Legends of Rokugan
The Reign of Peace Introduction
The Reign of Peace is a game set in an alternate version of the canon Legend of the Five Rings storyline. Over the past two years, players and I have progressed through three separate campaigns in Rokugan and the overall story has altered in dramatic ways. The stories began at the Scorpion Clan Coup and are current up to the Reign of Peace. The information below is a quick summary of the changed information from normal canon L5R, a brief setup for the current game, and a list of prominent nobility and personages. Use the following as reference, but at least read through the New Timeline section for the upcoming game.
The Scorpion Clan Coup
- Matsu Tadaka, future Lion Clan Thunder (his soul and Matsu Tsuko’s shared the Soul of Thunder) trained a horde of peasants to kill samurai (Scorpion) during the final days of the Coup; he served in the place of the Emerald Champion and was responsible for killing the Usurper, Bayushi Shoju, First and Last Emperor of his name
- Isawa Ujina-uo, future Dark Oracle of the Void, decided the Hantei’s fate by allowing Hantei XXXIX to become the tainted thing that would house Fu Leng’s soul on the day of thunder
- Akodo Unmei became Ujina Unmei, daimyo of a new family in the Hare Clan; he took the discarded Bloodsword Ambition from the Throne room and became Master Tiger of the Kolat changing the Hare into a puppet clan
- Shosuro Atari revealed his true allegiance to Shoju the First during the Coup and was gifted with the right to found the Atari Imperial Family; once the Hantei regained control, some demented aspect of the young Sotorii led him to allow the Atari family to continue and even gave them the eternal mission of taking over as the Imperial Treasurers
The Clan War
- The Falcon Clan falls to the Shuten Doji of Desire which is trapped by PCs and housed within the soul of Togashi Tajiri; the remaining Toritaka join the Crab
- Numerous Fortunes are slain by the Bloodsword Ambition as Master Tiger engages in an aggressive campaign against spirituality itself
- Shosuro is released from her Crystal Prison and takes over the body and soul of Mirumoto Tsunake
- Isawa Akihito, current Voice of the Emperor, took the Black Scroll, Doom of Fu Leng, and used it upon the Bloodsword Revenge subsequently destroying it and removing Akodo Ginawa’s sword arm; Akihito then used the Scroll upon Kenshin’s Helm while Toturi the Black wore it; the resulting backlash destroyed both the Helm and the ronin general and purified the Scroll; Akihito became Voice of the Elemental Council for a time
- Kuni O-Yama, pure shugenja of Earth, becomes the new daimyo of the Kuni and restores the office of the Jade Champion, becoming the first Jade Champion in centuries
- Atari and Matsu Tadaka attempt to kidnap and kill Isawa Ujina-uo’s child (killing his wife) in an effort to pull him away from protecting the corrupt Emperor; they sent Bayushi Aramoro to assassinate the boy, but the attempt fails and Aramoro becomes a member of the Lost, serving Fu Leng; Atari and Ujina-uo, once allies and friends, become bitter enemies and Matsu Tadaka joins the Mantis
- Ujina-uo’s last act prior to destroying the remaining Imperial Court in a fit of madness is to capture the souls of Ikoma Zai and Atari into Atari’s Go table, trapping them for eternity
- The Seven Thunders defeat Fu Leng; Matsu Tadaka is the Lion Thunder (bearing Tsuko’s Blade to perform the killing blow on Fu Leng); only Tadaka, Hitomi, and Yakamo survive the battle and the latter two become the new Moon and Sun
Ryoko Owari and the Steel Empire
- With no Emperor to take the Throne after the Day of Thunder, a Regency of sorts rises up; the Lying Darkness gathered its troops and eventually the War of Darkness took place; Isawa Hochiu destroyed the Avatar of the Shadow upon the field of battle and the Spirits returned.
