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Azrael Macool

Combining L5R and Pendragon

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So, I know it's kind of crazy to already be talking about combining game systems when the full core rules aren't even out yet... But I'm a crazy guy, so this is happening. For those of you who aren't familiar, King Arthur Pendragon, more commonly known as Pendragon, is a game system about playing knights in King Arthur's Britain. It's really awesome, and I highly recommend it to anyone. While I do think the actual ruleset would work well for a Samurai game, and in fact they are currently working on adapting it for a Feudal Japan setting, that's not the part I'm wanting to combine with L5R. I'm looking more to combine some of the yearly/generational aspects of the game. See, the way the game is structured, by default the characters have 2 courtly scenes in a year (one at Easter and one at Christmas), as well as an adventure which might consist of a military campaign, going on a fabulous quest, or even just raiding some neighbors, etc. It might also involve more court scenes, depending on the adventure. The rest of the year is the knight takign care of their duties, minor courtly scenes not worth playing out, performing garrison duties, tending to your lands, spending time with your family, etc. This is usually represented by some quick rolls on a table or 2, and get you a small amount of Experience Checks in the main skills/abilities used (basically their version of XP). Then the Winter Phase comes, where your character spends most of the time at home; this is where you get to see if anything increases (effectively spending your XP), check to see what kind of harvest year you've had, see if you've gotten married (and the basic details about your spouse like her parents, how much Glory/money she brings to the marriage, etc.) and/or had any children, and if any of you family (especially wife and children) died, as well as maybe some little things that might have happened to your family, like someone going missing, your sister getting married, your mother being exposed as a secret witch, etc. You also age up your character, which has a chance of reducing stats; if they hit 0, you die (generally the only way to die, other than by falling in battle). Once you've died, or gotten old enough to reasonably retire, you would resume play as your child, or if not old enough, maybe another family member. This aspect is what I'm mostly wanting to bring to L5R.

I feel like some version of the Winter Phase should work pretty well in L5R. The only real change to the base rules would be having to wait until the Winter Phase to spend your XP. Beyond that, my thought was to bring the tables for Solo Adventures, Marriage, Childbirth, Family Survival (and Horse Survival as well, though that doesn't seem quite as big an issue for L5R. Maybe among the Unicorn though), and Economic Circumstances over into L5R. Many of them could practically come over as is, that system uses d20 and d6 for their dice, moving those tables over to d10 wouldn't be that hard, though maybe the custom dice should be worked in somehow instead? I feel like there should be a way to make that work, but I can't imagine it at the moment. Some of them would definitely need to be adjusted to fit the setting a bit more, like the Economic stuff, Marriage (especially since Rokugan is a lot more egalitarian than Arthur's Britain... in that system, even if you were playing a female knight, you're expected to marry a non-warrior character. My understanding from previous games is that it's not necessarily unusual for warriors to marry in Rokugan, but I may be mistaken about that). Not sure if child mortality should be adjusted any. The specific acts during the Solo Adventure would probably need re-flavoring. I don't know enough about the economics of a samurai household to know how to make that work, and Economic Circumstance is fairly important (it affects Child Survival, Horse Survival, and some other factors like your yearly Glory gain. Glory works sort of the same in Pendragon as in L5R, except it never goes down, and the exact numbers are a little different, so I'm not sure it's appropriate for characters to accumulate Glory passively every year. Ageing would need to be accounted for in some way

So, this is a lot, and if people would like me to I could post/link to some of the specific tables I'm referencing here. I don't know how much people already know about Pendragon. I just like the idea of playing through a character's life and descendants. Plus, yeah, I know the player/GM could just come up with whether their character gets married/has kids/etc. I just like the idea that many of those things are out of the control of the players, such as in a world where there is high infant mortality, or marriage is arranged by your family, etc. And I just think this kind of thing is fun. If anyone has any questions about anything they want me to elaborate on, just let me know.

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I'll second that Pendragon is awesome.

The way PD is structured is ONE adventure per year, unless you're a landholder. The courts are not something that is normally intended to be played; the rumors and such are given as a narrative, rather than as a participatory scene. A recognition of deeds at Christmas, and rumors of war at Easter.


