Campaign Themes

The campaign have four major themes. The themes are presented in order of importance relative to their impacts on the campaign. Each of the themes gives this Legend of the Five Rings campaign it distinct flavors.

Most importantly, each of the themes also creates elements for the sandbox and the themes should hence be considered during character creation.

An Empire to Build

Background

The main objectives of the player characters is to expand the Dragon Clan from a minor clan to a major clan. While the Dragon have many asset that make them much more powerful then the typical minor clan it is also not a great clan in many regards. It diplomatic presence is limited, it have a relatively small military and only occupy a portion of the land given to it by Hantei I. Also, the tribes in the Dragon lands are a bit more dangerous then the one in other clan lands.

Finally, many areas remain to be explored in the Dragon territories which overlap both this theme and the wild land theme.

Implementation

This theme will be implemented with the help of the following mechanics:

1) The The way of the daimyo optional rules will be used for this campaign with some modification to improve gameplay.

2) Building an empire is a task that require years of work. Hence, the passage of time will be very important in the game. This implies that the seasons will structure the player character activities.

3) The Dragon lands given by Hantei I will limits the player areas of action creating the sandbox. This will be implemented by the use of a complex social map and a detailed physical map.

Role in the Campaign and for Character Creation

The empire building theme create the sandbox the character will be playing in. It define the general role and objectives of the player characters but also the area and zone the players will act in. Hence, its is important that this theme is incorporated in the player characters’ concept.

During character creation, the players should pick skills that will make their character effective for developing or managing the Dragon clan relatives to their role in the clan. The following are good skills to pick for building or managing the empire: Commerce, Etiquette, Engineering, Craft and Lore.

A Wild World

Background

Rokugan is a wilder place in this era compared to later century. Civilization is only beginning to flourish with only the Isawa and the Seppun with large settlement that are more then a 100 years old. The lands around settlement, castle and cities are usually been explored but a samurais does not have to venture far to end up in the uncivilized wild.

The lands is hence filled with predators and escaped spirits from various realms (including shape changers and other malevolent spirits). The wild lands are also the home of many tribes and bandits.

Implementation

This theme will be implemented with the following mechanics:

1) Many areas will be unexplored on the map.

2) Travelling will be more arduous and perilous then in modern Rokugan. Expect many hunting rolls and athletic rolls during your travel through many areas without road or villages to stop in. Travel could be interrupted by various encounter with wild animals, bandits or worst, spirits.

3) The player character’s will face opposition and problems caused by those wild forces such as spirits attacking a village.

Role in the Campaign and for Character Creation

This theme will keep the players on their toes and add interesting challenges to the previous theme of empire building. Additionally, it will create incentive for having the players’ characters to stick together for protection during their travel and create moments for bushis and shugenjas to shine.

During character creation the group as a whole should not neglect their bugei skill including athletic, hunting and weapon skill.

Age of Heroes

Background

The dawn of the empire and the era of the shinning prince are historical periods were individual samurais can greatly impact Rokugan history.

First, most samurais in this area would have proven themselves worthy by accomplishing at least one feat and will hence be a head above their kin.

Also, the limited availability of equipment and training (ex.: there is only a few master sensei able to teach rank 3 to 5 techniques of most school during that era) make samurais truly exceptional as well.

Implementation

I will implement this in the campaign in multiple ways:

1) Player characters will more rarely fail. They will likely use the strength of their honor to succeed.

2) I propose to discount for advantages that will make the player characters more heroic.

3) The player characters will also be able to craft potent tools, arms and armors or impress the court with pieces of art.

4) The player characters role in the campaign world will be magnified. Indeed, they will have key decision making roles in the Dragon clan.

5) Player Characters will start with additional character points then in a standard Rokugan campaign.

Role in the Campaign and for Character Creation

This will make player characters heroes right from the start in the campaign. The character created will have to reflect this heroic theme by, for example, taking advantages of the offered discount. The player characters’ background will also have to reflect this.

Unsettled Traditions

Background

Rokugan many traditions remain to be permanently settled in in this era. For example, the tradition of using duel to settle argument is not fully implemented till the year 163.

Other traditions that have yet to emerge is the burning of the dead, the disdain for commerce among samurais (there is no imperial currency except so bartering is very common), the tradition of gempuku and the rigid class structures.

This does not mean that traditions does not already exists. For example, Honor and Glory still play an important role for samurais. Alternatively, the dressing style of each of the clan is already well establish as most samurais clothing and hair styles are copied from the clothing the Kamis were wearing when they arrived. The same is true for weapons and armors.

Implementation

Having unsettled traditions is implemented in the campaign setting through role play. While I elaborated the key distinctions, more details about the tradition will be hash out during play.

The only mechanic impacted are loss of honor related to the a few skills and especially breach of etiquette.

Role in the Campaign

Unsettled tradition creates a lot of supports for the sandbox but also for the age of heroes theme and the empire building theme.

For the sandbox, the lack of traditions will give the players more agency since they will be able to apply solution not normally available to samurais in later century.

For the Age of Heroes theme, the lack of traditions put more emphasis on a characters glory and honor pushing player characters to become heroes.

For the empire building theme, the lack of disdain for commerce make it easier for the player characters to be involved in building the empire.

Campaign Themes

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