Champion: Akodo Ginawa
Matsu Daimyo: Matsu Ketsui, then Matsu Mochiko
Kitsu Daimyo: KitsuToju
Ikoma Daimyo: Ikoma Sume
The Lion Clan begin this era in a position of undeniable strength. While their military campaigns during both the Clan Wars and the War Against Darkness left them with heavy losses, the Lion's size and resilience allows the clan to absorb most of the damage without compromising their position as the preeminent military power in Rokugan. Likewise, their losses are countered by the most important gain to the Lion in the last two decades with the reinstatement of the Akodo family by nothing less than divine mandate. The restoration of Akodo leadership does more than just add the lost family's numbers to the Lion's armies, it restores their brotherhood and unity. For the first time in living memory, it seems the Lion Clan is truly unified under Akodo Ginawa. The contentions between the Akodo and Matsu families seen in prior years (especially in the days of Akodo Toturi and Matsu Tsuko) have been ironed by the many humbling trials the Lion has faced in recent times. This unity also results in great political strength, as the Lion's major opponents, the Scorpion and the Crane, are heavily distracted with their own troubles, leaving the Lion with much less opposition than normal in the Emperor's court. With Toturi being a former Lion Champion, the Lion also find themselves receiving more of the Emperor's favor than they traditionally expect. The appointments of Ikoma Maruku to Imperial Chancellor and Kitsu Motso as Commander of the Imperial Legions are just two examples of Lion's political strength.
In spite of being unabashedly traditionalist, the Lion Clan faces the least bit of conflict with the Returned Spirits of their clan than any other, save perhaps the Dragon, who's trails were much more low-key and private. While the Crab bow and hand the reigns of leadership to their ancestors and the Unicorn break out into civil war, the Lion have only one notable clash between the past and present clan members: the Death of Kyuden Tonbo. Akodo Yokutsu's unprovoked attack on the Dragonfly is considered by most historians as the earliest warning sign of the war to come. While many Lion still nurse a grudge against the Dragonfly for the insult that gave birth to Minor Clan, even they are shocked at the Returned Lion's sense of irreproachably, to the point of believing that Imperial Law and the commands of their Champion do not apply to them. Kitsu Motso's harsh and decisive punishment of the renegade spirits, executing Yokutsu for treason and leading the rest home as common criminals, sends shockwaves throughout the Lion Clan. Initially, the Matsu family protests the humiliations heaped on their ancestors, but the Kitsu soon condemn the Returned Spirits upon the discovery that many of the formally honored dead have actually been spending their afterlives in Toshigoku. The revelation is too much for a few Lion, and a number of Matsu commit seppuku rather than endure such a horrible truth, including their daimyo Ketsui. A number of Returned Matsu attempt to step in as daimyo, but unlike such attempts in other clans, the Lion deny them, sometimes with brute force. It is only after carful consideration that the living Matsu choose Matsu Mochiko, a Returned Spirit, as their daimyo, largely due to her similar history as that of Akodo Ginawa and Emperor Toturi.
The Lion leadership stamps out any future attempts at dissension within the clan, though both appeals to honor and displays of force (especially on the part of Motso and Mochiko). By the time the War of Spirits starts, nearly all of the Returned Lion swear allegiance to the Lion, to the shock of the Hantei (they had been banking on either the whole clan's support or at least that of the Returned parts). Faced with the hard-earned respect their decedents haved earned and humbled by the Kitsu's spiritual authority, the Returned Lion find themselves unable to turn on their Living brothers, including Emperor Toturi. A few spirits do join the Steel Chrysanthemum's cause, but they were the exception, not the norm. Most famously, Matsu Itagi, once one of the most celebrated Lion Champions in history, attempted to seize the title of Lion Champion from Akodo Ginawa and force the clan to support the Steel Chrysanthemum, only to be cut down by fellow Returned Lion Champion Akodo Kenburo, an embodiment of the Lion's stance.
No clan was as essential to Toturi's war efforts as the Lion. Nearly every major battle saw Lion samurai opposing the Steel Chrysanthemum's armies, and it was Lion generals who wrote out the winning stratagems. It was Matsu (formally Kitsu) Motso's idea to seize Beiden Pass and employ a Fabian Strategy, robbing the Hantei's legions of their greatest strength, momentum. Likewise, the Kitsu family also discovers a way to remove the Returned Spirit's innate resistances, both on a personal and mass-effect scale, which becomes key to defeating the Spirit Army.
