Character Creation

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A link to the official character creation document

An overview is presented below.

Starting Experience

Any player who played in a previous Heroes of Rokugan campaign gains a bonus of 5 Experience Points.

Players may gain up to 10 extra Experience Points for a PC by taking Disadvantages on that PC. There is no limit to the number of Disadvantages that can be taken, but no more than 10 Experience Points can be gained.

No starting PC may begin play with more than 149 Insight.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The following Advantages and Disadvantages are Banned at character creation; PCs may not start play with them.

They may be acquired through play as rewards or penalties in modules, and others will be available for purchase through the Favor System. (A few may become available after specific story triggers in the campaign.)

Some (although not all) changes from previous campaigns have been highlighted.


Blackmail, Blissful Betrothal, Broken Wave Citizen, Child of Chikushudo, Chosen by the Oracles, Clear Water Native, Dark Edge Native, Darling of the Court, Different School, Friend of the Brotherhood, Forbidden Knowledge (Kolat), Gentry, Great Destiny, Higher Purpose, Imperial City Citizen, Imperial City Veteran, Imperial Spouse, Imperial Scribe, Inner Gift, Inheritance: Asahina Blade, Inheritance: Trained Falcon, Inheritance: Kobune, Inheritance: Water Hammer Armor, Iron Heart Native, Laughing Plains Native, Medium, Multiple Schools, Naga Ancestry, Naishou Native, Nikesake Citizen, Reincarnated, Sacred Forest Native, Sacred Weapon, Sacrosanct, Sage of the Sword and Fan, Servant, Social Position, Spy Network, Student of Shourido, Touch of the Spirit Realm: Gaki-do, Touch of the Spirit Realm: Yomi, Watanu-trained, Zakyo Toshi Citizen


Anachronism, Bad Fortune (all except Moto Curse, Bitter Betrothal, Blackmailed, Bounty, Broken Wave Stigma, Clear Water Stigma, Dark Edge Reputation, Dark Fate, Dependent, Enlightened Madness, Forced Retirement, Hostage, Imperial City Stigma, Lord Moon’s Curse, Member of the Chrysanthemum Court, Nikesake Stigma, Sleeper Agent, Trials of the Imperial City, Water Hammer Stigma, Zakyo Toshi Stigma

Special Notes:

The Ally Advantage may only be taken with NPCs in the setting primer. All NPCs have an Influence equal to half their Status, rounded up. PCs may only begin play with Allies with a total point cost of 5 or lower. (As a reminder, Ally cost is equal to their Devotion, minimum 1, plus Influence.) Similarly, Sworn Enemy may only be taken with NPCs in the setting primer. All NPCs should be considered to be 5-point Sworn Enemies.

PCs with ranks in a Monk School may not take the Multiple Schools Advantage (Kuni Witch Hunters are the exception to this, and may only move to the Kuni Shugenja School). Shugenja PCs may only take Multiple Schools to enter a non-shugenja (and non-bushi) School.

Hotei’s Curse may only be taken if a PC’s School has Techniques that require Void Points to activate; taking a Path or otherwise preventing access to those Techniques in play will require buying off the Disadvantage.

Kharmic Tie may only be taken with another PC.

PCs may take Advantages or Disadvantages from opposing sets as long as they are not the same option (for example, Failure of Courage and Paragon of Compassion would be allowed, but Failure of Honesty and Paragon of Honesty is not).


PCs must be human Samurai or Monks; Gaijin, Spider, Shadowlands, Bloodspeaker, Kolat, and Nonhuman Schools are disallowed.

PCs who are clan samurai may take the Dutiful Disciple ronin shugenja School without requiring Different School. (This allows them to study an element not preferred by their clan’s shugenja School, or Minor Clan samurai who don’t have a shugenja School in their clan to be shugenja.)

The following Basic Schools are Banned in Heroes of Rokugan 4:

Asako Henshin, Guru Sainika Fighter, Hitomi Kikage Zumi, Hoshi Tsurui Zumi, Komori Shugenja, Kshatriya Warrior, Morito Bushi, Shinmaki Order, Shosuro Actor

The following Paths and Advanced Schools are Banned:

Crab Berserker, Crane Aerie Falconer, Children of Doji, De Bellis Legionnaire, Dragon Overseer, Hateru Ninja, Hawk Purist, Imperial Scion, Isawa Archaeologist, Kakita Jester, Koga Ninja, Kolat Assassin, Kolat Guardian of the Hidden Temple, Kolat Master, Machi-Kanshisha, Minor Clan Defender, Rajya ke Varisa, Second City Guardsman, Sesai Ninja, the Silent Ones, Sons of Shadow, Snow Riders, Sword of Yotsu, the Weavers

All Paths and Advanced Schools require meeting any prerequisites and spending Favors.

