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5E How should be the future Oriental Adventures.

Count_Zero

Adventurer
Otaku had got a pejorative sense in the past, but now it is not alway like this. At least otaku lacks of pejorative sense in Spanish community who love manga and anime.
My complaint is that you're using a definition of Otaku that assumes that the movie "Dragon Inn" falls under anime for purposes of what the fandom covers.

There isn't really an overall term for "fantasy manga" - particularly since there are a whole bunch of sub-categories - like "isekai" anime and manga which are portal fantasies where characters from our world are whisked to a fantasy world (usually after getting hit by a truck or getting trapped in an MMO, but not always). However, often those fantasy worlds are explicitly based on Dragon Quest - which is in turn heavily inspired by Ultima and Wizardry, which take their cues from D&D.

There are still fantasy works set in feudal Japan in various periods (the Shogunate like with Blade of the Immortal, the Warring States period like with Inuyasha, the Heian period like the Onmyoji films), but there isn't really a particular catch-all term for those works - oh, and you also have fantasy works set in periods that are inspired by feudal Japan but don't entirely fit (Shin Megami Tensei IV, the Utawarerumono series),

* I remember the series Xena: the warrior princess and Hercules: the Legendary Journies with some pieces of "wuxia".
Xena and Hercules aren't Wuxia. They're a sort of modern campy sword and sandal series. Wuxia has some specific cultural tones to it - and I don't just mean "oh, it's Chinese, is in live-action, and has special effects", I also mean how the community of martial artists and warriors are depicted within the setting.
 

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Nytmare

Adventurer
Genuine question here -- do we know why the term "Oriental" might be considered offensive?
Raising my hand as an American mutt with a double handful of different Asian heritages.

Oriental is an outdated word, with a lot of stereotype baggage, that came into use as a means describing a place and a people exotically. It is generally considered acceptable to be used as a descriptor of a style (Oriental Rug) but as is often the case when people don't understand the intricacies of rules like this, the knee jerk reaction is to lash out when the word is used in any form.

In my experience, it feels like the people who are upset by this word are overwhelmingly not Asian. shrug To me it doesn't really matter. If the word legitimately makes people uncomfortable, it makes them uncomfortable and I'll do everything I can to fix that. At the same time, I think that there are WAY bigger problems that I wish this energy were being used to successfully attack and dismantle.

I think that, more than anything, the problem with any company attempting to reinvigorate, and revise Oriental Adventures is that the project, pretty much out of the gate, will be attempting to compile a bunch of misunderstood stereotypes and mythologies from a couple dozen different Asian cultures and just blend them all together. That is 100% not what a new supplement with modern day sensibilities should be. A LOT of work will need to go into a project like this to do it properly, and almost any path for D&D feels like it should be, as others have pointed out, a whole cloth invention that maybe has a touch of inspiration from a single culture.
 

My opinion is maybe a mash-up mixing all the different Asian cultures would be more pollitically correct to be ideologically neuter, precisally to avoid the analogies with real nations, because this could cause controversies. How to explain with any example? Let's use the nations of 7th Sea. In a game with English-speaker players the good boys would be Avalon, and the evil empire would be Montagne or Castilla, but if the GM is Spanish-speaker then Castilla would be a land of brave heroes and Avalon a distopian teocracy ruled by secret lodges of vampires and a queen who is an reptilian alien, but the group of players are French-speakers then the heroes are from Montagne, and Avalon the evil empire who traffick slaves.... now let's imagine Asian players and authors from China, Taiwan, Sourth-Korea and Japan reflecting in their modules and stories their own point of view about their neighbour countries. If I was Chinese I wouldn't like the main antagonist of the Legend of the Five Rings was Fu-Leng, a name what sounds as Chinese, like a subtle detail of sinophobia. If I was a Taiwanese D&D-DM my evil emperor would be a xión-réng(bearfolk, at least they are canon in Krynn/Dragonlance) with orange hair and name Wing-de-Poo (and somebody would be angry with me because Winnie the Pooh is the nickname of Xin-Jiping. Or maybe the heroes have to face an alien invasion by the formians, an allegory about that Asian dictatorship.

We can use "eastern" for Kara-Tur. It would be right because it's Faerun continent east.
 

Tonguez

Legend
Genuine question here -- do we know why the term "Oriental" might be considered offensive?
Heres the Wikipedia article on Orientalism.
Anyway Orientalism refers to the imitation or depiction of aspects of the “Eastern World” as seen via the generally patronizing European/Western attitude towards Middle Eastern, Asian, and North African societies.

