D&D General The Rakshasa and Genie Problem

I have asked you before: what do you want D&D to be? What kind of content do you want to actually be in the books? I haven't heard anything from you about what you actually like (and if you have put it out there I apologize), just what you have a problem with. What's your ideal D&D?
I'm not the person you asked, but I feel this is an excellent question to answer, so I'll take the plunge if you're okay with that.

For my part, D&D is four things: a game, and primarily a cooperative one; a fantastical collaboration (which may or may not be "a story"); an expression and/or exploration of myth, legend, culture, and history; and a social activity, both for each individual group that plays it at a specific table, and for folks like you and I who engage with one another across and between such groups.

D&D-as-game: I don't want to exclude the possibility of competitive approaches to D&D, because those exist and are valid, but I consider it self-evident that the fundamental, rock-bottom essence of D&D-as-game is cooperative rather than competitive. The fact that it is fundamentally a cooperative game (even if it can also be a competitive one) means that it should, up to a reasonable standard, treat distinct approaches of play equally, especially if they are in principle billed as equal things. For example, nothing in the game indicates that specific races or classes stand out from the rest, so these things should be within some reasonable range of "equal" to one another--that does not mean perfect lockstep exactitude, but it does mean that I should be able to reasonably get a similar level of participation and contribution by choosing to play a Fighter as I would by choosing to play a Sorcerer. The specific kinds of participation and contribution may (indeed, I would argue should) be different in at least some ways, but they should be reasonably commensurate regardless of class chosen. (Races are slightly different, since they affect stats, and stats are clearly described for what impact they should have; but up to differences in stats, it shouldn't be unreasonably more useful to play an Elf than to play a Dragonborn or whatever.)

This is a long-winded way of saying that, as a cooperative game, D&D should have reasonable and well-supported balance between options billed as equal. There are further things involved here, such as my belief that a well-made ongoing game requires the ability to make informed decisions and to learn from past mistakes, but this section has already grown overlong.

D&D-as-fantastical-collaboration: Using this phrasing in part because I understand that, for many, D&D doesn't have or need any story element per se, or any story should always arise after rather than occur "in the moment" or be planned beforehand. I think even those folks, though, would agree that apart from the actual gaming component, the players and the DM are collaborating in order to have an enjoyable experience. The previous section was about what I think the rules should be; this and later sections are about what I think the practice should be. Because rules =/= practice; it's a difference between the syntax of a language and the semantic content of specific expressions.

But as to what this means, we're in it together, all of us, whichever side of the screen we sit on. We treat each other with respect, and we respect the spirit of the game. Ideally, if the previous section was well-designed, there should never be any need for practice to override the rules, because the rules exist only to serve the practice and for no other purpose. Such things are difficult, though, and thus there may be times when practice should override the letter of the rules, in order to preserve the spirit thereof. However, that should be done with caution, since (as alluded to above) "balance" is in some sense also part of the spirit of the rules, and overriding the rules carries a significant risk of violating that spirit. Apart from rules, though, this is where things like what counts as an "exploit" vs "creatively using the rules" is decided, where campaign premises and monster selection occur, where the amount of player participation in the creation of the world is decided. There are no singular right answers here, though there may still be wrong ones, e.g. players should not be permitted to be coercive or exploitative, and DMs should not extort or manipulate their players. Coercion and manipulation aren't collaboration, they're control.

D&D-as-mythopoeia: I absolutely love the fact that D&D enables one to explore alternate metaphysics, cosmology, and even epistemology, where the very grounding of what is real or true can be examined. Even for people who don't really want to delve into such aspects, though, D&D is an opportunity to bring out all sorts of wonderful ideas and stories from cultures and groups around the world. There are so many perspectives to explore, it's almost daunting to pick just one! (This is part of why I have such a hard time understanding the constant, almost obsessive-seeming emphasis on "always vaguely-European, always pseudo-Medieval, always Tolkien-esque, always gritty, always traditional," etc. It just seems so confining and closed-off, like having a genie who can magically summon whatever food you want whenever you like and always requesting pizza, usually pepperoni but sometimes going a little wild and getting combination or--the scandal!--Hawaiian.)

