So I'm working on this mythic/faux-historical Japanese campaign. Today I wanted to talk about classes.
Bujin (fighter) - Well-heeled samurai, wandering ronin, or desperate peasant-turned-bandit, all these fall under the bujin class.
Sohei (cleric) - You're a monk so into Buddha you can drop miracles. PC sohei are probably troublemakers kicked out of respectable monasteries. The cops and/or monks from a rival temple may be looking for you.
Onmyoji (magic-user) - Ancient Japan actually had a government bureau of magic-users. Most onmyoji stay in the capital and draw decent paychecks for little work. PC onmyoji tend to be unlicensed renegades and/or power-hungry maniacs. Female onmyoji operate as a sisterhood outside the legal sanction of the bureaucracy, but since their order was founded by an imperial princess they have a certain romantic cache that makes them less spooky to the common people.
Ninja (specialist/thief) - I got nothing more to say about this class other than "Yes, you can play a ninja."
Wo (dwarf) - Not as beardy as their Occidental cousins, most Wo go for neatly trimmed facial hair, maybe just a moustache or even -gasp- clean shaven. Many have facial tattoos, looking a bit like an actor in a kabuki play. The Wo try to participate in mainstream Japanese culture, but because of their long lifespan and tendency to sleep for Rumple Stiltskin lengths of time, they can't keep up. Like if in a modern setting game you had a short dude in your party that dressed and talked like William Shakespeare. The Wo aren't quite over the fact that suddenly (in their terms) some emperor living on another island is in charge around here and tend to be skeptical of imperial officials.
Korrobukura (halfling) - These hairy little people live in holes in the ground and generally try to stay out of everyone's way. Their numbers are dwindling in the south (where the campaign is set).
Spirit Folk (elf) - Mostly human in appearance, every spirit folk has some sort of 'tell' that distinguishes them: odd colored hair, a tail, animal ears, impossibly long elf ears, a third eye that opens when casting spells, a long lizard tongue, etc. The clans of the spirit folk claim descent from old imperial lineages on one hand and various kami (spirits) on the other, making most of them hella arrogant. Since I envision spirits in this campaign as tending to be inhuman and weird, the Spirit Folk are kind of like what if happy shiny half-elves really had the Innsmouth Taint.
D&D 5e DM Screen — Progress
1 hour ago