[Let's Read] Oriental Adventures (1e)

Shroomy

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While Kara-Tur is dominated by the big four of Shou Lung, T'u Lung, Kozakura, and Wa (two versions of fantasy China and Japan respectively), the later 1e box set did expand the setting to include fantasy Korea, Mongolia, Tibet, Philippines, and SE Asia (I know there was a Khmer analog, but I can't remember what other SE Asian cultures were depicted).
 

Sleeper

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Aw crap! That's right. Flying Kick does triple base damage.
Eagle claw does 3d10, but you can't get it by spending just 2 proficiency slots (because you have to buy all the lower-ranked maneuvers first).

Karate + iron fist. Karate gets 3 attacks, and iron fist makes them all do 1d10 damage. Since it's strike 1, you can take it as your first maneuver.

Though flying kick is another good example -- nothing in the description says it can only be used once a round, so with kung fu you could do 6d6 damage (2 attacks, 1d6 x3 each, 4 slots). Savate (from Dragon #122) would be even better (6d8 -- 2 attacks, 1d8 x3 each -- and only costs 3 slots). Though if you miss, you lose a round.
 
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Tricksy and False

I'll stop procrastinating tomorrow
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In OA/Kara-Tur, we have a particular issue that we more or less have several Chinas and several Japans, but no real Korea and no Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, etc at all. It would be like having a 'Europe' with Carolingian France, France during the wars of the Armagnacs and Burgundians, France under Louis XIV, England in the Heptarchy, England in the Anarchy, and Britain immediately after the accession of James I/VI in England - but no HRE, PLC, Italy, etc.
I always thought Koryo was meant to be the Kara Tur Korea, and that the jungle nations south of Tu Lung were meant to be cognates of various SE Asian cultures. I'm not an expert in any of those cultures though, so maybe they were just more not-Chinas and not-Japans and I didn't recognize it.
 

neutrondecay

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I always thought Koryo was meant to be the Kara Tur Korea, and that the jungle nations south of Tu Lung were meant to be cognates of various SE Asian cultures. I'm not an expert in any of those cultures though, so maybe they were just more not-Chinas and not-Japans and I didn't recognize it.
As Shroomy notes above, the boxed set Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms went some way to fixing this, and the not-Mongols would go on to play a big part in one of the only metaplot events to affect Kara-Tur and Faerun alike. But as of the current book, it's basically two Chinas and two Japans.

nd
 

Tricksy and False

I'll stop procrastinating tomorrow
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As Shroomy notes above, the boxed set Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms went some way to fixing this, and the not-Mongols would go on to play a big part in one of the only metaplot events to affect Kara-Tur and Faerun alike. But as of the current book, it's basically two Chinas and two Japans.
I thought Koryo was in OA, but I haven't cracked my copy open in probably literal decades. I'm certain you're right about the jungle kingdoms and the golden horde--I was conflating the Kara Tur boxed set and the OA hardcover in my head.
 

MacBalance

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I would really like to read the Kara-Tur box set... Hopefulyl it'll get released on dndclassics one day. The background in this book is minimal, jsut enough (maybe) to hang the setting-specific rules on.

I'm bouncing between OA and the 1e PHB for a lot of this, as both really do cover the same material. In this case, it could be argued that OA is actually mroe complete than the PHB!

Chapter 1: Creating the Player Character
Referring to the PHB, page 8 starts a large section (The PHB really doesn't do "chapters") also referred to as "Creating the Player Character" which covers similar topics.

(I notice it's "Creating the Player Character", not "Creating a Player Character" which is an interesting choice. I think it's just the writing style of the era, but it does make it sound singular. Not quite as bad as deadEarth's infamous "3 PCs and You're Done" policy, though.

The PHB starts with some 'High Gygaxian' which diverges into a short essay on D&D's infamous overloading of the term level. It actually lists four uses expected as of the birth of AD&D:

  • Character Power
  • Dungeon Depth
  • Magic Spell Difficulty
  • Monster Difficulty

We're even given alternatives that Gygax considered, which would have fixed so many thing: Character power was to be termed rank, spell level as power, and monsters organized into orders. We're basically told that 'Level' was kept for all these because we're horrible people and would complain. It's a bit passive-aggressive, really.

After this, the PHB launches into Ability Scores and generation thereof. or not: For "how to roll stats" you'll need to see the DMG!. Afterwards, it starts to sync up with OA. The PHB points us to the DMG for ability score generation methods, while OA gives us four methods: I feel like these would have been in Gygax's 2nd Edition had it come to pass (and kind of were in the actual 2e).

  • Method I: 4d6 drop the lowest six times. Assign as desired.
  • Method II: 3d6 twelve times. Assign six as desired.
  • Method III: 3d6 six times, assign as desired.
  • Method IV: 3d6 six times, assigned in order. Make 12 sets of stats and pick the one you like.
  • No 'Ironman' option as of this point, which some people used in this era. (Method IV, but you play the first character you roll.)