This is where the "research into other cultures" stuff comes in, from two directions. One, if I'm to understand anything about a different perspective, I have to show it a minimum of respect, as established in the previous section. That means at least making a good-faith effort to understand its context and message. As before, I don't demand perfection of anybody. I just don't see "try to understand where they're coming from" as some horrible onerous burden, instead I see it as a demonstration of respect. When dealing with things or people you don't know, it is almost always better to be more respectful than necessary, rather than less; I have never regretted being too respectful with things or people I didn't know, but have absolutely regretted failing to be sufficiently respectful. Two, this enriches me as both a person generally and as a DM specifically! I am better able to develop cool and interesting experiences because I have explored so many things and listened to so many perspectives. As DM, I have to play every NPC and creature of the world. By necessity I must portray a diversity of experiences. Exposing myself to more real perspectives and experiences is the best way to practice those skills!

D&D-as-social-activity: Not as much to say on this one. It is what it says on the tin. Some of this was already covered above (e.g. be respectful to the other participants), but it also covers "meta" components of play, like discussions on forums like these, or pursuing art or products I consider worthwhile, or in various other ways being part of the community of people who play D&D. As a community, we have certain rights both individual and collective; and associated with every right is, necessarily, a duty. In society at large, the right to freedom of expression entails a duty not to restrict the expression of others--though it does not entail a duty to witness or engage. In the D&D community, we have a right to engage with the game as we so choose, up to the point of harming others' engagement; and we have a duty to respect the ways others engage, up to the limits of what is acceptable (which generally means "non-harmful.")

So. With ALL of that said, I hope you can see why I find full-throated and respectful articulation of cultural elements to be an important goal--particularly those elements that are often neglected or, worse, simply tacky trappings "lazily used" to quote an above poster. That's why I advocated what I did early in the thread. It's not, at all, a matter of snatching others' toys away and scolding them for using them wrong, as many alarmists in this thread have already said or implied. Nor is it a matter of a "slippery slope" toward "everything stays in its own box." It's a matter of gaining understanding, enriching my game (and, as a consequence, myself, which is always nice), and showing respect to others.

Though I think he was being a bit over-dramatic, Gygax described the DM as needing comprehensive knowledge on a huge variety of topics--architecture, geography, ecology, tactics, language--in order to construct a campaign worth playing in. I don't think you need to be encyclopedic on those things, but being conversant in them helps a great deal. You can't really become conversant in (say) archaeology--which is quite likely to be relevant for many adventurers in their delving!--unless you actually read about and research what things occur archaeologically. It doesn't have to be a big thing.

As an example, I had had a vague notion that bas relief was A Thing What's Found A Lot at archaeological sites, so I mentioned it in passing several times. One of my players picked up on that, and has now said his character wants to learn how to sculpt so that he can contribute his own wisdom for the ages in a similar fashion. That made me realize I didn't really know why I'd heard about it so much, so I went looking. After an hour or so of Googling, the consensus was that relief sculpture in general is much sturdier than "sculpture in the round," and bas relief specifically tends to be very sturdy, able to survive thousands of years even under some amount of weathering conditions. (Consider, for example, the open-air temples of Egypt with their sunken-relief walls: weathered, yes, but still discernible despite at least a millennium of neglect!) That's enough work, in my book, to have given a good-faith effort at understanding and respecting this aspect of the field of archaeology. I wouldn't dream of demanding a degree in the field or anything nearly so onerous. But doing a little research and making a conscious decision seems like the least one can do when investing a campaign with something.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

I'm not the person you asked, but I feel this is an excellent question to answer, so I'll take the plunge if you're okay with that.

For my part, D&D is four things: a game, and primarily a cooperative one; a fantastical collaboration (which may or may not be "a story"); an expression and/or exploration of myth, legend, culture, and history; and a social activity, both for each individual group that plays it at a specific table, and for folks like you and I who engage with one another across and between such groups.

D&D-as-game: I don't want to exclude the possibility of competitive approaches to D&D, because those exist and are valid, but I consider it self-evident that the fundamental, rock-bottom essence of D&D-as-game is cooperative rather than competitive. The fact that it is fundamentally a cooperative game (even if it can also be a competitive one) means that it should, up to a reasonable standard, treat distinct approaches of play equally, especially if they are in principle billed as equal things. For example, nothing in the game indicates that specific races or classes stand out from the rest, so these things should be within some reasonable range of "equal" to one another--that does not mean perfect lockstep exactitude, but it does mean that I should be able to reasonably get a similar level of participation and contribution by choosing to play a Fighter as I would by choosing to play a Sorcerer. The specific kinds of participation and contribution may (indeed, I would argue should) be different in at least some ways, but they should be reasonably commensurate regardless of class chosen. (Races are slightly different, since they affect stats, and stats are clearly described for what impact they should have; but up to differences in stats, it shouldn't be unreasonably more useful to play an Elf than to play a Dragonborn or whatever.)

