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

jasper

Rotten DM
nevermind. Let WOTC get different region, country, etc authors make many many monsters. Some even Tier 4. Put out on DM's Guild 4 of $1. See what sells the most. Dump the rest.
 
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KentDT

Explorer
So the panel on using Asian cultures in D&D game design included; Daniel Kwan, Steve Huynh, Ammar Ijaz, Pam Punzalan, and Ahmed Aljabry.
hmm . . . So, there were no Japanese cultural representatives there. Seems rather non-inclusive, perhaps even discriminatory to me.
 
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Hussar

Legend
So the panel on using Asian cultures in D&D game design included; Daniel Kwan, Steve Huynh, Ammar Ijaz, Pam Punzalan, and Ahmed Aljabry.
hmm . . . So, there were no Japanese cultural representatives there. Seems rather non-inclusive, perhaps even discriminatory to me.

Yes, because Japanese culture has had such a difficult time finding representation in Western media. :uhoh: It's not like these other cultures have been historically under represented. Totally discriminatory. :face palm:
 

KentDT

Explorer
Yes, because Japanese culture has had such a difficult time finding representation in Western media. :uhoh: It's not like these other cultures have been historically under represented. Totally discriminatory. :face palm:
The same can be said of Middle Eastern culture, which still has two representatives on that panel. Middle Eastern culture also has quite a bit of representation in D&D and fantasy role-playing (seeing as how this is an RPG forum, I don't really care about "Western" media in totality, although I feel that the argument could probably be made for ample representation of Middle Eastern culture there as well). I understand that a lot of that representation in RPGs is seen as problematic (both Japanese and Middle Eastern) but if diversity and inclusiveness is going to be the top priority, then let's try for more, not less.
 

Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Yes, because Japanese culture has had such a difficult time finding representation in Western media. :uhoh: It's not like these other cultures have been historically under represented. Totally discriminatory. :face palm:

Weren't there things OA, for example, trivialized about Japanese history and culture too?

In defending the panel, I'd add that there are a lot of sizable ethnicities in Asia and panels only contain a handful of people (unlike, say, lists of those who contribute to books could).
 
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KentDT

Explorer
Weren't there things OA, for example, trivialized about Japanese history and culture too?

In defending the panel, I might also argue that there are a lot of sizable ethnicities in Asia and panels only contain a handful of people (unlike, say, lists of those who contribute to books).
Both true and good points.
I just kind of get the feeling that one of the things that Daniel Kwan et. al. were angry about was the focus on Japanese culture to the relative exclusion of others. I get the limitation on panel members but I would've liked to have heard the opinions of at least one authentic Japanese voice. Again, I'd like more actual diversity (in ethnicity, culture and especially opinion), not less.
 

Disney's Aladdin TV show is a fabulous example of how a title based in Middle-Orient culture can be produced. This should be a good source of inspiration for al-Qadim.

I agree an Asian-theme setting is possible, but it hasn't to be the return of Kara-Tur but I guess it may be a new plane of Magic: the Gathering more open to new different stories what Kamigawa. But we will not see a "wuxia" D&D without previous playtesting of UA articles. I have said some times in the past Kara-Tur should be the place for the martial adept classes in the same way than psionic in Dark Sun.

If there is a return of Spelljammer we should see some future UA about ships and naval battles. A vehicle with catapults and giant crossbows would need playtesting about the right power balance to fight against giant monsters, for example Moby Dick's cousin.

* I wonder about Dragonlance as the second "guest artist" in Magic: the Gathering after Forgotten Realms. To watch a CGI trailer with the heroes of the lance would be fabulous. What if the secret Raistlin's daughter was a planewalker, with her own adventures in an alternate Krynn?
 

Attempts to resolve these problems of cultural discrimination are going to be messy and imperfect, and which aspects of the problem get addressed in what order is going to be contentious and fraught with contradiction and paradox. Lots of mistakes are going to be made along the way.

What I find disgusting and weak is the argument that because it's going to be so hard, we shouldn't do anything.

