The Yodotai were an expansionistic foreign Empire that had recently reached as far as Medinat al-Salaam. Their interests and intentions towards Rokugan were unknown. In the late 12th century the Yodotai were prepared to invade the Emerald Empire.

Appearance Edit

The Yodotai were short and hardy people, with olive-tan skins and dark hair that could be either curly or straight. Their facial hair was sparse and they preferred to keep it shaved. Yodotai civilians dressed in togas, cotton for common folk, silk for nobility, and wore sandals. They were a very clean people, maintaining public baths in all their cities and washing daily. They ate red meat and their favorite drink was vinum. [1]

Yodotai Culture Edit

Spirit-Keep of the Yodatai

Spirit-Keep of the Yodatai

The Yodotai were an ancient and powerful Empire located west of Rokugan, across the vastness of Yakamo's Heart ocean. They were a proud people, defined by expansion and conquest. Their civilization comprised the best of countless different conquered peoples, each assimilated into the totality of the Yodotai Empire. The Yodotai were ruled by an Emperor, who was advised in turn by a Senate formed of elected representatives from every province under Yodotai rule. Though their military was fierce, the Yodotai's true strength lied in their ability to encourage conquered nations to accept the fair rule and technological advancements the Yodotai had to offer. [2] Octavion was the capital of the Yodotai Empire. [3]

Conquerors Edit

The Yodotai Empire was a vast and powerful nation intent on the idea that they were directed by divine mandate to rule over all lands that existed. Over the past thousand years they had slowly but steadily moved closer to Rokugan. They had met hundreds of cultures in their inexorable march and had conquered them all. The Yodotai were merciful and just in their rule, but they demanded complete and utter subservience from their subjects. All must submit to the Yodotai Empire, or die. [4]

The Yodotai move slowly when they conquered a new land. First, they sent out mercenaries as scouts and spies into the target land. Over the course of several years, the mercenaries gained the trust of the people and learned their secrets. Once they had fully analyzed the people's weaknesses, they sent those notes back to the main Yodotai army. Few armies stood a chance against the might of the Yodotai forces when all of their secrets had been exposed. [4]

Yodatai soldiers were taught to fight defensively, choosing their strikes carefully in order to preserve their energy and power to engage multiple foes. Yodotai Centurions had defeated forces that outnumbered them on many occasions. In a successful defense, the Yodotai's opponents were first pelted with archery fire, then plumbata, and finally spears and pilum before they finally reached Yodatai front line. [5]

Assimilation Edit

When the Yodotai conquered a new land, to forget their former Gods and take the Yodotai Pantheon as their own, to identify themselves as Yodotai, and despite they did not forbid using their own language, all citizens had to learn the Yodotai tongue. Scholars attributed the Empire's internal peace to the Yodotai's accepting attitude toward everything other than religion. [6]

Military Society Edit

Yodatai Legions

Yodotai Legions

The Yodotai were renowned for their military organization and techniques fielding vast legions with specialist troops ranging from light infantry scouts to heavily armored cavalry, filled with the military knowledge of a hundred cultures. Like the Rokugani, the Yodotai seemed to venerate the warrior ethos and their own ancestors. It was said that the greatest of the Yodotai warriors sometime appeared to fight by the side of their descendants. The most common type of Yodotai warrior was the Yodotai Legionnaire. [4]

Nobility and War Edit

Machinations rarely spilled blood unless a noble was foolish enough to attempt a coup. They never succeed, and that noble's family was forever cast down for their arrogance. Yodotai soldiers only fought foreign enemies. They fought inside their lands when citizens from their newly earned lands revolt. The Yodotai did not give them a second chance, destroying every remnant of the rebellion. [7]

Civil Society Edit

The Yodotai caste system was not rigid. The nobles acted as soldiers and politicians, serving as generals, lieutenants, or officers of the army. Below them were the soldiers of humble birth, and just behind the merchants, farmers, or other traders. Slavery was not completely forgotten, but they usually had servants with a salary. All that served in the army were treated as nobles, and it imbued the equality idea in the Yodotai society. [8]

