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

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Danzauker

Adventurer
I learn today that "oriental" might be taken as an offensive term.

And regarding stereotypes, seriously, I've been reading manga and watching anime for most decades and I can only cite a couple of works where Europe and the West in general, including my country and culture, has not been represented if not in vastly approximate stereotypes, but I understand that they are works of fiction, not meant to represent real life or educate people, but only entertain,, so why should I be bothered?
 

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Orcslayer78

Explorer
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?
It's exactly what I predicted in the post about D&D and diversity, once you bend the knee to extremists they smell weakness and they keep coming to ask for more changes and censorships. Extremists are never satisfied, they want only the complete desctruction of an hobby finding every small invented reason to be outraged.
 

In Australia we dont generally refer to the inhabitants of India and its immediate neighbours (Pakistan, Bangladesh etc) as being Asian. That term is generally used to refer to East Asian and SE Asian peoples (everyone east and south of Myanmar).

When I moved to the UK that changed, with people from India being referred to (and self referring as) Asian in the UK context.

I dont know if people of Indian or Pakistani background in the US refer to themselves as Asian, so maybe its just Australians that are doing it wrong. Beats me.

I personally just roll with whatever a people want to be called. If members of an ethnic group asked to be called a certain thing, I'll run with it. If they find something offensive, I wont call them that.

It does get a bit difficult with context though. Some things that are racial slurs somewhere, are not elsewhere, and acceptable names in one place, are not somewhere else.
Indian friends of mine refer to themselves as Asian. But generally as Indians.
Caucasian friends of mine say Indians cannot be Asians because they do not look Asian.
That is a problem.
 

Then going on a rant how this is the end of free expression. And that doing this is censorship.
If this leads to publishers restricting access to these books, or editing them, then it is censorship. I think that is a legitimate concern.

I must admit, I am more than a little bit bothered by the notion that some people express that these books are of no value, because they contain offensive tropes and language. And I am worried that some of the criticism comes from people with no knowledge of D&D.
 
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Sadras

Hero
If some Asian fans are reacting negatively to this.
Bolded word included by myself.


But like another poster wrote some time ago about this very same issue:

@Skepticultist said:
]If you're just fine with plundering Irish, Scandinavian, Greek, and other European cultures history and myth for fodder for your role-playing games, then why should Asian cultures and history be treated any differently? This right here is why this entire line of argument just pisses me right off. It's handwringing nonsense motivated by white guilt.

I'm not Scandinavian, therefore I should not use Vikings in my game, right? No? Well, then, why is orientalism an issue, but scandinavianism isn't an issue? It's dumb.
 

Voadam

Adventurer
I watched the first episode a while ago because someone said the series was a good explanation of why OA 1e is problematic. I did not find it so.

The two hours are on the beginning of the book, the intro, the ability scores, and the races. It has been a while so these are my memories of it. The two guys started with 3e and did not play 1e. They go on and on for almost half the time talking about Comeliness. They mistakenly say that 1e Comeliness as a stat is introduced here (it was introduced in Unearthed Arcana) and how this was motivated by asian stereotypes of ugly asian men and dragon ladies, how asian sexuality is portrayed as overwhelming everything else and determining how your character acts and this is Gygax targeting asians as the people without agency driven by sexual attractiveness in a way that does not apply to non-Asians. Comeliness is a terrible, generally misogynistic agency removing mechanic, but it was not targeted or inspired by Asia, it was just a terrible non-ethnic beauty mechanic.

There is also some criticism of wisdom being described as enlightened and samurai requiring a minimum score. Also about racial maximum and minimums and how it is based on rolls and restricts character concepts.

They talk about races focusing mostly on the barbaric low charsima dwarven Korobokuru are Mongolians and play into drunken stereotypes and how they are restricted to being ugly barbarians who people by the rules hate because of their low comeliness. I am not familiar with stereotypes of Mongolians or the mythological basis of Korobokuru, in the 80s I saw them as barbaric dwarves as presented in OA.

