Rokugan, once know as the Emerald Empire is a large nation bordered to the north by mountains, to the east by the great sea, to the west the Burning Sands and to the southwest the Shadowlands. Much of Rokugan is fertile plains and rivers, with mountains, hills and vales. In the beginning, what would become Rokugan was populated by non human races, the trolls, ogres, Naga and Nezumi being the most prominant. Then came the human tribes. These primitives knew nothing of culture or civilisation, but were able to practice powerful magic. The time of ignorance didn’t last, as legend tells, the fall of the Kami brought about great change. The Empire was founded and Hantei, first of the Kami became Emperor. The Great Clans were founded, each given a duty by the Emperor to fulfil a role within the Empire. Little known to the eight Kami, a ninth brother, the youngest, fell far from the others. His fall was far and hard, the impact breaking open the earth and casting him into Jigoku, the Realm of Evil. There, he was corrupted and twisted. Fu Leng, the Ninth Kami, the Dark One, rose against the young Empire. The area around the Pit where he has fallen had become corrupted and tainted, the Shadowlands. From here Fu Leng launched armies of goblins and oni against the Empire. It became clear that the Dark One had been angered by his exclusion from the tournamnet to decide who would be Emperor. He demanded that he be allowed to compete, as he should have. Togashi, founder and Kami of the Dragon Clan had sat out the tournament and accepted Fu Leng‘s challenge. The Dark One asked what weapons Togashi wished to use, to which the enigmatic Lord replied ’Everything under the Heavens’. So it was that the first War against the Shadowlands was fought. In the end, a small monk named Shinsei presented himself to the Emperor. Telling him that only mortals could save the mortal realm, Shinsei gathered seven of the greatest warriors of the Clans. The Thunders entered the Shadowlands and passed into myth. Noone knows what happened in that final battle, except that Fu Leng was defeated. Twelve Black Scrolls were carried out of the Festering Pit by the Scorpion Clan Thunder. These were used by Isawa Phoenix Clan Thunder to seal Fu Leng‘s soul in Jigoku. Over a thousand years later, Fu Leng returned and possessed the last Hantei Emperor, Hantei XXXIX and after descarding him, Kisada I. The Empire fell to darkness and is now known as the Obsidian Empire.
Central to the Rokugani way of life is the Celestial Order or caste system. Everyone is a servant of the Emperor who, as the Son of Heaven rules all of Rokugan. The rest of the populace are divided into castes, the samurai, who make war, the heimin the merchants and farmers and the eta non people who perform unclean tasks such as gravedigging. Within each caste there is a heirarchy that is strictly adhered to. What seperates a samurai from others is his place in the Order. A samurai is born to make war. They perform no other work, though perfection of arts is a worthy past time. samurai follow bushido, the code of conduct laid down by the Kami Akodo at the founding of the Empire. A samurai is the only person entitled to bear a daisho, the twin blades of a samurai. These are the katana, or killing sword used in combat and the wakiszashi, symbol of a samurai’s honour.