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’s first Interactive premiered at Origins 2006, less than a year into the campaign – much earlier than in HoR1’s storyline, obviously. I intended this Interactive to be a distributable event that could be run multiple times in various parts of the country and overseas, so I wrote it to be a somewhat “generic” event: Miya Shikan is running a series of tournaments to select Sapphire Magistrates to enforce his peace.

My experience with the previous campaign’s Interactive had led me to the conclusion that having a “merchant shop” created more trouble than it was worth, so I dropped that completely. I had already dropped the idea of “mini-missions” in the final HoR1 interactive and I maintained that policy in HoR2 as well, now preferring to focus on a mixture of LARP role-playing and “real-time” events such as competitions or NPC actions taking place amidst the larger event. This format seemed to work better in the context of L5R, and I would maintain it throughout the campaign, while experimenting in various ways to try to depict things like the echanging of favors. I’d been playing around with ideas for that in late HoR1 and carried the experimentation forward into HoR2, trying things like glass beads, paper tokens with clan mons, or even certs. I was never entirely happy with any of these, although some worked better than others.

It was the events at this first Interactive (with its fairly limited political objectives) that led me to change my plans for Miya Shikan. Although by this time I had realized he would be sticking around longer than one year (due to story-pacing issues), I was still intending for him to be a tertiary villain who got killed off before the bigger plotlines reached their peak. However, at the premier of the Sapphire Tournament a whole bunch of PCs from many different clans – including warlike clans such as the Dragon and Unicorn – went out of their way to proclaim their support for Shikan’s goal of peace. I had known from the start that Shikan’s ideals would have stronger appeal for players (coming from Western backgrounds) than for their characters, and I had done this deliberately to emphasize the divergence between samurai values and our own. I was nonetheless surprised at how many players simply ignored their characters’ motivation in favor of embracing their own sympathy for Shikan’s misguided crusade. Accordingly, after this event I decided Shikan’s role in the campaign needed to be elevated to bring him closer to the other villains in stature. A few months later this would lead me to the idea that he would transform himself into a khadi.