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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.


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 (9)
Discussions (134)
Customer avatar
Jeromy R August 14, 2017 6:14 pm UTC
Hey one of my players is having trouble imagining what a serafu looks like are they basically kobolds?

I feel like shadowskin is to strong at higher levels.What are your thoughts on this maneuver.
Customer avatar
Marc A August 14, 2017 9:20 pm UTC
Hi Jeromy,

Yeah, that's how I imagine them too. Though they're a little different depending on the type of Serafu.

In order to explain shadowskin properly, let me explain the general design of the kensai.
Firstly, you'll notice the base class doesn't have much in terms of defense. Unarmored, light armor, and a d8 hit die.
There is, however, a little defense baked into the various archetypes.

The Master of the Unseen hand gets blur and is capable at a distance as well.
The Samurai has tons of defensive options (not to mention medium armor).
The Ravager can gain temporary hit points, but is otherwise intended to be hard to keep alive.

The Blademaster has movement with Blinkstrike and gets some defense at level 10.
The first part of Ki Defense seems good, but if surrounded by more than two opponents, there'll be more incoming hits as well. The second part of Ki Defense costs ki to activate and requires concentration checks to maintain....See more
Customer avatar
Aaron C August 10, 2017 1:33 pm UTC
HI there I just had a question about the Way of Righteous fury monk. Ki Frenzy means you can't cast spells but the level 6 ability is the ability to cast Haste. What was you're intention behind that? I'm curious as it just seems like an odd fit with the class focusing on the Frenzy ability.
Customer avatar
Marc A August 11, 2017 3:51 am UTC
Hi Aaron,

Good question!
While Ki Frenzy is very powerful for a monk, the big drawback is that it is limited to twice per long rest and might even end early.

During testing it seemed like this archetype, while very strong with Ki Frenzy active, was at a disadvantage to other monk archetypes without Ki Frenzy active - which is most of the time.

Haste was included to make it viable when Ki Frenzy is not available.
It is not intended to stack with Ki Frenzy.

Of course, in your game you might rule that the monk can cast that particular spell during Ki Frenzy, but I believe it'll be a very potent combination.
Customer avatar
Aaron C August 16, 2017 10:18 pm UTC
That makes more sense now, thank you for clearing that up. I would never let those two be used together. Way too powerful
Customer avatar
will I August 07, 2017 1:16 pm UTC
so i have one question because i dont understand, why does the kensai use charisma for its stat over wisdom like the monk since both their "abilities" come from ki? just looking for the designer insight or thoughts on it.
Customer avatar
Marc A August 08, 2017 9:44 am UTC
Hi Will,

A kensai is capable of using ki by channeling it through his bonded weapon. Technically the weapon is imbued with a tiny part of the kensai's soul.
He uses Charisma becomes it comes from within the kensai (and his weapon), much like a bard or sorcerer - as opposed from something externally.
In short: It's not a matter of abilities coming from ki, but rather where ki comes from.

There's also a strong sense of honor tied to the kensai (and in particular some of its archetypes). Honor translates most directly to Charisma.

There's also a question of balance. If it was Wisdom it would be much too easy to multiclass into something extremely powerful with the monk class.

I hope that answered your question.
In any case, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.
Customer avatar
mike W August 01, 2017 10:21 pm UTC
With the Hengeyokai what the point of the hybrid form? You don't get any animal ability's
Customer avatar
Eric W August 01, 2017 10:33 pm UTC
Awesome flavor and roleplaying opportunities. I'm making a Fox Hengeyokai mystic that is an awakened fox/Kitsune that only shifts between hybrid and fox form.
Customer avatar
Marc A August 02, 2017 6:31 am UTC
Hi Mike,

Eric got it right: It's there for flavor and RP.
It would become too strong if it had the best of both worlds.
You can, however, change anything however you want in your own game.

