A while ago I had a bit of a hot take off the press. At the time I had played the Beginners Box for Legend of the Five Rings 5th edition produced by Fantasy Flight Gaming and then, in purely coincidental timing, played in a campaign of 4th edition that had been written by AEG. Excited, and with childhood memories rekindled, I ran to write up the differences I have seen between the two. So, why do I mention it?
It’s been a few years since that article was written, and the world proceeded to break time with the years of 2020 and 2021. With a slew of personal life changes, and with a need for incredible caution for social gatherings, my choice in games became dictated by what I could find online. Over the last two years, I’ve had a healthy diet of games run in 4th edition and finally had the chance to build characters and play in a campaign using the full 5th edition rules. As I reflected, I began to wonder: had I done a disservice by rushing to put something out? Sometimes we become too excited at a new prospect, and become so eager to champion it that we don’t get the full picture. There is also another element in play now as well: time. Back when I did my first crack at a System Split, FFG were the new kids on the block, with their hands on a shiny new property and some interesting ideas on how to freshen things up. Now, not only have they released the full rules and published several expansion books for Legend of the Five Rings and reorganized. EDGE Studio has now taken over the IP, and while books continue to be published, and the system itself remains mostly intact, I feel like it’s worth circling back and taking a deeper, more nuanced dive into the differences between the two systems. Overall, with some time and space, I have come to believe that FFG created their version with a firm eye on past editions, but there are noticeable differences that might sway both gamerunners and players in one direction or the other.
Continue reading System Split Redux: Legend of the Five Rings (AEG and FFG/EDGE)
A Matchmaker of the Deer, manipulating others to maintain Rokugan’s balance. A Spymaster of the Crane, ferreting out secrets and striking at exposed weaknesses. A Deathdealer of the Scorpion, striking down enemies by any means necessary. A Chronicler of the Dragon, maintaining the truth despite a storm of lies. The social scene in the Emerald Empire is just as much of a battlefield as any blood-stained patch of earth outside Toshi Ranbo, and it’s a battlefield that requires warriors that wield words and blades alike with the greatest of skill. Fortunately we have what we need to build an entire party of such warriors for the Legend of the Five Rings roleplaying game from Fantasy Flight Games, using the Courts of Stone!
Continue reading Meet the Party: Legend of the Five Rings: Courts of Stone
A Falcon hunting phantoms through the trees of Shinomen Forest. A Lion trying to heal the wounded and avenge an ancestor’s death. A Unicorn riding out to free the spirits of corrupted kin from the shadows that have swallowed them. A Phoenix desperate to redeem his bloodline and himself before it’s too late. The land of Rokugan thrives in the light of the sun, but shadows creep in, and someone must stand against them. We’re telling another tale in the Legend of the Five Rings from Fantasy Flight Games with this haunted but ready-to-play party of samurai seeking honor and glory in the Shadowlands!
Continue reading Meet the Party: Legend of the Five Rings: Shadowlands
A member of the Palace Guard, sworn to die so that others might live but longing to give her life a value all its own. A shugenja and astrologer, once fooled and twice determined never to be so again, guiding the Empire by peering into the future. A schemer, sowing strife throughout Rokugan so that the Hantei line may rule unchallenged, to a degree even the Scorpion would admire. A herald of the Miya, thought missing and now safely returned to the Capital . . . whose shadow shows seven fox tails when she becomes flustered. The Great Clans aren’t the only power in Rokugan, and they’re not the only source of player options for the Legend of the Five Rings RPG from Fantasy Flight Games: today we’re making characters using the Emerald Empire sourcebook! Continue reading Meet the Party: Legend of the Five Rings: Otosan Uchi
Memories are a powerful thing. They define much of who and what we are, and even when the edges become hazy some things, some impressions, remain crystal clear in our psyches. I can’t remember how long ago it was (though math tells me that we are pushing 20 years now), but I can remember who I was with and what we were doing (trying the dangerous addiction that is Magic: The Gathering) when I was first introduced to my Friendly Local Game Store. Looking back, it was dingy and in a sketchy part of the neighborhood, but I would wind up spending so much time there over the years that I can’t help but look back at it with fondness.
