Learn to Play - Fantasy Flight Games

Learn to Play - Fantasy Flight Games
TM
An Empire in Turmoil...
Game Overview
Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game is a twoplayer game in which each player takes the role of one
of the seven Great Clans of Rokugan. In the game,
players vie for political and military dominance while
simultaneously observing the strict codes of conduct
that preserve their honor. Each player commands their
forces from two different decks: a dynasty deck that
fills their provinces with characters and holdings, and a
conflict deck consisting of tactics, maneuvers, and tricks
that can be used to turn the tide of a conflict.
“There! Do you see that?” Doji Kuwanan’s armor,
lacquered in the blue and silver colors of the Crane
Clan, clinked as he pointed to the thin column of dust
rising along the horizon where plains met sky.
His patrol partner, Takeaki, shielded his eyes from the
bright glare of the sun and squinted. “A merchant’s
cart? The spring rains are late this year,” he said, kicking
up dust of his own under his armored zori sandals.
Around them, birdsong mixed with the chants and
drumming of the peasants as they rhythmically tilled the
soil and spread seeds atop the furrowed earth. A cool
breeze brought the earthy smell of fertilizer to the pair of
samurai warriors and sent ripples across the plains.
Kuwanan shook his head. “There’s too much dust for
a single cart. And no caravan’s due for weeks yet.” He
hurried atop the nearby arched bridge to get a better
look. A blur of dark brown silhouettes emerged from
behind a gently sloping hill, speeding toward them.
Dynasty Card Back
“Quiet!” Kuwanan bellowed at the farmers, who ceased
their dance of sowing and planting in an instant. The
distant thunder of galloping hooves soon overtook the
sound of chattering birds, and Takeaki muttered a curse.
Conflict Card Back
During a game, players engage in conflicts against their
opponent’s provinces in an attempt to break them.
The first player to break the province that holds their
opponent’s stronghold wins the game. However, the
players must also monitor their honor as they contest
one another, for it is possible for a player to win by
achieving a high degree of honor, or to run out of honor
and shamefully lose the game.
“Someone’s coming! Get back to the village!” Kuwanan
shouted, and the peasants scrambled up to the road.
He and Takeaki strung their bows and took up defensive
positions atop the bridge. “If the Lion are finally
mounting an attack, let them try to take this village from
us!” He nocked an arrow and prepared to take aim.
2
Using this Book
This Learn to Play book is written as an introduction to
Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game. It should
be used as a guide for new players while learning and
playing the first game. The first part of this book takes
players through an entire game round, teaching the
rules and introducing the strategy of the game along
the way.
After players have learned the basics of the game, they
will be ready to enrich their experience by building their
own original decks. The rules for doing so are included
on page 18.
The latter part of this book contains an introduction to
the Rokugan setting and the seven Great Clans featured
in this core set. Finally, three appendices are included as
a reference for a number of advanced topics, frequently
asked questions, and card anatomies.
A comprehensive Rules Reference can be found
online at www.fantasyflightgames.com/L5R. That
document addresses more advanced topics such as
the interpretation of card text, the resolution of timing
conflicts, and a detailed phase sequence timing chart.
It is recommended that new players become familiar
with the game using the Learn to Play book and only
look up details in the Rules Reference as they occur
during play.
A Living Card Game
Legend of the Five Rings: The Card
Game is a two-player game that can be
played using just the contents of this
core set.
In addition, Legend of the Five Rings:
The Card Game is a Living Card Game®
(LCG®). Its experience can be customized
and enhanced through the purchase of
regularly released 60-card expansions
called Dynasty Packs. Unlike collectible
card games, all LCG expansions
have a fixed distribution: there is no
randomization to their contents.
3
Components
The components in the game are presented here for
identification purposes. A complete card anatomy
can be found in “Appendix III: Card Anatomy” on
page 32.
Imperial Favor
2
5
 Shizuka Toshi
STRONGHOLD
1
Pilgrimage
©2017 FFG 220A
PROVINCE
During conflicts at this province, cancel all ring
effects. (If this province breaks, resolve ring
effects as normal.)
1 Imperial Favor
Card (double-sided)
20 Status Tokens
(double-sided)
City.
Action: During a  conflict, bow this stronghold.
Choose a participating character with  skill 2 or
lower – bow that character.
7
11
ILLUS. ALAYNA LEMMER
10
© 2017 FFG
2
7 Stronghold Cards
40 Fate Tokens

ILLUS. NELE DIEL
© 2017 FFG
22
17 Province Cards
1 First Player Token
50 Honor Tokens
2
Brash Samurai
CHARACTER
2
1
2
Bushi.
Action: While this character is your only participating
character in a conflict – honor this character.
A samurai lives at all times three feet from death.
Keeper of Air
Keeper. Air.
2 Honor Dials
Increase your deckbuilding influence value by 3.
Reaction: After you win an  conflict as the
defending player – gain 1 fate.
ILLUS. CALVIN CHUA
© 2017 FFG
D 42
117 Dynasty Cards
2
©2017 FFG 214A
5 Role Cards
(double-sided)
Dial Assembly
Assemble each honor dial by using the
plastic dial connectors to attach the
dial to the faceplate, as shown in the
diagram below.
Conflict Ring Effects
Vengeful Oathkeeper
CHARACTER
Air – The attacking player takes
1 honor token from his or her
opponent, or gains 2 honor.
2
1
Earth – The attacking player draws
1 card from his or her conflict deck
and discards 1 card at random from
his or her opponent’s hand.
Fire – The attacking player chooses
a character in play and honors or
dishonors that character.
0
Bushi.
Reaction: After you lose a  conflict – put this
character into play from your hand.
“When a samurai has said he will perform an action, it is as
good as done.” – Akodo’s Leadership
ILLUS. DARREN TAN
© 2017 FFG
C 160
98 Conflict Cards
5 Ring Tokens
(double-sided)
Water – The attacking player either
chooses a character and readies it, or
chooses a character with no fate on it
and bows it.
Void – The attacking player may
choose a character and remove
1 fate from it.


Military
Political
©2017 FFG 219B
2 Reference Cards
(double-sided)
4
Key Concepts
Ready and Bowed
Cards enter play in a ready position (upright, so that
the card’s text may be read from left to right). At the
end of a conflict, or in order to use certain card abilities,
cards will bow, which is indicated by rotating a card 90
degrees (sideways). A bowed card indicates that a card
has been used, and a card is not able to bow again until
it is readied by a game step or card ability.
This section introduces a number of foundational
concepts to keep in mind while learning and playing
the game.
The Jade Rule
If the text on a card directly contradicts the text of the
rules, the text on the card takes precedence.
5
Winning and Defeat
 Akodo Toturi
CHARACTER
5
 Akodo Toturi
D 79
Ready
During the game, players declare attacks against one
another’s provinces, and successful attacks can result in
a province breaking.
CHARACTER
6
3
3
© 2017 FFG
Bushi. Champion.
ILLUS. SHAWN IGNATIUS TAN
Reaction: After you claim a ring during a  conflict
in which this character is participating – resolve that
ring’s effect.
A lion is more than his roar, his mane, his teeth, his heart.
A lion is all of these.
A player’s province cards represent a variety of
circumstances and occurrences in the lands under the
control of the Great Clans of Rokugan.
D 79
Provinces and Strongholds
3
© 2017 FFG
Bushi. Champion.
Reaction: After you claim a ring during a  conflict
in which this character is participating – resolve that
ring’s effect.
A lion is more than his roar, his mane, his teeth, his heart.
A lion is all of these.
ILLUS. SHAWN IGNATIUS TAN
6
3
There are three ways by which a player can win the
game: break the province which holds their opponent’s
stronghold, accumulate 25 honor, or have their
opponent run out of honor.
Bowed
Fate
Fate is the game’s primary resource,
representing the karma and destiny a
clan has accrued. The primary use of
fate is to spend it to play cards.
If three of a player’s four non-stronghold provinces are
broken, attacks may be declared against that player’s
stronghold province. As soon as a player’s stronghold
province is broken, that player loses the game.
In addition, after a character is played, its controller
may place any additional number of fate tokens from
their fate pool on that character. Each fate token on a
character allows that character to remain in play for an
additional game round.
Strategy: Break Their Provinces!
Within the core set, breaking an opponent’s
provinces is the most common victory
condition, and new players are advised to
concentrate primarily on this method of
winning while learning the basics of the game.
During the fate phase (see”Phase 4: Fate” on page
16) each character that has no fate tokens on it is
discarded. One fate token is then removed from each
remaining character.
In Player Order
The phrase “in player order” is used to dictate the
order in which players resolve or execute a game step.
When players are instructed to do something in player
order, the first player does so first, followed by the
other player.
Honor and Dishonor
Honor represents both the behavior of
a player’s clan, as well as the outward
perception of that behavior. Players begin
the game with the amount of honor
designated by their stronghold card.
Various effects in the game cause honor to be gained,
exchanged between players, or lost. If a player has 25
or more honor in their pool, that player immediately
wins. If a player has no honor in their pool, that player
immediately loses.
Triggered Card Abilities
Many card abilities (such as actions, interrupts, and
reactions) are triggered voluntarily by the players
throughout the game. Unless an ability specifies
otherwise, it may be used once each round. For more on
card abilities, see page 29.
5
Game Setup
2. Create Token Pool and Ring Pool
Place all fate tokens, honor tokens, status tokens, and
the Imperial Favor card in a pile within reach of each
player. This area is known as the general token pool.
Place the rings in a pile within reach of each player. This
area is known as the unclaimed ring pool.
To set up the game, perform the following steps,
in order:
1. Select Decks
For the first game, each player selects one set of starter
decks described below. Each card’s collector number,
which is used in the decklists below, is located in the
lower right corner of the card.
◊◊ Crane Clan starter decks: This deck uses Shizuka
Toshi (2) as its stronghold, and the provinces The
Art of Peace (9), Entrenched Position (17), Night
Raid (21), Rally to the Cause (23), and Shameful
Display (24).
Imperial Favor
1
The Crane dynasty deck uses all of the Crane
dynasty cards (40–53), one copy each of the neutral
cards Otomo Courtier (122), Miya Mystic (125),
Favorable Ground (128), Imperial Storehouse (129),
and two copies each of the neutral cards Seppun
Guardsman (123) and Wandering Ronin (127).
©2017 FFG 220A
3. Determine First Player
Randomly select a player to be the first
player. Place the first player token in
front of this player. The other player
gains 1 fate from the general token
pool and adds it to their fate pool.
The Crane conflict deck uses all of the Crane conflict
cards (139–148), and one copy each of the neutral
cards (200–213).
4. Shuffle Dynasty and Conflict
Decks
◊◊ Lion Clan starter decks: This deck uses Yōjin no
Shiro (4) as its stronghold, and the provinces The
Art of War (11), Ancestral Lands (15), Manicured
Garden (19), Meditations on the Tao (20), and
Pilgrimage (22).
First Player
Token
Each player shuffles both their dynasty and conflict
decks separately until the decks are sufficiently
randomized and presents them to the opponent
for a final cut. Each player then places their dynasty
deck to the left of their play area and their conflict
deck to the right.
The Lion dynasty deck uses all of the Lion dynasty
cards (67–80), one copy each of the neutral cards
Seppun Guardsman (123), Wandering Ronin (127),
Favorable Ground (128), Imperial Storehouse (129),
and two copies each of the neutral cards Otomo
Courtier (122) and Miya Mystic (125).
5. Place Provinces and Stronghold
Each player secretly selects one of their provinces,
places it facedown above their dynasty deck, and places
their stronghold card on top of it. Each player then
places their other four provinces facedown between
their dynasty and conflict decks, in any order. Each
player places one honor dial near their conflict deck.
The Lion conflict deck uses all of the Lion conflict
cards (160–169), and one copy each of the neutral
cards (200–213).
6. Fill Provinces
Each player places one card from the
top of their dynasty deck facedown
onto each of their empty nonstronghold provinces. Players will have
the opportunity to play these cards from
their provinces during the game round.
6
Dynasty Deck
Cardback
2
 Shizuka Toshi
After placing these cards during setup, each player
has one opportunity to look at their facedown cards,
choose which ones they wish to keep, and replace the
rest (known as a mulligan). Set aside the cards to be
replaced and deal a new facedown card into each empty
province. Then shuffle the replaced cards back into the
dynasty deck.
