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5E How should be the future Oriental Adventures.


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Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
Is to literally have the creatures from your European mythology, dubbed "heroes" for their activities of going out there and exterminating the creatures of that other cultures mythology. You literally want an Oriental Adventures for the express purpose of having European folklore go out and exterminate the folklore of Asia and be rewarded as heroes and praised for it-- that about sum it up?
You're reading the wrong words in that, and not counting the fact that there's already Nagas, Rocs, Oni (5e dropped Ogre Mage for good) already in the core D&D books. And I don't think there's anything wrong if a traveller from Asia teams up with an Arab and Carribean guy despite being of species loosely based on European folklore end up traveling the world beating up creatures from Europe, South America, Africa and Asia.
 

@Kobold Avenger and @GreenTengu I think there is some miscommunication here.

The first is race vs class.

Yes, having "Yakuza" instead of just having "thieves" is kind of dumb. There are some Far East magic users who would be incredibly close to Wizards from my limited understanding, so they would be very easy to simply play as wizards. Maybe as a sub-class that gives them a few unique abilities to work within the lore.

However, taking a spiritfolk race like say, Tanuki and just saying "well, Tanuki are dwarves" misses every point and is just baffling if you know anything about the two different depictions. You would be far better off just writing a new Tanuki race than trying to shoe-horn in one of the existing races.

And, things like Elves and Dwarves... I don't know if there is something that is a good enough analogue to them to make the transition.


However, in the reverse of that. Naga are a thing in myths over there, and taking the DnD naga and expanding it to encompass the Far East Naga myths, in a similiar manner to how Theros expanded Dryads to give us a plethora of nymphs and fey spirits, is a brilliant idea.

The Oni? Well, some lore changes needed, but a lot of good stuff that might be close enough that a small lore blurb in the book and a new sub-type or two and you've got excellent ground to work with.



There are some aspects in the monsters, and maybe even the races, that are close enough, they could be trivially updated to fit. Genasi are pretty easy to fit into any settings, since "mortal born of elements" is pretty easy. Yuan-ti could be reworked into some of the different Naga races. Driders are almost there for some depictions of Jurogumo that I've seen. Tengu might be able to be reworked from Aarcrockra

But other stuff is just not going to work that way. Tanuki and Kitsune would really need their own write-ups to be player races. Things like the Ōmukade or the Harionago would need their own stat-blocks, because we don't really have anything like them in the books so far.
 

GreenTengu

Adventurer
You're reading the wrong words in that, and not counting the fact that there's already Nagas, Rocs, Oni (5e dropped Ogre Mage for good) already in the core D&D books. And I don't think there's anything wrong if a traveller from Asia teams up with an Arab and Carribean guy despite being of species loosely based on European folklore end up traveling the world beating up creatures from Europe, South America, Africa and Asia.

What I am taking exception to is that you are saying that we can't have all the fairy folk that people of Japan, Korea, China, Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Nepal, Indonesia, India, etc. said lived in their forests and mountains and rivers. Or-- as many of them as can fit because these are an awful lot of countries we are trying to cram in here and there are probably just way too many potential player races.

Instead, we got to erase all that and impose Tolkien because Tolkien is "core". Even though Tolkien's races were Tolkien's races primarily because he was basing his setting on Britain and the assumption there was Britain.

And it is perfectly understandable that, in a Eurocentric setting, that the fairies and goblins be the non-human PC races of that setting. But it doesn't make sense when you are trying to use another culture as your primary core assumptions, that it should be that culture's fairies and goblins that are the non-human PC races. Insisting that, instead, the setting only have Britain's fairies and goblins utterly undermines the entire point of even having a different setting. And no amount of tweaking is going to disguise or hide or fix that.

Obviously I am being over-the-top and a bit sarcastic, but your attitude really highlights why, perhaps, it would be best just not to have an Asian-inspired D&D setting at all-- because the regular D&D players are unwilling to accept any real change to their Eurocentric assumptions and insist on imposing those as the default rather than allowing for an entirely different set of norms.

That isn't do say that you can't have a couple Dwarfs and Elves who wandered in from way out in that mystical and barbaric west appear within the setting. But the core in such a setting should be that you are going to play a Kappa, not a Dwarf. You are going to play a Dokkaebi, not a Gnome. You are going to play a Naga, not an Elf.

Plus... you know... why pass up the excuse to create a dozen new PC races, most of which are in no way based on something that was originally created as a monster the PCs battled and killed and was never given much thought beyond that, and instead you just have a few folklore stories and your own imagination?
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
Of the existing races that I feel should be brought back for legacy reasons, the Korubokuru really would be another subrace of Dwarf. Hengeyokai and Vanara are unique enough to be there own races. Even though Vanara could be a sub-race of a Simian race (one called Vanara) that includes the Hadozee and Grommam from Spelljammer.

