Campaign Background Information
The years before 1338
1288: Toturi VII, the Emerald Prince, retires and becomes a monk.
1289: Toturi Kobari, now Toturi VIII, takes the throne.
1300: The Scorpion and Phoenix begin the War of the White Phoenix, so named due to the instigator of the conflict, then-Master of Air Gennai Nobuhiko. The conflict is the bloodiest and most notable of Toturi VIII’s reign.
1303: The death of Nobuhiko brings about the end of the War of the White Phoenix. Though the Scorpion are the ostensible winners, they are left in a position where they cannot demand concessions from the Phoenix. This does not seem to bother them very much: the Scorpion Champion simply announces that the death of Nobuhiko satisfies the Scorpion’s honor.
1305: Potential conflict between the Dragon and Unicorn is averted when the Owl Clan sends diplomats to smooth over the matter. No one discusses the origin of the conflict, but a handful of both Dragon and Unicorn samurai commit seppuku shortly thereafter.
1308: Toturi VIII unexpectedly dies. His son, Toturi Reizan, takes the throne. During his time as Emperor, he gains a reputation as a militant Emperor with little tolerance for infighting among the clans.
1309: A new Emerald Championship is declared upon the retirement of Shosuro Akiko, the previous Champion. Doji Makibesu wins the tournament easily, and he and the Emperor become fast friends.
1315: The Unicorn Clan Champion is mysteriously found dead in his bed during the Imperial Winter Court in Shiro Sano Ken Hayai. Initial reports seem to suggest that he was murdered, but no killer is ever found. Many expect war to begin as early as spring over the matter, but the diligent work of the Ide daimyo of the time, Ide Kokorin, causes cooler heads to prevail. The Lion and the Unicorn agree to a tentative peace, one that has lasted for over 30 years.
1316: On the way back to Shiro Ide from the Imperial Court, Kokorin is found dead on the road by a Unicorn patrol. With most of his personal effects missing, the Unicorn determine that bandits were responsible. Systematically, the Unicorn begin wiping out all bandit activity in their lands to find the killers of the Ide daimyo, even mobilizing the Bauranghar for quick, surgical strikes. Ronin begin fleeing to Dragon lands for fear of being mistaken as bandits.
1320: Akodo Shakato unexpectedly mobilizes the First Lion Army against the Crane. No explanation is given, but the action is swiftly put to a halt by the order of Toturi IX. Shakato is incensed, as the Lion had only managed a few minor skirmishes before the attack was halted, but he does not dare go against the Emperor’s word.
1324: As the Scorpion Clan put political pressure on the Owl Clan, a large force of ronin suddenly descend upon Toshi Ranbo, the seat of the Owl. The First Heichi Army repel the attack. Despite the Heichi daimyo's insistence that the army used Scorpion techniques and tactics, there is no usable proof of Scorpion involvement. In the aftermath, however, the Scorpion's political pressure does alleviate.
1327: Toturi Reizan begins carrying the blade "Courage" wherever he goes. He does not provide explanation as to where the sword came from or how he acquired it.
1328: Following the purge of bandits from the Unicorn lands, a new group of criminals calling themselves by the legendary name of the "Forest Killers" emerge from the shadows of the Shinomen Mori.
1333: The Fourth Yasuki War begins over a slight between Daidoji Tsuru and then-Yasuki daimyo Yasuki Kozin. The Crab mobilize a significant portion of their reserves to Yasuki lands and swiftly push into Crane territory. Toturi IX allows this aggression without comment, though Imperial Observers are dispatched to keep close tabs on the fighting.
1334: The Crab report to the Imperial Court that a Shadowlands Army is massing south of the Wall, near the now-dilapidated City of the Lost. The Imperial Court largely ignores this threat.
1335: A sudden and violent coup stuns the Yasuki family. Yasuki Ranmaru, a young Emerald Magistrate, provides evidence of a renewed Kolat presence within the Yasuki family, including the Yasuki daimyo himself. Before Yasuki Kozin can call for a duel, Hiruma Miraiko, daimyo of the Hiruma family, stabs him in the back. Ranmaru is made Yasuki daimyo after Kozin’s family is executed. The Kolat, seeing almost a century of recovery undone, go back into hiding, likely for another century at least. The Crane are quick to claim this as proof of the Crab's untrustworthiness in the courts, and begin to make up for their military losses in the field - due in large part to Crab forces being redeployed to the Wall from the Crane front.
