Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Final Frontier

So now I'm going to talk about the last chapter in Imperial Histories II. This one is titled Empire of the Emerald Stars. As you can guess from the name of the chapter and the picture to the right this is a setting about Rokugan in space. This is pretty much the far end where one can take their game.

I also find it amusing since back during the 15th anniversary of L5R, Todd Rowland said that if L5R made it to it's 20th anniversary he would take them to the moon. A bit early but glad it's here.

So the timeline picks up roughly in the year 2765. Not every possible change is listed in the timeline, it more or less serves as a sign post of the major things that lead up to space travel for Rokugan.. The Phoenix are the ones to pretty much discover other planets and thus play heavily in the race for the stars, even going so far as to design radiant energy weapons and armor. Radiant energy is a process that allows for the awakening of an objects spirit. This isn't a full awakening but it's enough to give items a new energy aura. This energy is used for armor, katana's, ship hulls etc etc. The use of radiant energy though keeps melee combat an important part of fighting since having shields limits the overall effectiveness of blasters. It also helps that the daisho is still a mark of ones station and thus samurai still carry them to prove they are samurai.

Space itself is an interesting place. Many planets are representations of one of the many realms. It's alien inhabitants creatures native to those realms. Just imagine it, an entire world that could be dedicated to 1000 Years of Darkness. Chilling. :)

So much as how the clans carved up Rokugan (and latter their entire planet) the clans carve up space settling entire regions of space. The book goes on to describe several key worlds for each of the clans. My favorite being a planet controlled by the Lion that does everything as if the year was 1171 as opposed to 2765.

So what mechanics are in the chapter? Well it starts off with a few pointers and guidelines for updating a standard L5R game to this new setting, after all it would take an entire book to update everything. Because Rokugan is still a tradition bound society most of the schools remain unchanged themselves. What makes things different is instead of adding in a bunch of new basic schools the weapon tags changed on ranged weapons so that they work with the same basic techniques that a katana might. So that's 4 weapons added plus an additional 4 or so new skills that reflect traveling among the stars.

So what would you do in an Emerald Empire among the stars?