L5r: Legend of the Five Rings


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Kiho were abilities possessed by the more learned members of the Brotherhood of Shinsei. They could manifest themselves as advanced martial arts techniques, near-superhuman feats of athleticism or even spell-like elemental spirits. Kiho were similar to spells in that they were all aligned with one of the five elements, and by aligning their inner chi to one of those elements inside their body the monks were capable of inexplicable feats. When a kiho was performed they could sometimes be indistinguishible from spells. In addition to being kiho of elemental properties they could also be broken down into categories of martial/mushin, internal/aiki, Kharmic and mystical/zanshin kiho. [1] Those developed by corrupted monks were categorized as Dark kiho. [2]

Martial Kiho Edit

Mushin kiho mostly took the form of precise strikes against a targets nerve centers. The strikes were called atemi, and while they rarely inflicted much damage to their target, they could render their target completely immobile. The non-nerve strikes were just normal jiujutsu attacks. [3]

Internal Kiho Edit

Aiki kiho were defensive kiho that drew upon the lifeforce of the monk to enchance their physical or mental capabilities. The monk bind their chi to the particular element and channeled their energy. While granting great powers the internal kiho also often came with drawbacks, and monks rarely utilized internal kiho unless in the direst circumstances. [3]

Kharmic Kiho Edit

Kharmic kiho were perhaps the most powerful of the kiho. Shintao postulated the existance of a great Kharmic Wheel, distributing every mortal soul the punishment or reward it is due. Kharmic kiho tapped into the vast resevoir of energy within the monk to achieve minor effects in the minor world. Each kiho had a specific trigger for it to occur, and if the trigger did not happen the kiho eventually dissipated. [3]

Mystical Kiho Edit

Zanshin kiho were the least understood kiho. They often defied explanation and verged from being merely incredible to supernatural. Only a soul on the path to Enlightenment could truly master a mystical kiho, and even then they would rarely have a true understanding of the mechanisms of the kiho. [3]

Dark Kiho Edit

The Shadowlands Taint disrupted and altered the balance of elements within all who became infected by it. An individual who possessed the ability to perform kiho and who became Tainted could keep some of his previous abilities, and might develop new, horrific kiho based on the Taint element. [2]

Staff Kiho Edit

Some monks, especially those who were strong in the Element of Water, whose own flowing nature and “soft strength” attuned it closely to staves, had devised kiho which focused their chi through their staves performing whirling movements instead of through unarmed blows or atemi strikes. “Staff Kiho” could only be used by a monk who was wielding a bo staff or a three-section staff. [4]

Non-Monks and Kiho Edit

Kiho were a representation of a person's ability to understand their place in the universe, and the monks of the Brotherhood were unparalleled masters of this art. They were not the only ones who were capable of accessing this hidden power however, as some people were capable of performing kiho instinctively. Any such feat always impressed the Brotherhood, and these people would invariably reach high positions within the Brotherhood when they retired. Shugenja were the most likely to possess such knowledge due to their training as priests of the kami giving them a familiarity with both the elements and Shintao. There were rarely any non-monk, non-shugenja who learned kiho, but those few who were invariably study at a school with spiritual teachings. [3]

Kiho Edit

Air Kiho Edit

Flee the Darkness

Flee the Darkness

Earth Kiho Edit

Embrace the Stone

Embrace the Stone

Fire Kiho Edit

Void Kiho Edit

Dim Mak

Death Touch

Water Kiho Edit

Freezing the Lifeblood

Freezing the Lifeblood

Taint Kiho Edit


  1. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 252
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Way of the Shadowlands, p. 136
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 253
  4. 4.0 4.1 Book of Water, p. 188
  5. Way of the Open Hand, p. 19
  6. 6.0 6.1 Way of Shugenja, p. 78
  7. 7.0 7.1 Book of Air, p. 191
  8. 8.0 8.1 Book of Air, p. 190
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Way of Shinsei, p. 63
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Way of Shinsei, p. 61
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Way of Shinsei, p. 62
  12. 12.0 12.1 Way of the Open Hand, p. 29
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Book of Air, p. 192
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Rebirth, by Jed Carleton and Rich Wulf
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Masters of Magic, p. 134
  16. 16.0 16.1 Way of the Open Hand Web Supplement, p. 37
  17. Legend of the Five Rings; Fourth Edition, p. 262
  18. 18.0 18.1 Hidden Emperor, p. 16
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 Way of Shugenja, p. 80
  20. Way of the Open Hand Web Supplement, p. 32
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 21.4 Book of Earth, p. 206
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Way of Shinsei, p. 56
  23. Way of the Open Hand Web Supplement, p. 33
  24. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 263
  25. 25.0 25.1 Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 255
  26. 26.0 26.1 Art of the Duel, p. 60
  27. Way of Shinsei, p. 55
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 28.4 Way of Shugenja, p. 79
  29. 29.0 29.1 Book of Earth, p. 207
  30. 30.0 30.1 Way of Shinsei, p. 57
  31. Book of Earth, p. 205
  32. 32.0 32.1 32.2 32.3 Legend of the Five Rings; Fourth Edition, p. 264
  33. Way of the Open Hand Web Supplement, p. 34
  34. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 256
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 35.5 Way of Shinsei, p. 59
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 36.4 Way of Shinsei, p. 60
  37. Way of the Shugenja, pp. 78-79
  38. 38.0 38.1 Way of the Open Hand, p. 20
  39. 39.0 39.1 Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 257
  40. Book of Fire, p. 191
  41. 41.0 41.1 Four Winds, p. 167
  42. 42.0 42.1 Book of Fire, p. 192
  43. Way of the Open Hand Web Supplement, p. 35
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 258
  45. Legend of the Five Rings; Fourth Edition, pp. 265-266
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 Way of Shinsei, p. 64
  47. 47.0 47.1 47.2 Way of Shinsei, p. 65
  48. Way of the Ninja, p. 62
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 49.3 49.4 Book of Void, p. 192
  50. 50.0 50.1 50.2 Legend of the Five Rings; Fourth Edition, p. 266
  51. Rokugan, p. 54
  52. Hidden Emperor, p. 30
  53. Legend of the Five Rings; Fourth Edition, p. 267
  54. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 259
  55. Way of the Ninja, p. 63
  56. Times of Treachery (Imperial Herald v2#18), by Shawn Carman
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 Legend of the Five Rings; Fourth Edition, p. 265
  58. 58.0 58.1 58.2 58.3 Way of Shinsei, p. 58
  59. 59.0 59.1 Book of Water, p. 189
  60. Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 260
  61. Hidden Emperor, p. 16
  62. 62.0 62.1 Time of the Void, p. 36

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