- Hantei XVI, the Steel Chrysanthemum, returns with thousands of other ancestors and begins drawing power from the weakened Empire; he is greeted in secret by the new Dark Lord, Daigotsu and offered peace with the Shadowlands and a way to defeat the mortal armies rallying against the Returned Spirit
- Hantei XVI defeats the leaderless mortal armies and becomes Hantei XL, remaking the Hantei Dynasty
- The Moto Khan rallied an army in an open secret behind the bastard son of Toturi, now Moto Kaneka
- Bayushi Atsuki/Shosuro Furuyari, recreates the Gozoku under the Emperor’s nose with Isawa Akiko, Yoritomo Kitao and Moto Chagatai
- The People’s Legion, remnants of the peasants trained by Matsu Tadaka on the field of battle at the Scorpion Coup, begin to riot against the Emperor
- Famine, overpopulation, oppression, and disease are everywhere
- The Scorpion are reinstated as a Clan and the Mantis dissolved back to Minor status (the Tsuruchi and Moshi are relegated to minor vassals of the Minor Mantis Clan)
o At the suggestion of Bayushi Atsuki, the Emperor instates the position of Steel Champion and Steel Magistrates/Eyes of the Emperor; each clan is to have a loyal Returned Spirit or other samurai loyal to the Emperor as a Watcher over their Clan; Spirits are favored above all others during this time (+0.5 status for being a Returned Spirit) and tensions rise
- Events circle like the eye of a great storm in Ryoko Owari.
- Kakita Sasuke is the adopted brother of the new Crane Clan Champion, Doji Ginchiyo; Sasuke is the Child of Atari, Ikoma Zai and Kakita Dejiko and was unknowingly given the Bloodsword Passion upon his gempuku.
- Mirumoto Miyoto, the Topaz Champion, took command of the Imperial Magistrate’s servants in Ryoko Owari, killed his leader, Otomo Oniwabanshu, and led a great campaign of slaughter against the Mad Prophet and the People’s Legion.
- Hiruma Shotaku, corrupted scion of the Crab, began a road of corruption and redemption that led to him maneuvering the Emperor into a trap and allowing him to be slain by the peasants of the People’s Legion.
- Shosuro Yusuko, daughter of Yudoka, descendant of Shosuro, followed a path of shadow and deception
- The Final Days:
- Paranoid beyond imagining, the Emperor secretly maneuvered his personal Legion to bring him to Ryoko Owari after the destruction of Otosan Uchi and the betrayal of Daigotsu; the Gozoku leader, Atsuki, gave up the Emperor’s location to his allies and armies of the People’s Legion, the Mantis, and the Unicorn Khan converged upon the city.
- The Crane Champion arrived in the city to speak with his brother, Kakita Sasuke. Sasuke realized that Ginchiyo was being manipulated by Doji Akiko (formerly Isawa); he and his allies attempted to draw Ginchiyo back, but were forced instead to attack; Sasuke killed his own brother, the Crane Champion, with the Bloodsword Passion, as Hiruma Shotaku and Shosuro Yusuko assassinated Doji Akiko (all on Teardrop Island)
- Finally succumbed to corruption of the Bloodsword, Sasuke, now called the Kinslayer, seeks out the pregnant Empress, Hoketuhime, and the Imperial Heir, Genji. During the chase, he is attacked by the Emerald Champion, Horiuchi Senai, but she is slain by Oni no Yoriko with an arrow through the eye. Sasuke ends the lives of the child Heir Genji, the Empress, and her unborn child, all with the Bloodsword.
- Deep beneath the city, Shosuro Yusuko utilizes the Rainbow Cloak of Shosuro to walk past guards of the Shadowed Tower and waltz right up to Bayushi Atsuki. Before anyone could become suspicious of her actions, she stabbed “The Spider” in the throat and fled.
- Mirumoto Miyoto raged through the burning city to destroy the People’s Legion and eventually married the Governor of Ryoko Owari, Shosuro Ayami.
o The Emperor is led into a trap by Hiruma Shotaku and Daidoji Hei, who convince him and his Shogun (Hida Tsuneo, the Stone Crab) to follow them in a path out of the city; the Emperor and his Champion are slain by the forces of the People’s Legion underground, with little fanfare.
- The Emperor dead, the Gozoku fallen, and the Khan weakened by the arrival of Imperial forces, Hiruma Shotaku opened the Egg of Void found in a cave outside Ryoko Owari.
