The Middle Kingdom: Chaos Rising

Across a raging sea lies a land older than even draconic memory. Here honor is all, more than fame or fortune, it is coveted above all else. The Emperor, Champion of the Orderly Celestial Bureaucracy and his loyal samurai face the Demonic Oni of the ShadowLands whom seek to spread chaos like wildfire through all the lands. Ninjas, Ronin, Geisha, Samurai, Monks, and even UnTouchables call these lands home, and it is the Emperor’s sacred duty, given unto him by the Six Dragons under the blessing of the Twin Kami Lord Moon and Lady Sun to keep his lands pure and safe. This is a land where Law is more important than Good, and Chaos a worse foe than Evil. It is a land of deep ritual, tradition, and beauty as well as bloodshed. Alas, the Great Emperor died, leaving only his young son to sit the Jade Throne with the help of a trusted advisor. The peasants talk, and even the Untouchables hear the rumors, that Fu Leng, the Daimyo of all Demons, has awoken in the Shadow Lands and will come to steal the Mandate of Heaven.

Setting & Important Differences:

This Campaign will use D&D 3.5 updates to the old D&D 3.0 Oriental Adventures by Wizards of the Coast. Many of these updates were contained in the Complete Series of books. These pages will document the variants used. The Rokugan campaign setting will be used as a template for this campaign setting which is modeled after Ancient Japan, China, Korea, and Vietnam. However, several changes to the Rokugan Campaign Setting will be made and noted here. With that said here are a few of the important differences in this Campaign.

Caste & Resctrictions on types of Ownership

Your class determines your hitpoints, skill points, and class abilities, however it is only partly related to your social class. Your caste determines your social standing and what you are legally allowed to do. Certain classes require certain castes and vice-versa. For example, a character of the Samurai Class is a member of the Samurai Caste. Infact, it is required. A Samurai whom is dishonoured can become a Ronin much as a Paladin becomes a BlackGuard. HOWEVER, all Samurai Caste members are not members of the Samurai Character Class. Some Samurai Caste members are Aristocrats, Fighters, or even Warriors. Each caste gives certain benefits and restrictions. For example, the Samurai are the only ones allowed to use the best swords and armor (something others are punished with death), but they are forever forbidden to own property (land or businesses). Always be mindful not just of your class, but of your CASTE.

Sexism is less pronounced:

Feudal Asia treated men and women of the same caste far more similarly than Feudal Europeans did. Infact, the wives of Samurai were expected to train in war to defend their homes and families while their husbands were on campaign. These women were known as Onna-Bugeisha many of whom used Naginatas due to their versatility. There are even stories and poems about many famous women that held off numerically superior numbers of men in defense of their homes and families. Thus sexism is more of a non-issue. Moreover, many Samurai were very intimate with other male Samurai, it was an expected part of “serving one’s lord” and was not frowned upon in any particular way.

Millions of Spirits, but no “Gods”

When Occidentals (Westerners) think of the word “God” they tend to mean a spiritual power that commands several lesser ones and is inherently greater than others. The Japanese have one word to describe the highest and lowest: Kami. Ancestor worship is common, and spirits are known to be everywhere. Hence one prays to the greatest power in the region. Thus if you lived near the the Great Yellow River, you prayed to the Great Yellow River. If you lived near the Gloom Glacier, you would try to placate that instead. Thus, people pray, and are spiritual, but a priest is a priest of all spirits, not a particular one. Hence there are holy men with divine powers, but no “Clerics” that most D&D players are used to. Lady Sun and Lord Moon are obviously the most powerful spirits, but also the most distant. Thus while they are given homage and prayer, only those such as the Emperor can expect any kind of direct assistance from them.

Family > Person

A man without a clan is only half a man in reality. Partly because of the previous discussion of spirits, and moreso because of the caste system, one’s family is very important. Young children are taught how to recite the names and deeds of their most illustrious family members. When two people meet, one’s clan name is given before their personal name. After all, a family of Samurai will always be Samurai, and a family of Merchants will always be Merchants, thus it is important to determine one’s social standing very quickly in exchanges. Moreover, families were OFTEN punished for the sins of individual members, and this is something that will still be apparent in the Oriental Adventures Game.

