Splitting River Style for Art of War

The goal of the style is to wear down patience and remove aggressive attacks of foes. #SavageWorlds

Race Inumimi MaleSplitting River

Element: Water

Opposing School: +1 vs Fire styles

A stream that flows with heavy rain can become a creek that smooths stones. In time a creek can grow into a river cutting through a deep canyon. Should a boulder block a river’s path, it flows around the obstacle wearing it down over time. Inspired by examples in these proverbs, Soji the Koi would develop the Splitting River to work in conjunction with another or as an individual. The goal of the style is to wear down patience and remove aggressive attacks of foes.

Benefit: Once per round, on a successful Jutsu (Unarmed) roll a martial artist can reduce her Str damage by a die type, but can choose to have the opponent become Distracted or Vulnerable.

Mastery: While in this stance and benefiting from Ganging Up, once per round, a failed attack against an ally triggers a counterattack from you as a Free Action.

Basabasa Style in Art of War

You will be chicken feed! HI-YA!

Basabasa Beak Icon 9 - Female Monk

Element: Fire

Opposing School: +1 vs Metal styles

Before domestication, humanoids would study cower at the sight and sounds of battling basabasa over territory and matting rites. This style mimics the fiery attitude that comes along with the shredding capacity of a giant fowl’s beak and razor-sharp claws. It teaches straight forward strikes in quick rapid succession that can pierce the strongest armor.

Benefit:  All fist and headbutt attacks with Jutsu (Unarmed) have AP 4 and are treated as Heavy Weapons.

Mastery: Strength die on damage from fist and headbutt attacks is increased by a die type (max 1d12+3).

Soft Paw Monkey Style in Art of War

Fearing reprisal from an angry cat kami, clergy of prayed for a solution. The Monkey King answered.

Here for Forging Steel. Below for another unarmed style in Art of War.

Soft Paw Monkicon-2-tiger-clan-monkey

Element: Wood

Opposing School: +1 vs Rock styles

Fearing reprisal from an angry cat kami, clergy of Meridian Temple prayed for a solution. To the luck of Buxist and sohei of the temple, the Monkey King answered the call bringing with him a horde of primates to an early morning training session. Soft Paw Monkey style combined the playful rambunctiousness of the monkeys with irritated swipes and bites. With climbing and jumping from high places, the temple guardians held against the possessed cats without doing them harm.

Benefit: Once per turn, maintaining this style grants a reroll to Athletic and Acrobatics rolls for movement (springing off walls, climbing, jumping, etc) or a reroll Test to throw, disarm, or trip foes.

Mastery: Springing up from Prone takes 1” of movement. If a martial artist falls, jumps, or drops from a higher elevation to attack a foe, the first 2” of Falling damage is ignored and is instead applied to the damage roll of a successful attack.

Jutsu (Unarmed) in Art of War

A look at an Unarmed Fighting Style that combines steel and fist.

Jutsu (Agility)

Race TerracottaJutsu represents a set of focused training in a category of melee instruments. Jutsu follows  all the rules of Fighting skill but uses rules as if the Skill Specialization setting rule was in place. When a character uses a weapon not encompassed within a Jutsu skill known he suffers a -2 penalty. Unlike Skill Specialization, each time a hero wishes to learn a new category through an Advance, it is counted as learning a new skill. Meaning, each Jutsu group is considered a separate skill.
The following categories are examples, but do not encompass the wide range of melee options available. Players and Narrators should be open to discuss adding, removing, cross grouping, or even creating new categories as needed to fit the campaign.

     Jutsu (Unarmed): Way of the Empty Fist comes in many different forms and is taught
in many different styles. This is the skill for the unarmed martial artist who likes to get in close and personal in hand to hand combat. Proficiency: fist, foot, headbutt, shoulders, legs, elbows, knees, toes.


Martial Arts Student
REQUIREMENTS: Novice, Jutsu (Unarmed) d6+
You are student taught in the Ways of the Fist or Open Palm. Learning a formalized style of unarmed combat gains the social benefit of being a full member of a community of common practice. Others of the same style will recognize you as an equal, if not a rival.
You gain the Benefit (but not the Mastery) from the martial aspects of the unarmed style learned. This comes with additional bonus to Jutsu (Unarmed) for overcoming opposing elemental styles. These can be found in the “Fighting Styles” section. When this Edge is gained, choose a fighting style for the Hero.

Martial Arts Master
REQUIREMENTS: Seasoned, Martial Arts Student, Jutsu (Unarmed) d8+
You have studied your style of martial arts for long enough to unlock the secrets of accomplished masters. You benefit from the Mastery level of a selected style you know.

