Originating as a collection chronicling David Gordon’s return to the Legend of the 5 Rings CCG after a several yr absence, Dave of the 5 Rings continues on as he examines the present and way forward for the long-lasting world of Rokugan upon the game’s sale to FFG in 2015.
Chapter 37: Content, Creation, And All the things In Between
The most effective laid plans of mice and males typically go awry. The same extends to gaming corporations, although it is heartening to see the trouble Fantasy Flight Video games is taking to get the 2019 Release Practice to reside up to its promises. March of the Yr of the Meta has come and gone, and with the second half of April now wrapping up as properly, we’ll see if we reach our next station on schedule. In the intervening time, lets look back at all the modifications which have come, and what lies in store in the months ahead.
Beware the Shadowlands
Let’s start first with a quick evaluation of the newest offerings from the L5R Roleplaying Recreation. Shadowlands, a information to the area of Fu Leng and the lands of the Crab Clan, hit cabinets within the latter half of March, alongside The Masks of the Oni companion adventure. It was supported by the discharge of an internet supplementary state of affairs, The Knotted Tails. Shadowlands retails for slightly below $40 USD and supplies 144 pages of supplementary materials for both Recreation Masters and players alike.
Shadowlands opens with a history and tour of the Shadowlands itself, providing several particular places and encounters in the type of the Emerald Empire complement. Though not almost as in-depth or intimate as the 1st Version complement, Bearers of Jade, the first chapter provides enough info for GMs to kickstart their exploration of L5R’s darker lore.
It additionally provides the first strong info on the Nezumi, one of many many fan-favorite elements of the setting from the previous canon. The second chapter explores and particulars the lands of the Crab Clan, placing their history and tradition into perspective, whereas the third chapter particulars the Crab’s Minor Clan neighbor, the Falcon Clan. The final section of the supplement offers a wealth of latest mechanics for the RPG, including new Faculties for every Nice Clan, a faculty for the Falcon Clan, new rules for Artisan PCs, and an in depth number of new gear for characters. It ends with an appendix analyzing the Bushido tenet of Braveness, and how it influences gameplay.
Shadowlands is a completely essential purchase for any player or GM with an curiosity within the horror parts of L5R and the Crab Clan particularly. For everybody else, I might put this strictly on the elective record. I used to be notably completely satisfied to see the inclusion of shields within the gear part, if only for accuracy and completeness. As somebody who has studied the history of east Asian warfare and martial traditions, the sentiment of “shields are for cowards and never samurai!” discovered all through the L5R RPG player base annoyed me as an oddly resilient pocket of ignorance and Orientalism. Its inclusion and rationalization strikes Rokugan in the direction of a extra expansive setting, and one much less obsessed with the “Cult of the Katana” – which hasn’t actually been “cool” because the 1990s.
That stated, I might have additionally liked to see extra point out of a number of the tradition of the trolls and ogres within the Shadowlands, and not just the goblins, Misplaced, and nezumi. Volturnum, the lost city of the trolls, was incredibly essential in the previous lore, and there was no mention of it. My only other nitpick, although, needs to be within the Falcon Clan Phantom Hunter Faculty. While I had my hopes pinned on this for some time, as a long-time fan of the Falcon Clan, I was disenchanted in it being a shugenja faculty, and not a bushi faculty.
I have not but learn the accompanying state of affairs, The Mask of the Oni, as I plan to be enjoying by means of it in my native tabletop recreation quickly, and did not need to spoil it for myself. The Knotted Tails, nevertheless, I did read, and it was an exceptional piece of world building, fleshing out the knowledge on the nezumi from the bits we get in the Shadowlands guide. There’s additionally another Moth Clan easter egg in there, and it is attending to the point the place I anticipate that this is likely one of the designer’s little pet tasks.
Additionally launched last month was Wedding ceremony at Kyotei Fort, which was an replace to a much beloved 1st Version module. Wedding ceremony at Kyotei Fort was initially run at Gen Con 2018, and I was fortunate enough to play by means of it at the moment. At the time, the module’s outcomes have been tallied up and a winner to the state of affairs was finally decided for the canon storyline. Nonetheless, for those who too need to play out the occasions of Kintani Valley, I might advocate choosing up each this module and its pre-generated characters and giving it a check run with some pals.
