Creating a Samurai Clan

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Each samurai clan is distinct, reflecting the philosophies of its daimyo and the goals of its clan head. Additional factors, such as the size of the clan, its source of income, and its influence at court, help distinguish one samurai family from another. GMs may use the information hereafter to fashion a samurai clan stat block for each samurai clan with which PCs might interact so as to assist in determining the outcome of such interactions.

The Samurai Clan Stat Block

A samurai clan stat block is organized as follows.

Name: The name of the samurai clan is presented first.

Alignment and Type: The clan's alignment is the general alignment of its members. Individual members in the clan can be of any alignment, but the majority of the clan will be within one step of the clan's alignment. The clan type indicates both the wealth level (impoverished, poor, typical, prosperous, wealthy) and the overall size of the clan (small, medium, large, major). (Population) The actual numerical size of the clan is recorded parenthetically.

Modifiers: A samurai clan possesses modifiers (Honor, Morale, Lore, and Society) which affect the difficulty of specific skill checks made in relation to members of the clan. A samurai clan's default modifiers are Honor +2, Morale +2, Lore +1, Society -2, but these modifiers are further adjusted by the clan's alignment, qualities, size and wealth.

Daimyo: The name of the daimyo the clan serves under is listed here. (Daimyo Qualities) Three qualities, describing the overall personality of the daimyo are noted parenthetically.

Taisho or Monogashira: This entry provides the name, alignment, class and level of the clan's head. (Taisho or Monogashira Qualities) Three qualities, describing the overall personality of the clan head are noted parenthetically.

Clan Qualities: As with the daimyo and the clan head, three qualities are used to describe the overall personality of the clan. The first of these must be chosen from one of the three qualities possessed by the daimyo and the second is taken from one of the three qualities possessed by the clan head. The third quality is reflective of the clan's alignment.

Notable Members: This section lists any notable clan members. The listed members are identified by their role in the clan, followed by their names, alignments, class and level.

Clan Enterprises: The major businesses and activities of the samurai clan within its community are listed here. The size of the clan determines how many ongoing activities they have.

Purchase Limit and Import Limit: This section lists the amount of money the clan, as a whole, has at its disposal for the purchase of any single item at any one time. The import limit reflects the price of the most expensive item the clan can arrange to have delivered to it if it has at least a week to gather together the funds. Generally, the import limit is twice the purchase limit, but both amounts are subject to further adjustments based on the clan's alignment, qualities, size and wealth.

Samurai Clan Names

The name of a samurai clan serves as the surname for all of its members. Traditionally, when samurai introduce themselves to those not of the clan, they first identify their clan's name and then provide their own given name. To create an authentic sounding samurai clan name, roll on the following two tables, one after the other, and combine the two results.

Table: Samurai Clan Prefix Table: Samurai Clan Suffix
d20 Prefeix
1 Aka
2 Ashi
3 Choso
4 Hatake
5 Hira
6 Ichi
7 Ishi
8 Ita
9 Kage
10 Kana
11 Masa
12 Matsu
13 Mina
14 Naka
15 Oga
16 Sato
17 Suzu
18 Shima
19 Take
20 Toku
d20 Suffix
1 chika
2 daira
3 fune
4 gawa
5 hara
6 kabe
7 kage
8 kawa
9 koji
10 mizu
11 moto
12 mura
13 obe
14 saki
15 suna
16 tada
17 ura
18 wara
19 yama
20 yori

Samurai Clan Modifiers

The difficulty of interacting with samurai clan members is represented through four modifiers, each of which affects the use of specific skills. A clan's default modifiers are Honor +2, Morale +2, Lore +1, Society -2, but these modifiers are further adjusted by the clan's alignment, qualities, and wealth.

Honor: Honor is a measure of how truthful, loyal and trustworthy a group is and how well the group, as a whole, pressures its individual members into behaving in a manner that reflects well on the whole group. Groups with high honor hold themselves to a higher standard than groups with low honor. The Honor score modifies the DC for all Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate checks made to compel a member of the group into doing something contrary to the group's personal code. You should also consider the group's Honor when determining how members of the group react to temptations or bribes.

