This review will give a general impression of the book, followed by a more detailed examination of the separate sections. Adventures in L5R are often described as encompassing some combination of combat, politics, and investigation. Emerald Empire is primarily a setting book — it gives the reader an in-depth look at Rokugan, including its geography, economy, politics, war, society, legal system, religion, and the arts. The book is appropriate for players, gamemasters, and the non-playing reader.
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Seamus Conneely 6 Comments 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.
Is it worth getting yourself? Introduction The introduction is actually a history overview chapter, written in-universe by Imperial Scribe Miya Chinatsu, covering everything from Lady Sun and Lord Moon and the creation of the world to the present day of IC.
Chapter 1: Strongholds of Power On the face of things castles and palaces are the primary subjects of this section. The book does go into quite a bit of detail about their construction, the different types of stronghold, the architectural and cultural details of castles and palaces if you build a castle ten stories high, get ready to be killed for trying to put yourself on the same level as the Emperor , and several example strongholds.
Looking ahead, we can see that all of the sample locations in the book will be similarly accompanied. As the eponymous Strongholds of Power in Rokugan castles and palaces are where courts are held, where governmental and military powers are based, and where both war and diplomacy often pivot. As a result this chapter spends a lot of words talking about life in the castle, including what various classes and types of people might find themselves doing day to day, and goes into detail on Rokugani courts and how they function, even across different regions.
The Crab Clan deals with courtly matters during meals so that everyone can get back to their posts more quickly, for instance, which would be shockingly rude anywhere else in the empire, while talking about the weather is a bad idea in a Crane Clan court because of the recent tsunami.
As strongholds are often the target of military campaigns in Rokugan, this is also the chapter that talks about war in the Emerald Empire, from basic practices to the Imperial Legions to a number of the conflicts that have raged throughout the past millennium to the different ways each major clan wages war. Chapter 2: Centers of Trade The Centers of Trade this chapter wishes to highlight are the cities of Rokugan, and to a somewhat lesser extent the large towns and harbors that are scattered between them.
All of the specific example locations continue to have plot hooks, points of interest, and NPC presented for them.
Food, drink, entertainment, navigation, how and where cities and towns get built, architecture, government, and crime are also discussed in broad strokes, from which type of alcohol is preferred among which Great Clan to the extreme threat fire poses to most such settlements. As Chapter 1 was a boon to courtiers, Chapter 2 also has an L5R character type it can help a great deal: magistrates. As cities and towns have the populations large enough for crime to thrive in the margins, this section also focuses on crime and the punishment thereof.
Seeing as how being magistrates, particularly Emerald Magistrates, is one of the common ideas to bring a party of otherwise disparate L5R characters together, this strikes me as a wise choice of subject to cover here. Unsurprising, then, that those farms and villages are the focus of a chapter entitled Heart of the Empire. Practically every facet of rural life in Rokugan, which involves the majority of the population, is covered here: the dangers of natural disaster and war, agriculture, bandits, taxation, key buildings, the kind of travelers that pass through, and so on.
The example locations are a diverse lot, showing how villages tend to distinguish themselves via a particular role or resource. In the lands of the Kitsu one can find the sake-brewing Buzzing Fly Village.
The Crab Clan often find themselves reliant upon fishing communities like the Swirling Pool Village to sustain themselves. Finally, it is perhaps unsurprising to find the Kaori Tea Farm trying to carve out a section of Daidoji wilderness for itself. As much as some samurai would like to avoid doing so, at some point most are going to have to interact with the bonge, the burakumin, and perhaps even the gaijin. This chapter examines the relationship between these classes and the samurai, particularly as to how and why they interact with one another.
Everyone could use a way to get some help from the spirits now and again, after all, or at least a way to keep them from causing trouble. Next the book goes into detail about kami and Fortunes, with particular focus on the Great Fortunes and a few other notables.
Nice touch. Basic facts of daily life at a shrine, the importance of the various architectural aspects of one, the different practices of samurai and peasants, and common rituals like weddings, funerals, and festivals are all discussed. Several sidebars provide some of the most interesting tidbits when it comes to clan-specific superstitions, beliefs, and customs. Lightning is a good omen in the Crab Clan, for example. Scorpion weddings are always officiated by a Soshi to let a Yogo do it would be unlucky , and the banquets are even open to peasants.
The Lion believe in holding their funeral rites on the battlefield where the dead fell. The Shrine of the Ki-Rin, last stop of Shinjo herself before she journeyed beyond the Empire, leads off the example locations. The Shrine of the Willow-Healing Kami is in honor to a kodoma who saved Clear Water Village from destruction by entreating the Fortune of Pestilence to stop his assault.
The chapter actually closes out on a darker note: forbidden beliefs and practices, and the places and rituals that fuel them. No additional rules to go with, but still interesting. Suffice to say that campaigns and characters focusing on fighting this sort of thing, like the Kuni Purifiers, are going to pay particular attention to this section. Chapter 5: Paths to Enlightenment Unsurprisingly this section of the book is going to quickly draw the eyes of monk-type characters.
