The Oriental Campaign World


When it comes to Oriental Adventure campaigns it should be recognised that AD&D Version 2.6 is simply a supplement and guide to the existing 1st and 2nd Edition rulebooks. Most of the relevant information concerning the orient is contained within those texts & in our opinion extensive re-writing of this existing material is not required. We leave it up to the individual DM to adjust the game balance when employing Monsters and Oriental Magics- alterations that will often prove to be unnecessary.

Admittedly, AD&D Version 2.6 does provide updated Oriental Character Classes that complement other 2nd Edition versions of the original Oriental Adventures character classes. And tentatively, we do offer some suggestion for providing an honour system & the incorporation of certain mythical races.

Oriental Honour

Honour in oriental campaigns is very important and carefully monitored (by the characters themselves and society). Reputation can be everything. The following is only a simple suggestion in regard to establishing an honour system for oriental characters. For a concise description of oriental honour and provisions for a more involved system please read the original Oriental Adventures. As a quick play rule we suggest that honour be broken into 7 main levels:

7.None (dishonoured)

Depending on the family background of the PC, the DM should adjudicate the level of honour for each starting character. Furthermore, consideration for differences between Chinese or Japanese-based cultures should be taken into account when determining the importance of individual honour in the campaign.

When settling upon an appropriate model the DM must then decide, and have players agree upon, what constitutes a breech of the code and how far a character will fall in the honour scale. Methods of raising one’s honour must similarly be addressed. Admittedly the system described here is rather arbitrary, and the DM may make judicial decisions similar to adjudications for alignment shifts if any are allowed in the campaign. (Referring to the original Oriental Adventures is likely to prove highly beneficial when devising an appropriate system). Note: In “Japanese-type” cultures- PCs of the Samurai social class are regarded members of the ruling elite and should be shown respect by all others.

Oriental Races:


The basic Version 2.6 details for korobokura are taken from the original Oriental Adventures – for more details please refer to that famous text.

In summary korobokura are oriental dwarves who live in remote locations. They are seldom in contact with human settlements. Korobokura are only 4-foot tall, with arms and legs slightly longer in proportion to their bodies than a human’s. Most are bow legged. Their arms and legs are hairy, and the men have sparse beards. They have a wild unkempt appearance. The majority of korobokura are chaotic or neutral in alignment.

When rolling for ability scores korobokura characters gain +1 to their initial strength and constitution scores and subtract 2 from their intelligence scores. Korobokura receive the same bonuses in regard to poison, magic and constitution scores as dwarves (see PHB). However, korobokura have no mining ability, instead they have a 4 in 6 chance to recognise any sort of normal plant or animal and automatically gain the survival proficiency for their home environment. Like dwarves they also receive the endurance proficiency as an additional bonus. Korobokura also have 120-foot infravision.

In combat they receive a +1 to hit bakemono, goblins, goblin rats and hobgoblins. Giant class creatures, oni, ogre, ogre magi and titans suffer a –4 penalty to hit korobokura because of their small size and their combat skills. Korobokura may become Bushi, Samurai, Shukenja or Wu Jen classed charaters.

Hengeyokai & Spirit Folk

Version 2.6 sees these races as optional to the oriental campaign setting. If the DM decides incorporate these races in the campaign he or she is advised to refer to the descriptions of Hengeyokai and Spirit Folk found in Oriental Adventures. In summary Hengeyokai are intelligent shape-shifting animals that can change into either a human or hybrid form, they have 120-foot infravision, and may choose to become Bushi, Kensai, Shukenja or Wu Jen characters classes. Spirit Folk are human descendants who have strong connections to the natural world- to Bamboo, Rivers or the Ocean. Like dryads these people require special “groves” to maintain their powers and life force. They receive 120-foot infravision and may become either Kensai, Bushi or Samurai character classes.
Oriental Money:
All official coins in the orient are high quality, have holes through the centre, often square in shape, and feature writing declaring their worth. There are two types of copper coins, a small 'fen' (worth one copper), a larger 'yuan' (worth five copper pieces), plus a large silver coin known as a 'tael' (worth one gold) - the monetary value of these officially minted coins has value beyond the value of the metal. There is also silver bullion, uncommonly used, called a 'ch'ien' worth ten tael (or eight gold if swapped). 
The preferred method of transferring large sums of money is via paper currency called ch'ao which is equal to 1 tael (one gold). The denominations vary ie. 10 ch'ao note, 1000 ch'ao note.   
Monetary table
1 copper       5 coppers        1 gold/10 silvers     5-8 gold/100 silver  
1 fen               1 yuan                  1 tael                   1 ch'ien   
                      =20 fen                =20 yuan             =10 tael
                                                =100 fen              =200 yuan              
                                                                           =1000 fen
*Note: 1) There is usually a 5-10% fee for exchanging currencies between East and West. 2) Equipment and supplies cost less in the orient. 

Oriental Setting and Equipment:

A lot of detail focuses on Japanese-style equipment and society in AD&D oriental settings (ie The Complete Ninja's Handbook). DMs should consider standard Chinese-style weapons, armour and systems of Government for their campaigns.
In terms of weapons; Dao (sabre), Jian (straight sword), Guan Dao (a heavy Naginata), Qiang (spear), Ji (spiked Chinese Halberd), and Gun (staff), along with crossbows and composite short bows must be included.

Armour types include Padded (rather than leather), Studded Leather, Ring Mail, Brigadine, Heavy Banded Leather (AC 6), Fine Chainmail, Splint and Banded Armour (metal).

Society outside a capital will be overseen by the Regional Governor or Local Magistrate who maintains order through Constables - a Warlord may operate in areas outside Imperial or Kingdom rule. Keeping such basic structures in mind, especially the role of a professional bureaucracy, is a good starting point in formulating your campaign world.