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

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Thank you for the link. :) I had completely forgotten about Fax machines - and I didn't realize the first cheap ones apparently started coming out in 1984. And thank you for the reminder of how well TSR was doing financially around then!


I quite often visited Japan for work and went to game stores there (played Magic which is easy if you recognize the pictures) and watched RPG games. I bought a copy of the Sword World 2.0 1st rulebook one recent trip. That dates from 1995 for when it started. Right when the first D&D book was translated.

One of the most popular local games. No Japanese character classes. Pictures of swords in the rulebook have no katanas.

According to the link above, Call of Cthulhu is the best selling foreign RPG.

My experience living in Singapore and Shanghai and playing in Tokyo (and a couple of times in Bangkok) was that the more normal pattern here of someone hosting at their place is not the norm. People usually play at game stores or cafes. In Singapore, except for the biggest events, most Magic tournaments are outdoors in the area near the shop.
 

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Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
Thank you for the link. :) I had completely forgotten about Fax machines - and I didn't realize the first cheap ones apparently started coming out in 1984. And thank you for the reminder of how well TSR was doing financially around then!
yeah I almost forgot about fax machines too, lol, then I remembered my dad using one all the time when I was young, through the early 2000's even until email was good enough to replace physical documents. other kids talk about not being able to use the internet because their parents had to make a phone call, for me it was not using up the fax line 'cause my dad was waiting for a fax from China.
What does the "banning" of something that is primarily in pdf form even look like?
it is possible for larger corporations to throw their legal weight around and remove the pdf from more prominent book archives and download websites, though nowadays the idea of completely removing something like that from the internet is a pipe dream.
 

That's not accurate- this position has been echoed by others, in multiple other threads. In fact, I've had to correct you, specifically, not just on this point but w/r/t what Mr. Kwan was advocating for.

Correcting me on Mr. Kwan's position has nothing at all to do to the point that I have not seen a single poster on ENWorld say "we should ban this book". Unless Mr. Kwan has been posting on ENWorld and I somehow missed it.

A few posters might have suggested that WoTC stop selling the book, which is different from banning it, even if it has the same overall effect. But that suggestion has been few and far between, and seems to mainly be them taking issue with the fact that WoTC is profiting from the book.

So, again. Has there been a single post on ENWorld stating "We should ban this book."? That is what you are arguing against, that is what you fear, but is it a position that is being taken by anyone in this thread?





Again, the paucity of this statement is clear by contrasting the people who advocate for free speech (those who are fine with the disclaimer) and those, like Mr. Kwan and others on these thread; look at either the continuing debate here, or look at the twitter threads since the announcement.

Are the people who were advocating against it happy? Nope. Because it was never about a disclaimer or an informed decision. It was, and always has been, about the exercise of power; the power to decide what other people can and can't read.

This was never about persuasion, but about power. I've seen this play out too many times to not know the playbook.

I will defend Mr. Kwan's right to advocate for banning books and exercising power, and your right to be confused as to what he wanted, but I don't have to agree with you.

If people are arguing on Twitter, argue with them there. I don't argue against positions taken by my friends in real life here, because I argue with them, not you people who are not them.

But, you are convinced that this is about power plays to control what people can read, and if that is what you are concerned about, be glad, because there is no way to control that without making far more obvious moves than this. You need full totalitarian control of the internet to even get close.

Me? I tend to believe people mean what they say. If I was trying to control what people could and could not read, I'd pick a far different target than a 35 year old rulebook that no one was reading anyways. I mean, even if Mr. Kwan succeeded in his elaborate scheme to control the internet by getting this book banned... 95% of DnD players wouldn't even notice the change from 1e OA being gone.

But, if you truly believe Kwan is a danger to free speech and artistic expression, then watch his videos and his twitter, keep an eye on him, and then you can prevent his next scheme too. As for myself? Never been terribly interested in what he had to say, he was just the spark that brought this to my attention. It isn't like I go looking on DMsGuild for 1e products after all, no one I know even plays that edition of the game.

What does the "banning" of something that is primarily in pdf form even look like?

I have no idea.

