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Nezumi Tribes

Posted in: Advice/Tools,Meta-gaming,Rokugan by Te Ka Mok on November 14, 2010

There are several Nezumi Tribes listed in the new Enemies of the Empire book. Since Sarah and I are both playing Nezumi, I wrote up a quick sketch for the different tribes.

My character is (natch) a healer — shaman in this game setting and I thought a Nezumi would be fun to play. We are using the Oriental Adventures book from Wizards for much of the setting, rules and gameplay — we know these mechanics and it is nice to get back to them after our Serenity interlude. The original OA is 3.0 rules, but we are spicing it up –Divas style — with some 3.5 rules and flavors from our friends at AEG.

Blue Fur – Southern border of Hiruma land. Hiruma scouts use the warren as base. Use lots of human words and gestures.

Broken Shinbone – Northern Shadowlands. Much of their history migrating from one place to another. Feel superior to other tribes because of these hardships. Feel less fear of Tomorrow compared to other tribes. History with Lion and Dragon Clans.

Chipped Tooth – Sailors and friends of the Crab Clan. They have webbed fingers! They hunt pirates in the South Seas.

Crippled Bone – Larger than average for Nezumi. History as fierce warriors – berserkers. Some exposure to humans. Enemies of old with Stained Paw. After terrible blow in 12th Century, joined with remnants of Stained Paw and became, together, the Crippled Paw tribe. Still and again, strong warriors.

Crooked Tail – Fought the horrible Lying Darkness, as no other Nezumi has tried to do. Crystals help (“driving –out-darkness-rock”). Made them a bit paranoid. Almost completely wiped out in the 12th Century.

Grasping Paw – Consummate thieves. Even by Nezumi standards. They are known as the best thieves and scroungers, respected for that, but also shunned since they will steal from other Nezumi. Some tribe members retain genetic trait of little fur and colorless eyes.

Green-Green White – Formerly the Black Moonset tribe. Scattered by the Terrible Day, they fled North towards the Phoenix Clan lands. Their new name describes the landscape – evergreen forest and snow-covered lands. Very isolated from other tribes and humans.

Squeaky Eyeball – Revered as having the best Rememberers of any Nezumi. Far flung, as they search for stories of the beginning of history. Welcomed by all tribes (even Green-Green White) and by many humans. They enjoy getting to know humans as a source of more stories. They live in the Mountains of Twilight, near the Northern Crab lands.

Stained Paw – Great warriors, like the Crippled Bone. Horrible disease (which is extremely unusual) wiped out their Rememberers . An evil soultwister disguised as a shaman led them to turn against their own kind. The great hero called Lk’krt helped them recognize the treachery and break from evil. Joined with Crippled Bone to become Crippled Paw tribe.

Tattered Ear – Once the largest tribe of Nezumi. The traders and caravaners of the Nezumi, spreading goods and information among the tribes. After the troubles of the 12th Century, they now search out scattered tribe members and bring them back to the Great Home.

Third Whisker – A small tribe of small Nezumi. But many of them are shamans and prophets. Live beneath the the Kaiu Wall, beneath Shiro Kaiu. Very grim and stoic – believe the world is doomed.

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Enemies of the Empire – A Review

Posted in: Advice/Tools,Meta-gaming by Ariel on November 6, 2010

The fine folks at Alderac Entertainment Group sent me a review copy of their newest L5R rpg book – Enemies of the Empire. It is a combination monster manual, history book and GM resource. And, somehow more than all of those things, too. As with the first book of the new 4th edition, it is beautiful. These people really know their art design.

It is a pleasure to hold this book in your hands. The pages are thick and smooth and the art work, layout and design are superb. Oh, yeah and the content….. it surpasses the physical aspects of the book.

Let’s talk about what’s inside of Enemies of the Empire…..  Creatures, history, lore, adventure ideas, NPC builds, advice on rolling a non-human PC and more.

The book devotes just a few pages to the bestiary. A scant handful of pages lay out some of the beasts you and your players will encounter in Rokugan.

Then we get to the heart of the book — the real enemies. I mean sure a panther might be a threat to you or a village, but it is not actively trying to destroy your world. Bloodspeakers on the other hand….. or members of the Kolat…. they have an agenda.

When you begin to turn the pages and realize that the world is so vast and intricate, it is easy to get overwhelmed. New players especially could feel like just closing the book and going back to playing Halo instead.

It is more than worth your time to explore the world of Rokugan, however. The people and the history of this delicate world are as real and three-dimensional as our own. Everyone has motivations, alliances and entanglements — complications, if you will.

Of course this book is designed primarily for your GM, but players like myself benefit from its pages too. We are planning our new campaign now — finishing up our time in Serenity — and this supplemental book will give players a deep well to draw for back stories, if nothing else. And there is so much else!

Imagine that you want to play one of the non-human races. I am considering Nezumi, actually and wow, does the book go into depth about these guys. There are 30+ pages devoted to their history (prehistory, really), their customs, language, names and tribes. Do I want to be part of the Crooked Tail tribe or the Tattered Ear? Each has their advantages and as a player I have to weigh them carefully. The book has such depth about each of the enemies (or friends, depending on the race — probably not going to have any Oni player characters — big scary demon things. Some of them have lots of teeth. Nightmare-worthy, any one of them.)

(more…)

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