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

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But is anyone a spokesperson for any group?
They can voice their opinions and they did in a series of long-winded videos, no one stopped them.
I do not have to agree with all or part of their justifications for their offense..
So. Cultural consultants. Involve them. So that discussions can progress. If more than one cultural group involve them. Theros had a Greek cultural consultant. Roma consultant will be with CoS moving forward.
This is not hard.

You said this not something real to be offended about. You are going beyond disagreement. You are saying their opinions do not matter. That their voice does not matter. Literal intolerance is what that is.
 

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MoonSong

Rules-lawyering drama queen but not a munchkin
Why not? i still see no evil in a work of fiction where there's a nation that seems Mexico but has lama riding people throwing bolas and practicing capoeira.

It's fantasy.
Ughh, please don't. I am from the country in question and find this very very offensive and distressing. You have to understand we have been America's punching bag since the 1840s, with many of our worst problems being directly caused by being next to you, and we started taking a lot of insult and mockery with the h1n1 flu, and that got way worse four years ago with certain vitriolic guy who went on to inflict us a terrible economic damage that is still ongoing...

No, just no, please.

Edit: My apologies if you are not American, sorry for assuming. This pushed so many buttons at once and I went visceral at it.
 
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Ughh, please don't. I am from the country in question and find this very very offensive and distressing. You have to understand we have been America's punching bag since the 1840s, with many of our worst problems being directly caused by being next to you, and we started taking a lot of insult and mockery with the h1n1 flu, and that got way worse four years ago with certain vitriolic guy who went on to inflict us a terrible economic damage that is still ongoing...

No, just no, please.
How could you not love someone deciding what is good for you
/rolleyes
 

Aldarc

Legend
One thing to keep in mind is American Italian Restaurants are different than italian american home-made.
I'm quite aware of that.

Are you implying that you know more about my culture than me? Consider me your "Italian cultural consultant".
No. I'm saying that it's disingenuous to claim that fettucine alfredo is not Italian just because its cooking method in the United States diverged from the original Italian recipe because food adapts and changes to its surrounding cultural climes. That's natural.

Not true. In italy, at least, where BECMI was the first translated and successful, rule set (but from what I remember it's not the only country where the breakthtough of D&D passed through BECMI), it's still regarded by a very large number of player as "the" setting. I suspect that most gamers would probably regard Forgotten Realms as "the" setting, while others would regard Greyhawk as "the" setting.

So you start from a false assumption.
I'm unclear about my false assumption here. Mystara has mostly faded to a fringe setting in regards to D&D. The fact that you say that Mystara is big in your cultural context of Italy doesn't really change that. It's big in Italy doesn't really say much about the wider hobby. It only speaks to Italy.

EDIT because i forgot: and even if it " faded into obscurity with the onset of more interesting settings" (which is your opinion anyway), what does it matter? If it were the most famous and prominent setting then would it be exempted from screening? Ravenloft is one of the most famous settings, yet, curse of Strahd will have changes regarding Vistani/Gipsy depictions...
As I believe @Elfcrusher and others have said, if you would like to screen the more obscure settings and advocate for more culturally appropriate changes, then you are welcome to do so.

But where are those "harmful stereotypes"? From what i've read so far the problems seem to be:

1) the title. OK. I don't find it an issue, but nevermind.
2) cherry picking of folklore from different cultures to create a setting. Little historical faithfulness. Is it really an issue? That's the origin of most fantasy worlds in games and literature.
3) reference to Comeliness and other D&D mechanics of old not specific to OA. These are to be discussed elsewhere.

Where are the offensive and harmful parts? Can anyone provide a snippet to a part where, don't know, Japanese are depicted with thick glasses or speaking funny?
@Dire Bare posted a link in the OP. If you follow that link, there are further links to examples that Kwan and others have posted. It's not my place for me to invalidate the harm that others confess and chastise them for professing them, but, rather, to listen sympathetically.

