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13 Dynasties of the Orient by Mind Map: 13 Dynasties of the Orient
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13 Dynasties of the Orient


Three Icon sets are mentioned here. For those who want a more authentic AD&D Oriental Adventures approach, use Kara-Tur. For those who want to adopt Legend of the Five Rings or D&D 3.5E's Oriental Adventures into 13th Age, there's Rokugan. For those who simply want their Icons to have a more oriental feel, there's Zodiac.


I have yet to fully flesh this out into a proper setting, but this should help provide inspiration for those who would want to have all 13 Icons of 13th Age with an Oriental twist. Each of the Icons here are that of the Chinese Zodiac, with the personalities of each Icon in 13th Age matched up with the closest equivalent astrological sign; for example, the Priestess is known to be the Oracle of the Gods of Light and is capable of great kindness, much like those born under the sign of the Rabbit, and those who are born of the Dragon can easily show both the great leadership skills and violence of the Orc Lord.


The original Oriental Adventures setting from AD&D 1E, this featured everything "oriental" that would later appear in every edition since, most popular of which would be the Monk. Wizards of the Coast released a Dragon Magazine (#404) that allowed Kara-Tur to be adopted into D&D 4E and Forgotten Realms.


Originally a setting for Legend of the Five Rings, Rokugan was also the setting for D&D 3.5E's Oriental Adventures.


Oriental Adventures featured 10 classes, some of whom were unique to the setting.

Nomad (Barbarian)

Originally called "Oriental Barbarians", the Nomads were a collection of Barbarian subclasses that Chris Sims turned into a theme in D&D 4E

Yakuza (Bard)

When I first saw the Yakuza, I immediately thought "Rogue" and didn't think much about it later on; after all, everything about the Rogue - from Momentum to Smooth Talk to the fact that Sneak Attack triggers when you and another ally "gang up" on an enemy - fits the Yakuza. Then I revisited the class, and found three things that made a compelling argument for Bard-as-Yakuza (at least, while the Battle Captain from 13 True Ways hasn't been released): 1. The Yakuza is a jack of all trades that specializes in conversations, which is one of the Bard's defining features. 2. Yakuza's first unique ability is Investigate, which allows him to glean information that normally isn't available elsewhere; the only other class that has a similar ability would be the Rogue and his Smooth Talk, but even then it's nowhere near as adaptable or story-altering as some of the Bard's class talents.3. Ever considered how a bunch of bards enhancing each other's abilities could make for a rather powerful "gang"?

Shukenja (Cleric, possibly Sorcerer)

This was a bit baffling due to how D&D 3.5E's adaptation of the class was, just like in Legend of the Five Rings (L5R), more of an elementalist than a priest.  Then again, because AD&D described Shukenja as priests, and because you could easily refluff Cleric spells into summoning the aid of spirits, simply having Clerics as the baseline with Sorcerers as the more offense-oriented Shukenja is probably the best approach to the class.

Bushi (Fighter)

Bushi serve as the collective description in Oriental Adventures for fighting men, ranging from "fallen" Kensai to mercenaries. Fighters are the obvious pick for this class.

Samurai (Paladin)

Another class I had difficulty fitting into the 13th Age setup, because Fighters could also fit the bill. Then I saw that Samurai could become immune to fear, and because he was a natural leader and protectorate of the shogunate, who better to utilize as the Samurai, other than the Paladin?

Kensai & Sohei (Ranger)

Kensai - the Sword Saint, I actually had difficulty determining what class best represented this single-weapon specialist (since Fighter, Paladin, Bards and even Rogues could fit into the concept of single-weapon specialist). And then it hit me: why force the issue, when the main feature of the Kensai is *specialization*? So instead of a specialist in a single weapon, why not have the Kensai as someone dedicated to a single fighting style... someone like the Ranger? Sohei - originally I had considered the Bard to be a better fit for the Sohei, but then I realized that 1) the Ranger has a talent that lets him dabble as a Shukenja (Cleric), and 2) the D&D 4E Sohei theme allowed you to make minor action attacks, which gave you the same dual fighting flexibility of Rangers in that system.

Ninja & Yakuza (Rogue)

Ninja - The Oriental Assassin, this needs no introduction due to the prevalent nature of Kung Fu flicks featuring ninjas. Death-dealing rogues were a natural fit for this class. Yakuza - If you want a more faithful adaptation of the Yakuza class, Rogues' Momentum-based abilities combined with Smooth Talk can get you very far in this regard. However, the Bard does have a few tricks up its sleeve to make it just as compelling a representative of the Yakuza class.

Wu-Jen (Wizard)

Wu-Jen are the Wizards of Oriental Adventures, plain and simple.


Need I mention that A) this class has "Oriental" written all over it, and B) this is slated for release in 13 True Ways? ^_^


Other races are possible, but for simplicity's sake, the default races of Oriental Adventures are mentioned here.


Koroboru (Dwarf)

Hengyokai (Werebeast)

Spirit Folk (Elf)

The three elf subraces might have to be heavily tweaked to fit the original Oriental Adventures feel, but for those who aren't too particular, Spirit Folk can simply be oriental-style Fey.


Much less a mechanical thing than a storytelling thing, a PC's honor in 13 Dynasties of the Orient is highly regarded. Establish what the PCs' honor codes are - Yakuza gang, Bushido honor code, or even the gaijin (foreign) ideals of chivalry - and simply have the world react to how the PCs adhere to (or violate) their honor.

Martial Arts

Martial arts is simply a reflavoring of warrior-type talents, though to accommodate unarmed martial arts fighting, if you feel that the PC should be adept at unarmed combat (but is not a monk), ignore the rule on unarmed combat and have players treat their punches as Small one-handed weapons.


These are various locations found in each setting.  Note that some details are intentionally left out from the original books to allow DMs to fit in their own details as desired, and because of their relatively small impact on the campaign world. The Zodiac is at the moment intentionally left blank.