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Well, if you're talking about the Great Pendragon Campaign, yeah, the courtly stuff is there to provide narrative, but that doesn't mean that they can't be played, or that they're the only things that could happen. I'm not saying the characters would be hobnobbing with the King, but spending time at court, even just a local court, would be expected of all knights. Point is, if it's more interesting to have it happen then not, it should happen.

The first thing I want to see before tackling this is if people think it's better to do the easy thing, which is just convert the d20 tables to fairly-equivalent d10 tables, and with Rokugani re-flavoring as appropriate, or if someone can think of a legitimate way to use the custom dice and/or roll-and-keep mechanics into it, and how that would work. One thought would be that different yearly events would be tied to a particular Ring, and you'd roll your Ring dice, keep 1, and the different results would match up to particular results. On one hand, the option to choose what to keep give the player a bit more agency... but part of the point is that random stuff just happens. Maybe just rolling 1 die? Ring or Skill die? Rolling skill dice seems weird to me when not involving an actual skill, though there are more faces which means more possible results, though the actual full range of options can certainly expand if we keep the exploding success mechanic. It could be interesting, but a lot trickier, which is why d10s are much easier.

I'm also curious about how to handle economics. I understand that Samurai are expected to be even less hands-on than a Knight, but economics are still important. I'm also not as familiar with the lore of the setting (as well as history, though of course Rokugan does not necessarily equal Japan), are most Samurai landowners? Or is that fairly rare? Is land even considered to be owned by individuals, or the family, since that determines your starting wealth? I would assume that generally speaking it would be their lord's job to make sure they were properly fed and clothed, but I think it would be cool bring the Standards of Living over, though I would probably divorce them from any of the Glory rewards from Pendragon.

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No. The vast majority of Samurai would be classed as household knights. 

There are, in L5R as well as historical japan, a handful of categories.

literal household samurai - living in a room provided in the Lord's estate. Not the most common, but common enough.

Tenant samurai-  provided housing in town or village, within walk of their lord's house/castle/fortress. The most common according to the historical information I've found on Japan. Sometimes as renters, paying for the housing out of pay, other times as feudal-type tenants, in housing owned by the lord. These are still largely equivalent to household knights, since they have no lands, and are still maintained by their lord.

Landed tenant Samurai - just enough lands to support himself. Typical vassal knight is his western equivalent

goekenin - directly equivalent to (depending upon obligations) vassal knights and/or bannerettes, depending upon whether or not he's expected to have other samurai under  his banner.

Lesser Daimyō - 10K to 50K kokudaka  (expected production per year of all reasonable tradable goods) Usually answerable to a provincial daimyō. Comparable to barons, but functionally Banerettes

Provincial Daimyō - up to 100K kokudaka of personal lands, plus vassals. Functionally Earls.

L5R adds Family and Clan Daimyō - Family being roughly Dukes, Clan being Pennaths/kings.

L5R is a multi-level feudalist system - A wealthy gokenin (30K-40K) might have as vassal another, lesser goekenin, and both of them might have landed vassals and household and unlanded tennant samurai; he himself might have a daimyō between him and the provincial, and the provincial and the emperor;  while historic European was largely only 3 subinfeudations King, Great Barons (Barons through Dukes), Bannerettes, Vassal Knights, and the uninfeudated household knights.


As for the courts...  12th night (which is actually when the "Christmas Court" really is) and Easter are where the Great Lords show off. Those invited to Camelot blow a lot of money on it. THose who don't try to hold a fancy court to show off. They're not time to do the politics, they're time to basically show off and get wasted, as they both are right after the two big christian fasts. 12th night is also parallel to the pagan Yule, and Easter to the spring fertility festivals.

The courts where things get done are not those big ones. The locals get to pressure the earl when he arrives on his progress. And the weekly courts where peasant grievances are adjudicated by the local knights, or the appointed constable.  And every landholder can expect his lord to visit once a year...

There's also the issue that 12th knight and Holy Thursday courts are held also by the bishops. Shortly before Easter itself, on holy thursday, is the mass of the oils. All priests who can make it within the day are present; when they cannot, the pastor picks which of the priests shall go; if the pastor is the only priest, a deacon or layman may be sent. This is the big gathering; it's also the reason holy thursday mass is traditionally early, and holy friday presanctified is late on friday- travel times.

