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5E How should be the future Oriental Adventures.

Kaodi

Adventurer
Ummm, that seems like a bit of a stretch of a name given what I was saying.

The two I was thinking of, both of which seemed a bit inadequate, were Dao & Dragons (more in the sense of the variant spelling of Tao rather than the sword, but one syllable too short) and Silk & Sword (taken, of course, from the Silk Road).
 

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Nytmare

David Jose
Stereotypes in fictional worlds aren't a crime. Who worries about dwarfs as little Germans and elves like thin Frenchs?
Correct. However real life stereotypes in fictional worlds, especially of marginalized people, are exceedingly problematic. Just because there is no intent to harm or insult someone, does not mean you won't accidentally, but honestly, harm or insult them. Especially if you are perpetuating harm that society at large has been ignoring for generations. I'm not fluent in Spanish law, but I assume that just because you didn't mean to commit a crime, doesn't mean can't still commit one by mistake.
 

I've found (rightly, wrongly, in a box by the door) intent is often an element that is regularly dismissed as ultimately irrelevant. I find it difficult to dismiss it so easily, as I think it very much does matter, as it can, in many ways, play an enormous part in the understanding of a situation. I don't argue that intent can do anything to change the immediate emotional context of a consequence to an individual or group...but it does have a major role to play in understanding how we got here, and where we go from here. Dismissing it in the moment feels like a wonderful idea, but the larger picture demands its presence, and losing it will, I suspect, lead to what amounts to an impassable lack of understanding.
I find myself agreeing with most of your points, which are all very well laid out.

And, I would also like to see a future "mythical X" setting, because being from a culture so removed from my own makes them fascinating to read and consider.

And I agree that intent matters greatly. However, intent only absolves you of previous actions.

If someone turns around and walks forward. bumping into me and spilling my drink, and they say they are sorry that wasn't their intent, then I can easily forgive them. Accidents happen, the place is crowded, and they didn't see me there.

But, what happens next is important. Because if the person then continues walking, shoving me out of the way, they cannot claim a lack of intent. At that point, their intent is clear in their actions.

So, I don't believe that OA 1st edition was intended to be problematic. But, if they release Kara-Tur today, and it contains the same elements and problems... can we justify it by saying they don't "intend" offense when it was already highlighted?
 

ZeshinX

Adventurer
So, I don't believe that OA 1st edition was intended to be problematic. But, if they release Kara-Tur today, and it contains the same elements and problems... can we justify it by saying they don't "intend" offense when it was already highlighted?
In the hypothetical that WotC, at some point, releases a Kara-Tur product...that has received contributions and vetting from various cultural consultants from all cultures that inspired the works of Kara-Tur...it will, with a high degree of likelihood, still manage to offend. In which possible cultures and individuals that offence occurs is somewhat predictable in a general sense, but any work will inevitably "not sit well" with some in one form or another.

Therein lies a rather noteworthy conundrum. Would it simply be better to not even go there? Is it worth the risk? Is the goal to minimize the potential for offence, recognizing a product 100% certain not to offend is impossible?

The intent, no doubt, would be not to upset or offend a soul, especially so among those from cultures (or descended from cultures) that inspired the work....so if some are still upset and/or offended....is the intent suddenly meaningless? Is the message, at that point, to not even try anymore?

That really is one of the biggest concerns I possess as regards the debate. Will the risk of offending, no matter how strong the attempts are to avoid it, ultimately lead to stunting the imaginative and creative among us from even trying.

The debate continues, as it should...I just hope we don't lose something along the way.
 

In the hypothetical that WotC, at some point, releases a Kara-Tur product...that has received contributions and vetting from various cultural consultants from all cultures that inspired the works of Kara-Tur...it will, with a high degree of likelihood, still manage to offend. In which possible cultures and individuals that offence occurs is somewhat predictable in a general sense, but any work will inevitably "not sit well" with some in one form or another.

Therein lies a rather noteworthy conundrum. Would it simply be better to not even go there? Is it worth the risk? Is the goal to minimize the potential for offence, recognizing a product 100% certain not to offend is impossible?

The intent, no doubt, would be not to upset or offend a soul, especially so among those from cultures (or descended from cultures) that inspired the work....so if some are still upset and/or offended....is the intent suddenly meaningless? Is the message, at that point, to not even try anymore?

That really is one of the biggest concerns I possess as regards the debate. Will the risk of offending, no matter how strong the attempts are to avoid it, ultimately lead to stunting the imaginative and creative among us from even trying.

The debate continues, as it should...I just hope we don't lose something along the way.

Honestly, if they tried, and we could point to the fact that they put in a good faith effort, then those who were still offended, we'd have a much better argument to mollify them.

