Rokugan is defined by the Great Clans that dominate it both politically and through force of arms. The Great Clans were founded in the first days of the Empire when the Kami fell from the heavens, gathered the people, and taught the people their ways. Each Clan has a purpose to serve in the Empire, a mandate given to them by the first Emperor, the glorious Hantei I. And though the Hantei Dynasty has since ended, the mandate of the Clans remains the same.
|The Crab Clan
No clan in the history of Rokugan can hope to rival the reputation the Crab Clan has for resilience and siege prowess. The Kami Hida, son of the Sun and Moon, brother of the Emperor, volunteered to defend the Empire from the nightmarish demons of the Shadowlands, far south of Rokugan. In the wake of the war with Fu Leng, the Empire had a great deal of fear regarding the Shadowlands, but fear was not something that Hida and his followers understood. They were warriors whose sheer physical power was without compare, and for centuries they stood against an enemy limitless in number and unrivaled in evil. After seven centuries, the constructed the Great Carpenter Wall, at that time the single most amazing edifice in existence, to keep the demon hordes at bay, and their brave warriors stood atop it in the face of absolute, unwavering evil from the demons and monstrosities of the Shadowlands.
Although there have been periodic incursions throughout history, the Crab have only ever truly failed once, during the Destroyer War, and only then because the demon goddess Kali-Ma had an entire nation transformed into her inhuman, tireless soldiers. The Crab lost the Wall and their lands, but they never stopped fighting, never surrendered, never gave up the will to live. Their ranks were thinned horrifically, and their lands subjected to ruin the likes of which only the Scorpion Clan could rival. Despite the losses, despite the horror, the six families of the clan survived to serve in a new era.
- The Hida are the lords of the clan and the among the greatest warriors in the land.
- The Hiruma are the scouts and guardians of the Crab, gathering vital information.
- The Kaiu are the greatest engineers and siege masters, maintaining the Wall.
- The Kuni are the clan’s sinister shugenja, understanding a darkness no one else can.
- The Yasuki are the merchant lords, ensuring that the never-ending war is paid for.
- The Toritaka, once the Falcon Clan, are the hunters of spirits and ghosts.
More than two decades after the end of the Destroyer War, the Crab have still not fully recovered. Their lands heal quite slowly, and there are still pockets in the wilderness filled with dangers left over from the war. While the Colonies are not of tremendous interest to the Crab generally speaking, the vast resources to be found there very much are, and recently the clan has begun to plan how to exploit those resources to hasten their own recovery.
The lord of the Crab Clan is Clan Champion Hida Kisada, named for his famous great-grandfather and known in some circles as the Little Bear. A brilliant warrior, a peerless swordsman, and a ruthless commander, Kisada sees opportunity in the Colonies, and is contemplating how to best make use of such an opportunity now that the lands there have been opened to conquest to all the clans.
|Crab Clan Fan Sites on the Web|
|Crab Clan Catastrophe||Raise a cup of sake with your Crab brethren and tell stories of your time spent on The Wall.|
|The Crane Clan
During the dawn of the Emerald Empire, it was the Emperor’s beloved sister, Lady Doji, who created the traditions and customs that would become the social system of Rokugan. In the one thousand years since that time, there have been precious few times that the Crane have not utterly dominated the social environment of the Empire. The reign of the Hantei Dynasty was a period of prosperity for the Crane, with the clan supplying wives to almost all the Emperors of that line, and dominating the position of Emerald Champion for much of that time. The beauty of the Crane’s system is that they reinforce their dominance of social conventions through iaijutsu, the formal dueling method that is used to resolve differences. The fact that the Crane were partially responsible for the creation of the Empire’s justice system and the emphasis on iaijutsu, an art at which the Crane are unquestionably the masters in the whole of the Empire.
The wars that ravaged Rokugan a generation ago took a significant toll upon the Crane. Decades of war were ushered in by the Clan War, a war which saw many of the clan’s most productive lands razed by one enemy or another. The Crane struggled to recover, but with each successive war it seemed that their situation only grew more dire, culminating in the Destroyer War, which largely spared the Crane lands, but during which a virulent plague decimated both the population and the crops, leaving the Crane in an absolutely terrible state, with their ability to survive the end of the war in question. Despite the hardships, all four of the clan’s families survived the war and emerged to serve the clan during a new era.
