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5E How should be the future Oriental Adventures.

ZeshinX

Adventurer
This is not true. In 2e, ninja was it's own class, belonging to the rogue group. In the same way a paladin was it's own class, but belonged to the warrior group. And why? Because of the varied specialties of the ninja (the warriors, the spies, the magic users, etc--which were what the actual kits were within the ninja class). Which is the best justification for it having it's own class in 5e because 5e's subclass system is made for it perfectly. I.e., a core ninja class of core features, then a subclass for the front line ninja warriors, a subclass for the spies and espionage, and a subclass for the arcane magic users.
Certainly one of the better arguments for dedicated classes for old OA classes (at least for the ninja). Even in 1e, the ninja was a weird kind of multiclass character, where the other class was their 'cover' class. 2e's Ninja's Handbook cleaned that up quite well with the various kits and the 'shinobi' approach to other classes being members of a ninja clan.

Still, I do like the idea of not adding more dedicated classes but expanding on adding subclasses. It could be just as easy to add a ninja subclass to the various base classes to reflect the specialized training a ninja might receive within their clan. It also fits quite well the mystique of the ninja being "everyone and no one" (if you subscribe to that particular aspect of what a ninja is/was). This, I think/feel, would allow the ninja to hearken back to both 1e and 2e in feel and approach, while maintaining 5e's more approachable/less bloat overall aesthetic.

So you could have something like this:

Fighter subclass (Shadow Warrior): The front line ninja warriors
Rogue subclass (Stealer-In and/or Intruder): The espionage/spy specialists
Wizard/Sorcerer subclass (Spirit Warrior): The 'ninja magic' practitioners
Bard subclass (Consort): The open infiltration specialists
Ranger subclass (Pathfinder): Terrain intelligence...sort of goes out and scouts the terrain for future operations in that area

This latter approach does obviously "scatter" the ninja concept (and would be best if done in a single book for the sake of ease of use), but it does fit the various previous editions approach and really drives home that ninja could be anyone...you just never know.
 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
I stand corrected - I still don't think it needs to be a class in 5E though.
Obviously a matter of opinion. But with how 5e is designed with classes and subclasses, it's like the ruleset was designed just for a ninja. No other "occupation' has a key feature of pretending to be another class, since being a ninja is supposed to be secret, thematically. Since we know there are at least 3 specialties within a ninja class (not just D&D history, but actual historical lore), it makes perfect sense to have a core ninja class with a subclass of warrior, spy, and mage. You simply cannot capture the ninja concept in 5e unless you multiclass or use different classes. Shadow monk for traditional stealer-in. But a warrior ninja? Maybe a fighter/assassin. Arcane ninja? Arcane trickster rogue will have to do. Etc.

Every other major archetype gets a full class. IMO, the only reason we didn't 'see a full ninja class in the PHB was because they wanted to keep it eurocentric and if you had a full ninja, you'd have to address a lot more east Asian themes as well. I think they were saving that for later. Not that there wasn't justification to have a mechanically unique ninja class.

If you can't capture the most popular and well known representations of ninja without having a dedicated class and subclasses for those representations, then that's the best reason for it's justification. It's the same justification for every other class. In fact, some classes don't even meet that standard and still have their own class. So that begs the question, if that's not enough for justification, what is? And why does every other class meet it?
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
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.
 

This is not true. In 2e, ninja was it's own class, belonging to the rogue group. In the same way a paladin was it's own class, but belonged to the warrior group. And why? Because of the varied specialties of the ninja (the warriors, the spies, the magic users, etc--which were what the actual kits were within the ninja class). Which is the best justification for it having it's own class in 5e because 5e's subclass system is made for it perfectly. I.e., a core ninja class of core features, then a subclass for the front line ninja warriors, a subclass for the spies and espionage, and a subclass for the arcane magic users.
"Front Line Ninja Warrior" is about as far from a ninja as you can get without going "responsible banking pirates"

There is a fantastic youtube series called "Which Ninja" that delves into ninja tropes and misconceptions, and a big one is that ninja in anyway wanted to stand and fight. They could, they were trained in the arts of combat, but they were spies, assassins and survival experts before anything else, and most of their iconic tools and weapons were about getting away from a fight, not charging into one.

Now, fantasy world, ninja magic would be cool, but realistically speaking, Shadow Monk Spy with proficiency in survival and some tool sets is about the best "ninja" you could ask for.

Edit: Or Rogue, I guess, but I can't get picture a "realistic" ninja that was a front-liner. That was for other people.
 



Sacrosanct

Legend
"Front Line Ninja Warrior" is about as far from a ninja as you can get without going "responsible banking pirates"
If you believe that, then I suggest you do some research on the Iga province during the 16th century (like the battle of Iseji, or Oda's invasion of Ida in 1581).
 




