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Legend of the Five Rings: The Great Clans
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/19/2014 03:01:54

http://www.teilzeithelden.de/2014/09/19/neu-in-rokugan-diese-legend-of-the-five-rings-erweiterungen-lohnen-sich-teil-1/

Diese Erweiterung wirft einen detaillierteren Blick auf die großen Clans, die die Politik von Rokugan bestimmen. Sie sind die Erben der gefallenen Kami (Geister), die in der Frühzeit vor über tausend Jahren das Kaiserreich gegründet haben. Auf 304 Seiten wird jeder Clan ausführlich vorgestellt. Dabei ist ihre Rivalität untereinander eines der Hauptthemen des Buches, das dankbarerweise weitgehend ohne Klischees auskommt.

The Great Clans beginnt die Vorstellung jedes Clans mit dessen Geschichte. So werden historische Ereignisse, die bereits aus dem Grundregelwerk oder Imperial Histories bekannt sind, aus der Perspektive eines Clans neu erzählt und gedeutet. Dabei werden auch aktuelle Entwicklungen des fortlaufenden Meta-Plots erwähnt. Jede Familie des Clans erhält eine detaillierte Beschreibung samt Vasallenfamilien , militärischer Besonderheiten, Truppenstärken, Taktik, und besondere Einheiten.

Eine Besonderheit des Buches sind Helden und Vorfahren. Diese werden für jeden Clan mit Beschreibung und Werten aufgeführt. Spielercharaktere können durch die neue Heritage Table-Mechanik die Taten der eigenen Vorfahren auswürfeln und zufällig bestimmte Skill-Ränge oder Vorteile erhalten. Daneben hält The Great Clans eine Vielzahl brauchbarer neuer Schulen, Pfade und Kata bereit, um Charaktere weiter zu spezialisieren.

Brandneu ist die Beschreibung des Spider-Clans, der im Zuge des Metaplots von L5R aus Samurai der Shadowlands entstanden ist. Das führt die in Enemies of the Empire erwähnten Ereignisse fort und erweitert Rokugan um einen neuen Clan, dessen Ansichten und Methoden mehr als zweifelhaft sind. Auch wichtige NSCs der Shadowlands wie Chuda Ruri und Daigotsu werden dabei mit Werten versehen.

Fazit: Generell brauchbar. The Great Clans kann Spielrunden dabei helfen, sich in die Identität eines Clans einzufinden und diesen mit Details auszugestalten. Das ist besonders dann stark, wenn alle Charaktere aus demselben Clan stammen und einen Hintergrund teilen. Auch die Beschreibung des neuen Spider-Clans ist nützlich, da dieser im Grundregelwerk fehlt.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: The Great Clans
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Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/19/2014 03:01:17

http://www.teilzeithelden.de/2014/09/19/neu-in-rokugan-diese-legend-of-the-five-rings-erweiterungen-lohnen-sich-teil-1/

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.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Emerald Empire
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Legend of the Five Rings: Enemies of the Empire
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/19/2014 03:00:47

http://www.teilzeithelden.de/2014/09/19/neu-in-rokugan-diese-legend-of-the-five-rings-erweiterungen-lohnen-sich-teil-1/

Wer mit Enemies of the Empire ein klassisches Monsterhandbuch erwartet hat, liegt falsch. Das obligatorische Bestiarium über die gefährlichen Tiere Rokugans ist äußerst kurz. Stattdessen beschreibt der Erweiterungsband auf 290 Seiten so gut wie alle Feinde des Kaiserreiches im Detail. Jeder potentielle Antagonist erhält hierbei ein eigenes Kapitel mit Gerüchten über ihn, tatsächlicher Geschichte, Absichten und Vorgehensweisen. Besonders nützlich sind die Spielleiter-Tipps in den jeweiligen Kapiteln.

Ein wichtiges Thema von Enemies of the Empire sind die Shadowlands, die finsteren Sumpflande jenseits der Mauer im Süden des Kaiserreiches. Es wird die Gesellschaft der Lost vorgestellt, jener vom Taint verseuchten, dort lebenden Menschen und Samurai im Exil. Sie bekommen mit Enemies of the Empire eigene Sonderfähigkeiten (Shadowlands Powers). Auch die Monster der Shadowlands, wie Oni und Goblins, erhalten Werte und mehr Hintergrundinformationen samt einem System, eigene Oni zu basteln. Besonders interessant ist das Kapitel über die Nezumi (Rattenmenschen), die in den Shadowlands leben. Hier erfährt der Leser erstmals Details über ihre Kultur und Schamanen-Magie. Die Begegnungstabellen im Anhang können von Spielgruppen für abwechslungsreiche Reiseabenteuer in den und jenseits der Shadowlands genutzt werden.