Or, worse, that we should do only things that have no possibility of inconveniencing the people who aren't currently on the receiving end of the discrimination.
 

I just kind of get the feeling that one of the things that Daniel Kwan et. al. were angry about was the focus on Japanese culture to the relative exclusion of others. I get the limitation on panel members but I would've liked to have heard the opinions of at least one authentic Japanese voice. Again, I'd like more actual diversity (in ethnicity, culture and especially opinion), not less.
Their regular show has a Japanese guest who's fairly regular. I don't remember how many times she was on the OA stuff, but she's been on their readthrough of L5R (which lead to an amazing side-tangent on horses in fantasy culture building)
 

Hussar

Legend
The same can be said of Middle Eastern culture, which still has two representatives on that panel. Middle Eastern culture also has quite a bit of representation in D&D and fantasy role-playing (seeing as how this is an RPG forum, I don't really care about "Western" media in totality, although I feel that the argument could probably be made for ample representation of Middle Eastern culture there as well). I understand that a lot of that representation in RPGs is seen as problematic (both Japanese and Middle Eastern) but if diversity and inclusiveness is going to be the top priority, then let's try for more, not less.

Pardon my ignorance, but, what Middle Eastern cultural representation do we have in D&D? A couple of monsters in the Monster Manual I suppose - genies, for example. Couple of the magic items - flying carpet, ring of wishes. That's about it.

And, again, remember, this is a panel. Which means that you get what you get. There are any number of reasons they didn't have a Japanese person on the panel - and again, there is a TON of Japanese representation in D&D and always have been - classes, monsters, weapons, art, etc - which don't have anything to do with excluding anyone.
 

Hussar

Legend
Weren't there things OA, for example, trivialized about Japanese history and culture too?

In defending the panel, I'd add that there are a lot of sizable ethnicities in Asia and panels only contain a handful of people (unlike, say, lists of those who contribute to books could).

Wait, what? OA trivialized every other culture in East Asia in favor of promoting the idea that Japanese culture was the only interesting culture out there. Good grief they actually USE Japanese language in the books. What are you talking about?
 

Pardon my ignorance, but, what Middle Eastern cultural representation do we have in D&D? A couple of monsters in the Monster Manual I suppose - genies, for example. Couple of the magic items - flying carpet, ring of wishes. That's about it.

3.5 had the book Sandstorm, which provided content for running a desert themed campaign. It may have included some sort of middle eastern representation, I do not remember.
 


Hussar

Legend
Al Qadim was what, almost 30 years ago? A handful of sourcebooks for 2e?

5e has Japanese named sub-classes.

Seriously? You think there's as much middle eastern cultural representation in 5e D&D as there is Japanese?
 

KentDT

Explorer
Pardon my ignorance, but, what Middle Eastern cultural representation do we have in D&D? A couple of monsters in the Monster Manual I suppose - genies, for example. Couple of the magic items - flying carpet, ring of wishes. That's about it.

And, again, remember, this is a panel. Which means that you get what you get. There are any number of reasons they didn't have a Japanese person on the panel - and again, there is a TON of Japanese representation in D&D and always have been - classes, monsters, weapons, art, etc - which don't have anything to do with excluding anyone.
As Sorcerers Apprentice pointed out above, I was referring to Al Qadim which had much more TSR produced supplementary material than either 1e or 3e of Oriental Adventures (although AEG put out a bunch of stuff for the 3e version in Rokugan, of course).
Anyway, I'm not trying to get into an argument about which culture has more representation (problematic or not) in D&D, but I think "you get what you get" is the main excuse traditionally for the perceived lack of PoC in the industry. I don't think it's a good excuse. Especially from people (meaning the panel organizers, not anyone here at EnWorld) who profess to believe in inclusivity and diversity. Again, I just want more inclusivity and diversity, not less.
But, as Mecheon pointed out above, apparently the people who put on the panel have a regular Japanese guest on their podcast show so perhaps I shouldn't be so snarky about them not including a Japanese voice on this particular panel.
 
