The purpose of this page is to be a full port and clean-up of the 1e Oriental Adventures rulebook into second edition. All classes, abilities and so on have been fully converted. It is meant to function as a fully working 2e-compatible rulebook for the AD&D game, to be used in conjunction with the 2e PHB and DMG.Chapter One: Races Chapter Two: Classes Chapter Three: Martial Arts
Chapter Four: Family and Honor
A race of dwarf-like creatures that live in vast jungles, mountain forests or barren wilderness areas. They seldom come into contact with humans. They stand about four feet tall, with slightly longer arms and legs than is normal, proportionally. Their arms and legs are hairy, and they have sparse scraggly beards. The majority are chaotic or neutral, and they live in barbarian civilisations in the wilderness.
Korobukuru can usually be barbarians, bushi or wu jen. Barbarians are by far the most common class. They receive a saving throw bonus of +1 for every 4 1/2 points of Constitution when saving against rods, staves, wands or poison. They also have infravision to 120 feet and a 4 in 6 chance to identify any natural plant or animal. Korobukuru receives a +1 bonus to-hit against bakemono, goblins, goblins rats and hobgoblins. Furthermore, giants, onis, ogres and titans suffer a -4 penalty when trying to attack a korobukuru.
Korobukuru always speak the native language of their tribe and the trade language of the korobukuru (which is somewhat limited). Other languages commonly learned are those of the spirit folk and hengeyokai. Only tribes relatively close to human lands will speak the Common tongue of Kara-Tur. Korobukuru tend to favor spears, shortbows, blowguns and short swords - their small size make most polearms and two-handed weapons unusable.
The hengeyokai are intelligent, shape-changing animal spirits. They are found throughout Kara-Tur, usually on the fringes of settled human lands. They are not lycanthropes and do not show the symptoms of lycanthropy; they are natural spirits, and their ability is as normal as breathing to them. There are several distinct subraces of hengeyokai, as given below.
|Carp||Good||-||7||-||-||12||+1 WI, -1 ST|
|Cat||Chaotic||1d3||9||12||-||-||+1 DE, -1 WI|
|Crab||Any||1d3||8||3||-||6||+2 ST,-2 CH|
|Crane||Good||1d2||9||6||12||-||+1 WI, -1 DE|
|Dog||Good||1d6||9||12||-||-||+1 CO, -1 IN|
|Drake||Good||-||7||6||12||9||+1 CH, -1 DE|
|Fox||Evil||1d3||6||15||-||-||+1 IN, -1 WI|
|Hare||Good||-||5||18||-||-||+1 WI, -1 ST|
|Monkey||Chaotic||-||6||12||-||-||+2 DE, -2 WI|
|Raccoon Dog||Evil||1d6||9||9||-||-||+2 ST, -2 WI|
|Rat||Evil||1d3||5||9||-||-||+2 CO, -2 CH|
|Sparrow||Good||-||3||3||15||-||+2 CH, -2 CO|
A hengeyokai can assume any one of three shapes - a human form, an animal form, and a hybrid bipedal form. All stats given above - movement, AC, flying speed, et cetera - apply only to the full animal form of the hengeyokai, not the human or bipedal form. Changing form takes one full round, and form can only be changed a number of times per day equal to the hengeyokai's level. Each form has distinct advantages and disadvantages.
When in human form, the hengeyokai is no different from any other human. They do not have any special abilities at all, although they can still speak the language of their subrace of hengeyokai. The bipedal form is a strange hybrid - wings or claws become human-like hands, and the hengeyokai effectively appears as a humanoid, bipedal animal. They are very different in appearance from a werecreature, but may be mistaken for one by the ignorant. The bipedal form can see by infravision to 120 feet, and can speak human, hengeyokai and animal languages. They does not have any special armor, natural weapons or movement, - in most ways they are still essentially human.
The animal form is indistinguishable from a normal animal of that type. All of the AC, movement and natural weapons given in the table above apply to the animal form. Furthermore, like the bipedal form, they have infravision to 120 feet and can speak the languages of normal animals. They cannot, however, speak human languages. Furthermore, a hengeyokai in animal form has only half of their normal hit points, and their equipment does not change with them - it is left behind.
Spirit folk are the descendants of humans nature spirits. They come in three varieties: bamboo, river and sea folk. All are deeply tied to the natural world, and are the bridge between the world of nature spirits and that of humans. They appear very similar to humans, although they are closer to half-elves. They have a very fair complexion, smooth faces and pale hair. All spirit folk have the power of infravision to a distance of 120 feet.
As they are halfway between the human and spirit worlds, all spirit folk belong to a family or clan. However, they have another responsibility to their spirit world - the Lord of the Wood, the Lord of the Rivers, or the Lord of the Sea. Their duty to the spirit lord comes before human obligations, and failure to honor this duty will result in natural disasters visited on their home and clan.
Every type of spirit folk has their own language, unique to their subrace.
Bamboo Spirit Folk
Bamboo spirit folk are attached to a specific bamboo grove deep within the forest. If this grove is damaged, the associated spirit folk suffers a like amount of damage. If it is destroyed, they die instantly. However, the upside to this is that returning to his grove will instantly cure a bamboo spirit folk of all wounds and diseases. The grove cannot be omved or replanted.
Bamboo folk have a 75% chance to recognize and identify normal plants and a 50% chance to identify normal animals. They can move through any kind of woodland or grassland without leaving a trail. Even if travelling with others, they impose a -4 penalty to all attempts to follow their trail. When in the woods or forest, they have a 75% chance to Hide in Shadows. Each time a bamboo spirit folk gains a level, they may choose a single forest animal to learn the language of. Their affinity to natural forces also grants them a +1 bonus to saving throws against any spells or magical devices that affect or contain wood.
River Spirit Folk
River spirit folk are attached to one specific river or stream, and usually live near it. Like the bamboo folk, bathing in their river will cause all wounds and ailments to be cleansed. However, periods of drought (or other phenomena) that lower the level of the river will temporarily weaken the character, causing them to lose hit points. If the river is flooded, they will become wild and uncontrollable, possibly even veering into temporary insanity. Finally, damming and engineering works will cause the character to weaken and eventually die if the river is not restored.
They are able to breathe normally in any type of fresh water, and can swim at their normal movement rate in any water. All items they carry remain completely dry while swimming. Once per day, they can even lower the water of a river or stream by 10 feet, allowing it to be crossed easily. This effect lasts 5 rounds. Because of their attunement to all forms of water, they receive a +1 bonus against all spells or magic items that involve water. This includes harmful magic liquids such as potions or magical poisons. They can also speak the language of fishes.
Sea Spirit Folk
The sea spirit folk are the most numerous, even as the sea is most vast. Like their river kin, sea spirit folk can breathe saltwater with ease, and can swim at their full speed in any water without their possessions becoming wet. Once per day, they can predict the weather of the next 24 hours with a 75% chance of success. They are also granted a +1 bonus to saving throws against any fire-based attacks.
Sea spirit folk gain no healing benefits from the sea, nor do changes to it affect them. However, they may ask one favor of the sea each year: a violent storm, fair winds, rain, the recovery of a particular item from the bottom of the ocean, etc. The request must be specific. Furthermore, the Lord of the Sea is the most active and powerful of all the spirit lords. Any sea spirit folk character who raises his honor to 85 will receive a gift from the Lord of the Sea with no conditions or expectations of repayment.
Physically mighty, crafty and tenuous, the barbarian is a warrior toughened by a life in the wild. Compared to a normal fighter, he is remarkable for his versatile skills and remarkable toughness. These advantages are tempered only by the superstition and distrust of magic inherent in most barbarian cultures. Barbarians can never have a Wisdom of 16 or above.
Most barbarian cultures despise and distrust magic. They hate it and will have nothing to do with it; even travelling with a wizard is difficult for them, unless they have a good reason to do so. Besides magical weapons, they will only use magic items if they have no other choice. If they choose to consistently use magic items, they will gain only one-quarter experience from their adventures.
There is an upside to this restriction, however: barbarians can please the spirits by destroying sorcerous abominations. Every time a barbarian destroys a magic item, they receive a number of experience points equal to the item's XP value.
The barbarian is fantastically hardy, allowing them to double the extra hit points they receive from having a high Constitution. Furthermore, they are able to naturally recover from their wounds at twice the normal rate. They can use any weapons or armor, but their starting selection of proficiencies is limited by their geographical origin.
Barbarians from the steppes use light lances, shortbows, swords, and hand axes. Those of the forest use spears, shortbows, hand axes, harpoons and swords. Those that hail from the jungle use the blowgun, spear, sword, hand axe and dagger. Barbarians cannot specialise. Every barbarian receives the Jumping NWP for free.
