[Malatra] How much of Oriental Adventures fits?

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Havard
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[Malatra] How much of Oriental Adventures fits?

Post by Havard » Tue May 08, 2018 10:08 pm

I just created a list of Oriental Adventures related products from the TSR Era. In addition there is the 3E OA/Rokugan material as well as some scattered material from 4E and 5E.

How much of this would work with the Malatra subsetting? Are there classes, races, monsters or other things generally associated with Oriental Adventures type campaigns that would not work with Malatra?

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Re: [Malatra] How much of Oriental Adventures fits?

Post by apotheot » Wed May 09, 2018 8:01 am

Havard wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 10:08 pm
How much of this would work with the Malatra subsetting?
Very Little. Possibly some monsters if a reason could be made for how they arrived there (difficult) and why they haven't become a major problem.
Havard wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 10:08 pm

Are there classes, races, monsters or other things generally associated with Oriental Adventures type campaigns that would not work with Malatra?
The Tam'hi and Katanga of the Malatra setting are renamed Spirit Folk and Hengeyokai respectively. Korobokuru exist there, as well as a few monsters from the oriental settings (kani, bakemono, oni, a few shan sao, and a single marrashi etc) but many of the themes between the two settings are not quite compatible. The Malatra subsetting was more low powered and low tech than the rest of its OA placement's neighbors, and so certain monsters might be WAY too powerful for them. The setting was very big into slowing down the cross contamination with the outside world. But as the setting aged, it became less of an fantasy style equivalent of pre-colonial indo-china (modern Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, etc) , and more an analogue for jungle themed adventures. Some adventures have a very "Lion King" flavor, others are Tarzan-esq. Capybara, jaguars, hyena, and giraffes are all been mentioned in various adventures and none of those animals would be indigenous to the oriental region. Overall, the setting directors took a "is there a good reason for it to be here?" approach to various real world animals, as well as D&D races and monsters. So in answer to your question: Yes...but.... there can always be exceptions.

As for the other way (raiding the sub-setting for OA stuff), two player races: the shu (jungle halflings) and the Saru (intelligent apes) might be fun for certain OA games. And another race the butu (a crossbreeding between bakemono and kobalds) although not considered enemies in Malatra, could become real antagonists for small communities in Kara-tur.
-Apotheot

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Re: [Malatra] How much of Oriental Adventures fits?

Post by Havard » Wed May 09, 2018 7:12 pm

So you are saying that it is wrong to label Malatra as an OA setting?

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Re: [Malatra] How much of Oriental Adventures fits?

Post by Big Mac » Thu May 10, 2018 5:23 pm

apotheot wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 8:01 am
Havard wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 10:08 pm
How much of this would work with the Malatra subsetting?
Very Little. Possibly some monsters if a reason could be made for how they arrived there (difficult) and why they haven't become a major problem.
History of the Living Jungle says this:
History of the Living Jungle wrote:The current human inhabitants of the Malatran Plateau are descended of two separate human races: the indigenous humans of southern Kara-Tur, and an ancient spelljamming race from a distant crystal sphere.
So we are looking at mixed race humans that are descended from Malatran natives and Nubari settlers from outside Realmspace. There are now seven tribes:
  • Bagoomba
  • Huroola
  • Koshiva
  • Rudra
  • Simbara
  • Wise Ones
  • Zantiri
I'm not sure if each modern Nubari human tribe has a different mix of native and ancient Nubari spacefarer blood, but you could maybe look to different human groups in Kara-Tur history, to see if you could equate one or more of the Living Jungle human tribes with an Oriental Adventures culture.

Looking at this now, I think that a lot of the influence of the Ancients has overidden or even erased some of the Oriental Adventures culture, but if you built up a relationship between the history of Kara-Tur and the present day of the Living Jungle, you might be able to slip in one or two artifacts or magic items that would fit in with themes from Oriental Adventures. :)

History of the Living Jungle also says this:
History of the Living Jungle wrote:Living in relative harmony with the modern Nubari are the diminutive shu, the wild korobokuru, the elusive tam'hi, and the shape-changing katanga. None of the modern people of the Living Jungle remember their ancient origins, and archeological clues are rare. Here, then, is a brief sketch of the history that contemporary characters do not know.
So for each of those races (and for other races not mentioned here) you need to establish if they were natives to the Kara-Tur setting or outsiders brought in by the Nubari or who have arrived in some other way.

The Oscray have a Spelljammer link, making that at least two SJ links this setting has. The Shou Lung and Wa both have links with the Spelljammer setting, so it is possible that one or both of these races somehow learned about Wildspace from the Ancient Nubari...or that they discovered Nubari artefacts.

The Oscray are an orc variant (like the Scro from Spelljammer are). They use the same artwork as the Scro, but are supposedly peaceful. So I would actually argue that they are a different group of First Unhuman War survivors that have taken a different path.
apotheot wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 8:01 am
Havard wrote:
Tue May 08, 2018 10:08 pm

Are there classes, races, monsters or other things generally associated with Oriental Adventures type campaigns that would not work with Malatra?
The Tam'hi and Katanga of the Malatra setting are renamed Spirit Folk and Hengeyokai respectively. Korobokuru exist there, as well as a few monsters from the oriental settings (kani, bakemono, oni, a few shan sao, and a single marrashi etc) but many of the themes between the two settings are not quite compatible. The Malatra subsetting was more low powered and low tech than the rest of its OA placement's neighbors, and so certain monsters might be WAY too powerful for them. The setting was very big into slowing down the cross contamination with the outside world. But as the setting aged, it became less of an fantasy style equivalent of pre-colonial indo-china (modern Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, etc) , and more an analogue for jungle themed adventures. Some adventures have a very "Lion King" flavor, others are Tarzan-esq. Capybara, jaguars, hyena, and giraffes are all been mentioned in various adventures and none of those animals would be indigenous to the oriental region. Overall, the setting directors took a "is there a good reason for it to be here?" approach to various real world animals, as well as D&D races and monsters. So in answer to your question: Yes...but.... there can always be exceptions.
Isn't the main theme of Living Jungle to have dangerous jungle monsters?

