The masked samurai of the Scorpion Clan are beguiling and dangerous, but beneath an outwardly sinister appearance is a clan that prizes loyalty above all. Bayushi, the clan’s founder, swore to defend the Emperor by any means necessary, even if that meant his followers had to become spies, scoundrels, and shinobi. To combat the liars, thieves, and traitors within the Great Clans, the Scorpion would lie, steal, and cheat in turn. Blackmail, infiltration, poison, and sabotage became the weapons they grimly wield to ensure that the Emerald Empire continues. The Scorpion dirty their hands so that others’ can remain pure, and they will sacrifice their wealth, their reputations, and their very lives if that is what it takes to fulfill their duty.
– Bayushi, from the play Bayushi’s Promise
At the dawn of the Empire, enemies loomed beyond Rokugan’s borders, but they also lurked within them. The clan’s founder, Bayushi, swore to protect the Emperor by any means necessary, to seek out schemes and corruption among his vassals and relatives, as well as within the ranks of the Imperial legions and bureaucracy. Where the Code of Akodo tied the Emperor’s Left and Right Hands, the Emperor’s Underhand could still reach.
If an insurrection can be stopped with an assassination, the Scorpion Clan acts without hesitation. If uncovering a cult of evil sorcerers requires sending an infiltrator to blackmail a provincial governor, the Scorpion Clan already has the materials required to apply pressure. If a criminal cartel is to be brought to justice, the Scorpion Clan already has agents within a rival cartel who can drive the two into conflict.
One of the most cunning courtiers in the Empire and a masterful actor, Bayushi Kachiko is sometimes called the Mistress of Secrets and Lady of Whispers. Through her web of spies, every secret passed through a gossip’s lips eventually makes its way to her ear.
It is rumored she holds enough evidence to blackmail every family in the Empire. As the wife of Bayushi Shoju, leader of the Scorpion Clan and friend of the Emperor, Kachiko wielded immense power and influence not only over her clan, but also within the Emperor’s Court.
Despite her cynical nature, she lost her heart to the idealistic leader of the Crane Clan, Doji Hotaru. As war between the clans looms, Kachiko must balance her loyalty to her clan against her love for a rival clan’s leader.
All Scorpion samurai wear masks at all times, their designs ranging from ornate works of art to understated or utilitarian face coverings. The Scorpion claim there is no dishonesty in wearing masks, because in Rokugani society, everyone wears a metaphorical mask of propriety—the Scorpion are just honest enough to wear theirs on the outside.
Despite its fearsome reputation, the Scorpion Clan is made up of virtuous and fallible people like any other clan. Scorpion Clan culture puts loyalty to the Emperor as the highest virtue, but this does not mean that members of the clan never pursue other goals or hold other ideals. While some influential members of the Scorpion Clan hold that at times, the ends justify any means required, many individuals do not adhere strictly to this, or set personal moral limits.
In a clan that teaches its disciples to be willing to deceive and manipulate to serve the greater good, trust can be a hard-earned treasure to be cherished and guarded. Any member of the Scorpion Clan who betrays their clan is punished with swift retribution, and the souls of the worst transgressors are forever bound into the horrific limbo of the place known as Traitor’s Grove.
The Bayushi Family
The ruling family of the Scorpion, the Bayushi, are master manipulators at court and swift swordsmen on the field of battle.
The Shosuro Family
The Shosuro seem merely a family of talented artists and actors, but from their ranks come the clan’s spies and saboteurs, their poisoners and assassins.
The Soshi Family
The Soshi are master illusionists and shadow-weavers, cloaking themselves and their allies in disguises, or using darkness itself as a weapon.
The Yogo Family
The Yogo, a family of ward-masters cursed to betray the ones they love, protect the Empire from those who delve into forbidden, evil magics.
Sitting between the towering heights of the Spine of the World Mountains and the ancient boughs of the Shinomen Forest is the daggerlike sliver of Rokugan controlled by the Scorpion Clan. The clan’s ancestral stronghold is Silk and Shadow Palace, within which lies a maze of labyrinthine halls, hidden trapdoors, and secret passageways. Follow the River of Gold north to reach the city of Journey’s End, better known as the infamous City of Lies. Here, money rules, and the lines between legitimate merchants and criminal cartels becomes blurred. To the south and east, Beiden Pass is one of the few places to cross the Spine of the World Mountains, and the pass is heavily defended on both sides.