FFG: Sign Up For The L5R RPG Beta

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L5R is getting an RPG–get ready to adventure in Rokugan. Is your honor stronger than steel?

Exciting news for fans of samurai action and adventure–the Legend of the Five Rings is getting an RPG, and soon! You can sign up for their upcoming open beta test below and get a glimpse of what to expect when you step beyond the Kaiu wall and into the Emerald Empire.

via FFG

In the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game Open Beta, players take on the role of individual samurai whose honor and loyalty will be put to the test. These samurai serve their lords as warriors, courtiers, priests, or monks and embark on adventures filled with drama, suspense, humor, romance, and horror. All the while, they must grapple with their human emotions and choose between following their heart’s desire or doing what society—and the Code of Bushidō—demands of them. These personal stories of triumph and tragedy will reverberate across the Emerald Empire and shape the very future of Rokugan.

The Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game Open Beta will be available for free download soon. The beta will run for twelve weeks, giving players the oppurtunity to submit feedback about the upcoming Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game.

That’s from the product page for the L5R rpg, and it really sets the tone. There’s one really important phrase to mine from that–the conflict between their heart’s desire and what society demands of them.

This conflict is central to Japanese storytelling (and plenty of other cultures as well), and is called ninjō and giri, with ninjō being personal happiness and giri being honor and societal obligations. These two forces both complement and conflict with one another, and characters in the L5Rpg will live and die by that tension. Triumph and tragedy alike spring forth from these central concepts.

And the conflict between the two will define characters in Rokugan. Each character selects a conflicting desire and duty, which will no doubt have some kind of gamelan effect

I’m a big fan of narrative spicing mechanics like this–they help twist the knife and really make it impact when your character is conflicted and pulled to one side poor another. That’s where those magical moments of realness creep in–the ones that you remember around the table weeks and months and years later.

Of course, this is an FFG RPG, so you can also expect a number of custom dice to make an appearance. I’d wager you’ll see something similar to the Star Wars mechanic–though I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an extra die thrown in for Fate, especially given how prominently that features in the LCG. As well, you’ll be given a suite of skills, talents, advantages, disadvantages–all the stuff you’ve come to expect from FFG. Though I’m interested to see just how divergent they get from their core system. It sounds like the L5Rpg will be somewhat distinct, as opposed to just a setting book for the Genesys system.

And it wouldn’t be L5R if characters weren’t also defined by the five elements that characterize the titular rings. As mentioned in FFG’s announcement, characters will be characterized by their strengths in their elements. Though it sounds like there will be some duality to them–fire represents the gentle warmth of the hearth fire as well as the destructive power of an inferno.

The pdf of the beta rules will be available for free download next week, so be sure and check back up. In the meantime, sign up for FFG’s beta mailing list to receive updates, rules clarifications, and to provide your feedback.

Sign up for the L5R Beta

They have a survey to fill out–be sure and tell them that Mantis Clan is Best Clan.

  • euansmith

    I like the sound of mechanically reflecting inner struggle in the game.

  • zeno666

    Ohhh I remember the days of 1st ed L5R, the setting is great.
    But I hope FFG doesn’t go with Strange-Dice-System on this one :

    • Drew

      They mentioned “custom dice” in the post on their site. I’m super frustrated by this; they seem to have a really good handle on the themes that make me love the setting so much, but anything using their “read the tea leaves” custom dice system is an automatic hard pass for me. Guess I’ll keep playing the roll-and-keep system AEG created.

      • zeno666

        Aww crap. Then its a hard pass here as well.

      • Xodis

        Whats the issue with the custom dice? The Star Wars/GENESYS system does really well at pushing players and DMs to role play more often even when they are “depend on the dice” players.

        • Drew

          To each their own, I suppose; my group has always been much more role play than mechanics intensive and actually found the dice to be an impediment- a whole new system of symbols and results to learn and interpret that clogged up the game rather than something quick and fluid so we could get through the rolls and back to the RP. If you’re focused enough on the story, you don’t need dice telling you that you were successful but… or that you failed but this positive thing also happened… etc, you just bring those sorts of things in naturally.

          In other words, you can have the most in-depth roleplaying experience or the most boring “this is basically a tactical miniatures game” with any system- it just depends on what the players bring to the table. We know we’re going to bring the RP in my group, so we find this particular system overly cumbersome. YMMV

          It also just represents FFG trying to get a few extra bucks- “our system doesn’t use the dice every gamer has dozens of, you have to buy these SPECIAL ones…”, and that rubs me the wrong way. They’re a business, but surely there are better ways to shore up the profit margin (like, say, the Star Wars license?).

          • Xodis

            Ill agree that RPG groups that have a heavy focus on narrative and RP dont benefit too much from the incentives the system and custom dice provide, but after a session I found the symbols much easier to read and analyze. At this point its easier to determine the roll result then it ever was with a system like D20 where there always seemed to be a +1 that is being overlooked lol.
            Have to disagree with the extra bucks comment though. First they have a chart so buying the new dice is not needed (although it does make things much easier), but secondly I’ve never met a RPG gamer who needed a reason to buy more dice lol.

  • James Hall

    You realise there have been several versions of an L5R RPG, right?

    All of them have been good, I’ve enjoyed them, but they do tend to succumb to mechanical bloat when you start introducing too many clans and archetypes. If they can keep it a bit more clean it’d be nice…

    either way, I’ll probably give this a look. the L5R RPG has been responsible for some of the finest moments in my pen ‘n’ paper days.

  • Rob brown

    Love the setting. Controversially I enjoyed the d20 version more than the roll and keep System but either way, a beautiful game. I bought a lot of the most recent edition books just because I loved the artwork and stories.

    Looking forward to seeing what FFG make of it!

  • Xodis

    Wonder if its part of the GENESYS system or something different. Seems odd to start pushing out multiple new systems at the same time.

    • Xodis

      Oh and “Long live the Scorpion clan!”

  • TheWanderingJewels

    Screw the custom dice nonsense. the 1d10 R&K system worked fine. you want to sell custom dice. sell clan dice. Those WILL sell if you craft them properly. But I will playtest this thing anyway and hope they come to thier senses