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Share a Game is an RPG Geek initiative in which knowledgeable users volunteer to spend a week hosting a thread about a particular game and answer any questions about that game. This thread will have a week in the spotlight, but will always remain active if you stumble across it later.

For more information, including volunteering to host a game yourself, or to request a particular game that you would like to know more about, see the wiki page: Share a Game. And in order to receive notifications when new threads are posted, subscribe to the GeekList: Share a Game


Welcome to a very special Share A Game. Not only do I have the honour of presenting my personal favourite RPG, but I’ll be doing so with the help of the designers themselves, who are here to help celebrate AEG Week on RPGG!
Please make welcome Shawn, Brian and Rob!

Without further ado,



Legend of the Five Rings is a roleplaying game set in the world of Rokugan, a feudal homage to the mythologies of ancient China, India and in particular Samurai-era Japan. Players take on the roles of noble Samurai warriors, physics-defying Monks, magic-wielding Shugenja (priests) or observant Courtiers from one of Rokugan’s clans as they deal with internal strife, or worse, the machinations of the insidious Shadowlands. Now in its 16th year of publication, L5R has become a staple of the roleplaying scene worldwide.


Setting

Long ago, my children, the Kami fell to Earth from the heavens. They were not all-powerful gods, but they were more than any mortal man could hope to be. Each of them, with their human followers, founded one of the Great clans of the Empire. Each of them, except Fu Leng. He fell far from Rokugan, in the Shadowlands – a murky, soul-rotting mire that corrupted him and drove him insane. Beware the Shadowlands, my children! They seek only our blood and sorrow!

As the Empire flourished, Fu Leng built an army of demons, undead and beasts with which to destroy it. Oh, beware Fu Leng, young ones! He is the living proof that even the greatest among us can fall to the lowest depths… One humble Monk, Shinsei, gathered the greatest mortal heroes of his time – one from each clan - for he knew that destiny favoured the mortal man. Together with these ‘Thunders’, Shinsei managed to avert disaster for the Empire, but Fu Leng would return…


Rokugan is a world of contrasts; it is a place of great beauty, art and culture, but also a brutal place of death, war and violence. A place where the most loyal are often cast as villains, while those who smile and connive can become the greatest of champions. Above all, Rokugan is a place where honour is more than the simple integrity that we paint it as today; it is an over-riding concept that binds and guides the direction of an entire society.
Another important concept is the Celestial Order – the ranking of the gods in the heavens and the mortals of Earth. By obeying the Celestial Order, humanity can maintain order, but when someone disobeys their superiors, or defies the tenets of their station, chaos reigns.
Of course, the thing that Rokugan is most famous for is its clans; it is from these that most players draw their character concepts:

The Crab – Stalwart warriors who combat the Shadowlands so much, they lose touch with the niceties of Rokugani society.
The Crane – Masters of the court and paragons of artistry, the Crane protect the soul of Rokugan.
The Dragon – Enigmatic outsiders who study the mysteries of the world, trying to divine solutions to problems great and small.
The Lion – The Empress’ proud right hand, a clan of tacticians and fierce warriors, ready to die for their Celestial leader.
The Mantis – The clan that makes its own destiny, The Mantis are wielders of the mysterious Thunder Magic and the Empire’s master traders, controlling the economy.
The Phoenix – The Empire’s masters of magic, a pacifist clan who wield potentially the greatest powers in the Empire.
The Scorpion – The Scorpion are a clan of deceivers and manipulators who take on the jobs that the other clans are too proud to deal with.
The Spider – Untainted followers of Fu Leng who strive to have him acknowledged by the rest of the Empire.
The Unicorn – Originally the empire’s designated explorers, but now a force for justice and masters of cavalry .

Throughout Rokugan’s history, the Clans have been at war with one another, or distracted by other crises, never able to focus their attentions too greatly on the Emperor or Empress and it is thus that power has been maintained. One interesting feature of Legend of the Five Rings (4th Edition) in particular is that it is designed to be played in any period of time throughout the history of the Rokugan, which means that the roles of the clans – and indeed their existence – may vary depending on which period you choose.