Spirit Folk like I've said before are the Planetouched of the Spirit World, they can be dropped into other setting regions as their natives, such as FR did in one region outside of Kara-Tur.

But this is for those who want a mostly isolated setting.

The 3e version, did suggest for like 1 page with it's clans of Rokugan that "What if the clans were the core D&D races".

And that's not counting that Al-Qadim's Zakhara clearly had core D&D races (not to mention Goblins and Orcs being part of Zakharan society before it was cool) and never thought too hard on them despite the fact I'd be at a lost to find any reference to Elves, Orcs and so on in Arabic folklore. Some of it is the setting being based on 1001 Nights and how medieval Arabic civilizations might have been more cosmopolitan at the time, so there is that part going for it.

But then one could have there be a place that's little like Tang Dynasty China if going by the Chinese equivalent to the Arabic example.

And despite it being seen as a "problem" where the PCs resemble the fantasy version of the Captain Planet crew, that could very much be a lot of parties of PCs across many games out there.
 

So as the big ol' mythology nerd I am

the Korubokuru really would be another subrace of Dwarf
Nah, the myths around Korobokuru do not fit dwarves. At all. If they're coming back and need to be peg-holed into an existing race, Halfling or Gnome is where they need to be (though I'd probably go the Okami route and just up their tininess to the point they're pixie size). Dwarf was a poor fit then and is a poor fit now.

Hengeyokai
Hengeyokai could easily be split into at least 3 races, and that's me on a poor day. Kitsune and Tanuki alone are that distinctive I still consider it an absolute miserable failing of OA for pidgeonholing them into a single race. That's like "Dwarves, Gnomes, Halflings and Elves all are the same race and we just mush them all together into one" levels
 

pemerton

Legend
I'm not sure if Eberron needs to deal with these things to be honest.

Yes, the World Wars affected the world. But Eberron isn't being unfair to anyone by narrowing it's scope to only explore how they affected this group of nations.

I mean, I wouldn't consider it unfair to Spain to not mention them much while running a game set in Steampunk London. Now, if I want to do Steampunk Europe, and I ignore Spain and Portugal, that is something else, but just narrowing your scope to be manageable isn't a big deal to me.
I'm guessing that the typical steampunk London game doesn't consider the fact that what makes 19th century London possible is all the wealth of India.

To that extent, RPGIng can reproduce the fantasies and erasures that characterise imperialism. But I'm not sure that's a good thing.

having "Yakuza" instead of just having "thieves" is kind of dumb.
The original OA classes do two things.

First, they give some necessary mechanical variations in the context of a system that tends to be very pedantic in its class features. Eg just as illusionists are a difference class from MUs even though all that really differs are spell lists and magic items permitted, so yakuza differ from thieves by having different suites of abilities.

But more important, the OA classes establish a context for each PC. Bushi and samurai have abilities and requirements that reflect a social situation - bushi are (predominantly) commoners, samurai (predominantly) nobles. Yakuza can gather information and make contacts because they are embedded in an urban environment. Wu jen get reaction bonuses when dealing with mysterious magical beings (tengu and oni). A kensai has to fight duels with challengers. Etc

It's this conception of PCs as actually belonging to the world they find themselves in that distinguishes OA classes from (most) PHB ones. The exceptions in the PHB are paladins (which also have a code and a social context), druids and to a lesser extent monks and assassins.
 

I'm guessing that the typical steampunk London game doesn't consider the fact that what makes 19th century London possible is all the wealth of India.

To that extent, RPGIng can reproduce the fantasies and erasures that characterize imperialism. But I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Sure, but it is equally likely that a steampunk London game says that London's wealth in this world came from the invention of automaton's and that they sealed their borders and never built an empire at all.

True to the history of our world? No. But, again, I don't think it needs to be. The real world is complex to a degree that we cannot accurately express as people. I only took a small bit of economics back in school, but the very first thing they taught me about economic models? Every model is a poor representation of reality, simplified as far as it can while trying to remain as accurate as possible, but they are not perfect because the reality is too complex to model.


Calling on Eberron for doing a poor job exploring it's themes because it did not spread the devastation of the Great War across three other continents which exactly mirror the real-world state of Europe, Africa and Asia.... is just asking too much I think. Baker might not have felt comfortable exploring the effects on non-european states and countries, or even the European states that he wasn't immediately familiar with. And saying you can't write an allegory on WW I and II unless you have read up on the effects across the globe involving many complex cultures, times and theme... just seems to cross that line into unreasonable territory.




The original OA classes do two things.

Going to stop this at this point to address a fact. I was not talking about what the original OA did. I was speaking towards a future product. In that respect, it does not matter what the original OA did. That was not my concern



First, they give some necessary mechanical variations in the context of a system that tends to be very pedantic in its class features. Eg just as illusionists are a difference class from MUs even though all that really differs are spell lists and magic items permitted, so yakuza differ from thieves by having different suites of abilities.

