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  1. No, because it's the academic year and I'm still reading the books. Will probably not play until mid-May, after the semester ends. Lots of things to learn with this game.
  2. I love the art and design too and many of the techniques and skills seem pretty cool and would be easy to port over. Oriental Adventures has an honor system, though it's very much up to the DM/GM how much they really want it to affect the game. I've already thought of ways I could combine the D&D proficiencies with strife/opportunity dice to retain that aspect of L5R. The main thing is that my main group of players are all intimately familiar with 1st edition AD&D whereas this looks to involve a fairly steep learning curve. As I said, if I can play a few times first, my feelings may change. I like the setting and supplements enough to want to use them. ****, the castle maps alone are great!
  3. The more I read all this, the more I appreciate the elegant simplicity of 1st edition AD&D's non-weapon and court proficiency system. One roll and you're good to go. In fact, though I'm still going through the Emerald Empire supplement, I may just use all the L5R material for our regular Labyrinth Lord/AD&D 1E game, incorporating the techniques and such as special abilities to add flavor to the core Oriental Adventures classes. Back in the day I converted a couple 1st edition L5R adventures to AD&D and they actually worked fine. My head is spinning with all these options. I'd still like to play a game or two of L5R RAW with more experienced folks to see if it's as complicated as it sounds, however.
  4. Having not actually played or rolled up characters, this is interesting advice. We were thinking purely along the lines of folks who would be good at fighting spirits and would have an innate reason for doing so. I'll certainly read the whole Shadowlands book and meditate more upon these things when thinking about party builds. One potential player did express an interest in a Phoenix clan character. That being said, back in the day, one of the best parties I ever played in with D&D was a group that lacked both a mage and a true cleric. We had a druid, an illusionist/thief, a paladin, and a barbarian. But everybody was really creative. Though I guess that still offers a range of abilities and powers and D&D is certainly not the same as L5R. But I think good, creative play can counter mechanical limitations.
  5. As far as character generation is concerned, we're looking at having 2 Dragons (Mirumoto bushi and Tattooed monk), a Kuni Crab Purifier, and a Toritaka Phantom Hunter, though that may change once I read through the Shadowlands book. This presumes we go with a ghostbusting campaign along the lines of the Chinese wuxia film Vampire Hunters. So I think the PCs will feel different enough.
  6. So I just finished reading through the core rule book and I thought I'd post a couple quick reflections and queries here. Note that I have not played any L5R since a bit of 1st edition around 2000 or so. What drew me to this edition was the impressive looking rule book and an interest in the setting since I'm a professor of Asian history with a strong interest in samurai culture, though my major specialty is Chinese military history. I have been playing RPGs since 1981, mostly fantasy. So after reading through the rules, I still love the setting and I'm very much looking forward to reading Emerald Empire, which I started last night, and the Shadowlands sourcebook, which arrived in the mail today, along with Mask of the Oni. I also like the fact that there are so many character options with the different clans, schools, specialties, skills, and techniques. It really seems to encourage lots of variation and customization and I look forward to making a few characters. That being said, I will say that I found the rules a bit hard to follow at times, mostly because they are scattered throughout a pretty hefty book and there are not always clear examples. I assume things will become clearer after I actually play a few times, preferably with some experienced players to start. Additionally, it seems that there are many cases when they require dice rolling when simple roleplaying would be just as good, if not better. To my grognard sensibilities, this is a feature of many newer games. They create lots of mechanics to stimulate roleplaying, but in fact they often just bog things down and discourage creative roleplaying by using mechanics to determine outcomes. I hate that aspect of Adventures in Middle Earth where the GM basically determines ahead of time how the party is supposed to feel after a journey and they have all kinds of dice rolls to determine the results of audiences with patrons and the like. In the case of L5R, I'm not crazy about the strife mechanic because it seems pretty arbitrary in the sense that it's basically a function of dice rolls. Likewise, needing opportunities to find out additional information and such in certain situations seems a bit clunky. So, for those of you who have played a bit, how does this actually shake out at the table? My personal feeling is that I'd probably use fewer rolls for social situations and intrigues and just encourage my players to get into character, but will that detract too much from the intended feel? Finally, if anyone is in the South Mississippi or New Orleans area, I'd love to join a face to face game to better learn the mechanics (and of course meet new people). Love to hear feedback from those of you have played a bit. Thanks!
