D&D General Al-Qadim, Campaign Guide: Zakhara, and Cultural Sensitivity

It would have required coming up with another reason for her to leave India, but certainly professional writers would be capable of that?
Then you and I aren't arguing. Because you aren't saying we MUST include sati if we talk about India. You recognize that it is possible for an adaptation or interpretation to be better, not by being "objectively" accurate (whatever that means), but by applying careful and judicious thought to which elements are kept, and which are not, thought that does not trivialize all concerns to "did this factually occur in the past?"
 

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MGibster

Legend
Which is (yet another) why your "stick to objective history" standard is useless. Who gets to define what is "objective history" and what is a twisted narrative promulgated by people with an agenda? Who gets to define the terms? History is always incomplete and pretty much always biased even when we do our absolute best. What happens when we literally cannot, even in principle, give an unbiased, "objective" account, because the information simply doesn't exist?
In graduate school, I wrote a fantastic paper about the lynching of John Carter in Little Rock in 1927. I was very, very proud of this paper, and quite impressed with myself because I finished it in its entirety three weeks before it was due. It was an important paper, so I went over it with a fine toothed comb once more and I suddenly noticed a gaping hole in the paper: I didn't have anything in there from the perspective of African Americans. This certainly wasn't a deliberate act on my part, and I think I missed it because finding primary source materials from a black perspective was a little more work than finding other perspectives. It was hard finding copies of black newspapers published in Arkansas in 1927 so I had to search out-of-state for ones that mentioned the lynching, I found oral interviews with black Arkansans born after the lynching who knew about it and I was able to show the lasting effect it had on the community, and I was able to examine other historians' contention that there was a black exodus following the lynching. i.e. It was a better peper when I included a black perspective.

I bring this up, because you're right. What is objective history? You can write something with the best of intentions, but a historian is only as good as their sources are and sometimes they're unaware of their own blind spots. My paper about John Carter was great. Was it objective? Like all history, it was an interpretation of the past based on the available evidence. Not an objective account.
 

How are you?
I'm not. That's the point.

You're the one saying that there is one, and only one, valid standard: "objective" history and "objective" culture, "accuracy" trumping absolutely all other considerations, without ANY further need for thought or effort on the creator's part. If it's accurate, it's the right thing to do; if it's not accurate, it's the wrong thing to do. The one and only question you think people need to ask is, "Is this something that would have happened in the time and place in question?"

I have repeatedly said things like "accuracy is a tool," emphasizing that it is one tool among many. I have repeatedly said that these questions are difficult and that they simply do not have universal answers. I have explicitly, and at great (probably tedious!) length, specified that there IS no simple standard, no bar you can clear and then be absolutely justified under all possible circumstances. I have given real, practical examples about how this sort of thing can be extremely complicated and that absolutes and universals, if they exist at all, are liable to be weak at best. I have specified, more than once, that it is a matter of judicious thought, of carefully weighing various concerns, and then making a choice. To steal and repurpose the phrasing used by the Bureaucratic Deva from OotS: "You must do what you think is best, to the limit of your abilities—including your ability to judge what is best." You will, almost certainly, make mistakes. Making a good-faith effort to prevent them, and a good-faith effort to address them when you end up making mistakes anyway, is what matters. Not a lack of fault, but real work to avoid fault, and real work to fix your faults when they show up. Because, eventually, they will; nobody's perfect.

When everyone removes it its effectively hidden.
Am I everyone?
 

Also, if it's your game only, depending on the depth of your roleplay, you don't have to be entirely internally consistent. I doubt there's enough land to support Waterdeep's population, for instance.

Several people here have pointed out the impossibility of both male and female harems existing in the same society, but if you have one player of each sex who wants to acquire one of the opposite...well, if everyone else is OK with it, go ahead. Maybe it's one of those ways rich people get to break the rules. Hollywood actors of both sexes frequently have a string of lovers, for instance.
 

Ixal

Adventurer
I'm not. That's the point.

You're the one saying that there is one, and only one, valid standard: "objective" history and "objective" culture, "accuracy" trumping absolutely all other considerations, without ANY further need for thought or effort on the creator's part. If it's accurate, it's the right thing to do; if it's not accurate, it's the wrong thing to do. The one and only question you think people need to ask is, "Is this something that would have happened in the time and place in question?"

I have repeatedly said things like "accuracy is a tool," emphasizing that it is one tool among many. I have repeatedly said that these questions are difficult and that they simply do not have universal answers. I have explicitly, and at great (probably tedious!) length, specified that there IS no simple standard, no bar you can clear and then be absolutely justified under all possible circumstances. I have given real, practical examples about how this sort of thing can be extremely complicated and that absolutes and universals, if they exist at all, are liable to be weak at best. I have specified, more than once, that it is a matter of judicious thought, of carefully weighing various concerns, and then making a choice. To steal and repurpose the phrasing used by the Bureaucratic Deva from OotS: "You must do what you think is best, to the limit of your abilities—including your ability to judge what is best." You will, almost certainly, make mistakes. Making a good-faith effort to prevent them, and a good-faith effort to address them when you end up making mistakes anyway, is what matters. Not a lack of fault, but real work to avoid fault, and real work to fix your faults when they show up. Because, eventually, they will; nobody's perfect.


Am I everyone?
When you talk about historic cultures or use them for your work accuracy is not a tool, its a basic building block. It is not something you throw away because of your personal preferences. By that you are falsifying the cultures you say you want to respect.
Interestingly the criticised handling of the Confederacy in Deadlands would be exactly in line with your demands here. The removal of unsavoury cultural aspects to conform to your personal tastes.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Except that in the book this is the event that causes Aouda to become Phileas Fogg's travelling companion and eventual love interest, so none of that happens. The show was in certain ways updated to be more progressive, but in doing so they also removed an Indian woman who was a main character in the original... 🤷

Yes, but you now, the narrative of the white guy coming in, saving the princess, and her being so grateful she marries him isn't a particularly progressive one. I can see leaving that out.
 

Ixal

Adventurer
Yes, but you now, the narrative of the white guy coming in, saving the princess, and her being so grateful she marries him isn't a particularly progressive one. I can see leaving that out.
Instead, going by the synopsis, the, white guy comes in and and saves the groom instead (As Aouda is not a widow but about to marry in the new version).
 

Ondath

Adventurer
If you want a dog as a ranger companion or a wizard's familiar, you can do it in your al-Qadim even when in the Muslim culture the dogs as pets aren't wellcome
Woah woah woah that's not correct. There is a very specific practice tradition (shafi'i school) that deems dogs to be unclean, but that's far from universal in Islam. In Turkey, only a minority of the population is shafi'i, and the rest have no qualms with dogs. In fact, stray dogs are shown plenty of love usually. Though there's been a sinister grassroots campaign against stray animals that demonises them recently, but that's not motivated by religion and they actually cite Western countries having "taken care of" their stray animals in the past for their penchant for animal cruelty. I can't speak for other Muslim-majority countries, but dogs being unwelcome is definitely not something codified in the religion.
 

BTW, I was reading up on anime, and I imagine this must be how some of the adaptations feel to people from those cultures:

 

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