The system

Checks in L5R are made using the Roll and keep (4k2 means roll 4 and keep 2) mechanic, where you make a dice pool based on your Stat + Skill, roll that many d10 and pick out the best ones, hoping to beat a target number. If you’re feeling really confident, you can call ‘raises’ before you roll – increasing the target number by increments of five in order to achieve better results – it could be extra damage, or a higher jump, or more detailed information from that research roll…

Character creation isn’t too tough – you get a pool of points, spend them on skills, stats and advantages, take some disads if you like, throw a clan and school on and you’re done. Check with the GM first though – it’d suck to make your Spider Monk only to discover that you’re playing in an era that has no Spider Clan…

Stats are based off the titular Five Rings:

Earth represents your grit and as such governs Willpower and Stamina.
Water is about change, ebb and flow. Your Strength and Perception allow you to see and react to these things.
Air is about your interaction and connectedness with the world. As such, it governs Reflexes and Awareness
Fire is about energy and action. It grants you the Intelligence and Agility to take action when it is needed.
Void is the element that binds all others. It is, in a sense, the harmony between the other elements inside you and allows you to achieve greater things than you could otherwise.

Your Rings are sated according to the lowest stat in them; a character has Air 2 if they have Reflexes 5 and Awareness 2. PC stats are generally in the range of 1 to 5, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Putting Rings up is desirable because, together with your skills, they determine your Insight Rank – essentially, your experience level, which determines what techniques of your school you know. Level 1 characters are Samurai just starting out on their journey, level 5 characters are masters of their school and significant individuals within their clan.

Publication History

The first edition of L5R came out in 1997 and won great acclaim, winning the Origins Award for the year. As a large number of sourcebooks were released, there was a feeling that the game had become too complex in places. Other criticism included the lethality of combat, though this has (thankfully) remained through every subsequent edition and is a hallmark of the setting – try to think around your problems, don’t fight unless you really mean it.

Second edition (1999) altered the mechanics to ‘Roll skill, keep stat’, but this really didn’t work as well and sometimes became confusing given that rolls can be based off different stats in different situations. Second edition did up the ante in terms of production values, however, a trend that has continued to the present, with each edition outdoing the previous.

Third edition (2005) was a magnificent game that allowed for tremendous diversity amongst the clans; an attempt had been made to rebalance the mechanics so that there might be a point to playing a Phoenix courtier when there was already a Crane or Scorpion courtier around. Books were released for some of the different eras of play to support 3rd edition, but there was a feeling in the community that a few of the schools introduced in them were too powerful. This, combined with the impending 15th anniversary of the L5R property, meant that it was time for Fourth Edition.
Fourth Edition (2010) is by far the most balanced of the games to date. Each clan has been given a Courtier school, a Bushi (warrior) school, a Shugenja school and a ‘flavour’ school that does something specific to the clan. The era-neutrality of the game (it is designed for various eras of play from throughout Rokugan’s history) and the inclusion of multiple eras in the core book make the game more streamlined. Finally, the quality of the book is amazing; it is truly one of the most beautiful RPGs you could ever look at.

What I like

L5R has an amazingly rich setting. If I had done nothing but talk about the setting for this entire article, I still couldn’t fully do Rokugan justice. The game is, in many ways, about culture shock and our ability to learn about and experience different ways of life – the soul of roleplaying, one could argue. In the space of several breaths, L5R can take you from Zombie Horror to Romance to Courtly Intrigue to Epic Fantasy and beyond. There is truly room for everything in this game.

What I don't like

There’s really not much. I’ve grown up with this game and, as you can see from my avatar, I love it. My initial reaction to 4th Edition was that the characters seemed a little ‘cookie-cutterish’, but with time I have come to see that the balancing this allows for actually promotes a better game – besides, a man is distinguished by his actions, not his stats!

Your turn

This week, we’re lucky enough to have the experts on hand – the guys who actually write this stuff (rather than just a tremendous fanboy) to answer your questions. Make the most of it. Rokugan is a rich and varied land with something for just about every player in it and I’ve only teased out the merest hint of it here. This is your best chance to find out about the corner of Rokugan that’s waiting for you.

Utz!
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Savage Josh
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So, in your opinion, if one was looking to get a good feeling for the L5R universe, which edition should they purchase?

I've seen that L5R has a number of supplements - are they worthwhile? What do they add to the game? Are any 'must haves' to make your game work to the best of it's abilities?

Can you explain how parties are generally formed? For example, why would members from different Clans work together?

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Brian Schoner
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Bazin wrote:
So, in your opinion, if one was looking to get a good feeling for the L5R universe, which edition should they purchase?