Perhaps making a list of Oriental Adventure/Kara-Tur monsters and then going through the list to look at the main theme of each monster would be a way to see what is the best fit.

As for classes, I think that the Asian socieites of the wider Kara-Tur area might well have broken down a bit, if subject to continual oppression by dangerous monsters. I think that looking at the existing Living Jungle options is the way to go there. If there is anything that work with the canon Living Jungle cultures, you might be able to import it.

Equipment and weapons might fit with the Living Jungle themes. I believe that a lot of the sword techniques in Japan were down to the quality of metal that the weaponsmiths were working with. If the same sort of metal was found below the Living Jungle and also below the wider Malatran area, then swordsmithing techniques might continue to be appropriate. The question is: Would those skills survive? Or does Living Jungle suggest that people use things that fit in more with bronze age cultures? Again, you can get an idea from any Living Jungle weapons and equipment that you see listed. If there are RPGA products with a wide variety of weapons, I would suggest that adding most - if not all - of the OA weapons might be appropriate.
apotheot wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 8:01 am
As for the other way (raiding the sub-setting for OA stuff), two player races: the shu (jungle halflings) and the Saru (intelligent apes) might be fun for certain OA games. And another race the butu (a crossbreeding between bakemono and kobalds) although not considered enemies in Malatra, could become real antagonists for small communities in Kara-tur.
-Apotheot
I like this idea! A "back formation" that inserts Living Jungle canon into Kara-Tur, would make those races feel more like native ones.

They would probably need to have rewritten backgrounds, unless they were supposed to be escapees from the Nubari barriers.
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Re: [Malatra] How much of Oriental Adventures fits?

Post by apotheot » Sat May 12, 2018 12:55 pm

Havard wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 7:12 pm
So you are saying that it is wrong to label Malatra as an OA setting?

-Havard
Well...its a different animal.
I does have the geographic positioning, and some of the oriental races (after a fasion) but no oriental classes, no system of Honor or karma, no oriental style weapons or the metal to make them, few oriental monsters (including no dragons) etc. Their belief system of animism is fairly consistent with oriental style religious superstitions. Lots of emphasis on the roll of spirits in their lives.
All in all, when settings based on a fictionalized India such as Mahasarpa from the Oriental Adventures 3e web enhancement are considered OA settings, I don't tend to have problem with including Malatra as an OA setting. Though it is definitely unique.
It might make for an interesting story to have a group of explorers form Shou Lung stumble upon the plateau somehow and gain access...but then we would be in 'Land of the Lost' territory.
-Apotheot

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Re: [Malatra] How much of Oriental Adventures fits?

Post by apotheot » Sat May 12, 2018 1:14 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:23 pm

Isn't the main theme of Living Jungle to have dangerous jungle monsters?
Well, by that token ALL fantasy based RPGs have a theme based around "dangerous monsters" :p No, that idea might be part of it, but the jungle is also about survival and growth in a inhospitable and inexplicable natural world. The fact that Taboo plays such a major part in their society means that it is nearly impossible for heroes to do anything without potentially breaking someone's taboo. This being the case, taboos did serve a purpose at one point, sometime a pointless purpose, but other times they were there to truly warn later generations of danger. The problem is, the later generations do not know exactly what that danger is, hence the inexplicable.
Big Mac wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:23 pm
Perhaps making a list of Oriental Adventure/Kara-Tur monsters and then going through the list to look at the main theme of each monster would be a way to see what is the best fit.
I do have a list somewhere on here of all the races/monsters I could find...though I wonder if it is up to date....

Big Mac wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:23 pm
As for classes, I think that the Asian socieites of the wider Kara-Tur area might well have broken down a bit, if subject to continual oppression by dangerous monsters. I think that looking at the existing Living Jungle options is the way to go there. If there is anything that work with the canon Living Jungle cultures, you might be able to import it.
I like this idea for Kara-tur in general! Essentially, the lower third of the continent is considered "Malatra" but only the Plateau is the setting "Malatra'. What the jungles and areas beyond contain I believe is still pretty open...
-Apotheot

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Re: [Malatra] How much of Oriental Adventures fits?

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:42 pm

apotheot wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 1:14 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:23 pm
As for classes, I think that the Asian socieites of the wider Kara-Tur area might well have broken down a bit, if subject to continual oppression by dangerous monsters. I think that looking at the existing Living Jungle options is the way to go there. If there is anything that work with the canon Living Jungle cultures, you might be able to import it.
I like this idea for Kara-tur in general! Essentially, the lower third of the continent is considered "Malatra" but only the Plateau is the setting "Malatra'. What the jungles and areas beyond contain I believe is still pretty open...
Teramis designed the original Malatra. So the stuff she wrote would describe what it's like around the Living Jungle.

Hopefully there isn't too much of a clash between her Malatra and the RPGA's Living Jungle version.
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
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