L5R 4th edition was very big on offering the whole empire timeline as a playing field. However, while I am getting myself a treat of the 5th edition core book commented on, it became apparent quite early that this approach might not be followed in 5th edition. For example, it was mentioned in the commentary repeatedly, that the whole Scorpion Coup thing wouldn't be a thing in the 5th edition.

What moment in the 4th edition timeline is wanted to be portrayed by 5th edition as the main setting and what are the biggest divergences in the timeline between the two?


2 Answers 2


The main differences can be discovered by taking the 4th edition Imperial Histories and comparing them to the 5th edition Emerald Empire. The timelines start to diverge as early as 33 IC, but not to a huge degree. It is to be noted that the 5th Edition often doesn't give a specific year while 4th has a complete timeline. Also note I only will list times where there is a difference, not events that are equal or almost so.

In total, I could pin down 3 larger changes (the first Shadowland Invasion, the Battle of White Stag, Scorpion Clan Prelude) and 3 minor ones that stand out, (the Tournament, departure of the Ki'Rin, Reasoning for the Maho, and amount of struggle).

Year IC 4th edition Imperial Histories Year IC 5th edition Emerald Empire
1 Fall of the Kami 1 Fall of the Kami
5 Tournament of the Kami
We know the order of this Fight
5 Tournament of the Kami
No details given
33-45 Fu Leng appears ca. 33 IC and just tries to invade Rokugan. He is defeated in the end. 39-42 Fu Leng appears 39 IC and challenges Hantei but is pitted against Togashi. The latter chooses all of Rokugan as his weapon, leading to the Invasion and defeat of Fu Leng.
45 Ki'Rin depart in 45 42+ Ki'Rin depart at earliest in 42 IC but could have stayed much later, there is no year given.
442 The Battle on the White Stag peninsula happens. The Land forces of the Samurai are massacred, the Mantis Fleet destroys the Gaijin one in the Battle of the Raging Seas. Firearms become banned. ~442 The Battle of White Stag happens at a cliff of that name, the Gaijin soldiers and fleet are wiped from above those. Apparently not a massacre of Samurai.

The Great Famine

The first Maho-practitioners appear
~550-815 Repeated struggles against Maho-practitioners; no Great Famine

Begin of the Scorpion Coup plotline

The Actual Scorpion Coup happens
1123 End of the timeline in Emerald Empire,
no mention of anything about the Scorpion Coup Prelude, but a Bayushi was made the Regent against his will.

FFG reset the timeline more or less back to 1st edition, around 1123 I believe. Everything before that you can safely assume is the same as in 4e.

There are some minor changes to the setting but the broad strokes are the same; Doji Hoturi being replaced with Doji Hotaru, the dragon clan being given the role of recording the history of the empire, the phoenix got a new family, etc.

The RPG has hints of the new plotlines but aside from a few novels the only real changes to the lore are published with the LCG.

As I understand it the entire plotline of 5e has taken place in less than a year. The unicorn have upset the lion by canceling a big wedding, the phoenix forced the unicorn to reveal the secrets of their meishodo magic to the imperial family to prove it isn't causing some elemental imbalance that they are worried about. the Dragon are dealing with a decline in birth rates and a heretical cult. Somewhere in all of this I think the emperor died and his heir went missing? I think the Scorpion clan champion is on the throne as a regent while they find the kid... I've heard that there might be a Scorpion Clan Coup going on but it's not the same as the one you'll be thinking of.


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