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5E How should be the future Oriental Adventures.


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Azzy

Newtype
I do miss the 1e OA classes, though I find they all fit perfectly well into the existing 5e classes as subclass

Agreed.

OA Barbarian: Well...works without doing much at all.

I think it would be nice to have an equestrian barabarian subclass. It even has relevence outside of Asian-inspired settings, and can be done without trying to be a horrible stereotype of Mongols, Huns, and such.

Sohei: This could easily fit as a cleric, monk or even fighter subclass.

Personally, I would make it into a Paladin subclass since it shares a lot of paladin-esque traits. Probably wouldn't call it "Sohei", though.

Wu Jen: A wizard or sorcerer subclass (or one for either, though at first blush, it strikes me as a better fit for sorcerer...or perhaps even warlock would be better)

I'd go with Wizard. We already could use an elementalist Wizard subclass. Just give it the option to use either the classical Western element (which were also used, in a slightly modified form, by Buddhists by way of India), or the Chinese Wuxing "elements". I'd also skip the name "Wu Jen" as well, given its applicability to multiple cultures and the fact that the term "wu jen" is just a creation by the OA designers, and instead give it a general name like "School of the Elements" and just name drop "fāngshì" (or one of the other many Chinese terms for wizard/socerers), "onmyōji", etc. in the same way that the Way of Shadow name drops "ninja".

I'd also like to see a shamanic druid subclass then encompasses the Chinese Wu and other cultural shamanic practices.
 

Count_Zero

Adventurer
So, I've given a lot of thought in terms of, if WotC was going to do a successor/replacement book for what OA is (but not called Oriental Adventures), they should probably.

  1. As has been mentioned repeatedly, but bears repeating - not call it OA. Instead, use the title of the setting for the book.
  2. Have more than one setting book, each based around a particular geographically and thematically linked cultures, based on what works for a roleplaying campaign. Your Polynesian based setting isn't going to fit with your Japanese inspired setting which isn't going to work with your Chinese inspired setting. Not just culturally - but in terms of the kinds of campaigns players are going to want to run as well.

    This discussion thus far has been operating from the perspective of you're only going to do one book. If you're going to a culturally respectful, sensitive replacement for OA, you're either going to need more than one book, or you're going to need one Rules Cyclopedia Sized bullet-stopper. I'm leaning towards multiple books.
  3. Whatever setting you're doing, bring writers from those cultures onboard in prominent roles for the respective book. Lead designers, lead artists, editors, etc. They should take point in the design of the setting - that way you can avoid pitfalls that a white person in the same position would blunder into, and they'll come up with good ideas that your perspective as an outsider would overlook.
  4. As has been mentioned, you're probably gonna screw up in some manner or another anyway, so own up to it with an introduction at the very start of each book recognizing that you're going to step on some rakes, and apologize in advance.
  5. As part of this - donate a chunk of your take on each book to a (well researched) charity that benefits the ethnic groups in question, just to get in front of things.
 

Azzy

Newtype
Just a quick question (sorry, I didn't read the whole thread yet) but how come "non-Western" cultures need to be portrayed accurately and respectfully, while "vanilla" western fantasy happily mixes (Celtic) druids, late-medieval Knights (Paladins), Renaissance-era tech, pseudo-Vikings, Barbarians, and generally is all over the place in terms of geography and time-period when it comes to Europe, with not the slightest pretense of accuracy?
I'm not begging the question "Shouldn't Europeans also be offended?" I'd just like to point out that if "vanilla" fantasy is already a pastiche, nobody should bat an eyelash at "exotic" fantasy also being a pastiche.

Yes, D&D is based on a multitude of different European (mostly Western European) myths, legends, folklore, and literature as well as contemporary fantasy literature. It's a pastiche of Middle Ages Europe through the lens of Americans (of European decent). However, the earliest D&D campaigns were less occupied in presenting cultural verisimilitude or even elements of culture outside of what was immediately necessary.

That said, Western Europe of the Middle Ages had a lot of overlap in their legends and stories. For instance, King Arthur and the Matter of England may have started off in England, but other European countries (such as France and Germany) absorbed and added t its mythos. Likewise, Charlemagne and the Matter of France was absorbed and popular far outside of France. The Matter of Rome (comprised of loose and often anachronistic adaptions the Greco-Roman myths and Classical history) were also popular throughout Western Europe. Add to this, contemporary fantasy literature from Europe and America drew from these and other Pan-European sources to create their own pastiches.

