What goes through the mind of a game designer when they work on a game? That's going to be different for each designer. So you never really fully know. But Fantasy Flight gives us a glimpse inside the creation of the Legend of the Five Rings RPG by posting a design diary from Max Brooke.
From the post:
Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying has always rooted itself on a particular set of story ideas. The code that the samurai of Rokugan live by is demanding in the extreme. It tells a samurai to put the will of their sworn lord above what they personally desire, and even what they believe to be morally right.
On top of that, the iconic characters of the story have always been vulnerable in interesting ways. They are frequently uncertain—for all his experience at war and logistics, Akodo Toturi struggles with the pressures of rule at the Imperial court and the incredible responsibilities the Emperor puts on him. For all her brilliance and drive, even Doji Hotaru cannot foresee every outcome of her choices, so even she experiences doubts about the best path for her clan and the Empire. And the player characters are meant to follow in the mold of these figures—and protagonists of samurai genre stories within Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying and beyond. While the external struggles these characters face create the flow of the story, their inner struggles make them dynamic and engaging. Their vulnerabilities make them relatable, and their emotions act as the catalyst to fuel their development as people.