@Eric: That's an awesome concept!
Customer avatar
John M S July 14, 2017 5:26 pm UTC
Should there be a raccoon dog hengeyokai? It's mentioned under their alignment.
Customer avatar
John M S July 14, 2017 5:59 pm UTC
And no carp either.
Customer avatar
Marc A July 14, 2017 7:39 pm UTC
Yea, they were both cut during development.
I'll get that edited out.
Customer avatar
John M S July 14, 2017 4:38 pm UTC
Overall, pretty great. But one of the reasons I bought this was for the various new patrons for the warlock and...I only see two. Where is the Great Turtle and the Dragon?
Customer avatar
John M S July 14, 2017 5:16 pm UTC
Nevermind. I downloaded the preview. Sorry! Now, my only complaint is no turtle familiar. But that's it.
Customer avatar
Marc A July 14, 2017 7:40 pm UTC
Hi John,

Great idea! I'll see if I can't get that added.
Customer avatar
Taylre G July 14, 2017 12:02 am UTC
If I wanted to get this printed on Lulu, is this a good version to do it or do you think it will get a huge update in the future?
Customer avatar
Marc A July 14, 2017 6:50 am UTC
Hi Taylre,

I don't have plans for anything huge at this point in time, no.
A few more archetypes, some cross referencing to Monsters of the Orient, and minor tweaks are what I have planned for now.
Customer avatar
Eric W July 12, 2017 10:53 pm UTC
Does the void thing familiar have sight similar to an imp [devil's sight] allowing it to see through its own darkness [or any darkness]. I would assume so but not explicitly stated in the description.
Customer avatar
Marc A July 14, 2017 6:48 am UTC
Hi Eric,

It's just darkness, not magical darkness as with the spell.
Any darkvision works just fine to see through it.
Customer avatar
Chris S July 08, 2017 4:07 am UTC
There doesn't seem much "dancing on the edge with blood magic.

Fail the DC 15 save the first time you use it and you are an NPC. I like the way the save gets harder each time, that's suspenseful. Also think gaining a point of taint each time you use it is good, however you wont get many levels of character development out of this...

Even with a 16-17 starting Wisdom, they would need a 12 or better to save.

What is your reasoning for this level of save, and did you consider starting lower? Or perhaps a "three strikes and your out" option?
Customer avatar
Marc A July 10, 2017 2:23 am UTC
Honestly, I wanted to err on the side of caution since it's a book for players and DMs.
Your ideas a great though. I'll have another look at it and add some variant rules.

Thanks for sharing your ideas!
Customer avatar
July 03, 2017 9:18 am UTC
Have a question about Elemental Weapon Manifestation. The last weapon Wind Blade it says it deals 2d4 piercing and 2d4 force damage. My question is for the other weapons is the weapon damage included or not? The piercing seems to imply it is weapons damage but only elemental damage is listed for the other weapons.
Customer avatar
Marc A July 04, 2017 12:15 am UTC
Hi there,

Thank you for your interest! I hope you're enjoying the rest of the title.

The weapons created with the spell are intended to only deal the damage stated in the spell description.
Customer avatar
June 22, 2017 4:50 am UTC
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
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
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
Cody S July 10, 2017 5:48 pm UTC
Interesting, I've never heard of the term Oriental carrying a negative connotation before. Even the tea leaves I import from Thailand use Oriental as an adjective. And I know it doesn't equate to being an expert anthropologist, but I've spent a ton of time at lunar festivals and family get-together's with various Asian friends of mine, including my Vietnamese girlfriend I've been with for quite some time, and have never heard it used negatively. Rather, they typically use the term Oriental to refer to broader Asian context, rather than a specific term like "Chinese", "Vietnamese", "Japanese" etc.

As an aside: an online DM I use to play with used this supplement; I've since lost touch with him and therefore no longer have access, but I plan on picking this up myself next time I get paid! Unfortunately I've already overspent my allotted DND budget preparing for Tomb of Annihilation or I would pick it up now :-)
Customer avatar
TRAVIS C June 06, 2017 12:09 pm UTC
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
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
It's in the 2.0 version. I just double-checked.
Customer avatar
Marc A May 25, 2017 10:09 am UTC
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
where can i find the monster manual to complement the handbook?
Customer avatar
Marc A May 22, 2017 5:42 pm UTC
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
sweet, no rush just got excited about it,after the previews, thanks
Customer avatar
Will C May 14, 2017 7:34 am UTC
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
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
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.
See 16 more
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