After drawing these cards, each player has one
opportunity to look at the cards in their hand, choose
which ones they wish to keep, and replace the rest
(known as a mulligan). Set aside the cards to be
replaced and draw an equivalent number of new cards
from the conflict deck. Then shuffle the cards set aside
back into the conflict deck.
Note: After this point, players are not permitted to look
at facedown cards in their provinces.
8. Gain Starting Honor
STRONGHOLD
Each player gains honor tokens
equal to the honor value
City.
indicated in
the During
lowera left
corner
their
stronghold.
Action:
 conflict,
bowof
this
stronghold.
7. Draw Starting Hand
Choose a participating character with  skill 2 or
– bow
that character.
The game lower
is now
ready
to begin.
Each player draws four cards from their
conflict deck to form their starting hand.
These cards are typically used during
the conflict phase to help players
win conflicts.
7
11
Conflict Deck
Cardback
ILLUS. ALAYNA LEMMER
10
© 2017 FFG
2
Honor Value
on Stronghold
Suggested Play Area (Crane Player, mid-game)
First Player
Token
Opponent’s Play Area
Stronghold
Fate Pool
2
2
 Shizuka Toshi
STRONGHOLD
2
Cautious Scout
Savvy Politician
CHARACTER
CHARACTER
2
0
1
2
Honor Pool and Honor Dial
Home Area
1
Bushi. Scout.
City.
Action: During a  conflict, bow this stronghold.
Choose a participating character with  skill 2 or
lower – bow that character.
Courtier.
For each of her accomplishments,
she deferred the praise to those around her,
and in this manner their loyalty was secured.
They told him to be careful,
but there was only one way to know for sure.
11
ILLUS. ALAYNA LEMMER
7
10
© 2017 FFG
ILLUS. SERGIO CAMARENA
© 2017 FFG
1
Reaction: After this character is honored, choose a
character – honor that character.
While this character is attacking alone, treat the
defending province as if its printed text box were
blank (except for Traits).
D 43
ILLUS. POLAR ENGINE
© 2017 FFG
D 45
2
2
3
Brash Samurai
CHARACTER
CHARACTER
2
1
3
3
Doji Challenger
2
Bushi.
Bushi. Duelist.
Action: While this character is your only participating
character in a conflict – honor this character.
2
Action: While this character is attacking, choose
a character controlled by your opponent – move
that character to this conflict.
A samurai lives at all times three feet from death.
“I hope you are prepared to defend
your words with steel!”
Dynasty
Discard
Dynasty
Deck
ILLUS. CALVIN CHUA
© 2017 FFG
D 42
ILLUS. ZEZHOU CHEN
Non-Stronghold
Provinces
7
© 2017 FFG
D 47
Conflict
Deck
Conflict
Discard
Phase Sequence
Playing a Character from a Province
In order to play a character from a province, a player
must first pay that card’s cost (indicated in the upper
left corner of the card) by spending that much fate from
their fate pool to the general token pool. Next, move
that card from the province into that player’s home area
– the part of the play area in front of their provinces. All
characters enter play in a ready position.
Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game is played
over a series of rounds. During a round, players bring
new characters into play from their provinces, decide
how honorably they will act in the coming conflicts,
declare military and political conflicts against one
another’s provinces, check the fate of their characters,
and regroup in preparation for the next round. Each
round is divided into the following five phases:
After a character is played, its controller has the option
of placing any number of fate tokens from their pool on
that character. Placing fate on a character will keep that
character in play for additional game rounds.
1. Dynasty
2. Draw
3. Conflict
Card cost
5
 Akodo Toturi
CHARACTER
6
3
4. Fate
5. Regroup
Each phase is described in detail, below.
Phase 1: Dynasty
Bushi. Champion.
3
Reaction: After you claim a ring during a  conflict
in which this character is participating – resolve that
ring’s effect.
The dynasty phase represents the clans’ attempts to
marshal their forces and allocate resources from
their provinces.
A lion is more than his roar, his mane, his teeth, his heart.
A lion is all of these.
ILLUS. SHAWN IGNATIUS TAN
The dynasty phase consists of three steps:
© 2017 FFG
Additional fate
may be placed on
a character after
paying its cost.
D 79
Once the option to place fate tokens on a character has
been completed or passed, the province from which
the character was played is refilled by taking a card
from the dynasty deck and, without looking at the card,
placing it facedown on the province.
Step 1. Reveal Facedown Cards in Provinces
Each player, in player order, turns all facedown dynasty
cards in their provinces faceup. This process starts from
a player’s leftmost province that has a facedown card on
it and proceeds to the right. Note: Character cards in
provinces are not yet in play, and players will not be able
to use those characters until they are played during step
3, below.
Strategy: Placing Additional Fate
Placing additional fate on a character is an
investment in that character’s future impact
upon the game. The best way to leverage this
impact is to invest in your most powerful and
important characters. Placing three fate on a
character with a cost of one grants you three
additional turns of one-cost impact, while
placing the same three fate on a character with
a cost of four grants you three additional turns
of four-cost impact. Being able to maximize
the impact of each additional fate that is spent
is an important strategic concept in the game.
Step 2. Collect Fate
Each player collects fate equal to the fate value on their
stronghold card. Other cards may also modify the amount
of fate a player collects each turn.
Step 3. Play Characters from Provinces
In player order, players alternate opportunities to do
one of the following: play a character card from their
provinces, trigger an appropriate card ability (see page
30), or pass. Note: At this time, a player cannot play
attachment or character cards from their hand.
Also keep in mind: any fate a player does not
spend remains in that player’s pool from round
to round. So, if you have extra fate that you
don’t have an immediate use for, hold on to it,
as it could prove useful later in the game.
The first player to pass gains 1 fate. This player forfeits
the opportunity to play characters from provinces or
trigger actions for the remainder of the phase. The
remaining player continues to play characters and
trigger actions alone until they also pass. Once both
players have passed, play proceeds to the draw phase.
8
Phase 2: Draw
Holdings
Holdings are a cardtype that represents the lands,
structures, fortifications, and other locations that may be
found in a player’s provinces.
The draw phase represents the plotting and scheming of
the Clans as they prepare for the conflicts ahead.
Holding cards in a player’s provinces are not played.
A holding modifies the defense strength of a province
when it is attacked, and is active as long as it remains
faceup in the province.
5
In this phase, each player determines how honorably
they intend to act during the upcoming phases of the
round: essentially, they are bidding their honor in order
to draw more cards from their conflict deck. These
cards, kept in a player’s hand, represent secret agendas,
surprising tactics, tricks, schemes, and
hidden information.
Pilgrimage
PROVINCE
The draw phase consists of 4 steps:
During conflicts at this province, cancel all ring
effects. (If this province breaks, resolve ring
effects as normal.)
1
Imperial.
Action: Sacrifice this holding – draw
1 card.
2. Each player reveals their selection.
3. The player who selected the higher number gives
their opponent an amount of honor equal to the
difference between the two selected numbers. If
both players selected the same number, no honor
is given.
Imperial Storehouse
HOLDING
1. Each player secretly selects a number between 1 and
5 on their honor dial.

ILLUS. NELE DIEL
ILLUS. CHARLES URBACH
© 2017 FFG
4. Each player draws a number of cards from their
conflict deck equal to the number they selected on
their honor dial.
22
© 2017 FFG
Once the above steps are complete, proceed to the
conflict phase.
D 129
For example: Kristina, playing the Crane, secretly
selects the number 2 on her honor dial. Tom, playing
the Lion, also secretly selects a number on his dial. Once
both players are ready, they simultaneously reveal their
dials. Kristina reveals her bid of 2, and Tom reveals a
bid of 5. Tom’s bid is 3 higher than Kristina’s, so he must
give her 3 honor from his pool. Kristina then draws 2
cards from her conflict deck (equal to her bid), and Tom
draws 5 cards from his conflict deck (equal to his bid).
The Imperial Storehouse holding increases the
defense strength of the Pilgrimage province from
5 to 6.
Draw and Refill
During a game, players are frequently instructed
to “draw cards” and to “refill” provinces. Cards
are always drawn from a player’s conflict deck and
added to that players hand. Provinces are always
refilled facedown from a player’s dynasty deck.
Running Out of Cards
If a player attempts to refill a card onto a province from
their dynasty deck or draw a card from their conflict
deck and no cards remain in the deck, that player loses
5 honor, then shuffles the corresponding discard pile
and places it facedown to form a new dynasty or conflict
deck. That player then continues to refill the province or
draw a conflict card.
9
Each conflict is identified in two ways: by element and
by type.
Strategy: Honor Bids
There are several things to consider when
determining how best to bid.
Element
There are five different elements in Legend of the Five
Rings: The Card Game - Air, Earth, Fire, Water, and
Void. If the attacker wins the conflict they will gain a
reward, known as a ring effect, based on the conflict’s
element. Each element provides a different ring effect,
which will be described later.
First, are you happy with the cards in your
hand? Do they seem that they will be useful
in the upcoming round? If you like your hand,
you might consider bidding low to preserve or
acquire more honor. If you feel that you need
more options, you might consider bidding
high to draw more cards.
Type
There are two types of conflicts: military and political.
A conflict’s type determines whether characters use
their military or political skill value when resolving
that conflict (see image, below).
Second, consider how much honor you and
your opponent each have, and be wary of
high bids that could push your opponent too
close to winning the game.
Each player is permitted to declare one conflict of each
type during the conflict phase.
Third, try to anticipate your opponent’s most
likely bid, and think about whether you’d
like to match that bid (to prevent honor
from changing hands) or bid differently (to
create more of an imbalance between you
and your opponent in terms of honor or card
advantage).
Conflict Opportunities
Starting with the first player and alternating back and
forth, each player has the opportunity to declare a
conflict against one of their opponent’s provinces. Each
player is permitted two such opportunities during this
phase, in the order listed below:
Finally, think about whether you (and your
opponent) are in a position from which you
could leverage more cards to influence the
direction of the game.
1. The first player has the first opportunity to declare
and resolve a conflict.
2. The second player has the next opportunity to
declare and resolve a conflict.
After considering all of the factors, make your
bid with confidence and see what happens
— you can never know for sure what the
opponent is going to do, and trying to best
navigate this decision is one of the unique
strategic moments of the game.
3. The first player has another opportunity to declare
and resolve a conflict.
4. The second player has another opportunity to
declare and resolve a conflict.
A player always has the option to pass on declaring a
conflict during a conflict oppportunity, but doing so
relinquishes that conflict opportunity this phase.
5
Phase 3: Conflict
CHARACTER
6
3
The conflict phase represents a series of military and
political confrontations between the two clans. A military
conflict represents a military battle or a physical fight. A
political conflict could represent a trial, an argument or
debate, or a contest of court intrigue and scheming.
In this phase, each player will have a chance to initiate
conflicts against their opponent. After these conflicts
have resolved, the players will compare glory in an
attempt to earn the Imperial Favor.
Military Skill (top) and
Political Skill (bottom).
 Akodo Toturi
5
 Akodo Toturi
CHARACTER
6
3
Bushi. Champion.
3
Reaction: After you claim a ring during a  conflict
in which this character is participating – resolve that
ring’s effect.
A lion is more than his roar, his mane, his teeth, his heart.
A lion is all of these.
ILLUS. SHAWN IGNATIUS TAN
10
© 2017 FFG
Bushi. Champion.
D 79
3
Reaction: After you claim a ring during a  conflict
in which this character is participating – resolve that
Attack and Defense (Terminology)
When a conflict is declared, if the province that is being
attacked is facedown, turn the province card faceup.
This may trigger effects that have an impact on the
conflict and could influence the result of
the conflict.
When a player declares a conflict against an opponent’s
province, that player is the attacking player and the
characters that are committed to the conflict on that
player’s side are participating as attacking characters
(also referred to as attackers).
Step 2. Declare Defenders
The defending player now has the option to declare
characters as defenders.
The opponent whose province is being attacked is the
and the characters that are committed
to the conflict on that player’s side are participating as
defending characters (also referred to as defenders).
defending player
This player declares which ready characters
(under the defending player’s control) are
being committed as defenders and slides them
forward, separate from their non-committed
characters. The defending player may declare no
characters if that player so desires.
hh
Declaring and Resolving a Conflict
To declare and resolve a conflict, perform the following
steps, in order:
Note: A character with a dash (–) for a skill value cannot
participate in a conflict of that type.
