[L5R] Unicorn Campaign Pitch: Legacy of the Ki-Rin

Posted: May 31, 2013 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Campaign Design, Legend of the Five Rings, Roleplaying Games
Tags: , ,


“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Nelson Mandela

Themes: Compassion, Honesty, Progress vs. Tradition, Cultural Shift
Moods: Determination and Courage in the face of the Unknown

The Unicorn Clan have always been painted as strangers in their own home. Considered to be barbaric and alien by the other clans even after their successful re-integration to Rokugan, the Unicorn present an interesting opportunity for a campaign.

Their unique point of view, that of a Clan that has ventured far beyond the borders of the Emerald Empire. Their experiences in strange lands with varied customs and cultures grants the Unicorn Clan a unique opportunity to change the Empire in a fashion that only they can.

Rokugan is a hidebound and traditional place, so full of their own self-importance and smug in their sense of being right that they’ve closed themselves off from progress. The fact that societal and technological advancement moves at such a slow pace proof of this. As those who have seen the merits of doing things differently, the Unicorn are the only ones that can stop the stagnation of Rokugani Society.

This campaign centers on the Legacy of the Ki-Rin, the children of the original clan who have seen the world outside the Empire, and must now fulfill a moral obligation to prepare the Empire from threats beyond their borders, no matter what shape or form this threat takes. Recalled from the Unicorn holdings in Medinaat-al-Salaam, the player characters are a new wave of Unicorn Samurai who have come to bring the light of enlightenment to an Empire blind to change.

Player Characters:

Characters may be any Unicorn Clan concepts. The game takes place a generation after the Crane Clan campaign, and the Unicorn are in the slow course of picking themselves up after the war with the Lion Clan. In an effort to speed up their recovery, The Khan has called for Samurai from the Burning Sands to return to the Empire to bolster the Unicorn’s numbers.

The Player Characters are agents of change, bringing unorthodox concepts of rulership, war, science and culture to a land that is blind to it’s own vulnerabilities.

This desire to improve the Empire as a whole stems from the Unicorn’s primary virtue of Compassion, a love for their fellow man, and desire for the Empire as a whole to grow stronger.


The Qilin (or Ki-Rin) is a mythical hooved Chinese horse-dragon that is full of cultural significance to China. According to legend, the Qilin appears to herald the imminent arrival of a wise sage or illustrious ruler. It is also a potent omen of peace and prosperity to the land.

It is this iconography that inspired my take on the Unicorn. While I must admit that my initial impression of the Clan is that of the Mongol Horse People from beyond, there’s a surprising amount of depth to be had the moment that it clicked in my head that these weren’t just the Mongols… but rather the Chinese.

China was a dominant force in ancient times, a leader in the arts, sciences, mathematics and medicine and war. This advancement came from their willingness to interact and learn from other cultures. I found that Rokugan in general seemed to be very closed off and resistant to ideas from other cultures and it seemed to be a very strong hook from which to base a campaign. How do you educate a society that is stubbornly resistant to change?


At this point I expect that many of the people I know will be scouring the skies for flying pigs. I’ve always been critical of the Unicorn Clan, going so far as painting them as villains for the Never a Dull Blade campaign. That said the sudden epiphany I had regarding the iconography of the Kirin and the nature of the Clan’s position and mission has come together in a surprisingly good way.

  1. I’m gonna bite on this one. 😀 I blame Maoyuu Maou Yuusha :p

  2. Hikkikomori says:

    I… I want this. 😀

  3. Intriguing. Though the Mantis have really usurped the Unicorn’s role as critical outsiders in the current canon material, and you do not need two sets of outsiders.

    That being said, I would happily play in this campaign as I think it takes the Unicorn back to where they should be in the setting.

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