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SpikeFightwicky
2010-04-29, 09:40 AM
I may be starting a L5R game in the not too distant future, and was wondering:

If every player's interested in the same clan, that's great, but I'm sure it usually boils down to a group where each player picks their favorite clan, thus giving a team of representatives from different clans. So what kind of adventures/campaigns would involve an almost comically diverse group? Are the L5R novels a good source of inspiration? They're each named after specific clans, so I imagine they don't deal with factionally different groups.

WalkingTarget
2010-04-29, 09:47 AM
I may be starting a L5R game in the not too distant future, and was wondering:

If every player's interested in the same clan, that's great, but I'm sure it usually boils down to a group where each player picks their favorite clan, thus giving a team of representatives from different clans. So what kind of adventures/campaigns would involve an almost comically diverse group? Are the L5R novels a good source of inspiration? They're each named after specific clans, so I imagine they don't deal with factionally different groups.

Back in the day, my group usually used the "The Emperor has a job that needs to be done and he has chosen you and these other samurai to do it" excuse. It's not your place to question the Emperor, so your involvement with members of disparate clans isn't something you should worry about.

One specific example was when we had to escort the Imperial Cartographers around while they updated the official maps, thus requiring us to enter multiple clans' lands. I don't know about the novels, having never read them.

SpikeFightwicky
2010-04-29, 11:56 AM
That could work. A cartographer has to go through X clan lands, so a representative from each of X clans has to accompany him. It could be seen as a menial task, so the clans wouldn't send anyone important. I like it!

Umael
2010-04-29, 12:04 PM
There are a lot of examples of how to get the group together in the main book (3E). There is even a story example of this in motion, where the Scorpion governess of Ryoko Owari gets a number of people together to act as a neutral party.

Alternatively to making everyone from all over the place gather together and be forced to work together, you could make part of the group the "core". In my Rokugan d20 game* (which, game system aside, has the same setting, so this works), I told my group that at least half of the group MUST be Crab, and the others have to give reasons why they would be in the Crab territories and/or helping out. I also told them that at least half of the group MUST be bushi (or something similar), at least one person had to be a courtier, at least one person had to be a shugenja, and no one could be a member of a non-Crab Clan if there was already someone from that Clan. Worked out pretty well.

* - as an aside, despite what L5R enthusiasts and D&D die-hards say, you can have fun with the Rokugan d20 game. My players and I had a blast, literally one of the best games I have ever run. They still talk about it to this day.

BSW
2010-04-29, 12:14 PM
There's also the tried and true: "You're Emerald Magistrates" route. Typically my emerald magistrate groups would be devoted to meting out the Emperor's justice and hunting down tsukai.

I also ran what I called a political intrigue campaign that worked pretty well. That campaign had a total of eight players (which was way more than I like to have in most situations), so my solution was to tell everyone to pair up with one other player and pick a single clan for their character's to come from. It ended up with 2 Cranes, 2 Scorpion, 2 Dragon, and 2 Phoenix. One player from each pair was a courtier/shugenja, while the other was his yojimbo (or in the case of the Scorpion, a ninja pretending to be a yojimbo).

Each session was centered around some particular festival or ceremony or contest or something like that set in a city (all travelling between locales occurred off screen, so to speak). At the beginning of each session, each team's superiors would give them their own particular missions to accomplish. These missions sometimes allowed them to work with other teams without coming into conflict, while other times their goals were directly opposed to one another. Since they were in a court setting, they weren't exactly able to go around attacking each other without creating scandals, so the entire game actually ended up being focused around the players making alliances with one another and then betraying each other at opportune moments.

Umael
2010-04-29, 12:18 PM
BSW: That is awesome.

Unfortunately, as much as my players are good role-players, getting them to backstab each other goes against some unwritten code or something. Seriously, they may not work well together sometimes, but I don't recall once when one of their PCs betrayed another.

Which, I suppose, is okay, but I kinda miss an OOC "Look, in real life, I'm nice enough, but in this game, your PC will probably hate mine. Are you cool? Cool. Let's rock."