OA notes that the DM can set NPC stats as needed and provides some guidelines for making more average scores if desired (roll 3d6, counting 1 as 3 and 6 as 4). We also get a section covering the Wish ability and similar on stats (There is a sliding scale to prevent using wishes to make a character super-powerful. In the 3-15 range, a Wish raises the attribute by 1 point. Above 16 a Wish is only a tenth of a point, allowing decimal scores.This doesn't apply to books and such that raise devices.

Strength
Both OA and the PHB cover Strength first. There's a chart that lists minimums and maximums for various races and stats. The OA table does go to 19, and both cover percentile strength options. We'll discuss the classes later on, but only the 'fighter-ish' classes can use percentile strength.

There's another strength table as well that is broadly similar to that of the PHB. One major difference is the Weight Allowance column has a 350 point difference. This column assumes coins as the unit of weight, with 10 coins equaling a pound. I think the tables work out the same, as the PHB states the listed value (ranging from -350 to 3,350 (4,850 for a 19 strength not covered in the PHB) is an adjustment to a base capacity, while the OA table is a set weight allowance. Also, as a minor note the type setting allows the table to fill a single column whereas it is two in the PHB.

Dexterity
The order of attributes is a bit different, but the content is pretty much the same. The only real change is replacing the default D&D races and classes with the OA list.

Constitution
Again, very similar to the PHB equivalent.The 'Fighter Only' bonus to hit points for high constitution is extended to a wider range of OA classes.

Intelligence
Intelligence gets a single table in OA compared to two in the PHB. The first table is pretty much the same, providing a "Possible Number of Additional Languages" and spell limits for wu jen (the OA equivalent of the wizards). the other table is the magic-use specific table cotnaining chances to know spells. I think we'll get this under the Wu Jen section.

Charisma
The last standard attribute in both books. Charisma, in standard AD&D and OA, is a big deal when it comes to dealing with henchmen as well as the Reaction Adjustment for meeting people. It is, again, essentially the same as the PHB table but with OA races and class limits added.

Comeliness
Not found in the PHB (I think it might have been detailed in the DMG or another 1e book) is the physical appearance stat, one of D&D's more controversial aspects. It's a 3d6 roll, but modified by the character's Charisma. Essentially, charismatic people are also good-looking by these rules. You can theoretically get to a negative comeliness if you rolled low for Charisma and for Comeliness itself. Assuming no racial or special penalties, your 3 Charisma character who also rolls a 3 for Comeliness has a -2 Comeliness due to the negative. On the other hand, the best roll of an 18 Charisma combined with a Comeliness roll of 18 could get up to 21.
There's also racial bonuses and modifiers that only apply when dealing with other races. In summary, Korobokuru (the local version of dwarves are ugly. Hengeyokai (animal shape-changers) are less ugly, and Spirit Folk are pretty.

We get a list effects of comeliness ranging from -16 through +30. At the low end, the character is seen as so disgusting they must be ignored or destroyed. Evil characters apparently like ugly, as they get to treat ridiculously low scores as the positive value.

Comeliness above 18 grants bonuses to reaction checks because the character is just that attractive.This scales such that higher comeliness-brackets grant even bigger bonuses to reactions.

There's also some coverage of messing with comeliness via spells and such. Illusions to raise comeliness tend to only have effect for a single round. Also, continuing a D&D tradition of spells being confusing, Polymorph can change comeliness by 2 points, while Shapechange can set Comeliness to the final form's.

That's attributes. You don't really need to refer to the PHB here, and the OA user has the minor 'advantage' of containing the Approved Dice Rolling Methods that D&D has for some reason treated like something of a 'crown jewel' despite being both easy to explain, often houseruled, and not really that big of a deal.

As I said previously, picture count for this section is zero. Lots of tables, often with minimum/maximums for various races and classes. I love AD&D's "Sure, let's add another 'system' approach that means that a Strength score, for example, might be used as-is, as a modifier, for a d6 roll, or a percentile depending on exactly how you're using it. I know some dislike how d20 removed the complexity of multiple different systems, but this might be a bit too much, especially as Open Doors and Bend bars/Lift Gates are the same end result: It's not as if characters often get a bonus to a specific task that often.
 

neutrondecay

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Not quite as bad as deadEarth's infamous "3 PCs and You're Done" policy, though.
What was that?

Comeliness
Not found in the PHB (I think it might have been detailed in the DMG or another 1e book) is the physical appearance stat, one of D&D's more controversial aspects.
I think it was Unearthed Arcana, but I could be wrong. FWIW, I hate the comeliness stat, and the association of ugliness with evil.

nd
 

DMH

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We get a list effects of comeliness ranging from -16 through +30. At the low end, the character is seen as so disgusting they must be ignored or destroyed. Evil characters apparently like ugly, as they get to treat ridiculously low scores as the positive value.
I don't know why they included the values below 3 and above 20. Those scores are for gods, not mortals. Monsters don't have ability scores, otherwise those scores could be used for undead (and other icky things) and attractive ghosts (and I am blanking on other beautiful Asian critters).
 

Leonaru

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Has anyone done the math and calculated which method leads to the best and worst stats?
 
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