This is a long-winded way of saying that, as a cooperative game, D&D should have reasonable and well-supported balance between options billed as equal. There are further things involved here, such as my belief that a well-made ongoing game requires the ability to make informed decisions and to learn from past mistakes, but this section has already grown overlong.

D&D-as-fantastical-collaboration: Using this phrasing in part because I understand that, for many, D&D doesn't have or need any story element per se, or any story should always arise after rather than occur "in the moment" or be planned beforehand. I think even those folks, though, would agree that apart from the actual gaming component, the players and the DM are collaborating in order to have an enjoyable experience. The previous section was about what I think the rules should be; this and later sections are about what I think the practice should be. Because rules =/= practice; it's a difference between the syntax of a language and the semantic content of specific expressions.

But as to what this means, we're in it together, all of us, whichever side of the screen we sit on. We treat each other with respect, and we respect the spirit of the game. Ideally, if the previous section was well-designed, there should never be any need for practice to override the rules, because the rules exist only to serve the practice and for no other purpose. Such things are difficult, though, and thus there may be times when practice should override the letter of the rules, in order to preserve the spirit thereof. However, that should be done with caution, since (as alluded to above) "balance" is in some sense also part of the spirit of the rules, and overriding the rules carries a significant risk of violating that spirit. Apart from rules, though, this is where things like what counts as an "exploit" vs "creatively using the rules" is decided, where campaign premises and monster selection occur, where the amount of player participation in the creation of the world is decided. There are no singular right answers here, though there may still be wrong ones, e.g. players should not be permitted to be coercive or exploitative, and DMs should not extort or manipulate their players. Coercion and manipulation aren't collaboration, they're control.

D&D-as-mythopoeia: I absolutely love the fact that D&D enables one to explore alternate metaphysics, cosmology, and even epistemology, where the very grounding of what is real or true can be examined. Even for people who don't really want to delve into such aspects, though, D&D is an opportunity to bring out all sorts of wonderful ideas and stories from cultures and groups around the world. There are so many perspectives to explore, it's almost daunting to pick just one! (This is part of why I have such a hard time understanding the constant, almost obsessive-seeming emphasis on "always vaguely-European, always pseudo-Medieval, always Tolkien-esque, always gritty, always traditional," etc. It just seems so confining and closed-off, like having a genie who can magically summon whatever food you want whenever you like and always requesting pizza, usually pepperoni but sometimes going a little wild and getting combination or--the scandal!--Hawaiian.)

This is where the "research into other cultures" stuff comes in, from two directions. One, if I'm to understand anything about a different perspective, I have to show it a minimum of respect, as established in the previous section. That means at least making a good-faith effort to understand its context and message. As before, I don't demand perfection of anybody. I just don't see "try to understand where they're coming from" as some horrible onerous burden, instead I see it as a demonstration of respect. When dealing with things or people you don't know, it is almost always better to be more respectful than necessary, rather than less; I have never regretted being too respectful with things or people I didn't know, but have absolutely regretted failing to be sufficiently respectful. Two, this enriches me as both a person generally and as a DM specifically! I am better able to develop cool and interesting experiences because I have explored so many things and listened to so many perspectives. As DM, I have to play every NPC and creature of the world. By necessity I must portray a diversity of experiences. Exposing myself to more real perspectives and experiences is the best way to practice those skills!

D&D-as-social-activity: Not as much to say on this one. It is what it says on the tin. Some of this was already covered above (e.g. be respectful to the other participants), but it also covers "meta" components of play, like discussions on forums like these, or pursuing art or products I consider worthwhile, or in various other ways being part of the community of people who play D&D. As a community, we have certain rights both individual and collective; and associated with every right is, necessarily, a duty. In society at large, the right to freedom of expression entails a duty not to restrict the expression of others--though it does not entail a duty to witness or engage. In the D&D community, we have a right to engage with the game as we so choose, up to the point of harming others' engagement; and we have a duty to respect the ways others engage, up to the limits of what is acceptable (which generally means "non-harmful.")

