horus
 member, 580 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Wed 24 Oct 2018
at 16:51
Legend of the Five Rings
I'm no expert on L5R, but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night...

DISCLAIMER:  What follows is discussion in an earnest attempt to answer the questions posed by Varsovian in the original post, and should not be construed as advertising or endorsement of the product in any way.

From what I can see, the Fourth Edition is the latest, and, yes, it follows pretty much the path you've described - expensive, and with supplements which, if not essential, are at least highly desirable. Apparently, (and I just learned this) FFG may be the publisher, but the trademarks associated with the game are still held by Alderac Entertainment Group.

The newest core book weighs in at over 300 pages, and contains GM and player materials.  My quick peek at it incited feelings of "new game lust", but I went and took a cold shower and should be okay in a minute or two.

There is a "beginner box", but, in my own opinion, it asks for too much of a financial commitment from the "average" beginner.

From what I can see of the game, it looks sumptuously done, and, depending on one's preference and desires, may well be worth the cost, I don't know.  That would have to be an individual decision.

If I had to compare it to anything else I've seen for richness of detail and setting, it would be 7th Sea, and small wonder, since John Wick was at one point involved with both projects.  Though the credits for 4th Edition do not bear his name anywhere, his earlier involvement with the project seems all too clear, at least to me.

Most games about ancient Japan take the route of making the setting about some fantastical version of that proud and unique nation.  This can be taken for "poor research" or "stereotypes", but I prefer it to mean the games' designers wanted more latitude to portray a setting that diverged in significant ways from Japan's actual history.

Bushido and Ronin, two games which are in similar milieu, may serve as a basis for comparison.  All three games use a fictionalized Japanese setting which tends more toward the cinematic than the accurate.  That's not necessarily a bad thing:  I grew up watching Japanese television, and really get the feeling the designers of L5R were trying to create a more "action/adventure" version of ancient Japan that may have been heavily influenced by some of what the designers might have seen in film and video.
MercyBlowz
 member, 123 posts
 The Internet:
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Wed 24 Oct 2018
at 17:20
Legend of the Five Rings
New system, new dice, but still has some similarity to the old roll and keep system, so it shouldn't be completely alien to either old L5R players or players of FFGs Star Wars games. Expense wise it's the cost of core and dice, you can always use a little conversion chart and use dice you already have but it's a bit unwieldy. The game is very playable out of the core in my opinion, how vital sourcebooks will be is up in the air.

It's also a bit of a setting reset, back to pre-Scorpion Clan Coup, which won't be all the important to people unfamiliar with the setting but can be a big deal to those who've followed it, some will approve and some won't as how worthwhile the continuing plot was previously was always, eh, something to debate.

I'm a big fan of the setting, but if you're expecting a historically accurate depiction of feudal Japan then it's best to look elsewhere (I think Sengoku is pretty good iirc), it's a fantasy oriental setting with some nice intricacies not a hard depiction of reality.

Ultimately, like most games,it depends on what you're looking for, I would say the biggest concern for most will be how they find the new dice system, as that certainly won't fit everyone's tastes.

Oh, incidentally I would not recommend the beginner box at all, it has a few pregen characters, dice and an adventure, but not much else, the production values are high and the art lovely but it's a big cost for something that will likely be used once.
Varsovian
 member, 1449 posts
Wed 24 Oct 2018
at 18:03
Legend of the Five Rings
Yeah, the dice system worries me... I tried playing the FFG Star Wars games, but the narrative dice scared me away. I didn't know how to wrap my head around them at all...

And as I said, the potential amount of sourcebooks also worries me. Again, I look at FFG's Star Wars: three core games, each with a metric ton sourcebooks expanding on the setting, the rules etc. I mean, Age of Rebellion has a separate sourcebook for each career! And you need these sourcebooks to access the careers' top skills! Ack!

I'm wary about a potential multitude of sourcebooks, as I'm already following Modiphius' games of Conan, Star Trek Adventures and Infinity. And as I look at all the planned books for these games - heck, even the planned books for Conan alone - I feel like writing a message to Modiphius: "Stahp! I love this but I can't keep up!!!". I don't want to end up with another game like that...

Anyway: what else can you tell me about L5K? For example: is it more about slaying monsters and solving mysteries, or maybe people backstabbing each other at court gatherings? I suppose you can do all of this in this setting, but is there some focus on one of these elements?
MercyBlowz
 member, 124 posts
 The Internet:
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Wed 24 Oct 2018
at 18:19
Legend of the Five Rings
The dice system is similar to the Star Wars system, but a little more guided, with some nice lists of uses for advantages so it doesn't require working off the top of your head every dice roll quite as much.

