What are the Forgotten Realms influences on Kara-Tur?

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What are the Forgotten Realms influences on Kara-Tur?

Post by Big Mac » Wed May 09, 2018 12:30 pm

I've heard that Kara-Tur was originally going to be inserted into Greyhawk and that it got moved over to being a Forgotten Realms subsetting later.

What sort of impact has this had on the Kara-Tur canon?

Is there anything in Forgotten Realms canon that has an impact on how Kara-Tur works? (Is there anything in Forgotten Realms canon that should have an impact on Kara-Tur, but that doesn't get mentioned?)

For example, is there any mention of the Overgod, Ao, in any of the Kara-Tur books?

Does the Weave (or the Shadow-Weave) have any involvement in spellcasting in Kara-Tur?

Are there examples of FaerIûnian spellcasting in Kara-Tur...or vice versa?

Is there any sort of philosophy, alchemy or science in Kara-Tur that ties into the "laws of nature of Realmspace" (where real-world Asian cultures have similar things that tie into real world science or pseudoscience)?
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Re: What are the Forgotten Realms influences on Kara-Tur?

Post by Boneguard » Wed May 09, 2018 1:42 pm

The inclusion of Kara-Tur to the Realms rather than Greyhawk has little to no impact s it was pretty much a stand alone supplement.

Aside from the Silk Road analogue mentionned in the Horde, not really the Faerûn kept evolving without any mention of Kara-Tur other that 1 mention in one of the Living City supplement, LC1 I believe, of a group of retired advrnturer who open a tavern who went to the Far East snd has learned Jiujitsu (using OA martial arts rules). Same of the 2 or 3 OA post inclusion in the Realms. No mention of the Western land.

Spelljammer did more in this respect than the whole Forgotten Realms line.

No "cross-contamination" on the Faith level, Kara-Tur belief system simply have no place or mention of the Faerûnian gods nor any mention of the Weave. Their magic system is based on the elements and their Esoteric lore are geared that way.

The Path and the Way belief system made it into Wild Space, Post horde box set, they included Shoo silk and other oriental element via Aurora catalogue
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Re: What are the Forgotten Realms influences on Kara-Tur?

Post by ripvanwormer » Thu May 10, 2018 1:17 am

I don't think Kara-Tur itself was ever intended to be set in the World of Greyhawk, but back when François Marcela-Froideval was going to be the author of Oriental Adventures, a section of the book was supposed to detail the "Oriental" lands of Oerth (see Dragon #102, page 36). That never came to pass, however. One Greyhawk module, Fate of Istus, does make reference to Kara-Tur, but it's not clear what world it's supposed to be on (Kara-Tur is connected to the Flanaess via a portal, so it could be any world).

Races of Faerun notes (page 108) that the Shou have established an embassy in Elversult. This was destroyed in 1373 DR (Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, page 45). In the 4e era, many Shou dwell in Thesk at the far western end of the Golden Way trade route and the nation of Nathlan on the Dragon Coast is ruled by the Shou. There's also a "Shou town" district in Marsember in Cormyr called Xiousing.

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Re: What are the Forgotten Realms influences on Kara-Tur?

Post by Big Mac » Thu May 10, 2018 5:54 pm

Boneguard wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 1:42 pm
The inclusion of Kara-Tur to the Realms rather than Greyhawk has little to no impact s it was pretty much a stand alone supplement.

Aside from the Silk Road analogue mentionned in the Horde, not really the Faerûn kept evolving without any mention of Kara-Tur other that 1 mention in one of the Living City supplement, LC1 I believe, of a group of retired advrnturer who open a tavern who went to the Far East snd has learned Jiujitsu (using OA martial arts rules). Same of the 2 or 3 OA post inclusion in the Realms. No mention of the Western land.
I have seen Kara-Tur mentioned in 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms products, but those mentions don't really let you know what is going on in the nations of Kara-Tur.
Boneguard wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 1:42 pm
Spelljammer did more in this respect than the whole Forgotten Realms line.
Maybe I should be making a topic for that. ;)
Boneguard wrote:
Wed May 09, 2018 1:42 pm
No "cross-contamination" on the Faith level, Kara-Tur belief system simply have no place or mention of the Faerûnian gods nor any mention of the Weave. Their magic system is based on the elements and their Esoteric lore are geared that way.

The Path and the Way belief system made it into Wild Space, Post horde box set, they included Shoo silk and other oriental element via Aurora catalogue
I did see that. So, I know that means that the Kara-Tur relgions work throughout the entire Realmspace crystal sphere. I was looking for some sort of evidence that Priests/Clerics from Faerûn would regain spells in Kara-Tur.

