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Focus on The Coming Storm: Story

7 hours 18 min ago

           The door to the Colonial Court swung open suddenly and banged loudly against the wall. Many in attendance jumped in surprise, for normally the door was only opened after a latecomer was announced by the Governor’s guardsmen. There were a few gasps, and then a moment of muttering that gave way to absolute silence as a half dozen samurai in heavy armor entered the room in a protective formation. The Governor’s guards stood aside, clearly bewildered, but made no attempt to intervene. Something had stayed their hand, and when the armored detail parted, it was obvious to all what it was.

            “Iweko Seiken, eldest son of the Divine Empress,” Otomo Suikihime said sweetly. If there was any consternation or concern in her mind, neither her tone nor face showed any hint of it. “It is my exquisite pleasure to welcome you to the court of the Second City. I had hoped you might grace us with your presence once you grew acclimated to the Colonies.”

            Seiken’s expression betrayed no emotion whatsoever. “I suspect that acclimation to this… place… will be a long time coming. Never, should I have my way.”

            Suikihime offered a half-smile. “There are many who have shared that sentiment at first. There are many wonders to be found here, however. In time, you may learn to appreciate them.”

            “That remains to be seen.”

            “Perhaps it does.” She gestured to her right. “Will you be staying? My Ivory Champion can see to it that your men receive accommodations, and of course you will be afforded the finest quarters I have available. There is a suite reserved only for members of your family. It has never been used, obviously, but it…”

            “I have no interest in remaining in this den of iniquity,” Seiken said sharply. “I do have need of your Ivory Champion, however.” He turned and looked at Shinjo Tselu. “I find my forces somewhat inadequate to the task before me. You will remand half of your Ivory Legion to my command. Half of the Second City Guardsmen as well, I think.”

            Shinjo Tselu looked at the Imperial heir with barely controlled shock. “I… my lord, I will of course need to speak to the Governor.”

            “Thank you, Tselu-san,” Suikihime said. “If you will forgive me, Seiken-sama, I think that…”


            “Forgive you?” Seiken interrupted. “I will do nothing of the sort. You have enjoyed far too much forgiveness already. How convenient for you, that the incident with the Mad Dragon allowed you to blame your disgraceful behavior on the actions of an insane divine force. As if that were an excuse for your shameful actions.”

            Not the barest hint of anger made it through the perfect composure of the Imperial Governor. “I am certain you think that is the case,” she said diplomatically. “Of course, you were not here when it happened, were you? It would be difficult for you to speak on such things with any authority despite that which your status normally affords you.”

            It was Seiken’s composure that broke first, as his face twisted into a contemptuous sneer. “Your family has produced many who offer insult to the line of Emperors from the first Hantei forward. Your disgrace eclipses them all.”

            Again, Suikihime offered a very slight smile. “And whose name do you honor with your actions, great Seiken-sama? Your mother? Your father, perhaps?”

            “Mind your tongue, impertinent puppet,” Seiken rebuked. He turned once again to Tselu. “You will have the forces I require prepared for march within the hour, or I shall take all of them, and this city of fools will be left to fend for itself while I conduct the true work of the Empress in this dismal land.” He turned and left, and his men followed.

            Tselu looked to the Governor. “It seems I have little choice, my lady.”

            “So it seems indeed,” Suikihime said, tapping one finger against her chin.

TheComingStormFocusStory2The Coming Storm is the first expansion for the Ivory Edition of the L5R CCG, and like all edition’s first expansions, it has a lot going on in it story-wise. While Ivory Edition establishes what the present state of affairs is for both the Empire and its Colonies, it isn’t until the aptly named Coming Storm that we get the first real picture of things to come over the next year in the world of Rokugan.

The major event of the Coming Storm is the arrival of Iweko Seiken, the eldest son of the Divine Empress, in the Colonies. The eldest of Iweko I’s children has a marked and established disdain for the Colonies, having set foot within them only once before, during the conflict of the mad dragon P’an Ku. The state of affairs within that distant land appears to have caused the eldest heir some consternation, for he has returned with an agenda known only to himself and his closest advisors, but he quickly makes it clear that he has no interest whatsoever in observing the status quo established by the Imperial Governor, as seen in the vignette above.

The question that immediately springs to mind for those who hold power within the Colonies is how Seiken’s presence will upset the balance of power. Who will benefit form his presence, and who will see their fortunes fade as a result? And perhaps most importantly of all, what impact will his presence have on the normally reclusive younger son of the Divine Empress, Iweko Shibatsu, a man whose affiliation with the Spider Clan cause many to look upon him with a mixture of confusion and distrust.

There is a storm on the horizon, and its intensity will be the thing of legends.

Categories: Company News

New Product Pages Now Live!

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 14:13

We’re pleased to announce to upcoming products for the L5R CCG:

More information will be coming about these products as their release date approaches, but you can get all of the key details now and plan for their arrival during 2014.

Categories: Company News

Apply for the Story Team Today!

Sun, 04/20/2014 - 03:40

Greetings, fans of L5R! We are looking to add a few people to the L5R Story Team. If you can tell interesting stories that feel authentic to Rokugan, and would like to have your stories to become part of the setting as a whole, please think about applying.

What do we do?

  • Set the story for the setting as a whole
  • Write fictions, such as on the website and the insets in starter decks
  • Write flavor text for L5R CCG expansions
  • Work with the design and brand teams on the CCG itself
  • Lay out the prizes for CCG events.

What are we looking for?
Storytellers who know (or can learn about) the setting, who can write.

How do you apply?
Please submit a 2000 to 3000 word short story to It should be set in Rokugan, but it does not have to be set in contemporary/Ivory Edition Rokugan. If you do set it in the past of the setting, please tell us when it is set.

Also, please do feel free in your covering email to describe briefly who you are and why you would like to be a part of the team. We don’t need a full cover letter or resume at this stage. Please submit your story by May 20, 2014 to qualify for becoming a second round applicant.

Categories: Company News

2014 Kotei Results: Renewal – Week 5

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 16:15

Greetings Samurai of Rokugan,

The current totals for each faction from top to bottom, incorporating the Week 3 Kotei Results from Greeley, Colorado, USA/Portland, Oregon, USA/Austin, Texas, USA/Dublin, Ireland/Szczecin, Poland/Quezon, Philippines/Athens, Greece/Auckland, New Zealand, are as follows:



















For further analysis of the results, please read Geoff Prugh’s Kotei Analysis thread on the AEG L5R Forums found here.

The 2014 Kotei Season: Renewal – Result‘s can be found here, and the decklists found here.

Categories: Company News

The Coming Storm Product Page is live!

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 13:11

The Product Page for our latest L5R CCG expansion, The Coming Storm, is now live. You can find it here.

Don’t forget, previews start on April 21, 2014, so prepare for the storm!

Categories: Company News

Ivory Edition Availability Update

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 16:26

We are pleased to announce that our first print run of Ivory Edition is sold out. We want to take this moment to thank all the stores and players for their support during this launch and for their positive response to the product.

Almost 500 stores worldwide signed up for our Ivory Launch kit (the complete list can be found at and it is our hope that players will show brick and mortar stores strong support throughout the arc for carrying the game we all love.