For sourcebooks I take the view that everything beyond core is totally optional. Will FFG produce a number of sourcebooks for it? Probably, but most people seem to for their games these days. But they way the game is laid out it should be easy to just pick and choose the ones you actually want rather than feeling the need to pick up every single thing they produce.

In terms of what the game is about, it rather depends on what you choose to do with it. You can do a game set on the Wall for example, which is likely to be focused on fighting horrible monsters and whatnot. Likewise you can set a game at court and have it be all social based stuff with physical conflict largely being limited to duels. And the system does a reasonable job of looking after both of these.

That said the default assumption is something of a hybrid of the two, where both social and combat characters can shine. A lot of people run things like magistrate games where PCs are effectively samurai policemen and so need to do both at different times.
BFink
 member, 53 posts
Wed 24 Oct 2018
at 18:26
Legend of the Five Rings
I am not a specialist when it comes to FFG publications, and I have not followed the updates on the release of the new edition, so my comment would be mostly about my opinion of the setting in general.

I'm a great fan of 1ed of L5R, perhaps because of the rules-light approach presented by Wick in this early stages, perhaps because of the short and cheap sourcebooks. And after reading through, I think, 3ed and a brief contact with 4ed (I still have the core somewhere), if I were to run or play the game, it would be using 1ed rules. But it's just my personal preference, which is based on simple dislike to learn and master new rulesets.

One thing Wick kept repeating in the 1ed core was that "Rokugan is not Japan". Sure, I've met many people who considered learning about Japan and using that knowledge in the game as fascinating (and I cannot blame them - I've been through that myself), but in the end the game was designed for people to enjoy the setting without being bothered with details. I think it's all a matter of negotiation between players and the GM - some may find "lighter" approach to court etiquette as something difficult to accept.

As in every other game, you can do everything with the setting. Want to slay monsters? Get a bunch of bushi (preferably from the clan of the Crab) and send them to fight Oni. Want to solve mysteries? Gather sorcerers from the Dragon and Phoenix clans and let them explore some ancient ruins. Court gatherings? You have the Crane and Scorpions for that. I would not say there is any particular focus on any of those elements (at least not in the previous editions of the game).
evileeyore
 member, 130 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Wed 24 Oct 2018
at 20:12
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
Varsovian:
First question - how much is known about this new edition?

A lot.  The setting has been played for decades, this particular edition has been beta tested for about a year (as per FFG Star Wars standards).

quote:
It's made by FFG, which makes me afraid it will involve countless pricey expansions quite needed for playing, or some special designer dice you need to buy at a high price. So - any information on how costly this game will turn out to be?

It's equitable to FFG's Star Wars.

quote:
Also, what about the system - is it the same system as in previous editions, or did FFG replace it with something new?

It's a hybrid system of old L5R and Star Wars.  And I have to say as a fan of their Star Wars and the old editions of L5R, this one is daring and interesting.

quote:
Second question - what's your opinion on L5K in general?

It's not for everyone.   Especially not being able to play Murder hobos will turn people off.

quote:
The setting seems interesting, but I've heard opinions that it's actually bad, full of bad research and stereotypes... So, maybe it's just something not worth being bothered with? What do you think?

Some people are extremely stupid.  This is not 'mythic japan' and acting like it should be and fails to be is very dumb.  It's not even 'mythic asia'.  It's a strong blend of the cultures and myths, and yes it's leans heavily on a lot of Japanese myth tropes, but L5R is it's own thing.
praguepride
 member, 1351 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Wed 24 Oct 2018
at 21:41
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
Wait, 7th Sea and L5R were designed by John Wick? I don't know too much about the guy but do not hurt his dog...
evileeyore
 member, 131 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Wed 24 Oct 2018
at 23:56
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
praguepride:
Wait, 7th Sea and L5R were designed by John Wick? I don't know too much about the guy but do not hurt his dog...

Different John Wick.  This one is a pudgy game designer with an over-inflated ego.

For reference look up "Play Dirty with John Wick" and also this youtube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channe...PASGalHol_kq8J8ldG7w
Varsovian
 member, 1450 posts
Thu 25 Oct 2018
at 19:24
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
Could I ask for a description how this game's dice rolls work? Let me see if it's something I can understand... As I mentioned, the FFG Star Wars' system was really hard for me to get.
MercyBlowz
 member, 125 posts
 The Internet:
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Thu 25 Oct 2018
at 20:22
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
Roll funky d6's equal to the attribute you're using, and d12's equal to the skill, keeping a number equal to your attribute and tossing the rest. Dice have successes, opportunities and strife on them. Get enough successes (depending on the difficulty of the task) and you've managed whatever you were rolling for.

