Does anyone use Kara Tur?

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Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by waylander39 » Sun Jun 08, 2008 10:58 am

I was just wondering if anyone uses Kara Tur at all? Either as a part of FR or as a stand alone setting. I've used it a few times myself as a part of the Realms when I've fancied doing something completely different, but I've always felt it was an under utilised resource.

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:09 pm

I have been looking over the OA modules that are available as free ESDs on the Wizards site, and considering doing something with them. I definitely agree that the setting is under utilized. It always felt shoehorned onto FR, but even still, it affords many possibilities.

There was a Dragon article that dealt with the Hordelands recently that I'm told did a very good job at sort of reimagining the Horde in the Realms without completely tossing out all that had gone before (ie, the Horde Trilogy which was a barely disguised bit of historic fiction dealing with Genghis Khan).
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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by waylander39 » Tue Jun 10, 2008 1:01 pm

The Hordelands were a good setting, and I enjoyed using it although I didn't bother with invasion metaplot as I felt it was a bit much. Which Dragon magazine featured the article? I'd be interested to read it.

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:15 pm

It's in Dragon #349
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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:34 pm

waylander39 wrote:I was just wondering if anyone uses Kara Tur at all? Either as a part of FR or as a stand alone setting. I've used it a few times myself as a part of the Realms when I've fancied doing something completely different, but I've always felt it was an under utilised resource.
I actually want to raid Kara-Tur, to get stuff to use in a Spelljammer campaign. I was really excited when I saw the 3rd edition version of Oriental Adventures and was ready to buy it. I flicked through the blurb and saw that Kara-Tur had been yanked and was absolutely gutted. Needless to say, I didn't buy it.

I now need to buy some old school Kara-Tur stuff and find myself a website that is producing 3rd edition conversions of Kara-Tur. I can probably use the (disapointing) 3rd edition Oriental Adventures for some stuff, but I need Kara-Tur - not Rotyourgut (or whatever it is called :P ) and don't have time to adapt it all myself.
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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by Havard » Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:28 pm

I dislike the Forgotten Realms, but I do like Kara Tur as a concept. If I got my hands on some of the books I might use it with Mystara's Ethengar.

I actually like Rokugan, the setting in the 3E version of OA, but Rokugan belongs with the AEG system, not D20.

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by waylander39 » Tue Jun 17, 2008 7:29 pm

Some of the scenarios are well worth a look as they incorporate a background/setting section as well as the scenario itself. Some of them are available free on the Wizards archive site as is the Hordelands boxed set. I wasn't struck with Rokugan in the 3e book but then I'm old school when it comes to settings. :D I disliked the mixing of Japanese and Chinese cultures and I felt that the setting was the trying to do the best of both, but ultimately didn't quite succeed.

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by Big Mac » Wed Jun 18, 2008 1:17 am

Havard wrote:I dislike the Forgotten Realms, but I do like Kara Tur as a concept. If I got my hands on some of the books I might use it with Mystara's Ethengar.
Funny thing opinions. I actually love the concept of Forgotten Realms, especially the bolt on nature of the world. I just think that it is a shame that 3rd edition FRCS stayed in Faerun instead of giving us a new look at Al-Qadim, Kara-Tur, Maztica and some of the places that TSR hadn't documented.
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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by waylander39 » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:10 pm

I agree completely, part of the joy of FR was the fact that it was a planet with individual settings and continents with their own distinct feel much like our own world but with the added bonus of magic and fantasy. Oriental Adventures and Kara tur were big parts of that as were the other continents and lands, unfortunately under 3rd ed these weren't utilised to their full potential. Heck I'm not even sure they were utilised to their full potential in earlier editions but at least the attempt was made.

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jun 24, 2008 9:59 pm

What Toril potentially gives us is a game where you can go from campaign to campaign without using Spelljammer and without using Planescape. Now I like both SJ and PS, but not everyone does. And for the people who don't want to deal with those concepts the thought of being able to do the same thing on a normal ship (or a very long walk) has got to be a much easer leap to make.

WotC have made all this talk about points-of-light, but don't seem to realise that Toril is the world of points-of-light. There are still several unexplored areas on Toril and they could easily have put a new 3rd edition campaign setting there (instead of using Eberron).

I mean no offense to anyone who likes Rotugan, but I can't begin to tell you how disapointed I was that Kara Tur was ripped out of Oriental Adventures and replaced with a non-TSR doppleganger. That choice was one of the first things that alienated me from WotC. I wish that we had been given an Oriental Players Handbook and separate Kara Tur Campaign Setting and Rotugan Campaign Setting handbooks. (And I wish that Kara Tur Campaign Setting had been given a slight reboot to fix any of the problems it had and consolodate the best ideas into one book.)