More boosters and starters are slated to arrive in our warehouses before the end of April so that there is Ivory Edition product available during the release of the upcoming expansion – The Coming Storm. 2014 is shaping up to be very exciting with brand new products L5R has never done before as we prepare to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2015!

Categories: Company News

Scenes from the Empire

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 05:26

A trio of vignettes from the Empire and its Colonies!


Scenes from the Empire

By Shawn Carman

Edited by Fred Wan


The Colonies, many months ago

It was night at Kalani’s Landing, and the crescent moon was all but obscured by the thick clouds. Those same clouds had been disgorging rain in prodigious amounts for nearly a week now, rendering the entire province into a mud-slogged nightmare from which there was very little escape. Most chose to remain at home and wait for the rainy season to reach its inevitable conclusion, something that should be coming any day now. As a result, the city was eerily quiet, and there was virtually no one about. So when the sharp knock came at the door of a small residence maintained by the Phoenix, it came as great surprise to its lone occupant.

Agasha Kodo rose and went to the door, sliding it open quickly and without hesitation. A former attendant of the Imperial Court of Rokugan, she did not find the Colonies to her liking, but nor had she adopted the paranoia so common to those who called the realm home. In the rain and gloom beyond, there stood a lone woman clad in the ever-present colors of the Mantis, her long black hair sodden by the ceaseless rain. Kodo’s quick glance took in her heraldry, then bowed deeply. “Kanahashi-sama,” she said, stepping aside to allow entrance. “Please, remove yourself from the weather.”

“I hardly notice it anymore,” Yoritomo Kanahashi said, wringing her hair quickly before crossing the threshold. “A few years here and you will cease to see it so as well.”

Kodo possessed too much self-control to allow herself to blanch, but the thought of years spent in the Colonies turned her stomach. “I must apologize, but I am ill-prepared to receive so prestigious a guest as the governor of this fine city.”

“Yet you chose such a visit,” Kanahashi said, “when you repeatedly declined my invitation to speak at my estate.”

Kodo inclined her head respectfully. “You have my most sincere apologies, my lady,” she said. “I have found my duties most time-consuming, and I feared I had nothing that would present interest to a person of your standing.”

“You are most peculiar for an attendant of the Imperial   Court,” Kanahashi observed casually. “I would have expected anyone else of such an appointment to jump at the chance to speak with anyone of station. But then you are not exactly what you seem, are you?”

Kodo’s expression did not change. “I am afraid I do not know what you mean, governor.”

Kanahashi chuckled. “Do not think me a fool, Phoenix. I know that your purpose in the Colonies is to attend to the needs of the Master of Water. Do not all families serve the Masters in one form or another? And yet, with all the chaos that plagues our land of late… have not I myself been the subject of rumors of untimely demise?… I have cause to wonder after the peculiarities I have heard ascribed to your lord.”

Still Kodo’s expression remained utterly calm and unflinching. “Whatever you may have heard, governor, I assure you, you must be mistaken. Chukage-sama is a wise and noble man who has labored toward the betterment not only of Phoenix but of all samurai within the Colonies.”

“That may well be true,” Kanahashi acknowledged. “And yet you have very studiously avoided any attempt to engage me concerning not only his behavior, but his impending arrival within my city. There are many very disturbing rumors concerning Chukage’s behavior of late, you must acknowledge.”

“This land is a land of rumors and madness of late,” Kodo retorted. “You would see a man of Chukage’s station limited as a result of the loose tongues of lesser men and women?”

“Lesser men and women,” the governor replied. “By which of course you mean those who are not Phoenix?”

Kodo frowned. “That is neither what I said nor what I intended.”

“Regardless, your lord will arrive within a day or two and I will speak with him. And should I find anything amiss with his demeanor or behavior, I assure you I will see to it that he is known throughout the entirety of the Colonies and the Empire as having succumbed to this plague of insanity.”

Kodo regarded the governor for a few moments, then seemed to sigh. “You are right, of course, governor. I will make all the arrangements for you to speak to Chukage-sama and you will see that he is above reproach.”

Kanahashi smiled. “I will look forward to that.”

“If I may,” Kodo continued, “I would like to show you the gift that Chukage has for you. I know this may be a bit unconventional, but I despite surprises and I feel perhaps you may be the same.” She went to the weapon rank near the southern wall of her chambers and removed a cloth from a blade that rested there. She held it out to the governor, and Kanahashi took it.

“Fortunes,” Kanahashi said. “This is exquisite.”

“Yes,” Kodo agreed. “It is called Raiden. Crafted by the finest smiths of the Isawa vassals and enchanted personally by the Master of Air.”

“It really is exceptional,” Kanahashi agreed. She looked up quizzically. “You said it was enchanted?”

“It was, yes.”

“In what way?”

Kodo smiled sadly. “It responds to certain commands.”

“Such as?”

Kodo took a step backwards. “By Thunder’s Will,” she said sharply.

The room was filled with a sudden brilliant light and a sharp cracking sound as lightning erupted from the blade. Yoritomo Kanahashi was consumed by it utterly, her hair leaping out from her body and smoking as it caught fire in certain places. Her flesh burned and ran like wax before she collapsed to the floor and did not move again.

“The Master of Water must be protected at all costs,” Kodo said quietly to herself.


* * * * *


The Colonies, many months ago

The stories that were circulating among the various courts of the Great Clans had given many reason to question the tendency of Kakita Kazan, a gifted magistrate but also a man of no few years, to travel alone. He had cast such doubts aside without consideration, for it had been his custom for many years to do exactly that.

It was only now, in the face of such madness, that Kazan had occasion to question his own decision. He was presently staring upward at the vast sky, with little true knowledge of how he had arrived in such position. Something had darted from the forest, small and fast, fast enough that his trained eye could not make it out, but it had caused his usually trustworthy steed to rear unexpectedly, and the magistrate found himself laying upon the ground, his breath gone in a huff and not eager to return. Still, there was nothing to be gained by remaining, and so Kazan drug himself to his feet, somewhat grudgingly.

A curious beast sat in the road, regarding Kazan curiously. It was a fox, or appeared to be for most intents and purposes. Even winded, however, there were differences to Kazan’s trained eyes. The beast’s tail flicked rapidly, almost too rapidly to follow. Again, so it appeared. In truth, there was more than one tail, and the flickering movement was naught but concealment of this truth. “A beast of spirit, then,” Kazan said with a nod. His demeanor betrayed nothing, but inwardly he was greatly alarmed. The aforementioned stories circulating in court spoke of mischief and peculiarity, and a kitsune, as this appeared to be, was a creature prone to such a mischievous nature. Was it possible, then, that an infestation of such creatures could be responsible for all the tragedy and confusion that had befallen the Colonies of late? It was a possibility he could not discount.

The Crane’s blade was in his hand without conscious thought or scarcely even visible action. Aged he might be, but Kazan’s skill with the blade was not in question. He stepped before the creature and regarded it frankly. It stared back at him with brilliant eyes, blazing with both intelligence and curiosity. He leveled his blade against it. “What threat do you pose, little beast?” he asked.

