It has been 20 years since the events of “Hearts & Souls” Crane Campaign, and the Empire is in a period of recovery from the assassination of Toturi III.
The current Emperor is Hantei Anotsu, the mysterious shugenja of Hantei descent that appeared from the shadows to stake his claim for the Throne. Supported by a significant number of Samurai of all the Clans, the Imperial families had little choice but to acknowledge his claim. Eager to capitalize on the sudden return of the Hantei bloodline to power, the Crane maneuvered one of their number, Doji Ai to serve as Anotsu’s bride, restoring the tradition of the Crane Empress and catapulting the Crane’s dominance in the courts to their former glory.
The Crane have also managed to retain their economic advantage, with the revitalization of the disgraced Daidoji families to their former status. Daidoji Akeha leads the family as the new Daimyo and the former Ronin known as Ragan now restored to his true name of Asahina Haru leading the Daidoji Merchant Council.
The Dragon have recalled themselves further into isolation, withdrawing all but token representatives in the most important courts. No amount of prompting has been able to learn what it is that has driven the Dragon to such actions, and even the Scorpion are having difficulty getting any information on the matter.
The Phoenix have returned to their former power, though with a much more stable government. Miyata’s death after his successful assassination of Toturi III has crushed the unity of the Rebellion, but resulted in a number of sub-factions that have spread across all of Rokugan. Shiba Tsukimi has taken over as the Champion of the Phoenix after Shiba Mirabu, and the return of the Soul of Shiba has paved the way to a period of healing between the families of the Clan.
The Lion are in a state of rebuilding. Thanks to savvy favor trading by their leading Diplomat, Akodo Kenji, the Lion are economically stable, despite the lack of peasants and manpower necessary to keep their fields going. An unexpected consequence of the return of the Kitsu is an increased need to source meat from other lands in the Empire.
The Crab are nigh unassailable at the moment, with forces from the Lion reinforcing them at regular intervals thanks to the alliance brokered by Akodo Senji. Lately, the Oni and goblin attacks have ceased, leaving the Crab to long stretches of anxious waiting. Within their ranks, some argue for an offensive, while others prefer to maintain the status quo. With Hida Kisada once again among the Ancestors, the new generation of Crab are faced with an uncertain future and an outmoded way of life.
The Scorpion find themselves in the verge of being disbanded yet again. With the failure to protect the Emperor twice from the same threat, the Scorpion Clan have lost much of their influence in court and are barely holding on to their status by virtue of leaning on their existing network of blackmail. Bayushi Paneki knows that there needs to be a means by which the Clan must redeem itself, but this era of Peace offers little in the way of opportunities for Glory in the eyes of the new Emperor.
The Mantis are riding high on an economic boom that they’ve not seen in history. With unbridled access to Central Rokugan without having to pass through Crane Trade Routes, their relationship with the Lion Clan have given the upstart Clan a popularity boost among the populace. Recently they’ve been spotted ferrying members of the Thrane and Merenae Gaijin into the markets of the Lion, leading to rumors that the Lion are researching means to improve firearms technology.