The Shadowlands lie to the south of Rokugan and for a thousand years have represented the greatest threat to the Empire. Created by the fall of Fu Leng, the region that the Shadowlands covers was once the centre of several pre-human empires. The Troll city of Volturnum still stands in ruins within the heart of the Shadowlands. Fu Leng’s fall impacted on the site of the nezumi capital, destroying the city and creating the Festering Pit.
The Shadowlands is touched directly by jigoku, the Realm of Evil and is tainted by its touch. Water is scare and what pools and streams there are are brackish and fouled. Plants grow stunted and rotten, whilst wildlife is unnatural and savage. Everything in the Shadowlands is touched by the Taint, and travelling in the region is ill advised at the best of times. Only the famed Hiruma scouts know the ways of the land and how to survive within the tainted environs. The only sure protection is offered by jade, however that doesn’t last forever.
Many creatures inhabit the wastelands, from capricious pekkle no oni to feral tribes of goblins and the mighty oni, demons of jigoku and servants of Fu Leng. The last remnants of the nezumi also make their home in the Shadowlands, but seem to be somehow immune to the taint. For the last millenium, the Crab Clan have stood guard against the Shadowlands, defending the Empire. However, since the coronation of Kisada I, the Crab have been stood down. The Kaiu Wall is no more and the Shadowlands border creeps northward with each passing year. Within the courts of the Empire, daimyo and courtiers whisper that soon the Empire will become the Shadowlands, but none agree on how to halt its spread. Meanwhile, in the court of the shogun, Yoritomo worries that it may be too late already. With a fallen god on the Throne and the Empire in thrall to his whims, what can mere mortals do?