Rokugan Military Structure
The traditional Akodo military configuration is comprised of the following units and structures:
The squadron is the smallest military unit. The traditional squadron consists of twenty soldiers commanded by a gunso.
Although squadrons allow for a degree of tactical flexibility, the company is the basic building block of an army. A company consists of seven squadrons led by a chui and his command staff, which typically comprises five additional officers. This brings the total membership of the average company to 153 officers and soldiers.
Reserve Company (Yobihei Kaisha)
A reserve company is a smaller company made up of highly specialized troops. Reserve companies are typically deployed alongside a larger number of regular companies, most
frequently as part of a legion. A reserve company traditionally consists of six squadrons of varying types, such as shugenja trained in military applications of their magical abilities, engineers with siege weapons, scouts, or cavalry. A reserve company is commanded by a chui and his command staff.
The legion is the largest autonomous unit in an army. A legion consists of six companies and one reserve company, amounting to roughly 750 troops, and is commanded by a taisa. A taisa and his legion answer to the shireikan in command of their section of the army.
An army is the largest military organization maintained by the Great Clans. Traditionally, every Great Clan has at least one standing army, and the larger and more martial clans can maintain as many as three or four armies simultaneously. A standard go-hatamoto consists of 48 legions divided as desirable into sections or wings commanded by shireikan.
The Lion clan usually maintains four armies, one each for the Akodo and Ikoma families and two for the Matsu. At certain points during their history the Lion have expanded their military strength far beyond this level—at one point prior to the Clan War, the Lion claimed to have an army of nearly 500,000 soldiers. The strain of supporting such vast forces badly depletes the clan’s resources, however, leaving the Lion vulnerable to the economic manipulations of rivals like the Crane and Scorpion. Thus, through most of history it has been more common for the Emperor’s Right Hand to maintain the four-army structure described above.
In Rokugani warfare, it is normal for the commander of a military force of any signifi cant size to maintain a small unit to serve as his personal command group. The composition of
such groups varies considerably from clan to clan, but typically they include the commander himself, several yojimbo, one or more junior officers to serve as aides-de-camp, at least one shugenja, and a number of signalmen who use banners, flags, and other pre-arranged symbols (such as hummingbulb arrows) to send orders to the units under his command.
Command groups in the armies of clans like the Crane, Scorpion, or Phoenix often include a courtier or political adjunct of some sort as well. Their purpose is to offer counsel on the political ramifications of what is taking place on the battlefield. This is a time-honored tradition, especially in large-scale military campaigns, but not one that most military commanders find particularly useful. Most courtiers assigned to this duty recognize the generals they are supposed to advise don’t like having them around, and only speak up when spoken to, or when they feel that their counsel is absolutely crucial.
The Lion Courtier School frequently has members accompany Lion deployments so that the deeds of soldiers can be witnessed first hand, and so the soldier’s moral can be bolstered through the retelling of their ancestor’s deeds.
Lion Specific Units
The Lion Clan traditionally maintains at least one elite fighting force which serves as the first legion of an army. All three families maintain an Elite Guard unit of veteran bushi, for instance, and both the Akodo and the Matsu set aside one company per legion for the Deathseekers among their number.
The Matsu also maintain the elite all-female legion known as the Lion’s Pride, one of the most potent units to be found on any Rokugani battlefield.
All of the families maintain small mounted forces, and the importance and prestige of these units increased after the return of the Unicorn forced the Lion to adapt to cavalry tactics. The Ikoma also maintain a sizable force of wardens to patrol their borders with the Unicorn and Dragon clans.
Although the Lion have a sizable shugenja family in the Kitsu, they have relatively few battle shugenja—most Kitsu are priests who dedicate their lives to worshipping the ancestors,
and only a minority of their number serve in the army. Those who do so, however, commit themselves fully to the task. Thus, each Lion army has only a few score shugenja serving among their bushi brethren.