The Koryo Hall of Adventures FAQ
Below are a few quotes from Koryo Hall of Adventures writer Aurelién Lainé. As all of these quotes have been authorized by the writer, you are free to use them in your media content if you find them useful.
I got the idea to write this book about two years ago. I’d seen lots of campaign setting books based on other cultures—Japanese-styled Oriental Adventures and the arabesque Al Qadim, to name a few—but none based on Korea. With Korean culture now becoming popular around the world, I thought it was high time to remedy that.
Although Jeosung is highly fictionalized, there are many aspects of the setting that are based on real-world Korean culture and traditions. The shamans are based on Korean traditional spiritualism, for example. Another authentic detail is my descriptions of the food in each region. And of course, the isolationist realm Haenamguk is an obvious nod to North Korea, although I’ve been careful to stay neutral concerning politics.
I’ve lived in Korea for over a decade, and my wife is Korean, so I have obvious ties to this country.
I am a French born, New Zealand trained award-winning film director and writer based in Seoul, South Korea. I’ve travelled for most of my life and have worked in France, England, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea where I now reside.
My love for writing is only equated by my passion for films and it seemed only right to mix the two for a career. Storytelling and human character are some of the most beautiful things I know along with books, flying and scientific discovery. The future is bright and I write about it.
Following are some of our frequently asked questions, for your reference:
What editions of D&D does this campaign setting support?
The campaign setting is officially written for fifth edition, and as such all mechanical elements have 5th edition mechanics. However, we also have plans to release OSR and Pathfinder conversion pdfs as a stretch goal. Also, a large percentage of the book is flavor, so it’d work OK with any RPG, really.
Do you have rules for martial arts?
Yes, there are some class variants that bring Korean martial arts into play.
Is religion in this book based on real traditional Korean religion?
Yes, loosely. There are elements of Korean Buddhism and Confucianism in there. And the spirit worship and shamanism really is part of Korean tradition, although I fictionalized many elements of it to make it more fantastic.
Animistic religious concepts are always difficult to adapt to a role playing game, because it implies that every single thing that exists has a spirit. Try and see how that looks: can I pick up tea leaves without angering the plants? Must I ask permission to the spirits to drink water? To extinguish a fire? It never ends, so it was inevitable to bend some of the animistic rules to make it playable.
How does the shaman class work?
To become a shaman, characters need to have a kindred spirit, called a Momju. This spirit lives inside of them. Shamans can then perform rituals, called kutts, to connect with other spirits through their Momju and ask for favors. Those favors include asking questions, investigating, taking actions and casting spells to name but a few.
The beauty about this system is that it offers players a lot of creative freedom. If they can clearly state which spirit they want to connect with and rationalise their choice in the context of the game, then the GM can make it happen. This is loosely based on traditional Korean shamans, who would become “possessed” and speak with the knowledge of spirits.
Hold on there! Are you saying that I can call any spirit anywhere, any time I want?
Not quite. There are several conditions that need to be met in order to call upon spirits. First, all the spirits can’t be everywhere all the time. Some of them tend to congregate near shrines. Others live in their natural habitats: forest spirits dwell in the forest, mountain spirits live in the mountains and Puliburi just mess about here and there waiting for shamans to call on them to show off their superior intellect. Next, you will need to convince them to take actions for you. See, spirits have minds of their own and may not agree to help you. So you will have to roll to convince them to help. Also, you only have a certain number of kutt slots per day—once you’ve burnt them all, no more kutts until after a long rest.
What if I can’t convince a spirit to take an action for me?
You’ll basically be wasting your action chanting and dancing with nothing to show for. Yea, shamans who fail their kutts don’t come out looking great. The good news is that the more shamans practice their kutts, the better they get at it.
Alright, so I can cast spells through the spirits and I have “kutt slots.” Isn’t that just a roundabout way to be a spellcaster?
Actually it isn’t. Shamans are specifically not spellcasters. Their ability to communicate with spirits gives them a chance to ask spellcasting spirits to cast spells for them but a lot of spirits can’t actually cast spells. That’s just one of the many actions that can be taken by spirits.
Can I play a spirit?
It is part of my plans to develop spirit character traits for this campaign setting in the future but such a feature is not included in this book.
Have all the mechanics been playtested?
Not yet! There will be a playtesting, revision and editing period during and after the Kickstarter. However, the manuscript is completely written, and there are not really that many mechanics to playtest. It won’t take very long at all before we go to press.