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It occurs to me that, with the addition of L5R to the FFG stable, we might be getting an influx of new players, and this forum might be among the places they come. So, partially inspired by the 'looking for a Clan' thread, I thought it would be a good idea for some of us (relatively) old-timers to share what (we think) makes our Clan special. Being a Lion person myself, I'll start with them, and leave other Clans to others. I originally wrote this up for the Winter Court IV RPG, then reposted it to FRO7, so some people might have seen it before, but now it's in a more public place, and people can add their own insights to it, for the Lion or other Clans. Apologies in advance for length, but hopefully it helps.

 

***

 

Every Clan and Family has its own traditions and superstitions. The Lion, being deeply conservative, hold to theirs more tightly than most, and everyone should be aware of at least those of their own Family.

Akodo

In addition to the Ten Orders contained in Leadership, Akodo traditionally memorise the Five Measures, here paraphrased rather than quoted verbatim, as the originals are quite wordy:

AIR: The General leads the army quickly and without hesitation; by this, he keeps his eyes forwards.
EARTH: The General understands the ground on which he fights; by this, he ensures victory.
FIRE: The General leads the army in accordance with the Imperial Law; by this, he lights the flame of justice in his soldiers' souls.
WATER: The General understands the flow of battle; by this, he spares his own forces, and wears down those of his opponent.
VOID: The General leads the army inexorably towards the moment of victory; it cannot be understood, only taken.

It is quite common for Akodo to use the Five Measures, Seven Virtues (of Bushido, which I trust I don't need to repeat here), and Ten Orders, as quasi-meditative mantras.

Ever since the Dawn of the Empire, when Akodo One-Eye rejected Shinsei by gripping his saya and saying, "This is my way", and was subsequently ordered by Hantei to show Shinsei more respect, all Akodo dojo contain a copy of the Tao... but it is left pristine and unopened.

Besides their basic gempukku ceremony, Akodo undergo an additional ceremony, called Kyodai, in which they recite all of their ancestors back to Akodo One-Eye, and have their own names added to the list of honoured Akodo. Completion of this ceremony makes all Akodo formally brothers, and equals (resulting in Akodo frequently calling each other 'brother' or 'sister' in place of -san/-sama, irrespective of actual social position). As a result, it is strictly forbidden for Akodo to fight each other, or to cast any other Akodo into dishonour, and those who do so are punished as if they had murdered their family.

In combat, Akodo doctrine builds on the concept of brotherhood - no Akodo will leave another Akodo to fight alone, and they take strength in fighting side by side with each other. Tactically, their strength isn't so much that they have excellent command and control structures - though they do have those - but that every Akodo knows what they are expected to do, and will do it unhesitatingly and unquestioningly. As such, they have a much greater capacity for manoeuvre and response in combat, whereas most Rokugani formations are prohibitively difficult to control once they have been committed, and communicating secondary orders is all but impossible.

Prior to the dissolution of the family during the Clan Wars, all Akodo used to carry distinctive knives in addition to their daisho, that were given to them after Kyodai. That tradition ceased when the family was dissolved, and never reinstated after the naming of the Lying Darkness, and many were lost, so Akodo kaiken are now extremely valuable heirlooms, rather than being ubiquitous.

Akodo have a reputation for arrogance - "No army led by an Akodo general has ever been defeated", and such - but their self-confidence stems from an acute awareness of their own failings. Lion victories are not studied in the Akodo War College, but only their defeats, to remind Akodo officers that victory is never assured, but always rests on the sword's edge.

Ikoma

Ikoma are, by tradition, the only Lion who are allowed to show emotion. Technically, the role of emoting for the rest of the Clan goes to the Omoidasu specifically rather than the Ikoma in general, but being brought up in that milieu tends to result in Ikoma, even the bushi, being much more open in their emotions than the other families of the Lion.

In memory of a famous exchange between Ikoma and Akodo One-Eye (in which Akodo said he could beat Ikoma if they fought, and Ikoma replied, "You could, Son of the Sun. But I would take your other eye."), Ikoma are traditionally quicker to accept defeat than other Lion, but correspondingly quicker to find ways to make the victory hurt for their opponent. For example, where an outnumbered Matsu would tend to just keep swinging until she went down or her enemies did, an Ikoma might identify the enemy leader, and make sure to kill him, even if it guaranteed his own death (a good example of this mindset occurred during the Winter of Red Snow - the Ikoma realised Kyuden Ikoma had fallen, but hid a squad of men in the ruins until Chagatai rode past with his honour guard, then ambushed him). As all of the above illustrates, they also tend to be somewhat less strict in their interpretation of honour and the rules of combat than other Lion.