The Kaito are more akin to shugenja in their practices, and the Togashi are typical Dragons, standing out from the crowd; neither are precisely orthodox followers of Shinsei. A large part of the chapter is about Shinsei, the Little Teacher who taught even the first Hantei Emperor about the all-encompassing nature of the Void, the cycle of reincarnation, and the path to enlightenment that would allow one to escape the cycle. It also discusses the conflicting perceptions of Shinsei, how he is considered by some to be a philosopher, some to be a hero, and by some to even be a god.
Chapter 6: Wilds of Rokugan Pinnacle of civilization it might be, according to the Rokugani at least, but much of Rokugan is actually wild and unsettled territory only nominally claimed by any clan or authority, and sometimes not even that. The chapter starts with some basic facts of life in the wilds, including the reasons why anyone from samurai to gaijin might find themselves traveling through or even living there. The rest of the chapter is then divided into four broad categories of uncivilized land: mountains, forests, ruins, and the coasts.
Each category details the resources that they can offer, things like the dangers that are common to them and how traveling through them works, and sometimes who might be dwelling within them before going into examples. For mountains we get to look at the Jade Mine of West Mountain Village, a crucial but deadly source of the jade that the Crab Clan needs to fight the Tainted monsters of the Shadowlands, and the Dragon mountains themselves.
For forests we visit Kitsune Forest, home to the spirits that give it its name, and the primordial and often dangerous Shinomen Forest, where the best friend you find just might be the humanoid rats known as nezumi.
For ruins one might spend a night in the Temple of the Burned Monk to commune with the spirits there and seek Enlightenment, or perhaps instead be forced to struggle against the siren call and ennui of the Forgotten Village of Wasureta Mura. The families themselves are the well-traveled Miya, the political Otomo, and the protective Seppun. Unsurprisingly these options come with a fair amount of narrative baggage they can put to good use. The nine schools are divided between those belonging to the Imperial Families and then a quartet of oddities.
Curiously, though, by their nature the Miya feel somewhat restricted to me in terms of the type of game they can play in. The Shinseist has access to kiho like the Togashi, but their school ability allows them to gain school-level-determined skill ranks when they spend a Void Point to Seize the Moment.
The final two oddity schools are really odd: the Kitsune Impersonator and the Kolat Saboteur. The Kolat Saboteur is more dire, less a trickster and more a criminal and a heretic; the Kolat conspiracy seeks nothing less than the destruction of the status quo and a humanity free of the Celestial Order. Notably, they also introduce a new mechanical twist: they each start with a Disadvantage, specifically the False Identity Anxiety.
More of this kind of thing are almost always welcome and the more I think of it, the happier I am that FFG! Nice, but I wish there were more. Each lists who can grant the titles which includes rules for how many titles certain titled player characters can grant to their fellows , a status change for gaining the title, how much XP you need to spend to complete it, a small curriculum, and a title ability gained upon completion.
They cover all sorts of roles in Rokugani society, from the military to the spiritual to the government to law enforcement, and act as both interesting reward for GMs to hand out and goal for players to aspire to. Solid all around. The sidebars, notes in the margins, and adventure hooks and NPCs are also as interesting as the rest of it. L5R supplement to plunge in to. I expected more info on the movers and shakers in the Great Clans, for instance, or maybe some more Minor Clans, and player options for either, but if Shadowlands is any indication it looks like FFG will be doing that sort of thing one at a time across multiple books.
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Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire Review
Edit In addition to the clans, a very powerful faction in Rokugan are the Imperial Families. The Emperor of Rokugan has no clan of his own, but he does have his own family, currently the Iweko family , and three families that served his interests directly: the Miya , the Otomo , and the Seppun family. The Imperial Families have no standing army of their own, though they largely control the Imperial Legions , which recruited soldiers from all the clans of the Empire. The Imperial Families are often smaller than the families of the Great Clans, but what they lack in numbers they more than make up for in sheer political influence. With the Emperor at their head, the Imperial Families are possibly the strongest political group in all of Rokugan. Lands Edit Rokugan was a rocky, mountainous land, surrounded by mountains on north, west and south sides and an ocean to the east.
Download [l5r 4e] Legend of the Five Rings 4E - Emerald Empire.pdf
Malat I was worried that you had delineated differences between 1 and 5, not 1 and 4 because of the recent release of 5e and was just checking. Seppun Guardsman 5 4rh These men and women rarely associate with one another in person, communicating instead through carefully encoded messages, discrete tattoos, and secret hand signals. Stealth Stealth becomes a School skill; bonus Stealth Emphasis; can Move at normal speed during Stealth; no terrain penalties while using Stealth Strongholds of the Empire p The majority of the family joined other Lion families, and many others took their own lives in shame. This ronin shugenja order was founded in the wake of the second war with Iuchiban. Imperial Registry — Index of all Schools in L5R 4e PixelBreath They have a bad habit of occasionally getting obsessed with forbidden knowledge and causing daemonic incursions, though. Roleplaying Legend of the Five Rings. They ignored a shitload of tournaments to do it too.
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Emerald Empire: Fourth Edition