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5E How should be the future Oriental Adventures.


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The only way to make it go away is to call it what it is, and decline to participate/obey/submit.

This might be overstepping, but all of these calls for how this "new" cancel culture is destroying everything, causing the death of free expression and ruining the potential of any work being released that touches on any subject got me thinking.

It got me thinking because underneath my computer is a copy of the works of Emily Dickinson. Emily, and Walt Whitman, are both incredibly famous poets. I also did not learn until I was in college that both were lesbian/gay and wrote some very explicit works in that respect. Works that were nearly destroyed by censors.

Thinking of LGBT works, I am reminded that Achilles had a "friend" during the war. Patroclus. A man whom he cared for so strongly, that their dying wish was to be cremated and their ashes mixed so they could be together for eternity. Long depicted as "really good friends" instead of, you know, being deeply and madly in love with each other.

So, let us say that from the date of a random Dickinson poem, 1854, that LGBT people have been censored, their works destroyed or warped to remove them from the public consciousness. They were few in number, with little social power, so they had no choice but to make do as best they could.

Not that LGBT individuals never were shown in popular media. Many ugly stereotypes were persisted and lied about for years.


Now, with social media, they have a powerful voice. Now, they are looking at TV shows and works of art that depict them poorly and are demanding a change.

Now is the time that those in power should decline to participate. To refuse to submit to censorship and bully tactics. Who should stand by and call for the freedom of any artist to depict anything in any manner they choose, because, if we censor them, what might we lose? What damage might be done to the free expression of art if you are so scared to offend someone, that you never write anything?

But to me, right now at this moment? It seems awfully convenient to point to the crimes done against minority artists, thinkers, and writers by the people in power, and for those same people to say "Hey, you can't do that to us. It was wrong, so you can't be for doing that to us. We need diverse voices to uphold the sanctity of art."
 

Derren

Hero
well this Asian is saying that. drop the sales of OA.

also this argument makes no sense. some people who live on this Earth believe it's flat, that doesn't mean I have validate their beliefs or even come to a consensus over the nature of the shape of the Earth.
What makes you think that the Flat Earhers here are the ones denying the racism of a
 

It seems to me that, given the heat at present, WotC won't be releasing anything significantly based on a non-western culture for a long time, if ever. It's just not worth the risk of not recouping their sunk cost in production if there's another protest of offensive content. Better to play it safe for the foreseeable future, even though that means less creative content.
 

Galandris

Adventurer
It seems to me that, given the heat at present, WotC won't be releasing anything significantly based on a non-western culture for a long time, if ever. It's just not worth the risk of not recouping their sunk cost in production if there's another protest of offensive content. Better to play it safe for the foreseeable future, even though that means less creative content.

I agree with you, they will probably play safe in what they publish. However, even that can turn sour. Think of Aundair, a country full of "arrogant people", interested mostly in fashion and wine? A country whose canonical anthem has a line "March on ! March on!" that's copying the Marseillaise line "Marchons ! Marchons !" is case the stereotype wasn't obvious enough? If Oriental Adventure is insensitive to real-world people, Eberron is as well. And it was not published 40 years ago.

Rules-only supplement is the safe way to go :)
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
There's been alot of things shunned and boycotted due to the morality of the time. Does anyone here think those old time boycotts were right, fair and just? I get the other side used those methods a while ago but does that mean they are right? I actually think Social Media coupled with those methods are one of the biggest problems now. Imagine how different those previous boycotts would have been if they had Social Media at the time.

That's not to say we shouldn't consider the merits of the grievances. But I think we can and should consider both the grievances and the methods. Perhaps here isn't really the place to discuss the methods though?
I think boycotting is a tool, nothing more, nothing less. And like any tool, it can be used for good or evil purposes.

Don't blame the tool, blame the people using it. Or, more accurately, judge the reasons WHY a tool is being used.

Part of why various forms of boycotting are being used now is because society has been dismissive of the issues being complained about. Things have been swept under various and assorted rugs, and little of substance has been done to remedy the situations in question.

Part of the reason WHY real solutions have been ignored is because not enough people have seen the magnitude of whatever the complaint is about. And no company, institution or government is going to invest millions in changing how things are done if they believe the problem is small and fringey.

Social media makes it much easier for people to find out about and join causes that matter to them, and thus, take action. When the company, institution or government realizes they’re looking at an iceberg and not an ice cube, they can make more appropriate responses.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that the cause is just, nor that the response will be anywhere on the spectrum of desirable. But that’s life.
 