That said, I don't think there's so much wrong with having an Asian-inspired pastiche so much as in how and by who it's done. D&D has a history of presenting "non-Western" cultures as not- versions of themselves with serial numbers poorly files off. This is evidenced in Kara-Tur's two Chinas, two Japans, Korea, etc. (sometimes even using historical names of said countries as the their fantasy names—see Wa and Koryo), Maztica, Mystara's various -not- countries, etc. It's always a view of "non-Western" cultures seen through the lens of Westerners that have little actual knowledge of those cultures (aside from what they could dig up from their local library) and consciously or subconsciously exotify and other those cultures. If a "non-Western" culture pastiche was created by or in concert by those from said culture or their inheritors that still remained respectful, I don't think you'd see a lot of complaints. I could be wrong, though, as it's not my place to determine what is acceptable or not acceptable to people of cultures that are not my own.
 

Azzy

Newtype
I think it's interesting that 3e subtly had a bunch of Asian influences in it's psionic classes. It was capitalized on with the now rejected Mystic class from the UA playtests.

The Psion had some Indian influences on it as a Psionic Discipline is basically a Siddhi , and other cases tried to treat a bunch of the concepts of Ki as Psionics. There was even Tibetan influences such as Psionic Wands being called Dorje and the Metacreation discipline using Astral Constructs (called Tulpas in Tibetan). Of course 3e psionics also threw in a bunch of Victorian paranormal/pseudoscience concepts such as Ectoplasm.

3e/3.5e's take on psionics is probably my favorite of any edition.
 



Do you remember any manga where the characters are Caucasian, even blonde with blue eyes, but the look and the spirit is "Oriental"?


This is not about a reboot of Kara-Tur but how to create the right tools to allow others to produce their own Kara-Tur. It's not about how to open a door to enter Asian market but how to sell the pieces to be used by Asian publishers (videogames, manga/manwha/manhua and anime/aein/donghua) to open the doors toward the Western fandom. It`s about how to produce the "bricks" to build a bridge between the different cultures, and not only Western-Orient but also between the different Asian countries.

* I have seen Kung-Fu Panda is by Pearl Studios (Chinse Dreamworks). This means it's "made in China".


* Shouldn't the furure "xuanhuan" PC races (hengeyokai, vanara, korobokuru, spirit-folk..) and "wulin" classes to be in the SRD?

* Is the term "jianghu" enough politically correct or maybe this for the "underground wuxia" subgenre?
 

This is not about a reboot of Kara-Tur but how to create the right tools to allow others to produce their own Kara-Tur. It's not about how to open a door to enter Asian market but how to sell the pieces to be used by Asian publishers (videogames, manga/manwha/manhua and anime/aein/donghua) to open the doors toward the Western fandom. It`s about how to produce the "bricks" to build a bridge between the different cultures, and not only Western-Orient but also between the different Asian countries.
Or, and here's a hot take, produce D&D as is rather than trying to produce Kara-Tur as is. There is no big demand for people wanting to make their own Kara-Tur out that way. D&D is good at being D&D, it is not good at being 'Simulator of the entire world', and trying to pretend its anything other than that is a road to disappointment.

* Shouldn't the furure "xuanhuan" PC races (hengeyokai, vanara, korobokuru, spirit-folk..) and "wulin" classes to be in the SRD?
See, 90% of the problem is you just slapping Xuanhuan and Wulin in there for the sake of being mysterious. This is where a lot of the flak towards OA comes from, it making the East seem like this big ol' special place and whatnot. You're not calling the standard races "Races in the vein of LotR", don't call stuff that may come from OA anything different than what they are, which is new races.

As for those, well, Hengeyokai need to be rebuilt from the ground up because they are terrible at resembling the actual mythic entities they're supposed to resemble, Korobokuru also need to be rebuilt away from their "We need something to fill the dwarf hole uh let's just slap in this Ainu myth" and actually, y'know, tie off what mythology is out there, whereas Vanara and Spirit-Folk (Did I ever mention I hate this name? I hate this name.) would be better served in an expansion. There is not at this point in time a need to add any classes themed around the East given what we have works reasonably well, with the possible exception of wanting a priest-y class that's less armor-clad as the cleric.
 