WalkingTarget
2010-04-29, 12:31 PM
BSW: That is awesome.

Unfortunately, as much as my players are good role-players, getting them to backstab each other goes against some unwritten code or something. Seriously, they may not work well together sometimes, but I don't recall once when one of their PCs betrayed another.

Which, I suppose, is okay, but I kinda miss an OOC "Look, in real life, I'm nice enough, but in this game, your PC will probably hate mine. Are you cool? Cool. Let's rock."

Exactly. One of my favorite things about my L5R group was the fact that my super-honorable Lion had to pal around with another player's Scorpion who was constantly making my character's life more difficult (even if my character didn't know it). It takes player buy-in to the style, even if unspoken, but it can be a lot of fun.

Hell, several of my friends had a tendency to make characters (in any particular game) that were adept at getting on my characters' nerves (note: always the characters not the players). That might just be our group dynamic coming through, though.

BSW
2010-04-29, 01:56 PM
BSW: That is awesome.

Unfortunately, as much as my players are good role-players, getting them to backstab each other goes against some unwritten code or something. Seriously, they may not work well together sometimes, but I don't recall once when one of their PCs betrayed another.

Which, I suppose, is okay, but I kinda miss an OOC "Look, in real life, I'm nice enough, but in this game, your PC will probably hate mine. Are you cool? Cool. Let's rock."

That was sort of the beauty of the set up. The betrayals weren't really your typical in-party backstabbing. Rather, the Crane would have a mission like... "Negotiate an arranged marriage between Unicorn NPC and Lion NPC."

Meanwhile, the Scorpion would have a mission like: "Spark conflict between Crane and Lion clans. A duel between Lion NPC and Crane PC would be just peachy, if you can arrange it."

And of course, the Dragon and Phoenix would have something totally unrelated to do that would allow them to work with EITHER the Crane or the Scorpion. Of course, since no one actually KNEW what anyone else's mission was, it meant there was a fair bit of paranoia all around. Since the players were actually playing rival diplomats rather than an actual adventuring group, it worked out very well.

It was very difficult to run though.

Attilargh
2010-04-29, 02:13 PM
One thing to note with the "Emperor commands you!" and "Emerald Magistrates go!" solutions is that you need to raise the characters's Status and Glory accordingly, or it will make little sense. Why would the Emperor pick a bunch of no-name losers fresh from gempukku to do something? (There are a million reasons, of course, but all of them probably require heavy exposition.)

I would personally go for the age-old "you all meet in a bar ryokan (to which someone sets fire to)" or, if you want to be really fancy about it, "you all hate this one dude's guts (and meet in a bar izakaya)". With samurai, it works better than with a band of D&D-style murderous hobos, since samurai have certain standards to uphold and thus have a lot more hooks to drag them into whatever plot you can come up with. Imagine the following game opening:

Traveling on a sunny day, Moto Bob happens upon a dead man wearing the colours of the Imperial family of Seppun in a crossroads. Meanwhile, Bayushi Lucy and Hida Mike meet on the road and decide to travel together for a bit. Moments later, Ikoma Joe finds Bob standing over the dead body of an Imperial. A few more moments later, Lucy and Mike happen upon two people about to draw swords on each other, with a third guy already dead.

Quick, easy and straight to the point. And all you needed to come up with was why Seppun Jack is dead.

Umael
2010-04-29, 02:19 PM
...I turn green with envy.

Our group tends to be very democratic on how we go about picking what games we will play next (and sometimes, if we will continue playing a particular game).

Two weeks ago, C ended his Scion game. So C (one of the two dominant personalities in our group, myself being the other) said, "let's talk about what we're going to play next." What followed was each person in the group saying, "I can run this, this, this, and this," until we had a list of eighteen games. Then we talked, and voted, and decided, and voted some more, and finally it was - "Hey, Umael! You're running your Mage game!"

I was a little unprepared, considering I just tossed that one out there in a "yeah, I can do this too" kind of way.