If that had been done the GM could have been offered further books that would work with either setting (like an Oriental Monster Manual). Everyone could have been happy.
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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by waylander39 » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:53 pm

I agree that Abeir-Toril is a fantastic "points of light" setting (to use current Wotc jargon), and the unused continents (I think there are at least 3 if not 4 IIRC) would have been ideal for new settings. I've already started to transfer other settings in using the continent north of Maztica as a shoe-in for the Known World and the Savage Coast and one of the unnamed continents will be used (at least in part) for the War of the Burning Sky scenarios produced by ENWorld publishing. I'm with Big mac on the subject of the 3rd ed OA book. I was extremely disappointed that Kara-tur wasn't used or that it never made any sort of appearance under the 3rd ed rules. It's an enjoyable setting and I'm glad it's getting some much deserved love here.

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by MerrikCale » Sun Jun 29, 2008 1:20 am

I haven't used anything from it in awhile, but playing in the Realms, I guess its always there

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by waylander39 » Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:37 am

I'm in the process of writing some new stuff for my 2nd ed group and without giving too much away, there's a bit of eastern flavour going to be introduced soon to at least make them aware that Kara-tur exists. Hopefully it might spur them on to go exploring in that direction.

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jun 30, 2008 10:53 am

waylander39 wrote:I'm in the process of writing some new stuff for my 2nd ed group and without giving too much away, there's a bit of eastern flavour going to be introduced soon to at least make them aware that Kara-tur exists. Hopefully it might spur them on to go exploring in that direction.
I hope you can share your notes with us after the adventure finishes (and the cat is out of the bag).
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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by True_Atlantean » Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:42 am

I use it peripherally, unless a player has an urge to play a character from there. I have a big interest in asian culture in general, so I try to work it in. The invasion metaplot does allow for quite a bit of interaction. It acts as an excellent counterbalance to the prevalent culture and allows for plenty of neat role-playing opportunities.
However, I have never actually set an adventure there or had the PCs visit it - Kara-Tur has always come to the characters, not the other way around.
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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by teatonev » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:40 am

waylander39 wrote:I was just wondering if anyone uses Kara Tur at all? Either as a part of FR or as a stand alone setting. I've used it a few times myself as a part of the Realms when I've fancied doing something completely different, but I've always felt it was an under utilised resource.
Yes I do, or at least I would if I could get my current group interested in playing OA! I'd prefer to use Kara Tur as a stand alone setting with minimal FR ties. I felt that the Kara Tur supplement for 1E was quite weak, providing very little practical information for running a Kara Tur campaign. I'm most inspired by OA1 Swords Of The Daimyo which gave complete details for a Kozakuran province.

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:09 pm

teatonev wrote:Yes I do, or at least I would if I could get my current group interested in playing OA! I'd prefer to use Kara Tur as a stand alone setting with minimal FR ties. I felt that the Kara Tur supplement for 1E was quite weak, providing very little practical information for running a Kara Tur campaign. I'm most inspired by OA1 Swords Of The Daimyo which gave complete details for a Kozakuran province.
I need to raid Kara-Tur for Spelljammer. I'm looking to make or find a way to combine Kara Tur fluff with 3rd edition crunch. I'm probably going to need to bite the bullet and buy the non-KT 3rd edition Oriental Adventures. Can you give me idea of what retro products I need to buy to get the background of Kara-Tur?

Ultimately I'd like to see a 3rd edition Kara-Tur Campaign Setting netbook from the fans (maybe Candlekeep), but I can wait for most of that. ENWorld's Creature Catalogue team is already in the process of converting the Kara-Tur monsters, so I can probably manage with the background and some sort of list of non-KT things to drop from the 3rd edition OA rules.
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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by teatonev » Tue Jul 22, 2008 1:48 pm

I'm afraid I'm strictly old school, so I can't help you with respect to third edition products. However, for a quick summary of Kara Tur I can recommend this site which provides as better summary of the nations of Kara Tur than you'd get from a lifetime of studying the box set. It also provides this link which provides some useful information for oriental spelljammming.

The 1E Oriental Adventures hardback is relatively common and can easily be picked up for ~£5 on ebay. I'd imagine that the third edition supplement would probably be necessary for the actual game mechanics. The adventures only come up for sale rarely and may not add a great deal to a spelljamming campaign - OA5-7 are free downloads on the WoTC site if you want to have a skim through though.

