View RSS Feed


Bushido: Alterations to Pendragon 5.1 for samurai games. (Pt. 1)

Rate this Entry
Collected here are some rulings that I feel might make it possible to convert Pendragon rules to fit feudal Japan circa ~1600 AD.
Weapons and Skills will likely be the most difficult to cover, so they will get their own post, as will equipment and horses.

Universal alterations (those that may take effect regardless of the Japanese nature of the game or not):

Critical Hits:
When a pair of critical hits would normally tie, a sword breaks a non-sword only when

  • Both skill values are below or equal to 20 OR
  • One skill value is below 20 and the other has rolled their minimum pre-modified value (eg. a Skill 25 user (1d20+5) rolls 15 (15+5 = 20)) OR
  • Both skills are above 20 and both have rolled the same total value.

Woman's Gift:
The Woman's Gift 'Pretty' is altered to read 'Flirting +10' instead of 'APP +10'.

Brawling/Grappling is treated as a weapon skill, with the following modifications. It has a base value of (higher of DEX-5 OR STR-5) and is a non-knightly skill (thus, it cannot be trained except by experience rolls or Glory) and fighting with Brawling against any non-Brawling melee weapon is rolled at a reflexive -5/+5, or -10/+10 if fighting a weapon such as a greatspear or lance.

Damage with Brawling is rolled at -2d6 if one is fighting with an improvised weapon or wearing armor with hand protection and an armor value greater than chain. Armor of Chivalry does not count towards this armor. Otherwise, it is rolled at -2d6 and as if rebated. If the attacker is successful with a Brawling attack, they may attempt to hold the target still instead of dealing damage. If they do so, the target is treated as immobilized. A held target suffers only a -5 penalty to Brawling instead of the usual -10 for being immobilized, unless they are also prone.

A held target who does not break this hold with a successful weapon attack may be attacked again with Brawling. On a success, the attacker may choose to forgo dealing brawling damage to force his target to be held prone and immobile, putting himself prone as well, or throw his target. If thrown, the target takes falling damage +1d6 (minimum 1d6 if already grounded instead of on horse) and is automatically prone, but no longer held. On a fumble, a brawling attacker either has their improvised weapon broken or, if they have none, falls prone. A critical success while opposing a Brawling attacker who is holding a knight allows the defending knight to reverse the hold unless the attacker also critically succeeds.

All knightly weapon skills besides Brawling and those already assigned during character creation begin at a value of 4, to reflect more both knightly training and intuitive skill from wielding other weapons. This only applies to weapons that have been introduced to the knight's home area before or during the era the knight was a squire. Any weapon without a listed skill that can be intuitively used but is non-knightly counts as a skill of 2.

Inspiration and Disheartenment from Passions in combat last only up to a number of combat rounds equal to half the value of the Passion, rounded up. A fumble on a Passion roll means the DM takes temporary control of your character for that duration and interprets their actions as they see fit.

Honor penalties should be more severe in general, but those are mostly handled with regards to samurai in a future table.

Samurai Alterations:

Honor and Passions:
  • Strike Hate (Saxons) and replace with Shame, which begins play with a value of 5. Japanese culture within this era (at least as portrayed in legend, which is the nature of Pendragon) gives great focus to keeping face in public. Shame increases on a one-to-one basis with losses in Honor, and is treated as a negative Passion, meaning it cannot be used as positive inspiration.
  • If a samurai's Honor ever drops by 3 or more at once, the Gamemaster may ask a Samurai make a Shame roll opposed by their Pride, with the following results. If their Honor reaches 4, they must make such a roll:
    • Critical: The samurai commits hara-kiri without hesitation, and dies. His Honor becomes 15 or his Humble value, whichever is higher, and he gains the 1000 Glory for a glorious death- he has provided a noble example to other samurai.
    • Success: The samurai commits hara-kiri and dies. His Honor is restored to 15.
    • Partial Success: The samurai must make a Valorous roll in order to commit hara-kiri. On a critical success or a success, he does so. On a failure, he loses his nerve and becomes a ronin, losing 1 Honor in the process. On a fumble, he becomes a fugitive and loses whatever Honor he has left- he is Out of the Game.
    • Failure: The samurai becomes a ronin, losing 3 Honor for forsaking his duty to apologize for his crimes.
    • Fumble: The samurai becomes a fugitive, losing all of his Honor. He is Out of the Game.

  • Honor losses are revised as so:

Act Honor Lost
Minor Cowardice (eg. Failing a Valorous roll when it has consequences) -1
Tolerating an insult by a peasant or ronin -1
Fumbling a courtly roll in public -1
Plundering a holy place (Per 10 koku stolen) -1
Having a Passion higher than Loyalty (Lord) (per year, per Passion) -1
Attacking a noble, fellow samurai, or holy person in non-defense -2
Participating in merchantry or performing physical labor -2
Breaking an oath or failing to execute a lord's orders -3
Flagrant cowardice, fleeing battle -3
Drawing one's sword against another noble in court -4
Failing to avenge one's family member, lord, or master -5
Treachery against one's own family, lord, or master -8

1 koku is 'supposed' to be enough rice to feed one person per year. However, in feudal Japan, it usually was worth about 170 days worth of meals instead, perhaps less. In Pendragon, a common meal is worth 1/8 denarii, a knight (and his squire's) is worth 1 d., and either twice that in the city. 240 denarii = 20 shillings = 1 Librum. One Koku is accordingly about 21.25 denarii, so one Librum is worth about 11.3 Koku. This isn't a great measuring stick, however.

One equivalent given for the 6 Librum/year vassal knight is a 50 koku samurai. The equivalent of a banneret knight (50 Librum) had a stipend of 300 koku, or 75 ryo (1 ryo = 4 koku). This gives rates of 8.3 koku/Librum and 6 koku/Librum respectively. Feudal Japan was notoriously money-unstable, but let's go with 8 Koku/Librum, or 2 Ryo per Librum, or 30 denari = 1 koku = 240 meals. This cuts things more nicely.
Coins denominated in mon were cast in copper or iron and circulated alongside silver and gold ingots denominated in shu, bu and ryō, with 4000 mon = 16 shu = 4 bu = 1 ryo.

Are we having fun yet? Read this and you'll understand.
1 Librum = 8000 mon = 32 shu = 8 bu = 8 koku = 2 ryo
1 ryo = 120 denarii = 10 shillings = 120 samurai meals
1 bu = 1 koku = 30 denarii = 240 common meals = 30 samurai meals
1 shu = 250 mon = 7.5 denarii = 60 common meals
3 denarii = 100 mon = 24 common meals = 3 samurai meals
1 denarii = 33 and 1/3 mon = 8 common meals = 1 samurai meal

Submit "Bushido: Alterations to Pendragon 5.1 for samurai games. (Pt. 1)" to Digg Submit "Bushido: Alterations to Pendragon 5.1 for samurai games. (Pt. 1)" to Submit "Bushido: Alterations to Pendragon 5.1 for samurai games. (Pt. 1)" to StumbleUpon Submit "Bushido: Alterations to Pendragon 5.1 for samurai games. (Pt. 1)" to Google

Updated 09-21-2018 at 06:48 PM by DarkisnotEvil

Tags: None Add / Edit Tags