1. Conflict Declaration – The attacking player
determines which characters are attacking, where
they are attacking, and how they are attacking.
2. Declare Defenders – The defending player
determines which characters are defending.
2
Savvy Politician
CHARACTER
1
2
3. Conflict Actions – The players alternate using card
abilities in an attempt to gain the upper hand in the
conflict.
Courtier.
4. Conflict Resolution – A conflict result is determined,
and the consequences of that result are applied to
the game.
1
Reaction: After this character is honored, choose a
character – honor that character.
For each of her accomplishments,
she deferred the praise to those around her,
and in this manner their loyalty was secured.
ILLUS. POLAR ENGINE
© 2017 FFG
D 45
Each of these steps is described in detail below.
Step 1. Conflict Declaration
2
In order to declare a conflict, the attacking player must:
hh
hh
hh
Declare the type and element of the conflict to
be initiated. (For example: “I declare a political
Fire conflict.”)
2
Cautious Scout
CHARACTER
CHARACTER
2
0
1
2
3
3
Bushi. Scout.
1
While this character is attacking alone, treat the
defending province as if its printed text box were
blank (except for Traits).
Take the unclaimed ring token of the declared
element and place it on an opponent’s province
with the declared type faceup. This indicates
which province is being attacked. A player is
not permitted to declare an element type if that
ring is not in the unclaimed ring pool. A player
cannot declare a conflict against an opponent’s
stronghold province unless three or more of that
opponent’s other provinces are broken.
3
Savvy Politician
CHARACTER
They told him to be careful,
but there was only one way to know for sure.
ILLUS. SERGIO CAMARENA
© 2017 FFG
D 43
Courtier.
1
Reaction: After this character is honored, choose a
character – honor that character.
For each of her accomplishments,
she deferred the praise to those around her,
and in this manner their loyalty was secured.
ILLUS. POLAR ENGINE
© 2017 FFG
Doji Challenger
Bushi. Duelist.
“I hope you are prepared to defend
your words with steel!”
D 45
ILLUS. ZEZHOU CHEN
Slide a character forward from your home
area to indicate it is being declared as an
attacker or defender.
Declare which ready characters (under the
attacking player’s control) are being committed
as attackers and slide them forward, separate
from their non-committed characters. At least
one character must be declared at this time in
order to initiate a conflict.
The above items are considered to be performed
simultaneously. If any of the above cannot be
completed, the conflict cannot be initiated.
11
2
Action: While this character is attacking, choose
a character controlled by your opponent – move
that character to this conflict.
© 2017 FFG
D 47
Step 3. Conflict Actions
Strategy: Conflict Actions
During this step, the players take turns using action
abilities to influence the conflict and gain the
upper hand.
There are a number of different ways action
abilities may be used to influence a conflict.
Some might involve raising or lowering a
participating character’s relevant skill value.
Bowing a character means that its skill will
not be counted toward the resolution of the
conflict. Moving a character home removes
that character from the conflict entirely.
Honoring or dishonoring a character (see
“Personal Honor” on page 30) will modify
its skill based on the character’s glory value.
Finally, there are other, more specialized
action abilities in the game that can influence
the outcome of a conflict in a variety of ways.
The back and forth exchange of action abilities
is a source of tension and an opportunity for
tactical skill to influence the game.
The defending player has the first opportunity to act,
and the opportunities alternate back and forth between
the players until both players pass consecutively.
0
With anEVENT
action opportunity, a player may do one of
the following:
hh
Activate an action ability on one of their cards.
An action may be triggered from a character or
attachment in play, from an unbroken faceup
province, or from a holding or stronghold. A
player may also play an event card with an
action ability from their hand by paying the
card’s fate cost.
Way of the Crane
Philosophy.
Action: Choose a  character you control –
honor that character.
There is a proper technique for all things.
The card Way of the Crane is an example of
an action ability, which can be identified by
the boldface “Action:”© 2017
timing
trigger.C 146
ILLUS. SCOTT WADE
FFG
hh
hh
hh
Play an attachment card from their hand by
paying its cost and attaching it to (i.e., placing it
partially underlapping) a character in play. Once
in play, an attachment modifies the character’s
stats and may provide additional abilities for
the character.
Play a character from their hand by paying its
cost. The character’s controller may place it in
the conflict participating on their side, or in their
home area. The controller may choose to place
any amount of fate from their fate pool on that
character at this time.
Pass. If a player passes and the opponent then
takes another action (other than “pass”), the
passing player is able to re-enter the sequence.
After using one of the above action opportunities, a
player should announce the total relevant skill present
on both sides of the conflict that would be counted if
the conflict were to resolve with no further actions (see
step 4, below).
Once both players pass consecutively, proceed to the
next step.
Step 4. Conflict Resolution
During this step, players determine the result of
the conflict.
The conflict type indicates which skill value is used to
determine the result. During a military conflict, use
military skill; during a political conflict, use political skill.
Each player determines the total skill value (matching
the conflict type) of their participating ready characters,
factoring all relevant modifiers. The player with the
higher total wins the conflict.
Note: A bowed character does not count its skill toward
the resolution of that conflict.
In case of a tie, the conflict is won by the attacking
player. If a conflict is tied with both players counting
0 skill, the conflict resolves with no winner.
If there were no defending characters in the conflict
(ready or bowed) at the time skill is counted and
the attacking player wins the conflict, the conflict is
considered unopposed. If a conflict resolves unopposed,
the defending player loses 1 honor.
If the attacking player wins, check to see if the province
breaks (see next page) and resolve the ring effect (see
next page).
If the defending player wins the conflict, the province
does not break and there is no ring effect — that
player has prevented the attacking player from making
headway and has defended their land.
The player who won the conflict now claims the
contested ring and adds it to their claimed ring pool.
If no player won the conflict, the ring is returned to the
unclaimed ring pool.
12
End of Conflict
Ring Effects
Once all effects of winning a conflict have resolved,
each character in the conflict bows and returns
home. The conflict is now over. Proceed to the next
player’s next conflict opportunity, if any remain (see
page 10).
Each time the attacker wins a conflict (regardless as to
whether or not the province was broken), that player
may choose to resolve the ring effect of the conflict’s
element. The ring effects are as follows:
 Air: The attacking player takes 1 honor token from
their opponent, or gains 2 honor.
After both players have either declared or passed
on each of their conflict opportunities for the phase,
proceed to the Imperial Favor contest on page 16.
For an example of a conflict, see page 14.
 Earth: The attacking player draws 1 card from their
conflict deck and discards 1 card at random from their
opponent’s hand.
Breaking Provinces
 Fire: The attacking player chooses a character in play
and honors or dishonors that character. (See page 30.)
If the attacking player wins a conflict, check to see if the
defending province is broken. If the attacking player
won the conflict by an amount of skill equal to or greater
than the province’s strength (located in the upper left
corner of the card), the province is broken. Note: If the
attack is resolving against a player’s stronghold province,
the stronghold adds its bonus strength value to the
strength value of the defending province.
 Water: The attacking player either chooses a
character and readies it, or chooses a character with no
fate on it and bows it.
 Void: The attacking player chooses a character and
removes 1 fate from that character.
Turn a province 180 degrees to indicate that it is broken.
© 2017 FFG
22
Pilgrimage
There are four conflict opportunities each
conflict phase: two attacking, and two
defending. Decide which conflicts are most
important for you to win, and prioritize
accordingly. Sometimes it’s better to concede
a conflict you don’t care much about losing
in exchange for greater chances of winning in
other, more important engagements.
ILLUS. NELE DIEL

5
PROVINCE
During conflicts at this province, cancel all ring
effects. (If this province breaks, resolve ring
effects as normal.)
During conflicts at this province, cancel all ring
effects. (If this province breaks, resolve ring
effects as normal.)
The order in which you initiate your conflicts is
also important. Is your first conflict a probing
attack, aimed at gathering information and
forcing the opponent to squander resources?
Or is it a heavy strike you need to succeed at
in order to take control of the round?
5
PROVINCE
ILLUS. NELE DIEL
© 2017 FFG
Unbroken
22
Pilgrimage

Strategy: Attack and Defense
Broken
Card abilities on broken provinces cannot be used, and
further conflicts cannot be declared against broken
provinces. A broken province remains broken for the
duration of the game.
When choosing a ring, consider the ring
effect you would like to achieve as well
as the possibility of denying an effect to
your opponent. Sometimes, preventing an
opponent’s optimal play is the best move you
can make.
If the attacking player wins a conflict that breaks a
province, that player may discard the dynasty card in
that province. The defending player then refills the
province with a facedown card from the top of their
dynasty deck.
Finally, keep all possible outcomes in mind:
What would happen if the attacking player
wins? If the defending player wins? Can
the defending player lose, but prevent the
province from breaking? Commit your forces
and resources in a manner that makes your
desired outcome the most likely result!
A player is still able to play cards from a broken
province, and to replace new facedown cards from their
dynasty deck onto that province.
13
Conflict Example
ILLUS. JESSICA COX
© 2017 FFG
D 74
ILLUS. MARIO WIBISONO
Action: During a conflict, bow this character.
Choose a character in one of your discard piles –
put that character into play in the conflict. If that
character is still in play at the end of the conflict,
return it to the bottom of its deck.
Shugenja. Water.
© 2017 FFG
D 68
She was destined to follow the path of her ancestors, the
path of the true Go sage.
Reaction: After 1 or more fate is placed on this
character – gain 1 honor.
Courtier.
2
1
ILLUS. STANISLAV DIKOLENKO
© 2017 FFG
17

1
3
3
0
2
1
CHARACTER
CHARACTER
Kitsu Spiritcaller
Ikoma Prodigy
“It would take an entire Moto horde
to break through here.”
This province gets +5 strength during  conflicts.
5
PROVINCE
7
© 2017 FFG
4
ILLUS. POLAR ENGINE
© 2017 FFG
D 75
10
“Let me put it another way.”
Action: During a conflict, bow this stronghold –
each attacking character you control gets +1
until the end of the conflict.
Action: While this character is attacking, choose
a character with equal or lower  skill than this
character – bow that character.
Bushi. Courtier.
Castle.
3
2
STRONGHOLD
 Yōjin no Shiro
3
4
CHARACTER
Lion's Pride Brawler
ILLUS. CASSANDRE BOLAN
© 2017 FFG
D 76
Reaction: After this character enters play, if you
control 3 or more other Bushi characters – place
2 fate on this character.
Bushi.
2
3
2
3
Asahina Storyteller
CHARACTER
 Matsu Beiona
4
CHARACTER
2
4
2
Courtier. Shugenja. Air.
Sincerity. (When this character leaves play, draw
1 card.)
Each honored  character you control gains
sincerity.
ILLUS. CARAVAN STUDIO
2
2
 Shizuka Toshi
© 2017 FFG
2
0
City.
Action: During a  conflict, bow this stronghold.
Choose a participating character with  skill 2 or
lower – bow that character.
11
ILLUS. ALAYNA LEMMER
7
Bushi. Scout.
D 50
1
Cautious Scout
CHARACTER
Kristina’s Play Area
1
While this character is attacking alone, treat the
defending province as if its printed text box were
blank (except for Traits).
They told him to be careful,
but there was only one way to know for sure.
10
© 2017 FFG
2
ILLUS. SERGIO CAMARENA
© 2017 FFG
D 43
2
3
Brash Samurai
CHARACTER
CHARACTER
2
1
3
3
Doji Challenger
2
Bushi.
Bushi. Duelist.
Action: While this character is your only participating
character in a conflict – honor this character.
2
Action: While this character is attacking, choose
a character controlled by your opponent – move
that character to this conflict.
A samurai lives at all times three feet from death.
“I hope you are prepared to defend
your words with steel!”
ILLUS. CALVIN CHUA
© 2017 FFG
D 42
ILLUS. ZEZHOU CHEN
© 2017 FFG
D 47
Kristina, playing the Crane, declares a conflict against Tom, who is playing the Lion. She slides her
honored Asahina Storyteller forward from her home area and declares it as an attacker (1). She selects
the Ring of Air from the unclaimed ring pool and places it on one of Tom’s provinces with the ring’s
political side faceup (2). This establishes which province is being attacked, and that a political conflict
is being declared. Tom now flips the province over, revealing that it is the card Entrenched Position (3).
