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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


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.


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

  • Epic Monsters

Other products

Monsters of the Orient: Complete Bestiary Epic Characters   Heroes of the Orient: Unearthed Kensai

 Customers who bought this title also purchased
Reviews (11)
Discussions (169)
Customer avatar
Jacob B February 20, 2018 7:17 pm UTC
Hey Marc! First off; this has been, by far, my favorite purchase on this entire sight and has been the apex of a campaign I've been running. I in fact, loved this entire thing so much, that I'd commissioned a brand new satellite map for the book from . It'll be a month or so until its done, but I'd like to send it to you folks when it is complete for some high quality implementation.
Customer avatar
Dorian P February 13, 2018 5:16 pm UTC
Seems fun! Great Idea! I'd correct the Japanese words tho.
Customer avatar
Marc A February 13, 2018 10:52 pm UTC
Hi Dorian,

Thanks for your kind words.

Me not speaking Japanese makes it very hard to get 100% right if I were to try and achieve that.
While it is greatly inspired by Asian cultures and myths, it isn't intended to replicate anything in the real world - including the language.
It should hopefully convey the right *feel* though.
Customer avatar
Alexander S February 13, 2018 4:01 am UTC
Quick question, the shinobi's Masterful Maneuvering lets you learn twice the number of maneuvers. Does that mean at level 6 instead of 4 maneuvers, I would have 8? Or does it only count for new maneuver slot, meaning that my total is increased from 3 to 4. I'm getting an increase of 1 new maneuver, so with Masterful Maneuvering it would go up by 2 to a total of 5?
Really enjoying this so far by the way.
Customer avatar
Marc A February 13, 2018 6:46 am UTC
Hi Alexander,

I'm glad you're enjoying the title!

As for Masterful Maneuvering you indeed double the number of kensai maneuvers known.
At 6th level, you would thus have 8.
Customer avatar
Darryl M February 04, 2018 12:12 pm UTC
Do you know of any adventures that have been published that use your books as reference material?
Customer avatar
Marc A February 05, 2018 10:18 am UTC
Hi Darryl,

I'm working on one myself.
You're very welcome to send me an email via if you're interested in playtesting it.
I don't know if anybody else has made one.
Customer avatar
January 31, 2018 2:52 pm UTC
love the overall style of the player options, but i have 2 comments to bring up.

1. I love the flavor of kensai overall but i feel like it suffers from a bit of a slow pace in it's growth, it seems what would be your bread and butter abilities are only obtained at much later levels, clash being at 7th level as an example. And while some of the martial disciplines remedy this slow pace via their own features, something like the shinobi for example, also happens to have much of it's usefulness at higher levels, again leaving the earlier levels a bit empty and dull. It might be worth having a bit of a tweak on which levels you gain certain abilities to remedy that slow and , no offense but somewhat of a boring start. overall 3rd level for many classes tends to be the point they come into their own and start feeling special, but for the kensai 3rd level still seems like a fighter without any archetype. the maneuvers that have ki point costs you can make use of at these lower levels are somewhat underwhelming....See more
Customer avatar
Marc A February 01, 2018 9:21 am UTC
Hi there,

Thank you for your kind words!

Regarding your comments:

1. I can see how you would think so. The way the class is designed, however, is that it gains few broad things from the base class while the archetype really gives it its identity. There's a big difference between a samurai and a shinobi, for example. The difference is smaller for a class like the fighter, which gets most of its identity and tools from the base class. In that regard, the kensai is more like the cleric, sorcerer, and warlock. The issue with getting archetype features at 1st level is that they can't be too powerful, as it makes multiclassing overly attractive.
While I don't feel like they're too slow in terms of coming into their own, I will agree that the samurai probably is a little on the slow side. Now, if you want to alleviate this, the most straightforward solution would be to switch the level 6 archetype feature with Grace at level 3. That some additional tweaks would probably need...See more
Customer avatar
jason M January 29, 2018 9:14 pm UTC
I found a mistake in the maho-tsukai..
maho says you spend # of d6 = the spells lv..

