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

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Sadras

Hero
So the 4 years being controlled and crushed by the Germans during WWII did not interrupt that 200 years?

100% the catastrophe was real and devastating, but it is not like the Greeks are not going to celebrate 200 years of independence next year. The dial won't reset, as it won't for the many other nations that were occupied.
 

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Sadras

Hero
@Sadras - What you have in a class is a general archetype that contains the flexibility to accommodate a significant number of more specific archetypes. Stereotypes need not apply. That said there certainly are stereotypes of certain classes and races, and players do love to play against them, and that's great. You can explain everything about the class system in D&D without any need to use the word stereotype though. Those exist, no doubt, but they aren't a product of the class system or rules, but rather a product of generalizations on the part of players based on the experiences of those players, both in games and online in forums like this one, about what kinds of builds happen within a given class.

Ok I think I'm with you up to here - I have spent some time running through several sources for the definitions of archetypes, stereotypes, generalisations...etc. Now this is where it gets tricky for me.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with 2e, but they came out with handbooks for the various classes and races providing more options and details for your character. In the Complete Fighter's Handbook there is a fighter kit known as the Savage (they are described as even more primitive than the Barbarian and Beserker kits)

From my perspective I look at the kit as a roleplaying opportunity, to play someone perhaps that is unfamiliar with technology, apprehensive about the spread of civilisation, I could play a Noble savage who is civil or someone dirty and crude, perhaps more inuitive with nature, equate the art of communicating through writing as magic, take issues with certain laws and customs, marvel at some of the sights, weapons and armour, use bone weapons, untrusting of steel - thinking it devilforged...etc

I do not find that a stereotype. Is that a stereotype to you? If not, can others construe that as a stereotype?

@MoonSong kindly provided links to these books here
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
From my perspective I look at the kit as a roleplaying opportunity, to play someone perhaps that is unfamiliar with technology, apprehensive about the spread of civilisation, I could play a Noble savage who is civil or someone dirty and crude, perhaps more inuitive with nature, equate the art of communicating through writing as magic, take issues with certain laws and customs, marvel at some of the sights, weapons and armour, use bone weapons, untrusting of steel - thinking it devilforged...etc

I do not find that a stereotype. Is that a stereotype to you? If not, can others construe that as a stereotype?
Absolutely. Because all the things you mention are aligned in our heads, like it or not, to only certain peoples in the world (via the tropes, media and stereotypes we as a society have created and been given to us over the centuries.) And guess what? That "Savage" identity? When we think of it, it doesn't evoke White people.

What do we call White people who are more inuitive with nature, takes issues with certain laws or customs, are untrusting of steel, and marvel at the sights (of presumably "cities")? They get called Druids. Not Savages. Funny how that works? ;)

I mean, name the one single "White savage" that you can think of right now. If I had to guess... most likely it was Tarzan. But what do we know about Tarzan? He was born the child of a civilized lord and lady and then found himself abandoned in the jungle. So the one instance of a White "savage" wasn't really a savage, he instead fell into it by circumstance. And if that's the only one we can come up with... then yeah, the identity of the "Savage" is stereotyped to be 'ferocious', 'brutal' and 'cruel' Non-White people.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Absolutely. Because all the things you mention are aligned in our heads, like it or not, to only certain peoples in the world (via the tropes, media and stereotypes we as a society have created and been given to us over the centuries.) And guess what? That "Savage" identity? When we think of it, it doesn't evoke White people.

What do we call White people who are more inuitive with nature, takes issues with certain laws or customs, are untrusting of steel, and marvel at the sights (of presumably "cities")? They get called Druids. Not Savages. Funny how that works? ;)

I mean, name the one single "White savage" that you can think of right now. If I had to guess... most likely it was Tarzan. But what do we know about Tarzan? He was born the child of a civilized lord and lady and then found himself abandoned in the jungle. So the one instance of a White "savage" wasn't really a savage, he instead fell into it by circumstance. And if that's the only one we can come up with... then yeah, the identity of the "Savage" is stereotyped to be 'ferocious', 'brutal' and 'cruel' Non-White people.

No one's claiming that we should make it now but eventually you're going to have to say don't like it don't consume it.