I suppose like Panda-s1 says, it would mainly be removing them from the major sites and preventing their digital sale. But frankly, I have no idea how you could even ban a book in the US anymore. I've looked online for the last few minutes and every list of "banned" book include books people want to have banned but aren't. Like Harry Potter and To Kill a Mockingbird. The closest I've actually found to actual banning has been incredibly local, like books banned from the Arizona Department of Corrections.

To me, banning a book is more than not selling it. It is confiscating the book where ever it is found, seeking out copies and tracing them to be locked up or destroyed. It is making it illegal to even own a copy of the work.

And you just cannot do that with something like OA 1e. Not only is a PDF format nearly impossible to ban in general, but you would have to track down people who bought physical copies decades ago. It is such a massive endeavor, that I can't see it even happening.
 

Mercurius

Legend
There are levels of censorship. It doesn't have to be Fahrenheit 451 to be of concern. The concern has both an element of principle and an element of practicality. They meet in the open exchange of ideas. Any degree of censorship is a statement that "these ideas shouldn't be exchanged."

Suggesting that WotC remove a product from availability is essentially saying, "I find this offensive, so therefore I don't want anyone having access to it, or the company to profit from their IP." The logical response to such a position is, "You have every right to find it offensive, but no right to mandate what others have access to. If you don't want that company to profit, don't give them your money."

The problem WotC faces is if they give into this complaint, what else will they have to give into? How many other products contain material that someone finds offensive, for whatever reason?

I would think that the solution is obvious (even if their motive is solely for the sake of PR): keep legacy products available but with a disclaimer, adjust new printings of the current edition, and try better in the future.

Oh, wait, that's what they're doing.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Suggesting that WotC remove a product from availability is essentially saying, "I find this offensive, so therefore I don't want anyone having access to it, or the company to profit from their IP." The logical response to such a position is, "You have every right to find it offensive, but no right to mandate what others have access to. If you don't want that company to profit, don't give them your money."
One of the problems that I have with the censorship argument in this case is that WotC didn't offer access to 1e OA before it went on their online store in 2014. So there was a time period where WotC clearly didn't think that it wasn't worth printing or providing digital access to, and there wasn't a murmur or complaint about censorship because it was the company deciding which of their products players should have purchasing access to. If WotC decides to take off any one of their books or even their entire back catalog of digital games, I think that's their prerogative and they can do so without it somehow being censorship. The fact that WotC is offering digital purchasing access to old D&D modules is more of a privilege than a right or an act of free speech.

The problem WotC faces is if they give into this complaint, what else will they have to give into? How many other products contain material that someone finds offensive, for whatever reason?
And if we can't make a slippery slope argument about this then what other things can't we make slippery slope arguments about in the future? Oh, wait, people will find a way to make slippery slope arguments no matter what WotC chooses to do.
 
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Mercurius

Legend
One of the problems that I have with the censorship argument in this case is that WotC didn't offer access to 1e OA before it went on their online store in 2014. So there was a time period where WotC clearly didn't think that it wasn't worth printing or providing digital access to, and there wasn't a murmur or complaint about censorship because it was the company deciding which of their products players should have purchasing access to. If WotC decides to take off any of book or even their entire back catalog of digital games, I think that's prerogative and they can do so without it somehow being censorship. The fact that WotC is offering digital purchasing access to old D&D modules seems more like a privilege than a right or an act of free speech.

IIRC, WotC made a lot of stuff available in 2014 as part of their intention to welcome back players of every edition. To be inclusive. To then make such products unavailable would be reversing that.

And if we can't make a slippery slope argument about this then what other things can't we make slippery slope arguments about in the future? Oh, wait, people will find a way to make slippery slope arguments no matter what WotC chooses to do.

Because slippery slopes are an actual thing, with many instances throughout history. "Here, have Sudetenland!"

Open the door to one thing, and you make everything fair game.
 

Aldarc

Legend
IIRC, WotC made a lot of stuff available in 2014 as part of their intention to welcome back players of every edition. To be inclusive. To then make such products unavailable would be reversing that.
However, Kwan is arguing that having OA available for sale is at odds with their company statements about respecting diversity, multi-culturalism, and the like. That its digital sales is essentially creating a conflict of interest for WotC. I don't think that his point here is entirely without merit.

Because slippery slopes are an actual thing, with many instances throughout history. "Here, have Sudetenland!"

