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Tabletop Game Legend Of The Five Rings Discussion

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Kalaong
Topic
09:15:53 PM Aug 23rd 2014
edited by 68.47.80.112
Just wanted to preserve Ironcat's opinion of the setting; it has bite.
  • Legend Of The Five Rings is similar to Warhammer 40,000, minus the sense of self-parody. Its setting, Rokugan, is a version of feudal Japan where adherence to bushido is turned Up to Eleven; where extreme racism and classism are considered virtues, and where everyone is pretty much expected to be an emotionless robot existing only to obey their superiors. All of which is fine when you’re playing as a Nonentity General, controlling an entire clan abstractly via a card game… but then the RPG came along, where you’re actually put into the role of one individual and forced to see just what a Crapsack World the place truly is, and what an Idiot Plot the storyline has been in order for it to have turned out that way. It serves as a great example of how a setting can be friendly to one type of game, and hostile to another.
SpectralTime
01:36:42 AM Aug 24th 2014
...Okay, couple things.

First, the RPG book literally has multiple sections on why that isn't necessarily true, and how everybody isn't some kind of robot. That is, in fact, the entire point of the game. Having to take up the roleplaying challenge of managing conflicts between duty and desire is a feature of the system and setting rather than a bug. It is what people are playing the game for.

Two, the exact degree to which "racism and classism are considered virtues" is and has always been in a state of extreme flux. The Mantis gets rich off trans-oceanic trade and legally inducts foreign and non-human bushi, the Dragon has a public education system for its commoners, the Unicorn clan are practically foreigners themselves, the Naga were a non-human great clan for a full edition before going back to sleep, the Monkey were founded by a commoner who was also the Emperor's best bro, etc. Presenting the views of the Lion clan (or, unkindly, the stereotypical prideful asshole clan who doesn't respect anyone else, even within Rokugan) as universal is disingenuous at best and deliberate obfuscation at worst.

Third, I could be cruel. I could find whatever other fantasy setting Ironcat's pitching, and point out that there's probably shitloads of the very problems he complains about there too. But instead, I'm going to delete Crapsack World off the page, and wait for someone to offer up a critique beyond "I'm a hipster. It's cool to hate on Japan, so I'mma go hate on Fantasy Japan."
Kalaong
07:24:51 AM Aug 25th 2014
edited by 68.47.80.112
How about the version altered by Ramidel?
  • Its setting, Rokugan, is a version of feudal Japan where adherence to bushido is turned Up to Eleven, and where the fabric of society melts down in general civil war every generation or two. This, of course, allows for a TCG where entire clans are pitted against each other by Nonentity Generals, but also for a harsh Crapsack World for the RPG, where a samurai is challenged with insane, no-win situations just from the nature of living in the world.
SpectralTime
08:08:28 AM Aug 25th 2014
edited by 71.226.98.222
...Well, now that I'm less tired and grumpy...

I still feel it's an unnecessarily harsh read. For one, as the page itself jokes, there have been more wars in the last hundred or so years than in the thousand that preceded it. Furthermore, both editions of the RPG I own suggest at least starting in one of the many moments of "relatively peaceful status quo" that have existed within the game's timeline, and choosing how warlike the clans really are is the GM's choice more than anything else.

I wouldn't say that it's wrong to do a L 5 R game where life sucks, everyone's a dick, and the roleplaying choice of "How will your character die?" isn't worth the paper it's printed on. But I would deny that it's the only acceptable interpretation of the setting. Maybe go onto the YMMV page, and post it under Alternative Character Interpretation? "Some look at the setting and find a Crapsack World of impossible choices and no-win scenarios created by the strictures of the card game?"

Once again, though, I don't feel that Rokugan is outright bad as much as it is an Adventure-Friendly World. Like every other tabletop RPG setting ever made, there are conflicts and problems, but they're intended to make fun combat and roleplaying challenges for the player, not to trap him in impossible no-win scenarios. It's not like the average D&D setting isn't a mire of genocidal race wars and political/cultural stagnation, but no one accuses the Forgotten Realms of being a Crapsack World.
Crowbar
Topic
09:47:14 PM Feb 6th 2012
edited by Crowbar
Moved all the trope sections about the Great Clans into a new character sheet page, because that's essentially what the list was. Could use some cleaning up and some brief descriptions of the individual clans.
frdcrllr
08:00:00 PM Feb 22nd 2012
You could have merged all the clan pages into one general trope list, or you could have put it to a vote. But no, we now have what is essentially entire nations in the character page.

This is really silly.