons. It must be combined with Trained by a Master and the variant version of Language Talent. If learning Kung Fu as a secondary style, this advantage is required in addition to Multi-Style Wildcard. 10 points.
Multi-Style Wildcard: Combines two fighting styles into a single Style Wildcard; see Martial Arts (below). Requires Trained by a Master or a relevant version of Weapon Master. 5 or 10 points/added style.
Ninja Training: Training in the Ways of the Ninja, probably in a remote mountain stronghold known exclusively to the clan. This UB is required to learn either Ninjutsu style, or to be familiar with any unique ninja weapons. Requires Trained by a Master. 10 points.
Shuriken Mastery: A specialized version of Multi-Style Wildcard that adds the Shuriken-Jutsu style to any Martial-Arts style wildcard; Ninjutsu already includes shuriken mastery, and doesn’t have to buy this advantage. Requires Trained by a Master or Weapon Master (Shuriken). 5 points.
Each version of this perk grants a discount to a specific kind of equipment, if purchased as Signature Gear. A character can take this perk multiple times; each specific kind of equipment requires its own perk. Acquiring new equipment, or upgrading existing items, requires a special trip – to one’s ninja clan stronghold, a master swordsmith, etc.
Ninja Gear: There are two versions of this perk: Ninja Suits halves the final value of a Signature ninja suit (including all modifiers; see DF12: Ninja, pp. 16-17); Ninja Weapons adds the Ninja modifier (Holdout +2; see DF12, p. 13) to all eligible Signature weapons, including Infinite Ammo, for free. Requires Trained by a Master and Unusual Background (Ninja Training).
Samurai Gear: There are four versions of this perk: Samurai Armor, Samurai Bows, Samurai Polearms, and Samurai Swords. Applied to weapons, it halves the final cost of the appropriate kind of weapons as Signature Gear; if taken for Armor, it adds the Lamellar modifier (-10% to weight) to o-yoroi (only) for free. Requires Status 2+ and Weapon Master (Corresponding Bushi style, or any Bushi style for Samurai Armor).
Prerequisites: Trained by a Master for ninja throwables; Weapon Master (Kyujutsu!) for arrows, etc.
Each version of this perk grants infinite ammo of one specific kind – regular (impaling) arrows, bodkin-tipped (armor-piercing) arrows, star shuriken, spike shuriken, etc. You must have access to your gear (i.e. you can’t have been disarmed or otherwise relinquished your weapons), and you can’t hand out your ammo to others, but as long as these things are true, you don’t have to account for the cost or weight of that type of ammunition, and will never run out through normal use. This includes handfuls of ninja throwables, as long as they’re drawn and thrown immediately (or held until thrown), not stockpiled or handed out.
Prerequisites: Signature Gear.
You have one particular piece of Signature Gear – usually a weapon – which has an awakened spirit. This spirit is fed and strengthened by legendary accomplishments, increasing in character point value along with you when you use it in suitably epic deeds. It gains points at the same rate as you, when you use it in glorious combat against important foes; the earned points can either increase its value as Signature Gear (used to buy upgrades in quality, etc), or buy special abilities (gadget-limited Advantages and/or Enhancements, granted by the weapon).
Practiced Disguise or Impression
Prerequisites: Disguise or Mimicry (Speech) at 16+.
You have a specific disguise or voice impersonation which you’ve rehearsed to the point that you no longer need to roll under normal circumstances. You don’t need to roll when you don it, nor to pass casual inspection; if someone who knows you (or the person you’re trying to impersonate) observes you, you get +2 in a Quick Contest to avoid detection. Each disguise or voice is a separate perk; a disguise which includes a particular accent or voice impression requires two perks.
Prerequisites: A Ninja Suit with the Reversible modifier, or Practiced Disguise and a quick-change disguise on-hand.
You can change your appearance with a single Ready maneuver, though you must meet several requirements in order to do so. First, you must have the disguise on-hand (e.g. a reversible ninja suit or similar clothing, a change of clothes hidden nearby, etc); and second, you must be completely unobserved. You can dive into a closet (though if you burst out of the same closet a second later, the disguise it sorta ruined), down a dark alley, or otherwise where you can’t be seen.