Dragonhelm wrote:Perhaps you have the wrong question there. Maybe the question should be, "Is it D&D enough?".
Dragonhelm wrote:It needs D&D's races. Yes, spirit folk are kinda like elves and korobokuru are kinda like dwarves. But, they're different enough that they're not as recognizable.
dwarves. It says so on page 12 of Oriental Adventures. But they are dwarves with a strange name. I don't see that reason for the strange name, as the product is an English-language product aimed at English-speaking people. They should have just called them dwarves and given them oriental subrace names. If Koroborkuru was a dwarven subrace name, they could have been seen as working a bit like the way hill dwarves and mountain dwarves work. In fact page 12 says the dwarves come from vast jungles, snowy mountain forests or barren wilderness areas. That suggests to me that they should have had three dwarven subraces in total.
Spirit folk are not really elves. They are something else. That really needs to be developed more. Other settings have new races or even replace a core-race with a new one (kender, I'm looking at you) so I think this is OK. But the OA descriptions for these guys make them sound a bit like half-dryads.
I can't even tell what those guys look like, from the description, apart from the fact that they look a bit like people. Maybe they are supposed to be part-human races like the planetouched races that came along later.
Dragonhelm wrote:Kara-Tur needs a D&D style pantheon, not some Celestial Bureaucracy. Or at least the CB should be presented like a D&D pantheon with notable deities, some of which are Kara-Tur's equivalent to Forgotten Realms deities.
Wow! You are right. Here is what page 23 of Oriental Adventures says about Shukenja:
Shukenja in Oriental Adventures wrote:Although a shukenja serves a particular religion, players to do not need to choose any particular religion for their shukenja characters. All religions are respected and venerated, and the practices and beliefs of one are often intermingled by the peasants of those of another. Unlike the western world, the land of Oriental Adventures has no separate organized church. Instead, religious beliefs and rituals are intertwined with the rituals of daily life. Temples about, each more or less independent of all others regardless of the deity or deities worshipped.
That is really really vague. I don't have the Kara-Tur boxed set and only have Oriental Adventures. I only got that in the last year or so, and my mental-picture of the Celestial Bureaucracy from my 2e Legends and Lore. The China stuff has a Celestial Bureaucracy, but the gods are named. I do think that Oriental Adventures stuff is pretty unworkable.
Were I to try to run that, I'd be tempted to add in religions — actual individual religions* — but make Kara-Tur temples work a bit like a department store, so that any Shukenja can walk into any temple and treat it as a "home temple". That kind of keeps both things true (and I do like a Ben Kenobi solution). It could kind of be a bit like the Towers of High Sorcery, in Dragonlance, with everyone being polite and working towards their own personal faiths.
* = I'm torn between raiding the Chinese pantheon, from Legends and Lore and between using some or all of the standard Faerun pantheon and changing the names and religious practises. The second sort of thing worked OK for Taladas.
I know that from when I did 2e, people ran "generic" priests. So I'd probably also allow Shukenja to worship all religions in a generic way. (That is different from the 3e FR, where you are not allowed to do that, but I think that the leader of the Celestial Bureaucracy could choose to allow that sort of worship, if they wanted to.)
One thing I don't understand, yet, is where The Path and the Way (and The Path and The Way) come into this. According to Spelljammer The Path and the Way and its two offshoots are supposed to have a lot of conflict and that does not fit in with the OA describes the Shukenja.
Sohei seem like Paladins, Rangers or Druids. 3e FRCS logic would suggest to me that they would need to have a patron deity. In mainstream FR, they get to choose from a limited selection of the normal religions, so I'd say that some sort of rule would need to be made to work out what deities would support Sohei. Or maybe all religions want "religious soldiers". (I used to do fantasy LARP. We had warrior priests and they worked fine.)
Dragonhelm wrote:Kara-Tur is the fantasy equivalent of real-life Earth. Get rid of that. Take the good elements from Earth's Oriental lands, but give them a fantasy twist.
It seems to me that upping the level of oriental folklore and legends would help. Conventional D&D isn't based on the real-world, but on our fantastic beliefs. Likewise the fantastic stuff should be here too.
I'll have to track down the Kara-Tur boxed set, as it is a revision of this, but I think a lot more could be added to the culture. I think in 3e terms, so think that you need to have a fanon-netbook about the size of the Geography section in FRCS to cover the lands of Kara-Tur. (And given it is a much bigger setting, you could even increase that amount.) I would say there is plenty of room for random ideas to be added.
Dragonhelm wrote:Do not be afraid to add in some Hollywood, wuxia, and anime elements. Present those elements in a D&D style. A samurai class, a ninja class, powers that would make for great wu jen spells.
Yep. I need to read up on more stuff as I don't have the Kara-Tur-fu yet, but I think that we could have threads to add some of these things and then someone could eventually compile it into a netbook that did for Kara-Tur what Living Greyhawk Gazeteer did for the Greyhawk Campaign Setting.
Dragonhelm wrote:In short, no way is Kara-Tur "Greenwoodian" enough. The reason is that Kara-Tur was never originally meant to be part of the Realms. It wasn't in Greenwood's designs, and it was originally going to be part of Greyhawk.
Kara-Tur feels like an add-on. It was NOT conceived to be part of a whole. I didn't get that vibe from the Dragon Empires. Reason is, the Pathfinder Oriental lands have been mentioned for some time now. And while I don't think the creators had it fleshed out fully when Pathfinder began, I think they at least had some basic ideas. When the finished product came out, it felt integrated, especially with the shared elements.
I have heard that Kara-Tur was supposed to be set on Oerth before. But to be honest, I don't think this stuff would feel any less of an add-on if it was
connected to the Flanaess. There are a lot of elements that Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms have in common, the structure of religion being one of them. It is equally wrong for both settings.
I think that the best thing the Greyhawk community could do is design a Shaofeng Campaign Setting that is based on a cross between the 3rd Edition Oriental Adventures rules and the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer.
BlackBat242 wrote:I would set it in a Pre-Qin dynasty-type era... the "warring states" or even as far back as the Xia & Shang periods, where the kingdoms were many and small.
Hmm. "Small warring kingdoms" sounds like you would need to toss out the Kara-Tur nations to do that. Do you think you could keep the Kara-Tur structure and have smaller warring units within those nations?