Society in the rearguard Edit

The Yodotai emphasized the military career to gain status, so the noble joined the Crusades in first line of combat. The rearguard was maintained by those who were not warriors, or those who retired from duty, becoming the functionaries of the Empire. One of the most important duties was to maintain and expand the roads, which were instrumental in their military might and mobility. [9]

Religious Beliefs Edit

Beginning of the World Edit

When the world began it was a dark and murky place. Nothing existed except the heavens and a vast cloud of potential that drifted below that blessed place. The Goddess Gaia developed out of this cloud, the mother Earth, she who sustained them. Gaia felt lonely in the emptiness and using her magic created Caelus, the Sky, to keep her company. Caelus and Gaia loved together and made a family of gods and goddesses to live in the heavens. She created the trees, the hills, the grass, the beasts that grazed in the forests, and the man, to marvel in her works. Caelus obliged her whimsy and created the clouds, the wind, and the rain to please her. She laughed in pure joy, and her voice echoed. The sound itself was magic, and it created the truths of the world. Loyalty. Justice. Love. War. [7]

The Ten Gods Edit

Earth and Sky began with ten sons and daughters. Their names were unknown, and it was forbidden for the Yodotai to know them. The Ninth child wanted more, and wished to depose his father Caelus as the ruler of heaven and earth. He manipulated his eldest brother and trained him for years, preparing the ensuing confrontation. He eventually raised his sword against Caelus, challenging him in a duel to the death. Caelus however defeated his eldest son, ending the uprising. [10]

Fall of the Deities Edit

Caelus made a Hole in the Sky when he hit with his fist the heaven's floor. He decided not to dare a new rebellion and threw all his children through the Hole, one by one. [11] The gods had their link to immortality severed permanently by the father. They fell from the sky and most did not survive the impact. The gods might have died, but they did not leave the Yodotai without guidance. [7]

Sea Edit

The Yodotai had loathed the sea, oceans, and all large bodies of water ever since their defeat in the Battle That Must Not Be Forgotten, when a tsunami killed their founder and most of his army. From that time, the Yodotai decided to conquer from the safety of the land, avoiding the wrath of the Mighty and Merciless Sea. The Yodotai dismantled any naval forces their subjugated lands might contain. It slowed their pace of conquest, but patience was not an issue for them. [12] The Yodotai believed that those who died at sea were dragged into a hellish realm beneath the waters, where their souls would never be free to join their ancestors. [2]

Magic Edit

The Yodotai did not use magic; instead the spirits of their fallen fight on the battlefield led by the spirit of Conquest, the Deity of War. If the appeared in corporeal form the fight in the front lines, killing their enemies, and when they appeared in spirtual form they blocked the effects of spells. They only appeared if their descendants believed in the spiritual eternal life, and their corporeal apparition was affected by the faith and honor of the Yodotai soldiers. The appearation of the spirits could not be controlled, and sometimes they appeared in form the Yodotai did not need in the battle, risking the defeat. If the spells were too powerful, the ancestor did not protect the Yodotai warriors, as it happened during the Shattering of the Jewel. [4]

Early History Edit

Hanif Edit

The Hanif was a human tribe who lived in small towns, and they had confidence one to each other to survive. In these days they did not know anything about Gods. [13]

Dawn of the Yodotai Edit

In the year 45 a light appeared in a hill in the middle of the Hanif lands. A wise elder approached who seemed to be a spirit resembling a great warrior. He was Conquest, spirit of one of the dead sons of Caelus, the Sky, and Gaia, the Earth. They talked three days and nights, and when they finished the elder told his people about how the the children of the Gods had been thrown from the heavens. The arrival of Conquest, Deity of War, was the beginning of the expansionistic Yodotai Empire, which would be the heralds of the Gods and had the divine duty as conquerors of the whole continent. The elder died after he ended his tale. His son, Octavius, stepped forth and claimed the leadership of the Yodotai. Those who did not accept him left these lands, and they remained to be known as the Hanif. [11]

The Hanif knew the Yodotai were entirely unreasonable, and that was why they had left the nascent Yodotai Empire centuries ago, moving to the place known as the Burning Sands. [14]