I think all the editions do equally well at capturing the feel of the universe (except possibly second edition, which was published with D&D 3E stats as well while Wizards of the Coast owned the game, and I think occasionally suffered from the crossover). Mechanically, I think the current (fourth) edition is the most mechanically sound, the best-written and -edited, and the most attractive physical product. It also has the advantage of having been specifically written to encourage play in any era of Rokugan's history, which gives GMs a lot of flexibility.

Quote:
I've seen that L5R has a number of supplements - are they worthwhile? What do they add to the game? Are any 'must haves' to make your game work to the best of it's abilities?

In Fourth Edition terms, I think the game can probably be played very satisfactorily with just the core rulebook. With that said, Enemies of the Empire is a very useful "bad guy book," containing not just monsters and ghosts, but important non-human races (and rules for using them as PCs), as well as detailed write-ups of several very human conspiracies and secret societies.

Emerald Empire is almost entirely composed of background material on the day-to-day customs of the Empire; it's very rich in that material and great for those who want to delve deeply into Rokugani society, but the additional mechanics are by no means necessary.

As far as the previous editions go, there are "Way of the [Clan]" (1st Edition) and "Secrets of the [Clan]" (Second Edition) books for all of the major clans and some other groups. If you're really diving into the history and customs of one particular clan, they're useful; I'd only get one or the other, though, since there's a lot of overlap between the two editions.

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Can you explain how parties are generally formed? For example, why would members from different Clans work together?

Well, they might be working together against enemies of the Empire, for instance. Perhaps an Imperial Magistrate has been informed of a crime, and requires the assistance of the nearest samurai, regardless of clan, to help him investigate it. Or maybe one samurai's daimyo owes a favor to another samurai's daimyo, and sends him to repay the debt by performing some service.

It's also quite possible to run a campaign with all the PCs from one clan, or two allied clans, since all the great clans have at least four different schools to choose from.
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Brian Schoner
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Also, if one is interested in dabbling in the universe without a big up-front investment, I recommend the "living" campaign Heroes of Rokugan (http://heroes-of-rokugan.com). Pick out a pre-generated character, play an introductory adventure or two, and then (if you like it), create your own character and carry over whatever experience or knowledge you've gained to date.

The adventures do a good job of balancing social intrigue, story development, and challenging combat, and the players and GMs are generally very supportive and welcoming to new players.

If you're going to be at Gen Con, I might even get to run a table for you!
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Shawn Carman
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I think Mr. Schoner did a great job with these first two questions, and I feel like answering them myself would be somewhat self-aggrandizing! But since you asked, I will give you my not-so-humble opinion.

Bazin wrote:
So, in your opinion, if one was looking to get a good feeling for the L5R universe, which edition should they purchase?


Without question, I would answer the 4th edition. We worked very, very hard to ensure that it is the most complete out-of-the-box experience you can get for L5R. Everything that we could readily imagine any campaign requiring was included... and then we threw in some more stuff just in case you were really raising the bar.

Quote:
I've seen that L5R has a number of supplements - are they worthwhile? What do they add to the game? Are any 'must haves' to make your game work to the best of it's abilities?


I was a huge L5R fan before I became a writer, and at the time I was collecting the old 1st Edition books I felt like everything had value. Anything that gave me more information about Rokugan was valuable, and I consumed it. I have tremendously fond memories of those older books, but most of those aren't still around these days. I will say this, however: if you can find the City of Lies boxed set, get it. Greg Stolze's work there is some of the finest I've ever had the pleasure of reading or GMing.

With regard to 4th Edition, our goal is absolutely to make sure every book has value to every fan of the game. The corebook is the most essential, for obvious reasons, but Enemies really expands the GM's toolkit so that any number of different campaigns are available. Want to pit your players against the Shadowlands, the Kolat, or a ronin uprising? Everything you need is in there.

On the other hand, if villains (or allies!) aren't what you're looking for, then Emerald Empire is probably more your speed. The goal of that book is to give you a true, comprehensive understanding of what kind of place Rokugan is and what kind of people live there.

Quote:
Can you explain how parties are generally formed? For example, why would members from different Clans work together?


The traditional method, which has been used since the days of 1st Edition, was that the characters are magistrates. This is very convenient because it lets you wander the Empire and get involved in all sorts of trouble for good reason! Since those days, though, the Imperial bureaucracy has been fleshed out a lot and so now there are many reasons to travel the Empire as a group of young samurai, whether you're working for the Imperial Treasurer or you are members of the Shogunate... really you can do almost anything, and oftentimes you can customize it to fit the needs of your campaign. Which is nice!
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Bruce McGeorge
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My group loves the Rokugan setting. Some of us have played Legend of the Five Rings and we were majorly into Clan War.

