When creating a character to be used in the Empire of the Rising Sun, the choice of of clan is extremely important. A character may hail from any of the major clans of the daimyo, or one of the vassal families of said daimyo. There are several minor daimyo who do not possesse any vassal families that the character may also be from, or they may elect to be ronin and have no clan. Membership in a family or clan grants a number of benefits.
- Race: What race members of the family are. The hobgoblins did absorb the other races into their clans, and now there are entire clans made of humans, halflings, elves, and the other races.
- Favored Class: While favored class means relatively little in Tome, since there are no XP penaltie for multiclassing, this is used to show what each family specializes in.
- Starting Honor: The suggested starting honor score for a member of this group. While the normal starting score is 15, this feature superseeds that rule.
- Starting Outfit: This is equipment gained in addition to the normal starting gold for a new character. Unwanted equipment can be sold during character creation for half the market price.
You may, with your DM's approval, choose to be without any faction whatsoever. Characters with no faction are either heimin (worker caste), hinnin (non-people like charlatans and geisha), or gaijin (outsiders, ie drow).
(Note: The first names and surnames presented are in Japanese order, and all the names are real. Any similarity to persons (living or dead) or characters in other media is purely coincidental.)
The Ishikawa are one of largest and most powerful clans in the Empire. With a whopping 6 vassal families, they have so much influence even their influence has influence. Of course, many seek to have that on their side, so the Ishikawa are very good record keepers. They wouldn't want to help finance both sides of a war. Unless it would make them money in the end.
The Ishikawa are one of the original clans created by Katzu himself, a fact that they have not forgotten and will not hesitate to flaunt. They started out fairly small, with only one vassal family, but their grasp of the political arenas and the battlefield, they were able to defeat a far larger clan and assimilate their samurai and holdings. They helped finance the first unification and were one of the major players who wrote up the law.
Being the ones who wrote the law, the Ishikawa are extremely skilled in manipulating it, and have a bureaucratic system so complicated even a Pit Fiend would call it ridiculous. They wrote in a clause in the national law so that they are allowed to have their own law applied to anyone who enters their land, whether the outsider knows their laws (which they usually don't) or not. The law of the Ishikawa territory is a complex thing, with many statutes, precedents, and loopholes. As such, imperial police hate going into Ishikawa territory. In fact, they have their own devision.
Philosophy: The Ishikawa focus on two things: Money, and power. Sure, they might be money-grubbing politicians, but they are very, very good at their job. They are brought up learning the law, and are simultaneously taught to respect and abuse it. Despite this, they are also encouraged to follow through on their promises; so even though they abuse an already complicated system, they are actually quite honorable. They'll steal your money, but hey, they're honest about it, so who cares?
Allies and Enemies: The Ishikawa have many alliances, but they will not simply give one up at the drop of a hat. They know that their influence is sought by even the most sly Yokokiyo aasimar, and use this knowledge to their fullest potential. They usually concentrate on personal alliances rather than backing an entire clan. In the past few years, however, they have broken this precident and backed the upstart Nobuyuki and his clan, the Ota. This surprised many of the other clans, but the Ishikawa realize the Ota's potential power, and know that Nobuyuki has enough expertise to actually ascend to the throne.
Races: Being one of the first clans created, the Ishikawa is made up of hobgoblins, and their vassal families are exclusively goblinoids.
- Race: Hobgoblin
- Favored Class: Rogue
- Starting Honor: 10
Vassal Families of the Ishikawa=
The Ota originated from a fairly small, disorgainized minor clan surrounded on all sides by other small clans, each jockying for more power. Annoyed by the petty squabbles within his clan, Nobuyuki rose up and attacked uncle's castle, taking care of his main opposition and thus uniting the clan. He was prone to fits of anger and would often curse the entire empire openly in front of the other daimyo, which led him to being called "the fool of the Ota." Nobuyuki's anger was not necessarily at the court, but at the minor clans that surrounded his. Outraged by their mediocrity, he invaded the other clans in what was seen as a foolish, overconfidant move.
But Nobuyuki's foolishness paid off, as a combination of good logistics, poor enemy commanders, and the very weather itself led to the Ota totally eclipsing the other minor clans in the area, absorbing them into their fiefdom. The only remnants of the opposing clans are the vassal families of the Ota. However, just as soon as the kami seemed to favor him, a new force of opposition appeared: the yamabushi. Also known as sohei, these warrior monks opposed Nobuyuki at every turn, raining down death and destruction from their fortress-monasteries located in the mountains.
