The most important Rokugani Armies were the standing armies of the Great Clans, which varied in size and readiness. [1]

Ranks Edit

The usual ranks of the Rokugani armies were the following: [2]

Strategic March and Deployment Edit

When moving a Rokugani army had its Main Body preceded by a Vanguard, followed by a Rear Guard, and might be protected by Flank Guards. Scouts usually rangedaround the army in all directions. A Baggage Train accompanied the army, while the whole of it was overseen by a sophisticated system of Command. [3]

  • Main Body: it contained the bulk of its numbers and incorporated most of the ashigaru. The Rikugunshokan himself, or a reliable and trusted subordinate, would travel within it. The Main Body marched in whatever formation was most efficient, given the terrain and circumstances.
  • Vanguard: it was a large detachment deployed ahead of the Main Body. It would adopt a formation more suited for quick engagement of the enemy. Its units were often staffed with disproportionate numbers of trusted veterans. Once the enemy was encountered, the Vanguard pinned them in place while the Main Body adopted a battle formation and advanced to engage.
  • Flank Guard: it protected the army's flanks, providing early warning of enemy activity, and engaging the enemy in order to give the main body time to deploy.
  • Rear Guard: it provided protection against an attack from the rear, and they were instrumental to organize a withdrawal. The Rear Guard operated closer to the Main Body than the Vanguard and Flank Guards.
  • Baggage Train: it carried all the supplies any army would need, including food, water, armor, weapons, and other equipment. Samurai were placed as overseers and to provide security, but also armorers and weaponsmiths were part of it. Large numbers of eta oversaw by heimin superirors carried out necessary tasks such as disposing of human and animal waste, cleaning up other refuse, and collecting and disposing of the dead.

Philosophy Edit

The Three Initial Attacks Edit

Rokugani philosophy claimed the three initial attacks were to confuse an enemy, to strike at the mind; to engage with the steel of the sword, to strike at the body; and to intimidate an enemy with your chi, to strike at the spirit. To succeed in any one of these was to defeat your opponent. [4]

The Five Measurs Edit

If a general was true and virtuous, then an army had the Measure of Air. If an army understood the ground on which it fights, it would have the advantage, the Measure of Earth. The army must also follow the Emperor's Laws, having a soul of fire, the Measure of Fire. A trained army would move and flow like the river, the Measure of Water. Lastly, understanding the passage of the stars was the final understanding, there was no explaining, the Measure of Void. [5]

The Three Alternatives Edit

When engaging the enemy, there were three alternatives. If the enemy attacked first, kill him. If you attacked first, kill him. If you attacked at once, kill him. [6]

To Tread on the Sword Edit

To tread on the sword pertained to fighting against large groups of opponents, even when bows or other weapons were used. Responsive attack was the key. If you were preparing your weapon, you would not be able to seize the opportunity to attack when it arises. [7]

The Five Enemies Edit

You would know your enemy by his weaknesses. The Vain Enemy could be fooled with humility. The Negligent Enemy could be defeated with detail. The Angry Enemy could be drawn off balance. The Exhaustible Enemy tired himself quickly. The Cowardly Enemy defeated himself. [8]

Numbers Edit

At the beginning of the 12th century, the size of the general armies of each of the Clans was: [9]


  1. Sword and Fan, p. 20
  2. Way of the Dragon, pp. 25-26
  3. Sword and Fan, pp. 21-25
  4. Clan War: Rulebook, p. 37
  5. Clan War: Rulebook, p. 50
  6. Clan War: Rulebook, p. 57
  7. Clan War: Rulebook, p. 68
  8. Clan War: Rulebook, p. 72
  9. Clan War: Rulebook, p. 35

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