A Guide To Rokugan
This page is under construction and intended as a guide for members of my upcoming game, Army of Ronin. as well as for any other games I do set in Rokugan. Others have permission to use this thread as a resource if they also want to have a game set in Rokugan. However, please do not post in this thread. Thank you.
This post will serve as a contents page, linking to other important posts and sources of information.
1. The Five Rings
- Basic Information
- History (Abridged)
- Social Structure
- Spirits, Magic and Religion
- The Katana
4. The Clans
- Minor Clans
- The Imperial Families
Last edited by OiHarkin; 01-12-2013 at 06:43 PM.
The Five Rings
Legend of the Five Rings (abbreviated to L5R) is a roleplaying game and collectible card game owned by Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG), with a forth edition recently released. It covers a fictional setting and goes into great detail about the empire of Rokugan, modelled off of feudal Japan. In the RPG, the players typically play samurai belonging to members of the Great Clans in service to the Emperor/Emperess. The card game covers larger scale battles and the outcomes of the world tournaments directly influence the story of the game world.
The official page is here.
In the game setting, the "five rings" refer to the five different elements; fire, earth, air, water and void. These elements are present in everything and everyone, and represent different qualities. Elemental spirits known as kami are almost everywhere in Rokugan, though only those blessed with magical sight can interact and communicate with them.
Air represents intuition and subtlety, as well as inconstancy and unpredictability. Those aligned with air tend to be flighty and witty, but insubstantial. Its respective attributes are Reflexes and Awareness. Spells with an air affinity tend to centre around illusions and secret communication, as well as the creation of wind. Air spells require less concentration that others, but tend to have less potent effects as a result.
Earth represents passive strength, solidarity and fortitude. All came from the earth and all return to it in time. Those aligned with the earth can be slow and stubborn, but resilient against almost anything. Its respective attributes are Stamina and Willpower. Spells aligned with earth tend to focus around protection charms as well as manipulating the earth itself to imprison foes. It is also the element to which Jade belongs, meaning its spells tend to be more effective against Shadowland creatures.
Fire represents motion and dynamic activity, both physical and mental. Those who have much fire in them are bright and hard to decieve. Its respective attributes are Intelligence and Agility. Spells aligned with fire are the most destructive in nature, conjuring powerful firestorms to scorch the enemy, or heating a samurai's blade so that he can kill more effectively.
Water represents clarity of motion and purpose, purity and strength. Those connected with water see clearly and strike hard. Its respective attributes are Perception and Strength. Spells aligned with water can manipulate that element, summon storms and scry or detect objects. It is also the only element with healing magic that is commonly known.
Void is the most difficult element to comprehend, because it is at once the absence of all the other elements and their summation and the thing that holds them together. All and nothing, it is the one-ness of all things. Void has no attributes attached to it. Very few shugenja are able to cast void spells and those that do are considered prodigies. It is said that the Void holds great power for those that can tap into it, but also great danger. While many shugenja risk damaging the world around them, void shugenja risk their very minds and souls as they grow more in tune with the void, losing the ability to distinguish themselves from the rest of the world.
Taint is seen by some - mostly heretics and blood mages - as an unofficial sixth element. Taint is the creeping corruption of body, mind and soul by the energies of Jigoku, the realm of evil. It is most commonly seen in those who spend a great deal of time in or around the Shadowlands and creatures from there. Once tainted, there is no real way to cleanse yourself of the corruption, merely holding it at bay with holy jade and strong will. Many samurai who find themselves tainted choose noble death on the wall rather than allow it to spread, but those who practice blood magic often use taint as a focus for their gruesome spells.
Rokugan - Basic Information
Rokugan is the setting for Legend of the Five Rings. It is ruled by an Imperial family, who are served by eight Great Clans and several Minor Clans. In general, it is based off of feudal Japan, though there are elements of other Eastern cultures, such as Korea and India as well. The nobility of Rokugan are the samurai, who fight in battle, lead the armies and engage in courtly intrigue.
