- A land of conflict: Bōkoku is a land where constant political power struggles are fought and the central government in the Imperial City only has power within its immediate reach. War is as common as political intrigue as daimyo seek to outmaneuver one another in their bid for dominance.
- The finality of death: A dead character cannot be resurrected or raised in any way. Even the idea of touching a corpse is totally abhorrent to the peoples of Bōkoku.
- Marked by the gods: Some mortals manifest amatsushirushi (heavenly seals) on their bodies, either gifting or cursing them with special abilities that set them apart from others of their kind. These seals function exactly as dragonmarks from the Eberron setting. A character must be a hanyō, human, korobokuru, oniko, spiritfolk, or tatsujin to manifest an amatsushirushi.
- Alignment and honor: Alignment does not exist in the world of Bōkoku. Instead, a character’s motivations are dependent on his sense of allegiance, duty, and honor.
- Magic is actually special: Although magic items do exist in Bōkoku, they are extremely rare and function like minor artifacts. Such items cannot be bought or sold at any public marketplace in the Empire.
- Alchemy, martial practices, and rituals: These function somewhat differently in Bōkoku. There are no scrolls or books through which to learn new formulas, practices, or rituals. Characters who have access to these abilities gain a new one for free at every even-numbered level. Components can still be purchased by merchants as normal.