Blood Path Zealotry: Blood Mage - Blood Empowerment.

For example, if you were to cast fireball using a 3rd level spell slot, you could
then roll 2d6 with your maho feature, to increase the spell’s level to a
5th level spell.

it should be 3d6 because firball is a 3rd lv spell if I go by maho.
Customer avatar
Eric W January 29, 2018 9:25 pm UTC
You are misinterpreting the way that class works. The 'maho' feature allows you to cast spell using your hitpoints in place of slots. So as a Maho wizard you can **choose** to cast a spell with a slot like normal or your Hp by rolling d6/level.
The 'Blood Empowerment' allows you to spend your maho spellcasting [hp] to upcast your spells. So by casting a fireball using a 3rd level slot [like normal] you can roll 2d6 taking the damage to increase the fireball as if you were casting it with a 5th level slot.
Customer avatar
jason M January 29, 2018 9:40 pm UTC

When casting in this way, you need to supply any material
components as you normally would.

is the intent to still need the component or that you don't need the components?
Customer avatar
Marc A January 29, 2018 10:17 pm UTC
Hi Jason,

The intent is that you supply the components as normal when casting a spell using spell slots.
The last line of Blood Empowerment says "When casting in this way, you need to supply any material components as you normally would".

Also, thank you Eric for chiming in!
Customer avatar
jason M January 30, 2018 7:16 am UTC
The confusing part is, is it d6 per wizard lv., or spell level, it just says level.
If firballs a 3rd lv slot to me it says 3d6+ to cast
Customer avatar
jason M January 30, 2018 7:23 am UTC
Maho says per spell lv. Not wizard lv.
So to me 2d6 doesn't sound right.
So lv per d6 (3rd lv fireball to me would be 3d6)
However. If your 2nd wizard lv to cast a 3rd lv slot is 2d6(cuz your 2nd lv would rite I guess).
Again its cobfusing
Customer avatar
jason M January 30, 2018 7:23 am UTC
Maho says per spell lv. Not wizard lv.
So to me 2d6 doesn't sound right.
So lv per d6 (3rd lv fireball to me would be 3d6)
However. If your 2nd wizard lv to cast a 3rd lv slot is 2d6(cuz your 2nd lv would rite I guess).
Again its cobfusing
Customer avatar
jason M January 30, 2018 7:29 am UTC
Wording wise it looked like "don't " was missing so just clarifying.I think it could of been worded a bit better
Customer avatar
Marc A January 30, 2018 10:08 am UTC
Okay, you had me confused as you talked about Blood Empowerment and basic Maho.

Here's the gist of it:
"... you can cast your wizard spells by fueling them with your own life force, rather than expending a spell slot. When you do so, roll a number of d6 equal to the spell’s level."
It very much refers to the spell's level, not your wizard level.
So, a fireball would cost at least 3d6 to cast. As a 4th level spell, it would cost 4d6 to cast.

Blood Empowerment is a Blood Mage exclusive feature that allows you to upcast spells you cast using spell slots.
You could, for example, cast a fireball by expending a 3rd level spell slot. Just like any other caster. You can then increase the spell's level by adding Maho: 1d6 for each additional spell level.
Expending a 3rd level spell slot and sacrificing 2d6 hit points would thus cause fireball to be a 5th level spell.

Let me know if anything else is unclear :)
Customer avatar
jason M January 31, 2018 7:59 pm UTC
now it makes perfect sence, I think its just the way it was worded to me threw me off..
are ALL the spells new?
Customer avatar
Marc A February 01, 2018 12:15 pm UTC
I'm glad I could clear it up.
A lot of the spells are based on spells from previous editions, but they're new in 5e.
Customer avatar
Eric W January 28, 2018 11:05 pm UTC
I'm a little confused as far as the Watchful Companion goes. Does it roll initiative or act on your turn? I know that it cannot attack but can it do things like the Help Action?