For a map of Rokugan, click here
Rokugan is divided into a number of provinces, most of which are governed by the Great Clans though all land is owned by the Emperor, who dictates who shall rule what parts of the nation. Rokugan is a rocky, mountainous country, surrounded by mountains on the north, west and south sides, with a vast ocean to the east. Most of the flat lands - only about a fifth of the total area of the country - are situated nearer the coastline. When the Mantis were made into a Great Clan, the Empire's territories expanded out into the eastern ocean, with several tropical islands governed by the Mantis Clan.
The weather is quite diverse, with long sultry summers and short, but hard, winters. Falls are cool and springs are wet. Earthquakes are common but rarely severe - only five "great earthquakes" have been recorded in history.
On the southwest border of Rokugan is the Carpenter Wall, also called the Kaiu Wall. Beyond the Wall lie the Shadowlands, a dark and twisted place home to oni, goblins and other unspeakable horrors. It is the duty of the Crab Clan to hold the Wall and keep the darkness at bay.
Only the Nothing existed. Out of loneliness, fear and desire, it created the world in three stages.
The first man and woman - Moon and Sun - are created. They descend to earth and begin naming it. They also name themselves Onnotangu and Amaterasu.
Onnotangu and Amaterasu return to Heaven and have their children, the Kami. However, Onnotangu is driven slowly mad by the Nothing.
Onnotangu attempts to eat his children to keep them from displacing him. However, Amaterasu replaces her youngest son, Hantei, with a stone. Hantei cuts open his father's stomach, causing the Kami to fall to earth.
Man is born where Amaterasu's tears and Onnotangu's blood mingled on the Earth.
Ryoshun, first of the Kami to be eaten, died in his father's stomach and passes on to the Underworld to become god of the dead.
Fu Leng falls through Earth and crashes into Jigoku, the Realm of Evil. This impact spreads taint to Earth and creates the Shadowlands.
The Kami hold a tournament to determine who shall rule the mortal world. Hantei defeats his siblings, founding the first Imperial Dynasty. His siblings become the founders for the Great Clans.
33-42: Fu Leng returns from the Shadowlands to wage war on his siblings. He is defeated in the Day of Thunder, when seven of Rokugan's greatest champions rode out to meet him, along with the monk Shinsei. Only Shinsei and Shosuro, the Scorpion Thunder, returned. Fu Leng's power is trapped in the twelve Black Scrolls.
45: Hantei dies and his succeeded by his son Genji. Shinjo, the Kami of the Ki-Rin clan, takes her clan and leaves Rokugan to scout out the rest of the world for hidden dangers.
80: The Mantis Clan is founded by Kaimetsu-Uo, son of the Crab Clan champion, when his father chooses his illegitimate brother as heir instead of him.
101: The death of Togashi, the Dragon Kami, is announced. Lady Doji, the Crane Kami, disappears soon after.
145: The Book of Sun-Tao, one of the greatest military treatises in history, is written.
200: First known contact with the Naga race.
210: Hida, the Crab Kami, enters the Shadowlands to find his missing son. He is presumed dead.
234: Gisei Toshi, a Phoenix Clan city and repository of great magical knowledge, is destroyed in a natural disaster.
243: The koku is invented, forming the basis of a unified Rokugani economy.
314: The Crab Clan for an alliance with a species of rat-men living in the Shadowlands, known as the Nezumi.
353: The "Victory With No Strike" - Crane economic and legal interference saves the Phoenix from an invading Lion Clan by severing their supply lines.
387: The Crane-Crab War begins. The Yasuki family defects from the Crane to the Crab.
391: The Gozoku conspiracy manipulate the Emperor from behind the scenes. Though they modernize Rokugan's economy, corruption is rampant.
402: The Five Nights of Shame - the Snake Clan are possessed by a demon known as Shuten Doji. Over the course of five days, the Phoenix destroy the entire Clan.
435: The Gozoku are removed from power by Empress Hantei Yugozohime.