Fighting Style:

Forging Steel

Element: Metal

Opposing School: +1 vs Wood styles

Forging Steel is a style taught to those who wish to combine blade and fist. One of the few unarmed styles that relies on at least one hand holding a manufactured weapon. Through exercise and meditation a martial artist of this style flows between weapon to unarmed strikes in seamless fashion landing stunning blows and quick cuts.  

Benefit: Select a weapon (this can be a Trademark Weapon). When using this style and welding the weapon, the martial artist uses Jutsu (Unarmed) skill when making attacks with this weapon and unarmed attacks. Should this weapon be lost or broken, a martial artist must train everyday for at least one week (GM discretion) to use this style with a new weapon.  

Mastery: The martial artist is considered Ambidextrous with the selected weapon and unarmed strikes and ignores Off-Hand penalties.

Ups and Downs & Terracotta Revised

Ups, Downs, Terracotta

Update 42: to the Kickstarter for Art of War

It has been a few months since an update was done. I haven’t published anything in over a year as I work on the Kickstarter. Still.

It’s been a bit trying at times, yet rewarding at others. Because of natural things, and no complaints here, the first editor could only finish a portion of the book. However, James has step into her shoes to fill in the rest of the editing. Pretty cool.Gives some lost hope back to the development system.

Good things are still on the way, just a year behind schedule. Art of War and Kui’s Journal are both about completed. I need to start plotting out the action card deck and work on the rest of the one-sheets. The Kickstarter goals are done, but I need to finish the assignments for others.

While doing a site update, it came to my attention that the company homepage went straight to nothing. Not sure how long that has been happening but I have rerouted it to the Facebook page in the meantime. Wonder how many people came looking for us but ended up on a dead page.

Let’s focus on some fun things. Back on this post I introduced the Terracotta. After some revision work and reconstruction (still pre-edit version) we have the official one below.


“You called me to remove the threat. Even if one is your son, there will be no mercy..”

– Broken Bowl

Spirits of ancestors that hold great reverence are entombed in sacred shrines, monasteries and lavish mausoleums. On rare occasions for reasons known and many unknown, a spirit has been chosen, blessed or cursed to return to the living, inhabiting a silhouette of dirt. When such an event happens through ritual, prayers answered by a divine, a spirit’s force of will, or because the Emperor deemed it so, a Terracotta is “born” from fairly large sized lump of clay and Chi.Race Terracotta

As willing spirit and Chi channel into the lifeless mass, the material molds into the mortal’s former likeness, transmuting clay into flesh. The spirit encases itself deep inside the living statue, acting as a spiritual anchor of Chi that allows the soul to manipulate the new body. Should this energy be released willingly or forced out, Terracottas have been recorded reverting to formless statues, while others have crumbled to dust.

Terracottas are only brought to life to fulfill a purpose and retain most of the memories of any former experiences. Tasks completely depend on the circumstance of the resurrection. One legend tells of a nanny that was so beloved by family, through prayers and copious amounts of offerings to a local Kami, did it finally agree to return the nanny. Nanny agreed to the task of raising generations of children up to this present day. Upon the fading health of the final childless generation, Nanny had finally fulfilled her purpose.

Those that complete their task have been known to petrify in place where they stand or turn to dust upon failing in duty. Those that fail are cursed to haunt the area of its final stand, unable to pass on. Those that succeed and fulfill a pact, are given a second chance at life unhindered, to explore and learn new things previously missed in life.

Once clay becomes flesh it continues to hold the pigment of mineral used to create it. Most of this species have grey or reddish brown tint to the skin. While taking the form of the previous body, a Terracotta does not inherit  the traits of its former life. Instead they take on the aspects of a new terrestrial body.


Immortal Citizen, Eternal Outsider

Should a Terracotta complete it’s specific task or duty, one can go beyond expected years and live between 100 to 150 years with basic repair treatments. Those that play it loose and fast will meet the second death before it is realized. Many seek to learn and research things missed. Few but some, have been conscripted into bureaucracy to serve as administrators, others seek out isolated hillsides where life’s contemplation begins.

Terracottas that play it safe, live long and outlast many generations passing on the previous teachings to the next. Found held up in libraries and study the lost arts or applying past techniques to new technologies, they are always willing to teach skills to anyone that will listen.


Species Traits:

¨ Half Construct: Terracottas are a balance between flesh and rock with a +2 Toughness. Terracotta do not breathe, so it is not subjected to inhaled toxins, can’t drown or suffocate. One is immune to poisons and diseases, and does not suffer extra damage from Called Shots due to biological resilience.

Terracotta can be treated within the “Golden Hour” like other species, but after this period, it cannot heal naturally. Blood dries and wounds harden requiring a Repair skill with materials of mud and water, which takes one hour per current Wound level per attempt. The Repair skill roll is not limited to the “Golden Hour” rule.