Do you happen to be American? Frankly, what you're saying about Europe is as generic and inaccurate as what I could say about Asia. Do you really think all of Europe is so similar? Do you know that we have multiple langiage, we frewuently warred on each other and we eat different things? Hehk, even now we have countries that drive on opposite sides of the street and use different metrical systems!
I am an American expat who has been living across the border from you in Austria/Österreich for five years. It may surprise you to learn this, but I'm no stranger to the diversity of European cultures, languages, or history.

I understand that English is not your first language, so some of what I wrote may have been lost on you. I'm not sure how what I wrote stands at odds with you are saying, and I'm not even sure how you construed "Europe has some cultural unifiers" to a strawman position that "all of Europe is alike." I don't think that it's controversial to say that Europe is geographically smaller than East Asia. I don't think that it's controversial to say that the population of China alone in the Middle Ages was likely larger than the totality of Europe. I don't think that saying that the Europe in the Middle Ages had some cultural unifiers such as the Roman Catholic Church in any way seeks to diminish its sheer amount of cultural diversity. But it was precisely because of that diversity of languages and cultures that the Roman Catholic Church was such an important institution for understanding the Middle Ages. I have been told by historians countless times that you can't understand Western European history, particularly in the Middle Ages, without understanding the role that the Roman Catholic Church played across the board. I don't think that it's a controversy to say that the Carolingian Empire had an enormous impact on how the whole of Europe developed for the next 1000 years. So you are welcome to tell me how this is inaccurate, but if you do so, try not to put words in my mouth as you are doing here, because it does not reflects well on neither you nor me.
 

I'm back! But only with a lighthearted (but relevant) anecdote about cultural assumptions.

My Italian-American grandparents owned a bar (which they called a "tavern") and then expanded into a pizza restaurant. They did ok, and eventually moved out of their poor, traditionally Italian neighborhood, and bought a somewhat nicer house in a nicer neighborhood. Definitely no more than middle class, though.

One Christmas eve some lights went out, and nobody could figure out what went wrong. (Wasn't just a fuse or breaker.). An electrician came out to fix it. Afterwards my uncle thanked him for coming out on Christmas Eve, and the guy said (this works best if you imagine an accent from the Godfather), "Hey, when your father-in-law asks for help, you do it. Know what I mean?" My uncle didn't, in fact, know what he meant, and looked puzzled. The guy scoffed. "You don't think he got this house flipping pizzas, do you?"

We still laugh about that story. (But a part of me always wonders if the electrician knew something we didn't.)

Now I'm wandering way off-topic, but on the subject of what we didn't know, a couple years before he died (at 96) my aunt went with him to a doctor's appointment. The doc chatted him up, and asked if he served in the war, and when he said yes asked him what unit. Turns out the guy was a WWII history buff, and he stopped and said, "Oh. So you were on Iwo Jima." My aunt laughed, "No! He was on Guam the whole time." But my grandfather nodded and said, "Yeah, I was." And started crying.

That was the first time anybody in the family ever heard about it.

So, anyway, yeah. Those Italians. A bunch of mafia thugs. Amirite?
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I'm unclear about my false assumption here. Mystara has mostly faded to a fringe setting in regards to D&D. The fact that you say that Mystara is big in your cultural context of Italy doesn't really change that. It's big in Italy doesn't really say much about the wider hobby. It only speaks to Italy.

Um .....


@Dire Bare posted a link in the OP. If you follow that link, there are further links to examples that Kwan and others have posted. It's not my place for me to invalidate the harm that others confess and chastise them for professing them, but, rather, to listen sympathetically.

Okay ....

I am an American expat who has been living across the border from you in Austria/Österreich for five years. It may surprise you to learn this, but I'm no stranger to the diversity of European cultures, languages, or history.

Ouch. You may want to look at how this appears.

"Sure, I will listen to an Asian-American without criticism explaining things about Asia, but I will now totally explain to an actual Italian what Europe really means since I'm an American who has lived in Europe for a little while!"

I understand that English is not your first language, so some of what I wrote may have been lost on you.

...this just didn't get better.

