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henebry
2006-12-25, 11:09 PM
My players are pressing me to run an Oriental campaign. I've always resisted allowing Monks in my Homebrew, objecting to the presence of oriental-themed characters in a fantasy Europe/Tolkien world. But I've left room on the Eastern half of the continent for an Oriental campaign.

Here's the question: should I purchase "Oriental Adventures"? Near as I can figure, it's a 3.0 sourcebook, but everyone on the boards seems to prefer its samurai class to the one in the 3.5 sourcebook Complete Warrior.

And I gather that Oriental Adventures is a one-stop solution, offering a ready-made campaign as well as oriental-themed classes and races and magic.

So, is it everything it's cracked up to be?

Thanks for any advice!

Thomas
2006-12-25, 11:17 PM
What does a Samurai class have to do with an oriental campaign? Fighter is a better class for it anyway.

Oriental Adventures just has a few races, some classes (all reprinted in 3.5 since then), some prestige classes, one new skill, and a bunch of monsters. It sort of kind of almost lays out the basics of Rokugan (the Legend of Five Rings world), but you'd still need at least the actual L5R d20 book to run an actual Rokugan campaign... (You need both the L5R book and OA. Total rip-off.)

henebry
2006-12-25, 11:44 PM
So I should just buy the L5R book? It's 3.0, right?

Necomancer
2006-12-25, 11:56 PM
They prefer the Oriental samurai cause its fighter with a extra shiny feat. Seriously. They get one extra bonus then level just like a normal fighter. In a way its better then the complete one though, since the complete one focuses much too heavily on duel wielding.

RoboticSheeple
2006-12-26, 01:02 AM
make up an "east" setting, it will be better than the setting "included" in OA.

Skyserpent
2006-12-26, 01:50 AM
eh, I dunno, I just crafted my own eastern setting which I have seamlessly added to the normal world. Their culture is different but it's more of a... "What if Asia had been integrated with europe instead of isolating itself from the world. Thus, Katanas are a bit more common, and "oriental" creatures stalk the kings lands.

averagejoe
2006-12-26, 01:57 AM
They prefer the Oriental samurai cause its fighter with a extra shiny feat. Seriously. They get one extra bonus then level just like a normal fighter. In a way its better then the complete one though, since the complete one focuses much too heavily on duel wielding.

Actually, a bit worse than a normal fighter. Get bonus feat every three levels and doesn't automatically get heavy armor proficiency, more restricted bonus feats, and in return gets a good will save, proficiancy with a katana and wakazashi, 4 skill points/level and have iaijutsu focus as a class skill. Plus the whole daisho thing. Still, better than the complete warrior samurai. I'd just flavor fighters as samurai, or something.

I_Got_This_Name
2006-12-26, 02:18 AM
The new OA classes weren't reprinted in 3.5 books; the OA Shaman and the CD Spirit Shaman are completely different classes. Also, the Sohei never made it to 3.5. Some of the PrCs (Ninja Spy, Yakuza) are also still unconverted.

Most of OA is 3.5-compatible, or close to it with minor revision (still, you'd have to go over the book and decide what's balanced, and find things that got converted).

The OA Samurai gets more skill points than the fighter, and more class skills to help with the courtly side of samurai life. It also has more customizable styles than the CW Samurai; you can build a dual-wielder, or you can build a nimble duelist, or an armored brute; of course, it's not much more than the fighter, and gets fewer bonus feats from a narrower list. Also, although they included a lot of things that are not found in Rokugan, the stuff that is often has the setting integrated into it to some degree, which you then have to untangle (Samurai bonus feats), although this isn't too much work; you just have to either combine all of the lists or divide your Samurai to match them. I'd probably also add feats from other sources to those lists, but that might just be me.

It's also a bit Japan-Centric, even in the areas that aren't Rokugan (which is all Japanese). China, Korea, and India, get a few pages (pages 201 to 206 are World-Building, and assumes that if you were going for a Japanese feel, you'd take what they gave you; there are also a few monsters and classes for them), between them (and it's mostly China and India there); I think they might have given Vietnam, Thailand, and everything in between a sentance or two.

That said, if you're planning on running a game set in a Japan-like setting, I'd endorse the book. If you want to do a Chinese-style setting, or a Korean setting, or a game set in India, or anywhere but Japan, it doesn't have that much (it has a weapon equivalency table for European weaponry with Asian (not just Japanese) weaponry (although the romanization for the Chinese words is inconsistent at best), and Chinese dragons, and a few other things, but that's most of what you'd miss); I'd reccomend doing your own research and homebrewing.