Barbarians receive a bonus of +1, +2 and +3 to saving throws vs. spell at levels 4, 10 and 12 respectively. Barbarians impose a -1 penalty on enemy attempts to surprise them, and have a +2 bonus to surprising others.
|1||0 - 4,000||1d12|
|2||4,001 - 8,000||2d12|
|3||8,001 - 16,000||3d12|
|4||16,001 - 32,000||4d12|
|5||32,001 - 75,000||5d12|
|6||75,001 - 130,000||6d12|
|7||130,001 - 240,000||7d12|
|8||240,001 - 460,000||8d12|
|9||460,001 - 900,000||8d12 + 4|
|10||900,001 - 1,400,000||8d12 + 8|
|11||1,400,001 - 1,900,000||8d12 + 12|
Somewhere between rangers and fighters, barbarians have a number of useful skills. They can climb natural surfaces with ease, though their chances are halved on man-made walls. They can hide, but only in natural surroundings - in civilised areas, this chance is also halved. They can detect magic and illusions in a manner similar to some thieves, and their back protection ability gives them a small chance to detect an attacker from behind, negating the attacker's bonus and granting a free attack against them.
|Level||Climb||Hide||Back Protection||Detect Illusion||Detect Magic|
Upon reaching 11th level, a barbarian may summon a barbarian horde. It can only be summoned from their native territory, from those of his tribe and other tribes in his background. The maximum size of this horde is equal to the leader's experience point total, divided by 2000. The horde assembles at a rate of 500 men per week, all arriving at some predetermined point in the barbarian's home territory.
For every 500 men, there will be a chieftain of half the leader's level. Each of these chieftains are assisted by two sub-chiefs of half their level. The horde also brings with it various shamans, runecasters, witch doctors, et cetera - whatever is appropriate to the tradition. Their power can be very useful to the horde, but they are as likely to meddle and make demands, for they have great social power in the horde.
Once the horde is assembled, it must have some clear directive to unite it: "attack the invaders of our homeland", "pillage T'u Lung", or "assist the rebels against the emperor". Once this purpose is stated, it cannot be changed - attempting will cause the horde to disband and return home. Likewise, if the horde remains inactive for more than a week, its members will desert at a rate of 1d6x100 men per week.
Even if it does not remain in one place for too long, the horde is a temporary thing - it can only be held together for a number of weeks equal to the leader's level, and this requires constant diplomacy and setting of disputes. Once the alloted time is up, the leader must make a reaction check to appeal to the horde. If the horde has accumulated substantial treasure, this is more likely to succeed and will be granted a bonus - but it has a short memory, and the treasure must keep flowing for this bonus to remain. The reaction check must be made each week - as soon as it indicates an unfavorable result, the horde disbands.
Raising a horde is not something to do on a whim; the leader's status is at stake. A successful campaign will leave its leader with little trouble raising a horde during the next years. He will be known as a hero amongst those who followed him. If it meets with little success or distaster, he will likely never raise a horde again. He may even find it dangerous to return to the land of his birth.
The bushi is the oriental equivalent of a fighter - a masterless warrior, a man without ties to lord, temple or monastery. They are often mercenaries, bandits, highwaymen or wanderers, earning money however they can. They might be found serving a samurai, swelling the ranks of armies, or protecting a court. Kara-tur is a big place, and one where a travelling warrior can easily fall by the wayside, so bushi tend to be poor. A kensai who falls from his path automatically dual-classes into bushi - they are the default warrior class.
Bushi can use any kinds of arms or armor, like a fighter. Using weapons associated with ninja will result in a drop of honor, though not as heavy a penalty as that a samurai would experience. Furthermore, their worldly ways makes them excellent at finding equipment when it's needed. In any village a bushi has a 20% chance of finding what they need - medium-sized villages increase this chance to 25%, large villages to 30%, small towns to 40%, large towns to 60% and cities to 90%. Gear found in this way is never obtained at full price. In some cases, it may be free. In others it is obtained by sweeping ashes or washing dishes, or at half price. Note that obtaining items for free involves stealing; good-aligned bushi can always elect to pay half price.
As another advantage of their worldly ways, bushi can pick pockets like a thief, beginning with a 20% rating. This increases by 2% per level. Good-aligned bushi, or those for whom it does not make sense, may exchange this for an extra weapon proficiency at level 1.
The greatest advantage of a bushi is their one ki power. Once per day, for a duration of 10 rounds, they may enter a fight with a fierce kiai, channelling their will to survive and temporarily raising their level by 2. While this is in effect their THAC0, hit points and saving throws are temporarily improved - similar to a potion of heroism.
Bushi of 9th level or above can establish themselves as warlords by capturing or clearing an estate. Once this is done, 30-60 1st level bushi will apply for positions. If a reputation is established as a good leader who pays skilled men well, more may apply. Upon reaching level 12, 1d6 samurai may apply. This is an important event, for it legimitizes their place in society and gives them standing comparable with (though not equal to) a samurai. This milestone allows the bushi to establish a household as though he were a samurai of the lowest rank.
When levelling up, bushi use the same experience tables as a ranger or paladin.
Kensai means "sword saint" or "sword master", and is usually applied to those who dedicate themselves to perfecting the art of fighting with the sword. Less commonly, however, there are some kensai that dedicate themselves to other weapons. The kensai is not just a warrior who invests time and energy into specialisation and mastery; their training extends to the level of philosophy. For man and weapon to become one, acting on a single thought, is the goal of a kensai.
In order to maintain this purity and unity of blade and body, the kensai must train with their weapon every day without fail. They must condition their body with intense training and purify their spirit through meditation and ordeal. If they fall out of practice, they may be unable to level up until they have made up for the lost training. If they fall too far, they may lose their kensai status and "fall", dual-classing into bushi from then on.When a kensai adventures, their primary motive above all else is simply to undergo ordeals and danger and improve their communion with their weapon in the process. Although they may be sympathetic to the causes they attach themselves to, self-improvement is their ultimate goal. This does not mean they take foolish risks - death would bring about an end to their journey, after all. However, kensai will rarely take the safe, easy option - an adventure that does not push and test them is a worthless endeavor.
The prime requisites of a kensai are Wisdom and Dexterity. They must have a Strength and Wisdom of at least 12 and a Dexterity of at least 14. If both prime requisites are 14 or higher, they receive a 10% bonus to experience. Kensai must be lawful, although they may be good, neutral or evil. In terms of hit die, THAC0 and saving throws, kensai can be treated as warriors.
Kensai differ from fighters in their starting proficiency slots. They receive only two slots, one of which must be spent on their weapon of choice. The second slot may be used either for specialisation or for a secondary weapon. Kensai may become proficient in any weapon they desire - however, they may not wear armor of any kind. Heavy, bulky protective gear is too restrictive, and would hamper their art. Furthermore, a kensai cannot use a magical weapon of their chosen type - this is not a true measure of his skill.
If a kensai fights with any weapon other than his chosen weapon in a battle, they receive only half experience for that fight. Furthermore, kensai do not receive quest XP for adventures that have were not physically demanding or did not require combat.
|1||0 - 3,000||1d10|
|2||3,001 - 5,500||2d10|
|3||5,501 - 10,000||3d10|
|4||10,001 - 22,000||4d10|
|5||22,001 - 44,000||5d10|
|6||44,001 - 88,000||6d10|
|7||88,001 - 150,000||7d10|
|8||150,001 - 250,000||8d10|
|9||250,001 - 500,000||9d10|
|10||500,001 - 750,000||9d10 + 2|
|11||750,001 - 1,000,000||9d10 + 4|
|12||1,000,001 - 1,250,000||9d10 + 6|
Despite their high Dexterity scores, kensai do not receive any of the normal benefits for having a high Dexterity - no defensive, reaction or missile attack adjustments. Instead, their Dexterity improves their base armor class. A kensai with a Dexterity of 14 will have a natural AC of 9; for every point of Dexterity they have above 14, their natural AC is reduced by 1. Furthermore, his natural AC improves by 1 for every 3 levels he attains - at level 3, level 6, and so on.
Regardless of their Dexterity, a kensai also gains a +1 bonus to all initiative rolls and saving throws. This bonus rises to +2 at 5th level and +3 and 9th level.
From 1st level, the kensai has learned to focus his ki power. This grants him a number of advantages. Kensai are immune to fear. He also gains the power to focus his ki into a killing strike, allowing him to cause maximum damage with a single attack when use his chosen weapon - effectively a "free critical hit". This power can be used a number of times per day equal to the kensai's level.
At 2nd level, the kensai deals an additional point of damage with their chosen weapon. This increases by one again at 5th, 8th, 10th and 12th level.
At 3rd level, the kensai gains a +1 bonus on his rolls to hit. This allows him to hit creatures that normally can be hit only by magical +1 weapons. This bonus increases at the 5th, 8th, 10th and 12th levels, and confer the equivalent ability to bypass magical resistance.
At 4th level, the kensai gains the ability to meditate like a shukenja. 1 hour of meditation is as restful as 2 hours of sleep. While meditating, the kensai is oblivious to hunger, thirst, heat and cold and the rate at which these affect his body is halved. The kensai is fully aware of his surroundings when meditating.
At 6th level, the kensai gains a +1 bonus to surprise rolls, meaning he is surprised only on a 1 or 2.
At 7th level, the kensai gains the ability to cause fear in all creatures of 1 HD or less, if they fail a saving throw vs. breath weapon. A creature that passes the save cannot be affected again for the remainder of the encounter.