- The Doji are the lords of the clan, the masters of court.
- The Kakita serve their lords as yojimbo and peerless duelists.
- The Daidoji fill the ranks of the clan’s armies and scout the lands of enemies.
- The Asahina maintain the clan’s spirituality and its vast network of temples.
The establishment of the Colonies is not of tremendous interest to the Crane. The clan as a whole finds events taking place from beyond the boundaries of the Empire of little interest, preferring instead to concentrate on maintaining their control over the courts and the customs of Rokugan. As such, they tend to send only their less promising personnel to the Colonies, and while their contingent there is more than sufficient to ensure that the clan benefits from its efforts, they are hardly in the same position of strength that the clan currently maintains in the Empire proper.
The Clan Champion of this age of exploration is Doji Makoto, the Smiling Blade. The son of the Crane and Lion, Makoto is well known throughout the Empire for his genial demeanor, his warm mood, and his easy laugh. Few who have met him do not consider him a friend, and this is a great strength that he parlays into victory after victory in court. When the time comes for such things, he is among his generation’s most gifted duelists as well, as more than one enemy has learned in the last fleeting moments of life.
|Crane Clan Fan Sites on the Web|
|The Home of the Crane Clan||The Home of the Crane Clan is the center of Rokugani culture on the web.|
|The Dragon Clan
While the roles and the duties of the other Great Clans has always been relatively straightforward, the Dragon Clan has always been something of an enigma. Founded by the Kami Togashi, the most mysterious of the children of the Sun and Moon, the Dragon Clan was founded with the purpose to watch over the rest of the Empire, and watch they did. For more than one thousand years, the Dragon remained almost entirely apart from the other clans, engaging them in battle rarely and in court only slightly more frequently. Few could claim to understand the Dragon or their motivations, at least until the Clan War, when at last the Kami Togashi, still alive in spirit if not in flesh, led the early days of the campaign against Fu Leng, when the other clans were still at one another’s throats. The Dragon suffered significant losses during the Clan War, and even more in the years immediately following, but for the first time they truly gained the respect of the other clans.
Most other Great Clans suffered significantly during the Destroyer War a generation ago, but by the time that conflict erupted, the Dragon were already in a precarious position. A previous conflict, a diversion enacted by the Destroyers to confound the Empire known as the War of Dark Fire, laid waste to entire provinces of the Dragon lands, and the clan narrowly escaped destruction. By the time the Destroyer War proper had concluded, the Dragon were in the early stages of recovery, and as such were appointed by the Divine Empress as responsible for overseeing the activities of the newly created Spider Clan. Four families serve the clan in the fulfillment of this and other duties:
- The Mirumoto are the lords of the clan and the practitioners of the two-blade style.
- The Kitsuki represent the clan in court and serve as its magistrates.
- The monks of the Togashi order are the sensei and philosophers of the clan.
- The Tamori serve as priests of the kami and guide the clan’s spirit.
The Dragon are closely tied to the Colonies, having been among the first samurai there in their role as overseers of the Spider Clan. They have one of the largest contingents in theSecondCity, and have a larger number of holdings than almost any other clan in the region. This has proven an enormous strain upon the clan, however, as their numbers were depleted during the succession of wars and they have yet to regain their previous numbers.
Mirumoto Shikei, the Laughing Dragon, is the Clan Champion of the Dragon. His demeanor is perplexing to many, but others merely see it as a zeal for life that easily spreads to those around him. A mixture of the traditions of the Mirumoto family and the Togashi order, Shikei is not easily understood by many, and his betrothal to the Unicorn Champion has become something of a contention between the two clans, since neither wishes to leave their clan for the other.
|Dragon Clan Fan Sites on the Web|
|The Dragon Clan||The snowy mountains of the Dragon can be found at The Dragon Clan.|
|The Lion Clan
For more than one thousand years, the Lion Clan has served as the Right Hand of the Emperor. They are the greatest military force in the known world, the sword that destroys all that threaten the Emperor or the Empire. In the eyes of many throughout the Empire, the Lion embody honor and tradition, for all the good and bad that such a description implies. Among the ranks of the Lion, four families work together as one to create an unstoppable military might.
- The sons of Akodo produce the greatest officers and commanders in the Empire.
- The daughters of Matsu supply the ranks of Rokugan’s most numerous armies.
