Please note: This article is about the lordless wave man. For other uses of the term, please see Ronin (disambiguation).

A Ronin

A ronin (literally, "wave man" - one who was tossed about, like a wave in the sea) was a masterless samurai.

Becoming a Ronin[edit | edit source]

A samurai would became masterless from the ruin or fall of his master, or after the loss of his master's favor or privilege. A samurai was forbidden to become employed by another master without his previous master's permission. When the samurai's previous master died without an heir or was stripped of his lands and title, the samurai became unemployable by other daimyo.

In addition, a samurai could become ronin if he was not recognized as an heir by his samurai parent, was outcast for a failure and denied seppuku, or was simply someone who had chosen to abandon his station.

To a samurai, for whom their duty to their master was their life, the loss of duty was often seen as a fate worse than death. Generally, a samurai would request to commit seppuku to absolve himself of whatever shame caused him to become ronin, though this step could be forbidden by the samurai's daimyo, if becoming ronin were a punishment.

The first time samurai affiliated to a Clan were declared ronin happened in 391, when the Gozoku forced the puppet Emperor Hantei Fujiwa to cast forth from their clans many of their opponents on the obviously spurious charge of "gross contravention of the tenets of bushido." [1] [2]

Position in the Empire[edit | edit source]

Wave Men

Traditionally, ronin were generally regarded as disreputable and were frequently targets of humiliation and satire. In addition, ronin often posed a serious threat, as the masterless life often degenerated into a life of thievery and malice. Ronin bands frequently threatened settlements and commerce. This was a problem that arises somewhat regularly and that the magistrates of Rokugan put forth every effort to quell.

Ronin existed outside the Celestial Order. They were still samurai, but they were not subservient to any greater power. They wore the daisho, but they did not have the protection of even the eta who lived under a daimyo. Many ronin felt that their freedom was worth the sacrifice, but there were also many that would disagree.

They had a Minor Fortune dedicated to them, Mikoto. [3]

Ronin families[edit | edit source]

Also see the list of notable ronin for a list of known ronin, both current and historic.

Schools & Paths[edit | edit source]

Schools[edit | edit source]

A Wave Man

The following are the basic Schools available to ronin characters:

Paths[edit | edit source]

Ronin Brotherhood

The following are the Paths and Advanced Schools available to ronin characters:

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]


  1. Way of the Wolf, p. 27
  2. Imperial Histories, p. 44
  3. Strongholds of the Empire, p. 159
  • Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, pp. 7-8, 28.

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