Tom then declares Matsu Beiona as a defender by sliding it forward from his home area (4).
14
2
1
Tom’s Play Area
STRONGHOLD
12
3
ILLUS. CHRIS OSTROWSKI
Entrenched Position
2
Conflict Example (continued)
ILLUS
. SH
EN FE
I
© 201
5
0
EVEN
D 76
Reaction: After this character enters play, if you
control 3 or more other Bushi characters – place
2 fate on this character.
Games
Bushi.
2
3
2
T
3
CHARACTER
 Matsu Beiona
Each honored  character you control gains
sincerity.
© 2017 FFG
Court
© 2017 FFG
2
Courtier. Shugenja. Air.
Sincerity. (When this character leaves play, draw
1 card.)
ILLUS. CARAVAN STUDIO
ILLUS. CASSANDRE BOLAN
6
C 206
Asahina Storyteller
2
4
oose
– ch
one ntrol,
lect
u co
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confl characte onors

g a ipating and dish ntrols.
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oose
Actio nor a nent ch r he or
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and ur oppo characte
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ic
part 1 per co
(Max
7 FFG
4
CHARACTER
D 50
Once both players have declared their participating characters, the defending player has the first
opportunity to take an action. Tom uses this opportunity to play the event card Court Games (5), and
chooses to dishonor Kristina’s Asahina Storyteller. This removes the honored status token from the
storyteller (6) and reduces her political skill from six to four. The total political skill on Kristina’s side is
now four, while Tom’s side remains at two.
D 76
Reaction: After this character enters play, if you
control 3 or more other Bushi characters – place
2 fate on this character.
Bushi.
2
Outwit
2
 Matsu Beiona
Each honored  character you control gains
sincerity.
CHARACTER
Courtier. Shugenja. Air.
Sincerity. (When this character leaves play, draw
1 card.)
8
3
2
2
4
3
CHARACTER
nent’s
an oppo
t, choose
ticipating
a conflic skill than a par
the
During
– move
Action: with lower 
control
ter
charac character you
e.
Courtier racter hom
cha
chosen
© 2017 FFG
7
Asahina Storyteller
ILLUS. CASSANDRE BOLAN
4
1
EVENT
C 212
© 2017
ILLUS.
ANNA
CHRISTE
FFG
ILLUS. CARAVAN STUDIO
NSON
© 2017 FFG
D 50
It is now Kristina’s turn to take an action, and she plays the event card Outwit, targeting Matsu Beiona
(7). This event sends Matsu Beiona home, removing her from the conflict (8). The total political skill on
Kristina’s side remains at four, and Tom’s is now zero.
4
9
Asahina Storyteller
CHARACTER
2
4
4
2
4
Asahina Storyteller
D 50
CHARACTER
© 2017 FFG
Courtier. Shugenja. Air.
© 2017 FFG
ILLUS. CARAVAN STUDIO
2
D 50
Sincerity. (When this character leaves play, draw
1 card.)
Each honored  character you control gains
sincerity.
Each honored  character you control gains
sincerity.
2
ILLUS. CARAVAN STUDIO
Courtier. Shugenja. Air.
Sincerity. (When this character leaves play, draw
1 card.)
It is now Tom’s turn to take an action. He passes as he does not have any way of changing the outcome
of the conflict. Kristina also passes as she does not have any other means to increase her skill. Kristina
wins the conflict unopposed by a count of four to zero. Tom loses one honor because the conflict was
unopposed. Entrenched Position has a strength of 5, and Kristina only won the conflict by 4, so the
province does not break. Kristina resolves the Air ring effect, and chooses to take 1 honor from Tom.
Kristina claims the Ring of Air and places it next to her stronghold. Finally, the Asahina Storyteller
returns home and bows (9). The conflict is now over.
15
Imperial Favor Contest
5
 Akodo Toturi
CHARACTER
6
3
At the end of the conflict phase,
each player counts their total
amount of glory (the number on
the right-hand side of the card,
above the text box) on ready
3
characters they control and adds
this number to the number of
rings in their claimed ring pool.
The player with the highest total
claims the Imperial Favor card
Glory Value
and sets it to one side or the
other (military or political) next
to their stronghold. This player is said to “have the
Imperial Favor,” and the side to which the card is set
will influence the following game round by providing
its controller with a +1 skill bonus during conflicts of
that type. If players have the same total, the Imperial
Favor remains in its current state (either unclaimed, or
under the possession of the player who currently has it,
remaining set to its current side).
Bushi. Champion.
Reaction: After you claim a ring during a  conflict
in which this character is participating – resolve that
ring’s effect.
A lion is more than his roar, his mane, his teeth, his heart.
A lion is all of these.
ILLUS. SHAWN IGNATIUS TAN
© 2017 FFG
D 79
After the Imperial Favor contest is complete, proceed to
the fate phase.
Phase 4: Fate
The fate phase represents the moment at which the
forces of karma and destiny make themselves known,
and the various personalities in play move one step
closer to their ultimate fate.
At the start of the fate phase, each character that has
no fate tokens on it is discarded (this occurs in player
order). When a character is discarded, place it in the
discard pile that is associated with the deck from which
the card originated. Note: When a character leaves play,
all attachments on that character are discarded.
Then, each player (in player order) removes one fate
token from each remaining character they control.
Finally, place one fate from the general token pool on
each unclaimed ring. Note: When a player selects a ring
with fate on it as the contested ring in a conflict, the
attacking player takes all the fate from the ring and adds
it to their fate pool.
After completing the above process, proceed to the
regroup phase.
16
Phase 5: Regroup
Strategy: Discarding Cards
This step is an opportunity for you to replace
any dynasty cards you don’t feel are going to
help you in the upcoming rounds. Discarding
a card in this manner provides an opportunity
to replace it with a new card from your
dynasty deck, so if there is a specific card or
type of card you need, take advantage of this
free attempt to find it. Of course, if you like
each of the dynasty cards in your provinces,
you shouldn’t discard any of them!
The regroup phase represents a chance for the leaders
of the clans to take stock of their current position and
prepare for the following game round.
The regroup phase consists of four steps:
Step 1. Ready Each Card in Play
Each player readies each of their bowed cards.
Step 2. Discard Unwanted Cards from Provinces
In player order, each player may discard any number of
faceup cards from any of their unbroken provinces. Each
player must discard all faceup cards from their broken
provinces. Replace these discarded cards with facedown
cards from the dynasty deck.
Step 3. Return All Rings to the Unclaimed Ring Pool
All rings are returned simultaneously.
Step 4. Pass the First Player Token
The player with the first player token passes it to their
opponent. That player is the first player for the next
round of the game.
The end of the regroup phase marks the end of the
game round. Proceed to the dynasty phase of the next
game round. Continue to play through game rounds
until one player has won the game.
What’s Next?
You now have the rules needed to play your first game.
After playing the game, you can learn more about Kakita
Asami in the short story, “A Season of War” on page
19. An introduction to the Great Clans of Rokugan
follows on page 22.
You can now play a few more practice games with the
starter decks, or, if you are ready, you can dive into
custom deckbuilding on page 18 and construct your
own decks. Finally, some more advanced concepts are
introduced in the appendices on page 29.
17
Deckbuilding
Deck Customization Rules
The Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game core set
is designed to provide a complete game experience and
offers significant replayability. After playing a few times
with the starter decks, players may wish to explore their
own strategies by creating their own original decks.
These deck customization rules are for sanctioned
tournament play. Additional copies of this core set
and other expansions provide for additional
customization options. The basic guidelines for a player’s
customized decks are:
• 1 Stronghold
Why Build Custom Decks?
Deckbuilding is a process by which a player may
customize their decks with original strategies and ideas.
This allows a player to experience the game in new
ways; instead of adapting to the strategy of a starter
deck, each player may construct decks that function as
they desire. When players construct original decks, they
don’t just participate in the game: they actively shape
how it is played.
Admit Defeat
Influence
Each stronghold provides its controller
with a number of influence that can be
used during deckbuilding. This influence
may be used to include out-of-clan cards
from a single clan in that player’s conflict
deck.
cards have an influence
aracter thatMany
is conflict
defending
cost, shown at the bottom of the card.
Each bamboo stalk on a card indicates
racter.
one point of influence cost. The combined
influence value of out-of-clan cards in a
player’s
deck cannot
exceed the influence
n of defeating
one’s
opponents,
value on that player’s stronghold.
uch a mannerIf athat
they know they
conflict card with a clan symbol does
not have an influence value, it cannot be
been beaten.
used as an out-of-clan card in another
deck. Neutral cards that do not have
influence can be included in any deck.
© 2017 FFG
An influence cost of 2.
C 147
• 5 Provinces
• 1 Dynasty Deck (40-45 cards)
• 1 Conflict Deck (40-45 cards)
• 1 Role Card (optional)
The following restrictions must be observed:
◊◊ A
player must choose exactly 1 stronghold. Any card
with an affiliation that matches a player’s stronghold
is said to be in-clan.
◊◊ A
player may use 1 role card. A role card is placed
next to a player’s stronghold card during setup, and
modifies that player’s options while building and
playing the deck.
◊◊ A
player’s dynasty deck must contain a minimum of
40 and a maximum of 45 cards. Each of these cards
must be in-clan or be neutral. (A neutral card has no
clan affiliation symbol in the upper right of the card.)
◊◊ A
player’s conflict deck must contain a minimum of
40 and a maximum of 45 cards. Each of these cards
must be in-clan, be neutral, or be purchased from a
single other clan by using influence (see “Influence”
sidebar, on left).
◊◊ A
player cannot include more than 10 character
cards in a conflict deck.
◊◊ N
o more than 3 copies of a single card, by title, can
be included in any combination in a player’s dynasty
and conflict decks.
◊◊ A player’s set of provinces must include exactly 5
provinces, consisting of exactly 1 province associated
with each ring. (Each province has a ring symbol
in the lower right corner of the card to indicate its
association.) Each province must be in-clan or be
neutral. No more than one copy of each province, by
title, may be included in a player’s province set.
Out-of-Box Play
When building decks for one player from a single core set,
the minimum dynasty and conflict deck size is 30 cards.
To build decks for two players from a single core set,
divide the neutral cards evenly between the players (as in
the tutorial game) and use all of the cards and influence
points available for the desired clan pairings.
18
Asami sipped her tea and smiled softly. “Perhaps your
shugenja misread the omens. The Crane Clan is the
rightful owner of the plains.” Even if the Lion shugenja
were true mediums between this world and their
ancestors, supernatural “evidence” wasn’t admissible as
proof in any legal proceedings.
The Ikoma historian rose and gestured toward the
horizon, his eyes narrowing in indignation. “Your warriors
have occupied these lands for but two turns of the
seasons. Before that, the Lion were its protectors.”
Asami looked to her own stoic guardian, who kept a close
watch on the Matsu. She began tactfully: “For three short
generations, yes, the Lion were its protectors. But our
elders can remember the days when the Crane tended the
beasts of those pastures and reaped the harvest of those
fields—as we did for centuries untold.”
The Crane needed those lands now more than it had
ever needed them before. After the tsunami, their rice
paddies in the coastal provinces had been devastated,
and their priests did not know when the Earth spirits
would return to the fields and bless their crops once
more. For the same reasons, her clan could not afford a
war, especially while fighting intensified at Toshi Ranbo.
A Season of War
Kakita Asami of the Crane Clan delicately refilled four
teacups: one for each of her Lion Clan hosts, one for her
bodyguard, and finally one for herself. How she longed
to be a student again, when mastering proper teapouring techniques was the greatest of her worries, not
whether she could prevent a war between her people
and the Lion Clan.
“The Crane stole those lands from the Lion!” The Ikoma
snapped his fan shut and pointed it at Asami. “It was not
through strength of blade and honor that the day was
won, but through foul trickery. The Crane did not have
enough numbers to prevail, and yet somehow they did.
The Lion remember. Our ancestors do not lie.”
She stifled a wistful sigh and settled back into a seated
kneeling position on the tatami mat floor. The meeting
room was small and plain by Crane standards, but then
again, she was in a castle in the heart of Lion lands.
