Oriental Adventures exists as a scan that can be downloaded as a PDF from the DMs Guild, but is also a mithral best-seller there.
Oriental Adventures was a hit for TSR, the company originally behind D&D, and was published using Gary Gygax’s name on the cover although it was Dave “Zeb” Cook who actually wrote the book.
The supplement introduces new rules and the campaign-setting of Kara-Tur. The monk class first appeared here.
In recent years, more D&D fans have been uncomfortable with how the 1985 published book treats its subject matter. Aaron Trammell’s How Dungeons & Dragons Appropriated the Orient is an excellent starting place to get to grips with the objections. One key paragraph reads;
Although Gary Gygax envisioned a campaign setting that brought a multicultural dimension to Dungeons & Dragons, the reality is that by lumping together Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Philippine, and “Southeast Asian” lore he and co-authors David “Zeb” Cook and Francois Marcela-Froideval actually developed a campaign setting that reinforced western culture’s already racist understanding of the “Orient.”
The issue is in focus this month as Wizards of the Coast has issued a Diversity and Dungeons & Dragons statement. They promise to do better.
Kwan says the statement rings hollow for him while the publisher makes money by distributing books like Oriental Adventures.
Published in April of this year, Unbreakable is a collection of adventures which draws on Asian myth and folklore without falling into the same traps as the original Oriental Adventures.
Wizards of the Coast’s Oriental Adventures isn’t the only Asian-themed RPG on the market or to have run into trouble. In February, working with an Asian sensitivity consultant, indie publisher decided not to push ahead with Adventures in Dugatai: The Mystic East after feedback from fans.
Legend of the Five Rings is strongly inspired by Japanese history and is a popular setting. The tabletop L5R setting is being transferred from Fantasy Flight to Edge Entertainment, while Fantasy Flight continues to make the card game.
Kwan was asked about this and conceded he didn’t find Legend of the Five Rings offensive.
There is even a D&D 3.5 edition of Oriental Adventures in hardback and available from Amazon.
Google’s Search Suggest tool even suggests “Oriental Adventures 5e” as a likely option in response to someone beginning a search for [Oriental Adventures]. Usually, this means that many people are searching for an Oriental Adventures 5e book.
There is an unofficial 5e Oriental Adventures (Reference) guide from Michael “solomani” Misfud available at the DMs Guild, an electrum best-seller, that converts the 1st and 3.5 editions of the supplement to 5e.
Resonate, Europe’s biggest East Asian culture website, has a thoughtful article on why the word “Oriental” itself is a racist term and in 2016, President Obama signed a bill which updated terms in federal law to use modern terms in statutes related to minorities. In this case, Asian American should be used instead of Oriental.
Looking for the comment section? It's just below.