- The scions of Ikoma serve as scouts and diplomats who sing the clan’s praises.
- The heirs of Kitsu commune with the sacred ancestors of the Lion for guidance.
The path of the Lion has not been an easy one, however. A rapid succession of wars, culminating in the devastation of the Destroyer War, greatly depleted even the vast ranks of the four Lion armies, ultimately causing them to be combined into three. Even worse, the clan’s holdings were laid to waste by plague and the hungry dead that the supernatural plague produced, leaving them nearly unable to feed those Lion who remained alive. It was a time of misery and suffering, but over the course of two decades, the clan has worked tirelessly to rebuild, and now the Lion stand strong once more.
In the wake of their rebuilding, there are those who might challenge the Lion’s claim to be the greatest military power in the Empire. None who do so do it to the face of a Lion, however, for to do so is to offer insult and invite vengeance. No matter what has changed within the clan, their dedication to honor and tradition remains absolutely unwavering, even in an Empire that has changed dramatically. The existence of the Colonies, a vast region beyond the borders of the Empire, is a matter of great consternation to the Lion. Does this new land fall under their protection as the Empire does? It has received the blessings and the interest of the Empress, whom the Lion are sworn to serve. How can they overlook it? But if in doing so they leave their forces in the Empire weakened, how could their honor survive if there were complications that their depleted ranks could not deal with properly? For the first time in history, the Lion Clan is in a position where its duties may be greater than its numbers can accommodate.
The Lion are led into this bold new era by their Clan Champion Akodo Dairuko, the Steel Lion, the greatest sensei that the clan has known in generations. Ascending to the position in an unexpected manner, Dairuko struggles to lead as her father and brother would have, and shoves aside her uncertainties in the face of greater responsibility.
|Lion Clan Fan Sites on the Web|
|The Castle of the Swift Sword||The samurai of the Lion Clan find their home and study their tactics at the Castle of the Swift Sword.|
|La Fierté du Lion||The French speaking Lion gather at La Fierté du Lion.|
|The Mantis Clan
Alone among the Great Clans, the Mantis Clan has carved its position from the world by pure force of will, seizing destiny where others merely accept what is offered to them. The Mantis began existence in the early centuries of the Empire, when the Hantei Dynasty was yet young. Born of the Crab and Lion, the young hero Kaimetsu-uo forged his own path when his sibling was chosen as heir by his father, the Crab Clan Champion, and sailed to the distant Islands of Silk & Spice to create his own legacy. The Mantis were among the very first Minor Clans, and existed as such for hundreds of years until the unprecedented days of the Clan War, when the Mantis Champion Yoritomo stood among the Great Clan Champions and demanded his place among their ranks. The others accepted, pending success upon the battlefield that day, and the Mantis fought harder than any others. The day was one, the Toturi Dynasty was created, and the Mantis Clan ascended to the position of Great Clan. Since that time, three more families have joined the clan, and together, they stand tall and proud among their comrades as the house of the Mantis Clan.
- The Yoritomo lead the clan in the name of their founder, the peerless hero.
- The Moshi guide the clan’s spirit, embracing their ways and forging one path.
- The Tsuruchi lend their bows and their skill at hunting to the family’s pursuits.
- The Kitsune lend their magic and their respect in the courts to the clan’s work.
Ever one of the smaller Great Clans, the Mantis have suffered as have the others in the generation of wars that plagued the Empire only a few short decades ago. What’s more, although the other clans knew nothing of it at the time, the Mantis helped the distant Ivory Kingdoms in their first war against the Cult of Ruhmal. Sadly, the Mantis were absent when the cult returned and managed to overthrow the entire nation in a brutal coup that eradicated the vast majority of the Kingdoms’ population. When the Destroyers came to Rokugan after slaying the Ivory Kingdoms, the Mantis soon sailed to find their former allies dead.
In the years since the death of the Ivory Kingdoms, the Mantis have played a pivotal role in the creation of the Colonies. They control the sea routes to that land, and have extensively settled along its southern coastline. The major ports and harbors of the Colonies all belong to the Mantis, and they have made a great many inroads into the ruined lands as well. Alongside the Spider Clan, the Mantis are truly lords of this dead land.
