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General (Anecdotal) conversations with Asian gamers on some problems they currently face in the D&D world of RPG gaming

Orcslayer78

Explorer
#5. No more white washing. I pointed this out before, but I don't think anyone took notice, and most Americans may not anyways. Many companies create a class called the Ninja, or the Samurai, or another class based upon an Asian notation (such as a nobility, a group, an occupation, or otherwise). However, in many instances it is something that will normally be used by a Non-Asian background or group. It is accepted that they'll have Elf Ninja's or Western style samurai. No cultural notation is made regarding what these classes originally were in a historical and cultural reference. It is taking names out of context and putting them into a game term.

As European let me tell you that is basically the same thing that happens to figures like Knight, Paladin and Druid, which are deeply rooted into the european history.
 

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Orcslayer78

Explorer
EDIT: I forgot to mention, those people listed all have Japanese names. it feels like TSR kinda just half-assed their attempt at getting advice from actual Asian experts and only got consultation on the Japanese portion of the book, and I hope to god none of those are aliases of "experts" on Japanese culture. I'm certain they could have at least done the same for getting advice on Chinese culture. I know they list a bibliography of sources in the book, but... idk older Western books about East Asia also tend to have weird and dated ideas about cultures as well. I also have to think about the more obscure cultures they bring up in this book probably don't have a good foundation, like Vietnam? considering it's history with the west and the fact it was virtually cut off with the rest of the world at the time I can only imagine the books available to them were 1) scant and 2) not great.

Do you realize it was the 80's when the book came out? TSR didn't have the modern ways to immediately contact foreign people for free with internet and english wasn't known abroad like now, creating a language barrier.
Having a lot of Asians from Asia working on it would have been impossible or very expensive (long international phone calls or even making them come in USA and hosting them) for a small company like TSR.

Abd btw, have you seen old anime and jrpg settled in western medieval culture? You have nobles dressed like the Sun King of France from 1600 and victorian maids from 1800, Asians find us europeans exotic too and like to play with our culture reimagining it without the necessity of european sensitivity readers and that for us is not only fine but also funny and entertaining.
 
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Youshang

First Post
I understand and concur with all other points but I can say for #4 that DnD, Ultima and Wizadry were a major inspiration to early JRPG's like Final Fantasy, DQ, Megami Tensei and Phantasy Star. If you take a look at early illustrations for FF's monsters you can clearly see the inspirations they took from the Monster Manual. Wizadry managed to stay popular much longer in Japan, as has the genre of Dungeon Crawlers in general. In turn I don't see much where Japanese RPG's fed back into western RPG's, tabletop or computer alike. Neither style, narrative nor gameplay design have inspired western RPG's in a major way(if you think I'm wrong provide examples). So if you complain about the lacking appreciation for the influence of eastern RPG's I can see the complete disregard for the seminal influence the western products had as well.
 

Thirteenspades

Great Wyrm
Art. 19, Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Of course, this tends to be more aspiration than enforceable.
I'd claim it's safe to say citizens of America benefit from free speech. Because the only reason a government would want to shut people up is for more power or control. Just look at North Korea. I'm not hating on citizens (Facebook, YouTube, and Google would bet to differ) by noting their government is oppressive and tyrannical.
 

Thirteenspades

Great Wyrm
I understand and concur with all other points but I can say for #4 that DnD, Ultima and Wizadry were a major inspiration to early JRPG's like Final Fantasy, DQ, Megami Tensei and Phantasy Star. If you take a look at early illustrations for FF's monsters you can clearly see the inspirations they took from the Monster Manual.
On the same note, the original Final Fantasy was actually censored because one set of monsters were called and looked too much like Beholders.
 

