In Which “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” Meets Miyamoto Musashi

Many years ago in Los Angeles, I was up late at night watching the Independent Film Channel. This was around the time of the breakout success of the Blair Witch Project. It being October, the traditional horror month, the IFC showed the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. By way of introduction, they asked some film expert why he thought indie horror films spawn stories of phenomenal success. Studio films like those of Alfred Hitchcock in his ’60s oeuvre were carefully crafted, but indie horror, particularly in the ’70s to ’90s, had many stories where the not-very-cerebral flicks were made on shoestring budgets and still became wildly popular.

The expert said, “Well, when you watch an Alfred Hitchcock horror movie, you’re in suspense because you’re in the hands of a master. When you watch an indie horror movie, you’re in suspense because you’re in the hands of a f**ing maniac.”

It is with that spirit that I present to you a bit of roleplaying game writing my wife and I did long ago. Because I liked gamemastering samurai horror, and it wasn’t because I was Hitchcock.

I dug these out of the vaults, as it were. There’s three adventures, all tournaments for the samurai fantasy tabletop roleplaying game Legend of the Five Rings. They put the players through their paces with roleplaying challenges, a little mystery, and combats. They were playtested in gaming tournaments at the Origins and Gen Con conventions, over the course of three separate game sessions apiece.

I doubt I’d ever call what I did in tabletop games “wildly popular,” but some fans liked the work enough to archive the original versions of these adventures on the L5R fan site Kaze No Shiro. To add a little value here, I’ve cleaned up the old versions’ visual presentation and added a few sections based on fan feedback.

Curious gamemasters can read “Mirror, Mirror,” “Fortunes Lost,” and “Hindsight” here. Curious players who wanna read ’em can get off their duffs and become curious gamemasters.

The adventures are free to download and play. I don’t have a tip jar or Patreon or anything like that. If you liked the games, maybe you’d like my novel.

Vrrrooom vrrroooom vrrrrraaawwwwwr…

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