(For the purposes of this campaign, it is STRONGLY recommended you refer to the Thousand Years of Darkness Alternate Campaign Timeline in Imperial Histories - this will provide the context for the campaign; all dates up until the year 1143 in Imperial Histories is considered canon unless described otherwise below.)
History A simple question: What if?
There are many possible scenarios that shaped the history of the Emerald Empire - but perhaps the most influential moments revolve around the interactions of the samurai of Rokugan with the denizens of Jigoku and the ever-present threat of Fu Leng, the Ninth Kami. Two times in the history of the Empire Fu Leng was defeated by the joint efforts of heroes of Rokugan: the Days of Thunder. The first day of Thunder was early in the history of the Empire and saw the end of the War of Fu Leng.
However, over 1000 years after the first Day of Thunder, there was a second. Several moments led up to the Second Day of Thunder, but it was the inevitable decision of Togashi Hitomi who, realizing that she was a pawn in the grand scheme of Togashi himself, refused to meet her appointed destiny and reveal the 12th Black Scroll. Without the opening of the Black Scroll, Fu Leng was impervious to the joined armies of Rokugan and its' elected heroes.
With the defeat of the Seven Thunders in the year 1128, the Thousand Years of Darkness came upon Rokugan. The initial Rokugani forces arrayed to defeat Fu Leng was ripped asunder by the victory of the Dark Lord, and these forces turned against one another outside of the Imperial Capitol. That day, the Obsidian Legion formed from the split in the Lion, the many tainted and maddened Crab, and the arrayed forces of the Shadowlands. The Imperial families were massacred in short order and those that lived were ran out of the city: those few who were spared were left to grovel for mercy at Fu Leng's feet. It was only through the intervention of Bayushi Kachiko, claiming that the Dark Lord only had the capability to destroy, not rule, that any Imperials were left alive.
Much of the bureaucracy that one kept Rokugan semi-functional across the land was broken down with positions filled by Fu Leng's trusted leaders, characteristic yes-men/women who bowed directly to him and were completely obedient from his gift of the taint. It would not be the first Rokugani bureaucracy filled by unskilled individuals, but this was a more extreme version of direct monarchy, for any idea or whim that the Dark Lord had, his assistants made manifest, no matter the repercussion.
Fifteen years after his victory in the year 1143, the main forces of the resistance reside on the Isle of Spice and Silk under the leadership of Toturi, holed up from Fu Leng's forces in an area that has been protected by Yoritomo's Alliance and, within the past few years, the Great Sea Spider.
The only sizable force of the Resistance still on mainland Rokugan is within the Castle of the Wasp, Kyuden Ashinagabachi. The castle has remained in the hands of the resistance through numerous efforts on behalf of agents wishing for the fall of the Dark Lord. Fu Leng does not lack for enemies both within his ranks and throughout Rokugan.
THE GREAT CLANS
* Crab * Clan Champion/Leader: Hida Kuroda/Hida Kuon * Clan Numbers: Low Thousands * The wall is breached, and many Crab have been killed or defeated. The Crab still have numbers that maintain the disparate defensive lines of keeps and strongholds throughout the south, however these fortifications fall on a monthly basis. This, which is the majority of the Crab's forces, remain to defend sections still standing and hamper the constant flow of Shadowland creatures into the empire. These fortifications are also where the Crab harry these forces from, though in a much more disorganized fashion than previously under the previous Clan Champion, Hida O-Ushi, who fell in battle. Hida Kuroda, despite being called to the Isle of Spice and Silk to assist the Resistance forces, remains in the south to lead these fledgling forces. His younger brother, Hida Kuon, formed the Crab forces of young and old that retreated from Crab lands, as well as the small numbers of Crab that sought to pair with the Resistance and instruct them in the ways of fighting the Great Enemy.
* Crane * Clan Champion: Daidoji Uji * Clan Numbers: Dozens * The Crane are a clan defined by tragedy, as they have lost all lands and the vast majority of their population. There is a Crane Great Clan, but only in name. Hoturi the Heartless, the great defiler of the legacy of the Crane, ensured that all but a small handful were eradicated through over a decade of hunting every remaining Crane member. Those still alive likely have no family to speak of, and it is likely they have never seen the lands of their family. The vast majority of the Crane were trained by their clan Champion in the way of the Harrier. Those who retain skill in the sword or the way of court were likely on musha shugyo prior to the Second Day of Thunder, or were in the care of another clan prior to the tragic events of the Broken Day of Thunder.