The majority of the specific criticisms seem based on mistaken understandings and general 1e AD&D non-asian specific mechanics, the bits on Korobokuru as Mongolians seemed the most relevant to a criticism of a stereotype possibly targeted at an Asian ethnic group.

It is mostly a preaching to the choir sort of vibe, assuming that just showing things you will be offended without a lot of explaining why things would be offensive.

I had gone in thinking it would explain why people would be offended by OA and it was not really that. I was not inspired to spend any more time on the rest of the series.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
There's a lot of discussion here about the appropriateness (or lack thereof) of the term "Oriental" with regards to the book in question, which seems rather strange, because from what I can tell the use of the term doesn't seem to be the problem for the individual that wrote the tweets that formed the basis for the OP's article. What he actually says is:

WotC's statements about equity in #DnD rings hollow for me for so many reasons. For one, they are still profiting off of Oriental Adventures and other harmful supplements. When you buy this, you show them that you are ok with Asian people being represented by blatant stereotypes.

You show consumers that these legacy products are to be consumed. They aren't. What if someone looks to the optional "Honour" rules found in the 5e DMG or inquires about the "cultures" of Kara-Tur mentioned in the PHB?

Kara-Tur is still being sold and this is a PROBLEM.

If you disagree, you have clearly never had a piece of pop culture harm you. Books like this take my culture, oversimplify the nuances that make it beautiful, mash it together with other cultural reductions, and present it as THE WAY others should view our stories.

I refuse to pay money for these dated, and frankly racist, products. What I WILL do is pay for the amazing products put out by BIPOC creators, hire members of my community, uplift others with my platform, and call out negativity when I see it.

And if you STILL think there is a valid reason for WotC to keep the Oriental Adventures #dungeonsanddragons content on
@DriveThruRPG (or any for-profit platform), here's a 26 HOUR answer from @aznsrepresent: Asians Read: AD&D Oriental Adventures
 

Orcslayer78

Explorer
If Asian fans are reacting negatively to this. Perhaps open a dialogue with them. Instead of doubling down and saying this is not offensive. Then going on a rant how this is the end of free expression. And that doing this is censorship.
Times change. The world changes. Things change for the better. Things change because we know better. Do not persuade me otherwise.
Times, changes, not for the better for me, but you do you and I do I, but HERE we're talking about a product of 20 years ago, which reflects those times, new products have to reflects the new times but one can't expect that from old products, nor ask for their censorship.

DON'T LIKE IT? DON'T BUY IT!
 
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Warnings are needed. And should be placed. From the off.

However if the material is bothersome then that needs to be worked on.
Just because something back in the day was published does not mean it should retain material that causes issues.
Would you say vistani should not be changed because it is censorship.
 





I watched the first episode a while ago because someone said the series was a good explanation of why OA 1e is problematic. I did not find it so.

The two hours are on the beginning of the book, the intro, the ability scores, and the races. It has been a while so these are my memories of it. The two guys started with 3e and did not play 1e. They go on and on for almost half the time talking about Comeliness. They mistakenly say that 1e Comeliness as a stat is introduced here (it was introduced in Unearthed Arcana) and how this was motivated by asian stereotypes of ugly asian men and dragon ladies, how asian sexuality is portrayed as overwhelming everything else and determining how your character acts and this is Gygax targeting asians as the people without agency driven by sexual attractiveness in a way that does not apply to non-Asians. Comeliness is a terrible, generally misogynistic agency removing mechanic, but it was not targeted or inspired by Asia, it was just a terrible non-ethnic beauty mechanic.

There is also some criticism of wisdom being described as enlightened and samurai requiring a minimum score. Also about racial maximum and minimums and how it is based on rolls and restricts character concepts.

They talk about races focusing mostly on the barbaric low charsima dwarven Korobokuru are Mongolians and play into drunken stereotypes and how they are restricted to being ugly barbarians who people by the rules hate because of their low comeliness. I am not familiar with stereotypes of Mongolians or the mythological basis of Korobokuru, in the 80s I saw them as barbaric dwarves as presented in OA.

