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EmpireErik

L5r [RPG] So where does one start (new player coming through)

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Ok, I have tried to write this post a few times and deleted it each time. 

 

I am looking for suggestions on how to get started in this game.  How did others get into the game?  It sure isn't like the other RPGs.

 

I bought several books over the past year or two.  The richness of the story, the system, and the books are all amazing and kind of overwhelming. This is probable the best produces RPG yet.  No RPG that I know of has this many books other than Pathfinder (and that is the poster child of overwhelming)  The story alone advances to rapidly (CCG story) so to figure out what is going on is a chore.  They actually have a book dedicated to the history of land (Imperial Histories 1 and I think 2)...no other RPG has that!  

 

For the new player, where and how do you recommend to start? 

 

The game is vastly different than DnD.. So, yes, start with the basic book, but then where to go?  I am more than likely going to have to learn the system and run it, because nobody in New York City plays it (that I know of).  Hopefully LA may have a group or two. 

 

I have the following books:  The RPG, Enemies of the Empire, Secrets of the Empire, Atlas of Rokugan (not that worth it), Earth, Fire, Water and Void...I am missing Air, and I have the third edition of Emerald Empire.  And I have the Second City Box.  I guess I kept buying them because the books are utterly amazing in production. 

 

I am not interested in playing the CCG or LCG as its not my thing.  But the RPG keeps getting my attention. 

 

Any pointers, guidance, recommendations or directions is appreciated. 

 

Thanks. 

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You already have the essentials: the core rulebook, Emerald Empires, and The Great Clans. This is pretty much all what you need, in this order. The rest is just flavor. 

 

Also, as a friendly advice, I would say you should avoid the metaplot and the super-special stuff like Honor because things aren't very beginner-friendly there. For the time being, treat L5R like D&D with katanas and build up your game from there. Diving headlong into deep water is a very bad idea with this game. 

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there is a series of modules that are/were fan created (heroes of rokugan).  you can google that and find a good starting point for playing.  there are restrictions to some parts of the rules but those are laid out for you.  there are also play by post sites out there as well.  there is the l5r fb page as well. and there is an online HoR3 online gaming group on facebook as well.

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I would actually avoid running it as D&D with katanas because it's not really built for that... waaaaaay too lethal.

 

But setting up a  small conflict and having your players help resolve it can let you find your legs with the system- not every conflict is of metaplot dimensions- having your party be a group of Crane or Lion samurai trying to cut their rivals plans to ribbons in a court setting would be a good "this is how Rokugan rolls" kind of deal. Don't get too hung up on the fiddly details of etiquette, but try to emphasize that what is said is just as important,if not moreso, than what is done.

 

Or if court makes you nervous just throw 'em at a few bandits ;)

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Try the adventure AEG released for Free RPG Day when the system had just come out a few years back: https://www.l5r.com/files/2012/03/L5R-Free-RPG-Day.pdf

 

Running it or just reading it should give you a sense of the elements of a 'complete' L5R game. If you are used to the dungeon-crawly side of Pathfinder or D&D, L5R's system and setting have a bit more room for investigation and intrigue by default, but it should not be overwhelming. The Topaz Championship is another good starting adventure to play or run (it's a coming-of-age competition for young samurai)--there should be a thread with links if you search this very forum. Heroes of Rokugan (don't remember the address just now, but Google has your back) also has many, many adventures written up which one can download and use.

 

As folks have said, the core book truly is all you need to get started. Enemies of the Empire would actually be my #2 purchase/read for a new GM, as it gives you lots of ready-made adversaries and such. From a player's perspective Emerald Empire will give you more flavor detail and a few new character options, as will Great Clans, but you certainly don't need them to get rolling.

 

For setting lore, there actually is a wiki: http://l5r.wikia.com/wiki/Legend_of_the_Five_Rings_Wiki

The information on some of the pages is not always organized in the most intuitive of ways, but it's good if you see some noun dropped as you're going along and are like "no, really, what is X again?"

 

As someone who's never played the CCG, I'd say don't get too hung up on all the history stuff! It only will impinge on your home game as much as you want it to. (If you set your game between about the mid 9th century and the 11th century, OR just "at the end of the Core Book timeline" ignoring everything that happened in later CCG developments, you'll have more or less the "generic" Rokugan. Technically there'd be no Mantis Clan if you choose the former option, I guess, but that's not a big deal one way or another for a home game.)

 

And definitely do not think of the two Imperial Histories as books you NEED to read to properly understand L5R. They're best understood as splatbooks presenting a bunch of alternate setting variations in which you might choose to set a campaign. Some of 'em are great, while some are meh. Maybe skim the tables of contents and see if one of those settings seems like you'd actually want to use it; otherwise you don't need to worry about it right now.

 

I'd be surprised if somebody somewhere in the NYC area isn't playing it! I'm in the LA area sometimes and haven't found a group there yet, but also LA is sprawly and due to logistics I haven't looked super hard. Now and then, if you keep an eye out, you can also find online playgroups of various sizes, from 4-5 people to PbPs of 20+.

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The game is vastly different than DnD.. So, yes, start with the basic book, but then where to go?  I am more than likely going to have to learn the system and run it, because nobody in New York City plays it (that I know of).  Hopefully LA may have a group or two.

I would play, but I'm not interested in being the game master.

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For the new player, where and how do you recommend to start? ...

 

The game is vastly different than DnD.. So, yes, start with the basic book, but then where to go? ...

 

...Any pointers, guidance, recommendations or directions is appreciated. 

 

Thanks. 

The players above have said their piece and I pretty much agree with them. You've already got a head start on the starter kit. Everything else is just icing. The Topaz Championship as a campaign is a great place to start for both players and GMs.