Opportunities can be spent for a number of bonuses or side-effects, some available to everyone, some available if you have particular techniques, there's a nice table of standard uses in the back of the book.

Strife adds up and with enough you may have to either back off on choosing dice showing strife or accept a loss of face as you show a lack of composure. Like an extremely mild version of Exalted's Limit Break, in a way.
evileeyore
 member, 132 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 25 Oct 2018
at 22:48
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
You also get to chose which attribute you're using depending on the 'approach' you're taking in the conflict (be it martial, social, scholarly, etc type of conflict).

A Fire approach is aggressive, gives aggressive Opportunities.
A Water approach is flowing, it gives Opportunities to move or alter something.
An Earth approach is more defensive, it gives Opportunities that shore up or overcome weaknesses.
An Air approach is about precision, it gives Opportunities...  hmmm.  In a martial conflict it gives more crits, in a social conflict you can discern another skill ranks, in a scholarly conflict you can discern extra facts, in a trade deal you can increase or decrease the price, etc.
A Void approach tends to be spiritual or internal and gives Opportunities that ahhh... do a bunch of different things like Air, hard to pin down simply.



Sorry, Air and Void are a bit hard to just give a simple 'summary' of.  And I got lazy at the end there.


The families and Schools are all related to the rings as well, during chargen those choices set your starting attributes.  For instance a Crane (Air +1) Kakita (Fire +1) duelist (Earth +1, Air +1) starts with Air 3, Fire 2, Earth 2, Water 1, and Void 1.

There is a moment in chargen to add one to any of the rings.  And yes you can cheese some things to end up with a 5 in a ring ot the gate.  Not exactly maybe the best idea though...

This message was last edited by the user at 22:58, Thu 25 Oct.

MercyBlowz
 member, 126 posts
 The Internet:
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Fri 26 Oct 2018
at 06:42
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
evileeyore:
There is a moment in chargen to add one to any of the rings.  And yes you can cheese some things to end up with a 5 in a ring ot the gate.  Not exactly maybe the best idea though...


Just as a point of clarification, you can't start play with rings or skills above 3 using default character creation.
evileeyore
 member, 133 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Fri 26 Oct 2018
at 08:19
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
MercyBlowz:
Just as a point of clarification, you can't start play with rings or skills above 3 using default character creation.

Ah thanks.  I suspected as much but couldn't find it.  I did however easily spot being able to hit Air 4 with a Crane before getting out of chargen...
MercyBlowz
 member, 127 posts
 The Internet:
 Serious Business.
Fri 26 Oct 2018
at 09:29
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
Page 41 iirc, start of character creation if you ever need a reference. I have to admit I had to have a look for it too, didn't jump out at me.
praguepride
 member, 1352 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Fri 26 Oct 2018
at 20:09
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
evileeyore:
Different John Wick.  This one is a pudgy game designer with an over-inflated ego.


lol

/thatsthejoke.jpg
Varsovian
 member, 1451 posts
Tue 30 Oct 2018
at 17:32
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
All right... I gave in and bought the book!

I only hope that the mechanics won't be too mind-blowing for me...
MercyBlowz
 member, 128 posts
 The Internet:
 Serious Business.
Tue 30 Oct 2018
at 18:12
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
I'm sure you'll cope!

In any case the art is gorgeous throughout, so worst case you'll have a very pretty book. :P
Varsovian
 member, 1452 posts
Wed 31 Oct 2018
at 22:47
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
Okay, I'm reading the book right now. As I feared, the dice mechanics are crazy! Boom! *brainslodes*

BTW. I have a question: can anyone explain the Scorpion Clan to me? Because the book seems really vague when it comes to them. Yes, they are supposed to be rooting out the Empire's traitors - but why are they called 'villains'? And do the other Clans understand the Scorpions' role in Rokugan..?
MercyBlowz
 member, 129 posts
 The Internet:
 Serious Business.
Thu 1 Nov 2018
at 00:58
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
The Scorpion are assassins, manipulators, blackmailers, poisoners, spies and worse, all things a good honourable samurai should never be or have truck with. They do terrible things with sometimes suspiciously self-interested reasoning and are happy not to let people forget that. They are a constant reminder of the duplicity of man shoved in everyone's faces and far to powerful and well-informed to be ignored. They are everything proper samurai hate and take the burden on willingly for the good of the Empire (mostly) because if they don't prowl the darkness someone or something worse will.

