The Minor Clans
The Minor Clans
Power within the empire of Rokugan is split between a great many forces, many of them organized into a “clan” structure. In 1156, there are 14 Minor Clans (including homebrew ones), whose power and scope of influence are much smaller than the 8 Great Clans. Fortunately, conventions are in place that restrict each clan’s army from being brought fully to bear against another clan, and a Great Clan cannot make war with a Minor Clan without Imperial permission. Unfortunately, only honor truly stands as a bulwark against such abuses — though he is eminently powerful, the Emperor still lives in Otosan Uchi, and a particularly foolhardy and/or confident Clan Champion could rally his or her whole clan into action whenever necessary.
Each clan has a similar structure, though differences abound everywhere between them. The clans are named for an animal of some sort, or otherwise a mystic creature, and is headed by a Clan Champion who also leads his or her family. Each family within the clan is lead by a daimyo; daimyo and champions have the final say in regards to their spheres of influence. Every Great Clan has multiple families within it, usually comprised of at least one dedicated to the bushi arts, one to the shugenja’s magic, and one to courtly affairs. Each clan, Great and Minor, has its own flavor and history, and the histories constantly intertwine.
Minor Clans are usually only composed of one family, which rules the clan and tends to its every need. A few host a second family, though these second families are usually small, and are dedicated to a specific task. For example, the Toku family leads the Monkey Clan, which churns out a number of magistrates that follow the path of the Toku Bushi School. The Fuzake family sits beneath the Toku, performing many of the same duties, but as shugenja, whose magic allows them opportunities that a Toku may not have.
As of 1156, there are nine official Minor Clans; the Badger, Dragonfly, Hare, Monkey, Oriole, Ox, Sparrow, and Tortoise Clans are the ones you will find within your L5R books. Since I have set the campaign in 1156, the Bat Clan is not accessible. I have a number of homebrew Minor Clans that may interest you, so speak to me if you wish to hear about them. As of right now, several players have chosen to use my homebrew Minor Clans. Keep in mind that the schools you have taken study under are subject to change — consider yourselves the first playtesters.