* Dragon * Clan Champion: Mirumoto Hitomi* (Overtaken by the Lying Darkness)/Resistance Leader: Togashi Mitsu * Clan Numbers: Upper Thousands * Resistance Numbers: Low Hundreds * The clan was almost wholly overtaken by the Lying Darkness/Hitomi's actions following the Second Day of Thunder. For those that knew Hitomi's actions that day, of which there were few, the Dragon Clan Champion was almost directly responsible for the success of Fu Leng. She would later kill another Thunder, Hida Yakamo, while attempting to retain possession of the clan - she lost the Jade Hand in the process. The Lying Darkness holds dominion over the clan, which is still at almost full-strength, though it now serves a different master. Those who work with the resistance were outside of the Dragon Mountains at that time. The Dragon are fractured and many of those who remain work with the resistance, however few do so in a coordinated fashion - for many work to defend the various villages that still suffer under the dominion of the Dark Hantei.
* Lion * Clan Champion: Matsu Gohei/Resistance Leader: Toturi the Black * Clan Numbers: Low Thousands * Over half of the Lion joined Fu Leng under the command of Ikoma Ujiaki - for as the Right Hand of the Emperor, Fu Leng within the body of a Hantei was for whom they dedicated their service. They now serve as the basis of the Obsidian Legions. Another large portion of the Lion committed seppuku in protest, for they would not be able to honor their oath of fealty to the Lion. The remainder, once under the command of Matsu Gohei, at this point are now the main force of the resistance forces (under Toturi the Black Ronin).
* Phoenix * Clan Champion: Shiba Tsukune * Clan Numbers: Dozens * The Phoenix were targeted by the predations of Fu Leng shortly after he took the throne, but they were a clan on the brink of destruction before then. A large portion of the clan was lost following the opening of several Black Scrolls, and even more were lost during the Second Day of Thunder, to include the Elemental Council. Already a small clan, the Phoenix under Shiba Tsukune rallied with the resistance and have played a minor role in the fate of Rokugan for many years, now. Even still, the Phoenix that do remain are staunchly loyal to the resistance as they shoulder the burden of the clan's actions almost two decades prior and seek to make amends.
* Scorpion * Clan Champion: N/A * Clan Numbers: ??? * As a result of the Coup, the Scorpion maintain their lost status as a Great Clan. Working as organized groups of ronin numerous Scorpion keep their spy networks alive as best they can working in the shadows for the resistance, while others have turned into negotiators with foreign kingdoms seeking relationships and alliances for the coming battles. Others still work from the inside of Fu Leng's forces as Rokugani double-agents, knowing that they are to be eventually lost to the draw of the Taint - and likely never known for their sacrifice to Rokugan.
* Unicorn * Clan Champion/Leader: Moto Chagatai * Clan Numbers: Multiple thousands (25,000+) in the Burning Sands * Resistance numbers: Low hundreds * The organized forces of the Unicorn were assaulted in 1143 within their presumed safe haven of Medinaat-al-Salaam - the clan was targeted by the undead Otaku Kamako and the Dark Moto. The Clan Champion, Moto Gaheris and one of his sons lie dead following the battle. This led to Moto Chagatai taking over leadership of the clan. The clan's forces were significantly decreased after this battle, and it was shortly after that hundreds of Unicorn decided to return to the Empire and engage in guerilla war, just as they had done following the defeat of the clan years prior. The main body of the Unicorn remain in Medinaat-al-Salaam even now, with any members of the Unicorn within the Empire working for the resistance - and hunted by the Dark Moto wherever they may appear.
THE MINOR CLANS
Mantis/Yoritomo's Alliance * Clan Champion: Yoritomo Clan Numbers: Mid-Thousands There is no Mantis Great Clan, as the agreement made by Yoritomo and the Thunders, while agreed to prior to the great loss on the Second Day of Thunder, never was able to come to fruition due to the loss suffered by the Rokugani. This is a matter of minor contention, as the Mantis know that there was an agreement to elevate the clan, however Toturi never had the opportunity to do so. The Mantis are still formally in allegiance with many of the Minor Clans, known as Yoritomo's Alliance, but there is never a formal merger.
The Wasp, led by Tsuruchi, for their part, still work very closely with the Mantis, As the owners of Kyuden Ashinagabachi, they focus primarily on the defense of one of the few resistance strongholds on mainland Rokugan, as well as the policing of nearby villages. They continue to exist as the only major holdout within Rokugan for the resistance forces.