TheThan
2006-12-26, 02:34 AM
You can dig around in the complete series to find the basic building blocks for an Asian game, but youíre going to have a hard time with Asian monsters without OA or an equivalent book. But really it depends on what sort of game your looking to run. My suggestion is to go out and rent Japanese or Chinese (or whatever culture youíre looking at basing it off of) movies (or anime if your into that) and let them inspire you.

I prefer these three variant rules when dealing with an OA game.
Class Defense bonus (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/defenseBonus.htm)

Armor as damage reduction (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/armorAsDamageReduction.htm)

The Honor system (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/campaigns/honor.htm)

And maybe even the reputation system (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/campaigns/reputation.htm) if your game is centered more around RP and generally not fighting.

Another good variant would be the taint system (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/campaigns/taint.htm). Which I believe is used in the Roukan setting.

As far as buying the OA book, itís worth it for some things and not for others. Itís a little hit and miss its also 3rd edition so itís like 80% compatible with 3.5.

Iím currently putting together a 3.5 Oriental Adventures booklet. But it wonít be finished for a while. Iíve got the base classes worked out some of the prestige classes. So Iíve got a lot of work on it in the form of spells, feats, monsters and weapons, armor and equipment (both mundane and magical) to do before itís finished.

Closet_Skeleton
2006-12-26, 05:44 AM
Oriental Adventures does have a lot of non-Japanese stuff. I'd call it 40% Japanese 60% everything else. Unfortunately it doesn't have a table identifying things by real world region. A lot of the Japanese stuff is marked as Rokugan though.

A summary of the skills, races, classes and weapons.

Japanese
Race
Hengeyokai

Class
Samurai
Sohei

Skill
Iaijutsu Focus

Prc
Iaijutsu Master
Ninja Spy
Kensei (Weapon Master)
Yakuza

Weapon
Wakizashi
Nagamaki
Naganata
Nekode
Jitte
Ninja-to
Sai
Tonfa
War Fan
Katana
Kusarigama
Sasumata
Shikomi Zue
Sodegarami
Fukumi-Bari

Monster
Gaki
Ghost
Hebi-no-onna
Hengeyokai
Kappa
Ki-rin
Korobokuro
Oni
Rokuro-kubi
Shirokinukatsukai
Tako
Tengu
Yuki-onna

Rokugan

Race
Nezumi

Class
Shugenja

Prc
Battle Maiden
Henshin Mystic
Kishi Charger
Shadow Scout
Shintao Monk
Void Disciple
Witch Hunter

Monsters (many have japanese names but are original Rokugan versions)
Bakemono
Bog-hag
Dokufu
Mamono
Shinomen Naga
Shadowlands Oni
Onikage
Tsuno

Other
Race
Spirit Folk (any including Japan)
Vanara (Indian?)

Class
Shaman (any including Japan)
Wu Jen (Chinese?)

Prc
Bear Warrior
Blade Dancer
Eunuch Warlock (Korean? Chinese? Italian?)
Shapeshifter (any including Japan)
Singh Rager (Indian)
Tatooed Monk

Weapons
Blowgun (any including Japan)
Butterfly Sword (Chinese)
Sai
Kau sin ke
Lajatang (Indonesia I think)
Sang Kauw
Three-section staff
Chakram (Indian)

Monsters
Bajang
Bisan
Tigbanua Buso
Spirit Centipede
Doc cu'oc
Lung Dragon (China)
Hannya
Hopping Vampire (China)
Nat
Nature Spirit (any including Japan)
Pennagolan (Malay)
Tasloi (Jungle)
Giant Toad
Wang-Liang (Indonesia?)
Yeti (Nepal)

The armour table has three specific japanese armours but has Lamellar which has been used all over the world so is pretty useful.

So Oriental Adventures does have some non-Japanese stuff and you'd probably end up using some of the Japanese stuff in small ammounts for other Oriental campaigns.

danielf
2006-12-26, 06:30 AM
the gap between 3.0 to 3.5 is very small, don't worry, if i was you i would buy it.

Thomas
2006-12-26, 08:14 AM
So I should just buy the L5R book? It's 3.0, right?

Well, if you want to play L5R (which is a most Japanese-themed, slightly Chinese- and general "oriental"-influenced setting), sure. L5R is hugely supported in the d20 incarnation (L5R 3rd edition, I think?), with tons of books (more than FR has, I think?); I much prefer the original L5R's system, though.

It's a great setting if you want to play just that kind of game.

