Ganshu: Miko – Bringing Divine Invokers to Chanbara

One of innovations I fell in love with in the D&D 3.5 days where the invocation-using clases of the Warlock and the Dragonfire Adept – magical classes that don’t rely on memorized spells, but on spell-like invocations they can use and repeat ad nauseum.

Here is my attempt to bring Invokers to Chanbara, starting off with the profile abilities and invocations of Miko (Shrine Maidens / Divine Invokers), with more hopefully to come:

Ganshu (Invoker)
Pious shrine maidens, primordial martial artists, sinister shamans bargaining with yokai and many other people are harnessing the powers of magic, but in a way different to the mahotsukai. Rather than to memorize individual spells, Ganshu gain a small number of magical abilities they can use at will.

Hit Die: d6
Special Dice: Invoker

XP: As Mahotsukai
Att: As Shinobi
Saves: As Mahotsukai
Special Abilities / Extra Dice: As Mahotsukai
Lvl01 : 1/-/-/-
Lvl02 : 2/-/-/-
Lvl03 : 2/-/-/-
Lvl04 : 3/1*/-/-
Lvl05 : 3/1*/-/-
Lvl06 : 3/1/-/-
Lvl07 : 3/1/-/-
Lvl08 : 3/2/-/-
Lvl09 : 3/2/1*/-
Lvl10 : 3/3/1*/-
Lvl11 : 3/3/1/-
Lvl12 : 3/3/1/-
Lvl13 : 3/3/2/1*
Lvl14 : 3/3/3/1

All Ganshu gain a special blast attack depending on their profile. This blast starts at 1d6 damage and increases to 1d8 at 4th level, 1d10 at 8th level and 1d12 at 12th. Their prime ability is the ability modifier for both to-hit and damage.
The blast attack gains an enchantment bonus for both to-hit and damage of +1 at 2nd level, +2 at 5th level, +3 at 8th level, +4 at 11th level and +5 at 14th level.

Unlike other classes, Ganshu gain spell-like abilities called Invocations as they progress in levels. The selection of available invocations depends on their sub-class. A Ganshu who gains a level can swap one Invocation with another one of the same classification.
An asterisk(*) means that the Ganshu gains the invocation, but suffers an additional cooldown of 1d4 rounds whenever they use it.
Blast Shapes / Blast Essences: These are special types of invocations that modify the basic Blast ability. Ganshu can only use one Blast Shape and one Blast Essence on the same blast.

Ganshu gain Invoker Bonus Dice (a d6). Any time they use their Blast ability, they can spend an Invoker Bonus Die to add it to its damage. When they use an ability with a cooldown, they can also spend an Invoker die to reduce the cooldown by the die result in rounds.

Profile: Miko (Shrine Maiden / Divine Invoker)

Miko / Divine Invoker

Miko are female assistant priestesses of the Shinto faith of the 1000 spirits. They are usually attached to a shrine where they assist a Soryo and handle day-to-day business like pedestrian rituals, selling charms or reading fortunes, but wandering Miko aren’t unheard of. Their more uncommon male counterpart is known as Geki (Shaman), which may also be represented by this profile.

Their prime ability is Charisma. Miko may select the Shukyo, Noumin or Chounin backgrounds. They gain the Art (Religious) skill for free, and may select any two of either Esoterica, Mercantile or Religion. They also gain two skills chosen from their background. They are proficient with basic weapons, short bows, long bows and light armor.

Divine Blast: The Miko can release a blast of positive energy up to 80′ away. It grants temporary hit points to Humanoids and Beasts, but deals magical damage to Yokai, Spirits and Undead. Humanoids and Beasts may willingly lower their AC down to 8 for the purpose of being hit by this blast.

Lay On Hands: The Miko gains a healing pool equal to their Charisma score plus her level. With an action and a touch, she may heal any number of hit points up to the remaining pool. Her pool refreshes at the beginning of each day.
Alternatively, she can spend 5hp of her pool to cure one disease or one poison.
She can spend an Invoker die to refill her pool by an amount equal to the die roll plus her Charisma modifier.
Divine Spellcraft: The Miko learns two 1st level Soryo spells, and may spend one invoker die to cast them. At 6th level, she learns one 1st and two 2nd level spells. At 9th she learns one 1st, one 2nd and two 3rd level spells. One spell of up to 3rd level is gained at 11th, 12th and 13th levels.

Protector of Humanity: If the Miko rolls a natural 20 or spends an Invoker Die when she hits a humanoid or beast with her blast, she also heals a number of actual hit points equal to the temporary hit points she grants.
Font of Inspiration: The Miko can give her special dice away to other characters, who can use them as the special dice of their own profile. A character may not possess more special dice than their maximum.

Miracle: You can cast any Soryo spell of any level. This consumes all your remaining Invoker Dice, and you must at least have left 2 Dice at the time you use this ability.
Mistress of Fate: By spending an Invoker Die, the Miko may bless the actions of a group. She must state a specific goal for them to accomplish. The group gains a pool of special dice equal to her doubled Charisma modifer any member of this group can use in accomplishing this task. The Miko can’t make use of this pool, and the pool is forfeit when she uses this ability again.

