I'll be directing a game of L5R for the first time and I have some questions about Strife at L5R 5e (the one by Fantasy Flight Games). I might have missed the answers in the core rulebook as I've been reading it jumping from one page to another, but I haven't found the answers there.

Can I offer assistance (page 26) while I'm Compromised (Page 30)?

The text regarding Limits on Assistance says (emphasis mine):

The GM is the final arbiter of whether a character’s attempt to help is actually useful enough to grant this benefit, as well as whether there is a maximum number of characters who can feasibly assist[...]

While the text regarding being compromised tells (emphasis mine again):

A compromised character’s vigilance attribute (see page 36) counts as 1. Additionally, when making a check, a Compromised character cannot keep dice containing strife symbols (to a potential minimum of 0 kept dice).

From the Vigilance description, we read that it represents the wariness of the character, so I'm not sure if someone Compromised should be able to coordinate with people to help them effectively unless that action helps them to relieve strife, but I'm not really sure about it.


1 Answer 1


There are no rules stating that a compromised character is restricted in what actions they can take. Not to say that there are no situations where a compromised character wouldn't be much help when assisting but in the vast majority of cases it should be up to the player to decide 'my character is too angry/afraid/frustrated to effectively aid you'

Vigilance is a passive defense, lowering it just means a character is more likely to be caught by an ambush, lie or trick. Furthermore it is entirely possible for a character to have a natural vigilance of 1 ( Vigilance = [Air + Water] / 2 ). It is a construct of the rules and I believe that strictly reading mechanics into narrative is usually a mistake.

As I understand it Compromised as a concept represents a character who's emotional state is making it difficult to maintain the calm and stoic persona idealized by the tenet of Courtesy. Their attention is focused on adhering to the strict societal expectations of a samurai's behavior. This does not make incapable of lending a helping hand, they are merely distracted and thus less effective at the tasks they take the lead on.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Have you played L5R before? I have some more questions, so if you have experience I'd like to tag you or something :3 \$\endgroup\$
    – MrTakeru
    Commented May 15, 2020 at 9:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've played a fair bit of4th edition. I just started running my first 5e game recently. \$\endgroup\$
    – Saelvarath
    Commented May 16, 2020 at 15:35

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