Matthew
2006-12-26, 08:21 AM
A copy of Oriental Adventures and a bit of a search around the Wizards site should be enough to run a short Oriental flavoured campaign. The players need to be somewhat familiar with the setting if you expect the to behave differently than usual [i.e. not just as usual in pretty new clothes]. Maybe getting them to watch a few Akira Kurosawa films will be enough or something else, depending on the flavour you are going for.

TheThan
2006-12-26, 03:15 PM
Honestly Iím glad they didnít reprint the Sohei, that class was broken to begin with. Ki frenzy (think barbarian rage, but +2 str and dex) plus fury of blows, damage reduction and magic? Yeah, broken.

Anyway I agree OA could use a source guide, just to help speed up campaign setting design. Thanks for breaking it down as far as you did. Even though Iím fairly sure that the Lajatang is Japanese in origin, but Iím not sure either.

On an interesting note, the updated classes, particularly the Shugenja and the Samurai have been given a strong anime feel. Which I like for the Shugenja but it doesnít work with the samurai at all. In fact it makes the samurai pretty crappy.

Iíve never had the opportunity to play a Roukan game, but Iíd be interested in joining one. One thing that sort of bothers me is that people tend to think that Oriental Adventures = Roukan. Iíve got nothing against Roukan and this perception I mentioned is a testament to how good a setting it is. But I wish people would not just assume that OA=Roukan.

grinner666
2006-12-26, 03:56 PM
I've been running a Rokugan-variant OA campaign for a bit over four years now, so obviously I'd say yeah, buy it. Wonderful campaign setting. :smallsmile:

codexgigas
2006-12-26, 05:31 PM
On an interesting note, the updated classes, particularly the Shugenja and the Samurai have been given a strong anime feel. Which I like for the Shugenja but it doesnít work with the samurai at all. In fact it makes the samurai pretty crappy.

How exactly did you come to this conclusion? I can accept the samurai changes, but the Shugenja wasn't changed at all, mechanics-wise, in the 3.0 to 3.5 conversion. The Shugenja presented in CA has a slightly different spell list (mainly in the removal of Rokugan-specific spells) and the names of the Shugenja schools were changed, but that's it. While I don't have my books with me at the moment, I don't remember any huge changes in flavor text, either.

nothingclever
2006-12-26, 06:14 PM
My suggestion is to go out and rent Japanese or Chinese (or whatever culture you’re looking at basing it off of) movies (or anime if your into that) and let them inspire you.

Personally I'd say that's all you need to do and maybe get one of the books although I certainly feel they aren't worth buying. When I looked through them I really didn't find anything interesting and in general the only reason people want to play an oriental campaign is for the superficial descriptions rather than new game mechanics. Choosing classes from the books pretty much only helps to ease people into a new way of viewing the world.

I would probably just watch or read some stuff to get inspiration and wing it since an epic cheesy movie style campaign is probably what the players are looking for. I'd definitely have a highly cliched quest where the players are hired by a clan to kill their enemies who have dishonoured them and despite being amazingly skilled they choose the party to act on their behalf because doing things themselves would bring further dishonour.

TheThan
2006-12-26, 07:49 PM
How exactly did you come to this conclusion? I can accept the samurai changes, but the Shugenja wasn't changed at all, mechanics-wise, in the 3.0 to 3.5 conversion. The Shugenja presented in CA has a slightly different spell list (mainly in the removal of Rokugan-specific spells) and the names of the Shugenja schools were changed, but that's it. While I don't have my books with me at the moment, I don't remember any huge changes in flavor text, either.


Well the samurai is pretty obvious, the whole duel wielding katanas thing, the Iaijutsu as a class ability (in OA itís a skill, and therefor optional), plus the whole stare down ability practically drips with the anime feel. Iím surprised they donít get monkey grip and a giant katana.

Anyway it looks like I misspoke about the Shugenja I thought that the OA version didnít require the use of Ofudas (those strips of paper with calligraphy scrawled on them), and instead used a standard divine focusÖ next time Iíll look first before I go ranting.

BlueWizard
2006-12-26, 07:55 PM
Remember you can always create your own classes from the ones in the Players Handbook, and even design your own 'Oriental World'.

Thomas
2006-12-26, 10:20 PM
Well the samurai is pretty obvious, the whole duel wielding katanas thing, the Iaijutsu as a class ability (in OA itís a skill, and therefor optional), plus the whole stare down ability practically drips with the anime feel. Iím surprised they donít get monkey grip and a giant katana.

Have you ever watched... er, say... Seven Samurai by Kurosawa? You'd have a much more persuasive argument saying the Samurai class is based on that movie, listing the exact same abilities as support. (The movie also includes the giant katana, incidentally.)

