Intro to 5th Edition L5R

Intro to 5th Edition L5R

Play/Pause Episode
00:00 /
Rewind 30 Seconds

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): Hello, and welcome to a very special episode of the CourtGames role playing podcast. I’m Evan Striet and it’s my pleasure today to introduce to you my fellow co-hosts Kakita Kaori, Reeclian and Tyler. Would you guys mind talking about yourselves for a bit?

Jeanne (Doji Gen): I am Kakita Kaori, I normally host this podcast. However, today I am here in my role as a member of the Fortune and Strife actual play podcast where I play Doji Gen.

Charlie (Soshi Yuzume): Hi, my name is Charlie, I’m on Discord as Reeclian and I play Soshi Yuzume on Crimson Gold Agonies. I also have a blog where I yell at people about disability in L5R.

Churcher (Akodo Riichi): Hi, my name is Tyler, I’m on the discord, as Sesai no Shiba Rohiteki, and I’m also on Fortune and Strife playing as Akodo Riichi.

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): And I’m Evan, Daidoji Evan “the magic flute man” on Discord and I am playing Sekai-no-Doji Eiko on Crimson Gold Agonies.

We at court games , we’ve all fallen in love with this game, obviously to the point where we’re playing weekly and producing it, and we wanted to give you a brief overview on the setting, how to play 5th Edition for L5R. If you’re totally new, this is the place to start. If you’ve played older editions, but want to know about 5th Edition, this is also a great resource for you. Each of us will be leading a specific topic or aspect of the game, and the rest of us will be chiming in with comments as a round table discussion.

Hopefully, this will be the selling point or what really connects you with the setting as it’s been something we’ve all fallen in love with, and if this can help you get involved, then fantastic, we’ve done our jobs.

To start off, we would like to talk about the overall setting for Legend of the Five Rings. So you have a picture of what goes on in the Emerald Empire, and for that, our resident lore master Jeanne is going to take it away.

Rokugan, the Emerald Empire [00:02:10]

  Jeanne (Doji Gen): Welcome to Rokugan, the Emerald Empire, a land of ancient tradition and flashing steel, where you are a member of the ruling caste of samurai who are warriors, priests, artisans, courtiers, and monks. Who both serve and are served by the farmers, merchants, and other people that all together comprise an ancient realm under the leadership of the Hantei.

This realm stretches from the Carpenter Wall that keeps out the hoards of undead and monsters to the south, to the impassible mountains of the Dragon to the north. From the broad ocean to the east, to the desert plains of the far west.

The Emerald Empire is a land based primarily on a mythological version of Japan, rather than a historical one, and it draws in elements from China, Korea, Vietnam, and southeast Asia to build that society and mythology. Just like European folklore,  elves, dwarves, witches, and fae inhabit the worlds found in Dungeons and Dragons. Creatures of legend in Asian folklore inhabit the world of Rokugan. From otherworldly yokai and terrifying oni, to the benevolent Fortunes and the transient elemental kami that inhabit everything.

These kami can be appealed to by certain samurai known as Shugenja: half priest, half magicians, with the power to speak to them and beg the Kami to use the power of the elements on their behalf. Others, such as monks, do not look outward to the kami, but look inward, trying to understand the mysteries of the human spirit, the cycle of rebirth that leads all people, hopefully with time, to the realm of the blessed ancestors or even to enlightenment.

Their guide on this study in Rokugan can be found in the teachings of a holy man from the ancient history of Rokugan. A man by the name of Shinsei, whose teachings have survived him to become a great holy book called the Tao,  a guide on how to live one’s best and most virtuous life.

At the Dawn of the Empire, the world was created by Lady Sun and Lord Moon and long ago their nine children, the nine Great Kami ,came to the world to rule over it. In a great tournament, they contested to determine who should rule among them.  The winner was Hantei who became the first Emperor and the Empire has been held by his family line ever since. That day, seven of his siblings swore loyalty to him, to serve him and the new Empire they had created. But the last Kami Fu Leng was thought dead and did not participate in that tournament.