So. With ALL of that said, I hope you can see why I find full-throated and respectful articulation of cultural elements to be an important goal--particularly those elements that are often neglected or, worse, simply tacky trappings "lazily used" to quote an above poster. That's why I advocated what I did early in the thread. It's not, at all, a matter of snatching others' toys away and scolding them for using them wrong, as many alarmists in this thread have already said or implied. Nor is it a matter of a "slippery slope" toward "everything stays in its own box." It's a matter of gaining understanding, enriching my game (and, as a consequence, myself, which is always nice), and showing respect to others.

Though I think he was being a bit over-dramatic, Gygax described the DM as needing comprehensive knowledge on a huge variety of topics--architecture, geography, ecology, tactics, language--in order to construct a campaign worth playing in. I don't think you need to be encyclopedic on those things, but being conversant in them helps a great deal. You can't really become conversant in (say) archaeology--which is quite likely to be relevant for many adventurers in their delving!--unless you actually read about and research what things occur archaeologically. It doesn't have to be a big thing.

As an example, I had had a vague notion that bas relief was A Thing What's Found A Lot at archaeological sites, so I mentioned it in passing several times. One of my players picked up on that, and has now said his character wants to learn how to sculpt so that he can contribute his own wisdom for the ages in a similar fashion. That made me realize I didn't really know why I'd heard about it so much, so I went looking. After an hour or so of Googling, the consensus was that relief sculpture in general is much sturdier than "sculpture in the round," and bas relief specifically tends to be very sturdy, able to survive thousands of years even under some amount of weathering conditions. (Consider, for example, the open-air temples of Egypt with their sunken-relief walls: weathered, yes, but still discernible despite at least a millennium of neglect!) That's enough work, in my book, to have given a good-faith effort at understanding and respecting this aspect of the field of archaeology. I wouldn't dream of demanding a degree in the field or anything nearly so onerous. But doing a little research and making a conscious decision seems like the least one can do when investing a campaign with something.
Thank you. That is an excellent attitude to take, and good advice to boot. As I said upthread, anything hovering around the topic of what should or shouldn't be in the game is going to get people's back up, and I am no exception to that. It can be hard not to see a personal attack where none is intended, especially as what will actually happen to the game moving forward is out of our hands. I will try to keep your perspective in mind for my own part.
 

Fey are not particularly celtic.

Elves are certainly Germanic in origin, and the word Drow is Scottish in origin (subterranean baby stealing trolls) however lore wise they're closer to Norse Dark Elves.

Elves, Dwarves, Goblins, Trolls, Fey etc are all very Northern European (Germanic, Celtic, Norse etc) in mythology, terminology and appearance.

Reason being is Tolkien who was heavily influenced by Norse sagas and lore. DnD just kind of followed suit by importing elves, dwarves, trolls, goblins and hobb... err 'halflings'.

While DnD Drow, Elves and Dwarves etc kind of moved away from those roots to have fairly distinct (non Norse/ Celtic/ Germanic) cultures, lore and appearance, the Djinn never really did.

Rakasha OTOH have a much more distinct and unique culture and lore than their real life counterparts, that doesnt really stereotype any real world people.

Djinn etc have always been a little more problematic, being basically poorly stereotyped Islamic Arabs with magical powers.
 

You can't really move the Djinn away from being Islamic without merging with fey, because a non-Islamic Djinn is basically a fey, or some kind of spirit creature.
 


Pretty sure I got red text at least twice for saying the exactly same thing.
I got it once ( but am not sure I can comment on that comment).

I think the main problem I had with the OP was it using the word " problem" in the first place.

Throughout the history of gaming diverse pcs have fought diverse monsters over diverse environments.

You can fight
The Golem is pseudo-india.
A genie is pseudo-Australia.
Drive a London Bus in pseudo-China.
This is not a "problem".
Next to no one in India is going to be offended if their " evil spirit monster" is used in a game.

As someone mentioned his name up thread, I visited Tolkien's grave for the first time yesterday. He appeared to be resting peacefully. I had been playing the Legacy of Fire AP ( which is quite genie filled).
 
Last edited:

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I got it once ( but am not sure I can comment on that comment).

I think the main problem I had with the OP was it using the word " problem" in the first place.

Throughout the history of gaming diverse pcs have fought diverse monsters over diverse environments.

You can fight
The Golem is pseudo-india.
A genie is pseudo-Australia.
Drive a London Bus in pseudo-China.
This is not a "problem".
Next to no one in India is going to be offended if their " evil spirit monster" is used in a game.

