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

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Stormonu

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?
Personally, I would say the 3E version is better. Much broader at the least.

I can't make a recommendation on the adventures, despite owning them. I found the Kara-Tur boxed set and its adventures a bland mirror that tried too much to be "historical" (and failed), so I never actually ended up using them. I'd look for Legends of the Five Rings books/adventures - as Rokugan was featured as the 3E campaign world several of their L5R books and adventures are dual system so you can use them with L5R or D&D 3E. (Personally, I prefer the L5R system & world).
 

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Bohandas

Adventurer
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.
You say "melting a variety of cultures together" like it was a bad thing.

To me that sounds anti-miscegenationist. It sounds segregationist. It sounds like a promotion of racial and ethnic purity as a virtue. It sounds like the kind of thing you'd hear from the nazis, the KKK, or axis-era Japan.
Lets keep that kind of verbal escalation OUT of the rest of this thread, thank you.
 
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Mercurius

Legend
That is the opposite of the problem. The problem is that they created Kara-Tur (and its equivalents outside of the forgotten realms) as a ghetto to segregate all the asian-derived concepts into.
I maybe misundertanding you, but I'm not sure I agree witht that characterization. As far as I understand it, when OA came out in 1985, and Kara-Tur first described (if in brief), there was no default D&D setting. Sure, there was Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Mystara, and the Realms mentioned in Dragon articles, but no singular world that was meant to be the default back-drop for D&D.

After the FR gray box came out in 1987, that gradually changed - but didn't really cement itself until 3E or even later (Greyhawk was technically the default for 3E, but let's be real). The Kara-Tur box set came out in 1988, so only right after the FR gray box, and at the beginning of the "Golden Age of Settings" (c. 1987-1995ish). Meaning, it wasn't as much "segregated" as it was simply the nature of settings during that time: as distinctly themed and relatively autonomous from each other. It was considered part of the Realms, but like "Cathay" in the Medieval era, it was only distantly connected Faerun/Europe by a Silk Road.
 


Mirtek

Adventurer
That is the opposite of the problem. The problem is that they created Kara-Tur (and its equivalents outside of the forgotten realms) as a ghetto to segregate all the asian-derived concepts into.
No, the created it to be lazy and have a bizzaro mirror of RL geography.

That's why they put the fantasy south america West and the fantasy asia east and a fantasy mongolia inbetween and the fantasy arabia south.

Also why the fantasy europe starts with a stronger southern europe mix in the south and ends with a viking'ish part in the north
 


FireLance

Legend
I'm a person of Chinese descent living in Canada. My personal thought on the Oriental Adventures line and on the Kara-Tur setting as it is is a resounding "this ain't it chief". A pet project idea of mine was to one day do a Kara-Tur update to post-Second Sundering that would inject some more overt fantasy elements into the setting, while also retooling it to be less dependent on outdated stereotypes of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Mongolian, and South Asian cultures. But I recently learned that there are individuals who are have actual, professional involvement in the game design industry, Kwan included, who find it too irrevocably broken to reclaim, and it's leaving me wondering if I'm giving the setting too much credit. As well, recent revelations concerning Wizards of the Coast's businesses practices have started turning me off of the D&D property as a whole. D&D may be an industry leader in sales and marketing reach, but when it comes to promoting progressiveness and inclusion, it is trailing quite a bit behind.

For my fellow people of East, Southeast, and South Asian descent, if you don't have a problem with Oriental Adventures, I'd be happy to hear your thoughts. I'm not going to deny your lived experiences that led you to that conclusion, but I hope that a dialogue about cultural artifacts as vehicles of social value transmission, as well as the ways in which the tabletop game industry is grappling with a legacy of systemic racism, D&D especially, would leave both of us walking away wiser.
I'm a person of Chinese descent living in Singapore, and my view is very likely coloured by my being in a relative position of privilege in my country: upper middle class in a majority ethnic Chinese country.

I was probably in my mid-teens when I got my copy of Oriental Adventures. I had already been playing D&D (specifically, 1E/AD&D) for some time and I was also familiar with Unearthed Arcana. So, I saw nothing wrong with the Comeliness attribute or racial ability score penalties and maximums. To me, they were part of D&D as a whole, and not something specifically "exotic" or "oriental".

To me, it was just another sourcebook. I was more interested in investigating the powergaming potential of a kensai/ninja character than whether the korobokuru portrayed the Japanese in an unflattering light. For that matter, I would no more equate the korobokuru with Japanese than I would dwarves with Germans, elves with the French, or halflings with Italians (despite drawing heavily on German, French and Italian cultures and accents to portray dwarves, elves and halflings in my games).

More to the point, it was a sourcebook written by Westerners viewing Eastern cultures through a Western lens. Of course they would get something wrong. Anyway, my teenage self's reaction wasn't to be offended. It was more along the lines of: fancy getting that wrong. You really should have done better research. Heh heh heh.

That said, I would encourage those gamers who feel more strongly about it than I do to actually create material that is more repectful of and more accurately portrays Asian culture. One of the great advantages of this day and age is that you don't need to be a major publishing company to make your creations accessible.