It is into this era of unprecedented prosperity that the Clan Champion, Yoritomo Hiromi, leads his clan. The man called the Growing Storm is never content with his successes, always striving to push farther, to accomplish more, in hopes of stepping out of the shadow of his father and his ancestors.
|Mantis Clan Fan Sites on the Web|
|Kyuden Mantis||The samurai of the Mantis Clan find a safe port at Kyuden Mantis.|
|Kobune Port||The brazen mercenary ways of the Mantis Clan are fostered at the Kobune Port.|
|The Phoenix Clan
Although the titles affiliated with many Great Clans can be and are disputed by others, such as the Lion’s status as the preeminent military power in the Empire, the status of the Phoenix Clan as the greatest shugenja in the Empire has never been questioned, or at least not publically. For reasons owing both to heredity as well as the teachings of the clan’s founders, there are none in the Empire who can rival the sheer power and number of shugenja that the Phoenix can field. Truly, their priests are beloved by the kami, who answer their prayers with great vigor and relish.
The history of the Phoenix Clan is unusual, compared to most. It was created when Shiba, a child of the Sun and Moon, knelt before the mortal Isawa and pledged to protect his line for all time. Isawa and his tribe were known in the early Empire to be the most powerful sorcerers, and Shiba knew that they were needed to create a stable domain for his brother’s new nation. Thus thePhoenixwere created, and despite a turbulent past with frequent incidents of members falling to darkness in pursuit of knowledge, the clan has remained the preeminent mystical force in an entire Empire. In the modern age, four families stand united in this purpose:
- The noble Shiba take up steel in defense of the clan and the other families.
- The powerful Isawa rule the clan and delve into the mysteries of the elements.
- The monastic Asako enforce the purity of the clan in the face of great temptation.
- The versatile Agasha, once vassals of the Dragon, explore new methods of magic.
Never a military powerhouse, the Phoenix nevertheless played a pivotal role in the devastating Destroyer War a generation ago, as their mystical expertise was essential in understanding the enemy and combating their more dangerous, supernatural aspects. With the war ended, and the expansion into the former Ivory Kingdoms assured, the Phoenix have been called upon once again to lend their expertise to understanding the mystical remnants of that now dead nation. Throughout the Colonies, ruins and vestiges of a forgotten culture lay hidden, waiting to be discovered. Unfortunately, any who stumble across such treasures are at great risk, and so thePhoenixscour the countryside in hopes of finding them and eliminating them before the other clans can be endangered.
It is into this new era of exploration that Shiba Tsukimi, the Phoenix Clan Champion and the so-called Blind Phoenix, leads her people. As ever, however, the Shiba do not lead alone, for the true guidance for the clan comes from the Council of Elemental Masters, comprised of the most powerful shugenja of each of the five elements. Divided between the peaceful leanings of Isawa Kimi, the Master of the Void, and the more aggressive tendencies of Isawa Koiso, the Master of Fire, the Council’s guidance is less stable than in previous years, but the sheer power of its members is equal to any in history.
|Phoenix Clan Fan Sites on the Web|
|The Phoenix Clan||The shugenja of the Phoenix study their ancient scrolls at the Gisei Toshi forums.|
|The Scorpion Clan
Throughout history, few clans have been as reviled as the Scorpion Clan. Founded by the wily and manipulative Bayushi, the Scorpion’s Kami was tasked by the first Emperor to ensure that his clans never turned against him. Bayushi and his followers accomplished this most sacred task by providing the other clans with a villain they could despise, in order to ensure that they never turned their thoughts to claiming the throne for themselves. Toward this purpose, the Scorpion embraced all manner of tactics and customs considered disgraceful by the other clans, and were generally regarded as dishonorable in all cases. The one true virtue espoused by the Scorpion, however, was that of loyalty; just as the Scorpion were loyal to the throne, each individual samurai was undyingly loyal to his superiors. It was only through this method that the clan could survive.
The Scorpion have sacrificed a great deal in the fulfillment of their duties. The clan’s Champion succumbed to supernatural influences and assassinated the Emperor in an attempt to save the Empire, and the clan was disbanded for it, although later restored by a subsequent dynasty. They were later banished from the Empire for suspicion of complicity in the disappearance of another Emperor. Most recently, the clan’s homeland was the scene of the most fearsome and violent fighting during the final months of the Destroyer War, and not only were many provinces utterly razed, but a permanent portal to the Realm of Evil was torn open in their lands, requiring them to build many safeguards around it to ensure that the demons within could not escape. Despite these hardships, the clan’s loyalty has never wavered, and the current families in service to the Scorpion Clan include the following:
- The Bayushi are the lords, the soldiers, and the courtiers of the clan.
