Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying in the Emerald Empire- Introduction

"We tell tales of heroes to remind ourselves tha we can also be great."

The book that started it all, or it would be if my copy wasn't a 2nd printing. I'm not sure what are the differences between the four different printings (and in fact I was told that they could be quite substantial), so I won't claim any of my observations to be universal.

Starting with the physical object, L5R is a 256 page perfect bound hardcover. I got my personal copy 2nd hand in late 2001, early 2002, and I must say it withstood the ravages of time quite well, only the glossy clan sheets have become detached (which is apparently a common complaint), but otherwise it is quite intact.

The cover itself is... Well, atrocious, as you can see to the left. I have a hard time finding a better example on how to fail in conveing what your setting is and being at odds with it. Fortunately the inside artwork is far, far superior.

There is a very good table of contents, which makes up for the lack of an index (which could have easily taken the four pages devoted to adds at the back of the book).

The book starts off with an small introductory section of about five pages with the usual "what is roleplaying" section, followed by a small primer on the "Rokugani" language (which then is usually ignored in the game and fiction...), and then ending in a glossary of "Rokugani" terms and stock phrases.

Personally I'm a big fan of translation convention, I'm a Portuguese guy, playing an american RPG about fantasyland samurai. We should assume that the characters coming from a shared cultural universe are capable of understanding each other, so I don't see much point to the waste of space in stock phrases for the sake of a supposed brand of flavour. Common loanwords, and names are of course exempt, and anybody knows that some jargon will inevitably seep into the language, but that's it.

Next up I'm going to take a look into the Book of Earth .

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