Perhaps the most well-known soldiers and generals in the Emerald Empire, the samurai of the Lion Clan are famous for their ferocity, courage, and integrity. The Lion’s military might is unrivaled, as there are no sharper tacticians and no larger armies in all of Rokugan. This proud military heritage has earned the Lion Clan a place as the Right Hand of the Emperor, sworn to protect him by serving as his personal guard and his standing army. Through strategy and sagacity, loyalty and legacy, the families of the Lion Clan devote themselves to studying and upholding the Code of Akodo, the philosophy set down their legendary founder. To the Lion, these virtues of the warrior spirit are more than a simple code of ethics, but an entire way of life.
The Lion Clan’s primary duty is maintaining the standing forces that protect the Emerald Empire from direct military threats, both internal and external. At the very dawn of the Empire, Akodo’s armies were responsible for the rapid expansion of the Emerald Empire and have been the primary military force sustaining it ever since. Over the centuries, the Lion Clan has also suppressed rebellions and clashed with faraway foreign powers that have made attempts at invading Rokugan. Even now, over a thousand years later, the might of the Lion Clan is unquestioned.
The Lion Clan also maintains ancient records of lineages as well as vast amounts of historical documents, treatises, and commentaries. Most famous among these is Akodo’s Leadership, the essential Rokugani text on waging war. From Leadership, the Lion learned the importance of surprise in battle, which led them to secretly train shinobi capable of reconnaissance, espionage, infiltration, and sabotage.
With the soul of a warrior and the heart of a monk, Akodo Toturi has always walked a path apart. During his childhood in a monastery, he studied the Teachings of Shinsei, but as a scion of the Lion Clan’s nobility, he was still taught the Code of Akodo and the arts of weaponry and warfare. He has become a skilled duelist in his own right, and like countless generations of ancestors before him, he has a keen mind for strategy and tactics.
Despite being the firstborn heir, Toturi was never meant to become the leader of the Lion Clan. His younger brother, the bold and beloved Arasou, was better suited to the role by far. But when Arasou was killed in a battle to retake a strategic fortress, Toturi found himself forced to walk a path for which he was never prepared. For the intrigues of the Emperor’s court are no less deadly than a battlefield, and the reputation of his clan rests on his ability to lead them to victory.
The Lion Clan is war itself, forged by Akodo to crush the Emperor’s foes and enforce the Emperor’s will with absolution. Lion Clan culture exalts martial achievement as the greatest glory its samurai can achieve. It expects its samurai to meet force with force and death with a smile—a hard path for anyone to walk, and harder still for any gentle soul. But there is also a strong camaraderie within the Lion Clan, and a widespread belief that everyone from the most elevated hero to the humblest denizen has something vital to contribute to society, whether they are a master-at-arms, a storyteller, a diplomat, or a farmer.
Many within the Lion Clan value order, martial prowess, and scholarship, especially as relates to learning from history. Individual values vary by family—the Akodo tradition tends to teach its students to focus on teamwork and success as a group, while the Matsu and Ikoma traditions tend to be more individualistic, their stories centered on the glory of past heroes. The Kitsu mediums prioritize tradition, having been founded from the last remnants of the mystical Kitsu species. But all four families teach the importance of understanding the past so that they can protect Rokugan against threats in the future.
The Akodo Family
In addition to leading the clan, the Akodo family trains many of the master strategists and tacticians of the Empire at its legendary war college.
The Matsu Family
The teeth of the Lion are the Matsu family, whose fighters’ skill is sharpened every day by arduous training.
The Ikoma Family
Having served as the historians of Rokugan since its inception, the bardic Ikoma family makes warriors into legends.
The Kitsu Family
The Kitsu family links the Realm of Mortals with the Realm of Sacred Ancestors, allowing their mediums to channel the experience and wisdom of the clan’s ancient heroes.
The warrior-god Akodo built his keep, Loyalty Castle, a mere day’s ride from the Imperial City so that his clan would always be ready to defend the Emperor. The provinces of the Lion Clan are dominated by rolling grassy plains and ancient forests, and are bordered by great rivers. It is common to see armies drilling across Lion lands, even in times of peace. The lands grow steadily hillier as they reach south and west, eventually culminating in the Spine of the World Mountains. To the southwest is Beiden Pass, one of precious few crossroads through the mountain range and part of the most important trade route in the Empire. It is named for the legendary warrior monk who is said to have defended it singlehandedly against an army in the early days of the Empire.