Season for War
Background to the Clan War
In the run up to the point where the game will begin, we have several events that happen which put the events of the Clan War into some perspective, as well as being common knowledge to your characters.
14th Day of the Rooster, 1123 – The Scorpion Clan Coup
The Scorpion Clan Coup is in many ways the event that sets it off; lasting four days during which the Scorpion Clan under Bayushi Shoju seizes control of the city, kills Hantei XXXVIII and many of the senior members of the Emperors Household (Including Doji Satsume, the Emerald Champion), and then (owing to mistakes made in seizing Otosan Uchi and the Crab siding with the other clans), being forced back and defeated. Shoju is killed in a duel by Toturi, and the Scorpion are disbanded as a clan by an enraged and newly ascended Hantei XXXIX. The more important part for the Lion in particular is that Akodo Toturi, for suggesting that some of the Scorpion be spared this effective exile for their non-role in the Coup, for taking the throne to ensure the Empire was not left leaderless during the power vacuum and finally, for failing to protect the Throne, is made ronin, and the Akodo family is officially disbanded. Those Akodo either are folded into the other families or, as many do, follow Toturi into exile as a ronin. These samurai form a decent proportion of what would become known as Toturi’s Army, later in the period.
This event shocks the Empire, and shatters the tacit ‘peace’ it enjoys under the Hantei; though the moniker given to the millenium between the end of the First War and this, the ‘Thousand Years of Peace’ is not accurate, this is the first time that military forces of this scale are employed beyond anything but inter-clan warfare. The attack on the Imperial house is a part of what breaks down the accepted conventions of ‘limited warfare’ in Rokugan, partly by the taboo broken and partly because the replacement Hantei XXXIX is regarded by many, (including Hida Kisada) as a weak emperor; born under an ill omen and unprepared for leadership.
Later 1123 – The Wasting Disease, a supernatural plague of unknown nature sweeps across Rokugan, particularly the northern half of the Empire. Its worst effects are felt in the Phoenix and Crane lands (in the latter case, aided by a drought the next summer), and it sweeps across into the Imperial Capital. This eventually spreads to Otosan Uchi, and kills much of the Imperial Court and supposedly affects the Emperor.
At least, that is what everyone thinks. Secretly, the Emperor’s concubine, Bayushi Kachiko is poisoning the Emperor, using the plague as a cover for her actions. The Wasting Disease, thought to be some kind of punishment from the Fortunes or a random plague is actually the result of Yogo Junzo, the former Daimyo of the Yogo family opening one of the Black Scrolls of Fu Leng. In both cases, these actions, done to avenge the death of Bayushi Shoju and the disbandment and the defeat of the Scorpion Clan contribute to the weakness of both Crane and Phoenix Clans, giving the Lion (and later the Crab) an excellent opening to exploit. These two clans barely hold the line against the coming storm, and this plague does not help at all.
On a more subtle level, the Emperor’s sickness over the following two years means that, where before the Emperor would be able to mitigate or even prevent such an all out war happening, he is unable to do so. The lack of senior figures in Imperial government, and to an extent, lower level figures such as Emerald Magistrates or Legion commanders effectively cripples the power of the Throne to unify Rokugan and to prevent widespread warfare from occurring. Which gives the Lion the perfect chance to strike….
1124 – The tensions between the Lion and Crane sparks into war again; under the fiery Matsu Tsuko (who is Clan Champion after Toturi’s disgrace), the Lion attack Toshi Ranbo, with fighting ending up Inconclusive between either side. Toshi Ranbo remains Crane until…
1126 – Tsuko launches a full scale assault on Toshi Ranbo and retakes it for the Lion. This leads into several recent offensives, just before the point where this game will begin. The most recent news from that front is that the Phoenix have joined in the fighting on behalf of their allies the Crane, but in the face of such massive Lion forces with no restrictions, the two clans have suffered several defeats.
And there are rumours that, in the south, the Crab Clan are readying for war, but little solid news has come this far north as to their intentions…