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Heroes of the Orient: Player's and DM's Companion
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Heroes of the Orient: Player's and DM's Companion

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This 75-page handbook contains lore, flavor, and rules for creating adventures in the Orient.

Included are also:

  • 6 new races, a new dwarf subrace and an oriental human variant
    • Nezumi - humanoid rats with 3 subraces
    • Hengeyokai - shapeshifting animals with 10 subraces
    • Spirit Folk - descendants of humans and spirits with 3 subraces
    • Vanara - monkey-like humanoids with prehensile tails
    • Hakuma - humans with oni heritage and 3 subraces
    • Serafu - small lizard-like folk with 4 subraces
  • 2 new classes
    • Kensai - a ki-using warrior with a strong bond to a single weapon (includes 5 archetypes)
      • Blademaster - focuses solely on the blade, capable of moving into battle quickly and taking on many enemies at once
      • Master of the Unseen Hand - bolsters melee prowess with telekinetic powers
      • Samurai - an honorable warrior that focuses on versatile stances
      • Shinobi - specializes in infiltration, misdirection, and utilizes the most maneuvers
      • Villainous Class Option: Ravager - a kensai that has been warped by Taint
    • Shogun - a commander who enables new strategies for his allies (includes 7 archetypes)
      • Crawdad - focuses on martial defense
      • Heron - focuses on mobility
      • Pegasus - focuses on mounted combat
      • Phoenix - focuses on magical defense
      • Spider - focuses on trickery
      • Tiger - focuses martial prowess
      • Wyvern - improves the abilities of the base class without focusing on any one area
  • 27 new archetypes for existing classes
    • Barbarian 
      • Path of Brawn - focuses on rage damage and mobility
    • Bard 
      • College of the Geisha - more expertise and good with enchantment and illusion spells
    • Cleric 
      • Shamanism Domain - gains powers depending on a spirit patron (either ancestral, animal, demonic, or primordial)
      • Shugenja Domain - gains elemental powers, focusing on either air, earth, fire, or water
    • Druid 
      • Circle of Chaos - utilizes the Wild Magic Surge table
      • Circle of Elementalism - casts elemental spells efficiently and summons mephits
      • Circle of the Fey Touched - has several fey powers
    • Fighter
      • Bushi - a warrior of the common people, skilled at combat and versatile through stances
      • Hogo-sha - a protector both in and out of battle
      • Satsugai - a swift and ferocious warrior, foregoing heavy armor to better navigate the field of battle
      • Witch Hunter - specializes in fighting aberrations, fiends, and undead
    • Monk
      • Way of Ancient Symbols - gains magical tattoos, offers a ton of customization
      • Way of Purity - a pacifist monk with shapeshifting and utility
      • Way of Righteous Fury - can enter a Ki Frenzy, much like the barbarian's rage and the bladesinger's bladesong
    • Paladin
      • Oath of the Stalwart Defender - focuses on defending himself and his allies
    • Ranger
      • Ishi - inspires his allies on the battlefield
      • Niten Master - focuses on dual wielding
    • Rogue
      • Shadow Spy - a master infiltrator and gatherer of intelligence
      • Skirmisher - emphasizes mobility and ranged attacks
    • Sorcerer
      • Void Disciple - manipulates reality and time
    • Warlock
      • The Great Phoenix - grants the warlock powers from the Fires of Life
      • The Great Sylvan - grants the warlock sylvan powers, becoming one with nature
      • The Great Turtle - grants the warlock protective powers and the ability to transform into water
      • The Great Wyrm - grants the warlock power over lightning and thunder, smiting foes in the patron's name
      • Seishin Mystic - possessed by a spirit, the seishin mystic has an internal patron, rather than an external one
    • Wizard
      • Wu Jen - focuses on the old elements, choosing between earth, fire, metal, water, or wood
      • Villainous Class Option: Maho-Tsukai - a blood mage with three distinct paths: mage, magus, and necromancer
  • 6 new backgrounds
  • 11 new feats
  • 52 new spells.

Please leave a review after purchase, so I know what you like and/or dislike. It'll help me with future iterations of Heroes of the Orient, as well as with the other products I have in the works.