I agree that the big element would be "No spending XP until winter phase"; in pendragon's mechanics, you never know what's going to go up, but you know which can't... until winter phase. 


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Okay, I guess it's reductive to say there's "only" 2 courts, of course there are more. I was more referring to big events that are worth focusing in on, though there might be more important ones happening in the adventure itself. Is there any way to fudge the idea of bookending the year with Courtly events, like, maybe festivals or something that pretty much all samurai would be expected to attend? If not, I have no problem getting rid of it, but since courtly intrigue is such a big part of the game I figured it should be baked in (and of course, if playing, say, Crab samurai on the Wall, you can keep the court itself down to a minimum, while in a courtier focused game, court scenes would make up the bulk of the adventure portion as well).

How does inheritance work in Rokugan? My understanding is that the setting is fully egalitarian, though I might be mistaken on that, so would it go to oldest child? Split between all of them? Would there be any baked-in cultural expectations on the roles certain children would play, a la the British Heir, Spare, and Prayer sons (a knight to inherit your lands, a backup knight in case the first one dies using the father's old equipment, and a monk or priest)? While convention is meant to be broken, these concepts would be useful to know going in. I might be able to work in a bit of random character generation a la the Book of Knights and Ladies.

Is there any chance the Pendragon concept of a single manor producing 10 Libra per year (plus or minus Harvest modifiers, etc) be translatable to Rokugan (translating Libra to Koku, of course)? Or has it ever been established what a baseline, landed Samurai should be producing from their lands?

Also, woudl marriage between warriors be considered odd at all in their society? Pendragon is built around the assumption that male or female, your spouse is staying at home taking care of things there. Would that translate, because that would greatly affect the marriage tables.

I'm sure I'll have more, but I'm gonna try and knock out one of these tables instead of just talking about it. 

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I'm not interested in generational, zoomed out games, so Pendragon never interested me and I'm kinda glad L5R didn't go into that direction. However, I've heard Pendragon has something really good on the Honor front, and that it could be used for L5R? 

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While it works similarly, it's more external than any edition of L5R.

Keeping in mind that honor typically starts at 2d6+3, the following in play adjustments:

Join Round Table +3
Noble Service noted by high royals +2
Knighted by high royals +2
Make peace with true enemy +2
Made officer  of Earl+ +1
Made landed Knight of Earl+ +1
Knighted by RT Knight +1
Sponsor a Knight +1
Craven Acts –1
Flagrant Discourtesy –1
Desertion –1
Sacrilege –1
Squire or Sponsored Knight dishonorable –1
Kill an unarmed innocent –2
Kill unarmed Holy man own religion –2
Kill, Kidnap, or **** a woman –2
Performing Physical Labor –2
Usury (Charging interest on loan) –2
Flagrant Cowardice –3
Break an oath –3
Treason to Lord –5
Treachery to Family –5
Kill a kinsman –6
Degredation (being stripped of knighthood)  –10

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Oh, you're thinking Traits. Basically, you have a big list of personality traits, generally positive ones like Chaste, Modest, Valorous, and a list of generally negative ones like Lustful, Prideful, and Cowardly. The values of both opposing traits equals 20, so if your Modest is 12 your Prideful is 8, etc. when it's relevant that you might be motivated by certain traits, you must roll less than or equal to that trait; if you fail you have to roll on the opposite trait to see if you're instead motivated to do the opposite. So if, say, a knight with Valorous 16/Cowardly 4 wanted to stand and fight when attacked by something terrifying, say, a giant, they would have to roll Valorous. If they succeed, then they can engage; if they fail, they would have to roll the Cowardly; if they fail, they are not pulled towards either extreme (depending on the circumstance they might be able to continue their action, but in this case they cannot engage, though they do not have to flee either). If they succeed on Cowardly however, they would turn and run. It's actually a really interesting system, and a large part of it is when your character starts acting in ways that the player may not want them to, like if a highly Gluttonous knight is forced to feast when it's clearly a trap or whatever. It's pretty fun, and I like using it, but I'm not necessarily looking to integrate that part of the system, just because it's so different mechanically then the way the rest of the game works.