Ikoma himself was extremely fond of sake and women. Some, though by no means all, Ikoma, choose to follow his example in this as in other things.

There is a super-secret alliance between the Ikoma and Shosuro families to ensure the history of the Empire remains proper and pure- the Ikoma write what is appropriate, and the Shosuro make sure any evidence to the contrary disappears. Needless to say, this is kept secret from the rest of the Lion, and even from the bulk of the family. The Ikoma also have in their possession the uncensored histories, and the only complete copies of Leadership (the edition of the book in common circulation having been censored by various Emperors to avoid offending their sensibilities). Obviously, neither of these things are made public knowledge, either.

Kitsu

The Kitsu traditionally refuse to use their gifts in combat- it is Rokugani tradition for generals to invite shugenja to leave the field before engaging in battle, and Lion follow this tradition (both ways) more scrupulously than anyone else, with the possible exception of the Crane. While they are frequently used in an auxiliary capacity, healing and supporting troops off the battlefield itself, actual "combat shugenja" are very rare. In general, the Lion see it as dishonourable and impious to use the kami against others, rather than steel.

Most Kitsu have no capacity to act as Sodan-Senzo, though they may or may not have some ability to call upon the Ancestors in a more limited fashion. True Sodan-Senzo are identified young, usually have no ability to control when and how the Ancestors speak to them, and rarely leave the Hall of Ancestors/Kitsu Tombs at all.

Kitsu almost invariably dress and speak in a hyper-traditional manner, sometimes to the point of near-foreignness to contemporary Rokugani, as several of them speak as much to the dead as to the living, and even those who don't, carry the responsibility to act as holders and guardians of tradition among the Lion.

Some, though not all, of the Kitsu descended directly from the First Five (the last Kitsu, who turned themselves human to mate with five of Akodo One-Eye's children) have golden eyes, and/or red/golden hair. Those who do are almost always Sodan-Senzo, but not all Sodan-Senzo have the hair or eyes. Either way, those descended from the First Five are almost never married outside the Clan, to anyone but the most important of people, as their power is linked to their bloodline, more so than even among other shugenja families.

Kitsu have an extra-special, and even stronger, grudge against the Spider than other Lion, ever since Nintai - a Tsuno who was returned to his original state as a Kitsu (the storyline was incredibly stupid, honestly... I hate Ratling... but whatever, it happened) - was killed and skinned during the Night of Assassins. Now that the Night of Assassins is known to have been the work of the Spider, the Kitsu have a truly undying grudge against them.

The Kitsu have, on occasion, produced some of the strongest shugenja in the Empire - Kitsu Taiko's connection to Fire was so strong that he was made Master of Fire in 766, being one of a handful of non-Phoenix ever to sit on the Elemental Council. Though their connection with the kami is generally unexceptional, as their 'magic' stems more from the Ancestors than the elemental spirits, they are - sometimes - extremely powerful.

Despite being of generally impeccable honour, there have been a few less-than-perfect moments in the history of the Kitsu; most especially Kitsu Okura, who won the Jade Championship by questionable means, and subsequently gave his name to an Oni, triggering a war between the Unicorn and the corrupted Kitsu (plus other Lion), known as Storms over Shiro Matsu. A substantial number of Kitsu went ronin in protest when Okura's corruption became clear, and were readmitted after Okura was deposed, as the Noroko vassal family. The Noroko's prime holding is in Crab lands, and they focus on maintaining vigilance against corruption within the Lion, and they are generally treated with respect and deference by other Kitsu out of respect for their ancestors' stand on principle, but they have no Sodan-Senzo, as those with Sodan-Senzo blood considered it their duty to remain to tend the Hall and Tombs, regardless of the daimyo's actions. Okura no Oni herself was subsequently reverse-corrupted by Bushido, and is now the guardian of the gates of Tengoku, though she can't actually go inside.

