D&D 5E Oriental Adventures 5e: How would you do it?

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Guest 6801328

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Oh Jeez it's become a thread about racism. And to think I was here to answer the question.

I would release an adventure path in Kara-Tur, or whatever we call it, and make the place a mish-mash of different cultural elements so that it's not identifiable as China or Japan or Korea or Vietnam. (Or Bhutan. Can we have some Bhutanese elements, please?)

Then provide new subclasses...ideally one per class...designed to evoke the flavor.

(Here's my own entry for monk subclass.)
 

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epithet

Explorer
They shouldn't do it at all, they should learn from their experience with Tomb of Annihilation. If you look hard enough at something, you're bound to be able to find something to be offended at, and sure enough after ToA was released there were click-bait articles that popped up filled with quotes from people who had probably never been to Africa as anything but a tourist advancing "expert" opinions about how insensitive the book was to Africa and Africans.

No, with the pop-culture outrage machine going at full throttle, WotC needs to steer clear of anything outside of the safe box of "traditional," American-standard fantasy. It's a shame, really; I think it would be nice to get some cool stuff that would register as exotic to the typical D&D campaign world, but these are the times we live in. Nothing is more toxic than modern nerd-rage, which will end careers and product lines in a feeding frenzy of outrage before management can even approve the carefully worded apology. Best not to risk it.

What they can and should do, in my opinion, is to quietly plunder "oriental" folklore and myth for interesting additions to the monster lists. Every player in my group knows almost all the current monster line-up, and I've got a couple who could tell you how the current version compares to 1e, 2e, 3e, and Pathfinder version of the same beastie.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
As someone who's traveled a fair bit both in the USA and Europe, I agree with you that there are more differences between certain states that some outsiders realize... but I also think there are a lot more differences between European countries that *you* realize.

I lived in Europe for several years, and I've lived all over the US. I really don't think so, outside of national language and things like food (which is just as, if not more varying, in the US). Going from Germany to France? Or Belgium? Wasn't a huge difference. Lifestyle, amenities, quality of health care, education, infrastructure (although Austria seemed a bit more rustic than Germany) and economy? All really close. Way closer than the difference between California and Alabama. Remember, we're talking about western European countries against the states in the US. That's why I said a better analogy would be between a country like Germany and Turkey. This isn't just a matter of opinion. We have plenty of metrics to look at (economy, healthcare, form of government and types of majority leaders, education, etc).

Going from a state like California or New York to a state like Alabama or Mississippi is a much bigger difference than going from Germany to France, or Britain to Ireland.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
For those wanting a setting that is inspired by an Asian region that is *not* china/japan ... I heartily recommend Yoon-Suin :D

You won't regret it!
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
Seriously, though, stop talking about the word "oriental" because Wizards would never title a book "Oriental Adventures." In addition to the totally unnecessary controversy, "Oriental Adventures" is difficult to trademark and bad for SEO.

No, it's going to be "Fanglong's Guide to Kara-Tur" or "Lathander's Guide to the Morninglands" or something like that. So please quit worrying about the title -- I'm curious what you people would actually want in a book like that!
 

Mirtek

Hero
This isn't just a matter of opinion. We have plenty of metrics to look at (economy, healthcare, form of government and types of majority leaders, education, etc).
Yes, it isn't. And if you believe France and Germany are alike beyond the superficial outlook, you have not looked at any of those metrics.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
Seriously, though, stop talking about the word "oriental" because Wizards would never title a book "Oriental Adventures." In addition to the totally unnecessary controversy, "Oriental Adventures" is difficult to trademark and bad for SEO.

No, it's going to be "Fanglong's Guide to Kara-Tur" or "Lathander's Guide to the Morninglands" or something like that. So please quit worrying about the title -- I'm curious what you people would actually want in a book like that!

This.
 