Thirteenspades

Great Wyrm
The American view of rights is very different than the European view. Generally Europeans believe rights are granted by governments, while Americans have viewed rights as granted by God, who superseded government. Therefore, the only legitimate role of government is to protect and ensure its citizens' rights.
Depends on the time period. Today, God-granted rights is just a phrase thrown around. Neither a large portion of the U.S. Nor Europe practice the idea. But in the 16th century, the idea of God-granted rights (and religion in general) was abused by the European government. Just look at the Inquisition. Or don't. It's not for sensitive minds.
they-would-leave-you-hanging-with-the-strappado-photo-u1.jpeg
 



Thirteenspades

Great Wyrm
Anti-inclusive content, misinformation about heath crisis... this post is just a mess.
If even the United Nations gets tripped up, what hope for poor TTRPG publishers:
Alright, let me just get this racism stuff off my mind.
What I find suspicious (because it is) is that before this BLM movement, nobody found racism in Harry Potter. And nobody found racism in Oriental Adventures. At least, not nearly to the extent it is today. BLM has garnered a tsunami of support during this flu (watch it play out in Portland) and all of a sudden Facebook and YouTube are censoring more than ever in the name of free speech, this "racism" is the voice of both black and white people who just want to protect their freedoms.
EDIT: JEEZ!
Fact is, numbers are inflated. This isn't a conspiracy. Fact is, they determine a COVID death based on whether you have COVID, not whether you died from it. Fact is, this lockdown that hasn't ever locked down for five months isn't helping.
Where do you get your information? "Unbiased journalists"? They're the most biased writers in the world. MSNBC? Bill Gates could've sponsored this pandemic.
Also: another fact: COVID-19 is a specific strain of flu.
I DON'T DOUBT THIS PANDEMIC KILLS THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE. I'VE HAD IT. BUT IT'S NOT BECAUSE IT'S SPREAD LIKE HELLFIRE. IT'S BECAUSE NOBODY'S STAYED HOME. AND MASKS & GLOVES AREN'T WORKING. THEY LOOK LIKE THEY DO, BUT EXPLAIN WHY PEOPLE WHO SOCIAL DISTANCE STILL GET COVID?
I had to explain that. If I didn't, people would be arguing with me over facts they've assumed. Which might not actually be facts at all.
Just open the world back up, this is ridiculous.
I know and love black & Asian people, and I'm not being racist by explaining this. God!
 
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Thirteenspades

Great Wyrm

Thirteenspades

Great Wyrm
Asians find us europeans exotic too and like to play with our culture reimagining it without the necessity of european sensitivity readers and that for us is not only fine but also funny and entertaining.
You should see Asians mock white people, it's hilariously accurate XD to be clear it is mocking but not in a mean spirited way
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Alright, let me just get this racism stuff off my mind.
What I find suspicious (because it is) is that before this BLM movement, nobody found racism in Harry Potter. And nobody found racism in Oriental Adventures. At least, not nearly to the extent it is today. BLM has garnered a tsunami of support during this flu (watch it play out in Georgia) and all of a sudden Facebook and YouTube are censoring more than ever in the name of free speech, this "racism" is the voice of both black and white people who just want to protect their freedoms.

Nothing suspicious is occurring.

As has been noted in several other threads- both here on ENWorld and other sites- the complaints are not new. What has changed is that people are actually listening now.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
... during this flu...

Mod Note:

It isn't the flu. It isn't related to the flu. The flu kills somewhere between 8,000 and 20,000 people in the US each year. Covid-19 has already killed over 170,000, and we still have a third of the year to go.

Even setting aside the political elements, this is just plain factually inaccurate. Factually inaccurate information about a health crisis is not acceptable, and you'll have to find some other site to peddle it on.

To make this clear - you are done in this thread. Don't bring such stuff to the site again.
 

Ace

Adventurer
As someone quite accustomed to gaming diversity with all kinds of mixes of religions, sexual preferences, ableness, nearly every ethnic backgrounds imaginable, "isms" were rarely a large issue. They did happen occasionally, people are people but it was always manageable and tolerance was the expected norm. Maybe its a California thing all of us saw ourselves as gamers and "freaks" and just got along. If this has genuinely changed its pretty sad.
Now if folks in Asia want more gaming translations it will require that enough be sold to make it worthwhile or that bilingual locals get a license where needed. It costs too much to translate something that isn't going to a big seller.