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pemerton

Legend
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.
I'm not sure what you are referring to with the word this.

I was asking whether Eberron - which I was told picked up on post-WWII Cold War themes - considers the profound impact of the Cold War outside of Europe. I think that is taught and written about, but I'm not sure if Eberron touches on it.

The idea that history is written from perspectives is also something that is taught, and written about. Uphtread I mentioned Hobson's The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation That's a book that writes about perspectives in history. And it's a book that gets taught (eg I teach it).
 

pemerton

Legend
"...The mysterious and exotic Orient, land of spices and warlords, has at last opened her gates to the West."
?????
Yes. I posted about that (on the other thread) before you quoted it here. In my view that's the most racist part of the book. The title is next-most.

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.
I can point to the Celtic Britain analogue in FR - it's called Moonshae. I can point to the Egypt analgoue in FR - it's called Mulhorand (sp? - I'm not a FR afficionado). If I knew the setting better I suspect that there would be others I can point to also.

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.
This reinforces my view that the complaint against OA is to a signficant extent a complaint of cultural appropriation.
 

Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
I agree with you, they will probably play safe in what they publish. However, even that can turn sour. Think of Aundair, a country full of "arrogant people", interested mostly in fashion and wine? A country whose canonical anthem has a line "March on ! March on!" that's copying the Marseillaise line "Marchons ! Marchons !" is case the stereotype wasn't obvious enough? If Oriental Adventure is insensitive to real-world people, Eberron is as well. And it was not published 40 years ago.

Rules-only supplement is the safe way to go :)
I definitely got that impression of Aundair being based on that country. Was probably going to use Aundair as an excuse to use the words, "Tabarnak de Calisse de Merde!" Even if that's something that only people in my country would ever say.
 

After thinking my opinion is we may see a future sourcebook "(Insert X-name here)'s guide of the far lands", practically PC races and monsters, almost all crunch.

We aren't going to see yet anything like a Kara-Tur gazetteer. It's not necessary in the internet age when you can "borrow" the maps and background from the fandom wikis of your favorite manga-anime.

The PC races need a right power balance, of course, but also an interesting concept to can create cool characters. If it's not easy to find inspiration to create a new story in a fictional work (not gameplay at all) using as main character a member of X-Race then isn't a good race. Each race has to be so cool mangaka wanted to used them in their own works.

* The power to speak with animals (by gnome and spirit-fol) could be very useful in the fiction, but not in most of hask-and-slash adventures. That racial traits by the spirit-folk/shen should can be replaced with a "racial feat".

Who wanted to play a character who is beautiful, lives happy in the nature and can speak with animals? Fans of Disney princess!!

I imagine korobokur with a kasa(hats) made with only a giant leaf, because it's their tradicional clothing. They are noble heart but with horrible social skills for the hight standard of civilitated and sophisticated people from the court or the capital city. And they would rather to live in their own commune because they are sick with the game of thrones and conspiracies in the throne (and worse when dragons and other supernatural factions are implicated in the secret fights for the power). Koroboku can be like the characters from comedy they are fun when they are too sincere

And tanuki with two bags in their inner thigh because in their culture is symbol of wealth and manhood.

The retcon for the kappa is the water in the concavity on their craniums isn't easy to be spilled because they are practically water elementals, as part of the own kappa body. it's is like a cooling system because they kappa uses their powers their brain overheated like a machine at full power.

The origin of the long of the tengu (symbol of pround and arrogance) is in the past they wore masks with long nose as sign of "don't occupy my personal space", something like the masks with beaks by the plague doctors. In the past they were members of a cult of a "dog demon" but they reject him, maybe even betray him.

* I can say that episode of the Simpsons set in Spain was ridiculous for me because the scripter said some thing aren't true, but I am not going to ask a boycott but I may explain because they are wrong and the real Spain is different.
 
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GreenTengu

Adventurer
Something that I feel very odd in regards to Fantasy that takes place in Asian settings written by Westerners-- and this is more about Legends of Five Rings that Karatur which I don't have so much familiarity with, but my only brush with it suggests it also has this element-- is this....

When the writers go and explain the world-- sure, there may be "nobles" and "peasants" and "a king". But not much emphasis is put on any of that. You aren't asked to determine exactly what social class your character has. People are not likely to be harmed or killed for having bothered someone in a higher class. There isn't emphasis put on the peasants being legally tied to the land and them trying to leave would be grounds for execution. We rarely hear of exactly how the tax system works and what the tax burden would be... and certainly the "adventurers" are not expected to be explicitly state-sanctioned in doing their wok with certain responsibilities they need to fulfill, or at least it is generally quite voluntary on the players part if they want to be involved with that.

