The second edition of Legend of the Five Rings is a game published in 2000 by Wizards of the Coast — the first time an L5R edition was published by WotC and the same year that they published Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition.

L5R 2e's relationship to D&D 3e came up as a digression in the comments in Is there anything like attacks of opportunity in L5R 4e?:

I believe 2nd edition was D&D 3.0 compatible and would probably have to include AoO rules

Was the core L5R 2e rules system D&D 3.0 compatible?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Background to the question is that there were a handful of responses to that comment (mine included) that tackled this underlying question, but the comments isn't the place for that. Since there's clearly a need to address this belief (and the answer is more nuanced than one would expect!), clearly a new question is the thing to do! This background isn't part of the question because it's only useful to explain to site regulars why I'm asking the question; the majority of our readers won't wonder about that. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 25, 2016 at 17:28

1 Answer 1


The rules are incompatible; only the setting is shared

Wizards of the Coast and AEG's Legend of the Five Rings, Second Edition uses the roll-and-keep system. Wizards of the Coast's Dungeons and Dragons, Third Edition (and, later, the 3.5 revision) uses the d20 System. While Wizards of the Coast's Oriental Adventures product uses Rokugan as its featured setting, and Legend of the Five Rings also has as its setting Rokugan, the two game systems are wholly incompatible.

Starting with Way of the Samurai (March 2002) and through The Hidden Emperor (Sept. 2005), AEG's line of officially-licensed-from-Wizards-of-the-Coast Oriental Adventures products were, however, dual-stat books—that is, the books contained information on how to use the text with both Legend of the Five Rings, Second Edition, and Dungeons and Dragons, Third Edition (the line, so far I know, never having officially embraced the 3.5 revision). The presence of statistics for both games in the same book didn't make the two game systems any more compatible, though.

In theory, the dual-stat experiment should've meant increasing the audience for the books, but, in practice, seemed to weaken both systems, content suffering as a result, although the d20 System glut likely didn't help matters. AEG tried a similar experiment with Seventh Sea and the Swashbuckling Adventures line (which wasn't offcially licensed by Wizards of the Coast) with similar lackluster results.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Fortunately, the question is one of compatibility not history. I have been unable to find out why Wizards of the Coast bought Legend of the Five Rings and have been equally unable to find out why Wizards of the Coast essentially returned the game to AEG. Given that the company was juggling the success of two trading cards (there was Magic: The Gathering and I think a thing called Pokémont or something) and working on a new D&D, I suspect it was acquired accidentally, sort of like the flu. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 25, 2016 at 19:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wasn't it more Hasbro calling the shot than WoTC choosing to sell? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 25, 2016 at 19:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I don't know. Furthermore, I don't know what kind of relationship Wizards of the Coast had at the time (nor now!) with its corporate parent. It was a very busy time. In all seriousness, if you know more, please feel free to edit my answer, write your own or pose the question so we can both learn. :-) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 25, 2016 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Never had the book, since I still had the old OA and edition 3 and 3.5 did not last long in my house. Who pushed the return to AEG isn't as important to the answer as "is or is not compatible" which you've covered just fine. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 25, 2016 at 19:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Part 3 of Shannon Appelcline's history of the RPG publishing industry, Designers & Dragons: The 90s, goes into some detail on the AEG-WotC-L5R relationship and the genesis of d20 statting in L5R 2e in the AEG and WotC chapters (pp. 103–4, 142–3, 165; I'm sure I'm missing more). I believe there's more in Part 1 (The 70s) in the TSR chapter. (The question of why might be worth its own question post, if someone were so inclined!) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 25, 2016 at 20:01

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