We now have reached a bit of a lull with regard to Organized Play in the Legend of the Five Rings LCG, with a lot of the Season 1 Elemental Championships wrapping up. In more formal occasions, Paris hosted a Grand Kotei in March, Adepticon in Illinois hosted two regular Kotei, and PAX East in Boston hosted an Elemental Challenge. Robust showings were given at both Kotei occasions by the Crab Clan, with Paris and the second Kotei at Adepticon taken by them.
(I apparently spoke too soon once I referred to as out their wrestle to remain aggressive in my earlier article; apologizes to underestimating the various Crab players on the market.)
With the discharge of Warriors of the Wind, I anticipate the Crab to proceed to put strongly within the present setting, as they have a robust match up towards both the dominant Phoenix meta deck and the rising full-speed blitz Unicorn deck. As regular, Imperial Advisor has some wonderful reporting on the post-CotE meta featured at Paris and Adepticon, which might be discovered right here and here.
I personally attended the Elemental Challenge at PAX East, and while it was completely good to see acquainted faces at the Cascade Games booth, turnout at this occasion was notably lackluster. The primary two days of the event noticed solely four players every, forcing the event into a three match round-robin format. While I was capable of earn my ribbons from the occasion, along with some promos for a Hearth Position and Void Position, I sadly determined the third day was not well worth the bills of commuting into Boston for the same consequence. My time at PAX East general was enough…but undoubtedly not well worth the worth of the badge in case your intent was to play L5R. I hope that PAX Unplugged this yr will probably be a greater displaying for the group, and I plan on hauling myself all the best way right down to Pennsylvania to attend.
Usually, March and April have been tumultuous months for the L5R LCG. The publish Youngsters of the Empire meta recreation started to calm down, as new deck archetypes began to emerge from each the Dragon and Crane Clans. Just as the meta started to be solved, nevertheless, a serious shakeup got here from the discharge of the Unicorn Clan pack, Warriors of the Wind.
Delayed from its March launch to mid-April, it had been almost solely spoiled by the time it hit cabinets. Just a few playing cards remained undiscovered, and its impression on the sport is already being felt. The phrases “I charge Moto Chagatai” echoes throughout the event scenes, sending shivers down the spines of current and future opponents, and the sheer power now obtainable to Unicorn Clan players operating Hisu Mori Toride is regularly overwhelming in the early recreation. While I nonetheless consider that Shiro Shinjo will ultimately be the Unicorn Clan deck to beat, the full-blitz HMT Unicorn deck has been a enjoyable experience to check out.
Releases, Releases, and more Releases
Bulletins and previews continue to roll out, whetting the urge for food for the Unsolved Meta of 2019. Previews for the Crane Clan pack, Masters of the Courtroom, continued to be unveiled, although not almost in the quantity as Warriors of the Winds have been prior, main up to its April 25th launch. Which meant April saw the discharge of two Clan packs and puts the Inheritance Cycle on schedule to start out in Might. The early card previews have met with a measured response, with most finding some interest from the player group for a way they will shift the sport. Two particularly, nevertheless, have been highlighted as being recreation changers.
Daidoji Uji, whom I mentioned last month, stays probably the most impactful character previewed from the pack thus far, but he has been matched by the Event card Gossip. A zero Fate Occasion, Gossip could be performed in any part and permits a player to call a card. Copies of that card can’t be performed from an opponent’s Battle hand that part.
While it’s Restricted, and thus solely a single one could be played per participant per round, the power to proactively shut down probably recreation swinging Occasions or Characters is just the type of energy the Crane Clan needed to shift the competitive scene in their favor. It favors the high talent participant as nicely, as its versatility makes an all the time usable card, and information of the setting means a canny player can simply identify the one lynchpin their opponent will need.
The third Dynasty pack of the Inheritance Cycle was additionally announced, with Justice For Satsume promising to function two new Clan Champions and more playing cards to assist help the bushi and courtiers of the Empire. Based mostly upon the paintings alone, I anticipate a type of Champions to be a new version of Doji Hotaru, the Crane Clan Champion, although I disagree with the widespread hypothesis that Doji Kuwanon may even be a Clan Champion.
