26 September 2017 | Legend of the Five Rings RPG

Legend of the Five Rings RPG Beta

Announcing an Open Beta for the Legend of the Five Rings RPG


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It is an era of sudden change and upheaval in Rokugan. Mortal schemes, natural calamities, and celestial turmoil alike have disrupted the political, military, and spiritual equilibrium of the land. Long-simmering rivalries and fresh betrayals ripple through the courts and on the battlefield. The Chrysanthemum Throne is beset by threats from without and within, and the honor of the seven Great Clans shall be put to the test. Who among the clans will prove strong enough to guide Rokugan in these tumultuous times? Will their names be lifted up beside those of the honored ancestors, or will they fall among the ranks of the empire’s most infamous villains?

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game Open Beta. For years, the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game has provided a roleplaying system that puts players in the roles of honorable samurai in the world of Rokugan. Now, Fantasy Flight Games invites you to help us take the next step in the Legend of the Five Rings roleplaying game with an open beta, available for free download beginning next week.

A New Journey

In the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game, players take on the role of individual samurai, whose honor and loyalty is daily put to the test. These samurai serve their lords as warriors, courtiers, priests, or monks and embark on adventures filled with drama, suspense, humor, romance, and horror. All the while, they must grapple with their human emotions and choose between following their heart’s desire or doing what society—and the Code of Bushidō—demands of them. These personal stories of triumph and tragedy will reverberate across the Emerald Empire and shape the very future of Rokugan.

The Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game will contain rules for creating characters sworn to the service of the Great Clans and running game sessions filled with intrigue and conflict. A wide variety of skills, techniques, advantages, disadvantages, and more allow players to customize their character mechanically and narratively. Custom dice mechanics enable players to contribute to the unfolding story and decide whether their character succeeds, by how much, and how much it will cost them. And the fantastical feudal setting of Rokugan provides a rich tapestry of majesty and wonder where these stories can unfold.

The Struggle of the Samurai

Many Rokugani plays have been written chronicling the impossible choices facing a samurai as their human feelings, or ninjō, conflict with their obligations to society, or giri. Those things that would run counter to the way of Bushidō are real and meaningful forces in a samurai’s life, and it is only the rare soul that can resist their call completely. The stories and the drama of the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game revolve around the tension between these two conflicting forces. One of the fundamental choices a player must make during character creation is to select opposing ninjō and giri to represent a samurai’s inner desire and the external demands placed upon them by their lord and by fate. Whether a samurai chooses happiness or duty in a given moment will have narrative and mechanical consequences not only for themselves, but for all of the Emerald Empire. And when they serve their lord with distinction, tales of a samurai's glories may spread to the corners of the Empire or be recorded for ages.

The Elements

At the dawn of civilization, when humanity looked to understand the surrounding creation, the greatest philosophers determined that the world was composed of the five elements: air, earth, fire, water, and the void that holds the other elements together. These elements, also called rings, were represented in the sacred spirits of the land and the natural world, but also in society and the human psyche. Air is the weather and the wind, the invisible and the innuendo, and the swiftness of a bird of prey. Earth is stone, wood, and metal, as well as a donkey’s stubbornness and a tortoise’s patience. Fire is the gentle warmth of the sun or the rage of a wildfire, but also the spark of innovation, the passion of devotion, and the ferocity of a wildcat. Water is a octopus’s adaptability and flexibility; it takes the shape of its container, be it a puddle, a river, or an endless sea. Void is the emptiness of the night sky or nirvana, at once present and transcendent. 

Sensei across Rokugan teach samurai-in-training to observe and express these different elements in all that they do. In the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game, characters are defined by their strength in different elements. In every task they undertake, they must choose an elemental approach, and the suitability of one approach over another can give them the edge they need or diminish their chances of succeeding.

Make History

Starting next week, players will be able to download the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game Open Beta. The Open Beta will not include every mechanic in the final game, but will give players everything they need to start running samurai-inspired adventures in the land of Rokugan. A free PDF will be posted next week for players to download and test with a group of their friends. Over a twelve-week period, the Fantasy Flight Games team will receive feedback from players to be taken into account when finishing the design for the final product. Make sure to sign up for our mailing list to get all the updates on the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game Open Beta, as well as an opportunity to receive a signed copy of the final product! More details will follow when the beta goes live next week.

Be sure to keep an eye on the Fantasy Flight Games website in the coming weeks for your opportunity to participate in the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game Beta!

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