Changelog

v1.1 (July 8th 2016) - Fixed some spelling, wording, and slight rebalance. Added some ribbon features.

v1.2 (August 17th 2016) - Replaced some art, various balance adjustments, included detriments of childhood as variant rule, added several new armors, added a new weapon, added four new familiars, added two new fighter archetypes, added a new warlock archetype and one additional eldritch invocation.

v1.3 (November 28th 2016): Wording and balance, new weapons, new races, new magic items (talismans), details on how to run flavorful duels and how to reward characters

v2.0 (March 21st 2017): Wording and balance, expanded on several sections, added Shijin and Oni Lords, added Jigoku and Tengoku, added Oriental names, added a variant rule for ancestry, added special materials, added 17 new magic items, added an oriental calendar, added random events, added a new fighter archetype, added three new warlock archetypes, added three new pact boons, added 16 new eldritch invocations, expanded on the wu-jen taboo variant feature, added a villainous archetype to the wizard, added 15 new spells.

Upcoming releases

  • Heroes of the Orient: Complete Bestiary (preview available with Heroes of the Orient: Player's and DM's Companion)
  • Epic Monsters

Other products

Epic Characters   Heroes of the Orient: Unearthed Kensai

 
 Customers who bought this title also purchased
Reviews (8)
Discussions (124)
Customer avatar
June 22, 2017 4:50 am UTC
PURCHASER
Two questions for this great reference which I bought here as a DM and my player's love. Is there a hard cover in the works for the two books you have out here? Have incorporated into my FR campaign. Great job. And will use the other when it become appropriate. Will we see a hardcover in the future. Last question, it seems the spell "Kiss the Spider" is not on any list. Looks like a Monk ability but I did not see it listed there. Am I missing something here? Didn't see it in the discussion here.
Customer avatar
Marc A June 25, 2017 9:56 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi there!

Thanks for your kind words. I'm happy you and your players like the title :)

I'm currently finishing up my Oriental monster manual. I'm aiming at a release on the 4th of July. That book is built with printing in mind, so that'll be my first attempt at setting up a print-on-demand feature. If all goes well, I'll dive deeper into adding PoD support for my other titles as well. Fingers crossed!

You're absolutely right regarding Kiss of the Spider. It is intended to exclusively be on the Wizard spell list and will actually be there in the next update. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!
Customer avatar
Mirmidon C June 17, 2017 7:14 pm UTC
Hi Marc,

I would like to give my 5 cent worth by commenting on the "Orient" tag of your products. You may not be aware, but Orient and Orientalism is a debunk term in many circles for good reason. It encapsulates different attitudes, stereotypes and misunderstandings that are responsible for real-life discrimination, racism and exploitation.

Wikipedia adds the following on Orientalism:

"Orientalism is a term that is used by art historians, literary and cultural studies scholars for the imitation or depiction of aspects in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and East Asian cultures (Eastern cultures). These depictions are usually done by writers, designers and artists from the West. In particular, Orientalist painting, depicting more specifically "the Middle East",[1] was one of the many specialisms of 19th-century Academic art, and the literature of Western countries took a similar interest in Oriental themes.

Since the publication of Edward...See more
Customer avatar
Marc A June 19, 2017 9:16 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi Mirmidon,

I appreciate your input on the matter.

Here's my take on it:
Words have the meaning we assign to them. It's a word that could have negative connotations, but that largely depends on the context and personal prejudice.
It's the study of semantics, really.

I don't assign any negative values to the word "Orient".
On the contrary, binding it together with the word "heroes" can surely only have positive connotations.

Said, who you refer to, pointed out that the word was being used to negatively portrait Asian cultures and bundling them all together.
That doesn't mean the word is forever tainted, however.
People refer to Europeans as well, though there are many different countries and cultures there as well.

I have great respect for Asian culture and history. I wouldn't have bothered building a world based on it if I didn't.

