Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

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Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

Post by Big Mac » Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:58 pm

Paul Westermeyer (aka GMWestermeyer) has given Wildspace: The Spelljammer Fanzine permission to bring you a Spelljammer netbook he has been working on called Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide.

Here is what he told the fanzine about his guide:
Paul Westermeyer via Wildspace: The Spelljammer Fanzine wrote:This summarizes oriental cultures in each of the major D&D settings, as well as in Hackjammer, it also includes an OA only SJ timeline, and my Kara-tur timeline. It includes original material on many of the worlds, especially Forgotten Realms, and a reasonably complete bibliography.
I've only quickly skimmed through the 67 page netbook, but there are all sorts of useful information including:
  • 8 sections giving you information on Asian content that can be used in Realmspace,
  • 4 sections giving you information on Asian content that can be used in Greyspace,
  • A section giving you information on Asian content that can be used in Mystaraspace,
  • A section giving you information on Asian content that can be used in the Hackjammer crystal sphere,
  • 3 sections giving you information on Asian content within the Spelljammer product line,
  • A section about the Asian D&D content located on the Mythic Earth,
  • A Spelljammer Oriental Adventures Timeline,
  • A detailed bibliography, with details of 12 different types of sources that can improve your Oriental Adventures/Spelljammer crossover gaming experience and
  • A timeline of Kara-Tur
Being a Paul Westermeyer document, the citations and bibliography are a major part of this, allowing you to follow his research back to all the original sources and formulate opinions based on his research, as well as his conclusions.

This is a must-have PDF for any Spelljammer campaign.

Head over to Wildspace: The Spelljammer Fanzine now, where you can download Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide (as well as seeing other interesting articles on Spelljammer).
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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Re: Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

Post by GMWestermeyer » Sat Jan 09, 2016 1:33 am

Thanks for posting this!

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Re: Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

Post by ripvanwormer » Sat Jan 09, 2016 3:45 am

Let me preface this by saying this looks like a great supplement. I just have some nitpicks on the Greyhawk section.

Chomur and Changol are from Sea of Death by Gary Gygax, page 133.
Possibly, folk from the other borders of this waste likewise penetrated at least a little way into the Ashen Desert [the Sea of Dust]: the legendary peoples of such fabled states as Changol, Jahind, and Mulwar to the south, and the folk of Sa'han, Behow, and Chomur to the west, were the sort who would dare such activity.
There's no other information in the book on what those states are like, though they must border the Sea of Dust, and thus none of them can be island chains. The other problem with identifying Chomur with "Nippon" on the Dragon Annual 1996 map is that Chomur is to the west of the Sea of Dust, not the south.

The people of Changol, Jahind, and Mulwar can probably be identified with the people of the Sea of Dust mentioned in Greyhawk Adventures, page 90, who are from "further south."
Some of the natives show Suelish origins, but the majority are from farther south: a tall, slender, curly-haired folk with blue-black skin and slanted eyes.
These blue-black skinned, slanted-eyed people are probably typical of the lands south of the Sea of Dust, where Changol, Jahind, and Mulwar are. Sea of Death has a reference on page 116 to "the dark Jahindi."

If you're looking for an alternative semi-canonical name for "Nippon," in Dragon #277's "Greyhawk 2000," Philip Athens briefly mentions a land called Ryuujin, which first developed a magical dimensional accelerator known as "the Chute" and a weapon called the dimensional rifle some time prior to 1946 CY (over a thousand years from Oerth's present day). Ryuujin holds, as of CY 2000, a monopoly on the "source vortex" that empowers dimensional accelerators. The land also produces a model of aircraft known as the Fukanou fast attack fighter. It's presumed by fans that Ryuujin is Nippon (though I think it makes more sense, given the surrounding cultures and latitude, to base those islands on Indonesia).

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Re: Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:29 am

GMWestermeyer wrote:Thanks for posting this!
Thanks for making it! :cool:
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Re: Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:09 am

ripvanwormer wrote:Let me preface this by saying this looks like a great supplement. I just have some nitpicks on the Greyhawk section.

