Rise of the Dragon
Before the Kami
Social organization is tribal and familial. Most peoples are herder and hunter using basic weapons such as spears, axes or sometime bows. Most of the metal used is iron. There is some exceptions, a few villages and cities but they are rare and far-between. Such villages or cities are build by more powerfull tribes such as the Isawa, Seppun and the Tetsuzoku. There is no major or unified religion either. The tribes usually follows the fortunes but other foreign beliefs or gods also existed but were rarer. If not venerating Fortunes, the tribes built cult around spirits escaped from another realm or charismatic shamans.
Arrival of the Kami and War Againts Fu-Leng
When the Kami arrive they see that the humans are good but are in need guidance and help. Once Hantei is chosen as the first Emperor in year 5, all of the Kamis start to gather supporters which would be named Samurai. The Kamis usually remained nomad, meeting new tribes. The only notable exception was Hantei which was busy setting up the basis of Rokugan.
The war against Fu-Leng begin in year 33. The war pushed the Kami to an early and costly conflict. The Kamis won in year 42 following the Day of Thunders but victory came at a great cost. With this external threat, it was felt more urgent to build Rokugan faster and stronger than expected. The war also meant that Hantei II, who took the throne in year 45, started their new quest from a weakened state.
Building Rokugan and the Reign of the Shining Prince (year 45 to year 245)
The elaboration of the empire was mostly done by Hantei II. This task that was mostly completed by the end of the second century.
The social structure of the Empire during that era is very different from modern Rokugan. The title of Samurai is more representative of it meaning : those who serve. Indeed, being a Samurai is much more based on your service to a lord then an actual social class. Indeed, the tradition of passing down your Samurai role or position to your descendants is just beginning and is not yet entrenched. This implies additional social mobility either upward or downward and this is why new aspiring samurai would be tested by their lord which eventually becomes the tradition of gempuku (coming of age ceremony) by the third century when the title of samurai became heriditary.
The war against Fu-Leng and the day of Thunders strongly influence Rokugan nascent military structure. The success of Akodo lead to the Clan military to be using similar tactics and organizations.
In term of equipment, bushi were generally much better equipped than peasant due to the limited availability of properly forged steel which was bestow upon the best warriors. Ashigaru weapon might be limited to much lower quality spear wrought with cold iron. This will also extend to armor, bushi wearing modern armor, based on the design of the armor worn by the Kami upon arrival, and ashigaru probably ending with no armor at all.
In term of recruitment, most of the Clan army would have been composed of “samurai” as the definition was broader at the time but would have been composed in part by poorly equipped ashigaru that would be considered “samurai” for their ability and desire to serve their lord and kami. The best warrior would have been properly trained and equiped bushi as explained above but would have composed a smaller share of the military strenght then in modern Rokugan.
Recruitment would have been really high in the years following the war with Fu-Leng and would slowly taper off as the empire got established and the surrounding of settlement become pacified.
Recruitment will includes training the childrens of samurai but also peasants, usually individual that would have proven their worth, and of course the members of the enemy tribes that would have decided to join a Clan.
During that era, economic development is challenging since there is no merchant class. The management and support of economic development fell on the shoulder of the samurais and their lords who had to play a much larger role in economic activity then in modern Rokugan. Hence, samurai that involved themselves in economic activity was not seen as poorly as in modern Rokugan.
During that era, samurais and lords often supported artisans, supported the exploitation of resources and managed the development of new farmland. They strongly sponsored teh development cities and other settlements.
Manufactured goods are relatively uncommon during that time, especially product such as arts, weapons, amors or papers.
The main currency at the time would have been iron, silver and gold. Indeed, currency has yet to appear with only local currency being used (such as the Isawa or Seppun Currency). Barter was hence a really important elements of trade.
Shintao as recently became Rokugan official religion by Imperial decree. However, conversion is not automatic and it will not be completed till the end of the second century. Conversion efforts is undertaken mostly by devout monks but also by dedicated samurais on a personal mission or sponsored by a clan or, more rarely, the emperors. The Phoenix Clan played a major role in sponsoring and teaching peasants and samurais the Shintao philosohpies. However, not all conversions went well and this is a source of conflic and tension.
Rokugan face many threats during that era.
First, the area surrounding settlement in this period remain wild and untamed. Wild animals, wandering group of trolls, small tribes of nezumi or escaped spirits from other realms are roaming the land. Also the land is dotted with unexplored ruin hiding creatures from previous ages. The Lion are especially keen in pacifying the land at the time.
Second, not all the tribes have joined the Kami and Rokugan. This causes all sort of conflicts and since they often have superior knowledge of the terrain they remain a threat to smaller settlements. This would be particularly a problem in the north were many of those tribes flew to the mountains which are easy to defend and allow to launch raids easily. Many of those tribes become early supporters of the Kolat, an alliance of peasants that tries to remove the Kami out of power from Rokugan. This is a major threat to the Dragon.
Third, as Rokugan is growing the empire the clan rivalries are increasing. For the campaign, the Dragon are especially troubled by Lion and the Phoenix.
Fourth, the conversion to Shintao was often welcomes but sometime caused social conflict in group of peasants, monks and samurais. It sometime escalated to strike, people voting with their feet or, sometime, riot or physical violence.
Fifth, and less important to the campaign and in general, the Shadowland remain an issue but this is more bothersome to the Crab.