Also for the Unicorn companion, I know that it can't cast spells, but can it do its special magic actions i.e.; Healing Touch/3 day or Teleport/1 day?
Customer avatar
Marc A January 29, 2018 10:24 pm UTC
Hi Eric,

The Watchful Companion acts on your turn. I can see how it is confusing when it isn't stated directly. I'll make sure to add it.
I didn't consider the Help action while designing it, but with familiars being able to do so there can hardly be a balance implication in allowing it.
I'd rule against it at my table though, just because it feels odd.

The unicorn companion can't be commanded to do healing touch, teleport, etc. That would be much too powerful at level 3.
The level 15 feature, however, allows you to use those actions.
Customer avatar
Antonio B January 21, 2018 10:18 pm UTC
I wonder if it cvould be possible to have a high res image of the map
Customer avatar
Marc A January 22, 2018 9:47 am UTC
Hi Antonio,

First time I've been asked that.
I'll see if I can get one made!
Customer avatar
Antonio B January 23, 2018 9:11 pm UTC
it'd be great if you can hook me up with one, the ione in the pdf is low res.
Customer avatar
Antonio B January 24, 2018 2:27 pm UTC
I mean, i could retrace it but honestly, its not going to be as good as your version and i've already shown it to the players >>"
Customer avatar
Marc A January 26, 2018 9:10 am UTC
I had planned to have a better map created for it anyway.
I'll commission one, include it in the next update, and put it as a high res file next to the pdf.

It might take a little while though :)
Customer avatar
Kaine O January 19, 2018 3:41 pm UTC
Hey Marc! Our Orient campaign is still going strong and my players are loving the content. I recently put together a provincial map for the Orient in my game to show political lines in a bit more detail, and I was wondering as I did so what the intended size of the original map was. In your map of the Orient, how many miles is each hex supposed to represent?
Customer avatar
Marc A January 19, 2018 4:37 pm UTC
Hi Kaine,

I'm so glad to hear it!

Regarding your question: I left it unclear, so a DM might make the world smaller or larger, depending on how they want to run their campaign.
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.

To make it simple (and a little smaller), one hex could also be 24 miles. That would make travelling 1 hex take exactly 1 day at a normal travel pace.
Or to compare with the example journey above from Kōra to Kyūsokuna: 9 days at a fast travel pace, 12 days at a normal travel pace, and 15 days at a slow travel pace.
Customer avatar
Kaine O January 19, 2018 4:59 pm UTC
Thanks for the reply! I think i’ll err on the larger side of things, but I may dial it back to 60 miles just to make mapping easier on myself. One of my players is running a prefecture in spider lands, so I suspect they’ll be excited to learn that they control a space slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island!
Customer avatar
Mitchell M January 18, 2018 8:45 pm UTC
Which class(es) can cast kiss of the spider? You have the spell detailed, but it doesn't appear on any class spell list.
Customer avatar
Marc A January 19, 2018 9:50 am UTC
Hi Mitchell,

Thank you for your feedback!

In my notes it says wizard, but now I'm leaning more towards it being exclusively a druid spell.
It fits better there from a thematic standpoint and could mix well with shapechanging.
Customer avatar
Jacob S January 18, 2018 3:02 am UTC
I love this book. The world and class options are amazing and well thought out, and the races are interesting and balanced. My only questions are with the Tattooed feat. If I choose one that references a monk ability do I gain that ability as well. Like with the Heron tattoo, would I gain Step of the Wind? And what is the Ancestral Radiance for a Great Sylvan Serafu? It just shows a dash.
Customer avatar
Marc A January 18, 2018 11:35 am UTC
Hi Jacob,

Thank you for your kind words!

With the feat, you'd get the tattoo exactly as described. The heron tattoo would make your Step of the Wild free. If you don't have Step of the Wild, it will have no effect.
You can, of course, rule it any way you want at your table though.

