Here is the final part of my interview with Cory of Heroes of Rokugan.
JP: What is the story of the Campaign, how did it go from Living Rokugan to Heroes of Rokugan?
CM: I am actually not the best person to tell that story. I took over the campaign from Rob Hobart, who formed Living Rokugan and ran it through the change to “Heroes of Rokugan”, so I feel a bit uncomfortable trying to explain what I know of the campaign’s history. I have heard stories, but I actually only joined the campaign five years ago (it’s been going on for ten), so most of what I could say would not be direct knowledge anyway.
JP: What game system is it? Last year I saw the promos for L5R 4e (and it was recommended by the above-named friends) what are the obvious differences between 3e and 4e (in Rokugan terms…) ?
CM: Heroes of Rokugan 3 uses the Fourth Edition. 4E is a lot more like 1E mechanically in a lot of ways. As far as setting is concerned, the rulebook makes a great deal of effort to ensure that a GM can run in whatever era of the game they wish. It is possible to run a campaign concurrently with the canon storyline, but it is by no means required, and there is a lot that can be done without paying any more attention to the meta-plot than the GM wishes.
HoR3, for example, is set in an alternate timeline precisely so that the players can have a chance to have major impact on the setting as the campaign continues. L5R can be a challenging system to run because a lot of the burden has been placed on the GM, but that allows them to use the rules to run the game that they want.
JP: What would you tell those out there about your campaign? Why is your campaign the best there is?
CM: Heroes of Rokugan is designed to give the players a chance to feel like heroes. As the campaign progresses, players have a chance to effect changes on the setting, and possibly the opportunity to rise through the ranks to positions of prominence in the Empire.
JP: Why do you think a complete newcomer to organize play should join your OP?
CM: Heroes of Rokugan has a community of players that share a love of Rokugan and the game, and are very welcoming of anyone who has an interest in L5R. Even casual players of the game can find a great rapport with our player base, and we have some of the most welcoming, generous players I’ve encountered anywhere.
JP: Why should an old grumpy player – yes… think of me as that grumpy old troll – what is the biggest strength of the OP?
CM: This campaign spends a great deal of effort on ensuring that player actions are taken into account for the development of the plot. Each module has a reporting window that allows home-run games to have an impact on the campaign as a whole, so that players don’t have to be at every major convention. While we do run exclusive interactives at some of our larger events, we are making a point of developing interactives that can be run by local groups as well.
JP: How did you become a campaign administrator?
CM: I was a fairly regular volunteer for the last campaign, and I had a decent working relationship with Rob. When he stepped down, I put together a team, wrote a proposal, and worked with him to coordinate with AEG. Maintaining a good relationship with the company that produces the game and the previous players of the campaign is one of my priorities, and their support has been invaluable.
JP: … And why did you become a campaign administrator? The glory?
As far as the “why” is concerned, I just found that I couldn’t let the community that I had become a part of during the previous campaign stop being a part of my life. I’ve made a lot of friends through Heroes of Rokugan, and when Rob indicated that he would be willing to help me step up, I could not resist the chance to keep the game going.
JP: What are you main duties as part of the campaign?
CM: I’m the one that makes the ultimate decisions. I have a support staff that helps me deal with day-to-day stuff and that coordinates specific things (like event staffing and mod writing), but the final responsibility is mine. I determine the course of the overall plot of the campaign and make the decisions about what rules we use, I decide what events we’re going to have a presence at, and every module that we produce passes through my hands.
JP: Do you have any links of websites where people might learn more about the campaign?
CM: http://heroes-of-rokugan.com/. Still being worked on; there’s a lot of stuff we’re getting up there as soon as a few technical issues get hammered out and as time allows.
JP: Thanks Cory… very informative.