Of Swords and Honour
History of the Land
Tsurukoku, the Empire of the Crane, was founded sixteen hundred years ago by Mikado Kazuhiro of the Aono clan. Since then, the Land of the Crane has flourished under the rule of the Aono dynasty.
For nine hundred years, the empire saw peace. The arts and culture flourished under the watchful eye of the court nobles. Martial arts and warfare were perfected as the imperial samurai armies defended the borders. Religion flourished as the Fenist shinkan built shrines to honor the great spirits and Darumist monks built monasteries to educate those who seek enlightenment.
The empire was at peace until seven hundred years ago, when a period of great drought and famine hit. The onmyōji who counseled the Mikado consulted their astrological charts and prescribed programs to restore the balance of the elements, but to no avail. As supplies dwindled, the size of the imperial army diminished dramatically.
To compound the problems the Empire faced, the Xin warlords threatened to invade from the east, and the barbarians of the Hordelands suddenly became an imminent danger. The daimyō, or feudal lords, of Tsurukoku, who had always played a secondary role to the imperial court, saw an opportunity to seize power.
Raising their own samurai armies, who they were able to feed with locally grown rice, the daimyō united under Shogun Yoshirō, of the Kobayashi clan. The new military forced out the Xin and barbarian invaders, then turned their sights on the imperial army. At the Battle of Sekigahara, Kobayashi Yoshirō defeated the Mikado’s army, and established himself as the de facto ruler of Tsurukoku.
Over the next seven hundred years, the shogunate would change hands several times. Following the Kobayashi shogunate, the daimyō swore fealty to the Suzuki, Nakamura and Itō clans. It is currently year 337 of the Itō shogunate, and Itō Takeshi struggles to control the empire as other daimyō viciously vie for power.
Content copyright Land of the Crane Campaign Setting © 2005, 2009 by David Garrett. Used with permission.