Chomur and Changol are from Sea of Death by Gary Gygax, page 133.
Possibly, folk from the other borders of this waste likewise penetrated at least a little way into the Ashen Desert [the Sea of Dust]: the legendary peoples of such fabled states as Changol, Jahind, and Mulwar to the south, and the folk of Sa'han, Behow, and Chomur to the west, were the sort who would dare such activity.
There's no other information in the book on what those states are like, though they must border the Sea of Dust, and thus none of them can be island chains. The other problem with identifying Chomur with "Nippon" on the Dragon Annual 1996 map is that Chomur is to the west of the Sea of Dust, not the south.
Anna Meyer located those two regions to the south and south-west of The Sea of Dust, on her map. You can have a look at the bottom-left side of her online map, to see her position. :)
ripvanwormer wrote:The people of Changol, Jahind, and Mulwar can probably be identified with the people of the Sea of Dust mentioned in Greyhawk Adventures, page 90, who are from "further south."
Some of the natives show Suelish origins, but the majority are from farther south: a tall, slender, curly-haired folk with blue-black skin and slanted eyes.
These blue-black skinned, slanted-eyed people are probably typical of the lands south of the Sea of Dust, where Changol, Jahind, and Mulwar are. Sea of Death has a reference on page 116 to "the dark Jahindi."
I like the idea of blue-black people. That makes a change.
ripvanwormer wrote:If you're looking for an alternative semi-canonical name for "Nippon," in Dragon #277's "Greyhawk 2000," Philip Athens briefly mentions a land called Ryuujin, which first developed a magical dimensional accelerator known as "the Chute" and a weapon called the dimensional rifle some time prior to 1946 CY (over a thousand years from Oerth's present day). Ryuujin holds, as of CY 2000, a monopoly on the "source vortex" that empowers dimensional accelerators. The land also produces a model of aircraft known as the Fukanou fast attack fighter. It's presumed by fans that Ryuujin is Nippon (though I think it makes more sense, given the surrounding cultures and latitude, to base those islands on Indonesia).
I've been wondering if the Nippon mentioned in Greyhawk sources is supposed to be the same as the Nippon from the Endless Quest book Blade of the Young Samurai.

Moving away from Greyspace to Realmspace, did you consider reviewing the Malatra: The Living Jungle material, Paul? There are two spacefaring factions there. One is an ancient race that created an invisible haven hidden inside the Kara-Tur area. There isn't too much written about them, but I'm thinking they might have built some other things in Realmspace and may have left some stuff behind that helped the people of Kara-Tur discover how to build spelljamming ships.

The second is a spacefaring race, called the oscray, who look similar to the scro. They crashlanded spelljamming ships into the area. Perhaps they had some sort of trading relationship with the people in Kara-Tur and were trying to land at their spelljamming port, when they crash landed in the Living Jungle. :?
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Re: Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

Post by GMWestermeyer » Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:24 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Possibly, folk from the other borders of this waste likewise penetrated at least a little way into the Ashen Desert [the Sea of Dust]: the legendary peoples of such fabled states as Changol, Jahind, and Mulwar to the south, and the folk of Sa'han, Behow, and Chomur to the west, were the sort who would dare such activity.
There's no other information in the book on what those states are like, though they must border the Sea of Dust, and thus none of them can be island chains. The other problem with identifying Chomur with "Nippon" on the Dragon Annual 1996 map is that Chomur is to the west of the Sea of Dust, not the south.
I don't see those statements as particularly definitive or outlandish either way. I was mostly interested in these states as possible non-Kara-yur origins points for Oriental Spelljammers. If the information is 'wrong' that just means the Jammer community misunderstands local groundling geography a bit. :) After all, we are discussing differences between a Dragon magazine map and article and a Gygax non-TSR novel, neither is canon, IMO. Just possible sources. :)
ripvanwormer wrote: If you're looking for an alternative semi-canonical name for "Nippon," in Dragon #277's "Greyhawk 2000," Philip Athens briefly mentions a land called Ryuujin, which first developed a magical dimensional accelerator known as "the Chute" and a weapon called the dimensional rifle some time prior to 1946 CY (over a thousand years from Oerth's present day). Ryuujin holds, as of CY 2000, a monopoly on the "source vortex" that empowers dimensional accelerators. The land also produces a model of aircraft known as the Fukanou fast attack fighter. It's presumed by fans that Ryuujin is Nippon (though I think it makes more sense, given the surrounding cultures and latitude, to base those islands on Indonesia).
That's a 3e or later article, and I try to stick to 1e and 2e much as possible. It's set so far in the future, and has a feeling so 'off' that I just don't think it fits. To each his own, of course. Names change and grow, though so even if it is future Oerth in your campaign no reason to believe people call it Ryuujin now.

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Re: Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

Post by GMWestermeyer » Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:36 pm

Big Mac wrote: I've been wondering if the Nippon mentioned in Greyhawk sources is supposed to be the same as the Nippon from the Endless Quest book Blade of the Young Samurai.
Certainly not 'supposed to be', there was no hidden plan that was never revealed about TSR products, they were not that far sighted nor that good at planning. It was a chaotic catch-all that is best to think of as differing DMs doing their own world design with intermittent, chaotic oversight and planning. :D
Big Mac wrote: Moving away from Greyspace to Realmspace, did you consider reviewing the Malatra: The Living Jungle material, Paul? There are two spacefaring factions there. One is an ancient race that created an invisible haven hidden inside the Kara-Tur area. There isn't too much written about them, but I'm thinking they might have built some other things in Realmspace and may have left some stuff behind that helped the people of Kara-Tur discover how to build spelljamming ships.