Miko Invocations:


1. Blessing of the Farmer
Range: Touch Duration: 24 hours Cooldown: 1 hour
The target gains a +1d4 bonus to all their Agriculture, Craft, Fishing and Mercantile rolls. If they fail such a roll, they may discharge the invocation and immediately re-roll with a +1d8 bonus instead.

2. Personal Sanctuary
Range: Self Duration: 24 hours Cooldown: 1 turn
Any opponent attempting to strike or otherwise directly attack the Miko, even with a targeted spell, must attempt a save vs Metal. If the save succeeds, the opponent can attack normally and is unaffected by that casting of the invocation. If the save fails, the opponent can’t follow through with the attack, that part of its action is lost, and it can’t directly attack the warded creature for the duration of the invocation. Those not attempting to attack the subject remain unaffected. This invocation does not prevent the warded creature from being attacked or affected by area of effect spells. The Miko cannot attack without breaking the invocation but may use nonattack spells or otherwise act.

3. Spirit Sight
Range: Self Duration: 24 hours Cooldown: None
The Miko gains darkvision 60′, and may also see invisible things.

4. Touch of Healing
Range: Touch Duration: Instant Cooldown: None
The Miko restores 1d6 HP, but not above 60% of the target’s maximum HP.

5. Turning Blast [Blast Essence]
Range: N/A Duration: None Cooldown: None
All Yokai, Spirits and Undead hit by the blast have to save vs Earth or run away in fear from the Miko for 1 turn. Any target that makes its save is immune to this essence for 1 hour.

6. Weapon Bless
Range: Touch Duration: 1 day/level (min. 3 days) Cooldown: 1 turn
The Miko blesses one weapon (or 20 pieces of ammunition) to slay one specific Yokai, Spirit, Undead or magic-user. She doesn’t need to know the name of the target, but must either be able to accurately describe it (e.g. “The Tengu with the green vest and the naginata who harassed farmers in the rice fields of Yagamuchi yesterday”), or to own a piece of its body or its personal possessions. As long as the invocation lasts, the weapon will point in the direction of the target if it is left alone on a smooth surface for one turn. The first attack with the weapon against the target will get a +1d6 bonus to hit and deal double damage.


1. Aura Blast [Blast Shape]
Range: Self Duration: Instant Cooldown: None
The Miko can unload her Divine Blast as a sphere with a radius of 30′, centered on her. Targets may save vs Fire for half damage.

2. Aura of Healing
Range: Self Duration: 24 hours Cooldown: None
All allies of the Miko within 30′ regenerate 1HP/round, but not above 50% of the target’s maximum HP.

3. Aura of Retribution
Range: Self Duration: 24 hours Cooldown: None
Any time a Spirit, Yokai or Undead damages an ally of the Miko within 30′ of her, it suffers damage equal to the Charisma modifier of the Miko (save vs Wood negates).

4. Mitigate Suffering
Range: Touch Duration: 1 turn Cooldown: None
The Miko can temporarily suppress any of the following statuses: Blindness, Deafness, Loss of Smell, Loss of Taste, Numbness, Paralysis, Slow or Stun. The status returns afterwards. The Miko can mitigate multiple statuses by using this invocation multiple times. If a suppressed status is applied again to the target, this instance of the invocation is dispelled.

5. Relentless Dispelling
Range: 30′ Duration: Instant Cooldown: None
As the level 3 Yamabushi spell Dispel Magic, but on the following round this invocation is repeated again without requiring an action by the Miko.

6. Whelming Essence [Blast Essence]:
Range: N/A Duration: Instant Cooldown: None
The divine blast affects all targets equally regardless of type, dealing subdual damage.


1. Aura of Protection
Range: Self Duration: 24 hours Cooldown: None
All allies of the Miko within 30′ of her gain DR and a bonus to all saving throws equal to her Charisma modifier.

2. Banishing Essence [Blast Essence]
Range: N/A Duration: Instant Cooldown: None
A Yokai, Spirit or Undead hit by your blast must save vs Wood or be banished to its native plane. If it has no clear native plane, it is teleported to the nearest Spirit Realm other than the present location (if Spirit or Yokai) or to a random layer of the Buddhist hells (if Undead). Creatures who make their save are immune to this éssence for 24 hours.

3. Blessing of the Lord
Range: Touch Duration: 1 month Cooldown: 2d20 days
The target gains a bonus of +1d4 on rolls to manage its position and on management and approval rolls for its holdings. The Miko may not use this invocation on herself.

4. Ki-Rin Touch
Range: Touch Duration: Instant Cooldown: None
This invocation channels positive energy into a creature to wipe away its afflictions. It immediately ends any of the following conditions affecting the subject: Asleep, Blindness, Charm, Confusion, Deafness, Loss of Smell, Loss of taste, Numbness, Prone, Slow, as well as any poisons and diseases. If the target suffers from Curse, Paralysis, Petrification or Stun or the Feeblemind spell, it may immediately make a save vs Wood (a separate save for every condition) to get rid of the condition. It also cures 2d6 points of damage, but not above 20% of the target’s maximum.

