Children of Thunder or War in the Ivory Kingdoms.
Greetings to everyone looking at this campaign page. I’m Matt, and I’m the GM for this particular game. Currently, its in the planning stages, but this is the preamble. When I have a confirmed batch of players, this will change. As for game specifics, this game is going to be run within the constraints of terms dates of the University of Nottingham. This is because this is my SATT game that I’m running for UoN’s RPGSoc, and anyone that plays in this game will have to have a valid membership with that august organisation :P
The game itself will use the Legend of the Five Rings 4th edition rules, with some houserules devised by me (minor ones to make gameplay smoother, and a bit higher powered). It’ll be running for at least the first semester of the University year, with the potential to carry on for a second (just so I’m not constrained by advertising to run the second semester if I am busy with university work).
It is the year 1146 in the Emerald Empire of Rokugan. The Emperor Toturi I, formerly Akodo Toturi ,the Black Lion and hero of Rokugan is now Emperor, replacing the divinely mandated Hantei Dynasty at the Second Day of Thunder. On his Steel Throne, he oversees the labour and struggles of the Great Clans to maintain the divinely mandated and appointed Celestial Order. The peasantry produces, the Samurai rule and defend the land, and the Emperor rules over it all.
However, all is not as it seems. Since the Battle of Oblivions Gate in 1133, ancestral spirits from the various spirit realms have returned. The empire, encountered by its past had until 1138 tried to get on as best as possible. However, with returned spirits came old motivations; old emnities, old duties and misconceptions. Samurai from earlier in the Empires history clashed with their modern counterparts, believing themselves to have returned to remake the Empire to its previous image. With the spirits (who for the most understood their place in the universe) came Hantei XVI, the Steel Chrysanthemum. Emperor. Politician. Despot. Tyrant. His reign several hundred years prior had been carefully edited and scoured from the Imperial Histories, but the secret histories of the Ikoma and Shosuro recorded some of the worst excesses of any Emperor, resulting in a savage palace coup by his family and their Seppun protectors. In 1138, following several years of political maneuvering in the shadows, Hantei XVI demanded Toturi cede the throne to him, as a descendant of the original Hantei dynasty. Following the resultant refusal, the Steel Chrysanthemum gathered his supporters, mostly returned spirits of many clans, as well as some mortals who either fervently believed in Hantei supremacy, or who believed their ancestors to be correct. Forces loyal to Toturi I and Hantei XVI clashed in 1138 at the Battle of Fallen Ground. Toturi’s mortal army won, but the inhuman endurance of the Hantei’s spirit army and the skill of their general, Hida Tsuneo took their toll on the mortal forces. The battle for Fallen Ground was over, but the battle for Rokugan was about to begin.
However, it is not a tale of the war in Rokugan I seek to tell. Rather of the tale of the Mantis Clan, and the great war they waged far from Rokugans shores at Imperial command. A war upon which the stability and future of Rokugan would come to depend. The First Destroyer War, or the War in the Ivory Kingdoms.
To introduce the Mantis, they are the youngest of the eight Great Clans. Their career as a Great Clan came at the Second Day of Thunder, when the great Mantis hero Yoritomo, the Son of Storms demanded his alliance of Minor Clans be recognised as a Great Clan, or he would leave Rokugan to its fate. Great deeds were done that day, and when the dust settled, he was acknowledged by the Empire at large as first Champion of the Mantis Clan as a Great Clan, with his own family name granted as well. Over time, they absorbed the Wasp Clan as the Tsuruchi family, the Centipede as the Moshi and the Fox clan as the Kitsune family.Of all the clans, they embody the most famous of Shinsei’s teachings, that “Fortune favours the mortal man”. Their ambition and their desire to succeed have lead them to become wealthy and strong with time. They have pulled themselves to heights of glory and honour given to others simply by right of birth and history, and they seek to prove themselves worthy of this particular mantle. They are masters of the Seas, masters of Thunder and the descendants of heroes and warriors aplenty. A typical Yoritomo samurai is a great enemy because he won’t stop trying to achieve his goal until is it achieved, or he dies. In the case of the latter, his brothers will take up the quest their fallen brother left unfinished.
In 1146, after a series of inconclusive battles that turned the war into one of attrition, intelligence reached the Clan Champion and the Emperor Toturi I that, in the faraway Ivory Kingdoms, a distant menace grew. The cult of Ruhmal, a cult devoted to Kali-Ma, the malevolent, destructive aspect of Shiva the Destroyer was growing like a cancer, and had designs on the Ivory Kingdoms. Concerned over the potential implications of such a hostile force arising so near to Rokugan, Toturi I ordered the Mantis under the adopted son of Yoritomo, Yoritomo Aramasu, to wage a war against the Ruhmalists. Their objectives were to stop the rise of the Ruhmalists, and to bolster pro-Rokugani factions to maintain order long term, by any means necessary. To the view of all others, the Mantis became reclusive from here on, and some said that the Mantis were less than dedicated to the defence of their Emperor and Empire from its enemies, yet they were sent to fight a war far from home, all to protect the future of Rokugan.
You as PC’s have been chosen by the Clan Champion Yoritomo Aramasu to act as a part of the vanguard of Mantis forces in the Ivory Kingdoms.You will be part of a 15 ship taskforce, with a total of 300 samurai; you being stationed aboard the warship “The Roar of Isora”. Your mission is to gather intelligence as to which of the various Houses are devoted to the cause of the Ruhmalists, which are opposed to them and those who currently remain neutral. As vanguard troops, you will lay the ground for a larger effort, gathering intelligence and co-ordinating preparatory strikes against known Ruhmalist strongholds, their lands and those of their allies. In addition, mustering as many of the native Houses towards the cause of opposing these foul cultists, by fair means or foul is a key objective in your mission. Finally, when either the situation has deteriorated, or you have achieved sufficiently these objectives, your duty will be to call in the rest of the fleets assets under the command of Yoritomo Aramasu, the Clan Champion, and the war for the Ivory Kingdoms will begin for real. But that is for another campaign…..
In short, the campaign will be based around a bit of intrigue, exploration, fighting, sailing and
generally saving the world. In short, there should be something for everyone, and I’m an obsessive for this system and setting. If you want to know something thats not been put up here, shout me and I’ll try and answer it to the best of my ability.
A note on the setting information; the majority of the setting stuff here and the factions in particular are my own invention. A couple of things are from the actual storyline, but the majority has been devised by me. If you have ideas for things that might make the experience more enjoyable, but please, don’t try and hoist me on particulars too much. For example, I don’t have a coherent timeline, it being constructed as I went from faction to faction.