Just as no clan played as important a role to defending Toturi's Steel Throne as the Lion, no clan paid as much as they. By the end of the War of Spirits, all four of the Lion armies (Akodo, Ikoma, and two Matsu) have endured heavy losses. The Akodo and First Matsu Armies were responsible for the liberation of the Crane lands and the heavy assaults on both the Scorpion and Shinjo-led Unicorn, while the Ikoma and Second Matsu armies both fought off countless attempts at invasions into Lion lands (which are too many to count), as well as the eventual liberation of Shiro Moto and the Unicorn as a whole. Lion samurai were also responsible for filling the rank and file of the Imperial Legions, ensuring they remained strong throughout the war. By the time the war ends, the Lion's legendary war machine is nearly exhausted, yet ironically, more than any point in history, they have fulfilled their duty in protecting the Empire. The Lion Clan fought on behalf of every clan in the Empire, protecting the members of every family. Just about all of the Empire owes the Lion a great debt of honor, particularly the Crane and Unicorn, the Lion's traditional enemies. The Lion leave the era possibly the strongest clan, with their armies ravaged but undefeated and having won the heart of the Empire.
New Lion Mechanics
Ikoma Bard School [Courtier]
If one examines the greatest storytellers of every generation across the history of Rokugan, the pattern that emerges will indicate clearly that the Ikoma dominate this aspect of the Empire's Social circles. Unlike most courtiers who focus on manipulation of words and laws, the Ikoma bards, or omoidasu, manipulate the heart itself. No one in the empire understands human emotion like the Ikoma, and no one can pull a person's heartstrings like they can either. Through historical precedents and heroic tales, the Ikoma bards control the flow of their audence's hearts, guiding them to outcome the bard desires. While this might seem a curious tactic, there are many courtiers in other Clans who have difficulty conducting themselves against the Ikoma when the Ikoma can demonstratively prove that the individual's ancestors might well have disapproved of a course of action. In a society so steeped in history and tradition, argument via parable is a surprisingly effective technique.
The Ikoma bards are masters of emotion, both their own and their enemies'. Because of their understanding of both bushido and history, they are also willing to bend the rules of honor, using threats or bribery as necessary.
Note: This is rework of the Ikoma Bard School, as I found the one from Core did not reflect the flavor surrounding the Ikoma, such as their mastery of human emotion and willingness to use less honorable tactics like bribery or threats.
Benefit: +1 Intelligence
Skills: Courtier, Etiquette, Lore: History (Lion Clan), Perform: Storytelling (Public Bragging), Sincerity, any one High Skill, any one Skill
Outfit: Traditional Clothing, Wakizashi, Knife, Calligraphy Set, Traveling Pack, 5 koku
Techniques Rank 1: Heart of the Lion
The Ikoma the Lion's historians, storytellers, and heart. You gain a Free Raise on all Intelligence rolls to remember something; this bonus stacks with the Precise Memory Advantage, which you can purchase for 1 Point less. Your deep understanding of both emotions and Bushido allow you to treat Temptation and Intimidation as High Skills rather than Low Skills (you still lose honor if your or your target's actions become dishonorable or criminal), and you do not lose Honor or Glory for displaying emotions in public. Likewise, any attempt to manipulate your emotions add +5 to the roll's TN. What qualifies as attempts to manipulate emotions is left to the GM, but seduction, outright threats, and appeals to your better nature are all solid examples
Rank 2: Brilliant Glory
Every bard of the Lion Clan is an inheritor of the first Ikoma, a boisterous brawler and masterful storyteller. You might be more 'civilized' than your predecessor, but you retain his zest of life. When using a Perform skill (typically Storytelling or Oratory) to praise another samurai's noble or heroic actions, they gain additional points of Glory equal to your School Rank (on top of the normal Glory gain for public bragging). Additionally, after making a Perform (Storytelling or Oratory) roll against a TN of at least 10 + 5 times your School Rank, you gain a Free Raise on all Social Rolls against those who witnesses your performance, until the end of the day. You cannot benefit from this Technique more than once per day.
Rank 3: Master the Heart's Flow
An Ikoma Bard is not just the master of his own heart, but of others' as well. When someone in your presence starts to become emotional, you can opt to make a Courtier (Manipulation)/Awareness roll opposed by the target's Etiquette (Courtesy)/Willpower (the target may not choose to voluntarily lose this roll). If you succeed, you can choose to either make the target's emotions overwhelm them or suddenly die out. In the case of making their emotions overwhelm them, whatever emotions the target is feeling are magnified to an embarrassing state; people who were angry become belligerent and insulting, while those who were sorrowful bust into uncontrolled tears, for example. What this causes is up to the GM, but normally this counts as a Breech of Etiquette and can often have other ramifications, like public embarrassment. On the other hand, you can also choose to make your target stable and calm for the next 5 minutes; during this time, they do not need to roll to resist Brash, Overconfident, and are otherwise calm and collected; you can use this Technique to suddenly shut down someone's Brash drawback or keep them from embarrassing themselves in court. The negative side of this is that the target is also suddenly devoid of passion and zeal, and must call a Raise on all Social rolls made to convince others of their dedication or sincerity.