But then they go and the write a setting with Asian themes-- suddenly, even though roughly an identical feudal system with extremely similar rules existed in Europe, it is only then that the writers feel the need to explicitly impose the details of the feudal system onto the setting. Suddenly, because it is set in an Asian-based setting, social class is massively influenced and players need to be from a particular social class or be denied tons of rights. Their relation to the "imperial system" is heavily emphasized and the it is explicitly detailed what the player's privileges, state-sanctioned powers and personal responsibilities are.

And they are all often taken to a rigorous extent beyond what really existed in Asia outside of maybe the Tokugawa Shogunite of the 1700-1800s. And often things that are explicitly horrors of European feudal system are placed in there even if they were hardly a thing in Asia.

So I always thought it was odd that when dealing with the European-based setting, one just handwaves stuff and says people are basically free and not to sweat the exact mechanical details of how all the politics work. But when dealing with an Asian-based setting, suddenly they really want to impose on players the horrors of the feudal system in order to make the whole thing seem more alien and oppressive.

And then there are other silly details-- like this idea that samurai explicitly used swords and only swords, refusing to so much as entertain using any other weapon, and building the entire class around having a magic sword-- when in reality, samurai, much like knights, started off as armored mounted horsemen and their primary weapons were spears and bows. They even used guns. And only once the samurai era was dead and gone was a large emphasis put on the swords (mostly because a ton of samurai sold everything else off to feed their drinking, gambling and um... other recreational... habits) so that the sword was the last thing left. Other than that it was just a side-arm that maybe they would have in case they were attacked inside a castle or on the streets in a city, but were not their primary weapon of war.


I really think it does everyone a massive disfavor.
 

Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
Something that I feel very odd in regards to Fantasy that takes place in Asian settings written by Westerners-- and this is more about Legends of Five Rings that Karatur which I don't have so much familiarity with, but my only brush with it suggests it also has this element-- is this....

When the writers go and explain the world-- sure, there may be "nobles" and "peasants" and "a king". But not much emphasis is put on any of that. You aren't asked to determine exactly what social class your character has. People are not likely to be harmed or killed for having bothered someone in a higher class. There isn't emphasis put on the peasants being legally tied to the land and them trying to leave would be grounds for execution. We rarely hear of exactly how the tax system works and what the tax burden would be... and certainly the "adventurers" are not expected to be explicitly state-sanctioned in doing their wok with certain responsibilities they need to fulfill, or at least it is generally quite voluntary on the players part if they want to be involved with that.

But then they go and the write a setting with Asian themes-- suddenly, even though roughly an identical feudal system with extremely similar rules existed in Europe, it is only then that the writers feel the need to explicitly impose the details of the feudal system onto the setting. Suddenly, because it is set in an Asian-based setting, social class is massively influenced and players need to be from a particular social class or be denied tons of rights. Their relation to the "imperial system" is heavily emphasized and the it is explicitly detailed what the player's privileges, state-sanctioned powers and personal responsibilities are.

And they are all often taken to a rigorous extent beyond what really existed in Asia outside of maybe the Tokugawa Shogunite of the 1700-1800s. And often things that are explicitly horrors of European feudal system are placed in there even if they were hardly a thing in Asia.

So I always thought it was odd that when dealing with the European-based setting, one just handwaves stuff and says people are basically free and not to sweat the exact mechanical details of how all the politics work. But when dealing with an Asian-based setting, suddenly they really want to impose on players the horrors of the feudal system in order to make the whole thing seem more alien and oppressive.
yeah, no, imposing rigid social hierarchies on your setting "because Asia" would be an example of Orientalism. to be fair the shogunate did make a whole to-do about social classes in an effort to legitimize their rule, but you're right in calling out how imposing this on all Asian settings is weird.

And then there are other silly details-- like this idea that samurai explicitly used swords and only swords, refusing to so much as entertain using any other weapon, and building the entire class around having a magic sword-- when in reality, samurai, much like knights, started off as armored mounted horsemen and their primary weapons were spears and bows. They even used guns. And only once the samurai era was dead and gone was a large emphasis put on the swords (mostly because a ton of samurai sold everything else off to feed their drinking, gambling and um... other recreational... habits) so that the sword was the last thing left. Other than that it was just a side-arm that maybe they would have in case they were attacked inside a castle or on the streets in a city, but were not their primary weapon of war.