442: The Battle of White Stag expels gaijin from Rokugan, but the Empress is killed. Blackpowder, also called 'gaijin pepper' is declared illegal.
501: The Boar Clan is sacrificed by a blood sorceror as a ritual to create the Bloodswords, tainted relics that bring doom to their users. He then sends them to various Clan Champions.
510: Iuchiban The Bloodspeaker mounts a coup d'etat and is defeated at the Battle of Stolen Graves. Cremation becomes common to prevent necromancy.
545: The Scorpion Clan Champion entrusts three of the Black Scrolls to his son, who sells them to the Phoenix. For his crime, the young man is punished as a traitor.
592: A vision from the missing Shinjo sends the Ki-Rin, now called the Unicorn, on their way back to Rokugan.
622: Seppun Hanako pens the Articles of Heaven, an extensive set of legal reforms that touched on all aspects of Rokugani life and culture.
643: Akodo Makuyo forges a blade that cut through eight criminals in a single stroke, setting a new record.
675: The monastic Order of Thunder begin the Tournament of Thunder, a test of strength and martial skill.
716: Hiruma Castle falls to the Shadowlands, prompting the Crab Clan to construct the Kaiu Wall on the southwestern border of the nation.
750: The second rising of Iuchiban. He is defeated at the Battle of Sleeping Rivers. The Hare Clan is founded to stand against bloodspeakers.
774: The Oracle of Fire is corrupted and attacks the Phoenix Clan before vanishing into the Shadowlands.
815-816: The Ki-Rin return to Rokugan. Initially met with military resistance by the Lion, they are officially recognised as a Great Clan and their lands restored to them.
825-827: The Moto family is gutted with the formation of the corrupted Dark Moto. Other Moto form the White Guard and swear to eliminate their corrupt brethren.
897: The Revenant and the Eternal, two Shadowlands-tainted battleships, gut a Mantis fleet.
903: A sect of bloodspeakers attack the Tomb of Iuchiban in an attempt to ressurect him, but are repulsed.
911-927: A war between the Shimizu and Akodo families of the Lion Clan ends with the annihilation of the Shimizu.
989: Bloodspeakers found the Temple of Blood in northern Crane mountains.
A century of relative peace.
A century of basically no peace.
1123: The Scorpion Coup. Twisted by the Bloodsword named Ambition, the Scorpion Champion attempts a coup. In punishment, the entire clan are exiled to the Burning Sands.
1128: The Second Day of Thunder ends the Clan War. Togashi is revealed to have been alive all along but dies in battle with Fu Leng, who possessed the Emperor's body.
1128: The Mantis are recognised as a Great Clan after their daimyo threatened to hold back his military might - or attack the embroiled Rokugan himself - if denied.
1129: The Hantei dynasty is ended. The Toturi Dynasty begins when Akodo Torturi takes the throne.
1132: The Scorpion Clan return from exile, led by the Kami Shinjo who declares they have been redeemed. At her word, they are reinstated as a Great Clan.
1132: Onnotangu and Amaterasu each die and the mortals Hida Yakamo and Togashi Hitomi ascend to become the new Sun and Moon.
1131-33: The War Against The Darkness. Emperor Toturi I is driven mad by the Nothing. He kills himself, denying the Nothing his soul. It is defeated at the Battle of Oblivion's Gate.
1170: The Toturi Dynasty is ended. The Heavens decree a tournament to decide its replacement. Kistuki Iweko triumphs, beginning the Iweko dynasty.
1170: Two new spirits - the Jade Dragon and Obsidian Dragon - replace Yakamo and Hitomi as Sun and Moon.
1173: The Destroyer War. Fu Leng and Daigotsu kill themselves in order to defeat the goddess Kali-Ma; the mortal Daigotsu assumes Fu Leng's divinity and tears out Kali-Ma's heart.
Another period of relative peace. For now.
1250: Present Day. The Spider Clan begin gathering ronin under one banner for unknown purposes.
Rokugan is an advanced society with an advanced, well-defined culture. It has a comprehensive set of rules for the place of every individual in society and their interactions, from art and emotion to war and commerce.
