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Legend of the Five Rings: Game Master's Screen and Adventure
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/07/2011 20:48:43

Firstly, the GM Screen is marvellous. The exterior artwork is just beautiful and really aids the GM in setting the mood and flavour of the game. There is plenty of inspiration just from these images. The data on the screen is highly relevant and usable, especially having the Honour table at a glance. Overall, it is a well-designed product that any GM would find useful.

On to the adventure, then. 'Descent into Darkness' weighs in at 20 pages, with 13 of those devoted to the module and the others for NPCs and the map. It supports its claims to be a 'plug-and-play', region non-specific module very well and the designers have done a good job of leaving enough blank areas for the GM to fill and customise it for their own campaign. IT is even open-ended enough that it could be used as the introduction to a much longer campaign arc.

After reading through the whole module, all I can say is 'wow'. This is an especially dark piece of work (for L5R) which is justifiable given the nature of the conundrum placed at the feet of the PCs. There is a huge emphasis on thinking before acting, socialising and investigation to uncover the true activity behind the module. When the PCs do figure it out, they are left with a horrifying choice. This should lead to a lot of really good roleplaying scenes and characters doing some soul-searching before they can reach a sense of closure.

The module is well laid-out, and there are scaling tips in some encounters to give some advice on not only making the encounters more challenging, but also dealing with evoking the adventure (the one entitled 'Not dark enough?' has some great tips).

I think that this could well be more than a night's play to complete, depending on how much characterisation and investigation the players want to undertake. In preparation, I would warn any GM to have a contingency plan (and this is dealt with in the module too) as there are some open scenes which can potentially change the entire gameplay. Whilst this is distinct possibility, it only detracts in a small way from the product.

I'm really looking forward to putting my group of players through this. As they are interested in L5R, but have a strong background in White Wolf games, this will be a perfect hook to get them into a campaign.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Game Master's Screen and Adventure
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Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition
by Rob B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/26/2011 11:50:25

This may be the best edition of the L5R rules ever written. They are clear, well-laid out, and, as always, written in a way that both entertains and educates. I have been playing L5R since 1st edition, now some 15 years ago, I suppose. This is the definitive edition thus far. If you have ever played, or ever wanted to play in this rich, engaging Wuxia-style setting, then I strongly recommend that you buy this version and get started. If you've been away from the L5R scene for a while, get this and get back into the game. It is top quality, and I cannot recommend it enough. Happy Gaming!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition
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Legend of the Five Rings: The Great Clans
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/26/2011 08:55:38

The Great Clans is a book without an ounce of fat. Every bit of fluff serves to further insight to the clan, and the accompanying mechanics gives ways for players to further customize their characters without resorting to having to pick up stuff from other Clans just to be unique. The writing is clear, informative and displays the love and dedication of the authors to a setting that they are eager to share to the reader. As with all of L5R's 4th Edition books, The Great Clans is also a work of art, featuring beautiful artwork, clear layouts and font choices that aren't a pain to read. GMs and Players alike will find a ton of things that can enrich their campaigns, and Alderac continues their winning streak with the 4th Edition of Legend of the Five Rings as the best edition in the history of the L5R RPG.

This is an excerpt of my full review from my blog. If you'd like to read the entire review, kindly visit: http://wp.me/p5H0U-Rr



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: The Great Clans
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Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/20/2011 08:03:31

I don't think I'm exaggerating at all when I say that Emerald Empire should be considered seminal reading for anyone who is looking to play in this setting. The writing is excellent, with each chapter focusing on one aspect of life in Rokugan, providing the kind of minutiae that lends depth and color to a game. It's the attention to small details that really shows off just how much the writing team loves the setting, and wants to communicate that enthusiasm and enjoyment to the reader.

