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Kara-Tur vs Rokugan

Which setting do you prefer for your Oriental Adventures

  • Kara-Tur

    Votes: 56 58.9%
  • Rokugan

    Votes: 19 20.0%
  • Uh... why not Dragon Empires?

    Votes: 1 1.1%
  • Lemoncurry

    Votes: 19 20.0%

  • Total voters
    95
I have no problem being associated with Indians and Pakistanis or Filipinos (though most North Americans do not think of Indians or Pakistanis as being Asian), but the usage of "Oriental" in North America in my view, is the equivalent of "Negro" when referring to other people, it's not necessarily an offensive term but it's a dated one.
American resident here, under no circumstances is the word "negro" considered appropriate unless you're literally a teacher (and you better be reading something like Mark Twain).

Oriental is also very frowned upon, especially in any larger city, even more-so the coast. It's largely viewed as lumping together several different cultures together that are only very broadly related by geography.

So yes, both words are considered offensive. Only the elderly can get away with saying them now without being called on it, and they'll get some eye rolls.

EDIT: And before someone says "Ah but Americans are so sensitive, yada yada," it's true, I live in Seattle, a very PC place. But you know who else is in Seattle? Wizards of the Coast. The word Oriental isn't going to be in a product's title period, it's not even worth debating.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Re: Oriental

It’s fine when applied to objects and regions, not so much at all if applied to people.. So Oriental Adventures is just fine as a descriptor for “adventures set in the Orient” (which is how I read it), not so much if it were “the adventures of some people from the Eastern Continents”.
 

Mycroft

Explorer
Re: Oriental
It’s fine when applied to objects and regions, not so much at all if applied to people.
See, where I come from (not Planet America), that is a misconception. I know many people here in the UK that insist on being called Oriental, rather than Asian.
 

Kobold Avenger

Explorer
See, where I come from (not Planet America), that is a misconception. I know many people here in the UK that insist on being called Oriental, rather than Asian.
From my experience no one in Canada likes being referred to as Oriental. It may come down to demographics, there are a lot of Canadians including myself who are of Chinese backgrounds. Chinese Canadians outnumber the Canadians of Indian backgrounds, therefore we've made the term Asian synonymous with being Chinese (or Korean/Vietnamese/Japanese/Filipino). The same applies for the USA. I suspect it might be the same in Australia as a fairly significant amount of Aussies are of Chinese backgrounds.
 

gyor

Adventurer
From my experience no one in Canada likes being referred to as Oriental. It may come down to demographics, there are a lot of Canadians including myself who are of Chinese backgrounds. Chinese Canadians outnumber the Canadians of Indian backgrounds, therefore we've made the term Asian synonymous with being Chinese (or Korean/Vietnamese/Japanese/Filipino). The same applies for the USA. I suspect it might be the same in Australia as a fairly significant amount of Aussies are of Chinese backgrounds.
Depends on what part of Canada. In the GTA.Markham is mostly Chinese, Brampton mostly East Indian, and so on.
 

gyor

Adventurer
From my experience no one in Canada likes being referred to as Oriental. It may come down to demographics, there are a lot of Canadians including myself who are of Chinese backgrounds. Chinese Canadians outnumber the Canadians of Indian backgrounds, therefore we've made the term Asian synonymous with being Chinese (or Korean/Vietnamese/Japanese/Filipino). The same applies for the USA. I suspect it might be the same in Australia as a fairly significant amount of Aussies are of Chinese backgrounds.
Depends on what part of Canada. In the GTA.Markham is mostly Chinese, Brampton mostly East Indian, and so on.
 

Kobold Avenger

Explorer
Depends on what part of Canada. In the GTA.Markham is mostly Chinese, Brampton mostly East Indian, and so on.
Indians are mostly in Surrey or parts of South Vancouver, Chinese are in Richmond, Burnaby, parts of East Vancouver and spread out in other parts the Vancouver metropolitan area.

But overall the point is to the previous argument that Canada, is not like the UK where Chinese are a small population compared to the number of Indians in the UK. So it's generally the demographics which determine what group gets associated with Asian in a country.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
Indians are mostly in Surrey or parts of South Vancouver, Chinese are in Richmond, Burnaby, parts of East Vancouver and spread out in other parts the Vancouver metropolitan area.

