The Crown of the Stars - A Spelljammer 5e Tale
Emerald Dynasty Imperial Families
When the Kami fell to the mortal world, they held a great contest between them to see who would be the most suited to rule the land they had found. It was clear to the children of Sun and Moon that the scattered tribes of humans would need to be unified under a strong and capable leader. To this end, the Kami fought etween themselves until only the most worthy of them remained standing – Hantei. None of his siblings could deny his right to rule; his might, honor, wisdom, and grace outshone all of the other Kami. Hantei knew that though he was individually stronger than any one of his brothers and sisters, together they where more than merely the sum of their parts. Hantei commanded his siblings to organize their followers into the Clans, and those Clans would serve him and his descendents for all time. Though Hantei did not wish any of his brothers and sisters to attend him directly, he was impressed by two mortals early in the founding of the Empire – wise Lady Seppun and cunning Otomo. the two mortal became the right and left hands of the First Emperor in the day-to-day functions of his new Imperial city, serving as his personal guards and advisors. Though the children of the Clans have power and authority as samurai, they only have such at the whim of the Imperial Families, the source from which all true authority on the mortal world stems.
It is hard to categorize the Imperial families as a single unit. Unlike the Clans, they have no perscribed duty but to rule the Empire in all ways. To this end, Imperial bushi, courtiers, and shugenja are free to focus their attention in whatever way best serves their Empress. The samurai of the Imperial families raditate authority and power wherever they go, not only because they carry the authority of the Imperial Throne but also from over a thousand years of such authority running through their veins. Imperial warriors are said to have the eyes of the Elemental Dragons, and the politicians of the Otomo house have the reputation of being able to see your thoughts as plainly as kanji written on a scroll. where the Clans may boast to be the greatest in one thing or another, the Imperial Families need make no such claims. Only a fool challenges the authority, power, and skill of those who attend the Throne directly. It is a mistake that would surely cost the offender his life, his honor, his name, and even his existence in history.
The Imperial bloodlines are carefully preserved, marrying for political gain for the most part. As a result, they tend to have a more variable appearance than many clans. Generally speaking, they dress in a traditional manner and maintain a modest personal appearance.
Current Daimyo: Miya Shoin
At the end of the war with Fu Leng, the mortally wounded Hantei listened to the news of his brother’s befeat with mixed feelings. Though the Empire was surely rid of the most powerful enemy that would ever threaten it, the destruction that the Dark Kami’s hordes caused could easily rot empire into nothing before it had fully emerged. The first Emperor turned to one of his attendants and commanded him to immediately spread word of Thunders’ victory over Fu Leng across the Empire. Hope, Hantei believed, would help allay the problem faster than anything. The young courtier, a man called Miya, rushed from the Emperor’s chambers and immediately took a horse from Otosan Uchi to do what his master comanded. Bearing the seal of Hantei’s authority, Miya traveled across the land, proclaiming the threat of the Shadowlands banished for all time. Miya was a compassionate man, and thus his race across the Empire slowed as he stopped whenever his hands could aid people with their recovery. As Miya stopped between cities and villages, he gathered a small following of samurai and peasant alike that vowed to follow him and uspport him in his efforts. More than a year later, Miya returned to Otosan Uchi with an army of laborers and nobles behind him as a testament to the unbreakable spirit of the people. Though Hantei had died in Miya’s absence, Hantei Genji was deeply impressed by Miya’s devotion to the First Emperor’s word. The Shining Prince, Genji, declared Miya the lord of his own family, and commanded those who followed him to swear fealty to their new daimyo’s name. Miya’s journey through the land has been enshrined as a yearly tradition named “The Emperor’s Blessing,” where samurai and peasants of the Miya lands travel to an area in the Empire particularly ravaged by war or weather and spend Imperial funds in restoration efforts.
Founded on the principles of mercy and peace, the Miya have evolved into the role of moderators and peacekeepers between the Clans whenever the attention of the Emperor is brought to bear on some conflict. When the Miya speak, few are willing to contradict the small family in any way. Enraged Hida generals and vengful Bayushi commanders alike shrink down when a Miya herald enters into a mediation effort and begins issuing edicts. Compared to the other Imperial Families, the Miya hold little influence in the Empire, but they are still more closely allied with the Throne than most. Additionally, their sincere dedication to the ideals of harmony and almost complete guilelessness, means that the Miya have few enemies. Others realize that the Miya tend to be the “front line” of Imperial contact, and to spurn them invited the anger of the less peacefully inclined Seppun and Otomo families.
The Miya are a practical family, given to simple clothing and a simple lifestyle. They are short, with a slight build and dark complexion. their duties require frequent travel and a great deal of riding, which helps keep them physically fit if not particularly muscular.
Current Daimyo: Otomo Hoketuhime
Though many say Emerald Empire is an Empire forged by war and warriors, the Otomo understand the much less glorious reality of the world. One of Hantei’s first followers was the clever Otomo, a man who quickly gained a reputation as a skilled politician and manipulator. Those who attempted machinations in the shadows of Hantei’s city often found themselves stymied by Otomo and his followers. No matter how cunning a would-be puppeteer was, Otomo ensured that Otosan Uchi knew only one master – the Emperor. As one of Hantei’s personal attendents, the coutrier held both immense influence and the freedom to use it as he saw fit. Where many lesser men would have quickly abused that power, Otomo realized the responsibility that he carried with such authority. Though warriors dictated the fate of Rokugan outside the Imperial City, nothing moved without Otomo’s knowledge within it. Otomo understood that he was hardly the only man who could musted such awareness of the city, however, and took steps to correct that small problem. Before Otomo passed away, the complicated bureaucracy of Otosan Uchi had become exponentially more confusing… to those who Otomo and his family did not trust.
