How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

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How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by Big Mac »

There is 3rd Edition support for Kara-Tur, in the 3e Oriental Adventures, but I'm wondering how easy it is to actually run a 3e Kara-Tur game using that book.

So the introduction on page 5 lets you know that the book contains information for Rokugan and Mahasarpa (which you are probably not interested in, if you want to play Kara-Tur) as well as Kara-Tur itself.

The sidebar on that page shows a Legend of the Five Rings symbol and says that appears on sections that players in Rokugan should use. But there is no symbol in the book for Kara-Tur fans. And it looks like Kara-Tur and Mahasarpa might be lumped together under the category of "not Rokugan".

Has anyone run a Kara-Tur game with 3rd Edition rules?

Did you use this book? Did you need to create some sort of conversion document to show your players which options to avoid?
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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by Big Mac »

Looking through the second page of the Introduction section, the things that stand out, in the character creation process are:
  • 2 Choose Class and Race and
  • 7. Select a Feat
That's three things really. :P

Race actually comes up first.

Looking at the L5R symbols, I actually see this:
  • Human (L5R)
  • Hengyokai (non-L5R)
    • Badger Hengyokai
    • Carp Hengyokai
    • Crab Hengyokai
    • Crane Hengyokai
    • Dog Hengyokai
    • Fox Hengyokai
    • Hare Hengyokai
    • Monkey Hengyokai
    • Racoon Dog Hengyokai
    • Rat Hengyokai
    • Sparrow Hengyokai
    • Weasel Hengyokai
  • Korobokuru (non-L5R)
  • Nezumi (L5R)
  • Spirit Folk (non-L5R)
    • Bamboo Spirit Follk
    • River Spirit Folk
    • Sea Spirit Folk
  • Vanara (non-L5R)
So I can tell that the stuff that is not marked, with the LR5 logo, is more likely to be Kara-Tur stuff, but I can't tell what the deal is with the races that do have that symbol.

I know that Humans definitely exist in Kara-Tur, but I get no information, from the Oriental Adventures book alone, how to deal with them. The L5R stuff gives skills that work as class skills...and also Favoured Classes, for each human clan. I don't think I'd want to do that. I think that the Regional Feat system, from Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting would be more appropriate to a 3e campaign set elsewhere on Toril.

On top of that, it's not possible to tell if Nezumi are appropriate to Kara-Tur. (I guess they might work as a mutually exclusive option to the Rat Hengyokai.)

There is also a list of Other Races:
  • Dwarves,
  • Elves,
  • Gnomes,
  • Half-elves,
  • Half-orcs and
  • Halflings
I'm not sure where these races fit into Kara-Tur, but they are all found on Toril (half-orcs will be new) and they should be found in Kara-Tur, even if they are listed as foreign PCs.

I think it might be worth looking up the Unapproachable East book, to see how it deals with those races, as that might at least help players to have characters that come from lands that are close to Kara-Tur.
Last edited by Big Mac on Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by Tim Baker »

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 9:00 pm
There is also a list of Other Races:
  • Dwarves,
  • Elves,
  • Gnomes,
  • Half-elves,
  • Half-orcs and
  • Halflings
I'm not sure where these races fit into Kara-Tur, but they are all found on Toril (half-orcs will be new) and they should be found in Kara-Tur, even if they are listed as foreign PCs.
What did you mean by saying half-orcs will be new? Do you mean new to Kara-Tur? I don't have the original boxed set, so I wasn't clear whether the other races can be found in the original setting, aside from half-orcs, or if you meant something else.

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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by Tim Baker »

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 9:00 pm
it's not possible to tell if Nexumi are appropriate to Kara-Tur. (I guess they might work as a mutually exclusive option to the Rat Hengyokai.)
Since Spirit Folk aren't available in Rokugan, but can speak Nezumi, this seems to indicate that Nezumi are available as a playable race in Kara-Tur. Also, the Nezumi can speak either Common or Rokugani (see p. 13, although this isn't listed on p. 14). This seems to offer both Kara-Tur or Rokugan options.

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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by pawsplay »

Kara-Tur is pretty expansive, including everything from the original Oriental Adventures plus anything potentially Toril or Oerth based. I don't know that Nezumi are all that common in Kara-Tur, but given its geographic and cultural isolation, I don't have difficulty imagining they exist somewhere.

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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by Tim Baker »

pawsplay wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:36 pm
Kara-Tur is pretty expansive, including everything from the original Oriental Adventures plus anything potentially Toril or Oerth based.
Could you elaborate on the Toril and Oerth part of your statement? Is this a reference to OA originally being written for Oerth, before it was placed in Faerun? Or is there a tie to those worlds from within Kara-Tur's canon lore? Something else? I hadn't come across this info before. Thanks!

