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Ultimate Toolbox
by Jon H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/11/2014 21:09:38
The ultimate Toolbox is the best thing since Swiss cheese! No DM should be without it regardless of what game you are playing. i found the extensive tables helpful in my games.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Toolbox
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Evil
by Jeff A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/22/2014 15:47:40
To be honest, I only bought this book for one race that my friend wanted to run in my game. That being said, I did page through it, and found it to be a very useful sourcebook.

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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Evil
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Secrets of the Empire
by Kathleen D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2014 14:14:37
Content-wise, this is a great book with lots of useful information.

On the other hand, it's a terrible pdf (like all the other AEG ones I own), as it's super slow to load. It's also 'secured' so you can't even print to a new pdf file that might be less rubbish. If other publishers can make pretty pdfs that are fast and nimble, why can't this one be too?

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Secrets of the Empire
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Creatures of Rokugan
by Lennart B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/08/2014 18:25:07
First, let me rate the content of this monster book. Creates of Rokugan is organised like the official d20 monster books and use the same keywords and formatting. It is intended to be used for adventures in Rokugan, the default campaign setting for Legend of the Five Rings, but is a nice addition for every game master who would like to use some oriental monster in his campaign.

Creates of Rokugan features more than a hundred new monsters, a few templates, items and sample NPCs as well as prestige classes, new magical items and rules for Tainted character that have been corrupted by the Taint of the Shadowlands. Many creatures are established creatures from Legend of the Five Rings, though some (like the tengu-like kenku) come from D&D. Most monsters are evil supernatural creatures like undead, oni and other spirits. This is alright, though, as there are enough d20 books with mundane monsters already.

The illustrations are good too excellent, but all are black-and-white, as the entire interior of the book. And sadly, this is the last positive aspect of this product.

The book was originally published in 2001 (as a physical product) while this PDF is available since 2006. This makes me wonder why it is a scan instead of an actual digital book? Did they accidentally delete the original digital files? However, this is mentioned in the RPGNow sidebar, so I knew it before I bought this product.

However, I was not informed about the absolutely abysmal quality of the scan (the preview as too short to show how miserable the scan is)! Firstly, the resolution is very low. There are no sharp edges, which means that the PDF is probably a collection of JPGs (as opposed to an image format of higher quality,). There are white lines on all sidebars which I'm sure weren't in the original prints.

Furthermore, the PDF has no hyperlinked table of contents (halfway understandable as it's a scan) and not bookmarks at all, which is simply not acceptable. An amateur with a PDF editor could add bookmarks for all the monsters in about an hour, so I expect that from an established publisher as well. Needless to say that the page numbers reflect the total page numbers of the PDF, not the ones that are actually on the page. Also, the back cover is not where it belongs but is the second page for some reason.

The OCR (optical character recognition) is unacceptable. Entire paragraphs as not selectable at all. Only black text on white background is selectable. This was scanned in 2006. That's not very long ago. Scanners back then were solid. Even the amateurish scanner I have at home delivers better results than this. Sure, I could simply OCR the PDF again, but that's not possible without cracking the file as the PDF is secured. And I'm sure not all buyers have the necessary software for that. Oh, and due to the aforementioned low resolution of the PDF, not all text is transferred correctly when copied to a text editor.

Don't buy this product. Don't support abysmal service like this.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Creatures of Rokugan
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Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition
by Iam B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2014 13:14:38
Great Book! I love that L5R has moved into a 4th edition, it is more balanced and greatly more supported and I strongly recommend it for anyone who likes role playing and samurai.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings 4th Edition
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Stargate SG-1: Roleplaying Game
by David K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/01/2014 13:28:29
The biggest issue with this book is the horrible scan of the pages itself. Most of the book is either fuzzy or out of focus. You would think that AEG would provide a better scan for this book.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Stargate SG-1: Roleplaying Game
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World's Largest Dungeon, The
by David R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/19/2014 16:23:05
I'd like to give this product a better review but when I pay $40 for a PDF dealing with something called the World's Largest Dungeon and there are absolutely ZERO bookmarks all I can say is WTF? And the maps? They don't line up leaving huge gaps when you print them out.

