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5E How should be the future Oriental Adventures.

Retreater

Legend
A real history, culture, and mythology ninja would be pretty boring....basically a thief with disguise, lots of improvised weapons taken from farmers, and no sneak attack.

A totally divorced from history, culture, and mythology ninja would be not called a ninja.

D&D has always been a wazoo mish-mash of every single thing that could be taken from history and made into something completely fictional but fun to play as a character, or kill with a character.
Just because we've always done something one way doesn't mean we have to keep doing it that way. It's pretty clear that D&D going forward is going to have a different feel. The nostalgic editions still exist for those who want them.
I wouldn't run it out of concern of cultural appropriation and wouldn't want to squash the stereotypical behaviors from my players that would result from such a campaign at my table. But sure, let's see it for those who want it.
 

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Azzy

Newtype
(and I believe their art director Emi Tanji is of Asian descent).
Seems likely, she does have a Japanese name.

My guess is that we won't see an actual Oriental/Asian Adventures book, but that WotC will incorporate such material into specific setting books, like a Tarkir or re-vamped Kara-Tur, or perhaps a supplement with a very different title, ala Xanathar's.
Yeah, I really see it being more a setting book (or even an adventure) with a title that's appropiate to that setting or adventure.

Realistically any book dealing with Asian cultures is going to have a problem because of China. If they make a fantasy culture that is obviously based on Korea or Japan and those cultures appear to be anything less than subservient to a Chinese culture there's a chance to book won't get printed if Chinese printers are used or if Hasbro is looking to sell the book in China. That has been an issue lately or several companies
I don't think that that will be an issue, as I believe that WotC uses US printers.
 

humble minion

Adventurer
Looking back through Jade Regent, a Pathfinder Adventure Path, I can see how one can create RPG content for Asian fantasy that also isn't racist (I haven't read the whole thing so may have missed things, please point it out if I do). I think WotC can do even better.
To be fair, while Paizo certainly have the best of intentions when it comes to representation of different cultures, and while the Dragon Empires Gazetteer is a good piece of work that has analogs to places like Malaysia etc which are often ignored in settings like this, I suspect there's some aspects of Jade Regent they'd do very differently if they had their time again.

I've been rereading it recently (never run or played it) and I'm only up to chapter 5, but in the light of conversations on here and in the youtube analysis of OA that's been going around, consider:

  • the whole thing is basically a big white saviour narrative. PCs are assumed to be natives to conventional-quasi-European-fantasy-village Sandpoint, who then have to trek across the world to save the day because the people in not-Japan can't fix their own problems. This is the only time Paizo have done an adventure path in the Dragon Empires and you basically have to bend over backwards (or have mid-campaign PC deaths) to make local people the heroes.
  • the effusive use of the 'exotic' and 'mystical' and 'mysterious' etc etc cliches which drive those youtube people up the wall so much, making not-Japan seem like a weird otherworld rather than an actual place where, y'know, piles of people actually live their lives and do mundane stuff and wake up every morning etc etc.
  • the fourth installment of the path basically has an entire scene where the GM is encouraged to pull out all the 'eeew, Asian food is weird and made of strange bits of strange animals' tropes and play it for laughs and/or disgust. Seriously, it's written like something out of the 1950s.

I haven't gotten any further in my reread yet, though from the summary Chapter 5 (which is a bit of a sandbox-y part where you gather allies) looks like a tick-the-box-off-the-list tour of Japanese tropes. Go talk to a geisha, go talk to a ninja clan, go talk to a ronin...
 

The Glen

Adventurer
I don't think that that will be an issue, as I believe that WotC uses US printers.
that's only a small part of the problem. China especially lately has a problem with if you print anything they consider belittling them or idolizing their rivals they will keep your book out of their country. Even if you try to disguise it. I don't know how much Hasbro is worried about the China Market but it is something to consider
 


SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
Just because we've always done something one way doesn't mean we have to keep doing it that way. It's pretty clear that D&D going forward is going to have a different feel. The nostalgic editions still exist for those who want them.
I wouldn't run it out of concern of cultural appropriation and wouldn't want to squash the stereotypical behaviors from my players that would result from such a campaign at my table. But sure, let's see it for those who want it.
Are you speaking of publications by companies, or are you saying that since the Monasteries of Shadow (dedicated to Xan-Yae from Greyhawk) that have ninjas in their training would be something that you would not prefer if we were playing together?