Anime just draws from the same samurai mythology / cultural constructs. (Not that I can even think of samurai anime other than Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai Champloo, both of which deal with the later period samurai, and ronin specifically.)

You'll find every reference to Japanese culture in some anime; if your only exposure to Japanese culture and mythology is through anime, then your incorrect perception will naturally be that anything referencing those same cultural artifacts is based on anime...

nothingclever
2006-12-26, 10:46 PM
Have you ever watched... er, say... Seven Samurai by Kurosawa? You'd have a much more persuasive argument saying the Samurai class is based on that movie, listing the exact same abilities as support. (The movie also includes the giant katana, incidentally.)

Anime just draws from the same samurai mythology / cultural constructs. (Not that I can even think of samurai anime other than Rurouni Kenshin and Samurai Champloo, both of which deal with the later period samurai, and ronin specifically.)

You'll find every reference to Japanese culture in some anime; if your only exposure to Japanese culture and mythology is through anime, then your incorrect perception will naturally be that anything referencing those same cultural artifacts is based on anime...
I don't really get what you're trying to say here. He said he believes the class reeks of anime influence and you said he's misjudging japanese culture which I hardly feels he's doing.

I agree the staredown power is horribly cliched in anime since shows like Shura no Toki use it all the time.

"Zomg I can see his sword aura! Arghh! He's fighting me with one eye open cuz I'm unworthy of his full attention!"

henebry
2006-12-26, 10:57 PM
Thanks for the detailed responses, everyone. I've decided to order OA used thru Amazon. But I'm going to make my players sit with me through several Kurosawa movies to prep us. Recommendations?

So far I've heard votes for Seven Samurai and the comic book Lone Wolf and Cub.

Thomas
2006-12-26, 10:58 PM
I agree the staredown power is horribly cliched in anime since shows like Shura no Toki use it all the time.

That's sort of irrelevant, considering those animes got the elements from somewhere (such as, perhaps, Kurosawa's movies).

Like I said, they're all in Seven Samurai. (Except the two-sword foolishness. You'd have to pick another Kurosawa movie for that, I guess.) You have the iaijutsu duel and the staredown both in one fight, at that (which is a real classic, too). Mass staredown and iaijutsu are both seen in Yojimbo, too, when the ronin faces the crowd of thugs on the street.

They're jidaigeki fiction elements, which jidaigeki-themed anime obviously repeats. They're not explictly anime elements.

Thomas
2006-12-26, 11:03 PM
Thanks for the detailed responses, everyone. I've decided to order OA used thru Amazon. But I'm going to make my players sit with me through several Kurosawa movies to prep us. Recommendations?

Yojimbo first; it's shorter than Seven Samurai, and paced a thousand times better (for me, anyway; I can't stand the pacing of most Japanese and Chinese movies). Seven Samurai next. If you think your bunch has the fortitude for it, try Ran. Throne of Blood (Kumonosu-jo) is short and sweet, a pretty direct MacBeth adaptation.

Kurosawa's samurai movies were influenced by Westerns (and, in turn, influenced westerns; Yojimbo and Seven Samurai especially did) and Shakespearean playse, so they're more accessible than some of his stuff.

grinner666
2006-12-27, 12:30 AM
The only one I can honestly recommend is Seven Samurai. Yojimbo is okay, I guess (*yawns*), but Last Man Standing is the same story, only in English, with guns instead of katanas, and better directed.

Ran is King Lear set in some (unidentified, though I suppose it must be Japan becasue the director is Japanese) oriental principality. It impressed me so little that I fell asleep in the middle of it ... even though I've read King Lear and enjoyed it thoroughly ... and I TRIED to pay attention to it because I loved reading King Lear so much. But frankly it bored the crap outta me.

Honestly, Kurosawa's not a bad director; I LOVED Seven Samurai, but his other movies (those that I've seen, anyway) haven't impressed me.

Beleriphon
2006-12-27, 01:23 AM
I don't really get what you're trying to say here. He said he believes the class reeks of anime influence and you said he's misjudging japanese culture which I hardly feels he's doing.


The point is that its an artifact of Japanese movie making in general, at least in reference to that particular genre or type of story. Anime is just the more exported form film that uses the artifact in question.



I agree the staredown power is horribly cliched in anime since shows like Shura no Toki use it all the time.
And bad kung-fu/martial arts/samurai movies. Its in more than anime.



"Zomg I can see his sword aura! Arghh! He's fighting me with one eye open cuz I'm unworthy of his full attention!"Hey, if you weren't worthy I wouldn't give you my full attention either. Now what were we talking about again? :smallwink:


Thanks for the detailed responses, everyone. I've decided to order OA used thru Amazon. But I'm going to make my players sit with me through several Kurosawa movies to prep us. Recommendations?