If the technical issues are addressed with the PDFs and Maps I'll review based on actual content. But for me the technical issues are deal breakers.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
World's Largest Dungeon, The
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Secrets of the Empire
by Jeremy M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/20/2013 12:45:55
Recently purchaced this and was not disapointed. The history of the minor clans realy needed to be told and this did it nicely. Was not expecting to much in game mechanics but I was pleasently suprised with the Ronin/Bushi School and the Minor Clan Heritage Table (This was needed). With the new school the Minor Clans that have no listed Bushi School, like the Moshi, can have clan Samurai without having to take different school.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Secrets of the Empire
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Secrets of the Empire
by Jack B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/20/2013 12:25:14
Love this book. Like all of AEG's books it is beautiful and PDFs are so nice to read on a tablet or large phone. The art, layout, and even filler fiction is as always excellent.

This book fills in so many holes in the material relased thus far. It makes playing Minor Clans, Ronin, and Monks a much more rewarding experience.

The whole section at the end about the Realms opens up alot avenues to creative GMs. If you are playing/GMing a Kitsune or a Kitsu this section is a must.

Given the poor binding quality of Alderac's physical books, these PDFs have been a life saver. I hope the publisher continues to release the PDF books so quickly after the physical book release.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Legend of the Five Rings: Strongholds of the Empire
by John Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/11/2013 11:38:25
An excellent source of information to help those GM's who need information to set the background of their stories. This source book was a big very help to me in understanding how different clans run their unique cities and holds within them. The most useful was the write up on Toshi Ranbo itself along with complete stat layouts of several of the most notable NPCs there. The icing on the book itself was the additional game mechanics included at the end of each chapter and the layout of each city as an individual chapter. The only bad thing I can say about this book are the misprinted game mechanics in some sections. Excellent read and a must for GM's and Players alike!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Strongholds of the Empire
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Naishou Province - 2013 GENCON RPG
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/08/2013 23:26:50
I’m really THIS close to declaring Legend of the Five Rings, 4th edition to be the RPG that is most supportive to GMs in my entire experience in the hobby.

The recently released Naishou Province supplement is just more proof of it.

I know that many of those who’v read my previous reviews of L5R books have heard it before, but getting the hang of a setting as exotic and different as Rokugan is difficult for new GMs. The Naishou Province presents an entire province of Rokugan, from locations, to NPCs and plot hooks, all ready for a GM to use in their games.

The Naishou Province is not tied to a specific location in Rokugan, allowing GMs to place it wherever they feel most comfortably in.

The book itself is divided into several sections detailing the Provincial Capital, Settlements inside the province, the Geography of Naishou and a sample adventure which the GM can run or mine for ideas.

The Naishou Province book also allows for different kinds of adventures, from political conspiracies to combat and magic. There’s plenty to see and do in the Naishou province, and the book can easily fuel a long-term campaign as the GM can just keep inserting new complications and the interest of the other Great Clans over the unaligned province.

Mechanics-wise, Naishou Province is a little bit underwhelming, but given that it was meant to be more of a setting book I don’t feel that it is at fault. Lion Clan fans will be happy with the inclusion of a new Basic School in the form of the Lion Elite Spearmen, as well as the mechanics of the Magari-Yari, signature weapon of Matsu Gohei, the Butcher.

One thing of note however is that Naishou Province feels rather short, being a companion volume to another upcoming L5R book: Secrets of the Empire, a book that will detail the Ronin, Minor Clans, Imperial Families and the Brotherhood of Shinsei. I have no complaints about it however, and if I was to get a new GM to start an L5R campaign, I’d easily refer The Naishou Province supplement as one of their first books outside of the core.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Naishou Province - 2013 GENCON RPG
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Legend of the Five Rings: Imperial Histories 2
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/08/2013 18:30:46
Among the many excellent books for the 4th Edition of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG, the Imperial Histories series is perhaps the one that I would recommend for busy GMs. Imperial Histories presents several alternative eras for an L5R campaign, each being a very game-able setup with enough hooks and twists to keep things fresh and interesting.

Imperial Histories 2 is divided into the following settings:

The Togashi Dynasty – An alternate Rokugan wherein Togashi defeats Hantei in the tournament to decide who should become Emperor in the dawn of the Empire. The resulting setting is one full of interesting supernatural wonders and a stronger presence of nonhuman races as opposed to the default setting.