The creature only stared back at him, unafraid and seemingly intrigued. Its blazing gaze flickered briefly to the length of steel before it, then back to the Crane who held it. It seemed to have a quizzical expression, but then again… it was a fox. Kazan could not precisely say what it was thinking, or if it were capable of such things. The kitsune were intelligent spirits, true, but if they were capable of true thought he did not know, could not know. He stared into its eyes for a moment, then another, until it seemed as though he had been staring into them for the whole of his life.

Finally, Kazan lowered his blade. “Bah,” he said. “There is no malevolence in you, little fox. Run along. Back to the forest.” As he watched the creature retreat into the trees, multiple tails flickering as it walked, he sighed. “And now I have to go find my horse. What a wonderful day.”


* * * * *


The Phoenix provinces were among the last in the Empire to fully embrace the spring, but after a hard-bitten winter, the season had finally arrived in its fullness, dispelling the frigid cold and banks of snow that had plagued the region for months. It was a season of rebirth and celebration, as was so often the case in the spring. This year, however, it was also a season of mourning.

The temple was not particularly large or well known, but it was the only one that served several surrounding villages, and thus it saw a large amount of traffic. Today it was crowded almost beyond capacity, for one of the local village’s favorite son had perished, and hundreds of weeping peasants had turned out to pay their respects, as well as dozens of samurai. Most were of the Phoenix Clan, as the fallen warrior had been, but many others were there as well.

Shiba Michiki found himself struggling to maintain his composure. It was not something he had experienced often in his life, but then there had been few occasions when someone as close to him as his lost comrade had been taken from his life, and by such senseless means. “Disease,” he said in a low voice, shaking his head slightly. “I cannot believe it. A filthy, miserable disease.”

“It makes a certain amount of sense,” an old, familiar voice said.

Michiki turned. “Sang-Ju,” he said with a nod. “Why does such a thing make sense, exactly?”

Utaku Sang-Ju smiled, but it was a sad expression. “You remember the great zeal that Jaishu possessed,” she said. “His exuberance, his enthusiasm… merely by being present he made all else around him seem dimmer by comparison. Can you imagine anything at all bringing him to an ill end? Emma-O desired his brilliance, and disease was the only thing that could bring such a man low.”

Michiki grunted. “I do remember how hard he was to kill. And his spirit was unbreakable.”

“Without question,” the Unicorn samurai-ko agreed. She glanced down the way and frowned. “Oh dear,” she muttered, then gestured for someone to approach. “We may have a slight problem on our hands.”

“Eh?” Michiki followed her glance and sighed. “They will act in a manner appropriate to the situation.”

Sang-Ju glanced at him. “Are you sure about that?”

“They will,” Michiki repeated. “Or I will run them through myself.”

The two men scowled at one another without ceasing as they approached, one clad in the colors of the Crane, the other in Crab colors. The former, Daidoji Ujirou, jerked a thumb in the direction of the man next to him. “I did not realize that the Phoenix temples were infested. I have never seen a louse this size before.”

Hiruma Itta snarled. “You perfumed buffoon,” he began…

“That is enough,” Michiki said quietly. “Have you forgotten why we are here?”

Both men glared at one another, but they looked somewhat abashed as they did so. “Forgive me,” the Crane said. “I did not mean to give offense. It was… inappropriate.”

“I mean no dishonor to the memory of a great warrior,” Itta insisted. He paused and looked around, as if waiting for someone to say something. Finally, he said, “We are all here for the same thing. We should… I do not know. Remember Shiba Jaishu, I suppose.”

“Remember him?” Michiki said. “I cannot forget him. He was as close to a brother as I have ever known. Always laughing, always cheerful. There were many times, the night before a battle or an exercise of some sort, when nerves among the men were so high strung that it seemed we would not survive even to the fight itself. But Jaishu was always there, always joking. The men adored him. He was the spirit of the entire legion, of that there can be no question.”

“Spirited,” Itta grunted. “That is too small a word. I remember once when Jaishu was visiting the Carpenter Wall, and there was an attack. It was terrible. There was an oni the likes of which we had never seen before. Gigantic and wormlike, with small heads atop tentacles that reached out from its maw and drew prey in to consume it. Its accursed hide was so thick, nothing seemed able to penetrate it, and even jade-coated weapons did nothing. Jaishu,” here Itta shook his head incredulously. “He dumped jade powder all over himself. For a moment I thought he had gone mad, and I thought for certain my commander would execute him on the spot for squandering such a resource. Then he just… he just laughed and jumped in the thing’s mouth. It drew him in with those snakelike tongues and started screaming and roaring as the jade burned it on the soft tissue inside. Meanwhile, Jaishu was stabbing everything with his blades, cutting and dicing.” Again, the Crab shook his head and laughed despite himself. “I have seen many terrible, horrible things in my life, but the sight of Jaishu laughing over that dead thing, covered in ichor of half a dozen different colors… that is something I will never forget.”

“That is absolutely horrible,” Sang-Ju said, but she was smiling. “Not long after I met Jaishu, we were both trying to recover a herd of young horses that had been inadvertently freed when a wildfire had driven them from the fields where they normally dwelled. The beasts were skittish, not accustomed to riders at all and still anxious over the fire. We identified the leader of the heard and I was attempting to placate him.” She stopped and seemed frustrated. “I could have done it, too! But Jaishu… he was never one to wait. He hopped atop the horse and it went into a frenzy and raced across the plains. It took us nearly an hour to catch them, and Jaishu was just laughing the entire time. I was so angry, I may never have been as angry as that in my entire life, but he was so happy… I just could not help but laugh.”

Ujirou laughed. “That is nothing to the time that I first met him.” He gestured toward the Crab beside him. “The louse and I were competitors at the Topaz Championship in Tsuma. Jaishu was one of the Phoenix delegation there, and though the Phoenix candidates did not emerge victorious, they brought honor to their clan, as did I.” He looked again at Itta and added, somewhat grudgingly, “As did we both. The celebration that night was significant, and Jaishu paid for all sake for any competitors who were present. And this one,” again he gestured toward Itta, nearly doubling with laughter in the process, “this one nearly drank him into poverty! Jaishu later told me that he spent a year eating millet because this Crab’s thirst for drink!”

Itta did little more than smirk. “I was thirsty. And he offered!”

Ujirou howled with laughter, Sang-Ju and Itta chuckled, and even Michiki smiled. “There are many such stories to be told,” the Phoenix warrior said. “However, I would see us removed to a different place for the telling, to allows those who knew him differently to remember in peace.”

The four samurai left the temple behind, each filled with a mixture of joy at the memory of their friend, and sorrow at his absence from their company. And though they could not see it, the spirit of a great samurai warrior watched them from beyond the veil of the border between worlds. He watched them as they went.

And he smiled.


 Discuss this fiction in our Story Forum!

Categories: Company News

2014 Kotei Results: Renewal – Week 4

Thu, 04/10/2014 - 16:03

Greetings Samurai of Rokugan,

The current totals for each faction from top to bottom, incorporating the Week 3 Kotei Results from Sterling, Virginia, USA/Calgary, Alberta, Canada/Madrid, Spain, are as follows:



















For further analysis of the results, please read Geoff Prugh’s Kotei Analysis thread on the AEG L5R Forums found here.