So far I've heard votes for Seven Samurai and the comic book Lone Wolf and Cub.

You may want to hit them up with some Chinese martial arts extravaganzas so that everybody can get a feel for the non-feudal Japan view of that period in Asia. Dragon 289 (Nov 2001) has a pretty good list of movies to watch. I'll give some of my favourites from the list. Its the one with the Pagoda of Contents, complete with a break away drawing of said pagoda.
Zu: Warriors of Magic Mountain - Chinese
Dragon Inn - Chinese
Mr Vampire - Chinese with hopping vampires, horror/comedy (more comedy then horror given the rather low budget production)
Once Upon a Time in China - Jet Li martial arts action!
Moon Warriors - Sammo Hung is best friends with a whale, the whale knows martial arts! :smallbiggrin:
Chinese Ghost Story (parts 1, 2 and 3) - As titles implies, ghost stories with the usual Wuxia comedy included. Quite good and an excellent starting point.Those should suffice a list of alternate/non-Japanese movies to go with. Most are Chinese, although given the prevelence of Bollywood movies for India I suggest you avoid those for ambience. That is of course unless you and your players enjoy spontaneously breaking into song and large coreaographed dance numbers. I'm serious, even the action/superhero and police dramas do this. Really.

Puck
2006-12-27, 02:41 AM
The Sohei is not broken. That's simply untrue. OA has always operated in a different sort of setting from standard D&D, and that's been true since the book first emerged in 1st Edition AD&D. You have classes that grant you +20 and +30 bonuses to Balance, Climb, Jump and Tumble. But horribly, horribly broken? No. I'm playing a rogue/Ninja Spy in a campaign right now, and aside from Hide in Plain Sight, it's pretty much a standard rogue with a few bells and whistles added on.

I'd buy it. Just let your players run characters out of it, because so many DMs are so intimidated by it that they never let people run it because it's "broken" and "scary."

It's a cool book, and the bells and whistles add cool flavor. When I saw an Iajitsu Master step into one of my games, I was all prepared to see him dominate every single combat. I was amazed at how fast he died, instead.

TheThan
2006-12-27, 04:19 AM
Well compared to other standard classes its still rather powerful. The Wu Jen and Shugenja are about as powerful as their standard counter parts. The OA samurai is roughly as powerful as a typical fighter and so on, so meh. Now if all the OA classes were more powerful than the standard classes I wouldnít have said anything.

When I mentioned a giant sword I referring to the 15-foot swords you seen in anime and games like final fantasy VII not the kind in Seven samurai , which is more of a great sword in overall size (think it was a nagamaki, but Iím not sure). As well the duel you refer to was not an Iaijutsu duel. Those start with all their weapons sheathed. The one in Seven samurai was more of a traditional duel with some similar elements (such as sizing up their opponentís strength etc). But I was referring to the batojutsu (sp?) style represented by the main character in Ruruni Kenshin (sp?), which is a soopped up version of the Iaijutsu focus skill.
As far as the mass stair down, a strong charisma and enough ranks in intimidate would accomplish the same thing, instead of an extraordinary ability. Besides it can totally ruin some characters. Why would my quiet and unassuming swordsman have the power to frighten people with a glare?

Referencing Japanese culture and mythology is fine, and a natural choice for writers to make anime about. Its also a natural choice for rpg games. So I have no problem with that. I just canít stand to see fantastic stuff (well the silly stuff, like the gigantic swords) in other films, rpg games and stuff. Iím not saying it has to be realistic or even accurate but I guess I just like my anime separate from my rpg games.

On a strange side note, I have all the anime that have been mentioned in this thread so farÖ

As far as recommended viewing, I also recommend the Zatoichi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zatoichi) series of films. Theyíre all quite good (at least the ones Iíve seen). Aside from the ones listed above that is.

Puck
2006-12-27, 03:41 PM
Well compared to other standard classes its still rather powerful. The Wu Jen and Shugenja are about as powerful as their standard counter parts. The OA samurai is roughly as powerful as a typical fighter and so on, so meh. Now if all the OA classes were more powerful than the standard classes I wouldnít have said anything.

The sohei is rather powerful compared to what? A properly built cleric? A druid using the pre-narfed version of polymorph? A high level wizard of equivalent wealth? A bard? Not even the base classes in the PHB using core feats and spells alone are equal. Asking everything in the OA to match those base classes on a 1-for-1 basis is silly, especially since there are more powerful base classes even when you compare them to each other.