I'm also going to add Kara-Tur direly needs a makeover. Its far more "Fantasy Asia but with the serial numbers filed off" than anything else in FR, except maybe the "Fantasy Egypt but with the serial numbers filed off" that's also somewhere in there

How many hundreds of years has it been in game since it ever really did anything? I'm sure they can come up with something better
 

Aldarc

Legend
I lived in Europe for several years, and I've lived all over the US. I really don't think so, outside of national language and things like food (which is just as, if not more varying, in the US). Going from Germany to France? Or Belgium? Wasn't a huge difference. Lifestyle, amenities, quality of health care, education, infrastructure (although Austria seemed a bit more rustic than Germany) and economy? All really close. Way closer than the difference between California and Alabama. Remember, we're talking about western European countries against the states in the US. That's why I said a better analogy would be between a country like Germany and Turkey. This isn't just a matter of opinion. We have plenty of metrics to look at (economy, healthcare, form of government and types of majority leaders, education, etc).

Going from a state like California or New York to a state like Alabama or Mississippi is a much bigger difference than going from Germany to France, or Britain to Ireland.
I could not disagree more. Hello. I'm an American who also lived across the US and am now living and working in Europe and engaged to an Austrian. There are massive political and cultural differences between Western European nation-states. When I go between US States, I know that I am politically likely to expect very similar political institutions and bodies. We are dealing likely with Democrats and Republicans as the two major parties. I can expect that states will have a governor, lt. governor, and often a bicameral legislative body. I know that the political system used for deciding representation for these positions at the state and federal level will be exceedingly similar between states.

Now let's talk France, Belgium, and Germany. The politics is crazy. And governmental institutions, parties, and related issues are far more different between them than it is between Texas, New York, and Montana. And these countries often have their own states or state-like regions that demonstrate the sort of cultural differences as you would see between California and Alabama, if not more so, and not just because of language and food. There is no US state that has to deal with going without a government for 589 days because of tensions between parties associated with the Walloons, Flemish, and other cultural groups. These are issues specific to Belgium. France has its own idiom of political and cultural issues. And Germany has its own idiom political and cultural issues too. And the sorts of issues they deal with are so drastically different between each other than anything that US states generally face. There will also be completely separate holidays apart from the usual Easter and Christmas, whereas I could expect the usual July 4th and Thanksgiving across all 50 States. (You may have noticed but Germany does not celebrate Bastille Day.) But please, go ahead and tell Austrians that the only cultural difference between them and Germany is that it's a bit more rustic. Please, go ahead and tell the Irish that they are more culturally similar to England than California is to Alabama.
 

CubicsRube

Hero
Supporter
Seriously, though, stop talking about the word "oriental" because Wizards would never title a book "Oriental Adventures." In addition to the totally unnecessary controversy, "Oriental Adventures" is difficult to trademark and bad for SEO.

No, it's going to be "Fanglong's Guide to Kara-Tur" or "Lathander's Guide to the Morninglands" or something like that. So please quit worrying about the title -- I'm curious what you people would actually want in a book like that!

Ok this is a much more interesting topic.

I'd love to see them flesh out kara-tur or a new area of faerun beyond the sword coast.

Theres a wealth of mythology to draw from such as thai buddhist kings, curses and ghosts , indian devas, japanese oni, taoist magicians, etc.

We could have a muay thai fighter subclass, or a filipino escrima fighter, yogic avatars, etc
 

CubicsRube

Hero
Supporter
Given the wealth of folklore of curses, id like to see some kind of cure magic/subclass (warlock would be perfect for it).

Id love to see a shiva like cleric domain (a mixture of destruction and chaos)

A ninja assassin rogue subclass

A gurkha style ranger subclass (gains limited sneak attack)
Thats all i can think of at the moment, but im sure theres more
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Oh Jeez it's become a thread about racism. And to think I was here to answer the question.

I would release an adventure path in Kara-Tur, or whatever we call it, and make the place a mish-mash of different cultural elements so that it's not identifiable as China or Japan or Korea or Vietnam. (Or Bhutan. Can we have some Bhutanese elements, please?)

Then provide new subclasses...ideally one per class...designed to evoke the flavor.