The Reign of the Shining Prince – Taking place in the reign of the second Emperor, this setting is an introspective one for the Empire. Having fought the first Day of Thunder, the second Emperor finds himself saddled with the duty of making the Empire worthy of the sacrifices of the Kami. It’s less bombastic than the other settings, but I find that it is the one with more options to explore the foundations that made the Rokugan what it is in the present.

The Iron Empire – Again another intriguing setting, this one discusses Rokugan if samurai were slowly being displaced by technological progress? By adopting foreign technologies, Rokugan finds itself evolving differently, and along interesting branches of development. Steam engines, guns, and other technologies transform Rokugan into something similar but also teeming with tension as traditionalists try to cling to old glories in the face of innovation.

Heresy of the Five Rings – This setting offers a different angle, as it deals with what happens when change in Rokugan happens from a Religious angle. This is especially useful for games centered around the more spiritual clans such as the Dragon and the Phoenix.

The Reign of the Steel Chrysanthemum – One of the most hated villains in Rokugan’s canon history is the Hantei XVI, the Steel Chrysanthemum. A cruel and vicious tyrant, his reign was considered to be one of the darkest in Rokugani history, which is saying something in a setting that is constantly beset by assaults from Ancient Evil Gods. That said this is great for the rebels and freedom fighter types.

The Eighth Century Crises – Perhaps one of the settings in the book that amuses me due to how closely it resembles standard RPG campaigns, this setting is a gauntlet of existential threats thrown at Rokugan one after the other. From the Maw to the Dark Oracles and the Bloodspeakers it’s a veritable buffet of evil for the heroes of Rokugan to confront (and hopefully defeat.)

The Return of the Unicorn – Perhaps it’s because I’ve been running a Unicorn Campaign, but this setting deals with a major turning point in the history of the Empire. It surprises me that it took this long for it to actually get the spotlight. The return of the former Ki-Rin Clan is a wake up call of sorts to the Empire to understand that the world does not revolve solely around them and that there are other places exotic and dangerous outside their borders.

The Shattered Empire – An alternate setting meant to take place after the Second Day of Thunder. This setting assumes that it was Togashi Hitomi to survive the confict against Fu Leng, and does not assume the throne, as Toturi did. This power vaccuum leaves the Clans working on recovering fast enough to put their candidate upon the empty throne.

The Four Winds Era – Detailing the age where the Four Winds were making their various bids for the throne, this is considered to be one of the better eras of the canon storyline. Interesting characters, plenty of opportunities for glory in both combat and in court and a spiritual hook in the form of Toturi Sezaru makes for well-rounded opportunities for any group of samurai.

The Shadowed Throne – In an interesting counterpoint to the Four Winds Era, the Shadowed Throne assumes that Toturi Tsudao survives to become Empress. With all Four Winds taking their places in the empire, Rokugan still proves to be a fragile setting as the various Clans react to what turns out to be Tsudao’s insufficient skill at keeping the Clans placated.

The Destroyer War – Another canon setting, The Destroyer War discusses the time when Kali-Ma marches towards Rokugan with the intent of claiming it for her own. Fans of the more recent events in the setting will find good use of this setting as it presents important details of that era as well as the necessary NPCs and mechanics of the era

Age of Exploration – This setting works very well with the Second City Boxed set, as it presents the time when the Empire goes forth to explore (and claim) the lands of the Ivory Kingdoms as it’s own.

Empire of Emerald Stars – Of all the settings in the book, this one is perhaps the most divergent. Empire of Emerald Stars takes the L5R setting and spins it off as a Space Opera, set in the far future, with interesting takes on what spacefaring and technology would look like if filtered through Rokugan’s unique lens. I have to admit that I’m very amused with this particular setting and a part of me wishes that it had a bigger page count. For those wondering about how different an L5R game can get, this is well worth checking out.