“Our priests have heard the laments of our honored
ancestors. They demand the Crane return the Osari
Plains to their rightful owners,” warned Ikoma Eiji, a Lion
Clan historian and her diplomatic counterpart.
His attendant, the warrior Matsu Beiona, paced one side
of the room, her mouth hardened into a frown. Beneath
that mask of self-control, rage and frustration seethed.
It wouldn’t take much to incite her into an outburst, but
that wouldn’t serve Asami’s purposes here. Her father
had bidden that she provide a diplomatic back channel
in case tempers flared too hot during the more public
rounds of negotiation at the Imperial Capital.
And if tempers flared here, too—well, that’s why Kaezinsan had been appointed her personal bodyguard, her
yōjimbō.
19
Asami took a deep breath. She had known this
accusation was coming, but the foresight did not soften
the sting of his words.
The historian stopped in front of a scroll bearing a quote
from Akodo’s Leadership, the definitive treatise on the
art of war by the Kami himself. “Without honor, there is
no victory. Without fear, there is no defeat,” it read. He
stroked his goatee as if in thought.
Asami recalled a different line from Akodo’s Leadership,
and she considered offering its wisdom to her host: On
the battlefield, all actions are honorable.
But he continued before she could speak. “At the dawn
of the Empire, the first Hantei charged Lord Akodo
himself with maintaining these lands on his behalf. The
very Heavens ordained that they belong beneath the
Lion’s banner.”
Asami closed her eyes, and prayed to Lady Doji that her
next words would bear the weight of her determination
and the levity of her foremother’s grace. “We cannot
forever dwell in the past; it is in the present that we must
live. If the Heavens had truly decreed that the Lion be its
safekeepers, your forces would not have lost to our own.”
Uncomfortable silence pressed between them. Beyond
the open screen doors and the veranda that circled the
inner courtyard, cherry blossoms swirled in the breeze.
The petals reminded her of a blizzard, of the long nights
spent at home with stories, songs, and the smiles of her
childhood sweetheart. But winter was already past, and
spring would soon be over as well. Summer, the season
of war, grew near.
The Ikoma began his counterattack. “The fact remains
that the Lion are best equipped to ensure the plains’
continued protection. Your coastal holdings have fallen
prey to pirate incursions on too many occasions. It
would be a shame if a similar roving band of miscreants
were to attack the Osari villages. Do we not want
the same thing: to safeguard the Emperor’s lands as
effectively as possible?”
Asami had to consider her words carefully, lest she
insinuate that the answer was “no.” “We will protect
these lands well.”
“Then let us try out the courtier’s theory!” the Matsu
shouted. “Our honor demands we reclaim these lands
by force! We waste our time bickering here. Let us test
our mettle on the battlefield! My ancestors scream for
justice. The Crane will scatter before our mighty roar!”
“Please calm your companion,” Asami said evenly,
ignoring the bushi’s outburst. For a moment, she
thought she saw the historian smirk.
Ikoma Eiji asked, “Are you afraid of Beiona-san making
good on her threats? Isn’t Doji Kuwanan-sama posted
along the front now, guarding the village of Shirei?”
Asami’s heart tightened in her chest. He could be, but she
couldn’t know for sure. She hadn’t seen him in months,
and his letters had ceased since the death of his father.
Had she really been so obvious with her affections in
public? Did the historian know about them?
No. Impossible. Surely Kuwanan was posted elsewhere,
safely serving in a court on his sister’s behalf.
The screen behind them slid open, and a servant
entered to proffer a scroll to his master. “An urgent
letter, my lord.”
The Ikoma took the scroll and dismissed the messenger.
The room grew silent as he read.
“Lady Asami, it appears that our conversation is over.
It is just as I feared—a band of honorless ronin have
slaughtered the Crane forces at Shirei Mura.”
20
Kuwanan’s body unmoving in the mud, blood and
dirt dulling the brilliance of his blue-silver armor. A
hideous ronin brandishing Kuwanan’s ancestral katana
in a mockery of the Kakita family technique.
“Kaezin-san,” she said, standing at last, her yōjimbō
rising beside her. “Let us return home.”
She banished the image from her mind, but her heart
still beat loudly in her ears and her cheeks scalded red.
Asami instinctively raised her fan to cover her mouth and
lowered it again, in one smooth motion, as though she
hadn’t tried to hide her reaction.
“This is terrible news,” she managed. Ikoma Eiji took
a seat again, opened his calligraphy set, and began to
compose a letter.
Ikoma Eiji set down his brush and sighed. “The
negotiations in Otosan Uchi have not yet finished, and
our lord would have you remain our honored guest until
everything is sorted out.”
The historian said one thing, but Asami understood the
message that lay beneath: she, Kaezin, and their retinue
were hostages. In case it finally came to war.
The Crane Clan forces would not have fallen—not to
some “band of ronin,” as the Lion had claimed. Even
if there had been ronin at the vanguard, the Lion had
assuredly paid them off, and some bannerless Lion Clan
ashigaru had no doubt supported the warriors as well.
Honor demanded that Asami believe his words, or at
least act as though she did, but the hope in her heart
refused. Doji Kuwanan could not be dead. If the Crane
Clan Champion lost both her brother and her father in
the same season, could she still pursue peace? Or would
she be forced to avenge her kin?
With their diplomatic leverage gone, all she could do
now was pray the Crane retook the village in time. If
the Lion “overcame” the ronin first, the Crane would be
dealt a serious blow to their case. Once again the Lion
were attempting to provoke the Crane, and whoever
struck first would lose the sympathy of the Emperor.
Matsu Beiona’s hand moved to rest on the hilt of her
katana. Kaezin took a step in front of Asami, and she
saw him discreetly unlock his sword, ready to strike at
any moment.
“Lady Asami, you are welcome to add a few lines if
you please,” he said, gesturing to the parchment. “The
Crane Clan delegation to the capital will be glad to see
your calligraphy and know that you remain safe during
your time with us.”
In her writing to him, Kakita Yuri would know with
certainty that she had failed him—both as a diplomat
and as a daughter.
The final cherry blossom broke away from the branch
and drifted to the ground.
21
The Great Clans
For over one thousand years, the seven Great Clans
of Rokugan have served the Chrysanthemum Throne
according to their unique strengths and weaknesses.
This section provides a thematic introduction to each of
these clans.
The Crab Clan
At the southern border of Rokugan
stands a grim miracle: the Kaiu
Wall, stretching like a great
puckered scar along the landscape, its slate-grey blocks
fitted together seamlessly into a structure thirty feet
thick and a hundred feet tall. To the south loom the
blighted Shadowlands, the domain of the corrupted
armies of Jigoku, and to the north lie the lands of the
Crab Clan, the Wall’s crafters and defenders.
After the Seven Thunders repelled Fu Leng’s dark
army from Rokugan, the first Emperor commanded
that a great wall be built to protect the Empire from
the evils of the Shadowlands. For centuries, the Crab
Clan has carried out that command with dedication.
Superstitious peasants whisper that the mortar of the Wall
is strengthened with the blood of Crab warriors; although
the Crab would never stoop to practicing blood magic—
even to protect their beloved Empire—it is an accurate
metaphor for their suffering. While others sing the praises
of the Thousand Years of Peace, this is at best a false
pleasantry to the Crab, who lose troops daily to both the
attacks on the Wall and the corruptive power of the Taint.
Even when faced with such hardship, the Crab Clan has
never wavered, standing steadfast in its duty to protect
the border of the Empire.
Strategy: Crab Clan
Rugged, stoic, and tenacious defenders of
the Empire, the Crab stand in ever-vigilant
watch against the threat of a Shadowlands
invasion. This clan is at their best when they
are defending against attacks and reacting
to an opponent’s aggression, and they prefer
to go second in the round. Seek to weather
your opponent’s best attacks, and retaliate
when your foe is at their most vulnerable.
As builders who excel at living off the land,
holdings are important to the Crab to help
protect their provinces and strengthen their
characters, so be sure to include a few extra
holdings in your dynasty deck.
Stubbornness has ever been a trait of the Crab. The Kami
Hida placed the seat of his clan in the great mountains
of the south, claiming that anyone incapable of surviving
in such a place was unworthy of following him. At the
clan’s founding, three men stepped forward to prove
themselves and were sent to slay a terrifying demon.
Working together, they prevailed and were accepted
as the founders of the great families within the Crab.
The stations of their descendants still reflect the roles of
their forebears within that legendary battle: the Hiruma,
whose founder tracked the movements of the beast,
now provide the scouts; the Kuni, whose founder studied
the demon’s weaknesses, train priests and scholars; and
the Kaiu, whose founder forged the blade that slew the
demon, have for generations been craftspeople and
builders, lending their name to the vast wall they built.
Only one family has joined the ranks since then, and
under unusual circumstances. The Yasuki family, chafing
under the demands of the haughty Crane Clan, broke its
ties with the Crane and offered fealty to the Crab, who
eagerly accepted. Unlike the other families, who train
for battle against the Shadowlands, the Yasuki train as
courtiers in negotiation and commerce, an indispensable
asset to the otherwise-militant Crab.
To those who look upon the Crab kindly, their strength
is impressive and their determination honorable. But to
those who do not—those who benefit from the protection
of the Wall without knowing the sacrifices it requires—the
Crab are impolite brutes, too pigheaded to comprehend
the intricacies of court decorum. Regardless of how
others might view them, the Crab cannot mire themselves
in bickering and intrigue. They present their back to the
court only so they may more fully face the true enemy in
the Shadowlands beyond.
22
The Crane Clan
At the dawn of the Empire, after
the Kami had fallen from the
Celestial Heavens, they found
themselves plunged into a mortal world rife with cruelty
and war. The Kami Doji—sister of Hantei, the first
Emperor—resolved to bring order to this savage realm.
The embodiment of elegance and grace, Doji walked
among the primitive peoples, calming them in the way
fair weather calms a storm-tossed sea. From her, they
learned writing so they could record their achievements,
politics to govern their affairs, economics and commerce
to manage their wealth, and art and culture to lift them
from their lives of misery. Those she touched the most
became her devoted followers, the first samurai of the
Crane Clan. Since that time, the Crane have become
both the poets and the poetry of the Empire, at once
the swordsmiths and the duelists wielding the smith’s
blades. In every aspect of their lives, the Crane strive for
mastery in all things, an ideal that the other clans can
only hope to emulate.
The Doji, the ruling family of the Crane, are perfection
made flesh, the pinnacle of grace and beauty. With
serene smiles, they offer gifts to those who would
oppose them, thereby subtly ensnaring their enemies
in intricate webs of favors and debts from which there is
no easy escape. The Kakita—a family named after Doji’s
husband, the first Emerald Champion—craft music,
poetry, paintings, and sculptures of such breathtaking
beauty that the endeavors of others are, at best, pale
imitations. Yet the blur of the sword is the ultimate
expression of Kakita achievement, the iaijutsu dueling
strike of the katana blending art and mastery in a single
blink of the eye. The shugenja of the Asahina family are
the pacifist heart of the Crane, mediators and healers
who eschew violence and spurn the battlefield. And if
violence is inevitable, their delicate tsangusuri talismans
protect those who march to war in their stead. In times
of conflict, the Daidoji family stands ready, a keen but
discreet weapon brandished in the clan’s defense.
Besides filling the ranks of the so-called “Iron Crane,”
which forms the bulk of the Crane’s standing armies,
the Daidoji also clandestinely serve as the masters
of cunning maneuvers and deceptive tactics. These
covert scouts harry opponents of much greater strength
and numbers, wearing them down, confounding and
demoralizing them, finally striking only when swift and
decisive victory is assured.
To the rest of the Empire, the Crane are a study in
contrasts. They are both respected and hated for
their achievements, both admired and envied for their
elegance and grace. They are the makers of beauty and
the beauty itself, devotees of peace and civility who
nonetheless wield lethal blades. But if samurai of the
other Great Clans agree on anything, it is this: from the
Crane’s impeccable garments, which set the standards
for style in the Empire, to the sprawling beauty and
wonder of their Fantastic Gardens, to their seemingly
limitless talent for artistic accomplishment and political
dominance in Rokugan’s courts, the Crane don’t simply
define what it means to be a civilized Empire—they are
the very civilized essence of Rokugan.