If I suggested a game like that, I have to make sure I have good sales pitch ready, or it would go down the drain in a blink. It sucks, because some of the best ideas involve the players going in blind or semi-blind, and possibly getting tricked.

For example, one guy I know who would take out a stack of Changeling books and said, "Let's play. But before you make your characters, let's talk about who you were as a mortal. Okay, you? Uh-huh, uh-huh... and you? Yeah, yeah... okay, we all ready to start? Good. You are all in a bus when it goes off a cliff. Everyone dies." Then he put away the Changeling books and pulled out the Wraith books. This guy is cool enough as a GM that I know it would be an awesome game, made partly so because he blind-sided everyone because they thought they would be playing one game, and now it is very different - yet related. Why kind of ghost would your preppy, rich-kid, sure-to-be-a-sidhe character become?

With my group?

"Let's play Changeling. No, wait, let's start like we're going to play Changeling, then play Wraith!"
"Sounds bad. I vote no."

Game dies before it even starts.

...

Oh my gods! I just re-created the philosophical argument between enlighted monarchy/tyrant vs. democracy/mob rule, but for gaming!

Mark Hall
2010-04-29, 03:55 PM
Generally, L5R works less well as a sandbox game. It does much better when you define a range for characters, and give them a goal.

Our current game, for example, is set in 1122ish, and only allows Crab, Crane, Scorpion and Three-man Alliance. It centers around some events in the Shinomen Mori and the destruction of the Hare clan.... and every allowed clan has some stake in the immediate outcomes of the events.

TheThan
2010-04-29, 04:05 PM
One thing to note with the "Emperor commands you!" and "Emerald Magistrates go!" solutions is that you need to raise the characters's Status and Glory accordingly, or it will make little sense. Why would the Emperor pick a bunch of no-name losers fresh from gempukku to do something? (There are a million reasons, of course, but all of them probably require heavy exposition.)

I would personally go for the age-old "you all meet in a bar ryokan (to which someone sets fire to)" or, if you want to be really fancy about it, "you all hate this one dude's guts (and meet in a bar izakaya)". With samurai, it works better than with a band of D&D-style murderous hobos, since samurai have certain standards to uphold and thus have a lot more hooks to drag them into whatever plot you can come up with. Imagine the following game opening:

Traveling on a sunny day, Moto Bob happens upon a dead man wearing the colours of the Imperial family of Seppun in a crossroads. Meanwhile, Bayushi Lucy and Hida Mike meet on the road and decide to travel together for a bit. Moments later, Ikoma Joe finds Bob standing over the dead body of an Imperial. A few more moments later, Lucy and Mike happen upon two people about to draw swords on each other, with a third guy already dead.

Quick, easy and straight to the point. And all you needed to come up with was why Seppun Jack is dead.

I agree with this method. It doesn’t artificially inflate the party’s importance and makes them want to work together. Another idea is to tie all the pcs together to one NPC, then have that character be murdered, the pcs then have to work together to figure out who killed him and how to exact revenge.

Or maybe they were all on separate missions and were captured by a group of monsters (oni spring to mind), and have to work together to get free and complete their missions.

The Big Dice
2010-04-29, 04:22 PM
Generally, L5R works less well as a sandbox game. It does much better when you define a range for characters, and give them a goal.

Our current game, for example, is set in 1122ish, and only allows Crab, Crane, Scorpion and Three-man Alliance. It centers around some events in the Shinomen Mori and the destruction of the Hare clan.... and every allowed clan has some stake in the immediate outcomes of the events.

If you can get hold of the City of Lies box set, that's the ultimate sandbox for L5R. It's mechanically out of date, being for 1st edition, but conversion isn't too traumatic between 1st and 3rd.

Oddly enough, samurai drama and Westerns have a lot in common. Watch some Spagetti Westerns, swap out six shooters for katana and the plots work perfectly.