1336: A large Shadowlands army attacks the Wall. The Crab armies keep the enemy at bay initially, but a runner by the name of Hiruma Kosuke is sent to warn the rest of the clans that the Crab will not hold out without assistance. The clans start by sending the Crab extra supplies, but it soon becomes clear that the Crab may be wiped out unless they are given military aid. The Fourth Yasuki War quietly ends soon after this. Daidoji Tsuru leads the forces retaking the lands lost to the Crab, but upon the return to the status quo, the Crane accept the conflict as over without true resolution and act as if it never happened.
1337: The Imperial Legions march to the south, led by Toturi IX himself. The combined might of the Legions and the Crab obliterate the Shadowlands Horde, but the cost is high: the Emperor, his eldest son, the Jade Champion, and the Shogun all perish in the battle. The Emperor’s body is never recovered, despite the zealous efforts of many samurai to do so. Most scholars are insistent that his soul is safe, protected by the Celestial Heavens, but the lack of precedence for this sort of situation leaves room for doubt.
1338: Toturi Shin-Zhu, second son of the Emperor, is recalled from Balishnimpur to take the throne. Though he is perhaps not the most qualified of Toturi IX’s sons, he is the eldest remaining, and thus the default choice. A festival is held to celebrate the coming of the new Emperor.
Written up by the incomparable Cory Mills! Unless noted otherwise, all of these samurai can be taken as either allies or Sworn enemies Reminder: all Sworn enemies have a cost of 5. Also, even at status 0, samurai are considered to have a minimum influence of 1.
Hida Izo (Status 3) Currently serving as a gunso on the Wall, Izo actually held the rank of chui during the Fourth Yasuki War. Demoted in shame after his company was routed from Jukami Mura by the Daidoji, he now shares his tactical expertise with any who will listen – or at least buy the next round.
Yasuki Hatsue (Status 2) Hatsue is one of the Crab’s most capable quartermasters, known for her ability to find useful war materiel from across the Empire for amazing prices. It is rumored that the Yasuki family have debated finding her a position more in keeping with her skills, but she has proven too useful for the clan where she is.
Kuni Tokimasa (Status 4.5) The Kuni family have a strong tradition of fighting the Taint and those who would use it anywhere, and many of them take positions as Jade Magistrate to facilitate doing so. Tokimasa had no such plans or ambitions, but came to the attention of the last Jade Champion shortly before his death alongside the Emperor. Though the Crab are somewhat undermanned following the Shadowlands assault, the opportunity for another competent voice in the Jade Magistrates was too important to pass by; Tokimasu remains unsure that his new position is the best place for him to be.
Kakita Okiku (Status 2) Okiku does not match the appearance generally imagined for one of the most gifted artisans of her generation: her hands are strong and scarred, her arms well-muscled, and she is frequently covered in clay from her constant work as a sculptor. While as capable as any other Crane of presenting an appropriate appearance for court, Okiku would much rather be in her studio, wresting another vision of beauty from the bones of the earth.
Doji Hanako (Status 4) A familiar face in all of the major courts of Rokugan, Doji Hanako represents the interests of the Crane with grace and dignity. A soft word from her has brought an end to several incipient conflicts (to the chagrin of those who wished to make their reputation in war), though it is rumored that she is more willing than most of her family to use sterner measures when required.
Daidoji Takehide (Status 3) Takehide is a bluff, boisterous bushi whose combination of rough charisma and commercial acumen has led to his current assignment far, far away from the courts. Captain of the Haggard Yojimbo, a vessel named in “honor” of his brother, Takehide is one of several naval commanders that guard the vessels traveling to Balishnimpur; while his passengers never have glowing reports of the comforts of his ship, they do all refer to their voyage as “memorable.”
Togashi Inori (Status 2) The monks of the Togashi family occupy an almost unique place in the folklore of the Empire’s lower orders. None are more mysterious and adventurous than Togashi Inori, who appears to have taken her search for enlightenment out into the world. Whether defeating groups of bandits single-handedly or stopping her journey to offer a last prayer for a dying farmer, the peasants of Rokugan share tales of her deeds with awe. Inori responds to her inadvertent fame as might be expected from an enigmatic Dragon: “I seek what I need; if others find what they need in my search, so much the better.”
Kitsuki Hisako (Status 4.5) Hisako is a stern magistrate of proven experience, bringing down criminal cartels through the north of the Empire. While her cases have often put her at odds with even high-ranking members of her own clan, her absolute devotion to the law and her skill with a blade have made her a force to be reckoned with. No one was surprised when the Emerald Champion gave her a postion as an Emerald Magistrate, though sometimes she chafes at the limitations of her authority when dealing with local matters – no crime should go unpunished in her mind, and she has little patience for those who fail in their duty to prevent even the smallest infraction.
