Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

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This was one of several modules, like Scorpion’s Sting, that emerged out of plotlines at Interactives. In this case, the plot originated from the growing Phoenix-Dragon tensions that had been depicted not only in Interactives but also in various modules such as Proposal of Peace. In the Chrysanthemum Festival and Shiro Kaiu interactives, the Crab had been persuaded to supply Kaiu engineers to the Phoenix, which the Shiba used to improve the roads and bridges on their border with the Dragon. However, both the Crab and the Mantis, for differing reasons, wanted any such Dragon-Phoenix conflict to be protracted and indecisive, so the Mantis decided to send covert saboteurs to the region. Tim Dickey (the player whose Togashi had fallen to the Shadow in Fist of the Earth) pitched the idea for a module in which the Mantis would be covertly sabotaging one of the bridges being built by the Kaiu, with the PCs enlisted to try to figure out what was happening. I liked this idea and gave Tim the go-ahead to write it.<

Unfortunately, Tim came down with a bad case of writer’s block. This is not an uncommon outcome for players who got ideas for modules… writing a mod can be surprisingly difficult, especially if you’ve never done it before. (My first Call of Cthulhu effort, from 1996, embarrasses me now…) In terms of the campaign timeline, the mod needed to happen in early 2004 or not at all (the Phoenix-Dragon war would start that summer), so eventually I asked him to send me what he had so I could finish it. This turned out to be basically an outline, an initial scene at the bridge, and some NPCs – so in about two weeks of work I added the introduction (returning to Pale Oak Castle and the NPCs from Proposal of Peace) and most of the actual scenario. This was another module in which there could be a potential PvP situation (since the Mantis were the “villains” of the situation), but the number of Mantis players at the time was quite low, so as far as I can remember it never really came up. However, the scenario did tend to conclude in “failure” quite often, with the Mantis infiltrators usually succeeding in blowing up the bridge.