Sunday, 26 September 2010

Back to Rokugan

Some years ago I played in a very entertaining Legend of the Five Rings campaign, and today I returned to mystic Rokugan as my son Sebastian kicked off his own campaign, this time using the d20 Oriental Adventures supplement. One of the real challenges here is being able to take my Pathfinder hat off, and put my 3.5 D&D hat back on - not an easy undertaking.

A little background first. We have four characters in the party: a Lion samurai, who seems a bit dim and blunders around a lot; a Nezumi from the Crab; a Unicorn shaman; and a Phoenix shugenja. The campaign opened with the four characters dining in the house of the Lion governor of the city of Zimbwa when they were alerted by the arrival of a frightened priest, telling them some goblins had attacked a nearby temple. The city is already in turmoil, with regular riots between competing street factions, so no garrison troops were available.

The party duly armed itself, politely retired from dinner, and headed for the temple. The goblins were busy trying to set light to it, but we interrupted them and a fight duly ensued. The samurai was largely useless, despite wielding a katana; he did not roll above an 8 for the whole fight. The real surprise was the nezumi ratling, equipped with a naginata and a tail spike, who put three goblins down, and at one point scored simultaneous critical hits with both naginata and tail spike. Nice.

The shaman summoned a minor oni which was equipped with sharp claws, a poison barb and a breath weapon, and took care of two goblins itself.

More goblins had been hiding on the roof, and jumped down to join the fray, but by the end of it, 10 of them lay dead on the floor of the temple, with only the samurai wounded.

Securing the temple against further attack, we found a box containing a ring which can summon another minor oni, which we gave to the shugenja. We also found a Lion ancestral necklace which only a samurai can use and which summons the spirit of a dead Lion general. We were also rewarded with 40 koku by the grateful priests.

Chatting to the priests over a cup of cha, we were told that there is a high degree of political tension between the clergy and the local garrison, and that priests are regularly harassed by the random checkpoints set up by Lion bushi. One particular group of Lion samurai has been singled out by the priests for retribution, and they have asked our party - despite the presence of a Lion samurai - to deal with them.

The priest also mentioned that they had heard rumours of something dark and evil lurking in the Unicorn territories, and that they knew of a deserted castle on the main road on the other side of the river which might be worth an explore.

So, lots to think about as we consider what our next move should be!


  1. I bought the first edition of Lo5R from Hive on Kensington Gardens. I liked the game, but never got far with it for two reasons. Firstly, my group at the time didn't seem very interested in it, and secondly, that first edition was so badly edited it was almost unplayable as is.

    I also never really warmed to Rokugan as a setting; I would have preferred a Mythic Japan in the same way Pendragon presents a Mythic Britain.

  2. We played 3rd edition Lo5R about three years ago, and it rocked! This time around we're using Oriental Adventures plus the Rokugan supplement from Alderac. Too many clashes with Pathfinder, so we're switching to 3.5 for this. Shouldn't be a problem, as Seb likes to wing quite a bit of stuff in the interests of plot progression.

  3. I do love it that you've got into a second regular game, and it's being run by your son. One might suspect that you planned it this way...

  4. I would like to play in a samurai epic sometime - even if it was a one off or small mini-series. Love my Kurosawa movies. & Yes - with you on the Mythic Japan idea. I also like the simplicity of the Dragon Fist setting as well - sort of like feudal japan meets the water margin of china. Kewl. :)

  5. Seb a bit under the weather again, so may not see an Rokugan action this weekend. Will have to see. Having said that, he doesn't tend to let anything like illness get between him and his gaming table!