At 9th level, the kensai attracts 1d6 pupils as long as he has a dwelling suitable to serve as a school - these are first level kensai. They will stay at the school of the master, studying under and serving him. He may bid them as he pleases. As they grow in strength, there is a 5% chance per level that a pupil leaves his master to follow his own course. If the master ever loses a duel to a lower-level kensai, there is a 50% chance per pupil that they will desert him. If the master defeats a higher-level kensai master, he gains 1-2 additional pupils - again, first level kensai. All pupils study the same weapon as the master.
At 11th level, the kensai can make a whirlwind attack. This is an additional ki power. The kensai concentrates his energy and bursts into a blurring whirlwind of motion, which requires an entire day's worth of ki energy. They cannot use this ability, therefore, if they have used their killing strike ability at all that day. The whirlwind attack allows the kensai to attack all opponents within 10 feet of him once in the same round.
+1 to initiative and saving throws
Immune to fear
|2||+1 damage with chosen weapon|
|3||+1 to-hit with chosen weapon
AC improves by 1
|5||+2 to initiative and saving throws
+2 to-hit with chosen weapon
+2 damage with chosen weapon
|6||AC improves by 1
+1 to surprise rolls
|8||+3 to-hit with chosen weapon
+3 damage with chosen weapon
|9||+3 to initiative and saving throws
AC improves by 1
|10||+4 to-hit with chosen weapon
+4 damage with chosen weapon
|12||AC improves by 1
+5 to-hit with chosen weapon
+5 damage with chosen weapon
|15||AC improves by 1|
|18||AC improves by 1|
Every time a kensai levels up, there is a chance equal to their level times 10 that they will be challenged to a duel by another kensai. The challenger will always be the same level that the character just attained. This duel must be a one-on-one fight, with no aid or support from anyone else. No magical weapons can be used. If the duel is refused, the new level is lost and they return to the beginning of the previous level.
Duels do not need to be fought to the death; conditions can be agreed on beforehand. If the duel is fought and lost, the kensai loses honor and cannot advance to the next level. They will remain at the threshold of levelling up until they can find and successfully defeat a kensai of that level or higher in a duel. If none are immediately available, they must actively seek one out if they are to attain the next level.
Note that duels do not take place only when levelling up; a duel can be fought with an NPC at any time. Losing or refusing these kinds of duels will result in a loss of honor, but it has no effect on the kensai's level.
Warrior-monks are famed throughout the world for their skill with empty hand - it is said that their bare hands are a weapon as deadly as any blade, and their intense discipline and rigorous training grants them other powers above and beyond this. In order to become a monk, a Strength of no less than 12 and a Wisdom of no less than 15 are required. A high Dexterity is also desirable. It takes 3 years for an acolyte to reach the level of skill and discipline required to qualify as level 1. Monks strive towards a Lawful Neutral ideal, though they are allowed to be Lawful Good or Lawful Evil.
Monks are forbidden to wield weapons or to wear either armor or shields. The use of other forms of weaponry, such as flaming oil, is also forbidden. In all other ways, they are equivalent to fighters - using the same THAC0 and saving throws and receiving proficiencies at the same rate. Although they level up much slower than most warriors, they receive a number of special abilities to offset this. Although they receive bonuses to their unarmed damage and AC as they level up, monks never receive bonuses to attacking, damage or AC from having a high Strength or Dexterity. If they use forbidden weaponry in an encounter, they gain only half XP.
|Level||Experience||Hit Dice||Title||Natural AC||Movement Speed||Martial Damage|
|1||0 - 2,250||2d4||Novice||10||15||+0|
|2||2,251 - 4,750||3d4||Initiate||9||16||+0|
|3||4,751 - 10,000||4d4||Brother||8||17||+0|
|4||10,001 - 22,500||5d4||Disciple||7||18||+0|
|5||22,501 - 47,500||6d4||Immaculate||7||19||+1|
|6||47,501 - 98,000||7d4||Master||6||20||+2|
|7||98,001 - 200,000||8d4||Superior Master||5||21||+2|
|8||200,001 - 350,000||9d4||Master of Dragons||4||22||+1D|
|9||350,001 - 500,000||10d4||Master of the North Wind||3||23||+1D+1|
|10||500,001 - 700,000||11d4||Master of the West Wind||3||24||+1D+2|
|11||700,001 - 950,000||12d4||Master of the South Wind||2||25||+1D+2|
|12||950,001 - 1,250,000||13d4||Master of the East Wind||1||26||+2D|
|13||1,250,001 - 1,750,000||14d4||Master of Winter||0||27||+2D|
|14||1,750,001 - 2,250,000||15d4||Master of Autumn||-1||28||+2D+1|
|15||2,250,001 - 2,750,000||16d4||Master of Summer||-1||29||+3D|
|16||2,750,001 - 3,250,000||17d4||Master of Spring||-2||30||+3D+1|
|17||3,250,001+||18d4||Grand Master of Flowers||-3||32||+4D|
There are four styles of martial arts: karate, tae kwon do, judo and aikido. At level 1, the monk receives four proficiency slots. These must be distributed amongst these styles - the monk can choose to spend their slots to be proficient in every style, or they can choose to specialise in just a few.
Specialisation gives the usual bonus to-hit and damage and increased rate of attacks. As noted above, it also allows armed opponents to be attacked without provoking a free attack. Specialisation in aikido instead increases the passive bonus to AC; the increased rate of attacks allows more attacks to be blocked in one round.
In addition to the four fighting styles, there are a number of martial talents that can be bought with proficiency slots. These are not the ones found in Combat & Tactics - those are the purview of western martial artists. Information about each of the four styles, as well as the special maneuvers, can be found in the next chapter of this book.
At level 1, a monk's attunement to his own ki makes him particularly resistant to magical attack. When the monk makes a successful saving throw against any spell or power, they suffer no damage or ill effect from it. This means that even spells like Lightning Bolt or Fireball, which deal damage even on a successful saving throw, can be dodged completely. This ability can be used one time per day for each level the monk has.
At level 3, the monk gains the ability to speak with animals.
At level 4, the monk can fall up to 20 feet without taking damage as long as he is within one foot of a wall or vertical surface. Furthermore, mind-reading abilities have only a 30% chance of working against him. This chance falls by 2% every level - 28% at level 5, 26% at level 6, and so on.
At level 5, the monk becomes immune to all diseases, as well as the effects of Haste and Slow spells.
At level 6, the distance the monk can fall without taking damage increases to 30 feet. Furthermore, they gain the ability to enter a cataleptic state that perfectly simulates death. This can be maintained for up to two turns per level; while in this state, he is impervious to hunger and thirst and does not breathe. He cannot be affected by poison gas and his mind is immune to attack or control. If he is poisoned, the spread of the venom is halted until he reawakens.
At level 7, the monk can heal 1d4+1 hit points once per day by concentrating on their inner power. This increases by 1 point for every level above 7th.
At level 8, the monk gains the ability to speak with plants. He also attracts 1d4+1 followers, who are first-level monks - as long as he has obtained permission from his monastery to establish a new order. He attracts 1-2 more followers for every level he obtains thereafter, and his followers go an adventures and rise in level just as player characters do. They leave when they reach level 7.
At level 9, the monk's resistance to magical attack improves. When using the ki power, he receives only half damage from magical attacks, even if he fails the saving throw. Furthermore, all mind-affecting spells have only a 50% chance to affect the monk. This resistance improves by 5% for each level he attains thereafter.
At level 10, the monk is immune to all psionic attacks.
At level 11, the monk is immune to all forms of poison.
At level 12, the monk is immune to all forms of magical compulsion, including geas and quest spells.
At level 13, the monk automatically gains one martial arts talent of their choice.
In addition to their restrictions in combat, the monk lives under a number of strict tenets; violating them disrupts the careful balance of mind, body and spirit that a monk cultivates. A fallen monk remains proficient in martial arts, but loses all mystical abilities and all of the special abilities listed in the table above.
Monks must avoid too many attachment to the material world. They may retain only enough treasure to cover food and clothing for the next few days. They may not own horses or property, though they may ride or use horses and property provided by others. They may retain up to 5 magical items, no more. All excess must be given to charities and religious institutions; they may not abstain from their share and allow other members of the party to profit from it.
Monks do not generate a clan, determine birth rank, create an ancestry or receive birthrights of any type. They are without family or connections, totally detached from the world. They may not retain henchmen other than fellow monks and disciples, and cannot comission hirelings for more than a short endeavor.
Finally, although they are not restricted on the axis of Good and Evil, monks are fundamentally Lawful. They must uphold themselves with honor and consistency at all times, especially when dealing with other monks. The oaths and orders of superiors are absolutely binding, even if the monk in question is evil. Gentle protest can be made, but any disobedience results in being barred from entering the monastery or receiving aid from its members. The length of this banishment is determined by the DM; if they do not take special care to maintain their lawful lifestyle while banished, it is likely that they will "fall".
Each monastery can support only a limited number of monks beyond 7th level. There are three of 8th level and one of each level beyond 9th. Before a monk can advance to one of these levels, they must either leave the order to establish their own monastery, or defeat one of the current holders of the position in a duel. This duel must be fought in the preferred martial style of the monastery, and the monk cannot receive any help - either magical or material.
Winning this duel allows the monk to advance to the next rank; losing causes them to lose experience points, placing them at the start of their current level. They cannot challenge for the position again until they have re-attained the necessary amount of experience.
