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Raolin_Fenix
2007-09-05, 12:48 AM
So I was browsing Complete Arcane the other day, and I stumbled across the Wu Jen. I'd seen it before, of course, but I'd never really looked into it.

Now, let me say right off that I hate the class. It started irritating me with the name, and progressed from there. Seriously -- how can you have any respect for something called a Wu Jen? It's like giving your BBEG a ridiculous Australian or Cockney accent. (Sorry, Australians and British -- the key-word is "ridiculous." :D)

That being said, though, I've never really looked at the class in depth. And when I thought about it, I can't remember ever really seeing very many (if any) topics about it here on the GITP forums.

Is there any special reason for this? Is it such a gimped class that nobody even wants to discuss it? Or so broken that it has no place in polite conversation? Or does everyone just hate the name as much as I do? How does it compare, in terms of power, to other classes?

Damage Control
2007-09-05, 12:53 AM
Undead Australian druid with a giant crocodile companion. Perfect BBEG.

But in all seriousness, I've never really been that interested in the Wu Jen.

Logic
2007-09-05, 01:01 AM
I really like the flavor of the Wu Jen. It is a Wizard, but not quite. I haven't noticed any balance issues either. Its somewhat shorter spell list makes for a less dominating Wizard. Which is closer to the role that Wizards should play.

Icewalker
2007-09-05, 01:05 AM
I've got the book. Don't particularly like the class. Somehow I've always felt it would never have a spot to fit into my campaign, even though I have been doing a lot of consideration on a feudal Japan themed location....huh.

Irreverent Fool
2007-09-05, 01:12 AM
So I was browsing Complete Arcane the other day, and I stumbled across the Wu Jen. I'd seen it before, of course, but I'd never really looked into it.

Now, let me say right off that I hate the class. It started irritating me with the name, and progressed from there. Seriously -- how can you have any respect for something called a Wu Jen? It's like giving your BBEG a ridiculous Australian or Cockney accent. (Sorry, Australians and British -- the key-word is "ridiculous." :D)

That being said, though, I've never really looked at the class in depth. And when I thought about it, I can't remember ever really seeing very many (if any) topics about it here on the GITP forums.

Is there any special reason for this? Is it such a gimped class that nobody even wants to discuss it? Or so broken that it has no place in polite conversation? Or does everyone just hate the name as much as I do? How does it compare, in terms of power, to other classes?

I think perhaps it isn't often played or talked about because it really doesn't fit in with the general 'medieval fantasy with magic' theme most people expect and desire out of D&D. As hard as Wizards wants to insist that "ninja, samurai, ronin, shugenja, yakuza and monks...have gradually filtered into people's expectations for a fantasy world" (from sidebar in ToB) I think the majority of players of D&D want a dungeon-delving adventure ala Conan/Tolkien/Viking tales/Sinbad/Greek fantasy/etc etc. Those who want a more 'eastern' game go for other games that cater to them. After all, you don't generally expect to see the bare-chested greatsword-wielding barbarian with flowing blond locks to be walking around with samurai and ninja in feudal Japan.

That's my editorial take on it. :D


EDIT: Speaking of ninja, curse you Icewalker!

Logic
2007-09-05, 01:14 AM
I think perhaps it isn't often played or talked about because it really doesn't fit in with the general 'medieval fantasy with magic' theme most people expect and desire out of D&D. As hard as Wizards wants to insist that "ninja, samurai, ronin, shugenja, yakuza and monks...have gradually filtered into people's expectations for a fantasy world" (from sidebar in ToB) I think the majority of players of D&D want a dungeon-delving adventure ala Conan/Tolkien/Viking tales/Sinbad/Greek fantasy/etc etc. Those who want a more 'eastern' game go for other games that cater to them. After all, you don't generally expect to see the bare-chested greatsword-wielding barbarian with flowing blond locks to be walking around with samurai and ninja in feudal Japan.

That's my editorial take on it. :D

I think I shall reply with this quote anytime a players ask to play one of the classes I ban for normal games due to flavor reasons.

Lord_Kimboat
2007-09-05, 01:33 AM
Undead Australian druid with a giant crocodile companion. Perfect BBEG.

But in all seriousness, I've never really been that interested in the Wu Jen.

I can just imagine when the party enters this guys lair.

You enter the cave made of branches and mud. Stagnant water up to your knees and the humidity clinging to you closer than any armor or clothing you've every worn.

You suddenly turn a corner and there you see the druid, up on a bank and dressed in the dull green short and shirt that you have seen him in so many times before.

He spots you and shouts, "CRIKEY!!!!"

Roll for initiative.


Steve Irwin, RIP.

Kurald Galain
2007-09-05, 02:23 AM
It's MY turn, and I say: Ninja! (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0274.html)

Rad
2007-09-05, 02:59 AM
I'm wondering what would happen if the class name were 'elementalist' instead of Wu Jen.

SCPRedMage
2007-09-05, 05:46 AM
I'm wondering what would happen if the class name were 'elementalist' instead of Wu Jen.
Oh, people would probably start arguing as to why "metal" is one of the elements...

Although that WOULD lend credibility to the Titanium Elemental...

