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Hiroto’s companions through his years in exile are an eclectic bunch. Shiho Hiroto was travelling the lands of the Golden Empire when his family seat was usurped. It took months for the news to reach him and, before he could return home, it was all over. For a while, he was still accepted into noble’s houses. Offering a travelling lord hospitality is a duty of every house, great and small. But as his depression grew he found himself living in terrible conditions, only sake able to take away his pain for any time. When he learned the Dragon clan had a price on his head he stopped announcing himself to local nobility and simply went from one tavern to the next, one bottle to the next…

A full telling would take up whole volumes. All the stories of Hiroto being captured by slavers, escaping the fighting pits, conquering the impregnable Scarlet Fortress, defeating the horde of
animated statues on Xiping, sneaking into the Blue Libraries to retrieve his Imperial Record to prove his noble lineage, crossing the western ocean with a pirate fleet and many more tales besides are passed on and whispered as folktales across the empire. Many do not even realise they are about the same man. One constant is that with every tale Hiroto makes new friends and allies, some drawn by his personality, some who owe him a debt and others who still have allegiance to the Eagle clan. Some of Hiroto’s many and varied allies are in the next release: The Brotherhood.

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Shosu was a venerable member of the Seishin-na-Goei, known for his ability to cast out evil spirits across the Jwar Isles. His downfall came when he was summoned to the home of a powerful daimyo whose son was afflicted nightly by an evil spirit. In the darkest hour of the night, the whole house woke to the sound of loud wailing. Things that could only come from a young boy's throat. Panicked at the fate of his son, the daimyo ordered his guards into the room, only to find Shosu with his hands wrapped around the boy's throat, choking the life out of the boy. In alarm, a servant threw a lantern at the sohei, engulfing him in flames. Shosu lives, having trapped the evil within his own flesh. With the Black Eagle’s return to the Jwar Isles, comes the chance of redemption. Shosu can serve the Shiho once again, and
perhaps find a way to finally send the spirit to Jigoku where it belongs. A way to remove many kinds of Markers is always welcome, but Shosu must pay the price afterwards. He can also help with defence against opposed Ki feats. He is a great model to “Fix holes” in your list to combat specific enemies.

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Who knows where the Two Lone Swordsmen came from? They have some training in swordsmanship, but claim no nobility nor is their style recognised. Their armour is not from Jwar and their ability to survive debilitating wounds is unsettling even to close allies. On the Bushido table they are a very resilient duo that your opponent will have to dedicate a significant amount of resources to deal with. They also take minimal set up, to get their abilities going, just gang up on someone!

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Khendish is not a clever man and has been exploited and abused through most of his life. He found a measure of peace in a small village, where an old man took him in, and while he used his
strength to help the village build, gather crops, chop wood and the like, they all helped feed the huge brute and look after him. Hiroto, a mercenary at the time, was hired to clear out the village by a local Lord, claiming the villagers settled without his permission and he is to mine under the village for riches. He came to the village with some of the lord’s men and the thugs immediately attacked! Even at his
lowest point, Hiroto was not about to watch innocents be slaughtered but there were too many. By the time he was able to stop them, only Khendish was left alive. Unknown to any but themselves, the thugs were actually cultists and the deaths they caused awoke The Wraith, imprisoned for aeons, below the village. A standoff between Hiroto and The Wraith gives Khendish the opportunity to flee. A long duel of wit and strength ends with Hiroto finally at the mercy of the Kami. As it gloats at its victory taunting the near broken Hiroto, Khendish returns wielding the pole that he usually uses to clear the fields. Together they are too strong and The Wraith retreats, unwilling to jeopardise it's new found freedom. Hiroto, feeling a debt to Khendish, took the man to a safe place and left him to live there. Khendish was happy again, for a time, until the Takashi came looking for Hiroto. Khendish is deceptively good in melee with his Strongest rule. He can also disrupt what the enemy does though you should take care to mitigate any potential for him to damage your own models next turn!

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Batu is a tribesman of the great plains. His family travel far and wide on horses that are bred to be able to run all day, for weeks if needed. Batu’s tribe serve the Tengu like their Hill Tribe
brethren and though some different Tengu are found on the plains compared to the mountains, they are one people. Batu uses the weapons of his tribe but his repeated contact with the Kairai have taught him this new enemy’s weakness.

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Tru’pah was honoured among Eagle ashigaru, he carries the clan's standard into battle. With most of the clan he fought in the rearguard at Sagoya, allowing the oldest and youngest Shiho to escape. Unlike most of the clan he lived. Many of his friends and fellow ashigaru died to keep the banner flying. He managed to survive in the swamps, always keeping the banner from falling to the mud. He learned to hunt the creatures, find water and which berries were poisonous. The big threat was not one he could have imagined. As the dead Shiho rose and walked again Tru’pah thought he was seeing shades sent to torment him because they died so he could live. He was physically attacked and learned to fight back. Learned how to kill them and keep them dead. He continued for years, living, constantly hunted by the dead, thinking himself mad and not wanting to inflict his madness on anyone else. Hiroto found him and showed him that in fact the dead now rise in Sagoya due to the machinations of the Cult. He took him to the camps of the Shiho, still carrying the banner high. He wakes in the night, tormented by dreams of the dead coming for him but, knowing that giving away their position could be disastrous for the clan, he never cries out. He sees them while awake still, though he has told nobody of this. His mind truly shattered. Finally broken by the revelation that he was sane. Tru’pah has a lot of uses to the Shiho and the Brotherhood. He also has a Special Equipment card for his unique banner, similar to the other samurai factions. The way he plays is flavourful, his fear of the visions he sees at odds with his bravery and loyalty to the clan.