First Great Crusade Edit

During the first Great Crusade the Yodotai led by the Warlord Octavius conquered many people. In their attack against the Kingdom of Radia, in the North coast, the Battle That Must Not Be Forgotten in 102 marked the first defeat of the Yodotai Empire and the death of its founder. [15]

Marius' Laws Edit

Marius, the first Yodotai Emperor, gave a law system as his legacy, known as the Marius' Laws. Instead of another decades of expansion, he developed a legacy that would be instrumental in the success of the Yodotai in the following centuries: a Law system that detailed what to do after each conquer and anexation. He also determined that when a new Yodotai leader rouse to power he had to decide if he would follow with the Great Crusade, becoming a Yodotai Warlord, or if he would end the Crusade, becoming a Yodotai Emperor and returning to the capital Octavion to pacefully govern his lands. [15]

Radia conquered Edit

In 180 the Emperor Quintus resumed the invasion of the Radia Kingdom and conquered it completely, through force and bribery. The Yodotai learned that when their army was commanded by a brave leader, the spirits of the Yodotai ancestors appeared by their side, fighting the enemy. [15]

Second Great Crusade Edit

In the year 200 Quintus took the Yodotai Warlord title enacting the Second Great Crusade. The Yodotai armies moved toward the civilizations their scouts found, and during centuries the Emperor did not set foot in his homeland, leading his armies. They began to annex nation by nation, joining them into the own Yodotai culture and religion. Many kingdoms were conquered and their names lost to the history. [15]

Thrane refugees Edit

In 460 a small Thrane fleet harassed the Northern coast of the continent. They were desperate for food and supplies. The Yodotai did not tolerate such acts and utterly destroyed them. [16]

12th Century Edit

Joining the Sheel Edit

Yodotai Heavy Cavalry

Yodotai Heavy Cavalry

In 1100 the Sheel Kingdom, located hundred of kilometers west of the Burning Sands, was found and it was annexed to the Yodotai in 1110 after a rebellion of the nobility funded by the Warlord Piron deposed the Sheel King. The Sheel were descendants of the Hanif, and no blood was bleeded from their cousins. [16]

Yodotai in the Burning Sands Edit

Fresh from their newly independent Empire beyond the western mountains, a Yodotai "scouting party" (a large army by Rokugani standards), despite their fear of sea travel, were lost at sea. [2] The Yodotai were led round in circles in the Burning Sands following the Jinn, who expected the invaders would drop following their own tracks. A Ra'Shari, Shagala, was sent by the Ra'Shari leader, the Living Memory and guided them to their gipsy caravan. They were saved from dying in the sands. The Yodotai were looking for something they lost long ago. [17] The Yodotai exploratory force arrived in the Jewel of the Desert despite insurmountable odds and the efforts of the children of the smokeless fire, the jinn. [18] The Yodotai Warlord Aurelian decided to personally inspect the city with his honor guard and members of his command staff. [16]

Erba'a Alliance Edit

The Moto Tar-Khan Kiyoshi built a powerful Horde. He intented on storming Medinat al-Salaam to end the rule of the Immortal Caliph Hanan Talibah and her Senpet allies. His forces were soon joined by the Yodotai and Ra'Shari. The combined Horde (now known as the Erba'a Alliance), also swelled its ranks with many former slaves of the Senpet, now hell-bent on revenge, the Hanif and the Rokugani Scorpion. In 1132 the alliance besieged [14] and broke the walls of Medinaat Al-Salaam in the Shattering of the Jewel, but did not seize it. Its citizens themselves broke free from the Caliph's reign of terror. [19] It was the second time the Yodotai had been defeated on the battlefield. [16]

Yodotai near Rokugan Edit

The Yodotai established a colony north of Medinaat al-Salaam and they spent the time since their arrival eagerly studying the foreign lands where they now found themselves, as well as searching for a way out. [2]

Yodotai Invasion Edit

The Yodotai empire crushed the Senpet Empire in the Yodotai Invasion of Senpet lands, a lengthy and bloody 20 year war, from 1140 to 1160. The Senpet was absorbed by the Yodotai Empire. The Yodotai abolished the religion of the Ten Thousand Gods and a subsequent uprising of the Senpet people was crushed. About half of the Senpet's most elite forces went into hiding and led a guerrilla war against the Yodotai. In the Medinaat Al-Salaam, surviving Senpet leaders such as Kesseth, plotted against the invaders, hiding within the local Senpet population, a mix of refugees, Yodotai collaborators and families settled from the time of Immortal Caliph. [20] Galerius, a former Senpet Sahir who had proved his loyalty for two decades became the governor of the Senpet lands. [21]

