One of the defining characteristics of Tsurukokan society is a deeply ingrained sense of duty. Every Tsurukokan feels as though she is part of a larger community, and that she is in some way responsible for the success or failure of that community. The ties that each Tsurukokan feels toward her community are known as allegiances. By acting in a way that advances the cause or improves the standing of her chosen allegiance, a character gains Honor.
A character may only have one allegiance. While a character may work closely with multiple groups and organizations, she is ultimately responsible only to one. Some rare characters, like a rōnin (a samurai who has either lost or abandoned his master), may not have an allegiance, but these unfortunate souls have limited options for regaining Honor.
In order to acquire an allegiance, a character must perform a deliberate action, such as swearing fealty to a daimyō, taking the vows of a monastic order or being initiated into the study of a mystic tradition. By contrast, a character may renounce an allegiance at any time, simply by declaring her desire to do so.
If a character ever intentionally performs an action to harm her allegiance or its standing in the community, the GM may immediately strip her of the benefits of said allegiance, including the opportunity to gain Honor.
The community to which a character pledges allegiance may be clearly defined or somewhat abstract, but the effects of having the allegiance are the same. The list of allegiances below is by no means exhaustive, and the GM is encouraged to develop allegiances that are appropriate to his campaign.
Clan: Most characters in Tsurukoku belong to one of several clans, headed by a daimyō (a hereditary warlord). These characters owe their allegiance to the daimyō, and, ultimately, to the Mikado, the Emperor of Tsurukoku. They work to bring honor to their clan, and their actions affect the reputation of the entire clan throughout Tsurukoku.
Organization: Some Tsurukokans belong to organizations that are defined by a specific purpose and are not under the control of a daimyō – for example, a ninja clan or a monastery. These people must normally maintain an allegiance to this organization in order to receive its full benefits.
Spirits: Tsurukokans are heavily influenced by their proximity to the spirit world. They pay tribute to the spirits of their ancestors as well as the spirits of the natural world. In addition, some may hold a specific allegiance to individual or groups of spirits, such as the spirits of Thunder and Lightning or the Frost Lords.
Philosophy: A Tsurukokan may subscribe to a particular philosophy or religion. For example, an onmyōji would have an allegiance to the mystical tradition of onmyōdō, and a shinkan would have an allegiance to shintō.