Just completed the first draft of the Sōhei Buntai this morning. It will go through several iterations before it is ready for publication but you have to start somewhere.
One of the things I noticed immediately was how the combination of the new Skills, Ki Powers and Magical Powers can allow you to create really imaginative and cool characters in no time flat.
For example I wanted to add a character to the Sōhei who wasn’t a leader figure but had real depth and would prove a thorn in any enemy’s side. So meet Iron Wind…
Now before I began creating this character all I had was the name – Iron Wind, sounds cool eh? I went from there to imagining a young orphan boy turning up at the monastery gate, ragged but brimming with energy and potential. The Abbot takes one look at him and decides to take him in.
Jump forward a decade and you have a lad in his late teens who has never really fitted into the harmony and rhythm of the monastery, yet the Abbot has continued to train him for to leave such as this to the fickle winds of fate might be to create a monster.
The boy is now the master of the Kanabō, an iron staff usually only wielded by strong men. With the expenditure of his Ki* he can use this to attack every man who is unfortunate enough to be within the staff’s reach (Whirlwind Ki Power). It has turned out that there is magical blood in him and he is hard to harm with metal weapons (Skill Born of Metal, metal weapons pluck penalties do not apply) and his mind is a steel trap (Will of Iron).
Many Ashigaru and Bushi will have their bones broken and skulls crushed by this child of the Sōhei before they learn to respect him.
The rest of the Sōhei can draw upon armoured and unarmoured monks armed with a range of weapons including the ubiquitous Naginata, the Tachi, Wakizashi, Tanto and Daikyu bow. They will be led by their Abbot, an old and cunning warrior, and may be able to call upon a Yamabushi or even the legendary warrior-monk Benkei.
* Remember that with Ki Powers they cost Ki to use so the Whirlwind power could only be used a few times in an engagement, yet it could be a game-changer if used well.