¨ Half Flesh: Terracottas are like any other species and require the same basic amenities like them (sleeping, eating, mediation to recover Chi, etc.).

¨ Outsider (minor): Terracottas are rare enough in the world, that when encountered they are viewed with prejudice, suspicion and seen as unnatural beings.

¨ Reduced Chi: Terracotta must sacrifice Chi to anchor the spirit to the mass of clay and manipulate its movements. It starts with a -2 Chi stat.

¨ Slow Moving: Half constructs are made from large piles of mineral, making them heavy. Starting Pace is 5 and it has a running die of a d4.

¨ Vow or Obligation (Major): Terracotta’s entire existence is bound to the idea it was brought back to fulfill a specific deed that it has agreed to perform. Going against the agreed upon pact can result in major and swift (deadly) repercussions to the character and those around it. Should a moment or conflict of interest arise that goes against the Vow or causes an Obligation to be unfulfilled, the Narrator and Hero must figure out if an alternate solution can be reached to avoid an ultimate demise.



Nekomimi for Art of War using Savage Worlds, #SWADE

Nekomimi revision for our Savage Worlds Art of War setting.

A recent update from our Art of War Kickstarter for Savage Worlds Adventure Edition.

Think of Kemonomimi in Art of War as the Faunus found in RWBY.


Nekomimi are blessed with the blood from the cat spirits. Often viewed as lazy, Race Nekomimi Femalecapricious, and vain, nekomimi are creatures dedicated to exploration of luck in all its forms like their yokai antecedents. To truly understand them, one has to know they consider luck to be a living, sapient cosmic force (much like Chi). It is capricious and unpredictable, twisting events and coincidences according to its whims, sentiments, and desires. A nekomimi life is shaped by this understanding—they know the well deserved fruits of hard work can be taken away in a blink of an eye, the lazy can prosper, and the true love can be found and lost on the same night. This sense of impermanence and undeserved consequences of life makes nekomimi either detached and distanced from the life or passionately grasping the life as it comes.

While some nekomimi choose one of those stances over the other, many oscillate between those two philosophical paths (with the most extreme and the most stereotypical ones doing that on a moment’s notice). The more detached nekomimi respect the stoicism of the akaimimi, while the more hedonistic ones feel particularly aligned with the curiosity and joyfulness of araiguma and tanukimimi. Their opinion of inumimi and usagimimi tend to be less respectful, finding their communal spirits too restraining.

Like other kemonomimi, nekomimi are almost human, except for a pair of ears and a tail, resembling ears and tail of a cat. They are usually slender and lithe in build. Their skin colors ranges from pure black, through various bronzes, to reddish, orange,various tones of pink, to almost white, while their hair can be of any color seen in humans plus tones of green and blue. They can also have unusual combination of hair and skin color, such as orange hair and brown skin.

Fortune’s Agents, Fortune’s Playthings
There is a common sentiment among nekomimi that, despite all their supernatural power and command over the world, the deities are no less playthings at the mercy of the Fortune than the mortal beings. Heroes live with the blessing of the Fortune and die at the Fortune’s slightest whim more so than most other people. It is no wonder that mischievous nekomimi are attracted to adventuring life.
Racial Traits: 
Low Light Vision: Kemonomimi are born with the optic inheritance of their animal ancestors. They ignore penalties for Dim or Dark illumination.
Playing with Fortune: Nekomimi have a natural aptitude towards games of chance. They start with d6 Gambling.
Lucky: Fortune giveith. Nekomimi draw one additional Benny per game session. This may be combined with the Luck and Great Luck Edges.
Unlucky: Fortune takeith. They have the Unlucky Hindrance.

Status of Art of War

Art of War Jumpstart, “Frozen Fields” is out now! And for FREE!

An updated I posted to our backers of our Kickstarter.


If you have backed the Savage Worlds Adventure Edition kickstarter and received ACE Jumpstart Bundle 4, you will notice we have our jumpstart “Frozen Fields” in that bundle.

In case you didn’t back the Savage Worlds Adventure Edition kickstarter (even if you did) but want to add it to the fray of freebies, here >>> is the link <<< to the jumpstart.

The core PDF for Art of War & Kui’s Journal are going to be released at the same time. What is the ETA? It is looking to be mid July with print shipping. My goal is to get the PDFs to you at end of June.

Let’s talk Frozen Fields pre-generated characters!

Art of War Frozen Fields jumpstartWe have two kemonomimi characters, both are usagimimi. Keeping track of the mechanics at home?

