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

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Danzauker

Adventurer
"Some don't like to be scared. Some other people go see horror movies voluntarily."

Some people are entertained by misogynistic power fantasies. Some people are women.

Some people like to be entertained with stories of the Heroic American blowing up the bad guys and saving the native people. Some people would like America to stop assuming they can't handle their own problems.

All those people can just read different books.

Actually, I just thought of the perfect real life example of this. I had nearly scrubbed it from my memory. Here is the perfect example about why just saying "but I just want to be entertained" is not enough to justify actions.


I went to an organized con game for 7th Sea... two years ago. It was a group of people who all tended to play together. In fact, other than myself and another person sitting next to me, everyone at our table was part of this group, from the DM to the other players. I could tell we were the only two outsiders, because not having a character sheet already made up was a huge problem, because the DM forgot their materials, and we had to wait a half an hour to get sheets and books so we could make our characters to actually play.

I made an... I want to say he was a Venecian Fencer? Anyways, I liked the idea of him having this honor code, protecting women and children, and the pre-gen they handed me (yeah. they made a character for the first guy, I got handed a pre-gen because they DM didn't realize that both the new players asking about character creation needed a character) and was making him a noblish sort

After the first bit of action where I bravely... tried to get involved but rolled low enough initiative that I never got to act, we were assigned to a ship. Many of us were forced to work on the ship to help pay our way. Most people got, a sentence? Maybe two about how they were swabbing the deck or helping cook.

My character was forced (as in I asked not to be and was told I had no choice) to be in the bilge, standing in literal sewage and pumping. Oh, and I got a 10 minute scene of this. The DM and the other regulars taking great entertainment out of describing my character in the filth, with a dirty little man who wanted to make a game out of throwing turds at other turds, pumping the bilges. Actually, there was an attack on the ship while we were traveling... and I was basically told that by the time I would get out of the bilges, the fight was over.


The only thing that made this game enjoyable for me (it was a waste of $4 no matter how you slice it) was the very end of the game.

Our final scene was attacking a tower to disable cannons that would destroy our ship if we tried to cross. Again, I ended up not doing much of anything. The homemade characters with their stats and understanding of the system breezed through all three levels of the tower, with me desperately trailing behind trying to do something for the first time in 4 hours. Then, the final boss was holding a kid over the edge of the tower, threatening to kill him if we didn't let him go, and the tower was exploding anyways.

I told the DM that I dove for the kid, and that I was going to try and save him regardless of whatever the boss was going to do to my character (spiked mace to the spine in fact). The looks of shock on their faces, the complete and utter confusion as I even has other players telling me to just run and ignore the kid, were priceless. They had no clue what to do with a character who didn't care about his own skin.

After all, what did I have invested in this character? His only scene throughout four hours of gameplay and four dollars of my own money, was being the butt of their joke in the shitty bowels of a ship. They all found that very entertaining. They were very entertained. I wasn't. I found it degrading, pointless and stupid.

So, yeah, "What if I don't want to care about how other people feel, what if I just want to be entertained and have fun" is not a viewpoint I think most of us can get behind.

Actually i think it's an awful and terrible example.

What you described is a REAL LIFE experience. We ere talking about fiction. You know, as not real.

You just described violence. Real violence. And the guys that did that to you are horrible persons.

It has nothing to do with fiction and the right of fiction (and art in general) to be able to do what in real world is rightfully prohibited doing.

You can be an assassin in a videogame. You can't in real life. If you don't like GTA you play another game.
 

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Azzy

Newtype
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

Yeah, that whole "noble savage" trope is entirely problematic.
 

Danzauker

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

We do lots fiction, books, movies and comics on WW2 and the Vietnam War and they are both less than 100 years old.

In Grant Morrison's The Invisibles one plot regarded the assassination of princess Diana by the government agents as part of a conspiracy to put her son, whos father was an alien, on the throne. That happened 40 years ago.

Marvel's Operation: Galactic Storm was on sale less than 1 year after the nearly eponimous strike finished.

In a decade at most we'll have many books with the lockdown period as a setting.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Please note that with these straitjackets to creativity we would not have 90% of literature, music and film in the world.
Would you please mind stopping to take a moment and listen to yourself here? Why are you arguing for the freedom to be racist and disrespectful to other peoples and cultures in a game meant to be about fun, immersive roleplay? Why are you buckling against the humble request that you don't be a dick to other people and treat their identities with respect?

Also, thankfully Sturgeon's Law tells us that 90 percent of everything is crap anyway, so it's not like we lose much in your hypothetical.

