23
Feb
13

“oriental adventures” class summary charts

“My cossack asks the Leprechaun, ‘Why did you sabotage that aqueduct?'”

The other day Zak was talking about how come nobody seems to use 1985’s “Oriental Adventures” rules, written by David “Zeb” Cook with material from François Marcela-Froideval.  I think it’s an interesting effort, and one I’ve always been intrigued by, but (among many other problems) the book suffers from some truly bad organization and editing.  If I’m remembering correctly, Cook has said he was bascially handed Marcela-Froideval’s manuscript on Friday and told, “Have this thing ready to publish on Monday.”  That’s not the correct deadline, but it’s that type of story, where publication date had been set way in advance of when the manuscript was actually ready.  And it shows.

Anyway, what the hell: I spent a long time compiling all the information about the “Oriental Adventures” into a set of charts which hopefully are easier to use than the book itself.  I was thinking mainly for use with AD&D 2e but I guess you could port it to whatever you like.

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6 Responses to ““oriental adventures” class summary charts”


  1. February 23, 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Thats a nice and useful chart, Thanks

  2. March 7, 2013 at 12:12 am

    I find myself agreeing with your blog time-and-time again, but I found myself feeling like you missed the mark with OA. I could easily be suffering from the confirmation bias or even from a localized phenomenon: my friends and I were able to make great use of OA. However, I have always felt that OA was in fact one of the best products to come out of TSR.

    Don’t get me wrong — I can see errors (like the typo on the word Samurai at the top of one of the class pages), the Japanese bias (over other Asian cultures) and it was only out there 2 years before 2nd Edition roared along…but it was great. Check out the Kara-Tur boxed set, honestly. And as for OA1, forget the railroad…that was illustrative (both the introduction to Kara-Tur and the temple adventure) — instead look at the setting of Kozakura and the maps and the detail of the small gazeteer and think of what you can do with that!

    We did — and an interesting thing happened. When it first came out with my original group, later with a new group (in a new city) in the mid-90s and again with a third group (in a new country this time!) I ran into the same problems. Fantasy felt like it should be western and european…and when you really got over the almost stereotyping (I hesitate to say prejudiced) and dig in…it became something amazing.

    All of my friends and I in 4 separate groups I’ve been in in the last 29 years (wow — I can’t believe it came out that long ago) all prefer other settings and systems, but we have a special place for OA and we always go back. In fact, I’m planning to revisit one of those games from 14 years ago with a getaway weekend next year to finish the tale of those characters from Kozakura!

    I think the charts you did are great, and I will use them; but I encourage people to go back and try to take the DMG (or just the screens from 1st edition) and a copy of Oriental Adventures and OA1 and give it a try…if you like it, you can still get OA2 through OA7 and the Kara-Tur boxed set on eBay!

  3. March 14, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Yes, I agree that OA1 is amazingly well done.

  4. 4 Jamie Troini
    May 6, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Wow, talk about synchronicity!

    Stumbled onto this blog from Boingboing (http://boingboing.net/2013/05/06/old-school-dungeons-dragons.html#more-227306) and noticed a review about OA1…

    Then imagine my surprise to find a comment by the first DM that I ever played AD&D with (Sam Curry), back in the day! Even more surprise to find him describe a campaign set in Kara-Tur that we played together all those many years ago. Bear in mind, we haven’t gamed together in decades. Best part of my day, by far :)

    And yes, to concur, OA1 was truly a great product! TSR in the glory days… back before splat-books, d20 systems, etc.


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