- The Shosuro are the scouts, assassins, and infiltrators of the clan.
- The Soshi are the magistrates and one shugenja family in service of the Scorpion.
- The Yogo are the inquisitors and the second shugenja family of the clan.
The Scorpion are surprisingly uncertain regarding the expansion of the Empire into the region called the Colonies. To them, this new endeavor represents a great deal of temptation offered to other clans, clans who are not strong enough to resist it in the same way as the Scorpion. When others fall to darkness, there are many agencies to ensure that they are stopped: the Kuni of the Crab, the Asako of thePhoenix, and the Jade Champion of the Imperial bureaucracy, but none can be trusted to do whatever is necessary in the same way that the Scorpion will.
The Champion of the Scorpion Clan is a man named Bayushi Nitoshi, who is well known in the courts of Rokugan. His handsome features set fire to the hearts of women across the land, and his quick wit has earned him many friends among the men. None suspect the cold darkness that grips Nitoshi’s heart, and if the knew the acts he had committed in the name of his clan, they would be terrified of him.
|Scorpion Clan Fan Sites on the Web|
|Dojo of Lies||The samurai of the Scorpion Clan quietly meet at the Dojo of Lies. Be wary if one offers you sake.|
|Les Secrets du Kyuden Bayushi||The Scorpion’s mastery of languages extends to French at Les Secrets du Kyuden Bayushi.|
|The Spider Clan
The youngest of the Great Clans, the Spider Clan is despised by virtually everyone, with only the most corrupt and manipulative of the samurai caste finding any real value in their ranks. Perhaps this is understandable, given the questionable nature of the Spider’s ascension to the ranks of the Great Clans. For more than a thousand years, those corrupted by the touch of Jigoku, the spiritual Realm of Evil, have been the enemies of the Emerald Empire. It was not until the leadership of a man called Daigotsu that the corrupt were shaped into the self-styled Spider Clan, and during the Destroyer War, the Spider fought alongside the other clans in an attempt to save the Empire from absolute destruction at the hands of the Destroyer goddess, Kali-Ma. While the other clans sought to protect their homes, however, Daigotsu and his legions fought to preserve the Empire so that they could in time claim it for their own.
At the conclusion of the Destroyer War, Daigotsu ascended to assume control over the Realm of Evil, and as a divine being, he sued for peace with the Empress of Rokugan. In exchange for halting the spread of the Shadowlands Taint, the touch of evil in the mortal world, the Empress would grant Daigotsu’s vassals the title of Spider Clan, an official Great Clan under the rule of his son, Kanpeki. So it was that two decades ago, the Spider became a Great Clan, and now four groups serve the clan.
- The scions of Daigotsu are the lords and masters of the Spider Clan.
- The monks of the Order of the Spider represent the clan’s interests in Rokugan.
- The Goju and Ninube families, servants of Daigotsu’s ally the Shadow Dragon, remain a secret even from the other clans, and serve the Spider in the darkness.
In the wake of the Destroyer War, the Empress banished the Spider Clan to the distant Ivory Kingdoms, with orders to conquer that land in her name. Since that time, the Spider have mercilessly carved out a pacified land from the overgrown nightmares that sprang up in the wake of the Kingdoms’ death. Constantly watched by their allies among the Dragon, the Spider chafe at the yoke the Empress has placed upon them, but they hold to the wishes of their dark god Daigotsu, knowing that one day the chance to seize the throne will present itself, as it has so many times in the past. And on that day, the Spider shall reign over an Empire, as has always been their wish.
