In modern Rokugan, Bushido is integral to almost every aspect of a samurai’s life, and the proper way to uphold the Code is subject of continual. The L5R 4e Resource Guide: Code of Bushido & The Way of the Crane The set -up of the new 4e L5R more easily allows the use of materials. All Samurai are expected to live by a strict code of ethics known as Bushido ( which literally translates to “The way of the warrior”). The principles.

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That raises the questions: Which of them offer new insights into the pre-Clan War period and beyond? Which of them offer more universally dode setting material? This series aims to answer those questions. Note that I leave aside any and all mechanical material and questions for purposes of these reviews. Rather they teach the character and, hopefully, the player where they stand when their deepest beliefs are on the line. On the one hand, I do think it is important to place samurai PCs in positions which conflict with their values.

Challenging those positions and making the players swing back between states creates drama and tension.

Age of Ravens: The L5R 4e Resource Guide: Code of Bushido & The Way of the Crane

It gives the players a chance to play out cool stuff at the table. And it can take a while to show players how these codes actually operate in this world. They need to be dealt with- enforced in some manner: Otherwise they have no weight and the game is simply a fantasy rpg with cooler swords. I know from experience how well players deal with that. I think there are degree of linearity- with choices within them. The Enemy Within series has great earlier modules which combine a solid through-line with lots of room for player exploration and choice.

Unfortunately the series finishes with a tightly plotted and orchestrated adventure. When choices are narrowed to one consistently or outcomes predetermined regardless of player input, that bugs me. I call this “The Wedding Ring” problem.

l5f This comes from a particular Skyrim quest that my wife continually complains about. In it, a husband asks you to go and rescue his wife from bandits. You assume it is the wife. But cde after you discover that the wife is alive and o5r the leader of the bandits.

So you return to her husband, and… …and the obvious choice at this point would be to tell him that his wife was killed by the bandits. Perhaps you could even use that wedding as a prop?

But no, the game only allows you to tell him that you killed his wife. Your only real choice is to walk away from the quest which leaves it incomplete and in your log book. Code of Bushido is a page module with three linked mini adventures.

It focuses on questions of Bushido and introduces the Mantis a little to the setting the most until the Way of the Minor Clans a couple of years later.


Honestly any art in a module ought to serve a purpose: The cardstock cover has decent maps on the interior. The floorplans could be clde generally useful. A Matter of Honor: All three of these modules share some NPCs, and players can easily move from one to another.

Running the latter episodes would be more difficult if you skipped the earlier ones. The set up for this story has the PC group escorting a caravan to a Shugenja tournament. An additional element lies in at least two of the PCs being ordered to woo the hand of a relative of the Emperor.

That will work for some games and not others. I would have liked a little more support and detail for running the Shugenja tournament itself.

The PCs have to be stupid. It feels really forced- especially because the group then has to go on rather than following up on that incident.

You end up with three separate incidents which will likely antagonize the group unless handled very carefully to conceal their nature. Testimony, Murder, and Lies: Another murder mystery, but this one with a Winter Court set up. But the material here is useful for running such an event in game. This mixes free range play with a more linear approach once the murder occurs.

The text seems to assume that all of the players share a daimyo. GMs will need to read through the text carefully and figure out how juggle that. Those problems aside, the story has some clever ideas and far-reaching implications. The shortest of the adventures, and one relying on playthrough of the previous episodes. It does offer some striking character interactions. Finally, for reasons of the plot, the module ends with a discussion of the Mantis and the introduction of the Mantis Bushi school.

Much of this is better fleshed out in later supplements. Still the ideas here are workable, if the GM is willing to put in the time. We see authors with a freer hand to create concepts who work skillfully threading the pieces and patterns they can. From the Crab book up through the Phoenix book and especially the Scorpion volume the clans feel coherent and the authors have a grasp on what they represent. The Crane in Rokugan exemplify art, civility, culture, beauty, social graces. They also represent one of the hurdles in roleplaying in the setting.

That has to actually be shown through actions, through the reactions of others, through events. The mechanics of an RPG often allow and push players towards telling: Playing a Crane often means playing a graceful and refined creature. The real problem comes when players approach these characters with assumptions or chips on their shoulder. They expect the GM to play it that way. I love the inclusion of Courtiers and social characters as a viable option in L5R. I also know that if a player opts to follow that path, I need to talk with them about that ahead of time- to establish their comfort zone and give them reasonable expectations about how I might run those details.


Which brings us to the actual book, The Way of the Cranea slightly longer volume at pages. Brian Snoddy provides the excellent cover artwork mixing beauty and dynamism. Here they actually work- reflecting the evolving art direction from AEG.

The layout’s solid and the organization remains the same: Chapter Three is pretty exclusively character mechanics save for a couple of interesting sidebars. The section on arts here is hugely useful however. Chapter Five presents sample characters useful as NPCs. Here author Ree Soesbee opts for a shorter and more mythic piece. But old favorite Doji Hoturi does pop up in the generally excellent Chapter One material- perspectives on the Crane from other clans.

L5R: The Tenets of Bushido – Caligo Mundi

The text makes it sound as if the Unicorn have only arrived a little before the First Core setting. It also suggests that Gaijin regularly trade with the Empire. Chapter Two covers the various families of the Crane. The author chooses to integrate more of the historical and warfare details under the families themselves, rather than as an expansive history section before that. The concepts here are excellent- with some really nice details on philosophies of the sword and culture.

The sidebar concepts- on naming, mons, the Sparrow Clan, and other topics- offer rich additional details.

Chapter Five gives us the background and details on nine of the major NPCs of the period. The material here does an excellent job of bhshido insight into the tensions coed under the surface of this Clan. In particular, Doji Kwanan demonstrates the difficulty posed by the Multiple Schools advantage. That, and an earlier sidebar on the topic, offer useful advice for GMs facing power players who want all of the cool stuff.

The appendices begin with seven pages on the lands of the Crane, complemented by sidebars on what the Crane think of other Clans. Appendix two covers Mizu-do, the Crane unarmed martial art. Later material would, of course, give every Clan some kind of martial arts form. An appendix covers some new spells, but does include several new Nemuranai and fetishes. In particular posters point to The Way of the Crane as a particularly egregious example of this problem.

You can simply and completely ignore all of those concerns. Instead a good book ought to offer new insights, give suggestions on how to present these concepts at the table, and provide adventure hooks and seeds. In that respect, whatever its failings as a 1e book, The Way of the Crane does some of that well.

Code of Bushido

It is a useful purchase for later edition GMs. I would have preferred more scenario and story ideas and fewer new mechanical options for the Crane. Posted by Lowell Bushieo at 1: Newer Post Older Post Home.