Twisted by his emnity and greed and the taint of the realm of hell called Jigoku, he swore that he would conquer the fledgling Empire, unleashing Jigoku across it all. The other seven did agree to obey the Emperor, and each drew mortals to join them, to serve and stand with their descendants as samurai for the Empire as the seven Great Clans.

 The Crab Clan are stalwart and sturdy defenders of the Great Wall that keeps the forces of Fu Leng at bay. The Crane are the guardians of peace and culture, creating harmony in the Empire. The Dragon keep to the mountains, to the north seeking wisdom and contemplating the future; their own, and the Empire’s. The Lion follow the path of the warrior, the Empire’s swift spear to strike at its enemies. The Phoenix look to understand the mysteries of the kami and develop an understanding of their power and its right use. The Scorpion are the keeper of secrets, understanding and doing what they must do to thwart the shadows and temptations that lie in the hearts of each person. The Unicorn serve as the Empire’s bold scouts, seeking learning and understanding from lands beyond the Empire.

In addition, there are numerous Minor Clans, foreigners called Gaijin, and samurai without a clan called ronin who also must make their way in this world. Each samurai owes loyalty and allegiance to their family, to their clan, and ultimately to the Empire. As samurai, these layers of loyalty and responsibilities you have to fulfill are the social expectations placed upon you. In Rokugan, the expectations of how a member of the samurai caste is supposed to behave is described as the code of Bushido. A samurai is expected to show compassion, courage, courtesy, loyalty, honor, righteousness and sincerity.

Of course these high ideals sometimes conflict with your human emotions: your love and loyalty for people other than your Lord, a complicated and difficult world, and even they conflict with each other. If you manage to fulfill your role and follow these ideals well despite that, you will become known for your Honor. If you manage to show your skills and honor to the rest of the Empire, you can become known for your Glory. In L5R Fifth Edition, you will have the chance to explore what it takes to achieve such heights… and what it might cost.

What makes Legend of the Five Rings different? [00:07:46]

 Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): Thank you so much, Jeanne. I don’t think I could have pulled off that much knowledge if I tried. Charlie and Tyler, what are some aspects to the world of L5R that you think stand out in other roleplaying systems available?

Churcher (Akodo Riichi): The first thing that sticks out to me is that your word is your law. You are very much encouraged to tell the truth wherever you possibly can, and one wrong word could mean that difference between life and death. That really stuck out for me.

Charlie (Soshi Yuzume): Something that’s always stood out for me is that the setting is inherently designed to be hypocritical. You are constantly torn between doing one thing and doing another. A lot of that is baked into things like Bushido the Celestial Oder, your duty, your desire– the game is basically to give you opportunities to have to choose what’s most important to you. Sometimes that can lead to a lot of introspection for your character and maybe for yourself, with regards to what’s important and what morality even means .

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): Yeah, building off that, I know that the aspect of L5R as a setting that really drew me in was the complexity that surrounds every aspect of most characters’ lives; the political tensions, alliances, and betrayals between each of the Great  Clans, the families within the clans and their loyalties. Their stories to each other all have, like you said, incredible points for conflict that really assist and lend themselves to fantastic storytelling on top of the options for heroics. For fighting great evils, for defending the people. L5R’s setting, the Emerald Empire really has a blank canvas to play a character, in this case often a samurai, as involved or as straightforward as you’d like.

Churcher (Akodo Riichi): I’ll back you up on that one. The big thing that drew me as well with all of this is that L5R is a political game, as well as being a martial game, and that’s something I,  love about it is because in other games like D&D you can totally get a political feel to it, but it doesn’t quite have that same push, that same gravatas towards it like does. Because in D&D you could do something, but then you might have a spell that will come out and fix everything if something and went wrong. In L5R that could be one wrong word and that’s it, your family is done.

So you really have to be very careful with what you say, but at the same time, you can still do a completely martial stytle game and: you want to go fight in the Shadowlands? Totally, go do it. If you want to be a Ronin wandering around the countryside? By all means, easily accessible to do. It’s very open in that regard, it allows so many stories to be told .

Who are the Players in Legend of the Five Rings? [00:10:59]

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): Yeah, on the topic of being a Ronin, being a samurai as part of the Great Clans, Charlie, would you mind going over the aspects to being a samurai within the Emerald Empire, what players can expect going into this role, and how that can differ from other role playing games?

