"Yoshi" for short
Yoshi is a swordsman of the Butterfly Kingdom who studies his opponents' spirits so that he can defeat and redeem people rather than killing them. He approaches social challenges with insight and honesty.
Yoshinosuke ("bringer of reason") was taught the Way of the Kensei by his grandmother Tara Shien, who pioneered the Way. She had been a healer at a time when violence rose to such ferocity that healing the injured was as hopeless as holding an umbrella against a flash flood. When Yoshi's father, Kinren, was very young, Shien realized that he would grow up in a world of bloodshed unless something changed. She took up the way of the warrior to dam the tide of violence at its source. The stories and confessions of the wounded warriors she had treated gave her insight into the workings of the mind, and her gentle and noble spirit allowed her to move their hearts. She became a leader of warriors, and after many years of campaigning she restored harmony to the land.
Kinren's father was sickly and eventually passed away. Kinren had been raised on stories of his mother's glorious victories in the field, and longed to emulate them. But with Shien away at the front, she could not impart to him the spiritual clarity that lent meaning to her struggle. Kinren thirsted for battles that no longer needed to be fought. Eventually this led to a rift between Shien and Kinren, as Kinren left home to become a mercenary officer. He married Lin, of the Tokai family, who was disappointed that he did not live up to the nobility of Shien.
When Kinren's first child, Yoshi, was born, Lin brought him to Shien often when Kinren was away on campaign. Shien educated him as she would have done for Kinren had she been able.
A Kensei measures the spirits of others, and true victory is bringing another into harmony. A Kensei does this by example, with psychology, and by proving the strength of his spirit in battle, if necessary. As an aspiring Kensei, Yoshi relies heavily on his courage and good nature but is developing his powers of perception and swordfighting.
Shien encouraged Yoshi to study with other warriors. During a summer at another dojo, he became very close to Reiko, a daughter of the Nakashima family who had a natural talent with the sword. Those around them expected their friendship to blossom into romance, and but for fate's intervention it could have been so.
One day Reiko and Yoshi came upon a pair of bandits accosting a traveler, and quickly put the bandits at their mercy. The terrified bandits begged for mercy, and Yoshi convinced Reiko to allow them to live. In retrospect, Yoshi should have recognized that their fear was not entirely directed towards the warriors in front of them, should have realized these were no ordinary bandits, should have realized that they feared failing their leader and realized what that meant. But he didn't, and he knows and admits that it was because he was too eager to prove his merciful nature.
Hungry for vengeance, the bandits tracked down Reiko's family. Reiko's family were not warriors, and the bandits slaughtered them and made sure she and everyone else knew who had done it, as a warning not to defy the bandits. Reiko was furious - at Yoshi as much as the bandits. She rebuked his attempts to reach out to her and set out on a bloody path of vengeance, stooping to gruesome methods to track down and destroy every last one of the bandits. She sees her goal as justice, but she is ruthless and merciless in carrying it out. She aspires to impose her personal justice on the world, but part of her must feel the pain of causing so much bloodshed. If Yoshi could achieve the same result without that stain on his soul, it would be unbearable for her. That is why she needs to convince Yoshi of the rightness of her philosophy as much as he longs to persuade her to abandon it.
Summary of Plot Hooks
- Kinren, Yoshi's father, is the black sheep of the family and a mercenary commander. He may be a privateer, as well.
- Reiko, Yoshi's former best friend and confidante, is now his mirror opposite and longs to persuade him that evil people must be slain without hesitation, not rehabilitated.
- Who was that traveler Reiko and Yoshi rescued? What did the bandits want from him? These bandits were after real, lasting power, not just wealth. Reiko probably found out what they were really after, but Yoshi has no idea.
Yoshi doesn't want to kill people because he thinks everyone has the potential and the drive to do good. People's basic good nature can be obscured and confused by mistaken beliefs and feelings, but if these mental blocks are taken away, a common humanity shines through. Killing someone destroys all the potential good they could do and is warranted only in extreme situations.
That said, Yoshi doesn't tend to pester the other party members about killing, since he generally prefers to inspire by example (and doesn't want to be a pest in meta or in game). He also respects that capital punishment is often imposed in the Empire, though he tries to give captives a chance at redemption and will argue for leniency if they sincerely wish to turn things around.
(Yoshi recently started thinking about the afterlife after Shien mentioned it in passing and is still figuring out how that may affect his thinking on death)
Schticks to buy
- Nose for trouble (steadfast heart)
- Great Parry
Schticks that don't have a source yet
(now that I have played some _and_ have watched kenshin recently, I have more ideas; also influenced by Gurren Lagann)
- combat anticipation - reading others' intentions at small scale in combat time - effects:
- go now without sacrificing multiple later actions
- add grace to move with some
- doubles on speed roll turn into earliest speed call not also rolled - or turns into speed call 10-minus-Grace-successes (next available based on the other dice results)?)
- 1/book Warrior Spirit - shake off a status effect (bought at high Power) (feel like this should spend chi (or yang, since there's usually a lot of yelling), but it's already 1/book) (this is supernatural, and includes things that normal willpower can't defeat - actual scope that can be achieved with one schtick requires GM input)
- Snap out of it! - Cha roll with Inspire etc. to help someone overcome pain/stun/dominate/distracted/fear/berserk & other conditions that can be overcome with strong willpower
- 1/run Inner Reserves - triggers on making a Death Check - results in healing based on how bad the situation is still (.5X hp per mook + X hp per enemy + 3X hp per named enemy/scary-thing; X based on Chi roll? or other stat) (Spend Chi) (encourages me to get beat on - otherwise I'm wasting my healing)
- Don't Give Up! (Inner Reserves for someone else who can hear my voice - lets them spend a chi to heal - amount healed based on my Inspire) (Alternate name "I Believe in You!")
- Hang in There! (allow others to use my Inspire skill (or successes?) as Death Check skill and whatever skill one would use to resist fear/despair ("Discipline"?))
- Inspiring Presence - extra die pool for Inspiring
- Believe in One Another - I don't know what this does yet - some group buff based on everyone involved having a positive attitude
- Loyal - Double dice to resist effects/persuasion that would result in harming/abandoning companions/innocents, or killing anyone
- The Soul Cries Out (for Justice!) - Inspire doubt in opposing underling (successes deduct from attacks against my allies; if successes beat target's resolve(+ anything?), he changes sides (or surrenders/flees); what effect outside of combat?)