There is a Feudal Japan Pendragon supplement being worked on, but it will be some time before it is released. They're a small company, so their release schedule is pretty slow.

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Actually, Nitenman, it's directly related. John once said those for 2E were directly inspired by Pendragon.

To answer WHW's question: The Personality traits earn various bonuses.  

A christian character whose religious virtues are all exceptional (16+) gets both extra glory/insight AND +6 hit points. A Pagan gets extra healing rate and extra glory/insight; a Wotanic extra damage done. Jews get 1 HR and 3 HP. Evil gets whatever the GM decides..

The virtues are paired; They're used to compel actions and to bar actions, both very mechanically.

For example, Johan is standing watch, but the tower is warm. He must fail a lazy check to stay awake all night. His player could just agree to doze off (and gain a check in lazy. If he fails, he can roll Energetic to be fully alert. If he fails both, he's awake if he wants, but at –5 alertness. If he crit succeeds the Energetic, he gets a check on the experience box, and gets a +5 to his alertness. Crit on the lazy, experience ticked, and Johan sleeps till noon... despite the fight at 3 am...

Or, there's a fairy castle, full of willing elf maidens. The GM asks players for Lustful vs Chaste... the player rolls both; higher successful roll is what he does. He can opt to oppose with a passion in place of one or the other... or, may simply pick, especially if the one he picks is 16+.

Passions can be used to "inspire" - make the case to the GM to use it, succeed on the check, and you get +5 to one skill for the scene. Crit and it's plus 10. Fail, and it's –5, or fumble for –10. Fail the goal for why you inspired, you go mad, run off, and come back into play when the GM picks.

Converting this to the NR&K of L5R5.... not so easy.

Make 5 to 7 pairs of virtues - left side bad, right side good. The sum of each pair is 6. (experience can bring it to 10). 

Standard Passions would be: Honor, Loyalty Lord, Love Family, Ninjō, and Giri. If married, add Love Wife. Spread 15 points, min 1 each.

Rolling a pair: white dice for the tested side, black dice for the opposed. Read the two colors as separate rolls, dropping up to School Rank dice from the total, then keeping all remaining; the side with more success wins, and it's strife is is taken, Opportunity on the winning side would be XP for the side which succeeded. When a member of a pair hits enough XP to go up, it goes up (to max 10), the other side goes to 6 - raised side (to min 0), and all XP on the pair goes away. I'd set the XP at 3 points times level being gained. 

Rolling a raw passion: the TN for inspiration is the skill level being boosted. Bonus successes are a pool of extra one-use ring dice for the scene. Opportunity can shift duration. Being inspired adds +1 kept die and +1 success. If you fail to complete the task inspired for, unmask, and go mad.

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Okay, I've got the first draft of the Family Survival tables. I pretty much just adapted the ones from the Pendragon Book of the Estate, just using d10s instead of d20s. Guess I could do them as percentage tables pretty easily too, but whatever. The probabilities might need a little work,I kind of just banged it out. The idea is to roll on these tables every year to see if your family survived. It's mostly just relevant for children and possibly a spouse if they're an NPC. It's usually not important to roll this for every last family member or NPC, unless you just want to. There are bonuses to Child Survival for having a higher Standard of Living (and penalties for lower ones), but I don't have that all worked out yet. If anyone has any specific feedback, I'd love to hear it.

Result    Infant (0-1)
1    Death (due to Illness)
2-4    Illness (-1 to next year's Survival roll per year Ill)
5-10    Safe

    Child (1-15)
1    Make Second roll
2-3    Illness
4-10    Safe

    Child (Second Roll)
1-2    Death
3-9    Illness
10    Safe

    Adult (16-45)
1    Make Second Roll
2    Illness
3-10    Safe

    Adult (Second Roll)
1-5    Death
4-8    Illness
9-10     Safe

    Elder (46-65)
1    Death
2-3    Illness
6-10    Safe

    Very Old (66+)
1-2    Death
3-4     Illness
5-10    Safe

Special Events:

Raid, Pillage, Plunder, or Ravage: If the character is able to take cover refuge inside a fortification, they do not have to roll. If the attack turns into a siege, see Siege, below. If the character is a defender, death occurs on a roll of:
Raid: 1, roll another d10, 1-5 Death, 6-10 Survive
Pillage: 1
Plunder: 1-2
Ravage: 1-3
If the character is on the attacking side, and is successful, on a roll of 1, roll another d10, 1-5 Death, 6-10 Survive
If the attack is a failure, roll of 1
Non-combatants (such as children) go down one category in severity- if this would go below the result of a Raid, they are safe without needing a roll.

Battle: If the character participates in a battle, roll 1d10 and apply the following modifiers: -1 if on a losing side which Routs, and the also apply a -1 if 2 or more of these conditions apply: a long battle (7 rounds or longer), they're on the losing side which suffers a Morale Collapse, and -1 if fighting against the Shadowlands (who take no prisoners). If the final result is 0 or less, the character has died in battle

Siege: Roll 1d10 and apply the following modifiers
-1 if both apply: it is a long siege, there is a failed assault (defender)
-1 for a very long siege, there si a failed assult (attacker), there is a successful assault (attacker or non-combat defender)
-4 if there is a successful assault (defender)
If the final result is 0 or less, the cahracter has died in the siege

Plague and Pestilence: Sickness tends to linger, so the next year it will go down one category rather than vanish completely. Roll 1d10:
Some Sickness: 1, roll again; 1-5 death, 6-10 Survive
Serious: Death on 1
Major Epidemic: Death on 1-2

Famine: Famine generally doesn't apply to the Samurai class. If in an extended period of famine (10 or more years), at the GM's option they can roll a d10; on a 1, roll again, with 1-5 being Death and 6-10 Survival.

Cause of Death: If needing to determine a random cause of death, roll 1d10 and consult the following tables:

Infant: 1-9 Illness
    10 Other

Child:    1-6 Illness
    7-9 Other
    10 Violence

Adult:    1 Illness
    2 Decreptitude (died from aging, worn-out and broken down)
    3-6 Other
    7-10 Violence

Elder+:    1-4 Illness
    5-8 Decrepitude
    9 Other
    10 Violence

Violent Causes of Death (if not appropriate to the character, such as an Child getting the result of a duel, just take Unknown Source)
    1 Duel
    2-4 Battle (roll 1d10 if you want to determine manner of death: 1 heroically, 2 while trying to flee, 3-10 other)
    5 Murdered in drunken brawl
    6 Ambushed and murdered by outlaws
    7 Murdered by spouse/close relative
    8-10 Unknown source, just found dead of wounds
Other Caues of Death (if not appropriate to the character, such as an Child getting the result of a suicide, just take Unknown Source)
    1 Suicide (Seppuku or otherwise)
    2 Poisoned
    3 Drowned
    4 Exposure
    5 Drunkeness (Someone else's if Child or Infant)
    6 Household Accendent
    7 Hunting Accident 
    8 Riding Accident
    9 Looks like magic
    10 Unknown cause, just found dead

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1 thing to keep in mind: overall survival rates were higher in Japan than Europe. 

In europe, the general expected lifespan was in the 60's; in Japan it was into the 70's or 80's

A 1/10 chance of death due to illness per year after 14 means that, by age half are dead by age 22.

A 1/20 moves the 50% line to age 29.

(remember, the survival rate has to be raised to the power of the years.)

A 2% pushes the 50% line to age 50.

Pendragon may be fun, but the demographic of the Winter phase tables are extremely short-lived persons.