This stuff is hard, and it will never be 100% unoffensive. That is a pipe dream for a humanity yet to come. But, if this fear of never doing good enough leads to people not trying, that is just as bad as fear of censorship meaning no one creates anything. Probably worse.

Edit: Mollify is a bad word. I'm not sure what term I want. But, I would be on the other side of the line, in that case. I would be arguing that WoTC did everything it could, and that some mistakes are inevitable. And if they don't like it, then they need to figure themselves out.
 

Nytmare

David Jose
It is times like this where I am reminded that there are plenty of really spectacularly themed settings out there managed to create worlds that are apparently not directly derivative of any specific cultural influence.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
I want Wizards to commission a whole new game made by Chinese game designers in China, designed for the massive Chinese market and based on Chinese folklore and legends (and those from other Asian cultures -- mythology tends to get around), and written in Chinese and illustrated by Chinese artists.

But, make sure it's totally compatible with 5E, and then translate it back to English and sell it here, too.
 

Derren

Hero
I want Wizards to commission a whole new game made by Chinese game designers in China, designed for the massive Chinese market and based on Chinese folklore and legends (and those from other Asian cultures -- mythology tends to get around), and written in Chinese and illustrated by Chinese artists.

But, make sure it's totally compatible with 5E, and then translate it back to English and sell it here, too.
And that game would probably be as accurate and respectful of Chinese culture as Oriental Adventures is, simply because WotC is not in the business of making accurate historic games.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
And that game would probably be as accurate and respectful of Chinese culture as Oriental Adventures is, simply because WotC is not in the business of making accurate historic games.
You're suggesting that a group of Chinese game designers, in China, with the goal of creating the leading Chinese RPG, are going to do it by disrespecting Chinese culture???
 


Derren

Hero
You're suggesting that a group of Chinese game designers, in China, with the goal of creating the leading Chinese RPG, are going to do it by disrespecting Chinese culture???
They would do the same thing as what WotC did to European culture, create a fantasy mash up of many different Chinese (and maybe also other regional) tropes and cultures from different times. And they would likely not see it as disrespectful (as long as the government approves).

But it would be the same kind of kitchen sink that gets labled as disrespectful here on the board.
 

You're suggesting that a group of Chinese game designers, in China, with the goal of creating the leading Chinese RPG, are going to do it by disrespecting Chinese culture???
Yes, especially any of it that disagrees with the Communist party line. And that is just a statement of fact, not a vague political remark.

And anyone who sneaks in a Winnie the Pooh joke or reference will probably "disappear".
 

Libramarian

Adventurer
You're suggesting that a group of Chinese game designers, in China, with the goal of creating the leading Chinese RPG, are going to do it by disrespecting Chinese culture???
The Chinese live in a totalitarian state run by the same party that a few decades ago tried to violently purge many aspects of traditional Chinese culture from their society, and today carefully curates the information diet of its citizens. I wouldn't assume Chinese game designers would be good sources for Chinese history and myth.

I definitely wouldn't assume that what they came up with would be palatable to Woke Western sensitivity readers.

E.g. Kwan took umbrage with OA mentioning the use of chopsticks as improvised weapons and people in Kara-Tur eating a lot of rice. I wouldn't expect an actual Chinese person to understand why this is offensive.
 

Azuresun

Explorer
You're suggesting that a group of Chinese game designers, in China, with the goal of creating the leading Chinese RPG, are going to do it by disrespecting Chinese culture???
People "disrespect" their own culture all the time! Or to be more accurate, they tinker with, re-interpret it, or just borrow the shallow aesthetics to tell their story. That's pretty much how we got D&D in the first place! A subtle risk of being too respectful is that non-European cultures get put in a bell jar, where they can never change, evolve or inspire anything.

There was a nice line from one of the developers of the Scion RPG that they tried to treat mythical figures and stories from cultures outside their own with as much respect....as the native tellers treated those mythical figures and stories. And sometimes that wasn't as much as you might assume :)
 

Tun Kai Poh

Adventurer
If a country can support a thriving Heavy Metal scene, they can support a D&D fandom. WotC would be fools to ignore either potential market.
points to this

I invite people to do a search for Heavy Metal bands and fans in Botswana. Or Indonesia (a huge market in Asia and the largest Muslim country in the world!). Yup.

Now the question of how foolish WotC is when it comes to approaching the international market, that's a completely different matter.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
People "disrespect" their own culture all the time! Or to be more accurate, they tinker with, re-interpret it, or just borrow the shallow aesthetics to tell their story. That's pretty much how we got D&D in the first place! A subtle risk of being too respectful is that non-European cultures get put in a bell jar, where they can never change, evolve or inspire anything.