Auch verborgene Antagonisten haben in Enemies of the Empire ihren Platz. So werden alle Verschwörungen im Inneren des Kaiserreiches und ihre Drahtzieher thematisiert: Bloodspeaker-Kulte, die Agenten des Kolat und die boshafte Macht der Lying Darkness. Ninja dürfen natürlich nicht fehlen, werden aber als Agenten der jeweiligen Verschwörungen abgehandelt. Als Diener der Lying Darkness erhalten sie eigene Sonderfähigkeiten (Powers of Shadow), um es mit Samurai aufnehmen zu können.

Besonders interessant: Enemies of the Empire erweitert die Optionen für Charaktere. Spieler finden hier Regeln um Angehörige nichtmenschlicher Rassen zu spielen, etwa Nezumi, Naga (Schlangenmenschen) oder Kenku (Vogelmenschen). Sehr nützlich sind die neuen Pfade und drei Shugenja-Schulen für Ronin, jene herrenlosen Samurai auf Wanderschaft. Alleine dafür lohnt sich schon die Anschaffung. Ein Kapitel über Untote und Geister sowie die Vorstellung der Spirit Realms rundet den Band ab.

Fazit: Unverzichtbar nützlich für alle Kampagnen. Wenn es ein Erweiterungsbuch sein soll, dann Enemies of the Empire! Hier finden L5R-Spielrunden einen erschöpfenden Überblick über Gefahren und Antagonisten, denen Charaktere in Rokugan begegnen können. Die Hintergrundinformationen über fast alle Feinde des Kaiserreiches, über die Geisterreiche und über nichtmenschliche Völker sind für Spielleiter unverzichtbar und bereichern jede Kampagne. Die weiteren Optionen für die Charaktererschaffung sind äußerst nützlich und machen Ronin-Charaktere besser spielbar.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Enemies of the Empire
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Legend of the Five Rings: Game Master's Screen and Adventure
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/19/2014 02:59:59

http://www.teilzeithelden.de/2014/09/19/neu-in-rokugan-diese-legend-of-the-five-rings-erweiterungen-lohnen-sich-teil-1/

Diese Erweiterung ist ein klassischer, aufklappbarer Spielleiterschirm. Das Problem: Der Schirm ist dünn und damit nicht so standfest wie vergleichbare Produkte von Dark Heresy oder The One Ring. Auf der Innenseite findet sich eine Kurzzusammenfassung wichtiger Regeln – besonders hervorzuheben ist dabei ein guter Überblick über das Ehre-System (Honor, Glory). Wer aber das Second City Boxed-Set kauft, erhält dort einen deutlich besseren Spielleiterschirm, der auch standfest ist.

Game Master's Screen and Adventure enthält als Bonus das Abenteuer Descent into Darkness. Dieses ist 20 Seiten kurz und sehr flexibel: Es kann in jeder Region von Rokugan gespielt werden. Von der Länge her umfasst es etwa einen Spielabend. Die mitgelieferten Nichtspielercharaktere (NSCs) lassen sich ohne Probleme in jede Kampagne übernehmen. Über den Inhalt sei an dieser Stelle verraten: Im Dorf Mushi Mura leben die Bewohner in Angst vor einem verborgenen Feind. Die Spielercharaktere müssen Diplomatie beweisen und dann eine schwere Entscheidung treffen. Das Detektiv-Abenteuer ist zwar spannend, aber eher untypisch für Legend of the Five Rings und vom Inhalt recht düster. Für Einsteiger ist es damit nur bedingt geeignet.

Fazit: Nur für Sammler interessant. Die Tabellen und Kurzregeln von Game Master's Screen and Adventure sind hilfreich beim Spielleiten, werden aber durch den Second City-Spielleiterschirm komplett ersetzt. Das beigelegte Abenteuer ist spannend, aber alleine nicht den Kaufpreis wert. Vorsicht vor der PDF-Version: Die Tabellen lassen sich nicht gut ausdrucken.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Game Master's Screen and Adventure
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Legend of the Five Rings: Unexpected Allies 2
by Lindsay S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/27/2014 00:26:29

I am also disappointed with this product because of the lack of female NPCs. There are 75 human samurai given page-long write-ups in this book, and 17 of them are women (one of those is a Ninube). That's not even 25%. I feel like the representation of women in L5R products has gotten worse recently overall (for example, there are almost no notable female Crab NPCs in canon right now).



