Clans of the Okubo (Polesia)
- 1 Kani Clan
- 2 Shiroihato clan
- 3 The Hebi Clan
- 4 The Tora Clan
- 5 The Shineinawashi Clan
- 6 The Sasori Clan
- 7 The Kirin Clan
- 8 Minor clans
蟹 The defenders
The staunch and hardy defenders of the Banrin passes, the samurai of the Kani form the primary guard between the darkness of Leng and the rest of the empire. With comparatively little concern for courtly manners, the Kani are seen as grim, tough, and crude brutes. While this is a stereotype, it's not always inaccurate. The Kani revel in combat, and their shrewd, battle-hardened sensibilities grant them a reputation of formidability. Their contribution to the empire is one of the most vital: the sequestering of the plateau of Leng.
The Kani clan is most commonly identified with a blue-gray color, often mixed with reds, blacks, and browns. Their emblem is the symbol of the crab. They prefer functional armor and weapons. Often appearing casual compared to the finer clothing of their peers, the Kani are nothing if not intimidating.
The Kani prefer strong blows, heavy weapons, and merciless tenacity. The finer combat arts, the crab know, aren't always most effective against the monstrosities beyond the wall. A tetsubo, (a heavy wooden bat covered in iron studs) however, says more to monsters than an elegant blade routine.
鶴 The artisans
The Shiroihato, since the days of the Great Kami, have strenuously maintained the culture of the Okubo. Masters of political intrigue, the arts, and the finer precepts of bushido, the Shiroihato hold favors in store from nearly every family in Asashiro, and know how and when to call them in. They Shiroihato Samurai are noble in every sense of the word: refined, cultured, civilized, and graceful.
The Shiroihato are typically identified with sky blue and silver colors. Their emblem is the symbol of the crane. Shiroihato clan members prefer fine silks made into flowing garments. Their weapons and armor are expertly made, and meticulously decorated. As a sign of respect to their founding Great Kami, many Shiroihato clan members use bleach to dye their hair stark white.
The Shiroihato are masters of the refined dueling styles of iaijutsu, a most elegant and minimalistic combat art. Iaijutsu focuses on needing as few strikes as possible to dispatch one's opponent. A single strike is rigorously practiced to such perfection that a second is rarely necessary.
The Hebi Clan
竜 The Mystics
Mysterious and enigmatic, the Hebi are the most secretive of the great clans. Dwelling in seclusion deep in the mountains, the clan is famous for its many monks, though to some degree, all Hebi samurai live a life of monastic sensibilities. The Hebi are also known for protracted silence, evading direct questions, and speaking in riddles.
The Hebi are most commonly identified with green and gold colors. Their emblem is the symbol of the dragon. The Hebi are famous for their tattoo culture. Many Hebi, though especially those of monk traditions, cover themselves in beautiful and vibrant tattoos. Hebi warriors often eschew full sets of armor for partial sets, maximizing their mobility. Out of respect for their Great Kami founder, and their monastic culture, many Hebi completely shave their heads.
The Hebi samurai often utilize a famous swordsmanship style called the Niten style, wherein one wields a katana in their right hand, and their wakizashi in their left, designed to increase one's ability to deflect oncoming attacks, and shift easily between offense and defense.
The Tora Clan
虎 The Warriors
Above all others, the Tora clan exemplify and define the ideals of Bushido, by which every samurai in Asashiro lives. Paragons of warrior virtue, the Tora are also known for their historians, and their veneration of the ancestors all over the empire, keeping the Okubo in touch with their past.
The Tora clan is most commonly identified with orange, tan, and brown colors. The symbol of the Tora is the Tiger.
As paragons of samurai warriors themselves, the Tora emphasize strategy, shrewdness, force of will, and conventional combat skill. Where a lesser samurai might excel through a specialized technique, or brute force, a Tora is expected to succeed in all circumstances through the wisdom and grit of one whose profession for hundreds of years has been war in its highest forms.