The Ninja Spy is ever-so-slightly better than a rogue unless you put Hide in Plain Sight among the rogue's special abilities, or the base rogue takes a level of Shadowdancer. Then it becomes a wash.

Shhalahr Windrider
2006-12-27, 04:06 PM
There was a 3.5 update article for Oriental Adventures in Dragon #318 (http://paizo.com/dragon/products/issues/2004/318). If you've got five bucks, you can order a PDF back issue.

In any case don't let the fact that a book was printed in the 3.0 days stop you from getting it if you feel it has useful content. Most 3.0 material can be used just fine with little to no change, and the stuff that needs changing is usually obvious.

Thomas
2006-12-27, 04:41 PM
The only one I can honestly recommend is Seven Samurai. Yojimbo is okay, I guess (*yawns*), but Last Man Standing is the same story, only in English, with guns instead of katanas, and better directed.

Ran is King Lear set in some (unidentified, though I suppose it must be Japan becasue the director is Japanese) oriental principality. It impressed me so little that I fell asleep in the middle of it ... even though I've read King Lear and enjoyed it thoroughly ... and I TRIED to pay attention to it because I loved reading King Lear so much. But frankly it bored the crap outta me.

Honestly, Kurosawa's not a bad director; I LOVED Seven Samurai, but his other movies (those that I've seen, anyway) haven't impressed me.

I had the same problem with Ran. The pacing is awful; I find this problem in almost all Japanese and Chinese movies (House of Flying Daggers, Hero, etc. - they've put me to sleep, too), not just Kurosawa's stuff. Must be a cultural-psychological thing; we're used to movies paced very differently.

Yojimbo totally beats Last Man Standing (and A Fistfull of Dollars, which was also based on Yojimbo), though; Toshiro Mifune is just that great.

Matthew
2006-12-27, 05:18 PM
I didn't like Ran much nor House of Flying Daggers (though it was very nice looking). Hero I found a very likable film. Rashomon, Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo, Sanjuro and Kagemusha were all good films, as far as I am concerned. I would be inclined to add Twilight Samurai (Tasogare Seibei) to that list and maybe Azumi as well, though the last is a quite different sort of film. The Lone Wolf and Cub Manga Book Series is also quite good.
I'm afraid I am not very familiar with many Chinese or Korean period films, but I certainly cannot recommend Seven Swords (it's truly awful). I have seen some quite good period films with Jet Li in, but some awful ones as well and I would be at pains as to how to disentangle them.
I think Ninja Scroll and Kai-Doh-Maru are worthy period Animations, but they are not everyone's cup of tea.

I hope that is helpful.

[Edit] If you happen to run a Western game A Fistfull of Dollars, For a Few Dollars and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly are good films for inspiration. I might be inclined to add the recent Deadwood series as well.

Jack Mann
2006-12-27, 05:29 PM
Yeah, it's a problem that Neil Gaiman brought up once while discussing his work translating Princes Mononoke. See, the problem isn't that these directors don't know pacing. It's that storytelling works differently in those cultures. The timing of stories differs. The exact, perfect pacing for a Japanese audience will jar an American audience (or a Sudanese audience, or a Brazilian audience).

Matthew
2006-12-27, 05:51 PM
I just though Ran sucked. I'm not sure I noticed a difference in pacing. Maybe I will watch out for it in the future. Maybe that's why Subtitled Anime usually makes more sense than Dubbed?

Shhalahr Windrider
2006-12-27, 07:02 PM
Yeah, when anime (or any other foreign film for that matter), is dubbed, it seems more prone to censorship as well bending over backwards re-write cultural references (often making it make less sense in the process) than with subtitles. Often dialogue will also be rewritten to better synchronize with characters' lips (unless your talking about Godzilla :smallwink:), which also sacrifices message content.

Thomas
2006-12-27, 07:56 PM
I just though Ran sucked. I'm not sure I noticed a difference in pacing. Maybe I will watch out for it in the future. Maybe that's why Subtitled Anime usually makes more sense than Dubbed?

Who watches/reads anything translated if they don't have to, anyway? Subtitling is the only sensible way to treat any movie or show. (Now if only Americans and Germans would get that.)

Fansubs ftw.

Matthew
2006-12-27, 08:13 PM
Me (sadly), when my friend brings over his Dutch purchased Anime (he lives and works over there at the moment and its vastly cheaper) and I lend them. My usual response? "No English Subtitles? Damn it!"