Daigotsu Kanpeki is the Champion of the Spider Clan, and a man that some secretly refer to as the Shadow Emperor because of his power and ambition. The Spider follow his commands without hesitation or reservation, and his rule has never faced a significant challenge; the few who have attempted to usurp his position have been destroyed utterly. For now, the Spider obey the Empress with loyalty and distinction. How long that will remain the case is a matter of discussion among the other clans.
|Spider Clan Fan Sites on the Web|
|Shinden Fu Leng||Beware those who enter, for the Spider’s Web ensnares all.|
|The Unicorn Clan
Sons and daughters of the Lady Shinjo, the most compassionate of the children of the Sun and Moon, the Unicorn Clan has long sought to find its place in an Empire that forgot about them during a long and difficult absence. Early in the existence of the Empire, when the first war with the dark god Fu Leng had been concluded, Lady Shinjo petitioned her brother the Emperor for the right to travel the world and discover other potential threats like Fu Leng. If the Empire was ignorant of such threats, she reasoned, it could not hope to stand against them. The Emperor reluctantly agreed, and Lady Shinjo and her followers departed from the Empire amid much fanfare and mourning. For more than seven centuries, the Unicorn wandered the world beyond Rokugan, encountering countless cultures and gaining many allies and enemies. When the clan finally returned to Rokugan, many doubted their identity, for most had assumed the followers of Lady Shinjo had been dead for centuries. In time, the Unicorn proved their identity through political favors and battlefield victories, and they were granted their position and their old lands.
The acceptance of the other Great Clans was not easily gained, however. It has only been through their tireless efforts in terrible battles such as those of the Destroyer War that the Unicorn have come to be accepted as equals. When the hordes of Kali-Ma threatened the Empire, the Unicorn rose to stand shoulder to shoulder with their brothers among the Crab and Lion, and together the three clans held the line until a solution could be found to the plague crippling the Empire. In the modern era, there are five families who serve the Unicorn:
- The Moto rule the family and serve as the bulk of its armies.
- The Shinjo are the scouts and tacticians who guide the clan’s armies to victory.
- The Utaku are the most elite cavalry force in the Empire, feared by all.
- The Iuchi master the many forms of magic the clan encountered while traveling.
- The Ide represent the Unicorn’s interests in the various courts of Rokugan.
With the formation of the Colonies, the Unicorn have been given new duties to fulfill on behalf of their Empress. The Unicorn are charged with the safe-keeping of the Ki-Rin’s Path, the land route connecting the Empire to the Colonies. Only the Unicorn have the degree of familiarity necessary to ensure safety in such strange and foreboding lands, particularly among a people who have never truly known unfamiliar regions.
In this bold new era, the Unicorn Clan is led by two very different figures. The ultimate authority belongs to the Unicorn Clan Champion, Moto Naleesh. The reincarnation of Lady Shinjo, Naleesh is beloved throughout the Empire as a soul of generosity and compassion. Her childhood friend, Shinjo Min-Hee, is the Khan of the Unicorn armies. Raised with little knowledge of her father because of his death in a war against the Lion, the Khan struggles to balance her bitterness and her concern over what she regards as the Champion’s naïve nature.
|Unicorn Clan Fan Sites on the Web|
|Children of the Wind||The followers of Lady Shinjo gather here to practice their horsemanship.|
|Other L5R Fan Sites on the Web|
|Imperial Auction Block||The IAB is back and ready for your L5R Auctions.|
|L5R.gr||The home of L5R in Greece.|
|AustL5R||A site for L5R players down under.|
|Kaze no Shiro||An extensive archive of L5R fiction from rulebooks, the internet, and readings at major conventions.|
|La Voz Akasha||Corrupt Spanish players find their home at La Voz Akasha.|
|L5R Wiki||An L5R story database maintained by the community as a whole.|
|El Espiritu de Rokugan||Spanish L5R site with a great deckbuilder for users.|
|The Jade Hand||The Jade Hand fights for purity in Rokugan and the total destruction of the Shadowlands.|
|The Edge of Rokugan||Legend of the Five Rings in the Philippines.|
|L5R in Russia||A Russian language fan site for the Russian player community.|
|Ryoko Owari||French speaking players meet at Ryoko Owari, La cité des rumeurs.|
|La Voix de Rokugan||Another French site for L5R.|
|Legendary Shop||Legendary L5R Search is a fantastic searchable database of every L5R card printed.|
|WebSune||WebSune is another powerful L5R card database that is also connected to the #l5r IRC channel on the Undernet.|
|Elfiver||A regularly updated blog.|
|Strange Assembly||A L5R podcast|
|Nanashi Mura||Ronin of the Empire have been known to hang out here.|
|Rokugan.de||The new home of German L5R Players|