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Fabled Kara-Tur


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#1 Sister Vigilante

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 10:07 PM

Heya! First of all this looks terrific :) I've been away from BG for a long time, but with the great mods around here (and pending being around here) I might get sucked back in...

I was wondering about the time Aklon spent in Kara-tur, what areas he visited and what sort of people he studied with? (although I guess he'll tell you eventually, and I know you wouldn't want to spoil anything) I'm trying to figure out shared assumptions people have about what sort of place it is.

From what I've read, Kara-Tur seems like a sort of poorly-developed setting--not to mention borrowing so heavily from the real world--although a lot of us are enamored with it. With all the characters hailing from or having passed through there, we might be creating a sort of fan-canon, not that there's anything wrong with that...
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#2 Miloch

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 09:53 AM

There's actually quite a bit of canon material on Kara-Tur, which dates back to 1st edition (starting with Gary Gygax's "Oriental Adventures"). In that sense, it predates the advent of the "Forgotten Realms" and was later incorporated into it. Though it does borrow heavily from the real world, as you say.
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#3 Sister Vigilante

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 02:28 PM

View PostMiloch, on Jan 4 2008, 09:53 AM, said:

There's actually quite a bit of canon material on Kara-Tur, which dates back to 1st edition (starting with Gary Gygax's "Oriental Adventures"). In that sense, it predates the advent of the "Forgotten Realms" and was later incorporated into it. Though it does borrow heavily from the real world, as you say.

It's fair enough, I guess--they didn't see any need to change the term paladin, so samurai is fair game. Though calling the "Kozakuran" mob the yakuza...Well, being an East Asia Studies major probably made me a bit of a snob...
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#4 Miloch

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 03:21 PM

Actually, "Oriental Adventures" has samurai, but not paladins. I don't think there's a whole lot of resemblance. It also has yakuza as a sort of thief/thug-like class with its own society (like a thieves guild I guess), but I don't see anything specific about it being Kozakuran mafia. Though it wouldn't surprise me if later editions warped something that maybe wasn't that accurate to begin with (but hey, it's not like "western" Faerun reflects medieval Europe or anything). It also had one of the first (and perhaps the best, as far as that goes) appearances of the kensai and monk classes as I described here. And an "oriental" barbarian that can jump around a lot, climb trees, etc... heh, whatever.

There's a pretty decent "Overview of Kara-Tur" and "Daily Life in Kara-Tur" on the last few pages though (136-141 in my copy), maybe the sort of thing you're looking for. And some ok stuff on weapons. Nothing really that I don't have better sources for, but good for setting realistic PnP stats for them at least.
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#5 BigRob

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 08:33 PM

View PostSister Vigilante, on Jan 4 2008, 04:07 PM, said:

Heya! First of all this looks terrific :) I've been away from BG for a long time, but with the great mods around here (and pending being around here) I might get sucked back in...

I was wondering about the time Aklon spent in Kara-tur, what areas he visited and what sort of people he studied with? (although I guess he'll tell you eventually, and I know you wouldn't want to spoil anything) I'm trying to figure out shared assumptions people have about what sort of place it is.

From what I've read, Kara-Tur seems like a sort of poorly-developed setting--not to mention borrowing so heavily from the real world--although a lot of us are enamored with it. With all the characters hailing from or having passed through there, we might be creating a sort of fan-canon, not that there's anything wrong with that...

Thanks for the kind words, I'm quite interested to see what you do with Angelo.


As Miloch mentioned, Kara-Tur does have some development, from Oriental Adventures back in First Edition to the Kara-Tur boxed set and the Hordelands books. But, from what I can fathom, very basically, Kozakura is Japan, Wa is Korea, Shou Lung and Tu Lung are China (Warring Kingdoms), Tabot is Tibet and the Hordelands is Mongolia.

The whole Kara-Tur thing is romanticised (as Faerun is) and based mainly on Japanese mythology and social customs, but things do get changed in different countries. For example there aren't any ninjas in Shou Lung, but there are groups that have exactly the same abilities. I think the most common is the sing-song girl, or something like that, a killer who disguises herself as a common entertainer to go unnoticed. Yakusa also aren't called that in Shou Lung (I believe the Chinese word Tong is used, but I could be wrong about that). Likewise, there are no Samurai in Shou-Lung, but most nobles have the Samurai class (representing the noble warrior).


I've based the way I portray Kara-Tur on the information in the sourcebooks, as well as my own (admittedly rough in places) knowledge of mythological and hstorical Asia. You might actually be able to find the Kara-Tur boxed set as one of the free PDF downloads available from Wizards of the Coast. It's a pretty rich source for all this information. Otherwise, I'd say if you went with real historic/mythologic sources, you wouldn't go far wrong.



As for Aklon, the areas I've covered most are in Kozakura and Shou Lung, where he trained in several martial styles, followed scholarly pursuits, made friends with some of the local people and had adventures with some bandits, a ghost (in the Eastern "ghosts are solid" tradition) and a spirit or two. I do tend to put a dash of realism in my view of both Faerun and Kara-Tur, so that magic is a little more unusual than might be apparent in the game (well, the peasants seem pretty supersitious, so that fits), but I do see Kara-Tur as being a slightly more magical place than Faerun, what with the spirits and all.

Edited by BigRob, 04 January 2008 - 08:37 PM.

