D&D 5E Oriental Adventures 5e: How would you do it?

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Stormonu

Legend
Did you know that all of Europe is about the same size as 94% of China? Lumping China, India, Japan, Korea, and other cultures in that continent is... just extremely reductionist.
I care not; Slavic culture in nothing like the French, but D&D lumps them into one fantasy world anyway.
 

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I would stay away from it, as I don't have any connection to it. I would however love to read it if it was done by people familiar with oriental culure.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
I wouldn't exoticize Asian or any other elements at all be putting them into a special book. What a lot of people kind of forget is that the D&D world isn't ours. The practices that emerged in Asian or Africa or anywhere else aren't necessarily going to be portioned off far away from the fake European stuff. There would be different fusions and evolutions of culture.

I'd just start adding things into books and UA material and just having it just be part of the default D&D tool box. Next big book? Maybe there's a Ninja Rogue or a Samurai Fighter. New equipment comes out and there's a katana as well as a boomerang and a chakram. The monster books start having lungs and hopping vampires and were-hyenas (actually no. If you know what they're all about... no) in addition to the strictly European concepts of Oni and Ten--I mean Kenku that we already have.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Follow up question. Why is putting every Asian culture in a blender and taking elements for your setting wrong. Have we not done the same to European cultures with most D&D settings?
It's not wrong per se... if everything else was equal. But the problem is that (white) Westerners have always lumped all people of whatever region together. All Africans are the same, all Asians are the same, etc. Which isn't OK.

So while there shouldn't be a problem blending various Asian countries together the way a thousand years of European countries have been blended together for typical D&D setting... well, there is.

Must be an american thing. Funny how they make a fuss about a term like oriental but are fine with how the vistani are presented in CoS. That would be a no-go from an european POV
A while ago, I had a "conversation" on reddit with someone who was completely fine about how the Vistani were depicted because, in this person's experience (he said he lived in Romania) "half of all Romani are thieves and drunks anyway, so it's accurate." And going by Wikipedia, there's still a lot of bigotry towards Romani in Europe, so I don't think that it's just "an American thing."
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
I care not; Slavic culture in nothing like the French, but D&D lumps them into one fantasy world anyway.
So instead of saying "They've been lumping in European cultures together so why not Asian", wouldn't a better solution be "Let's not lump all east Asian cultures together, and let's put out material that distinguishes the various European cultures."? There's nothing to my knowledge that is preventing anyone from doing a European sourcebook that highlights the different cultures in Europe.

I'm reminded of a quote: "There are two types of people in the world--those who say "It happened to me, so why not everyone else." and "it happened to me, so I don't want anyone else to go through the same thing."
 


Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
I care not; Slavic culture in nothing like the French, but D&D lumps them into one fantasy world anyway.

I mean, 5E doesn't really. Nothing in the Sword Coast stands out to me as particularly Slavic (or French either). Maybe the closest would be Icewind Dale, but hey that region got its own adventure book!
 

Filthy Lucre

Adventurer
"Let's not lump all east Asian cultures together, and let's put out material that distinguishes the various European cultures."
Because that's not necessary, at all.

While Asia is just as, probably even more, diverse from Europe it's wildly foolish to say that there are not common cultural threads that run throughout East Asia. This is especially true where Korea/Japan/China are concerned, since their histories, culture, languages are inextricably tangled together from millennia of interaction.

I do not find bastardized/"reduced" Medieval European inspired fantasy offensive. I do not find bastardized/"reduced" East Asian inspired fantasy offensive.

If the fantasy depiction of our "Asian" analog had buck teeth, squinting eyes, and tottered around clumsily I would find THAT offensive.
 

Stormonu

Legend
So instead of saying "They've been lumping in European cultures together so why not Asian", wouldn't a better solution be "Let's not lump all east Asian cultures together, and let's put out material that distinguishes the various European cultures."? There's nothing to my knowledge that is preventing anyone from doing a European sourcebook that highlights the different cultures in Europe.

I'm reminded of a quote: "There are two types of people in the world--those who say "It happened to me, so why not everyone else." and "it happened to me, so I don't want anyone else to go through the same thing."
There are already several RPGs that do break out western cultures into more specific subgroups. But frankly, they’re not D&D. D&D is a kitchen sink fantasy world that tries to cover as many tropes and stereotypes as it can with one big brush. For a D&D book, I’d rather broad strokes I can break down further rather than too-specific a book I need dozens of to run the game I want.

Would I object to, for example, a Three Kingdoms D&D RPG? No, but if I can get one that covers China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Siam, Burmese, Thailand and half a dozen others in one volume I’d appreciate that more.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
The first thing I would do if I were creating Oriental Adventures 5E is float the idea on an internet forum just to see whether anybody reacts negatively to the word "Oriental."
Or you could look it up. From what I read when I googled "is the word oriental offensive," the consensus seemed to be "the word itself isn't offensive but can be used in an offensive way, mostly when it's used to Other and 'Exoticize' Asians."
 