The Orient originally referred to the areas of the east Mediterranean/Aegean (Asia was Anatolia and the Persian Empire) so whole issue of expanding the term to what we understand today is itself thwart with issues.
Moreover views of Oriental exoticism, static traditionalism and inscrutibility are all sourced in Imperialism and the assumed right of the European powers to demarcate and exploit the world (see the British Opium Trade). The Inscrutable Fu Manchu, the Yellow Peril and even contemporary views of the Chinese threat can all be linked to Orientalism.
 
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In Spain Orient isn't a pejorative term about that far and exotic land what needs to be colonized by the European powers. I remember when, years ago, TV advertising talked about a "week of Orient" by a famous department store. Here we haven't got the connotation we believe to be better than the rest. Even Japanese could live in Spain in the 17th century, and their descendants have got the surname "Japon" (Japan in Spanish language). Here our culture didn't know the yellow peril propaganda and even now our respect for Japanese people is sincere because they are very hard-working (here we are all the opposite, because in our culture our own effort only gives benefits to the patron or boss and that demotivate too much).


* Now I am thinking about a Wuxia setting with XIX century technology, where firearms are totally forbidden by the goverment, and religious taboos (even temples can sell "cheap" bullteproof magic defenses to brave martial artists, and little tricks, for example a piece of ectoplasm by solidified ki to block canons, to water gunpowder or to create illusory smoke grenades. Even in the cities and towns a magic field created by the temples would slowed down the bullets fired by no-attuned weapons.

* I still believe it's a serious mistake to say NO to a new OA, wuxia or what-its-name, because Hasbro has got contacts with some Asian companies even years before WotC to be bought by it. Asian publishers should see this like their opportunity to introduce their own titles among the Western fandom. It isn't about how Western fandom to create wuxia for D&D but how Asian Wuxia publishers could create D&D adventures for Western fandom. Sometimes I see some AMV in youtube and I wonder..how could this be a D&D adventure?


 

Nytmare

Adventurer
even now our respect for Japanese people is sincere because they are very hard-working
Be careful, positive stereotypes are still stereotypes, and still have a negative impact on the people you attribute them to. Making the assumption that someone is automatically hard working or automatically good at math just because they're Asian is #1 not true, and #2 makes the bar unrealistically high for people whose work ethic or math skills are not above average.
 

Count_Zero

Adventurer
In Spain Orient isn't a pejorative term about that far and exotic land what needs to be colonized by the European powers. I remember when, years ago, TV advertising talked about a "week of Orient" by a famous department store.
Just because the term is not offensive in your country doesn't mean that the term isn't offensive to other populations, such as populations of Asian ancestry in the US (where WotC is based).

I have found that the key to understanding, when it comes to addressing the objections that people of other backgrounds (whether different ethnicities, religions, levels of disability, gender identities, etc.) is four little words: "It's not about me."

It doesn't matter that from my background I don't find that word offensive - it's not about me. It doesn't matter that I haven't faced prejudice from people in this profession - it's not about me.

As it stands, with your suggestions - to be frank - it comes across like you're disregarding the experiences of the groups who have raised objections to OA, by putting forward a replacement to OA that repeats OA's sins in an attempt to target a foreign market of people who are not harmed by those stereotypes.
 

Mecheon

Adventurer
As it stands, with your suggestions - to be frank - it comes across like you're disregarding the experiences of the groups who have raised objections to OA, by putting forward a replacement to OA that repeats OA's sins in an attempt to target a foreign market of people who are not harmed by those stereotypes.
And, here's the real kicker, saying that OA is clearly going to appeal to these people based on... Absolutely zero evidence.

* I still believe it's a serious mistake to say NO to a new OA, wuxia or what-its-name, because Hasbro has got contacts with some Asian companies even years before WotC to be bought by it. Asian publishers should see this like their opportunity to introduce their own titles among the Western fandom. It isn't about how Western fandom to create wuxia for D&D but how Asian Wuxia publishers could create D&D adventures for Western fandom. Sometimes I see some AMV in youtube and I wonder..how could this be a D&D adventure?
If I wanted to release something for the Japanese or Chinese market, well, I'd release two different things because they're two entirely separate cultures. There is no just "Asian market" on this one or "Asian publishers". These are separate countries. Is there any evidence that OA sold particularly well in these areas in 3E? Because I know it didn't even exist in them during 1E
 

I said this over in the thread about Crawford and his tweets on alignment, but I feel the more they move away from the alignment system, the less likely there will be another Asian-themed book. The structure and honor codes and all that seem more tied to alignments than in more generic settings. So unless they come up with a good replacement for an Eastern theme, I think this has gone way to the back of the line.
 

