During the reign of Emperor Toturi III, unfortunate events transpired that allowed one of the Emerald Empire’s most horrific enemies, the Bloodspeaker Iuchiban, to escape his imprisonment and plague the Empire once more.
While Iuchiban wreaked havoc in the Empire, a more insidious foe enacted a plan to break the Empire’s will, throwing not only the mortal realm but the spirit realms beyond into chaos. In response, the greatest ancestors in Rokugan’s history formed the Legion of the Dead to oppose the Legion of Blood, an opposite force of twisted, evil spirits from history.
When the two legions collided, only one spirit gained reentry into the Empire through the ruins of Oblivion’s Gate: the legendary hero Hida Kisada, former Champion of the Crab Clan. Kisada led the charge against the Bloodspeaker, breaking his forces at the ruins of Otosan Uchi and ensuring that final death came to the accursed Iuchiban, thus guaranteeing that his name would be even more celebrated.
The Art (by Charles Urbach)
The Great Bear, one of the most enduring characters of the game, Hida Kisada returned via the broken Oblivion’s Gate. It’s a visual that is just epic. We asked Charles to do this piece not only because of his strong character work but because his well known architectural work would be suited for illustrating the Gate and the City of Volturnum. Additionally, Charles also seems to have a particularly strong rapport with many Crab players. Charles is the sort of artist who really digs into his source material and we felt that connection to the Crab Clan player base could only help with the task at hand.
Computationally the illustration was fairly straightforward in principle. We have a young, un-scared, in his prime Kisada stepping out of the gate. Massive tetsubo in hand, the glow of a spirit radiating golden off his body. We wanted to see the gate powered up still, and to get a different angle on the gate and city he emerged in. You’ll notice he’s on the other side of the gate as opposed to the view in Facing Your Devils. His armor was described as black, but under we wanted to see the white kimono we imagined he had on in the Celestial Heavens as a Fortune. His tetsubo is hulking and you can almost feel the heavy thunk it made the split second before as he set it down upon his exit. We had a few sketches that had his helmet on as well, but in the end the chance to see the young “perfect” Kisada was too much to pass up and seeing his face we felt helped capture and focus a moment of rebirth. His iconic helm ended up the crook of his arm to add to his identity. While he would eventually start to age this is our vision of him the moment he exited. In fact lets share with you some of those sketches.
Hopefully you can see the direction we went with and why. Kisada had to be the central focus, no other distractions, we pushed him front and center, the gate moved back slightly, the statues pushed farther back, his tetsubo vertical in a calm yet unspoken threat from its sheer size but not crossing his body so as not to distract from him.
The Return of the Kisada was one of the earliest of the Ten Thousandth Card pieces to be completed and remains a personal favorite of much of the staff. We hope you enjoy Charles Urbach’s fine work on this iconic piece of L5R artwork.
Iuchiban’s return and subsequent dark ritual that became known as ‘The Rain of Blood had a profound impact on all of creation. Outside the mortal realm of Ningen-do, the dead began to form into two Legions – the Legion of Spirits, made up of some of Rokugan’s greatest heroes, and the Legion of Blood, which contained many fallen samurai of legend, and even a few many did not expect to fall to darkness. The Kotei season that year saw players promoting dead personalities to one of the two legions, based on the amount of corruption within their deck. It allowed them to give some of their favorite characters a bit of resolution and to allow them to contribute towards the current storyline in a meaningful way. These two Legions battled each other over the Realm of Maigo no Musha – The Realm of Thwarted Destiny. Whichever side became victorious would determine the ultimate fate of this new spirit realm, and its nature – that of good, or evil.
But there was a much greater implication of promoting personalties to the Legions – at GenCon that year, the Champion would be able to select one personality – from either the Legion of Spirits or the Legion of Blood – and that personality would come back to Rokugan through Oblivion’s Gate, joining the clan of the winner, and proving a valuable asset in the fight against Iuchiban and his Bloodspeakers. Salman Barakat, playing Crab, won that year, and selected Hida Kisada to return triumphantly through Oblivion’s Gate to aid the Crab Clan once more. This card represents Kisada’s return through the gate, as imposing and powerful as he was the day he joined the Blessed Ancestors in Yomi.
Get your Copy!
This card is reserved to the players who have their name etched on the plaque attached to the Sword of champions: past GenCon and European Championships winners, as well as the Samurai arc champion, since the inception of the game. They will be receiving directly in the mail their copy of the card shown below:
But you can also get a chance to win a copy of this card through Facebook! Like the article on the official L5R Facebook page and share it before November 13th. One lucky winner among the “likes” will be contacted and will receive a copy of the card for free after its initial release!