Rokugan has three castes in society; hinin, heimin and samurai. They believe it is decreed by heaven that all souls have certain roles and thus it is known as the Celestial Order.
Hinin, also called eta, are technically outside of the Celestial Order and are considered non-people largely without rights or the ability to improve their lot in life. They are considered unclean and it is seen as a dishonor to even speak to them. They are to address samurai and must treat even peasants with great respect. They often dress in rags nad have their own slum villages on the outskirts of other towns. They do the jobs so detestable that others won't do it, most notably tasks that involve the handling of dead flesh such as working leather, clearing battlefields or preparing the dead. There are no legal consequences to killing an eta. Entertainers, including geisha, are technically eta, though geisha are treated as an exception and it is generally acceptable for a samurai to enjoy the company of a geisha.
Heimin are the peasants, tradesmen and merchants of Rokugan. They are the largest caste by number. They do the household chores, farm the land and generally do most of the actual work in Rokugan. Though they are submissive to the samurai, the samurai are generally respectful of the value of the heimin. The main exception to this are the absolute master craftsmen, particularly those who forge the greatest swords. These craftsmen might enjoy considerable social advantages under certain situations.
Monks are technically heimin, with a few exceptions such as the tatooed monks of the Dragon Clan. However, their roles as spiritual men and teachers place mean even samurai treat them quite reverently, and make quite a show of listening to them. They are seen as personal representatives of the Celestial Order and therefore mistreating them is taboo. Travelling monks never have trouble finding warm hearths and gifts of food.
Samurai are the noble caste and those expected to concern themselves with matters of politics, art and of course war. Samurai are expected to serve a lord and through that service they in turn serve the Throne and Rokugan as a whole. They live by a formal and rigorous code of conduct called Bushido and are the only social caste permitted to carry swords. All samurai carry two swords - the katana and the wakizashi - as markers of their social status, even if they are not actually combatants themselves. Most samurai are members of a Great or Minor Clan. However, there is an exception. A samurai can kill an eta without reason and kill heimin for relatively minor offenses.
Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of samurai; bushi are warriors who devote themselves to the pursuit of martial arts. They serve as soldiers and generals, bodyguards and duelists. Shugenja are those who have the speak to the kami. They serve as priests and scribes, record keepers and scholars. Courtiers are the public face of a clan, serving in court and trained in rhetoric, politics and diplomacy. They serve as envoys, artists, bards and merchants. Shugenja and courtiers are samurai, and carry swords, but are generally not combat-trained and not expected to fight for themselves. They commonly have bushi acting as yojimbo or bodyguards. But only a fool thinks that a yojimbo is automatically more dangerous than the courtier he is protecting..
Ronin, literally 'wave-men', are technically samurai and thus are permitted to carry swords, but are members of no clan and serve no master. Thus they are both inside and out of the Celestial Order - the swords of a samurai, but the same legal status as eta. Most ronin are formerly samurai whose masters were ruined politically or killed, or the samurai themselves might have fallen out of favour with their lord or been made ronin as punishment for a crime. A samurai might also become ronin if they are not recognised by their samurai parents, outcast for some failure, or denied the right to commit seppuku. Many ronin enjoy the freedom of their life, but more often they turn to lives of crime and mercenary work. Ronin bands frequently threaten settlements and commerce, leading them to be fairly unpopular in any particular town - especially with local magistrates.
Last edited by OiHarkin; 01-10-2013 at 04:12 PM.
The word for the Rokugani system of law is Ritsuryo. One of the most notable features of this legal system is the way it places testimony over physical evidence; while a piece of evidence could be forged, a samurai's honour was supposed to be unquestionable. Drafted by Otomo Kuchiru, daimyo of the Otomo family, and backed by the Emperor, this has become central foundation of the entire legal system.
In general, magic is not considered permissible evidence in Rokugani legal proceedings; in year 53, the spirit of a Lion general was summoned in order to prove he had been murdered, when the accused's Clan suddenly drew the trial to a halt by revealing the general was in fact alive and their hostage. For the same reason samurai were not allowed to testify on behalf of family members, as it would be expected for them to lie to protect their family.