Matsu

As everyone knows, Matsu are traditionally matriarchal. This tradition stems from Lady Matsu's refusal to marry Akodo One-Eye, on the basis that, "If I marry you, I will not be Matsu, but Akodo's wife." Given that their founder refused to give her name even for a living God, it is extremely rare for female Matsu to marry out of the family, even to other Lion. Male Matsu can marry in, or out, according to the respective social status of the Matsu and the other samurai; or the arrangements of the nakodo, if they're equal.

Where Akodo generally make decisions based on careful consideration, and consultation of their texts, the Matsu follow a philosophy known as Seven Breaths: as Honour should be your guide in making any decision, and Honour is instinctive, it should take no longer than the space of seven breaths to make any decision. This is the basis of the Matsu's reputation for impulsiveness - as they see it, that reputation is a compliment, as it denotes their pursuit of Honour over practicality.

Matsu are trained to be extremely physically tough and self-reliant - they undergo extreme tests of endurance and strength, and are strictly forbidden from assisting each other. Their gempukku, however, consists not of a physical test (as they're assumed to be capable of doing that already), but of sitting motionless for several days while food and water are laid out around them, and their friends and family beg them to eat and drink. Needless to say, if they do so, they fail. The point of the ceremony is that Matsu should be not only physically tough, but also capable of exercising great self-control - as much of an L5R stereotype as "The Angry Matsu" is, it actually takes quite a lot of provocation to make a proper Matsu angry in a social situation, or rather to cause them to show that anger openly. If a Matsu shows their anger outside combat, that Matsu is VERY angry, and it would generally be unwise to remain in the area any longer than necessary.

Whether they show their emotion or not, Matsu commit fully to everything they do. This is partly a result of the Seven Breaths philosophy: believing that hesitation or reservation is tantamount to sin, and trusting completely that everything they do is the right thing to do, they throw themselves headlong at every challenge, generally preferring to prove their worth by overcoming obstacles with sheer force of will, strengthened by the righteousness of their cause, than by finding ways around them. Reaction to defeat, as rarely as they experience it, varies among Matsu - some barely register it, and continue pressing as if it had never happened; others take it a signal that their original cause can't possibly have been honourable (if it had been honourable, they would have succeeded, after all), and turn their attentions elsewhere.

Because the Matsu were traditionally by far the largest family in the Empire, and individual families were also very large, Matsu generally care less about the particulars of their family than other Lion. Obviously, they care very deeply about their family as a whole, and insulting the Matsu is very likely to result in blood-feud at least, but they are less likely than any other Lion samurai to be able to list all their ancestors, or even to be able to name all their relatives three or four generations back. In general, they are more willing to assume that all their ancestors were heroes, and leave it at that (an assumption aided by the very short life expectancy of Matsu compared to samurai in general).

There is a common misconception that Matsu make no time for themselves, or have no pastimes except training for combat. While it is true that Matsu train a great deal, and often enjoy it as much as anything else, it is untrue that they do nothing else - they recognise that cultivation of art is good for the soul, and they do care for their souls - what is true, as mentioned before, is that they do nothing in half-measures. If a Matsu is into ikebana, you can expect them to be REALLY into ikebana. Failure to commit fully, even to a personal hobby, is a reflection of Doubt, Doubt is a reflection of Fear, and Fear is a Sin.

Miscellaneous

Using the wakizashi in combat is considered borderline blasphemous by most Lion. Primarily, this is because all samurai should be ready to cleanse their honour (ie, commit seppuku) at their lord's order at a moment's notice, which requires that the wakizashi be kept razor sharp, and ritually pure. Using it to stab people goes against both goals. Deathseekers, however, are not expected to commit seppuku - as such, they can, and often do, use their wakizashi in combat. In essence, the wakizashi should only draw blood to cleanse one's honour; for most, that means the gutcut, for the Deathseekers, it means killing as many other people as possible.

Staying on the subject of katana, Lion generally test their katana on condemned criminals, seeing it as a test of both the blade and the wielder to see how many they cut through. The record is six, set by Akodo Mayuko.

Lion of all families are, obviously, much more dedicated to the worship of their ancestors than most samurai of other Clans. Superficially, they perform the same rituals of remembrance and reverence as everyone else (except the Kitsu, who are obviously special), but they do it much more regularly than others. All Lion households have a list of their ancestors at their shrine, even those who don't make a point of memorising said list, and the vast majority keep registers of the anniversaries of their most respected ancestors' deaths, which they commemorate dutifully.

