Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

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The first of three modules written by Kevin Blake, intended as a sort of mini-trilogy themed around a corrupt Naga. The Naga were otherwise absent from the campaign and I had no plans to make use of them -- they had been a troublesome complicating element in the HoR1 storyline, and given the human-centric nature of HoR2’s metaplot it seemed like a bad idea to incorporate the Naga into it in any significant way. Kevin’s idea, however, was much more limited… a self-contained three-part plot with no larger impact. This I was willing to use, especially since it could also be tied into the Shadowlands and the Taro sub-plot there. Kevin also created the NPC magistrate Karasu (“the Crow”) as the Quest Giver, and may have had some hopes of making him a recurring figure in the campaign, though ultimately he only appeared in this module and third one in the sequence.

Of course, the fact that Secluded Village was intended to be part of a short series is not readily apparent, since the only connection to the later modules is the mysterious Tainted “gray pearl” and the equally mysterious woman who brought it to the area. This woman was actually the missing True Love of Kevin’s primary character, Daidoji Tokiru, whose death he had always blamed on the Mantis; Kevin’s secondary motive for writing the series was to justify in-game his intention to buy off his Sworn Enemy with the Mantis Clan Champion.

Leaving aside the mysterious Tainted pearl, this module was otherwise a self-contained story about seeking justice for a crime in the past. I really enjoyed the whole concept of the PCs hunting out the various former criminals to resolve the lingering effects of their past deed, with each of them representing a different side of human life… some of them now trying to live good lives, others remaining criminals, still others going mad or killing themselves. And the fate of each one was tied in various ways to the respective villages where they could be found. I especially liked the “reformed” ronin who accepts his guilt but begs the PCs to care for his child, thus providing another instance of long-term consequence for the players to deal with. I especially liked this aspect because this module was Low-Rank and would thus be played primarily by secondary characters; I felt it was important to add such consequencies for the secondary PCs as well, to encourage stronger development and player-identification for them.