PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby cornixt » Tuesday December 12th, 2017 3:47pm

I'm going to have to start by pointing out that the perceived problem is much greater than the actual problem.

The number of people complaining about culture appropriation is very low and they don't have much support from the wider PC community. The problem actually exists where you take aspects from a particular culture and do bad things with them, such as reinforcing negative stereotypes or being historically incorrect. This is where the PC will hammer you. If you are making up your own native tribes then this is a very difficult area to navigate. The easiest way is to accurately depict a specific tribe and then rename it - then you have something to point at to say how it is a good representation. The worst is to take bits from all over and amalgamate them, which is what Hollywood has done a lot so people are already prepared to condemn you for it.


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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby Anderas » Tuesday December 12th, 2017 4:00pm

Howards, when he wrote those Conan stories, was bathing in the everyday racism of his days. He shows a pict ( some white skinned native American living in the woods of the north of his fantasy country) and two pages later an Orang-Utan. Conan kills picts without even thinking twice, but tries and succeeds to communicate with the Ape insofar that they don't fight but leave each other alone.

Howards didn't mean it the bad way. It was his time, knowledge as learned in the school plus a bit of fans and creativity. I loved to get an insight into that brain by reading the books rather than the comics.


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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby mitchiemasha » Tuesday December 12th, 2017 7:47pm

Away but did anyone watch the video i linked. I know we don't as i often don't myself but seriously, it's worth it. Watch the video.

I'm going to have to start by pointing out that the perceived problem is much greater than the actual problem.


I see this a lot and it's the bit in the video I referenced earlier. Usually what happens is we get a group, 1 side debating between themselves about the other group, creating a much worse picture of the other side than what actually exists.


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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby mitchiemasha » Tuesday December 12th, 2017 7:51pm

whitebeard wrote:This discussion is every bit as HQ related as a Berserker and a Healer. HQ has a story component and if stories cannot be written without offending people then this has an impact on everyone writing custom content.


I suppose you're right, I guess no one wants to talk about hero tweaks no more. I get over exited by the slightest change when I think about them. Going into a little sulk with meself cos noone commented, lol! oh well!!!


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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby j_dean80 » Tuesday December 12th, 2017 8:46pm

mitchiemasha wrote:
whitebeard wrote:This discussion is every bit as HQ related as a Berserker and a Healer. HQ has a story component and if stories cannot be written without offending people then this has an impact on everyone writing custom content.


I suppose you're right, I guess no one wants to talk about hero tweaks no more. I get over exited by the slightest change when I think about them. Going into a little sulk with meself cos noone commented, lol! oh well!!!


I would comment but I'm not a custom Hero class type person. I feel the original 4 are solid and simple.
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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby Anderas » Wednesday December 13th, 2017 8:09am

I didn't want to comment in the first place because i don't like the rule there and i don't like playing the bad guy all over. Now i did because you ask so often for it.


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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby torilen » Wednesday December 13th, 2017 10:26am

Just in case anyone was curious about the discussion that drove me to write this post in the first place:

***NOTE - roughly 15-20 comments, with replies, before this whole discussion began.
(And, going back and looking over all of this again this morning, I think cornixt has a point - this could just be a troll starting it all)

Person 1
The primary issue here is most of the lands outside of Faerun are modeled after non-western cultures. Ancient China, Mongolia, Aztec, Aborigine, etc. Trying to do this appropriately without inaccuracies or offensive cultural appropriation and western stereotype is risky and dangerous and likely doomed to failure for a high profile company and brand. They've already taken heat from their attempts at portraying a jungle type culture in Chult and have recently gone on record saying it was a "miss" and regretful.
There is no upside to Kara-tur or Maztica, only bad PR. The chances of it happening are near zero I would assume. It was a bad idea in the first place.

Person 2
I read that as well and I found the statement interesting in light of 2017 being their biggest year of sales. Tomb of Annihilation is obviously a big part of that success.

Person 3
I can understand not wanting to offend peoples with "Western Sterotypes", but to simply ignore entire cultures out of fear is just plain stupid. Not only does it keep what could be quality fun from getting to the players/readers, but it forever excludes people FROM those cultures from seeing themselves in a fantasy setting. So you don't want to offend folks with sterotypes...hire well-studied historians and cultural anthropologists as consultants. Wizards surely has enough money to do so.

Person 4
Sad but true Scott. There'd be no win, the only question would be how many complain.

Person 5
Really, though, is it even necessary to role-play actual ancient cultures? If so, it seems something that people much smarter on that stuff should be making rather than a fantasy gaming company without proper background or ability to represent it properly.

Person 5
Dnd is not a history simulator. It's a fake fantasy world. There is no need to introduce other peoples real historical culture. WotC has some extremely talented and creative people, surely they can come up with great stories without resorting to stereotypical cultural appropriation, and I'm sure they agree.

Person 3
l I don't think it is really possible to simply create a new culture...unless it is based on a magocracy or something strictly fantasy like that. Even if it is an alien/fantasy creature culture, it is going to be similar in many ways to certain cultures in the real world. If you have a culture that uses black-clad assassins, people will say they are similar to ninja. If you have a culture that smokes a pipe as a symbol of peace with new strangers, they'll say it is similar to Native Americans. Somebody, somewhere, will find a real culture it is similar to.

Person 3
Besides that, in order to get the GM and players involved enough into a setting that they can really begin to role-play things well, it has to be similar enough to the real world that they can relate to things they know. Even if you look at really old-school fantasy, like Middle Earth...I don't know if there are "cultures" per-say, but there is enough relate-able that readers do not need a Middle Earth dictionary and encyclopedia in order to read the books.

