Thursday, 3 February 2011

Honor's Veil

Honor's Veil was the first adventure module published for the L5R RPG.

It consisted of two adventures and s small supplement on poison.

The first thing one notices is that this is not a standard book, but rather a paper booklet between a detached card cover.

I don't understand why this choice, because, despite the existence of a flow chart for each adventure inside the cover, they are layed out in a way which perfctly allows standard staple binding.

I suppose the cover might be used as an impromptu screen this way...

The first adventure Murder at Kyotei Castle is a tipical revenge tale. It's a fine adventure, altough I have a slight dislike on the set-up for involving the players. The Special Magistrate idea is workable, but in my opinion only if there is some kind of Imperial mediation going on for example. Or you can go with the standard Emerald Magistrate setup and be done with it. Murder of a Daimyo might be easily seen as a crime against the Emperor after all.

Of particular not is the fact that neither this adventure, nor the titular Honor's Veil require any combat to handle.

Other thing that caught my eye was how much freedom the writers had at this point to create or add families and clans. In the GM pack there were the Kochako, and I think the Hare clan was also a new creation. At Murder we have the Tsume (which Wick misnames as Asano in Honor's), the Damasu, the Goseki (misspelled as Goskei), and the Nasu as well. I don't know if this is the same Nasu family that was later made into a Phoenix vassal or if that was only a coincidence.

The second adenture is more labyrinthine but also very interesting. It is setup as a magistrate adventure from the get go altough I think it works bet if the PCs are already retainers of Matsu Ino or Crane representatives.

However I'm also afraid it might have consolidated that testimony is all that matters in Rokugani court.

Finally we have a section on poison creation and application, with five example poisons, that was to be included and expanded upon on Way of the Scorpion . It's elegant and complete which is a big plus in my book.

To round things up there 6 pages with portraits of NPCs and maps of the adventure areas.

Frankly I was always one that thought that art in RPGs was extraneous, but the more I think about it the more I realize it isn't. Sure that no art is better than bad art, and good art doesn't mean sparkly gloss color ilustrations.

The character portraits help bring the NPCs alive and the maps are just pretty.

 In hindsight I believe these are actually better starting adventures than Ceremony of the Samurai from the corebook.

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