Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

Lies, Lies, Lies

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The malignant non-Euclidean god-king of intrigue modules. So notorious was this module for its huge cast of NPCs and its byzantine interwoven plot that many GMs outright refused to run it.

Ironically, I had no intention of creating something especially complicated when I began writing it. This was almost the last HoR module I wrote out of pure creative inspiration, rather than targeting a specific release date or a specific plot element. I was thinking about lovers’ suicides (a significant sub-aspect of the aforementioned “love sucks for samurai” theme) and decided it would be cool to write a module in which a lovers’ suicide takes place right before a wedding – whereupon everyone is trying to cover up or otherwise deal with the political consequences. The PCs would be caught in the middle and would have to decide whether they would support one of the factions or simply reveal the truth.

I started writing from that basic idea and just kept going until I was done – whereupon I looked at the draft and thought, “I’ve created a monster!” I went back, re-organized and clarified a lot of the text, and added a numbered sequence of events to try to make the whole thing more manageable. Even then, it was still the most complex module I ever wrote, and near-impossible to run in the standard 4-hour time slot.

A lot of new NPCs were introduced in this mod, but there were also a pretty fair number of “return appearances” by characters from earlier modules, such as Bayushi Fumi and the Dragon tattooed man. The use of the Togashi NPC as a “clue rickshaw” was a bit of a cheat, but I felt the mod was so convoluted that I needed to provide the PCs some help. I also liked the idea of showcasing the weird and unpredictable nature of the Ise Zumi. (I remember, though, that at least one player got indignant because he wanted to know how the Togashi had noticed things the PCs had not. "Is that some special ability he has?" Maybe I should have made him a Kitsuki instead...)