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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by ripvanwormer »

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 3:59 pm
And it looks like Kara-Tur and Mahasarpa might be lumped together under the category of "not Rokugan".
No, nothing in 3e Oriental Adventures is intended for Mahasarpa as-is. The Mahasarpa Campaign Setting PDF gives details on how to alter Oriental Adventures monsters, clans, and classes to be appropriate for Mahasarpa. Anything not labeled Rokugan is fine for Kara-Tur. You can add Rokugan things to Kara-Tur too, but some adaptation may be required.
On top of that, it's not possible to tell if Nexumi are appropriate to Kara-Tur. (I guess they might work as a mutually exclusive option to the Rat Hengyokai.)
Besides the rat hengeyokai, there's a monster in the Kara-Tur Monstrous Compendium Appendix called a goblin rat, which is essentially a Kara-Turan wererat (it's not related to Western goblins; its two forms are human and rat).

There's no reason you couldn't put nezumi in Kara-Tur, though. I'd make them characteristic of one nation or region to give that area a unique flavor, however. They might be at war with the goblin rats. The big thing about nezumi in Rokugan is that they're immune to the Taint that befouls the Shadowlands, so in Kara-Tur they could be in another region corrupted by evil, yet untouched by it. Perhaps they dwell in Wai, or the Flooded City of Ca'hong Chwi, or the ruins of Balanzia or Old Kaji-Man, or in the port city of Tudaijo.
Is this a reference to OA originally being written for Oerth, before it was placed in Faerun? Or is there a tie to those worlds from within Kara-Tur's canon lore? Something else? I hadn't come across this info before. Thanks!
I think you could adapt anything related to Kara-Tur to represent the realms of central Oerik on Oerth without much trouble. There's a tie-in between Kara-Tur and Oerth in the Fate of Istus adventure (in the form of portals between the two lands), but that was stricken from canon when The Scarlet Brotherhood accessory came out.

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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by pawsplay »

Tim Baker wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:40 pm
pawsplay wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:36 pm
Kara-Tur is pretty expansive, including everything from the original Oriental Adventures plus anything potentially Toril or Oerth based.
Could you elaborate on the Toril and Oerth part of your statement? Is this a reference to OA originally being written for Oerth, before it was placed in Faerun? Or is there a tie to those worlds from within Kara-Tur's canon lore? Something else? I hadn't come across this info before. Thanks!
Well, Kara-Tur was glued onto the Realms after being published as a "golden spine" hardcover. So there really aren't any deep lore reasons to include or not include any given element.

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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by Big Mac »

Tim Baker wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 11:33 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 9:00 pm
There is also a list of Other Races:
  • Dwarves,
  • Elves,
  • Gnomes,
  • Half-elves,
  • Half-orcs and
  • Halflings
I'm not sure where these races fit into Kara-Tur, but they are all found on Toril (half-orcs will be new) and they should be found in Kara-Tur, even if they are listed as foreign PCs.
What did you mean by saying half-orcs will be new? Do you mean new to Kara-Tur? I don't have the original boxed set, so I wasn't clear whether the other races can be found in the original setting, aside from half-orcs, or if you meant something else.
Sorry. I didn't get across everything I was thinking. Half-orcs didn't exist in 2nd Edition AD&D. They were added in 3rd Edition D&D. So they won't be listed in Forgotten Realms products, of that era.

The other races would be migrating in from The Horde setting or from Al-Qadim or from somewhere in Faerûn. A GM might need to do a little bit more work with half-orcs, as 3e D&D didn't cover so much of Toril.

Essentially you have to go all the way back to 1e for half-orcs. But then you find that there is a lot less to connect Kara-Tur with Faerûn. So there is a bit of extrapolation to be done. (Unless you just stick with the 2e logic of half-orcs not being around and punt them all the way in from Faerûn.)
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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by Big Mac »

Tim Baker wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 11:39 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 9:00 pm
it's not possible to tell if Nexumi are appropriate to Kara-Tur. (I guess they might work as a mutually exclusive option to the Rat Hengyokai.)
Since Spirit Folk aren't available in Rokugan, but can speak Nezumi, this seems to indicate that Nezumi are available as a playable race in Kara-Tur. Also, the Nezumi can speak either Common or Rokugani (see p. 13, although this isn't listed on p. 14). This seems to offer both Kara-Tur or Rokugan options.
Nice detective work!

That might mean that Nezumi are available in Kara-Tur...

