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The setting for my current game has a mix of cultures and influences from the Far East, and I am looking for sources for monsters inspired by Chinese/East-Asian cultures, such as China, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines and the such. What bestiary books out there can I draw inspirations from that are high quality and cover a good range of Asian creatures?

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3 Answers 3

For Chinese-themed beasts I think you'd find it hard to top the Qin Bestiary. It's published in English by Cubicle 7 although originally is a French-language game that depicts a fantasy game set in ancient China. The feel of the game is very different from Western fantasy and there's plenty of cultural, historical and mythical information in the other Qin books (all of which are beautifully produced) if that's of any help for your world-building.

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I have run Eastern themed games in the past and had the same question, where do I get cool Eastern monsters from even if they're not for my exact game system? I like running Feng Shui but it's sadly light on (semi-)authentic Asian beasties.

The best pan-Asian sources IMO are Asian Bestiary, Volume I and Asian Bestiary, Volume II for Fantasy Hero. They cover not just China and Japan but the rest of the far East. Volume I covers China, India, Cambodia, Indonesia, Mongolia, Thailand, and Vietnam while Volume II covers Japan, the Philippines, Burma, Korea, Malaysia, and Tibet. The monsters are broken down by source, too, for easy assignment to fantasy analogues. Hero System is reasonably easy to convert back and forth with other systems (there are various d20 conversion routines on the Web).

Purely Asian RPGs tend to be lean on the monsters for some reason. Creatures of Rokugan for the d20 Legend of the Five Rings/Oriental Adventures game is one of the better creature books for the Lot5R and/or Oriental Adventures lines. They have other books with some monsters in the various editions of OA and Lot5R, but not enough that they're go-to for me.

I also like the d20 Jade Dragons and Hungry Ghosts by Green Ronin and the newer Asian monsters for Pathfinder in the Jade Regent Adventure Path (many are collected into Bestiary 3).

For Indian flavor, Green Ronin's d20 Mindshadows setting and the related Monsters of the Mind creature book are good, they are psionic based though FYI.

The Kindred of the East line for Vampire gives some interesting ideas as well, especially for more fully statted out unique creatures.

I own some other Asian RPGs but they generally have a pretty token and/or uninspired list of creatures; these are the best references I've used as far as RPG books go.

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Not sure what system you're aiming for, but Bestiary 3 for Pathfinder has a good amount of eastern themed monster content.

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