I understand that you feel passionate about this, but that was not a good look.
 

Sadras

Hero
So. Cultural consultants. Involve them. So that discussions can progress. If more than one cultural group involve them. Theros had a Greek cultural consultant. Roma consultant will be with CoS moving forward. This is not hard.

What gives you the impression I'm against cultural consultants?
You do know OA had Japanese playtesters, not quite the same - and there were Asian persons involved in the 3.x book. But you know, these cultural consultants won't be full proof, how can they possibly be given everyone has a mic these days.


You said this not something real to be offended about.

I'm saying I do not find the heftness in their justification for their offense and suggested they find something with heftness.

You are going beyond disagreement.

Okay.

You are saying their opinions do not matter.

If one does not find the necessary justification for other's offense then surely it would stand to reason that said other's offense would lose all sense of gravitas.

That their voice does not matter.

Same as above. But please note it would be said opinion on this matter with said justification. Should those justifications change then one's opinion could be re-evaluated.

Literal intolerance is what that is.

Either that or your favourite Wizard of Oz character is the Strawman.
IMO it is the latter, but you can say my voice does not matter. ;)
 

Danzauker

Adventurer
Ughh, please don't. I am from the country in question and find this very very offensive and distressing. You have to understand we have been America's punching bag since the 1840s, with many of our worst problems being directly caused by being next to you, and we started taking a lot of insult and mockery with the h1n1 flu, and that got way worse four years ago with certain vitriolic guy who went on to inflict us a terrible economic damage that is still ongoing...

No, just no, please.

Edit: My apologies if you are not American, sorry for assuming. This pushed so many buttons at once and I went visceral at it.

OK now I'm genuinoulsy curious and want to understand.

Now, my take was absolutely made on the fly, i didn't want to target Mexico specifically, i just tossed the first meso-south American country that came to my mind, but let's follow the example for a minute if you will.

Let's say I'm fascinated by Aztec architecture, so i base my kingdom on ancient Aztec kingdoms, (based on my poor school knowledge of course). I want to introduce some more areas to my settings, so some high mountain zones, hence the lama.

Then, well the bolas. I like bolas. They are a cool and uncommon weapon. That's all.

Lastly, since I intend to use monks as a class in my made up setting, I need a martial arts style, and capoeira fits as nice as any other.

I really had no intention of insulting. I honestly do not see where I'm insulting someone. Truly, there's nothing even remotely plausible in my setting, but absolutely no intention of offending anyone, except maybe because of my poor world building skills.

Would you please spend some of your time to explain me exactly what or where were the parts that bothered you?

Regarding your edit, I'm not American, but i don't think it matters much where an insult comes from, in case there's one.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Ouch. You may want to look at how this appears.

"Sure, I will listen to an Asian-American without criticism explaining things about Asia, but I will now totally explain to an actual Italian what Europe really means since I'm an American who has lived in Europe for a little while!"
I'm not explaining what Europe means. I said that the institution of the Roman Catholic Church was an important cultural unifier in the European Middle Ages and that the Carolingian Empire had an enormous impact on the European landscape that followed it, and then was promptly told a strawman position that I was arguing that all Europe was the same, that I was somehow ignoring differences of languages, cultures, and wars. So maybe your own inability to parse what is actually going on here is the actual bad look, Snarf.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
So maybe your own inability to parse what is actually going on here is the actual bad look, Snarf.

I parsed it just fine, thank you. Given your further explanation to me (including "strawman") I can consider your arguments in the appropriate manner in the future (not at all).
 


CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Looks like I'm late to the thread again. It was posted about 48 hours ago, and I see that there are already 27 pages of commentary...

I didn't read every comment, sorry. But just skimming the first few pages I see that someone already posted an image of burning books, and there have already been multiple insults, warning flags, and moderator comments. So we clearly haven't learned much from the other "racial issues in D&D" threads, and I don't think I missed very much by skipping over them.