...but if they were not in Kara-Tur before, it might indicate that Nezumi are found in Mahasarpa, but not Kara-Tur.

The main point I'm trying to get at here, is to see how much of this I can infer from the 3e book, without having to give up and drop back to 2e or 1e sources.

(I'm feeling that I would need to create a Player's Guide to Kara-Tur handout, if I was going to try to run a 3e Kara-Tur campaign.)
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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by ripvanwormer »

Big Mac wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:47 pm
Sorry. I didn't get across everything I was thinking. Half-orcs didn't exist in 2nd Edition AD&D. They were added in 3rd Edition D&D. So they won't be listed in Forgotten Realms products, of that era.
Half-orcs existed in 2e; they just weren't in the Player's Handbook. They appeared in, for example, the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (in the orc entry, last paragraph) and in The Complete Book of Humanoids. The 2nd edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting boxed set mentions them frequently. The boxed set mentions that the merchant company known as the Trail Lords is known to hire half-orc guards, and a half-orc named Grunch appears in one of the adventures.
Big Mac wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:03 pm
...but if they were not in Kara-Tur before, it might indicate that Nezumi are found in Mahasarpa, but not Kara-Tur.
The Mahasarpa Campaign includes a list of playable races: human, hengeyokai, spirit folk, vanara, and rishi. Nezumi aren't mentioned.

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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by night_druid »

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 3:59 pm
There is 3rd Edition support for Kara-Tur, in the 3e Oriental Adventures, but I'm wondering how easy it is to actually run a 3e Kara-Tur game using that book.
I would say you need either 1e OA or the Kara-Tur boxed set to use 3e OA for Kara-Tur. I don't think there's really enough information in 3e OA to run Kara-Tur, other than to just make it up yourself. At that point you're just running your own setting. There's no summary of Kara-Tur in 3e OA; I think it was written from the stand-point that the 3e OA book can be used as a conversion document for your 1e game, but not as a complete replacement for it.
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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by Big Mac »

pawsplay wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 3:06 am
Tim Baker wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:40 pm
pawsplay wrote:
Sun Mar 29, 2020 10:36 pm
Kara-Tur is pretty expansive, including everything from the original Oriental Adventures plus anything potentially Toril or Oerth based.
Could you elaborate on the Toril and Oerth part of your statement? Is this a reference to OA originally being written for Oerth, before it was placed in Faerun? Or is there a tie to those worlds from within Kara-Tur's canon lore? Something else? I hadn't come across this info before. Thanks!
Well, Kara-Tur was glued onto the Realms after being published as a "golden spine" hardcover. So there really aren't any deep lore reasons to include or not include any given element.
You make a good point.

I personally use Kara-Tur as part of Toril, because - although you are correct that it was going to be part of Oerth - there are no world maps showing Kara-Tur on Oerth and quite a number of Forgotten Realms branded products that locate it on Toril.

I don't think I would use both Toril and Oerth stuff with Oriental Adventures, by default. If I was going to run a Greyhawk/Kara-Tur crossover campaign, I'd be looking for nearby stuff to create some sort of "zone of transition".

For Toril, I think that The Horde campaign setting works as a great "zone of transition" between Kara-Tur and Faerûn, because both mainstream FR products and Kara-Tur products make use of edges of The Hordlands. There are some discrepancies between how Kara-Tur is shown and how Faerûn is shown. So I think I'll have a bit of crosstweaking to do there, so that both sets of PC options work in Kara-Tur and Faerûn. (I think the Shou Towns will help me, work out which subset of Farrûnian PCs would be most likely to travel to Kara-Tur.

But, for now, I'm mostly trying to work out how much this 3e version of Oriental Adventures can help me, and how many Lot5R red herrings I might need to ignore to be able to focus on 3rd Edition Kara-Tur.
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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by pawsplay »

The only elements I would say are distinctly L5R are the taint mechanics and the lore for the samurai clans (although mechanically they are still usable as-is). Some of the material, like the shugenja and spirit shaman, saw re-use in other generic sourcebooks.

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Re: How easy is it to use Kara-Tur with Oriental Adventures?

Post by Tim Baker »

Big Mac wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:03 pm
I'm feeling that I would need to create a Player's Guide to Kara-Tur handout, if I was going to try to run a 3e Kara-Tur campaign.
I'm a big fan of creating handouts like these, as long as they're fairly short. I find that most players aren't as jazzed for an idea as the GM, after all. I remember creating one for 4th Edition Al-Qadim that the players referred to not only during character creation but through the early levels of the campaign—until they internalized the info. I think it was around 4 pages long, so not too hard to digest.

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