D&D General "Red Orc" American Indians and "Yellow Orc" Mongolians in D&D


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Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
the Spanish empire wasn't the "evil empire" if we compare with the actions by the rest
(I know you can't respond, but this is still relevant to the discussion as a whole.)
Counterpoint: All empires are evil. It's inherent in being an empire. I am very willing to call the actions of the English Empire evil, and those of the French Empire, and the Spanish Empire, and the Roman Empire, and the actions of the American Empire, and the "empire" of Alexander the Great, and so on and so on.

So, no, "whatabout X empire in comparison" is not a valid response. All of them did evil things.
 
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Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
(I know you can't respond, but this is still relevant to the discussion as a whole.)
Counterpoint: All empires are evil. It's inherent in being an empire. I am very willing to call the actions of the English Empire evil, and those of the French Empire, and the Spanish Empire, and the Roman Empire, and the actions of the American Empire, and the "empire" of Alexander the Great.

So, no, "whatabout X empire in comparison" is not a valid response. All of them did evil things.
An other term for "empire" is, "predatory economy".

Despite being ubiquitous in human history, the predation seems obviously unethical.
 

We are still living with the effects of European and American imperialism. Many countries around the world gained their independence within living memory. The appropriation of land, extraction of resources, and destruction of the environment still profoundly effect peoples across the world in uneven and unequal ways...and all of this violence is still ongoing. Finally, and particularly important for our purposes here, the forms of representation and narratives produced in those recent times still inform the worldview, implicitly or explicitly, of contemporary people in the global north. So the narratives that come under scrutiny in fantasy are those that pertain to this very recent history.
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
I feel like one purpose in examining works in the past is to learn how to do better. TSR should have done better. They should have recognized the racism and just mean quality of this work. And they didn't.
I'm going to guess that TSR decided that it was "clearly" supposed to be a joke and felt that nobody would be really offended because it was so clearly a joke. And didn't realize that "I was only joking" doesn't actually excuse anything.
 

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
I'm going to guess that TSR decided that it was "clearly" supposed to be a joke and felt that nobody would be really offended because it was so clearly a joke. And didn't realize that "I was only joking" doesn't actually excuse anything.
For all the problems that OA and al-Qadim had, at least they, for the most part, tried to honor the societies they emulated. That's always better than insults, even if intended to be humor
 

Mirtek

Hero
As for the Conquistadors
We could ask the people of Tenochtitlan how good the Spanish were, but they're nearly entirely and completely dead after their city was razed
But they razed it not just with their couple of hundred troops that were, even with their steel and guns, vastly outmatched by the aztec army. They fell because they've been an oppressive empire of their own and the subjugated tribes rose as willing auxiliaries to the spainiards to bring down the hated oppressors (little did they expect to trade them for an even worse oppressor)
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Okay, I see what you're getting at Voadam. And I see the relevance.

I just don't want to make scattershot accusations where it's not certain. I try to focus on what is certain. And text is often more straightforward than imagery.



Ruin Explorer, I generally agree with how you characterize my approach and research limitations.

I can see that the first image Voadam shared could be interpreted as a parody of a Black woman. The modern-style spandex top contributes to that perception. Yet it's not as straightforward as the textual elements. If this illustration was for a "Black Orcs" section of the book, then it would be certain. I'm definitely willing to call TSR/WotC/Hasbro to the carpet; but analyzing stereotypical motifs within imagery is beyond my expertise, unless it's certainly obvious. Still, Voadam, you make a valid point.

As for the image of breakdancing and the boombox. As others have expressed, my initial impression is that it is a primarily a parody of punk culture (the mohawk and piercings), of boombox culture, and of breakdancing culture. I could see that the fact that breakdancing arose in an African American context could be problematic. I'm not sure of the nuances here though. If any of the humanoids were depicted with Black/African physiognomy (e.g. kinky hair or black skin), it would be more obviously problematic.

Yes, there's a parody of the Mesoamerican Ballgame. I acknowledge that the goofy depiction of the Mesoamerican Ballgame is an appropriation of Nahuatl / Indigenous Mexica culture. I wonder what parameters a professional Nahuatl cultural consultant would suggest in regard to fantasy depictions of the Mesoamerican Ballgame.

I've started to look more closely at the Oenkmar chapter. Yet another reason for my "skipping" over that chapter is that I have not seen a racial slur associated with the Oenkmarians, in the way that the term "red orcs" and "yellow orcs" are close to real-world racial slurs. My goal in the OP was not to document every real-world cultural motif which is found in GAZ10 (or Mystara as a whole!). I went into extra detail with "Red Orcland" and "Yellow Orkia" simply to nail down the fact that the racial terms "red" and "yellow" are definitely referring to "Indigenous American" and "East Asian" parodies.

Yet I'll state again that my research is not inherently opposed to fantasy adaptations of Mesoamerican, Indigenous North American, or East Asian cultural elements. My research is opposed to racial slurs of any sort, and to disrespectful adaptations of real world cultures, especially marginalized / indigenous cultures.

Just remembered something. Some Maori here don't believe in the commercialization of their culture full stop.

Basically they can gift you things eg craftwork such as a carved pounamu necklace. But your not supposed to sell it.
But they razed it not just with their couple of hundred troops that were, even with their steel and guns, vastly outmatched by the aztec army. They fell because they've been an oppressive empire of their own and the subjugated tribes rose as willing auxiliaries to the spainiards to bring down the hated oppressors (little did they expect to trade them for an even worse oppressor)

Tlaxcala got treated reasonably well in the Spanish imperial system.

There's new evidence coming out of Peru where the Spanish over exaggerated their contributions and the indigenous people like did most of the fighting (they've found the bodies with wounds postdating Spanish arrival inflicted with indigenous weapons).

Aztecs were to brutal similar to Assyria, Inca Empire was also unstable. Ithadn't been around long enough to stabilize their conquests so it wasn't to hard to find help.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
But they razed it not just with their couple of hundred troops that were, even with their steel and guns, vastly outmatched by the aztec army. They fell because they've been an oppressive empire of their own and the subjugated tribes rose as willing auxiliaries to the spainiards to bring down the hated oppressors (little did they expect to trade them for an even worse oppressor)
Also nine tenths of the population has already died from diseases like swine flu (which spread from pigs released into Florida all the way across the country), so all the power structures were a mess. Folks who wanted more power took advantage of the Spanish invasion to take down those in charge.
 

bedir than

Full Moon Storyteller
But they razed it not just with their couple of hundred troops that were, even with their steel and guns, vastly outmatched by the aztec army. They fell because they've been an oppressive empire of their own and the subjugated tribes rose as willing auxiliaries to the spainiards to bring down the hated oppressors (little did they expect to trade them for an even worse oppressor)
Yes, then the Spanish killed them too.

This isn't the proof of the goodness of Conquistadors
 

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