The Imperial Herald
A Legend of the Five Rings Publication
The Imperial Herald - March, 2021
Welcome to the Imperial Herald for March 2021. We have had some time to take in the news from last month, and we're starting to see some direction for the next phase of the game. In addition, we have had a flurry of fiction and community events from FFG to help fill the void. There is still a lot of uncertainty about what will happen next, so this issue will focus on what providing clarity about the official and fan-led initiatives that are underway. We also have an interview with Petter Nyström of The Lotus Pavilion to learn the story behind the site.
State of the Game
Things have quietened down in many ways since the announcement with fewer games on Jigoku and generally less activity on Discord and social media. Behind the scenes, however, members of the Jade Council continue to work away on Nisei-like plans to continue the game.
There were some interesting tidbits of information about FFG's announcement on recent podcasts. In the Art of Warcast episode 74 the hosts mention that as playtesters, they had not been receiving new cards to test for several months now, while in an interview on Court Games Tyler let slip that he had known about the discontinuation for a year, giving him time to process his grief in the way that players are now. This suggests the announcement was certainly not an off-the-cuff decision, with Tyler admitting that COVID-19 was a significant part of this.
Voting continues in The Battle of Cherry Blossom snow event with a couple of upsets to spice things up. Unicorn, of course, lost both their entrants in their first round, one to the peasant no less. Knowing L5R, of course, young Katsuo will go on to win the event; in which case, more power to him.
Unfortunately the planned fan fiction event has been cancelled due to arcane legal reasons. A great shame, as Legend of the Five Rings fan writers have produced some excellent work in the past, and yours truly was considering trying his hand at some writing (they say all English teachers are just frustrated novelists). Fortunately the costume and fan art contests are still scheduled to take place.
Take a look at Jigoku at any time and its clear that the Jade Edict has been embraced by the community. While traditional Imperial games can be found, the majority have [JADE] in parenthesis. While the games are generally slower (and less lethal), it is nice to play without the inevitability of a Mitsu tower every turn 2 with Dragon, and to see new cards and combos enter the meta. For a great run down of the motivations and goals of the Jade Edict, check Jade Throne episode 193 where Shey interviews Siri and Notfragile, two of the Jade Magistrates behind the initiative.
Since the announcement about the end of the LCG it feels as though FFG have dumped several months of planned content in a couple of short weeks.
This, frankly, is awesome and the quality of L5R storytelling has never been higher.
We have been treated to two kinds of fiction: The Battle of Cherry Blossom Snow and Heroes of Legend.
The former focuses on the current timeline, in which the remnants of the Crab clan attempt to stem the tide of the Shadowlands forces of Akuma No Oni. Chapter One takes place after the fall of the Castle of the Forgotten (and the fall of Hida Kisada, Champion of the Crab clan). Hida Sukune leads a ragtag alliance of minor clans (including The Last Province podcast's beloved Otter clan, now canon), which is unexpectedly reinforced by Shiba Tsukune, Champion of the Phoenix. Sukune (not to be confused with Tsukune, despite their almost identical pronunciation) continues to espouse his belief that the Crab must evolve beyond their traditional tactics, and his success in this fiction seems to prove the worth of this.
Chapter Two features the arrival of yet another unexpected champion, and perhaps the most surprising of all: Togashi Yokuni of the Dragon clan is now on the field of battle. This story culminates with Isawa Tadaka's entering into the forgotten library in the Shadowlands, convinced that knowledge alone can save the empire.
The latter type of stories: Heroes of Legend, focus on the lead up to the climactic events at The Battle of Cherry Blossom Snow. These also attempt to tie up the many narrative fragments that the game has created in recent years, and feel a little like the last few seasons of the Game of Thrones television show, with many disparate narratives and characters suddenly racing together.
Chapter One is an excellent end to the fracturing of the Crane Clan, as siblings Doji Hotaru and Doji Kuwanan duel to end their differences. Chapter Two is a follow up to the fascinating choose-your-own-adventure style story from several months ago. We learn that the Lion did not not save their captured commander, nor retake their village from the Unicorn (woo hoo), and the story ends with the Lion and Unicorn about to engage in peace talks. Chapter Three sees their peace talks play out, and while not the most thrilling narrative, it does lay the foundations for the upcoming assault against Bayushi Shoju in Otosan Uchi.
Interview - Petter Nyström of The Lotus Pavilion
Continuing our run of interviews with creators of community platforms, this month we have a chat with Petter Nyström, creator of The Lotus Pavilion tournament hosting website.
Hi Petter and thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Perhaps we can begin with you telling us a little about yourself and your interest in card gaming.
Thanks for inviting me, I'm happy to talk with you!
My name is Petter Nyström and I am a 38 year old guy from Sweden that like to think about games, and occasionally to play them as well. My favorite genre of games must definitely be pen and paper roleplaying games, but as you would expect I have also spent a fair bit of time with card gaming.
I was first introduced to "collectible" card games back in 2002, I believe, at a gaming convention in the beautiful Swedish city of Borås. The two card games I remember testing there were A Game of Thrones and -- as it happened -- Legend of the Five Rings. So, I got really hooked on Thrones, and I never looked at L5R again! Though in all fairness, the circumstances for that one L5R introduction game were not the best...