That's the general idea anyway. The other Clans understand their role, at least generally, but that's not to say they trust them because it wouldn't take much for the Scorpion to decide the best interests of the Empire happen to be the same as their own, and the Scorpion have historically been more than ready to use, abuse and misdirect other Clans for their own mysterious purposes.
Wyrm
 member, 656 posts
Mon 19 Nov 2018
at 08:25
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
The Scorpion clan are essentially there to make sure the Clans fight amongst themselves, so that no one Clan can get too bold to make a play for the throne.

In the greater scheme of things, most everyone is not aware of thst aspect. Secret plans get suddenly leaked, a favorite general is too drunk to lead his army, an effective courtier made a fool of himself, etc.
It is key to know that no one trusts a Scorpion not because of what we know (the blackmailing, assassinations and spying is never too overt, or they would be squashed as was true in AEG L5R)), but because things go wrong when you cross a Scorpion and right when you befriend them. No one should want to call out a Scorpion, because you don't know who they have "befriended".
You may accuse a Scorpion of being a dishonorable dog, and by the end of the week you are comitting seppeku because you were "caught" molesting the magistrate's daughter. And then that same Scorpion could come to your rescue and find a peasant that looks suspiciously similar to you that did it instead pretending to be you, and was executed. And now you owe them a favor you are honor-bound to keep.
Samus Aran
 member, 411 posts
 Author, game designer
 Part-time Metroid fighter
Mon 19 Nov 2018
at 09:15
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
The game looks incredibly fun. What I think would be most fun to explore is the social aspects of the setting, which I have never fully understood. Courtier play, in particular, and the new system definitely seems to support it better. There's real meat to the rules there, which makes it look quite interesting. I loved me some L5R 4E, but the new system looks very fun to play around with.

Also, the Togashi Tattooed Order are still the best. :P
Dream Sequence
 member, 26 posts
Mon 19 Nov 2018
at 17:26
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
Varsovian:
Yeah, the dice system worries me... I tried playing the FFG Star Wars games, but the narrative dice scared me away. I didn't know how to wrap my head around them at all...

Same here.  I bought the core rulebook of the game, thinking I was getting a game with something resembling the interesting mechanics of previous editions, before I quickly realized I'd made the mistake of spending actual real money on a product that requires me to buy custom dice, a concept so offensive to me that I put the book on my shelf and haven't opened it again.  Lesson learned.
PCO.Spvnky
 member, 374 posts
Mon 19 Nov 2018
at 18:19
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
In reply to Dream Sequence (msg # 23):

Interesting, I bought the 4th ED book in anticipation of another great game, instead the changes irritated me so i gave the book away.
GreyGriffin
 member, 244 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Mon 19 Nov 2018
at 20:37
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
While people might be "outraged" by the custom dice acting like DRM, having played a bit of FFG Star Wars, I find the dice to be a fascinating tool as a player and a GM, able to reflect a third axis of possibility beyond "high" and "low," offering Threat and Advantage (or whatever they call them in L5R), allowing you to be more narrative, and change the scene in more interesting ways than doing a lot of damage or missing the dude super hard.

The possibility to succeed with a lot of threat ("You hit the guy super hard but it puts you in a bad position/the bridge snaps under both of you, he falls to his death, but you cling on!") or fail with advantage ("You totally miss but hit a nearby fuel tank creating a huge cloud of obscuring smoke!") is exciting to me, and is something that is either difficult or nearly impossible without some kind of custom dice.

And especially combined with L5R's Roll and Keep system, that lets you choose between, say, a clean but modest success, or a messy but absolutely overwhelming success, I'm actually really interested.  Part of the problem with Star Wars was that you just threw dice, and stuff happened, and you just narrated and focused the sort of chaotic energy the narrative dice created.  If you get to pick which dice that go into the final result, taking those extra boost dice or bonus successes is actually a decision, and you get to make the scene as clean or messy as you like...

As a caveat, I haven't bought the book or played the game, this is just my opinion based on my brief experience with FFG Star Wars and what I've read/heard about L5R's 4th Edition.
evileeyore
 member, 138 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Mon 19 Nov 2018
at 21:44
Re: Legend of the Five Rings
GreyGriffin:
While people might be "outraged" by the custom dice acting like DRM, having played a bit of FFG Star Wars, I find the dice to be a fascinating tool as a player and a GM, able to reflect a third axis of possibility beyond "high" and "low," offering Threat and Advantage (or whatever they call them in L5R), allowing you to be more narrative, and change the scene in more interesting ways than doing a lot of damage or missing the dude super hard.

If I recall correctly it's Advantage and Stress.

Too much Stress can cause a Character to Outburst, basically act in a manner that is antithetical to proper behavior or that disadvantages them in some way (revealing a secret or weakness, etc), or just outright starts a fight.