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jul 22, 2008 3:18 pm

teatonev wrote:I'm afraid I'm strictly old school, so I can't help you with respect to third edition products. However, for a quick summary of Kara Tur I can recommend this site which provides as better summary of the nations of Kara Tur than you'd get from a lifetime of studying the box set. It also provides this link which provides some useful information for oriental spelljammming.
Thanks for your help. The first website is just a clone of Wikipedia. The second page is from Beyond the Moons (the official Spelljammer website). I'll have another read through the Wikipedia information, but was hoping to find a Kara-Tur fansite or Oriental Adventures fansite someday.
teatonev wrote:The 1E Oriental Adventures hardback is relatively common and can easily be picked up for ~£5 on ebay. I'd imagine that the third edition supplement would probably be necessary for the actual game mechanics. The adventures only come up for sale rarely and may not add a great deal to a spelljamming campaign - OA5-7 are free downloads on the WoTC site if you want to have a skim through though.
The Wikipedia article says that the original Oriental adventures does not actually include much information about Kara-Tur. That is what I really need. Full background information on the entire area.

Aquella.com's Oriental Adventures page is fairly interesting (at least to someone thinking of buying the 3rd edition OA). James Wyatt (who aparantly worked on both versions of OA) says this:
James Wyatt wrote:The idea with Greyhawk is that it's a baseline. Anything that exists in the core rules of D&D exists in Greyhawk, and everything that exists in Greyhawk is a part of the core rules of D&D. Not so with Rokugan! Just for starters, the first chapter of OA details six character races—only two of which are found in Rokugan. Hengeyokai, korobokuru, and spirit folk were an important part of the first OA, but they have no place in Rokugan. Rather than leaving them out while using Rokugan as a default setting, we included everything and then presented Rokugan as an example of how to build a coherent campaign out of all these options.
I'll have to get a full list of these races so that I can work out how many of them are Kara-Tur races. However ENWorld's Creature Catalogue team will probably give me all the missing beasties. (I would provide a link, but ENWorld is down at the moment.)

Apart from the geographical areas (which I presume can be lifted from old school Kara-Tur stuff) are there any special rules for Kara-Tur. I know that Legends and Lore had Karma and Darma for the Indian stuff. I'd guess that somone might think about making things like that.

I've heard about something called Ki. I don't know if Ki is in the 3rd edition OA (and you won't know either). Without going into too much detail what is Ki, what does it do in the game and how do you gain or loose Ki?
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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by waylander39 » Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:03 pm

Well the obvious one to get is the Kara Tur boxset, which gives a fair bit of info for the entire continent along with NPC's and adventure ideas. After that the various OA adventures would be next on my list especially those that provide extra info on particular areas of Kara Tur. Adventures OA1, OA3, OA4 and OA7 are especially good in that regard. The adventures that can't be picked up free from the Wotc website are available on pdf from Drivethru rpg and I should imagine paizo as well

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by waylander39 » Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:08 pm

As far as ki is concerned I don't recall coming across it in the 3rd ed book, (which I like a lot, with the exception of Rokugan) but it dates back to 1st ed days and IIRC represented a method of using inner power to unleash devastating shouts which disoriented opponents. It was used mainly by Kensai characters, I think. To be honest it's been a while since I looked through the 1st ed OA, so I might be mistaken or wrong.

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by teatonev » Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:19 pm

Yes ki powers are special class abilities released by focussing mental energies.... A bushi can temporarily increase his levels by two, or a kensai can hit for maximum damage. At higher levels some classes gained greater abilities such as the kensai's whirlwind attack, or the ninja's abilities to pass thorugh walls.

These were felt to provide a large power boost compared to the traditional classes, so OA was felt to be unbalancing if mixed traditional/oriental campaigns were allowed.

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by waylander39 » Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:29 pm

Ahh I'm glad my memory hadn't let me down. Yes the general impression I got from 1st ed OA was that the traditional setting and OA should be kept apart as seperate entities. I think with 3/3.5 that those balance problems may well have been lessened if not resolved.

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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by Big Mac » Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:08 am

waylander39 wrote:Well the obvious one to get is the Kara Tur boxset, which gives a fair bit of info for the entire continent along with NPC's and adventure ideas. After that the various OA adventures would be next on my list especially those that provide extra info on particular areas of Kara Tur. Adventures OA1, OA3, OA4 and OA7 are especially good in that regard. The adventures that can't be picked up free from the Wotc website are available on pdf from Drivethru rpg and I should imagine paizo as well
Thanks for that. Maybe I don't even need the original Oriental Adventures. I have heard that there isn't much mention of Kara-Tur in it.