Strategy: Crane Clan
The Crane are known throughout the Emerald
Empire as a political powerhouse, with wise
and honorable courtiers guiding the clan
and protecting themselves against external
threats. Leverage this political might to
devastate your opponents during conflicts.
Keep your characters honored to increase
their skill, and control the board by keeping
your opponent’s characters away. The Crane
have only a few characters that excel in
military conflicts, so investing fate in them
to help defend those conflicts can mean the
difference between victory and defeat.
23
together tiny clues to form a larger picture in a fashion
few outsiders can understand. Finally, the monks of
the Togashi Tattooed Order, who are called ise zumi,
channel power through mystic tattoos. They follow
individual paths even more than their clanmates do,
whether that involves seeking enlightenment through
hermitage in the mountains or wandering the Empire in
search of new experiences.
The Dragon Clan
In an empire that usually prizes
conformity and respect for tradition,
the Dragon Clan is an enigma.
Inspired by their mysterious founder, the Kami Togashi,
the Dragon place more emphasis than most of their fellow
samurai on the individual search for enlightenment and
expertise. In the centuries since the Kami fell to earth,
Togashi’s followers have acquired a reputation for strange
behavior. Isolated by the mountains of their northern home
and entrusted with watching over the Empire, the Dragon
rarely participate as actively in the politics of the Empire as
other clans do—and when they do intervene, it is often for
reasons others can only guess at. The secret of the Dragon
is that they are guided by their founder’s foresight, but even
they do not always know what Togashi saw in his visions.
The Dragon are not without their traditions, but even
those break the mold formed by a thousand years of
Rokugani history. It is said that Dragon shugenja and
courtiers are warriors, their warriors are monks, and their
monks are inexplicable. Although the Mirumoto family
produces some of the best swordsmen in Rokugan, its
members practice a difficult style known as niten, or
“Two Heavens,” wielding their katana and wakizashi
simultaneously. The Agasha shugenja family studies
alchemy, which teaches them both to shift between the
Elements in their prayers and to create such wonders
as specially treated sword blades and the powder for
fireworks. These two families often work together, so
that Dragon bushi have a deeper understanding of the
elemental kami than most of their peers, and Dragon
shugenja are a surprisingly common sight on the
battlefield. The courtiers of the Kitsuki family also study
the art of the sword, and their investigative prowess
is unmatched; their training teaches them to piece
This individualistic bent means that friendships and
enmities with the Dragon often operate on a personal
level rather than a clan-wide one. Their enigmatic and
isolated ways have earned them very few true enemies,
and even fewer close allies. Due to the great distance
between them, the Dragon have little contact with the
Crab. They maintain cordial relationships with their
neighbors the Phoenix, with whom they share an interest
in religion and mysticism, and the Unicorn, whose
foreign habits are likewise an odd match with the rest
of Rokugan. The Dragon have more difficulty with the
Lion, who view individualism with a skeptical eye, and the
Crane, whose Kakita duelists have rivaled the Mirumoto’s
since the earliest days of the Empire. Perhaps their
most interesting relationship is with the Scorpion: the
Dragon seem to understand the Clan of Secrets better
than anyone else—much to the frustration of Scorpion
saboteurs unmasked by Kitsuki investigators.
Few can truly say they understand the Dragon. Some
insist their beloved paradoxes and puzzles are
no more than a game, triviality masquerading as depth.
To this accusation, the Dragon quote a common saying
of the ise zumi:
“What is wisdom?” one asked.
“What is not wisdom?” the other answered.
24
Strategy: Dragon Clan
The Dragon are a mysterious and
individualistic clan, and they have secluded
themselves in the northern mountains of
Rokugan to focus on self-improvement and
the pursuit of enlightenment. The use of
attachments is one of this clan’s greatest
strengths, and it is wise to invest extra fate
on a key Dragon personality with a plan
to attach multiple cards to that character:
in this manner, both your character and
its attachments benefit from the fate. The
concept of balance is also important to this
clan, and they are well suited for both military
and political conflicts. Take advantage of this
flexibility and strike wherever your opponent
has left an opening.
The Lion Clan
Every samurai who lives in
Rokugan measures courage, honor,
and duty by the standard set by
the Lion Clan. The Lion’s military is unrivaled, as there
are no sharper tacticians and no larger armies in all of
Rokugan. This proud military heritage has earned the
Lion Clan a place as the Right Hand of the Emperor,
sworn to protect him by serving as his personal guard
and his standing army. In light of this duty, fear means
nothing to Lion samurai. The threat of death only serves
to embolden them and bolster their courage, for there
can be no greater end than to perish in honorable
combat. As veterans of countless wars, the Lion Clan
knows that those who attack first shall be victorious.
Since the dawn of the Empire, the four families of the
Lion Clan have embodied the Seven Tenets of Bushidō.
The Akodo family bears the name of the Lion Clan’s
founding Kami: Akodo One-Eye, the god of war and the
greatest commander to ever live. According to all the
tales, for a thousand years no Akodo general has ever
lost a battle, bestowing the family with a reputation for
invincible generals and brilliant tacticians. The Matsu
family are the teeth of the Lion, sharpened every day
by arduous training. Each warrior is raised from the
womb for war, to wield the katana with fearsome skill
and to die for the glory of Rokugan. Having served as
the historians of Rokugan since its inception, the Ikoma
family makes warriors into legends. History is the key
to victory, for samurai learn best from their ancestors’
triumphs. The Kitsu family links the Realm of Mortals
with the Realm of Sacred Ancestors, their sōdan-senzo
acting as spirit mediums for their honored dead. These
powerful shugenja summon the experience and wisdom
of their ancient heroes to serve them in the heat of
battle, guiding the Lion Clan’s armies to victory against
all odds. Through strategy, ferocity, sagacity, and legacy,
these families of the Lion Clan maintain the disciplined
war machine of the samurai way of life.
As generals of the Emperor’s own army, the Lion view
the other Great Clans only in terms of their value in
protecting Rokugan and in upholding the revered tenets
of Bushidō. The Crab Clan’s fortitude and courage have
always earned Lion respect, yet the Lion also know
that strategy and discipline serve in places where mere
strength cannot. The Lion’s rivalry with the Crane stems
from the simple question of what serves the Emperor
best: the pampered discourse of Crane courtiers or the
ready steel of Lion swords? The Lion pay no heed to
the Dragon, viewing them as reclusive and hidden, and
therefore useless members of the Empire. Peace means
death to the samurai way of life, so the Lion cannot
abide Phoenix pacifism. The Scorpion must never be
trusted, no matter how sweetly their masks may smile,
as their sting is never far behind. The Unicorn’s lack of
discipline renders them little more than barbarians, and
Bushidō has no place for such wildness according to
the Lion.
Above all, the Lion live, breathe, and die for the
Emperor and Rokugan. Should the interests of the
Emperor and the welfare of the Empire diverge,
toward what deadly paths or dishonorable fates
would the Lion march?
Strategy: Lion Clan
The Lion are a proud, aggressive, and violent
clan that leverages its strong military skill
in order to win conflicts. The Lion have the
largest standing army in Rokugan, and Lion
decks frequently aim to swarm the play area
with characters, strengthening their presence
through numbers. Having more characters
allows the Lion to maximize their stronghold
ability and ensures that they can always
participate in military conflicts. However, Lion
characters with political skill are harder to
come by, so it is often worth the extra fate to
keep a character with a decent political skill
value in play.
25
Leading the Phoenix is the Isawa family, beloved of
the kami and the foremost of Rokugan’s scholars and
shugenja. Many of the Empire’s shugenja traditions
originate with the Isawa family, and more children of the
Isawa are born with the ability to hear the kami than any
other family in the Empire. Serving these priests are the
Shiba, the Phoenix’s lone warrior family and foremost
of the Empire’s yōjimbō. Sworn to protect the clan’s
shugenja, these warriors study theology and philosophy
to better understand and guard their charges from
threats both mundane and supernatural. Leading them
is the Phoenix Clan Champion, an exemplary Shiba
chosen not through birthright, but by the ancestral
sword of the Phoenix itself, Ofushikai. Yet even the clan
champion bends a knee to the five Elemental Masters,
an arrangement unique to the Phoenix Clan. If the Isawa
are the mind and the Shiba are the arm, then the Asako
are the Phoenix’s heart. Their compassionate rhetoric
can lower any guard, and it is said an Asako healer can
overcome any malady. The primary scholars of the Tao,
the Asako have a small order of monks to maintain their
libraries and keep the Tao’s greatest secrets hidden until
the world is ready for its truth.
The Phoenix Clan
The Phoenix is a symbol of
contradictions: explosive power
and great restraint, vast intelligence
and deep humility, immolating self-sacrifice and glorious
rebirth. These entwined virtues illuminate the path of
Rokugan’s most mystical Great Clan, the keepers of the
Tao of Shinsei and caretakers of the Empire’s soul.
The Phoenix’s flame burned brightest in Shiba, the
wisest and most humble of the fallen Kami. While his
siblings sought to secure their legacy and civilize the
lands, Shiba sought knowledge and harmony. In the
fledgling Empire’s darkest hour, Shiba and the Little
Teacher, Shinsei, entreated the priest Isawa and his tribe
to join them in fighting the forces of the Shadowlands.
While Isawa saw their wisdom, he would not surrender
his tribe to the rule of the Kami. When he refused, Shiba
bent his knee, swearing fealty and pledging that if the
tribe joined the Empire, Shiba’s line would forever serve
Isawa’s. With this humble gesture, Shiba established the
Phoenix’s deferential traditions and founded a clan in
which warriors and priests could exist side by side.
As the scent of incense wafts unseen to all corners of
a shrine, so do the spirit realms overlap invisibly with
our own. The Phoenix mediate between both worlds,
appealing to the very soul of the lands. Mountains
collapse at their whispered requests, dry rivers are
convinced to flow again, plagues are banished, restless
ghosts are returned to slumber, and crops flourish
in previously barren wastelands. Nevertheless, the
Phoenix understand that even the purest wish can
have unintended and destructive consequences if the
elements are brought out of balance. Although others
consider the Phoenix too hesitant in their entreaties to
the kami, few are foolhardy enough to test the Phoenix’s
dedication to peace and harmony.
The Phoenix Clan follows Shiba’s example to this day.
Guided by the wisdom of the Council of Elemental
Masters, the clan’s members tend to the spirits of
the land and serve their lords as priests and spiritual
advisors. The Phoenix maintain shrines throughout the
Empire, teach the mysteries of the Tao, and preserve the
harmony between mortals and gods.
26
Strategy: Phoenix Clan
The Phoenix are the masters of magic in
Rokugan, but they are also staunch pacifists
with little interest in warfare. Use the clan’s
shugenja to leverage powerful effects against
your opponent from the safety of your home
area. The clan’s mastery of the elemental rings
will help to deny your opponent the effects
they aim to use against you while ensuring
you’ll be able to use the rings you need to win.
This clan’s distaste for violence can also be used
as a calming influence upon your opponent,
making overt aggression and military conflicts
much less effective against you.
all, the sinister ninja of whispered legend. The Soshi,
a family of shugenja, have mastered the subtle art of
calling upon the kami silently. Some claim the Soshi
wield the shadows themselves as a weapon or a shield.
Finally, the Yogo, a family of shugenja descended from
the Phoenix Clan, protect the Empire from Fu Leng’s
influence and punish those who delve into forbidden
magics. Long ago, the Dark Kami himself cursed those
carrying the Yogo bloodline to inevitably betray the one
they love most. From then on, the Yogo could serve only
the Scorpion, whom they would never love.
The Scorpion have both united the other clans against
them in righteous anger and kept the other clans
divided so that no one coalition can overpower the
Emperor. This has earned them no few enemies over
the centuries. The Lion and Crab are the most common
victims of the Scorpion’s treachery. The Crane and
Phoenix pride themselves on refusing to stoop so low as
the Scorpion, even though they often find themselves
on the same side as the Scorpion clan in the courts. The
Unicorn confound the Scorpion with their unpredictable
ways, but the Clan of the Wind has brought the
Scorpion many new tricks and useful techniques from
the lands beyond the Burning Sands. Not least of these
is the opium that enriches Ryoko Owari, the greatest
and most prosperous city in all the Empire.