As to Asian styled classes . Before worrying about it ask some Asians if it offensive first. I doubt they'll care any more than Westerners care about classes called Knight or Cleric with cool powers. Even the issue over the term Oriental may be a big kerfuffle over nothing, academic nonsense bleeding into general society rather like the term Latinx where only 3% of Latinos prefer it and 3/4 have no idea what the heck you are talking about . Pew Research

Oriental Adventures is not that a good supplement being pocked with rule of cool 80's rules stuff and mediocre setting . Still for its era, it was very progressive and well researched with actual Asian subject mater experts. Its dated to be sure but the past is a foreign country and its best understood on those grounds.

As for more general behavior its really easy

If you game for the public, be an ambassador

If you game in public, be nice

If you game in private , do whatever you and your group like.
 

Hussar

Legend
Anyway, here's one piece of unsolicited advice for any game designers who haven't been scared off and still want to use the "Have you eaten rice already?" greeting as a bit of flavour for an Asian-inspired fantasy culture or country. It's even based on a bit of Singapore history.

During the Second World War, rice was in short supply in Singapore, so most people had to rely on sweet potatoes as a staple. An Asian-inspired fantasy culture or country which went through a similar experience might thus be especially fond of using that greeting as a comforting affirmation that the hard times are over. I make no claim that this actually happened in Singapore, though. ;)

Just rolling back to this again. Sorry.

This does highlight my issue with OA quite nicely though. The greeting of "Have you eaten yet" is specific to Chinese speakers. Anyone else doesn't say this. The Japanese certainly don't.

Which is why I do have a problem with OA- it takes specific elements of single cultures and tries to pretend that everyone in the culture is monolithically the same. OA classes are all drawn from period specific Japan, as is the equipment list (for the most part). The monsters are almost entirely drawn from Japanese mythology. And then they are saying that this is an attempt at a fantasy "East Asia". Had OA simply been a fantasy Japan book, it would likely be fine. But, the fact that it conflates so many cultures, completely ignores so many others, and, frankly, is so blatantly biased by an American view of East Asia in the 80's where the only country that mattered was Japan (remember how we were all going to be speaking Japanese? Street Samurai were going to be everywhere and Japan was going to take over the world economically - that's where this book is coming from).
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Which is why I do have a problem with OA- it takes specific elements of single cultures and tries to pretend that everyone in the culture is monolithically the same.

I like that Cook's intro basically admits to that in the intro and at the beginning of the section on Kara-Tur at the end. For what that's worth. :-/ I wonder what he would have made if he got to pick instead of getting marching orders.
 

Hussar

Legend
I like that Cook's intro basically admits to that in the intro and at the beginning of the section on Kara-Tur at the end. For what that's worth. :-/ I wonder what he would have made if he got to pick instead of getting marching orders.

Oh, hey, fair enough.

One of the dangers here of making a criticism is that it sounds like I'm looking to blame someone. Absolutely not. It's not anyone's "fault" and, well, trying to find fault is a fool's errand anyway. Who cares whose fault it is. It's not like we're looking to punish anyone or anything like that. No one did anything deliberately malicious.

I honestly think that this is one of the reasons that these conversations go so badly off the rails. People want to defend people from being unfairly blamed for things. And that's natural. But, we have to remember that blaming anyone here is not the goal, nor is it even really something anyone cares about. It doesn't matter who wrote this. What matters is that we learn from this and move forward.

To me, that's why a simple disclaimer is quite a reasonable response. We shouldn't be hiding these things. We don't need to bury them and forget. But, a simple recognition that yup, things were kinda different back then and what we thought back then doesn't necessarily reflect what we think now is enough.
 

China and Japan are different, and Ireland and Russian aren't the same, but in D&D you can find together monsters from different folklores and mythologies, Irish, Greek or Nordic cultures.

Japanase cultural influence is stronger in Western civilitation today, but today we can know more about some Korean fiction. Could you mention any Chinese or Korean franchise more famous than Japanese IPs?

In my city or region we say the expresion "don't sell honey with a vinegar face" (or something like this) to warn against bad diplomacy if you have a goal and you need help by others. If China wants to more culturally influencial than Japan or South-Korea has to show a kind face and can forget past offenses, uninentional or not.

Maybe they are right about annoying stereotypes but if they want to sell their titles in Western market then they will to "sallow toads" ( = put ups with an unpleasant situation) and show us their best smiles while they tell us about their last manhuas and donghuas.
 

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