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Unexpected Allies 2
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Legend of the Five Rings: Unexpected Allies 2
by Nicola M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/20/2014 12:52:17

This is the first 4th Edition L5R book that's really disappointed me. Still looks as good as ever, but major lack of female npcs really put me off. The format also could have been improved, with more options for story seeds built into each character. If I had seen this in a shop I wouldn't have bought it, but I'm in the UK, so I don't like to wait a year for new releases, so I end up buying unseen pdfs a lot. (The delay isn't Alderac's fault, but I do miss getting to see before I buy.) I'll still buy the next release as soon it comes out, but I'm hoping they will maybe release some more of these or something.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Game Master's Screen and Adventure
by Gareth L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2014 01:00:48

Really nice GM screen and adventure,

Just a shame that the GM screen is presented as one long sheet equivalent to three letter-sized portrait sheets in width making it essentially impossible form most people to print off...

It's surely not too much to ask that it's presented in a usable form!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Game Master's Screen and Adventure
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Legend of the Five Rings: The Book of Water
by Jack B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/28/2014 12:48:50

As usual another great source book by AEG for L5R 4th Edition. No complaints and so happy they are releasing the PDF versions so soon after the print. Now just waiting for the Book of Void and my collection will be complete.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: The Book of Water
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Legend of the Five Rings: Imperial Histories
by Flames R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/25/2014 19:52:38

Each of the previous editions of Legend of the Five Rings was connected to a specific time period. The first edition was set before the events of the CCG. The second edition bumped the timeline to the Time of the Void. The third edition came out current with the CCG story at the time. The fourth edition opted to be timeless to allow fans to use whatever time period they wanted. This left a lot of the game’s history out of the core book. This makes the fourth edition versatile, but left out a lot of the player created history and backstory. Imperial Histories was created to fill that void.

Imperial Histories is a guide to various points in the history of Rokugan. Many of the periods have been seen in other sourcebooks or editions. Some have been referred to in historical accounts. And a few are brand new to the book. Each of these is set ups as a campaign possibility with new rules, new schools and, in some cases, modifications to the existing rules for different eras of the Empire. This book is aimed at GMs looking for campaign ideas or fans wanting historical information in one place.

Imperial Histories is available in hardcover and PDF. The book follows the same art and layout style as the Legend of the Five Rings core book. Most of the artwork is from the more recent sets of the CCG with the chapters broken up by two page spreads. Appropriate art is used where available. The book includes a sidebar talking about the time periods that don’t use accurate art. There is an index in the back. Unlike the core book PDF, neither the table of contents nor the index are hyperlinked. There are one or two repeats of art from the core book but the majority of pieces are new to the RPG line.

The chapters each detail a different period in Rokugan history. It starts with the Dawn of the Empire, when the kami walked the earth. The book also details more famous elements of history such as the first two arcs of the CCG. The Day of Thunder is when many fans of Legend of the Five Rings came into the game. It was followed by the Spirit Wars and the Four Winds saga. Each of these gets a chapter. The book rounds out with two alternate timelines. The Heroes of Rokugan illustrates a living campaign that’s been going on for years. One Thousand Years of Darkness takes place in a world where Fu Leng, the Lord of the Shadowlands was not defeated on the Day of Thunder and rules over the Emerald Empire.

Each chapter ends with mechanics relevant to the chapter. This usually means new schools, different schools or rules modifications. There are a few settings that involve gaijin, which add rules for things like firearms and non-Eastern weaponry. The rules for playing a gaijin essentially boil down to: don’t. Full rules might appear in a later book but the authors make an argument that there are plenty of other fantasy games on the market that cover that ground well.

The most compelling chapter is One Thousand Years of Darkness. This dark setting is one the fans have been waiting for. The timeline puts the players as part of the rag-tag rebels still fighting against the dark Emperor Fu Leng. This game of samurai already thrives on tough choices between duty and honor. This setting makes those choices even tougher. Fans of horror will love being desperate demon slayers as well as dark intrigues to try and save an Empire that might not be worth saving anymore.

