Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

Kitsuki Evidence

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This was the first of four modules that Keith Weepie wrote for the campaign in Year One (after that he got too busy to write mods, and eventually dropped out of the campaign). He had played a Kitsuki in our very first L5R campaign (I played a ronin-turned-Scorpion in the same campaign) and was fascinated by them. Introducing one of the weirder families/schools in L5R in the campaign’s second module was, in retrospect, probably a questionable choice, although it doesn’t seem to have caused any problems.

A nifty feature of this module was that the players normally could not “solve” the situation – they could discover and defeat the bandits who were committing the murders, but the rules of Rokugani justice would not allow them to bring the evil daimyo to justice. This was very useful for establishing right at the start that L5R was not a game where the truth always won out.

However, within this useful lesson was also found the module’s flaw. There was one way for the evil daimyo to be brought to justice: if the party included a Kitsuki, then in the climax the daimyo would flip out, lose his face, and confess the truth. Well and good… except that this meant that getting the truth was dependent on the completely random factor of party composition. Not good design, to put it mildly.

This mod introduced the NPC Kitsuki Yumi as the Quest Giver, and I would end up using her a couple of more times similar roles.

Side Note: Module Names

Readers with experience in the old L5R CCG may have noticed that Kitsuki Evidence was named after a CCG card. This started a tradition which would continue through HoR1 and carried over into HoR2.

Like much else in HoR, this was largely the product of happy accident. I didn't initially plan to name mods after cards (hence "Satsume's Tournament"), but when Keith and I were discussing the mod that became Kitsuki Evidence, the name seemed obvious. (We were both casual players of the card game and familiar with a lot of the card names at the time). Once I named one mod that way, it occurred to me that it would be a cool way of adding flavor to the campaign, and I started actively seeking out card names that would match the plots and themes of individual modules.

Still, there were times when it just seemed like a non-card name was called for. All the "Winter Court" modules, for example, were named as such in order to distinguish them and let the players know what sort of scenario they were in for. Likewise, there were occasionally big plot-driven mods that seemed to demand their own names, such as Fate of a Hantei in HoR1, as well as Grave of Heroes and A Hard Rain Will Fall in HoR2. This was always an intuitive choice on my part -- I simply went with what felt right.