Reel On, Love
2007-09-05, 05:55 AM
I think perhaps it isn't often played or talked about because it really doesn't fit in with the general 'medieval fantasy with magic' theme most people expect and desire out of D&D. As hard as Wizards wants to insist that "ninja, samurai, ronin, shugenja, yakuza and monks...have gradually filtered into people's expectations for a fantasy world" (from sidebar in ToB) I think the majority of players of D&D want a dungeon-delving adventure ala Conan/Tolkien/Viking tales/Sinbad/Greek fantasy/etc etc. Those who want a more 'eastern' game go for other games that cater to them. After all, you don't generally expect to see the bare-chested greatsword-wielding barbarian with flowing blond locks to be walking around with samurai and ninja in feudal Japan.

That's my editorial take on it. :D


EDIT: Speaking of ninja, curse you Icewalker!

No, not really. The Wu Jen could fit a number of less-formally-educated wizard-types just fine.

The problem is that it's Just Like The Wizard Only Worse. You have a limited spell list, unlike the wizard, who picks spells from every book published, and gets better ones, and has a similar enough flavor that you might as well just go with the wizard.

JellyPooga
2007-09-05, 05:57 AM
I'm one of those people who sits in the "meh, couldn't care less" camp as far as oriental-themed characters go, but generally wouldn't play one myself.

As far as the Wu Jen goes, however, I don't really see it as an oriental-themed character class, despite the fluff/name they give it. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I would rather play a Wu Jen rather than a Wizard. I like the idea of the taboos and the elemental specialisation (or whatever it's called) and the spell secrets are a nifty idea too...kinda allows you to be generally a bit better at a few spells or you can use them all on one spell and become a master of it.

Oh yeah, there's another thing....Can anyone say Firey Eyes? Heat vision ftw!:smallbiggrin: Seriously though, I really like some of the Wu Jen only spells; good flavour, good effects.

As far as class balance goes, I'm not too sure...I'd have to take a good long look at the spell list to see what they do and don't get in comparison to Wizards and balance it against the fact that Wizards get bonus feats as opposed to Spell Secrets and then add in the Taboo factor...add it all up, divide by Pi....take the 3rd root from the divisible...differentiate the mean....

....

....

....and come up with the answer "Full Spellcaster". I.e. Like the Wizard, they'll generally struggle at lower levels, due to amazing lack of HP, but at mid- to high levels, if carefully played, will out-gun any non-spellcaster with their arcane might.

Telonius
2007-09-05, 08:06 AM
One of my fellow gamers will be playing one in the next campaign. I'm interested in seeing how it works in action.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-05, 08:34 AM
The problem is that it's Just Like The Wizard Only Worse. You have a limited spell list, unlike the wizard, who picks spells from every book published, and gets better ones, and has a similar enough flavor that you might as well just go with the wizard.

This has been my general take on the class. You could RP a wizard as a Wu Jen just fine and not really lose anything much and gain a ton.

Peregrinus
2007-09-05, 08:44 AM
I've got the book. Don't particularly like the class. Somehow I've always felt it would never have a spot to fit into my campaign, even though I have been doing a lot of consideration on a feudal Japan themed location....huh.

Wu Gen is not a Japanese-style caster, that's the Shugenja. Wu Gen are Chinese style wizards, hence their elements being Fire, Metal, Wood, Earth. The Japanese elements are a bit more familiar: Fire, Water, Earth, Air and Void. If you want to do a more Japanese style location, remove clerics, paladins, wizards, druids and bards from the available class lists. Add Shugenja, Samurai (from OA not CW), and Shaman (from OA). Well, at least that's what I've done in my Oriental campaign setting in my game world.

OverdrivePrime
2007-09-05, 09:15 AM
I played a Wu-Jen from level 1 to level 7 in a friend's Oriental Adventures campaign, and it was a lot of fun. I do agree that the Wu-Jen's decreased versatility makes it sort of a Wizard-lite. The elemental themes, however, are something that I dig on pretty hard and I really like some of the Wu-Jen exclusive spells (giant size, anyone?).

I've brought the Wu Jen into my own campaign world as an Elementalist, and I've expanded their spell list somewhat by adding appropriate spells from the various "complete" books.

GryffonDurime
2007-09-05, 09:29 AM
I love the Wu Jen. It was my first class, really, in DnD, and so it holds a special place in my heart...partially because I've discovered a way that an aspiring young Wu Jen could erradicate a planetary ecosystem in thirty minutes at level 13.

Beyond that one exploit? A Wu Jen's spells, taboos, and secrets really make it feel like an arcanist more in line with the witches of folklore. Personally, I think you could make a chance for deAsianing the Wu Jen as, say, an Arcane Philosopher, making it the first wisdom-based arcanist.

Person_Man
2007-09-05, 09:36 AM
Due to their limited spell list, there is no crunch reason to play a Wu Jen. Play a Wizard who goes into an elemental PrC and wears a kimono.

meet shield
2007-09-05, 10:04 AM
Of course, the Wu Jen isn't powerfull like a wizard, cause have a limitated spell list, but if you don't want be attacked at the end of school to your party cause you don't leave to them anything to do, that's a lot better then a wizard! Cause nothing is hated more then a wizard NPC, excluse a PC wizard!
Damn it, I'll never play a wizard!
I am for the ottimized character, of course, but, all you know it, ottimized a wizard isn't a challenge! It's like use the Book of the Nine Sword! You'll never play if you have one of this player in the party. I prepare a lot of 3.5 fighter combo for the perfect meet-shield, but nobody of that can kill a player wizard by yourself, one by one. That is the biggest error of the 3.5 edition. And that is why the combact mage and the Wu Jen exist.