Law vs Chaos, not Good vs Evil

The Emperor is the Champion of Order, and he fights the Oni-Lord of Chaos. This is the main conflict. The Emperor knowingly has good and evil samurai under his command. The Daimyo of all Demons commands a few forces that are Chaotic Good. However, it is the belief that if their is Order, good can one day triumph, but if their is Chaos, then only Chaos can ever triumph. Thus Chaotic Good and Chaotic Evil characters are seen as villainous by Lawful Characters, with little distinction made betwixt the two. In this Campaign Player Characters can be any lawful or neutral, but not Chaotic, meaning that Lawful Evil and Neutral Evil are both up for grabs.

Etiquette, Intrigue, and the constant threat of BEHEADING or DISEMBOWELING

In the world of Oriental Adventures there are rules for any kind of interaction, and in a realm where your powers come from your ancestors, someone is always watching. If someone brings dishonor to themselves, or worse their family or clan, then it can be found out by means both mundane or magical. A samurai with no notion of etiquette can meet his end just as quickly and as brutally as if he took his place on the battlefield with no knowledge of the sword. Despite appearances to the contrary, the courts of the Jade Throne are very much a battleground and words are the weapons wielded by some of the greatest tacticians the Empire has ever seen. Failure to display proper etiquette to one’s peers and superiors will result in dishonor and in the Empire the is no greater stigma than dishonor.

The following is a general overview of rules of etiquette, for more specific information see the caste page for how certain groups are expected to interact with one another in polite society (or at least as polite as it can be when there are groups specifically trained to kill one another and ninja prowl the night):

General Rules on Bowing and Kneeling

Bowing is a show of respect and trust, although many bow merely as a formality when such emotions are not actually present. This practice began during the dawn of the Empire, when Samurai would bow or kneel before their lord with their hands held to their sides. This was a way to demonstrate their loyalty by offering their unprotected neck and thus their lives to their liege. The practice has continued to this day. The lower the bow, the greater the respect shown to the person to whom one is bowing. Bowing only very slightly to another is a sign of distrust or disrespect and is commonly interpreted as a thinly veiled insult. One kneels before a person of obviously superior rank (in terms of caste) regardless of clan relations, or even war. When two Daimyo engage in battle, even during a blood feud, they both bow, though admittedly not very deeply.

General Rules on Terms of Address

How one merely addresses another can show great respect, or mocking insult. Individuals are usually addressed by their rank and clan. Unless two individuals are very close, they are unlikely to refer to each other by their personal names, but with their family names instead. People that refer to each other by personal name are either close friends, or related (if perhaps distantly). Traditionally adding a suffix or prefix to a name is used to show the regard that is held. People of high esteem, such as daimyo and the emperor, are referred to with the prefix O- before their names. Clan champions and great heroes of clans are also referred to in this manner. So for example, Goku Toranaga of the Monkey Clan would be referred to as Goku O-Toranaga (the O- in english is pronounced like a surprised “Oh!” in english) by the peasants that serve him. One’s superiors are referred to with the suffix “-sama.” Thus Goku Toranaga would be called Toranaga-Sama by his samurai retainers. As Goku Toranga is a Daimyo, if he were to speak to the emperor he would use the “-sama” suffix when addressing the emperor. However, a non-Daimyo samurai would use the “O-” prefix when addressing the emperor. Someone that is PERSONALLY beloved receives the suffix “-kun.” Thus Toranaga’s wife addresses him as “Toranaga-Kun.” Equals are referred to by name only. Thus another Daimyo would call him Goku Toranaga. Finally, someone of lower station, and children, are referred to with the “-chan” prefix. Thus when the Emperor speaks to Lord Toranaga, he says “Toranaga-Chan” because all people are technically considered the children of the Emperor. Of course the emperor, or the Daimyo’s mother, are the only people likely to address the Daimyo Goku Toranga in this way without insulting him.

