Oriental Adventures is the title shared by two hardback rulebooks published for different versions of the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game. Each version of Oriental Adventures provides rules for adapting its respective version of D&D for use in campaign settings based on the Far East, rather than the medieval Europe-setting assumed by most D&D books. Both versions of Oriental Adventures include example campaign settings.

1st edition eraEdit

The original Oriental Adventures (ISBN 0-88038-099-3) was written by Gary Gygax, David "Zeb" Cook, and Francois Marcela-Froideval, and published in 1985 by TSR, Inc. for use with the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition rules. Cover art was by Jeff Easley, with interior illustrations by Roger Raupp, James Holloway, Easley, and Dave Sutherland. The book's early chapters introduce ten character classes and three races that Oriental campaigns use in place of D&D's original classes and races. Further chapters provide spells, monsters, magic items, and other rules used in Oriental campaigns.

The original Oriental Adventures introduced two major innovations to the AD&D system. Although previous TSR publications (such as Deities & Demigods) had touched on using non-European settings for the game, Oriental Adventures was the first official supplement entirely devoted to roleplaying in a non-Western setting. Oriental Adventures also introduced a new game mechanic to Dungeons & Dragons, as the first official supplement to include rules for nonweapon proficiencies.[1] Both non-weapon proficiencies and non-European settings were explored in more detail in 2nd Edition AD&D rules.

The fantasy setting introduced in the original Oriental Adventures is Kara-Tur, a continent of Abeir-Toril. TSR went on to produce eight adventures using the Oriental Adventures rules and the Kara-Tur setting.

Gary Gygax intended to incorporate the material from Oriental Adventures into revised versions of the Players Handbook and Dungeon Masters Guide[2], but left TSR shortly after announcing the project[3]. Little if any material from Oriental Adventures was incorporated into the AD&D 2nd Edition core books, and Oriental Adventures itself was never revised for the 2nd Edition.


Rating 7 out of 10, Oriental Adventures was positively reviewed in Issue 74 of White Dwarf magazine. Much of the rules addition paralleled existing material from the Players Handbook, though the Honour and Skills systems were seen as notable and valuable additions; the sourcebook compared favourably with Bushido, another oriental role-playing game of the time.[4]

3rd edition eraEdit

The second version of Oriental Adventures (ISBN 0-7869-2015-7) was written by James Wyatt and published by Wizards of the Coast in October 2001. It uses the Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition rules. The book includes 5 new races including the Nagas, Nezumi, & Vanara, 5 new classes, over 25 new prestige classes, 100 new spells, and 75 new monsters. The featured campaign setting of this edition is Rokugan, a campaign setting originally created for the game Legend of the Five Rings.

The second Oriental Adventures won the 2002 Ennie Award for "Best Campaign Setting". [5]

In 2005, AEG dropped the D20 version of Legend of the Five Rings (and 3rd edition Oriental Adventures with it). The main reason was because the 3rd Edition Oriental Adventures corebook was out of print[attribution needed].


  1. * David Cook, "Oriental opens new vistas", Dragon 104:20-21, Dec 1985.
  2. Gary Gygax, "The future of the game", Dragon 103:8-10, Nov 1985.
  3. Gary Gygax, "From the Sorcerer's Scroll", Dragon 122:40, Oct 1987.
  4. Shepherd, Ashley (February 1986). "Open Box: Dungeon Modules". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (Issue 74): 9–10. ISSN 0265-8712. 
  5. The ENnie Awards - 2002 ENnie Archive, retrieved June 17, 2006.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

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