Six Reasons The Mantis Clan Is The Best Clan In L5R
Every clan has a reputation for certain things. The typical Crane, for example, tends to be honorable but a bit prissy. The average Scorpion may be dishonorable and slip poison in your tea when you're not looking, but he gets things done. The Crab in the corner might not be able to pronounce words with more than two syllables, but it only takes two to yell "Maho!" and crush a tsukai with her tetsubo.
And the average Mantis is pure, unadulterated awesome. How do we know this?
1. The Mantis Clan Was The First Minor Clan
In year 80, the Mantis Clan was founded on the Isles of Silk and Spice; a full ten years before the Fox Clan was created by the Emperor, after Kaimetsu-Uo was passed over for his half-peasant brother.
Some people might argue that the recognition of the Emperor was more important than the actual founding date... which is why the Mantis later absorbed the Fox Clan and bolstered their number even further, eliminating any such confusion.
2. We Earned Our Family Name
Some Clans earned their first family name because it was passed down by a Kami. That's all well and good - some clans like hiding behind their mom's name, and that's okay. But the Mantis earned our family name, in the most epic way possible: by pulling a knife on the Emperor.
Sure, we lost that family name a century later, but no one wins every time.
That's not an editing error: Yoritomo is a reason in and of himself.
During the Clan War, when the Great Clan samurai were ruining everything for everyone everywhere, Yoritomo gathered the minor clans together and protected the people. During the Second Day of Thunder, he convinced (some jealous types say 'coerced by threatening to attack them and destroy the world') the Great Clans to elevate the Mantis to a Great Clan as well.
Did I mention he was offered the throne of Rokugan by a god, but turned it down because he refused to be a pawn? Or that he became a god himself?
Yoritomo is the ultimate Mantis story, because his ambition carried him (and his clan) to its proper station in Rokugan.
4. Tsuruchi and the Wasp Clan
Again, not an editing error. What do you get when you mix the courage of a Lion and the mind of a Scorpion?
Tsuruchi was double-crossed by both the Scorpion (to be expected) and the Lion (not so expected). They assassinated his parents, stormed his family home of Kyuden Ashinagabachi - which is just an awesome-sounding castle in the first place - and tried to murder him. So what does Tsuruchi do?
He rolls back in with a handful of men, slaughters the garrison and retakes his home. Afterward he gets in touch with the Emerald Champion and gets Kyuden Ashinagabachi declared as a permanent outpost for Emerald Magistrates.
Later Tsuruchi joins Yoritomo's Alliance to defend Rokugan, and joins the Mantis Clan as the Tsuruchi family.
5. Thunder... Thunder! Thunder Shugenja, Ho!
While other shugenja families are studying the magic of the four elements (fine, five, we get it Phoenix), Mantis shugenja are practicing with the element of heroes and power: Thunder. It comes naturally to them, and is put to good use on Mantis ships for Mantis purposes.
Being able to summon a bowl of rice with Inari's Blessing is all well and good, but it doesn't quite have that same effect as calling down lightning from the sky and destroying your enemies in fiery vengeance.
6. Mantis Own Pretty Much The Whole World
According to the charter that Emperor Toturi I issued, the Mantis basically own all lands that aren't Rokugan. Anything without a Clan allegiance is under our domain. This covers everything from the seas past Crane territory to gaijin lands... all Mantis territory.
Beyond that, the Mantis are seafarers. They make their homes on the Isles of Silk and Spice, and organize themselves via crews and ships. While most of the Clans are either land-locked or lacking ships that can survive on the open sea, the Mantis thrive there.