Rank 4: Every Lion is Your Brother
The Ikoma's steadfast encouragement call on the examples of noble ancestors to infuse their allies with a strength they did not know they had. A number of times per session equal to your School Rank, as a Simple Action, you may verbally encourage an ally with a tale of great deeds from the past, rolling Perform: Storytelling / Awareness at TN 25. With a success, the next time during the same day that the chosen ally fails a roll, he may re-roll it, adding your Honor Rank in unkept dice to his roll. However, if he fails this second roll, you lose 2 points of Honor.
Rank 5: The Strength of Tradition
The Ikoma's understanding of Bushido, history, emotion, and human nature empowers them in court, filling their arguments with the ringing power of generations of noble Lion, and calling on the precedents of a thousand years and more to support their cause. Five times per session, when you are making a Contested Social Roll against an opponent, you may cite historical precedent to support your views and roll additional unkept dice equal to your Rank in Perform: Storytelling. In situations where citing history seems inappropriate or strange, the GM has the final say on whether this Technique may be used.
Ikoma Historians [Courtier] The Ikoma Historians are a specialized sub-group within the Ikoma courtly schools, recruiting students from both the Omoidasu an the Lion's Shadow. They are an elite group within the family, charged with supervising the Empire's official histories, and regard their duties as a sacred trust. They frequently make use of their access to the secrets of the Empire's histories to protect both Imperial and Lion interests, and most of the members of the hidden Ikoma-Shosuro alliance are drawn from their ranks.
Replaces: Ikoma Bard 4, Ikoma Lion's Shadow 4
Requirements: Lore: History 5
Technique: The Past and Present - The Ikoma Historians are trusted with both maintaining the Empire's official history, and knowing its secret, less flattering one. You gain the Advantage Forbidden Knowledge (Empire's True History) at no cost. Though you are not allowed to make this history public, just knowing it allows you to change the light in which past events might be seen. During a Social Encounter, when a target attempts to evoke any past event (even recent one, such as a skirmish last season), you can make an Lore: History/Intelligence roll opposed by their Etiquette (Courtesy)/Awareness (you gain a Free Raise to this roll if the historical subject actually is part of the Secret Histories). If you succeed, you've proven to all other witnesses that the target's claim on the event is incorrect, while your claim is the more accurate recruitment (GM can require Raises on your roll depending on your claim). Should the target continue with their claim, they cause a Moderate Breach of Etiquette that can also justify a duel. This technique cannot be used to 'prove' blatant lies about history.
Lion's Pride Brawlers [Courtier] All Lion Bards are taught both to trust and control their emotions (and those of others), typically though inspiring stories or vicious goading. A select few, however, train in subtler and simpler methods. One such group is the Lion's Pride Brawlers. Trained in both in combat and courtly arts, the Brawlers are masters of the subtle menace, bullying weaker courtiers with the threat of social and physical aggression. Though not bushi in the traditional sense, the Lion's Pride Brawlers are fully capable of defending themselves, as they sometimes need to when their threats are found out. The group's name originates from a story they draw inspiration from. Legend maintains an unnamed member of famed Lion's Pride who ended up at to the Imperial Winter Court. The woman, a Matsu with an Ikoma father, proved as adapt and dangerous on the social battlefield as she was on the real one. Supposedly, she even managed to take hold of the Crane Champion by the throat in the middle of the court, but evaded punishment for such an act by twisting the Doji's own words into an invitation to do so (he had sarcastically suggested that she just take him by the throat, seeing as the Lion Clan wished to strangle the Crane anyway). Whether or there is any truth to this story (as the exact date and identity of the Lion's Pride member changes with each telling), the Brawlers have long taken the tale to heart, though their threats tend to be far less obvious.
Replaces: Ikoma Bard 2, Ikoma Lion's Shadow 2
Requirements: Water 3, Intimidation 4, Any weapon skill at Rank 3
Technique: Lion's Growl - Members of the Lion's Pride Brawlers forgo the glorious storytelling traditions and instead focus on using their knowledge of human emotion in aggressive negotiations. As a Free Action, you can spend a Void point to make an Opposed Intimidation (Bullying)/Willpower roll against a target (they may choose to use either Intimidation or Etiquette (Courtesy)/Willpower to resist). With success, the target is cowed by your threatening tone, body language, and overall demeanor; for the rest of the day, they cannot spend Void Points to enhance any Rolls against you, or benefit from Raises on Social Skill Rolls against you. In addition, you gain a Free Raise on all Sincerity rolls made against the target, who is menaced into believing anything you say.