EDIT:
More importantly, why should we talk about oppressions that were over centuries abo when there are oppressions HAPPENING RIGHT NOW that have nothing to do with slavery. Oppression like police brutality, wrongful conviction, uneven sentwncing. Worry about THOSE. Those are here, those are current. Fight that battle instead of refighting a bettle we already one 155 years ago! There are people TODAY who need your help!
I don't think that you realize how much you have royally screwed over your own chance of anyone taking anything you say about this topic seriously, which begs the question: which part of your mind thought it was even a remotely good idea to edit your post to add this paragraph?

All those people can just read different books.
We can also frame your question differently: So if you want to openly treat foreign cultures with the same level of disrespect as racists, then maybe you should play something other than D&D, especially if it plans on shedding its racially problematic issues? Because the future of D&D is inclusive.
 
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Bohandas

Adventurer
Would you please mind stopping to take a moment and listen to yourself here? Why are you arguing for the freedom to be racist and disrespectful to other peoples and cultures in a game meant to be about fun, immersive roleplay? Why are you buckling against the humble request that you don't be a dick to other people and treat their identities with respect?

I don't think that you realize how much you have royally screwed over your own chance of anyone taking anything you say about this topic seriously, which begs the question: which part of your mind thought it was even a remotely good idea to edit your post to add this paragraph?
Because I'm compulsively pedantic. Obviously racial oppression of black people is still going on but that is not the same as slavery.

Minnesota is in the north. You all know that right? This did not happen out of pro-confederate sentiment, it happened out of mindless hate.
 
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PsyzhranV2

Adventurer
Assuming that people live no more than 122.5 years at a maximum, that means that nobody who was alive then is still alive today. There is nobody left who was actually a part of it. It's very very unlikely that you'll even find someone whose parent was a part of it.

Do you really believe that people should carry a grudge over "what their great grandpa did to our great grandpa"? Isn't that just a blood feud?

EDIT:
More importantly, why should we talk about oppressions that were over centuries abo when there are oppressions HAPPENING RIGHT NOW that have nothing to do with slavery. Oppression like police brutality, wrongful conviction, uneven sentwncing. Worry about THOSE. Those are here, those are current. Fight that battle instead of refighting a bettle we already one 155 years ago! There are people TODAY who need your help!
  1. Please research what happened during the Spanish conquest of the Aztec empire, the utter nonsense that happened under the Viceroyalty of New Spain, and the tensions and conflicts between the Mexican state and the Indigenous peoples of Mexico that continue to this very day. Would you still be so flippant about appropriating Nahua or Mayan culture, or even Mexican culture in general then?
  2. Framing ongoing social ills as interpersonal "blood feuds between their great grandpas" is not a useful way of looking at them. These issues are systemic, not individual. To try and approach the matter of reparations for colonial injustices by means of separating the colonizer and the colonized into millions of discrete individuals would be utterly futile.
  3. It is utterly incorrect to try and separate the injustices done by colonial states in history and ongoing systemic racism. The latter follows from the former. The two are two aspects of the same problem, not discrete entities.
  4. And all this in trying to negate the horrors done by the Spanish in Mexico, all so you can justify a false equivalence between appropriating Mexican culture and that of the Hellenistic Greeks, a people who went and gone long before the modern era, and whose living descendants face nowhere near the same amount of social injustice as that of Indigenous Americans. Is this really the road you want to follow?
 

MGibster

Legend
Yeah, that whole "noble savage" trope is entirely problematic.

The problem is that pretty much everything is problematic to someone. Conan is an example of the noble savage trope, he even starred in a comic for two decades titled The Savage Sword of Conan, and he's a fairly popular character. So when you say the trope is entirely problematic what does that mean? Should characters like Conan cease to exist? If a player comes to me with the idea of a druid or ranger who lives in the wilds, shuns decadent civilization, and is of strong moral character should I say no because his noble savage character is "entirely problematic?"
 

Aldarc

Legend
In Grant Morrison's The Invisibles one plot regarded the assassination of princess Diana by the government agents as part of a conspiracy to put her son, whos father was an alien, on the throne. That happened 40 years ago.
Ummm.... Princess Dianna died in 1997. That was 23 years ago.

Because I'm compulsively pedantic. Obviously racial oppression of black people is still going on but that is not the same as slavery.
We are dealing with the direct effects of slavery and the ramifications of people conscientiously attempting to effectively preserve de facto slavery and oppression through policies of institutional racism for over a century. The three policies that you even linked have direct ties to slavery and afterwards in the systematic oppression of black peoples in the USA. Not talking about slavery is trying to disconnect the current issues from its direct causes and predecessor policies. It tries to subvert and mask just how long their problems have lasted. These are not just current issues; they are persistent ones in American history. I'm not sure if there is a nice way of recommending that you stay silent, because I don't think that you would have a bright future by digging that hole you're digging for yourself any deeper.
 

