Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

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Having resolved the Crane, the Unicorn, and the Dragon situations in my three previous modules, I now had to resolve the Crab civil war. I had been dropping hints for some time that Kisada’s faction had gained the edge in the civil war, which seemed the most likely outcome given that (a) many Hida and Kuni would remain loyal to him, and (b) his side would have Shadowlands allies. This module served to bring that conflict to an end (opening the door for Kisada’s faction to march on Otosan Uchi) and to put the Jade Hand into circulation among the PCs. It was essentially a rescue mission, with the PCs trying to save Hida O-Ushi and the Hand from the clutches of the corrupted faction. The introduction/lead-in was written on the assumption that PCs would be on the side of the Sukune/O-Ushi faction, which at this point was pretty much a sure bet – I was aware of one supposed pro-Kisada Crab PC out in the wilds somewhere, but otherwise the playerbase was 100% against Kisada’s Shadowlands alliance. However, I did include a paragraph to discuss how the GM should handle Kisada loyalists if any showed up. (To the best of my knowledge, none did.)

This module featured the campaign’s only direct visit to Earthquake Fish Bay and Yasuki Yashiki, so I had fun with depicting the Yasuki (trying desperately to straddle the line between the two Crab factions). There was actually quite a bit of negotiation and diplomacy in this part of the module, since the PCs have to win support not only from the Yasuki but also from the Mantis (who have blockaded the Crab lands). There was even a brief call-back here to Lies Lies Lies, as the PCs can meet the Suzume bride from that module and potentially call on her aid. The Prosperous Pass, which the PCs must traverse to reach O-Ushi, is a canonical pass in Rokugan's geography but – like most such – is not really described anywhere. I had fun adding my own details and challenges to it, especially the bandits with their “Inn of Fallen Stars,” as well as the various encounters involving both the “fake Hiruma” and the return of Hiruma Imai from Duty on the Wall.

The final battle was deliberately designed to be somewhat overwhelming , in order to create an “Alamo” scenario in which retreat/escape would be the best option and only the toughest parties would be able to fight it out with a good chance of success. It also served to dispose of Hida Yakamo as a potential Thunder. I could have simply gone with the canon storyline (Yakamo’s name given to an Oni) and let the Oni take Yakamo’s name, but by this point in the campaign I was deliberately trying to make all the outcomes as different as possible, so instead I had Yakamo’s soul literally ripped out of his body and merged with an incorporeal Oni.

The end of this module brought the Jade Hand back into the campaign, and it would eventually be claimed by a Crane PC...