- The Obsidian and Jade Dragons arise from the Egg and Tengoku banishes all mortals from Celestial Heaven. As Hitomi and Yakamo fall, the Obsidian Moon and Jade Sun rise to take their place. The choose their Voices and the Empire is told that a new Celestial Tournament will be held on the plains outside Ryoko Owari the following year.
- Sasuke, the Kinslayer, releases Iuchiban and his Lieutenant, Yajinden, from their prison becoming Yajinden’s personal yojimbo.
1145 – The Celestial Tournament
The Jade Sun and Obsidian Moon each choose a mortal Voice upon Rokugan. Hiruma Shotaku is shown the location of the Jade Hand (at the bottom of the Bay of Drowned Honor in Ryoko Owari) and with the aid of a Unicorn shugenja, swims to retrieve it. He also serves as Regent of the Crab until Kuon comes of age. Mirumoto Tsunake (a.k.a. Shosuro) is blessed by the Obsidian Dragon with the removal of her Shadow Taint. She/He/It becomes the Voice of the Obsidian Moon.
- Together, the Voices call an assemblage of Champions outside of Ryoko Owari and state that a Second Celestial Tournament will take place there in one year’s time to determine a new Imperial Dynasty backed by the Will of Heaven.
1146 – Challenge of the Sun and Moon
Matsu Nimuro, young and fresh Champion of the Lion, wins the Celestial Tournament and founds the new Imperial Dynasty. Nimuro refuses to accept with his own name believing unworthy of the lofty position as Son of Heaven. Instead, Nimuro spends 1 year in deep meditation, primarily alone, but often visited by representatives of the clans. During this time, he allows one consistent visitor, a monk courtier named Susumu. They debate politics, philosophy, and the fate of Rokugan.
- Nimuro, with the aid of his Ikoma advisors, chooses a name of heroism that will unify clans and factions, inspiring greatness: Tadaka. The name of two Thunders (Isawa and Matsu), a Crab Champion and Hero and many other heroes during Rokugan’s history, Tadaka will serve well. Nimuro becomes Tadaka the First, the Celestial Emperor.
- Wars are still occurring throughout the Empire while Nimuro meditates. The Dragon, Lion, and Phoenix fight over refugees in horrific battles; the Yasuki War between the Crab and Crane is in full swing and has claimed the lives of daimyo and Champions; the Scorpion are in civil war with the remnants of the Shadowed Tower; the People’s Legion crop up everywhere and are responsible for the death of the previous Imperial Dynasty; the Mantis speak of War in the Ivory Kingdoms; the Unicorn are on the verge of marching upon the entire Empire, Celestial Tournament be damned; and the Shadowlands servant, Daigotsu, released Fu Leng from his prison in Meido.
1147 – Tadaka’s Peace
Tadaka the First chooses to forgo stereotype and takes the wise counsel of his new Imperial Advisor, Susumu, in order to unify Rokugan under a Reign of Peace.
- Tadaka I creates the new Imperial Ministry of War, keeping the role of Steel Champion as its head. He initially fills its ranks with Imperials from Miya, Seppun, and Otomo (distrustful of the Atari) and various Lion commanders. He places Akodo Ginawa as the first Steel Champion.
- An Imperial Decree states that all Returned Spirits must attend their proper places in the Karmic Cycle by committing seppuku or utilizing a spell discovered in Ryoko Owari to remove the Returned Spirit status. The Kitsu and Ikoma seek out the ancestors before they die gaining insight into ancestral information and countless years of lost information, ideas, tactics and knowledge for the Ministry of War.
- The Akodo and Seppun specifically seek out unusual tactics and lost knowledge of war to increase the power of the Imperial Legions.
- A second Imperial Decree resolves the Yasuki conflict. The Emperor declares that a family may not change Clans unwillingly, no matter the line of succession. In times of confusion, the family’s control will revert to the Champion of that Clan until an Heir is found. This only affects the Agasha and Yasuki at this time, but will apply to all future shifts.
- The Ikoma and Miya of the War Ministry use their newly collected records to determine proper lines of succession in order to honor this Decree.
1147 – The Unification of Clans
Tadaka the First seeks various methods by which Total War may be averted. He wishes to attain political strength as well as being backed by Celestial Mandate.