Ninjas are invisible warriors; spies and assassins practiced in concealment, stealth, trickery, disguise, acrobatics and assassination. They possess a number of special powers and use many unique devices, and their abilities and reputations are clouded in mystery. Some ascribe supernatural powers to them, and ninjas do little to discourage these stories. Such confusion only enhances their reputation, and the mere name of ninja inspires terror amongst many in Kara-Tur.
Ninja is not an independent character class. After all, ninja do not really exist: that is what they would have one believe. Ninja characters must have a "real" profession that they use as a cover. They may choose to play a multi-classed character, using their other class as a cover. Alternatively, they may spend the appropriate NWP slots to give themselves an appropriate lay profession - an armorer, carpenter, animal trainer etc.
Ninja are functionally thieves that require more experience and have additional abilities. They use the hit dice, saving throws, THAC0 and proficiencies of a thief. Furthermore, they receive the ability to backstab and the skills of thieves in the same proportions, i.e. they receive 60 points to distribute at first level and 30 points thereafter.
|1||0 - 4,000|
|2||4,001 - 8,000|
|3||8,001 - 15,000|
|4||15,001 - 30,000|
|5||30,001 - 60,000|
|6||60,001 - 120,000|
|7||120,001 - 240,000|
|8||240,001 - 500,000|
|9||500,001 - 1,000,000|
|10||1,000,001 - 1,300,000|
|11||1,300,001 - 1,600,000|
|12||1,600,001 - 1,900,000|
Assassinate: Like assassins, ninjas are able to assassinate opponents. In order to do this, the ninja must carefully plan and prepare the assassination and must also have visually studied the target for at least 3 rounds in the last 24 hours. When they make their assassination attempt, they gain the same bonuses to-hit as with backstabbing. Unlike with backstabbing, assassination may be attempted with targets who are aware of your presence so long as they trust you and have no suspicions of your intentions. If a successful hit is scored, the victim must make a saving throw vs. death with a -1 penalty for every three levels of the ninja. If they fail this saving throw, they instantly die. If they succeed, they take normal weapon damage from the ninja's attack (but not backstab damage).
Disguise: Like assassins, ninjas receive the Disguise NWP for free at level 1.
Tightrope Walking: Ninjas receive the Tighrope Walking NWP for free at level 1.
Falling: Like a monk, a ninja can fall certain distances without taking damage, as long as they are within reach of a vertical surface. However, the distance they can safely fall is potentially much higher. It starts at 0 feet at level 1, and increases by 5 feet every level to maximum of 95 feet at level 20.
At level 1, the ninja can use his ki while holding his breath. This power can be used only once a day, and allows the ninja to hold his breath for a number of rounds equal to his level.
At level 5, the ninja can concentrate on his ki and walk across short distances of smooth water. The character can cross 5 feet of water per level, moving at a rate of 30 feet per round. This ability require constant motion and intense concentration - if the ninja is distracted or interrupted in any way while walking, he plunges.
At 12 level, the ninja gains his ultimate ki power - the ability to pass through walls. This is an act of supreme concentration, and he cannot have used any of his ki powers since he last rested - nor can he use any powers after this, for it expends his entire reserve of power. He must spend three full rounds concentrating and preparing himself, and if he is disturbed his ki power is completely wasted. The power allows the ninja to move through 1 foot of any solid nonmagical substance per level.
Ninjas do not appear in a vacuum; they originate from one of a number of clans. These are large clans, enough to comprise entire villages, and are always located in areas that are remote and inaccessible enough to provide secrecy of their development. These professional ninjas are actively hired by daimyos for missions, and they follow a very strict code of honor.Ninjas are ruled absolutely by the head of the family, and any failure to obey him leads to a never-ending series of assassination attempts against the offender. A rogue ninja is a nukenin, sometimes a hero of the common people - and his trials end only when he dies, or slays the head of the family and established himself in the position. Nukenin require double the amount of experience to advance in level.
All ninjas receive their missions from the head of the family, though the actual instructions may be transmitted through others. Thus, the DM decides what missions the ninja undertakes. In an all-ninja campaign, these missions will likely be the focus of play; otherwise, the ninja must juggle the activities of their cover identity with the missions they receive from their master.
A samurai is first and foremost a warrior, who lives and dies by his sword. Noble in stature, the equivalent of a knight, his prime duty in life is to serve and obey his daimyo in all things. He receives the same THAC0, saving throws, hit dice and proficiencies as a fighter. All samurai must specialise in the katana and be proficient in the longbow. They are also expected to be adept in horsemanship and at least some of the noble arts: calligraphy, music, poetry and painting. These skills are, in some ways, as important as the samurai's combat training - they reflect upon his honor, the honor of his daimyo, and the honor of his family.
Because of the position that samurai hold in society, only humans or spirit folk can take this class. They always belong to the highest caste, and therefore add a +10 bonus to the birth roll to determine their social position. In the rare event of a samurai that does not fit into this mold, they must still be at least Upper Class. They cannot raise themselves above level 1, and must find a daimyo to sponsor them and induct them into his household before they can advance as samurai.
Samurai must always be of the Lawful alignment. They may wield any weapons or armor, but cannot use a shield. Using weapons associated with ninjas causes a samurai to lose honor.
|Level||Experience||Hit Dice||Damage Bonus|
|1||0 - 2,500||1d10||+0|
|2||2,501 - 5,000||2d10||+1|
|3||5,001 - 10,000||3d10||+1|
|4||10,001 - 18,000||4d10||+1|
|5||18,001 - 36,500||5d10||+2|
|6||36,501 - 75,000||6d10||+2|
|7||75,001 - 135,000||7d10||+2|
|8||135,001 - 235,000||8d10||+3|
|9||235,001 - 400,000||9d10||+3|
|10||400,001 - 650,000||9d10 + 2||+3|
|11||650,001 - 1,000,000||9d10 + 4||+4|
|12||1,000,001 - 1,300,000||9d10 + 6||+4|
At level 1, the samurai begins to learn the art of focusing his ki. He may focus his ki into a kiai a number of times equal to his level each day. The effect of this shout is to increase his Strength to 18/00 for a single round.
At level 3, the samurai only has a 2 in 10 base chance of being surprised.
At level 5, the samurai becomes immune to all forms of fear.
At level 6, the samurai gains the ability to cause fear in all creatures with 1 HD or less, if they fail a saving throw vs. breath weapon. A creature that passes the save cannot be affected again for the remainder of the encounter.
At level 7, the samurai will be offered jito (stewardship) over one of his daimyo's properties. He is not required to accept. If he does, he is watched over and directed by the daimyo's shugo (constable of the province). As jito, the samurai is responsible for protecting the area, settling disputes, quelling rebellions, and collecting taxes. In return, he receives one-quarter of the taxes he collects.
The daimyo also provides the jito with 10 bushi and 1-4 samurai, all of 1st to 3rd level. These men are ultimately loyal to the daimyo, but will faitfully serve the jito unless the daimyo intervenes. Even as the samurai increases in level and establishes his own family and property, he retains jito of the area. He can assign his duties to an underling, but mismanaging the property or failing to return taxes will result in the loss of his stewardship.
If the samurai refuses stewardship, he is instead offered fitting homes in the city or camp office to use as his headquarters.
At level 8, the samurai is offered the position of shugo, or constable of a province. If he accepts, the samurai is responsible for the protection of an entire province and looking after the daimyo's affairs in the province. He is expected to supervise jito and adminster justice. He immediately attracts 10d10 bushi as followers, but there is a 20% chance that one of these bushi is a ninja sent to infiltrate th ehousehold. Otherwise, these bushi will be loyal as long as they are adequately paid, fed and led.
At level 9, the samurai automatically attractions 2d10 samurai of 1st level. They are absolutely loyal, as befits his station. In addition, 1d6+1 specialists (armorers, weaponsmiths, animal trainers, etc) will request to join the samurai's service.
9th level also grants the samurai the power to emit a great kiai, or paralyzing shout. This power can only be used once per day, and he cannot use the great kiai and his normal kiai on the same day, as it taxes all his energy. The great kiai gives him a Strength of 18/00 for two rounds. Furthermore, all enemies within 10 feet must make a saving throw vs. paralyzation or be stunned for 1 round. Stunned characters can take no actions and receive no bonuses for Dexterity or shields.
Samurai are the eastern equivalent of chivalric knights. In terms of classes, they are most like the paladin. Like the paladin, they have a strict code that they must follow; the code of bushido. The basic beliefs of this ethic are:
- The samurai is obedient to his daimyo.
- It is a samurai's right to protest the daimyo's judgements. Death is the final protest a samurai can make.
- The samurai is ready to die at any time.
- There is no such thing as failure for the samurai - only death or success.
- To die in the service of one's daimyo is the greatest service a samurai can render.
- No dishonor can go unavenged.
- Dishonor to daimyo or family is also dishonor to samurai.
- All debts, of vengeance and gratitude, are repaid.
- Cowardice is dishonorable.
These tenets must be followed if the samurai's honor is to be maintained. A samurai whose honor falls below that of his family has been shamed, and will be expelled by his daimyo. Samurai may also choose to voluntarily leave service; these samurai become ronin, masterless. They receive only half as much experience. He can only return to his former position by restoring his honor above that of his family and finding a daimyo to accept him.