The Scorpion Clan
With six terrible words, the
Kami Bayushi set his followers
in the newly founded Scorpion
Clan on a dark and dangerous path. Enemies loomed
beyond Rokugan’s borders, but they also lurked within
them. Bayushi swore to protect the Empire by any
means necessary. Where the Code of Bushidō tied
the Emperor’s Left and Right Hands—the courtiers of
the Crane and the mighty legions of the Lion—the
Emperor’s Underhand could still reach. To combat the
liars, the thieves, and the traitors within the Great Clans,
Bayushi’s followers would have to lie, steal, and cheat in
turn. The weapons of the Scorpion became blackmail,
poison, and sabotage. The Scorpion dirtied their hands
so that others’ could remain pure.
Yet, in spite of—and perhaps because of—the clan’s
fearsome reputation, there is none more loyal than a
Scorpion. In a clan of deceivers and manipulators, trust
is a hard-earned treasure to be cherished and guarded.
Betrayal is punished with swift retribution, the souls of
the treacherous forever bound into the horrific limbo of
the place known as Traitor’s Grove. Such fierce loyalty
is a small consolation, at least, given the dangerous but
vital role the Scorpion have played in the Empire from
the moment their Kami spoke his fateful words: “I will be
your villain, Hantei.”
Each Scorpion family specializes in a different sort of
deception, wearing masks as an overt promise of their
duplicity. The ruling family of the Scorpion, the Bayushi,
are the charming smile wielding a poisoned blade.
Whether amid the clash of battle or the subtle schemes
of court, they specialize in getting close to their foes
before striking a killing blow like their namesake, the
scorpion. The Shosuro, meanwhile, seem but a family
of talented artists and actors, and little more. Yet this,
like so many things about the Scorpion, is a lie, because
from their ranks come the clan’s spies and saboteurs,
their poisoners and assassins, and most ominous of
27
Strategy: Scorpion Clan
The Scorpion are seen as the underhanded
villains of Rokugan by the other Great Clans,
but in truth (or is it “truth”?) they just want to
protect the Empire by any means necessary.
While playing this clan, you’ll want to make
high honor bids in order to draw extra cards
during the draw phase and surprise your
opponents with potent tricks and traps. Take
care to not bid yourself into an honor loss,
though! Dishonor is also a powerful tool when
turned against your foes to keep their stats
low and their hopes of beating you in conflicts
even lower.
The Unicorn Clan
A thousand years ago, the Ki-Rin
Clan rode out of Rokugan, seeking
to discover enemies hiding beyond
the Emerald Empire’s borders.
Their journey was arduous, and they found many
strange and powerful threats. In defeating each one,
the clan learned, changing its fighting styles, magical
practices, and even philosophy. To survive, it was forced
to adapt—and overcome. After eight centuries of
wandering, the Clan of the Wind returned to the Empire
as the Unicorn Clan. Their hordes entered Rokugan
through the Shadowlands, punching a hole through
Crab defenses and making their way past the Kaiu Wall
into the heart of the Empire itself.
They wear fur, speak foreign tongues, and wield strange
weapons. Although they still revere the Kami Shinjo,
they have drifted far from the traditions and ways of
the Emerald Empire. Whereas other clans beseech
the elemental kami for their blessings, the Unicorn
command the kami in a form of sorcery known as
meishōdō, or “name magic.” Shugenja of other clans
see these practices as barbaric at best or heretical
at worst.
Of all those that left countless generations ago, only
a few families have returned. The brave Shinjo family
leads the clan, claiming descendancy from the Kami
herself. The Utaku follow, fierce battle maidens and
youths trained in acrobatic styles of horsemanship and
war. The diplomatic Ide have quickly relearned the
dangers of the Emperor’s court, while the samurai of the
Iuchi family defend the clan with strange and powerful
foreign magics. Lastly, the exotic, brooding Moto horde
joined the Ki-Rin Clan during its journeys and had never
set foot in Rokugan until the clan returned in the ninth
century. All of the families care for the clan’s large herds
of horses, which are the finest in the world.
The Unicorn Clan may seem at first to be a series of
yins and yangs: the patient Ide countering the reckless
Utaku; the airy, mystic Iuchi contrasting with the dark,
dour Moto. Though these disparate winds might blow in
different directions, they all swirl around the clan’s heart,
the compassionate and courageous Shinjo family.
Yet the Unicorn Clan’s homecoming was not without
difficulties. Even with proof of their heritage, the Unicorn
were greeted as barbarian invaders, not returning
heroes. They charged past the defenses of the Crab
and then overcame the resistance mounted by the Lion,
leaving both clans scattered in the wake of Unicorn
cavalry. Reintegrating into Imperial society has been
a challenge—and a deadly one at that. Still, there are
lights in the darkness. An ancient treaty with the Crane
was honored, providing the Unicorn a strong ally within
the Empire. The Phoenix watch Unicorn magic with
equal parts interest and concern. The Dragon perceive
the wisdom of Shinjo’s children, and the Scorpion see
the advantage in a pliable ally. Yet, all of Rokugan
marvels at the speed and might of their magnificent
steeds. Perhaps they are, finally, where they belong.
Strategy: Unicorn Clan
The Unicorn are an aggressive, practical,
and nomadic clan that has mastered the
arts of mobility and warfare. Use the clan’s
powerful cavalry characters to outmaneuver
your opponent during the conflict phase so
that your enemies are never sure what will
happen next. Use your movement effects to
bring characters into and out of conflicts to
keep your opponent on edge. The Unicorn
are strongest when they are the first to act, so
if you have the opportunity to go first as the
Unicorn, take it. Finally, the Unicorn are much
more comfortable attacking than defending,
so be sure to play aggressively and get to
your opponent before they get to you!
28
Appendix I:
Advanced Concepts
A round sequence overview, indicating each of these
action windows, is presented on the following page
under “Action Opportunities.” Most interrupts and
reactions may be triggered by a player any time the
condition described in the ability’s text is met. Some
interrupt or reaction abilities may be prefaced by
the word Forced. The initiation of such an ability is
mandatory any time the specified triggering condition
occurs. (Note: Forced abilities are still constrained by
the general once-per-round limit that applies to all
triggered abilities.)
Card Ability Interpretation
Each triggered ability consists of one or more of the
following elements:
This section covers some of the more advanced
concepts that players may come across during play.
For a comprehensive guide to all aspects of the
game, see the online Rules Reference guide at www.
fantasyflightgames.com/L5R.
◊◊ Triggering condition — This describes the time at
which an ability may be triggered.
Some of the most exciting elements of Legend of
the Five Rings: The Card Game are the unique card
abilities. The following is a primer on the basics of how
to use and understand these abilities.
◊◊ Cost — This describes anything the card’s controller
must do in order to use the ability.
A card ability is the special game text that a card
contributes to the game. A basic approach to card
abilities can get you pretty far: do what the card says!
Further details, as you will find below and in the Rules
Reference, can help you in sorting out any thorny
particulars that might arise.
◊◊ Targeting requirements —This describes which
game elements the triggered ability can affect. The
word “choose” indicates that one or more targets
must be selected in order to use the ability.
There are a variety of different types of card abilities
in the game, and each type interacts with the game in
a slightly different manner. These types are: constant
abilities, triggered abilities (actions, interrupts, reactions,
and forced abilities), and keywords.
Constant Abilities
Dueling
Some card abilities may cause two characters to duel.
To resolve a duel, perform the following steps:
A constant ability is any non-keyword ability that is
not prefaced by a bold-face timing indicator. Constant
abilities are active so long as the card on which they are
printed is in play.
1. Identify the characters involved, and the type of skill
being used. This will be indicated by the card that
started the duel.
Keywords
2. Each player secretly bids an amount of honor on
their dial.
A keyword is a card ability that conveys specific rules
to its card. The keywords in the game are listed on
page 36.
3. Reveal the dials.
4. The player with the higher bid must give an amount
of honor equal to the difference between the two
bids to the player with the lower bid. If the bids are
tied, no honor changes hands.
Triggered Abilities
A triggered ability is an ability that is initiated by a
player at a specified point in the game. The player
controlling a card has the option of triggering its ability
or not. (Forced abilities are an exception to this, as
forced abilities are initiated automatically by the game.)
5. Each player adds their bid to the relevant skill of the
character they control in the duel.
Each instance of a triggered ability (per copy of a card in
play) may be triggered once during each game round,
unless otherwise indicated by the ability itself.
There are 3 basic types of triggered abilities: Actions,
Interrupts, and Reactions. Actions may be triggered
by a player during any of the game’s action windows.
◊◊ Effect — This describes what the ability does to
the game state each time the ability is used. An
ability’s effect is always separated from its triggering
condition and/or cost and/or targeting requirements
by a dash (–).
6. The character with the higher skill wins the duel. (If
the skill values are the same, neither player wins the
duel, and neither loses.) Follow the instructions on
the card to apply the consequences of the duel to
the game.
29
Personal Honor
Action Opportunities
During the course of play, certain effects may cause a
character to become either honored or dishonored. This
represents the perceptions that Rokugani society has
about that character and the actions they have taken.
Honored
hh
Ordinary
hh
Dishonored
Once a player has passed an opportunity to act during
this sequence, that player may no longer play cards or
use action abilities during that phase.
A character that is honored receives an honored status
token, and adds its glory value to both its military and
political skill so long as it possesses that token. When an
honored character leaves play its controller gains
1 honor.
A character that is dishonored receives a dishonored
status token, and subtracts its glory value from both its
military and political skill so long as it possesses that
token. When a dishonored character leaves play its
controller loses 1 honor.
Draw Phase
There is a standard action window during which each
player may use action abilities after each player has drawn
cards equal to their honor bid. During this window, action
opportunities alternate between players in player order
until both players have consecutively passed.
Conflict Phase
There is a standard action window during which each
player may use action abilities after the phase begins,
before the first conflict opportunity. During this window,
action opportunities alternate between players in player
order until both players have consecutively passed. After
each conflict resolves, play returns to this action window
before the next conflict may be initiated.
When an honored character becomes dishonored, it
loses its honored status, discards the status token, and
returns to ordinary status (i.e., it has no status token).
Likewise, when a dishonored character becomes
honored, it loses its dishonored status, discards the
status token, and returns to ordinary status.
During the resolution of a conflict, there is a special
action window after defenders are declared, in which
action opportunities alternate between players starting
with the defending player until both players have
consecutively passed.
A character with an honored status token cannot
become honored, and a character with a dishonored
status token cannot become dishonored.
Fate Phase
Other Terminology
There is a standard action window during which each
player may use action abilities after the “place fate
on unclaimed rings” step. During this window, action
opportunities alternate between players in player order
until both players have consecutively passed.
A few other terms players might encounter while
learning the game are descrbed here.
Friendly - The word “friendly” is used in the cost of
some abilities as a reminder that costs can only be paid
with cards controlled by the player triggering the ability.
Regroup Phase
Sacrifice – If a player is instructed to sacrifice a card, the
player must select a card they control that meets the
specified criteria and discard it.
Trait – A card’s traits are presented in bold italics at the
top of its text box. A trait is a flavorful descriptor that
carries no rules of its own, but may be referenced by
card abilities.
Dynasty Phase
A player may use action abilities any time it is their turn
to act during the back-and-forth alternation of playing
cards from their provinces.
Characters can exist in one of the following three states:
hh
This section indicates when players are permitted to use
action abilities during each of the game’s phases.
There is a standard action window during which each
player may use action abilities after the phase begins,
before cards are readied. During this window, action
opportunities alternate between players in player order
until both players have consecutively passed.
30
Appendix II: Frequently Asked Questions
◊◊ Why does the ring effect occur when my opponent
wins a conflict that breaks my province Pilgrimage (22)?
Ability text on broken provinces is not active. During
conflict resolution, players check to see if the province
breaks before ring effects resolve. Therefore, if the
province is broken, the ability on Pilgrimage that would
have prevented the ring effect is inactive at the time the
ring effect resolves.
◊◊ If I use the card Contingency Plan (205) to change
the value of an honor bid, do I adjust the setting on
my dial?
No. This card only adjusts the value of your bid for the
resolution of that bid. The setting on your dial remains
where you set it until your next bid.
◊◊ Can I use the effect of the Water ring to ready one of
my characters that is participating in the conflict?
