Ah, the Minor Clans are nearest and dearest to my heart. I love these little guys, and am going to do my best with what I've got (it's not a lot in the case of some of the Clans, I'll be honest).
While my initial reaction to the Badger was a sort of dismissal of them as a group of jocks who aren't terribly interesting, I've since reconsidered. The Badger are a rigidly traditionalist and isolated group that most of the Empire has forgotten. They stand alone, firm in their belief that their strength can resolve whatever difficulty may arise (something that has been disproven in recent Rokugani history). The Badger, then, are a throwback to the days of their founding, an incredibly old Clan that the Empire has forgotten. As stories go, I would quite happily use the Badger as a sort of... wandering samurai who has only heard of Rokugan proper in ancient tales, and who has come forth for his or her duty. Now, in an Empire that claims to idolize the past, a throwback to that very past has appeared, and yet... is not at all what they want. The past should remain the past, most likely. There's a fair amount to do with their obsession with strength, their dismissal of shugenja, and so on, as well, but I find their isolation and resolute dismissal of other ways to be what struck me first.
While the Bat originally struck me as a Clan whose identity was a lack of identity, and whose major focus was purely acting as telephones for the rest of the Empire. I've since revised that impression, and looked more at the nature of the koumori spirits that spawned Komori himself. Setting aside the discussion of how a spirit whose primary duties focus on Meido, the Realm where apathy rules, could possibly become enamored of a human in any way that could possibly result in a son, the koumori are something of guardians between Spirit Realms, as I understand it, and that is what sorts of stories I'd tell with the Bat. While the Kitsu are most attuned to Yomi and the shiryo there, the Kitsune are practically part of Chikushudo, the Realm of Animals, and the Kuni are really the ones you want to call in the event of an outbreak of Jigoku, the Komori are the ones who can find their way around other Realms with the most ease, and who can deal with infestations from those Realms with the knowledge of their Clan, to an extent.
The biggest story I'd probably do with the Bat would either be a search for identity sort of story, where the actions of the Bat characters help to define who the Bat are as a whole. It's not terribly specific, but that's really an interesting aspect to explore with them.
The other story would be about a Bat exploring various different difficulties in the Spirit Realms, rather like the fiction before the Bat Clan in Secrets of the Empire does. It's nowhere near a typical game of L5R, but it might be an interesting episode in a large campaign - an intrusion of Sakkaku into a certain village sees the samurai PCs struggle to restore order, only to have a helpful wandering Bat step in and help.
... Hoo-boy. I am going to make some folks upset with this, but I am so sorry for my role (small as it was) in bringing these jerks back. Like, how much I struggled to find something to like about the Badger? How long it took me to think of how interesting I could make the Unicorn? Nothing compared to these guys. I really do not particularly care for the Boar. However, in the interests of timeline neutrality and for the sake of completeness, I'll give an example of what I would do to make the Boar an interesting plot hook that actually involves living Boar (because the ruins of Shiro Heichi? Fantastic plot hook, you know?)
I would try my level best to ignore the majority of the Boar's traditions and focus mostly on the mysterious spirit the Shakoki Dogu (not to be confused with the Shuten Doji) and their relationship thereto. It would probably involve some other Clan moving in on their territory in some way that disrupted the Shakoki Dogu, or more likely just a disruption to the spiritual elements of the Empire that caused the Shakoki Dogu distress, and required that the Boar go out and do something about it. Almost inevitably, this would result in petty violence and general crudity and thankgodi'mdonewiththat.
Moving on. Please.
Thank goodness. We move from my least favorite Minor Clan to my favorite Clan overall. The Dragonfly combine what I love about the Phoenix and the Dragon, and my read on them is generally inspired by such Buddhist writings as those of the Madhyamaka school of Mahayana Buddhism's luminary Nagarjuna.
The Dragonfly are appealing to me for a whole bunch of reasons. Firstly, let's talk about their philosophy. Everything changes. At their heart, no one thing is eternal. This is absolutely a key part of Nagarjuna's writings about the concept of sunayata (emptiness) in regards to Buddhism. Sunyata, which is translated to Japanes as Kū (空), which in turn is translated into L5R as... Void.
At any rate, this philosophy flies in the face of much of Rokugani tradition, much like many other things about the Dragonfly. The idea that everything changes means that traditions are not necessarily helpful - because if those traditions were established in a world very different to the one that exists today, that would render the superiority of the traditions meaningless. This is pretty fun to me just because I have a personal dislike for the idea of doing something without thinking based on someone else having done it (which is probably not unique to me). Furthermore, as a budding Buddhist, I just like the idea of being able to share this belief in a game. I love being able to help other characters grow and change with the Dragonfly's philosophy, because it really brings the L5R universe alive for me, and because it makes me feel good.
Then the next thing about the Dragonfly is their resolute devotion to non-harm. This ties to the sort of stories I mentioned enjoying about the Phoenix, of people who do great things in order to help create peace, but it becomes more poignant for me, in a way, because the Dragonfly are such a Minor Clan, and have such a great deal to lose. Rather than acting so obviously, then, the Dragonfly work more on an individual basis, helping each individual realize their own suffering, and trying to help them transform their suffering into peace. In time, this may create great peace.
The other big thing is the simple fact that the Dragonfly are allowed (and indeed encouraged) to marry for love, which is a small thing when you get right down to it, but provides an emotional attachment to the character for me that is not quite so intimate, I guess, when your character does not love or is not with the one they love.
Finally, on some level, the Dragonfly appeal to me for their sheer iconoclasm. They do not fit into Rokugani society easily... except that they do, because they do not justify their own destruction by being in any way aggressive.
