Hello there! My and my friends have started JR being still kinda new with the whole pre-written adventures, so we've followed the first three volumes pretty closely, but now that we've matured we know a little better what we want and what we want to change.
So, that said, I feel like the first part of the fourt volume, with the Prince, is kinda there to be there, when the characters (and for sure my players) would just want to say "okay, bye, we're moving on to Minkai". Since I do like the festivities and the Prince because it's a roleplay-heavy part (which we like), I was thinking that maybe when they go to say hi to the Prince - cause they have to - Suishen may 'sense' another family weapon, dormant but still 'alive', and ask the characters to try and find it.
My bigger question is: since we're halfway in the adventure, does it make sense to suddenly have another weapon as such? Would it be better to also add another (maybe still not recognised) heir in the adventure, or leaving it for a possible post-game? Is there even a good place to find another Family Seal and then the heir?
I'm sorry, I'm not even sure I have expressed clearly my doubts and my ideas XD Feel free to ask for clarification if you need XD I'm interested in all of your ideas and suggestions <3
I put all my answers in spoiler below..
As far as the seals go the rest of them are in the vault of the Jade Regent's palace in book six and getting them is one of the check boxes to assure that everything is put back to normal when the new Emperor/Empress is seated. As far as those seals go I would assume that anyone present when they were revealed would be under the effects of becoming an heir to that family a la the Amatatsu seal so if the party wanted to become the heads of the now headless families of Minkai that wouldn't be out of the question.
So, either Ameiko or one of the players ends up sitting the throne and the rest of the players become the new heads of the families of Minkai and they and their children become viable candidates to become the ruler in the future.
Well, nothing is out of the realm of possibility. As I mentioned Ameiko has a statted sister in the back of Song of Silver. You could make just about anyone a secret lost heir.
Miyaro from the Forest of Spirits despite being a Kitsune could be a secret and hidden heir whose bandit father adopted her from the burned ruins of a noble house.
Hatsue from the camp of the ronin could be a secret heir raised by monks.
One of the geisha from the village of Egonoka could be a secret long lost heir. O-Sayumi's family could have been killed by the pearl merchant's nue associate as part of a deal with the Jade Regent on top of his other nefarious desires and she could be member of one of the lost families.
So many options really. But in canon the only other legitimate heir besides Ameiko and those chosen by the seals is Ameiko's sister from Song of Silver.