Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

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The restoration of the Jade Champion’s office was a recurring negotiation point for the Phoenix in several Interactives, and eventually they gathered enough support for me to decide it would take place. Since the Emerald Champion (Doji Satsume) had been killed in Fist of the Earth, I decided that both tournaments would be held together, taking place chronologically at GenCon 2004. As I’ve noted before, I had already decided that Parvez’ character Otaku Taro would win the Emerald Tournament if he made it alive to GenCon (as indeed he did, by the skin of his teeth); the Jade Tournament, however, would be an open event that any shugenja PC could compete in – with the understanding that if they won, they would become an NPC.

Since at the time there was nothing actually published in canon about the Jade Tournament, we structured it as a two-tier event – the first tier was an assortment of “challenges” designed to test the contestants for both knowledge and magical skill, and eliminate those who lacked sufficient ability to be worthy of consideration. Then, everyone (PC and NPC) who made it through would advance to the second tier and face off in a series of taryu-jiai shugenja duels. We picked winners for the NPC-on-NPC matches based on their relative power-level, but rolled-out all the contests involving PCs.

The two strongest PCs in the event were Isawa Akei (an Isawa Air shugenja-ko who had gone down the path of Taint but stayed free of the Shadow) and Kitsu Makoto, a sodan-senzo whose player exploited the 2nd Edition rules that made such characters insanely powerful. (His group was one of two at GenCon 2002 who got out of Fate of a Hantei with zero casualties.) Inevitably, these two met in the semi-finals, where an epic struggle ended with Kitsu Makoto victorious by the skin of his teeth. Unfortunately, this left him tapped out of Void, and he lost in the finals to the NPC sodan-senzo, Kitsu Okura.

After the event was over, Akei’s player decided that this event would push her over the edge into embracing her Taint and allying with the Dark Oracle of Air in order to kill Okura and convince the Emperor to appoint her as Okura's replacement, thus becoming an NPC villain. Kitsu Makoto’s player, in turn, decided he would become an NPC in order to pursue the defeat of the Dark Oracle (which resulted in my using him as a Quest Giver in the module Test of Courage).