Shukenja are wandering priests or monks who have accepted a life of hardship and poverty. The shukenja is treated with respect by all members of society, from samurai to peasant. In return he normally gives aid, both spiritual and physical, and instruction to those who need it. While he has some ability to fight, it is limited. His main power is in the spells he can cast to enlighten and protect himself and others. Shukenja must have a Wisdom of at least 12.
A shukenja is, in most ways, identical to a western priest in terms of advancement and spellcasting, with some differences that will be related here. However, while a shukenja, like a western priest, serves a particular religion, the nature of religion is very different in Kara-Tur. Temples abound, and all are more or less independent of each other regardless of the deity or deities worshipped. All religions are respected and venerated equally, and the traditions and superstitions of one blend into the next - and all are intertwined with the rituals of daily life.
In short, although a given shukenja may be "of the H'sin-To Temple of Ka, the Toad-God" their powers are not unique to their god. All shukenja can be considered members of a single monastic order of benevolent wandering priests.
Although they are trained to protect themselves, shukenja are less hardy than western clerics and have a limited selection of weapons. They receive a d6 for their hit dice, and at level 1 are restricted to learning the hand axe, quarterstaff, chain, war fan, club, kama, sai, sling, staff-sling and spear. They also gain one free proficiency in the style of martial arts of their choice; if they wish, they can spend additional slots to improve their unarmed skills further.
Before beginning their wandering, shukenja spend significant time in training and contemplation at a monastery or temple. This teaches the shukenja how to perform the basic rituals he needs to know: he can perform marriages, christenings, funeral rites, observances of holy days and purifications.
Purification rituals have the power to lift evil curses and malign influences, with a chance of 5% per shukenja level. It has a similar chance of calming restless spirits. The shukenja can also purify a 5-foot radius stationary circle. This takes 1 round and grants a +1 bonus to all rolls against evil spirits and other supernatural entities. The circle lasts until the shukenja leaves it.
Along with kensai and wu jen, shukenja have the ability to meditate in order to focus and regain their energies. One hour of meditation is equivalent to two hours of good sleep. Furthermore, the shukenja does not feel the effects of hunger, thirst, heat or cold, and these affect him half as quickly as they otherwise would. The shukenja remains fully aware while meditating, and does not suffer any penalties to surprise.
Finally, shukenja training teaches them to focus their ki to protect themselves in dangerous situations. A number of times per day equal to his level, a shukenja can focus his ki and gain a +3 bonus to one saving throw. This ability can be used at any time, but must be declared before the saving throw is rolled.
Shukenja live by certain rules imposed by their religious lifestyle. Different temples may have specific strictures, but as a general rule the basics are universal. They may not eat meat (fish is allowed), and should never eat or drink immoderately. They should refrain from violence - especially killing - wherever possible, although evil spirits and the undead are another matter.
Upon entering the religious life, a shukenja severs all ties to their past. As a result, they do not roll for birth, status, or birthrights. They do have an honor score, but it is less important to them than maintaining the strictures of their faith.
Wu jen are sorcerors, men with mysterious powers. They command the elementals, spirit forces, and the very powers of nature. They are seldom found living amongst human society. Instead they are hermits and anchorites, living in their wilderness. There, they purify their bodies and minds and attune themselves to the various natural and supernatural powers of the world, making contact with beings from the spirit world. From these they learn their spells - magical means to control the invisible forces of the world.
Wu jen can be of any alignment, but may never be Lawful. The prime requisite of a wu jen is Intelligence. Wu jen have little interest in birth, rank or honor. While they have integrity, their singleminded devotion is to the goal of attaining mental discipline and mastering the power of the elements.
In almost every way - including experience tables - wu jen are identical to mages. However, they receive a +1 bonus to every hit dice, giving them 2-5 hit points per level. They may never wear armor (it impedes the flow of their bodies and spiritual energies and prevents spellcasting), and they have only a limited selection of weapons. At level 1, the wu jen may be proficient in the quarterstaff, club, shortbow, chain, dagger, sai, shuriken, short sword, or javelin.
The wu jen does have some advantages over his western counterparts. His strict regimen of spiritual training allows him to focus his ki once per day, bursting into sudden clarity and decisiveness of thought. This grants him a +3 bonus to his initiative roll for one round. The wu jen also learns to meditate like a shukenja. One hour of meditation is equivalent to two hours of good sleep. Furthermore, the wu jen does not feel the effects of hunger, thirst, heat or cold, and these affect him half as quickly as they otherwise would. The wu jen remains fully aware while meditating, and does not suffer any penalties to surprise.
At level 4, the wu jen receives his second ki power - he can channel his ki to summon massive magical energies. Once per day, he may cast spell whose level is at least 3 levels lower than his character level, at maximum effect. It can thus be cast at maximum range, duration, area of effect, et cetera. A spell that normally does 3d6 damage, for example, would always deal 18 damage.
The wu jen's commerce and connection to the spirit world also gives him an affinity for tengu and oni. He learns their languages for free at level 1, and receives a +2 bonus on reaction rolls when dealing with these creatures.
Although wu jen can learn western spells when they find them (with a -25% penalty to the Learn Spells roll), wu jen magic is significantly different from that of other lands. It is divided into five elemental groups: earth/metal, water, fire, wind and wood/nature. A wu jen who has learned every wu jen spell of an element that he is able to cast is considered to have mastered that element.
Mastery of an element grants a -1 penalty to enemy saving throws against spells of that element and a +1 bonus to all damage done. The wu jen himself gains a +1 bonus to all saving throws against the element in question.
The additional powers of a wu jen are not without restrictions. They come as a consequence of the wu jen's affiliation with the forces of nature, and these come with a price. This price is a taboo, a strict observation that may seem silly or insignificant to layman. To a wu jen, however, their taboos are vitally important. Violating them in a minor way will throw his body out of balance with the spirit world, potentially making him very sick or removing his ability to cast spells until balance is restored.
A wu jen starts with a single taboo at level 1. He then selects another at levels 5, 10, 15 and 20. Examples include:
- The wu jen cannot eat meat.
- The wu jen must only eat raw meat.
- The wu jen must own nothing they cannot carry.
- The wu jen must make a daily offering (food, flowers, incense, etc) to the spirits.
- The wu jen cannot bathe.
- The wu jen cannot cut their hair.
- The wu jen cannot touch a dead body.
- The wu jen cannot drink alcohol.
- The wu jen must wear a certain color at all times.
- The wu jen cannot light a fire.
- The wu jen cannot sit facing to the east.
The DM and player should work together to select or create taboos that fit the wu jen, depending on where his spiritual power comes from. A fox hengeyokai who learned his magic from animal spirits, for example, may be more likely to only eat raw meat and refuse to light fires.
The yakuza is the eastern equivalent of a thief. He may be a robin hood, a thug, extortionist, burglar, mercenary, jack-of-all-trades, even a vigilante. The only requirement is that he cannot be Lawful in alignment. In every way, he is identical to an ordinary thief. The only differences lie in his decision whether to be a member of a yakuza clan.
Yakuza may begin with proficiencies in any weapons they desire.
Membership of a yakuza clan is an additional burden; it is entirely possible to play a yakuza simply as an ordinary 2e thief. However, clan membership can bring additional benefits as well as responsibilities. The clan replaces his original family, with an identical arrangement. There is a family head, uncles, fathers and brothers. The yakuza is expected to treat these members as if they were blood relations. Since this is not a true family, however, the yakuza does not roll on the ancestry or birthright tables. The family does have an honor rating, which must be maintained. Although it is a different code of honor than that of a samurai, a yakuza must maintain his honor or risk being cast out - losing his allies while keeping his enemies.
Membership of a clan has several rewards. First of all, every yakuza receives 2 ch'ien per level as a stipend each month. This applies as long as they are an active member of the clan. Within their clan's territory, they also have access to the clan's contacts. There is a universal understanding of what it means to be yakuza, and even outside of his clan's territory there is a chance of finding some help in the underworld, though it is less reliable outside of his home turf.
The first advantage of his clan membership is the ability to investigate. This allows the yakuza to gain what otherwise might be secret information about anything in the region. He might, through discreet inquiries, gain the floorplan of a residence, learn what time the guards change, learn the identity of a police informer, et cetera. This ability only functions in the yakuza's home turf, and it is up to the DM to determine what information can be learned through this ability. Common information requires one day of investigation and costs 2d6 fen. Uncommon information requires 1d3 days of investigation and 2d4 yuan. COnfidential information requires 2d6 days and costs 2d10 tael. Secret information requires 3d6 days and costs 2d10 ch'ien, minimum.
The second advantage of yakuza membership functions in any urban area, even outside of cities. Yakuza tattoos are widely recognised, and yakuza are intimately familiar with the underworld. As a result, it is easy enough to find willing and cooperative contacts even in a strange city. These are NPCs who can provide the yakuza with specialized information and aid. They may buy stolen goods, prove a secure hideout, carry messages and provide information - for a price. They are cooperative and remain silent about his activities as long as they are fairly treated, and not threatened. A yakuza member can gain one new contact wherever he wishes every two levels. These can be saved up - for example, he can wait until he goes to the city if H'sin To, then decide that he conveniently knows a poisoner there.