Conquest halted Edit

The Warlord Aurelian died shortly after the victory over the Senpet, and his son, Decimus, became its new leader. But he decided to reject the Emperor and Warlord titles. Decimus would confirm if the Shattering of the Jewel marked the end of the Second Great Crusade, or if the Yodotai Empire would resume its neverending warmongering. [22]

Senpet slavery Edit

The Yodotai began to practice slavery. The Senpet revolters became slaves and they were sold at the markets of the Jewel. [20]

Medinaat al-Salaam Edit

The Yodotai held a permanent garrison in Medinaat al-Salaam. [14]

Yodotai at Rokugan in the 12th Century Edit

Khol Wall Edit

In 1168 Phyrrus reached Rokugan seeking the prophet Duqaq. After he returned his honor guard left behind in the Khol Wall, at the orders of the Unicorn Clan. [4]

Attacks Edit

In 1198 the Unicorn escorts of the Ki-Rin's Path suddenly came under attack by a large, organized force, and they had no choice but to fall back to a secondary route. The senior sensei of the Akodo War College recognized hints of the Yodotai strategies employed in these attacks. [23]

Empty Plains Edit

This year a lost scout Yodotai party was met in the Empty Plains by Lion forces. The Lion was the first Great Clan to which the Yodotai offered a vassalization alliance, to be elevated over the other Rokugani clans overseeing Rokugan after it would be conquered. [24]

Invading Maigo no Musha Edit

Invasion of Maigo no Musha by Yodotai spirits

Invasion of Maigo no Musha by Yodotai spirits

In 1199 the presence of Yodotai forces in the borders of Rokugan was accompanied by an invasion of Spectral Martyrs in the Spirit Realm of Maigo no Musha, with the god Conquest at the head. [25]

Aftermath Edit

The attacks to the Rokugani had been led by Legulus, who have not acted with the will of the Council, the will of his former masters. Legulus had been thralled by the Cult of the Destroyer, followers of the Goddess Kali-Ma. The death of his new Lady had enraged him and sought vengeance claiming the life of a Rokugani Clan Champion, but perished in a battle against a combined Lion-Unicorn army. Unnoticed Yodotai scouts gathered information about the Great Clans tactics and returned to their capital to report. [26]

Known Yodotai Leaders Edit

Octavius 45 - 102 , Founder
Marius 102 - (c. 180) , First Emperor
Quintus (c. 180) - ?
Piron (c. 1110)
Aurelian (c. 1130) - 1160
Decimus 1160 - Present , (Leader, not Emperor)

Known Schools Edit

External Links Edit

Tent City of the Yodatai

Tent City of the Yodotai


  1. Emerald Empire; Fourth Edition, p. 258
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Live Action Roleplaying, p. 192
  3. Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, p. 228
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 The Yodotai
  5. Complete Exotic Arms Guide, pp. 74, 76
  6. Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, p. 233
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Yodotai: A Dialogue (Legend of the Burning Sands)
  8. Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, p. 229
  9. Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, pp. 229-230
  10. Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, pp. 223-224
  11. 11.0 11.1 Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, p. 224
  12. Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, p. 231
  13. Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, p. 223
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Re-Awakening, Part 1, by Lucas Twyman
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, p. 225
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, p. 226
  17. Ra'shari, by Patrick Kapera
  18. Starter Quotes (LBS - The Awakening)
  19. The End of Age
  20. 20.0 20.1 Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, p. 203
  21. Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, p. 227
  22. Legend of the Burning Sands Roleplaying Game, p. 227
  23. Embers of War, by Shawn Carman
  24. Defenders of the Empire, by Shawn Carman
  25. The Inevitable Grasp of Conquest (Aftermath Title, boxtext, and flavor)
  26. Aftermath, Part 3, by Robert Denton and Seth Mason

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