Morale: Morale is the measure of a group's general cheer, optimism and determination. Groups with a high morale are, as a whole, harder to intimidate. Individuals in groups possessing a low morale are more easily cowed and dispersed. The Morale score modifies the DC for all Intimidate checks made against members of the group by those outside the group. You should also consider the group's Morale when determining how they react to danger.

Lore: Lore is the measure of a group's overall attitude toward knowledge and scholarly pursuits. Groups with a high Lore modifier are more likely to possess libraries and hold scholars in high regard. Groups with a low Lore modifier are more likely to be taciturn and distrustful of new ideas. The Lore score applies to Diplomacy checks made to gather information from members of the group and Knowledge checks made using the group's personal resources. You should also consider the group's Lore when determining how chatty and communicative the members of the group are. (Note that a group's Lore modifier supersedes the Lore modifier for the community in which the group dwells. That is, when speaking to a member of the group in question, replace the community Lore modifier with the group Lore modifier.)

Society: Society is a measure of how open-minded and civilized a group is. A group with a low Society modifier is going to be distrustful of those from outside the group and will be more insular. A high society modifier indicates a more cosmopolitan attitude toward outsiders. A group's Society score should be applied to all Disguise checks made against a member of that group, as well as to Diplomacy checks made against members of the group by outsiders. (Note that a group's Society modifier supersedes the Society modifier for the community in which the group dwells. That is, when speaking to a member of the group in question, replace the community Society modifier with the group Society modifier.)

Samurai Clan Size

Samurai clans vary wildly in size. The smallest of clans are quite small, containing perhaps only a dozen warriors. The largest clans may be spread over a large area, controlling several towns, and possibly even a city. Generally speaking, the larger a clan is, the wealthier and better connected it is. Likewise, larger clans are more widely diversified in their businesses and holdings. Typically, approximately a third of a clan's population is fully trained and ready warriors. The remainder of the population is made up of wives, children, and elderly clan members too frail to fight. Samurai clans rarely compete against clans larger than their own, but competition between similarly sized clans can be quite fierce.

Table: Clan Statistics

Clan Size Population Clan Enterprises Purchase Limit Import Limit
Small Clan 50-1,000 1 5,000 gp 10,000 gp
Medium Clan 1,001-5,000 2 10,000 gp 20,000 gp
Large Clan 5,001-10,000 4 25,000 gp 50,000 gp
Major Clan 10,001+ 6 50,000 gp 100,000 gp

Small Clan: A Small clan has fewer than a thousand members. Such clans control either a single small village or town, often within the territory of a larger clan with whom they are allied, or else they are scattered abroad, with each samurai working as he can. Small clans are generally either young clans that have yet to grow or clans that have suffered debilitating losses in battle. These clans rarely go to battle on their own, but may bolster the forces of a larger clan. The clan heads of a Small samurai clan are always monogashira.

Medium Clan: The majority of samurai clans are of this size. They control a single town, and perhaps a modest castle, but also have clan members who work outside the clan town in various capacities, or perhaps for other clans. While most of the samurai spend the majority of their time performing menial day-to-day duties, the clan, when battle calls, is able to field a sizable fighting force. Clans of this size are capable of fighting singly so long as the opponent is a similarly sized clan, but for major wars it is necessary for them to ally with others to survive. The clan heads of Medium samurai clans are almost always monogashira, though in the more militant clans the clan head may be honored with the title of taisho.

Large Clans: A Large clan is well established, controlling an area of land containing several towns and villages, or even a small city. Such clans traditionally maintain a castle and have a contingent of samurai whose sole duty is to provide a constant military presence. Large clans are likely to be heavily involved in the politics of their daimyo and to be invested in several business ventures. When battle calls, a large clan is able to march alone, though for important conflicts they can normally call on smaller, allied clans to bolster their numbers even further. The heads of a Large clan are normally taisho, though in some of the less militant clans, the head man may still be titled monogashira.

Major Clan: A Major clan is an old, well-established clan which controls an entire province, often with other smaller clans within their territory. The leaders of such clans are important officials, with the ear of the daimyo and wielding a great deal of authority. A clan of such size is involved in any number of activities, including political machinations. When a Major clan goes to war, the samurai within comprise a powerful army able to take on almost any foe. The clan head of a Major clan is always given the title of taisho.

