Previewing the Rokugani Castles of Courts of Stone
He would find out someday. Three things were never long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. Could she proceed knowing this?
She let out a low sigh. It was too late now. She could only move forward.
Rokugan is a land in turmoil. In an era of sudden change where the throne is threatened from dangers both on the battlefield and in the courts, it is possible for the future of the entire realm to be shaped by just a handful of indiviuals with the skills to navigate the treacherous webs spun by those closest to the Emperor. In the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game, you have the chance to leave your mark on this fantastical empire and lead Rokugan into a new age, whether through military might, political power, or supernatural influence.
In Courts of Stone, you find the comprehensive guide to Rokugan’s castles, keeps, and courts. These forbidding fortresses stand scattered throughout Rokugan as beacons of Imperial power for the nobles who seek to shape the course of the Emerald Empire. In these courts, a key piece of information or the right alliance can bring you to the height of power, but a single slip can mean dishonor or death.
Today, we welcome you to step inside these shadowed halls as we preview the strongholds of the Courts of Stone sourcebook for the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game—now available for pre-order at your local retailer or online through our website with free shipping in the continental US!
In Courts of Stone, the comprehensive 144-page guide to the Emerald Empire’s castles, keeps, and courts, the political arena becomes your battlefield. In conflicts of whispers, courtiers wage war with secrets and rumors, all beneath a mask of civility. Here, you will uncover the secrets to navigating the Empire’s seats of power, as well as new rules for integrating shinobi characters, and a wealth of new schools, techniques, weapons, artifacts, and information about the Crane Clan.
Rokugani castles are mustering points for a clan’s might. They act as secure places for a daimyō to oversee their clan and display their power and wealth to any who would question them. Now in Courts of Stone, you have the chance to put your own architectural skills to the test and build your own castle. With immersive details that grant you deep insight into the Emerald Empire and the reasons behind various architectural design choices, you will gain all the information you need to build a full Rokugani fortress with complexes of buildings and towering keeps, complete with strong walls and gatehouses as well as a wide variety of defensive structures and peopled with a colorful staff who help maintain and organize the castle.
While the daimyō and architectural masters of Rokugan may take years to construct their castles, expanding them over generations as a family gains more resources and power, your fortress will only require as much time as you desire, with Courts of Stone’s welcoming structure that allows you to create in broad strokes or down to the finest details. And with any luck, your work, dedication, and skill may be recognized by the Emperor himself and gain the coveted title of kyūden, or palace. Only a handful of these honored fortresses bear this title, but it may be one of the greatest political assets a family may hold. Every year, the Winter Court hosts the aristocratic elite for several months as the Emperor shares his vision for the coming year. The family who hosts this event has incredible power to sway attendees and ensure that their desires become the foremost thought for the coming year. The future of the entire Empire may shift in a single event—you would do well to have the upper hand whenever such an opportunity arises.
Behind Closed Doors
Beyond instructions for building your own grand palace, Courts of Stone also includes a selection of sample castles, bringing some of the most famous locations in the Emerald Empire to your tabletop. Each castle has its own unique set of characteristics that speaks to the heart of its clan and sets it apart from any other in the world. Perhaps the most elaborate and grand of all the Rokugani palaces is the luxurious Kyūden Doji. Nestled on a cliff overlooking the coastline of Crane lands, Kyūden Doji is the heart of social life in the Emerald Empire held by the Doji family, who claims to control access to the Emperor and the standard of fashion and courtesy across Rokugan. This structure radiates peace and security, but within its walls games of treachery and intrigue play out between the ruling nobles of the empire.
The palace stretches up the mountain slope that leads to the sea. While its defenses may not immediately strike fear into a would-be invader, a fleet of ships in the harbor below and highly disciplined guards keep the fortress protected from any strange visitors, and those who are lucky enough to enter its walls will behold one or the architectural marvels of the empire. The legendary gardens of the palace feature a wide array of styles, ranging from exquisitely tended perfection to carefully cultivated wilderness, and just beyond lie guest houses constructed in styles that cater to the styles of each of the Great Clans. It is small wonder that Kyūden Doji hosts the Winter Court more often than any other Rokugani palace.
But this beauty also has a more subversive purpose. The walls, floors, and ceilings of Kyūden Doji are nearly all hollow. Trapdoors and sliding panels conceal a labyrinth of secret passages where skilled shinobi can silently maneuver. And with the continued cultivation of this school in Courts of Stone, it is easier than ever for you to step out of the light and join the secret wars of words and shadows.
While secretive shinobi may seem out of place in the noble courts of Rokugan at first, these may be where they find their most lucrative employment. Power-hungry nobles use shinobi to spy on targets, steal private documents, intimidate rivals, and put words in the right ear. Some courtiers even stoop to using assassins, interrogators, and practitioners of evil sorcery capable to exert their will. When the future of the Emerald Empire is at stake, the ambitious will use any tool necessary to achieve their goals. The choice is yours to determine what the laws of conduct will allow and how far you are willing to go in the name of power.
The castles of Rokugan may appear to be the image of beauty and security, but the secrets held within may prove as deadly as any dangers kept at bay beyond their walls. Do you have the grace and skill to navigate the political battlefield with your honor intact, or will your blunders bring shame upon your clan?
Pre-order your copy of Courts of Stone (L5R08) at your local retailer today or online through our website with free shipping in the continental US here! This sourcebook will hit shelves in the second quarter of 2019!