(Here's my own entry for monk subclass.)

It *is* tricky to do it right isn't it? I think it's better (and safer) to do something that is only "inspired" as opposed trying to be accurate, which takes a *lot* of work. So it should be really clear that it's not trying to be accurate. (Yoon-Suin succeeded very well in that regards)
 

We could have a muay thai fighter subclass, or a filipino escrima fighter, yogic avatars, etc

Given the wealth of folklore of curses, id like to see some kind of cure magic/subclass (warlock would be perfect for it).

Id love to see a shiva like cleric domain (a mixture of destruction and chaos)

A ninja assassin rogue subclass

A gurkha style ranger subclass (gains limited sneak attack)
Thats all i can think of at the moment, but im sure theres more
What would these entail that isn't already in existing rules?

I mean outside of defining some of these by real life race, what new mechanics would they need that would require a new class or subclass?
What is "Gurkha style", and what would it need that ranger, scout rogue, or a mix cannot provide?

What would the two fighter examples require that isn't likewise provided by monk, fighter etc.

Ninja has already been mentioned as being covered several times, depending on your preferred flavour of ninja. What do you think is missing?
 

I know this thread has generally been derailed on this subject, but as a Canadian of Chinese descent, I feel that the term "Oriental" is roughly in the same category as "Negro" is for Black People or "Indian" is for First Nations, it's not necessarily offensive but it's dated and probably shouldn't be used in polite conversations with North Americans of said backgrounds. There's also quite a world of difference between Asians from Asia, and Canadians or Americans of Asian backgrounds.

As for the existence of such a book in 5e, I feel that there shouldn't be a source book in regards to the game content, rather all the game content should be spread out among different source books. Since there's been no setting books so far, I feel that only adventures cover should cover the setting material. The previous books had too much of the design of "it has to be different, because it's a different place", I see no justification for having some of the classes in the 1e version exist. Many of the things are already covered in the PHB by Battlemaster Fighters, Assassin Rogues, the Monk class in general and the fact a lot of the classes are already culture-neutral. Xanathar's guide covers even some of the specific examples, and the Mystic/Psionics might cover more.

I'm also against the Japan-centric approach all versions of that book took. I also feel it makes books on real-world cultures from Wizards less viable, even taking European culture into account, you should ask yourself how well-covered Eastern European culture has been in D&D so far, and I doubt they're even going to bother with Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea or India with such a book. That's the sort of thing I feel the DM's Guild might handle better anyways.
 
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Oh Jeez it's become a thread about racism. And to think I was here to answer the question.

I would release an adventure path in Kara-Tur, or whatever we call it, and make the place a mish-mash of different cultural elements so that it's not identifiable as China or Japan or Korea or Vietnam. (Or Bhutan. Can we have some Bhutanese elements, please?)

Then provide new subclasses...ideally one per class...designed to evoke the flavor.

(Here's my own entry for monk subclass.)

There's already a Bhutan in Kara-Tur. It is called, in the most unimaginative way possible, "Bhutan". No, I am not kidding, look it up. And it's right next to "Tabot".
 

CubicsRube

Hero
Supporter
What would these entail that isn't already in existing rules?

I mean outside of defining some of these by real life race, what new mechanics would they need that would require a new class or subclass?
What is "Gurkha style", and what would it need that ranger, scout rogue, or a mix cannot provide?

What would the two fighter examples require that isn't likewise provided by monk, fighter etc.

Ninja has already been mentioned as being covered several times, depending on your preferred flavour of ninja. What do you think is missing?

Flavour mostly. Thai fighters could be monks with capacities to absorb damage (maybe gaining limited resistance or sonething) as well as more powrful leaping attacks.

Gurkhas could get advantage to attacking while stealthed or fighting in favoured terrain, gain a dagger fighting style, advantage on navigating and enduring harsh conditions.

These are just rough ideas. I havent really thought much about them. But it would mostly be making new combinations of existing class features that might open up slightly different play styles.

