L5R Situation Summary Part II: The Clans

   Here are some basic notes on the current clan lineups. Remember: this is based on currently-available information and doesn’t address the (numerous) subfactions, trade needs, and secondary motives.

The Crab:

  • Are firmly against the Shadowlands – although, oddly enough, they’ve gotten quite used to having them near and trying to use their forces against themselves. Sadly, they think they understand their opponents and don’t really appreciate that the Shadowlands once more have a true leader.
  • Are extremely upset that the forces of the Shadowlands have managed to infiltrate the empire on such a scale. They handle the front lines, the other clans should at LEAST be able to handle the infiltrators. They are inclined to blame the currently-dominant groups (Crane, Lion, Phoenix, and Imperials) for that failure.
  • Are sympathetic to the Unicorn: they also often get treated as outsiders.
  • Dislike the Crane on general principles. The blasted useless flower-arrangers are hogging the lands that the Crab NEED to support the defense of the wall.
  • Feel that everyone else owes them mightily for their long defense of the Empire.
  • Are, at the moment, fairly strongly allied with the Scorpion. Fortunately, they are pretty paranoid about the Wall – and there are lots of required duties down there. If they send 25% of their Samurai into operations within the Empire, it would be a lot – unless they become convinced that the Shadowlands have infiltrated the heart of the Empire, in which case they may go for a total death-or-glory strike. If the empire falls behind them, the wall is meaningless. If they come to believe that, the noncombatant women and children will be sent to flee out of the empire with a small guard and everyone else will march on the center of the empire.
  • Have come to believe that they have the strength to endure anything – and that such endurance can never fail.


The Crane:

  • Are firmly allied to the Imperial House.
  • Are apparently responding to a set of pre-imperial prophecies translated from a Nezumi memory stick.
  • Have a traditional quarrel with the Lion clan; the long-term conflict over Toshi Ranbo was merely a symptom.
  • Wish the current social system of the Empire to continue unchanged, perpetually.
  • Generally despise the Scorpion (although they don’t think much of any of the other clans).
  • Feel that the entire situation can be resolved if they can just call in the correct favors and win a few duels.
  • Have come to believe that they embody perfection, rather than aspiring to it.
  • Tend to see the entire situation as a chance to avenge old insults and relegate some of the other clans to the obscurity which they obviously deserve, and thus are more eager for war than is ideal.


The Dragon:

  • Are still recovering from the Demon Winter, and so their military reserves are low.
  • Apparently oppose the ascension of Fu Leng, rather than directly supporting the Empire – possibly an extension of their ancient policy of non-intervention.
  • Are responding to prophecies written by Alex (among others) in the early days of the Empire.
  • Have been having border skirmishes with Yodatai scouts recently.


The Lion:

  • Are currently following a policy of maintaining all their alliances and fulfilling all their old promises – and are thus currently on everyone’s side, and “friendly” with everyone along their borders.
  • May or may not possess the twelfth Black Scroll. It was known to be somewhere in the Lion Lands, and – given the awakening of the scrolls – is unlikely to be still undiscovered.
  • Have long-standing quarrels with the Scorpion and the Crane.
  • Are rather obsessed with their ancestors.
  • Have come to believe that “right” is defined by military force – and Honor by their own beliefs.


The Mantis:

  • While now officially a Great Clan are still relatively small and weak. If, however, their sea power can be brought to bear (especially if they can find a way to bring in Meranea ships and firepower without violating Imperial edicts or loss of honor), they may have a considerable impact.
  • Are firmly on the Imperial side, since only Imperial decree grants them Great Clan status.
  • Are unusually accepting of aliens and outsiders.
  • Having obtained Imperial permission to host limited trade with the gaijin, the Mantis wish both to extend this permission and to maintain as much of a monopoly on it as possible.
  • Believe firmly in the value of building coalitions. Unfortunately, they tend to be willing to make some compromise on virtually any issue.
  • Are generally suspicious of mysticism and (other people’s) monopolies. They tend to misunderstand the true power of the Shadowlands and Shugenja, distrust the Phoenix and Dragon, think the Crane are posturing pretty-boys, think the Crab are overdramatizing, can’t stand the Lion thinking that they’re always right, think the Scorpion are untrustworthy (but at least know when to shut up), and get along well with the Unicorn, who are also outsiders (at least as far as the Crane and Lion are concerned).


