Oriental Adventures, was it really that racist?

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MGibster

Legend
I did a double take and noticed an error on the map, almost immediately - and I pointed out to the publisher at the table. He said, "you're right!" Just a look at that map, told me, I probably would issues with this game. That was the only time I ever looked at L5R - I knew about the card game, though never played that either...
In at least one of the editions, the fact that the map of Rokugan isn't accurate is canon. Maybe you're the reason why?
 

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Rokugan is...interesting.

For one thing as a game, it's not just a "D&D style setting but Japanese". It's genuinely trying to present a setting focused on a rather different more poltical kind of gaming experience (to the extent that the upcoming 5e edition has already stated how they're going to use a fairly different take on the setting to make it more suitable for D&D style gaming). There's really not many other games that are trying to do what it does.

Secondly, it's clearly Japan for 'fans' of Japan, even though I believe they had one person with a background in Japanese studies in the original design team. This means it's not an accurate take on Japan but more a mythologised take, but then Morte d'Arthur is not an accurate take on Medieval England either. It's the legend of Japan rather than the reality. (Admittedly a legend as interpreted by westerners, which can be somewhat problematic, but not necessarily unsalvagably so).

The fact that both these things are true presented some difficulties from what I saw from the read through on the podcast. Are certain things presented the way they are for specific gaming purposes, or out of exoticist orientalism? Or both? It also didn't help that some of the people in the discussion clearly weren't all that sympathetic to the specific gaming goals (but of course not everyone is going to be).
 

MGibster

Legend
That's... certainly an opinion. Not one I agree with, but, it's certainly one take.
It is not always easy to see the difference between cultural appropriation and borrowing or exchange. Despite not having a drop of Scandinavian blood running through my vines (that I know of), if I were to produce game set in the not Viking age complete with pillaging, longboats, and runes I would likely get very few complaints about appropriation. Like I said, I'm not Scandinavian, but Vikings are nevertheless a part of my history since they encaged in cultural exchanges with all sorts of people throughout Europe, Asia, and parts of North America so maybe I'm safe there.

On the flip side, sometimes it's pretty easy to see when it's appropriation and offensive.

Edit: I would like to note for the record that I do not possess vines which blood, sap, or any other liquid is transferred. I am in fact a mammal and would like that to be known.
 
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Irlo

Hero
I do all those things! Though I'm better at some of it, more than others, but I do it all. I do publish for other author/game designers, but am too cheap to hire out art, and as good a cartographer as I'll ever otherwise find at what I charge myself for doing it, so I'll just call myself a creator. I honestly cannot conceive of creation and being thoughtless at the same time - I cannot separate the two.
Good! So you won’t be driven away from working on projects outside of your lane, because you approach your work thoughtfully.
 

Hussar

Legend
It is not always easy to see the difference between cultural appropriation and borrowing or exchange. Despite not having a drop of Scandinavian blood running through my vines (that I know of), if I were to produce game set in the not Viking age complete with pillaging, longboats, and runes I would likely get very few complaints about appropriation. Like I said, I'm not Scandinavian, but Vikings are nevertheless a part of my history since they encaged in cultural exchanges with all sorts of people throughout Europe, Asia, and parts of North America so maybe I'm safe there.

On the flip side, sometimes it's pretty easy to see when it's appropriation and offensive.

Oh for sure. It’s a complex issue that gets made even more complex by the feelings of everyone involved. You see it all the time where saying that Work X has problems and people immediately take that to mean accusations that the creator is bad.

So yeah totally agree that it’s not simple in any way.
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
When the critics are advocating for censorship, things get less cut and dried. I've seen critics calling for censorship IN THIS THREAD! One posted feels that the original and 3.5 OA shouldn't be available in PDF.

This is a curious paragraph. It seems to suggest that the mere unavailability of the PDF, whoever makes the decision to stop selling it, would be censorship. I'm sure you know the definition of censorship, so I'm puzzled.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
This is a curious paragraph. It seems to suggest that the mere unavailability of the PDF, whoever makes the decision to stop selling it, would be censorship. I'm sure you know the definition of censorship, so I'm puzzled.
Out of curiosity - Do those pdf rights allow say a library to lend out the pdf?
 

Voadam

Legend
This is a curious paragraph. It seems to suggest that the mere unavailability of the PDF, whoever makes the decision to stop selling it, would be censorship. I'm sure you know the definition of censorship, so I'm puzzled.
ACLU definition

Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive," happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional.

In contrast, when private individuals or groups organize boycotts against stores that sell magazines of which they disapprove, their actions are protected by the First Amendment, although they can become dangerous in the extreme. Private pressure groups, not the government, promulgated and enforced the infamous Hollywood blacklists during the McCarthy period.

Wikiepedia definition

Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication, or other information. This may be done on the basis that such material is considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or "inconvenient". Censorship can be conducted by governments, private institutions and other controlling bodies.

Merriam Webster definition

transitive verb
: to examine in order to suppress (see suppress sense 2) or delete anything considered objectionable
censor the news
also
: to suppress or delete as objectionable
censor out indecent passages


The U.S. Constitutional First Amendment Rights deal with protection from the government.

Censorship is a broader concept than just government suppression of ideas. Government censorship is a subset of censoring.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Has anyone else noticed that orcs and drow are believed to be too similar to depictions of one particular race/culture and OA is criticized for not being similar enough of certain races/cultures.

Anyways back to your regularly scheduled programming. Beep. beep. boop. bop.
 

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