Tar and feathering OA for being racist (which has now been made popular to do by the podcast) would be like labeling and banning the TV show I Love Lucy for being sexist (because she is always answering to Ricky). Yet, if we did so, we would miss the reality that her character is a seminal strong woman in comedy (not just TV comedy).
OA was a seminal work in Asian themed gaming that paved the way for all other such TTRPG supplements that came after it. It was clearly written with a sincere effort to do so. Yes, Bushido was printed before it (and is also deserving of analysis), but at the time (far more so than today with WoTC) nothing had greater reach and influence in the industry than TSR. And the product reviews at the time, as I recall, we incredibly positive. I also don’t recall a single letter to the editor of Dragon (the equivalent of these EN world forums before the internet) labeling the work racist.
And that is how it reads today. IF you understand background of the authors and the limits of the resources available to the authors at the time. And IF you know what the purpose of what of an RPG source book is: it is a gamification and launching point of a topic for both DMs/GMs and players to learn more and invent more. It makes playable mechanics more important than accuracy. Also, it is not an exhaustive historical and mythological treaties of such a vast region and radically different cultures.
The podcast in question ignores these things. Instead it “nitpicks” over word choice and complains about choices made by the authors from the comfortable cheap seats of decades of hindsight. It doesn’t help that none of them experienced the release of this product (not born yet?) so MANY obvious historical facts about the game (Such as comeliness and NWP being created for all types of settings) are unknown to them. All played for a cheap laugh.
It is a tar and feathering rather than a true attempt at promoting inclusivity into the game. I can hear in their updated podcast that they have grown as people since then. Of course the irony of suggesting of one look at the original podcast in the historical context of modern people, new to the game, seeing OA for the first time is not lost in me.
Social media is a hostile place and everything you post should be considered seriously before doing so. I waited a long time before I spoke up about this podcast because I knew I risked backlash. Indeed, already the same person in this thread has made some unkind assumptions about me. This game is very important to me. The history of the game is important to me. Even (gulp) 4th Ed has a place for me.
It’s great that those associated with the podcast are now trying to be constructive and help improve inclusivity into the game. But they still own their words of the past and wield far more influence over how OA is perceived than I do. I just hope they care enough about this game to undo the damage they have done to OA.
Sounds like you value including OA in the game more than including people in this game. :/
We don't need WotC to "undo damage" to OA. OA doesn't require fixing, it doesn't require respect, it doesn't require any thought. People deserve respect. People deserve inclusion. OA doesn't respect people or include them - it shuts people out.
My apologies for any words that were harsher than intended. Still, nobody is threatening you. I certainly am not, or intend this not as much so much as pushback. You can go along and play the game however you want. Just please don't use such toxic metaphors as tar and feathering when it comes to books; it's demeaning to the memory of people who have been tarred and feathered in real life. All I and others are doing is standing up against racism in our beloved hobby.
The only way we have EVER been able to make progress in this hobby is by demanding change and by holding the people in power accountable, with the threat of taking our business elsewhere if we don't get that change. WotC is FINALLY starting to listen to demands for human decency and equal representation and elimination of racist and sexist caricatures and tropes in their games. This only happens because people like Kwan have pushed them into the corner that they have to act.
WotC listens to big data. The vast majority of players want the game to be more respectful and more inclusive. OA has NO place in that. It can't.
And yet, still, WotC are selling you OA in their backcatalog, because they don't want to lose the potential of a sale to someone like you who wants OA in their lives. If anything, WotC should be removing the book from their digital stores. The least we can have is Kwan on a major panel taking the company to task on this front.
The soft pushback you're getting here is marginal compared to the centuries of ridicule and caricature minorities have endured, in which D&D has the very gross history of engaging in. OA is on the wrong side of history, and I applaud Kwan for forcing WotC's hand so far as to even get a seat a the table.