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WotC Dungeons & Dragons Fans Seek Removal of Oriental Adventures From Online Marketplace

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Mercurius

Legend
So I was poking around and looking for the connection between Oriental and Orientalism and did not ever realize they refer to the Middle East just as much as they do Asia. When I hear Oriental, I have never thought of Persia or Turkey, only Japan or China or other east Asian countries. It also appears the terms did not really start having serious negative connotations until Edward Said, a professor and political activist, included it in a negative way in his books, including one titled Orientalism, published in 1978. Reading all that makes me wonder how the original release was called Oriental Adventures in the first place, seeing as it was published only 7 years later. Though with no internet to check on things like that, it is understandable that no one at TSR would have even known.
I think the meeting point of Occident and Orient is traditionally Istanbul, which spans Europe and Asia.
 

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I'm a bit worried that this will lead to censorship, which is never good. Oriental Adventures for 3e is a pretty good book, regardless of that one word in its title. It would be a shame if access to the only source book for running an Asian themed campaign is limited even further than it already is. I get that the word is offensive to many people... but isn't diverse representation in D&D also of value?
 



Aldarc

Legend
So I was poking around and looking for the connection between Oriental and Orientalism and did not ever realize they refer to the Middle East just as much as they do Asia. When I hear Oriental, I have never thought of Persia or Turkey, only Japan or China or other east Asian countries. It also appears the terms did not really start having serious negative connotations until Edward Said, a professor and political activist, included it in a negative way in his books, including one titled Orientalism, published in 1978. Reading all that makes me wonder how the original release was called Oriental Adventures in the first place, seeing as it was published only 7 years later. Though with no internet to check on things like that, it is understandable that no one at TSR would have even known.
It can take awhile for some academic works to disseminate to other academic fields, sometimes decades. So one can imagine how long it takes for some academic works, even those of significant impact and import to reach lay audiences.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
As an Asian, I stand with Margaret Cho: "I think what it is is that white people like to tell Asians how to feel."

From an editorial in the Chicago Tribune by J. Tsuchiyama: "As an Oriental, I am bemused. Apparently Asians are supposed to feel demeaned if someone refers to us as Orientals. But good luck finding a single Asian American who has ever had the word spat at them in anger. Most Asian Americans have had racist epithets hurled at them at one time or another...But Oriental isn't in the canon. And why should it be? Literally, it means of the Orient or of the East, as opposed to of the Occident or of the West. Last I checked, geographic origin is not a slur. If it were, it would be wrong to label people from Mississippi as Southerners."
Well I am European so quite oblivious to the problem... but I also have to say that I have never thought before that "oriental" was a derogatory term.

So I was poking around and looking for the connection between Oriental and Orientalism and did not ever realize they refer to the Middle East just as much as they do Asia. When I hear Oriental, I have never thought of Persia or Turkey, only Japan or China or other east Asian countries.
In many languages, the middle east is effectively called "near-orient" or "middle-orient".

I don't have strong history education, but I think that the terms probably originated in the far past before Europeans, Asians and Africans were collectively aware of the existence of the Americas, or even before it was clear the earth isn't flat and everyone is alway both more East and more West than someone else. While it is undoubtedly euro-centric, it is also a fact that Europeans call themselves "westerners/occidentals", not "centrals".
 


Well I am European so quite oblivious to the problem... but I also have to say that I have never thought before that "oriental" was a derogatory term.



In many languages, the middle east is effectively called "near-orient" or "middle-orient".

I don't have strong history education, but I think that the terms probably originated in the far past before Europeans, Asians and Africans were collectively aware of the existence of the Americas, or even before it was clear the earth isn't flat and everyone is alway both more East and more West than someone else. While it is undoubtedly euro-centric, it is also a fact that Europeans call themselves "westerners/occidentals", not "centrals".
It's nothing to do with flat earth, or an ignorance of the east, or "euro-centrism". Orient, as in "east", used to be at the top of maps (which were centred on Jersualem), hence the word, "orientation". Civilisation wasn't centred on "europe" (a nebulous entity which kept changing identity), but rather on the settled and highly urbanised culture of the mediterranean shores (ie, southern europe, the middle east, and north africa).
 


pming

Adventurer
Hiya!