Count_Zero

Adventurer
If I wanted to release something for the Japanese or Chinese market, well, I'd release two different things because they're two entirely separate cultures. There is no just "Asian market" on this one or "Asian publishers". These are separate countries. Is there any evidence that OA sold particularly well in these areas in 3E? Because I know it didn't even exist in them during 1E
The thing is, there are Japanese Tabletop RPGs - which scratch some of the same itches as D&D, and which also scratch some of the itches that I think he is trying to scratch with his hypothetical 5E OA.

To stop pulling punches here - @LuisCarlos17f, what it sounds like you're describing is a poor man's Tenra Bansho Zero. The game already exists in Japan, it's being published by someone else, and it's selling better in Japan than D&D does. It's also using a game system that is very different from D&D - arguably one that's kinda different than a lot of other tabletop systems in the West in general, due to doing a percentile dice system using D6s.

If WotC wants to create the D&D setting book that will strike the pocketbooks of the Japanese gaming market, it's not making something like Tenra Bansho Zero, it's going to Group SNE, saying "We know TSR messed things up with you under Lorraine Williams, we'd like to get back together, please put out an anniversary edition of Lodoss for 5th Edition - you can publish it in Japan with the 5th Edition Trade Dress, and we will publish an English translated release in the US."

This isn't to say US TRPGs don't do well in Japan - last I heard the highest-selling TRPG in Japan right now is Call of Cthulhu, but D&D is at a tremendous disadvantage.

EDIT: One more thing - as far the Chinese market goes -If they're going to sell their book in China, they'll have to go through Chinese censors. Chinese government censors can be somewhat capricious and unpredictable at the best of times (like the problems Ghostbusters: Answer The Call ran into with trying to retool the plot and effects at great time and expense for Chinese censors only to get denied a release anyway) - and with the Security Rules that were passed just this week, it is very much not the best of times.
 
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Tun Kai Poh

Adventurer
I said this over in the thread about Crawford and his tweets on alignment, but I feel the more they move away from the alignment system, the less likely there will be another Asian-themed book. The structure and honor codes and all that seem more tied to alignments than in more generic settings. So unless they come up with a good replacement for an Eastern theme, I think this has gone way to the back of the line.
Well there are a lot of games that do D&D-style fantasy but don't use D&D-style alignment rules - and I can think of dozens of ways to run games set in fantastic settings inspired by Asian regions that don't involve "honour" the way it's been romanticised by OA or L5R (sorry L5R old friend, your concept of Samurai honour is a mess and has more in common with Tojo's Japan than a lot of historical lived experience...) so that isn't really a reason not to try.

Anyway. Religion and philosophy and how people structure their ethical codes has always been more complex and interesting in our world than how the Alignment grid handles it - whether we're talking about Middle Ages Catholic France, Sassanian Persia, Yuan Dynasty China or Warring States Japan. I personally prefer to group NPCs by factions and overlapping belief systems than by alignment.
 

Azzy

Newtype
It does fit the whole bizarre 5E theme of "designers insanely overvaluing the ability to fight without an actual weapon", sadly.
On that I agree, it seems that they have gone out of their way to make unarmed combatants (that are not monks) suck. This annoys me quite a bit as I would like to have a non-monk pugulist or a (unarmmed) martial artist that has to religious/spiritual baggage.
 

Azzy

Newtype
There are still fantasy works set in feudal Japan in various periods (the Shogunate like with Blade of the Immortal, the Warring States period like with Inuyasha, the Heian period like the Onmyoji films), but there isn't really a particular catch-all term for those works
Yeah, the closest I can think of is "chanbara", but that's more concerned with samurai (with or without fantastical elements) or "jidaigeki" which really encompasses period drama in general (again, with or without fantastical elements).
 