Even if a yakuza does not have any contacts available, he will generally know how to get involved with the local criminal underbelly of any new city that is not too foreign from his own home. However, though the DM may give him hints and tips, it is up to the yakuza to go about carving a niche in a new place.
As noted above, yakuza identify themselves by tattoo. This begins with a small clan tattoo on the arm. Each time the yakuza gains a level, another part of the body is tattooed - but never the face, hands or feet. High level yakuza have tattoos covering their entire back, chest and arms. These are a symbol of rank and serve as a warning to others. Everyone knows what these tattoos symbolize and know not to inconvenience such a person.
Martial Arts Styles
As noted in the monk class description, there are four martial arts styles, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Each style is its own weapon proficiency, and requires a slot to become proficient in. When you are proficient in a martial arts style, you can use it without penalties. Furthermore, you do not count as unarmed when using that style - armed opponents do not get a +4 bonus to hit you. However, attacking armed opponents still provokes an attack of opportunity.
Each of the styles can also be specialised in. This has a similar effect to specialising in a weapon: you receive a +1 bonus to hit and a +2 bonus to damage, and warriors gain a higher rate of attacks. Furthermore, if you are specialised in a martial arts style, attacking armed opponents does not provoke a free attack from them.
Each of the styles is detailed below.
Karate focuses mostly on pummeling with the hands, and requires at least one hand free to use. A strike with karate deals 1d3 points of damage and can affect creatures of any size. If the martial artist is unarmed and unarmoured and their off-hand is free, they may make an additional attack with the offhand at no penalties for dual-wielding. Doing this obviously means they cannot use that hand to block that round. Karate is useless against opponents in plate armor or similarly armored monsters. If you beat your opponent's AC by 5 when striking with karate (i.e. you roll 19 when you needed 14 to hit), they are stunned for 1 round and unable to act. Critical hits always stun opponents.
Tae Kwon Do
Tae Kwon Do focuses on the feet and kicking. Unlike with pummeling, kicking with Tae Kwon Do does not require a height advantage (your enemy does not need to be prone, sitting or kneeling). A kick with Tae Kwon Do deals 1d6 points of damage. If the martial artist is unarmed, unarmored and has a free hand they may also make a karate attack with their hand for 1d3 damage as noted above. Kicks from Tae Kwon Do are ineffectual against creatures that are not the same size or smaller than you, and useless against opponents in plate armor.
Judo focuses on grapples, throws and manipulation of the opponent's body. A martial artist proficient in judo can make an attack roll against their enemy to free themselves from any hold or lock. If successful, they break free, though they may do nothing else that round. Using judo, the martial artist can make an attack roll to pull or trip (causing them to fall prone) or to engage a hold on their opponent. If they hit with a hold, they must make an opposed strength or dexterity check to successfully establish a hold. Once a hold is established, their opponent takes 1d2 damage (plus strength bonuses). A held creature can only try to escape from the hold (by making an opposed attack roll) or attack with a size S or smaller weapon. In the following rounds, the martial artist can progress a hold in various ways:
- Manipulate: The martial artist makes an attack roll - if he hits, his victim takes 1d2 damage and he may either bind one limb (with rope or manacles) or remove one item from the victim's possession.
- Throw: The martial artist makes an attack roll - if he hits, his victim is thrown up to 10 feet where he wishes, dealing 1d4 damage if they strike a yielding surface or 1d4+1 for a solid surface. This frees the victim. It is impossible to throw creatures 2 sizes larger than yourself.
- Slam: The martial artist makes an attack roll - if he hits, his victim is thrown directly down at the ground. They take 1d8 points of damage if they strike a yielding surface or 1d8+1 for a solid surface. This frees the victim; it is impossible to slam creatures 2 sizes larger than yourself.
- Press/Lock: The martial artist makes an attack roll - if he hits, one of the victim's limbs is twisted or squeezed in some way, dealing 1d6+1 damage. Each round the martial artist continues to press them, this attack deals 1 more point of damage - 1d6+2, then 1d6+3, and so on.
When using judo to grapple enemies, a bonus to-hit is granted if they are wearing bulky armour that makes it difficult to move freely. This bonus is equal to +1 vs. studded leather, +2 vs. chain or scale mail, +5 vs. splint or plate mail, and +8 vs. field or full plate mail.
Aikido is not an offensive style in and of itself. It focuses on dodging, blocking and small distracting jabs to disorient the attacker. It is a defensive style rather than an offensive one. If unarmed and unarmored, being proficient in aikido gives a passive -2 bonus to AC. Regardless of whether you are armed or armored, aikido allows you to make an opposed attack roll against a single attack by an enemy. If your roll hits AC 4 AND hits a lower AC than your enemy's attack roll, the attack is blocked. Blocking requires a free hand; if both your hands are free, you may block with one hand and use Karate to strike with the other hand. Using both hands to strike with Karate makes it impossible to block. It is possible to eschew attacking and block with both hands. Specialising in blocking increases the passive AC bonus to -4.
The four styles of martial arts given above are powerful, but they are by no means the pinnacle of accomplishment. Each of the martial styles has one or more Disciplines associated with it. These Disciplines are each a collection of maneuvers that must be acquired one after another to progress.
In order to begin training in a Discipline, you must be specialised in the associated martial style. If you satisfy this condition and have a free weapon proficiency slot, you can progress in it immediately. Otherwise, it takes 6 months, minus 1 month for every point of Intelligence over 14 (to a minimum of 1 month).
As noted above, each technique in a Discipline must be acquired before the next one can be obtained. When you have learned all the techniques in a Discipline, you are said to have mastered it. There is no limit to the number of Disciplines a monk can master, as long as they satisfy the conditions.
As mentioned in their descriptions, the final technique of each Discipline requires significant time and energy to master. They always require a free weapon proficiency slot. Even if a weapon proficiency slot is available, these skills take as long to obtain as though they were being trained without a free slot. If you manage to find a master who already knows the technique in question, however, you can learn it in 1d4 weeks.
One of the two Karate Disciplines, the Eagle focuses on channeling immense power through the fists. In doing so, they can be used to increase damage and shatter hard objects. Although less risky than the Tiger Discipline, the Eagle relies heavily on strength of will and mastery of ki, and can result in injury if done improperly. The Eagle Discipline also allows practitioners of Karate to overcome those who are usually the anathema of martial artists: heavily armored opponents.
Iron Fist: With this technique, the fists are toughened to be as hard as iron. This increases the damage dice of the practitioner's Karate attacks from 1d3 to 1d6 permanently.
Crushing Blow: This difficult to execute technique allows the practitioner to shatter or break hard objects with his bare hands. If used against an inanimate object, the attacker must make an attack roll against AC 10. If he hits, he can break 1/2" of wood or 1/4" of brick or brittle stone per level. Although unlikely, missing AC 10 means that the technique has been performed incorrectly. The practitioner's hand is wounded and rendered unusable for 24 hours.
Using this ability against a living target is a little riskier, but very effective. If used against a living target, the practitioner adds his level to his damage roll. Alternatively, if the target is wearing plate armor, they can use this ability to deal normal damage to them. However, as with inanimate objects, missing will cause his hand to become wounded.
Eagle Claw: Through physical exercise and intense concentration, the character can shatter physical objects. He can crush stones, snap spear shafts, and even break metal objects with a successful attack roll. If he hits a living creature with this attack, he deals 3d10 points of damage. This ability requires intense concentration and is the only thing that can be done in a round - and like the Crushing Blow, failure results in a wound.
If this ability is used against someone wearing plate armor that would normally prevent karate from being effective, a successful hit deals normal karate damage and forces the armor to make a saving throw vs. crushing blow. Failure means it is destroyed.
The Serpent Discipline follows a different direction than the Eagle. Instead of cultivating raw destructive power, it focuses on vital points in the body. Delivered to these areas, even weak blows can have serious effect. The Serpent teaches practitioners how to focus their attacks to target the nerve points of their enemies, conserving their strength and striking with maximum efficiency.
Although the Serpent is very powerful, it is heavily reliant on anatomy. As such, it only works on human and humanoid opponents.
Pain Touch: Simply by pressing a finger to a nerve point, great pain can be caused in a victim. This is done in the place of a normal attack; no damage is dealt, but the blow induces immense pain in the victim. This effect lasts 1d3 rounds, and the burning pain causes the victim to take a -2 penalty on all attack rolls and have his effective AC worsened by 2.
Stunning Touch: With a light jab of two fingers in the temples or gut, the character can stun and daze his opponent. This is done in the place of a normal attack; no damage is dealt, but the victim must make a saving throw vs. paralyzation. If they fail, they are stunned for 1d4 rounds and unable to take any action.
Paralyzing Touch: By placing pressure on a specific junction of nerves, a victim can be paralyzed for 1d6 turns. As with the stunning touch, this requires a successful attack roll and a failed saving throw vs. paralyzation.
Distance Death: This is the ultimate skill of the Serpent Discipline and requires great practice and concentration. It is practiced by repeatedly driving the finger at a pool of water without touching it. As he does so, he concentrates on his own ki, trying to extend it from his finger. When he can feel the echo of his thrust rebounding from the surface of the water, he has mastered this technique.