Our forays into the RPG (once with 1st edition L5R and later with d20), however, have always fallen flat - ironically - due to the setting. One particular issue has been the social conventions in the game often leaving the players confused about what the "proper" thing to do is. I can remember a particular session coming to a screeching halt due to the concept of "eta" (the lowest caste, considered "unclean" and basically non-persons).

I'd love to break through this barrier.

So, if I was going to start fresh with Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition RPG, what's the best way to get everyone comfortable with the setting?
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brumcg wrote:
So, if I was going to start fresh with Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition RPG, what's the best way to get everyone comfortable with the setting?


I once ran L5R with a group of friends not known for taking their gaming seriously. I gave them a brief overview of the setting, and asked them for what type of character they were interested in playing. When we met for character creation, I handed each of them a historical book based on their chosen clan/school they were intending to play. The books varied depending on what they wanted to play, but focused on the aspects of the society their character would be most interested in. The Lion Samurai player would be given Musashi's Book of Five Rings, while shugenjas would be more likely to be given a book of legends or similar. The Crane courtiers were given books on etiquette or stories set around proper etiquette, etc...

Then I let the players teach each other the proper way to act in society, depending on which facet of society was important at that moment. I let the small contradictions slide (they were, after all, using historical sources instead of the L5R background) so our campaign didn't follow Rokugan 100%, but it was the most invested the players had been in a campaign ever.

Oddly enough, that campaign also came to a halt because of the eta as well, but in a very satisfying way... devil

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While I maintain a persistent curiosity about this game, my perception is that there is a huge amount of setting information to learn up front and lots of living game history to grok (similar to the volumes of content for WoD but perhaps the opposite of Blood & Honor). This remains the largest single barrier to entry for me.

It seems like the best approach would be to have characters from the same place and same clan and then have everyone explore outwards, thus minimizing the amount of shared setting knowledge required. Is this a standard way of approaching the setting?

[edit] I suppose you could say that having an extensive settings is a double edged blade, unlike a katana...
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I too have always been intrigued by this game but haven't yet made the jump. Partly that's because I know nothing about the setting (that's not quite true - I have the D&D 3E Oriental Adventures, which only succeeded in annoying me by referring to a setting that I didn't understand or even know existed) and it seems so closely bound to the game that I too am afraid to try to start. So let me second some of those other questions, and thanks for the replies that are already up!

Another concern has been how the game deals with elements of "samurai culture" mechanically. Is there an honor system, a "face" system, a rank system, some mechanical method of "dueling" with poetry or calligraphy or whatnot (or generally social combat)? Do these kinds of things play a role in adventures?

Finally, it sounds like there's a lot of setting info - is there comparable support for published adventures?

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Mease19 wrote:

It seems like the best approach would be to have characters from the same place and same clan and then have everyone explore outwards, thus minimizing the amount of shared setting knowledge required. Is this a standard way of approaching the setting?


That is in fact one of the methods listed in the Book of the Void (the GM chapter) in the core book, which is to have all one-clan to ensure the group all comes from the same worldview.

It is a lot of setting, but it's by no means a mountain to climb. The basic concepts are pretty simple:

1. Don't do anything to upset anyone who outranks you.

2. Don't do anything that would make someone under your rank seem like they got the better of you.

3. NEVER do anything that would bring shame to your family name (see 1 & 2).

4. Peasants are cattle. Even if you're a noble hero with a truly compassionate soul, they're still property, the lowest classes are barely even considered human.

5. Your katana is your soul, don't let it be dishonored.

Get that down, and you're in pretty good shape. Everything after that is just learning about your Clan and the other Clan's view of things.
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vestige wrote:

Another concern has been how the game deals with elements of "samurai culture" mechanically. Is there an honor system, a "face" system, a rank system, some mechanical method of "dueling" with poetry or calligraphy or whatnot (or generally social combat)? Do these kinds of things play a role in adventures?



There is a ranking system for Honor, Glory, Infamy (and the Shadowlands Taint). "On" is a very important thing, but it is considered a roleplaying element rather than a system. If you blurt out insults at a visitor or break down crying because some monster slaughtered your mother right in front of you, you should lose points in your Honor ranking. That's basically how "On" works in the setting.

