Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

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The idea for this module began percolating as soon as Time to Pay the Price ended without any of the tables killing off the fallen Shiba Tsukune. I decided that once the corrupted Tadaka was killed, she would regain her self-will (not yet being wholly Lost) but would find herself trapped in a Tainted, undead, immortal body. She would then seek out the Last Wish to try to bring an end to her accursed existence – a scenario which functioned as a “dark reflection” of one of the stories in AEG’s Thousand Years of Darkness card set. The PCs would of course have to aid her in this endeavor. Having come up with this idea, I realize the two incoming player-written module submissions could be combined with it to create a mini-arc set in Phoenix lands, showing the overall consequences of Time to Pay the Price.

Like the previous two modules, this one presented a scenario that cut against the normal expectations of a Western audience: instead of looking for a way to return to life, Tsukune wants only to be able to die with honor and thus rejoin the cycle of reincarnation. I was pleased that a number of players found Tsukune’s plight (unable to die no matter how much she wished it) genuinely moving.

I had a lot of fun with the hiding-place of the Last Wish, developing various challenges and tests that would make sense for the Phoenix to have created in the early history of the Empire. The “Kami in the correct order” test was cribbed from the old Tomb of Iuchiban boxed set – since I had not been able to send the PCs through the full Tomb in the earlier Iuchiban arc, I offered a tribute to that puzzle in this module.

The climax of this module required the PCs to nominate someone to merge with the Last Wish and complete it. (Again, this was a direct tribute to the Thousand Years of Darkness story, in which the Wish is completed by merging with Tadaka’s soul.) The PCs did not actually have to nominate one of their own number (and I made the requirements stringent enough that most of them would not qualify), and some parties got rather creative with their choices – nominating recently-deceased PCs, for example, or NPCs they liked. I included a very generous “Kharma Cert” for any PC who stepped up and merged with the Wish, and in fact I know of one PC who _did_ accept the duty… a Dragon PC named Kitsuki Dengo who had survived all the way from the beginning of the campaign. That impressed me so much that when the Last Wish appeared at the Day of Thunder, I had it take Dengo’s form.

With the countdown to GenCon underway, this three-module story arc also had to do extra duty by supplying “previews” of the upcoming modules and story points. The various gossip sections in these mods notified the PCs that the Moto/Shinjo/Kamoko faction had won the Unicorn civil war, that the Kisada faction was getting the upper hand in the Crab civil war, and that something was about to go wrong in the Crane lands (due to the now-possessed Toturi having visited Doji Hoturi at Kyuden Doji). The end of A Last Wish also had an ominous scene in which the PCs could briefly encounter Toturi’s Army and gain a significant hint that they were most thoroughly not the heroic ronin of the canonical timeline.