Rob Hobart

Author, Game Designer

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Heroes of Rokugan I

Heroes of Rokugan II

L5R Homebrew

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The basic concept for this module came together at the same brainstorming session in which Claudia and I conceived of Heated Discussion. In this case, we decided that the Bushido series cried out for at least one module in which two Virtues were placed in conflict, with the PCs forced to choose one over the other. Claudia specifically wanted to make the plot at least partly about Kitsuki Jiro, the obnoxious Emerald Champion, and since I had no specific plans for Jiro I was more than willing to let this happen. She came up with the rest of the plot – in particular the notion that the scummy Moto daimyo was engaged in slave-trading with the gaijin – on her own.

Of all the Bushido modules this was the one that got changed the most during editing, as I re-worked the entire plot structure to put the encounter with the bandits at the beginning of the module and thus also introduce both Nishari (still in the “mendicant nun” form imposed on her as a further penance) and Jiro’s abandoned daughter early on. This entailed a rather lengthy rewrite… that I ended up having to do twice when a computer error erased my first three hours of work. This was especially stressful since at that point I had only a few days to get the module finished before I ran the GMs through it.

I did have a lot of fun both writing and role-playing the corrupt Moto daimyo, a thoroughly horrible villain who practically wallows in his egregious violations of Rokugani mores and in his ability to get away with things by virtue of his high Status. Investigative scenarios that involve going after high-ranking targets are inherently problematic in L5R, and in truth I probably let it be a little easier to bring a case against the daimyo than it really should have been… but since the payoff of the module was the choice between Duty (bringing the Moto to justice) and Honor (getting Jiro to acknowledge his illegitimate child), we had to make it possible to prove the case. Given the moral disparity involved (one child versus slave trading) it was no surprise to me that most players gritted their teeth and let Jiro get away with his personal nastiness in order to be able to nail the Moto. However, many of them still tried to find ways to finesse things afterward, such as by appealing personally to Jiro (he wasn’t interested, of course) or even adopting the child themselves.