As someone mentioned his name up thread, I visited Tolkien's grave for the first time yesterday. He appeared to be resting peacefully.
So, your main issue with the OP is semantics. Just one word, that accurately describes the situation. Anything can be a problem. A giant meteor hitting the earth is a problem. Missing the bus to work is a problem. Misspelling a word is a problem. "Problems" don't have to be big, they just have to be a potentially bad issue.

Do I think that it's a problem if genies, rakshasa, and similar creatures are the only representation for real world cultures (or stereotypes of them) in D&D worlds? Yes. I do think that most reasonable people well acquainted with the subject would agree that this is a problem.

Additionally, how many times do I have to say this? This thread isn't about "offense" and it isn't about changing anything official.

Can we either collectively engage with the topic and address the premise (dropping the asinine and distracting mischaracterizations and semantic debates about underlying assumptions about this thread's purpose), or just leave this thread to the people that do want to engage with it? Is that really so hard for people to do? Because no one is forcing you to post here if you don't agree with the premise.
 

"The problem is when the monsters become stand-ins for those peoples in the fantasy worlds."

This is the crux of your point/problem? ( You did use the P world a lot! And one badwrong word can do you in forever )

The things is I just don't/haven't seen this at all. To me these genuinely feels like a trawl to find a non-existent issue, so was in much surprise at the thread. I think I was reeling still from a decision to shut down a Scottish Nuclear Power station for an equally non-existent issue

I will no longer disturb the thread and will get back to my blissful gaming life. I hope I didn't cause to much distress.
 
Last edited:

You can't really move the Djinn away from being Islamic without merging with fey, because a non-Islamic Djinn is basically a fey, or some kind of spirit creature.
I dunno if I entirely agree with that. I think they fit more into either the Greek daimon or Roman genius loci concepts. That is, genies bound to objects are real dang close to the idea of the "spirit of a place," just swapping "place" for "object." And daimones, to the ancient Greeks, were...spirits of any kind, regardless of their nature; what we call "demons" today would have been called kakodaimones then, specifically evil spirits, to be contrasted against agathodaimones, overtly good spirits.

So you could quite easily shift them in the direction of Greco-Roman stuff instead. Particularly since you could leverage the tale of Pandora's urn for the idea of powers (evil and good) being trapped inside vessels of various kinds. Perhaps call them "pandorians" or the like.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Unless and until you can do statistics with it, it's literally no different from feelings as far as "data," the word referring to analyzable collections of information, is concerned. Also? You don't get to turn "the experiences I, Lyxen, have had" into seven data points just because you've had seven of them or whatever. They're all one data point, because they all have a major, result-affecting element in common: That you yourself had the experience.

And yet, there was an experience (multiple ones in fact). What gives you the right - what gives anyone the right, actually - to think that he can act as a proxy for people he has not ever met, whose culture he does not even know, just on the basis that he thinks - without the slightest evidence of it - that they might be offended by what OTHER people are doing when playing their personal games ?

Moreover, since as far as I know this is still a forum that is not reserved to Americans (but if it is, please say it clearly), what gives anyone the right to impose AMERICAN "CULTURE" constraints on other people using these forums ? Or on people playing the D&D game in general ?

This is actually way worse than cultural appropriation, this is cultural force-feeding. It is, simply, discrimination. And, I do believe, in violation of this site's policy.

Seen from another angle, it's actually much worse, it's cultural SUPPRESSION. Some people seem to be so afraid of offending people of other cultures that they prefer to totally suppress any mention of that culture. They still want to leech a minimum for the culture (unless someone now wants to completely suppress rakshasa and genies including their names, but then please also suppress any French and European sounding names from all D&D books, as it offends me personally to see them used in such a context), but they actually deny all these cultures a representation in D&D ?

Who elected anyone here "a representant of all the rest of the world's cultures" in charge of deciding which part of the culture can be leached and which part needs to be suppressed ? As far as I know, NO ONE here or anywhere has that right. Let these people speak for themselves, they certainly have not elected anyone here to be their spokesperson.

And I might not have conducted a general survey, but at least I have spoken to some about exactly that topic, and they found it great to hear that their culture was known and cherished. And you want to suppress that in the name of american "culture"? This is unacceptable, intolerably arrogant and, if I might add, probably ****** too, because it's (no so strangely, actually) focussing on rakshasa and genies, but what about all creatures and cultures from Europe ? Did you ask the greek ? Did it you ask people from northern Europe ? Or did you assume that they consented because they are not so different ?