But to answer the questions in the OP:
Should WotC remove the 1E "Oriental Adventures" rulebook from the DriveThruRPG.com marketplace? How about the 3E version? Other products that built on Oriental Adventures? What other titles?
Yes, I think they should. Even the title alone is problematic, to say nothing of the cover art, the caste system, and the whole book. It's the quickest, easiest, and least-costly way they can show their solidarity with a large portion of their gaming community. I would do this for all products in the "OA" line, for all game editions.

Another good option, if they didn't want to fully miss out on the revenue from book sales, would be to add a disclaimer page to the PDF, as well as the product description on the website. Something similar to what Loony Toons did, to address these same issues in their older media:

1593622302591.png


This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. There are some pretty problematic titles in the past that need to be addressed; one of the biggest offenders that came to mind is the "Drums on Fire Mountain" module. There are racial elements in "The Isle of Dread" that could have been done better, and could use an update. (And I say this as someone who loves that module...X1 is one of my all-time favorites, warts and all. With a little polish and a solid update, it could be even better.)

What do you think?
I think a lot of non-Asian people are talking out of turn here, giving their input on topics they don't fully understand, and things they can't relate to. Your inability (or unwillingness) to see the problems does not mean there are no problems to see.

If anyone has strong issues (for or against) on this subject, I recommend listening to the "Asian Reads" series of podcasts that explain the issues fully, from the perspective of the community that is most affected by it. All the links are here. Please give them a listen before sharing your "hot take" on racism with the rest of the world.
 


Danzauker

Adventurer
I'm quite aware of that.

No. I'm saying that it's disingenuous to claim that fettucine alfredo is not Italian just because its cooking method in the United States diverged from the original Italian recipe because food adapts and changes to its surrounding cultural climes. That's natural.

Well, you followed my lead till here.

Basically now you're saying that it's right if you took something from my culture, changed ingredients, recipe, almost everything except the name, but in this case it's right. Because you decided to.


I'm unclear about my false assumption here. Mystara has mostly faded to a fringe setting in regards to D&D. The fact that you say that Mystara is big in your cultural context of Italy doesn't really change that. It's big in Italy doesn't really say much about the wider hobby. It only speaks to Italy.

As I believe @Elfcrusher and others have said, if you would like to screen the more obscure settings and advocate for more culturally appropriate changes, then you are welcome to do so.

Yuo keep treating people that disagree with you like they are kids whining because they have had the smallest piece of the cake. I have already told that I do NOT intend to advocate for anything. I read almost every Mystara supplement. I didn't find anything that hurt my fellings even if many things were inaccurate and oversimplified and stereotyped (though I'm curious to read an opinion about the modules based on Native American and Arabic cultures by someone from thet culture).


@Dire Bare posted a link in the OP. If you follow that link, there are further links to examples that Kwan and others have posted. It's not my place for me to invalidate the harm that others confess and chastise them for professing them, but, rather, to listen sympathetically.

I'll read the articles as soon as i have time. It wouldn't hurt you in turn to read the source material if possible and decide with you eyes if the complains are worthwile or not.

I am an American expat who has been living across the border from you in Austria/Österreich for five years. It may surprise you to learn this, but I'm no stranger to the diversity of European cultures, languages, or history.

I understand that English is not your first language, so some of what I wrote may have been lost on you. I'm not sure how what I wrote stands at odds with you are saying, and I'm not even sure how you construed "Europe has some cultural unifiers" to a strawman position that "all of Europe is alike." I don't think that it's controversial to say that Europe is geographically smaller than East Asia. I don't think that it's controversial to say that the population of China alone in the Middle Ages was likely larger than the totality of Europe. I don't think that saying that the Europe in the Middle Ages had some cultural unifiers such as the Roman Catholic Church in any way seeks to diminish its sheer amount of cultural diversity. But it was precisely because of that diversity of languages and cultures that the Roman Catholic Church was such an important institution for understanding the Middle Ages. I have been told by historians countless times that you can't understand Western European history, particularly in the Middle Ages, without understanding the role that the Roman Catholic Church played across the board. I don't think that it's a controversy to say that the Carolingian Empire had an enormous impact on how the whole of Europe developed for the next 1000 years. So you are welcome to tell me how this is inaccurate, but if you do so, try not to put words in my mouth as you are doing here, because it does not reflects well on neither you nor me.

