Of all the Great Clans, the Mantis have been the only ones to create their own destiny. he Mantis were not always a Great Clan; their origins trace back to a small clan of fisherman, pirates, and traders descended from the blood of Hida and Matsu. Still, their line is a proud one, claiming the heritage and protection of Osano-wo himself.
In the time of the Oni Lord Akuma, the forces of Jigoku made a special point of weakening each of the great clans from within in various ways. The Crab found the Kuni family divided with corruption. The Crane found their finances steadily drained. The Dragon were assailed with confusing and contradictory prophecies, preventing them from taking action. The Lion were contained physically by the brute force of the Oni Lord's Armies. The Scorpion were betrayed from within by the Yogo. The Unicorn found themselves facing the dark spectre of the Moto, and divided themselves from the other clans to finish their personal vendetta. Akuma rejoiced that the descendants of the kami were left divided and weak, unable to resist him at full power.
But in all of his plans, Akuma never considered the Mantis.
Their humble origins and tendency to inspire distrust and derision from the other Great Clans led Akuma to think the Mantis a worthless and weak foe. No special effort was made to undermine their power or destroy them from within as in the case of the other clans. Akuma never bargained upon the charismatic leadership and tactical savvy of Yoritomo Kenjin, who rallied the clans and pronounced himself Emperor Yoritomo I. Even after Akuma arranged for the new Emperor's death, he was quickly replaced by his son, Hideki, who became Yoritomo II and proved to be an even greater leader than his father. Soon the Dragon emerged from their hiding with the Fire Dragon bombs. Akuma's army was struck a great blow and, with Yoritomo II's leadership, the armies of Jigoku were swiftly and soundly defeated.
For almost a century now the Yoritomo Dynasty has ruled the Diamond Empire. Though many things have changed under Mantis rule, the people of Rokugan are safe and happy. The Emperor is greatly loved by his people. The activities of the royal family are watched with great attention by the common people of Rokugan, and many peasants and samurai alike live vicariously through the accomplishments of the Mantis families.
But a black shadow hangs over this seemingly peaceful clan. A horrible curse lingers in the Yoritomo family, a curse that many believe is destined to one day destroy the Imperial Line. Yoritomo VI seems to be quickly slipping down the path to destructive violence. His son Prince Kameru is brash, but much less so than his father. He will likely be a much better Emperor, but few fatalists feel Kameru's capability to rule may be a moot point. If Rokugan cannot survive Yoritomo VI, Kameru will never have a chance to rule.
Families of the Mantis
The Yoritomo Family are the largest family of the Mantis. These days they seem evenly split between those who choose to defend the Imperial line through force of arms, or through guile and politics. Most members of the Yoritomo family can trace their relation to the Emperor no matter how distant, and have a clear view of the line of succession at all times. They area hot-blooded family, driven toward proving themselves in all things. Their leader, of course, is Yoritomo VI, Son of Storms, Emperor of Rokugan.
The Ranbe Family are closely related to the Yoritomo. They trace their bloodline to Osano-wo, and feel the power of the Thunderer in their genes. They are a family of powerful shugenja, making up for their lack of subtlety and with pure, raw power. The very same lack of introspection has left their own studies of magic on the lean side. The Ranbe have no shugenja school on their own, though their ties to the Emperor make them welcome in nearly every shugenja school in the Empire. Their current daimyo is Ranbe Yuya, an eccentric old woman famous for her staff of office, the Shard of the Thunderer. Supposedly it is a fragment of a tree that Osano-wo once shattered with lightning when, in a moment of doubt, she demanded that the Fortune prove her power. She must now carry the staff with her wherever she goes. The oaken stick crackles constantly with a blue nimbus of electricity that does no apparent harm to Yuya.
The Daikua Family seem not to have been affected much by their clan's sudden rise to power. They are still relatively "common" for a samurai family, carrying on the clan's traditions of merchantry, sailing, and a bit of piracy on the side. The Daikua are also skilled diplomats and litigators, a skill that comes in very handy when some of their more flamboyant relatives get themselves into trouble. Their current daimyo is Daikua Dokohutei, a grizzled old former pirate who has settled down into a life of politics. He has found that the life of a politician suits him just fine, though it is a bit cutthroat for his tastes.