After the death of Emperor Toturi III, the Empire fell into chaos under the rule of Empress Toturi Kurako. Perceived by many as weak, Kurako proved unable to hold the Empire together after her husband’s death.
Moto Chagatai, the Khan of the Unicorn Clan and one of the Empire’s most powerful warriors, looked to his ally Kaneka, the Shogun, in hopes of seeing him take the throne by force. When Kaneka refused to do so, Chagatai planned to do it in his stead, believing that the Empire required a strong leader to unite the clans, either in service or opposition, in order to survive future threats. In a stratagem unseen in Rokugan, he launched a winter campaign in the Lion lands, stripping his targets bare of resources as he went and drawing more and more of the clan’s forces toward him. When the spring thaws came, the entirety of the Lion descended upon him in wrath, but the Khan’s final feint was enacted: the powerful travel rituals of the Baraunghar shugenja army moved the entirety of the Khan’s forces to the gates of Toshi Ranbo, the Imperial City.
Betrayal by the Mantis Clan ensured that the few remaining Lion defenders were unable to hold the city, and although the Khan’s gambit ultimately failed, it changed the face of warfare in Rokugan forever.
The Art (By William O’Connor)
William O’Connor has long participated in Legend of the Five Rings art and as such he was quickly on our list of chosen artists for the project. He had previously drawn Chagatai before in his Experienced 3 version, so it seemed natural to have him return to the character for the Khan’s March illustration.
The vision for the image was Chagatai mounted facing the east (to the right in terms of the visual matching and eastern direction from Unicorn lands to the Capital) at the head of his vast army marching out under snowfall. Chagatai is presented in a large fashion, fully armored ready to set out to conquer the Empire. His horse is slightly reared up to show anticipation. Banners at his back and among his forces are there to show the high level of coordination and preparation of his army. William juggled our request to show a large number of forces and the palace they march from by having them wrap around the side of the structure.
The design for this remains basically unchanged from the original design as we had a clear vision of what the moment need to look like. In the end the only real major change we had was to add slightly more snow and some additional banners to the crowd. The Khan’s March was the start of a pretty epic event in the game and William captured the boldness of the moment for a character who is a fairly polarizing figure. Say what you will about Moto Chagatai he was thinking big at this very moment.
Over all William’s first draft remained nearly unchanged to the final, his experienced hand and eye in the game with his skill level allowed him to render a solid piece smoothly and quickly and we thank him for his participation. We hope you enjoy his illustration.
Emperor Toturi III had perished in the Shadowlands, seeking enlightenment and discovering the Tomb of the Seven Thunders. In the wake of his death, the Great Clans recognized that the Vacant Throne would eventually be claimed by one of them, and each Clan sought to begin gathering power and political support to put their best upon the throne.
This was the Race for the Throne, a period of L5R where the players spent two years in a variety of contests, challenges, and tournament seasons trying to gather points in various spheres to eventually put a selected representative from their clan on the throne…all except for the Unicorn, of course.
Moto Chagatai looked upon the Empire and saw that many of the samurai there were concerned more with the honors of such a position or the power it would bring to their clan. Very few recognized the burden of ruling for what it was, or the harsh choices that would have to be made in the coming future to secure the safety of the Empire. He then took it upon himself to seize the throne by force, cutting away all the political games and pleasantries that many of the clans had spent so many months engaging in so that the Empire could be led by someone who was willing to make these harsh and difficult decisions. Chagatai called upon his allies in the Mantis Clan, who supported him, and together, in the dead of winter – a time period when warfare is stopped due to the harsh and unpredictable conditions, they marched on the Imperial Capital of Toshi Ranbo.
The Kotei season that year gave players a vote – to support the Khan’s March, or to rally against him and hold the throne vacant. It was a very close race for quite sometime, but a few key people won enough events that they were able to eventually turn the tide of support, and break Chagatai’s attempt on the throne. The card reflects Chagatai as he rides towards the walls of the Imperial City, ready to lay waste to any who would oppose him. He asked, to himself as well as the entire Empire – “Who will stop me?”
Get your copy!
With its winter theme, a copy of this card will be included in every purchase of the 2012 Holiday Pack (available for pre-order next week).
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 14th. One lucky winner among the “likes” will be contacted and will receive a copy of the card for free after its initial release!