The Phoenix:

  • Are preoccupied with some sort of internal division.
  • Are leaning towards the Imperial side, but are reluctant to participate in a full-scale war.
  • Have had an old shame – the treason of Igaskikako – made fresh by the revealed existence of her creations, the Shadowcats.
  • Are in turmoil over recent magical discoveries: the revelation of Gaijin Void Magic beyond their mastery, that they have woefully underestimated the magical abilities of other Shugenja, that there are other elemental paths, Madness magic, Heka Magic, and many other techniques beyond their knowledge.
  • Have come to believe that they alone can be trusted as the custodians of the greater magics, and feel that the rise of others with such abilities presages the end of the Empire – and possibly of the world.


The Scorpion:

  • Clan Champion has apparently been severely tainted thanks to his having been influenced to use his touch-reading talent when shown the Black Scrolls in the custody of the Yogo, effectively opening the Dark Sight of Fu Leng. He is known to possess the Bloodsword Ambition, but whether he is serving Fu Leng, attempting to seize the throne for himself, or attempting to usurp Fu Leng, is an open question. Unfortunately, most of this is pure deduction without proof.
  • Are apparently being “served” by agents of the Yobanjin/Kolat, who apparently wish to bring the Empire down in chaos.
  • Have yet to formally rebel against the Empire – but it seems likely to happen all too soon.
  • Were apparently using the Bloodsword Revenge and the sacrifice of numerous innocents to turn Traitors Grove into a new Festering Pit. While this failed, the Guardians of the Grove apparently managed to bring through a fair number of Oni and send them somewhere.
  • Are currently engaged in political damage control.
  • Have come to believe that the means do not matter, as long as one succeeds in the end.
  • Have long-standing quarrels with the Lion and Crane.
  • Are dealing with an internal dispute, seeing the defection of their Imperial Ambassador (and a part of his staff) and his subsequent appointment to attempt to root out the infestation of taint and maho in the Scorpion territories, as an attempt to split the clan and a grave affront.


The Unicorn:

  • Are tired of being treated like barbarians. They left their lands, suffered for generations in the desert in foreign lands, and endured tremendous hardships to do their duty and scout out dangers to the empire – and their reward appears to be permanent semi-outcast status. At this point, it looks like only a complete overthrow of the existing social structure will ever change that.
  • Have ongoing disputes with the Crane and Lion.
  • Have been noting Yodatai scouts on the borders recently, and have begun to feel that the Yodatai (andother Gaijin) may be a far greater menace than the creatures of the Shadowlands – which they virtually never see. After all, the Shadowlands have been contained by a single clan for a thousand years.


The Fox

  • While supposedly a minor clan, the Fox have a high percentage of the Empire’s Shugenja. Sadly, many of them are pacifistic priests – and are unlikely to participate in battles. Still, the Imperial side can certainly expect selective priorities on magical healing, protections, sanctuary, and other aid from the priests – and the Fox still have quite a lot of non-priestly Shugenja who can contribute directly to war efforts.


Of the other minor clans:

  • The Badger, Sparrow, Tortoise, Cat, Stag, Ladybug, Bat, Bear, Monkey, Goose, Otter, Bull, and Porcupine are all firmly on the Imperial side – if only because, without the protection of Imperial decree and tradition, the great clans are likely to roll right over them and either crush or absorb them in short order. Of course, of these, only a few possess any significant resources.
  • The Hare are allied with the Scorpion, possibly simply for lack of alternatives.
  • The Wasp – with the Scorpion on their borders – are currently officially neutral due to not having responded to anyone. They may wind up on the Scorpion side simply because they can’t afford to defy them.
  • The Falcon, Squirrel, Butterfly, Eel, Ox, Dog, Horse, Weasel, Rooster, and Panther clans have not yet been heard from.
  • No one wants to hear from the Crow or Kaiju clans. Their duties are mysterious, dangerous, and creepy enough that no one realy
  • The Centipede are with the Crab against Shadowlands, but not against anyone else.
  • The Dragonfly are with the Dragon.
  • The Firefly are allied with Shigure and are guarding their little bit of coastline. Given that their forces wouldn’t don’t amount to much more than a personal bodyguard for their leader, no one cares very much.
  • The Tiger are continuing their defense of the temples, regardless of interclan wars.
  • The Elephant are against people opening gates – regardless of who those people are.

The Temples are officially neutral, but – in practice – are firmly on the Imperial side.