New Great Clan: The Owl Clan

As detailed in the setting primer, the Owl Clan are a Great Clan in Heroes of Rokugan 4. Their Families and Schools are as follows:

Hantei Family (+1 Awareness)

Chise Family (+1 Perception)

Heichi Family (+1 Willpower)

Hantei Bushi School (Imperial Histories, pg. 26), Hantei Diplomat (Otomo Diplomat, Imperial Histories, pg. 27), Chise Shugenja (Seppun Shugenja, Imperial Histories, pg. 27), Heichi Bushi (Core Book, pg. 217)

New Minor Clan: The Frog Clan

Kaeru Family: +1 Awareness

Kaeru Bushi School

Benefit: +1 Agility

Skills: Commerce, Defense, Jiujutsu,

Kenjutsu, Lore: Underworld, Staves (Machi-kanshisha), any Bugei or Low Skill

Honor: 2.5

Outfit: Katana, Wakizashi, Machi-kanshisha or Bo Staff, Light Armor, Traveling Pack, 5 koku


Rank 1: Way of the Frog

The simplest of weapons should never be underestimated. Kaeru Bushi receive a Free Raise on all attacks with a machi-kanshisha or bo staff. In addition, their long tradition of working alongside the merchant class has taught the value of trade; the receive +1k0 to all Commerce Skill Rolls.

Rank 2: Smoke and Mirrors

The Machi-kanshisha were a ronin otokadate for years, and could not afford to cause permanent harm to clan samurai; in order to keep peace in their city, they developed methods of subduing opponents or rendering them harmless. At this Rank, Kaeru Bushi add additional unkept dice equal to their School Rank to the Contested Rolls for the Knockdown or Disarm Maneuvers while using a machi-kanshisha or bo staff.

Rank 3: Wear Them Down

Although a single blow may prove insufficient to defeat an opponent, few foes are capable of withstanding a barrage of attacks. Kaeru Bushi may now make Simple Action attacks with a machi-kanshisha or bo staff.

Rank 4: Edonichi’s Lesson

The Frog Clan has been a Minor Clan for two centuries, and have learned a little about honorable combat in that time. Kaeru Bushi at this Rank may make Simple Action attacks with Katana, Improvised Weapons, and Unarmed Attacks. In addition, the bonus from their Rank 2 Technique now applies to unarmed Knockdown or Disarm Maneuvers.

Rank 5: Clouded Mind

A quick blow to the head can disorient even the most resilient opponents. Once per skirmish, the Kaeru may spend two Void Points after successfully performing a Knockdown to Stun the target until after the target’s next Turn.

Other Clan Notes

The Tamori Family listed in the book is the Agasha Family of the Dragon Clan. Mechanically, they are unchanged from the book.

The Agasha Family listed in the book is theGennai Family of the Phoenix Clan. Mechanically, they are unchanged from thebook.

The Bat and Ox Minor Clans do not exist inthis timeline.

The Boar Clan are now the Heichi Family of the Owl Clan.

The Dragonfly Clan are now the Tonbo Family of the Dragon Clan.

The Falcon Clan are now the Toritaka Family of the Crab Clan.

The Fox Clan retain their independent Minor Clan status.

The Snake Clan are now the Chuda vassal family of the Dragon Clan.

The Yotsu Family are now the Tiger Clan. Their School and Trait are notes in Imperial Histories, page 276.


Changes to Schools:

Asahina Shugenja School Technique (Core Book, pg. 110)

Add the following text to “The Soul’s Grace” Technique: Using this Technique is a Simple Action.

Kitsuki Investigator Rank 2 Technique (Core Book, pg. 114)

Omit all reference to the Feint Maneuver in this Technique.

Bayushi Bushi Rank 2 Technique (Core Book, pg. 126)

Replace the text of the last sentence with the following: You gain a Free Raise on all attacks that can be used for any maneuver.

Shosuro Infiltrator School (Core Book, pg. 129)

This School may not be taken at character creation. Instead, a PC must have at least one Rank of another Scorpion School and purchase the Multiple Schools Advantage to enter it. This establishes a cover identity for the character, allowing them to travel the Empire without revealing the existence of the School. In this instance, you may waive the favor cost of the Multiple Schools Advantage.