Person 1
There is a difference between saying "These are Bullywogs and they have a primitive type culture of X, Y, Z" and "These is ancient chinese culture with ninjas and magic and we are going to use Chinese names to name everything"
Look at these cultures, there is an fake Africa, a fake Latin America, a fake Japan, a fake China, etc, etc, complete with made up names that *sound* like their actual (and still in use) languages. The line is crossed when you intentionally single out a group of people without even consulting people who actually know and are part of that culture. I'm just saying you can put your money on them not doing any of that. It was a 2nd Edition thing and it's likely going to remain something buried with 2nd Edition. Unless of course they decide to go the route of heavy use of very knowledgeable (and likely expensive) cultural consultants, which I wouldn't expect to make much financial sense. D&D is translated and sold in most every corner of the globe now. Reputation is everything and doing it wrong in this day in age could have severe consequences. The Old Guard might object profusely, but the current demographics being targeted for player-base expansion has little tolerance to that kind of stuff.

Person 3
Personally, I don't understand the problem. The use of ancient cultures was never done in a way that denigrated those cultures. They never tried to make anyone look dumb or stupid...they never made an entire culture evil or with low IQ or anything like that. So, just because they used the cultural norms and made up names to sound like that language, that's "cultural appropriation" and that crosses some line somewhere?

Person 1
I just finished The Parched Sea and I disagree. The desert tribes were portrayed as a backwards sand culture whos superstitions and cultures were directly lifted from Western stereotypes of the Muslim world. It was pretty cringy and their culture itself was a secondary antagonist in the story.

Person 3
Never got around to reading the Parched Sea. The experience I do have in the Realms is Horse Lords. It deals with a Mongolian type culture into which an outsider is thrust and must live with them. I haven't read the second book of the series...but from what I saw in Horse Lords, it was handled very nicely.

Person 6
Yeah, most fiction is as syncretic as most of the human cultural and technical creations. We learn from each other and use our collected knowledge to create something "new".

Person 3
I am not saying that The Parched Sea is an example of bad cultural writing. But here is one thing to consider - who is the story being told by? I know it is probably an outside 3rd party narrator, like almost all FR novels. But through whose eyes are you seeing most of the action? Is the main character the person who is viewing the desert tribes as backwards? Were there actual, real events or clues that would lead a reader to believe the tribes actually ARE backwards, or is that just how the main character sees them?

Person 1
Not buying it. A writer can write based on what a character might see sure, but a company has to release products based on what a reader might see. And their readers aren't just teenage boys in American suburbs anymore. Their customers speak dozens of languages and span all races, genders, and backgrounds. That era is over and their products are going to reflect that. As they should.

Person 3
Their products might reflect a change...but I might point out that little of what they have published in the past decade held the quality of their older material. D&D 4th ed was roundly panned, as was the entire shift they made with the Realms. I haven't seen many magnificent reviews of any new Realms material...except that people are happy the spellplague is gone and the other world was sent back. Aside from a handful of more modern novels and/or trilogies, you don't see people constantly talking about newer Realms books the way they do about the novels published pre-1998 or so. Face it, being PC does not make for extraordinary reading or writing.


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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby mitchiemasha » Wednesday December 13th, 2017 4:01pm

j_dean80 wrote:I would comment but I'm not a custom Hero class type person. I feel the original 4 are solid and simple.


Character creation is a big part of my mod. The players create what they like. I start by asking them a few questions. The Half Orc Berserker rule came about this way. It creates some fun fantasy talk.


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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby Goblin-King » Wednesday December 13th, 2017 6:18pm

Person 1 wrote:There is a difference between saying "These are Bullywogs and they have a primitive type culture of X, Y, Z" and "These is ancient chinese culture with ninjas and magic and we are going to use Chinese names to name everything"
Look at these cultures, there is an fake Africa, a fake Latin America, a fake Japan, a fake China, etc, etc, complete with made up names that *sound* like their actual (and still in use) languages. The line is crossed when you intentionally single out a group of people without even consulting people who actually know and are part of that culture.

Why the heck is this a problem? People shouldn't buy a fantasy let's-make-pretend game to learn about history. Buy a freaking history book!
If the material is actually historically correct, excellent! I welcome it! But don't expect nor demand it.
If a group want to play in a Japanese setting, should they learn to speak Japanese and take a Japanese history class so they don't offend anyone with their incorrect representation of Japanese characters?

Also on a similar PC note... Did anyone take the GW survey recently?
One of the final questions was something along the lines of "What best describes your gender"?

[ ] Male
[ ] Female
Other. Use free write field [_______________________]

I mean, it's not harming anyone I guess. I just think it's curious that we live in a time where something like that is necessary.


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Re: PC drives me nuts....I have a reason for saying this...

Postby Anderas » Thursday December 14th, 2017 12:42am

I think it's really offending if you are hermaphrodite and not allowed to use both woman'sand man's toilets. :) And they are a biological reality. OK that question will certainly be used by homosexuals, too, but why not.
The third gender question is used about everywhere currently. I like it. It hurts nobody, it is a simple gesture. Those kind of things become quite important if you are in a minority and have to fight certain remarks on a continuous basis. Being a German in France can bring some of that, too.

But that's hugely different from trying to tell somebody how he should write a fantasy story. Fantasy is just that, fantasy. Should we have separated places in the bus for orcs and skeletons? Yes I bet we should. Orks are wearing skeletons as jewellery, especially GW orcs. Now that's offending. Poor skeletons!


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