Inner Gift: True-Blooded Kitsu (7 Points)
You are a true descendant of the first Kitsu, allowing you to perform their unique Ancestral Magic and enter the Kitsu Soden-Senzo Advance School. Only members of the Kitsu family trained as Kitsu Shugenja can take this advantage.
Mechanically, Ancestral Magic can be simulated by allowing a play to cast select Void Spells, changed to fit the ancestor magic theme; they do not, however, count as true Void spells for all other mechanical purposes and the True-Blooded Kitsu is not considered an Ishiken. Spells that a True-Blooded Kitsu can cast include: Boundless Sight, Drawing the Void, See Through Lies, The Void's Caress, Altering the Course, Drink of Your Essence, Severed from the Stream, Kharmic Intent, Moment of Clarity, Read the Essence, Void Release, Balance of Elements, Draw Closed the Veil, Fill the Emptiness, Unbound Essence
New Ancestor: Kitsu/Isawa Taiko (7 Points)
Born amongst a peasant family with a distant Kitsu ancestor, Kitsu Taiko was nonetheless one of the most powerful Fire shugenja alive, in spite of the Kitsu family's natural affinity for Water. At the Battle of Sleeping River, Taiko's magic proved to be just as formidable as that of the Elemental Masters, and after the battle, he was the first non-Isawa to be made a member of the Council of Five, becoming Isawa Taiko. Taiko guilds shugenja of both the Lion and Phoenix Clans, even those adopted into the clan (as he himself was adopted into both the Lion and the Phoenix). Those guided by Taiko gain his power for magic outside of their training's norm. Select one Element you do not have an Affinity with; you gain a second Affinity for that Element; should your selected Element also be the one your School has a Deficiency for, the two negate each other, and you instead gain +1k0 to all Spell Casting rolls made for spells of your selected element. If you are trained as an Isawa shugenja, you do not benefit from your School Technique a second time (so you only gain a Free Raise on your 'natural' Affinity). Demands: Taiko was man born a peasant and given the honor of training with two of the most exclusive shugenja schools in the Empire. He always remembered the privilege he had been honored with, and betrayed neither of his families. He likewise demands such respect and devotion from those he guilds. If you ever betray the secrets of the Kitsu or the Isawa, Taiko will abandon you. He will likewise do so if you betray your family, both by blood and those by friendship or oaths.
New Lion Nemuranai
Akodo Daggers: Forged at the Dawn of the Empire by the five Kakita artisans in an attempt to heal the rift between the Lion and Crane, these five daggers were initially gifted to each of Akodo One-eye's sons. Each dagger was passed down from father to son for generations, becoming a sign of prestige and loyalty amongst the Lion, especially the Akodo. After the Akodo were disbanded at Hantei XXIX's order, Matsu Tsuko ordered the daggers gathered and destroyed to prove there was no more trace of the treacherous Akodo line in the Lion. However, the holders of daggers either refused or hid them until the Akodo were restored by Divine Mandate. Currently, Toturi I holds one from his days as Lion Champion, as does Akodo Ginawa, who stole his soon after the Akodo family was disbanded to keep it from being destroyed. Rumor claims one is in the hands of the Tsuruchi family, possibly after Tsuruchi himself hunted it down from a former Akodo at Tsuko's order. Akodo Kage, Master of the Kolat, was also known to hold one, but he lost it after faking his death during the Hidden Emperor Era; the dagger was discovered in the Imperial City and remains in the Emperor's possession. Members of the Ikoma family hid the last dagger against Tsuko's orders, and gifted it to Akodo Ginawa after he became Champion. Mechanically, the Akodo Daggers are all fully Awakened 2k1 tanto that can harm Invulnerable foes and count as jade for damage purposes. The glory and prestige that comes from owning such a weapon grants its holder a +1k1 to all Etiquette Rolls, or +2k2 against Lion Clan members. The holder also treats their Honor and Glory as if both were one Rank higher. These benefits only apply if the dagger can be seen on the person.
*Note: After the events of Oblivion's Gate, it is possible that there are now more copies of the Akodo Daggers in existence. The gate has the power to duplicate any object or clothing than an individual considered 'part' of them when they were restored to life by it's power, including nemuranai. Because several important and legendary Lion samurai entered Rokugan through the gate, it is quiet possible that a few duplicates were created in the hands of Returned Lion. For example, Toturi would have two Akodo Daggers, one original and one created by the power of Oblivion's Gate. It is up to the GM how many Akodo Daggers should be in existence, but a good rule of thumb is no more than 13, otherwise the unique prestige of the nemuranai might be lost.
