Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

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The campaign returned to the Shadowlands once again with this module, in which Kitsu Makoto acts as the Quest Giver and dispatches the PCs to seek out the Dark Covenant of Air and thereby neutralize the hated Dark Oracle, Isawa Gidayu. A number of players had been pushing for this idea (Gidayu was by far the most widely reviled villain in the campaign), and Makoto’s player had specifically retired his character to NPC-hood for this purpose, so it seemed more than appropriate to write a module reflecting their efforts. Plus, it gave me an excuse to do another Shadowlands module, which I was always ready to do.

Since the Crab were still engaged in a civil war, I couldn’t send the PCs into the heart of the Crab lands this time around, and instead had them circle around the northern edge of the Kaiu Wall. This let me explore a different aspect of the Shadowlands, with the PCs travelling through a sort of “no man’s land” into the Tainted realm rather than crossing a hard barrier at the Kaiu Wall. This allowed for a gradual build-up of creepiness that had a more horror-story vibe than what happened in other Shadowlands mods.

Probably my favorite touch in this module was the monastery full of evil children – an idea that was partially borrowed from L5R's Bearers of Jade and partly from some of my own earlier work with Call of Cthulhu. Evil kids are one of the most primal bits of horror storytelling around, and I confess to a certain dark glee at bringing this bit of nastiness into L5R. The climax of the module featured the PCs fighting Elemental Terrors of Air, whose spell-filching powers made for a fun encounter. (This was one of only two instances, as I recall, in which Elemental Terrors appeared in the campaign.) The actual Dark Covenant created its own fun as well, as GMs got to watch players agonize over what exact command they could give that would eliminate Isawa Gidayu as a threat to the Empire. I had a few instances of players over-thinking things and giving commands that ended up creating loopholes for Gidayu, but I chose to be a generous Campaign Admin and not exploit that. :)