Starbuck_II
2007-09-05, 11:26 AM
Of course, the Wu Jen isn't powerfull like a wizard, cause have a limitated spell list, but if you don't want be attacked at the end of school to your party cause you don't leave to them anything to do, that's a lot better then a wizard! Cause nothing is hated more then a wizard NPC, excluse a PC wizard!
Damn it, I'll never play a wizard!
I am for the ottimized character, of course, but, all you know it, ottimized a wizard isn't a challenge! It's like use the Book of the Nine Sword! You'll never play if you have one of this player in the party. I prepare a lot of 3.5 fighter combo for the perfect meet-shield, but nobody of that can kill a player wizard by yourself, one by one. That is the biggest error of the 3.5 edition. And that is why the combact mage and the Wu Jen exist.

Wu Jen have few Wu jen only spells that are a serious threat. Spirit Binding is nice I'll admit.

Pain is a nice one, but for a 4th level spell...it loses compared to better 4th level spells: Dimension door, polymorph, etc.

And the Wu Je has to get Polymorph: he doesn't get the Polymorph subschools.

But one benefit: Favor Metal and get Secret spell G.M.W extend: at level 8:
It will last 20 hours and +2 bonus to weapon.
At level 10: 24 hrs and +3 bonus to bonus (which might make it better than actual bonus easily).

CASTLEMIKE
2007-09-05, 11:57 AM
I always thought the Wujen would make a better sorcerer than the core sorcerer being it is a self taught class for the most part and the Spell Secret aspects casting a few spells differently.

meet shield
2007-09-05, 12:02 PM
the biggest problem of a Wu Jen are the Tabý: for example, if a warrior cut your hair, you lose all your enchantment. Or if a warrior enter in fight with you and constrict you to turn in the wrong direction. Or if a warrior...

Saph
2007-09-05, 12:06 PM
I think the total unpopularity of the Wu Jen is a combination of three things:

1) The name. What the hell is a Wu Jen? I speak Chinese and even I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. Five something? At least with a class called 'Ninja' I know what I'm getting.

2) The flavour. It seems very heavily Oriental - at least I'm guessing it's supposed to be Oriental. None of the class features or description really ring any bells from what I know of Chinese stories. Maybe it comes from some of the old mythology, but it does feel a bit like they needed a third base class for Complete Arcane and just pulled a vaguely Eastern 'elementalist' class out of nowhere.

3) The mechanics. Apart from one or two very specific tricks, Wu Jen don't do anything that other classes don't do better. The Warmage fills a very specific niche, and the Warlock has the fun factor of unlimited spell use, but the Wu Jen is just . . . a weirder, weaker wizard.

- Saph

AKA_Bait
2007-09-05, 12:15 PM
Of course, the Wu Jen isn't powerfull like a wizard, cause have a limitated spell list, but if you don't want be attacked at the end of school to your party cause you don't leave to them anything to do, that's a lot better then a wizard! Cause nothing is hated more then a wizard NPC, excluse a PC wizard!
Damn it, I'll never play a wizard!
I am for the ottimized character, of course, but, all you know it, ottimized a wizard isn't a challenge! It's like use the Book of the Nine Sword! You'll never play if you have one of this player in the party. I prepare a lot of 3.5 fighter combo for the perfect meet-shield, but nobody of that can kill a player wizard by yourself, one by one. That is the biggest error of the 3.5 edition. And that is why the combact mage and the Wu Jen exist.

Hey now, there is no reason to go hatin' in the wizard. Yes, oh yes, the wizard can be El Senor de Broken if you trick him out, which as was suggested wearing a kimono and going into an elemental PrC isn't really doing, but they can be plenty useful and not party stealing if their player and the DM remember a few important things:

1. Casting time. Not all spells can be cast as a standard action or even a full round action.

2. Material Components and actually having them in your hand at the time.

3. Any intellegent bad guy tries to kill the wizard first.

Those things remembered, I have to agree that there is no crunch reason to play a Wu Jen and flavor is totally up to the player and DM anyway.

Foxpaw
2007-09-05, 01:13 PM
As hard as Wizards wants to insist that "ninja, samurai, ronin, shugenja, yakuza and monks...have gradually filtered into people's expectations for a fantasy world" (from sidebar in ToB) I think the majority of players of D&D want a dungeon-delving adventure ala Conan/Tolkien/Viking tales/Sinbad/Greek fantasy/etc etc. Those who want a more 'eastern' game go for other games that cater to them. After all, you don't generally expect to see the bare-chested greatsword-wielding barbarian with flowing blond locks to be walking around with samurai and ninja in feudal Japan.

Eh? I don't know about the comics, but in the Conan the Barbarian movie the first companion Conan gets is Subotai, an asian thief. Later on in the film he meets an asian wizard, who just happens to be the narrator of the whole story. It's not a samurai or a ninja, but it is a bare-chested greatsword-wielding barbarian with flowing (brown) locks walking around with an oriental flavored companion.

Edited to add that he actually travels to an asian country to learn swordplay as well. So there is precedent.

meet shield
2007-09-05, 01:27 PM
Yes, AKA Bait. But how you can kill the wizard first if the wizard have on him some spell whit he can disapeared if you attack him? And then kill-dominate-block you or stop the time and do all this thing contemporanealy? How the hell you can kill a wizard? And what the hell can do a player of the wizard can't do better (except cure, of course)?