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The Brotherhood Themed Warband also comes with some special cards to allow them to be played together as a band of Hiroto’s friends and allies.

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Some of the cards are there to show how Hiroto has rewritten the book on how to conduct a battle and wage a war. Others are showing how the very different characters work together. Overall this is a crazy set to play together but not ineffective. You can also use any of the individuals as Ronin in their given factions meaning this release probably has something for everyone.

Pre-Order your boxed set and the Winner's Wave this weekend from Saturday the 17th October

 

Winner’s Wave 2020

The Bushido tournament scene has a few events every year that we designate as a “Grand Masters” tournament. These are the most prestigious competitions of the year and as an added incentive, the winner gets to work with us to create a new character for Bushido. The past winners include a whole new type of Tengu with Hazkabo, Xi Han and Zoo expanding the uses of fungus in Bakemono, Kokoro the Harvester pushing the limit of what the rules can cope with and of course, Master Enos from way back in 2014. Over the last two years we designated four events to be Grand Masters and we are releasing all of the winners in one wave. Now it's pretty hard to win this prize so when people get the chance
to make their own model, they often have some interesting ideas. Obviously we put them through our playtesting system and I look over them myself to make sure the rules work and they fit into the world but these are often some of our most experimental and wacky models.

First up we have Karu. This samurai is the head of his own minor house, he owns lands in the Jwar Isles and got entangled in much larger affairs when he came to the aid of a certain group of three princesses as they were travelling through his village. Now he seeks to aid them further but they simply do not stop! Karu on the table is almost entirely defined by his sword. It's a huge weapon and takes great strength to wield. While it has a +2 Melee Strength and Powerful Attack, it is so heavy that if you want that +5 on the damage chart, you have to accept being Slow for that melee. He can also use the whole length and the weight of the sword to swing and hit many nearby enemies. The Zanbato is an anti-cavalry weapon and so all attacks against cavalry are Critical Attacks. Anyone riding mounts against Karu is in for a difficult time.

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Axiam is an instructor and senior ninja or Jonin (High Man) in the House of the North Star. Accordingly he knows all the techniques of the house and always has the right equipment for the job.

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Being able to choose to attach some equipment mid game can be an amazing benefit. How many times have you said “If only I had bought ___” in the middle of a game? With Throw Attack (0) and the option for Feint (1) he has some great disruption potential. Or he can simply borrow a special from any other North Star model in play! Another Tactician model helps the KKZ a lot, as does his extra Smoke Bomb effect and his versatility in Special Attacks and Feats will only increase as more North Star Ninjas are released. 

Hikari had an interesting development. Her designer wanted a generic profile with two tracks that could stab people in the back… amongst other things. The prize is to design a character however so with some tweaking we made Hikari into the fourth Yuta sister.

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When offered the Bargain all of the sisters had to agree for their power is shared and some of them accepting would not be appropriate. Hikari rose above the base desires, greed and hunger for power and refused. Sadly her sisters knew that three yuta would be accepted as readily as four, as long as the whole coven took the bargain. Hikari was murdered by her sisters and this act sealed their fate. Hikari was still powerful and was raised as a Kairai but on occasion her powerful spirit can control her body and she “Lives” again… after a fashion. In a Yuta list she benefits from all of the relevant Types and shares the Yuta card. In any Cult list a Kairai with Ki Block can be useful.

Finally, we have Ryujin. We have foretold Ryujin’s coming for awhile now in the Cycle Deck, flavour text on special cards and more. Ryujin is the spirit of the Deep Ocean. A Kami more powerful than any we have introduced before. When the ideas were first outlined to us we weren’t sure exactly how it would turn out. However we talked it through we found it fitted the world and the Jung very well.

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We know the Miyakomo sea witches summoned Ryujin and this may have caused the great Tsunami as the deep waters rose and Ryujin manifested himself. He now fights alongside them but how much is he controlled and what great price did they pay for his service? Ryujin is a 10 Ki Kami, he has excellent base stats and Tough (2) so he will get work done regardless of how you use him. His Tsunami feat, well known to Temple players (To the great frustration of their opponents!) is already enough to make him an excellent scenario model. His passive unique effect is something to consider however. Wherever Ryujin goes, so follows the ocean and the area around him is constantly surging with sea water offering protection to those nearby and hindering movement. You need to be careful though for the ocean cares not who is a pirate and who isn’t. The ability affects friend and foe alike! On top of this he empowered the Sea Witches, has a Ranged attack and is very powerful in melee, easily earning his place among the 30 Rice models in Bushido. 

Which of these models is your favourite? How will you use them? When you win a Grand Masters what will your model be?

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