Species stat block: 

Defined by Trade: The Usagimimi all enjoy and respect hard work done by others. They strive to be successful in a skill of their own. Usagimimi start with one skill (of their choice) at a d6.

Low Light Vision: Kemonomimi are born with the optic inheritance of their animal ancestors. They ignore penalties for Dim or Dark illumination.

Rabbit Run: They have a +2 Pace and their running die is increased by a die type.

Skittish, Yet Dashing: Usagimimi subtracts 2 when resisting Taunt attacks and when making Intimidation rolls.

Teru is a female Shinobi with a specialty in infiltration and Big Brother has the Hero Trope.

Hero Trope? Yep, the chart rolling character creation Trope. Let’s glance at the raw text (subject to change based on your feedback and thoughts).

One of the following Core Skill starts as a d6:

  • 1: You may choose any of the below results
  • 2: Athletics
  • 3: Common Knowledge
  • 4. Notice
  • 5: Persuasion
  • 6: Stealth

The Hero makes one roll on the Edge table. They may select an Edge in that category ignoring Rank and Trait requirements, but must meet any Edge requirements. Example: Ironfist must already have Nerves of Steel to select Improved Nerves of Steel

  • 1-2: Background
  • 3-4: Combat
  • 5-6: Social
  • 7: Chi Edge
  • 8: You may choose any one of the previous results.

The Hero makes one roll on the Hero Qualities Table: d10

  • 1: Bravery – The hero begins with the Brave and Bolster Edge.
  • 2: Ingenuity – The hero increases Smarts by one die type and may reroll one Smarts related skill per session.
  • 3: Supportive – The hero begins with the Reliable and Command Edges.
  • 4: Strength – The hero increases Strength by one die type and adds +2 to all Str based damage rolls.
  • 5: Resilience – The hero gain +1 Toughness and adds a +2 to Soak Rolls.
  • 6: Morality – When the hero completes an act that results in benefiting the whole group without harming others, they gain a Benny. The hero increases Spirit by one die type.
  • 7: Passion – The hero begins with two skills at d6 and starts every session with an extra Benny.
  • 8: Flexibility – The hero increases Agility by one die type, and may reroll one Agility related skill per session.
  • 9: Confidence – When performing daring acts or faced with impossible odds, a hero receives a +2 to associated Trait rolls needed to complete it.
  • 10: Relentless – The hero increases Vigor by one die type and receive +2 on test to resist the effects of environmental based hazards (Heat, Cold, etc).

The hero makes one roll on Abilities Table d12

  • 1: Keep Going: By spending a Chi point or Benny, the hero may ignore all Wound and Fatigue penalties until the end of his next turn.
  • 2: Extra Effort: Select one known Chi Technique. When used the hero can apply a +1 modifier at no additional cost (if the technique this technique has the option of a modifier).
  • 3: Defensive: Once per round, a hero can deflect an attack against him by spending a point of Chi. This causes the enemy to completely discard the attack and classify it as a failure.
  • 4: Additional Edge: Choose one additional Edge, ignoring Rank and Trait requirements, but they still must meet any Edge requirements.
  • 5: Talismans: As an action, the hero can scribe a talisman in the same way as a Kui. Except the hero may only scribe Chi Techniques known to him.
  • 6. Ancestral Weapon: The hero inherits an antique weapon. The Hero treats this weapon as if she had the Trademark Weapon and it’s improved version. This also maintains a Chi Pool of 3. It can be tapped to fuel Chi related abilities with a free Spirit check. Once emptied, it must be refueled by the hero channeling Chi into it as an action and a Meditation roll.
  • 7: Companion: The hero begins with an animal companion, receiving the Beast Master Edge.
  • 8:  Chi Resistance: Chi Techniques that target the Hero suffer a -2 penalty and Chi powered damage is reduced by 2.
  • 9: Unnatural Speed: A hero doubles her base Pace.
  • 10: Oversized Weapon: To anyone else the weapon weighs a ton, but this exaggerated oversized weapon is light enough for you to wave around and is a Heavy Weapon in your hands. For a point of Chi, its damage die is increased by one die type until the end of your next turn.
  • 11: One More Go: Once per session, should a hero be Incapacitated, he may spend a point of Chi or a Benny to immediately remove a wound.
  • 12: Walk Your Own Path: Select any other result on this table, or choose 2 additional Chi Techniques and increase your Chi Pool by 1.

Then you get Dai Tong, the Youxia of the Serpent Clan. Youxia have Kensai which starts you at a Jutsu d6+1 when using your selected weapon. You also see a GREATLY revised Defensive ability, plus Conditioning. That’s the Youxia Trope.

The Samurai Trope is on display with Broken Blade. He also showcases the revised trope that now houses select Stances as part of the build. He gets flustered in situations of romantic entanglement with the Nosebleed Hindrance preview.

