Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

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The original finale of the Remorseful Seppuku arc, this was also (sadly) Parvez’ last module for HoR – soon afterward, he dropped out of active gaming and HoR. On the plus side, he went out on a high note, as this was one of his best modules.

The whole “Yamamiya the luckless” theme comes to a climax as he finally sets out to build the shrine that his ancestor promised to build, only to find his efforts crippled by his own curse – grotesque bad luck sabotaging everything he tries to do. The PCs are dragged into the situation when they are assigned to escort the trio of monks who will dedicate the new shrine, and must then figure out ways to overcome Yamamiya’s bad luck and solve the innumerable problems facing the project. This allowed the module to throw a host of different challenges at the PCs – things like replacing the lost building materials, persuading the laborers to return to work, averting or minimizing “natural” disasters caused by the mountain spirit’s wrath, and dealing with the threat from a tribe of mountain goblins. Many of these problems could be solved in multiple different ways, allowing the PCs to exercise creativity – for example, it was actually possible to solve several of the materials and labor problems by throwing money at them, allowing rich PCs a chance to actually benefit in-game from their wealth.

The fight with the mountain goblins (which I wrote since, as per our system, Parvez left the combats to me) was an interesting example of a combat that could be easy or surprisingly hard depending on the PCs’ approach – if they fight the goblins inside their cave-lair, the goblin “ankle-biter” brats swarm the PCs and inflict automatic Wounds every Round, making a seemingly easy fight into a dangerous one. Of course, any time goblins were involved I always felt the need to add some comedy, so I threw in a goblin “amateur wizard” who used a basket full of mice to supply the blood for his wimpy Maho pseudo-spells.

One sub-element of the module that I personally liked was the inclusion of a small sub-plot with the three monks, two of whom turn out to be retired samurai who fought on opposite sides in the War of Bleeding Flowers. One of them has truly left that life behind, but the other has not and attacks his former enemy during the dedication ceremony. This both emphasized the lingering effects of that war (made worse by Miya Shikan’s enforced peace) and also created a new challenge (the ceremony must still be completed) that gave spiritual/religious PCs a chance to shine.

Around the time that Parvez submitted this module, he pitched an idea for a fifth and concluding chapter to the arc in which some of the curse's power would be revealed as being embodied in Yamamiya’s wakizashi – the same one which Tonozaka had used to commit seppuku three centuries earlier. I thought this would be a great wrap-up for the arc but, unfortunately, Parvez’ subsequent departure from organized gaming left it undone. Three years later, I wound up using the idea myself in the module Mujina Tricks, which became the much-delayed finale to the Remorseful Seppuku arc.