Open the door to one thing, and you make everything fair game.
I'm not sure where to begin with an argument this ridiculously hyperbolic. Just so we are clear, so far we have had people compare the remote possibility of WotC removing OA from digital circulation to a slippery slope comparable to Daesh destroying Palmyra, the Nazi persecution of political opponents and ethnic minorities in Germany, and now the Nazi German annexation of the Sudetenland and other national territories. It's difficult for me take any of the slippery slope arguments in earnest when they have so often been so offensively hyperbolic to some of the most absurd extremes imaginable. That's one reason why the argument that it's a slippery slope comes across so poorly because there's no appropriate sense of scale or perspective at all. It has been one tastelessly offensive slippery slope argument after another.
 

Mercurius

Legend
However, Kwan is arguing that having OA available for sale is at odds with their company statements about respecting diversity, multi-culturalism, and the like. That its digital sales is essentially creating a conflict of interest for WotC. I don't think that his point here is entirely without merit.

I am wondering where this should end, though, in Kwan's opinion. Should all publishers and movie studios remove all media that doesn't fit certain contemporary criteria?

I'm not sure where to begin with an argument this ridiculously hyperbolic. Just so we are clear, so far we have had people compare the remote possibility of WotC removing OA from digital circulation to a slippery slope comparable to Daesh destroying Palmyra, the Nazi persecution of political opponents and ethnic minorities in Germany, and now the Nazi German annexation of the Sudetenland and other national territories. It's difficult for me take any of the slippery slope arguments in earnest when they have so often been so offensively hyperbolic to some of the most absurd extremes imaginable. That's one reason why the argument that it's a slippery slope comes across so poorly because there's no appropriate sense of scale or perspective at all. It has been one tastelessly offensive slippery slope argument after another.

The argument is that slippery slopes are a real thing, not that this is comparable to Nazi Germany. Yes, it was hyperbolic - and I probably should have refrained, if only because it detracted from my actual point.

Please address my actual argument and question: The problem WotC faces is if they give into this complaint, what else will they have to give into? How many other products contain material that someone finds offensive, for whatever reason?

Meaning, if OA is taken off the shelf, what next? If OA should be removed, why not any number of other products? I mean, there are probably things that people deem offensive in hundreds of products.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I am wondering where this should end, though, in Kwan's opinion. Should all publishers and movie studios remove all media that doesn't fit certain contemporary criteria?
I am not Kwan, so I cannot answer your question about where this should end. If this is a question that you can respectfully ask Kwan in good faith, then maybe this is something you should ask him. However, I would leave out the second question and focus on the former, again for reasons of scope and scale.

Please address my actual argument and question: The problem WotC faces is if they give into this complaint, what else will they have to give into? How many other products contain material that someone finds offensive, for whatever reason?

Meaning, if OA is taken off the shelf, what next? If OA should be removed, why not any number of other products? I mean, there are probably things that people deem offensive in hundreds of products.
I don't know, because our hobby has changed, is changing, and will change again. However, I don't think that we should be afraid of examining our relationship as consumers, writers, and publishers to the skeletons and zombies that have been left festering for so long in D&D's closets, especially if we are truly committed to an inclusive hobby.

I think that we should stop worrying about "where do we draw the line in the sand?" There is no line. The line is artificial and mutable. It attempts to stifle the fluid development of the game by creating an artificial line that gamers can safely hide behind or rally around without fear that they will be swept away by the tides and rising ocean. It's also an argumentative tactic that attempts to say that if a clear line can't be drawn, then the idea in question is somehow without merit, which is fairly absurd. And so often it is framed as a parade of imaginary horrors. The "impassable line" has been redrawn in the sand so many times by now by people worried about "what's next?" and it's just pointless to do so again. Let the critical conversations about the hobby transpire without worrying about the magical line of warding that puts the slippery slope to a halt.

I also think that it's more important for us to sympathetically and respectfully listen to critical voices in our hobby, particularly from marginalized identities, who are telling us how this content is harmful, insensitive, and offensive. I think that it's more important for us as gamers to consider how our consumption of these products and our use of certain cultural tropes in our games perpetuates harmful stereotypes and ideologies about people, even if we do not intend harm. I think that our ethical priority and emphasis should be on people rather than products. We should be more worried about whether we are doing a good job with these things than the slippery slope or where we draw the line.
 