 

I also recommend various books depending upon the type of campaign you wish to run. Sword and Fan is a want/get for any military or court-focused game. The Elemental books are good for advanced mechanics and lore but not completely essential.

 

...and Spider Clan is Best Clan. Always play a Spider PC. Daigotsu is a swell guy for anyone who enjoys getting spooky powers, zombies and kung fu libertarian monks..

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I would actually avoid running it as D&D with katanas because it's not really built for that... waaaaaay too lethal.

 

IMHO, at the beginning, it isn't more lethal than D&D at low levels. 

 

 

 

..and Spider Clan is Best Clan. Always play a Spider PC. Daigotsu is a swell guy for anyone who enjoys getting spooky powers, zombies and kung fu libertarian monks..

 

This is surprisingly true. If you are truly unsure about your ability to get into L5R, then go with the Spider Clan. They are the bluntest, most what-you-see-is-what-you-get faction that offers the simplest solutions to every problem. 

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The game is vastly different than DnD.. So, yes, start with the basic book, but then where to go?

 

It's not vastly different than DnD spirit. I'm saying this because yes the books tends to send the game into the "Dungeon Crawling" and "Kick in the door" mentality but with a great Storyteller, it can be different.

 

The only real changes, in my opinion, is the system that can results into poor rolls to awesomesauces rolls. The range of the rolls is really absurd, in a good way, because everyone can have a chance.

 

The corebook book is the best starts, reading it cover to cover helps to understand the most important stuffs. The rest, you can ignore it for now. Not being a fan of pre-made campaign myself, I won't suggest that, I would instead suggest to play a campaign that was closer to your standard DnD type. By closer, I mean that if your group was really familliar to have 2-3 combats per game sessions, do a campaign that has 1-2 skirmishes per game session. This would mean to have a campaign in a great conflit. There's soo many nice great conflits in the setting that you would find one that you'll like and feel confortable with. As a first campaign, I started with the Clan War, with a full Crab party, filled the story my own way while following the main stream of the story based on the wiki's storyline.

 

Also, in L5R, I feel like having an idea on the campaign is more important than having an idea of the characters in the game. When I was doing a DnD campaign, I always based my campaign on the characters. I tried to do that once in L5R and it was horrible, because my players tend to pick Clans that doesn't fit much together... So my suggestion is to select the main idea of your campaign, explain a little of backstory to your players at the character creation session, giving only access to certain Clans that will fit in the campaign. Yes, being restrictive may be seen as a bad thing, but it's far from being the case, in fact, it prevents soo many problems.

 

Also, as Locust Shell said, if you find something weird in the storyline, ignore it... There's a few bad stuffs that happened through the CCG where some people just didn't care and did some weird stuffs with their choice. The best thing to do though is to inform this to the players. Simply because if some of your players like to dig in when they like something, they'll be like: "You're doing it wrong!" and lose your credibility. By informing the real thing and saying that you didn't like it to do it your way, problems are solved.

 

Speaking of problems, dying characters may be an issue at first, specially when the Storyteller is rolling like crazy. Just prepare your players for this kind of stuffs. It can occurs and pretty brutally. If they are aware of that, specially if you let them test out their character against another character, they'll see how quickly it can be once a hit is successful, even though they aren't that strong at first. Being prepared will also mean to inform them about the Samurai mentality toward death, they shall not fear it.

 

The last and best suggestion I will say is this: Have fun. That's the main objectif of a game. If you have a rule debate during a game, which may occurs oftenly in a system that everyone is currently learning, I would tend to use the following rule: "If the rule isn't found under 2 minutes, roll a dice to solve the debate for the rest of the session and seek that rule between the session." This can prevent soo much frustration, of course, this rule shall be informed to the players during the character creation as a way to prevent losing too many time during a game session, unless, of course, you have a "Rule Lawyer" in your group, but he'll find the rule under 2 minutes for sure! Haha!

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Speaking of problems, dying characters may be an issue at first, specially when the Storyteller is rolling like crazy. 

 

It is worth mentioning that as the GM you can always choose to keep the low dice when you make a roll, so you can have mediocre player-friendly results even if your dice are on fire. This is an important thing that shouldn't be overlooked. 

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I second what was said above, except the bit regarding the Spider. I find them to be overly complex (with plenty of philosophical and story layers to dig through, not to mention the whole evil-not-so-evil schtick) if you're a new player coming to the game. For new folks, I'd go with the classic suggestions and advise you to look into Unicorn first (as they were designed to be the most Western of the clans), and to the Crab second (as they're, hand down, the most pragmatic and straightforward folks there are).

 

Other than that, golden rule: HAVE FUN! :D

Edited by Bayushi Karyudo

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I second what was said above, except the bit regarding the Spider. I find them to be overly complex (with plenty of philosophical and story layers to dig through, not to mention the whole evil-not-so-evil schtick) if you're a new player coming to the game.

Flattering TsuTsu-chan will not get you cookies. (Sorry. Huge inside joke)

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I second what was said above, except the bit regarding the Spider. I find them to be overly complex (with plenty of philosophical and story layers to dig through, not to mention the whole evil-not-so-evil schtick) if you're a new player coming to the game.

 

There is a lot of depth and complexity for the Spider Clan but you can gloss over it no problem and miss very little. You can break the rules with the Spider without caring too much, and if you want to care, then you can do that too.

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I don't know about any others, but I enjoyed the Naishou Province book. Nice and contained with enough material to last a very long time and you don't have to introduce anything outside the province if you don't want to.

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I second what was said above, except the bit regarding the Spider. I find them to be overly complex (with plenty of philosophical and story layers to dig through, not to mention the whole evil-not-so-evil schtick) if you're a new player coming to the game.

Flattering TsuTsu-chan will not get you cookies. (Sorry. Huge inside joke)

 

But, but..... cookies!  :(

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