1D6 12 hours in Rokugan

We braved the storms, flooded roads and dodgy bacon butties to get to our annual trip to Southport for the 24 hour RPG charity event. This year, the charity is Galloway’s Society for the Blind and it is still possible to donate.

Applying the GROGNARD files principle “if you buy it, you play it” I scheduled a game of Legend of the Five Rings as I have been collecting the attractive books since the beginning of the year. The Fantasy Flight version is a stunning production with wonderful maps and an interesting approach which uses adventures published alongside companion supplements to build your knowledge of The Emerald Empire: Rokugan.

It’s a well loved setting that has appeared in four previous RPG editions, a deck-building card game and attractive board games.

Thanks to Tim and friends for organising the event and the invite.

Here’s the table, 5 highlights and a fumble.

Beginner Game

The player characters are headed to the Topaz Championship for their gempuku, a coming-of-age ceremony and initiation as a samurai. On the face of it, the adventure is on training rails, taking you through the process of interpreting the fancy dice, step-by-step, but in play, there’s a compelling plot woven into the events that really caught the attention of the players in unexpected ways.


There’s a series of events to test the skill and knowledge of the wannabe samurai, from obstacle courses to interpretation of law. There was a very intense game of Go which resulted in an unmasking of the Crane courtier who lost their composure due to taking too long to deliberate over the next move.

Poetry in motion

During the poetry round of the competition, two players wrote a haiku. One was a subtle message of “we know what you’re up to” to the Scorpion clan.

The Emerald Champion

Following the Topaz Championship, it was off to the Palace of The Emerald Champion to investigate a possible murder. This very entertaining scenario is an extension to the Beginner Game which is available for free from Fantasy Flight’s website.

Judgement Day

The confrontation with an assassin at the end was suitably dramatic. The Lion bushi PC was cleaved with a poisoned katana, but managed to whip out his wakizashi and kill his opponent. A thrilling moment in the final hour of the game.

The players decided that ‘truth-will-out’ when submitting their report to the Ruby Champion, but learned that in Rokugan, sometimes the most honourable approach is to suppress the truth.

The newly-appointed Emerald Magistrates were despatched to the wall to assist the Crab.


These 12 hour slots are great for getting immersed into a game and allowing characters to breathe. My only regret is that I really liked Legend of the Five Rings and know that it will impossible to fit it in as a regular game. Maybe next year, I’ll run it again and see what happens when the players face the Oni.

Author: Dirk

Host of The GROGNARD RPG Files podcast. Talking bobbins about Runequest, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, T&T, AD&D and others from back in the day and today.

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