Monday, October 3, 2011

Hacking Apocalypse World to Legend of the Five Rings

One of my favorite games in the last 15 years has been Legend of the Five Rings. I had a lot of fun with it when the first edition came out, and recently I started a new campaign with my regular game group. Sadly, the recent campaign ran into trouble. System trouble.

4th Edition Legend of the Five Rings really rewards system mastery. If you can figure out how to optimize your character build with skill, stats, and advantages, you can really create a powerful, or possibly overpowering, character. The makeup of my group is two players who love this part of the game, and three players who could care less about character builds. This led to a very unbalanced play group and some serious problems for my game.

After playing some Apocalypse World, I decided to hack it to L5R, because AW is right up the alley of at least one of my players. I'd like to share the hack here on the blog. This is a completely unofficial hack, I have no rights to either AW or L5R. Enjoy and share.

The first step is to convert the stats. AW has five: Cool, Hard, Hot, Sharp, and Weird. I decided to stick a bit closer to AW for this, but conveniently, there are five stats and five rings. I changed the names to fit the L5R flavor better:

The Fire ring stands for Bold. With Bold, you can defy danger and duel. Defy danger comes from Dungeon World, but I just loved that term, and it fits with Bold.

The Earth ring stands for Strong. With Strong, you can threaten violence and fight.

The Water ring stands for Elegant. With Elegant, you can seduce or manipulate or engage in a battle of words.

The Air ring stands for Sagacious. With Sagacious, you can read a person or read a situation.

Lastly, the Void ring stands for Blessed. With Blessed, you can commune with your ancestors or commune with the kami.

These actions all map pretty closely to actions in AW. I added a few, and now each ring has two actions you can undertake. I think the duel is the weakest of the new ones.

For the full Basic Move writeups, here's a PDF.

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