PlatinumJester
2007-09-05, 02:23 PM
I think the Wu Jen is cool. Much more interesting than the Wizard even though the stupid restrictions like can't eat meat etc seem retarded.

P.S. The best trick for the restrictions is to make one "The person can't sit in a certain direction" and then make the direction upwards.

Dark Knight Renee
2007-09-05, 02:59 PM
The Wu Jen has a few problems, in both crunch and fluff, which are unfortunately interconnected.

The alignment restriction is pure lunacy, particularly since the fluff it's built on doesn't really agree with it (the designers of D&D products can't even agree on what lawful and chaotic mean! Beyond that, I will avoid starting an alignment debate).

The taboos add extra (and potentially very serious) restrictions to a class that isn't good enough to warent them.

Although I don't have the book in front of me, I had the impression that the Wu Jen is a less potent class than the wizard, but my skill at spellcasting optimisation is so poor that my opinion on the matter is pretty much moot.

Flavorwise, their spell selection seems like a fusion of wizardly and druidic themes, which isn't bad, though the list never appealed to me enough to warent using it - I recall it lacking many of the iconic (not batman, just iconic) spells of arcane spellcasters, and doesn't gain anything worthy to replace them IMHO, reducing the appeal of the class for me even further.

The Wu Jen is further hurt by the fact that, like the other eastern themed classes, it doesn't have a clear place in the "typical" D&D game.

FireSpark
2007-09-05, 03:04 PM
Wu jen's are fun to spring on player's who aren't expecting it. For example:

I had campaign that was to culminate with the group confronting the BBEG is his hidden mountain laboratory. They knew that this guy had been the head of arcane studies at a magic school, and not thinking to ask, everyone simply assumed that he was a wizard (of course, that's exactly what I was hoping they'd do :smallamused: ). They finally find him in a monstrous canyon in the middle of his base, and seeing as they had been as subtle as dire bull in ye olde china shoppe in gaining entry to said base, he was ready and waiting. The first he did? Cast giant size.:smallbiggrin:

So now there they stand before a collosal sized 65-foot-elf, wielding a club the size of a house, who promptly starts wiping the floor with them until they manage to alter their attack plan to fit the situation. The battle was still a challenge for them, but what made it memorable, for them and me, was just the shock of the unexpected. (That, and the party fighter being used like a golf ball! :smallbiggrin: )

So Wu jen still have their uses.

Telonius
2007-09-05, 03:39 PM
Eh? I don't know about the comics, but in the Conan the Barbarian movie the first companion Conan gets is Subotai, an asian thief. Later on in the film he meets an asian wizard, who just happens to be the narrator of the whole story. It's not a samurai or a ninja, but it is a bare-chested greatsword-wielding barbarian with flowing (brown) locks walking around with an oriental flavored companion.

Edited to add that he actually travels to an asian country to learn swordplay as well. So there is precedent.

He may have been talking about the original Conan stories by Robert Howard. Those are set mainly in a fantasy-version of Europe, with a bit of Egypt thrown in. I think there are some Chinese elements to it way off East, but I don't specifically recall if Conan ever traveled there during the stories.

Jade_Tarem
2007-09-05, 03:46 PM
Given enough levels, the Wu Jen / Air Elemental Savant can convert himself, at least temporarily, into a colossal sized, intelligent, spellcasting tornado.

Tell me that's not cool.

skywalker
2007-09-05, 03:56 PM
Would you, the population of this thread, consider the swordsage "asian themed?"

I think it was quietus, or possibly Indon(one of those guys with the dude in the grey robe as their avvie) who spoke on the topic of wu jen elemental savants and their broken-ness.

I personally think it's an interesting class, the taboos are pretty interesting, and it's not like you're going to lose your power if someone else cuts your hair against your will(you aren't sampson, YOU aren't allowed to cut your hair.) This also brings to light one of the grittier aspects of h2h combat, that long flowing locks often become extra handholds in a grapple.

In response to playing a wizard in a kimono, what about playing a wu jen in a robe? I think there are reasons(game-balance wise) to decrease your power, and if you can't help but max out the class's power(I'm sort of guilty here) then maxing out a wu jen would mean keeping some shred of game balance.

EDIT: Or, you know, it could've been Jade_Tarem that was talking about that... nah... he's a NINJA, not a wu jen... I knew it was somebody involved with the BotCC...

ArmorArmadillo
2007-09-05, 06:17 PM
I like the Wu-Jen, a lot.

1. It is one of the few Asian elements in printed official D&D that doesn't fall into the overtypical "Kung-Fu Samurai" theme (people should know what is wrong with that term.)

2. It balances the wizard well by removing the majority of the breaking save or die/suck/lose effects and the effects which nullify other classes.

Rockphed
2007-09-05, 06:48 PM
1. It is one of the few Asian elements in printed official D&D that doesn't fall into the overtypical "Kung-Fu Samurai" theme (people should know what is wrong with that term.)

I can only assume that you are referring to Kung-Fu being a Chinese thing and Samurai being a Japanese thing. Or maybe to the card game "Kung-Fu Samurai From Giant Robot Island!"

