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5E How should be the future Oriental Adventures.


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pemerton

Legend
Who says I have not.
I am descended from that region. But I am mixed. So I do not get to belong to any group. This has been made clear many times.
Which region? The Caucasus?

When you used the word "Caucasian" upthread you seemed to be using it to mean white:

Writing of the other things have been from Caucasians. Written by Caucasians.
Other matters have been traditionally written by Caucasians. Writing for other cultures. This is not balanced.
Involvement of cultural consultants would be a start.
I don't think Caucasian here means "person from the Caucasus mountains or neighbouring regions".
 

I ask because when it comes to racist presentations of theme and history omission and disregard can be important considerations.
Depends on what perspective it is written from. Victory clouds history. Even defeat clouds history.
Profound impacts of this are not even taught. Or written about. Actively omitted and denied it is.
 
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Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
I think the real complaint against OA is more along the lines of cultural appropriation, a lack of proper curation, etc. Which is a complaint about racist processes of cultural production but - even if sound - doesn't in itself establish that the work itself is racist.
"...The mysterious and exotic Orient, land of spices and warlords, has at last opened her gates to the West."
?????
Isn't FR still the best-selling setting for FRPGing? And it is chock-full of real world cultures.
Kara-Tur was made part of FR, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you meant Faerun. you can't say "where's France?" and have me point at a specific nation in Faerun. that's definitely not the case in Kara-Tur, you can say "where's Korea?" and someone can point at the exact nation in Kara-Tur that is the Korea analogue.

Not every depiction of tropes from folk tales and popular culture is a racist stereotype.
this is certainly true, and OA is a horrible example of this.

I am not particularly concerned if WotC stops selling OA or does not. That's basically a commercial decision. I don't think OA is a work of race hatred. Nor do I think it is a valuable cultural artefact that needs to be available to everyone for posterity. In that way I don't think the comparison to important American novels really works.
it doesn't matter whether or not if something is hateful, it's still based in some very dated and sometimes awful stereotypes. this misses the point, too, Kwan's big issue is WotC claims they will be more culturally sensitive and yet still make money off a culturally insensitive book. WotC should stop selling it. it's not like he's calling for a book burning. hell if preservation is an issue (and it definitely is an issue) WotC can just start giving it away for free. just give it away for free, no profit off of that, and everyone can still download it for the sake of archiving.
 

humble minion

Adventurer
WotC should stop selling it. it's not like he's calling for a book burning. hell if preservation is an issue (and it definitely is an issue) WotC can just start giving it away for free. just give it away for free, no profit off of that, and everyone can still download it for the sake of archiving.
There's certainly something in that, though giving a product away for free is generally seen as something you do when you want to PROMOTE that product, which is probably not the message WotC wants to send about the old OA books right now.

TBH, if WotC wants to defuse the festering OA issue, then the most effective way to do that would be to promptly announce and release a brand new set of Asian themed (and Asian-written) 5e books that avoided the cultural landmines that OA stepped on.

Cos being serious for a minute, when was the last time anyone in this thread actually ran a campaign set in Kara-tur? Or with the 2e OA rules? Or even a 3e Rokugan game? I strongly, strongly suspect the number of people actually doing that is absolutely tiny. I understand the grognard/oldskool FR-er completist urge, and hell, I've read the Kara-Tur books entirely for that reason myself, but if the demographic of D&D players who actually use this stuff right now in live games reaches half a percent of the total D&D player base, I'd be staggered.

But the bad smell around the old books lingers, because the Kara-Tur line and the 3e OA book is the most recent coverage of this sort of thing under the D&D banner. To make the (entirely legit) controversy go away, and to demonstrate they've genuinely changed how they address cultures like this, WotC need to actually bring out a product that makes these old books obsolete. Hell, the 5e playerbase dwarfs all other editions put together I strongly suspect (with the possible exclusion of Pathfinder), so a 5e treatment would become the touchstone for 'WotC does Asian-inspired fantasy' almost immediately, and once it does, nobody will be talking about the 2e OA any more other than 'jeez, I'm glad we've moved on from the bad old days' terms.
 

