The Shadowlands

As the Kami created the Empire of Rokugan, the fallen Kami Fu Leng created the Shadowlands. The Shadowlands was the wasteland that laid to the southwest of Rokugan, a twisted, nightmarish place corrupted by the power of Jigoku, the Realm of Evil.

Origin Edit

This region was originally a tropical paradise of color and light, which changed when Fu Leng fell from heaven, and left a crater known as the Festering Pit deep within the Shadowlands. It was from here that the Taint spread out, blighted, and corrupted the land. This was also where demons and evil spirits could cross freely from Jigoku into Ningen-do. The Shadowlands was a constantly shifting and uninhabitable nightmare come to life. It was home to oni, ogres, trolls, goblins, the Lost and countless other vile creatures. [1]

The Shadowlands was a passage between Ningen-do and Jigoku, existing in both realms simultaneously. [2] The Crab Clan held the forces of the Shadowlands at bay along the Carpenter Wall. [citation needed]

Attacking the Emerald Empire Edit

First War Against the Empire Edit

Since the Shadowlands were created, they began to attack the Empire of Fu Leng's brother. In the year 7 it was seen the first minion of Fu Leng in Rokugan during the break of the War Against Fu Leng. [3]

Thousand Years of Peace Edit

After their defeat in the first Day of Thunder a Thousand Years of Peace were seen in Rokugan. Without Fu Leng as a physical presence, the intelligence behind the Shadowiands was unfocused, undirected. Few oni or shugenja possessed the power or charisma to unite the diverse inhabitants of the Shadowiands. The Maw in 716 extended the borders of the Shadowlands, at the cost of its ability to enter the mortal world. The first and second Rise of Iuchiban ended with a complete failure. [4]

Second Day of Thunder Edit

In the 12th century the power of the Shadowlands grew, until Fu Leng returned in the body of Hantei XXXIX, only to be quickly defeated in the Second Day of Thunder. [5]

War in the Shadowlands Edit

Several Lost and Demons fought to rise as the leaders of the Shadowlands. Yogo Junzo, Kuni Yori, Kyoso no Oni, and others. [6] With the march of Rokugani armies through the Shadowlands toward Volturnum and Oblivion's Gate, the Shadowlands hordes suffered great losses and huge sections of the Shadowlands were virtually depopulated. [7] All previous Shadowlands leaders were overrun by the appearance of the lost son of Hantei XXXVIII, Daigotsu, the Dark Lord of the Shadowlands. [6] Under his rule a great swath of the Shadowlands were turned into a dark mirror of Rokugan. [8] His uncontested leadership eventually dwingled during the Third Rise of Iuchiban, [9] and when he threw his lot on the Lost, the human who had fallen to the taint, and the Time of Demons began. [10]

Path of the Destroyer Edit

Jigoku, tired of the several failures of its Champion, stepped Fu Leng down and rose a gaijin deity, Kali-Ma. [11] The Destroyer unleashed the a war which nearly put the Empire at her knees, but she was destroyed by Daigotsu just after Fu Leng's murder. [12]

Daigotsu ruling Jigoku Edit

Daigotsu's return from dead happened after Jigoku was bound by the will of the Dark Lord, becoming the Master of Jigoku, with the power to make Dark Fortunes. As part of a bragain with the current Empress, Iweko I, the taint was withhold from any human who did not willingly wish to embrace it. [12]

Rokugani Customs Edit

Children throughout the empire often run away from home toward the Shadowlands. These children believe that once they find the place, their parents will not be able to find them. Undoubtedly, if any children were to ever actually make it into the Shadowlands, this idea would prove true, though not for the reasons the children might suspect. It is unlikely that many children from the Crab Clan ever have this idea. [13]

Black Heart of the Empire Edit

Daigotsu 3

Daigotsu, Black Heart of the Empire

The Black Heart of the Empire was another name for the Shadowlands, and in opinion of Ide Tadaji should be considered as a part of the Empire. They were a twisted reflection of Rokugan. Their purpose was to befoul and corrupt all that we hold dear, to bring war where there was peace, hatred where there was brotherhood, death where there was life. Deserving of destruction they might be, but their power and influence was as great as any power of the Emperor. [14]

Schools and Paths Edit

The following were the schools and Paths within the Shadowlands:

See Also Edit

External Links Edit


  1. The Atlas of Rokugan, p. 207
  2. Fortunes & Winds, p. 35
  3. Imperial Histories, p. 14
  4. Way of the Shadowlands, pp. 19-20
  5. Time of the Void, pp. 101-104
  6. 6.0 6.1 Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, p. 25
  7. Oriental Adventures, pp. 233-234
  8. Secrets of the Shadowlands, p. 84
  9. Return of the Master, by Rich Wulf and Shawn Carman
  10. Souls of Steel, Part Two, by Brian Yoon
  11. The Harbinger, by Shawn Carman
  12. 12.0 12.1 Goddesses, Part 4, by Shawn Carman
  13. Way of the Phoenix, p. 77
  14. Fight For Tomorrow
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