Kaun
2010-04-29, 05:03 PM
If you can get hold of the City of Lies box set, that's the ultimate sandbox for L5R. It's mechanically out of date, being for 1st edition, but conversion isn't too traumatic between 1st and 3rd.

Oddly enough, samurai drama and Westerns have a lot in common. Watch some Spagetti Westerns, swap out six shooters for katana and the plots work perfectly.

+1 to both of these, City of lies was money well spent and i have actualy re tooled it to be used in other diffrent settings.

IMHO getting a party together to begin with in L5R it is often best to put them all in the same location/event and then have the poop hit the fan. This can often force them to put their diffrances aside so that they can survive and then once things have calmed down they have a history together, favours to repay and debts of honour to each other forged in battle.

I believe i ran a haunted road house session once which would work well for this.

Zumii
2010-04-29, 05:42 PM
@Spike - If you do start a group can you PM me the details if you have any spare openings & what not :smallbiggrin:

The Big Dice
2010-04-29, 08:46 PM
Another option for people who want to play L5R is to come on over to FiveRingsOnline. It's a chat based game, but right now there's issues with migrating to a new chat client. Once things get back to norma, it's a 24/7/365 game with quite a large and loyal community.

The current game is drawing to a close, but there are plans in the pipeline to start another in the near future.

SpikeFightwicky
2010-04-30, 06:49 AM
We played LBS before, and everyone had a hoot, so we figure L5R should be just as amusing (the exploding dice were a huge hit). Also, my group only has myself and one other person who can DM for more than a few sessions in a row, so I'm usually running it.


@Spike - If you do start a group can you PM me the details if you have any spare openings & what not :smallbiggrin:

Can do, though it'll likely be in RL (I may try it online if that falls through.)

I was worried there wouldn't be much in the way of responses, but this thread's given me tons of good pointers. Thanks for that! I know 3 at least players in my group each prefer different clans, so this'll help me ground everything (And keep posting if you have any additional insight!).

Zumii
2010-04-30, 07:20 AM
Can do, though it'll likely be in RL (I may try it online if that falls through.)

Ah I see, no problem though :). If you do venture into some play by post give me a shout. It's actually for my partner, he is currently playing pbp on the Fallenash forum & he's always looking for additional things to play.

Gl with your GM'ing x

Zumii
2010-04-30, 07:54 AM
Another option for people who want to play L5R is to come on over to FiveRingsOnline. It's a chat based game, but right now there's issues with migrating to a new chat client. Once things get back to norma, it's a 24/7/365 game with quite a large and loyal community.

The current game is drawing to a close, but there are plans in the pipeline to start another in the near future.

That sounds good hun, I'll pass the info on to my fella :smallbiggrin:. I may try to join in at some point in the future, once Ive caught up with the L5r CCG, moved house & a bunch of other things lol.

Umael
2010-04-30, 10:01 AM
We played LBS before, and everyone had a hoot, so we figure L5R should be just as amusing (the exploding dice were a huge hit).

Two things to keep in mind - the setting for L5R is a bit different than LBS, even though the two use the same system and world. As they say - L5R isn't D&D in funny hats.

Also, just because the system is just so doesn't mean you can't tweak it.


I know 3 at least players in my group each prefer different clans, so this'll help me ground everything (And keep posting if you have any additional insight!).

Hmmm...

Might I suggest you have the players all list their top 3 priorities? Then you can do a mix and match to see what people are willing to play.

(What Clans so far, by the by?)

SpikeFightwicky
2010-04-30, 10:49 AM
Two things to keep in mind - the setting for L5R is a bit different than LBS, even though the two use the same system and world. As they say - L5R isn't D&D in funny hats.

Also, just because the system is just so doesn't mean you can't tweak it.


I'm much aware, which is where my issue/question came in. We're all familiar with the setting, but haven't played it before (though we liked the mechanics of LBS, which are very similar -> near identical? <- to L5R).



Hmmm...

Might I suggest you have the players all list their top 3 priorities? Then you can do a mix and match to see what people are willing to play.

(What Clans so far, by the by?)