With WotC's recent statement on making the game more inclusive in regards to racial issues, I should have predicted this would happen next.

Personally, I don't feel that the book should be removed entirely, but something does need to be done to acknowledge the problematic aspects of the title.

What do you think?
Oriental:
"
1.adj. Of or relating to the countries of the Orient or their peoples or cultures; eastern.
2.adj. Of or relating to the Oriental Orthodox Church.
3.adj. Of or designating the biogeographic region that includes South Asia south of the Himalaya Mountains and Southeast Asia from southern China to Borneo.
"

Adventure:
"
1a: an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks a book recounting his many bold adventures
1b: the encountering of risks the spirit of adventure
2: an exciting or remarkable experience an adventure in exotic dining.
"

Hmmm....seems the problem isn't that it's called Oriental Adventures, because that is an apt title. Must be 'something else'.

I think WotC are completely off the rails of late. At this point, I wouldn't buy a WotC product even if I DID want it (which hasn't happened since the Starter Set, PHB/MM/DMG and DM Screen were released). I'm happy with the three hardcover Oriental Adventures 1e books sitting on my shelf next to every other 1e OA module/supplement they ever put out. What can I say? I'm a fan! Our Oriental Adventures campaign that lasted about 2 years was AMAZING! Sooo many good memories and stories...oh, the stories! All that political intrigue, honor, giant monsters, ninja's, skirmishes between daimyo's...man....one of the best campaigns I ever run.

Hopefully WotC just ignores the (I suspect VERY FEW) people complaining about a non-existent 'problem'....but I doubt that. If they want to do something...make a 5e version and call it something else. Trying to ignore/remove history is not only monumentally self-righteous, it's equally futile. You can't just "burn all the problematic books" and expect that to solve all of todays 'problems'. Just ask fascist governments in history how that's worked out for them. ( Book Burning ). By trying to "remove offending titles", or "problematic statues", or "flags/symbols we don't like", or "censoring people for hate speech"...all 'they' are doing is the same stuff mentioned in that link I just posted...except as it relates to online and social media today. Same thing...different medium.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


"
 

I think the meeting point of Occident and Orient is traditionally Istanbul, which spans Europe and Asia.
No, it is Jerusalem. At the time the word was coined Constantinople was the capital of the Roman Empire which spanned from the Balkans to Asia Minor. No one would be arbitrarily dividing the nation between "Orient" and "Occident".
 

Open a dialogue this should.
Presumably. Asian fans have researched quite a bit. By the reading this book. Before making that decision. In that case they should be listened.
A warning should be on there. Regardless.
 

Danzauker

Adventurer
Open a dialogue this should.
Presumably. Asian fans have researched quite a bit. By the reading this book. Before making that decision. In that case they should be listened.
A warning should be on there. Regardless.
The fact that "asian fans have researched quite a bit" is pointless.

First, flat earth supporters do quite a bit of researching in support of their theories, but they get to wrong conclusion nevertheless.

Second, research by an "asian fan" should be just as worthy as a research by anyone else.
 

The fact that "asian fans have researched quite a bit" is pointless.

First, flat earth supporters do quite a bit of researching in support of their theories, but they get to wrong conclusion nevertheless.

Second, research by an "asian fan" should be just as worthy as a research by anyone else.
Lived in cultural experiences is different to "scientific" theories.
Cultural experiences also have historical context. So can be looked at in that way. As well as looked at in current context.

Flat earthers fly in the face of all of that.

If someone is racist. Then deems that material inoffensive but the material is offensive should not have worthy weight. Or weight at all in this. Cultural consultants need to address these. Not just random opinions who did not grow up within the culture.
 

I think what most of us want is more options. It would be great to see a 5e source book for running campaigns that take place in a far east setting, and it shouldn't be too hard to do so in a culturally respectful manner. Personally I hope that if they do release such a book, it is not tied to a specific existing setting. I prefer such a book to be more general, so parts of it can easily be incorporated into our own campaigns.
 

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