Legend of the Five Rings Aftermath
The Tortoise Clan is a clan regarded with a great deal of disdain by much of the Empire. Some consider them as pitiful as ronin. Others consider them even worse, as many ronin do not choose to be what they are. The Tortoise are a clan of merchants and sailors. Some would call them smugglers and pirates. They frequently trade and negotiate with gaijin, an act that fills many samurai with disgust. The Tortoise do not care, for all of their activities are done with the Emperor’s consent. They are the Emperor’s personal smugglers, information gatherers, and spies in lands beyond the Empire. If others consider them dishonorable, then so be it, as none other is blessed to see the world as a Tortoise is.
Their unseemly reputation rarely bars them from their objects, even in the Imperial Court. Tortoise courtiers have a relentless, methodical style of negotiation and have a way of making others see that allying with them is worthwhile despite the stigma their clan bears. They have put their skills to good use in forming official alliance between the Minor Clans, an alliance which has named the Tortoise as their representatives in the Imperial Court. The Tortoise do not take this responsibility lightly, nor do they abuse their fellow Minor Clans’ trust. Tortoise ambassadors are now a regular sight in Toshi Ranbo, lobbying for fairer treatment of the Minor Clans or seeking allies against harassment by Great Clan samurai.
The Tortoise Clan makes its home near White Stag. Members of the Tortoise Clan are small, tough, and lean with skin like leather dried by relentless sea winds. With the exception of their courtiers they disdain fancy clothing, and their samurai can often be mistake for peasants when their daisho are stored below deck to protect them from the spray. More than one ignorant samurai has unintentionally insulted a Tortoise bushi, believing him to be a peasant sailor, only to be later challenged and cut down in a duel. Such stories are the source of the most popular Tortoise jokes.