[L5R – Never a Dull Blade] Prepping for Session 3

Posted: September 22, 2011 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Legend of the Five Rings, Roleplaying Games

Well, the weekend’s almost here (yay!) and so it’s time for me to turn my thoughts towards the game I’ll be running.  So far the campaign has been pretty good, and many of the players have voiced that despite it not exactly being what they expected an all-Lion Clan game to go, they’re enjoying themselves thus far.  This is a huge relief for me, given that I’ve secretly been worried that they might think I’m pulling a bait-and-switch.

In any case, at least that issue is no longer a concern, and I can proceed to working on the next item on my agenda.  So far the games have centered on various themes or issues that surround the reality of life as a Samurai in Rokugan.  The first one covered by the first two and a half sessions is about an affront to the celestial hierarchy.  A Merchant’s son and his gang of hoodlum sailors and peasants have murdered a samurai, a girl who is above their station.  There are multiple levels of depravity going on here from the Rokugani perspective:

  1. Lesser caste attacking someone higher up in the hierarchy
  2. A gang of men assaulting a lone, young woman

In dealing with such a situation, the team must then find a way to resolve both.  They were able to somewhat help the family cope with the loss of their daughter (though the older brother became a Deathseeker to  bear the brunt of the dishonor) but the first issue is still to be resolved.  Making sure to punish the guilty for this is important to preserve the Rokugani status quo.

Of course, once that’s done, I think I can start moving on to looking at a different facet of Rokugani life.  Question now is, which one?  I think what I’m ending up going for in this campaign is a slice-of-life / semi-sandbox where issues come to light and the reactions of the players influence how things turn out.  I’m still not really thinking of a singular uber-antagonist as I can’t reconcile the idea of having a Big Bad as coming off as rather… artificial at times.  There are enemies, yes, and occasionally you get someone that can really polarize people to band together against a common threat, but most of the time enemies are just other people with differing opinions.

  1. Very true. Rokugan usually has lots of villains but only one Big Bad and he is essentially unkillable. But of human scale enemies there are no lack. Rokugan is not, after all, a very nice place.

  2. Anthony says:

    let the players sandbox enough and they’ll make their own Big Bad, or become someone else’s Big Bad.

    I’ve specifically been avoiding it in my own L5R game as well for just the reason you mentioned. In response, each one of my players is working towards their own demise.

  3. drakharios says:

    What if they had to punish a clan vassal who failed at some duty, but for humanly good reason? The possible conflicts in just trying to follow Bushido can make for some great tragedies.

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