[Review] Legend of the Five Rings: Imperial Histories

Posted: February 27, 2012 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Legend of the Five Rings, Reviews, Roleplaying Games

Imperial Histories is one of those products that is good for both old fans of an established setting while being great for new fans who are just getting into it.

Given the fact that the setting for Legend of the Five Rings has been around for 15 years, it can be downright intimidating for people new to the setting. This is doubly true for new GMs who are still trying to find their legs.

What Imperial Histories sets off to do is to present various comprehensive snapshots of the various heroic eras of Rokugan’s history. Each and every one of these eras were chosen for the way they are conducive to having player characters take the reins and forge their own destinies.

For older players who have been with Rokugan for a while, the book is a treasure trove of trivia and little details, and covers eras that have otherwise not been given much (or even any) attention at all. Add the fact that the book also covers a few alternate timelines which introduce some rather dramatic changes to Rokugan, and the book instantly becomes a must buy from sheer content alone.

Each of the eras is treated with a staggering amount of detail. The sheer number of plausible plot hooks in each era is enough to fuel many months of gaming, and I am very glad to find that GMs are encouraged by the design team to apply the “L5R Your Way” Philosophy of 4e by offering alternate takes on how history could have happened.

Of course, each era also includes stats and bios for notable personalities for the era. New mechanics are also introduced to handle elements that are unique to the era as well, including alternate paths and new schools.

The artwork and layout of the book remains every bit as superb and jaw-dropping as when I first had a glimpse of the 4e corebook. I’m happy to have the pdf, but I know that my shelf will never be complete unless I get this book in hardcover format.

All in all, Imperial Histories is another must-buy for the L5R gaming group. The plot hooks are awesome, and all the eras presented are intriguing and present ample opportunity to elevate player characters into heroes.

Those who are looking for new mechanics will find them here, and fans who have been so patiently waiting for details on the Thousand Years of Darkness storyline will find them here.

I cannot recommend this book enough to fans of the game. Along with Emerald Empire and Enemies of the Empire, Imperial Histories is a solid addition to the line and manages to enrich the L5R line without coming off as just another attempt to make a quick buck.

Imperial Histories is available from DriveThruRPG for $24.99 or roughly Php 1,075.00

  1. dbro36 says:

    Hey, I wasn’t sure how else to get in touch with you, so I will just reply here. Feel free to delete this post after you checked my stuff.

    I decided to create some visual aid stuff for setting generic fantasy stuff, and then thought of you and your L5R setting, so I also created some for an oriental setting.

    http://www.mediafire.com/?qaq409u7lzg06hm (the Oriental collection)
    http://www.mediafire.com/?pe2t5dtxbl48eed (the Generic collection)

    They are basically real life pictures that I applied a real quick filter to. This way, whatever the source (in this case most are from Wikipedia, meaning real places), I can tie them together, so I can use real life pics, anime, or photoshopped stuff (even poorly done), and all tie them together with the click of one filter. Another huge boon to this is, the pictures show enough to give a good idea, but are stil fuzzy enough to leave enough for the players imagination to fill in the details.

    Hope you like them! I still have to think of a good way to share these online. Might do it through my blog. Let me know what you think.

  2. dbro36 says:

    Oh, and sorry for the double post, but if there is any stuff you want done this way, email me the pics and I will do it for you! Best wishes.

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