On the other hand, Vampire Hunter X was quite good in English; my girlfriend (who is Japanese and so watched the Japanese language version without Subtitles later) thought it was better than the Subtitled version, but I couldn't comment as to that beyond what she said.

elliott20
2007-01-12, 04:23 PM
getting back on topic... OA does a good job at giving you a good primer into a Japanese themed fantasy setting. In all honesty though, the samurai class in OA is... okay... but nothing to write home about. You take out the ancestral daisho and they're just watered down fighters. If you're not big into the whole ancestral guilt tripped warrior thing, samurai are just fighters.

If you want to do something with a greater Chinese theme, don't panick. There are plenty of sources out that you can look at to give a better idea for a Chinese fantasy game.

Here's a short list of things off the top of the head:

Journey to the West (where the REAL Sun Goku came from)
Liu Zhai
Legend of the White Snake (no, not the band)
Romance of the Three Kingdoms (This is where the game series "Dynasty Warriors" came from)
Shui Hu Zhuan: a story about 108 bandits living in the mountains, fighting to oppose a corrupt government

there are a million more out there. but this will give you some good ideas for campaign ideas if it's going to be more Sino-centric.

If you want to create a fantasy-like Chinese setting, focus more on the first three. If you want to do a more martial art themed Chinese setting, you need to go out and find a series of novels by a guy named "Jin Yong". He's one of the biggest Chinese martial arts novel writers out there. (In fact, you can probably just wiki him and get a good idea of his body of work)

in terms of gaming resource books, Quintessential Monk I and II from Mongoose Gamings does a great job at making the monk a better class.

Ambrogino
2007-01-13, 10:27 AM
Well, if you want to play L5R (which is a most Japanese-themed, slightly Chinese- and general "oriental"-influenced setting), sure. L5R is hugely supported in the d20 incarnation (L5R 3rd edition, I think?), with tons of books (more than FR has, I think?); I much prefer the original L5R's system, though.


I know everyone's moved on, I just thought I'd note d20 L5R comes between 2nd and 3rd edition "roll x keep y" L5R. Most of the support for d20 was dual-statted for second edition. And I agree, the original system suits the world better - I don't think magic weapons suit Rokugan at all.

Behold_the_Void
2007-01-13, 02:02 PM
I know everyone's moved on, I just thought I'd note d20 L5R comes between 2nd and 3rd edition "roll x keep y" L5R. Most of the support for d20 was dual-statted for second edition. And I agree, the original system suits the world better - I don't think magic weapons suit Rokugan at all.

Rokugan actually does have quite a few magic items and other such nemuranai in the world. If you play the card game, a good deal of the weapons have some kind of magic about them (although it tends to be more spiritual in nature).

Rokugan is probably lower magic than standard D&D, but magic items do exist in reasonably large quantities.

AtomicKitKat
2007-01-14, 12:36 AM
There is an update(see previous page).

Seven Samurai had an anime (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai_7) based on it. Giant swords and all.

Legend of Lady White Snake? Journey to the West is good. Very long, but good.

Ambrogino
2007-01-14, 03:32 AM
Rokugan actually does have quite a few magic items and other such nemuranai in the world. If you play the card game, a good deal of the weapons have some kind of magic about them (although it tends to be more spiritual in nature).

Rokugan is probably lower magic than standard D&D, but magic items do exist in reasonably large quantities.

Sorry, I was trying to be terse. I find the difference between clan heads and named noteables having relics haded down and every samurai having "generic +5 katana" to be why the D&D magic weapon system is not appropriate for Rokugan. A few charms and specific named weapons doesn't gel with the WBL vs CR system, to me at last.

ken-do-nim
2007-01-14, 07:27 AM
Um, maybe this thread isn't the right place, but it was titled "Oriental Adventures" after all. So I've been thinking about running an Oriental campaign myself, but I don't want to buy the book and I have most of the Complete series. Here are the classes I think make sense to allow:

Base classes:
Barbarian
Fighter
Monk
Ninja
Rogue
Samurai
Shugenja (forgive my spelling)
Wu-Jen

Prestige Classes:
Ronin
Kensai
+ many more I'm sure

Does anybody have anything to add to or subtract from these lists? It is hard figuring out which prestige classes are appropriate, that's for sure. Maybe most of them. Eldritch knight, archmage, etc. don't seem to be setting dependent.

Many have also discussed the weakness of the samurai. However, if you take a look at the classes above, you'll notice none are in that top tier of classes we outlined in an earlier thread, so maybe it all hangs together? You know what I mean? As long as all the players are playing characters of approximately the same power that's what's important. If not, one quick & dirty fix is to grant samurai good will saves. If that's not enough, I noticed samurai have a 'dead level' 2 levels beyond their "two swords as one" levels. You could grant them two-weapon defense and improved two-weapon defense at those levels. (Not sure if there is a greater two-weapon defense).