You know when something it's too popular then it becomes "old-fashion". Not only the music, but also fiction genres. For example decades ago Far-Western movies and teleseries were very popular among the public, and today the new generations don't want to watch them. It will also happen with the "Tolkien" fantasy, and WotC notices it shouldn't put all the eggs in one basket. WotC has to get ready to offer other things when the tastes of the fandom start to change...again.

And we can't forget the otaku community, a potential market to get new players. WotC should offers something for manga fans who would like to play PCs based in their favorite shonen or shojo titles, or beat'em videogames.

This is not only about WotC but also Hasbro wants to produce its own IPs for the Asian market, not only China, Korea and Japan, not only TTRPGs but also media productions (movies and teleserie) or toys.

* I guess to introduce PC races and monsters we will see in DM Guilds more titles as Tortle Package, Localath Rising, One Grung Above or Mordenkainen’s Fiendish Folio, but it ill be after the new version about the racial traits to allow more flexibility to create new PCs. Now I don't worry about the crunch. If WotC doesn't publish new base classes then they will be by 3PPs. My doubts are about how create an interesting lore for the PC races. I have showed some suggestions in a previous post.
 
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Of the three class ideas mentioned, I think the sohei (which I view as the no-armor no-weapon wizard style cleric) would be the hardest to capture in 5e because subclasses rarely (if ever, I can't think of an example) take away basic class features in return for more powers than a subclass would generally add. Since the Cloistered Cleric in 3e, I have always wished the base cleric was this style of character (with fighting ability added only in certain prestige/subclasses) and the out-of-the-gate fighty religious character would be the paladin.

Sacred Cow Armor +5, though.

Sohei wore armour in the 1E version. I have the book open in front of me. They can wear any armour but no shield. They can also use the vast majority of weapons (including a lot of edged ones). So that's a pretty freakin' weird take. They are absolutely not the "spells only" class you're describing in any way, shape, or form. They're armoured warrior-clerics. In Japanese myth/history, the sohei are also armoured warrior-priests.

So what are you talking about? They're perfectly captured by 5E Clerics. You seem to be confusing them with some entirely different class.
 

Having played the 3e book with many players, I didn't encounter any content that players found insensitive including the Oriental Adventures name (though I don't think it was a great title). That said, Wizards isn't setting out to offend their customer base, they want to print books that will sell, and listening to people who buy books is good business. If they do put out a book that you don't like, it's easily resolved by not allowing that content when you DM. That doesn't stop anyone else from using it, and preserves the theme of your game. Listening to the players is a valid reason that choice. Personally, I had a player want to be the Shugenja and I'd love to the Wu Jen, Shintao Monk, and others back. More options are welcome in my game. If Wizards publishes a class or book or setting that I'm offended by, I won't buy the book and won't use that content, simple as that. This helps guide WOTC choices and doesn't stop anyone else who does want the book. My choice doesn't censor the publisher. If enough people want something that I don't want, they'll publish it over my objection.
 

Count_Zero

Adventurer
And we can't forget the otaku community, a potential market to get new players. WotC should offers something for manga fans who would like to play PCs based in their favorite shonen or shojo titles, or beat'em videogames.

(Emphasis mine)

You keep using that word - I don't think it means what you think it means. Particularly since there is an extremely long tradition of western-inspired fantasy in Anime, whether we're talking stuff like Lodoss and Slayers in the 90s, or a lot of modern Isekai like Sword Art Online, Konosuba, or Re:Zero.

Plus, you're also conflating Japanese historical fantasy (like Inuyasha) with the wuxia genre of martial arts cinema (like Hero, House of Flying Daggers, Come Drink With Me, and The Sorcerer and the White Snake), which come from different countries - and the people who are fans of those works will know that.

Also, an "OA" inspired game isn't going to cover characters based on everyone's "favorite shonen or shojo titles", because for example a bunch of those titles that are popular right now are Idol anime - about modern-day high schoolers who want to be pop idols. That doesn't fit with the OA concept. That fits more with something like the new edition of Big Eyes Small Mouth (or Fate). Or there's My Hero Academia, which is a superhero anime set in a not-to-distant future, and would fit perfectly with Mutants & Masterminds.

With your comments about "otaku", though this may not be your intent, you are coming across like that guy referring to The Tale of Princess Kaguya and The Story of Kells as "Chinese cartoons" when they were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
 

We already have the Way of Shadow that's explicitly called out as a ninja in its text. And then there's the Assassin which is very ninja. Plus the Arcane Trickster serves well as a magic ninja.