I think there is a good reason to lump the Asian cultures, precisatly to be more politically correct. Somebody could use the fictional equivalent of that nation to show his own predjudices. For example the oni/mage-ogres as an analogy of the imperial Japanese invaders for the second world war, the Jiang-Shi (jumping vampires..).. Even people with the same roots can have got very different points of view, for example a Chinese-speaker from Beijing, Hong-Kong, Taiwan and Chinatown in san Francisco. Chinese censorship is very hard, and some videogames have changed some things, for example a skin of Fornite replacing the skull with other face.


---

Hasbro has got contacts and links with some Chinese, Sourth-Korean and Japanese companies. Hasbro sinceretly wants to be loved by the different Asian markets, and they are the first ones to want to avoid those troubles.

I guess the first step is to publish only "crunch", allowing other to create their own flurr/lore/background, and let's await the reaction by the rest.

(Do allow me to publish this as possible source of inspiration).


 
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Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
This is especially true where Korea/Japan/China are concerned, since their histories, culture, languages are inextricably tangled together from millennia of interaction.
The very fact that you would make this comment in support of lumping all of them together into a generic thing is exactly why the problem exists in the first place. Having lived in Korea for several years myself, this approach is highly offensive to many Koreans, who have spent literal centuries fighting to keep their culture alive from invaders (Japan on several occasions). I'm sure your "I'm not offended" by lumping them together gives little comfort to the people you're talking about. You're talking about a culture that literally, on more than one occasion, suffered from occupiers that tried to erase their history, culture, and even language from existence. So just lumping them into Japan/Chinese hybrid is...very problematic to say the least.
 

Filthy Lucre

Adventurer
The very fact that you would make this comment in support of lumping all of them together into a generic thing is exactly why the problem exists in the first place. Having lived in Korea for several years myself, this approach is highly offensive to many Koreans, who have spent literal centuries fighting to keep their culture alive from invaders (Japan on several occasions). I'm sure your "I'm not offended" by lumping them together gives little comfort to the people you're talking about.
Bold of you to assume my cultural heritage.

Does Korean culture, Japanese culture, and Chinese culture skew more collectivist, or more individualistic? Since you lived in Korea you know the answer to this question; I just don't know whether or not you've got the intellectual honesty to admit it. Because if the answer is 'yes' then I am correct in saying that common threads run through their culture and it demonstrates you're just outrage mongering/splitting hairs.
 

Retreater

Legend
I like the way Coyote & Crow and Harlem Unbound are doing it. Get a group of talented creators from that background. Let them organize it and tell their story. Let them tell gamers how to play it respectfully and to educate us who are open to learning.
In the case of what's happened in D&D until now, let them take what they want and drop the rest.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
Bold of you to assume my cultural heritage.

where in my quote did I assume what your heritage is? Point it out please?
Does Korean culture, Japanese culture, and Chinese culture skew more collectivist, or more individualistic? Since you lived in Korea you know the answer to this question; I just don't know whether or not you've got the intellectual honesty to admit it.

That has nothing to do with how they are portrayed in the game, from artwork to text to other presentations. And you know it, since that's the topic of what this discussion is about. Hint: don't accuse others of lacking in intellectual honest immediately after making a strawman.
 

Filthy Lucre

Adventurer
where in my quote did I assume what your heritage is? Point it out please?


That has nothing to do with how they are portrayed in the game, from artwork to text to other presentations. And you know it, since that's the topic of what this discussion is about.
1.) "...comfort to the people you're talking about." Implicitly assumes I am other than those people.
2.) The topic has clearly shifted toward whether or not, in premise, "it is ok to draw from many different, but unarguably interconnected, cultures to create a bastardized analog". So my comments are entirely on point. To make it very clear since I think you, (intentionally), missed my point is that there DO exist common threads among Eastern cultures to draw from just as there DO exist common threads among Western cultures to draw from.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
1.) "...comfort to the people you're talking about." Implicitly assumes I am other than those people.
2.) The topic has clearly shifted toward whether or not, in premise, "it is ok to draw from many different, but inarguably interconnected, cultures to create a bastardized analog". So my comments are entirely on point.

Inferring that you're not Korean is not the same as inferring or assuming what your heritage is. Those are different things.

And no, your comment is not on point, because it displays a huge ignorance of the history of that region.
 


Stormonu

Legend
The very fact that you would make this comment in support of lumping all of them together into a generic thing is exactly why the problem exists in the first place. Having lived in Korea for several years myself, this approach is highly offensive to many Koreans, who have spent literal centuries fighting to keep their culture alive from invaders (Japan on several occasions). I'm sure your "I'm not offended" by lumping them together gives little comfort to the people you're talking about. You're talking about a culture that literally, on more than one occasion, suffered from occupiers that tried to erase their history, culture, and even language from existence. So just lumping them into Japan/Chinese hybrid is...very problematic to say the least.
So I guess it would be a problem if we mix French and German in a fantasy environment?
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
I don't see you responding to the substantive/on topic portion of my post.

I'm struggling to find the substance of your post. Yes, these countries all border each other and have a degree of shared history. Beyond that, I find there is little that unites these countries that merits them lumped into the same book. I don't even think the "collective vs. individualistic" thing is even true for some of these countries.
 

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