The 2014 Kotei Season: Renewal – Result‘s can be found here, and the decklists found here.

Categories: Company News

The Coming Storm Preview Cycle and Release Dates

Wed, 04/09/2014 - 23:06

Ivory Edition, the latest base set for the L5R CCG, has enabled players to find new and interesting ways to play the game. Now, it’s time to expand their options with the next expansion set – The Coming Storm!

The Coming Storm preview cycle will begin on Monday, April 21, 2014, and will continue until Tuesday, May 20th. The full detail of the preview schedule can be found over on the L5R Forums by clicking this link.

The Coming Storm product page will go live on April 17, 2014. The Coming Storm will be released in Stronghold Stores on May 26, 2014, and be legal for tournament play on June 21, 2014.

It is coming – now prepare for the storm!

Categories: Company News

Ivory Edition Errata

Tue, 04/08/2014 - 19:18

Hello Samurai of Rokugan,

It is time to talk about the Crane Clan, and their performance thus far in Ivory Edition. Many would argue that the problem is perceived power vs. actual power, and there is an argument to be had there. But the numbers don’t lie, and Crane has completely taken over this Kotei season. To go along with the Kotei numbers, we have been testing the problem internally and have found very similar results. So is the problem that Crane is just too far over the top, or is the problem that people are not properly preparing their deck for Crane? As with most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Yes, people are generally not preparing their decks for fighting Crane. Cards like The Turtle’s Shell, Roaming Caravan, Determined Challenge, and Blanketed Forest are fantastic cards in the environment that work even better against Crane and other defensive decks, yet are seeing very little play. The answer though is also yes, Crane has come out of the gates far too strong. After lots of analysis, we have determined that there are two main aspects to this; Akagi Sensei and their stronghold.

Akagi Sensei, simply put, is more powerful, by a significant measure, than any other Sensei. It gives any Crane deck extreme mobility, regardless of keywords. If a battle goes poorly, you can always eject your personality to safety. If you need to get your personality back into the battle, it does that too. It creates fantastic hit and run strategies, which is perfectly fitting for the Daidoji, but unfortunately does so much more than that. And it gives you a very relevant +1 province strength bump on top of that.

The stronghold has a different problem. A standard draw is to start turn two with 8 gold, and turn three with 15-16 gold. With Crane though, you generally start turn two with 9 gold (thanks to the stronghold), and turn three with 18-19 gold. This three gold difference will buy you an extra holding (at least) on turn three, often times getting you 1-2 extra people per game. So even a small +1 gold bump early, multiplies and turns into a significant difference on turn 6 and 7, which are very important and key turns.

So with that, effective Friday, April 18th, these two cards will receive errata as follows:

Akagi Sensei will no longer give its stronghold +1 province strength and its ability will no longer target any personality, only scouts.


The Exquisite Palace of the Crane will now have its +1 gold bump last only for the phase.

NewCraneStronghold NewCraneStrongholdBack

With these adjustments, we expect that Crane decks will be brought under control and down to a reasonable power level, without destroying their playability. Crane decks will no longer get the early gold acceleration, but they will still get it later for Action Phase costs, such as attachments, and of course the honor aspect of the stronghold was not touched.

As stated in the Design Mission Statement, we will never stop working towards giving you, the players, the most diverse and dynamic experience we can possibly achieve. Sometimes this may mean that a problem will arise. When it does, we will look into it, address it, make adjustments if necessary, and move forward as we continue to bring you the best possible L5R experience.

Categories: Company News

New Cards For Koku Coming Soon

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 22:16

Samurai of Rokugan,

The Imperial Bank of Rokugan is pleased to announce that you will be able to redeem your koku for Aftermath rares shortly. The new selections will be available on Wednesday, the 9th, at 16:30 PDT (23:30 GMT). Check the Imperial Assembly page then for the new offers.

Long live our Divine Empress,
Seppun Washi

Categories: Company News

The Ivory Edition Storyline Paradigm

Mon, 04/07/2014 - 18:41

As many of you old timers may remember, I have been working on the story for the Legend of the Five Rings in one form or another since 1998, back when I started as a freelancer for the role-playing game. Even before that, though, I was always fascinated with how the story for this game works, how it allows the fans to steer the direction and the tone. When I first discovered how it worked, I was hooked. I had never seen anything like it before, and I’ve rarely seen anything that even comes close to it since then. It might not be true to say that it’s completely unique, but for my money it’s always been the first and the best of its kind in the gaming industry, and the fact that it’s been entrusted to me is something that I try to appreciate and deserve every day. Some days are better than others, but I never stop trying to be worthy of the trust that’s been placed in me.

Some of you may be wondering how we’re trying to justify that trust with the arrival of Ivory Edition. It’s a fair question! The story interaction aspect of the game has always been a sort of continuum, and it has swung back and forth over different arcs with different degrees of success. How are we going to ensure that you have ample opportunities to impact the storyline in a meaningful manner during this arc?

First and foremost, the storyline tournament will remain the single most definitive means of interacting with and influencing the Legend of the Five Rings storyline. In past arcs, we have been guilty of overly proliferating the storyline tournament to the point that it becomes largely meaningless. The goal, of course, was to allow more people to experience the opportunity to impact the story, but ultimately it simply cheapened the impact of individual tournaments, and that is something that we wish to avoid at all costs. Toward that end, we will be moving toward fewer tournaments that have a greater impact. In the interests of accomplishing this, we have structured story prizes along a system of tiers, with tier three representing individual, localized tournaments (such as last season’s Resolutions series, for instance), and scaling up toward tier one, which are the major events like GenCon, the European Championships, and even the cumulative Kotei effects. Tier one events will be limited to one per quarter, with tier two and three events occurring somewhat more frequently (although still less frequently than in recent years).

In addition to the tournaments themselves, some of the tiered events will take place through different opportunities that will allow more than just a handful of tournament attendees to affect the storyline. Votes among the clan memberships of the Imperial Assembly, contests at various forums, honor contests and other, as yet unrevealed means of allowing broader impact are structured to allow every fan an opportunity to affect the storyline in one form or another. While these events may not have the magnitude and depth that tier one storyline tournaments have, it should still allow everyone to feel that they have the opportunity to impact the storyline if that’s what they choose to do. We all love Rokugan, so we should all have a say in how it develops.

There have been many occasions in the past when the Story Team has had no alternative but to deny certain choices made by tournament winners. We really don’t want to do this. I know some of you might think otherwise, but we do want you to have as much say over the prizes as you can. You won, after all. You deserve it. In this arc, we will give you as much leeway as we possibly can in choosing the prize that you want. We assume that you have reasons for choosing the cards you do, and if there’s a way that we can allow it, we will. In the event that we cannot use whatever choice you have made (Chiisai the elephant is not taking the throne, man), then hopefully we can work closely with you to find a solution that you feel happy with. In Ivory Edition, no winner should walk away from a tournament discouraged about what they were able to choose.

So that’s where we are on the story for Ivory Edition. I hope that, if you have questions, you’ll track me down on the forum or via email. I think we have some great things in story for you this arc, and I want you to be able to enjoy them to the fullest.