I suspect most people buy rpg supplements for the crunch, and the fluff is a secondary concern. So the success of future books might lie more on what game options are provided, not on how certain topics are handled in the lore. I guess we'll just have to see what people care about more, and are willing to spend their money on.
 

Azzy

Newtype
The problem is that pretty much everything is problematic to someone. Conan is an example of the noble savage trope, he even starred in a comic for two decades titled The Savage Sword of Conan, and he's a fairly popular character. So when you say the trope is entirely problematic what does that mean? Should characters like Conan cease to exist? If a player comes to me with the idea of a druid or ranger who lives in the wilds, shuns decadent civilization, and is of strong moral character should I say no because his noble savage character is "entirely problematic?"
Rather than explain, myself, I'll redirect you to this and this.
 

Assuming that people live no more than 122.5 years at a maximum, that means that nobody who was alive then is still alive today. There is nobody left who was actually a part of it. It's very very unlikely that you'll even find someone whose parent was a part of it.

Do you really believe that people should carry a grudge over "what their great grandpa did to our great grandpa"? Isn't that just a blood feud?

You tried saying that two hundred years was not recent enough. Now we are saying no one was alive when it happened, so it doesn't matter?

You are aware that the effects of things like this can last far into the future right? I actually remember a fascinating study I heard about once, wish I could remember the name of the town, but there was a monastery in this one town, and not in any of the towns around it. And the monks of that monastery would teach reading, writing and math to the residents. That was over 150 years ago.

The town, and it's surrounding towns still exist, they still have the same climate, the same culture, they are in the same country and the same education system now. The town that had the monastery has a higher average income amongst residents of quite a signifigant margin. My brain wants to say it was a thousand dollars, but that could be wrong.

Going through the study, they could only find one reason for the disparity. The people in the first town had been exposed to a higher level of education earlier than the others. No one who was educated by that monastery is still alive, but the effect of it on the region is starkly noticeable.

So, yeah, 200 years for the effects of colonialism and the pillage of nations? Not quite enough time for those wounds to have healed and it be "a thing of the past"


EDIT:
More importantly, why should we talk about oppressions that were over centuries abo when there are oppressions HAPPENING RIGHT NOW that have nothing to do with slavery. Oppression like police brutality, wrongful conviction, uneven sentencing. Worry about THOSE. Those are here, those are current. Fight that battle instead of refighting a bettle we already one 155 years ago! There are people TODAY who need your help!

You are right. I will totally stop advocating for American slaves to be freed... well, actually I won't because prisons are still terrible, but since slavery isn't the issue and the fact of the matter that you can trace things like police brutality, wrongful convinctions, uneven sentencing, lack of representation in court, guilty pleas to avoid court fees, and many many other systemic issues to race and inequality... I think I might keep saying that we should work on that core issue. Seems like we won a battle, not a war.




Actually i think it's an awful and terrible example.

What you described is a REAL LIFE experience. We ere talking about fiction. You know, as not real.

You just described violence. Real violence. And the guys that did that to you are horrible persons.

It has nothing to do with fiction and the right of fiction (and art in general) to be able to do what in real world is rightfully prohibited doing.

Are you flipping serious? Like, legitimately?

You wanted an example of why your fictional entertainment should be more sensitive. All you want is to be entertained, why should you have to put in more work to be understanding and avoid hurting people's feelings.


So, I gave an example, an example where a group of people just wanted to be entertained. Why should they have been more sensitive? They were having fun and being entertained, why should they have tried to avoid hurting my feelings?


If you can see the problem with the second, why can't you see the problem with the first? Why is it okay to treat entire other cultures of people like shit, but it isn't okay to do it to a single individual?


Because I'm compulsively pedantic. Obviously racial oppression of black people is still going on but that is not the same as slavery.

Minnesota is in the north. You all know that right? This did not happen out of pro-confederate sentiment, it happened out of mindless hate.

Well, good news. No one has been saying WoTC is adovcating for the return of slavery. In fact, this thread is about the mistreatment of Far East cultures. We didn't even commit the crime of Chattel Slavery against them.
 



Azzy

Newtype
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.