To summarize: Words aren't bad. Especially not because...See more
Customer avatar
TRAVIS C June 06, 2017 12:09 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I have been looking for a good Samurai class for a while now and this does a great job of making one. The only ting that I felt like was lacking was the need of an extra attack or heavy armor. I don't know if the class is a sufficient tank/dps class. It does do well with damage and the use of stances is perfect, but with the lack of heavy armor proficiency for a more fighter base class might be needed. Sorry if this feels like rambling here, but I really love the class and the book overall. Just showing you something that I saw.
Customer avatar
Marc A June 09, 2017 9:09 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi Travis,

First of all: thank you very much! It means a lot.

Regarding heavy armor proficiency: I get why you're feeling that way.
A lot of it comes down to flavor really. Within the setting not a lot of people wear plate armor (or other heavy armor).
You'll notice that some archetypes have features that require them not to wear heavy armor, even if they are proficient with it. The Satsugai is a good example of that.

There are, however, also specialized type of samurai that do wear heavy armor: the Hogo-sha and the Stalwart Defender, for example. The flavor text touches upon that as well.

The actual samurai archetype for the kensai is balanced around not needing heavy armor. Lamellar armor is typically used by them, unless you can get your hands on a heroic kozane.
The book has slighty better armor than found in the PHB because it is seen as dishonorable to wield a shield and because heavy armor isn't used by many.

So, compared...See more
Customer avatar
Jonathan M May 23, 2017 3:29 am UTC
The Hakuma seems to be missing from the in-book list of races
Customer avatar
George C May 25, 2017 3:01 am UTC
PURCHASER
It's in the 2.0 version. I just double-checked.
Customer avatar
Marc A May 25, 2017 10:09 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi Jonathan,

I'm assuming you looked at the preview. It is from version 1.2 - a lot has been changed since then :)
Customer avatar
Patrick B May 22, 2017 2:27 pm UTC
PURCHASER
where can i find the monster manual to complement the handbook?
Customer avatar
Marc A May 22, 2017 5:42 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Patrick,

I'm working every spare moment on finishing it.
It should be ready for publication soon.
Customer avatar
Patrick B May 24, 2017 8:26 pm UTC
PURCHASER
sweet, no rush just got excited about it,after the previews, thanks
Customer avatar
Will C May 14, 2017 7:34 am UTC
PURCHASER
Great product, have had it purchased for some months now but unfortunately haven't been able to use it in a campaign yet.

Concerning Clash: The intent seems to be that you use it once per turn (as a free action) to soup up your NEXT melee weapon attack, but the wording doesn't reflect that (as in it just states ''whenever you hit with your bonded weapon''. What's the RAI on this?

Concerning the Blademaster: Does Blindstrike damage go off of PC level or Class level?

Crescent Sweep: RAW the attack states 1 Smite use would apply to all creatures hit (as you use the same damage roll), perhaps state that additional effects outside of your Kensai features and weapon don't apply to all enemies hit?
Customer avatar
Marc A May 15, 2017 6:09 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Will,

I'm glad to hear you like it, though I hope you'll get to experience the Orient in a campaign soon as well.
Also, thank you very much for your feedback. I'll reword some things for the next update based off of that. In the meantime, here's an explanation:

Clash RAI: Once per turn when you hit a creature with your bonded weapon.

Blinkstrike damage: Class level.

Crescent Sweep: I must admit, I hadn't at all considered that combo. Allowing that would make it broken. Thank you for bringing it up!
Customer avatar
Will C May 16, 2017 4:18 am UTC
PURCHASER
No problem Marc!

Perhaps for Crescent Sweep the rule should be ''you can't apply any additional effects to this attack such as the Paladin's Smite feature or the Rogue's Sneak Attack'' - this still makes features like the Oathbreaker's Aura of Hate apply to every hit along with additional damage die from let's say your Flame Tongue weapon.
Customer avatar
Frederic L May 06, 2017 10:21 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Great product! Looks very professional and is very well constructed.
I wish all official 5e books were as throughout as this one.