Samurai Clan Alignment

A clan's alignment describes the overall attitude of the clan at large. Most samurai clans are Lawful Neutral, with a few tending toward either Lawful Good or Lawful Evil. Non-Lawful clans are very rare, but not unknown. The alignment of the clan must be within one step of the alignment of the clan head, or else the group has the fractured quality. The alignment of the samurai clan affects the clan's modifiers as follows. A lawful alignment increases the group's Honor by 1. A Chaotic alignment decreases Morale by 1. An Evil alignment decreases Honor by 1 and a Good alignment increases Morale and Honor by 1 each. Any Neutral alignment increases Lore by 1 (so a clan that is Neutral doubles the increase).

If you wish to randomly determine the alignment of a samurai official, member, or clan you may use Table: Samurai Alignment. Accompanying each alignment is a list of three possible qualities associated with that alignment. Once alignment has been chosen, choose one of the qualities associated with that alignment and apply it to the individual or clan being created (remember that if the alignment of the clan and the clan's head is more than one step apart, the quality chosen must be the fractured quality).

Table: Samurai Alignment

d100 Alignment Possible Qualities
01-69 Lawful Neutral Cold, Honorable, Meticulous
70-79 Lawful Good Charitable, Honorable, Meticulous
80-89 Lawful Evil Devious, Meticulous, Vicious
90-93 Neutral Greedy, Honorable, Meticulous
94-95 Neutral Evil Cold, Devious, Greedy
96-97 Neutral Good Charitable, Greedy, Just
98 Chaotic Evil Cruel, Riotous, Vicious
99 Chaotic Good Charitable, Lawless, Riotous
00 Chaotic Neutral Greedy, Lawless, Riotous

Samurai Clan Wealth Levels

There are five possible wealth levels for a samurai clan. The five levels are impoverished, poor, average, prosperous and wealthy. These wealth levels modify the Purchase Limit and Import Limit of each samurai clan, as described on Table: Wealth Level Adjustments. Once the wealth level is chosen, multiply or divide the base Purchase and Import Limits as indicated. This adjustment is done before any adjustments indicated by clan qualities. Table: Wealth Level Adjustments may also be used to pick a random wealth level, if so desired.

Table: Wealth Level Adjustments

d10 Wealth Level Adjustment for Purchase and Import Limits
1 Impoverished Divide Limit by 10
2-3 Poor Divide Limit by 2
4-7 Typical No adjustment
8-9 Prosperous Multiply Limit by 1.5
10 Wealthy Multiply Limit by 2

The Daimyo

Though the clan head sets the day-to-day policies of the clan, he is himself sworn to serve a particular daimyo, the lord of a province. Though removed from the daily activities of the samurai, the nature of the daimyo is still a factor in the attitude and goals of every clan. When creating a samurai clan, determine the name of the daimyo, the city or castle in which he resides, and the name of his province.

Daimyo and Clanhead (Taisho or Monogashira Qualities)

When assigning qualities to the daimyo and the samurai taisho or monogashira, choose one alignment related quality from Table: Samurai Alignment and then choose two qualities from those presented on Table: Taisho or Monogashira Qualities. If you desire, Table: Taisho or Monogashira Qualities allows you to randomly select these qualities.

Table: Taisho or Monogashira Qualities

d20 Quality
1 Active
2 Bold
3 Gloomy
4 Hot-Tempered
5 Just
6 Learned
7 Martial
8 Proud
9 Quiet
10 Religious
11 Romantic
12 Ruthless
13 Stern
14 Strong
15 Stubborn
16 Suspicious
17 Superstitious
18 Thoughtful
19 Unpredictable
20 Vengeful

Samurai Clan Qualities

Each samurai clan should be assigned three qualities. The first of these is chosen from the three qualities possessed by the daimyo and the second is chosen from the three qualities possessed by the clan head. The third quality is taken from Table: Samurai Alignment, according to the clan's alignment. Qualities cannot be chosen twice.


Bustling with energy, an Active individual is always planning, working, and moving. Groups with this quality are likewise constantly busy. An Active group's Morale modifier increases by 1 and its Purchase and Import Limits increase by 10%.


