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Not sure which edition is the current one, but the last one I got was 4th Edition by AEG.  Now I see that FFG has it. 

Is this the current edition?

How different is the FFG edition compared to 4th Edition?

I remember playing L5R back when it was 1st Edition way back in the late 90's...good times :D

 

Doug

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Hey there !

Well this is the 5th edition; first to come out since AEG sold the franchise to FFG. 

And short answer, it’s pretty darn different now!! Custom dice and all ;)

1st, 3rd and 4th edition were quite similar to each other, like a set of siblings. But that is a completely different animal. 

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Sorry to sound pedantic, but I suppose there is no "current" edition and if you liked older versions, please play them.  I know players who are playing more than one version, but with different groups.  The Fantasy Flight version is certainly the newest.  Play what you like.

Okay, to actually answer your question and hopefully be more helpful, some of my players have experience with AEG's 4th edition and the new FFG version.  They say that some of the biggest changes have been:

  • The use of Approaches.  Unlike in previous versions, your character can now combine any skill with any ring.  The ring is determined by the approach you are using.  For example, calmly giving well-reasoned orders to some troops might mean that you roll your Command skill dice with your Earth ring dice.  If instead, you gave a passionate exhortation to the troops, you might use Command and Fire instead.  My understanding is that in older editions, most skills were tied to certain rings most of the time.
  • Strife, Composure, Ninjo, and Giri are mechanics that give added emphasis to the personal struggle your samurai is facing.  It seems FFG is trying to add features making the game more of a samurai drama simulator.
  • Rolling unique dice.  You've probably seen the dice.  I like them and my players like them, but if you really like D10s, this will be a big change.  There is a little less math to the game.  Also, the inclusion of Opportunity results gives players a chance to contribute to the story in interesting ways regardless of whether or not they were successful with their roll.
  • There is a formal way to handle court scenes and other adversarial social encounters.  These are called Intrigues and like Skirmishes, the GM can decide that this particular engagement has gotten complicated enough to warrant taking turns and such.  I don't know if this was present in older versions.  Someone could correct me on this.
  • Deadliness.  I've heard different takes on this and maybe other players familiar with AEG's model can chime in.  In the FFG game, it is possible, but not probable, for a player character to take out a minion NPC in one hit.  It's not easy, but a strong warrior character rolling the right ring dice could do it.  It's harder to take out a player character or an important NPC.  Instead, these special characters (basically, people important enough to have names) are more likely to suffer an injury of some kind.  There's a special Critical Strike table for this that lists outcomes ranging from just damaging your armor, to suffering a debilitating and permanent wound, to instant death.  Fighting is still dangerous and something players wouldn't want to jump into unprepared, but there are ways for the GM to make sure that player characters and important NPCs that lose in a fight don't outright die if it would derail the story.  At least, that's how I use those rules.
  • Lastly, the official story has been rebooted, but since you're making your own story this may not matter.

We are having fun with this new version of L5R.  If you still like samurai drama like you did in the '90s, then give it a shot.

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Though if you enjoy 4e (The final AEG edition) FFG is selling all of the books as PDFs on Drive Thru RPG, and there are a lot of them.

There are reasons for playing either edition.  The new edition feels more story-telling focused than crunchy, while maintaining a level of crunchiness.  However, you have to buy/use custom dice, which can be a hard pass for people.  The approaches system is cool (there are no longer physical/mental stats).  

 

For note, there was an official way to handle court scenes in the old game, in Emerald Empire or Great Clans, I believe, but not in the core book.  However, its a little more like the mass-combat system than the skirmish system.

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1 hour ago, Mirith said:

For note, there was an official way to handle court scenes in the old game, in Emerald Empire or Great Clans, I believe, but not in the core book.  However, its a little more like the mass-combat system than the skirmish system.

Cool, I didn't know that.  Would you mind telling me/us what it's like and if there is anything you would port over from that system to the new one?  Did characters roll initiative using Sentiment, choose social goals, take turns taking actions, and accumulate Momentum toward their goals or was it something different?

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Thanks for the info guys...appreciate it.

I watched the you tube videos by FFG on the character creation and the adventure.  The character creation was interesting, but the adventure?  Meh...didn't care much for the dice.  I prefer the actual d10 version.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Deagles said:

Thanks for the info guys...appreciate it.

I watched the you tube videos by FFG on the character creation and the adventure.  The character creation was interesting, but the adventure?  Meh...didn't care much for the dice.  I prefer the actual d10 version.

 

New edition is far from great, but yeah, they really didn't help with the one shot they did... It was pretty meh and clearly their GM did not have experience or understanding of the game.

Still weird they didn't decide to go with a cleaner, leaner, adjusted version of their Genesys ruleset instead of that weird overly complicated new system.

Though, stay with me here; there is a LOT to love with the new lot5r game, and with the right GMing it can be a great, edgy narrative game!! Unfortunately no video/podcast yet nailed how I imagine the game needs to be played (each narrative moment needs to be a hard choice, and just don't have rolls or checks for anything that isn't a defining decision. Basically, this game isn't about details, it is about a story that goes on and the downtime or narrative actions should be almost done in a structured way and dramatically affect the story. After all, this is a game in which a character can roll a melee check to dispatch a group of minions in one roll)

Oh well, maybe you will one day change your mind and listen to something that can sell you this game!

 

Edited by Avatar111

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7 hours ago, Avatar111 said:

New edition is far from great, but yeah, they really didn't help with the one shot they did... It was pretty meh and clearly their GM did not have experience or understanding of the game.

Still weird they didn't decide to go with a cleaner, leaner, adjusted version of their Genesys ruleset instead of that weird overly complicated new system.

Though, stay with me here; there is a LOT to love with the new lot5r game, and with the right GMing it can be a great, edgy narrative game!! Unfortunately no video/podcast yet nailed how I imagine the game needs to be played (each narrative moment needs to be a hard choice, and just don't have rolls or checks for anything that isn't a defining decision. Basically, this game isn't about details, it is about a story that goes on and the downtime or narrative actions should be almost done in a structured way and dramatically affect the story. After all, this is a game in which a character can roll a melee check to dispatch a group of minions in one roll)

Oh well, maybe you will one day change your mind and listen to something that can sell you this game!

 

The adventure video was okay.  It was the dice that were used that I didn't care for.  And yes, I have to agree, I think the GM should have had a little more experience/understanding of the system.  Major factor, to me anyways, about being the GM of any game system.   One day I may change my mind, or if I happen to find a group in my area that plays, I may partake in one, but until that time arrives, it will still be 4th edition.

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Another couple of questions regarding this newest edition.

Does the game still emphasize on roleplaying your character?

Is combat still and can be brutally fast and deadly as it was in 1st and 4th editions?

 

Doug

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2 hours ago, Alisair Longreach said:

The rules have a lot of support for roleplaying your character with Strife and Distinctions. Combat between skilled Samurai can be fast and brutal. One hit will ruin your day and one lucky roll can kill your opponent.

So just like in the older AEG days then.

Thanks,

 

Doug

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