Charlie (Soshi Yuzume): Yeah. So as Jeanne already went into, if you pick up the core rule book, very good chance that you are going to play a samurai. Samurai makes up the bulk of the schools that are available to you. There is a ronin class, and there are other alternative rules that let you homebrew other schools to play as other types of ronin or as peasants. But generally the core rule book is aimed at you being a samurai.

 So if you, the player, are samurai you’re playing someone who’s in the upper class of society. Your official job is to serve the Empire, the Emperor or Empress, scion of heaven, whatever you prefer to call them, and also the people. This means that in practice, you or your family probably have some holdings or a town, or maybe just like an estate with a farm attached to it.

You’ve got something, and your job is to make sure that those people are taken care of, fed, healthy, et cetera. You’re also going to be given particular jobs by your Lord, such as: “I have to go and serve on the wall” or “I have been sent to retrieve an object and bring it back home”, “I’m escorting a child who’s going to be sent to live with another clan for a few years”, something like that. you do have to follow Bushido through gameplay but it is difficult to follow every single tenant and your duty and your own human wants, which is one of the great setups, the conflict in the game I think.

And you’re going to interact with people who are in other classes and positions in the celestial order as well. How you speak to peasants merchants, etc is another big draw of the game because you have to really think about how you’re going through this incredibly, complex caste system.  You can’t just go through it thinking violence is the answer, your job as a samurai is to look after these people.

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): Yeah, with the basis for the Emerald Empire, being a very political and connected setting, it’s pretty clear from the first couple of pages of the core rule book that playing as a samurai, you’re very much connected with the social hierarchies, the customs and the traditions of Rokugan, and Rokugan is a fairly traditional society. Things have a lots of expectations, different codes, rituals that are expected to go with everybody in society to get along with.

Bushido and the concept of Ninjo vs Giri [00:14:04]

Bushido is a big focal point for samurai characters, as that’s their moral code. Is it comparable to an alignment system in D&D or like a morality system that some other games have a tackled?

Charlie (Soshi Yuzume): I don’t think so, because the alignment system in D&D tends to be like, how you approach a problem: are you going to approach it chaotically, are you going to follow the word of the law, are you just going to shrug and go with whatever? Whereas I think the whole system of Duty versus Desire, Ninjo versus Giri, taking Bushido into account is,  what’s more important to you:  what are you going to risk to achieve whatever that goal ends up being? I think it’s two very different approaches.

Of course, the good thing about Rokugan, and this has always been the case, is that they promote ” make Rokugan work for you.” so if you don’t want to focus on Bushido,  you can make it less important, you can focus more on Ninjo and Giri, you can focus more on what a particular Lord wants. We could be playing a game with ronin and peasants who aren’t really expected to follow the code quite so much. It really depends on what you want to get out of the game.

Churcher (Akodo Riichi): So with all of that, because there’s just so much you have to look out for and you have to be very cautious . Do you think that would prevent players from being creative or having fun within the setting?

Charlie (Soshi Yuzume): No, I’ve seen a lot of people get really inventive with how they reach their goals. and a lot of the time, the fact that there are all of these things in the way of you just going and doing whatever you want, it ends up creating a lot of really interesting plot points.

You could have a character whose desire is that they want to get wealthy, and so someone will throw in an opportunity for them to do that. But, perhaps that opportunity might be seen as inherently bad, according to the rules of the setting, and then they might come up with a really complicated plot to still get all of that money, just in a very secretive way. Tons of things could come out of it.

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): So you’ve mentioned a couple times,  Ninjo and G i ri, are those like my overall character goals? Are they like how I win with my character? what function do they play mechanically and narratively.

Charlie (Soshi Yuzume): Narratively, they are huge role play aids, they are what you want to do and what your job is. They want you, during character creation, to make sure that those clash. It’s not as fun if your character has been told you have to be a guard at this gate and all your character wants is to be a guard at a gate. There’s not a lot of story there.

Mechanically, there’s something  called the Wheel of Discord that sets your character’s duty against someone else’s desire, and it puts you in a position where you have to choose, in setting, which is more important to you. Which I think is incredibly fun because it means every session there’s a good chance that your character is going to have to make a decision that really defines who they are.