An individual or group with the Bold quality acts decisively and fearlessly. Members of a group with the Bold quality increase their Morale modifier by 2.


An individual or group with the Charitable quality frequently gives to the poor and needy. In such a group, Honor, Morale and Society are increased by 1 but the group's Purchase limit is 20% lower.


An individual with the Cold quality is distant and emotionally unapproachable. Groups with the same quality are aloof toward those outside the group and maintain a facade of passionless efficiency. Groups who are Cold have their Honor modifier increased by 1 but their Society modifier decreases by 1.


A devious individual is manipulative and scheming. Though not all devious people are liars, one must parse one's words carefully. Devious groups seek to use those outside the group to their own advantage, and even those within the group must be alert to the machinations of their comrades. Devious groups decrease their Honor by 1 but their Lore modifier increases by 1.


A group with the Fractured quality is being torn apart by internal struggles. All modifiers in such a group are decreased by 2.


Constantly morose, Gloomy individuals wallow in pessimism. Groups with the Gloomy quality are full of such individuals. Morale in Gloomy groups decreases by 1.


A Greedy individual covets that which he does not have and seeks monetary success, frequently through less than honorable means. Groups with this quality are likewise focused on the acquisition of worldly wealth, even at the expense of others in their community. The Purchase and Import Limits of such a group are increased by 30%.


An Honorable individual's word is his bond. He lives according to his own personal code, even when others fail to do so. Honorable groups likewise have a rigid code of conduct, whether spoken or unspoken, and expect each member of their group to live according to this code. The Honor of groups with this quality is increased by 3 and the Morale modifier is increased by 1.


Quick to anger, Hot-Tempered individuals frequently take out their frustrations and wrath on those around them. When an entire group is Hot-Tempered, the community walks gingerly, fearful of displeasing the group. A Hot-Tempered group's Society modifier is decreased by 1.


A just individual attempts to insure that people are treated as they deserve to be treated. Just groups attempt to distribute justice to their community, according to the code of the group and the mores of their society. Groups with the Just quality increase their Honor by 2.


An individual with the Lawless quality does as he pleases, when he pleases and must be forced to do otherwise. A group with the Lawless quality is out of control. Members barely obey their superiors, and only when their superiors are on hand. Honor, Morale, and Lore modifiers are all decreased by 2 in such a group.


Learned individuals have studied extensively and are knowledgeable about one or more areas of interest. Groups with the Learned quality value scholars and wisdom. The Lore quality of such groups is increased by 3.


A Martial individual devotes himself to preparing for war, both physically and mentally. Martial groups are typically highly disciplined and highly regimented. Honor and Morale are both increased by 1 in a Martial group and Society is decreased by 1.


A Meticulous individual is very exact in both his appearance and his record keeping. A group with this quality expects its members to be clean and to maintain good accounts. In a Meticulous group, Honor and Lore are both increased by 1 and Morale is decreased by 1. The Purchase and Import Limits of a Meticulous group are increased by 10%.


Proud men, and proud groups, make poor followers. They do not like to admit they are wrong, and they are more easily offended than others. A Proud group's Honor is increased by 1 but its Lore is decreased by 1.


A man with the Quiet quality does not speak unless he has something worth saying. Groups who share the Quiet quality are calm and subdued in their dealings. A Quiet group's Society modifier is increased by 1.


Whether pious, zealous, or simply devout, a Religious man is concerned with spiritual matters and makes the time to participate in the faith he has chosen. Religious groups give regularly to their faith, participate in festivals and other times of worship, and are respectful of the clergy. The Honor and Lore of a religious group are each increased by 1. The Purchase Limit of such a group is reduced by 10%.


A Riotous individual is unruly, wild and an incorrigible carouser. Such people are frequently intoxicated, almost always boisterous, and frequently belligerent. A group with this quality is comprised of wild individuals given to dissipation and carnal excesses. In a Riotous group, Honor is decreased by 2, and Morale and Lore are both decreased by 1. Additionally, the group's Purchase and Import Limits are both reduced by 10%.


Sentimental and possibly idealistic, a Romantic finds pleasure in situations and people who capture his imagination. Groups possessing this quality are prone to hero worship and theatrics. Honor and Society are each increased by 1 in a Romantic group.