Tiger Clan Summary

Tiger Clan showcase #SavageWorlds Art of War

In the character creation section of Art of War the clans are summarized for the player. Still Pre-edit. Posting these drafts help with reading continuity and flow of the read.


Tiger Clan

Family Names: Date, Huang, Khan, Lao, Luo, Luong, Ma, Sakai, Shingen, Sun, Yu, Zhang, Zhao

Common Tenets: Benevolence, Harmony

Common Tropes: Buxist, Kui, Youxia

Clan Techniques: Koi’s Teachings, Moon Rabbit Leap, Tortoise Shell

The autonomous region begins with the Serpent’s Back, flowing west and ends at Serpent’s Tail to round out the northern border of the Hanxia Plains. West is the Wylds, a reminder of the division of the San Empire and the former lands of the moon goddess descendants. South is marred with barren jagged hills protecting the clans from the tainted terrors of the Scorpion Desert, known as The Wall or the Southern Wall. Vast grasslands sprawl across rolling hills playing home of roaming packs of feral and domestic basabasa. Throughout the plains are villages named for one of the 13 Heroes of the Cleansing Jade. Wide open spaces reflect the free spirit embedded in the minds of all Tigers. Their duty is to  protect the realm from injustice and freedom of its people.

Ancestral traditions of nomadic tribes have given generations grand stories of when the Kami lived alongside mankind. Predecessors of the Tiger Clan constructed wooden structures called Spirit Gates. These gates bridged the worlds, bringing celestial beings and humans together to learn the lessons of Chi. Today, the keys to open the doors to the beyond have been lost, but the wisdom and teachings of the divine live on through caretakers and guardians of sacred grounds. Temples and shrines form the pillars of a Tiger community, providing land for festivals, shelter from extreme weather, training space for martial arts, and sanctuary for honoring those that have passed.

Spirituality and coexistence with nature is a driving force. Monasteries dedicated to the martial arts are inspired by the world surrounding them. Each one specializing in a particular style of fisticuffs centered around the teachings of a grand master. Around monasteries grow the communities of families that seek the philosophical lessons to one day have the honor of a student attending a school.

These communities were the first to treat the kemonomimi as equals, setting the groundwork for the Umvee refugees that followed. Umvee hold members of the Tiger Clan to the highest degree of respect for the immediate inclusion into the San Empire. Knowing the importance of cultural traditions and maintaining their own values, members of Council 13 have designated a segment of the “green sea” to the Umvee. As what was done with the Kemonomimi, this land has allowed the Umvee to develop a minor district of the state unhindered.


Diversified as the shrines throughout the land, each monastery village has a goal of spreading their own teachings across the clan, but may hold a core value different from the next. Clan elders seek the lost wisdom of Kami of centuries past. Should the knowledge of the Spirit Gates ever be rediscovered, many are unsure if they should be opened at all. Some want to control the gates, thereby controlling the divine and the fate of the world. Many fear it could unleash something worse, like a vengeful forgotten spirit. As of yet, no such discoveries have been uncovered.

The current head of the clan is held by a Buxist who wishes only to maintain peace and build relations with the Kitsune Clan. As Speaker of the People, Buxist Po Ba Sing works to bring stability and unity to the villages after the last war. Much of his focus has been on maintaining security of those outside the Southern Wall. Resources from the court diverted to rebuilding the nation and aid from the Volunteer Army growing infrequent, Po is hatching a plan for a last ditch effort to bring those south back home. Once he knows all are safe, he would like to push the wall further south, expanding Tiger territory (and of course the Empire).

Sacred Duty:

The Society of the Jade Stratagem is headquartered just inside Tiger territory, with quick access to Kitsune and Serpent lands. While any hero looking to do good or odd jobs may join, the Stratagem is an organization spearheaded by the Tigers that have outpost located throughout the empire. Many outpost are publicly known, others are hidden in back alleys in unwelcoming villages, operate on direction of the Tiger’s sacred duty: Ensure freedom against tyranny and help those who can’t help themselves.

One appointed member from each of the 13 villages is selected to join the Striped Tigers. Striped Tigers are ambassadors of the Tiger Clan that may be called upon by the Emperor, Imperial Court, or answer a request from a Tiger village to investigate issues of oppression of any level. From business owners using unpaid labor to monasteries that refuse to aid starving families, no one is safe from an inquiry should a submitted request meet the Striped Tigers criteria.


