Honor & Devotions (New D&D 5th Edition Supplement) Review
Title: Honor & Devotions: Traditions and Legends of the Far East
Authors: David Adams and Outlandish Adventure Productions
Subject: Dungeons & Dragons: 5th Edition
Honor & Devotions: Traditions and Legends of the Far East is a third-party supplement for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Written and designed by David Adams and Outlandish Adventure Productions, this 47 page PDF contains a ton of content for DMs and players alike.
The Forgotten Realms is a massive world that D&D 5E has been using as it’s default setting. Honors & Devotions focuses on one area of that world in particular known as the Far East. The Far East has many similar properties to China and Japan as we are familiar with here in the real world.
This area of the Realms has not been touched on much in an official capacity by the team behind D&D, but this supplement should allow for players and DMs to get some inspiration if they wish to partake in a campaign with these properties.
The supplement consists of six chapters, covering a wide breadth of game mechanics. With new subraces for existing character races already available through official publications, Honors & Devotions also supplies new races entirely including Hengeyokai (a race of shapechangers first introduced in 4th Edition in Dragon Magazine but unseen at this point in 5E), and Pandaren (seemingly a direct copy from the race of the same name in the Warcraft series of media).
This supplement also contains new archetypes centered around the Far East theme. Each class receives an archetype, from Sumo Barbarians to a new archetype for another class published by Outlandish Adventure Productions, the Dracoknight. After perusing the information in this section of the product, my only gripe was that there was no explanation as to what the Dracoknight sublcass was referring to. It relies on someone either doing a quick google search to find out, or already being familiar with OAP’s other products.
What may interest many players and DMs alike is the inclusion of the Yojimbo class.
While many of Kara-Tur’s native adventurers practice skills and spellcasting in a fundamentally similar way to those of Faerun, there exists a class of adventurers in Kara-Tur that engages in an entirely different tradition: the yojimbo. These wandering warriors, famed for their dynamic martial style and their ability to control their inner spiritual balance, have become a cultural touchstone of the region, and the source of much of Kara-Tur’s acclaim.
This is an interesting class that allows for the Far Eastern feel to work it’s way into any campaign. The idea of wanderers lets the Yojimbo show up in any campaign setting. Using central mechanics of battle stances referred to as “Kamae,” a spiritual balance known as “Seishen,” and following a “Bushido Code,” much of the class design and fantasy seems like a three way merger of the Monk, Fighter, and Cleric. Each Bushido Code you choose from has different stances available to your character in addition to the basic stances available to all Yojimbos.
To be clear, features I don’t like about this class may be impacted by not having had time to truly playtest and see how it plays out in given scenarios. That said, my initial impression is that the core mechanics of the class are solid, however the individual Bushido Codes seemingly overlap with some other classes identities and skills, and prevent the Yojimbo from standing out on its own. The best examples of this are the Code of the Ki-rin and the Code of the Oni, lending themselves to make your characters a bit more like paladins or warlocks, respectively.
That said, the class seems balanced overall and damn fun to play. If the only issue with a third-party class is a maybe issue with class identity, I think it’s still a passing score overall.
The book also includes a nice list of feats and items that could easily make their way into any game. The feats seemed balanced and didn’t seem to overlap with anything existing within the official content.
The document overall looks fantastic with wonderful, thematic art throughout, as well as a custom character sheet for the Yojimbo class.
Honestly, this would not probably be heavily used in my home campaign, but only because I don’t tend to delve into the Eastern style campaign settings as I am generally pulling heavily from Western influences. Additionally, I don’t personally tend to use non-official classes since I mostly deal with newer players and I don’t want to overwhelm them with content. Overall, if this is something you think you would use in your campaign, it is well worth the price tag for this kind of in-depth content. Each aspect seems well thought out and draws from other sources and influences. Keep in mind, if you’re super invested in continuity within the Forgotten Realms setting, this is not official content, so some things could be “invalidated,” so to speak. If that is not an issue for you, than you should be pleased with the content in this book.
Honor & Devotions: Traditions and Legends of the Far East is set to release on Friday, May 25th via the Dungeon Master’s Guild for the “early bird” price of $9.95, regular price $14.95.