I mean what are you gonna do. Destroy/hide ever thing that's older than 5 years ago?

Diversity means exactly that. It also includes stuff you don't like.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Ok I think I'm with you up to here - I have spent some time running through several sources for the definitions of archetypes, stereotypes, generalisations...etc. Now this is where it gets tricky for me.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with 2e, but they came out with handbooks for the various classes and races providing more options and details for your character. In the Complete Fighter's Handbook there is a fighter kit known as the Savage (they are described as even more primitive than the Barbarian and Beserker kits)

From my perspective I look at the kit as a roleplaying opportunity, to play someone perhaps that is unfamiliar with technology, apprehensive about the spread of civilisation, I could play a Noble savage who is civil or someone dirty and crude, perhaps more inuitive with nature, equate the art of communicating through writing as magic, take issues with certain laws and customs, marvel at some of the sights, weapons and armour, use bone weapons, untrusting of steel - thinking it devilforged...etc

I do not find that a stereotype. Is that a stereotype to you? If not, can others construe that as a stereotype?

@MoonSong kindly provided links to these books here
I am quite familiar with 2E and the kit system. I should perhaps have been more specific above that I was outlining classes in general. You have hit on an example, in the Savage, where there is indeed a stereotype of sorts at work. You can indeed play that character in a bunch of ways, but the kit itself is based in some slightly uncomfortable colonialist imagery of non-European cultures. A lot of that is loaded into the word 'Savage' which is undoubtedly a loaded term with racist overtones. The word 'primitive' also comes pre-loaded with a lot of negative connotations.

In both cases the issue is 'savage' or 'primitive' compared to what? With the answer generally being European culture, often specifically 'white' northern European culture. If you want to represent a culture like that without the racists and colonial overtones, then it should be described in its own terms, rather than in terms that implicitly index a pejorative comparison to some other, ostensibly superior culture.

The Monk class, even the 5e version, also suffers from this same issue. Some of the constituent parts, and the imagery surrounding it, are problematic for some Asian people because of the stereotypes they reference. I agree with that reading, although I do think there's a alternative reading of some of those elements that presents them in a much more positive light. That's not to suggest that no one should find them problematic, only that there is nuance involved that benefits from a closer reading than some people have engaged in.

Also, I'll point out that the phrase 'Noble Savage' is probably one you want to avoid. It's a specific term related to some pretty egregious racial stereotyping.
 

Danzauker

Adventurer
Part of the disconnect is you said Mexican, not Aztec. Now this is precisely what is offensive, just wanting the windowdressing without caring about the context and significance, and how you can contribute to cultural destruction. The plethora of incorrect and imprecise depictions puts a lot of pressure on the preservation of this cultural heritage.

I said Mexican just because if I'm not mistaken all of the Aztec civilization rested on what is nowadays the United States of Mexico, there was no subtext involved, but if it helps clarity I'll try to use just Aztec from now on.

I won't talk about the Inca, because they aren't my concern, they lived literally on the other extreme of the world. They are not relevant except because they tend to get tangled too in the mess.

We are not talking of dead cultures which no longer exist, this concerns real living people today. Real living people who currently struggle to preserve their culture. Yes, this is both someone's ancestral heritage and someone's living current heritage, and neither of them have easy access to the means to put this into popular culture.

The Maya might not be an empire anymore, but the Maya people is still living to this day. With the Aztecs things are a bit more complex, because what is usually depicted as "Aztec" is actually of Pan-nahua origin -Aztecs were but one Nahua tribe, they weren't even the only tribe in charge, there were also the Alcohua and Tecpanec in charge of the empire that dominated most other Nahua tribes and many post-toltec-chichimec tribes and even surviving tribes from prechichimec times- if not an off-shot of the greater Toltec-Chichimec or Toltec-Teotihuacan traditions that went beyond just the Nahua people. A lot of what is depicted as Aztec is not really Aztec to begin with.

