Writ of the Wilds: The Secret Empire
2021 / 10 / 14
For centuries, the peoples inhabiting the Emerald Empire have struggled to claim their place in its vast and perilous lands. Some have chosen to fight back against the ensnaring wilds, while others have approached their surroundings with a more harmonious mindset. From the mighty samurai in their strongholds and palaces to the hard-working peasants simply doing what they can to survive, all those in Rokugan must either fight against or live beside the natural world. These stories are some of those explored in the newest 144-page addition to Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying.
Writ of the Wilds examines the inner workings of the esoteric Dragon Clan, the dutiful service of the Dragonfly minor clan, and the often-overlooked lives of those who live within the Empire but do not call themselves Rokugani. Many new species, schools, techniques, and additional content waits for any who wish to expand upon their stories or create new ones.
The Dragon Clan and New Locations
Writ of the Wilds includes a detailed look at the lands and families of the Dragon Clan. Each of the four families – the Togashi, Mirumoto, Agasha, and Kitsuki – have unique cultural traditions, religious and spiritual schools of thought, and important roles in the grand scheme of the Empire. In addition to looking at each family individually, this book offers an array of prominent locations, adventure seeds, and non-player characters to facilitate game masters bringing the lands and culture of the Dragon to life. Notable locations include the Refuge of the Three Sisters (a temple devoted to Onnatangu, the Lord Moon), the Iron Mountain Dojo, Serpent’s Tail Mine, and Keen Eyes Strike Village.
The book also takes a more intimate look at temples, their role in the Empire, and generally expands on the content available in the Emerald Empire supplement. From the conceptual space of the World Temple to physical locations like the Wrath of the Kami and Mountain Song, several new temples are presented for game masters to include in their campaigns.
Along with these locations, the last chapter of the book includes guidance for game masters on how they can best create and represent monastic orders throughout their stories. Ensuring each monastic group feels like it has depth and purpose, as well as making sure these portrayals are sensitive to real-world orders, this tool is particularly useful for games that focus more heavily on the Dragon and Phoenix Clans, as well as the Brotherhood of Shinsei.
Lastly, Writ of the Wilds is also the perfect way to expand upon the themes of the elemental imbalances plaguing present-day Rokugan. Though the Phoenix believe they have kept such disharmony a secret, there are others in the Empire, particularly the Dragon, that have noticed the imbalances and have begun to seek out solutions, if only on a case-by-case basis. These efforts are alluded to throughout the text, but are brought to the forefront in the game master chapter as guidance on incorporating aspects of these spiritual disruptions.
A land of many faces
Rokugan is home to many different species and peoples with numerous affiliations, not all of which are to the Empire. There are the rat-like nezumi and serpentine naga who live in the vast Shinomen Mori, the avian tengu who soar on lofty mountain winds, and even human factions who reside in unexplored or undesirable locations. The Yobanjin peoples, some of those who long ago chose not to follow the Kami, have several villages scattered throughout the Empire, such as the Laughing Mountain tribe who are nestled deep within the Spine of the World mountains. Writ of the Wilds touches on these cultures and represents them mechanically through their own unique traditions and techniques.
The nezumi were discussed in the Shadowlands supplement, and this book expands upon their variable cultures by focusing on the Tattered Ear who dwell deep in the shaded boughs of the Shinomen Forest. Players now have the option to play as a nezumi using the Explorer tradition.
Similar to the nezumi, Writ of the Wilds expands on the briefly discussed naga in Path of Waves. In that supplement the naga were from the Ivory Kingdoms, but here the naga reside within the Empire, awakening from a deep sleep in their cavernous, underwater homes in the Shinomen. Players can explore the difficulties of existing as a non-human species amongst humans with the new Seer tradition.
The wise and mystical tengu are a race of yōkai with massive wings and the ability to shift their forms. Their rich culture is touched upon, and players are also given the opportunity to play as a tengu using the Mask of Air tradition.
Lastly, this book offers a look into two new Yobanjin groups, the Laughing Mountain tribe in the Spine of the World Mountains and the Woolen Hooves tribe to the far north of the Dragon’s mountain homes. Including these two groups is meant to offer game masters and players the opportunity to explore a fraction of the myriad peoples and cultures that exist within and without Rokugan.
A Must Have Book
Writ of the Wilds is an excellent addition to the Legend of the Five Rings collection for players, game masters, and those who are excited to see the beautiful new art included in the book. Keep an eye out for additional articles on Writ of the Wilds!