Despite their near-obsessive reverence for their ancestors, the majority of Lion are quite distant, emotionally, from their actual families. Lion children are almost always left in the care of ashigaru and ji-samurai, then sent to the dojo, where they eat and sleep, as well as train, apart from their birth family. Though most Lion could name their families to a few generations without hesitation, they rarely know their actual relatives.

Among Leadership's tenets - one held dear by Lion of all families - is that, "the wise commander needs only the perception to identify the right subordinates for a task, and the intelligence to let them do it." Competent delegation of assignments is a highly valued skill among the Lion, even for the most self-assured of Matsu, and the misuse of assets under your command a swift route to losing the command of those assets.

A frequent subject of debate among Lion is the appropriate role of the Book of Sun Tao. While Leadership is obviously the best thing since steamed rice, and De Bellis Yoditorum has its place (not comparable to Leadership, but useful for fighting Yodotai), Sun Tao is less clear. His tactical insights are generally accepted as worthwhile - if only as restatements and elaborations of the same principles laid down by Akodo - but he was, ultimately, just a ronin, and Lion generally don't like ronin at all (excepting ronin-who-are-actually-Lion, like half the Akodo family during their dissolution, the Noroko prior to their reacceptance, and so on), so accepting that a ronin could have written a valuable treatise on strategy is problematic for the premier strategy Clan. It is ultimately a subject for each samurai to decide for themselves, but it is an ongoing issue within the Lion Clan, especially the Akodo family.

Quotes

Every Clan has some fantastic stories and characters in its history. This is just a small collection of some of my favourites for the Lion, in no particular order. It occurs to me that most of them are Matsu, but that's probably unsurprising, since they're the most stereotypically 'heroic' of the Lion Families. I am leaving Akodo's Leadership aside here, as it's kind of its own thing, but I strongly recommend reading up on Leadership, too.

"Age slows only those who are afraid to die." - Matsu Ketsui

Matsu Ketsui was a brash young Matsu, who managed to sufficiently antagonise Ikoma Tsanuri (who appears later in this list) by her impetuosity for Tsanuri to arrange a marriage for Ketsui with a peace-loving Phoenix shugenja. Ketsui naturally laughed off the Phoenix, and kept doing her thing. Rising through the ranks rapidly thanks to her skill, strength, and ferocity, she became Matsu Daimyo at a very young age (for the position), and was forced to mature quickly into the position, as she guided the family through incessant wars against the Lying Darkness, against the Crane, against the Dragon, against the Unicorn (several times), and against internal corruption. As she matured, she came to increasingly appreciate the wisdom, patience, and humility, of her Phoenix husband, and cared for him more and more, bearing him three children. One of these became Clan Champion, and another died returning the remains of Akodo One-Eye to the Lion. Even as she matured, however, she lost none of her badassery, which extended to killing a Kenshinzen in a duel within two weeks of giving birth. She outlived several Champions, but refused the position each time, preferring to guide her family. In the end, she was killed by her daughter (who had fallen to the Lying Darkness), but she was already past sixty by then, and her awesomeness lived on.

"If you must ask what honour is, you will never know." - Ikoma Tsanuri

Ikoma Tsanuri was (Akodo) Toturi's lieutenant through the Clan Wars, and was witness in that capacity to most of the notable events of that war, including Matsu Tsuko's seppuku. This experience led her to distrust the other Clans, believing that only the strength and honour of the Lion could adequately protect the Empire, a philosophy she pursued as champion of the Clan. As unwitting part of a plot by the Lying Darkness, she led an army to the lands of the Crab, who deployed an army against her - but rather than fighting, the two commanders conferred, and came to terms. Specifically, Tsanuri led her army against the Shadowlands instead, upon hearing that the Emperor had gone to Volturnum, and she personally led her honour guard against Akuma no Oni, preventing it from attacking the Emperor. Though she fell in the combat, the Emperor was saved. A torii arch was erected at the site where she fell, along with her enshrined katana, and the spot remains one of only four places within the Shadowlands themselves that are untouched by the Taint (the others being Shiro Hiruma (at good times), Shinsei's Last Hope, and Amaterasu's Furnace).

"See, fallen hero -
Even the Darkness gives pause -
How a Lion dies."