I am asking, there is no intent to put owrkds in your mouth, just hoping for a better understanding,
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
However, there is a problem. In Hollywood, it is no longer acceptable for a white actor to play a non-white role. Will that mentality filter down to role playing? After all, the core of role playing is acting. Will it leave us with guidance that white DMs should not utilize non-white cultural homages in their games? Should non-white players be allowed to role play characters inspired by non-white cultures?
If you understand the reason whitewashing in film and TV is a problem, it becomes clear that this is a silly question.

Acting roles are a limited resource, for which there is a tremendous amount of competition. Asian actors are very rarely considered, let alone cast, for roles that aren’t specifically written as Asian, yet white actors are very frequently cast to play Asian characters. This makes it very, very hard to get work as an Asian actor.

In contrast, a white player playing an Asian or Asian-coded character in an RPG isn’t filling up a slot that could have otherwise gone to an Asian player. Anybody can RP whatever they want without depriving other players of the ability to fill that role.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
Just because we've always done something one way doesn't mean we have to keep doing it that way. It's pretty clear that D&D going forward is going to have a different feel. The nostalgic editions still exist for those who want them.
I wouldn't run it out of concern of cultural appropriation and wouldn't want to squash the stereotypical behaviors from my players that would result from such a campaign at my table. But sure, let's see it for those who want it.
This doesn't really have much to do with what I was talking about, so sure?

Is it possible to have a class called a ninja and not be already "culturally appropriating"? If you added to that class the attributes of being stealthy and using strange farm implement based weapons does THAT make it "culturally appropriating"? How about if you make that class native to a far away land not the center focus of the campaign?

I'm not going to get into yet another orc discussion, but just taking the most basic characteristics of something and inserting it into your fiction isn't disrespectful or appropriation.

Take Cowboy Bebop as a counter example. Should the creators feel guilty for using a western pastiche for the setting since the "Wild West" theme of cowboy hats and gunfights is traditionally considered a North and South American one?
 

On the other hand, 90% of Native Americans respond in polls that they don't have a problem with Indian sports names but a vocal 10% are always trying to force their views onto the rest of society. I assume the same thing is going on here with the word Oriental.
I was curious about this and Googled around. Found a number of places that said that the 10% number is often cited, but comes from a non-scientific opinion poll, and that more rigorous research has shown it's really about 50%, shooting up to 2/3 among those who engage in traditional practices.
 


Orcslayer78

Explorer
WOTC keeps adding MAGIC the Gathering settings to D&D, so the next Oriental Adventure will be for sure Kamigawa, then people on DMGuild will use the rules and subclasses in Kamigawa to build stuff for Kara-Tur as well.
 

Azzy

Newtype
that's only a small part of the problem. China especially lately has a problem with if you print anything they consider belittling them or idolizing their rivals they will keep your book out of their country. Even if you try to disguise it. I don't know how much Hasbro is worried about the China Market but it is something to consider
Meh, screw 'em. Can't capitulate to totalitarian authoritarism (regardless of country).
 

Azzy

Newtype
Is it possible to have a class called a ninja and not be already "culturally appropriating"? If you added to that class the attributes of being stealthy and using strange farm implement based weapons does THAT make it "culturally appropriating"? How about if you make that class native to a far away land not the center focus of the campaign?
The question I have to ask is: Why have a ninja class when the rogue currently fills that archetype or the monk subclass that's already called a ninja in its description in the PHB? There's nothing Asian archetype that I'm aware of that would remotely require a new class. You could maybe add some subclasses, but present them like the samurai subclass in Xanathar's--the only Asian coding is the name.

And, yes, it's possible to have an Asian (or whatever culture)-coded class or subclass if there's the involvement from people from that actual culture (or modern-day heirs of).*

* If I'm wrong here, someone please correct me.
 