BigZebra

Explorer
I am curious, since I have not read the book. What is the problem with OA? I have read most of this thread, and other stuff, but haven't found anything beyond the word oriental.

Looking up "oriental" I can see it means somebody form the far east, and is now "considered offensive when used to describe a person" (Webster)

Ok, so there's that. But sure there must be more to it?
 

Sadras

Hero
I am curious, since I have not read the book. What is the problem with OA? I have read most of this thread, and other stuff, but haven't found anything beyond the word oriental.

Looking up "oriental" I can see it means somebody form the far east, and is now "considered offensive when used to describe a person" (Webster)

Ok, so there's that. But sure there must be more to it?

It boils down to 3 words: Oriental, Exotic and Mysticism.
The latter two are used as words from a Eurocentric lens when describing the Far East (exotic used for anything non-white).
You can check out his video-series on youtube for the rest of his complaints - which, to be honest, are silly IMO with some complaints arising from a lack of knowledge about earlier editions.
 
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TerraDave

5ever
So I waded through a large part of the thread.

Is the actual book discussed anywhere? I don't mean the meta discussion, and all the accusations hurled back and forth, but the actual content of the book?

Its a good book. Its sitting right next to me. I don't know if many posters here have ever looked at it. Maybe 1 or 2?
 

prosfilaes

Adventurer
Because slippery slopes are an actual thing, with many instances throughout history. "Here, have Sudetenland!"

Open the door to one thing, and you make everything fair game.

If they let Oriental Adventures continue being published, then the next book they may be pure Yellow Peril. Slippery slopes are an actual thing, right?

Is the actual book discussed anywhere? I don't mean the meta discussion, and all the accusations hurled back and forth, but the actual content of the book?

Its a good book. Its sitting right next to me. I don't know if many posters here have ever looked at it. Maybe 1 or 2?

It's been discussed a bit. Why would you assume that that only a few of us have ever looked at it? A good number of us have been playing since 1st Ed and have at least glanced at all the basic books.
 

BigZebra

Explorer
It boils down to 3 words: Oriental, Exotic and Mysticism.
The latter two are used as words from a Eurocentric lens when describing the Far East (exotic used for anything non-white).
You can check out his video-series on youtube for the rest of his complaints - which, to be honest, are silly IMO with some complaints arising from a lack of knowledge about earlier editions.

Ok. Thanks for the cliff notes 🙂
It doesn't make this whole thing less confusing for me. It seems there is very little discussion of the actual content here, and instead a lot of abstract discussion. That's fine I guess, but what about arguing for the books removal based on its actual content, instead of whether some people are offended. Where is that discussion?

58 page, and almost no discussion of the book's content.
 

BigZebra

Explorer
So I waded through a large part of the thread.

Is the actual book discussed anywhere? I don't mean the meta discussion, and all the accusations hurled back and forth, but the actual content of the book?

Its a good book. Its sitting right next to me. I don't know if many posters here have ever looked at it. Maybe 1 or 2?

Could not agree more. 58 pages, and almost no mentioning of what is so bad in this book. Talk about much ado about nothing.
 

Sadras

Hero
Could not agree more. 58 pages, and almost no mentioning of what is so bad in this book. Talk about much ado about nothing.

1) The issue of Comeliness (not knowing that the concept was first introduced in UA), in that Westerners fetishize Asians hence the Comeliness stat for fantasy Asians.
2) Chop Sticks in the Weapons List meanwhile this wuxia is a common trope in some Asian anime.
3) How fantasy Samurai are all required to have a minimum stat of 14 in Wisdom - not all Samurai were wise. Again the stat requirements was very much on par with 1e's Paladins, Rangers...etc
4) Issue with the Honour system - why do fantasy Easterners have an Honour system, while Paladins/Knights who follow oaths do not - ignoring the heavy restrictions placed on the Paladin class re wealth ...etc also the fact that it was a later project, so new ideas came through.
5) Rice being the common diet for all fantasy Asians.
6) Mish-mash of Asian cultures - ignoring that this was/is D&D - mixing all knights, all barbarians, all clerics...etc

That is what I have gleaned from the little I have watched and from this and other threads.
 