Categories: Company News

Keeping an Eye on Crane: Update

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 01:26

Samurai of Rokugan,

This is an update to let you know we are still evaluating the results of the Crane Clan in the current environment and are not, as of yet, ready to make a decision in any particular direction. Stay tuned to INN (Imperial News Network aka for more information on this story in the coming week.

Categories: Company News

A Moment of Silence

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 22:42

by Stephen Ryan

A phoenix rises from its ashes alit, aflame, aglow, an eternal effigy of the glory present in both life and death. A reminder that everything is born from something.

On April 2nd, our community lost a friend. There are many who knew the illuminating warmth of Josh Davis, but even if you just knew him in passing, or had never met him, he would still consider you a friend. If you met him on a Friday, his L5R night, you would have been greeted with the same off-kilter smile and the forceful points accompanied by “You, You, play each other. Now” we got to hear regularly. It was a staple of my Friday evenings since I started playing the game again, save for road trips, where I once heard a”You two, stop playing” in the backseat of the car we used for a Kotei trip. Through the best and worst of L5R, and the promise of Ivory, Josh was there. As our group waned to just him and I, many of those nights were filled with anything but this game, but no matter the level of fun we were having at the time, he felt it was his responsibility to be there, to make sure if any new or potentially new player came in, someone would be there to welcome them, to play demo decks with them, to incorporate them into the group and the game, and to share what became much more than just magical cardboard samurai.

Josh took up the mantle of our ambassador through his patience. He had one rule, one pet peeve, one requirement; that we all act like the adults we are and stop being jerks to each other. This was the only thing I ever heard him complain about in the time I knew him, and it was the one thing he believed he should never have to complain about. The better we act, the better we behave, the better people we get coming in, and the larger we can grow the community. At times, it felt like Josh was far too much of an optimist for the community he worked so hard to represent. And those who knew him in the community loved him for it. It is rare to know a person who is never spoken of badly, even in a joking manner, but that was Josh. Most of our playgroup has had our moments of ill-reception from parts of the community, but the worst thing I ever heard about Josh was that “he’s a little strange” from someone’s girlfriend, who did not stay that someone’s girlfriend for long. Davis was the calming, comforting presence in a room, and in the community, he thrived. Many of us can say we formally met and formed friendships with other members of our regional community largely or entirely because of him. Outside of the game, Josh was the first to grab you for food and a movie if you were feeling down, and more than one of us were accepted as his extended family for our communal Thanksgiving and New Year’s gatherings.

His excitement carried over into the competitive scene as well. Josh was a regular volunteer for AEG at gencon, running draft events and demo sessions for AEG across a several year period. He told us afterwards the only way he knew how much time passed would be by his friends and teammates coming up to his table and updating him on tournament records and progress. He was also the Tournament Organizer for the San Antonio area Kotei, where he overhauled the prize structure to ensure “everyone who attended felt like it was worth their time to come play L5R with us”, by spreading more prize support to participation, and away from the Top 8 heavy distribution. He strongly believed that the more you made people feel welcome, the better the odds they would participate, and that better participation would lead to growing the community. He was also a member of Playtest for most of Celestial Edition.

Those lucky enough to sit across the table from Josh had the pleasure of facing off against ‘Claw’ and ‘Shell’, his yojmbo tokens created by his “men making babies”, the name he used for his Yojimbo-birthing Shugs. His previously nameless yojimbo earned their name by taking more uses of Claw and Shell than anything else in the region. He felt a sense of enjoyment when his spuds ate kill actions, and the look of excitement on his face when Final Sacrifice was reprinted matched that of children at Christmas.

A short, relatively painless fight with pneumonia and cancer extinguished Josh’s fire, but the patience, love and devotion he brought to his friends, the game and his life in general will never be forgotten. We all lost a friend, and beyond that, a wonderful person.

Support from the community has shown just how special Josh was, and his family and friends are incredibly grateful for the love shown. Over the last few days, we have seen the Phoenix mon replace avatars on Facebook and G+. a show of support for our friend. Frank Kallal created a special version of the mon that anyone is welcome to use to show their support.


Josh is gone, and weekly L5R will never be the same. But like the Phoenix, Josh will live on.

Categories: Company News

2014 Kotei Results: Renewal – Week 3

Thu, 04/03/2014 - 15:32

Greetings Samurai of Rokugan,

The current totals for each faction from top to bottom, incorporating the Week 3 Kotei Results from Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA/Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA/Sarasota, Florida, USA/Brussels, Belgium, are as follows:



















For further analysis of the results, please read Geoff Prugh’s Kotei Analysis thread on the AEG L5R Forums found here.

The 2014 Kotei Season: Renewal – Result‘s can be found here, and the decklists found here.

Categories: Company News

Keeping an eye on Crane

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 22:20
Greetings Samurai of Rokugan! Excitement for Ivory continues to build and people continue to join, and return to, the game. However, we seem to face a problem–the power level of the Crane Clan, as reflected in the Kotei results so far. While some might argue this is a case of perceived strength versus real strength, no one can argue that the Clan’s performance in the first few weeks of the Kotei season greatly exceeds that of the other clans. Quite bluntly, we aren’t satisfied with this situation and are carefully considering what, if anything, should be done. As we do this, it is important to keep something in mind. The shift from Emperor Edition to Ivory Edition was the biggest and most important shift in the game’s history. This was true not only in terms of its power level, but also in the direction we’re taking the game. We’ve had many “balls in the air”, and the result so far has been an excellent, but not perfect, product. There are clearly wrinkles that need to be ironed out. The relatively balanced performance of the clans other than Crane is a testament to how good Ivory Edition is, and that we are on the right track. So, as we evaluate this issue and determine if it will require our intervention, and what form that intervention would take, we appreciate your patience. You may expect to hear back from us by the end of the current week if there any changes will be made to the game. If any such changes are made, they will not effect this upcoming weekend (e.g. the weekend of April 5-6), but could potentially effect those Kotei occurring on the following weekend. As stated in our design mission statement, we will always continue to strive to bring you the most dynamic game possible and that, from time to time, this may mean we need to make adjustments. We find this to be a much more preferable situation to taking a route that could end up in a stale and stagnant environment. You have our commitment that we will never stop working on making Ivory Edition the best L5R play environment we possibly can. We likewise appreciate your understanding that the road ahead will always have the potential for some bumps in it and, again, thank you for your patience.
Categories: Company News

Sins of the Father: Partners

Mon, 03/31/2014 - 16:08

The penultimate chapter of Robert Denton’s wildly popular Sins of the Father series, which ran throughout Emperor Edition, is here!



Sins of the Father: Partners

By Robert Denton

Edited by Fred Wan


            Kinaro found Maratai in the farthest corner of the garden. By the light of paper lanterns, she chiseled at the face of a man hewn from bright stone, slowly carving a face where there had previously been none. Kinaro approached, winding around numerous other statues in varying states of completion. Most were worthy of pause. He admired Maratai’s work; with minimal strikes, she accomplished the most vivid images. Any deviation from reality in her art was forgivable considering what it conjured in the viewer’s heart.