Because of this focus on testimony, a confession is an integral part of getting a conviction if the criminal has not been caught in the act. This means torture is quite common practice for court magistrates, who often maintain a staff of eta for that purpose.
Modern Rokugan is beginning to be more accepting of physical evidence and logical deduction in criminal detection. This is called the Kitsuki method after Agasha Kitsuki, who invented it in order to logically prove his own innocence when accused of murder. He went on to found his own family, the Kitsuki. The Empress Iweko I was a member of the Kitsuki, and a criminal investigator prior to becoming Empress. As a result, the Kitsuki method is the most commonly used method in Dragon lands and is gaining favour in other areas too.
A magistrate is a law enforcement officer, tasked with maintaining order in a town, province, family, clan or even the entire Empire. High ranking magistrates also serve as judges and administrators. Clan Magistrates maintain the laws of their specific clans; Emerald Magistrates enforce imperial law and Jade Magistrates specifically investigated magic-related offenses. Each answered to different offices.
Magic is real.
Spirits of the elements, known as kami, reside in everything in the world - rocks are full of earth kami, even the smallest of puddles might have a water kami in it and so on. Shugenja - members of the samurai caste who occupy a priest-like role - are trained to get spirits to do their bidding and in doing so 'cast spells'. The Phoenix Clan are the greatest practicioners of magic in Rokugan and the founder of their Isawa family is said to have been the man to discover magic.
Spells take the form of incantations which appeal to, and command, the elemental spirits around the caster. These incantations can be quite slow and difficult to memorise, meaning most shugenja use scrolls to store their spells on. Simple spells might simply require a concentration of will - something like lighting a candle - but anything larger would require a scroll, the caster's intense focus and a decent amount of time to recent the incantation. This is a major part of why shugenja need bushi to act as bodyguards - otherwise a regular bushi could simply cut the shugenja down before the spell can be completed. If all goes well and the incantation is completed perfectly, the spell is cast. If something goes wrong, the spell might simply not 'go off' but there is also the dangerous possibility of the spirits getting angry and lashing out. All sorts of things might happen if that is the case, the worst being the shugenja being driven mad or even killed.
Because these incantations rely on the kami to work, spells are easier to cast in areas where the kami are strong, and more difficult where spells are weak. Fire shugenja in a war might prepare braziers to have a fire kami ready for business and make their spells burn brighter. On the other hand, a water shugenja in a desert is going to have a tough time.
Then there is maho. Maho is blood magic. Blood magic is extremely illegal and often draws on wicked spirits known as kansen. It is fuelled by fresh blood and human sacrifice, drawing upon the Taint and the power of Jigoku to perform horrifying, gruesome effects. Casting maho forever taints the use, linking them to Jigoku. A practitioner of maho is called a maho-tsukai or a bloodspeaker. Bloodspeaker cults are secretive and extremely insidious. They commonly draw members from the lower castes of society - eta and heimin - who feel powerless due to their lot in society and see blood magic as a path to personal power and even immortality.
Other spirits might cross over when the barriers seperating the mortal world from their realm is weakened or ruptured. These spirits might be hungry ghosts from Gaki-do, bloodthirsty spirits from Toshigoku the Realm of Slaughter, or shapeshifting tricksters from Sakakku, the realm of trickery.
Most of Rokugan practise a blend of two religious movements, the first being Fortunism and the second being Shinseism. Fortunism is the reverence of the Thousand Fortunes, the many gods who watch over every aspect of Rokugani life, including the Sun and Moon. The seven most powerful deities are referred to simply as the Seven Fortunes and recieve the most prayer; these were Benten (romantic love), Bishamon (strength), Daikoku (wealth), Ebisu (honest work), Fukurokujin (Wisdom and Mercy), Hotei (Contentment) and Jurojin (longevity). There are many other minor fortunes whose remit cover things like the household, fishermen, persistence or even the morning dew and dung.
