Service In Sword and Quill
Choosing a Concept
You’ve been through this part before, but Rokugan is a rich world with its own rules, so before you get too far into your concept, there are a few things to consider.
Are you thinking of playing a “rebel against the system”?
If so, you should know your road will be more difficult and your character will more than likely be a tragic one. Rokugan is a world ruled by the descendants of heaven itself, where ancestors look from beyond the grave and reward and punish according to their joy and shame. It’s not to say all samurai are happy with the Celestial Order, many are not and act upon these feelings. But the maintaining of loyalty and honor in tough situations are the heroic tales that are told throughout time. Loose nails don’t always get hammered down, but black sheep certainly do get eaten first.
What is your characters ambition?
And more importantly, does it align with the ambitions of family, clan and daimyo? Many great tales have been told of samurai who must choose between various influences in their life, but they are almost always tragedies. For example, love, an idealized and joyful notion in a more western games and literature, is always tragic in L5R, as love based on emotion goes against the duty to marry according to the family needs. Hopefully we will have many characters with these type of struggles as they are the core of samurai drama, but as a player you should be aware L5R is not just a game about how you live, but a game of how you die.
Is your character inspired by an Anime style?
Service in Sword and Quill will be more gritty and realistic than most anime, which often focuses on fantastic elements. There are some anime that fit the theme, but if your character wouldn’t fit in a Kurasawa film, you may not get the play you are hoping for. This is especially true if you make a combat character… most combats last a three rounds at the top end, with a sizeable percentage being over upon the first strike.
If you’re ready to create your samurai hero, move on to choosing your clan!