Rite Publishing recently sent me a free copy of their Heroes of the Jade Oath BETA edition for Arcana Evolved. What I thought might be fantasy adventuring in Asian lands turned out to be much more grand and dynamic. Heroes of the Jade Oath is much more than adventures in Asian lands, it is a fully-involved setting, built from the ground up using Asian influences and themes that create an entire Asian-inspired place where everyone and everything is a part of the landscape. Rite Publishing took many of the standard Epic Fantasy races and classes and molded them so that they look and feel as though they properly belong within the Asian-inspired setting. In addition to races and classes, new religions have been created using Asian inspiration, such as Buddhism and Shinto, along with mechanics that correspond to the different types of philosophies found in Asian lands, such as Confucianism and Taoism.
Heroes of the Jade Oath could be considered as more than just a new setting. It is more like a re-tooling of the standard (or typical) Epic Fantasy system and conforming it to different methodologies and mechanics. Through these efforts, a truly rich and flavorful Asian Fantasy setting has been created, placing the lands of the Jade Oath within their own world separate from the many Epic Fantasy settings that have been around for years. It should be noted that the version I was sent is the BETA version and not the final OMEGA version. Rite Publishing has informed me that the OMEGA version will incorporate updates from playtesting, another round of editing, an overhaul to the equipment section, additional artwork and a Pathfinder version. This review will take these into consideration and they will not be considered when determining the ratings.
Heroes of the Jade Oath is a great setting. It contains a wealth of background content and each area within the lands are fully detailed. The races and classes have (primarily) all been altered with Asian influences in a way that truly makes them a part of the setting instead of foreign adventurers in an Asian land. The religions really come to life along with the Asian philosophies and even zodiac signs. The equipment listing is filled with samurai and ninja-inspired weapons and armor round out the experience, bringing it to life.
Overall Rating: 9 out of 10
Heroes of the Jade Oath is a fantastic setting that could be considered a whole new system of its own (minus the core mechanics from Arcana Evolved). Everything about it has been designed and developed from the ground up using Asian themes and influences. It’s rich, dynamic and filled with dimension. Above all, it’s completely unique in every single way, giving players and DMs a new experience with lots of possibilities and great adventures to be had.
[4 of 5 Stars!]