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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

  • 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 (6)
Discussions (117)
Customer avatar
April 19, 2017 11:36 pm UTC
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

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
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
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
George C April 15, 2017 4:04 pm UTC
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
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
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
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
Are the ice spiders going to be in the full version?
Customer avatar
Marc A April 15, 2017 5:43 pm UTC
They're CR 3, in case you were wondering.
Customer avatar
April 14, 2017 9:56 pm UTC
Why doesn't the Shinobi have a fighting style?
Customer avatar
Marc A April 14, 2017 10:31 pm UTC
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
Customer avatar
Tim P April 13, 2017 8:11 pm UTC
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
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
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
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
Customer avatar
kyle S April 10, 2017 1:16 am UTC
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
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
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
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
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
April 06, 2017 2:06 am UTC
Is the Elemental Weapon Manifestation spell supposed to be "Concentration, up to 1 minute"?
Customer avatar
April 06, 2017 2:30 am UTC
Also, does the Fire Masakiri damage the user?
Customer avatar
Marc A April 06, 2017 6:42 am UTC
Hi there,

During testing it seemed fine without concentration, considering it's a 3rd level spell.
If your experiences differ, I'd love to hear it.
I'll take another look at it myself as well.

The fire masakari doesn't damage the user, no.
The sentence "the flames are benign to you" are supposed to clear that up.
If it isn't clear, I'll reword it.
Customer avatar
April 05, 2017 6:15 pm UTC
Is the Battle Clarity feature for the Kensai supposed to require a bonus action? RAW the paralyzed condition says that you can't use actions.
Customer avatar
Marc A April 05, 2017 8:17 pm UTC
Hi there,

It is, yes.
This is a case of specific beats general.
It felt odd to escape a paralyze effect as a free action.
Customer avatar
April 04, 2017 4:21 pm UTC
Any word on when the monsters will be available?
Customer avatar
Marc A April 04, 2017 10:01 pm UTC
It's important to me that the book is colorful and has good art. That's what I'm currently sorting out.
I was unable to acquire the rights to some art, so I just commissioned some more to be done.

There are a few artists working on it, so it'll hopefully be done soon.
Customer avatar
Darron B April 12, 2017 9:57 pm UTC
Question : would the monster manual cover the shadow land oni (especially the oni lord's spawn) and other shadow land horrors? Just overly curious...
Customer avatar
Marc A April 13, 2017 10:46 am UTC
Hi Darron,

It has all sorts of creatures, both good and evil.
Some from the Shadowlands, as well as for every type of terrain within the rest of the Orient.
Most are in the CR 0-10 range, but there are monsters all the way to CR 30.

In total it contains: 188 monsters, 22 miscellaneous creatures, and 21 nonplayer characters.
That should equal 231 statblocks.
Customer avatar
Jackson D April 04, 2017 2:21 am UTC
Okay, so I'm going to apologize up front because this is probably going to be quite long.

So first off, I saw someone else talking about this too, but I thought I'd ask as well. The Blademaster Kensai's Blinkstrike. I agree that before the subclass felt a little underpowered, but since the change to where it's now free I'm a little wary. No one in my game picked it but still. Being able to get an extra 2d6 of damage with advantage and a 30 feet teleport every turn. I mean Barbarians can use Reckless Attack to get advantage but that comes with the cost of everything having advantage against them, plus they don't get 2d6 of damage on top of that. Just curious on your thoughts on that?

Moving on, my next topic is some story/lore questions. In the game I'm DMing right now we've only just begun (one session). Sadly a lot of people couldn't make the first game so I only introduced a few people into the game (which is fine because of this next part). I am unsure how to integrate all...See more
Customer avatar
Marc A April 04, 2017 6:41 am UTC
Hi Jackson,

Blinkstrike: Yea, I wholeheartedly agree. It shouldn't be free. Quite a few people reported it as underwhelming even after a few "buffs". Now, my math disagrees, but in my mind fun is more important than math and equal numbers. So I went ahead and gave it a shot with a free basic blinkstrike, but then added Ki cost to the more powerful versions at later levels. I'm deep into brainstorming here, trying out a number of possible solutions. I am very open to ideas though.

Story/lore: I tried to provide a framework within the book, outlining the most prominent parts of the Orient, while still leaving enough room for a DM to make it their Orient. That being said, spirit folk look human while hengeyokai have a human form - they should be relatively easy to incorporate? Hakuma are a different story. They are purposefully different, shunned on sight, and even outright hunted down in some regions. If I were you, I'd ask my players to come up with meaningful backstories that...See more
Customer avatar
April 07, 2017 7:39 pm UTC
In regards to the Kensai in general, have you considered giving them abilities to use with their bonus action? It seems like the Kensai is lacking in that department.
Customer avatar
Marc A April 07, 2017 8:48 pm UTC
Well, there are a few things.

