So I'm going to refer to 3e OA, but also look back at 1e OA (for additional information).
And I want Kara-Tur to be part of Toril, so I might also look at the 3e Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting or Player's Guide to Faerûn to see if a hypothetical 3e Player's Guide to Kara-Tur would have done any Realms-specific stuff, like Regional Feats, where Crab Hengeyokai could presumably choose between the nation of Kara-Tur that they were born in...or a "Crab Hengeyokai Region" (I put that in quotes as races are not really regions - but 3e FR treats them that way) that might tie into some sort of racial Feat that gives a crab PC a crablike thing they can do.
The problem is, I'm coming up against the wall of thinking: "So my PC is a crab. What the heck am I actually supposed to do that is going to give everyone epic memories in the game?"
So let's step back a bit and explain what the rules are. The Hengeyokai has three forms:
- Human forum
- Hybrid form and
- Animal form
3e OA lets Hengyokai change forms level+1 times per day, while 1e OA only lets you change 1 time per level per day. (So 3e gives you one extra per day over 1e here.)
But I also see this, in the Level Adjustment section:
My Crab Hengeyokai PC gets +1 natural armour and +4 Swim, in hybrid form. And it looks like they can talk to crabs and use human equipment. So i can see that is a +1 LA thing. But when I switch to my animal form in a dungeon, I'm literally a normal looking crab that can scuttle around on the floor and talk to other crabs.3e Oriental Adventures page 11 wrote:Level Adjustment
Hengyokai is a more powerful race that the others listed here and in the Player's Handbook. You need your DMs approval before playing a character of such a race. To maintain the balance of power between player characters, adjustments have to be made to hengeyokai characters so that the game remains fair and enjoyable for all.
Here are my D&D stats, as a crab:
I don't actually understand what "1d2-5" actually means, as 5 is more than 2. If I subtract 5 from a d2, I'm always going to get a negative number. And if I do a minimum of 1, I'll always do 1 damage. (Maybe there is errata for this.)3e Oriental Adventures page 12 wrote:Table 1-3: Hengeyokai Animal Forms
Crab - Size: Diminutive - Speed: 15ft - AC: 18 (+4 size, +2 Dex, +1 natural) - Damage: 2 claws 1d2-5 - Strength: 1 - Dexterity: 17 - Constitution: 10
And as you can see, my PCs strength changes to a lowly 1. So I'm not going to be able to pick up anything heavy. I'm probably limited to scuttling around and looking for stuff, and picking up useful information from NPC crabs in the area.
Is that going to happen that much? Or am I pretty much going to be a human that can change into a crab...but who never does?
3e OA gives me the D&D stats for a crab (if you need to include crabs in your D&D games, it's on page 12). I'm going to go out on a limb...or a claw ...and say that the D&D crabs in Oriental Adventures are not unique to Kara-Tur. (So if a Crab Hengeyokai PC goes to Faerûn or Realmspace or another D&D world, they should be able to talk to all other crabs and those crabs should be statistically identical.)
I don't know how hengeyokai are supposed to reproduce, but it should be possible for them to live anywhere on Toril. I don't know if their human apperance is locked into forms similar to the Fantasy Asian humans they live around or if hengeyokai that moved to live with other races would have children that looked like elves or dwarves or Al-Qadim humans or anything like that.
I've got a bit of detail on Hengeyokai lands, but it's generic to all Hengeyokai:
So it looks like I'm a ranger who turns into a crab...or maybe I'm a crab that turns into a ranger. I'm not sure.3e Oriental Adventures page 10 wrote:Hengeyokai Lands: Hengeyokai do not have lands of their own. They live - alone or in small bands - near human communities usually on the edge of civilisation near regions of unsettled wilderness. Given their strong chaotic streak, hengeyokai are frequently on the move, particually when the advance of civilisation turns their wilderness retreats into bustling metropolitan areas.
The 3e OA says that "Hengeyokai are not found in Rokugan", so this is a hold-over from Kara-Tur. Maybe they also exist in Mahasarpa, and maybe I'll be asking a similar question in the Mahasarpa forum (oh hang on, we don't have one yet) but I want to stick with Kara-Tur for now, because that's where this came from.
Let's see if the 1e Orietal Adventures gives me any clues on where "Aragon the Crab" comes from. Hmm. I can't find anything in the Hengeyokai section.
So, I don't know if there is anything about this later, but I have no idea where I would be locating the homeland of a Crab Hengeyokai PC. I suppose it could be close to a fishing villiage, but if that was the case, wouldn't the fishermen be eating all of my crab friends?
I don't even know if there are freshwater crabs...and if real-world Asia has crab infested rivers that might imply that the Kara-Tur nations that are inspired by real world Asian countries with a "high crab population" are more likely to have Crab Hengeyokai who live in that country and who look like those particular humans, while in human form.
So the Classification section of the Crab article at Wikipedia tells me that there are 6,793 species of crab. So maybe there could be some Asian crabs in there that can at least give me some sort of clue for building up Crab Hengeyokai into something that is more than a set of stats for a shape-changing crab-ranger.
I did find Hemigrapsus sanguineus, which is also called the Japanese shore crab. So there should be Crab Hengeyokai around Wa and Kozakura. I don't think I could even say: "Hemigrapsus sanguineus" without struggling, but I have to say that that fairly small Wikipedia page gives me more inspiration on translating a Japanese crab into a Fantasy Japanaese crab person than two different versions of Oriental Adventures.
Has anyone seen any Asian legends or stories involving people that turn into crabs...or crabs that turn into people?