Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

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For the first time in over a year, someone else – in this case Parvez Yusufji – submitted a module! After 15 months of writing every module myself, I welcomed this gladly – especially since Parvez was actually a pretty good writer and, even better, was aware of his own weaknesses. Rather than try to do the things he was bad at (such as stat blocs) he submitted what amounted to an advanced draft for me to revise and finish up. We would follow this collaborative practice with all of his modules for both HoR1 and HoR2, and it worked quite well.

That being said, the truth is I would have taken his modules even if they were terrible, because I was so desperate for anything to help me with the creative burden of cranking out 12+ mods per year. Throughout HoR1 I pretty much accepted _any_ submission, regardless of quality or level of completion, for the sake of getting new ideas into the mix. I took the view that revising a terrible mod was nonetheless easier than writing one from scratch. There were, however, some mods that would test this theory… ultimately, it was not until the second year of HoR2 that the pace of outside submissions became high enough that I could start getting picky.

This was the first module that included play-balance suggestions as part of the opening text. Hard experience had shown these were needed, since levels of PC capability could vary considerably even at the same Insight Rank. All subsequent HoR1 modules would include these.

This mod actually had a pretty clever main plotline – the opium-ruined daimyo, terrified that a Scorpion investigator is targeting him, frames up a random PC as an opium smuggler. The PCs then have one day to clear their comrade’s name… which they _can_ accomplish, but without being able to prove anything against the real villain of the piece, the Ikoma Spymaster. I loved the fact that this module showcased the darker side of the Ikoma family – even the Lion have their sordid aspects! (On the other hand, I’ve never been a fan of the idea that the obscure and secretive Spymasters – renamed “Lion’s Shadow” in 4th Edition – should have a full-fledged School. If there was ever a group that cried out for demotion from School to Path, it was these guys.)

The side-plot of the Scorpion investigator hunting for a Yogo maho-tsukai was there solely to be the “trigger” for the daimyo’s paranoia, but by this time the players were so primed to hunt maho at every opportunity that the side-plot sometimes overshadowed the main one during play, which was probably my only real complaint about the mod.