Dynasty and downtime

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Dynasty and downtime

Post by Admin on Fri Jun 26, 2015 8:40 pm


Dynastic & Downtime Rules

These full rules only apply to PCs in the game, mostly to keep my book-keeping under control. I've often used sub-sets of these rules for NPCs, e.g. rolling to see if a NPC has got any children and what genders they are. All of the rules listed have been used, and I haven't seen any major balance issues.

Family rules

Birth
Whether or not a character has a child in a given year is determined randomly. A character rolls once per year to see if they have children; if they are male and have more than one partner, they roll once per partner. To see if a character has a child, roll 1d10 every winter (this die can explode). A woman takes a cumulative -1 penalty per 5 years of age beyond 30 (so a 32 year woman takes -1 on her rolls). On a:
• 1 - 7: No child is born
• 8-19: Child born
• 20 or more: Twins born
If a child is born, roll 1d10 to determine gender. On an odd result, the child is male; on a even result, the child is female.

Youth
Until a child reaches the age of 5, there is a chance they will succumb to an unexpected illness. In every winter, roll 1d10:
• On a 1, the child dies
• On a 2, the child is ill but survives. They must take 1 point of Physical Disadvantages every time this occurs.
• On a 3 or more, they are healthy.
Shugenja or healers might be able to help to save young children from death or debility. A healer can roll Medicine/Intelligence at TN 25 to add +1 to this roll. A spell must specifically help with rolls versus diseases in order to give the same benefit. A spell which completely cures a disease without the target having to roll adds +2 to this roll (i.e. even a worst-case scenario has no long-term consequences).

Children are sent off to a dojo for training between the age of 8 and 12, generally. Their Family benefit develops within the first few months of schooling, followed by the School benefit within the first year. They then learn skill points at a rate of one every three to six months. A student finally becomes proficient in their School Technique three to six months before gempukku. They are mechanically (but not socially!) Rank 1 characters at this point.

Inheritance
A player can chose to start playing a new character whenever they want. Normally the new character will be old character's heir or close relative. Character's heirs should be tracked before play begins - when they pass gempukku, they are created as 0 XP starting characters.

The cost of inheritable Advantages possessed by either parent is reduced by 1, and the points value of inheritable Disadvantages possessed by either parent is increased by 1. Inheritable covers many Advantages and Disadvantages, including most Physical and Mental, almost all Spiritual, and some Social. Anything obtained from the Ancestor tables is automatically covered, regardless of type.

Comment: My players are all from a minor clan, and so this rule gives them access to benefits similar to major clan characters. Balance-wise, it can be a bit iffy, but given how wacko the costing of Advantages and Disadvantages is anyway, this isn't a major problem in play.

Aging
Characters begin to notice to effects of age after about 30. As they age, characters accrue disadvantage points which represent the physical and mental debilitations of age. The rate at which these points are earned depends on the character's Earth Ring and also their lifestyle - living monastically increases a character's effective Earth Ring for the purposes of aging.

Earning Age Disadvantage Points
A character earns 2 Disadvantage points every [Earth Ring + 3] years past the age of 30. So an Earth 2 character will earn 2 points on the 35th birthday, and another 2 on their 40th birthday. On the other hand, an Earth 5 character won't earn any points at all until they are 38.

Spending Age Disadvantage Points
The Disadvantage Points must be spent on new Disadvantages. The exact choice of Disadvantage will be chosen by the player, and should:
1. be thematically appropriate to the character
2. give a genuine mechanical penalty
Disadvantages from age cannot be brought off with XP, but can be upgraded or replaced - e.g. a character gains the 'Poor Eyesight' disadvantage as a result of age. Later on, they gain the 'Blind' disadvantage instead, which replaces 'Poor Eyesight'.

A character doesn't immediately need to purchase a 1 point Disadvantage, and can instead wait to buy an appropriate Disadvantage once they have enough points.

Comment: I trust my players to not take the piss, and so there are no hard limits on when you need to start buying actual disadvantages, but it's normally when they have 3 or 4 points worth.

Note: In my campaign, a character reduced to 0 or fewer Wound Points can chose to avoid death by taking Disadvantages. They have to take 1 Disadvantage point per 5 Wounds. The same limitations apply to disadvantages 'earned' from nearly dying as to ones from aging.

Death from Old Age
There are no mechanics for character's dying from old age. Instead, the player and GM will discuss this when the number of age disadvantages is becoming crippling.

Downtime rules
Each year is divided in four seasons; spring, summer, autumn and winter. A character can spend a season doing active things (e.g. attending winter court, going on campaign), or can spend a season learning. These are described as active seasons and sensei seasons.

Active season
A character earns 1xp per active season, which must be spent on something related to that season’s activity.
For example, a season spent at court could justify Courtier, Etiquette or Awareness but probably not Horsemanship – unless the court was a Unicorn court and the character specifically spent a lot of time learning to ride!

Sensei seasons
Characters earn xp equal to half their sensei’s Skill, rounded down. A sensei normally teaches a skill, but they can also teach advantages or kata. In all cases, pick an appropriate skill to apply, e.g. Kenjutsu for most kata, or Courtier for Perceived Honour. A season of teaching counts as an active season for the sensei.

Learning school techniques
It takes one season to learn a new school technique, and a character does not earn any xp that season (though it counts as an active season for the sensei).


Creating new spells and techniques
Spell creation
Shugenja may invent new prayers to petition the kami. This is a seasonal activity. Every season spent on spell creation earns the shugenja “spell xp” equal to half their Spellcraft skill (rounded down). Spellcraft is increased by 1 if the spell is an Affinity spell, or decreased by 1 if it’s a Deficiency spell. A shugenja can spend multiple seasons earning spell xp. Spells cost xp based on their mastery level, but only spell xp can be used to buy them. Any leftover spell xp can be stored, and later spent on another spell of the same Ring.

Mastery level 1: 2xp
Mastery level 2: 5xp
Mastery level 3: 10xp
Mastery level 4: 20xp
Mastery level 5: 30xp
Mastery level 6: 40xp

School creation
One of my players wanted to invent a bushi school for their minor clan, which led to the development of these rules.

School techniques need to be Invented, and then must be Integrated into the school. An invented school technique is known by its creator and a handful of other school members; an integrated technique is part of the standard curriculum and is known by all members of the school of the appropriate rank.

Integration
It takes 1 year per rank of the technique for it to become integrated into the school, assuming the school has members of the relevant rank.
Note: Originally, there were detailed rules for integration but they proved overly faffy and worked out equivalent to the looser version in play.

Invention
In order to invent a new technique for integration, a sensei must:
* Be of the appropriate Insight Rank, and know the lower ranks of the school.
* Have [5 + Technique Rank] ranks in the most relevant skill (e.g. Kenjutsu 6 for the Rank 1 Akodo technique; Kyujutsu 10 for the Rank 5 Tsuruchi technique).
* Spend at four seasons practicing the technique.
* If the technique is Rank 3 or higher, they must possess an Advantage such as Prodigy or Great Destiny.

Once a technique is invented and demonstrated, the sensei earns a full rank of Glory. The mechanics of the new technique should be equivalent to other techniques of the same rank, but should err on the side of being a little weaker to reflect the fact that e.g. Kakita's techniques have been polished by the Crane for a millennium.

Comment: It takes a shugenja with Spellcraft 6 or 7 four seasons to invent a Rank 3 spell, and a shugenja with Spellcraft 8 - 10 four seasons to invent a Rank 4 spell. So inventing school techniques takes about as long as major new spells.


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