Magic Earth - Alternate History Urban Fantasy world

Rōnin

Rōnin (浪人) or "drifters" were samurai without a lord or master. This could either be due to the death of the master or due to falling out of the master's favor. Either way samurai were expected to commit ritual suicide, seppuku, when losing their master. Those who did not follow this code were to live on in great shame and would become rōnin.  

Status

  In feudal Japan the rōnin were seen as failed men with no honour. Especially during the Edo period the number of rōnin increased. During this time samurai were forbidden to take up new masters which caused many to choose the rōnin status rather than death. Because they could not continue their original employment they started to look for other ways to gain money.   Some became mercenaries who took bodyguard jobs or protected caravans of wealthy individuals. On many occasions, however, they resorted to less honourable ways to make money. Often rōnin became criminals who either terrorised the roads or joined crime in cities. They ran brothels, gambling rings and even protection rackets. These activities even further solidified the image of rōnin as dangerous criminals.

47 Rōnin

  Only for one occasion was the failure to perform seppuku seen as honourable, the tale of the 47 rōnin. They stayed alive to avenge the death of their master and once there mission was complete they killed themselves. Although their original actions were unlawlful to the samourai code their loyality at the end makes them well regarded.  

Blood Rōnin

  The rōnin that were feared the most, however, were the Blood Rōnin. Not content with their lowered status they grew angry at the world and resorted to Blood Magic. They even started to use human sacrifices to attract oni (demons) to the world in an attempt to control areas of Japan. An army of samurai was raised to eradicate them which luckily succeeded. But the fear still remains that they were not all killed and that the organisation is still around.

Comments

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1 Aug, 2022 23:12

I really like your take on a condition. Something they chose for themselves rather than ritual suicide. Great job!

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