Shinseism is the believe that enlightenment can be reached through the study and understanding of a philosophical text known as the Tao of Shinsei. Shinsei, also known as The Little Monk, was a mortal man who met and spoke with each kami in turn, bestowing wisdom on each of them. The kami Shiba originally wrote the Tao as he listened to a conversation between Shinsei and Hantei, the first Emperor. Though a mortal, Shinsei is venerated for his great wisdom and his role in Rokugani history - he gathered the Seven Thunders to defeat Fu Leng and ventured out with them to face the dark god. Though there are thousands of different interpretations on the Tao, it espouses man existing harmoniously with the world and the heavens, though some speak of secrets locked away within the text.
Last edited by OiHarkin; 01-15-2013 at 09:12 AM.
Bushido, literally "the way of the warrior" is a code of conduct that all members of the samurai caste are supposed to follow, a series of ideals to strive. The code was originally set forth by the god Akodo, founder of the Lion Clan, meant originally for bushi - that is, those samurai who actively served as warriors. Whether it was meant for courtiers and shugenja, who are samurai but typically non-combatants, was debatable. Nevertheless, in modern Rokugan all samurai are held under this code. It is intended to remind samurai that their name means 'those who serve'.
Bushido sets out seven virtues to be followed and adhered to:
- Gi (Honesty): Set lies aside. A samurai does not make honesty or justice a matter for debate. There is only truth or deceit; justice or injustice.
- Rei (Courtesy): A samurai is not a bully nor a simple killer. They treat their opponents with respect.
- Yu (Courage): Fear of death is the destroyer of life; a samurai must replace this with an understanding of death.
- Meyo (Honor): Praises and insults do not define honor; the samurai reserves judgement for himself and acts with integrity.
- Jin (Compassion): A samurai does not fight for himself alone, just as a farmer does not labour only for himself. Samurai have a duty to protect others.
- Makoto (Sincerity): Word and action must be one and the same; to 'promise' something should be meaningless.
- Chuge (Duty/Loyalty): Actions and their consequences define those who take them. A samurai's loyalty to those they guard must be unshakable.
The idea of reincarnation is central to Bushido. A person will recieve numerous lives and therefore samurai need not fear death. By concerning themselves with living virtually through bushido while alive, they need not concern themselves with their reincarnations.
Samurai who commit breaches of bushido might recieve some punishment depending on their breach of conduct. It might be a simple verbal reprimand by their superiors for a minor breach - or even a polite but pointed ignoring of the offense - but a severe breach of duty and honor might lead to exile or seppuku.
Naturally, how much focus one places on the codes of Bushido varies entirely from individual to individual. Clans have different focusses on different virtues and ronin are typically considered not to follow bushido because they are not being held accountable to a lord or Clan.
On, or 'face', is also important for samurai, central to their concept of politeness and dignity. Rokugan is more concerned with appearance than literal truth, thus no matter the offense both parties will try to avoid 'causing a scene' because it will bring a loss of On even to the person who is in the right.
"If a samurai does not care for his sword, he had better not dare to rely on it"
- Mirumoto Rosanjin
The katana plays a large part in the samurai life. It is typically worn as part of a set known as a daisho, paired with a shorter blade called a wakizashi. Wearing a daisho marks the bearer out as a member of the samurai caste, while wearing a katana is a sign that the wearer is specifically a bushi. In other words, if you wear a swor,d you are expected to be able to use it. Courtiers and shugenja, who are typically not combat trained and serve the Empire and their Clan using different skills, are not expected to be called upon to fight and therefore do not wear katanas. They also typically have bodyguards, or yojimbo, who fight for them.
