D&D (2024) Asians Represent: "Has WotC Fixed the D&D Monk?"


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nevin

Hero
I've watched and participated in these arguments since 1976 in person and online. What I realized a few years ago is that 1d AD&D is the best balanced version to date. Mainly because the classes were made for the limited options in the books. Since Unearthed Arcana launched it's been Whack-a-Mole trying to balance this idea or that idea. The only way to balance is to limit options and create an "Ecosystem" Any add or deletion from said ecosystem starts it all over. The problem there is your balance is my imbalance. So we either accept it's up to the DM to balance it. Or we all argue till we cant type or talk anymore.

I'm good with that, I like arguments and discussions, but I've accepted the pointless nature of the argument.
 

MGibster

Legend
The biggest problem youll have with this culture representing culture argument is for example the monk: each respective Asian society that has monks in thier myth will be just as offended if China were to make a monk and ignore thier version. this whole argument is a sinkhole that turns into a black hole that erases any possible use of the concept. Do we let china or thailand, or Japan or one of the many other countries that have monks use their inspiration . It's a fantasy game it's either fun or delete it. My opinion is ignore the real world while you play in your fantasy world. Why bring all that misery with you.
I am almost 100% certain nobody in Vietnam is going to get hot and bothered if the D&D Monk more resembles a Chinese or Korean version. By and large, people in China, Korea, Japan, etc., etc., aren't really concerned with the same things that might concern Asian Americans in regards to representation.
 

MGibster

Legend
iteresting side bar the whole idea of intellectual property is a 20th century construct. Prior to the 30's if you referenced anyone's research or ideas you were considered a well read person and doing what smart people do.
Intellectual property in the form of patents, trademarks, and copyright go back further than the 20th century. Some of these ideas go back to the 17th century, though of course they didn't refer to them as intellectual property back then. While it wasn't until the 20th century that IP because common throughout the legal framework of most countries, it's older than the 20th century.
 

MGibster

Legend
Great. What are we doing about the paladin, barbarian, bard, druid and warlock while we're at it?
I've come to accept that Bards, Druids, Barbarians, Paladins, etc., etc. in D&D aren't at all representative of what they were in real life. Just another D&Dism like Thac0, savings throws, and the Flumph.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Wait, what? No it's not. Not even remotely close. There is literally nothing about the bard that relates to European animism (or any regional animism). Animism, on a broad level, is the belief that spirits inhibit everything, from rocks to plants to animals to everything else. Even if you look at one of the more popular European animist beliefs, the fylgiur (Norse spirit animals), it's all about the animal spirits helping and guiding humans and the person having an intimate relationship with their animal spirit, where one affects the other.
In the Norse animistic traditions, it is less about having relationships with animals, and more about becoming animals. The many Bard class spells that accomplish shapeshifting can represent this well. The animistic traditions have strong relationships with the personas of natural features, such as mountains, rivers, ocean, thunderclouds, and so on, and here the spells that affect monsters (including Giant, Dragon, Undead, etcetera) are about right. Fey associations might help if more this-worldly. Meanwhile, much of the animism is human-on-human, where spells like Project Image and mind magic work well. Healing is of interest. Psychic Divination is central, and the Bard class excels at this.

The Bard class can benefit to gain the Commune with Nature spell on its list, as a way to represent directly interacting with the personas of mountains and winds, and so on. The Mordenkainens Magnificent Mansion is actually a great way, to step into the inner world of a specific nature being.

Notably, Norse magic often uses speech to focus mental intentions. The warrior magic tends to chant meditatively and the shamanic magic to issue forceful commands. (Part of this tradition of speech is to avoid doing magic accidentally when the mind wanders with stray thoughts.) The Bard class is all about vocalizing magic.

The Norse vǫlva isnt really known for weather magic, per se, or other elemental magic. Albeit the Sámi noaidi is. The vǫlva might communicate with a nature being that is causing good weather or bad weather, and might even charm it or scare it.

Notably, UA allowing the Bard to choose its spell list, allows a player to build almost any animistic concept.


I'd posit the D&D bard is the opposite of animism, because the bard is all about people only. All of the abilities and powers are human centric. I can't think of a single bardic ability in D&D that centers around using mineral, plant, or animal spirits to help the party.
In the Norse view, humanity is one of the nature beings. And there are several kinds of nature beings. Corpses (of ancestors) count as a separate feature of nature.


The mechanics don't force anything. That would be your (general you) personal bias, not the game. If the class is basically, "most hp, all armor and weapons", like the b/x fighter is, that's not culturally specific. The problem you describe isn't one of "one size fits all", it's one of your own assumptions.
Heh, I cant help but notice. In your post, the assumption of what animism is − "animal spirits", "plants", etcetera − is itself an ethnocentrism that doesnt fully apply to some other cultures. The "mineral" somewhat applies in the sense of landscape features. Skyscapes and waterscapes are relevant too.
 
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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
That’s interesting, I always thought you were big into story/lore and setting and campaign worlds.
I am. But people still fight goblins, and wolves, and bears, and other stuff not requiring magic or fantastic anatomy. Verisimilitude matters to me just as setting, and in fact goes hand in hand in my own worlds.
 

Remathilis

Legend
I've come to accept that Bards, Druids, Barbarians, Paladins, etc., etc. in D&D aren't at all representative of what they were in real life. Just another D&Dism like Thac0, savings throws, and the Flumph.
I'd agree, but language is a funny tool and if you use a word like barbarian, it brings connotation from beyond the game with it. If D&D used completely made up words like ragebound or pactsworn, you can easily claim exclusive D&Dism, but barbarian and warlock bring real world tropes of savages and Satanism with them unfortunately.
 


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