Narrative Dice in Legend of the Five Rings [00:17:28]

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): So one thing that I see a lot of players asking about as they get into L5R fifth edition, especially if they came from other role playing games, is what are all these dice? What am I doing with them and how do I play the game? It’s going to be hard to describe how to use dice over an audio format, but we’re going to do our best.

As we’ve already addressed, it’s a very social, very narrative focused role playing game. The actual dice rolling system is tied into this just as much, if not more, than almost every other aspect of the game. Characters have two important attributes that we’re going to consider whenever we’re trying to do a check, to accomplish something that could be difficult. These two aspects of our characters are called Ring Values and Skill Values.

There are five Rings as the Legend of the Five Rings implies. There is Water, Earth, Fire, Air, and Void. Each of these rings are supposed to embody both a physical and a mental personality aspect to your character. Water is calm and adaptable and charming, Earth is rigid, analytical, enduring. Air is graceful, deceptive, analytical . Fire is intelligence, passion, creativity, and drive. Void is like a metaphysical absence of everything else that draws everything together, it’s the mystical aspect of a person.

A lot of these rings and they can be increased as you go through the game spending XP. If someone is a high Fire character, for instance, having a high value in their Fire ring: they will likely be more explosive, more energetic, wanting to catch the eye of people. If someone is a high water character on the other hand: the more adaptable, easy going, gets along with most people. These mechanics help provide you the player with a narrative way to tie in what your character is doing with the story.

The second aspect that’s important to consider are skills you’ve trained. While a high Water character might be charming, anyone can learn the proper ways to speak in society, and we call that a Courtesy skill, which is part of the Social Skill group. There are  five skill groups, and each of them have skills underneath them that apply to the generic focus. So the Martial skill group will likely do with physicality, combat prowess, tactical awareness. The Scholar skill group will deal with knowledge-based things, cultures, even theology, and the understanding of the spiritual realm of Rokugan.

When you go to accomplish a task,  the GM assigns you a target, or your character can use what this game calls Techniques, which are a special abilities.  You will have to roll a combination of a Ring and a Skill to assemble this dice pool.

You will take a number of black  D6, s p ecial  dice that FFG produces.  I know the starter kits come with the dice. And you’ll gather black dice equal to your Ring value. You’ll gather white  D12 dice equal to your Skill value. So if I have a Fire Ring of three and a Courtesy of two, when my GM tells me to make a Fire/Courtesy check I will grab three black Ring dice and two white Skill dice.

Guys, what do you think stands out as the most unique or engaging aspect of the dice system in fifth edition?

Churcher (Akodo Riichi): For me, it’s the various symbols that show up on the dice specifically is the Opportunities and the Strife. The different things that pop up on the dice change the narrative so much, and it’s really enjoyable to see your character could fail, but still get some sort of edge out of what they’re trying. Alternatively, it’s also interesting to see you succeed, but you start losing a little bit of what makes you a samurai, and what makes you more human starts popping out.

Charlie (Soshi Yuzume): I think my favorite has to be Approaches. You can have everyone in the party trying to do the same thing and going about it in completely different ways. You can have somebody who is being incredibly charming, making friends with someone to get information out of them. Another character might try and get information out of a person by trying to stress them out. Somebody else might try to trick them into spilling the beans, and that would all be a Courtesy roll. But. narratively, what it looks like really depends on which approach you went with. I like that for defining a character’s personality.

Strife and Opportunity [00:22:18]

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): Like Tyler said, one of the biggest things about this dice system are the Strife and the Opportunity results, which also tend to be the most confusing or difficult topic for new players to get into. Strife, which is a little cherry blossom symbol on the dice, when you choose to apply that dice effect to your roll, you take that many points of strife.

So if I’ve applied three dice to my roll, and there’s  two cherry blossoms on my dice, the strife symbol, I will take two Strife towards my check. When a character hits there Composure limit, which is an attribute , when you take a number of strife equal to that, you become what’s called Compromised.