Agasha Shumei (Status 3) Innovation is not well-regarded in most of the Empire, though the Dragon are sometimes an exception; curious minds like Agasha Shumei often have difficulties with this fact of life. A genius constantly searching for new applications of his family’s alchemy, his pursuits have led him all over Rokugan seeking rare ingredients.
Akodo Tetsui (Status 4.5) With the dearth of large-scale conflicts between the Lion and any other clan in recent memory, more of the clan have turned to the Imperial Legions to gain military reputation and experience. This has made the competition quite fierce, and Akodo Tetsui is one of those who has risen through the ranks to chui through his tactical acumen and cold, brutal practicality. While there are whispers that he has benefitted more from his rivals falling out of favor than his own skill, it cannot be denied that he has taken advantage of every opportunity presented as Akodo himself would counsel.
Kitsu Isei (Status 2) Isei is one of the most promising shugenja of his generation, with a connection to the ancestors many of his family find inspiring. He is less certain of this, accepting his gift with humility and some hesitation (perhaps stemming from how regularly he hears the voices of the shiryo).
Matsu Teruyo (Status 3) The Lion border on every other Great Clan except the Crab, and even in times of relative peace like the last generation, still engage in skirmishes with them all. Teruyo is a veteran of military actions against nearly all of them herself, having deliberately sought the most likely postings throughout her career. She combines the typical Matsu eagerness for battle with a keen interest in the methods of war used by the other clans, and studies their ways intently.
Yoritomo Shigochiyo (Status 3) While it is tempting to call all Mantis sea captains “pirate”, it is simply not the case – the entire clan could not support flagrant violations of Imperial law, particularly now that there is more ocean traffic than ever before in the Empire’s history. Certainly there is no proof or testimony that would implicate Yoritomo Shigochiyo in such activity. His incredible wealth is due entirely to his masterful trading with the Ivindi, and all of the well-armed and highly skilled bushi of his crew have borne witness to these deals (even if no other Rokugani ever has). And the name of his ship, the Inazuma Maru, refers to the legendary connection between Osano-wo and the Mantis, not the speed that it is capable of striking out with…
Tsuruchi Fumihiro (Status 4.5) Continuing a tradition of service in the Emerald Magistrates that goes back to the founding of the Tsuruchi family, Fumihiro is renowned as one of the best trackers in the Empire. Though not as skilled with a bow as the common perception of the Tsuruchi would indicate, he compensates for this with a keen intellect and razor-sharp instincts.
Moshi Saori (Status 2) Saori is a highly traditional shugenja, devoted to the memory of Amaterasu and the majesty of Yakamo. Her faith has led her to an interest in the Naga, in an attempt to understand how Yakamo’s connection to that race affected his ascension to the Sun, and she has journeyed across the Empire in search of the ruins of their civilization.
Hantei Iwane (Status 3) A careful cultivation of neutrality has been a priority for the Owl since their founding, and few exemplify this as well as Hantei Iwane. Bland and unassuming, his personal goals and reputation never overshadow the conflicts he has adjudicated. While Iwane has few friends in the courts, he has no powerful enemies, and he has built a network of contacts in nearly every major city.
Chise Sanako (Status 4.5) Sanako has worked hard to become a Jade Magistrate, finally achieving her goal two years ago. While she performs her duties admirably, she makes no secret of the fact that she hopes to establish a tradition of Imperial service for the Owl Clan, and generally forge closer ties to the Imperial families.
Heichi Toya (Status 3.5) The mai chong of the Heichi Bushi School is justly feared, and Imperial Legion gunso Heichi Toya is doing her part to spread its reputation. Her squad of spearmen has earned distinction for action against both the Crane and Crab, containing their fighting during the Fourth Yasuki War, as well as putting down a minor uprising in the Scorpion lands.
Asako Montaro (Status 2) Few scholars among the Asako are as interested in the world outside their libraries as Montero is. Claiming a fascination with the way that human choice shapes history, he has visited (and in the opinion of some, made a nuisance of himself in) most of Rokugan's major courts. Few courtiers appreciate his overly analytical view of their actions, possibly more because he has a distressing tendency to be correct.