Mempo of Matsu Hitomi: A face-mask that once belonged to the most famous samurai-ko in the Empire's history, the Mempo of Matsu Hitomi is a beautiful golden mask shaped like a lion's jaw, elaborately tooled with the lion's teeth shaped from small mirrors designed to catch the sun and shine into the enemy's eyes. When Hitomi killed Mirumoto Turan and fled, she left behind her armor and weapons, including her iconic mempo. The mempo has remained with the Lion Clan, worn by the most heroic and honorable members of the Lion's Pride; after she returned through Oblivion's Gate, the Matsu offered it to Hitomi, but she refused, saying she had given it up years ago. The Mempo of Matsu Hitomi grants its wearer a Free Raise on all Battle, Athletics, and Kenjutsu rolls made while wearing it, as well as to all rolls to resist Fear. It is also rumored that the kami of the mempo is intensely protective of its honorable history, and will curse those who dare commit a dishonorable act while wearing it, though it is not clear how true this is.
Important Returned Lion
Akodo Arasou: See below
Akodo Yokutsu: An arrogant and violent general who's disgrace led to the creation of the Dragonfly Clan (and the Lion's legendary grudge against them), Yokutsu's crime won him an eternity in Toshigoku, which he would escape through Oblivion's Gate 400 years later. Yokutsu pursued his vendetta against the Dragonfly, leading to the Death of Kyuden Tonbo, which ended in the Lion Clan's disgrace and Yokutsu's death and subsequent return to Toshigoku. Ironically, Yokutsu's last actions also brought an end to the Dragonfly Clan, as they soon joined the Dragon as the Tonbo family, as well as an end to the Lion's grudge, as he had exposed his legacy as one of dishonor.
Akodo Kenburo (stats found in Imperial Histories, pg. 120): The single most violent man to ever hold to the title of Emerald Champion, Akodo Kenburo held the title during the Great Famine, and his brutality even in the face of such dire times earned him the title of "Emerald Butcher". After his death, Kenburo was sentenced to Toshigoku (with his Lord, Hantei XX), until he stepped through Oblivion's Gate. While originally planning on returning to his old life of violence and cruelty, Kenburo's experienced a change of heart after witnessing both the fall of other Returned Spirits and the Lion's intense brotherhood; supposedly, an Ikoma Bard's stories of Toturi the Black's heroism is what ultimately won Kenburo over, as Kenburo himself was a ronin before becoming a Lion and Toturi had been heroic in the face of hardship whereas Kenburo was a Butcher. For whatever reason, Akodo Kenburo was still a brutal man, and his wrath against the spirit army was terrifying to behold. Kenburo was eventually given command of the Tsuko's Heart Unit and charged with the defense of BeidenPass, a key position he never failed to defend that also brought him in conflict with his former lord, Hantei Ryute. Kenburo was killed during the Siege of Kyuden Doji, fighting to his last breath. Kenburo married Matsu Kiriko, a match many saw as odd, but the two loved each other dearly. They had a son, Koki, whom they adored for the few years they raised him before their deaths, after which the 4-year-old Koki was adopted by Matsu Mochiko.
Akodo Ketto: One of the founders of the Akodo Kensai school, Ketto was a brilliant duelist that served during the rule of the Steel Chrysanthemum until his honor would not allow him to enforce the cruel Emperor's will anymore, and he allowed himself to be cut down. After returning life, Ketto refused to support the Hantei, having seen the villainy their leader was capable of firsthand. Ketto first trained many young Lion in the way of dueling in the Heart of the Katana Dojo, working alongside the famous Matsu Seijuro. During the War of Spirits, Ketto joined the Tsuko's Heart legion after one of his students was killed during the initial fighting. Ketto's skill let him survive the Battle of Shallow Waters, but he fell at the Siege of Kyuden Doji to Hantei Ryute's blade. Ketto married a Doji (descended of the one that killed him, in fact), and fathered six children.
Ikoma Dayu: An extremely popular author from the 9th Century, Dayu was known for his wonderfully entertaining but less-than-accurate stories. However, after discovering that the celebrated Matsu Itagi was not a great hero, but a brash and boorish glory hound that led countless samurai to their deaths in the Shadowlands, Dayu attempted to expose the truth to the Empire, only to be murdered by members of the Matsu family to cover-up his discovery. After returning to the realm of the living, Dayu devoted himself to exposing the ancestors unworthy of the Lion's acclamations. He publishes several controversial novels about the less than flattering aspects of various Returned Spirits, and was challenged to many duels (Akodo Ketto was always his champion in such cases). During the War of the Spirits, Dayu upped his game, producing dozens of tragic and powerful plays, almost all centered on the cruelties of Hantei Emperors, especially Hantei XVI and Hantei XX. After the war, however, Dayu found his spirit spent of bringing the honorless down, and from then on, all of his works were acclimations to the truly honorable ancestors. However, even so, several books of controversial nature to be published, all under pseudonyms taken fro Dayu's plays and of notably similar writing style to his own.
