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