5. Dream Sight
Range: Self Duration: 24 hours Cooldown: None
While asleep, the Miko may send out her dream self to explore the world around her. Her dream self is unable to affect the physical world around her but through her divine blast, invocations or spells, moves at double speed, can pass through physical barriers like doors and walls unhindered, cannot be harmed by any damage but magical damage, and has only a number of HP equal to her Charisma score. The Miko can dismiss her dream self into her sleeping body if as a conscious action she makes a save vs Metal, and can repeat this save any round. If her dream self is destroyed, she is comatose (save vs Wood 1x/month to regain consciousness), and afterwards treated as if under the effect of a Feeblemind spell (save vs Metal 1x/day to overcome).

6. Yokai Wall
Range: 100′ Duration: 1 round/level Cooldown: None
You create a barrier of glowing spiritual energy that obscures vision and deters passage of Yokai, Spirits and Undead, as well as all their missiles, spells and other special abilities, either as a 40′ long line or as a ring with a radius up to 15′ (30′ high in both cases). A Yokai, Spirit or Undead may attempt a save vs Metal to slip through the wall. Creatures other than Yokai, Spirits and Undead are completely unaffected.


1. Ki-Rin Aura
Range: Self Duration: 24 hours Cooldown: None
As the greater invocation Ki-Rin Touch, except that a.) it automatically affects every ally of the Miko within 30′, b.) the target must save vs Metal to have a status removed (with a -4 penalty to the save to overcome Curse, Paralysis, Petrification or Stun or the Feeblemind spell) and c.) only 1d6 HP of damage are healed. Ki-Rin Aura and Ki-Rin Touch can be used simultanously, allowing two saves to overcome a status and 3d6 HP of healing when applicable.

2. Immediate Recovery
Range: Self Duration: 24 hours Cooldown: 24 hours
When the Miko gets brought down to 0 HP, she may immediately recover 4d6 HP. Likewise, if she suffers any of the conditions of Charm, Paralysis, Petrification or Swallowed, she may attempt an immediate save vs Wood to shake off the condition, and if successful grant all allies within 30′ also an immediate save vs Wood to shake off the same condition.

3. Nichiren’s Falling Star
Range: Self Duration: 24 hours Cooldown: None
The first creature to strike the Miko with a weapon attack or a malicious spell (including AoE spells) will be struck by the light of a falling star. It will have to make a save vs Fire or be knocked prone, a save vs Water or get disarmed, a save vs Metal or get blinded for 1d6 turns, and a save vs Wood or be unable to target the Miko with any weapon attacks or malicious spells (including AoE spells)

4. Spirit Path
Range: 1 touched creature/level Duration: 1 hour/level Cooldown: None
To use the Spirit Path invocation, you must be in an area within or bordering the Spirit Realms. (Wilderness areas at least 5 miles away from the nearest settlement or street usually count.) You and any creature you touch are then transported along a coiling path of shadowstuff to the Spirit Realms. The effect is largely illusory, but the path is quasi-real.
You can take more than one creature along with you (subject to your level limit), but all must be touching each other.
In the Spirit Realm, you move at a rate of 50 miles per hour, moving normally within the Spirit Realms but much more rapidly relative to the Material Plane. Thus, you can use this spell to travel rapidly by stepping onto the Spirit Realms, moving the desired distance, and then stepping back onto the Material Plane.
Because of the blurring of reality between the Spirit Realms and the Material Plane, you can’t make out details of the terrain or areas you pass over during transit, nor can you predict perfectly where your travel will end. It’s impossible to judge distances accurately, making the spell virtually useless for scouting or spying. Furthermore, when the spell effect ends, you are shunted 1d10×100 feet in a random horizontal direction from your desired endpoint. If this would place you within a solid object, you are shunted 1d10×1,000 feet in the same direction. If this would still place you within a solid object, you (and any creatures with you) are shunted to the nearest empty space available, but the strain of this activity afflicts each creature with 10d6 subdual damage (no save).
Any creatures touched by you when Spirit Path is invoked also make the transition to the Spirit Realms. They may opt to follow you, wander off through the plane, or stumble back into the Material Plane (50% chance for either of the latter results if they are lost or abandoned by you). Creatures unwilling to accompany you into the Spirit Realms receive a save vs Water, negating the effect if successful.
Each hour that the Miko and the beneficients spend moving with this ability, they regain hit points and ability points and recover from poisons and diseases as if they had rested for a full day. Once per hour there is also a chance of 1 in 6 to have an encounter as if on dungeon level 8 to 9 (Chanbara p.31).

3 thoughts on “Ganshu: Miko – Bringing Divine Invokers to Chanbara

  1. Did you ever complete the other profiles? I’d read that you were working on the Tsukimono-mochi and Shotokandoka. Was this content ever placed in a PDF for easy downloading/printing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t written the others up, all that I have are scattered notes on historically ascribed abilities of Tsukimonomochi, suitable pre-existing abilities from D&D and some rough ideas on how to fit them into the framework of Chanbara.

      Liked by 1 person

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