As your character begins to struggle to keep their emotions in check, they’re getting overwhelmed. They want to speak out and they’re having a hard time acting professionally in the situation. A lot of players, especially new ones to Fifth Edition view keeping strife as just bad, and we really want to encourage you that, the strife mechanic, even though it feels like you’re hurting your character, actually engages you with some really interesting role play opportunities. It’s able to bring you into your characters mindset, the emotions they’re going through in the situation.

On the flip side of that, Opportunity tends to be overwhelming to players when they start, because fifth edition and each book they publish finds more ways to spend Opportunity. Please don’t ignore opportunity for this reason. Opportunity is a unique mechanic. Where if you keep it on the dice that you apply to your successes, you get to spend them to do things adjacent to what you’re trying to accomplish.

So if my check is to convince the local gatekeeper to let me through and I get the successes I need, I pass the check. I could spend some Opportunity I rolled to potentially notice some information about the gatekeeper. Maybe I notice that they’re nervous and I pick up if they’re nervous and uncomfortable because their boss has been acting strange lately, and that gives me a new social aspect to talk with them about.

Or perhaps I spend the opportunity to convince the gatekeeper that it won’t be a big deal, I will just get across quickly, and I cover up the fact that he’s been napping on duty and I get some blackmail on him. There are a lot of different uses for Opportunity. Like I said, the books keep printing more and more, but as long as you are willing to work with your GM, Opportunity is a mechanic designed to help enhance your role play and come up with creative injections from the players into the storytelling.

Which is something L5R does so well is player and GM cooperation into the storytelling, wouldn’t you say, guys?

Churcher (Akodo Riichi):  Definitely, the cooperation between the GM and the players to make a fantastic story is a very strong theme of Legend of the Five Rings, it’s phenomenal.

Charlie (Soshi Yuzume): Yeah, I’ve played with some very crunchy players in the past, with fourth edition, who are way more interested in optimizing to be the most successful at certain things. Which is great, but, some of them didn’t really seem interested in narrative things. Like, why would you take a skill point in a hobby when that skill point could go into something that I want to be good at? So having opportunity and strife, I think, is very good for encouraging players who are more focused on mechanics to become part of the narrative.

Creating your Legend of the Five Rings Character [00:25:56]

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): Yeah, Opportunity and the mechanics of L5R in general are great at immersing you in your character. One thing we really want to talk about was character creation. Tyler is fantastic at this, but the character creation in L5R is one of the most involved I’ve ever seen.

Churcher (Akodo Riichi): 100%, the way that character creation works in L5R is that you’re presented with 20 questions .  Questions range from something as easy as ” what clan are you from?” All the way down to ” what are your parents think of your life decisions so far?”  my personal favorite one is actually the last question you’re presented with, which is “how will your samurai die?” It’s a narrative hook for the GM and it’s not necessarily going to happen, but it gives you a way that you know how your character is going to live their life.

 With each of these questions you could have additional mechanical benefits. How do they perform in their school? That gives you a Ring bonus.  Maybe you chose creativity: that’s Fire Ring. Maybe you chose grace and subtlety: that could be Air. 

Then you also have the chance to start developing your Ninjo and Giri,  and how you feel about Bushido,  how you feel about the Clan. If you don’t get one of these questions you don’t have an answer it immediately, you can skip it. Move on to the next question, just make sure you go back and answer every question as thoroughly as you can, because that fills out your character before the first session even starts.

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): Yeah, it has you hitting the ground rolling when it comes to the roleplay and the immersive involvement in your character creation.

 I’m one of them crunchy players out of my playgroups. Usually I like to find ways to do really cool combinations, or use elements of the game, but even I, every time I go through character creation, I don’t just tick boxes off and put numbers to maximize my stats. It’s really neat how,   if you’re from the Crane Clan, you’re going to have a bonus to air because they’re elegant and graceful. They’re going to have a free point in Culture because that’s their job.  Character creation just ties you in a little bit more to the game.

Advantages and Disadvantages [00:27:55]

Churcher (Akodo Riichi): Even with that, during the character creation you’re given the chance to get Advantages or Disadvantages. The different Advantages and Disadvantages you can get, break down to four different parts.

For Advantages you can get a Passion, something that will relieve stress from your samurai,  that could be something like tea or poetry or animal training, or even if you want to cause some drama with pot stirrer. You can also get a Distinction, something that’s really noteworthy for your samurai. That could be quick reflexes, a blessing from one of the fortunes, or even having dangerous allure.