Enraged by the sohei's dishonorable, guerilla tactics, the Ota struck back at the sohei, sending a large bulk of their army into the mountains to deal with the threat. Nobuyuki was at the head of the invading force, and the yamabushi were no match for the daimyo's superior strategy. As payback for all the property damage they had caused, Nobuyuki burned their temples to the ground.
The Ota had largely stayed out of the conflict between the Shogun and Emperor, but their death has opened a new door for Nobuyuki's ambition. He seeks to the throne for himself, and will not rest until the entire empire knows the might of the Ota clan.
Philosophy: The Ota's core philosophy is simple: If met with opposition, destroy it. Nobuyuki showed this explicitedly when he razed the yamabushi's monasteries, but this core dogma can be applied to much of everything else. While it seems excessively ruthless, and it oftentimes is, the Ota philosophy is meant to bring peace and prosperity by eliminating anything that would stand in the way. This often makes Ota warriors impulsive, quick to act, and easily angered. It is wise to avoid the wrath of an Ota.
Allies and Enemies: The Ota are known as "the upstarts," and because they rose to prominence fairly recently, they have few allies in court. Nobuyuki doesn't seem to care about alliances with the other daimyo too much, and his brash nature has led many to suspect his mind and honor are lacking. Despite all this court tension, the Ota have an alliance with their neighbors to the northwest: the mighty Ishikawa. Because of their crimes against the monastic order, many monks and sohei have made it their duty to eliminate the Ota clan.
Races: The Ota clan was originally comprised only of humans, but their absorbtion of the surrounding clans has led to several goblinoids in their ranks. The Ota tend to distrust them, if only because they could be allied with clans comprised entirely of goblinoids, but deal with them because they are excellent warriors.
- Race: Human
- Favored Class: Samurai.
- Starting Honor: 10
- Starting Outfit: To be completed when I finish the gear and equipment section.
Vassal Families of the Ota
- Current Daimyo: Harada Kaito (Male Human Samurai 10)
The Harada used to be a fairly sizeable minor clan made out of humans, just like the Ota were orignally. At one point in time, they were the largest all-human clan, and maintained a human-centric philosophy. A decade or so ago, the Harada marched against the Ota, intent of crushing the small, disorganized clan with their large army. But a combination of Nobuyuki's shrewd tactics and a great storm caused them to lose. What was left were assimilated into the Ota, who let them keep their family name.
- Race: Human.
- Favored Class: Knight. Most become Imperial Knights at 10th level.
- Starting Honor: 17
The Hashimoto are the only gnomes to be members of the samurai class. They are reknowned armor and weaponsmiths, and their daimyo, Osamu, is no exception. They tend to be rather eccentric and often are perfectionists; Osamu has been known to lock himself in the forge for days trying to perfect some new technique. The Hashimoto were one of the first allies of the Ota, and volunteered to become a vassal family very early on. The Ota's success is often attributed to the Hashimoto, for they have some of the finest equipment makers in the entire Empire.
- Race: Gnome.
- Favored Class: Fighter.
- Starting Honor: 10
- Current Daimyo: Sarumata Ryuunosuke (Male Hobgoblin Elementalist 6/Fire Mage 10)
The Sarumata were a small clan with no vassal families, specializing the the applications of the element Fire. While small, they had a fairly good influence on the surrounding area, where they used their fire power to amuse and delight people for money. They were neighbors to the Ota clan while it was still small, and often lent them support. They were repaid with family-hood, serving the Ota as spellcasters.
- Race: Hobgoblin.
- Favored Class: Fire Mage.
- Starting Honor: 15
Excellence: It drives all the Yokokiyo. Members of this clan will not undertake an action if they cannot do it well, and this tradition of excellence has given them a reputation as the finest poets, artists, and duelists in the Empire. For many Yokokiyo, life itself is art.
Many outside the Yokokiyo see them as arrogant or impractical (and they're right), but from the Yokokiyo perspective these observers are either jealous of their heritage or merely shortsighted. Those who do not share the aasimar's high standards can hardly understand why they do what they do. Likewise, few can seriously deny their stunning acheivements.
Though most Yokokiyo disdain open warfare, they do not shun combat all together, and they have known their share of warfare throughout the long history of the Empire. The true power of the Yokokiyo, however, is not in the battlefield but in the courts. The skilled politicians of the Yokokiyo are rvaled only by those of the halfling families. Few important lords in the Empire do not have at least one Yokokiyo ally.
