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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    So a friend of mine is brushing off the cobwebs on some old books of his, and wants to run a one-shot in the next month. He's wanted to run a game of the Legend of the Five Rings for over a decade now, and he's asking us to put together some characters.

    I'm not sure if anyone here is going to be familiar with this system (it's dated), or this world (I don't hear it talked about much), but I figured I'd try my luck regardless. I'm looking for some build advice, or places to look for advice or more information on the setting. I know there's a newer canon that's not held in high regard, so I'm not sure where I'll be differentiating. GM said the year would be somewhere between 1166 and 1169 (since I think he wants the Spider Clan to be active).

    I've been told to make an Insight 2 character, and it was told to me that we'd be going on an expedition to the Shadowlands. So the spookiest, evil place in the land? I decided on Monkey Bushi, given their affable nature and love of justice, I'm hoping to be the foolish, but brave guy in the most terrible of places.

    How should one build a very skilled warrior, but politically foolish? My clan and school both add to Willpower, bringing that up to 4, and it was easy to decide on Disadvantages.

    Can't Lie, Idealistic, Overconfident, True Love

    True Love due to getting Successful Marriage in my Heritage Roll. GM has ruled that it's the Scorpion clan, with my wife being a part of the Bayushi family. A VERY powerful ally for my little Monkey Bushi.

    Not sure where to go from here. GM has given 60 Character Points (this is including my Disadvantages) to start, and 40 extra to get to Insight 2. Pump Kenjutsu and Defense as much as possible?

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    3rd edition L5R was a sound system, but I confess it's been years since I've touched it so anything I suggest should also be fact-checked; I'm also away from the books.

    Most warrior types in L5R would want to consider a 3 Earth and then reflexes and agility. Going to the shadowlands, I'd suggest some kyujutsu (bow) because you do not always want to fight horrible tainted things in melee; a few ranks will suffice. Pumping Kenjutsu and defenses are both solid options as they make you harder to hit and 3rd edition favored the katana primarily as the go-to weapon of choice. However, with going to the Shadowlands, one might consider a ono or tetsubo, to crack carapace ratings. You could theoretically take ranks in war fan for some extra defense as well but I want to say it took a few.

    I'm not familair with the monkey school techniques we didn't use minor clans much when I played.
    Chaotic Neutral Human Bard (4th Level)

    Ability Scores:
    Strength- 12
    Dexterity- 15
    Constitution- 14
    Intelligence- 15
    Wisdom- 16
    Charisma- 13


  3. - Top - End - #3
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    Quote Originally Posted by GodEnigma View Post
    3rd edition L5R was a sound system, but I confess it's been years since I've touched it so anything I suggest should also be fact-checked; I'm also away from the books.
    Thanks for the reply! I honestly didn't think I'd find anyone, given the system is dated, and not as popular as, say, 3.5 D&D.

    Quote Originally Posted by GodEnigma View Post
    Most warrior types in L5R would want to consider a 3 Earth and then reflexes and agility. Going to the shadowlands, I'd suggest some kyujutsu (bow) because you do not always want to fight horrible tainted things in melee; a few ranks will suffice. Pumping Kenjutsu and defenses are both solid options as they make you harder to hit and 3rd edition favored the katana primarily as the go-to weapon of choice. However, with going to the Shadowlands, one might consider a ono or tetsubo, to crack carapace ratings. You could theoretically take ranks in war fan for some extra defense as well but I want to say it took a few.
    So how important is it that I increase the Rings as well? Agility seems important for Kenjutsu and Kyujutsu, and Reflexes for not getting hit, but do I want to spend points into increases the ring level by investing in the other stat on those rings? My first go at this made a character that didn't even enough Insight to make Insight 2, despite the number of points I was given to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by GodEnigma View Post
    I'm not familair with the monkey school techniques we didn't use minor clans much when I played.
    That's fair. I just read the story of how the Monkey Clan came to be and fell in love with it. The family bonus and school bonus each increase Willpower by 1, so I'm starting with a 4, and the first technique increases the TN to hit you equal to your Willpower. Seems nice at first glance, but I haven't gone over the other clans' perks yet.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Guard View Post
    Thanks for the reply! I honestly didn't think I'd find anyone, given the system is dated, and not as popular as, say, 3.5 D&D.



    So how important is it that I increase the Rings as well? Agility seems important for Kenjutsu and Kyujutsu, and Reflexes for not getting hit, but do I want to spend points into increases the ring level by investing in the other stat on those rings? My first go at this made a character that didn't even enough Insight to make Insight 2, despite the number of points I was given to do so.



    That's fair. I just read the story of how the Monkey Clan came to be and fell in love with it. The family bonus and school bonus each increase Willpower by 1, so I'm starting with a 4, and the first technique increases the TN to hit you equal to your Willpower. Seems nice at first glance, but I haven't gone over the other clans' perks yet.

    You're most welcome.