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Okay, so I am fine with making adjustments, maybe some of the age categories should be a bit different. The numbers are going to be a bit swingier since it's d10s and not d20s, which is why I considered doing them as percents instead. I do want to mention that according to a demographics post about Rokugan I found somewhere on here (in the Lore forum I think), the estimated Child Survival is between 40-50%, and I did mention that the survival tables are optional for anyone else. Also, I'm not super great at math, so maybe I'm missing something, but the Adult age category has a 10% of having to roll again, which then has a 50% chance of death, which would be a 5% chance of death per year. Which, sure is a bit high. What numbers would better match demographics? I might have underestimated the lethality of the tables since in all the years I've GMed Pendragon, I've literally only had a Adult age character die as a result of the tables once. Maybe allowing the Standard of Living bonus to apply to Adults+ as well, although then you would have to figure the Standard of Living for NPCs (or just eyeball it). Or maybe go a different way, say that characters get a bonus to survival checks equal to the highest Medicine skill of the household (presumably the character, or an NPC Physician). I'd love to come up with lists of the various offices and who would be filling them like the Books of the Estate/Warlord/Uther have in Pendragon, though I would need a lot more info. I have some 4E books that I inherited from a friend, not sure which ones I've got, would any of them have any good info for info like that, or otherwise demographic info? I might still have some older edition (it's been so long I can't remember if it was 2nd or 3rd Edition, or if it was both) hiding somewhere at my house. Are all the books available on DriveThruRPG now, if I had to grab one of them?

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On 10/1/2018 at 3:23 AM, AK_Aramis said:

Converting this to the NR&K of L5R5.... not so easy.

I've been interested in coverting Pendragon stuff into L5R4 for years, but never got time.

However, I kind of feel that trying to do it with L5R4 will be easier than with L5R5.

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13 hours ago, LucaCherstich said:

I've been interested in coverting Pendragon stuff into L5R4 for years, but never got time.

However, I kind of feel that trying to do it with L5R4 will be easier than with L5R5.

Well, it depends on what we're wanting to bring over. I mean, I love the trait system and passions and everything of Pendragon, but I think that would be too complex to bring into the game without fundamental changes to the system. Even 4th edition, from my dim memories of it, would have required quite a bit of working to get it integrated with the way it worked, as opposed to just a second system awkwardly welded on top of it. That's why I'm mostly sticking to tables and such. Plus many of these are ultimately optional anyways.

Random note, I'm thinking of simulating the Pendragon Aging rolls with progressively higher-deadliness Criticals, representing the ravages of age as opposed to being wounded (so things like losing an arm could represent losing feeling in y. I'm not sure how to best determine which Ring it would affect though, except just rolling to determine. I'm thinking it would be treatable just like any critical injury of it's type, but it would have to be done during play, not "off screen". If it would bring it down to the result that damages your armor, it would instead do nothing. If it got one of the results that is like, you will die in a few rounds, I would probably adjust to dying by the end of the year if not treated, and no adventuring until the crit is removed. Maybe they only have a couple of chances to treat the injury? Wait, am I mixing up how critical injuries work, because I don't know if my search fu is failing me or what, but treating crits is a down-time only activity, so if they get a result of 12 or higher, death is assured? Am I reading that right? I thought there was a possibility of treatment, unless I'm just not finding it. Oh well, if you're old enough to be getting Deadliness 12+ crits every year (every few years? Maybe make a test of some kind to see if you have to make it?), then you've hopefully got an heir in the wings.

So, I love the idea of rolling to see what solo activities your character took part in that year, I think it adds a lot of flavor, and you can get some cool results. The fact that Pendragons's Experience Check system is so different from the XP system in L5R does make it a little tricky. Would allowing them to grant XP that must be spent on appropriate abilities be appropriate? Like, if you get a result of "Spending time with Lord at court", granting 1 XP that must be spent towards, say, a Social Group Skill, or shuji. Something like that. Time spent at war could give an XP to be spent towards a Martial skill or kata, something like that. If they aren't spent that year, they would still remain, you would just have to keep track of what it can be spent on. Which is more bookkeeping, but I still like the idea.

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On 1/9/2018 at 4:42 AM, Azrael Macool said:

How does inheritance work in Rokugan? My understanding is that the setting is fully egalitarian, though I might be mistaken on that, so would it go to oldest child? Split between all of them? Would there be any baked-in cultural expectations on the roles certain children would play, a la the British Heir, Spare, and Prayer sons (a knight to inherit your lands, a backup knight in case the first one dies using the father's old equipment, and a monk or priest)?