- Matsu Domotai

Matsu Domotai was one of the children of Matsu Ketsui. Taken captive by the Tsuno during a raid on the Kitsu Tombs, he was finally rescued by his sister (the one who later killed Ketsui, but she wasn't corrupted at this point). In the same raid, however, the Tsuno also claimed the bones of Akodo One-Eye. The Dark Oracle of Water planned to use these as a lure to gain a Lion follower, to further his plans. When he offered the trade, the Lion had little choice but to except, though it was an obvious trap, and Matsu Domotai volunteered to be the 'sacrifice' to the Dark Oracle. The Lion claimed the bones, but before he could be forced to swear fealty to the Dark Oracle, Domotai recited the above death haiku, and committed seppuku. This demonstration of honour sufficed to prevent the Dark Oracle from completing his trap, thereby allowing the Lion to secure the bones properly.

"Why feint when you can just kill him?" - Matsu Takeko

Compared to the other people quoted here, Takeko is a relatively unimportant figure - she was involved in the Lion/Unicorn wars, and the Lion/Mantis skirmishing in Toshi Ranbo afterwards, then again in the multiple wars that followed Iweko's ascension, but never achieved great prominence or rank. That quote, however, is just so perfectly exemplary of the Matsu philosophy that I had no choice but to include it.

Of course, there are plenty of other excellent quotes out there - check flavour text on the Oracle of the Void, biographies on the L5R wiki, and the fiction archives at Kaze no Shiro - and you can always make up your own and attribute them to your glorious but hitherto unknown ancestors. As the Ikoma say, it is no wonder the Lion are so reverent of their ancestors, when each samurai has more heroes in his own descent than the other Clans can count as their own at all. Those are just some of the ones that have always stuck with me as being perfectly 'Lion'. Enjoy!

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Less interested in in-depth treatises than my fellow Winter Court Alumnus, but some quick and dirty info on the Phoenix Clan:

 

Isawa

 

The descendants of arguably the greatest shugenja (priestly spellslinger) ever, the Isawa are generally acclaimed as the foremost spiritual experts in Rokugan. They also have a not-undeserved reputation for arrogance- the Isawa are very, very proud of their family's accumulated spiritual knowledge. They also tend to assume that everybody knows they're right, when often people less in tune with the kami aren't actually clued-in enough to genuinely "get" where the Isawa are coming from. Despite the Phoenix's general reputation for relative pacifism, they field vastly more shugenja in their armies than anyone else, and many of these battlefield priests are Isawa. Members of the family who cannot speak to the kami (and therefore cannot be shugenja) are seen as something of an embarrassment, and often get shunted into out of the way postings.

 

Shiba

 

Descended from one of the original Kami (the big K is important in this setting...), the Shiba are unusual in that they do not actively lead the Phoenix Clan- instead, they protect the Isawa. This dates from one of the defining moments in the setting's history, when Shiba-Kami knelt to Isawa and swore that he and his bloodline would protect Isawa's followers in exchange for securing his help in fighting the Dark Lord of the Shadowlands. The Shiba are widely respected for their ironclad devotion to Shiba's Oath, and are some of the foremost yojimbo in Rokugan. They also have more practice than most bushi do in fighting beside shugenja. In addition to serving as warriors, the Shiba also have well-regarded traditions as scribes, artisans, and, rarely, as shugenja. Their daimyo possesses the Soul of Shiba,meaning that the long-dead Kami still guides his family. Their family motto is "Choosing between two evils is still choosing evil." And as my username should indicate, they're my favorite Great Clan family.

 

Asako

 

A family who I often (only half) jokingly describe as "invisibly keeping the Clan functioning," the Asako shoulder the burden of most of the Phoenix Clan's courtly dealings. They also have a monastic tradition- the Asako Henshin study means by which humans can transcend their limitations. The Asako also form the core of the Inquisition- an organization which hunts down blood sorcerers and other practitioners of forbidden magics. And they produce a fair number of shugenja as well. In short, for much of L5R's history, the Asako got handed all of the jobs besides being armored bushi or spellslingers that anyone could come up with. As such, their focus isn't exactly narrow, and they're tricky to stereotype. They also have a bit of a rivalry with the Isawa, and at various points in the Clan's history have been on incredibly bad terms with their nominal clanmates. The secets of the Henshin area particular bone of contention-it drives the Isawa crazy that Shiba shared the Path of Man with the Asako and not them.