Outside looking in, non-Tigers view them as simple rural folk who know nothing outside of herding basabasa and farming. While not entirely untrue, the greatest philosophers and war strategist have sought the wisdom and sword skills of a monastery master within the green sea. Characterized as a land of a 1000 shrines and boundless heroes, everyone is assumed to know a form of unarmed combat. The saying, “..in every hand, a fist..” does hold truth. Despite this, a typical member is patient, friendly, slow to anger, and adventurous at heart. The community takes priority over individual self interests (or at least that is what is taught).

Stories persist that all wandering heroes of the Tiger Clan are forced to become orphans that travel alone starting brawls in tea houses. Quite contrary, members develop strong bonds with family and extended family members. Roaming in packs runs in Tiger blood. Rarely does one wonder far by oneself.

Clan Knowledge:

  • The main economic industry revolves around tourism, basabasa products, and silk trade.
  • Members of certain sects follow the Traveler’s Pilgrimage. This journey retraces the path Kui followed. It consist of 103 shrines, temples, and Spirit Gates.
  • Silk Butterfly Tournament is popular with heroes, and is seen as the best tournament to make a name for oneself.
  • Umvee district is off limits to those that are not Umvee. Any actions taken in the sanctioned area is out of Tiger jurisdiction.
  • Society of the Jade Stratagem is the first unified and multi-clan supported guild. It is a glorified adventures guild.
  • Lands west of the Wylds are overrun by feral fur-covered berserkers.

Rumors & Secrets:

  • One sect of Kui have gained the knowledge to open a Spirit Gate. They are said to have released Oni into opposing clan territory.
  • One of the original 13 Heroes of the Cleansing Jade is said to live as a Terracotta in the Sorrow Swamps. If beaten in a duel the Hero will become a servant of the winner’s family for a lifetime, but the winner must never return.
  • A network of Samurai who long for vengeance seek to remove the Emperor and create a dynasty ruled by a Tiger General.
  • Underneath the capital city lays the comatose colossal kami, White Tiger of Ruin.


Serpent Clan Summary

Serpent Clan showcase #SavageWorlds

In the character creation section of Art of War the clans are summarized for the player.


Serpent Clan

Family Names: Aoi, Fuma, Gan, Goemon, Iga, Kai, Koga, Meng, Tong, Wa, Wang

Common Tenets: Courage, Respect and Courtesy

Common Tropes: Hero, Kui, Shinobi

Clan Techniques: Clone, Flood, Scorpion’s Sting

Nestled in the foothills of Mt. Rinzai travelers can find the northernmost city and capital of the Serpent Clan territory, Aechi City. Mountain terraced rice fields surrounds the city known as the birthplace of the Serpent Clan, the sole source of the spirit mineral known as Dragon Scale, and home of the shadow arts practiced by shinobi. Sprawling south of the capital just beyond the foothills, a hero can find comfort in either the Valley of Peace to the east or the Valley of Serenity to the west. Approaching the southern edge of the valleys and encompassing much of the Serpent lands, the chi formed mountain range of Five Phases can be seen from any location in the providence. Those who are able to climb the jagged obsidian cliffs often refer to a hawk’s eye view as a “iron bowl of snakes”.

Hidden among the villages, behind the facade of pleasantries is a providence standing upon the rivers of blood spilled by shinobi gangs prior to the clan formation. Under the banners of conquest, the Kitsune and Tiger waged war for the resources of the valleys. Soon these gangs united and formed a plan to eject the tyranny that encroached upon them. They became the methodical mercenaries, spies and assassins of the silent battles fought between the clans. Serpent leaders worked together to dwindle the occupying clans to extinction. Since the Triad Resolution, clan territory has remained untouched and openly reserved in court politics. Choosing the side that puts them in the fortuitous situation, while appearing in the position of neutrality. Clan agents have wedged themselves into social circles, gathering information they need in order to maintain their survival.

Despite a profitable history of working in the shadows, the clan sustains itself on the agricultural advances in terrace farming. This method avoids the pitfalls of erosion from seasonal flooding rains of the melting snow-caps. In addition, with the help of initiatives banning herd animals (except for a select controlled population) the Twin Valleys remain untouched providing scenic harmonious environments to inspire the artistic culture. This inspiration has boosted the quality of craftsmanship of ceramic and blacksmithing trade coming from the clan. Thanks in part from adjacent peaks around to Mt. Rinzai containing vast deposits of minerals ranging from clay to Dragon Scale, masonry has become an economic boon to the isolated providence since the reintroduction into the Empire.

With sky reaching mountains, obsidian cliffs, hidden caves, and lush green valleys, the slithering snakes portray the perfect portrait utopia of civilization. Guided by the old ways of BuXia, citizens of the providence live prosperous and harmonious lives in the sunlight. Like the blackened cliffs that surround them, the shadows cast upon the valley are large and provide cover for the dealings of organized turf wars harking back to pre-Imperial days.