Trampling on all who come between them and their goals, a Ruthless man, and a Ruthless group, stop at nothing to get their way. A Ruthless group decreases its Honor modifier by 1 but increases its Morale modifier by 1.


An individual with the Stern quality is hard on himself and on others, expecting the best from each. Stern groups are frequently mirthless, expecting all to conform and do their part as required. A Stern group's Honor and Morale modifiers are increased by 1, but its Society  modifier is decreased by 1.


A Strong individual appreciates strength in himself and in others, whether that strength be physical or mental. Groups with the Strong quality likewise value personal strength and hold those that can demonstrate strength in high regard. Such groups increase their Morale modifier by 1.


A Stubborn man does not easily change or back down. Groups who also have this quality are likewise set in their ways, refusing to change their beliefs and actions until there is no other choice. Stubborn groups increase their Morale modifier by 1 but decrease their Society  modifier by 1.


Individuals and groups with the suspicious quality do not easily give their trust. Groups with the Suspicious quality have their Society modifier decreased by 2.


A Superstitious individual holds any number of beliefs concerning the spirit world, luck (and the loss thereof) and the proper way one should act concerning both. Frequently fearful of change and the unknown, Superstitious groups engage in numerous small activities meant to placate the spirits and increase good fortune. Both the Lore and Society modifiers of a group with the Superstitious quality are decreased by 1.


A Thoughtful man thinks before acting and is frequently given to introspection and philosophy. Groups possessing the Thoughtful quality are seldom rash, but plan efficiently before setting themselves into motion. The Lore of a Thoughtful group is increased by 1 and the Import Limit of such a group is increased by 20%.


Some Unpredictable people are crazy, others may simply be purposefully erratic. Either way, one is hard pressed to tell how they will react to any given situation. When a group has the Unpredictable quality, its members tend to be violent and wild, exulting in anarchy and chaos. An Unpredictable group's modifiers are all decreased by 1. Additionally, Purchase and Import Limits are both reduced by 10%.


An individual or group with the Vengeful quality never allows a slight or hurt to rest, but makes sure to return cut for cut and hurt for hurt, tenfold. They constantly pursue vendettas against their enemies, both real and imagined. Morale in a Vengeful group is increased by 1 but Society is decreased by 1.


A Vicious individual thinks little of hurting others and is given to savage moods and vindictive vendettas. Brutal and violent, groups with the Vicious quality possess a bloody reputation. Morale in a Vicious group is increased by 1, but Society is decreased by 2.

Clan Enterprises

All samurai clans are expected to train their male members for war. Each samurai is expected to be proficient with swords, bows and horses. Yet, though battle is a constant possibility in the life of a samurai, battle does not keep food on the table. Each clan has one or more enterprises by which it earns a profit. The samurai of a clan are generally expected to work to further these enterprises during peace-time

Craftsmen: All samurai clans are, to some degree, self-sufficient, producing the goods necessary to perform their duties and live. Occasionally, a clan learns to focus on a particular craft, with its products being of such a quality as to incite the interest of other clans. Samurai in such a clan, particularly those exhibiting a talent for the craft, will be expected to produce goods to sell for the good of the clan. Other samurai may find employ guarding the goods produced, or transporting them to sell.

Land: A good number of samurai clans are involved in the business of land-ownership. They oversee a territory, one ceded to them by the daimyo, charging non-samurai who live upon their land a fee for the privilege of doing so. Such taxes may be collected either as monies or as goods. Samurai within the clan may perform a number of functions, with some working as tax-collectors, others serving as accountants or still others maintaining stores of collected goods. Those living on the land rightfully expect the samurai to protect them and so some samurai also serve time on patrols, policing the area.

Shipping: Samurai clans near border areas are well situated to make a living through the regulation of shipping. Such clans may themselves take part in the buying and selling of goods, but they are just as likely to focus on maintaining roads, collecting travel fees, and confiscating a percentage of goods being moved through their territory.

Farming: The lowliest of clans make their living farming the soil. Such samurai are generally looked down upon by other non-farming clans, yet they continue to toil, knowing that if they do not work, they do not eat. Samurai in farming clans are expected to tend to their own plot of land, as a farmer.