A Serafu of Great Sylvan ancestry doesn't get Ancestral Radiance like the other subraces. Instead, it gets the Sylvan Shapechange feature. It was a thematically better fit.
If you'd rather have Ancestral Radiance anyways, I'd suggest home ruling it as poison damage with a Con save.
Customer avatar
jason M January 07, 2018 6:05 am UTC
One minor thing I noticed missing is the starting gold for the kensai/ shogun if buying own gear
Customer avatar
Marc A January 11, 2018 5:47 pm UTC
Hi again Jason.

That's a perfectly valid point.
Thank you!
Customer avatar
jason M January 04, 2018 7:26 am UTC
Question about the.
You get maneuvers from the legacy list and by 15 level know 8 maneuvers....
There's only 3 legacy maneuvers...
Was there supposed to be another list to choose from?
Customer avatar
Marc A January 11, 2018 5:46 pm UTC
Hi Jason,

No, that's intentional. The reason is the Bushi Stance feature which says "Starting at 7th level, whenever you would learn a kensai maneuver, you can learn a bushi stance in its place."
The intention is for you to choose between eventually knowing all eight Bushi Stances, or only some of them while also knowing some basic kensai maneuvers.
Customer avatar
December 31, 2017 4:12 pm UTC
Question regarding adamantine. You wrote on page 23

When using an adamantine weapon, your crit range increases by 1. For example, if you would normally land a critical hit on a roll of 20, you would land a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20 using an adamantine weapon or adamantine ammunition.

Does this stack with the Fighter (Champion) in the PHB on page 72 ability which says.

IMPROVED CRITICAL. Beginning when you choose this archetype at 3rd level, your weapon attacks score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20.

Does that make the fighter even have a wider critical hit range?
Customer avatar
Marc A January 11, 2018 5:44 pm UTC
Hi there.

That was the intention, yes.
However, it's likely to change with the next update, as WotC included adamantine weapons in Xanathar's Guide to Everything.
Their approach is a little different.
Customer avatar
Elad M December 23, 2017 11:42 pm UTC
Hello! First off, I would like to say that I liked this product very much. Just from a brief reading of most of it and closer reading of specific elements, this companion guide really brings the feeling of the setting in a major way.
Just two questions (on very specific things):

1. Why does the Kusari-gama have the Two-Handed trait? I can understand the thinking behind this but I would personally argue that it makes more sense to drop the Two-Handed trait and just write in its Special trait that it has to be dual wielded (Since you don't hold it with two hands like you do a greatsword or a halberd, but it's two one-handed weapons that you use together). The way I think about a Kusari-gama is that you fight with the sickle and weight interchangeably, but according to the way that it is written right now you have to choose to attack either with the sickle or the weight when you take an Attack action. Sure, once you have Extra Attack you can make one attack with the sickle and one with the weight...See more
Customer avatar
Marc A January 11, 2018 5:40 pm UTC
Hi Elad,

Thank you for your kind words. It means a lot!

Regarding your questions:

1. I completely understand where you're coming from. That's a very logical approach. The reason for the two-handed trait is mostly for mechanical reasons though.
If it were to be dual wielded it would either need the Light property or a user would need the Dual Wielder feat. No other weapon has both the Light and Reach properties.
There might be balance implications in dual wielding a light weapon as you could use your bonus action to make an attack with reach each turn.
Using the two-handed trait accomplishes the same thing, except that there's no bonus action attack.
It was originally a weapon used by like merchants, farmers, and the like, who weren't generally allowed to wield noble blades such as a katana.
Granted, later it was adopted by various types of warrior, but it would still seem odd if a (albeit advanced) peasant weapon dealt more damage than a katana...See more
Customer avatar
Dave G December 23, 2017 4:29 am UTC
Is this available for print?
Customer avatar
jason M December 23, 2017 6:04 am UTC
Not that I'm aware of but I printed it at home. Its great
Customer avatar
Marc A December 23, 2017 9:09 am UTC
Not yet, but I'm working on it.
Customer avatar
Nathan H December 31, 2017 8:02 am UTC
Can't wait to see this happen, waiting for it to happen and will definitely be buying all of your books.
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File Last Updated:
July 03, 2017
This title was added to our catalog on July 06, 2016.