The second is a spacefaring race, called the oscray, who look similar to the scro. They crashlanded spelljamming ships into the area. Perhaps they had some sort of trading relationship with the people in Kara-Tur and were trying to land at their spelljamming port, when they crash landed in the Living Jungle. :?
I forgot Malatra, honestly. I see the oscray as merely another name scro.

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Re: Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

Post by Boneguard » Sat Jan 09, 2016 4:06 pm

GMWestermeyer wrote:
I forgot Malatra, honestly. I see the oscray as merely another name scro.
Considering it's the same picture on the "Mountrous compendium" page for both, I'd say it's a good bet :)
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Re: Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

Post by ripvanwormer » Sat Jan 09, 2016 6:58 pm

GMWestermeyer wrote: If the information is 'wrong' that just means the Jammer community misunderstands local groundling geography a bit.
Fair enough, I guess!
After all, we are discussing differences between a Dragon magazine map and article and a Gygax non-TSR novel, neither is canon, IMO. Just possible sources. :)
I don't care much about canon per se, just as long as the changes you make are deliberate rather than something you'd just as soon change for the sake of harmony with your sources.

Like, if I saw someone consistently writing Teldin Moore as "Melvin Moore," it's one thing if they're doing it deliberately and another thing if it's an error they'd rather have avoided.
That's a 3e or later article, and I try to stick to 1e and 2e much as possible. It's set so far in the future, and has a feeling so 'off' that I just don't think it fits. To each his own, of course. Names change and grow, though so even if it is future Oerth in your campaign no reason to believe people call it Ryuujin now.
True. I'm not fond of Ryuujin as a name for the isles anyway, but if you're actively looking for semi-canonical names, that's another one. It's just another possible source.

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Re: Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

Post by GMWestermeyer » Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:47 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
After all, we are discussing differences between a Dragon magazine map and article and a Gygax non-TSR novel, neither is canon, IMO. Just possible sources. :)
I don't care much about canon per se, just as long as the changes you make are deliberate rather than something you'd just as soon change for the sake of harmony with your sources.

Like, if I saw someone consistently writing Teldin Moore as "Melvin Moore," it's one thing if they're doing it deliberately and another thing if it's an error they'd rather have avoided.
Definitely deliberate. For a variety of reasons I don't see the non-TSR Gord novels as canon. Afterall, the series end is pretty definitive on that score. I know a lot of Greyhawk fans hate the Dragon map, but I like it and consider it as much canon as any other Dragon article on Greyhawk.

And even if they were canon, I don't think my work is out of line with the Gord book, which I have. It's a passing reference by an unreliable narrator with virtually no details.

What I do think is clear is that the Dragon map, oriental dragon in U2, the Oni in Night Arrant, and the mention of these lands in Sea of Death all confirm oriental cultures somewhere on Oerth. :)


I am interested in any thoughts folks have on the Mythic Earth section and if the artwork was worth the hassle. :)

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Re: Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

Post by The Dark » Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:16 pm

It is hard to get much out of Mythic Earth, since the Green Books cover such a span of time without discussing Asia at all, and Masque of the Red Death has very different assumptions from other campaigns. There were some Dragon articles with possible hooks:

Dragon #240 has Mysterious Cities, which describes current events and plot hooks for various places. Hong Kong is undergoing problems with opium, and rumor is something finds the brains of opium addicts to be a delicacy - possibly a mind flayer or a psionic lich. Annual #2 (1997) has The Abomination, a former colonial governor of British North Borneo who was changed into a yuan-ti, but that doesn't directly tie into Spelljammer the way an illithid would.

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Re: Oriental Adventures and Spelljammer: A Guide

Post by GMWestermeyer » Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:12 am

The Dark wrote:It is hard to get much out of Mythic Earth, since the Green Books cover such a span of time without discussing Asia at all, and Masque of the Red Death has very different assumptions from other campaigns. There were some Dragon articles with possible hooks:

Dragon #240 has Mysterious Cities, which describes current events and plot hooks for various places. Hong Kong is undergoing problems with opium, and rumor is something finds the brains of opium addicts to be a delicacy - possibly a mind flayer or a psionic lich. Annual #2 (1997) has The Abomination, a former colonial governor of British North Borneo who was changed into a yuan-ti, but that doesn't directly tie into Spelljammer the way an illithid would.
Good catch. :)

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