Guard Work: Samurai clans situated near important locales, or in major cities, may be called upon to provide protection to either a person, a neighborhood (or neighborhoods), or an important site. Such guard duty can take various forms, with samurai acting as bodyguards, patrolling city streets as a constabulary, or standing watch over an important shrine.

Horses: While all samurai clans claim proficiency with horses, not every clan actively breeds and raises these beasts, choosing instead to buy what they need from those clans who do. Samurai in horse clans are expected to be able to ride and break the animals, as necessary. Samurai may be called upon to inspect herds, transport and defend livestock, or exhibit the creatures for sale.

Mercenary Work: All samurai clans, at one point or another, are likely to fight on behalf of another clan. Often the reason is political, but a few clans derive a steady income by temporarily “allying” themselves in return for financial compensation. Samurai belonging to a mercenary clan with suitable martial skills are expected to go fight wherever their clan leader sends them, without question.

Politics: All samurai are involved in politics to some extent. Clans focused on politics as an enterprise are generally large and ambitious. They are heavily involved in matters local and national, seeking to elevate their own prestige through choice appointments and skillful maneuvers in the passing of laws and edicts. Samurai in political clans might be expected to attend court, marry for the clan's political advantage, or fill official offices in the capital of the province or nation.

Soldiering: All samurai clans train their men for war, but some maintain a standing army or military force. Such a force is constantly training for battle and constantly ready to fight where they are sent. Samurai in such a situation are soldiers, living a life similar to soldiers everywhere.

Sample Samurai Clans

Struggling Samurai Clan Samurai Farming Clan
Kagesaki Clan
LG Small poor samurai clan (375 members)
Honor +8, Morale +4, Lore +1, Society -4
Lord Hachiwara of Tsue-jo, Daimyo of Oniba province (stern, vengeful, vicious)
Monogashira Kagesaki Norigori LG samurai 10 (charitable, martial, religious)
Clan Qualities honorable, martial, stern
Clan Enterprises mercenary work
Purchase Limit 2,250; Import Limit 4,500 gp


Kagesaki Jokiko LG paladin 8
Kagesaki Yoshimatako LN samurai 6

Ishiobe Clan
LN Small samurai clan (654 members)
Honor +6, Morale +5, Lore +1, Society -4
Lord Hachiwara of Tsue-jo, Daimyo of Oniba province (stern, vengeful, vicious)
Monogashira Ishiobe Takaki LN ranger 5/aristocrat 3 (honorable, romantic, vengeful)
Clan Qualities honorable, stern, vengeful
Clan Enterprises farming
Purchase Limit 5,000 gp; Import Limit 10,000 gp


Ishiobe Masaki LN ranger 6
Ishiobe Soun LE samurai 5

Prosperous Samurai Clan Powerful Samurai Clan
Ichiura Clan
LN Medium prosperous samurai clan (2,734 members)
Honor +7, Morale +3, Lore +2, Society -3
Lord Hachiwara of Tsue-jo, Daimyo of Oniba province (stern, vengeful, vicious)
Monogashira Ichiura Yoshitomo LE samurai 7/bugyo 2 (meticulous, quiet, romantic)
Clan Qualities honorable, meticulous, stern
Clan Enterprises craftsmen, land
Purchase Limit 16,500 gp; Import Limit 33,000 gp


Ichiura Yoshisaki LE samurai 4/sorcerer 6
Masterweaver Ichiura SamatoLG samurai 6/expert 1
Minahara Clan
LE Major wealthy samurai clan (15,821 members)
Honor +2, Morale +2, Lore +3, Society -3
Lord Hachiwara of Tsue-jo, Daimyo of Oniba province (stern, vengeful, vicious)
Taisho Minahara Nariyuki LE samurai 7/bugyo 8 (active, jolly, devious)
Clan Qualities devious, meticulous, vengeful
Clan Enterprises craftsmen, land, shipping, guard work, politics, soldiering
Purchase Limit 110,000 gp; Import Limit 220,000 gp


Minahara Yoshinage LE samurai 14
Minahara Satayuchi LE inquisitor 11