I really think it does everyone a massive disfavor.
yeah I'm also constantly disappointed in official samurai options. personally I think we should have two different samurai sub-classes, one for the Sengoku era armor clad samurai who mostly fought on horses (also not exactly exclusive to Japan, so labeling it as "samurai" is weird), and another for the Edo period samurai who wanders and uses his sword to help useless villagers. yeah that last one is tropey and not realistic, but it is fun and worth exploring imo.

also while we're on tropes: ninja. I brought this up in a different thread, but I'm disappointed how they're almost entirely based on the Western interpretation of ninja that was created like 30-40 years ago and hasn't aged at all. I'd totally play a character who's sneaky and uses cool magical abilities to fight enemies. it's not like the west is ignorant of these ninja tropes either, they make their way here via Japanese pop culture, but we don't even use the tropes made up by the country where ninja come from lmao.
 

pemerton

Legend
Something that I feel very odd in regards to Fantasy that takes place in Asian settings written by Westerners-- and this is more about Legends of Five Rings that Karatur which I don't have so much familiarity with, but my only brush with it suggests it also has this element-- is this....

<snip description of typical "European" setting>

-- suddenly, even though roughly an identical feudal system with extremely similar rules existed in Europe, it is only then that the writers feel the need to explicitly impose the details of the feudal system onto the setting. Suddenly, because it is set in an Asian-based setting, social class is massively influenced and players need to be from a particular social class or be denied tons of rights. Their relation to the "imperial system" is heavily emphasized and the it is explicitly detailed what the player's privileges, state-sanctioned powers and personal responsibilities are.

And they are all often taken to a rigorous extent beyond what really existed in Asia outside of maybe the Tokugawa Shogunite of the 1700-1800s. And often things that are explicitly horrors of European feudal system are placed in there even if they were hardly a thing in Asia.
This is one of the best posts I've seen in these OA thread. Thanks.

Here is something I posted in the other thread:

what makes OA the best RPG book in the AD&D line is that it is the only one that shows how RPGing can be about something other than dungeon-crawling or other forms of puzzle-solving: it encourages the creation of characters who have meaningful connections to the world they inhabit (they have families and masters and lords and the like) and it encourages the GM to frame encounters that are meaningful expressions of the world also, and that connect to those PCs (hierarchies of spirits, who have motivations other than eating dungeon explorers; rivals and challengers; etc).

Is it a sign of racism that AD&D books which take the outlook of European-descended Americans as the default present their protagonists as rootless, aimless and essentially nihilistic; while the one book that self-consciously tries to present historical Asian cultures presents its protagonists as rooted, connected, and motivated by other- as much or even more than self-regard? Perhaps
The OA rulebook is not consistent on the importance of social class - in places it emphasises it (eg for samurai; but not too much more than UA does for cavaliers) and at other places it is relaxed about it (eg in the bushi class description and class abiities; in the description of martial artists and martial arts masters.

My reading is that there is a drive towards "history" in some fashion that is not found in the "mainstream" D&D books because they rest more heavily on pulp and other ahistorical ficiton. That drive towards "history" has some essentialist elements, I think, but also a sense of trying to be accurate or faithful. The upshot is a D&D book that supports play that is recognisabily closer to (eg) Burning Wheel or Prince Valiant than (eg) Keep on the Borderlands or Castle Greyhawk.
 

Mercurius

Legend
My reading is that there is a drive towards "history" in some fashion that is not found in the "mainstream" D&D books because they rest more heavily on pulp and other ahistorical ficiton. That drive towards "history" has some essentialist elements, I think, but also a sense of trying to be accurate or faithful. The upshot is a D&D book that supports play that is recognisabily closer to (eg) Burning Wheel or Prince Valiant than (eg) Keep on the Borderlands or Castle Greyhawk.

This makes me wonder if a future OA book would be better served by being more heavily--and explicitly--based upon wuxia, anime, and other forms of Asian popular and "pulp" depictions. This would correlate it more strongly with their Western fantasy treatments, which are far from Harn-like.
 

Something that I feel very odd in regards to Fantasy that takes place in Asian settings written by Westerners-- and this is more about Legends of Five Rings that Karatur which I don't have so much familiarity with, but my only brush with it suggests it also has this element-- is this....