The comparison to the Norse and Roman traditions is also not an accurate one. For one, the nature of the change was abrupt and violent, not to mention quite recent in time. The Norse shed their ancient religion over time as they adapted to the new places they established in and their homeland was Christianized. The Roman traditions however didn't exactly die out, their pantheon was abruptly and forcefully abandoned, and this part is similar though. However notice that the Romans are the ancestors of many peoples today, -including the mixed heritage Mexicans of today- and their institutions and Cultural norms still persist to this day. Not to mention their myths got preserved by first hand accounts, while we are lucky to have some texts written from an European perspective and these things were already bastardized by decades of Aztec domination. Somewhere else I mentioned how the Aztec version of the Nahua-Zapotec-Mixtec pantheon -yes, there's no "Aztec pantheon" but rather a shared transethnic one- shows obvious signs of tampering by the Aztecs as a way to justify their domination-.

What happened in the Ancient Anahuac after the Spanish Conquest was very violent and quite recent -it is still an open wound-. It is a foundational trauma, and something we are still struggling with. On one hand, most of us are of mixed heritage and we carry both the pain of the victim and the guilt of the perpetrator, and at the same time we still long for the cultural baggage that was stripped off us. And this isn't something that happened one time five hundred years ago, this is an ongoing process of cultural destruction that hasn't stopped. This happened in my own family just two or three generations ago.

All of this is very interesting, and I think there's a place for a detailed RPG sourcebook heavily rooted in accurate and in depth depiction of Aztec (and/or other cultures), but I think that's not for all. Here we are going into high school or more detail. It's not for all. It's sure overkill for a generic fantasy/action movie, comic or RPG supplement.

It will never happen. Even the old Historical Reference series of books had to digest a lot in order to fit in a decent page count.

And, well, these deities aren't exactly dead gods. Their cult subsists to this day in the syncretic practices of many indigenous communities. Specially in the Maya region. The Mayans managed to preserve more of their culture than other ethnic groups, if I had to guess, because of their better writing system and their relative distance and independence from the center. This is also a bigger problem because the cultures of the Anahuac are part of our heritage, but these cultures are still living and ongoing to this day, and they suffer to preserve it -they face a lot of structural disadvantages that cannot be easily overcome while still resisting assimilation-. We making use of it is already morally ambiguous. Someone from the outside doing it is even worse, and more if it is just windowdressing and quite inaccurate.

Well, neither is Christianity is a dead religion, yet here we are using broad generalization of it's elements in the game. Were protesters right forcing the D&D to remove all angels and demons?

If you don't want to offend, then do your homework. Be thorough, be accurate, and be respectful -and well, avoid using stereotypes-. I will still be personally angry -because I'm a drama queen and more aware about these issues-, but others love when popular culture gets things right, which does not happen very often. If you don't want to put this effort for your own homegame, that's ok, what happens in the privacy of your own table is nobody's business. But, if you want to publish it, at least get a sensitivity reader or two.

honestly I don't find compelled to do any kind of homework. I'm not at school. I keep stating that it's the role of the school to give you a correct education. Not fiction.

I'm surely not going to publish any of my improptu or more detailed settings, of course. I also like when pop culture is correct, but that's not the point. Fiction exists to create new stuff. I really don't think that a writer must go through paperwork and a council scrutiny if he just wants to imagine a country where there are step pyramids, or columned temples or coliseums with gladiatorial fights. Or all the 3 together.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
honestly I don't find compelled to do any kind of homework. I'm not at school. I keep stating that it's the role of the school to give you a correct education. Not fiction.
Balderdash. Neither fiction nor school is 'responsible' for educating you. School is a place where you can get an education, as is fiction for that matter, but the responsibility for that education always lies with you. This discussion is no different. If you want to mine other cultures for ideas your RPG play, then the responsibility is on you to do so in an informed and respectful way. BY saying that school is 'responsible' for educating you, all you are doing is shifting any deficiencies in that education off onto someone else and disclaiming any personal responsibility. Not a great look.
 

Danzauker

Adventurer
Ancient Rome isn't the monopoly of just their Italian descendants, you know. There is a reason there's a "Latin" in Latinoamerica...

The "latin" in Latinoamerica is just a misnomer. A tag, a label that got stuck and keeps being there regardless of the original or intended meaning. It happens all the time. Heck, I am told I'm Caucasian but I can parely point the Caucasus on the map!

