The Imperial Lords are the handpicked cabal of ruthless nobles chosen by emperor Tengu. Each one is equally regarded as cruel, narcissistic, and incompetent. Each noble is followed by an elite samurai bodyguard. They can be seen harassing peasants in cities if one is unlucky enough to mistakenly block their path.
For players attempting to stand up to a noble in any way, note that by choosing any hostile or insulting dialogue options, the nobles will send their guards after you and a bounty will be put on your head. Each noble in the United Cities has diplomatic status, and choosing to attack or kidnap a noble will land you with a high bounty for committing terrorism.