And Wu Jen never impressed me. If they had been called an elementalist, and given proper fluff, I might warm up to them. Then I only read the class once, and it was in the completes (which frequently amazed me with bad editing) so I can't give specifics.

horseboy
2007-09-05, 07:31 PM
He may have been talking about the original Conan stories by Robert Howard. Those are set mainly in a fantasy-version of Europe, with a bit of Egypt thrown in. I think there are some Chinese elements to it way off East, but I don't specifically recall if Conan ever traveled there during the stories.

He spent a lot of time in India, but I don't immediately recall anything from China specifically. I'm sure he ran with some Mongols some time, though, I just can't remember when.

Fhaolan
2007-09-05, 07:52 PM
*starts to write a post... then blinks* Wait a minute...


1) The name. What the hell is a Wu Jen? I speak Chinese and even I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. Five something? At least with a class called 'Ninja' I know what I'm getting.


Ah ha! I know this... I do... finding the stupid book... one day I'll index this mess...

Got it. Wu Jen is a *name* of a Chinese philospher/mystic. Specifically, "Poh Hun Wu Jen", mentioned in the Chuang Tzu as a contemparary of Confucius.

Ha! Told you I knew this one.

How that has anything to do with the D&D class, I have *no* idea.

JellyPooga
2007-09-05, 07:55 PM
*starts to write a post... then blinks* Wait a minute...



Ah ha! I know this... I do... finding the stupid book... one day I'll index this mess...

Got it. Wu Jen is a *name* of a Chinese philospher/mystic. Specifically, "Poh Hun Wu Jen", mentioned in the Chuang Tzu as a contemparary of Confucius.

Ha! Told you I knew this one.

How that has anything to do with the D&D class, I have *no* idea.

Ye gods Fhaolan, that's a pretty obscure bit of knowledge to be floatin' round yer brain-box! I've got some pretty useless stuff in mine, but all of it pales in comparison to this little gem of trivia...:smalltongue:

Aquillion
2007-09-05, 08:48 PM
If you want to do a more Japanese style location, remove clerics, paladins, wizards, druids and bards from the available class lists. Add Shugenja, Samurai (from OA not CW), and Shaman (from OA). Well, at least that's what I've done in my Oriental campaign setting in my game world.I would disagree with the assertion that you have to remove any of those to get a 'mystical eastern' game... and this gets to the heart of the reason why I dislike "themed" classes like monks, druids, and Wu Gen.

Clerics can be easily adapted to fit almost any theme. Hey, I'm a cleric of Amaterasu, with the Sun and Creation domains. Presto, done.

Bards are even easier. There are minstrels in Japanese fantasy, after all. So you carry a Shamisen, and, um... that's it. Bard class adapted.

I can't think of anything you'd have to do with wizards. Describe yourself as sage from a distant mountain or something, maybe? I don't think there's anything you'd have to change, really... the description of how they gain their powers is actually very vague, beyond a general "through study" and through the written word. There's plenty of that in the mythology of just about any culture.

Paladins might seem tough to adapt, but it's really just the name. "Holy warrior" types are not unique to any culture. In fact, the way paladins are described seems almost more eastern than western... they derive almost supernatural abilities from their asceticism and commitment to "the proper path". That's not a very Western concept at all.

Fhaolan
2007-09-05, 09:14 PM
Ye gods Fhaolan, that's a pretty obscure bit of knowledge to be floatin' round yer brain-box! I've got some pretty useless stuff in mine, but all of it pales in comparison to this little gem of trivia...:smalltongue:

My mind is a scary place, full of *utterly* *useless* stuff. I can't remember where I put my car keys, but I can clearly remember watching all five episodes of the sitcom "A Year at the Top" on CBS in 1977 staring Greg Evigan and Paul Shaffer *as themselves* selling their souls to the Devil's son for a hit record....

Trivia is too important for me to remember. It has to be even *more* meaningless than triva for me to remember it.

Peregrinus
2007-09-06, 01:20 AM
I would disagree with the assertion that you have to remove any of those to get a 'mystical eastern' game... and this gets to the heart of the reason why I dislike "themed" classes like monks, druids, and Wu Gen.

Clerics can be easily adapted to fit almost any theme. Hey, I'm a cleric of Amaterasu, with the Sun and Creation domains. Presto, done.

Hate to say this, but this shows how little you understand the concepts behind eastern religion/philosophy. Part of the concept of a cleric is that you serve one deity or one specific set of ideals. This springs straight from a Western perspective on reality and truth. In eastern religion, things are not always so clear cut. Further, it is very unusual for a religious person follow just one deity or set of ideals. Further, from a purely mechanical standpoint, the weapon/armor proficiencies don't make sense, as traditional religious weapons for the east include many weapons that DnD qualifies as exotic or martial, oh, and usually religious figured don't wear heavy armor, where does core DnD get that idea from? Well, frankly, the military-monastic orders of knights from the Crusades.

Now, that is not to say you can't adapt them to an eastern setting, a cleric of a cause fits better than worshiping a specific deity. Change some weapon proficiencies and take away armor... hey, wait a second, we're basically talking about a Water Shugenja now.


Bards are even easier. There are minstrels in Japanese fantasy, after all. So you carry a Shamisen, and, um... that's it. Bard class adapted.

Again, mythology is the key. Bards are very specifically a western idea, the wandering mistral who woos people with song and story. Could it be adapted, perhaps, but I find that it doesn't fit as well as it could.