At 9th level there's a bonded weapon improvement that uses a bonus action for 1 ki.
At 14th level there's Battle Clarity.
Then there's the Quick-Strike maneuver which can be available at 2nd level.
That's three things all kensai have access to.

Some archetypes have additional abilities.
There's ki defense for the blademaster.
The samurai uses a bonus action to enter stances.
The shinobi can take the Hide action as a bonus action while in dim light or darkness.

I honestly feel like that's fine when compared to PHB classes.

Did you have a good idea regarding bonus actions?
Customer avatar
April 08, 2017 5:28 pm UTC
So far, I don't have any ideas that don't seem overpowered. This thought really arises when I looked at the Ravager again. The Ravager get permanent Eyebite but they have to use an action to do something instead of attacking and there is a chance that it would just be a wasted turn. I was thinking that they could use the eyebite effect as a bonus action and then have their Action to attack but some might see this as too much. There is also the option of using eyebite as an action and then being able to make one melee attack as a bonus action.
Customer avatar
Marc A April 08, 2017 6:00 pm UTC
It actually was a bonus action at one point during development.
It just felt very strong to cast a spell with a bonus action instead of an action, using 2 ki instead of a 6th level spell slot, and not having to maintain concentration.

Of course it always feels bad when a turn is "wasted".
But that is potentially always the result. Attacks can miss and effects/spells can be saved.

I totally agree that it would feel awesome to use eyebite and then be able to attack straight away (especially when combined with Despair).
But I'm afraid it that would be too strong.

It might work though if the ki cost was increased as well.
I'll look into that!
Customer avatar
Monica W April 26, 2017 7:51 am UTC
What about putting a minimum on distance traveled and maybe bumping up the maximum, say 15ft minimum- 45ft max, that way it still feels like its a surprise strike, where as someone your constantly blinking next too would kinda expect it after the first time, but someone fighting someone else across the battlefield would be totally un-aware? it just seems so dang strong for what it does. Maybe leave in the damage, but not advantage/blink when at close range? that way they still feel like throwing buckets of dice at things
Customer avatar
Marc A April 27, 2017 3:44 pm UTC
It is strong for what it does, that is true.
It is also the archetype's defining ability though.

The math says the damage is a little ahead of other archetypes, but the blademaster lacks in utility when compared to the others.
It's also worth noting, that blinkstrike is limited to oncer per turn.

However, there are some nice ideas there, Monica. I'll definetly look into all of them. Thank you for sharing!
Customer avatar
April 02, 2017 3:28 am UTC
If a creature enters the ring of fire and ends its turn, does it take the fire damage twice?
Customer avatar
Marc A April 02, 2017 4:17 pm UTC
Customer avatar
April 02, 2017 3:15 am UTC
Is the "Ring of Fire" spellfire incantation meant to damage the Kensai?
Customer avatar
George C April 02, 2017 8:37 am UTC
The ring moves with the Kensai, so no.
Customer avatar
Marc A April 02, 2017 3:54 pm UTC
George is correct.
I'll reword it slightly to make it clear.
Customer avatar
April 01, 2017 4:22 pm UTC
Is the Ravager's Crimson Cut's damage supposed to be in addition to its normal weapon damage?
Customer avatar
Marc A April 02, 2017 4:09 pm UTC
Hi there,

No, it's intended as a special attack that replaces regular attacks.
If it's unclear, I'll reword it slightly.
Customer avatar
April 03, 2017 11:02 pm UTC
It's pretty clear. I was just wondering if I can extra damage to it like from my strength or dexterity modifier, clash feature, and if it is a magical weapon.
Customer avatar
Marc A April 04, 2017 6:49 am UTC
Attacks with a kensai's bonded weapon are magical starting at 5th level.
Clash lets you add damage once per turn when you hit with your bonded weapon.

Both work with Crimson Cut as it uses your bonded weapon.

Str or Dex mod is added to regular attacks, which is what Crimson Cut replaces.

I've changed the wording slightly for an upcoming update. Here's how it looks now:
Starting at 15th level, once per turn when you hit a creature with your bonded weapon, you can empower your weapon with life-leeching energies. Rather than its regular damage, the attack deals necrotic damage equal to 2d8 + your kensai level.
Customer avatar
April 07, 2017 3:51 am UTC
With this new wording, does it mean that it will only sacrifice one of your attacks when using the Extra Attack feature?
Customer avatar
Marc A April 07, 2017 4:33 am UTC
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