ZeshinX

Adventurer
"Front Line Ninja Warrior" is about as far from a ninja as you can get without going "responsible banking pirates"
Such are the joys of fantasy, anything is plausible and ridiculous at the same time...which way it leans is entirely subject to personal taste.

I absolutely love 80's ninja movies, despite the fact I also find them utterly absurd. To see grown people running around in sometimes brightly coloured pajamas, in broad daylight, with a sword strapped to their backs and weapons hidden in places they have no plausible ability to be hidden in....laughably absurd but hella fun to watch (and play!).
 

If you believe that, then I suggest you do some research on the Iga province during the 16th century (like the battle of Iseji, or Oda's invasion of Ida in 1581).
Note though what was happening in that instance (the battle of Iseji). The Iga had a fortified home and were defending it from an invading army.

They weren't picking the battleground, they were being forced to fight.

And I fully acknowledged that Ninja's were trained warriors, but their preference was not to get in a standing brawl. They didn't put on heavy plate mail and charge the front gates of a castle with swords drawn. They prefered to attack and fade, never being where the enemy expected them to be.


This is why I think fighters are a poor fit for a Ninja. If a fighter gets to pick the battleground, they want an arena, they want to be up in your face. A ninja getting to pick the battleground never wanted that, they always preferred a more rogue-like approach of having many places to hide, retreat, and attack from.

Editing to include a bit from the article I read: "As soon as Nobuo's forces had entered the valley, Iga fighters attacked from the front, while other forces cut off the passes to block the Oda army's retreat. From the cover, the Iga ninja shot Nobuo's warriors with firearms and bows, then closed to finish them off with swords and spears. Fog and rain descended, leaving the Oda samurai bewildered. Nobuo's army disintegrated "

-source The Ninjas' Last Stand, 1581
 

ZeshinX

Adventurer
Note though what was happening in that instance (the battle of Iseji). The Iga had a fortified home and were defending it from an invading army.

They weren't picking the battleground, they were being forced to fight.

And I fully acknowledged that Ninja's were trained warriors, but their preference was not to get in a standing brawl. They didn't put on heavy plate mail and charge the front gates of a castle with swords drawn. They preferred to attack and fade, never being where the enemy expected them to be.


This is why I think fighters are a poor fit for a Ninja. If a fighter gets to pick the battleground, they want an arena, they want to be up in your face. A ninja getting to pick the battleground never wanted that, they always preferred a more rogue-like approach of having many places to hide, retreat, and attack from.
The Eye of the Beholder. A gladiator would want an arena and the crowd...a soldier would want a battlefield that offered them every tactical advantage and their opponent every tactical disadvantage. Both are fighters, but want wildly different things.

A fantasy ninja, I think, would want as many options as possible if/when a fight presents itself as inevitable/unavoidable.

As far as historically accurate....well, myself, I don't care too much about being that accurate in fantasy, but obviously, to each their own. :)
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Sohei doesn't even need to be a subclass. It's just a Cleric RP'd in a specific way in 5E terms.
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.
 

Tonguez

Legend
Certainly one of the better arguments for dedicated classes for old OA classes (at least for the ninja). Even in 1e, the ninja was a weird kind of multiclass character, where the other class was their 'cover' class. 2e's Ninja's Handbook cleaned that up quite well with the various kits and the 'shinobi' approach to other classes being members of a ninja clan.

Still, I do like the idea of not adding more dedicated classes but expanding on adding subclasses. It could be just as easy to add a ninja subclass to the various base classes to reflect the specialized training a ninja might receive within their clan. It also fits quite well the mystique of the ninja being "everyone and no one" (if you subscribe to that particular aspect of what a ninja is/was). This, I think/feel, would allow the ninja to hearken back to both 1e and 2e in feel and approach, while maintaining 5e's more approachable/less bloat overall aesthetic.

So you could have something like this:

Fighter subclass (Shadow Warrior): The front line ninja warriors
Rogue subclass (Stealer-In and/or Intruder): The espionage/spy specialists
Wizard/Sorcerer subclass (Spirit Warrior): The 'ninja magic' practitioners
Bard subclass (Consort): The open infiltration specialists
Ranger subclass (Pathfinder): Terrain intelligence...sort of goes out and scouts the terrain for future operations in that area

This latter approach does obviously "scatter" the ninja concept (and would be best if done in a single book for the sake of ease of use), but it does fit the various previous editions approach and really drives home that ninja could be anyone...you just never know.
That sounds like Ninja would be better as a background that adds a few Stealth advantages to other classes, thats especially so in an Asian Setting which I assume would include rules for “Martial Styles” as a variation on the background mechanic. So you end up with Ranger with stealth boost/Ninjitsu style, Bard with stealth boost/Ninjitsu, Scorcerer with stealth boost/Ninjitsu etc.
 