But more important, the OA classes establish a context for each PC. Bushi and samurai have abilities and requirements that reflect a social situation - bushi are (predominantly) commoners, samurai (predominantly) nobles. Yakuza can gather information and make contacts because they are embedded in an urban environment. Wu jen get reaction bonuses when dealing with mysterious magical beings (tengu and oni). A kensai has to fight duels with challengers. Etc

It's this conception of PCs as actually belonging to the world they find themselves in that distinguishes OA classes from (most) PHB ones. The exceptions in the PHB are paladins (which also have a code and a social context), druids and to a lesser extent monks and assassins.

I am going to assume all of this only applies to 1e. As such, I am only going to discuss it in terms of why I don't think that is necessary in a 5e product.

In 5e, I do not believe we need to differentiate "Commoners" from "Nobles" in the class, since we have the Noble background. Which, by default, makes that distinction. Also, depending on the style of "samurai" you wanted, you could build a social role of Noble (as in lineage) warrior using a variety of class options.

Also, being embedded in an urban environment and having contacts? That is the Criminal background, or the Spy.


5e has done a lot of work to make all classes belong to the world they find themselves in, and as such, I don't think more than a small handful of new backgrounds, and maybe one or two specific subclasses would really be necessary in a new book.
 

I would love to see a sourcebook detainling a world based on the mythology of Asian and/or Pacific Rim nations. I want to see how D&D might work in the world of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature (you might be familiar with the characters Tripitaka, Monkey King, Pigsy and Sandy from one of the works). I want my characters to adventure in the Edo period of Japan, to meet Miyamoto Musashi (or maybe Usagi Yojimbo).

The mythology of China and Japan is well-exposed in the West, how about Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, etc?

Theros (from my brief reading) seems like a interestin gameworld based on elements of real-world Greek mythology. I want the same, but based on the mythologies and folktales of other countries. Something like how Midgard is based on real-world folktales from Eastern Europe and Russia.

But... and this is a very large but... I want the books to be respectful of the cultures. That pretty much means having scholars involved who know the histories, folklore and mythologies of the countries and time periods being mined for ideas. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean hiring asians (because "only asians are qualified to write about Asia" is just as bad as the cultural appropriation we are striving to remove).
 




Nagas in D&D are armless, but in Rokugan had got. Always I missed arms for the D&D nagas. why not with a template?

Today the classic folklore isn't the one source of inspiration, but also the new mythogy from the current videogames, even with new "races".

I accept the idea of the shen/spiritfolk as a planetouched races linke with the spirit realm. Even this could be useful for a supernatural romance story. The racial traits about speak with animals as a supernatural abilitie may be useful as a storytelling tool in fiction, but for games with a style closer to hack-and-slashs no that much. And maybe their behavior is honorable, but they are the type of people who feel confortable in urban areas and worse in a court full of intrigues and stabs in the back.

Today we don't need subclasses with Asian names, for example the samurai could with replaced the concept of Praetorian Guard, who would notice the difference? But I still miss the concept of martial adepts and the manievers as special attacks in the middle between at-will and once-encounter.

We haven't to worry about the monsters from the Asian folklore. Pathfinder has used them for they bestiary books and I don't listen complains about that. (the tsukumogami as fae constructs could be interesting in D&D).

The koropokkuru can't be only unfriendly dwarfs-gnomes cousins who live in the jungles and don't worry about courtesy rules.



* Has any PC seen a a yuki-onna singing "let's it go".

* Kaidan is a Japanese (horror) setting by Rite Publishing with PC races as kappa and tengu.

* If I cook fried rice, I use olive oil, not soybean. I know the original Asian recipe doesn't use olive oil but I would rather with olive.
 










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I an thinking it's very difficult to create a totally ideologically neutral fantasy Asian countepart. It's better to create an IP for Japan, S-Korea and other countries and other different by and for Chinese.

We haven't to worry about an updated version of the monsters. If we want, we could use the creatures from Pathfinder.

After the psionic powers WotC could work for the martial adepts, but we haven't to hurry.

The shen/spirit folk subraces are bamboo, sea, river and montain. I love PC with pets, but "speak with animals" not always is very useful. To create a new subrace about shen who lives in the urban zones, and even as members of the noble houses? Aren't shen the children of the lungs (imperial dragons)?

The PC races are maybe one of the most important things of the D&D franchise as "brand power" because they give players their own marks of personality. You know is D&D when you recognice those humanoid races don't appear in the rest of titles. The PC races are from different cultures with their own rules about etiquette and protocol. A korobokuru can answer: "(I'am) poor but honest!" and hates the good manners and courtesy by the people from urban zones because they think they are signs of total hipocrisy (and they need a good reason to go far from their loved villages. Vanara are more friendly, maybe too much. If the PC races are too happy living in the nature, why to take the troubles to go to the troublemaker human populations?