Orcslayer78

Explorer
It's funny how you all are saying that only Asians could write about Oriental Adventures or be heavily involved in it while D&D, which core classes and monster are taken from European culture is written mostly, by Americans who have nothing to do with Europeans.
And please, spare me the common roots thing, being white doesn't mean anything, you've born and live in a country that has nothing to do with Europe, Europe and Usa have very different lifestyles.
 

humble minion

Adventurer
The question I have to ask is: Why have a ninja class when the rogue currently fills that archetype or the monk subclass that's already called a ninja in its description in the PHB? There's nothing Asian archetype that I'm aware of that would remotely require a new class. You could maybe add some subclasses, but present them like the samurai subclass in Xanathar's--the only Asian coding is the name.
Yeah, I'd agree with that. Older D&D editions tended to churn out kits or new classes that were basically 'fighter, but more Asian' etc. I don't think that's really necessary. 5e subclasses should be based around capabilities, not cultures.

I can see two real holes I can see (from my limited knowledge) where there's common Asian pop-culture archetypes that D&D doesn't really cover. First is the unarmoured wise scholar/investigator that you see in a lot of Hong Kong fantasy movies, but you could do that by making an optional Cleric modification that loses shield and medium armour proficiency in exchange for an additional proficiency, access to Investigation and Arcana, and maybe the monk's unarmoured AC bonus. Second is some sort of pet-trainer or companion-of-monsters archetype, which is all over so many different animes - the beastmaster ranger is the only attempt at this sort of thing in D&D right now, but the animal companion is an afterthought and really doesn't cut the mustard. You'd need to have a new base class to do the concept proper justice. I foresee enormous screeching about the anime-fication of D&D if the latter ever comes to be a real thing, but que sera sera...
 

Kamigawa is more like a "one-shot", after the end of the kami war it's not a very interesting setting. It's worse than Dragonlance without the heroes of the lance.

Today WotC has to worry more about a right crunch (possible new base classes, subclasses, PCs races and monsters) than a setting, about to sell the right pieces and after the own fandom will create their own homebred settings enough "politically correct".

* I suggest a little retcon of the korobukuru to be more coherent with etimilogy of its name. They wear a traditional hat made with a giant leaf, and then the name means "under a leaf".

* I like the lore of the shen/spirit folk, I imagine them like the elves' cousins but the racial traits aren't so practical.

* Japan produces more Manga comics than toilet paper. Hasbro/WotC not only wants to be really politically correct but even new multimedia franchises to be loved among the Asian markets. Think about all those webtoons you can read totally free in internet. This is a fabulous indirect promotion. Let's imagine how many fanboys who would buy D&D to can play as ersatzs/ripoff of their favorite shonen heroes. Hasbro wants to produce new IPs to can sell manga-anime-videogame and other merchadicing products. And later even a Bollywood version of D&D for the Indian market.

* Now I am awaiting the moment when somebody says Italians can't produce spaguetti Western movies because they aren't Northamericans. :LOL::LOL::ROFLMAO:

* If we have to be pollitically correct, can you create stories set in the pirate age where Spanishs is the evil empire who stopped the human sacrifices in the new world and the English the heroes who trafficked blackafrican slaves? and could Otoman empire to be used as antagonist?

* I would bet a new PC has to be created, something about kawai-kemonomimi (" cute-animal ears") because they are popular in some Asian RPGs.

* I dare to say I know how is to wear their shoes, how they feel. We can't forget that scene in Impossible Mission 2 with strange mash-up of Spanish popular festivals.

* I guess WotC will want to develope a videogame like Jade Empire by Bioware.
 



Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
WOTC keeps adding MAGIC the Gathering settings to D&D, so the next Oriental Adventure will be for sure Kamigawa, then people on DMGuild will use the rules and subclasses in Kamigawa to build stuff for Kara-Tur as well.
I very much doubt it. Kamigawa block performed very poorly and the higher-ups would much rather sweep it under the rug and make a new setting to fill the same niche than revive it.
 

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