Three Feet from Death
While all the clans have unique customs and practices that others would readily identify as strange, perhaps no other clan save the Unicorn suffers the confusion and disdain of the Empire so much as the Dragon. Although the Dragon are beholden to their own traditions and codes of conduct, there is little they do that is considered normal to the other clans. This is a direct reﬂection of their founder, the most enigmatic and peculiar of the Kami, Togashi, who gathered to his banner other singularly unique individuals and created a clan of oddities. The task bestowed upon the Dragon Clan by the ﬁrst Emperor was to watch the Empire, and it is a task they embraced without question. During the earliest days of Rokugan, the Dragon Clan ascended to the northern mountains and have rarely ever come down, never expanding their borders, and engaging in battle with the other clans for reasons no one else can ever fully comprehend.
For the majority of their history, the Dragon Clan has lacked any form of unifying philosophy, adopting instead the notion that all honorable souls should be free to ﬁnd their own path to enlightenment. The Dragon as a whole believe every individual must determine how the code of Bushido and its tenets applies to them and then live according to that determination. This is not to say they condone abandonment of the Code; the Dragon condemn those who are without honor as much as any other clan. They place particular emphasis on the tenet of Sincerity, embracing the principle that word and deed should be as one, both with oneself and others.
The Kami Togashi was an enigma even to his brothers and sisters, unique among the children of the Sun and Moon, and he has no extended family that bears his name. Instead, he created a monastic order, the Togashi, which is ruled by his direct line of descendants. The Togashi line is as enigmatic and reclusive as its progenitor, and perhaps a handful of individuals in any given generation of the Empire ever meet the Dragon Champion. The Togashi’s closest followers are the Mirumoto, the largest and easily the most practical family of the Dragon, at least by their clan’s standards – other samurai, by contrast, often ﬁnd them mysterious or strangely poetic. The Mirumoto deal with most of the day-to-day affairs of the clan so the Champion can focus more fully on the pursuit of enlightenment. The Kitsuki family often represents the Dragon in court, and they are known throughout Rokugan as exceptional magistrates despite their strange obsession with evidence and logical deduction over testimony. The Agasha family once served the clan as shugenja with an interest in alchemical pursuits, but they eventually abandoned the Dragon to join the Phoenix, and were replaced by their successors, the Tamori family.
The Dragon Clan controls provinces that are almost exclusively mountainous, making it difﬁcult for them to marshal any signiﬁcant amount of resources. The few plains they control at the mountains’ foothills are fortunately very arable, but far from sufﬁcient to feed the entire clan. The minerals they mine from the mountains are the clan’s primary resource, and one they trade heavily in order to feed their people. Although artisans are relatively uncommon among the Dragon, smiths are not, and ﬁne weapons and armor are a valuable product with those who appreciate such things.
Enigmatic and mysterious, the samurai of the Dragon Clan have walked their own path since the Empire was ﬁrst created. More individualistic and less concerned with material wealth than other clans, the Dragon have much in common with the monks of the Brotherhood of Shinsei, despite the considerable variety among their individual families.
THE KITSUKI FAMILY: +1 AWARENESS
The ever-perceptive Kitsuki serve the Dragon Clan as magistrates and court representatives, although they are better suited as the former. Even in court, however, a Kitsuki’s ability to perceive truth when presented with lies has proven a tremendous asset to the Dragon in their pursuit of an Empire free of deceit and treachery.
THE MIRUMOTO FAMILY: +1 AGILITY
The Mirumoto are the broad shoulders that carry the burdens of the Dragon Clan. While the Togashi pursue their unique brand of enlightenment, the Mirumoto rule the clan in all but name, overseeing its day to day operations and ﬁlling the ranks of its military. Comprising more than half the Clan’s ranks, the Mirumoto are the most commonly encountered Dragon samurai in the Empire.
THE TAMORI FAMILY: +1 WILLPOWER
Perhaps the most militant shugenja family in the Empire, the Tamori embrace unique magical styles, including alchemy, blacksmithing, and melding the arts of magic and war. The Tamori are more feared than other shugenja because of their willingness to commit to violence when other priests would turn away.
THE TOGASHI ORDER: +1 REFLEXES
A monastic order rather than a true family, the Togashi accept all who wish to join their ranks, provided they are able to embrace the order’s teachings and endure its trials, which many are not. Over the centuries, the monks of this order have used the divine blood of the Dragon Kami to create mystical tattoos that grant them incredible, supernatural abilities.
The Dragon’s view of other clans
- CRAB: They cling to duty with enormous tenacity, and that is admirable, but their open disdain for everything outside their own realm of experience is their weakness. They are not so strong that they can survive alone.
- CRANE: The Crane rule the courts, yes, but not always with the benevolence a true master of men should possess. Like the Crab, they create their own hardships by alienating those around them.
- LION: The Lion have a mighty roar, but it deafens them to the sound of all else. If all they crave is war, that is all they shall receive. What a shame, to miss all else the world has to offer.
- MANTIS: The Mantis are hardy souls who live fully in the world, but they forsake their own spirits in doing so. One must live in both worlds in order to achieve one’s destiny.
- PHOENIX: Our closest allies and those most fully on the path of enlightenment. We salute their brilliance and their piety, and hope only they will one day learn to be less assured of their own infallibility.
- SCORPION: We have been allies at times, and we respect their strengths without the judgment that other clans levy against them. Still, they walk a dark path, and one day they may become lost in the shadows. Our Kitsuki watch them closely.
- UNICORN: Most believe they have no place in the Empire, but they do not listen, and embrace ways that others find abhorrent. They are comfortable with themselves, and in that, they are strong.
- MINOR CLANS: Greatness may spring from the lowliest of places, but the ambitious must beware lest their own desires cast them down.
Carman, S., Hobart, R., Pinto, J & Yoon, B.(2010). Legend of the five rings: 4th edition roleplaying game. Ontario, California:Alderac Entertainment Group.