The Tamily of Otomo and His descendents quickly grew into their role as the administrators and politicians of Hantei’s dynasty. But it was centuries later that they would find their true purpose. When the Gozoku wrested control of the Empire away from the Emperor with the combined effort of three Great Clans, it became clear that such a threat to Imperial security would never be allowed to rise again. Since that time, the Otomo have made it their primary duty to ensure the Clans never become able or motivated to challenge the Power of the Imperial throne ever again. Through subtle manipulation and trickery, their diplomats ensure there remains enough awe surrounding the Emperor to discourage such a coup and enough tension between the Clans to make such a thing impossible. the Otomo realize their duty is not particularly glorious, but they serve no one but the Son of Heaven, the Emperor. So long as their service is selfless and righteous, none can judge them but the one who rests on the Throne.
The Otomo are an opulent family, and their appearance reflects this. They tend toward a heavyset frame, with virtually no military training to help them maintain their physique. They favor elaborate clothing and the traditional shaved pate for samurai. They project a worm, welcome exterior as genuine in appearance as it is manipulative in nature. Among the Otomo, arrogance and vanity are not seen as negative traits – such things are the earned rights of men and women of their uniquely elevated station.
The Seppun Family
Current Daimyo: Seppun Kiharu
The fall of the Kami to the mortal world came as a shock to many of the unorganized tribes of humans, but one such group awaited them. Seppun and her tribe took a post close to the spot where the children of Sun and Moon fell, quickly kneeling in supplication to the gods before them. Seppun was a wise woman and seer, and her visions had brought her to Hantei in service to the new order projected to shape the land. The old woman could hear the voice of Lady Sun in her heart, and Hantei agreed that seppun would be his first vassal in the fledgling Empire. Since that day, the descendents of Seppun and her tribe have guarded the Emperor and his kin with their lives. Like Seppun, they have done so with wisdom, vision, and vigilance that streches beyond normal human performance. Their sole duty is to the Emperor, and every action a Seppun takes, be it learning art, lore, or warfare, is solely with this interest in mind. The Seppun daimyo usually serve as either the captain of the Imperial Guard or the Emperor’s personal yojimbo, if not both. A secret order among the Seppun, called the Hidden Guard, train shugenja of their family to protect the Emperor’s person from from supernatural threats that their bushi kin cannot combat. In either case, the Seppun are known for their supernatural powers of perception, making it nearly impossible to suprise or catch off guard.
The Seppun rarely venture outside Toshi Ranbo on Imperial business, leaving such matters to the Miya and Otomo. When encountered, however, the Seppun command more respect and admiration than their Imperial cousins for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being their Imperial blood. Among the more martially inclined families, the Seppun bushi are considered legendary in skill and dedication. To those families who value wisdom and learning, the Seppun are well known for their devotion to the Tao, Shinsei, and the Fortunes. Like the samurai of the mirumoto and Shiba families, the Seppun have close ties to the Brotherhood of Shinsei, and more than one of the Little Teacher’s temples have elite Seppun guards.
The Seppun perhaps most resemble the Lion in their appearance, although they would claim that the Lion emulate them. A Seppun’s appearance is flawless in every respect, from their muscular build, to their close-cropped hair, to the immaculate condition of their armor. To appear otherwise would disgrace the Emperor they defend.
The Toturi Family
Current Daimyo: Toturi III
On the second Day of Thunder, the last Hantei Emperor was destroyed by the combined act of the Seven Thunders. Corrupted by jigoku to serve as Fu Leng’s mortal vessel in Ningen-Do, Hantei XXXIX perished beneath the blades of Akodo Toturi and Doji hoturi, ending the line of Hantei Emperors. Close relatives of the Imperial Line were all killed or corrupted during Fu Leng’s occupation of Otosan Uchi, and the Otomo, Seppun, and Miya were unable to find a clear sucessor to Hantei’s Throne. In a bold move the Imperial families agreed that a single man was both experienced and wise enough to lead the nearly shattered Empire in the wake of the CWar – Toturi. At the behest of the Imperial families, Toturi I was crowned and Lady Sun hovered over Otosan Uchi for a full day, marking toturi’s new dynasty with her blessing. So installed as the new Son of Heaven, Toturi I, the Splendid Emperor, took great strides in healing the physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds of the Empire
The Toturi family is exceptionally small, consisting only of Toturi’s youngest son, Naseru, and a rare few individuals who swore fealty to the Winds before Toturi I’s sucessor was chosen. Though no defining traits connect these few individuals, each of them carries the name with the honor due to an Imperial Dynasty. It remains to be seen if the children of Toturi III choose to surrender the Toturi name and join one of the other Imperial Families as the Hantei Dynasty did in order to clear a line of sucession. toturi Naseru is at once a traditional and practical man, and it is unlikely he will fail to heed the mistakes that led to the demise of the Hantei dynasty.
As there are no familial bonds between those who bear the Toturi name and the Dynasty is too young to boast many members, there are no unifying physical features among the Toturi besides a mutually intense gaze and accompanying activity.