The Empire of Yamato is based loosely on Feudal Japan, in the same way that Middle Earth is based loosely on Medieval Europe. This is, first and foremost, a fantasy campaign, not an historic reenactment. The game system is Pathfinder, with some campaign-specific additions and a few house rules.
Yamato is composed of 4 main islands and a dozen smaller ones. It takes weeks to travel to the nearest continent by ship; trade does exist, but to a great extent Yamato has developed in isolation from other nations.
That is, until recently. 5 years ago the Black Ships sailed into Negishima Harbor and sent shockwaves through Yamato society. The crew were strange – pale and tall – and possessed of weapons and technology that had never been seen before. At the same time, they appeared to have no knowledge of the arcane arts.
An embassy and trading outpost were established, and the massive Black Ships are a common site in Negishima. The foreigners – gaijin – are restricted by law to the embassy/trading outpost complex, unless authorized by the Emperor and escorted by his designated emissaries. Trade with the foreigners has been highly profitable.
What impact will exposure to the strange technology and stranger ideas of the gaijin have on the conservative culture of Yamato? Is profitable trade really the extent of the foreigners’ ambitions? For that matter, what about the Emperor’s ambitions? Only one thing is clear: the Empire of Yamato is at an historic crux, where the future of a nation and its people will be shaped by the actions of a few individuals touched by the hand of destiny.