My views are totally different, stop worrying about depicting cultures, picture them with respect, and you will see many more positive results than suppressing them and shaming people who actually relate to these cultures.
 

I dunno if I entirely agree with that. I think they fit more into either the Greek daimon or Roman genius loci concepts. That is, genies bound to objects are real dang close to the idea of the "spirit of a place," just swapping "place" for "object." And daimones, to the ancient Greeks, were...spirits of any kind, regardless of their nature; what we call "demons" today would have been called kakodaimones then, specifically evil spirits, to be contrasted against agathodaimones, overtly good spirits.

So you could quite easily shift them in the direction of Greco-Roman stuff instead. Particularly since you could leverage the tale of Pandora's urn for the idea of powers (evil and good) being trapped inside vessels of various kinds. Perhaps call them "pandorians" or the like.
I think in broad terms these are still basically the same thing.

What are brownies if not spirits of place?

You can certainly divide up a lot of these things into different types of things. So that Fey lords are different from spirits of place.

But this wouldn't be dividing things up by culture of origin, but rather by function.

The main distinct feature of D&D genies is their tie to specific elements, but the problem with leaning into this I think is think is that it's the least interesting thing about them (and elementals without a specific cultural origin already exist and are pretty boring.)
 
Last edited:

And yet, there was an experience (multiple ones in fact). What gives you the right - what gives anyone the right, actually - to think that he can act as a proxy for people he has not ever met, whose culture he does not even know, just on the basis that he thinks - without the slightest evidence of it - that they might be offended by what OTHER people are doing when playing their personal games ?

Moreover, since as far as I know this is still a forum that is not reserved to Americans (but if it is, please say it clearly), what gives anyone the right to impose AMERICAN "CULTURE" constraints on other people using these forums ? Or on people playing the D&D game in general ?

This is actually way worse than cultural appropriation, this is cultural force-feeding. It is, simply, discrimination. And, I do believe, in violation of this site's policy.

Seen from another angle, it's actually much worse, it's cultural SUPPRESSION. Some people seem to be so afraid of offending people of other cultures that they prefer to totally suppress any mention of that culture. They still want to leech a minimum for the culture (unless someone now wants to completely suppress rakshasa and genies including their names, but then please also suppress any French and European sounding names from all D&D books, as it offends me personally to see them used in such a context), but they actually deny all these cultures a representation in D&D ?

Who elected anyone here "a representant of all the rest of the world's cultures" in charge of deciding which part of the culture can be leached and which part needs to be suppressed ? As far as I know, NO ONE here or anywhere has that right. Let these people speak for themselves, they certainly have not elected anyone here to be their spokesperson.

And I might not have conducted a general survey, but at least I have spoken to some about exactly that topic, and they found it great to hear that their culture was known and cherished. And you want to suppress that in the name of american "culture"? This is unacceptable, intolerably arrogant and, if I might add, probably ****** too, because it's (no so strangely, actually) focussing on rakshasa and genies, but what about all creatures and cultures from Europe ? Did you ask the greek ? Did it you ask people from northern Europe ? Or did you assume that they consented because they are not so different ?

My views are totally different, stop worrying about depicting cultures, picture them with respect, and you will see many more positive results than suppressing them and shaming people who actually relate to these cultures.
These are exactly my thoughts. Harsher than what I would have said but still the essence is there.

What I might add is the following. As long as you or anyone else tries to borrow from a culture with respect nothing should prevent you to use it. And respect does not mean to put rose glasses on and ignore the rest. But it is also not using hate glasses and seeing only the negative. The Vistani were put in that light in the original Ravenloft and more recently in CoS.

This is what must be avoided. But borrowing from a culture should not be viewed in such a bad light. It should be acclaimed as it promotes the understanding of each other. That is the experience I have had with many cultures so far, be they First Nation people, Indian, Muslim, Asian, Chinese, German, and so many others that I have had the chance to meet, play or even simply discussing with.
 

These are exactly my thoughts. Harsher than what I would have said but still the essence is there.

What I might add is the following. As long as you or anyone else tries to borrow from a culture with respect nothing should prevent you to use it. And respect does not mean to put rose glasses on and ignore the rest. But it is also not using hate glasses and seeing only the negative. The Vistani were put in that light in the original Ravenloft and more recently in CoS.
At what point did I advocate anything of the sort? At what point have I ever said literally anything other than "act respectfully and do some research"?
 