Imperial Histories 2 is full of interesting worlds, both canon and alternate, and has the mechanics to back it up. Fans of the setting will find nothing to complain about in the book as it lives up to the incredible reputation of being another excellent supplement to the 4th Edition line.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Imperial Histories 2
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Legend of the Five Rings: Imperial Histories 2
by Frazier M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/06/2013 13:37:38
Imperial Histories was one of the best constructed and most useful books in the Legend of the Five Rings line and its successor does not disappoint. Like the first, each chapter details a different era of Rokugani history, some which have been detailed before, while some are entirely new.

It dedicates a bit more space to alternate history variant Rokugans than the first, but they are all quite imaginative. The Togashi Dynasty is the highlight here, which explores what Rokugan might have looked like under the Dragon Emperor.

Of the canonical chapters, the Reign of the Steel Chrysanthemum stands out. Hantei XVI, the Seel Chrysanthemum, is known to have been one of Rokugan's most ruthless tyrants, but now his reign of terror is explored and detailed in great depths. I honestly cannot wait to run a game about a shadow war between the Scorpion Clan and the Steel Chrysanthemum's mistress of spies.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Adventure I
by Marchgo M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/25/2013 18:39:42
Many Good adventures with lots of possible expansion.
Excellent product

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure I
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Legend of the Five Rings: Imperial Histories 2
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/26/2013 05:53:12
Ein Geständ­nis vor­weg: Legend of the Five Rings ist für mich mehr als nur irgend­ein Rol­len­spiel. In den letz­ten acht Jah­ren habe ich an der Seite von tap­fe­ren Samu­rai und Shu­genja dut­zende Aben­teuer im fan­tas­ti­schen Land Roku­gan ver­bracht. Gemein­sam haben wir den Auf­stieg und Fall von Fürs­ten und Kai­sern mit­er­lebt, Intri­gen auf­ge­deckt und am Kaiu-Wall gegen die Hor­den der Schat­ten­lande gekämpft. Des­halb erwar­tete ich beson­ders gespannt (und kri­tisch) das neu­este Rollenspiel-Produkt der Alderac Enter­tain­ment Group. Aber was sollte der Titel Impe­rial His­to­ries 2 bedeu­ten? Ein gan­zes Buch füll­ten die neu­es­ten Ereig­nisse roku­ga­ni­scher Geschichte seit dem ers­ten Impe­rial His­to­ries nun wirk­lich nicht und die Nach­wir­kun­gen des Des­troyer War wur­den bereits im Second City Boxed Set abge­han­delt. Die Ant­wort lau­tet ein­fach wie genial: Alter­na­tive Settings.

Erschei­nungs­bild

L5R Imperial Histories II CoverLegend of the Five Rings: Impe­rial His­to­ries 2 kommt gewohnt im Look der vier­ten Edi­tion des Rol­len­spiels daher: Hard­co­ver, dun­kel­grauer Ein­band, des­sen Cover eine roku­ga­ni­sche Schrift­rolle ziert, die den pseudo-asiatischen Flair des Set­tings stil­si­cher ein­fängt. Denn pas­sen­der­weise wer­den in Roku­gan geschicht­li­che Ereig­nisse auf eben sol­chen Schrift­rol­len festgehalten.

Auch im Inne­ren ist das Buch eine Augen­weide, vol­ler Zeich­nun­gen in Farbe. Kaum eine Seite ver­geht, ohne dass ein Art­work den Text­fluss auf­lo­ckert. Dazu beginnt jedes der drei­zehn Kapi­tel mit einem ganz­sei­ti­gen Ein­lei­tungs­bild – mal mehr, mal weni­ger pas­send zum Inhalt. Info­käs­ten bie­ten wei­ter­füh­rende Infor­ma­tio­nen und ein soli­der Index sorgt für die schnelle Ori­en­tie­rung. Dass im Buch teil­weise alte Legend of the Five Rings–Bil­der ganz oder in Aus­schnit­ten wie­der­ver­wen­det wer­den, ist nicht wei­ter tra­gisch und fällt nur einem Ken­ner der Rol­len­spiel­se­rie auf. Äußer­lich wird für den stol­zen Preis von fast vier­zig Euro, wie von Alderac Enter­tain­ment gewohnt, ein soli­des Hard­co­ver­buch gebo­ten, das sich gut in jedem Samm­ler­re­gal macht.

