Greetings! So as you know, I’ve been playing an Oriental Adventures campaign and I figured now would be a good time to give my first impressions of the game thus far.
First off, let’s talk about the Classes. Oriental Adventures adds 5 unique primary classes which vary from tanks to spell casters. While many of these are interesting I don’t find anything particularly “inspiring” about them. Yes, they are unique and some classes like the Shugenja address issues with classic classes like the Bard in that they have the same function, but aren’t pathetically underpowered. However, from a purely “aesthetic” perspective, I don’t find them particularly special.
The real value of the classes in Oriental Adventures comes from the new Prestige Classes it provides. Have you ever played a rogue and thought to yourself “I’m totally like a ninja!” Well now you actually can be an actual ninja. Many of the Prestige classes are similarly interesting and unique making it ok to play some less than interesting ones for a while until you become the BA ninja you want to be.
Next let’s talk spells. Oriental Adventures has added many new spells to the already extensive list and some of them are pretty fantastic, but are unfortunately not available until later casting levels. For instance, there is a spell called Fire Wings that turns your arms into Wings of Fire and allows you to fly and do damage.
Then there are the skills. The skills list is a bit longer in Oriental Adventures and I can’t say that I really like it. Many of the skills are almost useless and others are basic copies of each other (“Alchemy” is the same as “Craft Brewing”). Other skills are so obscure that it makes you wonder why it is a skill (Ex: Animal Empathy, Innuendo, or Scry). Oh and in case you were wondering, they do not explain how these skills work.
Monsters are a subject of hilarity in Oriental adventures. In the short time that I’ve played, we’ve encountered a One Legged Vampire, a monster that dies by using Flare on it, and a giant centipede with a human face and a ridiculous mustache. I could say more, but you get the idea; monsters in Oriental Adventures are just silly (but not push-over’s).
Overall, Oriental adventures I would say is indeed fun. It’s different from the normal adventure and might be a nice change of pace for some. However, for me, I enjoy D&D 3.5 more (at least thus far). Oriental Adventures has just too many vague mechanics in it and leaves a lot of blank space for a DM to make up rules that’s not written in any book. Anything with range is a joke. Quite literally the ONLY ranged weapon is the blow dart gun which always does 1 damage and that’s it (plus the range is only 10 feet!). While there are many new races, there is no reason to be anything but a human since humans are now more powerful than ever with the addition of Clan specific abilities that all humans have.
|Yup, this is the ONLY ranged weapon...|
If I had one tip for a DM or Player when it comes to playing Oriental Adventures I’d say don’t take it too seriously. The people who made it certainly didn’t.
Until next week.
P.S. In coming weeks, Endos and/or Zedd may be writing up some guest posts for Do A Spot Check so be sure to look forward to that.