It is the standard issue weapon for soldiers and the most commonly used weapon by all bushi, whether for open warfare or duels. That being said, it is not expected to be the only weapon samurai use and in fact most are trained in at least one other form of combat; many use spears, testubo clubs, bows or even unarmed brawling according to their Clan and family preference. The Mantis, for instance, tend to use kama sickles because they fight at sea and wish to keep the sea air from corroding their swords. But bushi are all expected to have and be trained in the basic use of a katana if they are to be bushi. Most crucially, the katana is the only weapon widely accepted for use in a duel. Iajustu - quick-draw duelling - is specificially intended to be used with a single katana, though the Mirumoto Niten style is gaining support.
There is also a spiritual aspect to the katana. The superstition surrounding it says that because all five elements are used in forging the blade - the air to fan the flames, the fire to heat the steel, the earth from which the metal came, the water to cool the blade and void being the soul of the blacksmith - it is said to be a living thing itself, with its own soul. It also is said to pick up on the soul of the user and therefore a blade that is passed down from generation to generation is said to have echoes of the ancestors who used it inside of it. Particularly fine blades would be given names to represent their soul.
Samurai can pick up on subtle differences in one katana or another and from that learn more about it and the weilder. For instance, a katana with a short handle or lots of ornamentation on the hilt and sheathe was probably forged in peace time and was intended more to be worn rather than actively used in battle.
Ronin typically have poorer quality katana, or at least less well-maintained blades as they cannot afford the upkeep. Some might have inherited their sword rather than having earned it themselves.
The Crab Clan
"A Hida is vigilant and never hesitates. A Hida knows what must be done, and does it without question. I am Hida. I cannot be defeated."
Founded by the god Hida, the Crab Clan serve as Defenders of the Empire, fighting and dying daily upon the Carpenter Wall that seperates the Empire from the Shadowlands. They value this duty above all things, even their own honor. They are one of the most formidable military forces in the world, and seige warfare is a specialty.
It is usually easy to pick a Crab out in a crowd because of their sheer size, especially members of the Hida family. The Crab tend to have strong, powerful builds and their warriors typically use heavy armor and large two-handed tetsubo - a kind of spiked iron club - or other large weapons to do battle with Oni. Their tactics are simple - impenetrable defense and overwhelming force. Thus the Crab as their symbol - a thick shell and a big claw. Their clan colour is a grey-blue.
The Hida value honesty above sincerity and tend to see things in very simple terms, carrying the philosophy of the battlefield to the court. The strong deserve to rule the weak. Those who cannot defend the Empire do not deserve to rule it. If an Emperor is seen as weak on matters of the military, the Crab see them as undeserving of their position entirely. They are blunt, direct and unrefined, leading them to be politically unpopular in the Crane-dominated courts.
The Crab have spent centuries dealing with threats from the Shadowlands and have learned many ways to combat both Oni and the taint of Jigoku. The Hida Family rules the Crab Clan without question and have some of the finest infantry prepared to deal with incursions from the Shadowlands. The scouts and light infantry of the Hiruma family can travel across the twisted terrain and go undetected like no other. But do not think the Crab to be stupid; the gaunt witch-hunters of the Kuni family are some of Rokugan's greatest defenders against blood magic and the seige engineers of the Kaiu are directly responsible for making the Wall's defenses even more impenetrable day upon day. The Yasuki - defectors from the Crane - serve as the Crab's voice in the courts and marketplaces of Rokugan, securing the vast amounts of food and material needed to maintain the Wall.
The Crab have fostered relations with the Nezumi rat-men, who are some of the only creatures who can live in the Shadowlands without the risk of Taint. They value the non-humans in a very pragmatic way, while other Clans might view them as bizarre or unnatural creatures.
The Crab lands are almost entirely given over to either military fortifications or farmlands feeding said fortifications, with little in the way of scenic gardens or other frivolities. The demand for manpower and rice at the wall is immense and invariably there is one Yasuki in another Clan's court haggling over the price of rice or the redeployment of any spare men to the Wall, giving the Crab something of a reputation as petulant beggars. When things get particularly bad at the Wall, the Crab might call a Twenty Goblin Winter, in which any ronin who can go into the Shadowlands and come back with proof of having killed twenty monsters will be rewarded by being sworn into the Crab Clan as a full samurai.