Die har­ten Fakten:

Ver­lag: Alderac Enter­tain­ment Group
Autor(en): Kevin Blake, Marie Brennan, Daniel Bris­coe, Shawn Car­man, Rovert Den­ton, Robert Hobart, Kim Hos­mer, Maxime Lemaire, Seth Mason, Eric Menge, Ryan Reese, Jason Shafer und Alex­andre Simard
Erschei­nungs­jahr: 2013
Spra­che: Eng­lisch
For­mat: Hard­co­ver
Sei­ten­an­zahl: 310
ISBN: 9781594720673
Preis: 33,95 EUR bis 38,95 EUR
Bezugs­quelle: Ama­zon (Klick), Sphä­ren­meis­ters Spiele (Klick)


Inhalt — His­to­ri­sche Rückblenden

Emerald Throne
Legend of the Five Rings ist ein Set­ting, das sich wei­ter­ent­wi­ckelt. Beein­flusst vom gleich­na­mi­gen Kar­ten­spiel ver­än­dern die jähr­li­chen offi­zi­el­len Kam­pa­gnen gesell­schaft­li­che und teil­weise mys­ti­sche Details der Welt Roku­gan. Dabei begann das Rol­len­spiel mit der ers­ten Edi­tion nicht im Jahre Null, dem Fall der Kami, son­dern etwa tau­send Jahre spä­ter am Ende der Herr­schaft der Hantei-Kaiser. Impe­rial His­to­ries 2 setzt genau da ein und bie­tet mehr als ‚nur‘ einen his­to­ri­schen Rück­blick für Spiel­lei­ter: Es lässt Spie­ler prä­gende Epo­chen aus der Geschichte selbst erleben.

Wäh­rend das erste Impe­rial His­to­ries sich aber auf aus ande­ren Publi­ka­tio­nen wohl­be­kannte Zeit­epo­chen wie etwa die Klankriege oder die Herr­schaft der Gozoku beschränkte, beleuch­tet Impe­rial His­to­ries 2 die weni­ger bekannte Ver­gan­gen­heit roku­ga­ni­scher Geschichte. So etwa die zwei­hun­dert Jahre wäh­rende Herr­schaft des zwei­ten Han­tei Kai­sers zu einer Zeit, als das Hof­le­ben in star­kem Kon­trast zu den noch wil­den Tra­di­tio­nen der jun­gen Klans stand. Oder aber die grau­same Ter­ror­herr­schaft von Han­tei XVI, des­sen Para­noia tau­sende unschul­dige Roku­gani das Leben kos­tete. Beide Epi­so­den der Geschichte wur­den von den Fans nach dem ers­ten Band stark nach­ge­fragt und nun für Impe­rial His­to­ries 2 voll­stän­dig ausgestaltet.

Der in den ein­zel­nen Kapi­teln ent­hal­tene kurze Über­blick über die hin­füh­ren­den his­to­ri­schen Ereig­nisse ist aus­rei­chend und doch so knapp gehal­ten, dass Spiel­run­den genug Frei­raum für eigene Kam­pa­gnen haben. Das Buch geht beson­ders auf Unklar­hei­ten der kano­ni­schen Geschichts­schrei­bung Roku­gans und dadurch ent­ste­hende Optio­nen ein, über­lässt die letzte Ent­schei­dung über die tat­säch­li­che Wahr­heit der Ereig­nisse jedoch dem Spiel­lei­ter. Das mag für Leser, die einen strik­ten Hin­ter­grund mögen, unbe­frie­di­gend sein, gibt ande­rer­seits aber die ein­zig­ar­tige Mög­lich­keit Details an den Ver­lauf einer Gegenwarts-Kampagne anzu­pas­sen. Wie bei jedem Aus­flug in die Ver­gan­gen­heit eines beste­hen­den Set­tings sto­ßen Spiel­lei­ter aber schnell auf Pro­bleme, wenn Spie­ler ver­su­chen die gro­ßen kano­ni­schen Ereig­nisse zu ver­än­dern. Hier ist gerade bei mäch­ti­ge­ren Cha­rak­te­ren Fin­ger­spit­zen­ge­fühl gefragt.