I can't think of anything you'd have to do with wizards. Describe yourself as sage from a distant mountain or something, maybe? I don't think there's anything you'd have to change, really... the description of how they gain their powers is actually very vague, beyond a general "through study" and through the written word. There's plenty of that in the mythology of just about any culture.
I'll concede the wizard, to a certain degree. I personally think that the ideal of wizards is more western than eastern. Mystics in eastern mythology tend to be a bit more religious in nature than the quasi-scientific nature that wizards have, hence both the Shugenja and Wu Gen having a certain degree religious nature.


Paladins might seem tough to adapt, but it's really just the name. "Holy warrior" types are not unique to any culture. In fact, the way paladins are described seems almost more eastern than western... they derive almost supernatural abilities from their asceticism and commitment to "the proper path". That's not a very Western concept at all.
*blink*

You really don't understand much about both Paladins and eastern ideals in general. Firstly, Paladins don't gain power from asceticism, but from a direct link to their deity or some other specific force that grants them power. Secondly, in eastern philosophy, Good vs Evil is not so much focused on as Honor and Proper Place, in other words Law/Chaos. The Paladin must be both lawful and good, which while somewhat compatible with eastern philosophy, conflicts in that rooting out evil is not anywhere near as important as maintaining society. Finally, commitment to "the proper path," is actually more Western than Eastern in philosophy. Specifically, the idea of adhering to the "straight and narrow way" comes from Christianity. In so many words, the Paladin is meant to be a class for someone who wants to play a Knight Templar.

UserClone
2007-09-06, 09:45 AM
What Peregrinus said. Also, while I like the Wu Jen, it isn't found in my personal favorite Eastern-Themed Campaign Setting- Rokugan, of L5R. That setting is the S***.

Aquillion
2007-09-06, 04:07 PM
Hate to say this, but this shows how little you understand the concepts behind eastern religion/philosophy. Part of the concept of a cleric is that you serve one deity or one specific set of ideals. This springs straight from a Western perspective on reality and truth. In eastern religion, things are not always so clear cut. Further, it is very unusual for a religious person follow just one deity or set of ideals. Further, from a purely mechanical standpoint, the weapon/armor proficiencies don't make sense, as traditional religious weapons for the east include many weapons that DnD qualifies as exotic or martial, oh, and usually religious figured don't wear heavy armor, where does core DnD get that idea from? Well, frankly, the military-monastic orders of knights from the Crusades.What? No. D&D clerics do not have to devote themselves to a single god; they can devote themselves to a philosophy, belief, set of gods, broader worldview, whatever.

Heavy armor... was never used anywhere to the degree it appears in D&D. The concept of the cleric archtype wearing heavy armor, though, is just as comically absurd in the west as it is in the east. It's never made any sense; it's in there for game mechanics reasons, not because it matches any particular culture. In general, though, the militant nature of D&D clerics as a whole is actually even less compatable with Western thought, since as a whole western religions generally placed much more stock in pacifism.

Any weapon proficencies you think a cleric of a specific religion should have can be gained as a bonus through the necessary domains... but the fact that you even understand that there are eastern religions with specific weapons you could attribute to them shows you already know how silly this cleric argument is. There weren't enough established militant orders in the west to actually get that far; the mace thing is completely a D&D invention.


Again, mythology is the key. Bards are very specifically a western idea, the wandering mistral who woos people with song and story. Could it be adapted, perhaps, but I find that it doesn't fit as well as it could.The word bard is a western term, because D&D classes are named in English. Wandering entertainers, though, were common in nearly all pre-industrial societies. The bard class is no more specific than that.


*blink*

You really don't understand much about both Paladins and eastern ideals in general. Firstly, Paladins don't gain power from asceticism, but from a direct link to their deity or some other specific force that grants them power. Secondly, in eastern philosophy, Good vs Evil is not so much focused on as Honor and Proper Place, in other words Law/Chaos. The Paladin must be both lawful and good, which while somewhat compatible with eastern philosophy, conflicts in that rooting out evil is not anywhere near as important as maintaining society. Finally, commitment to "the proper path," is actually more Western than Eastern in philosophy. Specifically, the idea of adhering to the "straight and narrow way" comes from Christianity. In so many words, the Paladin is meant to be a class for someone who wants to play a Knight Templar.Now you just don't understand D&D. Go back and read the class in your PHB.

D&D paladins have no connection to gods. This is specifically spelled out in the text. Their powers do not derive from gods; they can choose to devote themselves to a god, like any other class, but gain no particular benefits from doing so; they never derive their powers from one, and a paladin has no more of a direct link to their deity than a fighter does. Short of all-powerful overgods, no god, no matter how powerful, has any ability to grant or deny anyone the slightest degree of paladin abilities; it comes entirely and exclusively from within. (Naturally, this varies a lot by setting, since a few settings dislike having divine abilities without a divine source.) But per RAW, one of the main thematic differences between paladins and clerics is that paladins do not derive their powers from gods, worship, religion, or any ideals beyond the basic ideals of a Paladin--honor, loyalty, compassion, and a refusal to abide by evil.

I would argue that Guan Yu, for instance, is as good a model of a Paladin as any in Western mythology or histories.

Irreverent Fool
2007-09-06, 04:27 PM
Eh? I don't know about the comics, but in the Conan the Barbarian movie the first companion Conan gets is Subotai, an asian thief. Later on in the film he meets an asian wizard, who just happens to be the narrator of the whole story. It's not a samurai or a ninja, but it is a bare-chested greatsword-wielding barbarian with flowing (brown) locks walking around with an oriental flavored companion.

