I’ve written before about what I perceive to be the failings of the AD&D 1E Oriental Adventures book. Specifically, although it was marketed as being broadly descriptive of “oriental” culture, it was really focused on feudal Japan, with a few bits and pieces from Yuan/Ming China thrown in.
Now, it’s no secret that I’ve been working on a Wuxia/fantasy China supplement, but as I’ve been working on it, it occurred to me how the content might be integrated into a more pan-Asian product. Just for the sake of argument, let us presume that we have a rules supplement with sections covering China, Japan, and India. For each, we have races, classes, spells, magic items, monsters, and miscellany.
The question becomes, how should such a thing be organized? I see several possibilities.
- Group things by culture. So there would be a China section, a Japan section, and an India section. Within each, there would be a section on races, classes, monsters, etc.
- Group things by game section. So there would be a section on races, a section on classes, a section on monsters, etc. For each section, all of the specific items would be identified as to which culture it belongs to, but they would not otherwise be divvied up, so you’d see Shaolin-like monks, ninjas, samurai, wu, etc.
- Group things by game section and then by culture. Like option #2, but within each section things are grouped by culture. So within the section on classes all the Chinese classes would come first, then all the Japanese classes, then all the Indian classes, etc. Then in the section on spells there would be all of the Chinese spells, then Japanese spells, etc. And so on.