Gift-Giving

When meeting a host or a superior for the first time it is customary to offer a gift. The more sentimental the gift, the greater the favor that is meant by it. Thus an ancient family sword is a more esteemed gift than a pristine sword just bought that day. When accepting a gift, it is customary to refuse the give before accepting which allows the person presenting the gift to demonstrate their sincerity by continuing to offer it. A person who offers a gift once and then stops clearly did not want to part with the gift item.

Character Creation

Glossary

How To Use this Site so that people can find stuff on the site (especially me)

The point of this site is to create a hyperlinked campaign setting and rules set to assist us in further games in the future as well as a serve as a record for our enjoyment for years to come.
Adventure Log

The adventure log is ONLY for writing down what ACTUALLY HAPPENED, in other words, it is for RECAPS and GM-announcements only. PLANS that you are debating need to go into the Forums. Posting in the adventure log nets you bonus xp, even if it is only to make corrections to someone else’s posting or further clarify what your character was doing / thinking. In the adventure log you may also post your character’s thoughts or “diary” if you want. NOT A PLACE FOR GENERAL DISCUSSION.

Wiki

The Wiki is for the use of all. Before you make a new wiki page, please make sure that one does not already exist as making a new wiki page with the same name as an old wiki page deletes the old page, along with all the hardwork that someone put into it. The Wiki is for listing of facts, figures, stats, etc. Inside the wiki you will find the character creation rules, lists and descriptions of places, factions, items, and even characters (though mostly NPCs). Helping to populate the Wiki section with pictures, quotes, and even new pages on factions and places (remembering not to accidentally delete old ones by using names that already exist), will receive bonus xp. In particular I need assistance matching factions to places on the map, so send those suggestions in!

Characters

This is for very important characters (including the PCs) past and present. Please post your character’s stats and writeups here. If your character dies or retires then the information on how they did so should be added to their update but the entry should NEVER be deleted as it could cause problem between linking pages. Helping to populate the Characters section with pictures, quotes, and even new pages (remembering not to accidentally delete old ones by using names that already exist), will receive bonus xp. Simply transcribing information from the core rulesbook to the character creation section would be an easy way to net a good chunk of xp (or even a new level).

Items

The Items tab has not yet been completely implemented by Obsidian Portal but it is still functional. Stats for items, particularly rare or important ones, go here. Remember that a HUGE point of this is to hyperlink pages together. You could even create your own hyperlinked inventory to more readily track your loots! Helping to populate the Items section with pictures, stats, and even new pages (remembering not to accidentally delete old ones by using names that already exist), will receive bonus xp. Simply transcribing information from the core rulesbook to the Items section would be an easy way to net a good chunk of xp (or even a new level).

Forums

While the adventure log is the soul of the site, and the wiki the heart, the forums is the brain. Any discussion of rules, plans, IC or OOC belongs IN THE FORUMS! Anyone can make threads. The forum is the appropriate place to ask questions, or make comments about the rules, roleplaying, or campaign setting. Want to suggest some variant rules? Feel that something is too overpowered or underpowered? Have an idea on what the characters should be doing in the campaign? Want to post a new character concept before you finalize it? THIS IS THE PLACE TO DO IT!

Calendar

In the calendar section I’ll be posting the dates, times, and places of the games from now on. It can send out automatic email updates which should help you all to know when the games are.

Maps

This actually uses google maps so that you can pin points to the posted map of texas (after finding a way to scan them I will be posting an updated map of New Texas and another one of the US). These pins can be labelled however you like and can even hyperlink over to other pages.

Comments

The comments section is for people whom are not in the game to make comments or ask to join the campaign.

Oriental-wikia-transcription Please put the Oriental transcription here.

Oriental-srd-transcription Please put the SRD transcription here.

Adventures Oriental: The Land of the Jade Throne

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