But overall the point is to the previous argument that Canada, is not like the UK where Chinese are a small population compared to the number of Indians in the UK. So it's generally the demographics which determine what group gets associated with Asian in a country.
Oriental also has the connotations of orientalism where everything from the basically the Middle-East through to Japan is lumped under exotic, weird, and static by Europeans. Look at the Orient Express route, it ran (runs? Is it still a thing?) from Paris to Istanbul. You know, seat of the Eastern Roman Empire, the place that is still considered part of Europe. But it wasn't Christian so it was exotic and strange.

Look at the story of Aladdin, its sent in the "Orient", usually depicted as vaguely Chinese in illustrations, but everything about story says Arabia. This why Oriental tends not to be entirely appropriate, it is both too broad and incorrect to be fair.

To truly represent some of the cultures in Middle-East through to South-East Asia and the Indian Subcontinent requires a huge amount of work. We're all generally familiar in Europe and North-America with certain bits of European history and myth. I can probably talk about using Zeus in an RPG and not have to explain too much. If I make references to something from the Upanishads, the Mahabharata, or Kojiki that I want to adapt to D&D then I'm going to have to explain, a lot more.

There's also the distinct problem that most Asian religions are still actively practiced. Hindus are probably the group of people with the oldest extant religion in the world. Roughly 80% of Indians identify as Hindus, that's 1.5 billion people that whose way of life that can be turned into a crumby pastiche meant to amuse me.

A non-D&D example and a video game: Dragon Age. There's a schism between the two Chantries in the games. This shares history with real European history (several points actually), something most people are familiar at least in principle. There are similar schisms that are equally as important in Asia, but they have to be explained in greater detail and can't rely on cultural osmosis to fill in the blanks. Because that detail takes away word count other areas either end up as old stereotypes that were never accurate or recycle something modern from the region that is based on its own history and locals recognize as a fantastic/absurd as Minsc and Boo but we don't have the cultural backing to identify as being abnormal.
 
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jayoungr

Explorer
Can we please not go down a road that will get this thread locked? Maybe just agree that it's a word that (rightly or wrongly) bothers some people and not others, and get back to talking about the merits of various settings?
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
Can we please not go down a road that will get this thread locked? Maybe just agree that it's a word that (rightly or wrongly) bothers some people and not others, and get back to talking about the merits of various settings?
That's probably a good idea. I'd expect that if WotC does produce a Far East inspired setting I expect they'll recycle Kara-Tur and call it some thing like Elminster's Travel Guide to Kara-Tur.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
Look at the Orient Express route, it ran (runs? Is it still a thing?)
I don’t know if it’s still operational today, but I know it was still a thing back in the 1990s. I had a chance to go on it for a continuing legal education class, but couldn’t afford the price.
 

gyor

Adventurer
That's probably a good idea. I'd expect that if WotC does produce a Far East inspired setting I expect they'll recycle Kara-Tur and call it some thing like Elminster's Travel Guide to Kara-Tur.
I think it will be like that as well, but not Elminister.
 

Psyzhran2357

Villager
Fai Chen's Guide to Kara-Tur
Nah, they're probably gonna make it something that obliquely references it like: A report to the Royal Council of Evermeet on the nations of Shou Lung, Wa, Koryo, and the surrounding regions; and how best to counter their Spelljamming ambitions and curb their threat to Tel'Quessir interests.
 

amethal

Explorer
I don’t know if it’s still operational today, but I know it was still a thing back in the 1990s. I had a chance to go on it for a continuing legal education class, but couldn’t afford the price.
The Orient Express is still running, and still very expensive.
 

Desdichado

Adventurer
I have no problem being associated with Indians and Pakistanis or Filipinos (though most North Americans do not think of Indians or Pakistanis as being Asian), but the usage of "Oriental" in North America in my view, is the equivalent of "Negro" when referring to other people, it's not necessarily an offensive term but it's a dated one.
Your view is wrong and designed to cause trouble. Please stop. It's offensive to run around pretending to be offended all of the time.
 

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