Maratai paused to glance over her shoulder. She smiled, cheeks clay-smudged, hands clutching her hammer and chisel. Kinaro smiled back. It was difficult, all things considered.

“Still at work?” he remarked. “You realize it is the Hour of the Boar?”

“He’s not finished,” she explained. She didn’t look the least bit tired. Quite the opposite, she was aglow with the energy of creation, a flame that fed itself.

Kinaro, on the other hand, looked as though he hadn’t slept well in some time.

Maratai set down her tools and rubbed dried clay-slip from her hands. “I am grateful for this space,” she said. “I am confident I will not need it for much longer. Perhaps a few more weeks. I have not yet found a place to stay within the city, but I am optimistic.”

“You are welcome as long as you’d like,” Kinaro said. Perhaps it was not his place to promise, since boarding at Toshi Ranbo’s Dragon Embassy was not under his purview, but he doubted they would throw her out. Right now, he had worthier subjects for his worry.

“So,” he began again, “May I ask, what all of this-“

“It is a gift,” she said. “Thanks for the Dragon’s hospitality.”

“You honor us.” He paused by a life-like depiction of an armored samurai, wielding two swords. “Your work is marvelous, Maratai. Have I ever told you this?”

“I am humbled.”

He squinted at the statue behind the samurai. It was an odd column, curved and shaped like a rolling cloud, topped with odd-looking clay flowers, or some manner of drooping urchin. “Perhaps that is the sun?” he asked, pointing to it.

She shook her head. “They are fireworks.”

He squinted.

“A prototype,” she explained. “I am not pleased with it. But I saw something interesting today that I think I will do instead. I met a Tamori gurasuka here, and she showed me some things she sculpted from molten glass.” Her eyes glittered. “I am eager to try this for myself. She has volunteered to show me how it is done. I will meet her at the kiln tomorrow. What I have in mind is not for a beginner however, so we will be collaborating on this project. She will depict fireworks using colored glass, and I will be incorporating them into the finished work.”

“Is that so?” It was good to hear that Maratai, usually introverted and quiet, had made a friend among his clan-mates.

“When it is finished, the display will depict soldiers marching down a great hall, towards the gates of Yomi, hanabi suspended above their heads.”

“A Bon Festival, but from the perspective of our ancestors,” Kinaro observed.

She shrugged. “Perhaps. To be honest, I have always wanted to depict explosions. It is a good excuse to do that.” They were quiet for a moment, and then Maratai asked, “How is the investigation?”

Kinaro didn’t reply right away. He kept his hands tucked behind his back, apparently engrossed in a detail on one of the statues.

Her eyes softened. “That poorly?”

“We were outmaneuvered,” he finally confessed. “The Spider presented… a complication. Besides which, we have inadequate testimony to proceed with authority.”

“I do not understand,” she said. “We were attacked by a Spider in the city. He hunted us. He took your…” she hesitated, but realized it was too late not to finish, “your eye.”

Unoffended, he shook his head. “They deny any part in it. The Susumu claim our attackers operated without the endorsement of the Spider.” A pause. “They are not the first to claim this defense when one among them takes an action that shames the clan. The Spider have learned to save face by watching the rest of us.”

“What was the complication, then?”

“Your father’s final play was not fully his own idea,” he said cautiously. “He was commissioned by my daimyo.”

Her eyes widened. “Why?”

“It was intended to be a gift,” Kinaro explained. “For the Spider.”

“That makes no sense.”

She was right. Kinaro sighed. “So you see the complication. I have written an inquiry to my daimyo, but it will take some time for it to reach him, and weeks before I can receive a reply. In the meantime, the Spider are launching their own investigation. The jurisdiction is theirs, now. I…” he hesitated, “…had to give them the play.”

Maratai did not flinch, but her gaze darkened. “I see,” she finally said. “…What is your next move, then?”

Kinaro didn’t answer. He had nothing to say.


* * * * *


Just beyond the red-light district of Toshi Ranbo was a humble wooden cart, permanently parked by the side of the road. Over it’s tilted roof hung a woven ball of cedar leaves, known as a sugitama, signaling that one could buy sake from it’s proprietor. It was almost always open, no matter the hour, and even now, with a sudden rain welcoming the Hour of the Rat, the paper lantern beneath the roof sheltering it’s protruding counter was still aglow. Late-night city denizens huddled beneath it’s wooden canopy and traded coin for warm sake. More reputable places were long closed, but the “Oxless Cart” knew no resting hour.

Kinaro accepted the offered sake dish, leaving two coins on the counter that the owner pointedly ignored. He would not accept the money until Kinaro left, as was custom. Kinaro placed his nose in the path of the sake’s winding steam. Warm with a faint and citrus nose. Perfect for a night like this; the rain coming down and the streets of the never-sleeping district slowly emptying for warmer shelters. If his mind were not so heavy, he might have enjoyed this moment, instead of sipping his sake with empty expression.

A familiar voice broke his reverie. “I know this cannot be Kinaro-san. He would never drink cheap sake at a stand such as this.”

Kinaro tilted his head and nodded at Bayushi Makubesu. The old Scorpion stood just beyond the lip of the wooden roof, holding a wax-paper umbrella above his head. His eyes smiled above his mask. Judging from his approach, he’d just left the red light district as the rain began its fall.

“You still have much to learn about me,” Kinaro replied. “What brings you out tonight, Makubesu-san? Investigating something in the red light district?”

“You might say that.” His eyes twinkled. “Now I am merely seeking something to stand under and something warm to drink. In my youth, this weather would have been nothing. But I fear I have grown accustomed to the climate of the colonies, and this cold threatens to extinguish my Fire.”

Kinaro gestured to the man behind the counter and put down another two coins. “A cup of something warm for my friend.” The server bowed and turned away to fulfill the order.

Arigato.” His smile seemed to widen. “I notice you are being kind and generous tonight, Kinaro-san. Are we in mortal danger?”

Kinaro chuckled. “Not as far as I know.”

A bowl of sake was handed to the old magistrate. Makubesu received it warmly. Kinaro watched, fascinated, as the old Scorpion tilted the bowl and sipped from underneath his mask, never revealing his full face. He sighed foggy satisfaction into the crisp air. “Even cheap sake tastes good on a rainy night,” he observed.

Then, he glanced at Kinaro. “I saw Ichigiku-san the other day. She asked if I had seen you lately.” He paused. “I thought you should know.”

Kinaro looked glumly into his sake bowl. “I’d imagine she is still angry.”

“It has been weeks, Kinaro-san. Whatever happened, it is old news.”

“She is not the type to forget.” Kinaro sighed. He knew sake would make him talkative, but he no longer cared. “I do not wish to burden you, my friend, but it seems I have a grave error.”

“So I have heard.” Makubesu looked down at the Kitsuki magistrate with knowing eyes. “I have heard many distressing things regarding your investigation, if you do not mind my honesty.”

“I was outmaneuvered. I… I failed her.” Kinaro’s face burned. “I failed both of us. And Maratai.”

“Self-indulging guilt does not become you.” Makubesu took another sip. “You act as if the case is over.”

“It is over.” Kinaro avoided Makubesu’s gaze. “We are completely disarmed. There is only one option left.”

Sou desu ka?” The old man looked intrigued. “What is that, exactly?”