Shiba Yori (Status 3) One of the most skilled duelists in the Empire is the quiet and unassuming Shiba Yori. While she does not go out of her way to provoke challenges, she has proven victorious in sixteen lethal duels (nine of which were against Kakita), and now her reputation has begun to draw attention from those seeking to earn a name for themselves.
Isawa Miyo (Status 4) Miyo is an Acolyte of Air, one of the assistants to Master of Air Isawa Himeko, and frequently acts as a court representative for the Elemental Council. Somewhat more assertive than her Master, she has encountered some difficulties due to her somewhat condescending attitude toward Asahina and Soshi shugenja.
Bayushi Akanishin (Status 4) Clever with both his hands and his words, Akanishin is welcome in most of the Empire's courts. He can always be counted upon to provide a pleasant diversion, whether it be an engaging game of go or sharing one of his vast trove of amusing anecdotes.
Soshi Yukiyo (Status 2.5) The Jade Legion attracts samurai who are devoted to their duty, but even in that company, Soshi Yukiyo stands out as a dedicated destroyer of darkness. Following the mysterious deaths of her family in Balishnimpur, she has pushed for action against all manner of cultists.
Shosuro Retsuko (Status 3) Retsuko is renowned for her performances in every major court of the Empire. Though she does not have the classic dark beauty of her clan, this has actually furthered her career on the stage as it has given her a breadth of roles few other actors can match.
Shinjo Kei (Status 2.5) The duties of an Imperial Cartographer require travel across the Empire, a perfect fit for Kei's wanderlust. While others may produce maps that are more clear, none match the enthusiasm she brings to her duty, and few can deliver them as quickly.
Ide Kazuyuki (Status 3) Kazuyuki is a Unicorn Clan magistrate with a somewhat unsettling reputation. Seeing his duty as the defense of his clan's lands from criminals, he has frequently detained ronin, Minor Clan samurai, and even low-ranking or destitute members of other Great Clans on suspicion of being bandits with stolen papers. These matters have usually been cleared up before anything other than time was lost, but some whisper it is only a matter of time...
Iuchi Yumiko (Status 4) A powerful water shugenja and noted tactician, Yukiko is a chui in the Baraunghar army known for her interest in the military traditions of the other clans. There are rumors that she and her squad spent several weeks observing the Crab and Crane forces during their recent war, even though there is no record of travel papers having been issued.
Seppun Neneko (Status 5.5) Neneko's ancestors have a long tradition of Imperial service, going back to the Battle of White Stag. It is also a legacy fraught with danger: samurai of her line have died defending every Emperor who has fallen to violence. Her survival of the most recent battle earned her a promotion to taisa, but has left her uncertain of her destiny.
Otomo Yusuke (Status 3) There are those who say that Yusuke was trained by the Miya Heralds rather than his own family because of his inability to keep a secret, but Yusuke himself is quite happy with his lot in life. He is allowed to travel across Rokugan and bring news of the Empire's doings to everyone willing to listen, a duty he undertakes with great joy.
Seppun Masaharu (Status 4) A dry and withered courtier utterly lacking in humor, Masaharu is a master of protocol and all too eager to correct even the smallest transgression. Having memorized hundreds of minor Imperial ceremonies and rituals, he has made himself indispensable to the running of the Imperial Court, though in the process he has also made himself several enemies. He is currently protected by his position, but how long that remains the case is in doubt...
Ichiro Kentaro (Status 2) Kentaro is a massive, jovial warrior that makes his way in the world as a mercenary. Though the Badger do not require it for survival any more, a strong tradition has developed where they serve their clan by bringing in extra funds, and Kentaro has taken to this life with gusto.
Kasuga Hikosaburo (Status 2) The captain of "Daikoku's Path" is a friendly, outgoing Tortoise known in the Empire as Kasuga Hikosaburo, though rumor has it both ship and her master go by different names in the Ivory Kingdoms. Still, Hikosaburo is a genial fellow, an expert on the Ivindi and their ways, and is eager to share his knowledge with those in need of it.
Kaeru Mina (Status 2) The Frog Clan have expanded their business arrangements all over Rokugan, and traveling merchants like Kaeru Mina bring their wares to all who wish to buy. As Mina's goods are usually weapons, she attracts interest from samurai wherever she goes, and she is accompanied by several ronin guards to keep the interest from less reputable groups at bay.
Gekido (Status 0 - may only be taken as a sworn enemy) The brutal leader of the resurgent Forest Killers bandit gang is known only as "Gekido" ("Rage"). A cruel warrior and cunning criminal, he deliberately leaves survivors of his raids to spread the tale of terror - most likely to quell resistance in future attacks.