Derren

Hero
TBH, if WotC wants to defuse the festering OA issue, then the most effective way to do that would be to promptly announce and release a brand new set of Asian themed (and Asian-written) 5e books that avoided the cultural landmines that OA stepped on.
And instead create new landmines as it is impossible to please the "everything is racist" crowd while still putting out a product useable for gaming.
No, the best way to defuse it is to make vague promises, a token gesture like a warning page and then never do asian themed stuff in the near future again.
 

Azuresun

Explorer
I think it just highlights that the trope of using unusual weapons is more prevalent in the Chinese wuxia genre than (to use a generalization) Western fiction. Off the top of head, I can think of characters whose signature "weapons" are marbles and long sleeves.

In terms of unusual weapons, I think the one that I've seen most often in Western medieval fantasy fiction is the frying pan, and I think stats for that were included in the description for Tika Waylan in Dragonlance Adventures.
The Palladium Fantasy RPG had the stats for a frying pan, and it could potentially be one of the most powerful starting weapons in the game.

(high-quality weapons with a bonus to attack and damage were represented by multiplying the base cost--but since a frying pan was dirt cheap to start with, you could have a master-crafted frying pan that was more effective than spending the same amount of money on a sword)
 

Azuresun

Explorer
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.
I mostly agree. Even if the end product is the same, a Chinese author creating a wacky pastiche of a setting loosely based on their own country's history is going to be different from a Westerner doing the same, because of the power imbalance and history.

That said, I would like to steer away from implications that it's entirely impossible for an author to depict a fictional version of a culture outside their own without being unintentionally inaccurate, disrespectful or offensive. I think that's entirely possible--just do the research, and check with people from the culture in question if you're unknowingly being offensive.
 

Jadeite

Explorer
Kara-Tur was made part of FR, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you meant Faerun. you can't say "where's France?" and have me point at a specific nation in Faerun. that's definitely not the case in Kara-Tur, you can say "where's Korea?" and someone can point at the exact nation in Kara-Tur that is the Korea analogue.
They have an Ireland, though. Ravenloft, on the other hand, has multiple french nations as part of the Core.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Do you think this is true of OA? What's your opinion of the works cited in the bibliography?
Indifference is the adjective I would label on OA. Researched a topic to be accurate or understand the definitions and combin the profit for elements that could cause offense are two different things.

It was still called Oriental Adventures.

I don'tthink the designers were trying to cause offense, they just didn't think much into avoid it and had gaps because it wasn't their culture.

I don't think there is very much that is historical in the OA ninja class.
And the least it was grounded in reality without being purposely or accidentally offensive, the better.
 

Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
There's certainly something in that, though giving a product away for free is generally seen as something you do when you want to PROMOTE that product, which is probably not the message WotC wants to send about the old OA books right now.
man I feel like some people are deliberately ignoring the original issue of WotC profiting off OA after saying they're gonna be more sensitive in the future. I can't say "my restaurant is now vegetarian!" and still serve bacon just because a few customers want it.

you can give away a product without "promoting" it, and bringing it up this way would be seen as a PR move to address this issue. yes, people are gonna start downloading it, I even might myself. but as you said virtually no one is running Kara-Tur these days, and it would remain largely a curiosity and historical piece, and again WotC wouldn't make any money off this. personally I feel like WotC should just do this with at least all pre-2e material, but that's a conversation for another time.
TBH, if WotC wants to defuse the festering OA issue, then the most effective way to do that would be to promptly announce and release a brand new set of Asian themed (and Asian-written) 5e books that avoided the cultural landmines that OA stepped on.