As for me, I'm currently working on a paladin solo campaign and I sincerely hope the Westerners (and the French in particular) don't criticize it for not being respectful of the Twelve Peers of Charlemagne.
 

Bohandas

Adventurer
No, the created it to be lazy and have a bizzaro mirror of RL geography.

That's why they put the fantasy south america West and the fantasy asia east and a fantasy mongolia inbetween and the fantasy arabia south.

Also why the fantasy europe starts with a stronger southern europe mix in the south and ends with a viking'ish part in the north
That's what I meant. They put all the asian-derived stuff in the same place because they lacked the creativity to mix and match things
 

Coroc

Hero
.... than I would dwarves with Germans, ...
I would beg to differ, we are rather goliathish, unless you want to judge the similarity of the drinking culture only, but else the dwarves are the Scottish :p

Italians as halflings, hm ok, I can live with that one and I love Italy. Elves, French hm. Ah no I think the French are more Tabaxi. Elves not really have any RL stereotypes to match with imho.

But seriously, I own some Oriental adventures products too, and back then when I acquired them, my motivation was rather : "cool a samurai and a ninja in D&D, and Katanas and Sindbad" so I think the reactions are overstretched a bit already, plus it is a past product almost no one knows about anymore, what does come next?
Filter all museums to only depict things we consider to be politically correct today?
Burn some painting of an old master because it shows some stereotype?
 

FireLance

Legend
I would beg to differ, we are rather goliathish, unless you want to judge the similarity of the drinking culture only, but else the dwarves are the Scottish :p
Well, my teenage self saw a parallel between dwarven craftsmanship and German manufacturing. ;)
 

Aldarc

Legend
what does come next?
Filter all museums to only depict things we consider to be politically correct today?
The more pertinent conversation museums and public historians are having is about the ownership, possession, and return of cultural artifacts, particularly by colonizers and imperial powers. That said, many museums are often updating how they present cultures through their exhibits such that they accurately reflect current historical understandings.
 



Danzauker

Adventurer
I'm a person of Chinese descent living in Singapore, and my view is very likely coloured by my being in a relative position of privilege in my country: upper middle class in a majority ethnic Chinese country.

I was probably in my mid-teens when I got my copy of Oriental Adventures. I had already been playing D&D (specifically, 1E/AD&D) for some time and I was also familiar with Unearthed Arcana. So, I saw nothing wrong with the Comeliness attribute or racial ability score penalties and maximums. To me, they were part of D&D as a whole, and not something specifically "exotic" or "oriental".

To me, it was just another sourcebook. I was more interested in investigating the powergaming potential of a kensai/ninja character than whether the korobokuru portrayed the Japanese in an unflattering light. For that matter, I would no more equate the korobokuru with Japanese than I would dwarves with Germans, elves with the French, or halflings with Italians (despite drawing heavily on German, French and Italian cultures and accents to portray dwarves, elves and halflings in my games).

More to the point, it was a sourcebook written by Westerners viewing Eastern cultures through a Western lens. Of course they would get something wrong. Anyway, my teenage self's reaction wasn't to be offended. It was more along the lines of: fancy getting that wrong. You really should have done better research. Heh heh heh.

That said, I would encourage those gamers who feel more strongly about it than I do to actually create material that is more repectful of and more accurately portrays Asian culture. One of the great advantages of this day and age is that you don't need to be a major publishing company to make your creations accessible.

As for me, I'm currently working on a paladin solo campaign and I sincerely hope the Westerners (and the French in particular) don't criticize it for not being respectful of the Twelve Peers of Charlemagne.
Interesting read. I generally like reading posts of non american players, like I am, reporting their experiences and comments on the game. I find them often informative because, let's admitted, all of us non americans ave been seen, portrayed and incorporated in the game through a North American lens.

May I ask you what makes you think that Halflings are the counterpart of Italians in 1E? I honestly hanven't read the books in a while, and I don't have them right in front of me now, but I never made that connection, and neither did any of my friends, and I AM italian!

The most I remember is that Halflings are loosely based on Englishmen, more or less like Tolkien's Hobbits.

I'm really interested in reading where that comes from.
 

Aldarc

Legend
it's not a history book or geography book. It's fantasy book that took inspiration from asian continent and made their own version of it.
And in 260 page book, you cannot mix and match a lot
It may not be a history or geography book, but imagine that you were someone from an East Asian country and you saw your nation's cultural mythologies lazily butchered and combined with a tangentially related culture's mythologies? A mythological creature that is good or a folk hero is presented as a villainous monster? Or a monster entry that completely misrepresents what the creature is or what it represents. Or imagine if you saw your mythology as part of the mythology of another nation? Or imagine that there was a book called Occidental Adventures that presented pseudo-Germany as Nazis, pseudo-France being inhabited mostly by bullywugs, ancient Romans worshiping the Norse Pantheon, and the Spanish Reconquista taking place in pseudo-Norway. Sure, some people may enjoy it, but a lot of Europeans may be offended by how the fantasy around their native cultures are presented.
 

