13 March 2018

"Oriental Adventures" is it needed, or white boys need to shut up

Uh oh. En World, and the Piazza, have opened discourse on does dnd need "oriental adventures." Cue a bunch of gamers dismissing the idea that fantasy supplements of "exotic" or foreign cultures should have more than a veneer of the cultures they are drawing inspiration from.

The En world thread is naturally filed with a bunch of, presumably, likely primarily, white male gamers, declaring that such inaccurate and from the western eye looking from outside game products are fine because fantasy and "creating an atmosphere of stories we read, watched or heard."

With the usual "You think that Forgotten Realms was anything close to 'Western' culture during the middle ages? Not enough disease, murder, rape, plunder, religious bigotry, racism, sexism, classism, etc. Guess what, that's not politically correct either!" style rebuttal.

Also this "There is already a game for this on the app store, it's called the WP 5000. You take a picture of yourself and then, merely by analyzing the color of your skin, it tells you how guilty you are for all problems, across all times and places. "

Fucking precious amirite? As if the idea of wanting more culturally accurate and sensitive RPG books was some expressions of White Guilt™.

Related to this. There is a significant difference between the ways the US and Japan use and depict eachother's cultural ideas. I know this might be hard for a lot of people to understand. 

1) The historical exoticification of the "Orient" that through time came to mean specifically East Asia, rather Asia in general.

2) The US occupied Japan in the middle of the last century, and unjustly imprisoned US citizens of Japanese descent. The West, exemplified by the US, had a dominant position to impose its culture on Japan.

3) You can see this in the salary-man's 3-piece suit, and the military style school uniforms.

4) This is not to say Japan is a subordinate or secondary nation. It is a dominating force economically and culturally. I am giving historical context.

5) In this current modern age, both the US and Japan export their cultures. We see that here with the increasing ease of having English language anime, manga, and video games. Cultures generally want to spread, especially dominant/imperialistic ones.

6) This relates the differing reactions to the live-action Ghost in the Shell movie. Frequently, interviews of Japanese citizens were used to support the movie. They positive of it. But, mostly I saw US citizens of Japanese-descent being critical to varying degrees.

7) And yes there is a lot of exoticification of the West. Frequently there are trappings of Christianity and western occultism in Japanese media. And a lot of time it's because they look cool. Christmas is a big thing in Japan, and so is having western-style weddings in churches.

And this isn't a fun police thing. You can do you in your games. But ffs some of y'all need to stop advocating against culturally informed RPG books, especially if it's a major publisher. Accept that you are essentially dinosaurs, and use the old materials.

It's better for the rpg hobby as a whole to work towards inclusivity, and one of those ways is improving the accuracy of non-western cultures, whether it's works based on history, their myths & folktales, or a combination. Also, being written by members of those cultures.