At the time the ring effects resolves, the characters
participating in the conflict have not yet been bowed
and returned home. So, if the character is ready, it will
not be an eligible target to ready again. If a participating
character in the conflict is bowed, you may use the
Water ring effect to ready it, but this won’t accomplish
much, as the character will soon bow again when it
returns home.
◊◊ If I break my own province by using the ability on
Endless Plains (14), does the conflict end?
No. Continue to resolve the conflict through each of
the conflict resolution steps. The conflict may affect
the game in other ways (such as the ring effect or an
unopposed result), and actions or reactions may still be
played in reference to the conflict or its result. However,
during the step to check if the defending province
breaks, nothing occurs, as the province has already
been broken.
31
Appendix III:
Card Anatomy
This section presents a detailed anatomy
of each cardtype.
3
2 Character
1
2
4
Vengeful Oathkeeper
CHARACTER
5
Card Anatomy Key
1. Title: The name of the card.
2
1
7
2. Cost: The fate cost to play the card.
3. Cardtype: Indicates how a card is played
or used during the game.
16
4. Clan Symbol: The card’s clan affiliation.
5. Military Skill: The character’s military skill
0
Bushi.
Reaction: After you lose a  conflict – put this
character into play from your hand.
9
“When a samurai has said he will perform an action, it is as
good as done.” – Akodo’s Leadership
value.
6. Bonus Military Skill: The bonus value this
card provides to the attached character’s
military skill.
ILLUS. DARREN TAN
7. Political Skill: The character’s political skill
17
value.
8. Bonus Political Skill: The bonus value this
© 2017 FFG
C 160
19
15
card provides to the attached character’s
political skill.
9. Glory: The card’s glory value.
Event
10.Element: This indicates the province’s
elemental affiliation.
11.Strength: The province’s strength value.
12.Bonus Strength: The bonus strength
3
provided to a province if this holding or
stronghold is in it.
13.Starting Honor: The amount of honor
0
EVENT
1
this stronghold provides at the start of the
game.
14.Fate Value: The amount of fate this
stronghold provides each dynasty phase.
15.Influence Value: The amount of influence
The Perfect Gift
this stronghold provides for deckbuilding.
16.Traits: Descriptive attributes that may be
Action: Reveal the top 4 cards of each player’s
conflict deck. Choose 1 revealed card owned
by each player and add it to its owner’s hand.
Shuffle.
referenced by card abilities.
17.Ability: The card’s special means of
He had refused twice, but could not bring
himself to refuse a third time.
interacting with the game.
18.Influence Cost: The influence cost
ILLUS. ALBERT TAVIRA
required to include this card in a conflict
deck.
© 2017 FFG
17
19.Product Set Information: Indicates this
card’s product of origin.
32
C 144
4
Holding
4
5
Academy.
Action: During the conflict phase –
reveal the top card of your conflict deck.
Until the end of the phase, you may play
that card as if it were in your hand.
17
Pilgrimage
PROVINCE
11
During conflicts at this province, cancel all ring
effects. (If this province breaks, resolve ring
effects as normal.)
10

ILLUS. CONCEPTOPOLIS
© 2017 FFG
D 53
ILLUS. NELE DIEL
Attachment
6
8
1
ATTACHMENT
1
1
Guidance of the Ancestors
1
1
HOLDING
Artisan Academy
12
Province
Condition.
Action: Play this attachment from your
conflict discard pile.
“Oh blessed ancestors, hear my prayer! May the
strength of your honor guide my steps and lead
me to righteousness!”
ILLUS. MATT ZEILINGER
© 2017 FFG
33
C 162
16
© 2017 FFG
22
Card Anatomy Key
1. Title: The name of the card.
2. Cost: The fate cost to play the card.
1
Stronghold
12
3. Cardtype: Indicates how a card is played
2
4
 Shizuka Toshi
STRONGHOLD
3
or used during the game.
4. Clan Symbol: The card’s clan affiliation.
5. Military Skill: The character’s military skill
value.
6. Bonus Military Skill: The bonus value this
card provides to the attached character’s
military skill.
City.
Action: During a  conflict, bow this stronghold.
Choose a participating character with  skill 2 or
lower – bow that character.
7. Political Skill: The character’s political skill
value.
8. Bonus Political Skill: The bonus value this
card provides to the attached character’s
political skill.
11
9. Glory: The card’s glory value.
ILLUS. ALAYNA LEMMER
10.Element: This indicates the province’s
13
elemental affiliation.
11.Strength: The province’s strength value.
12.Bonus Strength: The bonus strength
provided to a province if this holding or
stronghold is in it.
7
10
© 2017 FFG
2
15
14
Role
13.Starting Honor: The amount of honor
this stronghold provides at the start of the
game.
14.Fate Value: The amount of fate this
stronghold provides each dynasty phase.
15.Influence Value: The amount of influence
this stronghold provides for deckbuilding.
16.Traits: Descriptive attributes that may be
referenced by card abilities.
17.Ability: The card’s special means of
interacting with the game.
18.Influence Cost: The influence cost
required to include this card in a conflict
deck.
19.Product Set Information: Indicates this
card’s product of origin.
1
Keeper of Fire
Keeper. Fire.
Increase your deckbuilding influence value by 3.
Reaction: After you win a  conflict as the
defending player – gain 1 fate.
16
©2017 FFG 216A
17
34
19
Credits
Fantasy Flight Games
Game Design and Development: Brad Andres,
Erik Dahlman, and Nate French
Additional Development: Daniel Lovat Clark,
Chris Gerber, Caleb Grace, Lukas Litzsinger,
Matthew Newman, Daniel Schaefer, Damon Stone,
and Matthew Watson
Technical Editing: Kevin Hynes and Kevin Tomczyk
Proofreading: Christine Crabb
Graphic Design: Mercedes Opheim and Michael Silsby
Graphic Design Manager: Brian Schomburg
Cover Art: Darren Tan
Art Direction: Andy Christensen
Managing Art Director: Melissa Shetler
Fiction: Katrina Ostrander
Writing and Additional Setting Development:
Marie Brennan, Robert Denton III, D.G. Laderoute,
Annie VanderMeer Mitsoda, Mari Murdock,
and Ree Soesbee
Senior Project Manager: John Franz-Wichlacz
Executive Game Designer: Corey Konieczka
Creative Director: Andrew Navaro
Asmodee North America
Production Management: Jason Beaudoin and
Megan Duehn
Publisher: Christian T. Petersen
Original L5R Property and Game Created by
Ryan Dancey, Matt Staroscik, D.J. Trindle, Matt Wilson,
Dave Williams, John Wick, and John Zinser.
Playtesters: Aaron Wong, Aaron J. Wong (The Daimyō),
Aidan Cox, Alan Bahr, Alex Konecky, Alex Wehbe,
Alex Whitney, Andrew Summerhill, Andrew Young,
Andrey Oveshnikov, Anette Hall, Antti “WWDrakey”
Korventausta, Arthur Campbell, Az Johnston, Bastien
Poujol, Ben Crowell, Ben Cumming, Ben Matthews,
Benjamin Higgins, Benoit Sigal, Blake Wyatt, Bob
Martin, Bob Stephens, Brad “Kolat Informant” Reeves,
Brad Rollins, Bradley Bowling, Brandon Doughty,
Brandon Zimmer, Brian Frost, Brodie Bensend, Callum
Overfield, Carl Anderton, Carl DeBeer, Chris Goglia,
Chris Hayes, Chris Hutcherson, CJ Heintz, Cory
Hockman, Dan King, Daniel Landrum, Darren Hazelden,
Darin Walsh, Dave Goss, Dave Hancock, David Pallett,
David Reed, Derek Marantz, Devin Bell, Dmitriy Zoubko,
Donovan Sparks, Doug Keester, Eric Hoath, Erich Ridlon,
Erin Bahr, François “Silme” Martinez, Gaby Juif, Geoff
Bergh, Gene Saunders, Grant Huddleston, Hwan-yi
Choo, Jake “The Snake” Ryan, Iiro “Ire” Jalonen, James
Taylor, James Waumsley, Jason Aubry, Jason Collins,
Jason Erb, Jason M Wallace, Jason Riedinger, Jay
Morgan, JD Wilkins, Jeff Lindsay, Jeff Woosley, Jeremy
Zwirn, Jesse Anderson, Jesse Mariona, Jim Freeman,
Joe Meredith, John Briggs, John Rogers, Jordan Dixon,
Josh Wood, Joshua Bergmann, Joshua Bow, Jukka
Raninen, Julien Buton, Julien Escalier, Justin Parker,
Kelly Hoesing, Kevin Foster, Lachlan “Raith” Conley,
Larik “mplain” Borts, LeAnn LaFollette, Liisa RonkainenLindroos, Mark Baker, Mark Delaney, Mark McLaughlin,
Matrim Charlebois, Matt Demand, Matt Nott, Matthew
Ley, Matthew Tyler, Matthew White, Max Way, Maxim
Lazarev, Michael Hong, Michael Johnesee, Michael
Lawrence, Michael Southern, Mike Brost Jr., Mike Cook,
Monjoni Osso, Muxi “Lucas” Li, Nat Trahan, Nathalie
Benies, Nathan Quinn, Nick Howard, Noah Smith, Paul
Evans, Paul Moore, Paul Steiner, Peter Hilbelink, Rachel
Backa, Randall Jurgens, Reginald “The Angry Crab”
Garth, Rhett Jenkins, Ross Graham, Ryan Billington, Sam
Suied, Samuel Benies, Shawn Sanders, Stéphane Alimi,
Stetson Zirkelbach, Steve Mumford, Steven LaFollette,
Stuart Siddons, Team Marike’s House, Thomas Pecqueur,
Tobin “For JK” Lopes, Tom Capor, Tom MacKenzie, Tom
Melucci, Tonya Segee, and Viktor “Cypher” Nelipovich
Special thanks to our beta testers!
© 2017 Fantasy Flight Games. Legend of the Five Rings and Fantasy Flight Supply are TMs of
Fantasy Flight Games. Fantasy Flight Games, the FFG logo, Living Card Game, LCG, and the
LCG logo are ® Fantasy Flight Games. Fantasy Flight Games is located at 1995 West County
Road B2, Roseville, Minnesota, 55113, USA, 651-639-1905. Actual components may vary from
those shown. Made in China. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT A TOY. NOT INTENDED FOR USE BY
PERSONS 13 YEARS OF AGE OR YOUNGER.
35
Phase Sequence
1. Dynasty phase (gain fate, play characters from
provinces)
2. Draw phase (bid honor, draw cards)
Symbols and Icons
The following is a reference of the symbols and icons in
the game.
3. Conflict phase (declare conflicts, contest Imperial
Favor)
Conflict Types
4. Fate phase (discard characters, remove fate, add
fate to unclaimed rings)
Military
5. Regroup phase (ready cards, discard cards from
provinces, pass first player token)
Keywords
A keyword is an attribute that conveys specific rules to
its card. The following serves as a quick reminder of
how each keyword functions. For complete rules on a
keyword, see the Rules Reference.
Ancestral: When the card to which an Ancestral
attachment is attached would leave play, the Ancestral
attachment returns to its owner’s hand instead of being
discarded.
Courtesy: When this card leaves play, its controller
gains one fate.
Covert: When this character is declared as an attacker,
you may choose a character that does not have covert.
That character cannot be declared as a defender for this
conflict during the “declare defenders” step.
Limited: A player may not play more than one limited
card each round from their provinces and/or their hand.
No Attachments: This card cannot have attachments
attached to it.
Politics

Clan Symbols
Crab Crane

Dragon Lion 
Phoenix Scorpion

Unicorn 
Ring Symbols (with Ring Effects)
 Air: The attacking player takes 1 honor token from
their opponent, or gains 2 honor.
 Earth: The attacking player draws 1 card from their
conflict deck and discards 1 card at random from their
opponent’s hand.
 Fire: The attacking player chooses a character in
play and chooses to honor or dishonor that character.
 Water: The attacking player either chooses a
character and readies it, or chooses a character with no
fate on it and bows it.
 Void: The attacking player chooses a character and
removes 1 fate from that character.
Pride: When this character wins a conflict, honor it.
When this character loses a conflict, dishonor it.
Restricted: A character can never have more than two
restricted attachments attached to it.
Sincerity: When this card leaves play, its controller
draws one card from their conflict deck.
36
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