Paizo are 95c cheaper on modules. I'm not sure if they would be cheaper on the Kara-Tur boxed set, but I would check it out. I think I would rather have a physical copy* of the boxed set (than a PDF).

* = This is why I wish that WotC would do a deal with a Print on Demand publisher.
waylander39 wrote:As far as ki is concerned I don't recall coming across it in the 3rd ed book, (which I like a lot, with the exception of Rokugan) but it dates back to 1st ed days and IIRC represented a method of using inner power to unleash devastating shouts which disoriented opponents. It was used mainly by Kensai characters, I think. To be honest it's been a while since I looked through the 1st ed OA, so I might be mistaken or wrong.
Ki seems to me to be a very similar concept to psionics. I think it works in a totally different way, but it is energy from within, rather than energy from without.

If Ki isn't in the 3rd edition OA, I might need to buy the 1st edition OA just to convert Ki to 3rd edition. Alternatively, I could make it psionics with another name. The 2nd edition rules from The Complete Psionisist had Wild Talents, which allowed everyone to have a few PSPs. Maybe Ki could turn into a Feat (or a free feat for OA classes) that does the same thing as that.
teatonev wrote:Yes ki powers are special class abilities released by focussing mental energies.... A bushi can temporarily increase his levels by two, or a kensai can hit for maximum damage. At higher levels some classes gained greater abilities such as the kensai's whirlwind attack, or the ninja's abilities to pass thorugh walls.

These were felt to provide a large power boost compared to the traditional classes, so OA was felt to be unbalancing if mixed traditional/oriental campaigns were allowed.
Hmm. That has got to be a problem for retro gamers who want to mix Kara-Tur and Forgotten Realms (or retro gamers who want to use Kara-Tur elements within Spelljammer).

I guess I need to bite the bullet and buy the 3rd edition Oriental Adventures (that doesn't have Kara-Tur in it) just so I can find out if this mechanic is going to be available to me.

Given that Spelljammer has something called a Ki Helm (that moves ships through space using Ki power) I would say that Ki is going to be a core element of Kara-Tur.

If only there was an Oriental SRD, things would be a lot easier for me. :cry: I would still need to buy Oriental Adventures, but an Oriental SRD would have created a market for compatible material. Someone somewhere would have recreated the missing Kara-Tur mechanics.
waylander39 wrote:Ahh I'm glad my memory hadn't let me down. Yes the general impression I got from 1st ed OA was that the traditional setting and OA should be kept apart as seperate entities. I think with 3/3.5 that those balance problems may well have been lessened if not resolved.
This is where things are frustrating for me. I've not played 2nd edition AD&D for years, and haven't played 1st edition AD&D ever. And because WotC didn't convert Kara-Tur for me <instert random rant here> I have to learn two systems of Kara-Tur/Oriental Adventures rules to work out if there is a problem with 3rd edition Kara-Tur.
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Re: Does anyone use Kara Tur?

Post by waylander39 » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:51 pm

The 1st ed OA rules are easily convertable across to 2nd ed as both systems are pretty interchangeable. There were some 2nd ed kits developed for OA use, you'llfind the samurai in the Complete Fighter's and the Wu jen in the complete Wizard's. There was even an entire book devoted to Ninjas and a Monstrous Compendium devoted to Kara Tur, something I was always a bit confused about as the setting was very much on the back burner in 2nd ed times. You can get the main Kara tur boxed set on drive thru as well and again, probably on paizo as well. Certainly the drivethru one is available for $4.95, so could well be worth a look. Bear in mind that the Kara Tur boxed set was written with 1st ed in mind, but it fortunately doesn't have a lot of rules in it, primarily it's a background resource.

OA 3rd ed is also available as a pdf but is quite expensive. If you can track down a print copy do so, you may well get it cheaper through e-bay. OA 3rd ed has info on pretty much what you would expect: Races, classes, prestige classes, feats and skills, equipment, martial arts, monsters, spells and campaign design. There are also several chapters dedicated to Rokugan, which may or may not be useful for your own campaign. I personally don't think there'll be a problem with 3rd ed Kara Tur as such. 3rd ed OA provides the bulk of the stuff you'll need and the ki powers, while important within the classes could easily be replaced by feats or Special abilities duplicating thier abilities. Incidentally the Complete Warrior has the samurai class and kensai prestige class, and I think complete scoundrel or adventurer has the ninja class.

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