“The Shadowlands hates us. Every stone, every bush, every pool of water. All of it hates us. You can feel it when you are there, beyond the Wall.” – Hida O-Ushi, Hammer of the Crab
South of the Carpenter Wall sprawls the vile realm known as the Shadowlands. Created at the dawn of the Emerald Empire by Fu Leng’s fall from the Heavens, the Shadowlands are the ultimate antithesis of Rokugan—a profane place of corruption, death, and destruction. It is a land steeped in terrible power that emanates from the Realm of Torment, and its horrifying denizens have a single-minded purpose: to subjugate and destroy the Empire, and then the rest of the Mortal Realm.
If there is a single word that can describe the Shadowlands, it is wrongness. The Crab Clan bids those who venture into that blighted realm not to trust their senses and instincts, and for good reason. The Shadowlands are a disorienting and frightening mix of barren land, poisoned water, and gnarled thickets that writhe and weep blood as one watches. Similar to the land itself, animals in the Shadowlands are twisted into foul and often dangerous forms. Tainted creatures abound, from goblins to undead to oni. Perhaps the most dangerous, though, are the Lost. You can read more about the Shadowlands and the threats that lurk there in the lore guide section of our website!
The Shadowlands are also depicted on the Map of Rokugan Fine Art Print from Dark Horse Direct. This beautiful collector’s piece is 18-inches wide by 24-inches tall with gold foil stamping for the Legend of the Five Rings logo. Limited to just 300 units, this hand-numbered lithograph is embossed with the Dark Horse Direct seal of exclusivity. Display the domains of the Great Clans in your home or office and pre-order today!
The Shadowlands are the focus of the upcoming Legend of the Five Rings video game from Palindrome Interactive. As a player, you’ll need to gather a party of fresh recruits as well as powerful heroes and equip them to survive the myriad abominations that dwell in the wastes beyond the Wall. There, monsters, demons, undead, and the very land itself are your enemy, so even the most experienced samurai must learn to adapt while traveling in the Shadowlands. As you venture further from the Wall, you’ll need to gather experience and abilities to hone your party’s skills, as well as perfect their combat tactics to withstand the growing evil they’ll encounter. You can find out more about the PC-first game by watching this video from Gen Con.
For tabletop roleplayers, the setting sourcebook for Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying aptly titled Shadowlands provides everything game masters need to know to represent the corrupted region in their roleplaying game campaigns. For groups playing Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying, the horror adventure module “Mask of the Oni” leads the player characters into a corrupted castle of the Shadowlands—the physical edition offers a large poster map of the Shadowlands, Crab Lands, and Daylight Castle. If using the Adventures in Rokugan rules, the core rulebook contains an adventure called “A Grim Inheritance” that adapts “Mask of the Oni” to AiR’s more heroic, high-fantasy tone.
For readers, Curse of Honor by David Annandale follows a doomed expedition into the Shadowlands and the terrors they bring back with them, and the Trail of Shadows novella by D.G. Laderoute (available in The Great Clans of Rokugan Vol 2) sees the heirs to the Crab Clan descend into the Shadowed Swamps, a region of the Shinomen Forest poisoned by the Shadowlands’ malign influence.
For fans of fantasy illustration, the cursed landmarks of the Shadowlands and its horrifying denizens are rendered in exquisite detail in Rokugan: The Art of Legends of the Five Rings from Aconyte Books. The 192-page, full-color art book has an entire chapter dedicated to the Dark Lord’s Domain and releases October 17 in the US and as an ebook globally (the UK physical release date is December 7). Click here to visit the product page for Rokugan: The Art of Legend of the Five Rings and order a copy today from your preferred retailer, and click here to download a free sample section on the Shadowlands!