ZeshinX

Adventurer
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.
Actually I find the sohei one of the easiest to bring to 5e. It's essentially a Fighter subclass with Eldritch Knight-like divine spellcasting. As a class in 1e, it didn't have an enormous amount of class abilities, and many can be brought to 5e somewhat simply.

Weapon of Choice - Fighting style is the closest thing to representing that due to bounded accuracy, and does well enough to represent that 1e aspect, and it's already baked into the Fighter

Spellcasting - Use the Eldritch Knight progression model, make it Wisdom-based and spells chosen from Cleric and/or Paladin spell list (or a custom spell list that draws spells from the Cleric and Paladin lists that suit the subclass' concept)

Ki power - Is basically a rage usable once/day (once/long rest in 5e). Could be a borrowed rage from Barbarian, or to avoid borrowing another class' "thing", this could be a unique subclass ability gained when choosing the subclass...that in some way hearkens back to the "reckless disregard for their own safety" ki power of old

The 5th level "self-sacrifice" ability doesn't translate particularly well into this edition so could be ignored (or an improved version of the ki power gained at a higher level)

Class abilities from 1e after that deal with strongholds and followers that doesn't really exist in 5e....so the design space is free to think up interesting and suitable ideas for a devout temple defender type warrior.
 

ZeshinX

Adventurer
That sounds like Ninja would be better as a background that adds a few Stealth advantages to other classes, thats especially so in an Asian Setting which I assume would include rules for “Martial Styles” as a variation on the background mechanic. So you end up with Ranger with stealth boost/Ninjitsu style, Bard with stealth boost/Ninjitsu, Scorcerer with stealth boost/Ninjitsu etc.
Certainly a solid approach, though I have to admit I'd prefer something a little more "mechanically meaty" than what a background can/is intended to provide (but that's just me).
 

TaranTheWanderer

Adventurer
WTF? There are two full threads about Oriental Adventures? Which one have I been following? Did I post in this one?

Edit: I did. I think I posted in the other one too. I have no idea if I've been making sensible comments anymore because, obviously, I've been commenting thinking we were all in the same conversation.

Edit2: apparently I never commented in the other thread. phew. Still not sure if I've been making sensible comments.
 
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Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Actually I find the sohei one of the easiest to bring to 5e. It's essentially a Fighter subclass with Eldritch Knight-like divine spellcasting. As a class in 1e, it didn't have an enormous amount of class abilities, and many can be brought to 5e somewhat simply.

Weapon of Choice - Fighting style is the closest thing to representing that due to bounded accuracy, and does well enough to represent that 1e aspect, and it's already baked into the Fighter

Spellcasting - Use the Eldritch Knight progression model, make it Wisdom-based and spells chosen from Cleric and/or Paladin spell list (or a custom spell list that draws spells from the Cleric and Paladin lists that suit the subclass' concept)

Ki power - Is basically a rage usable once/day (once/long rest in 5e). Could be a borrowed rage from Barbarian, or to avoid borrowing another class' "thing", this could be a unique subclass ability gained when choosing the subclass...that in some way hearkens back to the "reckless disregard for their own safety" ki power of old

The 5th level "self-sacrifice" ability doesn't translate particularly well into this edition so could be ignored (or an improved version of the ki power gained at a higher level)

Class abilities from 1e after that deal with strongholds and followers that doesn't really exist in 5e....so the design space is free to think up interesting and suitable ideas for a devout temple defender type warrior.
You are correct. I was confusing the Sohei with the Shukenja. It has been a long time since I have cracked that book open.

I think the Shukenja would have difficulty being done as a subclass of cleric. The Sohei I barely remember, so have no comment on it.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Is Faerun the default continent of Abeir-Toril?
Yes.

Is Kara-Tur east of Faerun?
Yes.

Does orient mean east/easter of...?
Yes.
Technically, on a sphere, Kara-Tur is both east and west of Faerun (certainly closer to Sword Coast to go West via the ocean, just like going to Japan from Seattle we travel west (or technically, northwest and then southwest)), so therefore could be called "Occidental Adventures". But people wouldn't associate fantasy-Asian-esque cultures with the term "Occidental". In other words, the direction isn't why the term "Oriental" was used.

Oriental is (or more accurately, mostly, "was") a term used by Europeans to other, exoticize, and demean Asians, specifically Middle Eastern people and more generally folk from the entire continent of Asia. It should not be used for a future product.
 

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