Should tanuki and nekomata be only hengeyokai subraces?

My opinion is we shouldn't allow a monopoly about fantasy based in cultures from other civilitations. We have to take care and to avoid any unitentional offense, of course, but wuxia and chanbara in D&D should be allowed as a door what helps us to know better that cultures.
 



I am been thinking.

Today most of potential players don't want a return of Kara-Tur, and I wouldn't dismiss the idea of a retcon of the spin-off (by fault of the sundering event?). Most of potential players really would want to adapt their favorite IPs (videogames, anime or donghuand), and here the Japanese influence is too strong. I guess Wotc will create new settings, one for the Japanese fandom, other for the Chinese-speaker fandom, and other for Korean and other Asian nations.

Korean alphabet was designed to be easy to be learnt by illiteraty people, the design of the consonant letters is based on articulatory phonetics. Japanese writting system has got two sillabaries (not alphabet, but a sign for each syllabe). And the Chinese languange has got a different sing for each word. Not even the native Chinese-speakers know all. I guess WotC will want to create a fantasy alphabet close to the Korean, with different vocals.

We don't need yet new base classes or subclass, but the true mark of identity of D&D are the PCs. The most, or almost all, xuanhuan titles are only humans. And I see the Asian fantasy MMO with fantasy races have got some standard, the corpulent giantouched, the cute kemonomimi (animal ears), the humans and the smarts (not elvens really but close).

Shaman should be a class, but not only for wuxia adventures. Maybe the lore should get ready too add the possible future new classes.

Usually the adventures in urban zones, intrigues in the palatial court, for example, need "town mice", and the most of the Kara-tur PC races are "country mice" who would rather to live in nature zones, not in the civilitated cities.

Shen/spiritfolk could be perfect for players who want to play a maho-shojo, but the racial traits should be enough interesting for those players with a munchkin vein.

* Should half-oni(ogre mage) to be a new class?

* To avoid controversies WotC could create a new line based in the sword & planet + planetary romance, with a look of Star Wars, but you can use all the crunch (races and monsters) based and Asian folklore, and then nobody should complain about stereotypes of Asian cultures (the characters could behove like a classic far west).

* Do you know any wuxia comic as the ghostly doctor?

 
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Going through my book shelf, and I just pulled out "Jade Dragons & Hungry Ghosts" by Green Ronin from 2001. I don't remember ever looking at the creative staff or introduction before. Zeb Cook, Wolfgang Baur, Erik Mona, Chris Pramas, Steven Schend, and Leon Phillips. The cover was by rk post. No obviously non-western names in the rest.

Anwyay, I thought the introduction talking about how things had changed over the 15 years since OA was interesting. Better in some ways, the same in others. (I wish I had found it when the now-locked discussions of the original OA were going on).
 

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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Its one I enjoyed, I wish they had put it out in PDF as well. Their Not-India psionic setting and monster book ones too.

I really just need to go back through there whole line and see what I missed and what the reviews say and everything! A lot of it should be an easy port to some PF stuff I still (would like to) do.
 

My wish is to can build a fantasy world based in the speculative fiction from the different Asia countries. Japan is the main influence and this can't be avoided, but other cultures also can show some interesting things. But I worry about Asian authors showing in their works their own prejudices against their neighbor countries, rival powers in the past or even today, or even compatriots from different social caste or region. It isn't easy to create a totally ideologically neuter setting, because later or sooner somebody will say this or that is allegory about a matter from the real world.

Today the source of inspiration aren't only the classic folklore, but the current fiction, as videogames, animation series or comics.







 
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  1. Don't call it Oriental Adventures
  2. Go one of two paths
    1. Fully researched and vetted by experts of Asian mythology and history
    2. Completely reform itself from the truth and only display the feel of Asian tropes and ideas in high fantasy with as few specific references as possible (like the XGTE Samurai)
  3. Still consult experts of Asian history, mythology, and culture to prevent offense.
Iznothard, really.
All these rules make sense and should be applied as soon as possible to vanilla D&D, in order to make things right, to show some respect to the various sources and cultural influences used.
 

Not only mist of Akuma (although very steampunk) but I suggest other setting: Kaidan, by Rite Publishing.


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Not to toot my own horn, but if people are interested in more focused settings, I did Wandering Heroes of Ogre Gate, which is a wuxia RPG set in a world mostly inspired by Song Dynasty China. I also put out Strange Tales of Songling not long ago, which is a more simple RPG intended to emulate the Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio stories by Pu Songling (for those not familiar films like A Chinese Ghost Story and Painted Skin are based on these). None of these are D&D though
 

Halloween Horror For 5E

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