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Character Creation Tutorial

The following is a step-by-step guide for creating a character for play using the Legend of the Five Rings system. These rules can be found in the Core Book, starting on page 99, in the chapter titled “Book of Fire.” We are providing them here on the wiki as well for ease of use and for new players, though for full descriptions of schools, techniques, spells, kata, kiho, equipment, and other mechanics, please refer to the source materials.

Choose your Clan or Faction

The first step to creating a character is to decide what Clan or faction your character belongs. Please see our Player Guides page for a guide to role-playing a member of each group. All characters must be samurai caste or monks. All of the following are available for play. Please note the restrictions and changes denoted by the footnotes.

Great Clans

  • Crab
  • Crane
  • Dragon
  • Lion
  • Mantis
  • Phoenix
  • Scorpion
  • Unicorn

Minor Clans

  • Badger
  • Bat
  • Dragonfly
  • Hare
  • Monkey
  • Oriole
  • Ox
  • Sparrow
  • Tortoise


  • Ronin
  • Monks

Choose your Family

The next step for most characters is to choose the family your character comes from. In some cases (such as most Minor Clans) there is only one family that makes up the Clan. The Player Guides for each clan discuss the families. For non-Clan ronin characters, you may not have a family bonus. Non-Clan Monks do not choose a family. Players may choose to be members of a vassal family, but there are no mechanical benefits or penalties for doing so.

Please note the restrictions and changes denoted in our House Rules. The following families are available for play:

Great Clans

Crab Crane Dragon Mantis Lion Phoenix Scorpion Unicorn
Hida Asahina Hitomi* Kitsune Akodo Agasha Bayushi Horiuchi
Hiruma Doji Hoshi* Moshi Ikoma Asako Shosuro Ide
Kaiu Daidoji Kitsuki Tsuruchi Kitsu Isawa Soshi Iuchi
Kuni Kakita Mirumoto Yoritomo Matsu Shiba Yogo Moto
Toritaka Tamori Shinjo
Yasuki Togashi Utaku

Minor Clans

Badger Bat Dragonfly Hare Monkey Oriole Ox Sparrow Tortoise
Ichiro Komori* Tonbo* Ujina Fuzake Tsi* Morito Suzume Kasuga
Usagi Toku

*See Family House Rules

Choose Your School

The third step is to determine what school your character attended. This determines your character's primary role in the game - bushi, shugenja, courtier, monk, ninja, or artisan - though there is much overlap between the roles as well. More information can be found in our Player Guides section. Available Paths and Advanced Schools are listed on the Character Advancement page. Please note the restrictions and changes denoted by the footnotes.

See Here for a a list of permitted schools and notes on any changes to them. FRO 8 has made heavy edits to the Crafting and Duelling systems so be sure to looks those up if your school centers around those.

Crab Clan Schools

  • Hida Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg 106)
  • Hida Pragmatist [Bushi] (Emerald, pg 247)
  • Hiruma Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg 108)
  • Hiruma Scout School [Bushi] (IH, pg 147)
  • Kaiu Engineer School [Artisan/Bushi] (GC, pg 39) - See School House Rules
  • Kuni Shugenja School [Shugenja] (Core, pg 107)
  • Toritaka Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg 219)
  • Yasuki Courtier School [Courtier] (Core, pg 107)

Crane Clan Schools

  • Asahina Shugenja School [Shugenja] (Core, pg 110)
  • Daidoji Iron Warrior [Bushi] (Core, pg 111) - See School House Rules
  • Daidoji Scout School [Bushi] (GC, pg 70)
  • Doji Courtier School [Courtier] (Core, pg 110)
  • Doji Magistrate [Bushi] (Emerald, pg 170)
  • Kakita Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg 109) - See Technique House Rules
  • Kakita Artisan School [Artisan] (GC, pg 72) - See Technique House Rules

