By Daniel Briscoe
Part of what makes Legend of the Five Rings such an incredible game is how much impact the players get to have on the story itself, which is in turn reflected in cards that are made. There are a number of different ways players can get their names on a card crediting them for its creation in some way:
Name a Card tournaments, where players who win get to choose a title to give the card. Players especially enjoy these tournaments because there is very few restrictions on the naming process – want your RPG character to have a card? Win a Name a Personality tournament and that option is yours. Want a follower to reflect you and your local playgroup, whatever name you go by? Then Name a Follower is for you.
These tournaments are simple in their set-up, and offer a direct way impact the story itself by introducing new characters, followers, and magical items to the games world.
You will see one of such cards in Embers of War, ‘Lady Matsu’s Rage’. It is the representation of the choice made by Diego Lastorta at a Name a Celestial tournament: he wanted Lady Matsu, the very first Lion Thunder, to be an Celestial card and now that is the case!
There are also tournaments where players can choose to bestow certain titles or positions on characters already in the game (and in rare cases, such as with the Topaz Championship held each year, they can create a character to receive the honor – Kaiu Onizuka is one of those personalities, reflecting the victory of Daniel Jacobson in 2010). Jeweled Events are just one of these types of tournaments, and Winner’s Choices have been like this in the past.
Winner’s Choices always move around a bit with regards to their story impact because they allow the Events and Design teams to explore different or interesting options that other tournaments couldn’t afford to do otherwise. Hida Bakishi, in Embers of War, was the result of a Winner’s Choice tournament. The 2010 Winner’s Choice season allowed players to select keywords from a list to be added to a future personality. Bakishi has a very specific keyword because Josh Griffis, a player in the New England area of the United States, won a Winner’s Choice with Crab, and selected ‘Friend of Thunder’.
More than winning tournaments, I’ve seen in my years playing L5R that there is one thing the community rallies behind more than any other idea – more than story, more than winning, more than glory – and that is charity. Whenever a charitable cause appears in the L5R community, everyone puts as much weight behind it as they possibly can, and the results are always stunning.
The L5R community is a group of dedicated and passionate players that do not shy away from donating (often financially), to achieve a cause above and beyond winning a game or two of cards. The final two cards reflecting interaction from the player base with the Design and Story Teams are reflections of this cause to charity. AEG has always supported charitable causes, and often they offer to people who are exemplary in their charity a card credit to their name.
Kakita Kae was the result of a prize offered at MageCon 2011 to the player who contributed the most money towards the charity auction for that particular item, and the winner was declared Giovanni Aviles. Kakita Kae was created reflecting that charitable donation by Gio, and thus her name appears as an additional reward to her for her charitable donations.
Bayushi Tenzan was the card awarded to Seth Abraham, who donated a considerable amount of money to the Board Game Geek Amber Blackburn 2011 Charity Auction to help raise money for Jolly Blackburn and his family following the tragic loss of their child. Some of you may be familiar with Jolly as the man behind ‘Knights of the Dinner Table’, and when word came of the devastating loss to his family, not only L5R, but the gaming community around the world came together to support them. Along with Bayushi Tenzan, John Zinser, CEO and owner of Alderac Entertainment Group himself flew to Australia, where the winning group donated $3000 for an AEG employee to come to their charity tournament, ‘Favored of the Celestial Dragon’, which Mr. Zinser himself attended.
The ‘Favored of the Celestial Dragon’ tournament was won by Daniel Chlebowczyk, who took victory for the Crab and chose Hida Tadama to become the favored personality of the Celestial Dragon. It was an incredibly successful event that showcased the passion and dedication of the Australia L5R community to donate so much money in the name of charity. Daniel Chlebowczyk’s victory will be displayed in a future set in the form of a card.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article, and hopefully it has given you all more insight into the interactions between the community of L5R players and the Story and Design Teams. Tune in next time for more stories of awesome players and their contribution and impact to the L5R universe.