Philosophy: The Yokokiyo, being made out of aasimar and feytouched, tend to think of things in extremes. Either they are extremely passionate about a particular subject, or they can barely contain their disdain. While Yokokiyo are not prone to emotional outbursts any more than the average samurai, most maintain a quiet passion for living that extends to everything they do. Those who share their joy for living and can appreciate the finer things in life have a chance to earn their respect and friendship.
The Yokokiyo tend to have very high standards, both for themselves and others. Those who can meet or exceed those standards are worthy of respect. Those who fall short are not even worthy of attention. Of course, few people ever meet their high expectations.
Allies and Enemies: While most other clans dislike the Yokokiyo for their snobbishness, they have few real enemies. They try to stay out of conflicts as much as possible, since they aren't that plentiful. The Yokokiyo have a large amount of disdain for the Ota; Nobuyuki's clan has more members than the Yokokiyo, and the Ota are fairly new. This has not erupted into war yet, but it likely will.
Races: The Yokokiyo and one of its vassal families are made up of aasimar, descendants of the kami who now breed true. The other vassal family is made up of feytouched, and they share a strange kinship with their celestial brethren.
- Race: Aasimar
- Favored Class: Tenken
- Starting Honor: 15
Vassal Families of the Yokokiyo
The Hanabusa are the diplomatic family of the Yokokiyo. They are famed duelists, but their true power lies in the courts. They have a long tradition of powerful shubosha, and some argue that they have the most power after the shogun's demise. They are the "face" of the Yokokiyo, and recognize that the snobbish nature of their aasimar brothers is detested by the other clans, and attempt to be as inviting as possible. They will not hesitate to help out or lodge powerful people, as long as they will provide a slight favor to be named in the future.
- Race: Aasimar
- Favored Class: Tenken
- Starting Honor: 7
The Ozawa are the single family of feytouched in the entire Empire. Because of their ancestry, they are more connected to the animal spirits of Chikushudo then anyone else. They are also the most spiritually aware of all the clans. They are somewhat estranged from the rest of the Yokokiyo families, prefering to stay in their woodland retreats. The rest of the clan doesn't mind; the philosophical musings and qualms of the Ozawa get in the way of their political schemes.
- Race: Feytouched
- Favored Class: Druid
- Starting Honor: 17
The Minor Clans
The larger clans can trace their history back to the beginning of the Empire (well, most of them, anyway). They are not the only clans that exist, however. Throughout history, a number of samurai, races, and occasionally ronin have been granted clans of their own: their clans are called minor clas. Minor clans survive by going unnoticed or by allying with a more powerful clan; otherwise, they would simply be assimilated.
The main difference between a minor clan and the other clans is that a minor clan has no vassal families. Occasionally a minor clan will rise up and take over its neighbors, which then promotoes it higher on the chain of command Because of the rise of the Ota clan, there are currently less minor clans then ever before. The current minor clans are as follows.
The Nishihara clan is made up entirely of gnoll bushi. Because of their help during the Great War, Katzu granted them their own stretch of land. Unlike the other races, however, the gnolls never attempted to increase their holdings, prefering not to deal with politics at all. With social status high enough that they have servants waiting on their beck and call, the gnoll's innate laziness has reached new lows, and they rarely ever venture out of their castles, let alone their land. They will let almost anything slide; as such, the peasants of the Nishihara (who are not gnolls) don't mind being heimin at all. Most of the other clans disregard them, and barely acknowledge they exist, which is fine with them. If a warrior had the skill and power to raise them as an army and actually do something, they would be one of the most powerful forces in the Empire.
- Race: Gnoll
- Favored Class: Any
- Starting Honor: 15
The Sugiyama are what's left of the elves. Gone are the days when "elf" was synonymous with "tree hugging wizard." They lost their forests long ago, and because of that necromancer (who was probably a member of the Sugiyama) they can't even practice wizardry anymore. They have close ties to the Fuuma ninja clan, and their daimyo is one of the Kyosho of the shadowy organization. It is entirely possible that elves created the Fuuma in the first place, but they only have passing ties to them now. The Sugiyama are so dedicated to taking revenge that they don't bother in politics; they plans span several of their generations, which are significantly longer than the other races of the Empire. Petty squabbles and political affairs are the things of the shorter-lived, inferior races.
- Race: Elf
- Favored Class: Assassin
- Starting Honor: 6
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