Matthew
2007-01-14, 07:32 AM
Yeah, there is a Greater Two Weapon Defence (BAB +11). Apparently it is in The Complete Warrior. There is no Perfect Two Weapon Defence, but you could always invent on at BAB +16. Mind, Perfect Two Weapon Fighting is Epic, so you might not want to grant either. I would grant both at BAB +16 (not at the same time, obviously).

Isn't there an Oriental Cleric Class?

ken-do-nim
2007-01-14, 07:38 AM
Yeah, there is a Greater Two Weapon Defence (BAB +11). Apparently it is in The Complete Warrior. There is no Perfect Two Weapon Defence, but you could always invent on at BAB +16. Mind, Perfect Two Weapon Fighting is Epic, so you might not want to grant either. I would grant both at BAB +16 (not at the same time, obviously).

Isn't there an Oriental Cleric Class?

Cool. Okay so with good will saves & the 3 two-weapon defense feats (provided they use katana/wazikashi) 2 levels after the other 2 weapon feats, do people think samurai is fixed? Have they jumped above fighter?

I thought the shugenja was the oriental cleric class.

Matthew
2007-01-14, 07:43 AM
Sohei, I think, is usually the Oriental Cleric (Fighter Monk type), but that was in previous editions.

I wouldn't say the Samurai has jumped ahead of the Fighter, I would say the Class still sucks, but now has a nifty +1 to +6 Shield Bonus to Armour Class, which is nice. Automatic Focus and Specialisation (and their Greater equivalents) in Wakizashi and Katana at the appropriate levels, that might make them better than the Fighter!

Make it clear to your players that a Character of the Fighter Class can be a Samurai and a Character of the Samurai Class doesn't have to be a Samurai.

An important question for you as the Dungeon Master is what Base Class do you use to represent the majority of NPC Samurai? They can't all be Two Weapon Fighting types (unless that's what you want), which means you will want ones that specialise in different areas of combat. Mounted Samurai, Spear Samurai, Bow Samurai, Great Sword Samurai are all likely going to have to be represented to some degree and the Samurai Base Class does not cut it with regard to those.

Thomas
2007-01-14, 08:15 AM
Does anybody have anything to add to or subtract from these lists? It is hard figuring out which prestige classes are appropriate, that's for sure. Maybe most of them. Eldritch knight, archmage, etc. don't seem to be setting dependent.

If you use Maho, you need sorcerers. Maho-tsukai are sorcerers by default.

ken-do-nim
2007-01-14, 08:21 AM
I wouldn't say the Samurai has jumped ahead of the Fighter, I would say the Class still sucks, but now has a nifty +1 to +6 Shield Bonus to Armour Class, which is nice. Automatic Focus and Specialisation (and their Greater equivalents) in Wakizashi and Katana at the appropriate levels, that might make them better than the Fighter!


I think the good will save is the bigger change. Most of the complaints about fighters that I've heard on this board revolve around failing will saves. But I can see samurai having strong wills, so I think that change makes sense.



An important question for you as the Dungeon Master is what Base Class do you use to represent the majority of NPC Samurai? They can't all be Two Weapon Fighting types (unless that's what you want), which means you will want ones that specialise in different areas of combat. Mounted Samurai, Spear Samurai, Bow Samurai, Great Sword Samurai are all likely going to have to be represented to some degree and the Samurai Base Class does not cut it with regard to those.

I was just expecting all these other fighting combos to be warriors, barbarians or fighters.

Matthew
2007-01-14, 08:48 AM
Oh yeah, I had forgotten about the Will Save increase. I'm not sure how much that improves things, but it is a good change. Saves in D&D are badly handled overall.

I think most objections to the Complete Warrior Samurai are in the pigeon holing of the Class as a Two Weapon Fighter, a mode of combat that sucks in comparison to Two Handed Fighting, which Samurai are ironically better known for. Over specialisation was always the problem for me, but it is a broader problem in D&D as a whole (but combat in particular).

grinner666
2007-01-14, 09:24 AM
Seven Samurai had an anime (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samurai_7) based on it. Giant swords and all.

Nonsense. That was a no-dachi, the Japanese version of the zweihander, and it's perfectly proportioned to the character who was using it.

AtomicKitKat
2007-01-14, 09:32 AM
Nonsense. That was a no-dachi, the Japanese version of the zweihander, and it's perfectly proportioned to the character who was using it.

I mean Kikuchiyo's use of the giant Nobuseri sword.:smallbiggrin: Any more information would be a spoiler. :/