The range of this ability is one foot per level of the character; no other action can be taken on the same melee round. He must make a normal attack roll; if he hits, he can choose what effect to project. He may apply the effects of his Pain, Stunning or Paralyzing touch, or he may choose to deal triple his normal Karate damage. If Pain is chosen, no saving throw is allowed. If Stunning is chosen, the saving throw is made at a -2 penalty. If Paralyzing is chosen, they make the saving throw normally.
Tiger DisciplineTae Kwon Do
The Tiger is one of the simpler Disciplines; it is based around the idea of storing massive amounts of energy and springing forward with your feet to deliver this energy in a single staggering blow. It is similar to the Eagle Discipline of Karate, but is both potentially more powerful and far riskier. The attacks of the Tiger Discipline are reckless and brash; failure often results in being left in a compromising position.
Circle Kick: This dramatic technique involves building up power and momentum by spinning in a complete circle before landing a kick to the side of the head or body. If successful, this kick does double the normal damage. On a miss, however, the character loses the next attack he is normally allowed as he struggles to recover.
Flying Kick: This technique requires at least 5 feet of running space. The character leaps high into the air and lands with a powerful kick to the head - as such, it is ineffective against creatures whose heads are too tall to reach with a running jump. If the kick connects, it deals triple the usual damage. However, if it misses, the character falls to the ground, prone and briefly stunned, next to their target. Unless they have the Prone Fighting or Instant Stand techniques, they must spend a full round recovering and standing back up.
Backward Kick: This is the ultimate technnique of the Tiger Discipline, allowing massive power to be channelled with very little lead-up. It is very difficult to master. This technique allows him to strike with full power and flexibility in any direction with his kicks, even directly behind him. Even if he is engaged from the front, a backward kick provokes no attacks of opportunity.
The Monkey Discipline is all about lightning-fast holds and maneuvers that catch and manipulate an opponent's body before he even realises what is going on. With the exception of the first technique, all of its abilities focus on quickly incapacitating and overwhelming an opponent, doing so much faster than would usually be possible with judo.
Choke Hold: This technique entails the proper understanding of the flow of blood and air through the body, allowing a judo practitioner to effectively knock opponents unconscious. In order to execute the choke hold, the judo practitioner must first score a successful hold on the victim. They must then progress this to a choke hold, which is similar to a press or lock.
The choke hold does no damage, but imposes a -2 penalty on attempts to escape. Furthermore, if the victim fails to escape on their round and is not freed by some other circumstances, they fall unconscious at the end of the round. This unconsciousness does not last long, as it is just a "blackout" - they recover after 1d3 rounds.
Locking Block: This technique requires proficiency (but not specialization) in the style of aikido. It allows a judo practitioner to directly convert a successful block into a hold. No additional rolls must be made; it happens automatically. However, using a locking block against an armed opponent will automatically allow them to roll normal weapon damage - it is not possible to use this technique against an armed opponent without injuring yourself.
Incapacitate: With this technique, the practitioner can make a single attack to incapacitate an opponent without going through the whole process of holding and locking. If they hit, the victim must make a saving throw vs. paralyzation. A pass means that the grip was lost, and the attack has no effect. A failed saving throw, however, allows the practitioner to seize an arm or leg and twist it precisely, pressing a thumb into pressure points. This deals no damage but renders the limb useless for 24 hours. Having one leg incapacitated halves movement speed and deprives you of any Dexterity bonuses to AC.
Immobilize: With this technique, the practitioner may quickly grip and hold an opponent with one hand, twisting his body in a way that stops him from taking any action. When they hit and establish a hold on an enemy, they can choose to simply immobilize him. This renders their opponent completely helpless, but progressing the hold into a lock ends this effect. While immobilized, the only action their opponent can take is to attempt to break free, which is done at a -4 penalty.
Immobilization requires the practitioner to move with lightning fast-speed and seize their opponent's limbs. As a result, missing with this ability leaves them off-balance, causing them to take a -4 penalty on their next attack. Since immobilization only requires one hand, you can freely pummel your helpless prisoner with the other.
While the Monkey Discipline is all about speed and quick incapacitation, the Ox is the polar opposite. It transforms judo practitioners, who usually focus on redirection and using an opponent's body against him, giving them the ability to withstand great pressures and hurl opponents with incredible force. While a high Strength is not required for this style, both Hurl and Great Throw require that the victim weigh less than the practitioner's maximum press - so it is advisable.
Fall: The first thing any practitioner of the Ox learns to do is fall. So steadfast and solid are they that they can absorb falling damage and roll away, relatively unharmed. This ability is always on, and causes them to take half damage from any fall.
Instant Stand: Steadfast and unstoppable, the fallen practitioner is able to channel their own momentum. They cannot be knocked prone unless they are unconscious or unless they choose to fall over. Every time they fall, they can simply use their own energy to immediately roll back up into a standing position. This takes no actions.
Hurl: This is the first Ox technique that channels their resolution into offensive, rather than defensive power. Relying on strength over leverage, this allows the practitioner to deal double damage when making a throw maneuver. Furthermore, the victim is briefly stunned, causing them to lose all actions for the rest of this round and to automatically lose initiative next round.
Great Throw: This final technique channels all the practitioner's strength and stability to throw an opponent great distances. Like Hurl, it takes place when making a throw maneuver. The victim can be thrown two feet per level, and takes triple damage from the throw. Like Hurl, this briefly stuns the victim.
The Hare Discipline focuses on deception and maneuverability. It does this by feinting back and forth and keeping always on the balls of one's feet, only to suddenly and explosively channel all your energy into one specific action. This allows practitioners of the Hare Discipline to be extremely versatile, escaping from situations that seem inescapable and suddenly proving tenacious when they seem defeated.
Prone Fighting: The flexibility and adaptability of a practitioner makes them just as dangerous on the ground as they are on their feet. While prone, practitioners can make any of the attacks they would normally be capable of. Furthermore, being prone does not grant enemies a bonus to hit them. However, no special techniques (apart from Instant Stand) can be used while prone.
Missile Deflection: Relying on reflexes honed to the razor's edge, the practitioner can avoid missile attacks - including magical arrows and bolts, but not including magic missiles, lightning bolts, et cetera. Every time such an attack is made against them, they are entitled to a saving throw vs. paralyzation. If they pass, they have dodged the missile.
Circumstances which deprive you of Dexterity bonuses to AC (surprise, grappling, et cetera) prevent this ability from working.
Leap: By channeling all of their ki power into their legs, they can perform extraordinary feats of springing and leaping. The character can, from a standing start, leap four feet vertically and up to three feet forward, plus one foot for every level of the character. Furthermore, they can flip in mid-air to automatically change their facing without provoking an attack of opportunity. This ability can be used to face an enemy behind you without provoking an attack, or even to leap over an enemy's head and attack them from behind.
If they have a running start, the practitioner can leap up to eight feet vertically and ten feet forward, plus one foot per level. They must have at least 10 feet of running space to jump this high and far, however.
Speed: Through intense training of reflexes and muscles, masters of the Hare Discipline can achieve amazing feats of speed. This technique grants immunity to magical slowing effects. It also allows them to act as if they are hasted, moving at double speed and making double the usual number of attacks. However, this ability can only be done once per day and can only be maintained for five rounds at a time. At the end of this period, they must spend a full round regaining their strength, during which they can take no actions.
The Mantis puts a fine point on aikido's philosophy of redirection. It focuses on redirecting an opponent's energy in endless circles, then focusing all the ki into a single point to send them harmlessly in whatever direction you desire.
Concentrated Push: This ability focuses ki into the practitioner's hands, allowing even a gentle push to carry great force. On a successful attack roll, the victim is pushed back one foot per level of the character. If the distance is greater than three feet, they must make a saving throw vs. paralyzation to remain on their feet. If their victim strikes a solid object, they take 1d6 points, or 2d6 if they flew more than 10 feet.
Trying and failing to use this technique leaves the practitioner unbalanced, granting a +2 bonus to hit him until his next round.
Sticking Touch: This technique relies on a strongly attuned sense of touch. The practitioner is so deft and sensitive to change that they can place their hand gently on another and follow their every move. A normal attack roll must be made, and the touch does no damage. However, as long as they remain in contact, he is able to feel every impending move of his opponent before it happens. This grants him a +2 bonus to-hit and imposes a -2 penalty to-hit on his opponent.
The sticking touch is absolutely impossible to break off - every attempt to do so is sensed and avoided. It can only be broken by moving faster than the movement speed of the practitioner - either by being naturally faster or by using an ability such as Leap.
One Finger: This skill requires long and difficult practice. It is trained by learning to push a heavy bell with the touch of a finger. He then learns to exert less and less pressure while moving the bell further and further. Finally, he can make the bell move without actually touching it.
By using this technique, the practitioner can point one finger at an opponent with a range equal to one foot per character level. This allows them to use their Concentrated Push ability from a distance, knocking them away with a successful attack roll.
The Dragon Discipline is the rarest and most unusual of all. It is not associated with any particular style, but can be learned by any martial artist. The only requirement is that they are specialised in at least one of the four styles. It is focused intently on spiritual discipline and improvement, resulting in superb control over mind and body.