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BigZebra

Explorer
1) The issue of Comeliness (not knowing that the concept was first introduced in UA), in that Westerners fetishize Asians hence the Comeliness stat.
2) Chop Sticks in the Weapons List meanwhile this wuxia is a common trope in some Asian anime.
3) How Samurai are all required to have a minimum stat of 14 in Wisdom - not all Samurai were wise. Again the stat requirements was very much on par with 1e's Paladins, Rangers...etc
4) Issue with the Honour system - why do Easterners have an Honour system, while Paladins/Knights who follow oaths do not - ignoring the heavy restrictions placed on the Paladin class re wealth ...etc also the fact that it was a later project, so new ideas came through.
5) Rice being the common diet for all Asians.
6) Mish-mash of Asian cultures - ignoring that this was/is D&D - mixing all knights, all barbarians, all clerics...etc

That is what I have gleaned from the little I have watched and from this and other threads.

Thanks for the list.

Honestly don't understand this outrage. Guess they haven't watched a Jackie Chan movie.
The book seems more like something that came out of love. Love for Japan and the other Asian countries. Written in a different time.

The dudes behind that YouTube video, could just as easily have been a bit more constructive. Instead of starting some performative Internet outrage (hey anything for likes and view count, right), they could have been like "This is silly? Chopsticks? That's a bit too much. Would be awesome with a new and fresh take on this. What do you say Wotc?"
 

I disclaimer or apology note is right, but I warn in a few years we could find with complains against Lovecraft because he was racist, or far-west moviest where the native indians are the antagonists....or movie of pirates where the Spanish empire are the bad guys. Umberto Eco's "the name of the rose" with a previous disclaimer, and that if there is luck. Lots of Netflix productions could be censured. Why not a disclaimer for the books of "7th Sea" what talk about the Vatican church?

You can't defend the freedom if you try to fix all with new rules, prohibitions and regulations, because you don't trust the free citizen to do the right actions when you explain the reasons.

Racism is wrong, here everybody agrees about this, but if we really want a better world then we have to defend the respect of the human dignity, the base of our citizens as people. We have to take care with the right strategy because if other feel there is a try to manipulate emotionally throught the feelings of guilty and shame, the effects may be totally counterproductive. We need more empathy, dimplomacy and other social skills.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Correcting me on Mr. Kwan's position has nothing at all to do to the point that I have not seen a single poster on ENWorld say "we should ban this book". Unless Mr. Kwan has been posting on ENWorld and I somehow missed it.

A few posters might have suggested that WoTC stop selling the book, which is different from banning it, even if it has the same overall effect. But that suggestion has been few and far between, and seems to mainly be them taking issue with the fact that WoTC is profiting from the book.

So, again. Has there been a single post on ENWorld stating "We should ban this book."? That is what you are arguing against, that is what you fear, but is it a position that is being taken by anyone in this thread?

You have repeatedly been wrong on your demands, starting by not knowing what Mr., Kwan's position is. In the multiple threads, there are numerous people in this forum that I have engaged with (including some that like your post but I have now ignored, and those that use "laughs" to mock people) that demand that OA (and other material) not be made available in any form, for sale or for free, and that the only copies that be allowed are the ones that are already in people's physical possession (the "library" theory).

If you wish to say that the ability to regulate material such that it can not be distributed or sold, but must remain in a few scattered libraries, or even not that- it can only be part of a historical research product (call this the "We are the Vatican, we can keep a copy of this book, but not you") is not a call for a "ban" then fine. I completely disagree, but you can continue to argue this completely pedantic point with someone else as to whether keeping one copy of a book available somewhere is a ban or not.

Please do not respond to me on this or make further demands. Given the amount of times I have had to explain my position to people that want to "ban" the book from my P.O.V. as I have repeatedly explained, I am not enjoying your repeated posts saying, "All that stuff you've been arguing against, it's not really happening." I've had enough gaslighting in my life already. Thanks. :)
 
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Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
Honestly don't understand this outrage. Guess they haven't watched a Jackie Chan movie.
The book seems more like something that came out of love. Love for Japan and the other Asian countries. Written in a different time.
oh believe me, I've watched and enjoyed a lot of Jackie Chan movies....
 

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