Legend of the Five Rings Role Playing Game: The Clans of Rokugan

Centuries ago, the Sun and Moon had 9 children together. Lord Moon feared the power these children would gain, but they eventually escaped him and fell to earth. 1 was separated, and trapped in the darkness of an abyss. The other children took the land of Rokugan for their own. They held a challenge duel, for the right to rule, and the duel was won by Lord Hantei. The other 7 children of the Sun and Moon went out into the world, and gathered around them human families to aid and serve them. They became the lords and ladies of the land, under Emperor Hantei.

The Clans of Rokugan

The seven sibling’s of Emperor Hantei were the founders of seven great clans. Players in L5R choose one clan for their character to belong to, or choose to be ronin, belonging to no clan.

  1. Crab – founded by Lord Hida, the Crab hold the border of Rokugan against the invasion of a supernatural army of oni and other creatures of darkness from the south. They are looked down upon by many of the other clans for favoring honesty over courtesy, and having no interest in any activity other then warfare.
  2. Crane – artists and artisans, the clan founded by Lady Doji specializes in beauty. And there is little they love more than a beautiful political maneuver. They have a great deal of influence in Rokugan because every Emperor since the original Hantei has married a Crane.
  3. Dragon – Lord Togashi was known for his gift of foresight – he chose not to take part in the duel for the throne, because he foresaw the outcome (his brother Hida thought him a coward). The clan that follows him lives in the mountains and seeks answers to questions unknown. They are not the greatest fighters, or greatest mages, but somehow they are able to perform feats no other clan can understand.
  4. Lion – Lord Torturi lost the duel with Emperor Hantei when he lost control of his temper. His descendants are the masters of military strategy and tactics. They do not have the Crane’s skill in politics, and have lost much over the years because of it.
  5. Phoenix – the children of Lord Shiba are masters of magic. They are the most powerful and respected mages in Rokugan. They are also mocked for their peace loving nature. The Phoenix are the only clan ruled not by a Daimyo descended from one of the children of Sun and Moon, but by a council of Shugenja (mages).
  6. Scorpion – every court has its secrets, every door has its key. Lord Bayushi understood the power of secrets, and of shadows. His descendants know everything there is to know of the courts and clans of Rokugan. They pull strings, entrap and strike from the shadows. In spite of their (well earned) reputation, the Scorpions do have the good of the Empire at heart . . . but someone needs to be willing to get their hands dirty.
  7. Unicorn – Emperor Hantei asked his sister, Lady Shoji, to investigate the lands to the north, beyond Rokugan. After 800 years, her children returned. 200 years later, they do not understand the society of Rokugan, the rules of the court, or ‘civilized’ behavior. They are looked on alternately as children, or barbarians. They brought back to Rokugan with them horses like the Empire had never seen before.

These are the seven Major Clans.

There are also a host of minor clans, including:

  • Mantis- sea farers
  • Dragonfly- seers
  • Fox- masters of the far north and the allies of the kitsune
  • and many others

Importance of Clan in Legend of the Five Rings

What clan a person belongs to determines how they are seen by everyone they meet, whether or not they are anything like the stereotype of their clan.

Also, a character’s starting skills and equipment are largely determined by his clan, who over sees his training.

Loyalty to the clan, and the clan’s Daimyo is the most important virtue of the Rokugani. A person who has no clan has nothing.

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