Come dive into the world of Rokugan, see the intricate language of the court, and the deadly dance of blades.
Fantasy Flight Games has just published a new short story for the Legend of the Five Rings that invites readers into the world of Rokugan. It’s a quick intro, just eleven or so pages, but those eleven pages get a lot of work done, introducing characters, conflict, and a picture of a troubled empire. So let’s take a look and see what we can figure out about the lore.
The story opens with a bandit attack, but nothing is ever that simple. The caravan was being escorted by none other than the Champion of the Crane Clan, who wields her naginata with deadly precision. She duels a Ronin, granting him an honorable death because, he was trying to protect starving peasants. Famine, it seems, has swept through the Emerald Empire. So right away that’s a quick lay of the land, they’re dealing with strife and suffering. It seems there’s been a massive Tsunami that has damaged their crops very recently.
And as the story moves on and we get a little more of the internal thoughts of Doji Hotaru, Champion of the Crane, we learn that she is a troubled ruler. She’s relatively new to leading the clan, and has inherited many problems, including an open, ongoing feud with the Lion Clan that drains their resources and drives peasants to banditry. But more than that, we learn that she has a secret lover–Bayushi Kachiko, whom longtime fans will recognize as perhaps one of the most important Scorpions to ever Scorpion in Scorpion Clan. Which is a trivial way of saying that she pulled a lot of strings and was a master spy and intrigue-monger who wielded influence as deftly and deadly as a samurai wields a katana.
Like that, but with influence and intrigue.
Troubling, considering that Doji Hotaru has come early and in disguise to the Imperial City to try and get ahead of the news of her father’s recent death. According to rumor, he has died under…unusual circumstances, made obvious by the fact that he just died with no signs of foul play or struggle or conflict at all. Hotaru wonders at this as she confides with her lover, Kachicko–leaving it open as to who is playing whom and to what end. But we have two powerful women, meeting in secret in a quiet moment before the troubles brewing on the distant horizon sweep through Rokugan:
The play of light and shadow in the garden had changed with the movement of Lady Sun, making it seem a completely di erent place. Again, though, her gaze was drawn beyond it, to the horizon. Rice elds, fallow and empty…blood upon the Osari Plains…darkness pounding at the Carpenter Wall…heresy and sedition…
If Rokugan was the Emerald Empire, then the emerald was awed—small cracks threatening to lengthen, to widen, to cause the whole of it to crumble to fragments and dust.
This is just a taste of things to come. You should check out the whole story–it’s a short read as I mentioned above, and it whets the appetite. Only a few more months to go, friends. Be sure and stay tuned next week for a look at how the Crane Clan works in the game. Until then…
via Fantasy Flight Games
Fantasy Flight Games is proud to present “Her Father’s Daughter” by D.G. Laderoute, the first piece of new fiction for Legend of the Five Rings!
“Her Father’s Daughter” features the Crane Clan, the pinnacle of beauty and grace in Rokugan, and can be downloaded by clicking here (pdf, 14 MB).
And once the game is out, then it’s only a matter of time before Mantis Clan shows up. Right?