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L5R The Rashomon Effect


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I'm planning a new game of Legend of the Five Rings rpg (first edition). I am going to use a slightly different campaign structure than normal. The characters will all start the game as old samurai sat in a tea house and they will be talking about there old adventures. The main game will therefore be an extended flashback as they reminisce about their adventures.

This structure allows me as GM to use something I'm going to call the Rashomon Effect, or in other words "that's not how I remember it".

Once per story arc (of which there will around 5 in total) the group can "remember it differently" to alter something that just happened.

Im just quite sure how that might look as a mechanic in game.

any thoughts?


Do you really need mechanics for this?
You could just use it as a reroll or an autosuccess/fail on a single roll.

More likely I'd use it for something less specific and independent of mechanics, like changing who was in a scene, changing details of what was said and by whom, slightly changing the personality of someone, that sort of thing.


I will almost certainly take a narrative approach to this effect. Possibly even up to allowing the players to rewrite a short scene or turn of combat.


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Cool idea!

DISCLAIMER: I know these examples aren't in the same game system, but you get the idea... they're meant as inspiration, not a direct implementation.

You could adapt the Hero Points system for this, allowing different PCs to use a hero point to interrupt the narrative and "restart" or "revise" the situation. You could come up with a list of things that can be altered. A few ideas, off the top of my head:

-Monsters: "You confront 4 pit fiends" "I remember them as being goblins."

You could have the hero point use be "adjust the CR by +/-1

-Treasure: "You found several masterwork weapons." "Really? Because I remember at least one +1 sword."

Same thing here, upleveling the treasure to a better haul

-All the regular stuff you can use hero points for. E.g., turning a failed save into a success: "And our brave companion fell there, unable to dodge the flames." "So it seemed from your point of view. But from where I was standing, he just ducked down behind the table and emerged, singed, but very much alive."


Excellent suggestions, I will give them "Memory" points that they can 'spend' on changing aspects of the story. I will also make them aware that as the GM I will also be able to change certain things about what happened. For Example: You see the blood mage shot with a arrow and fall to his death. But what really happened was that he caught the arrow and jumped into the river below to escape.


Are you looking for something minor, changing small aspects of events (like who got the killing blow on a person) or big changes (I killed him in self defense... no, it was cold blooded murder).


Im looking for a way to fully utilize the fact that the PCs are telling each the story round a table rather than the game happening in real time.


I understand what you're going for as the style of your campaign.

I'm asking, how much impact do you want the memory mechanics to have?

Do you want these mechanics to just be a small bit of seasoning to your game? Or do you want them to radically alter the course of the story? Somewhere in between?

Seasoning:
Player: I'm pretty sure my sword killed him. I spend a Memory Point and get two free raises for damage.

Radical Change:
GM: The sword sinks into your leg and nearly cripples you.
Player: You guys are remembering it wrong, I wasn't on the front line. That was someone else. I was actually helping secure the secret entrance to the castle. That was a distant cousin who just had a similar name, you always get us confused.

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