member, 1448 posts
Wed 24 Oct 2018
at 15:59
Legend of the Five Rings
Apparently, a new version of L5K has been just released. And so, I have some questions for anyone who knows something about this new edition and the setting in general!

First question - how much is known about this new edition? 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? Also, what about the system - is it the same system as in previous editions, or did FFG replace it with something new?

Second question - what's your opinion on L5K in general? 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?
 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.
 member, 123 posts
 The Internet:
 Serious Business.
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.