The 4th edition of the L5R RPG’s Corebook has a small section on page 37 that covers most of your question:


The “default” form of Rokugan, as outlined above, is one in which gender plays relatively little role in the lives of samurai. However, some players and Game Masters may wish to run a game which draws more heavily on the historical cultures which inspired Rokugan – and in those cultures, gender roles were often quite strict. However, the GM and players should make sure they are all in full agreement before introducing these concepts to their game. Accurately depicting the “double standard” of gender roles in a pre-modern society, even a relatively idealized fictional society like Rokugan, can easily become upsetting or offensive to some players. Such potential problems should be considered with care.

If the GM and players do agree to use a more historical depiction of gender roles in Rokugan, the position of women becomes complex and constrained in many ways. A female samurai is still considered equal to men as far as caste, but in other ways, she faces many differences and inequalities. These are especially notable for those women, known as samurai-ko, who serve as bushi. Their lives are a difficult balancing act between their roles as bushi and their roles as women.

Samurai-ko are treated as court ladies, with the deference due one of their station, unless they are dressed and prepared for war. Conversely, if a samurai-ko is dressed in military gear, she is referred to with her military title instead of her social title, carefully ignoring her gender. Samurai-ko do have all the rights of men, including the ability to rule a house or land, speak for their clan, and go to war on behalf of their daimyo. However, samurai-ko are also female, and there are many social conventions to which all female members of the samurai caste are expected to conform when not in combat.

For example, women are traditionally expected to speak more softly than men, to use smaller gestures and motions, and to move more slowly. Unmarried women are not allowed to be alone with men, and thus those who wish to serve their clan as samurai-ko must either take an oath of chastity or burden themselves with an “honor retainer” or family member who follows them around, making sure they obey all social conventions and are never alone with a man who might taint their virtue. If a celibate samurai-ko is found to have a lover, she usually has no choice but to either commit seppuku or, more frequently, renounce her station and join a monastery as a nun. Of course, many samurai-ko do take lovers, and the poetry and stories of Rokugan are full of the legends of samurai-ko who doom themselves for love.

Once a samurai-ko marries, unless she is a daimyo or other person of significant rank, she is expected to take over the duty of running her household. This is a tradition dating from the time of Lady Doji, who ran her household while Kakita went out to wage war against the forces of Fu Leng.


In my experience, the material from this sidebar has been used as the baseline for how to deal with gender-roles across a few different editions of the game. As for as what to expect for customs governing inheritance, if memory serves one of the 4th Edition 'Imperial History' books (IH2, I think) mentions that the Emerald Throne tends to pass on to the Emperor’s eldest male heir unless the emperor has specified otherwise. In the chapter on Iron Rokugan, they give the example of an emperor passing on, and his eldest son takes the throne only to abdicate in favour of his sister.


When looking at the other Great Houses, I would probably say that in families where the family’s founder is male they would more likely than not employ patrilineal inheritance, although with families founded by female heroes you might see them favour the eldest eligible heir regardless of gender. Although you might be able to argue that the Matsu might prefer Matrilineal succession, the only outright instance of a Matrilineal family in Rokugan I can think of is the Utaku. The only reason I would not infer that the Matsu are not also a Matrilineal family like the Otaku/Utaku are the fair number of male daimyōs that I remember seeing in previous iterations of the setting.


P.S: I love the idea of adding a Winter Phase to the game like Pendragon's, I wanted to incorporate something similar in the form of the One Ring's Fellowship Phase where the group can gain New Skills, New Patrons, and Establish and Improve Holdings. The Fellowship Phase is very similar in concept to the Winter Phase, albeit in a more streamlined package.

Edited by Collinsas
Grammar, Cleaned up my text, Added quote box around 4th Edition sidebar, Copy Editing, Added Post Script.

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On 1/12/2018 at 4:09 AM, LucaCherstich said:

I've been interested in coverting Pendragon stuff into L5R4 for years, but never got time.

However, I kind of feel that trying to do it with L5R4 will be easier than with L5R5.

http://genpei.pbworks.com/w/page/13885659/FrontPage is a good starting point. It's not L5R flavored, but being historically flavored, the conversion isn't that hard from there.

Note: Genpei is NOT completed, and isn't my work...


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