Ikoma Arimi (stats found in Great Clans, pg. 120): A paragon of bushido, Ikoma Arimi was disgraced by one sin in her orignal life, only for her to cleanse her shame by committing seppuku with a wooden wakizashi. Arimi's devotion to bushido made her question whether her loyalties were to the Hantei or the Lion, but in the end, she stood with her clan at Toturi's side. Arimi's beauty and skill caused her to gain the attention of many samurai, and she was wed to an important Ikoma bard. She gave her husband two children before her death at the Battle of Shallow Waters, serving her clan with her last breath.
Ikoma Komori: The charismatic and passionate son of Ikoma himself, Komori found himself badgered constantly by many historians for information about the early Empire. Of course, they were often shocked at the blunt truths Komori gave them, such as the flaws and mistakes of many of the Kami or some of his favorite uncensored stories from his father. Komori was loyal to the Lion to the core, and his firsthand experience with the kami themselves led him to realize that the Hantei were not as perfect as they claimed. He stood, as most Returned Lion, with the Toturi, a powerful figure in court and on the battlefield. Komori was eventually murdered by the poison of a Steel Magistrate, but he was survived by wife, daughter of Ikoma Sume, the family daimyo, and two children, as well as a third by a mistress.
Matsu Mochiko (stats found in Imperial Histories, pg. 92): A heroic figure from the Gozoku era, Mochiko had refused to serve a puppet emperor and became a ronin, before returning victoriously to help bring down the conspiracy and become Emerald Champion. Mochiko felt a kinship with Toturi, who's story was similar to her own, and her own experiences taught her that even the Hantei can be flawed. As such, it was no surprise that Mochiko swore loyalty to Toturi even before the War of Spirits, or that she was named Matsu Daimyo. Mochiko was one of the most important and heroic figures during the war, and it was her leadership that rallied so many Returned Lion to Toturi's banner. Mochiko wed Kitsu Motso, Commander of the Imperial Legions, and had no less than nine children with him. She also adopted Koki, son of Akodo Kenburo and Matsu Kiriko.
Matsu Hitomi (stats found in Great Clans, pg. 122): One of the most celebrated samurai-ko in Rokugan's history and considered the ideal of bushido, Matsu Hitomi was in truth deeply uncomfortable with her status as a living legend, feeling unworthy of such acclaim. She was able to get assigned to Toturi's honor guard before the war, and was approached by an Otomo loyal to the Hantei, who asked Hitomi for information in the Emperor's security. Hitomi realized the Otomo was aiming to assassinate the Emperor, and killed him with her bare hands where he stood. The incident was written off as a Bloodspeaker plot, but it was later reveled that the Otomo was a Hantei loyalist. Toturi himself greatly appreciated Hitomi's dedication to duty and search for inner peace, and he granted her the title of Ruby Champion, feeling that a life of a sensei in a dojo away from the courts would give her spirit the solace she needed. Hitomi found life as a sensei deeply fulfilling, and her duties as Ruby Champion caused her to befreind many important figures, including the ronin commander of the Wolf Legion, Kintsugi (actually Akodo Arasou). Arasou proved to be a kindred spirit, wishing to escape the fame of his past, and the two fell in love. They wed privately, and after Arasou became a member of the Toturi family, Hitomi was as well, becoming Toturi Hitomi.
Matsu Itagi (stats found in Great Clans, pg. 121): Once one of the most celebrated Champions of the Lion, Matsu Itagi was a proud, brash, and brutal man who believed in the absolute superiority of the Lion. After returning through Oblivion's Gate, Itagi was welcomed with acclaim and praised almost like a Fortune by many Lion, and he believed himself worthy of such praise. Itagi participated in the Death of Kyuden Tonbo, and pushed for the clan to avenge many other slights, even arguing with Akodo Ginawa, the Lion Champion, in public. After it was exposed that Itagi's afterlife was in the Realm of Slaughter, he found himself no longer above reproach. When the Hantei declared war on Toturi, Itagi was outraged that the Lion refused to side with them, and attempted to force Akodo Ginawa to duel him to the death for control of the clan. Instead, he was killed by Akodo Kenburo, whome Itagi had fought against many times in Toshigoku.
