What are Time Units (TU)
Most samurai have duties: courtiers have to attend to bureaucracy and minor court business, bushi have military and guard duties, shugenjas have rituals to attend and kami to appease and even ronin have to take minor jobs and forage for basic survival. Then they need to rest and enough leisure time for not to go insane.
But that is boring.
TU represent the time between episodes that ISN’T spent with your duties/basic survival. They are an abstract time: sometimes they represent a week with lot of free time, otherwise they represent rare breaks from very stressful seasons/year. More than an accurate measurement of time they are a rare commodity in Rokugani society, periods of time where your character fully controls what he needs and wants to do.
The most common uses for time units are self-improvement and crafting, but bellow there are other suggested uses.
How do I obtain TUs?
The most common way to obtain TUs is as a reward for completing an episode. Everyone that took part on an episode receives 1 TU upon completion; additional TUs might be granted as rewards for certain objectives.
Petition: You somehow persuade your lord that you require more time or that what you are spending your duty time isn’t a private matter, but good also for his interest. Roll Lore: Bureaucracy (or Sincerity if you manage to get a private audience) against a TN 30, with a Raise for each constitutive episodic break you try this technique. Success grants you a 1 TU and draws the attention of your lord for what you are doing in your free time. In special situations you might replace another skill for Lore: Bureaucracy or Sincerity; for example, you’re petitioning more time for working on a statue that will bring him Glory if you have it ready for the Winter Court – in this case your Craft (Sculpture) might be used; the TN and Raises stay the same.
At The Expense Of Duties: You can slack off, procrastinate, don’t get proper rest, starve and all around cut corners. You can decide to do this once between episodes, getting 1 TU. Sadly, this can get you in trouble with your lord and/or give you some sort of appropriate penalty for the next episode.
Delegate: You can use your Status and office to bully other into doing your work, and so have more time to see that new play. A character with 2 ranks of Status above another (or 1 rank above if both are of the same Clan) can burden other with additional duties, consuming his free time. Using this transfer you 1 TU from that character to you. Initially a target of this might be honored, and hopeful for a chance to rise in rank; but the more this is used with little to no rewards, the underling might grow antagonistic.
What do I use TU for?
You can use your free time for self-improvement. You can use 1 TU and spend the proper XP to improve skills and traits above their Insight Rank +2. Instead of spending time on isolated improvement you might seek a sempai/mentor/sensei with 2 ranks above you in the given skill or trait. If he is willing to accept invoking a Favor or contracting an obligation, he will train you without TU investment.
Crafting Rules (And Others)
Remember, these can be used for more than crafting skills and learning spells.
The above situations are the most common use for TU, but hardly the only ones possible. You should see the TU as symbolic tokens of time, which you can use for stuff that don’t want to happen during sessions BUT you want to happen. The Heavens are the limit, but here are some suggestions:
Spend Private Time With A Character
Both you and the target character decide to spend some private time together on a little escapade, in order to increase your Social Link. Both invest 1 TU. Keep in mind nobody wants boring people, so you probably need to make a good impression and share interests before that!
Arrange A Duel
Want to duel someone and it would need time for arrangement or would just delay a session without contributing for the episode? Both duelists spend 1 TU and duel in between episodes!
Gieb me TUs!