Dragon Clan Schools

  • Hitomi Kikage Zumi [Monk] (IH, pg. 215) - See School House Rules
  • Hoshi Tsurui Zumi [Monk] (IH, pg. 214) - See School House Rules
  • Kitsuki Investigator School [Courtier] (Core, pg 114)
  • Mirumoto Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg 113)
  • Mirumoto Taoist Swordsman [Bushi] (Emerald, pg 221)
  • Tamori Shugenja [Shugenja] (Core, pg. 113) - See School House Rules
  • Togashi Tattooed Order [Monk] (Core, pg 114)

Lion Clan Schools

  • Akodo Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg 117)
  • Kitsu Shugenja School [Shugenja] (Core, pg 118)
  • Ikoma Bard School [Courtier] (Core, pg 118) - See Technique House Rules
  • Ikoma Lion's Shadow [Ninja] (Emerald, pg 109) - See School House Rules
  • Lion Elite Spearmen [Bushi] (Naishou, pg 8)
  • Matsu Berserker School [Bushi] (Core, pg 119)

Mantis Clan Schools

  • Yoritomo Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg 120)
  • Moshi Shugenja School [Shugenja] (Core, pg 121)
  • Yoritomo Courtier School [Courtier] (Core, pg 121)
  • Tsuruchi Archer School [Bushi] (Core, pg 122)
  • Kitsune Shugenja School [Shugenja] (Core, pg 220)
  • Mantis Brawler [Bushi] (GC, pg 166) - See School House Rules
  • Tsuruchi Bounty Hunter [Bushi] (GC, pg 167)
  • Yoritomo Shugenja [Shugenja] (GC, pg 169)
  • Moshi Guardian of the Sun [Bushi] (GC, pg 169)

Phoenix Clan Schools

  • Shiba Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg 123) - See House Rules for Schools and Techniques
  • Isawa Shugenja School [Shugenja] (Core, pg 124)
  • Asako Loremaster School [Courtier] (Core, pg 125)
  • Agasha Shugenja School [Shugenja] (Core, pg 125)
  • Shiba Artisan [Artisan] (Emerald, pg 123)
  • Shiba Illusionist [Shugenja] (Air, pg 181)

Scorpion Clan Schools

  • Bayushi Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg 126)
  • Soshi Shugenja School [Shugenja] (Core, pg 127)
  • Bayushi Courtier School [Courtier] (Core, pg 127) - See Technique House Rules
  • Shosuro Infiltrator School [Ninja] (Core, pg 129) - See School House Rules
  • Soshi Magistrate [Bushi] (Emerald, pg 171)
  • Yogo Wardmaster [Shugenja] (GC, pg 229)

Unicorn Clan Schools

  • Moto Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg 130)
  • Iuchi Shugenja School [Shugenja] (Core, pg 131)
  • Ide Emissary School [Courtier] (Core, pg 131) - See School House Rules
  • Utaku Battle Maiden [Bushi] (Core, pg 132)
  • Shinjo Bushi School [Bushi] (Emerald, pg 31)
  • Meishodo Shugenja [Shugenja] (GC, pg 257) - See School House Rules
  • Moto Death Priests [Shugenja] (IH, pg 241)
  • Utaku Mounted Infantry Basic School (IH2, pg 168)

Minor Clan Schools

  • Komori Shugenja School [Shugenja] (Core, pg 217)
  • Ichiro Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg. 215)
  • Tonbo Shugenja School [Shugenja] (Core, pg. 218)
  • Usagi Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg 221)
  • Toku Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg 221)
  • Fuzake Shugenja School [Shugenja] (Secrets, pg 238) - See School House Rules
  • Tsi Smith School [Artisan] (Core, pg. 222) - See Technique House Rules
  • Morito Bushi School [Bushi[ (Core, pg. 223)
  • Suzume Bushi School [Bushi] (Core, pg. 225)
  • Kasuga Smuggler School [Courtier] (Core, pg 225) - See Technique House Rules

Ronin 'Schools'