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#6 Sister Vigilante

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 10:55 PM

Quote

There's a pretty decent "Overview of Kara-Tur" and "Daily Life in Kara-Tur" on the last few pages though (136-141 in my copy), maybe the sort of thing you're looking for. And some ok stuff on weapons. Nothing really that I don't have better sources for, but good for setting realistic PnP stats for them at least.

Hey, this is great! Thanks, I'll check it out...

View PostBigRob, on Jan 4 2008, 08:33 PM, said:

As Miloch mentioned, Kara-Tur does have some development, from Oriental Adventures back in First Edition to the Kara-Tur boxed set and the Hordelands books. But, from what I can fathom, very basically, Kozakura is Japan, Wa is Korea, Shou Lung and Tu Lung are China (Warring Kingdoms), Tabot is Tibet and the Hordelands is Mongolia.

The whole Kara-Tur thing is romanticised (as Faerun is) and based mainly on Japanese mythology and social customs, but things do get changed in different countries. For example there aren't any ninjas in Shou Lung, but there are groups that have exactly the same abilities. I think the most common is the sing-song girl, or something like that, a killer who disguises herself as a common entertainer to go unnoticed. Yakusa also aren't called that in Shou Lung (I believe the Chinese word Tong is used, but I could be wrong about that). Likewise, there are no Samurai in Shou-Lung, but most nobles have the Samurai class (representing the noble warrior).

I've based the way I portray Kara-Tur on the information in the sourcebooks, as well as my own (admittedly rough in places) knowledge of mythological and hstorical Asia. You might actually be able to find the Kara-Tur boxed set as one of the free PDF downloads available from Wizards of the Coast. It's a pretty rich source for all this information. Otherwise, I'd say if you went with real historic/mythologic sources, you wouldn't go far wrong.

I guess if they really went by the real world, Shou Lung would have the prestige class "bureaucrat" with some sort of ability to put "seals" on enemy abilities :)

I think in RL the Chinese mob were called "Tongs" before they were called Triads, so that sounds about right...


Quote

As for Aklon, the areas I've covered most are in Kozakura and Shou Lung, where he trained in several martial styles, followed scholarly pursuits, made friends with some of the local people and had adventures with some bandits, a ghost (in the Eastern "ghosts are solid" tradition) and a spirit or two. I do tend to put a dash of realism in my view of both Faerun and Kara-Tur, so that magic is a little more unusual than might be apparent in the game (well, the peasants seem pretty supersitious, so that fits), but I do see Kara-Tur as being a slightly more magical place than Faerun, what with the spirits and all.

Ooh, sounds eventful! I look forward to seeing this angle developed, and yes, the "solid ghosts" thing is spot-on. Some more specific questions (although maybe I should just move this over to the "Ask Aklon" thread): does he go in for other "monkly" pursuits like prayer, meditation, reciting sutras (whatever they call them)? That is, does he think of monk-hood as spiritual, or just a way of combat?
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#7 celticrose

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 10:27 AM

Good question . . . I can see something quite funny being said between Aklon and the main character if a woman.
Her assuming or wondering if he follows the rules of being chaste or not.

"I am not that kind of a monk . . ." :)

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#8 BigRob

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 07:52 PM

View PostSister Vigilante, on Jan 5 2008, 04:55 PM, said:

I guess if they really went by the real world, Shou Lung would have the prestige class "bureaucrat" with some sort of ability to put "seals" on enemy abilities :)

If they went into 3rd edition with Kara Tur, they surely would have had that!

As it is, I think Shou Lung does have a lot of the classical bureaucracy controlling the country, with slightly less of it in Tu Lung, which I think is more ruled by a feudal system.


And it looks like the Kara-Tur Boxed set isn't available for download, but WotC do have some adventures available, which might provide some additional background beyond the good stuff that Miloch linked to.

http://www.wizards.c...d/dnd/downloads


Quote

Ooh, sounds eventful! I look forward to seeing this angle developed, and yes, the "solid ghosts" thing is spot-on. Some more specific questions (although maybe I should just move this over to the "Ask Aklon" thread): does he go in for other "monkly" pursuits like prayer, meditation, reciting sutras (whatever they call them)? That is, does he think of monk-hood as spiritual, or just a way of combat?


You could always take that over to the Ask Aklon thread for a more in character response, but Aklon's interest in the martial arts is more scholarly than spiritual in nature. You'll find out why if you ask about his training, but be does subscribe to some of the practices of the traditional monk, particularly meditation.


View Postcelticrose, on Jan 6 2008, 04:27 AM, said:

Good question . . . I can see something quite funny being said between Aklon and the main character if a woman.
Her assuming or wondering if he follows the rules of being chaste or not.

"I am not that kind of a monk . . ." ;)

CelticRose
An exchange of that sort can be found nestled somewhere in Aklon's player initiated dialogues. Is it funny? You'll have to see... :)

Edited by BigRob, 05 January 2008 - 07:54 PM.

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Click here to visit Aklon's G3 page.

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#9 Sister Vigilante

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 05:59 PM

View PostBigRob, on Jan 5 2008, 07:52 PM, said:

And it looks like the Kara-Tur Boxed set isn't available for download, but WotC do have some adventures available, which might provide some additional background beyond the good stuff that Miloch linked to.

http://www.wizards.c...d/dnd/downloads

Ah, thanks!
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