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Kami no michi

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The worship of the gods and spirits called the Thousand Fortunes was known in Rokugan as "kami no michi", or "way of the gods". This was the ancient religion of the ancient Tribe of Isawa, a clan of shugenja who predated the fall of the Kami to the mortal realm and who had spread their faith throughout the lands of what would comprise the Emerald Empire along with their magical knowledge. [1]

Animism Edit

Rokugani believed that the world was an animistic place populated by countless spirits and deities, and that these beings had the power to affect reality and the course of their lives. These spirits ranged from beings who embodied such powerful and universal forces as Romantic Love and Strength like the Fortunes Benten and Bishamon, respectively, to those that embodied far more limited and parochial concerns, such as Kenro-ji-jin, the Fortune of Soil. Such divine beings also included mortals deified by the Emperor posthumously such as Osano-Wo who was declared the Fortune of Fire and Thunder after his death, to the individual spirits of the elements residing in the natural world all around. Every rock, river, tree, and mountain had its own mikokami -- "little god" -- protecting and watching over it.

These spirits, or Fortunes, each had two distinct natures. Their beneficial natures bestowed blessings on those who had earned their favor, whereas their wrathful natures cursed those who had earned their ire. Rokugani were very careful to stay within the good graces of all of the Fortunes, no matter how inconsequential the Fortune's position and divine portfolio might be. No one -- peasant nor emperor -- wanted to draw the wrath of any of the Fortunes.

Occasionally the Fortunes took human form. The appetites of the divine were similar to a mortal's, and sometimes children were born as a result of their desires. These children were mortal, born as they were from a divine parent who had taken on a mortal form, but they often possessed unusual abilities related to their divine parent's portfolio or fundamental nature. [2]

Origin Edit

When the Moon and Sun named the shapeless world, the life began. The Fortunes were born in the dreams of the creatures who slept in Ningen-do. Their first worshipers were the Naga race. [3]

The primitive tribes of humans lived in the lands that would one day become Rokugan discovered the presence of powerful nature spirits. These spirits, denizens of Tengoku, held tremendous stay over events in the mortal world. These spirits come to be known as Fortunes and were worshiped in shrines and temples across the land. [4]

Prior to the Fall of the Kami, most human tribes worshipped one or two of the Fortunes, and only the Tribe of Isawa venerated all of the Fortunes equally. [5]

Mikokami Edit

The Rokugani term "mikokami" meant "little god", and was used to speak of any of the deities or animistic spirits collectively called Fortunes throughout Rokugan. The different Fortunes within the faith of kami no michi were divided into several different echelons. [6]

Sun and Moon Edit

The deities of the Sun and Moon were considered to inhabit the highest position among the Fortunes, the leaders of the pantheon of deitiies, and they were easily the most powerful, pervasive, and visible of any of the Fortunes. [1]

The Seven Fortunes Edit

The focus of kami no michi did not fall on the Sun and Moon, however, it fell on the seven deitiies or Fortunes who came after them. These seven were mighty beings who transcended the mortal world, embodied the most potent forces within human life, and wielded great power. [7]

The Seven Fortunes were fickle gods who were easily pleased and easily angered, who provided blessings to any who asked properly and curses to those who did not. [8]

Minor Fortunes Edit

Beyond these nine beings, all of the other Fortunes of Creation were categorized together, no matter their purpose or nature. From forces of nature to deified mortals to elemental spirits, all other mikokami were classed similarly. While these minor Fortunes were not as powerful as the Seven Fortunes, attracting their attention was still no small feat. Even the smallest of these beings still possess power greater than that of any mortals, and they also had more direct ways of communicating with other, even more powerful beings, and were willing to intercede with them on a mortal's behalf -- for a price.

Creation of New Minor Fortunes Edit

There were historical minor fortunes, before the Dawn of the Empire, and after the Empire began new ways to create minor fortunes appeared:

Ancestors Edit

Below the Fortunes were thousands of ancestors whom the Rokugani looked to daily for advice and direction, including the Kami, founders of the Great Clans. [12]

Shinseism Edit

When Shinsei came to Rokugan with his Tao of the Five Rings, many shugenja applied the Tao to their native religion. The religion of Rokugan was mingled with the philosophy of Shinsei, and the two became inseparable. Children were baptized with blessings from the Seven Fortunes while the deceased were buried with rites prescribed by Shinsei. [12]

Dark Fortunes Edit

The Dark Fortunes were the corrupted divine mirrors of the Rokugani Thousand Fortunes. [13] They were capable of the same feats as traditional Fortunes. They could and would answer prayers, levied curses, and granted blessings, though these boons were always intended to allow their recipient to carry out the most selfish and evil of desires, damning their souls in the process. The Dark Fortunes were different from the others in that they had been corrupted by the foul power of Jigoku and were the embodiments of the darkest facets of the human experience. [14]

See Also Edit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Way of the Phoenix, p. 30
  2. Blood Dawn, Part III: Blackened Silk, by Rich Wulf
  3. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 17
  4. Way of the Open Hand, p. 9
  5. Imperial Histories, pp. 32-33
  6. Way of the Phoenix, p. 31
  7. Way of the Phoenix, pp. 30-31
  8. Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 87
  9. Player's Guide: 2nd Ed, p. 195
  10. Way of the Open Hand, p. 41
  11. Winter Court: Kyuden Kakita, p. 120
  12. 12.0 12.1 Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire, p. 136
  13. Goddesses, Part 4, by Shawn Carman
  14. Aftermath, Part 2, by Shawn Carman

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