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L5R Thoughts – the Snake Clan

19 August, 2010

As I have mentioned, the minor clans fill an important role in the Empire of Rokugan filling odd but useful niches and making the Empire a more interesting and complex place.

One of these is the Snake Clan, which was founded by Isawa Chuda who had saved the Emperor from assassination by a blood cult headed by one of the Imperial Magistrates.  The new Chuda Family and the Snake Clan were tasked with rooting out blood cults and defending the Empire (and the Emperor) from such mystical threats.  In canon, the Snake clan become corrupted and possessed by a great evil.  The entire clan is wiped out except for a handful of blood wizards by the Phoenix, these survivor remember their name and eventually become the shugenja family of the Spider Clan.

Not so in my Rokugan.  While the Snake Clan is often tempted by the Dark, they have resisted its siren call . . . mostly.   The Ancient Spirit attempting to lure the clan to its doom was identified and tricked into possessing a volunteer, Chuda Tomoji, who had had his tongue removed prior.  Once anchored to a physical body, the spirit was able to be exorcised and driven from this world though at the cost of Tomoji’s life.  From his last haiku, the Chuda took a new motto: “Unending vigilance, necessary sacrifice.”

The Chuda family remains small and they maintain exceptionally close ties with the Phoenix Clan, the Kuni family of the Crab and the Hare and Falcon Clans.  Visiting Kuni Witch Hunters and Isawa Inquistors are not uncommon at Kyuden Chuda though none police the family more so than themselves.  Chuna shugenja are often found in Imperial service, mostly as yoriki and magistrates, and a small number of their most talented members work  under the direction of the Seppun Imperial Guard.  A Chuda shugenja is immediately recognizable by the Jade Oroboros around their right wrist.

The heavily warded Kyuden Chuda sits on the Dragon Heart Plain and has the best library about blood magic and how to combat it in the Empire (a claim sometimes disputed by the Isawa or the Kuni).  The Snake Clan is small but fairly wealthy, their lands laying astride the trade route between the Dragon and Phoenix.  Their farmlands are sufficient and they control a mine that produces a small amount of very high quality jade.

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