Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

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Originally I had planned to insert an extra module or two in between the episodes of the Lion and Crane arc to break things up a bit – however, with the campaign leaving the RPGA I had to focus down to the minimum number of mods necessary to reach GenCon. With an early war having been averted by the outcome of Ancestral Dictate, the conflict finally launched in this module – or more accurately it launched elsewhere while the PCs were busy in this module, with the news arriving as one of several dramatic reveals at the end.

Going into writing this module, I really only knew that I wanted to do some sort of political story taking place during a public gempukku ceremony for the Akodo family. I came up with the various sub-plots in a somewhat improvisational way, and then realized that these would only keep the attention of some of the PCs, so I added a martial tournament as well. This resulted in an unusual structure in which different PCs experienced different parts of the story, completely separate from each other… only for all the results to come together in the conclusion, with each “reveal” being met with “WTF?!” confusion by about 2/3 of the table. It was a really cool result that came about through serendipity more than planning.

By the time I wrote this module, I definitely knew the campaign would continue beyond the RPGA, so I deliberately worked in a lot of hanging plot-threads that could be exploited later – such as the middle-aged Akodo whose illicit affair causes him to be compromised by the Scorpion. And of course the module concludes with a super-whammy of a cliffhanger when Akodo Kage gives the Bloodsword Passion to Toturi, and some of the PCs can make rolls to recognize the blade (having encountered it briefly in Drawing Out the Darkness). This sort of “oh God I didn’t want to know that” revelation at the end of a module would become something of a signature in the second half of the campaign.