Usagi Bushi Rank 5 Technique (Core Book, pg. 221)

Replace the text with the following: When you successfully strike an opponent twice in one Round, you may make an unarmed attack against them as a Free Action. Immediately after resolving that attack, you gain an additional Free Move action (even if you have already taken a Free Move action this Round) to move away from them.

Snake Clan/Chuda Family (Core Book, pg. 224)

The Snake Clan does not exist in this timeline. Instead, the Chuda family is a vassal family of the Togashi, using the Togashi Family Trait. Only members of the Chuda vassal family may take the Chuda Shugenja School, which exists as written except for the Technique:

Second Chance: The Chuda know the value of a second chance, and bestow that upon their allies. When an ally in your view fails a roll, you may spend a Void Point to allow them to re-roll it. They must keep the result of the second roll. In combat, this is considered a Free Action that may be taken on another PC’s Initiative. This Technique may only be used a number of times per module equal to your School Rank. You gain a Free Raise on all spells with the Defense keyword.

Generic Ronin Basic School (Secrets of the Empire, pg. 236)

This School may be taken by PCs from Minor Clans that do not have a Bushi School without the need for Different School. Ronin and Minor Clan Paths all may replace Techniques in this School as normal.

Kuni Witch Hunter School (The Great Clans, pg. 40)

The Rank One Technique adds +5 to the total of the player’s roll for every rank of the Shadowlands Taint the opponent has instead of its normal bonus; this is added by the GM in secret.

Mantis Brawler Rank 2 Technique (The Great Clans, pg. 166)

Replace the last sentence of the first paragraph with:

You may call a single Raise when you make an attack. If you succeed, you may add +5 to your Armor TN until the start of your next Turn (or +10 if you are Prone). This bonus does not stack with itself.

Other Schools:

The Tessen Path is now an Entry Path for Hantei Bushi, replacing their Rank 1 Technique.

The Empress Guard is available to Akodo Bushi and Matsu Berserker PCs as a Rank 4 Path.

The Isawa Tensai Path increases a PC’s Rank for determining table level by 1.

Emerald Magistrates may take the Emperald Magistrate Path at Rank 5 if their School provides Simple Action attacks at Rank 4. A PC must be an Emerald Magistrate to take the Path.

The Kitsune Ranger Alternate Path is exclusive to the Fox Clan.

Kata and Kiho

Kata and kiho require Favors to purchase in addition to their experience cost, and are therefore not allowed on beginning PCs.

The Strength of the Scorpion Kata (The Great Clans, pg. 230) has its Effect changed to: You gain +1k1 to the Contested Roll to Disarm an opponent. If you call a Raise on this roll and succeed, you may catch their weapon instead of knocking it to the ground.

Changes to Existing Mechanics

Increased Damage (Core Book, pg. 87)

Add the following text to the Increased Damage Maneuver: Two Raises may be used to gain +0k1, instead of +2k0, if desired. This can also be used multiple times, for as many Raises as can be called, in any combination.


Instead of using the Honor Chart, Heroes of Rokugan will use a streamlined system to indicate how much any given action will change a character’s Honor. Honorable actions will be indicated with an “H”, followed by a number representing its Action Rank. The amount of Honor Points gained by any given action is the amount that the PC’s Honor Rank is lower than the Action Rank. (For example, an “H8” action gives a character with Honor 6.3 a total of 2 points. The same action earns a character with Honor of 8.0 or higher no gain.) Similarly, dishonorable actions will be noted with “D#”, indicating how much is lost by having an Honor Rank higher than the Action Rank. Some actions may qualify as both Honorable and Dishonorable for different Honor Rank characters; these will be noted as “H#/D#”. (Following Orders Despite Personal Misgivings is H3/D6, meaning that a character with Honor Rank 2 gains one point, while a character with Honor Rank 9 loses three points, for example.)

Most Honor gains and losses will be detailed in the modules; if a GM feels a player has earned a change in Honor based on exceptional actions not accounted for in the module, they may award a gain of up to 2 points of Honor beyond any listed in the module. No PC should be awarded more Honor than this per module. (There is no limit to the amount of Honor a PC may lose based on their action.)

Honor Rolls will be allowed in Heroes of Rokugan 4, However, they are limited to explicitly honorable actions.


PCs will lose a certain amount of Glory Points at the beginning of every module for inactivity. Any Technique that allows a PC to gain Glory may only be used once per module. Otherwise, PCs may only gain Glory as listed in the modules.

The following mechanics will not be used in HoR 4

The Feint Maneuver (Core Book, pg. 86)

Ancestors (Core Book, pg. 241-244)

Heritage Tables (The Great Clans, pg. 292)

Maho is not allowed on starting PCs.