The weapon and armor section was ok but I wanted to push it a bit further so I did an Orirental arms& equipment guide which you can find here:
(http://www.dmsguild.com/product/211346/Oriental-Campaign-Arms--Equipment-Guide-5e?src=newest_in_dmg)
Customer avatar
Marc A May 07, 2017 9:05 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Frederic,

Thank you very much for your kind words!
Your title looks interesting, I'll definitely check it out.
Customer avatar
Frederic L May 07, 2017 11:48 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks Marc :) Let me know what you think as a creator of Oriental campaigns... cheers
Customer avatar
April 19, 2017 11:36 pm UTC
PURCHASER
What would you say the alignments for the shijin are? For the purpose of roleplaying and the warlock pacts. Also why does Orochi not have one? Does she not care enough about people to be a spritual guide? And if she only cares about keeping the life cycle intact, and if something were to threaten it, would she then be willing to give power out, maybe in the form of a prestige class?
Customer avatar
Marc A April 20, 2017 8:24 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi,

Genbu is neutral good, while Kirin, Ryu, and Suzaki are chaotic good. Orochi is lawful neutral.

And yes, Orochi does not care for life in that sense. A single life is fleeting and unimportant. It is the preservation of the circle of life as a whole that concerns her.
Orochi doesn't make pacts. A pact involves asking for something and giving something back in return. She doesn't ask for permission or assistance. In her eyes she is a necessity and her job is far too important to be given to a mortal.

With the exception of Genbu who is just too massive, all the Shijin will have stat blocks in the upcoming MM.

Orochi is CR 30. Because she can't be everywhere at once, she creates two different kinds of creatures to act as her agents. They're both bound to her, existing only to enforce her will.
The umbral serpent (CR 7) is a Large shadow dragon that exists only in darkness. It is excellent at tracking undead.
The void serpent (CR 18) is a gargantuan...See more
Customer avatar
April 19, 2017 8:09 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I noticed that the Shadow Spy has a 3rd level feature called a thousand faces which allows them to cast alter self at will. This is the same feature that Druids of the Circle of the moon get at 14th level. I think that is a little off balance, but has a simple solution. To fit the theme and to keep balance you could change the thousand faces ability to cast alter self at will be limited to the Change Appearance option. This would mean the shadow spy could not swim or grow claws but I think it fits the inflitrator theme better. Of course you are the author so you decide. Love your work, keep it up!
Customer avatar
Marc A April 20, 2017 8:05 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi there,

In my notes it says it should be disguise self, not alter self.
I'll have another look at it.

Thanks for bringing it up!
Customer avatar
Thony D May 05, 2017 8:58 am UTC
PURCHASER
It does say Alter Self, still. Can't believe I didn't notice that.
Customer avatar
Marc A May 05, 2017 10:10 am UTC
CREATOR
Yea, same.
It'll be fixed with the next update though :)
Customer avatar
George C April 15, 2017 4:04 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Well, that dofuku is gonna be SO much fun to put my players in combat with! If this is the quality of monster we can expect to see in this book, I am more than impressed.
Customer avatar
Marc A April 15, 2017 5:46 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi George,

I'm glad you think so! It means a lot.
Most things aren't as threatening as an ancient dokufu though.
Customer avatar
April 15, 2017 3:45 am UTC
PURCHASER
Love this preview but I just have some questions and comments, firstly why do they have blind sight but with a limit to range? In the art they seem to have eyes so why this specific? Also the claw attack and pincer attack don't have the same name in multi-attack and the attack itself. So far I am loving it and may include an ancient one in a campaign which previously did not have any Oriental influence. Keep up the amazing work and I look forward to both this monster manual and the eventual 2.0 or 1.4 for the Epic Characters with the new warlock pacts from 2.0 of this book.
Customer avatar
Marc A April 15, 2017 10:21 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi there,

Thank you for your feedback and your kind words! It means a lot and everything helps.

For clarification; the text in the preview hasn't been edited yet.
Presentation is a part of design. As such, the artwork needs to be balanced against the text, and both might have to be adjusted multiple times in order to make it look good.
That means that the text cannot be sent to an editor before the artwork is finalized. And that's the point I'm currently at: finalizing artwork.

