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OA1 Swords of the Daimyo (1e)

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From the Log of the Leaping Dolphin

"110th Day: The gale nae stops for two days. My ship is driven before it and the magus is as helpless as a wee babe. Akito names the winds tai-fun in his heathen tongue?"

Drawn by the lure of adventure and riches, a crew of seamen sails valiantly into uncharted seas. In the squalid dens of the port districts, tales hint at a land of untold riches across the waves. But getting there is only the beginning.

Across the waters lies Kozakura, a land of mystery and danger. There you will discover new cultures, strange values, secret powers, and fabulous terrors. For Kozakura is a land of Oriental Adventures

Swords of the Daimyois the first module designed for use with the AD&D Oriental Adventures rulebook. Swords of the Daimyo includes descriptions and maps of the island of Kozakura, detailed information and maps of Miyama Province of Kozakura, and a series of adventures to introduce old and new player characters to the intrigues of the Orient.

Product History

OA1: "Swords of the Daimyo" (1986), by David "Zeb" Cook, is the first expansion for the Oriental Adventures (1985) hardcover; it was released in February 1986.

Expanding Oriental Adventures. When Oriental Adventures was published in late 1985, it was the eighth hardcover for the AD&D game. "Swords of the Daimyo" appeared just a few months later, and it was something very unique: a supplement to that hardcover book.

Prior to the release of "Swords of the Daimyo", a few adventures had purposefully focused on the monsters from the Fiend Folio (1981) or the Monster Manual 2 (1983), but there had never been a module that was entirely beholden to one of AD&D's hardcover releases.

"Swords of the Daimyo" was also quite innovative in what it contained. Though it's described as an "Official Game Adventure", it actually contains two booklets: a "Province Book of Miyama" and an "Adventure Book of Miyama" … but even that adventure book is only half full of adventures.

Overall, "Swords of the Daimyo" is what we'd now call a sourcebook. As such, it was a growing trend at TSR, which had seen the introduction of a few sourcebooks over the last few years, including: the second edition World of Greyhawk (1984) supplement; Krynn's first supplement, DL5: "Dragons of Mystery"; and the city-based Lankhmar: City of Adventure (1985). Sourcebooks would really explode win 1987 with the creation of the Forgotten Realms and Mystaran Gazetteer lines.

Introductory Adventure. "Swords of the Daimyo" is an introductory adventure for Kara-Tur, but rather surprisingly it introduces western PCs to the eastern realms. This is done through the first adventure in the book, "Over the Waves We Will Go", which takes players on a boat trip to Kara-Tur.

Adventure Tropes. "Swords of the Daimyo" is an anthology of three different adventures. The anthology format was unknown in TSR's first decade of existence, but became increasingly popular in the mid-to-late '80s, beginning with supplements like B9: "Castle Caldwell and Beyond" (1985) and CA1: "Swords of the Undercity" (1985).

Of the three adventures, "Over the Waves We Will Go" is the most typical for the era, since it's a wilderness (nautical) adventure, though one that's pretty event-heavy. The other two adventures in the anthology, "Riders of the Black Temple" and "Lord of the Black Temple", are both almost entirely event-driven, which was very rare for the mid '80s. Cook had previously played with a plot-driven adventure in B6: "The Veiled Society" (1984), so the idea wasn't new to him, but it'd be years before it came into general use for AD&D adventures.

Though the rest of the books focus on source material, that background features numerous plot seeds as well, including entries to the Underdark ("Stone-Icicle-World"), bandit camps, monster lairs, and more. Together this information almost forms a hex crawl, which would have been a more typical D&D adventure for the era (but in this one, GMs need to fill in all the specifics).

About Nautical Adventuring. "Swords of the Daimyo" doesn't focus much on rules for nautical adventuring, but it does include a mutiny system.

Expanding Kara-Tur. Kara-Tur got a shockingly small six pages of description in the original Oriental Adventures book. As a result, the 30-40 pages of source material in "Swords of the Daimyo" was actually the most detail on Kara-Tur to date — by a large amount.

That includes a full-color map of Kara-Tur as well as extensive details on the island of Kozakura — the Japan of Oriental Adventures, mirroring the "Kamakura through Sengoku periods" of Japan. The main focus of "Swords of the Daimyo" is the Miyama Province of Kozakura, which is tied to the Imperial faction — one of four factions fighting in a Civil War.

About the Creators. Following his authorship of Oriental Adventures (1985), Japan fan Cook initially stayed very involved with the line, authoring OA1: "Swords of the Daimyo" (1986) and OA4: "Blood of the Yakuza" (1987), as well as contributing to OA2: "Night of the Seven Swords" (1986). He also designed an Oriental Adventurse "1-on-1 adventure gamebook" called Warlords (1986).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

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Discussions (5)
Customer avatar
Taylor O January 08, 2023 9:24 pm UTC
Print on demand perhaps? I've just started reading through Oriental Adventures and I'm interested in checking out the setting further.
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Daniel R February 11, 2022 8:56 pm UTC
POD please
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Simon W April 05, 2021 4:24 pm UTC
Please make a Print On Demand option for this book. :)
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Michael A November 29, 2020 1:10 pm UTC
I REALLY want to buy a POD copy of this!
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Carl M April 29, 2014 11:21 am UTC
Includes the full colour map at the end of the first document. Good quality map too, considering it is a scan.
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