Follows the procedure described in the Book of Fire of the core 4th Edition L5R RPG rulebook, with exceptions as noted below.
Step 1: Pick Your Clan
You may choose to belong to any of the following Great Clans. Note that the Mantis is still a Minor Clan in this setting.
Loyal Minor Clans
The following Minor Clans are considered loyal to the Emperor, and you may choose to belong to any of them.
A troop of Falcon samurai that was present in Tani Senshio surrendered to the invading Lion army rather than dying fighting for the Centipede. The Moshi feel some resentment over this. Any Falcon samurai must take Bad Reputation in Tani Senshio as a 2 point Social disadvantage.
Although some Centipede Clan members died in the Lion conquest, others survived as prisoners of the Lion Clan.
You may play a Centipede character, but must take “Hostage” as a 3 point Social disadvantage. This will sometimes limit your freedom of movement.
Rebel Minor Clans
The following Minor Clans are considered to be in rebellion. You may choose to belong to one of them, but due to the court setting, your character must have a Cover Identity masquerading as someone who could legitimately attend the Governor’s Court. You must take “Dark Secret: Rebel” as a 4-point Social disadvantage; if this is revealed, you are likely to be killed.
In order to be a ronin in attendance at the Governor’s Court, you would need to be a retainer of a clan samurai (e.g. a yojimbo or spiritual advisor), preferably a player character, but it can be one of the other NPCs described as being at court. You must take the Social Disadvantage: Ronin and a Minor Obligation to the character that you are serving.
Unaligned Imperials and Monks
Playing an Imperial or an unaligned monk is discouraged. If you really want to play one of these, discuss your character concept with the GM. If there is a good reason why your character might attend the Governor’s Court in Tani Senshio, it may be okay.
The following Clans do not exist in this setting and you may not belong to them.
Step 2: Pick Your Family
Great Clan families are also Loyal, Rebel, Disbanded or Nonexistent. (Minor Clan families have the same status as their Minor Clan.)
You may choose to belong to any loyal family without restriction.
You may choose to belong to a rebel family, but must have a Cover Identity that could legitimately attend court, and take the 4-point Social disadvantage “Dark Secret: Rebel”; if this is revealed, you are likely to be killed.
Disbanded families have been officially disbanded by Imperial decree, but they still have members hanging around somewhere, working towards some unknown end. Some have become ronin, some are in hiding. You may choose to belong to a disbanded family, but must either be a ronin and take “Social Disadvantage: Ronin” (treat as identical to “Clan Ronin” as per the rulebook, plus you must be a retainer of a clan samurai, as described above), or else have a Cover Identity that could legitimately attend court, and take the 4-point Social disadvantage “Dark Secret: (Your Family)”.
|Clan||Loyal Families||Rebel Families||Disbanded Families||Nonexistent Families|
|Crab||Hida, Hiruma, Kaiu, Kuni, Yasuki||Crab Toritaka|
|Crane||Asahina, Doji, Kakita||Daidoji (Crane civil war)||Crane Yasuki|
|Dragon||Agasha||Kitsuki, Mirumoto, Togashi (supporting Hitomi)||Tamori|
|Lion||Ikoma, Kitsu, Matsu||Akodo|
|Phoenix||Asako, Isawa, Shiba||Phoenix Agasha|
|Scorpion||Yogo||Bayushi, Shosuro, Soshi|
|Unicorn||Horiuchi, Ide, Iuchi, Shinjo, Utaku||Moto|
If you belong to the same family as one of the campaign NPCs and have the Social Position advantage, you may choose to be related to that NPC. (Social Position is optional if the related NPC is status 1.9 or less.) If you choose to be related to an NPC, you should also consider taking them as an Ally (otherwise they will have no particular affection for you).
Step 3: Pick Your School
All schools in the L5R 4th Edition Core Book and 4th Edition Emerald Empire are permitted except those who belong to “nonexistent” families or clans. Schools from other 4th edition sourcebooks may be permitted on a case-by-case basis. You may choose a school belonging to a rebel or disbanded family without ill effect (with some house rules as described below).
The Akodo Bushi School is considered a ronin school in this setting. Lion Clan characters who are not members of the Akodo family need Different School in order to become Akodo Bushi; Akodo family members and ronin do not.
The Mantis Clan is not (yet) a Great Clan in this setting, and as a result, Kitsune, Moshi and Tsuruchi schools are considered Fox, Centipede and Wasp Clan schools, respectively – not Mantis Clan schools. Taking a school outside your clan requires the “Different School” advantage. However, due to the close cooperation between Yoritomo’s Alliance (specifically, the Mantis, Fox, Centipede, Wasp and Tortoise Clans) during the recent war, characters of those clans may take “Different School” for 3 points (instead of 5) when used for a school belonging to one of the other clans of Yoritomo’s Alliance.
Traditionally, only female Centipede ever become shugenja. You may play a male Centipede shugenja if desired, but for violating the customs of the Centipede Clan, such a character must take Bad Reputation in Tani Senshio as a 2 point Social disadvantage.
The Goraiku Bushi School is a house rule’d Centipede Clan school, mechanically similar to the Yoritomo Bushi School (created to allow Centipede bushi without requiring Different School).
Step 4: Customize Your Character
Starting characters for this campaign have 60XP to spend on Traits, Advantages and Skills, plus any XP from Disadvantages. Starting XP will rise as the game progresses so that new characters are not at a disadvantage. When creating a new character to replace a previous character who has died or retired, you may use XP equal to the amount your previous character had, OR the median XP of the currently active player characters, whichever is more.
For the sake of balance, starting characters are limited to spending no more than 25 points on Advantages, gaining no more than 10 points from Disadvantages, having no Trait or Ring greater than 4, and no Skill greater than 5.
You may take campaign NPCs as Allies, Obligations, Jealous rivals and/or Sworn Enemies.
You may not start with the Darling of the Court Advantage; this can only be acquired in play.
A starting character may have unspent XP, but not to exceed 10XP.
Step 5: Derived Attributes
Calculate Honor, Status, Glory, and Insight Rank. Starting characters are limited to having Status and Glory no greater than “4.0”. If your status is “2.0” or higher, work out with the GM what the source of your status is — typically being related to someone important, or being appointed to a position.
It is permissible for a starting character to be higher than Insight Rank 1 if their insight is high enough to qualify.