Edited to add that he actually travels to an asian country to learn swordplay as well. So there is precedent.

*sigh* You know what I meant. The movies are total bullhockey in my opinion but I suppose you've got me there.

Also: Mmmm, oriental-flavored companion. I bet he'd be the first to go when food ran out.

Fax Celestis
2007-09-06, 04:29 PM
Also: Mmmm, oriental-flavored companion. I bet he'd be the first to go when food ran out.

Yes, but is he Kung Pao, Sweet and Sour, or Mongolian?

GimliFett
2007-09-06, 04:33 PM
Didn't notice this before, since every time I've searched for "Wu Jen," it's come up empty. Part of why I started THIS (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=56003) thread. Oh, well.

Personally, I love Wu Jen. I like the flavor and their spell list and basically their abilities. I think they work great as a blend of the natural and mystical for elves, thus they are favored class for elves, IMC. However, I've altered them somewhat in my world/campaigns. I can post it here, but I wonder if I should post it in the Homebrew forum?

Eh. If it needs to go there, it goes there later.

Here's my alterations:

Add Survival to class skill list.
Bonus Languages: Choose Giant, Draconic or Sylvan.
Spell Secret: Choose a number of spells equal to one-half the characterís Intelligence modifier (round down) to alter with the spell secret. You may alter the same spell with multiple spell secrets.
Taboos: A wu jen may choose to take a taboo in conjunction with Spell Secret, expanding the metamagic feats available to include the following (at the cost of two and three spells, respectively): empower spell and widen spell. If a wu jen violates one of these taboos, she cannot cast any more spells that day.

Just Alex
2007-09-06, 05:09 PM
Any weapon proficencies you think a cleric of a specific religion should have can be gained as a bonus through the necessary domains... but the fact that you even understand that there are eastern religions with specific weapons you could attribute to them shows you already know how silly this cleric argument is. There weren't enough established militant orders in the west to actually get that far; the mace thing is completely a D&D invention.

Monks using blunt weapons is a product of catholicism. During the middle ages, a Pope banned all priests from wielding swords. Those who traveled or were charged with defending their abbeys went with the mace.

alexi
2007-09-06, 07:12 PM
Monks using blunt weapons is a product of catholicism. During the middle ages, a Pope banned all priests from wielding swords. Those who traveled or were charged with defending their abbeys went with the mace.

Can you point out what edict that was?
Clerics are not ment to be priests, they are members of orders millitant who were expected to wield sword, lance and axe in the defence of chistiandom.

I can think of examples of cardnials and popes wearing armour and weilding swords.

Peregrinus
2007-09-07, 12:09 AM
For information regarding religous orders. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knightly_orders) The concept of the Paladin and Cleric stem directly from the Crusades and the Hospitalars, the Templars, the Teutonic Knights, to barely scratch the surface.

Here's the problem with the philosophy/following a way vs divine intervention for Clerics and Paladins: both can have their powers revokes. Paladins especially, I'm sorry, "the power comes from within" and "becoming an ex-paladin" simply do not mesh. I don't have a PHB in front of me, and the SRDs don't have the fluff text, so I'll try and re-read it at some point, but it has always been my understanding that a paladin's abilities come from somewhere. And you'll note, I did mention clerics of a cause, again, the problem becomes what you then have to do to adapt the cleric of a cause to an eastern campaign:

1. Take away some/all armor proficiencies.
2. Grant proficiency with weapons that fit the religious order/setting.
3. Potentially modify the spell list?
4. Potentially alter casting style?
5. Potentially grant other special class abilities?

If you do only 1 and 2, I can grant you a Cleric can fill the same role as a Miko. However, once you stray into 3, 4 and 5 you've entered the realm of creating a new class altogether... in fact, Shugenja are exactly that:

1. Takes away armor proficiencies.
2. Grants proficiency with short sword.
3. Special spell list, greatly reduced from cleric.
4. Casting off of Cha instead of Wis, spontaneous caster and all that comes with it.
5. Don't have turn undead or have domains, instead have sense elements and a favored element system.

Or perhaps the Shaman from OA:

1. Takes away armor proficiencies.
2. can't remember...
3. Special spell list, mostly drawn from the cleric/druid list
4. Wisdom based caster, prepared caster like the cleric
5. Gains a few extra class abilities, most notably an animal companion, keeps domains.

Both these, thematically, fit an eastern campaign far better than a cleric does, but aren't that far removed.

As to bards, if bards were just wandering minstrels, you'd be right, but they aren't. Many bardic ideas come from the actual concept of a Bard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bard) from Celtic tradition. Further, the idea of a wandering minstrel being an adventurer is by far more of a Western than Eastern ideal. That being said, you could have them with little consequence in an eastern game and it wouldn't bother me.

As to Guan Yu being a paladin, that is arguable since he did things against the paladin code, specifically associating with evil by serving Cao Cao, who in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms is definitely portrayed as villainous. That being said, he's also been elevated to a demi-god status in Chinese and Japanese mythology, so that does count for something.

In the end, I do not think that all the core classes of DnD work well for an Eastern setting, and in my setting I disallow them because of that, but allow other classes because I like them and think they fit. That is my prerogative as a DM.