The Centipede, led by Moshi Jukio, for their part, were meant to be the beacon of hope for the Second Day of Thunder. With Fu Leng's victory, however, hope was lost in Rokugan. The Centipede's lands were one of the last lost. The Centipede, who remained retreated to Kyuden Ashinagabachi or across the seas to the Isle of Spice and Silk. With the loss of the Centipede Valley in 1137 and all of the minor clan's holdings, the Centipede have mostly been relegated, as with many shugenja, to shintao rituals and other tasks that may not require directly beckoning calamatous action with the kami. The central goal of the Centipede is to one day reclaim Amaterasu Seido. The Yoritomo Alliance has the primary goal of maintaining the resistance's physical lands. The Mantis own the Isle of Silk and Spice, while Yoritomo's Alliance and the resistance maintain Kyuden Ashinagabachi. The Mantis focus on the defense of the sea and raiding the borders along Rokugan's eastern coast to keep Fu Leng from building any sort of sizable naval force to threaten the islands.
* Hare The very small numbers of Hare that remain have shifted their priorities from hunting Maho and Kolat activities to finding the 12th Black Scroll to make Fu Leng mortal. This is not something that is discussed openly, much like the clan's previous clandestine activities, as there would be great concern that the forces of Fu Leng would learn the location of the scroll and retain it somewhere secure for eternity.
* Kitsune With the Kitsune Clan's land destroyed 14 years ago, the remnants exist solely within the Resistance. They never joined with the Mantis, and so are a minor element in most cases. They do have some ability to navigate the Kitsune Mori more-so than other elements in Rokugan, but are not able to do so routinely.
* Wasp The main resistance reside with the Wasp in their castle, some members are with the Mantis in the Ivory Kingdoms - See above under Yoritomo's Alliance
* Monkey Never formed. Toku is still a Ronin, though he takes part in Toturi's army and has his own followers.
* Badger Given their duty of keeping invaders out, Fu Leng paid them little heed and so they are mostly unaffected by the state of the Empire. With no supplies, the Badger have engaged in banditry at times to maintain the few resources they need - otherwise, much of the clan's numbers were struck down during their support of the Resistance assault on Otosan Uchi shortly after the Second Day of Thunder.
* Sparrow Exist, and subsist, purely in the resistance. No lands to speak of, they have focused on maintaining Kyuden Ashinagabachi's harvests in the austere conditions that surround the castle.
* Tortoise Without the support of the Empire and its treasury, as well as the location of the Tortoise in general, the minor clan was overtaken by the forces of the Obsidian Legion in short order. The Tortoise serve a new master now - for they are the only force that works in Fu Leng's employ that has the capacity to interact with foreign forces, now a dark resemblance of their former role in the Emerald Empire.
* Centipede Part of Yoritomo's Alliance - See above under Yoritomo's Alliance.
* Oriole Though not quite a minor clan, the group has a family name of sorts. Some have managed to escape the slaughter at the Imperial City and reside with the resistance, having considerable value as smiths. However, they have no supplies of their own to speak of, only their own skills, and so must often be entirely supplied by the Resistance forces.
* Dragonfly * When Hitomi and Nothing overtook the Dragon lands, the Dragonfly were on the periphery of this considering their place at the base of the mountains. Being as close as they were, and also overseeing one of the only fertile food sources to supply the Dragon, the minor clan had a decision to make: be brutalized by the Obsidian Legions, or join the Dragon proper and, consequently, submit to Nothing for protection. The Dragonfly, placed in such a precarious position, elected to join Nothing rather than be destroyed by Fu Leng's forces. Prior to this, however, many within the clan were given a single night to collect what they could carry and flee to pair with the Resistance.
THE IMPERIAL FAMILIES
* Numbers: A few dozen * The Imperial Families were the first swept away when the Great Enemy took over the Imperial Capitol and the surrounding hub cities of Otosan Uchi. There are no traces of the Imperial Families to speak of, despite the fact that dark entities have stepped up to fulfill the roles previously held by the Otomo, the Miya, and the Seppun. This is not to say that every Imperial member was hunted down, and in fact there had to have been Imperials on business during the Second Day of Thunder elsewhere in the Empire, however they no longer have the sway and privilege they once did. * Note: Playing an Imperial in this time is comparable to a ronin. There are no lands or resources to support the members, and the only Imperials who might still be alive were part of a pact or agreement to train in another school. The importance of Imperials has eroded greatly over the past 15 years, and so not all who interact with the proud families give nearly as much credence to the names of Otomo, Seppun, or Miya.