Enter the Topaz Championship
Preview the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Beginner Game
Whether you’re a new player interested in Legend of the Five Rings, or a hardened expert looking to explore the system, the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Beginner Game is the first step in your journey. With a slow roll out of mechanics and an adventure designed to assist first time Game Masters and players, there has never been a better way to experience Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying for the first time.
When you first sit down for a game with two to four of your friends, you’ll have some decisions to consider. Most importantly, you will have to select which one of you will become the Game Master and which players will take on the roles of the characters. The Game Master is responsible for running the game and describing what happens to the players. Luckily, the adventure featured in the Beginner Game gives aspiring Game Masters all the tools they need to succeed. Look for a future preview on how to use these tools, but today, we're focusing on the players who choose to become samurai of Rokugan.
Today, we'll guide you through your very first session of the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Beginner Game, up through your very first skill check. This preview is designed to show new players what Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying has in store for them, and will contain light spoilers for "The Topaz Championship" adventure found in the Beginner Game.
Prelude to Adventure
As your first step to entering the world of Rokugan and embodying powerful samurai of the Emerald Empire, you and your fellow players are encouraged to read through the example of play included in the game before you sit down to begin. Even if you're unfamiliar with roleplaying, this example gives you a good idea of what to expect from a session, and it also sets up the context to your story so far…
After this introduction, you and the other players each get to decide which samurai they will roleplay in the Emerald Empire! While those familiar with Legend of the Five Rings may have an idea of what Great Clan they would like to represent, the back of every character folio gives you a brief backstory on the character and a few bullet points telling you how that character plays within the mechanics of the game for those new to the world.
For example, if you would like to play a character who is a master wordsmith, you might select the Crane Clan’s Doji Ren. Or perhaps you’d like to play a character who summons the spirits to aid you, in which case you might select the Phoenix Clan’s Isawa Aki. The Beginner Game features four different folios, but if you are looking for more options, the Fantasy Flight Games website will have three additional characters for download once the Beginner Game is released!
Once characters have been chosen, the game proper begins. While it is suggested the Game Master read through "The Topaz Championship" adventure beforehand, the rules are introduced as they come up, giving everyone else the opportunity to jump right in to the action without any prior knowledge.
The Topaz Championship
Once you and your companions have selected your characters, the Game Master will set the scene for the introduction of your characters to the story, as they meet a peasant who has overturned his cart on the road to the village of Tsuma and the Topaz Championship! There is no easy way around the cart, and players are immediately faced with their first decision of the game. What will they do about this lowly peasant in their way? The options are fairly straightforward and require no dice to be rolled. Still, this choice gives you the first opportunity to examine the freedom available to them in a roleplaying game!
This first encounter also introduces the tone present throughout Legend of the Five Rings. As a samurai of Rokugan, the code of Bushidō must be followed. Circumventing the cart will bring your character through mud, dirtying their clothes and forcing your character to feel the social consequences of such uncleanliness. Do you take this path? Bushidō demands compassion—do you help the peasant? And what of these mysterious papers spilled all over the road? Regardless of their choice, players can question the peasant as much as they like, moving on when they feel they are ready.
After this chance meeting, you and the other player characters find yourselves at the House of the Laughing Carp, their home for the duration of the Topaz Championship. Tensions begin to rise as they come across a fellow competitor in the Championship on the verge of a shameful outburst. With no additional vacancies at the House, this young samurai is dangerously close to losing face by exploding onto the peasant innkeeper. If you don't diffuse the situation, you may get caught up in the fallout. However, this could also be an oppurtunity to gain an edge over a competitior. The choice is yours.
This is the players first introduction to skill checks, the backbone of Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying. When player characters face some kind of challenge, the Game Master calls for a skill check, which sees players rolling the custom dice that come included with the Beginner Game. A check can result in a mix of results: success( ), explosive success ( ), opportunity ( ), and strife ( ). For this first check, strife and opportunity are ignored, and players only have to focus on succeeding at the task at hand.
Together, you and the other players will have to figure out the best approach to solving the situation. The choice is only limited by their creativity! Based on what you decide, the Game Master then determines what kind of approach and skill your characters are using. Perhaps you volunteer to share their room in order to diffuse the situation. The Game Master decides trying to control the conversation means this is a Courtesy check, and the logical and grounded solution means an Earth approach is appropriate.
For the Beginner Game, the Game Master will often be the one determining the skill and approach of a check, meaning players can just focus on figuring out what they want to do, rather than the mechanics behind their decisions. As this is your group's very first check, the Game Master also provides a Target Number of one. This means you get to roll some dice! A check's Target Number determines to how many successes you need to roll. The type and element of the check tells you how many dice to roll. While this may seem like a lot of information to handle, the character folios make it easy!
You'll simply refer to your character sheet to find your Courtesy skill and determine how many Skill dice ( ) you roll, and your Earth value to find how many Ring dice ( ) you roll. As a member of the diplomatic Crane Clan, your group decides to let Doji Ren handle the test. This gives Ren's player two Skill Dice, and one Ring die.
Rolling at least one success symbol will defuse the situation, but rolling none may escalate it. Regardless, the game will continue, with more and more rules being slowly introduced throughout the adventure. These encounters seem incidental, but the mysteries surrounding the Topaz Championship run deeper than your characters know…
Your Next Adventure
With maps, tokens, an adventure book to guide your way, and complete character folios, the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Beginner Game is the perfect introduction into the world of Rokugan. If your group completes the Topaz Championship and is looking for more challenges, visit www.fantasyflightgames.com for a free follow-up adventure and information on the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Core Rulebook and Game Master's Kit, coming later this year!
Dive into adventure with the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Beginner Game (L5R01), available now for pre-order from your local retailer or our website!