 

Agasha

 

A recent addition, the Agasha used to be part of the Dragon Clan. They defected during a period of insanity on the part of the Dragon Clan Champion, something that has never really been unpacked fully. Given to unorthodox experimentation and dabbling in alchemy, the Agasha are another shugenja family, and, in all honesty, have not had much to do since joining the Phoenix. But their defection has led to them being given a lot of sidelong looks by other families, since forsaking their oaths of fealty was a pretty big violation of bushido.

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I hope they ditch the Spider Clan and return the Shadow to it's former state.  I speak of this as a Phoenix player not a Shadowlands player, though I have been known to carry the taint from time to time...

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Crab:

 

Hida: Punch you in face, all the time.

 

Hiruma: Find them, and sneaky punch you in the face.

 

Kuni: Hunt them, and magically punch you in the face.

 

Toritaka: Run around and stuff

 

Yasuki: Steal your money, blow up your banks, and slap you in the face.

 

 

Crab history!

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I hope they ditch the Spider Clan and return the Shadow to it's former state.  I speak of this as a Phoenix player not a Shadowlands player, though I have been known to carry the taint from time to time...

and this relates to clan traditions how? unless the tradition is the relentless chorus of "lets get rid of the spider" in which case, yes, that is indeed an l5r tradition, one that i'm THRILLED, THRILLED I SAY to see continuing here with a new company on a new forum. yup. thrilled. 

giphy.gif

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I hope they ditch the Spider Clan and return the Shadow to it's former state.  I speak of this as a Phoenix player not a Shadowlands player, though I have been known to carry the taint from time to time...

and this relates to clan traditions how? unless the tradition is the relentless chorus of "lets get rid of the spider" in which case, yes, that is indeed an l5r tradition, one that i'm THRILLED, THRILLED I SAY to see continuing here with a new company on a new forum. yup. thrilled. 

giphy.gif

Players are going to continue to hate on the Spider. Just accept that every non-Spider generally dislikes your faction.

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Crab history!

 

Hold the wall.

 

Hold the wall.

 

Hold the wall.

 

Hold the wall.

 

No matter what comes, hold the wall!

 

Oh come on! How many more of those **** four armed gaijin can there be? Err.. Little help?

 

Hold the wall.

 

 

OK, OK, I know I'm ruining the fun, but I apparently feel compelled to point out that for most of the Crab's history, there was no such thing as the Wall.

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In addition to my dislike of the arachnid taint I also have a friend who is an old Shadowlands player but quickly dropped the game again when he tried running Shadow-Spider.  We both prefer the traditional Shadowlands over the sticky web of Spider fu.  Maybe this should be a separate thread with a pole? :P

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In addition to my dislike of the arachnid taint I also have a friend who is an old Shadowlands player but quickly dropped the game again when he tried running Shadow-Spider.  We both prefer the traditional Shadowlands over the sticky web of Spider fu.  Maybe this should be a separate thread with a pole? :P

 

i suppose thats a... liberal interpretation of this threads purpose, but let it never be said that the nonsensical hatred of the spider didnt drive people to find unique justifications for working it into every thread possible. 

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Here is my version of a description of the Scorpion and its families.  It's aimed at players who might come to the setting after the acquisition, so a lot has been cut or summarized.  Enjoy, I hope it'll be useful to someone considering Scorpion.

 

Scorpion Clan

 

The Scorpion Clan is the Clan of Secrets.  The Clan uses subterfuge, assassination, blackmail, and other undesirable means to achieve its goals.  The Scorpion clan houses one of the most extensive networks of spies in the Empire, and uses the information that they collect to gain leverage on their enemies.  The Scorpion Clan were responsible an event that has become known as the Scorpion Clan Coup which triggered the events at the launch of the game known as the Clan Wars.  

 

At the dawn of the Empire, the first Bayushi agreed to the first Hantei that he would do the unsavory things that needed to be done and “be the villain” when the Emperor needed him to.  The cornerstone virtue that the Scorpion Clan holds above all others is loyalty.  To be loyal is to fulfil Bayushi’s promise to the first Hantei and sacrifice all other aspects of bushido for the sake of the Empire.  Disloyalty and betrayal are swiftly punished, and a traitor is the worst thing you can be to a Scorpion.

