Tuesday, July 10, 2012

L5R to AW: The Seven Thunders

I ran the AW hack at DexCon last weekend, and so I put together seven characters. The way they work is that each character has a list of moves off an archetype, such as bushi, shugenja, courtier, or monk. In addition, each character also has some moves they can buy from their school of training, like Hida bushi or Bayushi courtier. The school moves must be bought in order, you can't skip over Rank 2 & 3 to buy the Rank 4 move.

The Seven Thunders are advanced characters, so I let the players take seven advances. This made for some pretty kick-ass characters, but that was appropriate for the game. I also strategically highlighted each characters' best ring, in hopes of getting some good advancement in play, which we seemed to get. Our scenario played out nicely, very much like the canon story, thanks to the input from one of our players who knew the L5R lore backwards and forwards.

Combined with the basic move sheets I've already posted, you can pretty much make an L5R character with the material that's up on the blog now. If you pick a school that doesn't have any moves yet, you'd have to make your own. You will also see the characters from our regular home game below, who have some other schools, including the merchant archetype if you want to play a Yasuki. If there is a move or item that is different between the Seven Thunders and the home characters, use the Seven Thunders version, those are the tweaked ones based on play experience. On of the bushi moves, the Mountain Fall Upon You, has changed, as has katana damage.

The last piece is the the honor and love moves, which are included with the Thunders below. The new list of basic & advanced moves includes these, now. There have been some minor tweaks to these, especially in the Battle of Words move, now the Negotiate at Court move.

A tip for running this: offering a loss of face as a hard choice worked great, and made the players think really hard about what they were going to do. It's a powerful arrow in the MC quiver for this hack.

I'd love to see other people's take on this hack, if you come up with school moves, please post in comments or send PDFs directly to me for posting.


  1. Hi, love your L5R hack!! I am going to play and have tow questions.

    1) Why you are not using directly the rings names instead of bold, strong... I think that "roll earth" is more evocative.

    2) wouldn't be better to use dungeon world instead of AW as the base of the hack?

    If we made new schools I will send it to you.


  2. Thanks! I'll do my best to answer your questions.

    1. In L5R, the rings serve double duty, each as a mental/social and a physical attribute. These didn't map well to the five stats in AW, so I just changed the names to be more evocative of the setting. Switching them back to rings works fine, and if you want to for your group, please feel free.

    2. I stole bonds from DW, but I was not as familiar with that ruleset as I was with AW when I designed this. I'm sure there's plenty of stuff worth stealing from DW as well as AW when doing the hack. I'm done with this hack for now, but that's not to say I won't take more techniques from DW next time if I revisit it.

    I'd love to see your new schools, if you make them!

  3. I'm interested in doing something with this, and would be interested in collaborating if you're still interested in the project. Do you have any more AW/ L5R stuff at all? I've been thinking of moves for some other archetypes that come up a lot - Scout, Magistrate (also includes the Kitsuki Investigator), Ninja and Artisan, as well as working on other iconic schools (Togashi Tattooed Order, for example). Do you have any templates you used for creating your playsheet pdfs?

  4. Hi! I haven't done any more work on it. I'd love to collaborate, I put it out there for folks to extend if they wanted. I'd love to see what you do with some other schools.

    I don't have a PDF template, just an InDesign document that I was using. I'll try to put a PDF template together.

  5. Hey there, I would like to try your L5R hack out. But it seems that everything you postet is gone (or did you have to take it down cause someone complained about copyrights ?).

    Would appreciate it if you could give an update about the situation.

    Marco Hansen

    1. I switched web servers and the files are no longer downloadable. I would be happy to email them to you if you want to contact me at gmail. My user name is brennanrtaylor.

    2. Hi there!
      I am also interested and can't find the anymore on the internet. I sent you an email asking for the files.

      Thank you in advance!