Matsu Kiriko (stats found in Imperial Histories II, pg. 47): The daughter of Matsu herself, Kiriko was an honorable but proud and violent warrior who led a life of violence until her death when she attacked the Crane without permission from her champion or the Emperor. Like Matsu Itagi, Kiriko was celebrated by the Lion and saw herself above reproach. Unlike Itagi, Kiriko took the humiliations and lessons she endured at the hands of Living samurai to heart. Ever her mother's daughter, Kiriko put the Lion before all, and she came to admire Toturi as the rest of her clan did. When the war broke out, Kiriko stood with Toturi and her clan, serving in the Tsuko's Heart Legion, where she met her husband, Akodo Kenburo. They had only one child, a son they called Koki, whom they both adored dearly. Kiriko survived the Battle of Shallow Waters and the Siege of Kyuden Doji, but she was killed by Hida Raiden in the Battle of the Brutal Strike one year later. Kitsu Soden-Senzo proved that Kiriko was accepted into Yomi after her second death, and her son was adopted by Matsu Mochiko.
Important Lion NPCs
Akodo Arasou, Former Lion Champion, Commander of the Wolf Legion, Toturi's Brother
School/Rank: Akodo Bushi 4/Wolf Legion
Air: 3 (Reflexes 4)
Earth: 4 (Stamina 5)
Fire: 4 (Agility 5)
Skills: Athletics 4, Battle (Mass Combat) 5, Defense 3, Etiquette 2, Horsemanship 2, Hunting 2, Iaijutsu 3, Jiujutsu 4, Kenjutsu (Katana) 5, Kyujutsu (Yumi) 4, Lore: Bushido 3, Lore: History 3, Lore: War (Crane Tactics) 4, Sincerity 1, Spears (Yari) 4, War Fan 2
Kata: Striking as Fire, Striking as Water
Advantages: Bishamon's Blessing, Prodigy, Social Position (Commander of the Wolf Legion, Protector of the ImperialCity & Brother of the Emperor*)
Disadvantages: Brash, Driven (Seek Redemption), Lost Love (Matsu Tsuke)
Special: Returned Spirit Abilities
*Arasou spends many years as a Ronin by the name of Kintsugi; while he has no Status at all at first, he eventally becomes Commander of the Wolf Legion and is later exposed as Toturi's Brother
Once hailed as the greatest warrior of his generation, Akodo Arasou was adored and beloved by his family and his clan. The elder* brother of Akodo Toturi, yet Arasou and he couldn't have been more different. Where Toturi was awkward, meek, and full of thought, Arasou was proud, forceful, strong, and talented to the point of being considered a prodigy. Arasou's abilities and popularity left Toturi in his shadow, and Arasou hardly noticed when he was sent off to a monastery.
Though he was fiery and blunt, Arasou was also perceptive, and he soon realized the schism in the Lion between the Akodo and Matsu families, something he feels the Akodo elders have willfully ignored. In an attempt to resolve this divide, Arasou decided to take Matsu Tsuko, heiress of the Matsu. The proposal lionizes him even more, and Arasou proudly swore to wed his bride in Toshi Ranbo. Unfortunately, the pride and determination that characterized him his whole life led to his downfall, as he stubbornly marched his armies through every ambush and trick set up by the Daidoji, thinking the Lion's brute force would lead to victory over the Crane's subterfuge. Finally, Arasou was caught in a Crane trap inside the gates of Toshi Ranbo, so close to retaking the city, killed while screaming Tsuko's name.
Arasou had expected the gates of Yomi to be open to him for his actions in life, but instead he found himself before Emma-O's judgment seat. The Fortune of Death had condemned Arasou's life as a wasteful quest for personal glory, one without accomplishment or honor. As Arasou stood shocked at the Fortune's judgment, Emma-O relented, ruling that while Arasou had failed as Champion of the Lion, he had not lived a truly wicked life worthy of eternal damnation in the Realm of Slaughter or the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. Instead, Arasou would stay in Meido, the Realm of Waiting, until his debt to karma was paid.
After wandering through Oblivion's Gate, Akodo Arasou was shocked by all that had passed; Toturi, the little brother he had dismissed as weak, had become the Second Lion Thunder and then Emperor of Rokugan! However, Arasou also learned of the Lion's horrible actions during the Clan War, such as his beloved Tsuko's brutal quest to avenge his death at the hands of the Crane, or how half the Lion sided with the Fu Leng-possessed Emperor on the Second Day of Thunder. Arasou felt deep shame at all this, feeling he had set his clan on this path. Not wishing to have to face Toturi or the Lion, Arasou did not return to his clan, but instead became a ronin, taking up the name 'Kintsugi'. At first, 'Kintsugi' merely wandered the Empire aimlessly. It was only by happenstance that he met Toku, Toturi's favored vassal, and was offered a place in the Wolf Legion. It was amongst the Wolf Legion that Kintsugi's spirit was restored, discovering the brotherhood and honor that he had forgotten as a Lion. Eventually, he became the leader of the Wolf Legion, and his glorious defense of the Hall of Ancestors led Kintsugi to winning the attention of the Emperor himself. While not wanting a reunion with Toturi, honor and duty forced Kintsugi to appear before him, praying that perhaps after so many years, Toturi would not recognize him. Toturi did, and to Kintsugi's surprise, embraced him with tears in his eyes. Toturi proclaimed him his brother and a member of the Imperial house, and Kintsugi became Toturi Arasou, Protector of the ImperialCity. At long last, Arasou felt he had overcome the failings of his past.