Since then, almost all of my interest in card gaming has been reserved for A Game of Thrones, with the only notable exception being a brief dalliance with the Call of Cthulhu CCG. And this is very typical for me, you see, because I don't really enjoy trying new things. Instead I tend to stick with the games (and other things) that I like for a long time, which of course has both pros and cons to it!
It does indeed! What led you to get involved in the production of tournament hosting software?
I remember I got intrigued by Fantasy Flight Game's tournament software, TOME. This was when I had just got back into A Game of Thrones for its Second Edition, and attended my first tournament after a long hiatus from all card gaming. It certainly seemed like a big step up to have a computer program do all the swiss pairings, instead of shuffling paper slips around like we'd done in the old days! But then I got equally disappointed to learn that TOME was really only available to store owners. I don't know if that's still the case, but it was at that time.
So that sparked the idea in my head to build something myself. I didn't really have any personal need for a tournament software, since I was just a player and not a tournament organizer, but it became an itch that I had to scratch. I created the first version of "The Jousting Pavilion" over the Christmas holidays in 2015, and I announced it on cardgamedb.com in February 2016.
The software certainly seems to have taken off. How did the idea for an L5R version come about?
Yes, indeed! I'm very happy with how both the Thrones and the L5R community have embraced the sites.
The Lotus Pavilion was created a couple of months after Fantasy Flight Games launched the new version of L5R, in 2017. I imagine there must have been quite a few Thrones players that picked up the new game then, because suddenly I started to receive a lot of requests to create an L5R version of the site. It has happened occasionally that I get the question if it's possible to create a similar site for some other game, but with the launch of L5R there were so many people asking the same thing. I guess I buckled under the pressure, heh!
We're very glad you did! It's my understanding that FFG now uses The Lotus Pavilion for official events rather than TOME. If so, this is quite an honour :)
Absolutely! At least some FFG events seems to have used The Lotus Pavilion, which is cool. I have no insight into what has been going on at FFG, but my feeling is that they stopped enforcing any specific software for their events, and some of their contracted organizers then chose to use The Lotus Pavilion. Sadly, though, I guess there will be no more official FFG events for L5R or Thrones now, on any platform.
Indeed so. The platform(s) have certainly made it simpler for the community to run Organised Play events so I'd like to thank you for that. Are you able to say much about plans going forward, whether to maintain or to update the sites in any way?
Well, my work on the sites is very limited these days. Other hobby projects have taken over my attention. But I am still trying to find time, occasionally, to wrap up and improve stuff on the Pavilion sites.
One initiative that has been in the works for well over a year and is now getting closer to completion, is a big overhaul and merge of the user and player profiles. It was always quite confusing that the user profile you used to log in on the site had nothing to do with the player profile that represent you in tournaments. With the upcoming changes all user profiles will also be a player profile, giving those users that choose to sign up to the site increased control over their player profile. I'm not giving you a date, but I feel it's close enough that I can say it is coming. You heard it here first!
Thank you for the exclusive! That would be really helpful actually. And in fact that reminds me - do you have any plans to allows old open tournaments to be closed? Apparently I'm still playing in a Sydney draft tournament that started 477 days ago...
It was my pleasure! Regarding your question about tournaments that should be closed, I would like to take this opportunity to reach out to your readers and say that The Lotus Pavilion belongs to the L5R community. If you care about the data on the site being correct, or the latest Stronghold card being present, please step up and make it happen. There are a few moderators on the site that can close old tournaments and merge duplicate player profiles, talk to them, or send me an e-mail if you also want to help keeping The Lotus Pavilion as good as it can be!
See the list of moderators here: https://thelotuspavilion.com/users
My e-mail address is: email@example.com
Good to know - let's make it happen L5R community :-) Well it has been a pleasure Petter, are there any other shout outs or farewell comments you would like to make before we sign off?
Just wishing you all good luck in the post FFG era of L5R! I hope there are many tournaments left to be organized on The Lotus Pavilion :-)
As do we, thanks again :)
The Emerald Dojo
Here at The Emerald Dojo we are meditating on the future of the site going forward. The long-awaited Dragon meta guide should be ready next month, and we are still considering the impact of The Jade Edict on the game, and how our guides might adapt to this. As always, any and all feedback is welcome, and if you would like to contribute to the site in any way by all means get in touch via Discord.
FFG threw a stone in the lake last month and the ripples continue to flow throughout the community. While the waves are now less intense, they also find themselves in uncertain waters, and the future continues to be both murky and exciting. I was happy as ever to receive Peace at Any Cost at my local store last week, and I look forward to completing my physical collection when Under Fu Leng's Shadow arrives in May. But, I still haven't dipped my toes into the Jade Edict meta properly and I was pleased to hear Tyler state on Court Games that he will be making one final Imperial Law update as the official game winds down.
Like a competitor wondering what each play will lead to in a game of Legend of the Five Rings, it is difficult to see the various futures of the game in both physical and digital formats. Regardless, the passion and creativity of the community continue to inspire, and I am looking forward to seeing where the various threads take us.