The King is Dead

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Edo Era Samurai




The following are stock NPC archetypes for a Savage Worlds chanbara setting. They represent typical samurai that might be encountered in the tense, uneasy “peace” of the Tokugawa Shogunate rather than the martial valor of the Sengoku era.  

New Background Edge
Samurai
Requirements: Novice
While the samurai are often thought of as Japanese nobility, this isn’t quite true. The samurai of the Sengoku and Edo eras were a much larger, much more varied caste than European nobility. They ran the gamut from impoverished farmer samurai to the wealthy retainers of the shogun. They were united by a common background as the warriors or servants of their lords, but otherwise varied greatly.
            The defining aspect of the samurai was the exclusive right to own and wield the daishō – the matched pair of katana and wakizashi – and so any character with the Samurai Edge begins play with those weapons. As the only authorized wielders of swords, even the poorest samurai also had the right of life and death over peasants and so gains a +2 to Charisma to reflect the persuasive power of a sharp sword.
            [Game Masters enforcing historical gender roles in their campaign may wish to grant a naginata and tanto to female samurai rather than the daishō.]

Samurai, Typical
A Typical Samurai might be the retainer of a daimyo or a minor official in the shogunate. This samurai is going to be called on more often for her intellectual skills than for her fighting abilities, but she still trains regularly in case she’s deployed to quell a peasant rebellion or needs to defend her lord. Samurai acting as police or assassins will have a higher Fighting skill and additional combat edges.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d4, Fighting d8, Gambling d4, Intimidation d6, Investigation d6, Knowledge d6 (Battle, Law, Medicine, or Science), Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Streetwise d6, Taunt d6
Charisma: +2; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Code of Honor, Loyal, Vow [Minor]
Edges: Connections (shogunate or local domain), Samurai, and one of the following: Counterattack, First Strike, or Quick Draw
Gear: formal clothes, katana (Str+d6+2, AP 2), wakizashi (as short sword; Str+d6); can access a full suit of armor in the unlikelihood of formal battle.

Samurai, Poor
A Poor Samurai will be a lesser retainer to the daimyo of a poor domain or one who that has lost political favor.  During the Tokugawa Shogunate, the daimyo were divided between the shinpan and fudai daimyo (relatives of the Tokugawa and early allies of the clan respectively) and the tozama daimyo who allied with the Tokugawa after the wars were over. The shogunate often tried to deliberately bankrupt these untrustworthy vassals, and the retainers of the tozama lords sometimes found themselves laboring as builders and farmers.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d6, Gambling d6, Intimidation d6, Investigation d4, Knowledge d4 (Battle, Law, Medicine, or Science), Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Riding d4, Shooting d6, Streetwise d6, Taunt d8
Charisma: +2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 6
Hindrances: Code of Honor, Loyal, Poverty
Edges: Combat Reflexes, Samurai, and one of the following: Counterattack, First Strike, or Quick Draw
Gear: katana (Str+d6+2, AP 2), normal clothes, wakizashi (as short sword; Str+d6).

Samurai, Wealthy
A Wealthy Samurai might be a daimyo or an important official in the shogunate. This samurai is a political and social threat more than a physical one; this samurai is connected and can wield his or her retainers against the player characters or call in favors with his or her superiors.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Climbing d4, Fighting d6, Gambling d4, Intimidation d8, Investigation d6, Knowledge d6 (Battle, Law, Medicine, or Science), Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Streetwise d8, Taunt d8
Charisma: +2; Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Code of Honor, Loyal, Vengeful [Minor]
Edges: Followers, Command, Connections (shogunate or local domain), Rich or Filthy Rich, Samurai, Strong Willed
Gear: formal clothes, katana (Str+d6+2, AP 2), wakizashi (as short sword; Str+d6); can access a full suit of armor in the unlikelihood of formal battle.

Samurai, Ronin
            A ronin is a samurai without a master and therefore outside of the social order. Most desperately work to be accepted by a new clan, but some descend into banditry and lawlessness. These statistics represent the latter; ronin trying to go straight would be Typical or Poor Samurai with the Outsider Hindrance.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d8, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Gambling d6, Intimidation d8, Knowledge (Battle) d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Streetwise d8, Taunt d8
Charisma: +0; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 6
Hindrances: Code of Honor, Outsider, Poverty
Edges: Samurai, Strong Willed and two of the following: Counterattack, First Strike, or Quick Draw
Gear: formal clothes, katana (Str+d6+2, AP 2), wakizashi (as short sword; Str+d6).

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