Despite the paintings that appears to point out the siblings squaring off at first look, it has been pointed out by sharp-eyed members of the Crane Discord teams that they as an alternative look like preventing again to back. This paintings is being featured as Province backers for direct preorders, with FFG persevering with its development of discouraging players from supporting their friendly local gaming shops – a apply which continues to satisfy sharp criticism within the L5R participant base. Justice for Satsume also contains a new mechanical focus for the Lion Clan, rewarding them for having less Battle cards in hand than their opponent, an fascinating mechanical area.
The Lion Clan have also been introduced as the subsequent Clan to obtain a Clan Pack after the Crane. The Emperor’s Legion has not been given an anticipated release date, but FFG is already accepting preorders (additionally with Province backer direct preorder bonuses). Specializing in the Lion Clan themes of “recursion, revenge, and righteousness”, the Lion Clan pack will function 28 new cards for the LCG.
The brand new Stronghold for the Lion, Kyuden Ikoma, opens up an fascinating design area for the Clan, offering a profit for dropping a Conflict as an attacker. When coupled with cards like Deathseeker and the brand new Embrace Demise, the Lion Clan will soon be capable of push their opponent into a position of “Let me win, or you’ll regret it.” With the excessive beginning Honor on Kyuden Ikoma, I might not be stunned to see the Lion Clan switching to a Phoenix Clan splash to make use of cards like Seeker of Information and Winds of Change to begin pressuring Honor victories by means of profitable Conflicts.
Laughter and Heartbreak
Lastly in news for the month, April noticed the release of two main updates within the Fiction. Alongside the Unicorn Clan pack got here the novella, Across the Burning Sands by Daniel Lovat Clark. Following the story of Shinjo Shono as he journeys west to the town of al-Zawiri and the Quamarist Caliphate, the novella is a fast-paced story full of partaking characters, intense private improvement, and an introduction to the world beyond Rokugan. We have been promised sword fights, romantic pressure, and dangerous intrigue, and the writer didn’t disappoint. I found myself laughing out loud on the character of Moto Chagatai, who was captured in all his affable, unabashed ambition and charisma. The brand new Moto Chagatai is a wonderful update to the previous canon’s version, and the story of the Unicorn Clan is richer for his inclusion.
A new brief fiction was also released from Robert Denton III, laying the groundwork for the upcoming Inheritance Cycle. The Final Stone Played is a compelling fiction with an explosive improvement, shaping the story to return in thrilling methods. Moreover, it did something which most of the earlier fictions did not do: it made me feel genuine sympathy for each Hantei Sotorii and Bayushi Kachiko. Denton’s fiction continues to portray real, well-realized characters who make selections or lose control and need to cope with the results. While the earlier fictions surrounding Sotorii made me perceive the young man to be remoted and lonely, Denton offers the capability to reside even momentarily in his expertise, grappling with challenges which are acquainted to anybody who has helped youths who will not be neurotypical. Whereas this is not an excuse for the actions some take, it makes these actions easier to know and all the more tragic in consequence.
Sign Boosting Galore
And now, in the end, we come to the function of this article, pricey reader. As anyone who pays consideration to Legend of the 5 Rings since its return underneath FFG can inform you, the social media facet of this group has merely exploded during the last yr. Every month a brand new podcast or Twitch stream has appeared with L5R content. While that is removed from an entire record, I have included under a number of the varied content creators I’ve been able to find for the L5R group. Normally, I might cut up them up by podcast, YouTube channel, and Twitch Stream, I have found that many of those creators operate across a number of mediums, and so I’m being as inclusive as I may be.
The Streams of New England
- New England L5R – This was the primary and in many ways probably the most infamous of the New England media producers for the L5R LCG (aside from myself). They sometimes stream on Wednesday nights at eight PM ET, and supply…colorful commentary on the news of the week and previews. If nothing else, this present provides a very good impression of what it is wish to be an L5R player in New England, and it is all the time a fun pay attention.
Twitch | YouTube | Podcast
- The Meek Informant – Should you’re beginning out in L5R, this is the podcast you ought to be listening to. They concentrate on the entry degree expertise for the LCG, and search to get players new to the game in control on the principles, decks, factions, and lore. Additionally they stream and commentate on local tournaments in the New England area.
Twitch | YouTube | Podcast
- Cube or Dying – Run by Ray AKA RayDaka AKA the Amethyst Champion, this present features more than simply L5R content, though it is principally targeted on offering reside play of the LCG on Jigoku (L5R LCG’s unofficial on-line free play model). Ray commonly streams at 9 PM ET on Fridays, and lately hosted The Meme Wars, which was a collection of matches between NEL5R’s forged and The Meek Informant’s forged.