Finally for your disadvantages, you can get an Anxiety, something that causes strife for your character, and that can be anything. Like you can’t hold your sake, or maybe you just go into an uncontrollable rage when you get angry. Then finally you have an Adversity, something that is outside of your Samurai’s control, but it still affects them.   That could be a malevolent spirit is haunting you, or you can have a bitter betrothal to someone who does not love you at all. Or perhaps under the worst circumstances, you could be afflicted by the Shadowlands Taint of Jigoku.

Charlie (Soshi Yuzume): So mechanically, how would disadvantages and advantages affect your character in the game? 

Churcher (Akodo Riichi): For any of the Passions, that reduces Strife from your character, which is always going to be a good thing. For any of the anxieties, those will cause you strife, but if you get that strife, you get a void point out of it, which you can use to continue to alter the story.

Maybe that void point will give you a little bit more of an extra boost when you need it, but you can always spin that void point to flip that disadvantage around. Perhaps that haunting spirit on you just gave you just enough of an insight that you now know what’s going on in the situation. Void points are always helpful and you can get those through the adversities and anxieties.  It’s actually quite good to have multiple well, because that gives you more reward points to work with.

Charlie (Soshi Yuzume): How would you go about getting multiples? Cause you can have up to two in character creations. What would bring about getting more advantages or disadvantages, et cetera in game?

Churcher (Akodo Riichi): Something happens to your character in story that will just give you the disadvantage. Perhaps you were out drinking late last night and someone caught you where you were doing something and samurai like. Now they have blackmail on you and that’s now something that can come up constantly for your character. That’s something you can work with your GM to get something like that. If you don’t care for it, you don’t have to get it.

Additionally for advantages, you can also spend some experience on those to pick them up, or if they make narratively sense in the game, you can just grab them as well. Again, maybe you’re out drinking last night and someone may have gotten that blackmail on you, but you were out drinking cause you’re helping someone, and now they’re an ally. So sure, you may have gotten a downside of someone having a little bit of dirt on you, but now you’ve got someone that will stand at your side when you need to draw the blade.

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): At every turn 5th Edition for Legend of the Five Rings continuously ties you into an immersive roleplay system that encourages you to invest yourself in your characters, in the story. If that’s the sort of game you like, which is pretty clear, we all do. This is probably a fantastic system for you.

I personally love role playing in Legend of the Five Rings because of that political aspect, that connection between all the characters. I love the intrigues, the scheming. I love the focus on social combat instead of just hack and slash, but I will admit I enjoy a hack and slash in L5R on occasion. The game and the setting are just designed perfectly to bring you into the character’s, boots, or shoes, or whatever sorts of things they have on their feet. And I think that’s really unique.

What’s great about the Setting? [00:31:58]

What do you guys find that draws you personally most to this setting in this game?

Jeanne (Doji Gen): For myself, I enjoy Legend of the Five Rings most because I enjoy working with a certain amount of creative limitations. I’m very much into the question of “what is honor?” “why do people do the things that they do?” And “how do you go about being the best person that you can be in a challenging situation?” so those are the questions that L5R explores of what is honor and how to do the honorable thing, even if it’s not at an advantage to yourself, the structure of L5R makes that a very powerful story for me. So I really like that a lot.

Churcher (Akodo Riichi): A good dramatic game has plenty of tragedy to go along with it. You enjoy the ups as much as you enjoy the downs and  and 100% have all of that over the course of an hour. The fact that the game is more deadly then your traditional game of D&D. Whereas you can go through a fight and then just die, but then you come back cause someone’s got the resurrection spell. In L5R, that’s not a thing once you’re dead, that’s it, you’re gone. It just raises the stakes for the game 100%, and it’s so much more fun to actually care about what happens with your characters.

Charlie (Soshi Yuzume): My reason for starting to play  kind of ties into that. I was initially drawn to the system by the way. The fact that, my, medical condition was actually listed as a mechanic, whereas in a lot of other games I’ve played before it’s just something that gets magic away. It made me feel like I could play something closer to myself without having other people at the table telling me I couldn’t.

