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

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I love the honor system after some hacking, but I don't use it for anything even remotely 'Eastern'. I mostly use it to help represent cultures like Victorian England where public adherence to a strict behavioral code was of primary importance to a certain segment of society. Sometimes it's useful to have a stat to represent the "do you know who I am" kind of thing. It's not useful in a lot of D&D campaigns and settings, for sure, but when its useful its really useful. The way I use it it's probably better described as reputation than honor though.

@Libramarian - 20 seconds on Google isn't a big ask is it?
Yeah, and there is nothing wrong with that, it makes perfect sense. But the system is always presented as being for this "strange new land" and it is just icky.
 


Bohandas

Adventurer
The term, as used in English-language discourse, has a lot to do with British colonialism and attitudes derived from it’s worldview. So I’m not really surprised if it doesn’t have nearly as much meaning to someone with a different background and with a different native language.
How on earth is british colonialism still considered relevant to anything!? The sun set on their empire ages ago!
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Yeah, and there is nothing wrong with that, it makes perfect sense. But the system is always presented as being for this "strange new land" and it is just icky.
I might use a similar system if I wanted to get a mechanic for the idea of 'Face', theoretically speaking, but I probably wouldn't, because icky. Strong behavioral motivations stemming from public-facing honor and shame are not by any means unique to Asian cultures, so it's unfortunate it's been cast like that.
 

Bohandas

Adventurer
The real problem with Oriental Adventures is the vaguely segregationist attitude that underlies the whole thing. There's no reason why it shoukd be necessary to invent fantasy asia just because you want to add martial arts, ninjas, and katanas to your setting and there's certainly no reason why they all need to be packaged together and come from the same place in-world. That's just lazy unimaginative world building.
 

Stormonu

Legend
This year, make it go away please.

OA 1E was my introduction to Far East culture beyond some subtitled Godzilla and Hong Kong(?) martial art films (mostly Bruce Lee). It was the stepping stone that led to me attempting to learn more about the Far East, and eventually trying to learn Japanese to watch many of my favorite movies in their native languages.

WoTC may stop acknowledging the existance of this book if they choose, but they can't make me give up my copy - physical or electronic.
 

Good lord! Are we really down to that? Book burning, denial of the past and rewritting of history? This was seen at the beginning of the last century and we know who did these.

This year, make it go away please.

OA 1E was my introduction to Far East culture beyond some subtitled Godzilla and Hong Kong(?) martial art films (mostly Bruce Lee). It was the stepping stone that led to me attempting to learn more about the Far East, and eventually trying to learn Japanese to watch many of my favorite movies in their native languages.

WoTC may stop acknowledging the existance of this book if they choose, but they can't make me give up my copy - physical or electronic.
I can only agree with this. This is my exact sentiment. But don't forget Ultraman...
 

Mirtek

Adventurer
The real problem with Oriental Adventures is the vaguely segregationist attitude that underlies the whole thing. There's no reason why it shoukd be necessary to invent fantasy asia just because you want to add martial arts, ninjas, and katanas to your setting and there's certainly no reason why they all need to be packaged together and come from the same place in-world. That's just lazy unimaginative world building.
Because then you'll find another subset of people complaining about whitewashing
 


JEB

Explorer
Seems to me that including a disclaimer (or better yet, a breakdown of where OA went wrong) and donating any profits to an Asian-American charity, as has been suggested, would do much more to offset any harms the book did than simply removing it and pretending it never existed.

Seems like it'd also be a good idea for any other legacy D&D product seen as problematic and harmful.
 

Horwath

Hero
Seems to me that including a disclaimer (or better yet, a breakdown of where OA went wrong) and donating any profits to an Asian-American charity, as has been suggested, would do much more to offset any harms the book did than simply removing it and pretending it never existed.

Seems like it'd also be a good idea for any other legacy D&D product seen as problematic and harmful.
May I be offended by "insert random thing" and get money for nothing out of it?


It seems that every D&D book should come with a disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction, and while some elements may mirror some aspects of real world for inspirational value, this book is nothing like real world and should not be treated as such in any way.
 

How on earth is british colonialism still considered relevant to anything!? The sun set on their empire ages ago!
Random trivia fact: The sun has actually still not set on the British Empire. Their holdings still include enough places around the globe that it hasn't happened. If they lost the Pitcairn Islands they would have a sunset for the first time in over two-centuries. For an hour. There isn't even a solar eclipse that will happen at the right time to have a "sun set" for millennia.


As for "how is this still relevant" a century of trying to own the world doesn't get erased very easily.


This year, make it go away please.

OA 1E was my introduction to Far East culture beyond some subtitled Godzilla and Hong Kong(?) martial art films (mostly Bruce Lee). It was the stepping stone that led to me attempting to learn more about the Far East, and eventually trying to learn Japanese to watch many of my favorite movies in their native languages.

WoTC may stop acknowledging the existance of this book if they choose, but they can't make me give up my copy - physical or electronic.
Nobody is asking the to stop acknowledging its existence, no one is trying to take your copy. Literally, they want them to acknowledge that they are still making money off of a product built with stereotypes and racial profiling, as well as melting a variety of cultures together.

Yes, there is one guy who is asking the product not be sold. But he isn't on these forums, and no one here agrees with him. Literally. Not a single poster has said "they should stop selling it immediately", everyone has simply agreed that it is problematic, and we should probably put a disclaimer on it to acknowledge it wasn't the greatest depiction of the Far East ever penned.

And, I'm glad it was you introduction to a new culture. But, isn't it okay to acknowledge that it wasn't exactly racially or ethnically or culturally sensitive? I mean, does it really hurt us to acknowledge that things we did decades ago weren't the best things we could have possibly done?
 

Mercurius

Legend
Seems to me that including a disclaimer (or better yet, a breakdown of where OA went wrong) and donating any profits to an Asian-American charity, as has been suggested, would do much more to offset any harms the book did than simply removing it and pretending it never existed.

Seems like it'd also be a good idea for any other legacy D&D product seen as problematic and harmful.
Therein lies the problem. Who sees a given product as "problematic and harmful," and why? I'm fairly certain that we could comb through the thousand-something books published by TSR and WotC, and find something "problematic and harmful" to someone. Do we just go down the line, one by one?

Someone upthread made the simplest and best suggestion, which is to include the Disney disclaimer, and I'd only do that on the product description on D&D Beyond - maybe even only a link for "Older Editions." Here's the Disney one:

“The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time.They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the Warner Bros. view of today’s society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”
I'd even tone it down further and, there, done. Now people can continue to buy books from older eras and cultural contexts - like Mark Twain and HP Lovecraft and JRR Tolkien and TH White. Let the historical record stand.
 

So which Oriental Adventures should I buy? 1E or 3E? They are both on sale and with this ... going on it seems like it might be a good time to buy.

What about the OA1, 2 & 3 adventures. Were those any good or did they have interesting material?
 

Mercurius

Legend
So which Oriental Adventures should I buy? 1E or 3E? They are both on sale and with this ... going on it seems like it might be a good time to buy.

What about the OA1, 2 & 3 adventures. Were those any good or did they have interesting material?
Both? The 1E one is the classic, but the 3E is pretty good--much better production value, and just a more complete book iirc--and easier to convert to 5E. Also a split between Kara-tur and Rokugan.
 



Literally, they want them to acknowledge that they are still making money off of a product built with stereotypes and racial profiling, as well as melting a variety of cultures together.
I'm no expert, but that sounds like every book I ever read. Is there any book that doesn't use stereotypes, racial profiling and melting a variety of anything as means to tell a story that will be understood by it's audience?
 


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