One is fond of Crab, one is fond of Scorpion and the other Crane. Not sure about the 4th player. I'm still not sure about whether they'd prefer bushido, shugenja or courtier, though.

Umael
2010-04-30, 11:17 AM
I'm much aware, which is where my issue/question came in. We're all familiar with the setting, but haven't played it before (though we liked the mechanics of LBS, which are very similar -> near identical? <- to L5R).

As far as I can tell, yes. Fourth Edition is pretty much going to be "Here is the system, here is how it works for the little particulars, yes, you can have your LBS transfer seamlessly into L5R from a mechanical viewpoint."




One is fond of Crab, one is fond of Scorpion and the other Crane. Not sure about the 4th player. I'm still not sure about whether they'd prefer bushido, shugenja or courtier, though.

Ouch.

Possibly the worst combination.

With your luck, the last one will be Lion.

Okay, some thoughts - if one of the others is willing to go for one of the other clans, go for it. Also, make sure that the other Clans are NOT at war, which is a little easily than not, as the Crane and the Scorpion tend to duel in the courts and the Crab tend to just ignore both of them and do things on the Wall. If the Crane goes Daidoji, you are in luck. Have the Crab player think of reasons to be away from the Wall, or think of reasons for the other PCs to be at the Wall.

And of course, don't forget all the other advice given already - maybe an NPC dear to all of them for some reason was murdered, maybe they are yoriki for an Emerald Magistrate, etc.

HidaTsuzua
2010-05-03, 10:28 AM
There's several ways to reduce tension between members of different clans.

One is that Rokugan is on the whole a rather peaceful place. Sure you have people dueling each other and the like, but formalized dueling is just part and parcel of society. Not only that, it's really in everyone's (those in charge i.e. samurai) best interests to keep it that way. So two random samurai getting mad at each is really nothing big and almost never worth rocking the boat as a whole.

Secondly, the clans on the whole are more or less the same. They all love the emperor, tax peasants, drink tea, live in paper houses, and have a feudal organization. Sure the lion may be stricter than the Scorpion on opium dens and organized crime, but they all have opium dens where non-medicinal opium use is illegal.

Thirdly, remember that Rokugan is a feudal place. While a family or clan daimyo has great deal of command over the lords under him, he's not actually able to rule them directly. He really has to keep them happy and really can only amass enough forces to take out one if he had to and he'll really not want to do that. So minor lords have a great deal of freedom and can and totally fight or be mean to each other all the time. This fact greatly diffuses tensions between clans since everyone can be an ally or foe.

A Hida and a Bayushi may not like each other due to prejudice, but the last time either of them were in battle, it was against their fellow clan (or even likely family) members. So clan and family affiliations is more like sharing the same favorite football team or club. Totally a reason to prefer one group or person to another, but not a "rah we must be bitter enemies!" automatically. Remember a samurai may have a grudge against Bayushi house, but he doesn't need to have one with the Bayushi in general since any given Bayushi bushi could be from a house on the other side of Bayushi lands or even at war with the house he hates!

On a slightly related note, if you need adventure ideas, my friend has a collection of L5R adventures he's done here. (http://courtwright.org/svn/l7r/adventures/) We use a heavily houseruled version of the L5R rules, but the adventures should more or less work or help in coming up with your own. You may need to make some changes to some rules, but overall they're quite good. Feel free to PM me as well.

Some setting changes will need to be kept in mind. One is that we tend to focus on house politics more so than normal (though clan and family politics can and do matter) and secondly bloodspeakers gain power based on how well known they are.

Lord Vukodlak
2010-05-04, 12:35 AM
Here's an odd idea, I don't know if it still exists in the current edition but there was a trait to have learned from a different school.

Now you could run the entire group as members of a minor clan and simply give them that trait for free. Thus the entire group is united under one clan but they all get school they want.

Shinizak
2010-05-04, 12:38 AM
I swear I read the title as "[L5R] Getting divorced characters back together." And I was about to suggest dinner and a movie. >_>