D&D General The Rakshasa and Genie Problem

Lyxen

Great Old One
Insulting other members
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.

Exactly. And if I may again borrow on my experience, the Ramayana is an Indian story, but I discussed it with locals at Wat Phra Kaew in Thailand, and it is already an example of cultural exchange between countries and cultures.

Speaking now to the "controlling "community: So you want to restrict the rakshasa, but to which culture are you going to attribute them ? Will you be making different sourcebooks for India and Thailand ? And for different periods of time with very different cultures ? And forbid people to mix them ? Where will that controlling spirit stop, when it's not even anyone here's right to decide anything about these cultures ? You know nothing about these people and about what they want. Nothing about how much more open minded they are, about how willing they are to share their (actual, glorious) culture that goes way more back than a pitiful 200 years. Don't assume that they are as close-minded and bigotted as you are. They are not, thankfully so.

These are all fantasy worlds anyway with only bits and pieces of cultures mixed in, and with so many other concepts and ideas added. Just be respectful, and actually, if you can, be admirative !

1447005004-1244_Wat-phra-keaw-ramayana-fresco.jpg
 

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Irlo

Adventurer
Is there a version of that scenario in which doing what you're suggesting could be seen as disrespectful?

As someone who is not a member of that culture, what authority do you claim to decide for them that they ought to be offended even when/if they aren't?
Sigh.

No one said that anyone is offended. No one said that anyone should be offended. This isn't about offense offered, offense taken, offense suggested, implied, or inferred. No one is deciding anything for anyone else.

It's not about offense. Read the OP.
 

Remathilis

Legend
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?
Yeah, its the nuclear option. But like OP, I don't know how you fix the problem, so nuking it from orbit is as viable as any. If the death of the generic kitchen sink setting is collateral damage in fixing all the misappropriation, then I guess it's what has to happen.

Everything in it's own box.
 

Nope. Again, read the OP if you want to know the topic. That's not what this thread is about or the issue at hand. Again, in the OP I said I was absolutely fine with borrowing creatures from other cultures' mythologies/folklore.

That particular point I made was responding to another poster who made a claim about such things. But I understood your point that you didn't object to borrowing from mythologies. And my criticism of your position is that it still is adding more rules onto how people can creatively engage these things (the idea that if you borrow from a culture but there isn't an analog in the setting that is bad because the monster then serves as a stand in for the culture itself).
 

What might be an overreaction? Because this thread sincerely is just asking questions and trying to prompt a discussion about the cultures given to fantasy monsters based on those creatures' mythological roots. Saying "I don't know what to do about this issue" is an overreaction to you?

I think the way we are now engaging in this exercise of combing over all the content, finding issues (in this case having a monster with cutlural aesthetics when that culture doesn't exist in the setting), especially when it seems to be framed in a way that takes a moral position about it, that it can be called overreaction.
 

This thread is not about gatekeeping creative ideas for how to depict monsters/creatures in your D&D games or official D&D products (it's quite the opposite, actually), it's not about creating a moral panic, or removing lore, or the enjoyment of the game.

This point I am unclear on. The premise of the thread seemed to be that if there is an official setting that has a monster, and that monster seems culturally specific, but the culture in question isn't in the setting, that this is a problem because the monster then serves as a stand-in for that culture: and the logical conclusion of that argument would appear to be that D&D shouldn't have such monsters in such settings. Am I incorrect? At the very least it seems to be another layer of consideration that designers need to weigh when making games (and if so, my issue there is we have already created so many considerations it is beginning to feel like you need a degree in media studies or cultural studies to even consider designer RPG content). Perhaps I am viewing this throughs he lens of the orc thread we just had and that is coloring my perception so if you meant something else I am certainly interested in being corrected.
 

Bunker

Hero
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 ?
Dude, this isn't an American-owned forum.
but then please also suppress any French and European sounding names from all D&D books, as it offends me personally
Characterizing it as "offense" is a dogwhistle for the alt-right. It is not about people being 'offended', and the only peple who use that word in relation to this type of debate are alt-right actors trying to poison the discussion.
Did it you ask people from northern Europe ?
This website is a northern European website. You're getting confused.

This "I'm a poor little French person being oppressed by Americans" routine of yours is getting tired. Nobody's buying it.
 

Yeah, its the nuclear option. But like OP, I don't know how you fix the problem, so nuking it from orbit is as viable as any. If the death of the generic kitchen sink setting is collateral damage in fixing all the misappropriation, then I guess it's what has to happen.

Everything in it's own box.
And yet, it is so easy to fix. Fix it for yourself at your own table. Ignore what you do not want or what you find problematic and build on what you prefer. Even after 40 years, there are monsters that I have never used! There are supplement in the Realm that I never used (only read).

