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 yet another example of a module born out of plotlines and incidents during Interactives. The campaign’s first two Interactives (Shiro Kyotei and the Chrysanthemum Festival) had both featured a negotiating point revolving around rumors that the Scorpion had discovered a cache of ancient artifacts in a cave beneath Kyuden Bayushi. (I actually stole this rumor directly from the “Winter Court” supplements that AEG published for L5R.) Several other clans wanted to poke their noses into this, most notably the Crab (might be maho!) and the Phoenix (all your dangerous magic artifacts are belong to us!). During the Chrysanthemum Festival interactive, a Scorpion PC made a passing remark about this to the two Imperials who were present (me as Otomo Hiroshi, and Bryan Faw as a Seppun) – in response, Faw promised that he would arrange for the Miya to send heralds to inspect the cave and prove to everyone’s satisfaction that there were no dangerous artifacts there. The Scorpion was left stunned and flat-footed by this – it was one of the more enjoyable improv moments in the early Interactives.

Months later, Faw pitched an idea for a complex, ambitious module which would use this event as its starting point. The PCs would be brought by the Miya to perform the “inspection” and would then find themselves in the midst of both Scorpion shenanigans and dangerous investigations into magical artifacts – for in fact one of the relics would be none other than Kenshin’s Helm, the cursed artifact from the era of White Stag. Even better, the Miya in charge of the whole thing would be the villainous Miya Satoshi, and the module could well result in his acquiring the cursed Helm (which, in canon, led him down a path of evil).

I loved the depth of this module, the differing plot-lines and the attention to detail. I especially liked the return of Miya Satoshi (who had not been seen since his role as background villain for Winter Court Kanrinrin’s Duty) and the incorporation of an obscure but significant bit of Rokugani lore (Kenshin’s Helm). There was also a whole section dedicated to how the Scorpion courtiers would “attack” the PCs by exploiting their various Disadvantages – a great depiction of the Scorpion Clan’s true strength, and something that hadn’t been properly shown in the campaign previously. Finally, I liked that the module did not railroad the PCs – the story could play out without the PCs ever getting trapped in the lower caverns beneath the castle (but if they DID go into the caverns, they could have an interesting encounter with a tribe of Zokujin).

The only problem with Price of Loyalty was that Faw didn’t get it to me until four days before it was due to premier. :) This made for a rather frantic push to beat the deadline and finish the edits so I could get it to the premiering convention in time for them to run early tables for their GMs.