Going a bit deeper into that, part of the reason that I enjoy the setting and the game is because the people in it do feel a little bit more grounded despite this being a very fantastical setting, because of those consequences, and because of those real life conditions that people will have. I also really enjoy how it makes you think critically about how your character does things interacting with the world.

You can play a game of L5R and come out questioning: did I play that right? Maybe next time I’ll do it this way. Yeah, actually, my character really hurt somebody’s feelings by doing that. And it can change how you play other games.

Ready for more L5R? What’s next? [00:34:47]

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): We’ve talked a little bit about the setting about what player characters are like, how the mechanics work, character creation and that our own personal stories and what draws to the game. If this is something that you’d be interested in, I can highly recommend the rest of the CourtGames, roleplaying game podcasts.

They have a ton of resources that are produced with intention and care, interviews with designers, lots and lots of deep dives on specific aspects. Or if you’d like to hear how fifth edition plays, all of us here are a part of two different actual play podcasts. Also hosted by CourtGames. That are designed to give you different looks at how role playing can be in L5R fifth edition.

Charlie and I are part of the Crimson Gold Agonies podcast–

Charlie (Soshi Yuzume): Yeah, Crimson Gold Agonies follows a very standard  setup, where characters from different clans work for the Emerald Office. Our characters in particular have been sent to do disaster relief in a city called Hirosaka, which is from the path of waves, expansion book. It gets very political, there’s spiritual elements. It’s really designed to try to get you to think about the different consequences of actions that you take and how different people in Rokugan will respond to what your characters choose to do.

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): Crimson Gold Agonies won’t have a whole lot of mechanical featuring there is a lot more of a focus on the social impacts, what choices your characters make ripple out the complexities of the Emerald Empire. If you’re looking for a good example on how to get into the mechanics, Crimson Gold Agonies will be more of a deep dive on the social setting where Fortune and Strife do a fantastic job on displaying the mechanics for the game and both Jeannie and Tyler are fantastic actors and hosts of that show.

Would you guys like to talk a little bit about it?

Churcher (Akodo Riichi): Certainly, Fortune and Strife as was mentioned previously, we’re more on the mechanics side of the RPG, whereas all of our characters are drawn into a story involving one of our friends from our childhood and how he recently had a newborn, but in the process his wife died. We all are helping him go through the process of protecting this baby from encroaching samurai, other worldly influences and supernatural occurrences.

Jeanne (Doji Gen):  Even though our podcast is very focused on the mechanics of the fifth edition role playing game. I think that we definitely exercise our own examples of drama and feels for you to get into the storyline as well. I think that we do a pretty good job on our voice acting and our characters. You are welcome to come check that out and we are always trying to get better as we go along.

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): Yeah, both podcasts  are while, slightly different products, both do a fantastic job at providing a great example of that core samurai drama and storytelling that Legend of the Five Rings fifth edition  offers. Hopefully this has been something that’s helped you get started into the wonderful world of L5R that we all know and love.

Jeannie, would you mind taking it from here?

Jeanne (Doji Gen): Of course, this podcast, along with our actual play podcasts, and the regular RPG podcasts are funded by the L5R community discord Patreon that supports our editing costs as well as the CourtGames website, where you can see longer term information and all kinds of good tools, summaries of our podcast, all that sort of stuff.

If you do join our Patreon, we have special bonus content for you like adventure seeds, which are called Challenge Focus Strikes. Sometimes we do watch parties. You get early access to our actual play podcasts and all kinds of good stuff like that. Online, you can find us at our website, which is On Twitter, we can be found at, and at Patreon, we are at

For me, I am Kakita Kaori, also in Fortune and Strife: Doji Gen, and may the fortunes favor you.

Evan (Sekai-no-Doji Eiko): I’m Evan Strite or Doji Eiko in Crimson Gold Agonies. Don’t miss any opportunity.

Churcher (Akodo Riichi): I’m Tyler and on Fortune and Strife I play Akodo Riichi, and strife is not always a bad thing.

Charlie (Soshi Yuzume): I’m Charlie, I also play Soshi Yuzume, and I have nothing clever to say.

Share this:

Leave a Reply