I suppose that the Weave is really more of a philosophical construct than something that Faerûnian spellcaster interacts with directly. :?

It is a bit of a shame as I know that real-world Chinese people built gizmos that dropped balls into cups to show the direction of earthquakes. If anyone could build a "Weave detector" I would expect it to be one of the Kara-Tur cultures. :)
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Re: What are the Forgotten Realms influences on Kara-Tur?

Post by ripvanwormer » Thu May 10, 2018 7:48 pm

The main issue is that the Weave and Ao are concepts introduced later on in 2e, after the publication of the Kara-Tur boxed set, and no sources published after that detail Kara-Tur much at all. So there was no opportunity for Kara-Tur to acknowledge these concepts. Maztica and Al-Qadim don't mention them either.

Since Faerûn and Kara-Tur are in the same crystal sphere and the same planet, I can't imagine there would be any problem with divine spellcasters from one region being unable to regain their spells in another. There's no precedent for such a failure in any other campaign setting, so it'd be pure sadism on the part of a DM to introduce it.

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Re: What are the Forgotten Realms influences on Kara-Tur?

Post by Tonnichiwa » Thu May 10, 2018 8:12 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:54 pm
I did see that. So, I know that means that the Kara-Tur relgions work throughout the entire Realmspace crystal sphere. I was looking for some sort of evidence that Priests/Clerics from Faerûn would regain spells in Kara-Tur.
Maybe this will help. On page 137 of the AD&D Oriental Adventures book in the section titled "Gajin", in the fifth paragraph it states "There are, however, advantages. Firstly, a change in location does nothing to affect the abilities of the character. Those powers a character possessed in one land still apply here...."

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Re: What are the Forgotten Realms influences on Kara-Tur?

Post by Big Mac » Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:27 pm

Tonnichiwa wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 8:12 pm
Maybe this will help. On page 137 of the AD&D Oriental Adventures book in the section titled "Gajin", in the fifth paragraph it states "There are, however, advantages. Firstly, a change in location does nothing to affect the abilities of the character. Those powers a character possessed in one land still apply here...."
Thanks that's very helpful. :)
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Re: What are the Forgotten Realms influences on Kara-Tur?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:41 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 1:17 am
In the 4e era, many Shou dwell in Thesk at the far western end of the Golden Way trade route and the nation of Nathlan on the Dragon Coast is ruled by the Shou. There's also a "Shou town" district in Marsember in Cormyr called Xiousing.
Just to add to this, the 3E supplement The Unapproachable East also mentions a sizable Shoul population in Thesk, notably so following the Tuigan invasion. The city of Phsant in particular seems to have quite a large Show population, and is the headquarters of the Yakuza group known as the Nine Golden Swords.

Also, on the topic of Kara-Tur and the Weave, I seem to recall that the Time of Troubles did affect Kara-Tur (and was referenced in the Horde trilogy). The Tuigan actually had one of their main encampments within an Anti-Magic zone, due to its protective qualities. As I no longer possess those books, though, I cannot verify any specifics.

There was a 2E book that might be helpful; Faiths and Avatars, I think it was. It detailed primarily the Faerunian pantheons, but an early section of it discussed the various pantheons of Toril and their separations (including those of Kara-Tur.)

EDIT: Turns out I still have a copy. There is a section that I think is relevant to the original post in the section titled "Spheres of Godly Interest":
Faiths and Avatars wrote:A pantheon holds ultimate sway within its own sphere of influence (if it is uncontested). Priests from other pantheons may cross into its sphere of influence, receive spells, and remain relatively unnoticed and unmolested by the deities whose sphere of influence they are in provided they do not attempt to convert the inhabitants of the region, set up a temple, or engage in a holy war. Any of these last activities provokes a pantheon to act in its own self-interest. At this point, most powers have their priesthoods or knightly/military orders take action to eject the foreign influence (most good and neutral deities) or expunge it (most evil powers).
(Bolded for emphasis)
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Re: What are the Forgotten Realms influences on Kara-Tur?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:07 am

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:41 pm
ripvanwormer wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 1:17 am
In the 4e era, many Shou dwell in Thesk at the far western end of the Golden Way trade route and the nation of Nathlan on the Dragon Coast is ruled by the Shou. There's also a "Shou town" district in Marsember in Cormyr called Xiousing.
Just to add to this, the 3E supplement The Unapproachable East also mentions a sizable Shoul population in Thesk, notably so following the Tuigan invasion. The city of Phsant in particular seems to have quite a large Show population, and is the headquarters of the Yakuza group known as the Nine Golden Swords.
Thanks.

