Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Classic TSR - Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms - PDF Release

I'm really enjoying the releases of classic TSR products at OBS recently. While I have many of the releases from my younger days of gaming, there are some I missed. Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms is one that I missed.

It was missed because my gaming group at the time just couldn't get into the Oriental Adventures rulebook. Although we embraced non-weapon proficiencies, wrapping classic dungeon adventuring (which was all we knew at the time) in Eastern trappings wasn't a good fit for us.

So now I am looking at the Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms setting some 28 years later and wondering if I would run it now. Well, certainly not using OA as is, I'd have to convert to Swords & Wizardry first. But it might not be a bad conversion at all.

Heck, for 5 bucks it's virtually a no brainer.

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  1. You wouldn't really need to convert it. Just use Ruins and Ronin, then steal all the setting and fluff out of Kara-Tur.

  2. The problem with Kara-Tur was the same problem that Oriental Adventures suffered from. Oriental = Japanese. It's all ninjas and samurai and ronin and such. That's one reason I wrote Golden Scroll of Justice, to balance things out with China.

    1. Goal # 1: Eventually buy Golden Scroll of Justice
      Goal # 2: Eventually find and buy Francois Froideval's original OA manuscript
      Goal # 3: Have son master French and translate all Froideval's stuff to English

  3. @Joseph Block
    Kara-Tur contains two domains(out of four) that are Chinese inspired. The other are getting their inspiration from Japan. Later other Eastern inspirations would be added(Tibet, Korea etc)

    1. Yes, but except for the Wu Jen, all the other new classes are Japanese themed. That makes a difference.

      Also, among the races, the Spirit Folk seem to be (from my best guess) inspired by Japanese fairy tales like Momotaro or Kaguyahime, where an old barren couple adopts and raises a "special" child. Not many of those from my surveys of Chinese folk tales/myths, although Korea does have a few similar stories.

      Korobokuru are from Ainu (northern indiginous peoples of the Japanese islands) myths.

      Hengeyokai can be found in Chinese and Korean myths/folk tales, but the name used in OA is Japanese so that may color people's perception of the race.

      A lot of the spells seem to be inspired by Chinese myths, so there is that.

      Similar to Joe, I put out Flying Swordsmen (a clone of Dragon Fist by Chris Pramas) because I thought there needed to be more Chinese fantasy in OA. Of course, now I'm working on a new game called Chanbara, which is 100% Japanese fantasy. And I've got an proto-idea for a Korean themed game after that.

  4. I loved the hell out of the Kara-Tur boxed set back in High School. I snagged it and the OA1-OA4 adventures at the same time. I love the campaign setting but agree the 1E OA rules leave a lot to be desired. I'd love to see TLG do an OA-style book at some point for C&C. Or maybe two books, one for China and one for Japan.

  5. Tenkar, don't just convert, create a Swords & Wizardry supplement.


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