TheThan
2007-09-07, 01:51 AM
I believe that what fits in a western setting doesnít fit in an eastern setting and vice versa. Which is why there are several different classes for each. Sure some classes (Iím looking at you fighter) are generic enough to fit into just about any setting imaginable, but others like the druid, cleric, wizard and bard are too closely tied to western concepts. Which is why we have analogs at fill each of their niches (well except the bard). While these classes fill the same roles they are not the same and shouldnít be used in conjunction with their western counterparts. Otherwise the two end up competing for the same spot in a party. In most cases the western classes win out due to them being generally more powerful (example: wizard vs Wu Jen, or cleric vs Shugenja). It doesnít mean these classes arenít good, it just means the western classes are better.

For a basic eastern flavored game there are the following:
Barbarian
Fighter (Bushi)
Monk
Ninja
Ranger
Rogue
Samurai (your choice)
Scout
Shaman (once again your choice)
Shugenja
Sorcerer
Wu Jen

For prestige classes, there is a large list of classes you can adapt, so much so that Iím not going to go into it (just in the complete series thereís like 4 or so different monk classes, just as an example).

Naturally you can adapt this as you see fit. For example if youíre doing a Japanese setting you would probably want to drop the Wu Jen and shaman classes, and probably the ranger (in favor of the scout). Or if you were looking into a Chinese themed game youíd probably want to drop the Shugenja, Ninja and Samurai.
The hardest part about running a DnD campaign, crunch wise is picking which races you choose to populate your world. I personally find the races presented in oriental adventures to be somewhat lackluster and not very interesting. I suggest doing some research and creating your own races (as Iíve done). Or possibly restricting race selection down to just humans to avoid problems.
As DMs we have the right to decide what fits into our campaign worlds and what doesnít. I strongly suggest to anyone looking to run a dnd game based on eastern fantasy to sit down, decide on what you want to do and stick to your guns on it.


[Shameless Plug]
Oh if youíre looking for something that fits the role of a bard in the party without actually using the bard class in your eastern setting you should check out my Socialite class in my signature. Oh you might want to check out my revamped Yakuza class while youíre at it.
[/Shameless Plug]

Aquillion
2007-09-08, 03:03 PM
Here's the problem with the philosophy/following a way vs divine intervention for Clerics and Paladins: both can have their powers revokes. Paladins especially, I'm sorry, "the power comes from within" and "becoming an ex-paladin" simply do not mesh. I don't have a PHB in front of me, and the SRDs don't have the fluff text, so I'll try and re-read it at some point, but it has always been my understanding that a paladin's abilities come from somewhere.Well, I do have the PHB in front of me, and I can tell you that no, it says outright: Paladins are born, not made. Paladins do not have to devote themselves to a god. A Paladin's divine power comes from their devotion to righteousness itself (and, hence, fades if they lose that inner purity.)

Palor can sometimes decide to allow some evil in the service of the greater good; a cleric of Palor could occasionally commit evil or cooperate with evil in the service of the greater good. A Paladin can't, because their power is derived directly from their devotion to righteousness, not from their god. That's the key difference between clerics and paladins, and that's why paladins have a code of conduct, while clerics just have to worry about what their deity thinks.

TheThan
2007-09-08, 03:54 PM
The paladin class in DnD is based upon the concepts of the holy warrior thatís described in a lot middle age
Legends, many of which are based loosely on real life events. I just did a quick wikipedia search and came up with like 12 different paladin characters (this isnít even counting the legends of King Arthur and his knights). So the concepts of the devout holy warrior is not new.

I wouldnít be surprised if they gave the paladin so much leeway with not choosing a deity simply to keep players from whining about having to pick a god to worship. Plus it can provide problems when someone wants to pick an evil god to worship. Even though his alignment restrictions would prevent it.
This really points out how poorly made the paladin is. I certainly hope that 4.0 reworks the paladin into a much better (mechanically and thematically) class.

Aquillion
2007-09-09, 02:27 PM
I wouldnít be surprised if they gave the paladin so much leeway with not choosing a deity simply to keep players from whining about having to pick a god to worship. Plus it can provide problems when someone wants to pick an evil god to worship. Even though his alignment restrictions would prevent it.That is true for clerics, whose class description mostly talks about gods everywhere, and has a few sentences mentioning how you can worship an ideal or whatever if you want.

Paladins, though, are the exact opposite. The only place in the Paladin class description that mentions gods or religion at all is the "religion" section; no more space is devoted to talking about the faith of paladins than the faith of, say, wizards or barbarians.

A cleric's class description specifically notes the process of choosing a god, and how their powers derive from this. In fact, Clerics get "Deity" listed as a class feature even in the SRD. Paladins don't; in fact, the SRD makes no mention of a Paladin's religion at all.

In fact, I think if you look at the way the text is set up (and compare them to clerics), it becomes fairly clear that things are the exact opposite of what you're assuming; Paladins are written with the assumption that they will not devote themselves to individual, but a few bare sentences are provided (in the 'religion' section, which every class gets to describe how they relate to religion) mentioning that they can, if they wish, devote themselves to a good god. It isn't a feature for the class--a Paladin who worships Palor is no different from a Fighter who worships Palor, and will gain no more benefit from their worship, nor suffer any more losses if they decide to change gods. Worshipping a god is, for a Paladin, basically a fluff decision, no different than the religion of a mage, fighter, or rogue... it isn't a part of the class like it is for a cleric.