*"Imperial Histories" lists Arasou as being the elder brother, and while every other source names Toturi the elder of the two, I prefer Toturi as the younger, as it helps justify his family's treatment of him.
Kitsu Toju, Kitsu Daimyo, Master Sodan-Senzo
School/Rank: Kitsu Shugenja 3/Kitsu Sodan-Senzo 3
Skills: Battle 2, Calligraphy (Cipher) 3, Defense 2, Etiquette 4, Games (Shogi) 3, Jiujutsu 3, Kenjutsu 3, Lore: History (Lion, Imperial) 5, Lore: Spirit Realms (Yomi, Tengoku, Returned Spirits) 6, Lore: Theology (Ancestor Worship) 6, Meditation (Void Recovery, Soden-Senzo Magic) 5, Sincerity 3, Spellcraft 4
Spells Known: As Kitsu Daimyo and a master Soden-Senzo, Kitsu Toju has access to any publicly known spell and all secret spells of the Lion, and has many unique spells due to his Kitsu Blood.
Advantages: Ancestor (Kitsu/Isawa Taiko*), Great Destiny (Discover the Kitsu Rituals to defeat the Returned Spirits), Inner Gift (True Blooded Kitsu*),
Disadvantages: Antisocial Rank 1, Bad Fortune (Stutter), Meek
Kitsu Toju was the youngest son of the Kitsu Daimyo, shy, weak, and suffering from an incurable stutter. It seemd his elder brothers outshone Toju in every way, being more intelligent, well-spoken, charming, and stronger than he. It seemed Toju would be destined to forgotten, likely as a minor diplomat in an unimportant post. However, on the Day of Choosing (an important ritual that determines the future of all young Kitsu), Toju's true potential was revealed. Where others could only perform minor tricks with the embers of the ritual, Toju caused the flames to become white with heat and extend several feet into the sky, something only the most talented Isawa Tensai would be capable of at such an age. What made it more impressive is that Kitsu normally have only a weak connection to the Element of fire. Toju was immediately inducted into the Kitsu Shugenja school, where he began to master the rituals of the ancestors, even with his stutter.
By his mid-teens, Toju had become a full-fledged member of the Soden-Senzo and the most powerful shugenja in the Lion Clan, and was named daimyo of the Kitsu ahead of his brothers. His reverence for the ancestors was deep but quiet, and most of the clan considered his council wise. While he was not a charismatic leader of his family, Toju was well-loved by the Kitsu, and he maintained their honor and duties. Something of note was Toju's close relationship with his brother Kitsu Mosto. Whereas most of the Kitsu considered Motso a failure and blasphemer for being forsaken by the ancestors, the two brothers remained close even with their differing careers and views.
During the Clan War, Toju was increasing worried by Matsu Tsuko's escalating war efforts. The disbanding of the Akodo family had greatly angered the Revered Ancestors, and Toju found they spoke of nothing but disapproval for Tsuko and her wars. While the Ancestors approved of honorable warfare, they all warned Toju that the true battle was yet to begin, and Tsuko's leadership would only lead the Lion to dishonor. Toju voiced this concerns to Tsuko, only to be ignored or dismissed by her. As it was, Toju withdrew the Kitsu family from most engagements of the Clan War, lending aid only to battles against the forces of the Shadowlands. When Toju's brother Motso rallied the Lion to fight against the Fu Leng Possessed Emperor, Toju lent his quiet, stuttering voice in support of him, as did the Ancestors.
After the Battle of Oblivion's Gate, the Kitsu family faced a minor religious crisis. Here where many heroes of the Lion, returned to the world of the living, yet many of them were...less ideal than the stories surrounding them. Toju became more and more suspicious of the Returned Spirits, and eventually discovered many of them were frauds, not belonging to the honorable dead of Yomi. This discovery rocked the Lion, but Toju led the Kitsu in reestablishing the clan's faith, as many of their honored ancestors were still in Yomi, supporting Toturi against the Returned Spirits. Toju's master of the Soden-Senzo arts played no small part in many Returned Lion swearing loyalty to Toturi, and it was his research that led to the discovery of a ritual that would undo the spirit's supernatural endurance.