Yeah, I have to laugh (and cry internally) whenever some person on the internet complains that "x" new Star Trek show is pushing a liberal agenda. It's like, have you even watched any of the previous Star Trek series?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
More importantly, why should we talk about oppressions that were over centuries abo when there are oppressions HAPPENING RIGHT NOW that have nothing to do with slavery. Oppression like police brutality, wrongful conviction, uneven sentwncing.

Mod Not:
Our present grows out of our past. And ideas of the past are propagated forward, and social forms and norms remain if they are not actively addressed.

Your continued denial of that is problematic, and has offended several people. Please leave the absurd assertion that today's racism has nothing to do with history elsewhere. It won't be accepted here again.
 

Kaodi

Adventurer
  1. Framing ongoing social ills as interpersonal "blood feuds between their great grandpas" is not a useful way of looking at them. These issues are systemic, not individual. To try and approach the matter of reparations for colonial injustices by means of separating the colonizer and the colonized into millions of discrete individuals would be utterly futile.
  2. It is utterly incorrect to try and separate the injustices done by colonial states in history and ongoing systemic racism. The latter follows from the former. The two are two aspects of the same problem, not discrete entities.

Collectives are abstractions. Individuals are real. There is too much crypto-nihilism disguising itself as "historical justice" these days. The past is not something bad that happened to us because we would not exist without it. If we would be better off not existing our lives are definitionally worthless . And if our lives are worthless they cannot matter . So in any philosophy based on the universal value of human life the concept of deriving justice directly from historical wrongs must be false .

Inequality arises alongside the necessity of existence and it should be fixed but it cannot be fixed with a philosophy that is fundamentally self-contradictory.

Anyway to get back to the main topic they should just slap a disclaimer on there and forget about it for now. A handful of people taking offence is not enough. I am not a big fan of the argument that they must be heeded because they are a "minority under threat" because that sounds an awful lot like "Oriental Adventures would be less racist if there were no Asians in the United States". And frankly any argument which could be logically drawn out that way must be fatally flawed in some way because diversity is supposed to be good. I believe it is good. One of the mottos of my country right now is literally "Diversity is our strength," and I am all for it.
 
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Azzy

Newtype
I get it. I understand the problematic elements of the noble savage. But, as I said, pretty much everything is problematic. Is the noble savage as a character untenable in any context?
To that last question, I don't know the answer to that.

Although I'm partially descended from the Huron (which as Native Americans/First Nation have had the "noble savage" lable applied to them), I have no actual connection to that culture and know nothing about it (I wish I did). I'm not in a position to make that judgement, I've never been maligned by that trope. I'll defer to the opinions of those whose people have been maligned.
 

JEB

Explorer
To that last question, I don't know the answer to that.

Although I'm partially descended from the Huron (which as Native Americans/First Nation have had the "noble savage" lable applied to them), I have no actual connection to that culture and know nothing about it (I wish I did). I'm not in a position to make that judgement, I've never been maligned by that trope. I'll defer to the opinions of those whose people have been maligned.

Not of Native American descent myself, so I recognize that I have no authority to judge either... but wouldn't that theoretically depend on whether or not the "noble savage" character specifically evokes a real-world nationality that has had that label applied to them? A clearly Native American-inspired character would therefore be a problem and should be avoided, but Conan, who comes from a completely fictional society, seems much less problematic. (On that count, anyway; there are of course other problems with Conan that aren't relevant to this question.)
 

Gradine

Final Form
EDIT:
More importantly, why should we talk about oppressions that were over centuries abo when there are oppressions HAPPENING RIGHT NOW that have nothing to do with slavery. Oppression like police brutality, wrongful conviction, uneven sentwncing. Worry about THOSE. Those are here, those are current.

Because this ignored a little thing called "causality". Police brutality and other forms of racial injustice did not spring fully formed from the forehead of Zeus to trouble us in this day and age. These things are an evolution, one with a direct line tracing all the way back to American (both continents) chattel slavery, if not further.

Modern policing and imprisonment are absolutely direct descendents of the enforcement of slavery.
 

MGibster

Legend
To that last question, I don't know the answer to that.

Although I'm partially descended from the Huron (which as Native Americans/First Nation have had the "noble savage" lable applied to them), I have no actual connection to that culture and know nothing about it (I wish I did). I'm not in a position to make that judgement, I've never been maligned by that trope. I'll defer to the opinions of those whose people have been maligned.

The noble savage trope isn't limited to Native Americans. I'm not sure why the opinion of a Huron is valid when discussing specific uses of trope, say in the case of Conan, while your opinion is unimportant. I find the idea that only certain groups of people are permitted to have valid opinions on some subjects to be ludicrous.
 

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