The Shineinawashi Clan
鳳 The priests
The Shineinawashi are the most pious of all the clans in the empire, and are known for their spiritual strength. The greatest and most talented shugenja are of the Shineinawashi, and even among the samurai warriors of the clan, extensive spiritual training is common.
The Shineinawashi typically are identified with red and gold colors. The emblem of the Shineinawashi is the symbol of the Phoenix.
The Shineinawashi emphasize mental and spiritual strength above all else. Training their minds and spirits to combat the forces of magic and martial skill, the Warriors of this clan are often seen as warrior-priests, tempered to resist the elements. A Shineinawashi warrior is just as likely to be seen praying or meditating as he is to be seen practicing his Budo.
The Sasori Clan
蠍 The underhand
The devious members of the Sasori clan fulfill an unseemly but ultimately necessary role in the empire: the shadows. The Sasori are the assassins, the spies, the ones who do what others will not. Their samurai follow an adjusted view of bushido: they care little for the chivalry and honor of fairness and uprightness. Instead, their chief virtue is loyalty. Loyalty to the empire, loyalty to their daimyo, and loyalty to their families. A Sasori will keep a secret forever, and will never betray his own. While many detest the ways of the Sasori, such deeds stem directly from an unanswering sense of loyalty: to do what must be done because those who live in the light cannot.
The Sasori are most often represented with colors of blood-red and black. The emblem of the Sasori is the symbol of the scorpion. Out of respect for their Great Kami founder, and the philosophy by which they live, all Sasori samurai wear masks in public, symbolizing that at all times, some things must remain unseen.
A Sasori is skilled in the ways of misdirection and subterfuge. Unlike other samurai, a Sasori may feel no obligation to fight fairly. Why handicap one's own ingenuity? For this reason alone, few would dare to battle a Sasori warrior. Further, the Sasori know every other clan's deepest secrets and their greatest weaknesses as noted in a collection of parables, Sasori Outlooks
The Kirin Clan
麒麟 The explorers
In Asashiro, many samurai ride into battle on horseback. Nearly every clan has a cavalry which can be utilized from time to time to perform quickly on the battlefield. But horses are hard to come by, and typically only the highest ranked of samurai are seen atop a mount. This is not so for the Kirin. The Kirin Clan, in the wide plains of their homes, have bred the finest steeds in all of steeds in all of Asashiro. As such, Kirin culture revolves around the use of horses. Nearly every Kirin warrior is a skilled horseman, and even the peasants of their grassy lands, rather than farming on marshy rice paddy, is atop a horse, herding cattle and goat. Kirin are also known for their diplomacy and keen sense of justice.
The Kirin clan is most often associated with colors of purple, white, and gold. Their emblem is the symbol of the Kirin beast. Due to their interactions with the barbarian people from which they drew their horses and livestock, the Kirin tend to look very different in garb and even in physical features, which are a mixture of common clothing and features found in Asashiro, and those of the old steppe nomad traditions.
As one might imagine, Kirin warriors emphasize mounted combat. Their horses are swiftest, and their horsemen are the best trained in the land.
There are 31 other minor clans in the empire, which may be introduced as needed.
One, for instance, is the Kamakiri clan, who have established themselves an head-and-shoulders above most minor clans due to their keen sailing abilities and naval expertise. Their colors are teal-green and gold, and their emblem is the Mantis. They mostly live in the Okubo held islands to the southwest of Asashiro and are, nominally, are vassals to the Tora Clan.
Other minor clans include:
Inoshishi (Boar emblem, Kani)
Kame (Turtle emblem, Shiroihato)
Kumo (Spider emblem, Sasori)
Nousagi (Hare emblem, Sasori)
Ryōken (Hound emblem, Kani)
Saru (Monkey emblem, Shiroihato)
Suzume (Sparrow emblem, Shiroihato)
Tanuki (Badger emblem, Kirin)
Ushi (Ox emblem, Shineinawashi).