The majority of the specific criticisms seem based on mistaken understandings and general 1e AD&D non-asian specific mechanics, the bits on Korobokuru as Mongolians seemed the most relevant to a criticism of a stereotype possibly targeted at an Asian ethnic group.

It is mostly a preaching to the choir sort of vibe, assuming that just showing things you will be offended without a lot of explaining why things would be offensive.

I had gone in thinking it would explain why people would be offended by OA and it was not really that. I was not inspired to spend any more time on the rest of the series.
Ethnically are you Asian?
Cultural lived in experiences may be different.
 


All small and very vocal (and sometimes violent) group is calling for change. And claiming the change is for the better. It is not.
Complacency is not what is needed. Especially if there are issues to be addressed.
Even Lovecraft changed his racist attitudes.
Saying they are sometimes violent is not productive. Or factual.
If you do not like the change then do not play with it.
How can you know the change is not for the better. Where is that conclusion from
 


I think a fair comparison here, are the works of H. P. Lovecraft. His works contain more than just a little bit of racism... but does this mean his work is of no value?

Chaosium has done a pretty good job in this regard, by putting an explanation at the beginning of several books (and videogames) denouncing the racist origins of the work and explaining the context.

In my home town is a beautiful iconic square with a statue of a controversial figure from Dutch history: a butcher of the east India trading company. In light of protests, a plaque was added to the statue, informing people of his crimes. I felt this was a decent solution... but now in 2020 people want that statue torn down yet again. And I feel that is a shame, because that statue is right in front of an iconic museum, where people can learn all about that time period. I fear however that many of the people who want that statue torn down aren't interested in learning much of anything. They want to destroy a symbol, just because it's there.

I fear the same for some of these books, and I think we should all take a deep breath and also recognize their value.
 

dave2008

Legend
It bothers me that the term Oriental is being seen as a slur, because in origin it isn't. ... It shouldn't be a slur, and it disgusts me if ignorant fools have made it such.
It is not a racial slur. It can be tied to racial offensive language (but so can Asian), but the word itself is not a slur. Primarily it has fallen out of favor as way to describe people. It is still used to describe objects (like rugs). So because its usage has changed, it can seem racial motivated to use it in a certain context.
 

Danzauker

Adventurer
Bolded word included by myself.


But like another poster wrote some time ago about this very same issue:

@Skepticultist said:
]If you're just find with plundering Irish, Scandinavian, Greek, and other European cultures history and myth for fodder for your role-playing games, then why should Asian cultures and history be treated any differently? This right here is why this entire line of argument just pisses me right off. It's handwringing nonsense motivated by white guilt.

I'm not Scandinavian, therefore I should not use Vikings in my game, right? No? Well, then, why is orientalism an issue, but scandinavianism isn't an issue? It's dumb.
This.

Exactly.

There's so much mish-mash in D&D, there's always been, that I really find the point of complaining an imprecise use or inspiration from a real life culture in the game (if it's not blatantly offensive, of course) bordering the absurd.

What I also find a little upsetting is reading many reactions to the criticism to the current trend (not only in the RPG world, just look at the recent news about dubbing and Captain America: Civil War) is branding everyone disagreeing with it as insensitive, "frail white" if not outright racist or fascist.

Maybe it's just that who's criticizing these outrages find them the wrong way to address a problem. Maybe these people, and i put myself among them, find this a stupid and wrong way to NOT addess it.

I personally think racism is one of the world's oldest and worse problem, and I'm sure that many other critics thik the same. I also think that many of the people vocally proposing to remove games and rename movies are just influencers, show-offs and plain frauds that are just wanting to ride the outrage wave just to get like and visibility. It's all a diversion, and people are taking it.

It's quite easy to protest to remove Gone with the Wind from a streaming service. The service will gladly comply. they only have to put a 5 minute explanation at the beginning, and presto, we're done. What problem have we solved now? How farther are we now in the road to equality? Answer. A big fat nothing.

Outcry on social media is easy and free. Fighting the problem where it really is, it's much harder and costs time and effort.
 

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