So you're basically saying that 5 years of living in Europe beats a lifetime of being born and raised there. This contradicts a bit the "cultural heritage" things.

You seem also to forget that D&D puts together a lot of grecoroman mythology and culture, plus Norse and Celt, much of what predates and has little to do with the Catholic Church.
 

Sadras

Hero
@CleverNickName just to bring you up to speed, a number of people have listened to some of those videos, summarised the pertinent issues, tore into their justifications for their offense, corrected them where they were misinformed, and some Asian voices disagreed with those offended, and suggested the page disclaimer as the solution.

Recently we have been discussing halfling mafia, Italian cuisine, a possible Aztec setting and how the Strawman from the Wizard of Oz is more popular character than Dorothy.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
The amount of white fragility, people complaining about their toys being "taken away", is absolutely shocking. I thought this group here was better.

Unless you're part of the race or ethnic group being discussed, your opinion really doesn't matter. Pointing out that a group isn't United against something doesn't mean you get to cherry pick those who disagree to say that people have nothing to complain about.

3E OA was one of my favorite books and I used it a lot. I would 100% love an update on running campaigns inspired by the countries and mythologies if Asia. If Wizards did it, it would need to be written by people from that cultural background.
 

Libramarian

Adventurer
I did, why do you ask?
My Google must not be working properly. AFAICT it is, in fact, contested whether East Asians count as people of color.

It's relevant to the question of whether white Americans are actually "punching down" in deracinating and recombining elements of East Asian cultures for fantasy RP material.

I can think of a few reasons why East Asians should not have the protected status of POC:

1) China, Japan and South Korea are rich and powerful countries (2nd, 3rd and 12th largest economies by nominal GDP, respectively). China is projected to overtake the U.S. as the largest economy in the 21st century. A unified Korea (assuming South Korean-style governance) could be expected to become a top 7 economy, possibly top 5.
2) Americans of Asian ethnicity (including South and Southeast Asian) on average outperform white Americans socioeconomically in the U.S..
3) East Asians literally have pale skin. Typical skin tone is within the range of European peoples.

If East Asians are not POC, then standards for cultural appropriation can be relaxed, at least according to the reasoning that the strictness of such standards should be proportional to the disparity in wealth and power of the groups represented.

We don’t really need to debate this: in the USA, if you’re not white, you’re a POC, traditionally speaking. D&D is an American product sold internationally, so American mores are kinda the default. And we REALLY don’t need to introduce The Paper Bag Test into this either.
 
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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
@CleverNickName just to bring you up to speed, a number of people have listened to some of those videos, summarised the pertinent issues, tore into their justifications for their offense, corrected them where they were misinformed, and some Asian voices disagreed with those offended, and suggested the page disclaimer as the solution.

Recently we have been discussing halfling mafia, Italian cuisine, a possible Aztec setting and how the Strawman from the Wizard of Oz is more popular character than Dorothy.
Thanks for the update and the summary. (No surprise about Dorothy; even Toto was more popular than her. Also: halfling mafia?) I'm always disappointed when these topics come up, and the usual suspects start dumping their usual rhetoric. I just didn't have the strength to read through dozens of pages of it today.
 

Sadras

Hero
Unless you're part of the race or ethnic group being discussed, your opinion really doesn't matter.

Well that is very inclusionary.
Wonder if you're going to get the same treatment from @Xenonnonex "Literal intolerance is what that is."

3E OA was one of my favorite books and I used it a lot. I would 100% love an update on running campaigns inspired by the countries and mythologies if Asia. If Wizards did it, it would need to be written by people from that cultural background.

No one is against an update. No one is against consultants. And I'm pretty sure no one is against a disclaimer.

EDIT: Where you may find pushback is if you call for the book to be binned.
 

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