Friday, October 6, 2017

Legend of Five Rings Beta - Now Live

Following up on the announcement made last week, Fantasy Flight Games released the beta for their Legend of Five Rings RPG this week, and it is not what I expected, but I am definitely intrigued by the results. As of this writing I haven't had chance to do much more than skim some of the rules, but there is a lot in there that makes me happy and a lot that I think will cause some edition wars as purists don't like change, especially change this large.

System wise, the game is powered by the love child of L5R's traditional Roll and Keep system and the dice system pioneered by Star Wars and Genisys. Players and GMs roll specialty dice equal to their Ring + Skill, and keep a number of those dice - their choice - equal to their ring. The dice have non-numerical faces with up to 4 possible results: success, explosive success, opportunity, and strife.

Success is as simple as it sounds. Explosive success is like rolling a 10 in old Roll and Keep, it lets you roll an additional die of the same type and choose whether or not you want to include it in the roll. Opportunity is a chance for something else - generally positive - to happen. For example, not only do you skillfully perform a play in front of the Imperial Court, but you arrange for a private meeting with the Hatamoto of the Scorpion Daimyou at the same time. Strife is where things get weird.

Per the description, Strife is an upswell of emotion - positive, negative, or neutral. Strife adds up as a scene goes on, building and building until the character has so much built up emotion that they can't contain it. At which point...stuff...happens.  I haven't had a chance to read fully into it, but from what I have read it reads like losing face is now a mechanic, and I rather like that. Especially with a core mechanic for character tension being "Duty" vs. "Self."

Other changes are more minor. Honor, Glory, and Status are now a 100 point scale instead of a 10 point scale, but honestly that means nothing when you consider that you tracked all 3 by tenths of a point before.

I'm excited to read more, and hopefully will get a chance for a test game at some point in the near future.

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