Hiroe (Status 0) The ronin group known as the Disciples of Sun Tao were hired by the Crane during the Fourth Yasuki War to defend Shinden Asahina. Though the temples were not a primary target, Hiroe, the commander of the ronin, made a good impression with her professionalism and strategic ability. The few Crab forces to approach the Asahina lands were driven away with no damage done due to her careful planning.
Dai (Status 0) When there is fighting, there will be injured, and while the healers of the Order of Isashi are staunch pacifists, they prove their bravery by tending the wounded at the worst battlefields in the Empire. One of their number, a simple shugenja by the name of Dai, has earned a name for himself by going into the heaviest fighting to save as many lives as possible. Some even say that he was present at the Emperor's final battle, and only the death of so many samurai kept him from the Son of Heaven's side.
Choko (Status 0 - Choko is considered to have influence 0 and may not be taken as a sworn enemy) No one knows why the monk Choko has taken it upon himself to carve a path through the Spine of the World, but for more than a decade, he has steadily been wearing away at a mountain just north of Samui Kaze Toshi in the Crane lands. Uncertain what to make of his endeavor, the Crane have left him alone while the peasants provide support and occasional assistance. If he completes his task, it will provide a new road through the mountains - but the best estimate is that it will take another fifty years at least.
Credit where due: Choko the monk was inspired by a real life story pointed out to me by Michael Brost. (Note: They are all eligible sworn enemies. Gekido is just sworn enemy only, which may have caused confusion)
Clan Primer: The Owl Clan
In so many ways, the Clan of the Owl stands alone in the Empire. The youngest Great Clan, it nonetheless possesses an incredibly complicated history, suitable for a Clan that calls itself “the memory of the Empire.” In the two centuries since its founding, the Owl have come to occupy a unique place in Rokugani culture and society, one of careful neutrality and deep, sometimes unsettling, knowledge.
The Owl were created out of the thousands of followers of Hantei Okucheo in the mid twelfth century. Okucheo, along with most of the samurai who eventually swore fealty to him, was a returned spirit, a long-dead ancestor returned to living body through the power of an ancient and now-destroyed artifact. Once Emperor Hantei XVI, the Steel Chrysanthemum, Okucheo attempted to claim the Empire’s throne by right of Imperial blood, leading to years of strife before the Toturi Interregnum finally ended. As part of Okucheo’s agreement to end his claim to the throne, he and his followers were granted the Owl Clan, a recognized Great Clan through Okucheo’s link to the Kami Hantei.
Because Okucheo’s followers spanned every Clan and hailed from every century since the dawn of the Empire to the Clan War, they brought to the new Owl an unparallelled knowledge of Rokugani history and insights into the workings of every Clan. The Hantei family itself drew heavily on the respect their name still carried in the Empire, especially among the Seppun, Otomo, and Miya families, to build a strong relationship with the Imperial bureaucracy and court; many in the Empire thought this might herald another attempt at gaining the throne, but the Hantei headed these concerns off by proclaiming an oath that no descendant of Hantei Okucheo would ever be wedded to the Toturi line. Instead, the Owl have taken their Imperial ties and unusually broad perspective on the other Clans to become the Empire’s de facto mediators, eschewing strong political alliances and avoiding the ire of most the other Clans for a kind of deliberate neutrality.
As returned spirits, most of the founding samurai of the Owl were uniquely familiar with the workings of the Spirit Realms, to a degree even the Kitsu might envy. This knowledge was more practical than theoretical, however; as the Clan began to develop its unique Schools and Techniques, the hands-on familiarity of the returned spirits expressed itself through special advantages in dealing with the natives of those other Realms. Even today, though, the Kitsu and the Chise have a strong working relationship when it comes to researching the planes of existence beyond Ningen-do. The Hantei family leads the Clan, composed of descendants of those who swore fealty directly to Hantei Okucheo himself at the Owl’s founding. The Hantei have a reputation as consummate dealmakers, equally adept at establishing peace accords and building strong military alliances. They see themselves as the whole Empire in microcosm, a blend of bloodlines from every Founding Kami and descended from a ruling Emperor; even the best among them carry a certain amount of arrogance from this perspective. The family tends to produce more courtiers than bushi, but the difference is slight, and the Hantei support both a Hantei Bushi and a Hantei Courtier School. Bushi or courtier, Hantei samurai are expected to have some familiarity with both warfare and politics, as a proper samurai should.