Alter­na­tive Rokugans

Die his­to­ri­schen Rück­blen­den machen aber nur sie­ben der drei­zehn Kapi­tel von Impe­rial His­to­ries 2 aus. Der Rest ist eine Samm­lung von alter­na­ti­ven „Was wäre wenn“-Szenarien, die in der Ver­gan­gen­heit (und Zukunft) von Roku­gan spie­len. Dies wurde bereits im Vor­gän­ger­buch Impe­rial His­to­ries mit dem Kapi­tel The Thousand Years of Dar­k­ness vor­ge­dacht, ist hier aber deut­lich umfang­rei­cher gestal­tet. Die ein­zel­nen Sze­na­rien sind genauso detail­liert beschrie­ben, wie die his­to­ri­schen Epo­chen, samt Hin­wei­sen für Spiel­lei­ter und einer Über­sicht der zu die­ser Zeit akti­ven Klans.

Beson­ders inter­es­sant sind diese alter­na­ti­ven Ver­sio­nen Roku­gans des­halb, wenn sie mehr als nur poli­ti­sche oder his­to­ri­sche Gege­ben­hei­ten, näm­lich das Grund­ge­fühl des Rol­len­spiels selbst ver­än­dern. Spiel­lei­ter müs­sen zwar noch etwas Arbeit in die Aus­ge­stal­tung einer Kam­pa­gne ste­cken, erhal­ten aber in jedem Kapi­tel einen Über­blick über Mecha­ni­ken, wich­tige Cha­rak­tere, Ant­ago­nis­ten, Zau­ber und Kampf­schu­len für den neuen Hin­ter­grund. Der eigent­li­che Clou ist jedoch: Viele alter­na­tive Set­tings ent­stam­men nicht der Feder der Alderac Enter­tain­ment–Schrei­ber, son­dern Ein­sen­dun­gen von Spie­lern des Rol­len­spiels. Qua­li­ta­tiv merkt man aber kei­nen Unter­schied; offen­bar hat hier das Design­team selbst mit– und nachgeholfen.

Fan­tasy Rokugan

Gleich das erste Kapi­tel, The Toga­shi Dynas­tie, ist das durch­dach­teste alter­na­tive Set­ting und stößt dabei einen der Grund­pfei­ler von Legend of the Five Rings um: Nicht Kami Han­tei, son­dern sein Bru­der Toga­shi wird in die­sem alter­na­ti­ven Roku­gan als Sie­ger des Tur­niers der Kami gekürt und der Dra­chen­klan damit zum ers­ten Kai­ser­haus. Das Ergeb­nis ist ein deut­lich fan­tas­ti­sche­res Roku­gan, in wel­chem die über­na­tür­li­chen Völ­ker wie Kenku, Naga oder Nezumi Seite an Seite mit den Men­schen leben. Han­tei ist hier Grün­der des Eulen­klans, der sich um die Belange der „Frem­den“ küm­mert, wäh­rend Kai­ser Toga­shi tat­säch­lich unsterb­lich die Jahr­hun­derte über­dau­ert und das Mönchs­we­sen fördert.

Rea­lis­ti­sches Rokugan

Den ent­ge­gen­ge­setz­ten Weg geht das Kapi­tel The Shat­te­red Empire. Hier endet die Hantei-Dynastie mit dem Tod der zwei­ten Cham­pi­ons des Don­ners, ohne dass Toturi den Thron ergreift. Folge und Set­ting sind ein Roku­gan im Klankrieg um den Kai­ser­ti­tel, das Spie­lern ent­ge­gen­kom­men dürfte, die gerne ein rea­lis­ti­sche­res Roku­gan hät­ten, das der japa­ni­schen Sengoku-Jidai Epo­che ähnelt. Der Hin­ter­grund nimmt hier einen deut­lich düs­te­re­ren Ton an und ist gut für Mili­tär­kam­pa­gnen geeignet.

