Legacy of the Sapphire Throne
Fifteen years have passed since the War of the Steel Lion. For an Empire that has lasted over fifteen centuries, that span of years should be but a drop in the river. And yet, the past decade and a half has seen more changes to the Emerald Empire than any other time. Changes that have altered the Empire to its very core.
Toturi XIII has reigned over what appears to be the most prosperous era Rokugan has ever seen. His alliance with the gaijin has brought not only wealth, but a revolution to warfare – tanegashima, the gaijin pepper weapons. Now the difference between the clans is no longer political. It is a war between modernization and tradition, and tradition appears to be losing.
And yet, the shugenja find their prayers go unanswered more frequently. The Brotherhood of Shinsei finds enlightenment harder to reach. The sun and moon both shine a little less brightly. And samurai across the Empire find their way of life rapidly being put aside in favor of the rising merchant class.
The Imperial Family
Toturi XIII: Known as Toturi the Rogue due to his upbringing aboard Mantis ships, the still youthful Emperor has relaxed or outright ignored most of the laws restricting the gaijin and their weapons. A few whisper that he is but a puppet to interests behind the Sapphire Throne. Even fewer whisper that he is not truly the rightful heir of the Toturi line.
Yoritomo Izumo, Shogun: The office of shogun, previously only a hypothetical, has become one of the most powerful positions in the Empire. The son of the former Mantis Clan Champion, Izumo is known to be a staunch supporter of the gaijin and is considered by the Emperor to be as close as a brother.
Kakita Kazumasa, Emerald Champion: One of the few surviving heroes of the War of the Steel Lion, Kazumasa is considered a fine duelist, but an aging reminder of the past. Much of the duties of the Emerald Champion have been absorbed by the Shogun, leaving his post as more of a symbol of the old regime than one of real power.
The Crab have returned to their duty on the Wall with a newfound purpose. The tanegashima have been able to strike down the denizens of the Shadowlands with a frightening efficiency. Needing to devote less time to the defense of the Empire, the Crab have stretched their legs into political arenas.
Hida Iwao, Clan Champion: A fine warrior and strategist, Iwao’s lack of political acumen leaves him leader of his clan in name only. A master of the cannons that now dot the Kaiu Wall.
Yasuki Tsujiken, Family Daimyo, Gold Champion: One of the richest men in the Empire due to a combination of savvy and ruthlessness. Made many deals with the gaijin to arm the Crab Clan with gaijin pepper weapons, giving them unprecedented ability to defeat the Shadowlands. Has parlayed his riches into political clout and is a frequent member of the Emperor’s court.
The Left Hand of the Emperor has found themselves without a purpose in the world. They have a token presence among the gaijin, and the Daidoju have gladly made use of gaijin pepper, but caught between the past and the future, the Crane seem to have very little present.
Doji Katomaru, Clan Champion: Groomed from a young age to be Clan Champion and the ideal of Crane perfection, Katomaru finds himself in the strange predicament of being a young man who hails from a different, older age. As he goes in the modernist and traditional war, so will the Crane.
Kakita Rekai: The finest duelist of the once prestigious Kakita Dueling Academy, Rekai chafes under the belief that her school has become a mere shadow of its former self, and goes out of her way to duel any who would oppose her school or clan’s traditions.
Asahina Akikusa, Jade Champion: A competent shugenja, Akikusa was granted the post of Jade Champion as a political favor over several more deserving shugenja. Beautiful, but known to be flighty and inattentive.
The Dragon have remained as mysterious as ever, as to be expected. Though the majority of the clan shuns the use of gaijin pepper, it is by no means a universal constant. The Dragon have also seemed to take the place of the clan of secrets in light of the weakness of the Scorpion clan.
Mirumoto Kei, Clan Champion: Known to be more worldly than previous Dragon Clan Champions, Kei is a strong proponent of the traditionalists. While she exhorts her fellow clan members to go out in the world and be examples of true samurai behavior, her power is hamstrung by her refusal to work with the modernists in any way.
Mirumoto Doraku: A wandering warrior and Emerald Magistrate, Doraku is regarded as the best Swordmaster of the Dragon Clan. After spending his younger life as a vicious duelist, he swore to never again shed blood, and has taken to wielding a set of bokken in place of his daisho.
Where the Mantis have grown, the Lion has waned. Stung by the dishonor brought to them by the usurper Gintaku and the near annihilation of the Matsu family, the Right Hand of the Emperor has found themselves with one saving grace to keep them relevant: mastery of the tanegashima.
Matsu Nimoro, Clan Champion: The son of Matsu Hoketsaku, Nimoro has become a strong leader in his own right, and it is only his strength and will that has kept the Lion Clan together.
Akodo Soto, Family Daimyo: Son of Gintaku, Akodo Soto has done everything in his power to right his father’s wrongs, becoming an upstanding example of Bushido.
No clan has prospered more under the reign of Toturi XIII than the Mantis. Already wealthy during the War of the Steel Lion, their embrace of the gaijin has seen them grow in riches to a degree other clans can only dream of, rivaled only by their political power.
The Phoenix are almost universally dedicated to the traditionalists. This fact, along with their alliance to the Lion, has cemented their status as politically and financially weak. Only the strength of their shugenja have kept them relevant.
Isawa Kairi, Master of Fire: A powerful shugenja who had actively campaigned for the post of Jade Champion, she took the snub personally and hasn’t been seen in the courts since the Jade Championship.
Nearly destroyed during the War of the Steel Lion, the Underhand of the Empire has found themselves in a precarious position. Ever pragmatic, they seek to better relations with the gaijin while at the same time undermining their position whenever possible. Their contacts throughout the Burning Sands have been invaluable in the modern Rokugan.
Bayushi Kichirou, Clan Champion: A clever and canny politician, his skills at playing every angle have managed to keep the Scorpion afloat in a turbulent time.
Shosuro Kumo, Family Daimyo: A mysterious man even among the Scorpion, Kumo moves to his own designs, inscrutable to all.
Already the outsiders among the Great Clans, the Unicorn have a leg up in dealings with the gaijin from the beginning. Combined with their actions during the War of the Steel Lion, and the Unicorn have found themselves in an unusual position of power.
Moto Temujin, The Great Khan: A fierce warrior who led the charge at the War of the Steel Lion, age has not tempered the Great Khan much, if at all. Known to be a rival of the Shogun, he shows no signs of slowing down despite his age.
Arashi, Dog Clan Daimyo, Amethyst Champion: A former ronin who won great fame during the War of the Steel Lion, he was awarded his own minor clan in recognition of his service. After some political wrangling by friends in other clans, he was also granted the post of Amethyst Champion due to his great concern with the plight of the common folk of the Empire.
Toku Kenji, Monkey Clan, Ruby Champion: A harsh disciplinarian, under his strict tutelage the Emerald Magistrates have become an effective fighting force. Known for his habit to fight iaijutsu duels with a massive no-dachi.
The Captain, Avalon – A mysterious Avalon known only as the Captain who makes his living along the Crane coastline. He does little trading, but is known to occasionally take passengers back and forth.
Joris Brak, Vendel – A quiet ambassador from the Vendel League, Joris is an excellent shipwright and sailor and is known for his skill at woodcarving.
Dominic Bernoulli, Vodacce – A newcomer to the gaijin traders, Dominic is engaged with a war against the Vendel and is aggressive in his trading. He seems to bear a personal animosity against the Captain.
Prince Ali Singh, Ivory Kingdoms
Fezim al-Qidara, Medinaat al-Salaam