 

Ironically, it was exactly this dilemma that led Bayushi Shoju, daimyo of the Scorpion Clan, to assassinate the Emperor, his closest friend and liege.  Shoju, emboldened by the bloodsword Ambition, discovered prophecies that led him to believe that the Hantei line would be the downfall of the Empire.  In a misguided attempt to prevent the Empire that he was ultimately loyal to, he betrayed his closest friend and his Emperor.

 

The Families

 

Like many of the clans, the families of the Scorpion Clan each have their own distinct flavor and specializations.  Unlike many other clans however, the Scorpion Clan has an uncharacteristic amount of cross training and diversification among the families.  While it is possible to describe an archetypical Bayushi or Shosuro, it’s also not unheard of, and fairly common for the same archetype to appear as a Yogo or a Soshi.

 

The Bayushi

 

The Bayushi are the descendants of the Kami and the ruling family of the Scorpion Clan.  They have strong bushi and courtier traditions, and it is not uncommon to see individual Bayushi with some training as both.  There are also a considerable number of Bayushi who take up roles as shinobi (since ninja don’t exist!), saboteurs, or assassins.  

 

The Shosuro

 

The Shosuro family are descendants of the original Scorpion Thunder, Shosuro.  Shosuro was the only Thunder to return to the Empire after the first Day of Thunder along with the Black Scrolls.  She made a terrible pact with the Lying Darkness, which helped her survive, but eventually consumed her.  She was kept encased in crystal by Togashi until she escaped, and was later put to rest by Bayushi Kachiko with the Kami Bayushi in the lake below Kyuden Bayushi.

 

The Shosuro family are extremely diverse.  They are home to the Shosuro actors, who both entertain and infiltrate.  A large number of shinobi (ninjas don’t exist!) come from their ranks.  They grow poisons in the Shosuro gardens.  They are talented courtiers, and many are shugenja.  They do offer some bushi, but less commonly than the Bayushi.  There is also quite a bit of cross training among all these different disciplines.

 

Soshi

 

The first Soshi was a name that Shosuro took after she returned to the Empire.  The persona of Soshi was a young male shugenja.  The Soshi family is a predominantly shugenja family, and was originally in charge of handling the shadow brands that were administered to Shosuro family ninja… errr shinobi.  After shadow magic became taboo many of the Soshi focused on air magic or illusions.  

 

Many, if not most, Soshi are shugenja.  It’s not unheard of for them to be shinobi and courtiers, or more rarely, bushi, it’s just less common.

 

Yogo

 

The Yogo family is a strange case among the Scorpion Clan.  The first Yogo was a Phoenix shugenja who was cursed directly by Fu Leng to betray the one he loved the most.  In a moment of despair, the Kami Bayushi came to him and offered to let him join the Scorpion Clan, thus betraying the Phoenix and fulfilling his curse.  The curse has passed down to all of Yogo’s descendants, which presents a problem for a clan whose most prized virtue is loyalty.

 

The Yogo are talented Shugenja who specialize in a unique form of magic - ward magic.  The Yogo guarded the black scrolls until the first black scroll was opened by Yogo Junzo.  The Yogo are also the home to the Kuroiban, a secret organization that dedicated itself to hunting down users of maho.                

Edited by Kiseki

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The Crane Clan

 

The Left Hand of the Emperor

 

Doji

 

The Crane have long been known as the "Left Hand of the Emperor" and none exemplify this like the Doji family. Lady Doji, the kami who founded the Crane Clan, crafted many traditions of the nascent Empire. She is credited with creating the caste system of samurai and heimin, the existence of the Imperial Court, and is even credited with inventing commerce and economics within Rokugan. 

 

The Doji are responsible for pioneering trends in fashion, custom, and etiquette in Rokugan. They established much of Rokugan's complex political systems and are known at times to be the finest courtiers in the Empire. The Doji are known to be so honorable that there is even a subset of their courtiers, the Doji Innocents, who adhere so strongly to Bushido that they reject even the smallest hint of falsehoods or duplicity in their actions and words. The majority of emperors had Doji wives, and even today a betrothal to a Doji is a great and desirable thing. 

 

They are the law enforcement branch of the Crane and the Doji Magistrates are well respected for their ability to suss out the truth of a matter from testimony and instinct. They are known for practicing Mizu-do, the "Way of Water", a jiujutsu technique to quickly repel attacks and disable attackers.