Following that reasoning there should also be a Latinoeurope. Quebec could be Latinocanada. IIRC Romanian is the language that shares the most similarities with Latin.

It's just a tag to mean "all areas in the American continent that speak a derivate of Spanish or Portuguese. Maybe Iberoamerican would be a better name, but then here we are.

The connection of Latinoamerican countries with Ancient Rome is at best "omeopathic". The only liaison is through Spain or Portugal, and that mostly through language and religion. Of course, since the cultures of the european invaders mixed with the cultures of the natives (at least the part that wasn't destroyed), the all evolved in something unique.
 

Danzauker

Adventurer
Balderdash. Neither fiction nor school is 'responsible' for educating you. School is a place where you can get an education, as is fiction for that matter, but the responsibility for that education always lies with you. This discussion is no different. If you want to mine other cultures for ideas your RPG play, then the responsibility is on you to do so in an informed and respectful way. BY saying that school is 'responsible' for educating you, all you are doing is shifting any deficiencies in that education off onto someone else and disclaiming any personal responsibility. Not a great look.

The difference is that the role, the mission of school is to educate people. If it can't, it has failed.

The role of fiction is to entertain. You can entertain while educating and educate when you entertain, but that's another story.
 

Danzauker

Adventurer
I am quite familiar with 2E and the kit system. I should perhaps have been more specific above that I was outlining classes in general. You have hit on an example, in the Savage, where there is indeed a stereotype of sorts at work. You can indeed play that character in a bunch of ways, but the kit itself is based in some slightly uncomfortable colonialist imagery of non-European cultures. A lot of that is loaded into the word 'Savage' which is undoubtedly a loaded term with racist overtones. The word 'primitive' also comes pre-loaded with a lot of negative connotations.

In both cases the issue is 'savage' or 'primitive' compared to what? With the answer generally being European culture, often specifically 'white' northern European culture. If you want to represent a culture like that without the racists and colonial overtones, then it should be described in its own terms, rather than in terms that implicitly index a pejorative comparison to some other, ostensibly superior culture.

Also, I'll point out that the phrase 'Noble Savage' is probably one you want to avoid. It's a specific term related to some pretty egregious racial stereotyping.

I wholehearted agree that some other word to indicate a culture with a lower technology than ancient Greece instead of "savage" would be more appropriate.

it fails me to find a better word. All I can think of are inadequate or nowadays considered offensive. Aboriginal, native, primitive... it's not easy.
 
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Danzauker

Adventurer
According to ethnolinguists and classicists, the closest language to Latin is Sardinian.

Yes, since Sardinia is a region of Italy and we usually consider it a dialect of Italian (it's not, but actually many "dialects" of Italy are actually distinct languages) it always slips me. I also remember that much depend on the way you rank the language. If you look at the morphology, the number of loan worlds, the phonetics...
 


Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
The difference is that the role, the mission of school is to educate people. If it can't, it has failed.

The role of fiction is to entertain. You can entertain while educating and educate when you entertain, but that's another story.
Your first statement is undoubtedly true, but school can do nothing without students who wan to learn and take ownership of their own learning. The 'responsibility' lies with the student, regardless of the mission of the school system. You can't teach someone who doesn't want to learn. You can encourage and cajole, you can find materials that target specific student interest, you can provide handholds and access points to the material at a variety of levels, but you can't 'make' someone learn anything.

One role of fiction is to entertain, that not it's only role. Fiction can also provoke, inform, relate, synthesize and all manner of other things.
 


Danzauker

Adventurer
Your first statement is undoubtedly true, but school can do nothing without students who wan to learn and take ownership of their own learning. The 'responsibility' lies with the student, regardless of the mission of the school system. You can't teach someone who doesn't want to learn. You can encourage and cajole, you can find materials that target specific student interest, you can provide handholds and access points to the material at a variety of levels, but you can't 'make' someone learn anything.

Then, as often does, it ultimately and unfortunately fails. True, if one does not want to learn, there's not much you can do. Still if the school does not give you the means to learn, it's even worse.

role of fiction is to entertain, that not it's only role. Fiction can also provoke, inform, relate, synthesize and all manner of other things.

