Provincial Daimyo and the Oath of Fealty
“Samurai” means “those who serve” and the code of Bushido is a code of honorable service. The Spirit of Bushido campaign has developed a mechanic to help bring forth this important aspect of samurai life in a way like never before.
While almost any samurai can have sworn vassals, the lowest rank that can claim the title “Daimyo” is the governor of a major province. These Daimyo are directly sworn to the Family Daimyo, and in turn have lesser governors within their province sworn to them. Clan Samurai can be directly sworn to one of these major provincial Daimyo, or to one of the lesser governors, but all have their oaths held by someone within the chain of fealty.
Players may choose to have their PC serve one of the Daimyo detailed by the campaign. This costs no character points, and must be from the provided list of Daimyo. You may choose to serve any Daimyo from your Clan, but you may not serve a Daimyo from another Clan, even if you attend a school of that other clan.• If a Daimyo is chosen at character creation, then you will gain the first rank in the skill listed. This bonus is applied after School Skills, but before points are spent, and can only grant you the first rank of the listed skill. If it would grant you the second rank (by overlapping with a school skill), your character receives no bonus Skill.
• If you serve a Daimyo, you will receive one of the items listed as an addition to your normal travel pack equipment. The item may be exchanged before each module, but only for the alternate listed with your Daimyo.
• When in a module that takes place within your home province (as determined by the Daimyo you serve), you will likely gain a “home ground” TN advantage to some Social Skill Rolls.
• Additional sub-plots may become available in modules that could appear in any province. These will not generate extra XP, but will likely affect the fortunes of your Daimyo and your home province.
• By serving a Daimyo well in Modules, Interactives, and even Fictions you gain a great way to affect the Living Campaign environment!
If you do not pick a Daimyo, your character is assumed to serve one of the many smaller governors who serve the Clan underneath these Daimyo. These smaller governors grant no mechanical benefits, and remain unspecified. Under no circumstances is a PC sworn directly to a Family Daimyo or Clan Champion without written approval from the Campaign Admin.
If you serve a Daimyo, your fortunes may rise and fall along with theirs. This can result in bonuses and/or penalties, including modified TNs, starting equipment in a module, or even koku. In keeping with the idea of a Living Campaign, we are using module reporting and other methods to track overall success or failure, so the “official” version will often have an impact on all vassals for good or ill. Some good and bad things will happen based on meta-plot, and keep in mind that that Daimyo can die, retire, get married, be replaced, or otherwise be changed in ways that will affect your PC.
There are many reasons to pick a specific Daimyo, including their personality, their goals, and their mechanics. Additionally, some are much more likely to appear in modules than others. However, you may also wish to consider popularity- the more popular Daimyo will have greater support in many ways, but if you are a fiction writer or want to have a larger personal impact, pick one you think will be less popular so that you and only a few other samurai are determining the fate of your Daimyo and province.
How do you start your service? Simple! You write down Oath of Fealty: Daimyo’s Name (Province Name) as a free advantage on your character sheet. While there will inevitably be samurai who may wish to leave service or change daimyo, this will require Fictions and/or Favors, and cannot be done without Admin approval. After all, the oath of a samurai is not lightly given nor lightly put aside.