One of the chapters not in the book is the current CCG storyline. Other storyline updates have filled entire books. Fans looking to see how the current timeline is shaping up will be disappointed. AEG has plans for a second book like this next year. Rather than just updating characters and storylines, these books could be a gateway for fans of the RPG to keep up with the CCG and fans of the CCG to try out the RPG. These camps have been separated for far too long. Not telling the ongoing story here is a missed opportunity.

The Heroes of Rokugan chapter misses in a few areas. It reads like someone’s campaign that already happened rather than a jumping off point for a new campaign. The story has some interesting elements and characters but doesn’t feel ready to run out of the book like the others. The same information can be picked up for free on the campaign website. Having it here seems like a bit of padding, especially when there are a lot of other time periods that could have fit in the book. GMs looking for material to mine will have a lot to choose from. Things from the alternate timelines could easily make themselves seen in home games. Historical schools could be reskinned or used to make an NPC unique. There’s a ton of material here to put into any game regardless of the setting. Each chapter also has enough material for the basis of a campaign. GMs looking to run Legend of the Five Rings after a campaign or too will find the information here very useful.

Bottom Line: A great book for GMs looking for a time to set their new Legend of The Five Rings campaign.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Imperial Histories
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Legend of the Five Rings: Legacy of Disaster
by Tahjare D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/21/2014 17:09:47

I am new to l5r and this was the first glimps in to the game. I found the first section informative but lacking in details that only the rule books provide. The adventure it self was interesting and a good read. The third section with the pregenerated characters and spell description was also informative. Had I known the games mechanics I would definitely play the game.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: Legacy of Disaster
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Legend of the Five Rings: 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?



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
Legend of the Five Rings: 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.



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[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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Fireborn: The Fire Within
by Geert-Jan W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/03/2014 07:48:41

This is like a great mini-campaign to introduce the characters into Fireborn. Though it is all BUT subtle, letting the player's really dive in directly into the setting.

For player's this might be a good introduction, but for the GM it isn't... This requires quite a bit of preperation before hand, and a good read through of the adventure before you start. Make sure you know the rules, and your player's ready to literally jump right into the action.

The adventure starts with peace negotiations in the mythic age as part of a flashback/dream of the player characters. This is quite confusing, as they only get little bits of info, and know little other then that it's important to stop the war (but not know why it's so incredibly important). It's played as a vague dream, and it can be a bit hard to get the player's into it and resolve the negotiations in a fluid and flowing manner.

After the dream however, the rest of the campaign gets a bit mroe interesting. There is a bit of a lower pace moment where some investigative detective work comes around, but they can be sped up or spiced up if your group doesn't like to get into such situations. My group actually loved this change of pace in between the action scenes.

I think in general, this adventure tries to show and explore all kinds of different perspectives and styles of what Fireborn can provide in adventures for good or ill. It is very inspiring, and even though not everything will work for your group, going through it at least once does give you a better idea what Fireborn can be, and gives enough ideas to continue the adventures afterwards.

But again, it's rather ambitious for a "introduction", and requires a lot of carefull reading and preperation to get the msot out of this. I highly recommend going for an easier and shorter pre-adventure or two to get into the system first, so when it comes to combat not everything has to be explained or covered all over again. It's how I did it, and it worked out well.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fireborn: The Fire Within
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Fireborn: Player's Handbook
by Geert-Jan W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/03/2014 07:34:43

A great game, but not for everyone.

I really enjoyed the rpg, and still do in an active rpg group. I would highly recommend it, even if the rules may not be for everyone, as the setting in itself is awesome enough to steal from in case you feel other rules systems work better for you. As the setting should be clear to most (Dragons reincarnating, now coming back in the modern age), the mechanical side is what I'll focus on.

The game uses a system called the "dynamic D6" system. Generally this means you have 4 seperate dice pools representing 1 for active physical actions (attacking, climbing, jumping etc), 1 pool for active mental actions (looking for something, casting magic, trying to focus your mind, use a mental skill etc), and then 2 more defensive "reactive" pools; reactive physical (defending, dodging away, etc.) and reactive mental (resisting influences, noticing an ambush etc).

Now the truly interesting part (that makes it dynamic) is that you can shift these dice pools around based on your skill in an action, and the amount of focus you put into it. In example, when attacking using your fists to punch someone in the face, it is a Fire melee action. Your skill in melee is 2, and Fire score is 2. This normally means you roll 2 dice (Fire 2), but using your skill you can fcus more on your action, and gain 2 extra dice, so to roll 4 instead. However, those dice need to come from somewhere.. so you lower one of the other dicepools by 2 due to you more aggresive stance performing this action. (which may make you vulnerable to defense or other actions).