Meditation: The practitioner gains all the powers of meditation as described in the kensai and shukenja character description. If a character already has this ability as a result of their class, they do not have to spend a proficiency slot on this technique.
Mental Resistance: The mental exercises and ordeals of the character have toughened and strengthened his will. The practitioner recieves a +2 bonus against all mental atttacks including charm, illusion and hold spells. This is constantly in effect.
All-Around Perception: The practitioner's training makes him attuned to his immediate surroundings. He is able to detect opponents on every side of him. He cannot be snuck up on, and enemies striking from behind never receive a bonus for doing so. Furthermore, he receives only a -1 penalty for fighting invisible opponents, or when in darkness or blinded.
Dragonscales: Rigorous physical training has toughened the practitioner's muscles to the point where he can harden them like iron. He receives an improvement of 2 points to his AC, but only when unarmored.
Levitation: This is possibly the most rare and difficult martial arts technique in existence. Practicing the utmost discipline, the practitioner daily makes his body feel lighter, using his mental power to negate his own weight. Finally, he succeeds in overcoming all of his weight. At this point, he can levitate. This maneuver requires one round of concentration before it can be done. Thereafter he can move up, down or sideways at a rate of 1 foot per round per level. No actions can be taken while levitating, and anything that breaks his concentration ends the effect immediately.
Family and Honor
The family and the clan (the extended family) are extremely important in Kara-Tur. Family does not just mean the fathers, brothers and sisters of a person - it includes the entire set of relations who make up a cohesive unit called the clan. The family also includes all of its ancestors - those who have achieved great honor and terrible shame alike. In a society as rigid as the caste-based civilisations of Kara-Tur, family is paramount. A person who does not know his family and its past is considered to be not a whole person - they are incomplete.
Family is more important to some classes than others. Some classes forsake their rank, positions and birthright and thus do not roll on the birth table. Others, like yakuza, have severed ties with their original clan, but have "adopted a new one". Still others have disconnected permanently from society and thus do not need to be part of a family. See the table below for a concise summary. If the result is "Yes", they must roll on the birth table and have a family, clan or organisation.
|Class||Birth Table?||Birth Modifier|
The birth table determines a character's basic social rank and that of his family. Rolling on this table determines the character's chance of having a significant ancestor or birthright (which dice to roll and how many times). It also determines his family's base honor, which is used to determine his honor score. Note that some of the ranks cannot be obtained with a 2d10 roll; this is intentional, as some ranks can only be obtained with a bonus.
|2d10 roll||Rank||Ancestry||Birthright||Family Honor|
|4-5||Lower Middle Class||d6/2||d6/1||5|
|9-10||Upper Middle Class||d20/2||d20/2||10|
|11-12||Lower Upper Class||d100/2||d20/4||15|
The family structure is the grouping of family units that form a clan. Every family has four generations: heads of the clan, heads of the family, elders and descendants. Kara-Tur is a paternalistic society; women marry into families and leave their own, and the head of the clan will be the eldest living grandfather. If he dies, head of the clan passes to one of his sons or grandsons - if there are no living descendants, then his line ends and passes to his next eldest brother.
The heads of family are the brothers and unmarried sisters of the head of the clan. A great uncle may be unmarried, but it is more likely that he will have a family unit of his own, of which he is the head. Even if they are not the head of the clan, the heads of family occupy a position of respect second only to the head of the clan. As a player character, your grandfather will be either the head of the clan or one of the heads of family. The rest, then, will be your great aunts and uncles.
Each married head of family will likely have sons and daughters. These are the elders: as a player character, they consist of your father and his brothers and sisters. As with the heads of family, each of your uncles may have his own sons - your cousins - which are part of separate family units. Cousins are part of the clan, but not part of the immediate family.
Finally, at the lowest level are the descendants: yourself and your brothers and sisters. Note that way that the family unit is set up. Your brothers and sister are family. Your father is family, as are his brothers and sisters. But their children - your cousins - are not family, though they are part of the clan. Likewise, your head of family (grandfather) and his brothers and sisters are family. But the distant aunts, uncles and cousins originating from your great uncles are not part of the family, though they are of your clan.
It is up to the player and the DM to determine how important their family is to them. At the very least, characters with a family must keep note of their family honor score. It may be easier not to generate a family if your character is wandering far from home. When you do need to generate a family, however, the DM can use the following system.
Roll a 1d8 to determine how many heads of the family there are, including the eldest - who is the head of clan. Then roll the closest die to figure out which of these heads of family is your grandfather. You can then repeat this process for the elders: roll 1d8 to determine how many sons and daughters your grandfather had, then roll to see which one is your father.
Finally, you can roll 1d8 once again to see how many children your father had, and again roll to see where your character is in that order. This can have a significant impact; being the eldest son is very different from being second eldest. Likewise, if your grandfather is the head of clan, your family is likely to have a lot more power than if he is the youngest of 7 children. At the DM and player's option, you may choose these things instead of rolling randomly - for example, if your character concept does not mesh well with the responsibility of being an eldest son.
Once you have rolled on the birth table and determined the social rank of your family, you may roll on the ancestry table. This tells you whether your family has any ancestors of note - either famous or infamous. As with all of the tables in this chapter, both the dice to roll and the number of times to provided - i.e. "d100/4" means you roll 1d100 four times. The honor bonuses modify the base honor of the family, as given on the birth table.
|1d100 roll||Ancestry||Honor Modifier|
|5||Land: Small mountain||+0|
|6||Roll again using next higher die||+0|
|7-8||Land: Small farm||+2|
|10||Roll again using next higher die||+0|
|12-15||Land: Modest farm||+3|
|16-19||Land: Small town||+6|
|20||Roll again using next higher die||+0|
|58||Famous holy man||+1|
|86-87||Land: Large town||+4|
|98||Roll again, +10 on die roll||+0|
The social rank rolled on the birth table also potentially entitles you to birthrights, personal property that results from your family's rank and your position with the family. As with ancestry, you can roll multiple times with various dice depending on what social rank you rolled.
|1d100 roll||Birthright||Honor Modifier|
|4||Roll again using next higher die||+0|
|7||Roll again using next higher die||+0|
|20||1d6 cash strings||+0|
|31-33||Armor of quality||+2|
|51-55||1d8 cash strings||+0|
|61-63||Weapon of quality||+2|
|71-75||Armor of quality||+2|
|91-95||2d6 cash strings||+0|
|96-98||Weapon of quality||+2|
|00||Roll again with +10 bonus||+0|
Property share: The character receives 10%-40% of the yearly income generated by a property, if any are possessed by their branch of the clan. If the family holds no productive property, this is treated as no result.
Horse: The character receives one or more horses. They can be any type the character desires.
Cash strings: The character receives a number of cash strings as their birthright, to spend as they will in their ventures as an adult. Each string contains 100 coins. Lower class to middle class characters receive strings of yuan. Upper middle class to upper class characters receive strings of tael. Noble characters receiv strings of ch'ien.
Armor/Weapon of Quality: The characters receives a weapon that is both of exceptionally high quality and is a minor heirloom. This equipment is appropriate to the character, and can be whatever they desires (expensive armors are not a problem). It is worth 2d4 times more than an ordinary piece of equipment, and has the usual bonuses for high-quality items. Weapons may have a +1 bonus to-hit, or to damage, or to weapon speed. Armor might be more effective than usual against certain weapon types. The player is free to make suggestions.
This item is an heirloom, expected to be passed down. It can be returned to the family but selling or losing it will cause a loss of 5 points of honor for the character and 1 point of honor for the family.
Magical weapon: The character receives one of the family's great treasure: a magical weapon complete with history. The bonuses are never greater than +2, and their powers are usually related to their history. Like the item of quality, this should never be sold or given away. Losing the magical weapon while the character still lives results in a loss of 20 points of honor, and 4 points for the family.
As noted previously, most characters have an honor score. To some, it is very important: for example, a samurai whose honor falls below that of his family will be expelled and become daimyo. Likewise, a yakuza who does not uphold the honor of his clan will find himself expelled and friendless. To others, honor is not quite as important - but it affects everyone.
Honor is extremely important in the society of Kara-Tur. Honorable families are known to be trustworthy and can deal even with families of higher social rank. Yakuza clans with high honor and well-known, feared and respected. Those without it are laughed at and ignored. Individual honor, too, is important. The exceptional actions of a character can bring honor to his family, but shaming your family is a good way to find yourself an outcast. And a man with no family is not even a full man, in Kara-Tur.
Every character has a family honor, which is determined by rolling on the birth table and may be modified by their ancestry. The character's starting honor is equal to their family's honor, plus their lowest ability score. Birthrights can also change your starting honor.
Some characters, for whatever reason, do not have families. They may be monks or shukenja, who have no connection to birth or clan. They may be wu jen, outcasts who live in the wilderness. Or their family may be simply be dead, missing or estranged. For characters such as these, you can use the table below to find their initial honor. Some characters - monks, ninjas and samurai - must always have a family. Monks are attached to a monastery, for example.
|Character Class||Base Honor|
|Yakuza||1d20 + 20|