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GMPercy

Awaken the Wolf

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So I have introduced a new clan of Ronin into my L5R world called the Wolf clan. 

 

They are made made up of 400 Ronin who follow the Wolf spirit (it’s yet to be seen if the spirit is Kami or Oni) named Yama, who communicates regularly with the “clan’s” leader named Gryo Ricco (previously Hida Atamasu, a precious winner of the Topaz Championship who willingly went ronin and stripped himself of his family name)

 

if anyone wants to use this clan his clan in their games, feel free, and ask any questions you would have here, it would probably help me to flesh them out a bit more anyway!!

 

if you want to keep up with what the Wolf clan is up to, follow our podcast at wellthatdidntwork.podbean.com and look for the Warriors Path show! 

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29 minutes ago, P'an Ku said:

So where do these wolves live? Like what part of the empire do they call home?

Right now they reside in a large campground in a forest on the border of Crane and Lion lands Lion lands. I don’t know if that exists for sure, but it does for us. They’ve concealed their location with a strange kind of magic (still haven’t decided if advanced invocation or maho) and they send out small (2-3 at a time) parties to scout and communicate with other clans in the land. 

 

Theyve just made their their first big move though in backing the Crane claim on Toshi Ranbo in our game and working with the Crane clan magistrate there. 

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A 'ronin clan' is an interesting contradiction; to be a clan means the clan champion is recognised by the Emperor - hence is an imperial vassal - hence isn't Ronin. 

That said, ronin factions being on a scale of minor clans is not impossible, and people do sometimes (usually derisively) refer to ronin as "Wolf Clan" - hence the Wolf reference in the Ronin NPC statblock - so an organised bunch of ronin taking that insult and using it as a badge is not impossible. 

As to the lion/crane boundary....depends which one. 

Toshi Ranbo and the Golden Valley definitely have a forest to the south (which would be between lion heartlands and the contested territories*) , if you want a place where the border is more stable between the two great clans, then there's a forest around a lake in the centre of a triangle formed by Tsuma (Crane, Kakita), Loyalty Castle (Lion, Akodo) and Last Breath Castle (Lion, Matsu). That's in an interesting part of Rokugan because it's also not all that far from Otosan Uchi, the capital. 

 

An important question is what else the Wolves have; supporting 400 armed men is no small task. They could survive by hunting but would strip the area of game pretty fast. Theoretically you might have some peasant villagers growing rice for them too? If the place is hidden it needn't be much of a fortress, but some sort of settlement would be needed.

6 hours ago, GMPercy said:

They’ve concealed their location with a strange kind of magic (still haven’t decided if advanced invocation or maho)

That pretty much depends on the Kami/Oni question, doesn't it?

6 hours ago, GMPercy said:

Theyve just made their their first big move though in backing the Crane claim on Toshi Ranbo in our game and working with the Crane clan magistrate there. 

By doing what?

I mean - "we support you" is all well and good, but at best 400 samurai is equivalent to a single Gunsai formation in the clan armies - not something to overlook but drop in a sake cup compared to the amount of manpower glaring at one another across the Osari plains. And if they're ronin, their political leverage is basically non-existant unless they have some unofficial allies in court somewhere. So what does their contribution to the dispute actually bring?

 

* I'm not saying "between lion and crane lands because whether or not they're crane lands is the core of the argument....

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9 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

I mean - "we support you" is all well and good, but at best 400 samurai is equivalent to a single Gunsai formation in the clan armies - not something to overlook but drop in a sake cup compared to the amount of manpower glaring at one another across the Osari plains. And if they're ronin, their political leverage is basically non-existant unless they have some unofficial allies in court somewhere. So what does their contribution to the dispute actually bring?

I think that having an extra 400 samurai would make a big difference, especially because they don't have to play by the rules. The Crane have to be all honor, courtesy, and funny hair but the 'wolves' don't have to do any of that. They can be mostly honorless and get away with it because they're no name ronin. The Crane just have to deny any affiliation in court but secretly be in with it. The best part is the Crane may have no direct affiliation at all so the claim is technically legit. Normally ronin are paid by a great clan and therefore the clan is responsible for their actions until the contract is severed. In this case the ronin are technically acting on their own.

 

Never underestimate a small dedicated group of mercenaries that you can deny openly in court yet reap all the benefits from.

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The newest episode in this story arc is up! You can find "The Sealed Gate" this week at wellthatdidntwork.podbean.com and we will post another episode next Monday! Listen to both so you're all caught up for our Twitch stream next Tuesday!!!

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Wow, I had an extremely similar idea for a minor clan on my upcoming homebrew. Basically, a secret village composed of ronins and outsiders. Originally formed after a sort of Romeo and Juliette story between Samurai of the Lion Clan and a Shugenja from the Phoenix Clan. The two clans were not at war, like in Romeo and Juliette, , but one of them was betrothed to a lord. In any case, they escaped, first with close family members and started gathering outsiders and other ronin (not too many). They tried settling in in a secluded forest (no details yet as to where on the map) and found a Wolf kami. That was a generation ago, and now the daughter and son of that original couple are the leaders of this unofficial clan (more like a village and that's it). I was planning on using it as a way to help the players when they get lost or wounded and to show them how even outsiders can live in honor and with pride.

Funny thing is I even thought about the magically hidden village and everything! I doubt they will intervene with current Rokugan affairs. However, I was thinking that some of the ronin were proposing to help with the coming wave from the Shadowlands, not sure yet. Maybe if they do help, the Emperor could forgive their original disgrace and make them an official minor clan. Again, i'm not sure yet. In any case, I was thinking that the samurai in this village were closer to druids and rangers from classic TTRPGs, meaning that they are in tune with nature and therefore its kamis and serve as protectors of a certain wooded area, sort of as thanks to the wolves who accepted them and even protected them. 

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