- The “Yasuki Decree” engenders the Crab to the Throne. In addition, the Celestial Emperor declares that once a year, an amalgam Legion of the Lion will serve the Crab Champion upon the Wall in order to aid their brethren and train the Lion in the proper methods by which to defeat the Shadowlands. Any year that the Lion cannot send the troops they are still required to send supplies for a full legion.
- The Celestial Emperor accedes to the requests of the Crane and continues the tradition of the Imperial Dynasty taking a Doji bride (see below). He grants the position of Imperial Chancellor to the Crane as well.
- Mirumoto Miyoto, daimyo of the Mirumoto and husband of the Governor of Ryoko Owari, is granted protection of the new Forbidden City and, along with the Scorpion, given the task of protecting the City and delving into the Shinomen Forest to prevent future incursions.
- The Lion see no overt benefits to the Celestial Emperor’s rise, but are honored with many Imperial appointments into the Ministry of War, instead.
- Tadaka I and Yoritomo Kumiko, Champion of the Mantis, are made aware of the Thunder Dragon’s Sacrifice which allows Yoritomo to ascend as a Kami. The Emperor grants the Mantis official Great Clan Status, hailing them as the Eight Great Clan.
- Furthermore, Tadaka I realizes that his cousin, Yoritomo (formerly Matsu) Tadaka is slowly going insane. He commands Kumiko to give Tadaka a full fleet (a Storm) and sends him to the Ivory Kingdoms in order to aid the Maharaja against his enemies. Yoritomo Tadaka’s subsequent death inspires a dream and the Celestial Emperor later declares his cousin the honor of rising as Fortune of Slaughter.
- Kuni O-Yama is forced to step down from the position of Jade Champion and assist in reshaping/rebuilding the Kuni Wastelands (a task at which he is moderately successful). At first, the Crab are angry, but as the Wastelands become fertile farmland once more, their dislike is mollified. The Celestial Emperor grants the Isawa family control of the Jade Champion and Isawa Mitsuko, Master of Air and Inquisitor, is appointed.
- Additionally, as one of his first acts, Tadaka the First grants the position of Voice of the Emperor to Isawa Akihito. Akihito’s albino nature, glowing red eyes, and possession of the Mempo of the Void, an invisible, star-filled katana, and the purified Doom of Fu Leng, create a truly distant and mysterious Face for the Emperor. From that point on, the Emperor speaks only through his Voice, Advisor, or other Imperial Chosen.
- In a gesture of confusion, Tadaka I overlooks Toshi Ranbo in lieu of Ryoko Owari Toshi as the new Imperial Capitol of the Empire. Two full Legions are sent to “clear” Otosan Uchi of its corrupted inhabitants, but the going is difficult given the level of Taint and destruction.
- Yojiro, the Honest Scorpion, gives up miles of land around the City of Stories (the City of Lies now a term that falls into disuse) to the Tadaka family. The Noble’s Quarter becomes a new Forbidden City with Ayami and Miyoto in charge of its protection and maintenance. The rest of the city expands rapidly over the ensuing decades.
- The threat of the Khan and his powerful army are ever at the forefront of the Emperor’s mind. Instead of engaging the Unicorn in a protracted and damaging war, the Emperor instead grants them control of the Shogunate. The Moto Khan, Chagatai, is allowed to fill up to 1/3 of the Legions serving him with Unicorn troops. This has twin effects: it grants the Shogun a fully equipped and well-trained army AND diminishes the powerful Unicorn Armies.
- Chagatai gives the Shogunate to Moto Kaneka who has ties to the Lion bastard Toturi. Moto Jinn-Sahn and the aging Ide daimyo, Tadaji, are his primary advisors.
- Tadaka the First decrees that the Shogun is responsible for putting down the People’s Legion and all future peasant revolts. In addition, should the Emperor ever be incapable of ruling, command of the Empire will fall to the Shogun. The Unicorn are given full leave to travel across the Empire as needed in the service of the Shogun and become more widely seen in nearly every major province.
- Tadaji’s presence ensures that most of the People’s Legion are not wiped out, but instead converted to peaceful allies.
