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Enemies of the Empire (4th Ed) $39.99 $24.99
Average Rating:4.7 / 5
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Enemies of the Empire (4th Ed)
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Enemies of the Empire (4th Ed)
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/19/2014 03:00:47
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-legend-of-the-five-rings-erweiterungen-lohnen-sich-teil-1/<-
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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.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Enemies of the Empire (4th Ed)
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/17/2012 16:36:09
The Enemies of the Empire are surprisingly numerous and the reference to them is nearly indispensable for any Legends of the Five Rings campaign that is not focused purely on courtly machinations (and there are even useful resources for that as well). It provides a wealth of information and along useful new game mechanics and character options.

Enemies of the Empire, a sourcebook for the Legends of the Five Rings RPG (3rd edition) is a 290-page PDF (288 pages if you remove the covers), written by Shawn Carman, Robert Hobart,
Brian Yoon; Kevin Blake, Mikael Brodu, Patrick Duke, Dave Laderoute, Maxime Lemaire,
Jacob Ross, Ray Rupp, Rich Wulf, and Ryan Reese and published by AEG.

The layout is a straightforward design taken directly from the print version of the book, with a 2-column layout (and occasional one column commentary). As is expected from AEG, Enemies of the Empire is lavishly illustrated with full color art throughout. The table of contents is complete and there is an index as well, so finding what you are looking for should be easy the PDF book-marking is useful as well if not always intuitive.

After an opening piece of fiction, it moves onto a page of advice on gauging the threat, which is always a challenge especially in a system as deadly as Legends of the Five Rings can be. The actual enemies list begins with animals, expanding the choices considerably for natural creatures. Some of the animals can be useful for the characters and not just obstacles.

There are human enemies: the vile Bloodspeakers, detailing their history, organization and provides additional tricks and magic for them as well as some of the most notable (and powerful) bloodspeakers. The sinister Kolat conspiracy, its machinations, plans, example agents of all tiers and new advantages, disadvantages and schools. The Lost, humans who have fallen to the taint of the Shadowlands and often gained great power but at a terrible price, they have new schools, new Shadowlands powers and examples of some of the more well known of the Lost. And the Ronin, who are given a plethora of new paths and the bands who teach them as well as three ronin shugenja schools (something lacking in the core rules). All of which provide new options for player characters as well as providing a wealth of villains for the GM. The new ronin bands, paths, and shugenja schools are especially welcome and make the option of playing a ronin much more feasible within the system.

Rokugan is also home to a variety of non-human cultures: The Naga, snake-people who are joined in a shared spiritual link. The Nezumi, ratfolk who know the secret magic of names. Both of which could, in the right campaign, be used as player characters. Spirits and shapechangers from the other realms and the other ancient races of Rokugan: the Kenku, Kitsu, Ningyo, Trolls, Zokujin and the Tsuno -corrupted Kitsu- are further detailed as well (though not available for players).

True evil is not neglected: The ninja and other servants of the Nothing, which seeks to unravel reality are detailed. The mighty Oni, direct manifestations of evil -complete with tools for making your own oni- and other creatures of the Shadowlands (along with advice on using the Shaodwlands in adventures). Completing the options for evil there are the Undead which is combined with advice for running horror in the Rokugan setting.

The work concludes with an appendix featuring a set of random encounter tables.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review. Also, I am friends with several of the authors, but I hope that has not shaded my opinion of the product.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Enemies of the Empire (4th Ed)
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by Lyle H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/29/2011 17:03:43
This is a very useful supplement for anyone running a Shadowlands or other combat-heavy scenario or campaign, as it provides numerous additional villains, opponents, and monsters (especially monsters). It will be less useful for more political (court based) campaigns, although there are a number of opponents that are designed to be used as infiltrators.
Like all of the AEG 4th Ed. L5R products published to date, this text has good production values and (color) illustrations, and is well-laid out and attractive to read.
Due to L5R using a non-standard system, the statistics and game mechanics given in this book will be difficult to translate for use in other settings, limiting its value for other game systems except as inspiration.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Enemies of the Empire (4th Ed)
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
by Adrian S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/03/2011 20:24:31
This is the type of book that you want to read through in its’ entirety and then let the ideas clatter about inside your head. The sheer diversity of the adversaries covered makes this a remarkably appealing addition to any L5R GM’s bookshelf (virtual or otherwise). The designers have excelled in concentrating on a wide breadth of thematically different races and organisations so there is very little repetition throughout the book.

Included is a widespread conspiracy that most think of as a folktale (the Kolat), the monsters of the Shadowlands and the Undead, the Bloodspeaker Cults, Ronin, Nezumi, Naga and my personal favourite – the Nothing (an unknowable, implacable elemental force beyond human comprehension). The choice of ‘evil’ for your campaign is a huge strength to the book, but it goes far beyond simply providing a horde of stats and new powers. Whilst these are present, the real gold lies within the descriptions. Comprised of legends, half-truth, rumour, advice and ‘behind the curtain’ designers sidebars, each chapter fulsomely covers the enemy, gives advice for scaling character interaction with it, and even foreshadowing its arrival. There is plenty of fodder to flesh out a campaign centred on only a single chapter, providing rich story information, as well as the much-needed stat blocks.

The writing style shifts from conversational to storyteller to informative as required and makes the text easier to read, and the artwork is brilliant. I especially liked the quasi-Japanese watercolours set behind the pages (although the artistic values for the chapter on The Nothing are superbly executed).

I had no complaints about this book save the fact that I don’t have the free time to launch into an L5R campaign immediately after purchasing this book. That’s probably for the best though – it will give the seeds of adventure a little more time to take root. For those of you with the time (and I am deeply envious of you), this represents a solid addition to a long line of good L5R books.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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