 

Daidoji

 

The Daidoji family was founded in the year 46 when Doji Hayaku, youngest son of Doji and Kakita, returned from the Shadowlands after searching for his sister Konishiko and returned with only her sword. He throat was scarred, leaving him mute, and his hair had turned stark white. Many Crane today continue the tradition of bleaching their hair white in honor of Hayaku.

 

The Daidoji are the militant family of the Crane. They act as yojimbo for Crane courtiers and are known for fighting with spears. The so-called Iron Cranes are quite famous for their use of spying, sabotage, ambushes, traps and other force multipliers to help their small standing army meet larger forces on even ground. The most extreme of them, the now-defunct Harriers, were a near-ninja group that relied on outright dishonorable tactics to do what needed to be done to protect Crane lands. Once it was discovered that they had used gaijin pepper (gunpowder) they were ordered disbanded and they all were executed or committed seppuku.

 

Kakita

 

Kakita was known as the finest swordsman in the early days of the Empire. He was the first Emerald Champion and the only one who could defeat Lady Matsu in the tournament. His attitude toward her after winning, a response to her insulting behavior to her defeated opponents, spawned a Kakita/Matsu rivalry that lasted centuries. 

His devotion to swordplay informed much of the Kakita families traditions. They are most known for the Kakita Artisan Academy. Their graduates create some of the most breathtaking works of art in the Empire, often worthy of a gift to the Emperor himself. They also train the finest duelists in the Empire, only able to be said to be equalled by the Mirumoto of the Dragon, for what is iaijutsu if not an art? 

 

The Kakita are also known for the Kakita Jesters, and most peculiar sort of courtier. They wear outlandish makeup and clothing and are known for their mastery of sadane, a game where contestants take turns exchanging politely worded insults about an agreed-upon object. They serve in the courts by ridiculing, mocking, and satirizing the flaws of rival courtiers. They are most sincere about their insults only being polite ribbing, however skilled courtiers are always keenly aware of the truths behind a Jester's words.

 

Asahina

 

The Shugenja family of the Crane owes its existence to Isawa Asahina, a fierce, militant fire Shugenja. After a conflict with the Lion was resolved by Crane diplomacy, Asahina marched on the Crane as he felt insulted for having been robbed of a glorious victory against the Lion. This campaign culminated in the Victory with No Strike, when he came head to head with Doji Kiriko, daughter of the Crane champion. She refused to draw her blade against Asahina, and his powerful fire magics nearly struck her down. Her resolve and honor, however, changed Asahina. He devoted himself to Kiriko, eventually marrying her, and changed his violent ways. After renouncing fire magic and becoming a pacifict, Asahina served the Crane loyally and bridged peace with his former Phoenix clan and the Crane. On his deathbed the Crane champion decided to honor his service by establishing the Asahina family. His descendents went on to establish the Asahina Shugenja school.

 

The Asahina are highly pacifistic, like their patron, and are masters of Air magic. They use their spells to calm hot emotions and heal the sick and injured. Also famous among them are the Fetishists, shugenja that imbue simple magical benefits into small charms. Those Asahina without the blessings of interacting with the kami often join the Crane military, and the Asahina are known for their archers. Some also become monks while still serving the Crane.

 

The Crane signify poise, elegance, sincerity, and perfection. Even over a thousand years after the Empire's founding, people still do things the way the Crane originally taught. They are duelists and diplomats, but can also be fierce warriors when defending their lands or answering and insult. Whether it's honorable mastery of the courts, cutting an opponent down in a duel, or having Iron Crane scouts plan a brutal hit-and-run attack on a larger force there is much to love about the Crane. 

 

If you find yourself drawn to the elegance and perfection of Tolkien's elves, the skill and perfection of a quickshooting cowboy, or simply enjoy doing great things while spouting witty one-liners and also looking fabulous while doing it, the Crane might be for you.

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Players are going to continue to hate on the Spider. Just accept that every non-Spider generally dislikes your faction.

 

So it's just like in the game? ;)

 

But that's ok, we all know wich clan will rule alone in the end! All under heaven Jigoku! Bwahahhaha! ;) ahem...

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On 14/09/2015 at 1:58 AM, kpsmith said:

Players are going to continue to hate on the Spider. Just accept that every non-Spider generally dislikes your faction.

Or not. Please refrain from generalization like that as they are useless and almost always wrong.

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