This is what is great about the kitchen sink, you can make it what you want. As I have said, if it ain't broken, do not fix it. You do not like the color? Change it. You will still have the engine available but the color will be to your taste.

And as much as I can't stomach a broken book, if there are some pages in the book you really can't stand, the tear them up.
 

Remathilis

Legend
This point I am unclear on. The premise of the thread seemed to be that if there is an official setting that has a monster, and that monster seems culturally specific, but the culture in question isn't in the setting, that this is a problem because the monster then serves as a stand-in for that culture: and the logical conclusion of that argument would appear to be that D&D shouldn't have such monsters in such settings. Am I incorrect? At the very least it seems to be another layer of consideration that designers need to weigh when making games (and if so, my issue there is we have already created so many considerations it is beginning to feel like you need a degree in media studies or cultural studies to even consider designer RPG content). Perhaps I am viewing this throughs he lens of the orc thread we just had and that is coloring my perception so if you meant something else I am certainly interested in being corrected.
Honestly, it feels more like a critique of Eberron for lacking a fantasy Arabia, Asia, etc. I mean, Forgotten Realms at least has Zakhara, Matzica, Kara-Tur...

Maybe the lesson is that our fantasy settings should look a little more Earthlike.
 


Exactly. And if I may again borrow on my experience, the Ramayana is an Indian story, but I discussed it with locals at Wat Phra Kaew in Thailand, and it is already an example of cultural exchange between countries and cultures.

Speaking now to the "controlling "community: So you want to restrict the rakshasa, but to which culture are you going to attribute them ? Will you be making different sourcebooks for India and Thailand ? And for different periods of time with very different cultures ? And forbid people to mix them ? Where will that controlling spirit stop, when it's not even anyone here's right to decide anything about these cultures ? You know nothing about these people and about what they want. Nothing about how much more open minded they are, about how willing they are to share their (actual, glorious) culture that goes way more back than a pitiful 200 years. Don't assume that they are as close-minded and bigotted as you are. They are not, thankfully so.

These are all fantasy worlds anyway with only bits and pieces of cultures mixed in, and with so many other concepts and ideas added. Just be respectful, and actually, if you can, be admirative !

View attachment 149684

I drew on the Ramakien (the thai version of Ramayana) and the art like the above in a game I made called Sertorius. My first encounter with it was through art at a Thai restaurant I worked at, which was reminiscent of the above but gold and black. And it really captured my imagination. I learned more about it and started finding artwork from temples in books. And the aesthetics were a big part of it. In my setting the ogre culture was connected to the Ramakien story (largely because of how the Ramakien was translated to me by the Thai people I knew---it was a while before I any kind of witten translation), and that ended up becoming its own thing in the setting. In my case, the ogres weren't monsters. They were a playable race in the game. So it isn't quite what he OP is talking about
 

Dude, this isn't an American-owned forum.

Characterizing it as "offense" is a dogwhistle for the alt-right. It is not about people being 'offended', and the only peple who use that word in relation to this type of debate are alt-right actors trying to poison the discussion.

This website is a northern European website. You're getting confused.

This "I'm a poor little French person being oppressed by Americans" routine of yours is getting tired. Nobody's buying it.
Ouch...
I do not think that @Lyxen is doing what you imply. And I do not think that Lyxen is an Alt-right person at all.

His point is that he is offering an other way of viewing thing that is both respectful and not derogatory to the referenced culture and that no one should speak for an entire culture.

Our experience have shown that people are usually happy that you are interested in their culture as long as it is done with respect. Where is that alt-right stand in that? And to be clear, as non-native speakers and being from a different culture, our reference for "dogwhistling" are quite different from yours. @Umbran graciously shown me what it was and I have had to make my own research to understand that concept. So do not assume the worst in somebody. It might simply be a cultural bias that we do not have.

And yes, we have a different view. Is our view so offensive as to accused of being alt-right?
 

I just....

When the choice is "nuke it from orbit" vs. "do a little research," why do people feel "nuke it from orbit" is the more reasonable option?

Am I dreaming? Is this real?
Yep, it is real. Which saddens me to end.
Can't we all agree that this game made people more opened to the various cultures than any other?
 

Honestly, it feels more like a critique of Eberron for lacking a fantasy Arabia, Asia, etc. I mean, Forgotten Realms at least has Zakhara, Matzica, Kara-Tur...

Maybe the lesson is that our fantasy settings should look a little more Earthlike.