I guess these communities would work in a fairly similar way to a Thayan enclave. They would probably serve as good examples of ways to allow for islands of Kara-Tur culture to be transplanted to other parts of Toril.

And studying these cultures...alongside other "islands of culture" like Thayan enclaves...would probably show how to transplant a small Faerûnian culture into Kara-Tur.

(I guess that Malatra: The Living Jungle also gives as example of a foreign-influenced culture hidden within Kara-Tur.)

Thanks. I think that this might help me work out how to do similar stuff on the Tears of Selûne, so that I could have a Shou Lung or Tu Lung asteroid that works in a spacefarer context.
Cthulhudrew wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:41 pm
Also, on the topic of Kara-Tur and the Weave, I seem to recall that the Time of Troubles did affect Kara-Tur (and was referenced in the Horde trilogy). The Tuigan actually had one of their main encampments within an Anti-Magic zone, due to its protective qualities. As I no longer possess those books, though, I cannot verify any specifics.
I think I remember that now. It's a great idea for a plot-hook for a game. And a nomadic (or barbarian) culture is the perfect sort of culture to take advantage of dead magic areas, where the Weave does not work.
Cthulhudrew wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:41 pm
There was a 2E book that might be helpful; Faiths and Avatars, I think it was. It detailed primarily the Faerunian pantheons, but an early section of it discussed the various pantheons of Toril and their separations (including those of Kara-Tur.)

EDIT: Turns out I still have a copy. There is a section that I think is relevant to the original post in the section titled "Spheres of Godly Interest":
Faiths and Avatars wrote:A pantheon holds ultimate sway within its own sphere of influence (if it is uncontested). Priests from other pantheons may cross into its sphere of influence, receive spells, and remain relatively unnoticed and unmolested by the deities whose sphere of influence they are in provided they do not attempt to convert the inhabitants of the region, set up a temple, or engage in a holy war. Any of these last activities provokes a pantheon to act in its own self-interest. At this point, most powers have their priesthoods or knightly/military orders take action to eject the foreign influence (most good and neutral deities) or expunge it (most evil powers).
(Bolded for emphasis)
This is also a great idea for a plot-hook.

Small islands of Faerûnian culture could work along the Silk Road and some Faerûnian trade organisations operating in parts of Kara-Tur (as buyers or sellers) could also work as a bridge between mainstream Forgotten Realms and Kara-Tur, but this rule puts a cap on the amount of influence (or assistance) they would be able to offer PCs from Faerûn that moved to Kara-Tur.

And the rules on holy war feel great. They would tie right in with the rules from CGR1 The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook about the "year and a day" ritual for bringing a new deity into a crystal sphere.

I suppose that the real key to getting past this sort of mass expulsion resistance from a local pantheon would be for a deity and it's worshippers to join a pantheon, rather than come in as a rival outsider, from a different pantheon.

But this is great. It shows me a control mechanism that can make everything work without "cultural pollution" destroying one side or the other side. There is a built-in surface tension here that keeps things apart. :cool:
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Re: What are the Forgotten Realms influences on Kara-Tur?

Post by Digitalelf » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:31 am

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:41 pm
Faiths and Avatars wrote:A pantheon holds ultimate sway within its own sphere of influence (if it is uncontested). Priests from other pantheons may cross into its sphere of influence, receive spells, and remain relatively unnoticed and unmolested by the deities whose sphere of influence they are in provided they do not attempt to convert the inhabitants of the region, set up a temple, or engage in a holy war. Any of these last activities provokes a pantheon to act in its own self-interest. At this point, most powers have their priesthoods or knightly/military orders take action to eject the foreign influence (most good and neutral deities) or expunge it (most evil powers).
(Bolded for emphasis)
This is something that happened in the Maztica Trilogy... A priest of Helm was sacrificed at the alter of Zaltek in Nexal. It was this incident that sparked the destruction of that city (which was sort of the "Waterdeep" of Maztica).

As for references to what the Gods of Kara-Tur were doing during the Time of Troubles...

This is what Forgotten Realms Adventures had to say (it was via a "letter" to Elminster from Vangerdahast at the beginning of Chapter 1):
Vangerdahast wrote:The note from your Dragon-King ally in the furthest East is of equal interest, though I view his opinions with a great deal of suspicion. While I would like to believe that all the Eastern deities retreated to some mountain top and meditated quietly until the crisis had passed, other tales I have heard indicate that there was as much godly meddling there as here. The Shou spirits and gods have always been mired up to their hips in intrigue. The fact they have a more organized hierarchy does not reduce their meddling. Your dragon-friend's assurances aside, I would say that the unknown East suffered as much as Faerun; with more space and less value on human life (I am told), it was less noticed.
-That One Digitalelf Fellow-

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