Steam­punk Rokugan

Das Kapi­tel Iron Roku­gan ver­mischt das asia­ti­sche Set­ting mit west­li­chen Ele­men­ten. Nach dem Angriff der Gai­jin über­nimmt Roku­gan einen Groß­teil ihrer Tech­no­lo­gie. Flin­ten­schloss­pis­to­len und Eisen­bah­nen erge­ben in Ver­bin­dung mit Samu­rai und Kai­ser­hof einen Hin­ter­grund, der Spie­lern viel zumu­tet, aber ein­fach Spaß macht – vor allem, wenn die Kami sich unzu­frie­den mit den neuen Wegen des Rei­ches zei­gen und die Bau­ern die Kas­ten­ge­sell­schaft in Frage stel­len. Damit erin­nert das Set­ting in mehr als nur einer Hin­sicht an die Meiji-Restauration des spä­ten 19. Jahr­hun­derts. Ein Über­blick über mög­li­che Feu­er­waf­fen und eine Abhand­lung über tech­no­lo­gi­sche Aus­wir­kun­gen auf die Gesell­schaft der Samu­rai wer­den mitgeliefert.

Roku­gan im Weltraum?

Etwas alleine steht das letzte Kapi­tel und gewag­teste alter­na­tive Roku­gan von Impe­rial His­to­ries 2 da: The Eme­rald Stars. Tat­säch­lich han­delt es sich um eine in die ferne Zukunft wei­ter­ge­dachte Welt­raum­oper mit Sied­lungs­pla­ne­ten der ein­zel­nen Klans und Raum­schif­fen der Katana-Klasse. Hier hilft auch nicht der Hin­weis auf ein „radi­ka­les Expe­ri­ment“, denn so ganz will Zukunfts-L5R nicht funk­tio­nie­ren. Die gege­bene Hin­ter­grund­ge­schichte ist zu knapp, um den Auf­bruch in den Welt­raum zu erklä­ren und das über­tra­gene Kas­ten­sys­tem samt nach­träg­lich erober­tem Hei­mat­pla­ne­ten eher unglaub­wür­dig. Dazu schaf­fen es Beschrei­bung und Art­work nicht, ein Gefühl für das befremd­li­che Set­ting auf­zu­bauen. Bei den Regeln fehlt mit nur vier moder­nen Waf­fen und einer Hand­voll neuer Skills zu viel um Roku­gan im Welt­raum ohne viel Zusatz­ar­beit spiel­bar zu machen. Wer die Idee von Kat­a­n­a­kämp­fen auf den Mon­den fer­ner Pla­ne­ten den­noch inter­es­sant fin­det, hat immer­hin einen Aus­gangs­punkt um das Set­ting aus­zu­ge­stal­ten; alle ande­ren kön­nen das Kapi­tel getrost auslassen.

Fazit

Zuge­ge­ben, zu Beginn war ich kri­tisch, da Impe­rial His­to­ries 2 noch einen Schritt wei­ter geht, als der his­to­risch aus­ge­rich­tete Vor­gän­ger­band. Aber die lie­be­voll gestal­te­ten, alter­na­ti­ven Set­tings haben mich über­zeugt und als Ken­ner der roku­ga­ni­schen Geschichte über man­che iro­ni­sche Anspie­lung schmun­zeln las­sen. Für Aben­teuer jen­seits einer regu­lä­ren L5R-Kampagne sind alle Set­tings gut geeig­net und las­sen Zeit­pa­ra­doxa beim Spiel in der kano­ni­schen Ver­gan­gen­heit gar nicht erst aufkommen.

Für Spiel­lei­ter wie mich, die das Buch als Ide­en­fund­grube nut­zen, gibt es genug Ele­mente, die sich auch in lau­fende Kam­pa­gnen ein­bauen las­sen – etwa der eigen­wil­lige Eulen­klan oder alter­na­tive Cha­rak­ter­pfade. Das Weltraum-Setting des letz­ten Kapi­tels muss ja nicht jedem gefal­len, aber der Schritt, auch unge­wöhn­li­che Expe­ri­mente zu wagen, ist immer­hin mutig. Dazu finde ich Alderac Enter­tain­ments Methode gut, qua­li­ta­tiv hoch­wer­tige Ein­sen­dun­gen im Buch zu ver­wen­den – so sieht 2013 Fan­ser­vice aus!

Nur für Ein­stei­ger ist das Buch eher nicht geeig­net – man braucht schon eini­ges Wis­sen zum Sta­tus Quo in Legend oft the Five Rings, um damit als Spiel­lei­ter arbei­ten zu können.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Imperial Histories 2
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