All you listed are forms of entertainment. If I like to be provoked, i'll choose media and authors that do it. As you say, they can do it, not they must. Entertainment does not have a moral or law requirement to teach. School has.
 


It's an order of magnitude less, yes, but two-hundred years ago is still TWO HUNDRED YEARS AGO

Assuming people live at least 50 years, that is the time of the current generations great-grandparents. That is still very recent.


Yes. The Spanish took offense to their contents. They were not compatible with their ideology.

I don't like how casually this is phrased. This was not just a horrific crime against people, but a blight upon the Spanish for committing such atrocities, and tied to the destruction of people and cultures around the world.



@Chaosmancer and @MoonSong I do not believe you'll have anyone against cultural consultants being hired by larger RPG production companies like WotC. Even @The Glen was fortunate enough to have assistance from 1 for his revised Atruaghin Clan Gazetteer.

I'm not entirely convinced, but it has been a rough week, so that might just be cynicism and miscommunication.


BUT two things I need to highlight, which you would already know

1 - Hiring cultural consultants is no guarantee, that something will not offend someone.

Of course not



2 - It is the nature of setting books to cherry pick content from cultures for the RPG fantastical people, to pull flavorful customs, cuisines, peculiarities, superstitions, monsters, mythology and the like. Now if there is a book on Asia, LatinAmerica, Africa, Ancient America - it will not and cannot cover all cultures, all people, all whatever. It will likely be a pastiche that will satisfy a certain page count, enough to slap a title on it. It is not a history text book and not every word is meant to offend.

i.e. the mystical lands of Kara-Tur
IMO, the word mystical is not a word that should be viewed as offensive - it is an evocative word yes, but as gamers we thrive on the use of beautifully evocative words that help bring to life these words in our imagination. It is not meant to slight any nation or culture. There needs to be some understanding on this.

Depending on how you cherry pick is the key. IF you set something in the southern hemisphere as your location, and make it a drug-filled jungle full of naked savages. Well, you cherry-picked, but you took the worst possible approach for your pastiche.

And, sure, no one is going to be perfect and no depiction is going to be perfect. But, when discussions of this nature get met with accusations of book burning and calls to keep politics out of the game... you have to wonder if people really even care enough to try and be better in the future, or if they just want to feel secure in the knowledge that the world is exactly like they think it is.

Yes, Mystical is a great evocative word, but at the same time, the Far East is constantly portrayed as mysterious and magical and strange, and a lot of people are sick of it. Also, here is a very valid question. What makes Kara-Tur more mystical than Silverymoon or Mhiilamniir? Faerun is crawling with wizards and sages. There are at least two entire countries whose governments are entirely wizards.

Why then would we describe Kara-Tur as any more mystical or mysterious than any of those other places? Just because it is the Far East pastiche? That would be a problem, even if no offense is meant, it is falling into a trope that has been around for a long time.


The difference is that the role, the mission of school is to educate people. If it can't, it has failed.

The role of fiction is to entertain. You can entertain while educating and educate when you entertain, but that's another story.

You know, I'm reminded of Moana. Great movie, very entertaining. Do people remember the controversy around Maui? The trickster demigod who was played the by The Rock? A lot of Pacific Islanders were upset with Maui's appearance and attitude, and one of their complaints always stuck out to me.

He was too muscular. Too big.

See, in the original myths Maui is a skinny teenager, that is why he is a trickster and so many of his mythical victories came about by being clever, or relying on the help of his sister. That was part of the power of the stories, was that this guy was not physically imposing.

And my first thought is that wouldn't have been a big change, but then I started remembering other scenes. Scenes of him charging in with his massive fish hook, trying to overpower his enemies. That isn't Maui though, that isn't the type of character he was to a lot of these people.

I don't think changing him to be scrawny would have ruined the story, made it less entertaining. In fact, without the easy route of him being confident and arrogant because he was big and strong, the story might have been more subtle in that aspect with it being because he was sure he was the smartest and most clever guy in the room.

But, we didn't get that. And the movie is still entertaining, but if there hadn't had been a controversy, I would have never known that I needed to look up his real appearance and personality.
 


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