“To accuse Takada of conspiracy in open court.”

Makubesu seemed to consider this. “Well, it is a dramatic option. Don’t you suppose the Spider will take offense?”

“I am counting on that,” Kinaro replied. “Their swiftness to defend themselves will give credence to my words.”

“And provoke a duel,” Makubesu pointed out. “You do not have adequate testimony, and they will have the grounds to legally claim an assault on their honor. Do you think you can beat whoever Takada names as his champion?”

“Perhaps. Otherwise… I will face the judgement of my ancestors. In either case, at least the truth will have been exposed. I would die with no regrets.”

“No regrets.” Makubesu shook his head. “Impossible. You would have died without saying anything to Ichigiku-chan. Your partner.”

Kinaro didn’t answer. They stood in the rain together, Makubesu sipping his sake. When the bowl was finally empty, he set it on the counter with a satisfied sigh. “You know, I have lost many partners,” he said. “The first one died protecting the woman he loved. The second died apprehending a criminal. The third fell off the roof of the SecondCity governor’s palace. And there were quite a few after that.” He looked up into the rain, suddenly wistful in his eyes. “I know my reputation, Kinaro-san. This old man is not blind yet. They say I was the cause of their deaths. That I took too many risks. That I did not concern myself with my partner’s safety. I have let them say such things. Do you know why?”

“Because they were true?” he risked.

Makubesu laughed. “No, Kinaro-san. I allowed these rumors because it would prevent my lords from ever assigning me a partner again.”

Kinaro was surprised. “You didn’t like working with a partner?”

“To the contrary,” he said. “My first partner and I became good friends. The second saved my life. I am grateful to them all. But I didn’t want any more after my last one. The truth is, I couldn’t stand to lose another partner again.”

He pulled away from the counter and locked Kinaro in a steeled gaze. “I realize Ichigiku has no idea what you are planning to do. I realize you are trying to protect her from the inevitable consequences of your actions. If you truly wish to throw your life away, then I will not stop you. But I will say that you are a fool. And that should mean something coming from me.” His gaze softened. “You should talk to your partner. Go find Ichigiku. Do you not owe her that much? You should at least speak with her before you go.” Above his mask, his eyes flashed knowingly. “She might surprise you, Kinaro-san. Why, I dare say you have something to learn from her yet.”

This gave Kinaro pause. Makubesu had that look in his eyes, an amused sheen that betrayed secret knowledge. Was the old man pulling his leg? Alluding to something impolite, as he was often apt to do? Or did Kinaro detect a glint of sincerity in his words?

“Besides,” Makubesu added, “you will regret it if you leave without saying goodbye.” The old man looked away. Far, far away. “Take my word for it, young man. You’d do best to avoid such regrets. They can follow you a long time.”


* * * * *


Ichigiku heard the rapping at the shoji door midway through the Hour of the Rat. Leaving her chambers, she crossed the hall and slid it open. There was Kitsuki Kinaro. Rain filled the world around him.

“Good evening, Ichigiku-san.” He managed a smile, twisting the long scar that bisected his face, “it has been a while, hasn’t it?”

She didn’t reply. She stared, eyes half-lidded and unfriendly. Her white hair formed two curtains around her face in the absence of her usual ponytail. Her dress was plain because she wasn’t expecting company. She looked exhausted.

“Is it alright if I come in?” Kinaro asked.

Wordlessly, she opened the shoji wider, retreating from the doorway into the foyer. He followed her inside; suitably for a Crane embassy, the foyer doubled as a receiving area for guests, with painted walls and a coal-box for heating tea. There was already a kettle, but the coals were long-cold. She knelt beside it to re-kindle a flame as awakened servants brought in a table and cups without need for command.

He removed his sandals and remained standing, then watched as she coaxed a meager flame in the coal-box. She would not meet his eyes. When steam finally rose from the kettle, she poured them both a serving.

Kinaro detected a familiar scent. “Silver nettle?”

“I have grown accustomed to it.” Even her voice sounded tired. She sat on the other side of the pit and set his tea across from her.

“I have come to apologize,” he finally said.

She nodded. Gestured with an open palm. “Proceed.”

He sat. Now she was expectant, back straight, tea cradled in both hands.

“I failed you,” he began. He searched for words. “Giving in… to the Susumu’s demands… it was regrettable. However-“

“You do not have to apologize for that.”

He looked up. She was shaking her head at him. “You had no choice,” she continued. “You thought we had more than we did, and he took advantage. He made any other course of action impossible. To allow disgrace to fall on your lord… on our lords… would be unthinkable.”

“…Yes,” he replied, brow crinkling in confusion, “exactly.”

She sipped tea, eyes closed, right side illuminated by the coal-box light. Kinaro searched her expression but found it impossible to read.

“Then,” he continued cautiously, “you understand why we must let this case go.”

“No. I do not.”

He blinked. “You just said-“

“I understand why you gave them Hiro’s last play,” she clarified, “but there are still avenues open to us.”

“Ichigiku.” Kinaro lowered his voice. “It’s over.”

She opened her eyes. The familiar ice in those eyes would not be melted by the kettle-fire.

“The Spider will make good on their threat,” he continued. “Even if we still had options, it doesn’t matter which direction we take now. Continue the investigation, they will slander us in the courts. They will discredit everything we present. And we are out of our jurisdiction.” He shook his head. “What would happen to Maratai if we pressed now? She is still in danger.”

Ichigiku looked away, settling her gaze over the glowing coals.

“What would happen to you?” Kinaro sighed, hesitating for a moment. “I know about the unauthorized duel,” he revealed. “Between you and the Mantis-“

She slammed her cup. Tea spilled over her fingers. She pinned him with her glare. “You know nothing about that,” she warned.

“I only mean to say, you cannot afford to be the center of controversy again.” He paused. “Am I right?”

She did not break her gaze, but pulled her hand away from her cup. She’d cracked the porcelain where it’d struck the table. “What could happen to me is inconsequential,” she said. But her tone was less convincing than her words.

“I want nothing more than to see this through to the end,” he confessed. He sighed, turning his gaze to the ceiling. “But we would risk too much. To our lords, to Maratai, to ourselves. This is hard for me, but I see no options left.”

“What happened to you in the colonies?”

He stopped. The abruptness of the question pulled his attention down again. Again he was paralyzed in her gaze. She spoke again, but now her tone was sincere, non confrontational. “This is not the Kitsuki Kinaro I met all those months ago,” she said. “That man did not frown this much. That man wanted only to cast the world in the light of truth.”

He swallowed hard.

“That man,” she continued, “had an irritating smile that he wore constantly. He told jokes that were not funny. He was infuriating!” She smirked. “And he didn’t give up, even when the killer slipped through his fingers. So what happened to that man, Kinaro-san?”

“He was left behind,” Kinaro replied, “when the SecondCity burned. When he failed.”

Ichigiku narrowed her eyes. “It seems the SecondCity is still burning.”

He gasped. Yes, the city still burned. In his heart, it would always be burning. He would always be trapped in that moment, with the world falling apart around him, and nothing he could do to hold it together. He’d never felt so helpless, so hopeless. He’d seen the worst of humanity during those days. Clansmen turned on one-another, a city divided between loyalty and duty. And the madness that rent blameless souls apart.