    Raising rings is an interesting issue as it's one of the better ways to get insight, but unless your school favor that ring most are fine at a 2-3 (unless you're a shugenja). If you do need to get some more insight water isn't bad for covering more ground though with a starting will of 4 might consider Earth 4 down the road. I'd say most insight 2 chars want a mix of rings at 2 to 3 (about half and half) and primary combat stats at 4. Also, I think 3rd still had skills at certain ranks giving more insight so it may pay to grab a knowledge skill for the extra point of insight or two each skill has specialties they unlock at certain ranks so one would need to double-check those. I want to say there ws even a rule where skills over 3 (or was it 5) added bonus insight as a generic across the board specialty.

    I've built characters with about as many points before and been way off from getting to rank 2, and some I have had more than enough; ironically, min/maxing in L5R tends to hamper level progression in favor of a solid foundation. I've never seen a big difference in power level between schools at ranks 1 and 2... (most of the time that happens at 3) though that is again school based on how good their rank 2 is.

    The monkey clan had a cool background, and that technique is solid, very solid. L5R is a roleplaying game first and lethal combat emulator second, so I'd say playing the clan you like trumps a good mechanic. I liked Crane, for instance, but they were not the best from a power gaming point of view. I will say that technique though, means you could get away with not pumping ref as high if you need to spread some points; TNs to be hit over 25 are pretty good 30 is more than most people need at that insight rank in particular.
    Chaotic Neutral Human Bard (4th Level)

    Ability Scores:
    Strength- 12
    Dexterity- 15
    Constitution- 14
    Intelligence- 15
    Wisdom- 16
    Charisma- 13


  5. - Top - End - #5
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    Thanks again, I really appreciate your responses, they've been really helpful.

    It seems like the designers really wanted to discourage min/maxing if at all possible, and so it seems like they punish your Insight score if you over-specialize. In the end, I eked out 5 ranks into Defense, Kenjutsu, and 3 in Kyujutsu. Bumped Stamina up to 3 to get Earth 3, and bumped Agility and Reflexes up to 3 to be better in a fight. I would've liked to bump Strength up to 3 for more damage, but that's just not in the cards.

    My Heritage paid for 3 of my 8 into my Allies Advantage. So I have a very powerful Scorpion member in the Bayushi family willing to move heaven and earth to help me. Probably my father-in-law. Probably really close to the Daimyo. Considering this is a published adventure that takes us into the Shadowlands, I doubt it'll help much, but hey, I'm playing to character.

    I think I'm set about as well as I'm going to be at this point. Coming from playing mostly d20 games, this system seems like a lot of fun. Too bad I didn't play it more when it was fresh and perhaps a little more popular.

    Are 4th and 5th editions better designed? More popular? I've been scanning around the internet, and there seems to be a cult following for 4th, but the internet has a habit of skewing reality.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    Don't forget that in 3rd edition, having a Skill at 5 gives +2 Insight.


    3E certainly has things I like and I miss some of the things there, but I will say that 4th edition is better designed and more streamlined. Not perfect (at all), but better.

    5th is an entirely different story as FFG threw out the original system, balanced everything into blandness, and are running a very different system and mechanics.
    RHoD: Soah | SC: Green Sparrow | WotBS: Sheliya |RoW: Raani | SA: Ariste | IG: Hemali | RoA: Abelia | WftC: Elize | Zeitgeist: Rutile
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    Don't forget that in 3rd edition, having a Skill at 5 gives +2 Insight.


    3E certainly has things I like and I miss some of the things there, but I will say that 4th edition is better designed and more streamlined. Not perfect (at all), but better.

    5th is an entirely different story as FFG threw out the original system, balanced everything into blandness, and are running a very different system and mechanics.
    Yeah, I noticed the Insight Bonuses on 5 Skill ranks. I barely got to 150 Insight thanks to that.

    Would you say the system of 4th is similar enough to 3rd that you could import some things over with only minor tweaking?

    And as for fifth, well, the verdict is still out on that one, but I've seen more than one forum devolve into grumbling about the changes made to the game itself, as well as the lore.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Faily's Avatar

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    Default Re: Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    Yeah, I'd say you could easily port stuff over from across 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th edition in L5R with some small tweaks here and there. Since the system stayed mostly the same throughout the editions there, almost everything printed in earlier editions can be used in later editions if it wasn't already updated.
    RHoD: Soah | SC: Green Sparrow | WotBS: Sheliya |RoW: Raani | SA: Ariste | IG: Hemali | RoA: Abelia | WftC: Elize | Zeitgeist: Rutile
    Mystara: Othariel | Vette | Scarlet

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    Yeah, I'd say you could easily port stuff over from across 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th edition in L5R with some small tweaks here and there. Since the system stayed mostly the same throughout the editions there, almost everything printed in earlier editions can be used in later editions if it wasn't already updated.
    I'm glad to hear this, because, uh, I just looked up the price on 4th edition books, and the core book is over 100 dollars.

    I think we'll end up sticking with 3rd for the time being, better system or no.
    Last edited by Grey Guard; 2020-03-13 at 01:55 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Guard View Post
    I'm glad to hear this, because, uh, I just looked up the price on 4th edition books, and the core book is over 100 dollars.