1147 to Current– The Reign of Peace
- Though the next few decades are called the Reign of Peace, the phrase is not entirely accurate. The Celestial Emperor reigns in the violence, but, true to his Lion heritage, allows the clans to express their aggression through skirmishes, dueling, and controlled battle.
- Iaijutsu falls out of favor as the major style of dueling. Instead, many bushi openly engage each other with their more traditional techniques as long as all parties agree. Iaijutsu still remains preeminent in the High Courts and is considered the “true” form of dueling. It is also used in traditional tournaments and events.
- The Steel Champion ensures that the Ministry of War places restrictions on the level of participation, numbers, power, and resources that are required for a skirmish between troops to be considered a true “Battle” or fight between clans to be a “War.” If all sides obey the restrictions and keep their violence controlled, their expressions of samurai nature are not considered a violation of the Emperor’s Peace.
- Many clans and daimyo take advantage of these restrictions to create elite fighting forces in lieu of massive armies so as not to violate Imperial Decree.
- Some clans manipulate the restrictions (most notably the Scorpion) and cause many losses of face and honor by tricking other clans into overcommitting and violating the Will of the Emperor.
- The only open war declared during this time is the resolution of the conflict between the Phoenix and Dragon (see below). Agents of the Steel Champion oversee the battles and ensure that it does not rage out of control.
- The Unicorn and Mantis are given authority over defense of the borders of the Empire against incursions of gaijin. Toward this end, the Mantis expand their sailing efforts towards the Ivory Kingdoms and the Unicorn send diplomats and patrols into the Burning Sands and the Western Wastes.
- An Imperial Cartographer of the Miya is always officially assigned to each voyaging group to map out and explore to bring greater intelligence to the Ministry of War.
- The Crab, Dragon, and Phoenix are charged with examination of supernatural creatures of the Shadowlands, the Shinomen, the Ruined Otosan Uchi, and other locations. The Throne is specifically interested in the Sleeping Naga, the Nezumi, and other discovered races.
- The Crane and Scorpion each give up powerful courtier dojos to help the Otomo root out any remnants of the Gozoku, the Kolat, and other dangers to the Imperial Court.
The Mystic War
War between the Dragon and Phoenix regarding the volcano explosion. Revealed to be caused by the Dark Oracle of Fire (Agasha Tamori); peace regained after Shiba Aikune sacrifices himself and the Last Wish to destroy the Dark Oracle and his power.
Rise of the Bloodspeaker
Released by the Kinslayer, Iuchiban and Yajinden claim the City of the Lost for their own. Daigotsu remains hidden during this time with his loyal followers, fomenting the rise of the Spider. At one point, Iuchiban slays the Ki-Rin and causes the Rain of Blood. A massive loss of life and souls takes place ending with the death of the First Empress and the loss of her body. Her blood is used to create a new Bloodsword to replace the lost Revenge. At the end of this tie, Daigotsu brings a powerful group of ronin and allies to side with the Empire and helps bring down the Bloodspeaker. Moto Kaneka dies facing Iuchiban in combat.
The Secret Death of Fortunes
Ujina Unmei, Champion of the Hare Clan and Master Tiger, continues his quest with Ambition to destroy the Fortunes and beings of the Heavens personally. He has discovered that the Bloodswords are capable of housing the souls of the fallen deities.
- Yajinden manipulates Master Tiger using his connection to the Bloodsword into openly challenging Iuchiban at the end of the Rise of the Bloodspeaker. The Bloodspeaker is slain through a combination of efforts, but in the process he destroys Ambition.
The City of the Lost and the Spider
Yajinden and his yojimbo, the Kinslayer, ally with Daigotsu at the end of the Rise of the Bloodspeaker. Daigotsu recreates the City of the Lost and proclaims himself to be the last remaining member of the Hantei Dynasty. He states that it is his right to create his own clan and begins to call his followers the Spider.
- The Spider infiltrate the Empire disguised as monks, ronin, and secretly hidden clan samurai. They seek to gain information, weaken the Great Clans, and gain allies for sponsorship at a later date.
- Daigotsu aligns with the Tsuno and releases them from Toshigoku. He creates the Onisu and sets the free in a subtle and covert manner to engage with the Empire at large.