That is what I think, makes the system pretty awesome, but it gets better. During combat it makes things look a bit more like a Matrix style action scene every time an attack is performed. For each point in for example your Fire score, you can build a sequence. So Fire 4 would be 4 "small" actions in the sequence, which can allow you to jump through a window, shoot both you guns in your hand (dual wielding pistols), and roll to cover. (Jump - shoot gun left - shoot gun right - roll for cover)

This does however can make things a bit more complicated/hard to understand in how it works with defending etc. This could have benefited greatly from a better and more clear explanation, but it helps when you have someone who understands the rules to learn from. (You learn best from experience)

What makes the game a bit more metagamey is the Karma bid, which allows your player to push for a success in any action by spending Karma. Karma can be spend for 1 extra success each after the dice are rolled, and can allow an action to completely succeed if not enough successes are rolled. The defender also gets to use Karma however, so it becomes a bid...whichever one gets the biggest total of successes will be the winner, but it might still come back to a partial success if not enough excess successes are obtained. (defender successes and attacker's cancel each other out)

It is rather required however, as Karma will be the thing keeping you alive early in game when you do not have access to draconic powers (which also use Karma). Combat is lethal!

But there are ofcourse downsides to all this;

  • Combat is nice and fast when you get into it, but it takes a while tog et your head around it. Making combat and defence sequences can be hard to envision at first. And if poorly understood..makes for a complicated mess at the table with everyone looking confused. It is advised to really learn the system before seriously going into large scale complicated combat scenes. Take it easy with just 1 or two player's to slowly introduce. You will also want the Lost Lore booklet/pdf, it is recomended to answer some questions and give better explanations on soem bits of the game. You can find it still on the G+ community page for Fireborn, along with just about everythign else Fireborn that could still be saved. (why they did not make everythign available here or on the official FFG pages anymore is beyond me)

  • Combat styles are nice, and they add specific sequences you can do based on your "martial arts style", in practice however most seem overpowered due to the payoff effects they can give if they succeed the entire chain. As well as cumbersome at times, so..I generally moved towards making it more freeform with your own designs of action sequences that fit your style and providing cinematic action dice instead. (they also gain less powerful payoffs, based on the actions they take). It can work as written, but sometimes just feels more restrictive then it probably was intended to be.

  • Lethal combat v.s. cinematic combat. Combat feels like an action movie due to the cinematic "effect", but combat nevertheless is highly lethal as written. Especially the problem of guns being a bit too overpowered, made me down the damage of guns a little to not shoot everyone dead in their tracks every time one uses them. Still, guns are illegal in the game, and should be VERY hard to get. Even if you own one, the GM should be carefull to limit them, and give some drawbacks on carrying one to prevent abuse. But even without guns, combat can be over very quickly, as you have a good chance of wound penalties as well. I decided to remove the dice penalties, and first have the minor wounds completely fill up before wound penalties develop for every minor wound they would otherwise gain in subsequent attacks.

  • You have 2 characters to work through.. First a Scion character, and need to make a whole new character for your dragon self in the mythic age. There is theoption to sort of "mirror" your Scion to the mythic Age dragon version, but it severely limits your dragon in flexibility and is not recomended. It's not THAT hard to make a character in Fireborn, so it's recomended to first play an adventure or two with just the Scion character without draconic powers. Let them learn the system, then make their dragon selves and dive in for reall. There are many adventures out there that work well for this purpose. My first intro adventure was "three souls and a smoking gun", a Gencon adventure, which is found as pdf online.

This is also a game that benefits greatly from a few "helpful" bits and pieces to help speed things up. I used poker chips for Karma, using the colours to make them personal to each player, making it easy to refresh whenever after combat etc.

Having character sheets printed double sided and color coded (look for the costum collour sheets of Scion and dragon characters) is a great help. Whenever a flashback comes around, just flip over the character sheet to the other side.

It helps having stones or (even better) colloured dice for the 4 dice pools. I use stones, so if they get switched around due to stance changes, theya re easily brought back to the original situation at the start of the next round.

Making it easy for your player's (and yourself) makes this game work even faster :)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fireborn: Player's Handbook
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