As for the eyes and their blindsight: They have been blinded by the Taint. Their eyes instead act as lenses for projecting their illusory magic.
Smart adventurers can often deduce if a creature has blindsight (since they often have no eyes), but the dokufu having blindsight and eyes provides an opportunity for researching the dokufu before simply hunting it down.
Failing to do so might result in fatal mistakes.
I'll add an explanation for the eyes to the text.
...See more
Customer avatar
April 15, 2017 5:10 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Are the ice spiders going to be in the full version?
Customer avatar
Marc A April 15, 2017 5:43 pm UTC
CREATOR
Absolutely!
They're CR 3, in case you were wondering.
Customer avatar
April 14, 2017 9:56 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Why doesn't the Shinobi have a fighting style?
Customer avatar
Marc A April 14, 2017 10:31 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi there,

The shinobi gets other things instead.

They focus more on maneuvers, infiltration, and misdirection.
It's a way to highlight the differences between archetypes.
Customer avatar
April 15, 2017 4:57 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Okay
Customer avatar
Tim P April 13, 2017 8:11 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Good book, but might I suggest renaming it "Heroes Of Japan"? I can't find much of "The Orient" besides Japan in the book.
Customer avatar
Marc A April 14, 2017 2:04 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi Tim,

Thank you!

And yes, it is mostly inspired by feudal Japan.
There are, however, a few things from other Asian countries as well.

It is very much based on Oriental Adventures from past editions of D&D.
Customer avatar
Tim P April 14, 2017 8:08 am UTC
PURCHASER
I noticed when there were no crossbows in the weapon area, which were a staple of the Chinese army for millennia. Ok, a bit over one millennia but still.
Customer avatar
Marc A April 14, 2017 4:15 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi again,

You're absolutely correct. It was a choice made more for flavor reasons than anything else.

I can only encourage you to make it your Orient.
You could easily flavor one or more of the clans to favor crossbows. Or the entirety of the Orient for that matter.
Customer avatar
April 11, 2017 10:36 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Customer avatar
kyle S April 10, 2017 1:16 am UTC
PURCHASER
First of all, love this book - just started a campaign using it. I was wondering if you could clarify the scale for the map of The Orient, how many miles is each hex?
Customer avatar
Marc A April 10, 2017 5:00 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Kyle,

Thank you for your kind words!

Regarding your queston: I left it unclear, so a DM might make the world smaller or larger, depending on how they want to run their campaign.
I'll include a note that specifies how I envision it.
In my games one hex is 100 miles.

For reference, the journey from Kōra to Kyūsokuna would take 37 days at a fast travel pace, 46 days at a normal travel pace, and 61 days at a slow travel pace.
Customer avatar
April 08, 2017 6:44 am UTC
PURCHASER
What "role" does the Kensai fill: damage, tank, control, etc.? I know the Monk is pretty durable with its ability to reroll saves, Evasion, proficiency in all saves, etc. On the other hand, the rogue does a decent amount of damage with its sneak attack.
Customer avatar
Marc A April 08, 2017 3:35 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi there,

Most classes fit more than one role.
Rogues, for example, can deal good damage, scout, open doors, etc. while a paladin has utility through spells, lay on hands, and auras, but can also deal good damage and even be a tank.

The kensai is very archetype dependant though. That is something usually reserved for casters.
Look at the cleric and wizard: They gain most of their features from their archetypes, making each cleric and each wizard very, very different.
That was the approach I tried to take with the kensai.

A samurai does indeed feel very different to play when compared to a blademaster.
So the role a kensai fills will first and foremost depend on the archetype. But feats as well as how ki is expended will have a major impact as well.
Customer avatar
Aaron S April 10, 2017 1:04 am UTC
PURCHASER
Depends on the build. I am running a samurai Kensai and another in the group is running a Blademaster. The Blademaster is pure maneuverable DPS. My Samurai kinda bounces between tanking and damage depending on the stance I chose to enter.
Customer avatar
Rob W June 09, 2017 3:01 am UTC
PURCHASER
How is the blade master? I read a review that was not so kind to the blade master. But I'm hoping that it was fixed or just someone who felt it should have been more. I'm about to purchase but that review is holding me up. Love to hear what you think.
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