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KentDT

Explorer
Al Qadim was what, almost 30 years ago? A handful of sourcebooks for 2e?

5e has Japanese named sub-classes.

Seriously? You think there's as much middle eastern cultural representation in 5e D&D as there is Japanese?
Hussar, first you wrote about Japanese cultural prevalence in Western Media. Then you wrote about a "TON of Japanese representation in D&D and always have been", comparing it to the supposed lack of Middle Eastern themed material. So when Al Qadim is pointed out, you disparage it as being 30 years ago and narrow your focus to 5e D&D. So what? Original OA was 40 or so years ago and as I said before, TSR put out way more Al Qadim material (10 or 11 sourcebooks) then for both 1e and 3e versions of OA. And yes, there's a samurai in 5e, which is expressly pointed out as being based on pop culture, not historical. If you want to limit the discussion to 5e material put out by WoTC then I totally don't get your argument-there's definitely NOT a ton of material representing Japan. And probably never will be because of the current focus on PC, cultural appropriation and all that. I doubt WoTC wants the inevitable headaches.
I think it's a loss. I'd love to see historically, culturally based material for all sorts of cultures, including Middle Eastern and Japanese and many others.
 

Hussar

Legend
Ok, so, Kara-tur, as a line, had how many sourcebooks? There's been two Oriental Adventures, 1 for 3e and one for 1e. Every single edition of D&D has had Japanese cultural representation - through art, classes, sourcebooks, and various other bits and bobs. For Middle Eastern representation, we've had a single setting thirty years ago. Oh, yeah, totally equal. But, all this is somewhat beside the point.

You're the one, @KentDT lamenting the lack of Japanese representation on a single panel, going so far as to declare it discriminatory, as if you had evidence that it was deliberate. So, what is your evidence that WotC deliberately chose to exclude Japanese representation from this particular panel? What has WotC done or said that makes it sound like Japanese cultural voices are being excluded from the conversation?

I mean, did they have someone from Cambodia on the panel? I guess we're excluding Cambodian culture now too. Laotian as well. Totally discriminatory. The panel apparently should have had a few dozen speakers, in order to make sure that everyone was covered. :uhoh: Gimme a break. Japanese culture has never been excluded from D&D. Ever. Every single edition of D&D has drawn SPECIFICALLY from Japanese culture. Yet, we have two speakers covering a Middle Eastern perspective, oh noes, we're excluding Japan.
 
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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Weren't there things OA, for example, trivialized about Japanese history and culture too?

Wait, what? OA trivialized every other culture in East Asia in favor of promoting the idea that Japanese culture was the only interesting culture out there. Good grief they actually USE Japanese language in the books. What are you talking about?

I certainly get that it was very problematic bad about the entire rest of Asia.

I think I was remembering the rice...

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.

... and forgot that you had said...

Do you see the issue now? Like I said, if this was a book about playing in Mythic Japan, then all my issues vanish. I would shut up and go away if that were true. Unfortunately, it's not true.

I guess I'm kind of surprised that it's reliance on movie and pop-culture tropes and things like the way it did the honor system, wouldn't be viewed as problematic, even if restricted to just D&Dized Japan. But ok.
 

Hussar

Legend
@Cadence - is anyone, to your knowledge, complaining about these things? Has anyone brought it up as an issue? To my knowledge, it hasn't been. So, why are you fishing for additional issues? Why not stick to the ACTUAL issues that people have brought up?

See, again, this is why these things are so hard to discuss. People want to bring in all these "whatabouts" without having any actual basis for bringing them up. It's so frustrating having to wade through all this noise to stick to actual issues. No, not having a Japanese contributor on a single panel is most certainly NOT discriminatory. No, D&D has not trivialized Japanese culture (or hasn't done so to such a degree that it becomes insulting). How do I know? Because no one is complaining about it.

Why is everyone so intent on inventing problems? Why not stick to the ACTUAL REAL problems that people have presented you with?
 

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