There was a nice line from one of the developers of the Scion RPG that they tried to treat mythical figures and stories from cultures outside their own with as much respect....as the native tellers treated those mythical figures and stories. And sometimes that wasn't as much as you might assume :)
Huh, I hadn't thought of it that way. But I would still assert that people "disrespect" their own culture/group/identity in a very different way than they disrespect someone else's, if only out of ignorance. I'm suggesting that the only way to be sure none of the disrespect in a culturally-themed product comes extracultural baggage is to commission the product to be made by and for members of that culture, rather than outsiders. As an added benefit, I personally would love to see such an RPG, because it would (hopefully) be very different than what I'm used to.
 

Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
In the hypothetical that WotC, at some point, releases a Kara-Tur product...that has received contributions and vetting from various cultural consultants from all cultures that inspired the works of Kara-Tur...it will, with a high degree of likelihood, still manage to offend. In which possible cultures and individuals that offence occurs is somewhat predictable in a general sense, but any work will inevitably "not sit well" with some in one form or another.

Therein lies a rather noteworthy conundrum. Would it simply be better to not even go there? Is it worth the risk? Is the goal to minimize the potential for offence, recognizing a product 100% certain not to offend is impossible?

The intent, no doubt, would be not to upset or offend a soul, especially so among those from cultures (or descended from cultures) that inspired the work....so if some are still upset and/or offended....is the intent suddenly meaningless? Is the message, at that point, to not even try anymore?

That really is one of the biggest concerns I possess as regards the debate. Will the risk of offending, no matter how strong the attempts are to avoid it, ultimately lead to stunting the imaginative and creative among us from even trying.

The debate continues, as it should...I just hope we don't lose something along the way.
y'know for starters it might help if you don't talk about people like me as if we're some sort of goddamn powder keg waiting to jump down someone's throat over cultural insensitivity. not everyone will agree on something. that doesn't mean you can't try. try is the operative word here, imo, WotC got a lot of flak over its depiction of Chult in Tomb of Annihilation because they barely put any effort into making it not a colonial stereotype.

also it's not like no one hasn't made an Asian-themed fantasy world that is generally accepted as well done, it's definitely possible to do.
The Chinese live in a totalitarian state run by the same party that a few decades ago tried to violently purge many aspects of traditional Chinese culture from their society, and today carefully curates the information diet of its citizens. I wouldn't assume Chinese game designers would be good sources for Chinese history and myth.

I definitely wouldn't assume that what they came up with would be palatable to Woke Western sensitivity readers.
why do you talk as if Chinese people are somehow devoid of their traditional culture and mythology? I'm sure the PRC does still try and censor parts of their past, but also there's plenty of shows and movies based on Chinese mythology and medieval tropes coming out of mainland China.

also not sure why you fail to grasp that there are a lot of Chinese people who don't live under the rule of the PRC government.

E.g. Kwan took umbrage with OA mentioning the use of chopsticks as improvised weapons and people in Kara-Tur eating a lot of rice. I wouldn't expect an actual Chinese person to understand why this is offensive.
maybe because an "actual" Chinese person might live in a country where anti-Asian racism is a normal occurence?

I guess I'll throw you a bone and assume you meant people who live in China: I'm pretty sure your average person living in China knows they don't eat rice all the time, and sometimes not at all. this is especially true the further north you go where wheat is the more commonly used grain. speaking from experience, just about every person of Chinese heritage I've talked to about rice find it at least annoying that eating rice is a stereotype especially when things like noodles and buns are commonly eaten in Chinese cuisine.
 

ZeshinX

Adventurer
y'know for starters it might help if you don't talk about people like me as if we're some sort of goddamn powder keg waiting to jump down someone's throat over cultural insensitivity. not everyone will agree on something. that doesn't mean you can't try. try is the operative word here, imo, WotC got a lot of flak over its depiction of Chult in Tomb of Annihilation because they barely put any effort into making it not a colonial stereotype.

also it's not like no one hasn't made an Asian-themed fantasy world that is generally accepted as well done, it's definitely possible to do
"...some sort of goddamn powder key waiting to jump down someone's throat over cultural insensitivity"

My point proven.

I get the frustration, but I'll speak as I feel appropriate and within the bounds of the rules of these forums. If the mods feel or recognize me as inciting anyone in a particular fashion, I'll accept their judgment. Until that time, I'll continue to share my thoughts as they come to me and as I write them. Your feelings are your own business.
 

Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
"...some sort of goddamn powder key waiting to jump down someone's throat over cultural insensitivity"

My point proven.

I get the frustration, but I'll speak as I feel appropriate and within the bounds of the rules of these forums. If the mods feel or recognize me as inciting anyone in a particular fashion, I'll accept their judgment. Until that time, I'll continue to share my thoughts as they come to me and as I write them. Your feelings are your own business.
what exactly was proven?
 


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