When the writers go and explain the world-- sure, there may be "nobles" and "peasants" and "a king". But not much emphasis is put on any of that. You aren't asked to determine exactly what social class your character has. People are not likely to be harmed or killed for having bothered someone in a higher class. There isn't emphasis put on the peasants being legally tied to the land and them trying to leave would be grounds for execution. We rarely hear of exactly how the tax system works and what the tax burden would be... and certainly the "adventurers" are not expected to be explicitly state-sanctioned in doing their wok with certain responsibilities they need to fulfill, or at least it is generally quite voluntary on the players part if they want to be involved with that.

But then they go and the write a setting with Asian themes-- suddenly, even though roughly an identical feudal system with extremely similar rules existed in Europe, it is only then that the writers feel the need to explicitly impose the details of the feudal system onto the setting. Suddenly, because it is set in an Asian-based setting, social class is massively influenced and players need to be from a particular social class or be denied tons of rights. Their relation to the "imperial system" is heavily emphasized and the it is explicitly detailed what the player's privileges, state-sanctioned powers and personal responsibilities are.

And they are all often taken to a rigorous extent beyond what really existed in Asia outside of maybe the Tokugawa Shogunite of the 1700-1800s. And often things that are explicitly horrors of European feudal system are placed in there even if they were hardly a thing in Asia.

So I always thought it was odd that when dealing with the European-based setting, one just handwaves stuff and says people are basically free and not to sweat the exact mechanical details of how all the politics work. But when dealing with an Asian-based setting, suddenly they really want to impose on players the horrors of the feudal system in order to make the whole thing seem more alien and oppressive.

And then there are other silly details-- like this idea that samurai explicitly used swords and only swords, refusing to so much as entertain using any other weapon, and building the entire class around having a magic sword-- when in reality, samurai, much like knights, started off as armored mounted horsemen and their primary weapons were spears and bows. They even used guns. And only once the samurai era was dead and gone was a large emphasis put on the swords (mostly because a ton of samurai sold everything else off to feed their drinking, gambling and um... other recreational... habits) so that the sword was the last thing left. Other than that it was just a side-arm that maybe they would have in case they were attacked inside a castle or on the streets in a city, but were not their primary weapon of war.


I really think it does everyone a massive disfavor.


Yes, all of this and like we were discussing earlier. Knights had codes of honor, nobility did, ect. Honor was a big thing in certain european cultures.

But, if we lack an honor system we cannot possibly make a Fantasy Asia setting. Fantasy Europe, no problem, but Fantasy Asia? That requires an in-depth and detailed honor system that includes how you drink your tea and everything else.
 

Mercurius

Legend
Interesting to note that Medieval knights aren't the default warrior in D&D, probably because the primarily influences of D&D are Tolkien, Howard, and other pre-1974 fantasy authors. I may be wrong, but I don't think the 1E OA had a primary influence in literature, which is probably why its historical faux pas are more awkward.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
But then they go and the write a setting with Asian themes-- suddenly, even though roughly an identical feudal system with extremely similar rules existed in Europe, it is only then that the writers feel the need to explicitly impose the details of the feudal system onto the setting. Suddenly, because it is set in an Asian-based setting, social class is massively influenced and players need to be from a particular social class or be denied tons of rights. Their relation to the "imperial system" is heavily emphasized and the it is explicitly detailed what the player's privileges, state-sanctioned powers and personal responsibilities are.
I blame Shogun (book and TV series).

Shogun was a big part in setting off the obsession with Japan in the 80s, and it portrays a Japan that's still extremely feudalistic compared to the 17th century English society from which the viewpoint character comes. This then colored the way Westerners expected Japan to be portrayed for a long time.
 

Panda-s1

Scruffy and Determined
Yes, all of this and like we were discussing earlier. Knights had codes of honor, nobility did, ect. Honor was a big thing in certain european cultures.

But, if we lack an honor system we cannot possibly make a Fantasy Asia setting. Fantasy Europe, no problem, but Fantasy Asia? That requires an in-depth and detailed honor system that includes how you drink your tea and everything else.
??? no?
I blame Shogun (book and TV series).

Shogun was a big part in setting off the obsession with Japan in the 80s, and it portrays a Japan that's still extremely feudalistic compared to the 17th century English society from which the viewpoint character comes. This then colored the way Westerners expected Japan to be portrayed for a long time.
to my understanding Toshiro Mifune actually received a lot of flack from Japanese audiences for being in Shogun, and the show itself wasn't well by them either.
 


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