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Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire $24.99
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire
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Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Ryan M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/10/2018 05:26:58

This is arguably my favorite L5R 4e book. Not only is it packed full of detailed, interesting information relevant to any campaign in Rokugan, it is just a pleasure to read on its own whether or not you're preparing for a campaign in Rokugan. This is a 303 page tome with eleven chapters: geography, customs, social structure, politics, the arts, money and commerce, law and order, religion, education, war, and the world beyond Rokugan, along with a glossary and an optional subsytem called Way of the Daimyo aimed at allowing players to play characters of higher status, such as daimyo, abbots, sensei, or other positions of significance. Each chapter also includes a new mechanic of some sort, sometimes more than one, and here is where you will find the rules for popular schools from previous editions like the Ikoma's Shadow, Hida Pragmatists, and Shinjo Bushi.

The first time I read this book, I couldn't put it down. I went from cover to cover in glee; the quality of the writing and presentation is just sublime. Nowadays, some 6 or 7 years later, I still love actually reading this book. When I get the notice that the PDF had been updated, I flipped through to see what changed, and I had to stop myself before I read the whole thing again because it was basically like getting it fresh. This book has helped make my games richer and my characters more interesting, and I can't recommend it enough for anyone interested in playing L5R. Because most of the info is setting info, it should even still be useful going forward into Fantasy Flight's new edition. That being said, I have some qualifications to this, some things that inhibit my enjoyment.

First is that the art is pulled primarily (or exclusively, I can't tell) from the card game. Now, the card game's art isn't bad, but it often isn't the best representation of what the setting actually looks like. Everyone wears a color-coded kimono openly declaring their clan allegiance when the text tells us this is not usually the case and that Rokugani value a variety in colors and patterns on their clothes. Plunging necklines and exposed shoulders are common, and the text tells us this would be unthinkable to the prudish, modest Rokugani. It pulls me out of the text to see fashion discussed in one segment, and there's an art piece on the next page more-or-less negating all of that. The other thing is the bookmarks don't work for me and have never worked. In fact, the non-functional bookmarks is why I can't give this the fifth star. Maybe it's just my PDF reader? I don't know. I haven't tested it out. All I know is it's aggravating.

But in the end, I still love this book. It's one of the best additions to L5R4e, and one of the best role-playing supplements out there period. You cannot go wrong with a purchase of Emerald Empire.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/19/2014 03:01:17


Das Grundregelwerk von L5R stellte das Kaiserreich und die Clans ausführlich vor. Wie aber leben die Menschen in Rokugan eigentlich genau? Diese Frage beantwortet die Erweiterung Emerald Empire. Hier wird auf 302 Seiten ein ungewöhnlich detailreicher Einblick in die Gesellschaft des Landes gewährt. Dabei steht das Alltagsleben der Bewohner im Vordergrund. So werden die Tagesroutinen von Samurai, Mönch und Shugenja beschrieben und auf besondere Eigenheiten der einzelnen Clans eingegangen. Es gibt sogar eine ganze Seite über Essstäbchen und ihre Bedeutung in der Kultur Rokugans. Die Beschreibungen von Festen wie Geburt, Heirat oder Gempukku (die Schwertleite eines Samurai) sind detailliert und helfen Spielleitern dabei, diese in einem Abenteuer darzustellen.

Etwas trocken geraten ist der Überblick über kaiserliche Gesetze, die Struktur der gegebenen Ordnung der Dinge (Celestial Order) sowie das Leben bei Hofe. Mehr Beispiel-NSCs hätten dem Buch auch gut getan. Dafür beantworten die Beschreibungen wirklich viele Fragen an das Setting und helfen dabei, die sozialen Nuancen in anderen Erweiterungsbänden zu verstehen. Die Kapitel über die Künste (Poesie, Theater, Tätowieren, Teezeremonie) sowie Erziehung und Handel betonen ungewöhnliche Aspekte des Settings und geben interessante Anregungen für kleinere Abenteuer. Einige Tabellen, etwa zur Verfügbarkeit von Gegenständen oder zu zufälligen Ereignissen bei Hofe, sind dabei aber die einzigen neuen Mechaniken des Bandes.

Besonders lesenswert ist das kurze Kapitel (9 Seiten) über die Gaijin Nations, also Länder jenseits von Rokugan. Hier werden die Ivory Kingdoms oder das Kalifat von Medinaat al-Salaam vorgestellt. Ein paar neue Schulen (Shinjo Bushi, Ikoma Lions Shadow) runden das Buch ab, sind allein aber kaum ein Kaufgrund.

Fazit: Sehr detailliert und nützlich für mehr Realismus. Für Spielrunden, die nach mehr Hintergrund für das Asia-Fantasy-Setting suchen, ist Emerald Empire eine Offenbarung. Rokugan und seine Bewohner erwachen auf den Seiten durch die Details und Erklärungen zum Leben. Spielleiter können es als Nachschlagewerk nutzen, um bestimmte Abschnitte einer Kampagne auszugestalten. Wer mehr über Rokugan wissen möchte, kann mit Emerald Empire nichts falsch machen. Action-orientierten Spielrunden dürften die Kapitel über Kleinigkeiten des täglichen Lebens aber wenig bringen.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/20/2011 08:03:31

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.

This is an excerpt of my review on my blog. To read the entire review, kindly visit: http://wp.me/p5H0U-Rd

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Lyle H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/29/2011 16:54:37

This product is extremely useful for anyone playing Legend of the Five Rings in the canon setting or a near-canon setting, in that it is full of information and details relating to the Rokugan setting. It is also a document of high production values, with attractive layout and well done illustrations. Due to the somewhat idiosyncratic game engine upon which the Legend of the Five Rings has been constructed, the game-mechanics portions of this text would be difficult to translate to other game systems, but the narrative portions would still be useful for ideas and tone for any historic asian setting.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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