Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

Home Novels L5R Other RPGs Miscellaneous Writing About Contact

Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

Satsume's Tournament

Download The Adventure

The campaign’s intended first module was based on the first session in a home campaign I had run a few years earlier, and served essentially the same role for Living Rokugan as it had there – to introduce new players to the world. I patterned both the original and this version on the 1st Edition adventure “Tournament of the Samurai” (which originated the in-world concept of the Topaz Championship), but simplified the competitions and added the sub-plot of a corrupt Crane shugenja using maho to win the tournament. The module rewarded one PC with an appointment as an Emerald Magistrate – in my home campaign I had given this to all the characters, but for a living campaign I wanted to keep such appointments more restricted.

Originally, I saw this module as serving to introduce a few key big-name NPCs to the game – Satsume himself, Akodo Kage, and so forth – and establishing a pair of specific low-rank NPCs: Shosuro Tajiki, who was supposed to be the campaign’s recurring “Scorpion villain,” and Tonbo Genso, who was supposed to be a recurring sympathetic Emerald Magistrate. The other various Rank 1 NPCs in the tournament were just there to provide opponents for the competitions and to give the module some iconic clan flavor, but I later “recycled” some of them in other mods. This pattern of re-using minor NPCs ended up becoming a significant aspect of the campaign, helping to create the sense of a larger ongoing world. As for Tajiki and Genso, oddly enough neither of them ended up properly serving the iconic roles I intended for them, although I did get some use out of both. Tajiki would ultimately morph into the campaign’s primary anti-Kolat NPC.

A note regarding the villain – in my home campaign the maho-tsukai was a Phoenix, conforming to the stereotype. By the time I got around to writing Satsume’s Tournament, I thought of the “Phoenix bloodspeaker” as an overused cliché (especially since I was already planning to use it in another module, A Chance Meeting) so I went with a Crane instead. Of course, I was forgetting that the vast majority of people who played Satsume’s Tournament would be new players with no prior experience in L5R and thus no recognition of the Phoenix/maho cliché. In writing RPG adventures, the general rule is that you have to depict the stereotype first, then reinforce it, and THEN change it around. So if I had things to do over again, I would have made the villain a Phoenix as I had in my home campaign.

Finally, it is worth noting that I always intended this to be the first module for the campaign, but the RPGA – for reasons which remain a mystery – chose to designate it as the second module and Kitsuki Evidence as the first one. Thus, many players who came into the campaign through the RPGA played them in the opposite order. This annoyed me when I found out about it, but it didn’t cause any real harm since the modules had no direct chronological link.