Ground is a limited and highly prized commodity within the iron bowl. While the major families of the clan faired well with the Triad Resolution, it’s the small ones that strive to gain status. Families spy on one another, truces are declared as often as they are broken and habitual evening duels are the standard. Often seen as a cultural aesthetic, when such measures must be taken, they often result in bruises or end with first blood. Blood of a Serpent spilled by a Serpent results in swift and often deadly resolutions, not by the families involved, but by local Serpent authorities.


Survival. When the Serpents extracted (some say kidnapped) the descendants of the Imperial family, do so ensured the survival of the dynastic heritage and placed the Clan in a position of influence for the first time.  As caretakers and advisors to the throne, the Serpent Clan has established a symbiotic codependency with the Emperor. Emperor Wu makes use of the specialized talents at his disposal, while the clan are the first to hear of royal rumors and decrees. They look to maintain this status quo as long as possible.

Balance. Icon 3 - Serpent Government OfficialSerpents have seen the devastating results that war has on the citizenry of the country. They are the victims of a war that was brought to them, and never want others to suffer the same hardships. The clan has instituted spy networks, bribes, negotiations and underhanded tactics the other clans dare not perform to keep the power balance in check. Even if it means dealing with one of their own.

Sacred Duty:

Being the eyes and ears of the Empire falls to the imperial department of Office H. This office falls under the responsibility the Serpent Clan, but acts independently of any clan jurisdiction based on the original royal decree. Each member assigned to the internal affairs investigation office must receive the reigning Emperor’s approval. Whereupon acceptance, they must swear an oath before the Kami of the Jade Throne to follow the strict moral code of the office while holding its secrets. Failure means dishonor, followed by imprisonment or death. These are but the mortal responses, as the wrath of breaking a bond with a Kami hold longer lasting effects.


By the age of 25, should a Serpent not have at least one large tattoo, they typically will not receive them. Tattoos are a cultural tradition but are never forced. Designs range from full body murals of myths, to representing stages of life, identifying ones youth gang, or even depicting departed loved ones. The other clans view this practice as taboo and almost criminal. In order to curb this attitude, many who sport tattoos maintain them in places where they can be covered.

Beyond the view of pervasive tattooing practices, Serpents are typed as a laissez faire bunch who focus on the arts and philosophical elements of nature. While knowledge of some art is not unheard of, members of the clan are thoughtful of those they consider immediate family. Accused of being slow to act, they respond after logical contemplation, deducing the best resolution that helps in their survival.

Clan Knowledge:

  • Only the most respected and hardworking individuals can earn a position at Office H.
  • Shinobi schools can be found all over the nation, members from other clans trade in large favors for children to join the elite schools found in the Twin Valleys.
  • WuXing of minerals and metal take refuge in a small foot hill west of Mt. Rinzai. Temple laymen travel down from its hidden location on the 12th of every month to trade wares.
  • The meteorite shower that deposited Dragon Scale across the mountains is said to be happening in the current year. Soothsayers have predicted the rain will start in the Hanxia Plains and move east towards the Crap Reef.
  • Emperor Wu has asked the clan to spearhead an envoy to the Naga nation in the north.
  • Famed Duelist known as Twin Fang developed her signature style of wielding both a katana and wakizashi in her youth.
  • The Peafowl Teahouse is the oldest standing structure still in continuous operation.
  • Geishas from the Serpent Clan are only rivaled by those of the Kitsune Clan.
  • Youth gangs are mostly social clubs that prank each other versus performing criminal activity.

Rumors & Secrets:

  • The Statue of Aechi is a Terracotta that needs a burst of Chi to reawaken.
  • The Iga and Koga families seek to eliminate the Tong family for caring more about profits then the keeping the shadow arts sacred.
  • Once a year, the three main families each a champion to partake in a grand tournament. The winning family becomes the sole family for Office H recruits.
  • Trade with the Nagas have been in place for more than 100 years. The mineral Dragon Scale is only accessible from the Naga side of the mountain range.
  • Secret gambling halls that favor “the house” are operated by Serpents in every city and village.
  • All shinobi organizations act independently of each other and do not consider themselves as part of a clan.
  • The Oni invasion was a grand scheme of the Serpents to end the war between the Tigers and Kitsune once and for all.
  • Wu Zhang is a Serpent imposter put in place after the real imperial passed away without an heir.


Kitsune Clan Summary

In the character creation section of Art of War the clans are summarized for the player.