  7. Almost finished reading the core book. Been jotting down campaign ideas in a little campaign notebook. I'm going to read the Emerald Empire book next and Shadowlands is on pre-order. So once I go through that as well I'm sure I'll have a slew of potential threads and plot hooks. This shady underground tournament is going in there somewhere. Could be a cool place for the party to recruit some muscle for a trip into the Shadowlands...
  8. I just buy from Cool Stuff Inc. Their prices are lower than list, they have a rewards program and I've never had any shipping issues with them. My NSFLGS doesn't stock much RPG stuff outside of D&D or Pathfinder anyhow.
  9. Thanks for all the replies. Now I'm thinking of concocting a forbidden, anything goes martial arts tournament along the lines of the classic Van Damme film "Bloodsport." Maybe I'll have separate armed and unarmed categories. Or maybe not. May the most honorless dog win...
  10. I'm still going through the core book, but I have a question regarding duels. It says that in the event of initiative ties the person with the lower honor acts first. Why is this? Logic would seem to indicate that having higher honor would be better. Or is the assumption that someone with higher honor gives his/her inferior the advantage by allowing them to strike first? Or is it something else entirely that I'm missing here?
  11. And of course Yamamoto was the ultimate "tatami mat samurai" who never saw real combat and dodged seppuku when his lord died, claiming he had been told not to do it. But he starts the book out extolling the virtues of dying for principles... He would be a good L5R character come to think of it. Already has that ninjo/giri conflict going on.
  12. Consistency is certainly a virtue, though again we are talking about a fantasy game here so maybe that's getting too technical. Although since someone brought up the topic of Bushido, it's worth noting that the term "bushido" itself was barely ever used in Japan prior to the late 19th century. It was essentially invented in the Meiji era by nationalists looking for a way to extol the supposed virtues of the now-defunct samurai class. The samurai themselves never had a distinct "bushido code" at all. This book explains the process: https://www.amazon.com/Inventing-Way-Samurai-Nationalism-Internationalism/dp/0198754256/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3KD29PJX6OBRP&keywords=inventing+the+way+of+the+samurai&qid=1552655160&s=books&sprefix=inventing+the+way+of+%2Caps%2C170&sr=1-1-catcorr Again, however, the idea of such a code of behavior is great for gaming purposes and still captures the popular imagination in Japan, so it's cool to have it. In fact, I just bought a can of Bushido sake the other day, that had all the tenets of bushido listed in kanji on the side of the can. It wasn't too bad, either...
  13. Yes; it's like when authors try to act like they are more sophisticated by saying the Huanghe River rather than just the Yellow River, not realizing that Huang He literally means "Yellow River." At the end of the day, it's just cool to have a pseudo-Asian setting and I'm not going to get too worked up about the inconsistencies. The old TSR "Oriental Adventures" supplements were an absolute mess in that respect, mashing up all kinds of names, terminologies and Romanization systems. As for Shinseido (Way of Shinsei) it's pretty close to the name of that Japanese cosmetics company anyhow...
  14. Still reading through the core book and enjoying it, but one thing that has always annoyed me is the "Tao of Shinsei." I get that it's a fantasy setting and there's no need to get it right historically, but this mishmash of Daoism, Buddhism, and Shinto is rather weird. Most importantly, the word "tao," which is properly Romanized "dao" these days, is simply 道, which means "path or way" and is rendered "do" in Japanese. Thus, 武士道, or bushido in Japanese, which is wushi dao in Chinese. So why not just call it the "Do of Shinsei?" I presume it's because tao has more resonance to English speakers, even though most pronounce it incorrectly (it's a "d" not a "t" sound). Sort of like the redundancy of referring to Asian "lung/long" dragons. The word 龍 (long) means "dragon" so a "long dragon" is technically a "dragon dragon." Just the professor in me coming out I guess.
  15. Anyone know if they're going to sell official character record sheets for the game or just have us use the pdfs? I only have access to a black and white printer these days and frankly, the character sheets do not look good and are rather hard to read. I'd gladly pay for a bundle of color character sheets in lieu of biting the bullet at Kinko's or wherever.
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