The Chise family was founded by Hantei Okucheo’s wife, an Asahina-trained Doji shugenja who offered fealty to all the shugenja in the new Clan, regardless of their original spellcasting tradition. Consequently, the Chise family produces shugenja progeny almost as frequently as do the Isawa, a vital advantage in a Clan as small as the Owl. In keeping with the philosophies of their founder, the Chise tend toward pacifism and diplomacy over military applications of the kami, but they nonetheless possess the heritage of Okucheo’s ruthlessness to call upon at need. As with the Hantei Schools, the Chise Shugenja School is uniquely skilled in dealing with denizens of other Spirit Realms.
The third Owl Clan family, the down to earth Heichi, often seems like an odd fit amongst their more politically-inclined Hantei and Chise cousins, but it is doubtful the Owl Clan would have survived their first challenging decades without the strong arms of the Heichi to defend them. The Heichi were once the Minor Clan of the Boar, an offshoot of the Crab founded in the third century, but the Clan was wiped out by the depredations of the loathsome maho tsukai Asahina Yajinden. Fortunately, a surprisingly large number of Boar returned to the Empire with the other returned spirits, and the Crab Clan offered the survivors fealty as a vassal family of the Hida. Less than a year later, however, Hantei Okucheo founded the Owl and offered the Heichi fealty as a Great Clan family in their own right. The Crab already held perhaps the greatest hatred among the Clans for Okucheo; when the Heichi accepted Okucheo’s offer, the lasting enmity of the Crab for the Owl was sealed. Even now, the only Clan that truly considers the Owl an enemy is the Crab, and no one in the Empire sees that as likely to change soon. For their own part, the Heichi hold a fierce loyalty to the Owl and the Hantei family in particular for the honor granted them in joining a Great Clan as full members. The Hantei value the Heichi’s strength on the battlefield, and often arrange Heichi marriages for Hantei bushi that lack sufficient adeptness in court. Heichi bushi are strong, loyal, and dependable, with a knowledge of defensive tactics that owes much to their former Crab allies. They are also skilled weaponsmiths, but have a family taboo against the forging of katana, which they exclusively leave to the Hantei - this taboo stems from their family’s destruction at Yajinden’s hands to feed the vile Anvil of Despair. Instead, the Heichi favor the creation and mastery of the mai chong, an unusual spear that sees use almost nowhere else in the Empire.
The Hantei Family receives +1 awareness at character creation. It's schools are the Hantei Bushi School and the Otomo Diplomat School (renamed the Hantei Courtier School) from the Togashi Dynasty chapter of Imperial Histories 2.
The Chise Family receives +1 Perception at Character Creation. It's school is the Seppun Shugenja School (renamed the Chise Shugenja School) from the Togashi Dynasty chapter of Imperial Histories 2.
The Heichi family is mechanically identical to the Boar Clan from the book of water in the Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition Core Book.
Credit where it's due: the write up for the Owl Clan is the work of Adam Thomas-Brashier.
Q: Where are the lands of the Owl Clan?
A: The Owl claim their capitol in the formerly contested city of Toshi Ranbo wo Shien Shite Reigisaho. The Crane and Lion, as part of peace accords in 1145, ceded the embattled city, along with surrounding lands including the Kintani Valley and the Southern part of the Dragon Heart Plains.
Q: Do the Heichi family still have their holdings in the Twilight Mountains?
A: They do not. Those holdings are unfortunately woefully far from the lands the Owl now calls home, and the Crab are not particularly interested in letting the Heichi go there to claim those lands and the secrets within.
Q: Aside from the Crab (hostile) and Lion (positive), are there any other outstanding prejudices of the other Great Clans towards the Owl Clan?
A: Most clans are generally neutral to the clan, partially because it takes active effort into not angering people. The Crane tend towards friendly to the Owl, especially since the Owl Champions have universally taken Crane Brides in honor of old traditions.
Q: If I were to sales pitch the Owl Clan in a tabletop game, how would I go about that? As in: "The Crab Clan are gruff warriors fighting an eternal war against the forces of Hell so the rest of the Empire can exist." or "The Crane Clan are the masters of art, diplomacy, and courtliness, who settle military matters with influence and the unsurpassed skill of their duelists." or "The Dragon Clan are rugged individualists and pragmatic iconoclasts, in a society which worships the past and conformity."
A: "The Owl Clan are an eclectic clan, who specialize in dealings with the nonhuman races and spirits." (I could probably think of something more eloquent were I not at work and somewhat brain fried, but I may ask Adam to take care of that part...)