Obviously the real life backgrounds would be used for starting inspiration and then d&d ized from there. I'm not meaning to emuulate real groups.

But when i think about it, i like the idea of a holy wrestler, a monk with limited rage, a spellcaster that can summon and contain demons.. theres a lotof possibilities
 

CubicsRube

Hero
Supporter
Ok heres a stab at one.

Monk: way of the 8 limbs

At 3rd level, your tough training emables you to endure heavy blpws. You may spend a ki point to gain resistence for one non magical attack that hits you

Overwhwlming assault. At 6 level, your training has taught you to use every part of your body as a weapon. You may spend an additional ki point to make a 2nd flurry of blows this turn.

The iron soul. At 11th level your training has permeated your spirit. You cannot be charmed or frightened. In addition, you may cast the fear spell once per long rest.

The walking death. At 17th level your strikes become so precise and your body has become so toughened that you have become death incarnate. You score a critical hit on a 19-20


Obviously above needs to be playtested, but its a class id be excited about playing. A high offense furious monk!
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Races should kick the "sacred cow" of the 1e OA square in the gonads. Oriental Fantasy is filled with all manner of mystical and magical beings living alongside or not too dissimilarly from humans; what does it say about D&D when the sourcebook on Oriental Fantasy actually results in a less fantastic world than most urban fantasy manga! Name of the game is to bring in strong, distinctly Oriental races, which makes for an interesting replacement to the classic Elves & Dwarves & Orcs.
That wouldn't be a 5E version of the Oriental Adventures supplement. I suggest you come up with a new name and drop the not-so-veiled digs at OA.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
#2 - The reason it was called Oriental Adventures and we don't have European Adventures is because of ethnocentrism. It is the idea that Whiteness is the default and everyone else is 'other'. That's the real problem. It treats white people as special while others are less than white.

With respect to "Othering", use of the term Oriental in Oriental Adventures to indicate they're different from the generic is kind of the point. In other words, "These aren't your standard fantasy ideas as written by people of European descent using their own cultural histories as the default." The term is supposed to mark them as different - as "other". That, however, doesn't imply anything about being lesser or the default being special in this particular context. In fact, the presumption in publishing it at all had been to provide something that people clearly wanted to check out and incorporate into their gaming. How exactly that makes them less than white is beyond me.

That said, there is a lot of baggage associated with the term Oriental in Western societies. The mysterious East, the machinations of Fu Manchu, the hidden plateaus of secret societies, the exotic tales of Arabian nights, all stereotyped and fetishized for the enjoyment of imperialist societies of the 18th-early 20th centuries yet blanketed under one term and its derivatives "the Orient". That is why the term should be considered with caution, if you ask me.

That doesn't mean that someone shouldn't try to develop source material based on non-European cultural influences. I'd say "Bring them on" instead. Just put good research into them and cover them with some cultural sensitivity rather than grossly stereotype.
 

ad_hoc

(he/they)
With respect to "Othering", use of the term Oriental in Oriental Adventures to indicate they're different from the generic is kind of the point. In other words, "These aren't your standard fantasy ideas as written by people of European descent using their own cultural histories as the default." The term is supposed to mark them as different - as "other". That, however, doesn't imply anything about being lesser or the default being special in this particular context. In fact, the presumption in publishing it at all had been to provide something that people clearly wanted to check out and incorporate into their gaming. How exactly that makes them less than white is beyond me.

That said, there is a lot of baggage associated with the term Oriental in Western societies. The mysterious East, the machinations of Fu Manchu, the hidden plateaus of secret societies, the exotic tales of Arabian nights, all stereotyped and fetishized for the enjoyment of imperialist societies of the 18th-early 20th centuries yet blanketed under one term and its derivatives "the Orient". That is why the term should be considered with caution, if you ask me.

That doesn't mean that someone shouldn't try to develop source material based on non-European cultural influences. I'd say "Bring them on" instead. Just put good research into them and cover them with some cultural sensitivity rather than grossly stereotype.

It would be fine if it weren't for colonization.
 

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