Twitch | YouTube
Huge in Rokugan
- The Jade Throne – In many ways, that is THE L5R podcast. Hosted by Shey Ramsey, the Jade Throne is a podcast concerning the L5R LCG which offers primarily with the competitive organized play facet of the sport, offering critiques of playing cards and methods from the distinctly North American viewpoint. Frequent friends and cohosts embrace Aneil Seetharam, Chris Pottorf, and Johnny Shen.
- Imperial Advisor – Operating the counterpoint to North American strategy in the L5R LCG, Imperial Advisor speaks to the organized play scene of the UK and Europe. It’s hosted by Colm Brophy, Justin Walsh, Eoin Burke, Andy Gordon, and Barry Sheppard. They produce content frequently, and arrange some of the complete web sites on the organized play scene for L5R all over the world.
Twitch | YouTube
- Hidden City Roller Derby – Hosted by Simcof, Hidden City Curler Derby is Australia’s own podcast on L5R, and rose to prominence with their wonderful protection of the Discord World Cup. They’ve since offered a robust third voice in the area of organized play commentary, holding the rest of the world in control with the efficiency of L5R in Australia and Oceania, and fairly probably is likely one of the few podcasts which provides NE L5R a run for its money with its colourful commentary.
All About That Story
- The Final Province – If long, circuitous rambles by means of the larger, deeper lore of Legend of the Five Rings is your factor, then you definitely owe it to yourself to take heed to this podcast. Hosted partially by Robert Denton III himself, this podcast supplies an in-depth exploration of the world of Rokugan, along with the usual commentary on previews and particular occasions. I extremely advocate their episode on regulation and punishment in Rokugan, and this podcast usually to anybody in search of to run the RPG.
- Shadows within the West – What happens when a bunch of highly gifted artistic individuals determine to make a present about their tabletop recreation? Properly, it often shouldn’t be this good, however typically, you get a gem like Shadows in the West. That is an audio drama based mostly upon the logs of an actual play recreation happening on-line. Furthermore, this is likely one of the most inclusive and numerous podcasts locally, and one that I can’t advocate highly sufficient. Give them a pay attention, and prepare to dive into a world of high drama and delightful paintings.
- The Desk is Yours – One of the largest limitations to entry in Legend of the Five Rings might be the sheer depth of its fiction. As some of my earlier articles have referred to as out, there’s nicely over a George RR Martin novel’s value of fiction already written – and that’s not even including the three novellas. The Table is Yours is decreasing the barrier to entry with that story by presenting the fiction in audio-book format. Give them a pay attention!
More Than Stars In The Sky
There are a lot more podcasts than the nine I’ve listed above. To offer perception on every of them is a process larger than I can achieve here. So, fairly than go through every of them in depth, I’ve included under an inventory of those that I comply with, in no specific order:
The explosion of latest content creators within the Legend of the Five Rings group has been nothing in need of superb. Once I started writing again for this collection, there have been only a handful of us providing regular media on the L5R group. Now, there are dozens. No matter else comes of the FFG reboot, the evolution of the group in these final two years has been really a marvel, and I’m glad to have been part of it.
Actually, within the preparation for this article, I took somewhat journey down reminiscence lane. My first Dave of the 5 Rings article was revealed in March of 2014, which makes this the beginning of my fourth yr scripting this blog (sixth when you give me credit for the 2 years between the sale of the IP and the relaunch at Gen Con 2017). The journey has not been insignificant, and it has really been a pleasure to observe how the journalism surrounding the game of Legend of the Five Rings has expanded. It has been quite the bumpy journey, rife with delays, controversies, and the perennial calls of “L5R is lifeless! Lengthy Reside L5R!” However as bumpy because it has gotten, it has been an honor to be on this street with you, pricey reader. So, thank you on your continued help.
Here’s to four extra years in Rokugan.
David Gordon is a daily contributor to the location. A storyteller by trade and avowed tabletop veteran, he additionally has an extended and sophisticated past with L5R. These are his tales. He might be reached on Twitter.
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Photograph Credits: Legend of the 5 Rings photographs by Fantasy Flight Games.