Remathilis

Legend
Oh no! Future RPGs will be more thought out and not just shotgun any and everything at the wall with zero thought!

First they came for racist, colonial stereotypes, then they came for the monsters weirdly orphaned from their culture due to exoticism. Then there was no one left when they came for other examples of ignorance or malice.
But that's the thing: D&D is a kitchen sink game that liberally stole from everything and anything. This is the game with Celtic priests adventuring with Shaolin monks. It's appeal is the wide selection of myths and legends used to make the game. It is a melting pot in the clearest sense of the term.

What OP is suggesting we unmix the pot. To take the monsters (and let's be frank, all the culture elements) from the various cultures and either strip them of all cultural identity OR put them back into gaming material related to that culture. Keep it all with it's origin culture and only use it when the culture is present. Everything back into it's box. This is the appropriation vs fusion argument dressed in gaming clothes. If it's ok for a non-Japanese woman to wear a kimono or similar debates.

So I say let's just break the kitchen sink up entirely and return the monsters, races, classes, etc. back to thier native cultures in unique cultural sourcebooks. Have a currated selection of things in the Core Rules (stuff that doesn't have overt cultural identity) and then put out an Egyptian book, a Norse book, a China book, an Arabia book, etc. that has all the appropriate cultural stuff in context.

And WotC would make a fortune spreading out all the stuff they previously put in the three core books across several setting books. Make sure you get the Kamigawa book in 2023, it's going to have the samurai subclass and oni returning!
 

At what point did I advocate anything of the sort? At what point have I ever said literally anything other than "act respectfully and do some research"?
I am speaking in general here. I am not pointing you or anyone else in that answer.

I am just stating that too often, taking a part of culture is seen as a bad appropriation. No matter the intention, it is bad.

I find this very disturbing where adding to our own culture should be viewed as a positive thing. It seems that no matter the intention, an author or a game will get smacked for using some part of a culture. It should not be so. And as I have stated, at some point, you can make any literary work say something totally reversed of its intention with selected quotes. That is why Ialways advocate to read something with the context and the intention (or perceived) in mind. Selecting a part is always easy.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
This is the appropriation vs fusion argument dressed in gaming clothes.
Kind of like this guy:

e0b63fdf55fe11e21c7162f18027ade3.jpg
 

But that's the thing: D&D is a kitchen sink game that liberally stole from everything and anything. This is the game with Celtic priests adventuring with Shaolin monks. It's appeal is the wide selection of myths and legends used to make the game. It is a melting pot in the clearest sense of the term.
Sure. It just is that majority of settings are mostly (if somewhat badly) European flavoured, so it is the non-European elements that might seem tacked on and orphaned from their cultural context.
 

But that's the thing: D&D is a kitchen sink game that liberally stole from everything and anything. This is the game with Celtic priests adventuring with Shaolin monks. It's appeal is the wide selection of myths and legends used to make the game. It is a melting pot in the clearest sense of the term.

What OP is suggesting we unmix the pot. To take the monsters (and let's be frank, all the culture elements) from the various cultures and either strip them of all cultural identity OR put them back into gaming material related to that culture. Keep it all with it's origin culture and only use it when the culture is present. Everything back into it's box. This is the appropriation vs fusion argument dressed in gaming clothes. If it's ok for a non-Japanese woman to wear a kimono or similar debates.

So I say let's just break the kitchen sink up entirely and return the monsters, races, classes, etc. back to thier native cultures in unique cultural sourcebooks. Have a currated selection of things in the Core Rules (stuff that doesn't have overt cultural identity) and then put out an Egyptian book, a Norse book, a China book, an Arabia book, etc. that has all the appropriate cultural stuff in context.

And WotC would make a fortune spreading out all the stuff they previously put in the three core books across several setting books. Make sure you get the Kamigawa book in 2023, it's going to have the samurai subclass and oni returning!
Are you really serious? It is exactly because D&D is such a melting pot that it has this level of success!. This game made people more open to diverse culture and point of views than any other games or hobbies that I ever saw.

This game, unwittingly, force its players to have an open mind. In D&D a woman I as capable as any men. A minority is as respected as any other. It showed us that in the end, we are all the same and that we should cooperate. And you would want to break this apart?
 



Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top