Today I made some small progress on Chanbara. I'm currently reorganizing and expanding the various special abilities - the Maneuvers, Tricks and Secrets.
The biggest change I'm making is to make some sub-types. For example, Maneuvers will have some subtypes dedicated to weapon groups. Tricks will have tags for social interaction, infiltration, espionage, etc. Secrets will be divvied up between Ki (Chi), In (Yin), Yo (Yang), and the 5 Taoist Elements. There will also be some catch-all general categories for things that don't fit anywhere else.
This means a lot more work for me, and for new players it will also be a bit more to look over to create a character. But the advantage is that certain classes will be able to have access only to the subsets of abilities that fit their class.
The Kensei, or Weapon Master, will choose a weapon to specialize in, and then must take the abilities associated with that weapon first, and can take general combat Maneuvers with additional slots as they level up. The Soryo (priest) class will have access to all Secrets, being a spell-casting class, but will also have the social interaction Tricks available (but not the ninja infiltration/escape stuff) since dealing with people (and intelligent monsters) is something priests are trained in.
More general classes, like the Bushi (Warrior) will simply have blanket access to all Maneuvers, and no Tricks or Secrets. They can ignore the existence of sub-types and take whatever maneuvers they wish whenever they qualify for them. Customization is their shtick.
Players will have blueprints for certain archetypes, however, with the subtypes listed. A fire-based Yamabushi might take all the Yo and Fire Secrets they can, along with the appropriate spells.