That said, most samurai will attempt to not draw attention to an obvious social screw up such as being publicly drunk, as to do so invites attention on themselves as well.

And yes, there are rules/explanations for sadane, games of letters, and other forms of "social" combat.

As to the amount of play they see in adventures it really depends on the GM. A campaigned set on the Great Wall of Kaiu or in the Shadowlands will have little to no need for social combat, unless a major screwup at the beginning of the campaign is what gets you stationed there! That said, some of the most enjoyable campaigns are "Winter Court" campaigns, where all the players are snowed in at a court of some dignitary, and the entire adventure is all intrigue, politics, and the occasional bloodshed.
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brumcg wrote:
So, if I was going to start fresh with Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition RPG, what's the best way to get everyone comfortable with the setting?


The other answers in the thread are great for getting used to the world.

If there are still more issues in the setting, use only what works for your group and adapt the setting so that everyone has fun. If some quirk of the setting would stop the game, ignore it.

I have two groups of roleplayers in my gaming circle - one loves the strict intricacies of the setting and the other enjoys a more anime-inspired style. With the first group, I play a game with courtiers and social combat. With the latter, I relax societal procedures on dueling and make things a little bit more fast paced.

Of course, you want to stay true to what makes Rokugan unique; you could make Rokugan D&D with katanas, but then you're missing out on the cooler parts of the setting (don't get me wrong - I love D&D, but it's not the same game). Still, you don't have to follow everything to the letter if it would mean that your group would not enjoy the game!
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Jaime Lawrence
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Personally, I started my most recent campaign with a number of 'getting-to-know-you' activities that required the players to make up some details based on little snippets of cultural information (things like 'Rokugani are very supersticious - tell us a story about one of your family's supersticions'). I'd give them some time to prepare and leave the rulebooks open to the right page so they could draw inspiration (I also have a number of Japanese art, poetry and history books available for my players) and then they would tell us their tales.

Worked a treat for getting them to immerse in (or in some cases add to) the culture and help familiarise each other with some of the setting. Also allowed them to characterise a little.
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As noted in another thread, this game has always intrigued me. I have a core rulebook from some edition, I'm guessing an older one that I got during an RPG book exchange but I haven't taken the time to sit down and read it.

A couple of questions:
How does advancement work? Is there an XP system? If so what are you rewarded for, I'm hoping for more then just combat?

Based on the setting I have to assume there is a lot of 'social combat' is there a system for this in the rules. I'm specifically thinking about Warhammer 3rd edition when asking this which actually has a full social combat system including an initiative role based on Felowship over Dexterity.
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brumcg wrote:
My group loves the Rokugan setting. Some of us have played Legend of the Five Rings and we were majorly into Clan War.

Our forays into the RPG (once with 1st edition L5R and later with d20), however, have always fallen flat - ironically - due to the setting. One particular issue has been the social conventions in the game often leaving the players confused about what the "proper" thing to do is. I can remember a particular session coming to a screeching halt due to the concept of "eta" (the lowest caste, considered "unclean" and basically non-persons).

I'd love to break through this barrier.

So, if I was going to start fresh with Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition RPG, what's the best way to get everyone comfortable with the setting?


When I was introducing new/inexperienced players to the Heroes of Rokugan campaign, I would always recommend they play either a Crab or a Unicorn. That way, if they screwed up one of the social conventions of the setting, the GM had an "out" to let them off the hook somewhat -- they could be excused as an uncouth Crab or a barbaric Unicorn who didn't know any better. This allowed the players to "ease in" to the setting and gradually pick up the various social rules and conventions while suffering minimal penalties.
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vestige wrote:
Another concern has been how the game deals with elements of "samurai culture" mechanically. Is there an honor system, a "face" system, a rank system, some mechanical method of "dueling" with poetry or calligraphy or whatnot (or generally social combat)? Do these kinds of things play a role in adventures?


There is a Honor mechanic that represents your devotion to Bushido, and that supplies bonuses to resist things like temptation and fear. Depending on the GM's choices in optional rules, it can also provide additional mechanical benefits.

There are also two other stats, Glory and Status, which represent your character's fame within society and his/her position in the social heirarchy. These provide tools for the GM to reinforce the setting and culture, to reward socially appropriate behavior, and punish the inappropriate.