Coroc

Hero
The more pertinent conversation museums and public historians are having is about the ownership, possession, and return of cultural artifacts, particularly by colonizers and imperial powers. That said, many museums are often updating how they present cultures through their exhibits such that they accurately reflect current historical understandings.
Oh yes? And deploying cultural heritage of the whole humanity of immeasurable value into a war zone or into the danger to be vandalized by fanatics or disappearing because some warlord dictator sells it to some criminals to buy himself more weapons?
I know what I do prefer, in my interest and in the interest of the generations to come, I rather see them handled safe into public accessible museums which are in, so to say, mostly peaceful countries. Also there these artifacts will can be conserved so that they do not take damage, without stressing the limited funds of a potential owner nation, which would be invested better into wellbeing of their populace.
If at all then as you pointed out, the discussion about - from todays view - questionable or outright wrong methods of acquisition attached to exhibitions, to get awareness that these aren't nice holiday antiquities which grandgrandpa brought home from Africa is more important.
 

Coroc

Hero
It may not be a history or geography book, but imagine that you were someone from an East Asian country and you saw your nation's cultural mythologies lazily butchered and combined with a tangentially related culture's mythologies? A mythological creature that is good or a folk hero is presented as a villainous monster? Or a monster entry that completely misrepresents what the creature is or what it represents. Or imagine if you saw your mythology as part of the mythology of another nation? Or imagine that there was a book called Occidental Adventures that presented pseudo-Germany as Nazis, pseudo-France being inhabited mostly by bullywugs, ancient Romans worshiping the Norse Pantheon, and the Spanish Reconquista taking place in pseudo-Norway. Sure, some people may enjoy it, but a lot of Europeans may be offended by how the fantasy around their native cultures are presented.
Just look into some of the Japanese manga comics, you find all sorts of European myths reflavored and remastered. I never felt upset by it.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Oh yes? And deploying cultural heritage of the whole humanity of immeasurable value into a war zone or into the danger to be vandalized by fanatics or disappearing because some warlord dictator sells it to some criminals to buy himself more weapons?
I know what I do prefer, in my interest and in the interest of the generations to come, I rather see them handled safe into public accessible museums which are in, so to say, mostly peaceful countries. Also there these artifacts will can be conserved so that they do not take damage, without stressing the limited funds of a potential owner nation, which would be invested better into wellbeing of their populace.
If at all then as you pointed out, the discussion about - from todays view - questionable or outright wrong methods of acquisition attached to exhibitions, to get awareness that these aren't nice holiday antiquities which grandgrandpa brought home from Africa is more important.
What is the salient point you trying to say here because this reads mostly like incoherent ranting.

Just look into some of the Japanese manga comics, you find all sorts of European myths reflavored and remastered. I never felt upset by it.
This has been brought up before, but it's not particularly convincing for a variety of factors and reasons. But if you want a gold star sticker for not being offended by depictions of European culture in Japanese manga, then I can send you one a "This doesn't offend me" sticker in the mail.
 

It may not be a history or geography book, but imagine that you were someone from an East Asian country and you saw your nation's cultural mythologies lazily butchered and combined with a tangentially related culture's mythologies? A mythological creature that is good or a folk hero is presented as a villainous monster? Or a monster entry that completely misrepresents what the creature is or what it represents. Or imagine if you saw your mythology as part of the mythology of another nation? Or imagine that there was a book called Occidental Adventures that presented pseudo-Germany as Nazis, pseudo-France being inhabited mostly by bullywugs, ancient Romans worshiping the Norse Pantheon, and the Spanish Reconquista taking place in pseudo-Norway. Sure, some people may enjoy it, but a lot of Europeans may be offended by how the fantasy around their native cultures are presented.
Is OA this level of bad though? I know its a hotchpotch of tropes from movies and mythology, inaccurate and just thrown together into one setting. But so is all of D&D. Its pulpy and trope filled, clearly written from an American point of view, for a western audience... but are its contents really that level of offensive?

Or is it harmless ignorance, similar to how a lot of anime represents stuff from Europe while clearly not doing any research?
 

Danzauker

Adventurer
It may not be a history or geography book, but imagine that you were someone from an East Asian country and you saw your nation's cultural mythologies lazily butchered and combined with a tangentially related culture's mythologies? A mythological creature that is good or a folk hero is presented as a villainous monster? Or a monster entry that completely misrepresents what the creature is or what it represents. Or imagine if you saw your mythology as part of the mythology of another nation? Or imagine that there was a book called Occidental Adventures that presented pseudo-Germany as Nazis, pseudo-France being inhabited mostly by bullywugs, ancient Romans worshiping the Norse Pantheon, and the Spanish Reconquista taking place in pseudo-Norway. Sure, some people may enjoy it, but a lot of Europeans may be offended by how the fantasy around their native cultures are presented.
I really don't think so.

What you describe is not that far from any standard D&D setting. Ever read Mystara?
 

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