It was on one of those trips that I was saw something that caught my eye: a card game that I hadn’t seen before, but whose art reminded me of some of the new cartoons I was seeing at the time. I wound up buying a pack and trying out the game and, I had no idea what I had stumbled into. I played for a while, found some of the tie-in novels, and largely forgot about it as a part of my adolescence that I would likely never see again. Suddenly, in the last six months, Legend of the Five Rings (commonly referred to as L5R) came back into my life. I not only found that there a Tabletop RPG version of the franchise, I found myself playing in two different editions: the 4th edition, originally published by the original creators Alderac Entertainment Group, and the new version created by Fantasy Flight Gaming. I found myself marveling at how different they were, and yet, how strong of a fanbase I found for each. After having played a bit of both, it seemed worthwhile to look at some of the pivot points at which the game changes.
Continue reading System Split: L5R AEG 4e and FFG
Simply knowing the rules for Legend of the Five Rings is not enough; even passing your gempukku and earning your place as a samurai in the Topaz Championship will not truly prepare you for the trials ahead. If one is to survive, even thrive, in the land of Rokugan then one must know Rokugan: its places, its people, its customs and history and spirits. So it is that Emerald Empire, the first major sourcebook for the Fantasy Flight Games’ edition of Legend of the Five Rings, has come into being. What’s actually within its pages? Is it worth getting yourself? I’m going through the book chapter by chapter to find out!
Continue reading Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire Review
An Illusionist with a well-earned reputation for honesty, all so they can tell a lie exactly when they need to. A Bard without a voice, tasked with telling grandiose tales. A one-armed Duelist struggling to quell the rage within her heart. A Worldly Rōnin hiding a deadly secret that forced her to flee her clan. An Outrider with a chip on his shoulder, trying to make others accept his clan while wanting to prove his clan’s superiority. Each of these Samurai has found themselves invited to the Winter Court of Rokugan, so we’re following them into another Meet the Party for Legend of the Five Rings!
Continue reading Meet the Party: Legend of the Five Rings: Winter Court
A Purifier of the Crab, dedicated to hunting down Mahō-tsukai and forcing others to give his clan the respect they are due. A Shrine Keeper of the Phoenix, a perfectionist who strives to both prove herself to her clan and show them what true loyalty means. A Wardmaster of the Scorpion tasked with keeping dark artifacts safe who scoffs at the curse of the Yogo. An Investigator of the Dragon, unwilling to remain isolated in the mountains, looking for justice and a home in the wider Empire. A Smuggler of the Tortoise, tracking illicit goods of a particularly dire nature, longing for the respect of others. Meet the Party returns to a now-finished land where honor is stronger than steel, with ready-to-play characters for Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying from Fantasy Flight Games!
Continue reading Meet the Party: Legend of the Five Rings: Mahō Hunters
The time has come for four youths to travel to the village of Tsuma, there to participate in the Topaz Championship as part of their gempukku to earn their status as adults and samurai of the Emerald Empire. Not everything in Tsuma is as it seems, however, and not all intentions are honorable ones. Proving your worth may be more complicated than you expected . . . in the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Beginner Game from Fantasy Flight Games! I’ve got a copy of this impressive-looking kit and I’ve gone through the whole thing, so let’s see how your gateway to the land of Rokugan shapes up!
Continue reading Legend of the Five Rings Beginner Game Review
An honorable bushi sworn to stand against the Shadowlands but longing to follow her heart. A wily courtier keeping the Emerald Empire together with his eye straying towards wealth. A ninja disguised as a magistrate, working in the shadows but dreaming of standing in the light. A shugenja tasked with keeping the people of Rokugan pure, even while corruption eats at her mind. Meet the Party travels to a land of samurai, bushidō, giri, and ninjō to create a party of ready-to-play characters living and struggling in the Emerald Empire of Rokugan, playing with Fantasy Flight Games’s Legend of the Five Rings Beta!
Continue reading Meet the Party: Legend of the Five Rings Beta