There are a host of skills in the game that deal with social interactions and the arts; each clan has at least one social School, and several clans also have Artisan Schools. These offer a variety of different mechanical effects for characters focused on social or artistic endevours. The core rules do not have a specific "social combat" rules system as such, in part because we viewed L5R as a game driven by story/role-play and thus didn't want to make things too rules-heavy. However, Brian Yoon did create an optional rule for conversational combat in the "Way of the Daimyo" Appendix of Emerald Empire.

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Finally, it sounds like there's a lot of setting info - is there comparable support for published adventures?


Not for 4th Edition as such, although I believe a lot of the old 1st Edition adventures are available on DriveThruRPG. The current Heroes of Rokugan campaign does offer an array of free adventures on request, and the complete set of adventures for the previous campaign (some 75 adventures altogether) are available for download from the HoR website. They were written for the previous (3rd Edition) ruleset, but can probably be converted without too much difficulty -- I know there are GMs out there doing so!
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GilvanBlight wrote:
How does advancement work? Is there an XP system? If so what are you rewarded for, I'm hoping for more then just combat?


The game does use Experience Points, which you spend to purchase increases in your Skills and Traits, as well as other bennies such as learning a new Kata (it's a point-buy system rather than a class/level system). XP are awarded by the GM, based on how well the PCs did and how fast he wants them to advance -- typically for an "average" campaign the GM will give out about 4 XP per session.

The rules deliberately do not link XP to combat or other such specific accomplishments. The GM can make such links if he wants, of course. As an example, in the Heroes of Rokugan campaign, I had the typical module awarded 1 XP for playing through the adventure, 1 XP for role-playing well, and 2 or 3 total XP for specific accomplishments in the adventure -- things like "solved the murder of Lord So-and-So" or "retrieved the missing sword."
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Maurice Tousignant
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The living campaign may have sold me on this. Could you tell me how to tell the various editions appart when shopping online?

For example I look on LuLu and I see two different core books. One by Jim Pinto, Robert Hobart, Shawn Carman and one by Fred Wan, Seth Mason, Shawn Carman. The second one is obviosuly the 3rd edition looking at the cover, but is the first one the 4th edition or an earlier edition?

Is there something on the cover that says 4th edition?
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GilvanBlight wrote:
Is there something on the cover that says 4th edition?

The 4E cover looks like this:


It does say "4th Edition", but the lettering (the white letters alongside the blade of the katana, bottom right) is not obvious/clear when seen in a small online picture.

That said, none of the other editions have that look, so if the book you're looking at has a gray background and big red kanji on the cover, that's 4th Edition.
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Maurice Tousignant
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Excellent. Thank you!

EDIT: one more question. Would I need anything more then the core rulebook to take part in the Living Campaign?
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GilvanBlight wrote:
Excellent. Thank you!

EDIT: one more question. Would I need anything more then the core rulebook to take part in the Living Campaign?


Nope! Some of the Schools in Emerald Empire are allowed in the campaign, but you would not need that book unless you wanted to specifically play a character from one of those Schools.
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Hey, I know I'm supposed to be hosting here, but I have a question, Rob - are the Living/HoR games made available somewhere after the event for those unfortunate enough to be unable to attend?
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Hida Mann wrote:
Hey, I know I'm supposed to be hosting here, but I have a question, Rob - are the Living/HoR games made available somewhere after the event for those unfortunate enough to be unable to attend?

I'm not Rob, but I can answer this one. The majority of the adventures are indeed available after they premiere; a quick email to the campaign admin is all you need. If you finish the game and report your results to the campaign staff soon enough, your results will even affect the ongoing storyline.

There are some events (large, costumed interactives and special events from major conventions) that are run once only, but the great majority of the adventures are available indefinitely.
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Cool.

I really like L5R and I value my 1st edition core book highly. I strictly avoided 2nd edition because of the d20 marraige and I played one game in 3rd edition (blah, I even have core book for it) but I left the game under impression that the possible power level is too high and the story line (metaplot?) evolution is crazy (CCG driven?). That's probably (partially) the reason why the last few games in L5R I played were in 1st editions.

I heard that after all this experiments of 2nd and 3rd editions, fourth edition is in many ways back to the basics(mood, feel, theme, power level, balance) but in more evolved, improved way. Is this true? Is the power level lower than in 3rd?

Are there still only two possibilites: Bushi and Shugenja and is it still forbidden to merge this two paths?
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shawncarman wrote:
I will say this, however: if you can find the City of Lies boxed set, get it. Greg Stolze's work there is some of the finest I've ever had the pleasure of reading or GMing.

Maybe you should republish it with content updated to 4th edition, then?
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