[Review] Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire, 4e

Posted: September 20, 2011 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Legend of the Five Rings, Reviews, Roleplaying Games

Now that I’m currently running through my L5R 4e campaign, Never a Dull Blade (with actual play reports 1 and 2 already up) I’m finally getting a chance to peruse the various 4e pdfs that have been released to add more depth to my game.  Among all the books released so far by Alderac, Emerald Empire is still my favorite book, as it provides a comprehensive look at all aspects of Rokugani society.

One thing to remember about L5R in general is that the setting is huge and often very difficult to get into.  People coming in cold will find that the setting has a very detailed culture, one with various social nuances that can be completely alien to those who haven’t had much exposure to L5R.  Being someone who has been a fan of the setting since it’s early days as a CCG, my transition to the RPG world of L5R was much easier, but I still feel that the Emerald Empire book is a goldmine of information for anyone even remotely interested in the setting both as a GM and a Player.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating at all when I say that Emerald Empire should be considered seminal reading for anyone who is looking to play in this setting.  The writing is excellent, with each chapter focusing on one aspect of life in Rokugan, providing the kind of minutiae that lends depth and color to a game.  It’s the attention to small details that really shows off just how much the writing team loves the setting, and wants to communicate that enthusiasm and enjoyment to the reader.

That said, those who are looking for crunch will find that the book doesn’t let them down, as the book also features several new schools for player characters as well as other mechanics, such as the much-awaited Way of the Daimyo rules that allow for player characters to administer to their own provinces, raising the game to an interesting macro-level sort of conflict.  Given the kind of heroics that player characters often find themselves up to, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find that they might end up running their own province.

If anyone were to ask me if there was one supplement that should be purchased along with the core book for L5R, Emerald Empire would be it.  It might not be as full of rules as some players would have liked, but the setting information and cultural notes are roleplaying gold.  L5R has long prided itself as a setting where words are stronger than steel, and Emerald Empire goes on to show exactly why that is.

Emerald Empire is available from DriveThruRPG for only $24.99 or roughly Php 1074.00

  1. […] Emerald Empire is a great view of the life of those who live in Rokugan, The Great Clans is a must have book […]

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