This is an excerpt of my review on my blog. To read the entire review, kindly visit: http://wp.me/p5H0U-Rd



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire
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Legend of the Five Rings: Enemies of the Empire
by Lyle H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/29/2011 17:03:43

This is a very useful supplement for anyone running a Shadowlands or other combat-heavy scenario or campaign, as it provides numerous additional villains, opponents, and monsters (especially monsters). It will be less useful for more political (court based) campaigns, although there are a number of opponents that are designed to be used as infiltrators. Like all of the AEG 4th Ed. L5R products published to date, this text has good production values and (color) illustrations, and is well-laid out and attractive to read. Due to L5R using a non-standard system, the statistics and game mechanics given in this book will be difficult to translate for use in other settings, limiting its value for other game systems except as inspiration.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Enemies of the Empire
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Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire
by Lyle H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/29/2011 16:54:37

This product is extremely useful for anyone playing Legend of the Five Rings in the canon setting or a near-canon setting, in that it is full of information and details relating to the Rokugan setting. It is also a document of high production values, with attractive layout and well done illustrations. Due to the somewhat idiosyncratic game engine upon which the Legend of the Five Rings has been constructed, the game-mechanics portions of this text would be difficult to translate to other game systems, but the narrative portions would still be useful for ideas and tone for any historic asian setting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire
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Legend of the Five Rings: The Great Clans
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/22/2011 13:38:24

The Great Clans is an amazingly useful sourcebook for Legends of the Five Rings, while not quite a necessity to own to run or play the game it comes close. It expands on both the Great Clans and the world they have made, providing a wealth of information and even some useful new mechanics.

The Great Clans, a sourcebook for the Legends of the Five Rings RPG (3rd edition) is a 306-page PDF (304 pages if you remove the cover), written by Shawn Carman, Rob Hobart, Brian Yoon, Kevin Blake, Nancy Sauer, Ryan Reese, Jacob Ross, Max Lemaire, Dave Laderoute, Rusty Priske, Mike Brodu, and Daniel Briscoe and published by AEG.

The layout is a straightforward design taken directly from the print version of the book, with a 2-column layout (and occasional one column commentary). The Great Class is lavishly illustrated with full color art throughout. The table of contents is complete and there is an index as well, so finding what you are looking for should be easy but you have to use that as the PDF book-marking only takes you to the start of each chapter.

As it says, this book is full of information on the nine Great Clans of the Empire of Rokugan. Primary, it is all general information, history of the clan, background of the families, useful cultural notes and roleplaying hooks. However, each family gets some new schools, new paths, new kata and additional ancestors for those who like mechanics to spice up things.

The background information on the clans is amazingly useful for both players and game masters, expanding on the very brief sections in the core book. In each clan’s section there is cultural information, such as courtly affairs in the Crane section and additional information on the tradition of ancestor worship in the Lion section.

Appendices handle the new(ish) Spider Clan, the various Vassal families of the great clans and the return of the heritage tables. Heritage tables are a way to give a character an additional roleplaying hook that may be positive, negative or a mixture of the two expressed as the character’s linage (such as an ancestor was a famous poet or a well-known coward). Each Clan gets its own table, there are some slight imbalances between the clans until you come to the Spider, who get two tables of bonuses and one of mixed good and bad things, but even then the good side far outweighs the bad. The Spider tables should not be used as written, as they are just a guaranteed mechanic bonus for the character, unlike all of the other heritage tables.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review. Also, I am friends with several of the authors, but I hope that has not shaded my opinion of the product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: The Great Clans
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Legend of the Five Rings: The Great Clans
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/17/2011 22:32:54

The recent AEG L5R products have shown a dedication to consistent excellence that would make a Crane proud. They are clearly working on conceptualising the game from a players perspective and offering titles that really flesh out the world of Rokugan and add to the immersion in their game.

'The Great Clans' is truly staggering in scope and also in the amount of flavour information they offer. The book is predominantly narrative, and general information, with each Clan given a single chapter.