I said this over in the thread about Crawford and his tweets on alignment, but I feel the more they move away from the alignment system, the less likely there will be another Asian-themed book. The structure and honor codes and all that seem more tied to alignments than in more generic settings. So unless they come up with a good replacement for an Eastern theme, I think this has gone way to the back of the line.
The fact that you can't see them creating an Eastern Themed game without some ridiculous honor system baked into it is just plain depressing.
 

humble minion

Adventurer
The fact that you can't see them creating an Eastern Themed game without some ridiculous honor system baked into it is just plain depressing.
Yeah, and quite aside from that, I would have thought that the bond/trait/ideal/flaw system basically removes the need for any additional tacked-on 'honour' system anyway. It allows a PC to define what honour means to them (if anything!) rather than having a single universal GM-adjudicated 'honour' scale which slots everyone in neatly as a single number.

And it makes it more interesting, anyway - lots more scope for conflict between people with different concepts of honour, arguments/debates/wars over the finer points of honour, etc etc.

D&D's been trying to move away from mechanical enforcement of roleplaying strictures for a long time, i can't see them reversing course so completely just to shove in an arbitrary and oversimplified 'honour' system to pander to one particular samurai stereotype, especially when the flaws in the very concept have been pointed out ad nauseum.
 
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If I say Japanese are more hard-working because the effort and discipline are very important in their culture, or Chinese are politer than Spanish, you can answer they are positive stereotypes. Maybe, but I don't imagine an Asian reporting me about that. And positive stereotypes in speculative fiction can be right to show positive examples to be imitated. Why not to create characters who promote any moral vitues like the social skills?

Of course we have to take care about censorship. The cartoon movie Abominable was censored in Vietnam because.... in a scene with a map Vietnamese territory was showed as a part of China.

* Could we create a fantasy nation mixing Russia and China? for example blonde hair and almond-shaped eyes, and clothings like a mixture of pien-fu and sarafn or kaftan (robes/tunics).

* Wuxia D&D isn't only Kara-tur. WotC can create new worlds as Kamigawa. The first step isn't to sell the house but the bricks, and later you watch how are the house they build to imatitate their style according their tastes. How should the lore and racial traits of the PC races "from the far lands" to be interesting?

* Why not to produce a game-live show where J-idols play one-shot module based in J-Horror movies or monster from folklore? Or kid-friendly innocent maho shojo (magical girl, like puella magi, sailor moon or pretty cure) who have to "heal" cursed objects what have become tsukumogami.

 


Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
I said this over in the thread about Crawford and his tweets on alignment, but I feel the more they move away from the alignment system, the less likely there will be another Asian-themed book. The structure and honor codes and all that seem more tied to alignments than in more generic settings. So unless they come up with a good replacement for an Eastern theme, I think this has gone way to the back of the line.
Does the lack of a system for knightly chivalry prevent there from being an European-themed setting? It doesn't.

And frankly I think that back in 1e even when that book was introduced, most people ignored things about honor in that book. I'm certain they did the same thing about it in 3e unless they really were trying to play Legend of the 5 Rings D20, which most people weren't.
 

o_O

Kid-friendly?

Have you actually watched Madoka?
Clearly not, that thing was brutal.

You find out after the girls get their "wish" and gain magic, that they essentially become liches, forever children with their souls bound in the gemstones they use for their magic. The witches they fight? Other magical girls who have fallen to despair and grief which twists them into monsters. Of course, the "grief seeds" those witches drop are also the only way to remove the stain of despair from your own soul.

So, keep fighting and trying not to die or have your soul destroyed for eternity, and don't think negative thoughts or you will become a monster.

There is actually a really wonderful fan-story called the Golden Empire that really gives a great sense of this struggle.


If I say Japanese are more hard-working because the effort and discipline are very important in their culture, or Chinese are politer than Spanish, you can answer they are positive stereotypes. Maybe, but I don't imagine an Asian reporting me about that. And positive stereotypes in speculative fiction can be right to show positive examples to be imitated. Why not to create characters who promote any moral vitues like the social skills?
Ok, let us take a hypothetical. You run a company and you have a spanish worker and a Japanese worker. You have a big overtime project that needs to be done. It is a ton of work. Who do you give it to.

According to this stereotype, the Japanese worker, he's harder working and will put in more effort, because that is his culture.

But, is that actually true? Even if he is a hard worker, can he handle that work-load? What if he is scared of losing his job, so he won't mention that he is felling overworked, because every time this decision comes up, you want to give more work to the person who will actually do it?

This is one of the ways that "positive" stereotypes can be just as bad as bad stereotpyes
 


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