Kitsune Clan

Family Names: Cao, Dian, Honda, Kano, Mori, Oda, Sanada, Sima, Song, Sun, Toshie

Common Tenets: Courage, Honor

Common Tropes: Samurai, Youxia

Clan Techniques: Chi Attack, Great Wall, Mandate of Warriors

Heirs of the First Emperor, Kitsune Clan holds the act of loyalty to the clan more sacred than loyalty to the Empire. From its initial founding, clan members have commended fealty to the families stemming from descendants of the Oda bloodline. While the leading family has changed throughout years and several wars, the head of state has always held a militaristic role holding the title of Daimyo. As head of state Kitsune Daimyo has authority over the largest military population of any clan. Because of the Third Degree Doctrine, the Kitsune Clan also boasts the largest consortium of soldiers within the Imperial

Mon Kitsune Clan

Army that also fill the ranks of the Emperor’s personal guard. Those outside the clan fear this swell of security from one clan around the emperor could be to influential and put them in a position for a coup. Kitsune reassure others that these rumors are unfounded and are in direct control of the Emperor as per the Third Doctrine.

To coincide with its military might, the Kitsune Clan is responsible for the establishment of academically trained military officers known as Samurai. Samurai are not only a banner of superior loyalty and courage on the battlefield, but represent the high education standards developed throughout the Kitsune state. Kitsune Samurai of the Second Dynasty pushed for a standardized education for all soldiers. These samurai laid the foundation of educational reform throughout the Empire becoming the first teachers of the inaugurated Ministry of Academia. A ministry that is still headed by a line of successful Kitsune educators.

The tract of land for which their Providence is nestled gives Kitsune influential advantage over the Empire. To the immediate west the Providence ends just inside the Hanxia plains, sharing a border with the Tiger clan. To the northwest, along the same border with the Tigers shares a peaceful stretch of property that marks the territory of the Serpent Clan. Arcing over the full northern border sits Serpent’s Back mountain range holding back the Naga nation. The eastern border rest the disenfranchised and exiled clan members that have taken claim of Crab Reef. The southern territory is dotted with white sand beaches and swampy marshes as Kitsune lands dips into the Green Sky Sea. Near the middle of the providence stands the central pillar of the country, the capital city and home of the Emperor.

With so many potential threats on it’s borders, the Kitsune clan has developed a feudal system of control allowing for immediate response to threats. This is due in part to each of the eight regions maintaining a standing army and a centralized controlling office in each major city. Each regional office monitors and resolves disputes between bickering nobles and landowners. An office is governed by an appointed representative that serves as a direct connection to the Daimyo.


The Court of the Shapechangers have been struggling to rebuild the land since the Declaration of Red Pass. With the people of the Crab Reef claiming independence and separation of the clan, dispatching of disgraced and squabbling members, and the death of a famed Daimyo, has shaped the Kitsune Clan. It no longer seeks to rule all of the Imperial Lands. New perspectives of Lady Gion has gained momentum, changing the direction of the clan to revamp their image. For too long the clan has focused on conquest and war, now shifting its vision to protecting its people. They also look to secure infrastructure and rebuild the vast amounts of resources lost from past altercations.

In decades to come, after regaining the trust of the people, Kitsune leaders will look towards reclaiming the lost territory of the Crab Reef. With enough actual evidence, Lady Gion hopes to push for imperial approval to retaliate against the suspected Tiger Clan for the murder of her husband.

Clan Knowledge:

  • Lady Gion holds a private military force known as the Gion’s Pride. Members of this all female unit only operative under her orders, serving as her trusted guard, messengers, spies, and tactical operations unit. In public, they are easily identified in samurai battle attire with geisha make-up.
  • Over half the Empire claims lineage derived from the Kitsune Clan.
  • Improvements in technology and academics are attributed to the advancements from Kitsune warfare.
  • Members of the land fear there will be a internal clan politics and stall the reconstruction of the providence.
  • The late Daimyo and Lady Gion had yet to produce an heir.
  • Rumors say that a nine-tailed shape changing kitsune is born once every three generations, placed within the walls of a Tsuruhime temple and used as a direct connection to the goddess Daji.
  • A village near the imperial capital is host to the minor Fox Clan seeking imperial status. Several villages have pledge to back. Imperial Status would cut the Kitsune Clan down by a third.

Rumors & Secrets:

  • Kitsune nobles are sponsors of a rogue shinobi mercenary group known as the Left Hand Purple Lotus.
  • There hasn’t been a Kitsune in the halls of the Tsuruhime Temple in over 100 years. The temple has been unable to locate one. Some members fear that Daji has revoked the Clan’s divine mandate.
  • An group of youth want the clan to break from the Empire and return the clan to greatness.
  • Lord Sui, brother-in-law of Lady Gion, is working to undermine her authority and takeover as head of the Clan.
  • Lady Gion is said to be a Kitsune in human form.