Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

Home Novels L5R Other RPGs Miscellaneous Writing About Contact

Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

Legacy of the Dark One

Download The Adventure

This was Keith's second module and ultimately his most influential. It introduced the villain Isawa Gidayu, who becomes the Dark Oracle of Air at the end of the scenario. Gidayu would end up being HoR1's most notorious recurring villain, although there were initially no plans for this – it was Keith re-using Gidayu in his next module that opened the door to long-term villainous infamy. Another example of how HoR1 developed spontaneously into something more cool than initially planned...

The main theme in this mod (aside from the recurrent threat of Maho, which was a running topic throughout HoR1) was the subtle tension between the Asako and Isawa families within the Phoenix. This was a big thing in the pre-Coup world of L5R 1st Edition, and Keith wanted to showcase it for the players. Unfortunately, the “foreground” plot of Maho was so prominent that it often seemed like no-one noticed the underlying family conflict. Certainly no one ever mentioned it to me when discussing the mod later. I edited and rewrote this module much more extensively than Kitsuki Evidence. One issue was that Keith, with Kitsuki on the brain, wrote in a lot of clues that only a Kitsuki character could find; in order to make the module playable by average groups, I had to rework all of those into more general clues. This is why there are a lot of “roll Awareness to sense something about this NPC” moments in the mod – in the original draft, these were all Ichi Miru rolls.

Like Spiritual Presence, this module became something of a “killer mod” due to playtesting. My home group blasted through the climactic fight with the Maho cult in a couple of rounds, taking down Gidayu with arrows before he even managed to cast a spell. In revisions I not only made archery more difficult inside the cave, but also added more Shadowlands Revenants to ambush the PCs inside (Keith's original draft only had the one Revenant outside the cave). And, much as with Spiritual Presence, after the mod was released I discovered it was now too deadly... it didn't rack up quite the bodycount as Spiritual Presence or Arrows From the Woods, but it claimed its share.