I think the Dragonfly are good for personal stories of journeys to enlightenment, of character development, and personal growth. In a sense, I guess this is why I love them so. I grow alongside my character (and those around him or her) as the game continues.
Ah, the Falcon. Is there any Minor Clan more forgotten? I mentioned in my description of the Kitsune family that the Toritaka are by far the most forgotten family in Rokugan. As a friend of mine said to me on the topic, paraphrased "In the Crab, you have the Kaiu, who built the Wall! The Hida, who man the Wall! The Hiruma, who scout past the Wall! The Yasuki, who ensure that the Wall is supplied! The Kuni, who makes sure that anything coming back through the Wall is safe! The Toritaka who... oh."
I'm not quite certain why the Falcon even stayed in the Crab, to be fully honest. I can easily have seen them going "Wait, we joined the Crab (in 1125) only to immediately see them abandon the most important duty in the whole Empire, arguably. Maybe this is a statement by the Heavens saying that joining the Crab is a bad idea."
At any rate, the Falcon are definitely different enough from the rest of the Crab that I feel I ought to include them in the Minor Clans section. Anyways, the Falcon strike me as the sort of Clan that I'd use for (funnily enough) ghost stories, and mysteries involving ghosts. The haunted village of the post Clan War Rokugan, abandoned by all save the ghosts of its inhabitants... the estate that has a wrathful ancestor walking its halls, for they were murdered unjustly... and so on.
My goodness, this is taking longer than expected.
So, yes, Hare.
I was going to make a joke about their perpetual persecution by the rest of the Empire, but I'm getting kind of tired, so I'll skip that. The Hare are, to me, kind of like the Tsuruchi, only with plain ol' practicality in place of the Code of the Wasp. They hunt down dissidents and whatnot, to preserve the Empire, but do so in a way that the Scorpion would be proud of, if only it didn't end up disrupting their schemes so gorram often.
I'd probably play them while demonstrating the consequences of both their practicality and of the rigidity of Bushido. Demonstrating that both ways have their negative aspects, I guess.
The Monkey! Those who follow the walking, talking, violation of the Celestial Order that is Toku! The second happiest Clan in Rokugan, and probably most irrationally happy!
I guess with that out of the way, I should probably go into what sorts of stories I'd tell with the Monkey. Mostly, I would probably pull on the whole "Toku was a peasant who became a samurai," I think, and really emphasize what that means for the Celestial Order, if indeed it means anything. I'd like to do some serious exploration of the implications of changing Toku from peasant to Samurai - I might even plot a campaign on it - perhaps that was the moment Toturi and his dynasty lost the favor of Heaven, or the like.
It'd be an interesting thing to explore, I think.
That's not to say that I object to the Monkey in general as they are portrayed, just that I feel like that would be one way to explore them in a unique manner.
Yeah, I haven't got a whole lot to say about these guys. I mean, there's something to be said for playing an Oriole who doesn't smith, who but who does something else essential to the Clan... But you could do the same sort of stories with Isawa who cannot hear the kami, or sickly Hida, or so on.
I think doing something with the ronin Tsi would be either more or less interesting. More because on one hand, the Oriole are so new and so... vague that they may well not exist. I feel like the creation of the Clan smacks of symmetry for the sake thereof, but I may be biased. Less, because really, most games don't do much with crafters. I mean, you could do something about gathering materials to forge an amazing sword, but I honestly don't find it that interesting.
That said, however, I think that the Oriole have the potential to be interesting - they can be used to tell the same sort of identity-finding stories as the Bat... and they also can explore what it means to suddenly no longer need Imperial permission to forge swords. Like, I understand that the Clan is set up as a swordsmith-centric culture, but keep in mind that they were forbidden for years to actually make swords without Imperial permission. The implications of this could be explored.
The Ox are, at least to me, a difficult thing to decide on the nature of their stories. I initially dismiss anything to do with the Kolat, because I don't use the Kolat in the same way as canon. Then what's left is a bunch of less idealistic, less compassionate Unicorn, which is kind of bland, to my mind. Thus, when one of my friends mentioned that they could play the role of the underdog who define their own destinies as the Yoritomo by the time of their founding had already succeeded, and that seems as reasonable an angle as any.
Okay, firstly, I want to register a complaint about these guys. Why the heck did we get the Boar in Secrets of the Empire but not the pure Snake? This is silliness!
More seriously, the Snake are kind of like a Clan of Inquisitors, hunting down maho-tsukai. I mean, while that can be an interesting story, it doesn't have the same impact the other stories I've thought about have on me. At any rate, I cannot make the same deeply contextualized story about the pure Snake, because there's just not enough information out there for me to find, I think. Not enough stories about what made them distinct from the Isawa, and so on.
Also known as "the original gross violation of the Celestial Order, Minor Clan style," I really like the idea of the Sparrow. Finally, a group who sees the Celestial Order for the nonsense it is! Marry a peasant? Sure, why not!
The Sparrow are fascinating to me in the whole "bring them to court, watch them react" kind of way. Perhaps the best intentioned Clan of the MCA, the simple fact that they have so little puts a lot of things in perspective, yet they somehow manage to remain incredibly honorable. I would use them to tell the stories about simple, yet honorable sorts who see the morass of the court and navigate it solely based on courtesy, perhaps oblivious to the goings on, or perhaps simply choosing not to engage very deeply in them.
The Tortoise, also known as "the second gross violation of the Celestial Order, Minor Clan style (take that, Toku!)" (seriously, I love the Monkey, but I've been having a long day and am having trouble controlling my urge to mock them). The Tortoise are everything the Empire hates, protecting them from everything that they do not wish to know about. I'd probably spin them as that image decides - they're widely despised, but also utterly essential. It's an interesting position to be in, I think. It's also getting late and I'm tired, so forgive me if I end it off with that.