  • Generic Ronin School [Bushi] (Secrets, pg 236)
  • Dutiful Disciple Shugenja [Shugenja] (Enemies, pg 205)
  • Ronin Order Shugenja [Shugenja] (Enemies, pg 205)
  • Self-Taught Shugenja [Shugenja] (Enemies, pg 205)

Customize Your Character

The fourth step in creating your character is spending your remaining experience points. Experience points may be spent on any of the following, per the rules in Core, pgs. 102-103 with the noted limitations:

Skills and Emphases

  • Skills may not begin higher than [Current Season + 4]
  • A character may possess one Emphasis for each odd numbered skill rank, to a maximum of five at rank 9.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Some dis/advantages have been edited or are disallowed for play, see the Advantages and Disadvantages pages for more information.

  • No more than 15 XP may be spent on Advantages and no more than 10 XP can be gained from Disadvantages1).


See Here for the list of Kata.

  • Bushi characters may purchase kata that are listed as available to another school in their clan, but the characters' rings are considered 1 lower for the purposes of meeting Mastery Level requirements.
  • Ninja characters may purchase kata per the above rule or that they are otherwise eligible for.


See Here for the list of Kiho

  • Brotherhood Monk characters acquire kiho at the normal cost (Mastery Level of the kiho in XP).
  • Clan Monk characters acquire kiho at 1.5 times the normal cost.
  • Non-Brotherhood Monk characters may never know more kiho than their total Monk or Shugenja school rank.


  • Shugenja may choose to innate any of their spells by paying the spell's Mastery Rank in XP. An innate spell does not require a scroll to be cast.
  • Multi-Element spells from the Book of Void, pg. 186-189 may not be taken at Character Creation.
  • Spells may not be purchased using XP.
  • Spellcraft: Shugenja may purchase Spellcraft emphases in Spell keywords (Battle, Craft, Defense, Divination, Illusion, Imperial, Jade, Thunder, Travel, Ward). These apply when casting a spell with that keyword. Having multiple emphases for a spell with multiple keywords does not allow multiple rerolls.


  • PCs may purchase items with their starting koku, but post-Character Creation, money will be represented using the Lifestyle system.
  • Clan samurai will be able to request additional weapons and armor from their lords by demonstrating need. Mechanically, need will be represented by having 3 Skill Ranks in the related Skill.
    • Horsemanship 3 will demonstrate need for a Rokugani pony, with Skill Rank 4 giving access to Riding Armor, and Skill Rank 5 providing Barding.
  • Characters who begin with Riding Armor and a horse may request Light Armor.
  • The total number of these requests is limited to your Lifestyle rank.
  • Ronin are limited to their starting kit and will have to acquire additional gear through in-game actions (crafting, working for hire, etc.)
    • Ronin who began with a Clan School have their starting Koku reduced to 1.

Final Calculations

Almost done! Determine the following traits for your character:

  • Insight Rank = (Total of Character's Rings x 10) + (Total Skill Ranks)
  • Honor =
  • Glory = Insight Rank
  • Status = 1 (or 0 if Ronin)
  • Wounds
  • Armor TN = (5 + (Reflexes x 5) + TN bonus from Armor
  • Combat Attack and Damage Rolls

Creating your Character's Story

The final (or first, if you prefer) step–and the most important one–is taking your character from a collection of numbers on a page to a flesh and blood Rokugani. We are fairly strict about making sure character concepts fit within L5R canon as well as are appropriate to the game we are running. However, our GM team is very happy to work with each player to create a character and story that satisfies our requirements and that the player will enjoy.

20 Questions

We require that you complete the Twenty Questions outlined in the Core book and post your answers after your character sheet

Character Creation House Rules

Be sure to check out our House Rules As many Schools, Techniques, Skill, Advantages and Disadvantages have received changes to their functionality.

Also be sure to check out the Crafting and Duelling pages for a more in depth look at the changes made to those systems

Character Advancement Rules

See Here for more details on the topic.

1) Though you can still take more if you like!
character_creation/character_creation_tutorial.txt · Last modified: 2017/03/14 06:15 by GM_Saelvarath