Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

The People's Expense

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This mod was born out of a moment of sudden inspiration – the opening backstory/fiction sprang into my mind, I started writing, and next thing I knew I had a module. The background story is built around a completely tragic and hopeless love affair between a peasant and a samurai – the theme of “love sucks for a samurai” was one I hit many times in the campaign, especially in the first two years, to emphasize the differences between Rokugan and the typical Western-fantasy setting. Earlier examples included Mirumoto Kagome in Spiritual Presence (she becomes a villain due to being in love with the lord’s son) and Asahina Kimi’s shameful love affair in Winter Court: Kyuden Asahina.

In addition, this module also used two other themes that I found personally interesting – Japanese-style ghost stories (the peasant girl becoming a yorei and haunting the castle) and peasant revolts (the event which caused her death). I liked both of these topics for the same reason I liked tragic romances – they drove home the profound differences between Rokugan and Western-style fantasy. I would return to both of them in more ambitious ways in later modules.

I enjoyed creating the investigation in this module. The characters have to dig up the truth about something that happened ten years earlier, and key pieces of evidence come from peasants. In retrospect, the only part of the scenario I’m not happy with is the ronin ambush (arranged by the villain after the PCs get enough evidence against him), which felt a bit too much like a contrived “obligatory combat” – if I were writing the module now, I would probably just leave it out.