The Assassin is very solid for "historical ninja" - the disguise/infiltration stuff is spot-on. The Way of Shadows Monk is kind of lame for a ninja and it's a bit lame they call it out as such, but meh. Arcane Trickster with the right spells is probably the best bet for a solid magic-y ninja, even if the theme is a bit off. The only real issue with the Rogues is that 5E doesn't have a non-Feat, non-MC route to getting decent unarmed combat, and even the Feat or MC routes are pretty dreadful, introducing rules complications and making your character objectively worse.

It does fit the whole bizarre 5E theme of "designers insanely overvaluing the ability to fight without an actual weapon", sadly.
 


Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Sohei wore armour in the 1E version. I have the book open in front of me. They can wear any armour but no shield. They can also use the vast majority of weapons (including a lot of edged ones). So that's a pretty freakin' weird take. They are absolutely not the "spells only" class you're describing in any way, shape, or form. They're armoured warrior-clerics. In Japanese myth/history, the sohei are also armoured warrior-priests.

So what are you talking about? They're perfectly captured by 5E Clerics. You seem to be confusing them with some entirely different class.
Yes I was. Confused with the shukenja, as mentioned in post #179.
 


ZeshinX

Adventurer
Sohei wore armour in the 1E version. I have the book open in front of me. They can wear any armour but no shield. They can also use the vast majority of weapons (including a lot of edged ones). So that's a pretty freakin' weird take. They are absolutely not the "spells only" class you're describing in any way, shape, or form. They're armoured warrior-clerics. In Japanese myth/history, the sohei are also armoured warrior-priests.

So what are you talking about? They're perfectly captured by 5E Clerics. You seem to be confusing them with some entirely different class.

I find they tend to lean far more into Fighter than Cleric. I mean, even in 1e, it indicates they are far more militant than holy and "receive very little religious instruction." They don't receive spells until 6th level and never gain spell levels above 4th. They receive multiple attacks (per 1e's approach to such). They have d10 hit die. The one thing they do have that leans them towards Cleric is they use Priest (Cleric) saving throws and combat table.

Honestly though, they'd work well as a Fighter or Cleric subclass in 5e, so really there's no "wrong" side of this debate (and apologies if I'm coming off as simply contrarian). They could also work just as well as a Paladin subclass.

As a Fighter, I'd make them like the Eldritch Knight, swap spellcasting to the cleric list (wisdom the related ability score, same progression) and tinker with the subclass abilities to reflect a slightly more defensive/protection feel.

As a Cleric, they're basically a War domain cleric.

They just feel more at home to me in the Fighter (EK)'s body than the cleric's....but they would work well in either. :)
 

Otaku had got a pejorative sense in the past, but now it is not alway like this. At least otaku lacks of pejorative sense in Spanish community who love manga and anime.

Wikipedia:

Otaku (Japanese: おたく or オタク) is a Japanese term for people with consuming interests, particularly in anime and manga. Its contemporary use originated with Akio Nakamori's 1983 essay in Manga Burikko.[1][2] Otaku may be used as a pejorative; its negativity stems from a stereotypical view of otaku and the media's reporting on Tsutomu Miyazaki, "The Otaku Murderer", in 1989. According to studies published in 2013, the term has become less negative, and an increasing number of people now self-identify as otaku,[3] both in Japan and elsewhere.

In Spain the term "friki" (a latinized version of "freak") may mean "fanboy" or "a ridiculous or outlandish person".

* D&D players aren't used to divine spellcasters without armour.

* I remember the series Xena: the warrior princess and Hercules: the Legendary Journies with some pieces of "wuxia".

* What is the Japanse word for fantasy manga? Wuxia is Chinese, and Tokusatsu is the word for media productions with FXs (not only fantasy, but also sci-fi).

* I have said WotC not only wants to be polite and avoid to offend, but Hasbro wants to be loved, popular, in the Asian markets. Hasbro wants to create its own manga-anime franchises/IPs. You could suggest or advice about how to be loved by the Asian fandom but you can't forbidd totally any "wuxia" title if it's created by Western authors.

* Shaman should be a base class, but I admit I imagine something like a remake of the incarnum totemist, with powers about monster traits, close to the primal shifter class from Pathfinder: Ultimate Wild, or sometime like pact magic, but totem spirits replacing the vestiges.
 

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