I was talking with my wife the other day and she suggested something that seemed like old school heresy to me, that I pre-roll the random encounters for the trip to the mura of Hondo. Now I got to thinking about this, and I know the path they are taking to Hondo. I know what pre-existing possible encounters there are in hexes along the way. The only thing that slowed ME down during the game at all on Sunday was rolling the encounters and setting them up, coming up with plausible explanations for them, giving them their treasure, establishing encounter distance, surprise, etc. So, IF they stick to their plan and follow the path they're already on, I can pretty easily pre-roll all of their daily encounters. So far, they have not deviated from the plan, even a little bit; I guess it helps that the two party leaders are Samurai that are under orders, and most of the rest of the party have similar obligations to proceed directly there too, including the Yakuza. Really only the Shugenja and the Wu Jen are loose cannons here, and they both have compelling reasons for wanting to go.
But is it right to roll random encounters ahead of time?
Oh, and I forgot to mention in my last post that the party was under the effects of a Bless spell from a roadside shrine they ran across and left offerings at when they encountered the Bandits, that really made a difference for them, even though they were unaware of it. It pays to be pious, although my son John was having flashbacks to an old campaign where his character accidentally offended the goddess Epona with an offering at a roadside shrine and was forever cursed with bad luck with horses.