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OA4 Blood of the Yakuza (1e)


In the port city of Nakamaru, the masks of deceit and treachery embroil the entire city. Plots and counterplots, loyalties, revenge? all can be found in this city of Wa.

You have been thrust amidst this cauldron of intrigue. You must pick your loyalties with care. Will you side with one of the yakuza gangs in their secret battle for control of the streets? Will you throw your fate into the political whirlwind that surrounds the powerful families of Nakamaru? Will you sohei battle his rivals for the hearts of the people?

Blood of the Yakuza is an adventure for use in your Oriental Adventures campaign. It includes a colorful city map of Nakamaru and descriptions of the major NPCs, districts, and factions of the city. All of these make Nakamaru an exciting and dangerous place for adventure!

Product History

OA4: "Blood of the Yakuza" (1987), by David "Zeb" Cook, is the fourth expansion for the Oriental Adventures (1985) hardcover; it was released in August 1987.

Expanding Oriental Adventures. "Blood of the Yakuza" continues the line of adventures expanding the world of Oriental Adventures (1985). They're not really a series, but once more "Blood of the Yakuza" is presented as something that could be run right after its predecessor, OA3: "Ochimo: The Spirit Warrior" (1987).

Like each of the previous adventures in the "OA" line, "Blood of the Yakuza" combines setting information that expands the world of Kara-Tur with adventures. However, the setting material in "Blood of the Yakuza" is much more extensive that that in any of the previous "OA" books, and the adventuring material is laid out in quite an unusual format.

"Blood of the Yakuza" is the last adventure that depicts Kara-Tur as an independent setting. OA5: "Mad Monkey vs. the Dragon Claw" (1988) would replace the familiar "Oriental Adventures" logo with something new.

Adventuring Tropes. Tracy Hickman is usually the one credited with bringing new story-oriented adventures to D&D. However, the TSR UK designers were doing the same thing, as was Zeb Cook. As early as B6: "The Veiled Society" (1984), Cook was writing plot-driven adventures. Thus, it was no surprise that Cook was again experimenting with revising the standard format for D&D adventures in "Blood of the Yakuza". What was surprising was how much he revised things, creating one of the most unusual adventures in the 1e era.

The "adventures" of "Blood of the Yakuza" are laid out as narratives. Each one describes a "plot", the "actors", the "story", and how to involve the characters. Many of them feel like Asian fables that the PCs can participate in. The GM then uses an "encounter construction booklet" to fill in NPC stats and to provide maps. The setup calls back to the earliest "B" adventures, where GMs filled in monsters and treasures on their own, but is more expansive and allows for a lot more narrative possibilities.

Expanding Kara-Tur. Once more the "OA" books move to another country, to continue to expand the world of Kara-Tur. This time it's the island-nation of Wa, Kara-Tur's other Japan, in the spotlight. Where Nakamura (which was detailed in OA1 and OA2) was a warring, Feudal Japan with a rural foundation, Wa is a more urban Japan that is "somewhat modeled after the early Tokugawa period of Japan", with the country united under a single ruler.

Future History. The next major release for Oriental Adventures was Kara-Tur: The Eastern Realms (1988), which merged the setting into the Forgotten Realms. Meanwhile, TSR returned to Wa in, of all places, SJR2: "Realmspace" (1991), which revealed it as one of the Spelljamming powers of the Forgotten Realms.

About the Creators. Cook was the creator of Oriental Adventures (1985), the author of OA1: "Swords of the Daimyo" (1986), and the co-author of OA2: "Night of the Seven Swords" (1986).

About the Product Historian

The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

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File Last Updated:
November 18, 2014
This title was added to our catalog on November 18, 2014.