Tuesday, March 8, 2011
L5R Spotlight - System
In my last post in this L5R spotlight, I showed one of the characters that I made for a theoretical game. If I ever get a chance to play L5R, I will definitely be interested in using a couple of the characters that I have rolled up. The Character creation system is pretty simple, so I’ll walk you through the basics.
L5R is a quasi class based game. Although your character class isn’t as strict and confining as it would be in games such as D&D 4e, you do have a pretty clear cut idea of what your role is based on the “class” you’re taking. Of course, they don’t really refer to them as classes, but Bushi, Courtier, Shugenja, Ninja, and Monk are pretty much classes in L5R.
After you pick your class, you next pick your clan/family/school. This combination determines your character’s basic starting package and gives you a bunch of mechanical powers all at once; in addition, your clan/family/school combination gives you some awesome fluffy background to help start generating a story for your character. I think that this combination is really great. A Crab clan Bushi does not feel the same as a Lion Clan Bushi from a fluff or mechanic perspective. In fact, playing as a Bushi from the same clan, but from a different school, can also be a very different experience from both a story and game point of view.
After you pick your starting package, the rest of character generation is based on a point buy system where you can pick a number of attributes, skills, spells, advantages, and disadvantages (which refund points back to you). The disadvantages and advantages in particular stand out as giving your character a lot of story – the mechanics and fluff here are very heavily bonded. Some advantage/disadvantages give you point discounts (bonuses in the case of disadvantages) which make a particular mechanic more appealing to take based on what type of character you are playing. For example, Crab clan Bushi can be “Large” more easily than other character.
The game system and the character system in this game combine to make for a very easy game to handle. Though the game could be called “rules heavy” it doesn’t really feel so cumbersome. Give the system a try and you’ll probably feel the same way.