She was right. He was still there. The moment was frozen for him. A burning city was trapped in the ice of his heart. He hadn’t seen it until now. But he had felt hopeless all this time. Unbalanced. He longed for the serenity of his center. Had the Susumu sensed this all along? Would things have been different, had Kinaro been himself?

He wasn’t so sure anymore.

Ichigiku stood. She did not look so cold any longer. “Come,” she said. “There is something I must show you.” She was sheathed in the amber glow of the coals.

“Where are we going?” he asked.

“My chambers.”

Shocked, his face reddened. She looked expectant. It was unlike her. “I don’t think…” he stammered, “we should-“

“Would you like to know what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks?” All implication seemed lost on her. “It is important that you see this. I do not want to think that I’ve wasted my time.”

Even if what she suggested was innocent, this was not proper. The hour was late, and she had no honor guard. If they were discovered, it wouldn’t matter what they were really doing, the rumors would draw their own conclusions. But now, Kinaro was curious. He nodded, following her down the hallway to her chambers. She opened the door for him, letting him enter first.

It was a small quarter, even for one with relatively minor clout. Fortunately, Ichigiku did not have much furniture or other things. The light came from a lantern hanging in the corner, the paper walls virtually glowing from it’s luminosity. The muted sound of rain permeated the room.

Kinaro’s eyes widened upon entering. A dozen scrolls scattered across the floor, all open, their ceramic tubes leaning against the wall. Her mattress was home to five more, and the limited table-space of the room was all occupied by scrolls and notes. Papers littered everywhere. Brushes and ink stacked themselves neatly in a corner. Everywhere he looked, he saw either stacks of papers or unfurled scrolls.

As he blinked uncomprehending, Ichigiku entered behind him. “I purchased those with my stipend,” she explained, gesturing from one cluster of scrolls to another. “Those, I received in exchange for favors. A few of these are on loan. And those,” she pointed to the ones on the floor, “were a gift from the dirty old man.”


“Who else?”

He chuckled. Still not quite comprehending, he reached for the closest scroll and lifted it up. His eyes widened when he read the title.

The Dangerous Popinjay?” He met her eyes. “This is one of Kakita Hiro’s plays.”

She nodded. “It is an original. Penned by his own hand.”

His heart skipped. An original would be worth a small fortune. There was only one, after all. He looked throughout the room, focusing on every scroll.

“…They are all of Hiro’s plays,” he spoke, the realization coming at the same time as his words. “Are they all originals?”

“Most,” she confirmed. “Some are duplicates, but I have been assured that they are unchanged.” She met his eyes. “We know that Hiro’s plays were actually being written by the Spider, and that he was being blackmailed in order to go along with this. Makubesu said that there was likely a code in the plays. You’d said that the Spider might have communicated something through these works. This means that any code present in his final play…”

“…would be present in his past ones.” Kinaro nodded. “We do not need Hiro’s last play.”

“But you already knew that,” Ichigiku offered. “Remember?”

Had he said that? “I suppose I thought gathering them would be impossible.”

“I thought so too. But then I thought, what would Kinaro do?” She shrugged. “Try anyway. See what happened.”

He smirked. “If that is what I would do, then I believe I would have done it.”

“No. You have not been yourself.” Ichigiku looked away. “Kinaro-san… the old man and I have been trying for weeks to find this code. We’ve been looking for similarities between the plays. Patterns. Anything. We… have not been successful so far. There is still ground to cover, but I feel…”

She paused. Bit her lip. “…my eyes are ill-suited for this.”


When she finally lifted her head, he saw a fire lit behind the ice of her eyes. “You once told me that there was no Self. Remember? I have thought about this for some time. If that is true, if there is no Self, then who we are ultimately becomes a choice.”

His heart raced. His arms tingled. What was she doing? Nothing. What was she saying? Everything.

“Perhaps we let those choices be made for us. Perhaps we make them without knowing. Maybe the Self is only a mask we wear. I am willing to accept that, to a certain extent. But that means you have the ability to choose what you will be. You can decide to be the man trapped in the burning city. I can decide to be the Tiger.” She paused. “Or, perhaps, we can choose for our pasts, our experiences, our sins…and the sins of our fathers… to serve us. Not the other way around.

“I am asking for your help. I am asking for you to be Kitsuki Kinaro. The man who smiles. The only person who has never judged me.” For a moment, he thought her gaze softened, the ice, suspended in those fiery orbs, finally showing a sign of melting. Before his thunderstruck eyes, she lowered her head and bowed. “Be that person that I have come to respect. The one I have learned to trust.”

Kinaro felt as though the world were breaking. Ichigiku had never spoke in that tone before; the words were alien and strange when spoken in her voice. But then, she’d never asked for help before. She’d always just accepted it. Never had he seen her humble. Never had she bowed to him.

And one must bow to aid the fallen man.

They were silent for a long time. When she looked up, he smiled. They nodded. There was no need for words now. They both understood. He’d been lost inside himself. No one else could have reached in and found him.

“Thank you,” he said.

She crossed her arms and scoffed. Like that, she was the same Ichigiku again. “I’ve done you no favors,” she remarked. “There’s still a mountain before us, after all.”

“Then let’s start,” he replied, smiling an irritating smile.



Categories: Company News

Good luck to all who attend the Kotei this weekend!

Fri, 03/28/2014 - 15:49

Greetings Samurai of Rokugan!

I wanted to take a brief moment to wish all L5R players good luck at the Kotei you may be attending this weekend!

The following Kotei are this Saturday, 3/29/14:

Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Sarasota, Florida, USA

Brussels, Belgium

The Tournament Organizers have worked extremely hard over the last couple of months to bring to you the players a superb series of events, and I’d like to offer them my thanks also!

You can find further information about this tournament series on the 2014 Kotei Page.


Categories: Company News

2014 Kotei Results: Renewal – Week 2

Thu, 03/27/2014 - 17:08

Greetings Samurai of Rokugan,

The current totals for each faction from top to bottow, incorporating the Week 2 Kotei Results from Sanata Clara, California, USA and Reykjavik, Iceland, are as follows:



















For further analysis of the results, please read Geoff Prugh’s Kotei Analysis thread on the AEG L5R Forums found here.

The 2014 Kotei Season: Renewal – Results can be found here, and the decklists found here.

Categories: Company News

2014 Floor Rules Update: Code of Bushido

Wed, 03/26/2014 - 03:58

Greetings Samurai of Rokugan!

There has been an update to the 2014 Floor Rules, and the most current version can be found HERE.

Changes of note is the mention of ‘Code of Bushido’, which is also known as the Judges Reference Document, found HERE. In this document, which is referenced in the Floor Rules in the introduction and in Section 6, you will find detailed information on how infractions are defined and enforced.

In the update to the Floor Rules you will also find some wording updates, and clarification on the Honor Contest in section 3.K.

So please take a moment to review the updated information, and know the Floor Rules is a living document. One that is continuously striven to be improved on by the Events Team and the Tournament Organizers that work extremely hard to bring you events you can enjoy!


Categories: Company News