Cos being serious for a minute, when was the last time anyone in this thread actually ran a campaign set in Kara-tur? Or with the 2e OA rules? Or even a 3e Rokugan game? I strongly, strongly suspect the number of people actually doing that is absolutely tiny. I understand the grognard/oldskool FR-er completist urge, and hell, I've read the Kara-Tur books entirely for that reason myself, but if the demographic of D&D players who actually use this stuff right now in live games reaches half a percent of the total D&D player base, I'd be staggered.

But the bad smell around the old books lingers, because the Kara-Tur line and the 3e OA book is the most recent coverage of this sort of thing under the D&D banner. To make the (entirely legit) controversy go away, and to demonstrate they've genuinely changed how they address cultures like this, WotC need to actually bring out a product that makes these old books obsolete. Hell, the 5e playerbase dwarfs all other editions put together I strongly suspect (with the possible exclusion of Pathfinder), so a 5e treatment would become the touchstone for 'WotC does Asian-inspired fantasy' almost immediately, and once it does, nobody will be talking about the 2e OA any more other than 'jeez, I'm glad we've moved on from the bad old days' terms.
I'm not against the idea, I think it would be neat to see an Asian inspired campaign setting if it were well done. but to do so in response to the controversy surrounding the book would honestly feel like tokenism at worst. I don't think you need it to be entirely Asian-written either, but if they did do that would the authors be brought in and thrown out after the book came out?

WotC already dropped the ball on Chult, and making this hypothetical well done setting would show that they're serious, sure, but how they do it is probably just as important as the content they put out.

also while we're here, I've always felt like 3rd ed. OA was the more problematic one, at least in terms of execution. at least AD&D OA was attempting to make a fully realized fantasy Asia, 3rd ed. was just WotC being like "oh hey this new-fangled franchise we just bought is Oriental, let's just make a D&D book about it and slap the Oriental Adventures name on it!" I still remember my younger self (who had yet to play D&D or any tabletop rpg) finding that book at barnes and noble and thinking "wtf why is this just a bunch of samurai and Japanese stuff??"

also, tangentially related, but am I the only one who felt like Pathfinder dropped the ball completely with their take on the "Asian" part of Golarion?
And instead create new landmines as it is impossible to please the "everything is racist" crowd while still putting out a product useable for gaming.
No, the best way to defuse it is to make vague promises, a token gesture like a warning page and then never do asian themed stuff in the near future again.
yeah, no, "people are too easily offended!" is not a valid excuse, sorry.

They have an Ireland, though. Ravenloft, on the other hand, has multiple french nations as part of the Core.
okay, great, Faerun has one (1) Ireland in it, and Ravenloft took some inspiration from France. maybe if I wait long enough someone will tell me that Khorvaire is actually based on interwar period Europe.
 

Derren

Hero
yeah, no, "people are too easily offended!" is not a valid excuse, sorry.
Actually it is. In the current climate you will always offend someone when touching non western culture because people will dig until they find something to be offended about and if it is just the use of chopsticks. Making another OA will gain WotC nothing except making them a target. So the best and smartest move is to not touch this.
 

Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
Actually it is. In the current climate you will always offend someone when touching non western culture because people will dig until they find something to be offended about and if it is just the use of chopsticks. Making another OA will gain WotC nothing except making them a target. So the best and smartest move is to not touch this.
no, it's not. "In the current climate" are you saying no one has ever brought up problematic depictions and stereotypes until now? you don't have to dig deep into OA to find something to be offended about, it's not just about chopsticks. there have been fantasy settings with Asian themes made before that don't have the negative attention that Oriental Adventures has.
 


Nytmare

David Jose
That said, I would like to steer away from implications that it's entirely impossible for an author to depict a fictional version of a culture outside their own without being unintentionally inaccurate, disrespectful or offensive. I think that's entirely possible--just do the research, and check with people from the culture in question if you're unknowingly being offensive.
Though it is not impossible, there's a world of difference between a lone, indy developer depicting that fictional version of a culture that they are not a part of, and a multi million dollar toy company hiring someone to do it.
 

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