I don't play Eberron. But my reaction as a player would either be 'that is a little odd we have an arabian genie and know not-Arabia" or "that's what genies look like". It may well be this wasn't a thoroughly considered design choice, or that it was a design choice that was considered, and I just don't know enough about the setting to appreciate why he did that....but for me, I just think it doesn't rise to a moral offense or something that shouldn't be permissible. If the critique is 'that just doesn't make a lot of sense to me', then I think that is fair (and again I don't know enough about Eberron to say if that is the case). If the critique is 'this is potentially a racist trope' or 'this is problematic because it equates the monster with the culture' then I don't think that is particularly compelling as a criticism (and I think this kind of criticism is moving the hobby in directions that feels a little, for a lack of a better term, Victorian).
 

Honestly, it feels more like a critique of Eberron for lacking a fantasy Arabia, Asia, etc. I mean, Forgotten Realms at least has Zakhara, Matzica, Kara-Tur...

Maybe the lesson is that our fantasy settings should look a little more Earthlike.
Well, that would be a very boring lesson. I'm rather tired of settings that are just copies of Earth with some names and details changed. Sure, it can be done well, but it is so common that it has become rather tiresome.
 

Irlo

Adventurer
This point I am unclear on. The premise of the thread seemed to be that if there is an official setting that has a monster, and that monster seems culturally specific, but the culture in question isn't in the setting, that this is a problem because the monster then serves as a stand-in for that culture: and the logical conclusion of that argument would appear to be that D&D shouldn't have such monsters in such settings. Am I incorrect?
Any settings, not just official settings. And it's only a problem WHEN the monster serves as a stand-in for that culture. That's not a ineveitable consequence. We can do things to make sure that doesn't happen, for those of us who care. (Not everyone does care.) There's not one logical conclusion to the discussion, which is why the thread was started. And, really, even if that were the conclusion, the argument would not be that D&D shouldn't have such monsters in such settings. It would be that, perhaps, @AcererakTriple6 might not want to have such monsters in such settings.
 

I drew on the Ramakien (the thai version of Ramayana) and the art like the above in a game I made called Sertorius. My first encounter with it was through art at a Thai restaurant I worked at, which was reminiscent of the above but gold and black. And it really captured my imagination. I learned more about it and started finding artwork from temples in books. And the aesthetics were a big part of it. In my setting the ogre culture was connected to the Ramakien story (largely because of how the Ramakien was translated to me by the Thai people I knew---it was a while before I any kind of witten translation), and that ended up becoming its own thing in the setting. In my case, the ogres weren't monsters. They were a playable race in the game. So it isn't quite what he OP is talking about
This is exactly what we are advocating for. Respectful integration of a culture in your game. D&D gave you the basics, you expanded it and made it incredible and good. You did your research and you learned. What else could be asked for? Kudo.
 

I don't play Eberron. But my reaction as a player would either be 'that is a little odd we have an arabian genie and know not-Arabia" or "that's what genies look like". It may well be this wasn't a thoroughly considered design choice, or that it was a design choice that was considered, and I just don't know enough about the setting to appreciate why he did that....but for me, I just think it doesn't rise to a moral offense or something that shouldn't be permissible. If the critique is 'that just doesn't make a lot of sense to me', then I think that is fair (and again I don't know enough about Eberron to say if that is the case). If the critique is 'this is potentially a racist trope' or 'this is problematic because it equates the monster with the culture' then I don't think that is particularly compelling as a criticism (and I think this kind of criticism is moving the hobby in directions that feels a little, for a lack of a better term, Victorian).
The OP didn't say they were offended, but they did say they were uncomfortable with potential implications of having a monster from a culture that is not otherwise represented in the setting. Now, I certainly don't feel that way, but it's a personal feeling and that's perfectly fine. And as far as what to do about it, the OP's suggestions for their game are the only ones I can think of either. It doesn't have to have any wider implications than that. And a little research can certainly enrich your game and your DMing skills. Hard to argue with that.
 

Well, that would be a very boring lesson. I'm rather tired of settings that are just copies of Earth with some names and details changed. Sure, it can be done well, but it is so common that it has become rather tiresome.
And yet, that is also the strength of the game. So many variations that you can always find one to your taste. Maybe it is just a D&D burnout that you are experiencing. Sometimes, going to another game system for a while is the best thing to do to renew your interest in the game.
 

Irlo

Adventurer
...but for me, I just think it doesn't rise to a moral offense or something that shouldn't be permissible.
I think most of us agree with that. (Not all of us, because this is the internet and there are some outliers on the internet.) I don't think anyone involved in this discussion has talked about moral failing or establishing parameters of what's permissable by some undefined hypothetical authority.
 

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