The information presented in each chapter really goes a long way to making each Clan a very distinct entity and showcasing the diversity possible within the scope of each Clan. It generally avoids stereotypes, but does so in a manner that makes NPCs and ancestors more human whilst adhering to the distinct flavour of the Clan. Every Clan is treated to a historical overview of its roots, major achievements and conflicts throughout the history of Rokugan to give players an appreciation for how the Clan grew into its 'present day' format. There is strong attention to detail here with a solid internal consistency, but presented in a manner which is easy to read. Most of the history is presented as stories, with sidebars and additional boxed text providing clarifications or interesting facts. On this note, whoever was responsible for the layout needs to be congratulated. The text is easily broken up by high-quality art, and the text boxes provide something else to draw the eye to snippets of information.

In addition to this, you can expect to find some Alternate Paths for each Clan (I quite liked the Kitsune Ranger), new Schools (like the Daidoji Scout which is currently vying to be my favourite), Ancestors and NPCs (with full stat blocks which could be used for nay range of purposes), new Techniques and even new rules (such as Rural Traps, in the Crane section, which will be really useful).

In summary, excellent content, high quality production values and a book that should be on every L5R table.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: 3rd Edition Revised
by Nicolas P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2011 03:27:30

Extremely expensive for a badly scanned document. Très cher pour un maivais scan.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: 3rd Edition Revised
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Legends & Lairs: Traps & Treachery
by Rick K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/08/2011 02:19:05

This is an excellent book. Originally I was looking for a book with some interesting "trap" ideas, but this book surprised me with a lot more material than I bargained for. There is some excellent information on running a thieves guild as well as more material on spells and trinkets related to the trade of thieves. After reading this book I had more adventure ideas for campaigns involving rogue characters, including more diplomatic roles (spy's) it really opened up the thief class as being more than just an underhanded activity.

At a $5 price this is a steal of a deal



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legends & Lairs: Traps & Treachery
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L5R Encyclopedia:The comprehensive L5R CCG compendium
by David R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/07/2011 15:14:11

The bad rating is not a judgement on the book itself but rather on the PDF.

It is a scan of the book, which unfortunately means there is a significant downgrade of the quality of the text and pictures.

It is serviceable, but I wouldn't recommend to anyone other than die-hard L5R fans.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
L5R Encyclopedia:The comprehensive L5R CCG compendium
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Legend of the Five Rings: Legacy of Disaster
by Diogo S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/05/2011 14:26:27

Nice introductory adventure to bring new players to the complex setting of L5R.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Legacy of Disaster
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Secrets of the Crane
by Diogo S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/05/2011 14:22:23

I didn't like this book so much as the older "Way of" books of first edition, the fact that this was during the time AEG decided to turn the game into a D20 didn't help either.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Secrets of the Crane
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Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/22/2011 08:41:31

Legend of the Five Rings is one of the most complex and elegant pseudo-Japanese fantasy settings in the market today. It boasts of a reputation of being one of those games that plays up the importance of social and cultural aspects of life in the setting of Rokugan. This comes from the focus on Honor and Duty, which weigh very heavily in the lives of the player characters.

The Roll and Keep system has been improved and streamlined from the 3rd Edition of the game, resulting in a faster, easier to learn incarnation in 4th Edition. The book goes to great lengths to provide a wealth of character options that allow for a massive array of character types.

The setting itself is very vivid, and while some might complain about the overload of information and detail, the 4th edition actually tries it's best to be as friendly to newcomers as possible The book covers all the Major Clans of the setting in a fashion that plays up their unique cultures, beliefs and strengths in a manner that anyone can understand without having to be a long time fan or a player of their CCG.

The book itself looks absolutely gorgeous, with a stunning layout and excellent artwork. The presentation is top notch and leaves very little to be desired. Definitely a must have in any RPG collection.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition
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Midnight: 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
by DAVID F D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2011 06:00:28

My one gripe here is that, despite being a "complete" update, there's no full setting map. I've seen the 3.0 version, which has a 2-page map of the whole continent. This has little clips of it in sections, way back in the geography section, which is ok, but no big picture. As I haven't yet seen the 3.0 version available here (unless its packaged w/ the movie?), I'm still hoping to see a full map file show up. Art is good, mechanics are internally consistent, LOVE the heroic paths.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Midnight: 2nd Edition Core Rulebook
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