    I think we'll end up sticking with 3rd for the time being, better system or no.
    Yikes! That is a fairly steep price! I didn't know prices had skyrocketed that badly after the IP sale to FFG.

    Then I'd probably just advice on grabbing a PDF if it strikes your fancy, but yeah, no need to shell out lots of dollas. :) 3E is perfectly fine with some houserules to smooth out the bumps.
    RHoD: Soah | SC: Green Sparrow | WotBS: Sheliya |RoW: Raani | SA: Ariste | IG: Hemali | RoA: Abelia | WftC: Elize | Zeitgeist: Rutile
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    Yeah, aside from an overabundance of some Rules and partially too powerful School BOnuses, 3rd is a very solid System.

    If it is sure you are going into the Shadolands, might want to ask your GM if this is the start, most of or effectively ALL of the Campaign, as depending on that you might want to increase Void and boost other Defenses and ignore Social stuff more than one normally would (unless playing Crab^^).
    A neutron walks into a bar and says, “How much for a beer?” The bartender says, “For you? No charge.”


    Later: An atom walks into a bar an asks the bartender “Have you seen an electron? I left it in here last night.” The bartender says, “Are you sure?” The atom says, “I’m positive.”

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    So we did the first session. I'm playing a Monkey Bushi, another player is a Hiruma Scout (we met him along the way. Grumpy.), and the last is a Shosuro Shinobi (close friend of my character's Bayushi wife; she's watching out for my safety).

    The module he's using is called Twilight Honor. I don't know if it takes place fully in the Shadowlands, but we had one fight with some Ronin bandits on the way to Crab lands, and then some social encounters with the Crab Daimyo's son- standing in for his dad who's away on business. Met a Unicorn Shugenja and a Yodotai Mercenary on the way.

    Went so-so. We curbstomped the ronin pretty bad when the encounter turned hostile. They hurt the Unicorn a little. Crab took my offers of aid in the Shadowlands as an insult that they can't fulfill their duty.

    After that, we had dinner in the court, it got rowdy (crab...), and the crab warriors started to brawl. Two of them wound up on top of my table wrestling. The loser blamed me for his loss and challenged me to a duel. 4 ranks in Iaijutsu later, and he was soundly trounced.

    Thoughts: The combat is delightfully brutal. We took down the ronin handily, but also noted that if our Shinobi (who has Earth 2) ever took one of the hits we were dishing out, she'd go from Healthy to Hurt or worse with only one hit.

    So far the system seems pretty good. The Crab player and Scorpion are both incredibly anti-social (took the disadvantage and everything), leaving my friendly, politically dumb Monkey to handle social encounters. Which seems fitting.

    Highlights: In the introduction, the Crab specifically chose a table with only two chairs, and kicked one away. My Monkey walked in, saw he was the only one at the inn, grabbed two chairs, and merrily started to chat with him. Queue grumpy Crab.

    While walking along the road, we could hear the arguing and see the Ronin. I just kept chatting away to my companions, and didn't immediately notice that my two traveling companions had melted away into the shadows. It was a good conversation, though...!

    While the crabs wrestled on my table, player Crab helped one of them to some sake. It was a good brawl moment where someone gives a brawler a drink.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey Guard View Post
    Thoughts: The combat is delightfully brutal. We took down the ronin handily, but also noted that if our Shinobi (who has Earth 2) ever took one of the hits we were dishing out, she'd go from Healthy to Hurt or worse with only one hit.
    Yeah, combat in L5R is high-level-D&D-tier rocket tag. I've dropped a guy in one hit with a tanto and seen 3-earth characters get two-shotted by mooks.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Legend of the Five Rings (3rd)

    3rd edition (and it's revised version) is a wonderful system that kind of breaks mathematically around rank 3 just because of all the bonuses and free raises you can pile up. That said, it's outstanding for player options and overall feel in a way that other AEG editions just aren't (4th is significantly more balanced but kinda to the point of being boring in a sense).

    If I recall 3er Toku Bushi it's one of the better minor clan schools, if not the best (generally not as powerful as a great clan, but pretty close).

    If you're going for physically capable but socially awkward, your info above shows you're off to a good start. :)
    You'll basically want to avoid increasing Awareness which means your Air Ring won't grow but Toku bushi aren't invested in Air so it won't hurt anything but potential insight!
    You'll definitely want Earth, Water, Agi, and Ref at 3 minimum soon as you can, with a priority on Earth and Agility, a secondary consideration on Reflexes, and Water Ring last (it'll give you extra movement and rolled melee damage dice but those are less important).
    Void is very nice to have but it's expensive, so you should consider if it's worth significant investment for you, but you can get away with a 2 early on and hop up to 3 later down the road.

    The only skills you *really* need is Defense and Kenjutsu; everything else should fill in the gaps of your idea of your character.
    Keep mastery bonuses in mind though! They can be very good!

    Kata are worth checking out too but the best kata are clan-limited so your mileage there may vary (the game assumes great clan characters and gave limited attention to minor clans and ronin).

    That said, hope that helps a lil and just know I'm jealous! I'd love to play L5R 3rd again!

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