Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

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This module is the HoR1 poster-child for my “use any submission no matter how crappy” policy that held true until Year Two of HoR2. The initial idea submitted by the author was to use the mysterious Kitsu maho-tsukai from Evil Feeds Upon Itself as the villain, depicting her as kidnapping children of various social castes for a sinister ritual. It sounded decent enough, but the final submission was… lacking, let us say. (It was also sent in a bizarre word-processing format that my computer could not recognize… I ended up having to open the file with WordPad and then copy-paste all the text into my own .doc file in order to get something I could read and edit.) Not only was the writing-quality poor, but there was also the particular problem that the author, like many first-time GMs and module writers, assumed a single linear investigative path (and a non-obvious one at that) for the PCs and failed to provide any other options. I had to spend a great deal of time and effort conceiving and writing various alternative plotlines that could still get the PCs to the key clues and events. I also had to revise the main encounter (in which the villain kidnaps a noble’s child from the Governor’s Palace) so it was not such an obvious rail-road scene. Meanwhile, one plot-point that the author agonized over at length – the interactions between the PCs and the apothecary NPC – ended up being minor to the point of irrelevancy. This was the second module to visit Ryoko Owari and was, of course, written by someone other than me. The pattern would hold true almost to the end of the campaign… basically, every time I started thinking “maybe I should do a City of Lies module” someone would submit one.

The title of this mod was created by the original author; although I debated trying to come up with a card-title, ultimately I couldn’t find one that fit well, and thus left it unchanged by simple inertia.

The villain’s scheme – an elaborate sacrifice of children from all social castes which is supposed to transform her into “the Dark Oracle of Rokugan” – seemed a bit contrived to me at the time, but it ended up having a more lasting impact than I expected. At the end of the campaign a PC-turned-villain (Isawa Akei) would try to do the same thing, and the idea would carry over into a character-background fiction for HoR2. The Kitsu herself, however, ended her career here – although I had an option for her to escape, she ended up universally killed by the PCs and thus her career came to an abrupt end, much like Iuchi Dogo earlier on.