View Full Version : East meets West

2006-03-22, 01:36 PM
My local library has come 3.5 supplement books donated by our college's local gaming guild and among them is Oriental Adventures, which got me to thinking about a game I could start in the future.

The book goes on at length on how some of the stuff in it is primarily for Rokugan/Lot5R and the rest is for your homebrew... uh... oriental adventures.

Basically I don't want to work with Rokugan. My idea, however, is to have an eastern setting/kingdoms/lands bordering with your traditional western type DnD area, basically creating to entirely different cultures next to each other.

Has anyone had experience with this sort of idea (a game that specifficallly plays on the two cultures against each other) and are there certain pratfalls or problems that come with?

((The other solution for this game is to use the Final Fantasy Returners system again, which is great for beerslamming east and west, but I'm wary as it's an entirely different system that may scare off players))

2006-03-22, 02:03 PM
The main thing to take into consideration is the cultural cross-pollination that would result from having two wildly divergent cultures as neighbours.

Look at how the ancient Greeks and the Persians dealt with one another over the centuries of contect. When the two societies weren't at war you had trade, political influence (Sparta was shored up by Persian subsidies for a while, and Greek mercenaries served the Great King), religious controversy (Greek pantheism and philosophy vs. Persian mysticism and proto-monotheism), ideological conflict (the ideal of the city-state vs. Persian imperialism), and cultural exchange (Athenian kids used to scandalize their families by wearing Persian costume).

Unless there's an almost hermetic border between the two cultures (a Dragonwall or hundreds of miles of hostile Mongols) there will be cultural interchange. A samurai or sohei in the 'western' lands will be exotic and foreign, but not unheard of. Ditto western berserks, rangers and suchlike in the 'east'.

Have fun, and don't be afraid to play on NPC prejudice ("I thought everyone in your country knew kung-fu...") ;D

2006-03-22, 02:31 PM
...as bad as it is, that's a great line.

2006-03-22, 03:40 PM
I've seen it tried several times, never well. Though admittedly the players chosen may be part of the problem. If you have good role-players who understand the cultures correctly then it may work well. If you have people who learned everything about china from jet li movies and anime.... not going to work out so well. Example problem being that Eta in rokugan were non-people. Legally that means you could kill them and no one would care. Of course it didn't work that way culturally, only legally. But I've seen players who walk down the "western" street and say "You, peasent, fetch me a horse." The peasent says "bugger off" and the samurai cuts him in half for back talking. Getting himself promptly hung by the city gaurd. The player then complains that he was "Just role-playing what my character would do."

Again this may be a problem with the players rather than the idea. But there could be much less blunt versions of this. The main contrast I think is Eastern has a higher focus on Law (fealty to one's damyio), versus western focus on Good.

2006-03-22, 04:12 PM
i agree with xano good roleplayers go a long way in making a game work. i would suggest that try to get atleast half the group to be in one culture and the other half in the other then you can have some decent interactions and realy play it up and have some fun

2006-03-22, 04:26 PM
Also bear in mind that it's entirely possible that the east (You see this in our actual eastern cultures and in the Rokugan world) could be extremely isolationist. That, too, would add to yet more cultural differences, and while both sides would be aware of the the other, contact may be stunted.

A large, border-spanning wall helps with this.

Jack Mann
2006-03-22, 04:32 PM
How about this? The two countries were once much smaller. They were seperated by a vast tract of land inhabited by barbarians/orcs/hippies that threatened both kingdoms. However, they managed to win out against them, and gradually ate into that territory, finally dissolving those tribes entirely, and meeting in the middle. This also gives you a third group, the displaced tribesman who once occupied that area, disliked by both sides and probably resentful of their land being taken.

2006-03-22, 05:30 PM
You may find this link (http://www.giantitp.com/camp0001.html) to be of interest. It's a story of Mr. Burlew's own gaming group.

2006-03-22, 06:10 PM
Jack- my idea is actually fairly similar to that; the basic idea for the game is that it's in some Borderland type area in a time after the orienal and the occidental forces had to team up and kick the crap out of Greater Evil.

From there the party would in essnce be a group of people from both sides of the fence working together as a patrol group around these borders... probably because neither side was trusting enough of the other.