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Al-Qadim, Oriental Adventures and problems

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  • I think the game was originally written in English?

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    • Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

      Then what standard do you suggest?
      One that doesn't open the door to us having to say "yeah that's valid, you're definitely a person and you earnestly seem to think that this is racist" to deranged white nationalists claiming that their pet issue of the day is white genocide and therefore racist?

      Like, at some point, you've gotta acknowledge that bad faith actors exist.


      Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
      Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

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      • Just as judging from a WaPo article on the topic (https://www.washingtonpost.com/video...ews-discourse/), as far as I can tell, the diasporic criticism of GoT (which I'm unclear about the "representativeness" of, they basically quote a couple of guys), is not articulated well (indeed it seems to be circumlocuted and evaded) but seems to boil down to something about how the game portrays a narrative which features a fairly clear-cut conflict between a set of invaders and a hero who repels invaders in order to protect Japan, and that it features a conflict between "good Asians and bad Asians".

        This then seems to sit not well with (again a completely unknown proportion, probably not very many) some diasporic Japanese commentators for reasons that are not articulated at all in the article well, but which you probably don't have to think to hard about. (You could guess for these particular voices seem to be taking it as a barrier to them building alliances and solidarity with other Asian diasporic groups, and they want to generally oppose somewhat nationalistic ideas of brave warriors repelling foreign invasions, in any form).

        (WaPo, being WaPo and having the sort of audience it has, of course plays faux-neutral while obviously putting a spin on this, portraying the criticisms as self-evidently reasonable and intelligent and important, and frames responses as console wars Sega-vs-Nintendo type tribalistic ignorance and narrow mindedness. Oh well. Par for the course.)

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        • Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
          ....but seems to boil down to something about how the game portrays a narrative which features a fairly clear-cut conflict between a set of invaders and a hero who repels invaders in order to protect Japan, and that it features a conflict between "good Asians and bad Asians".
          This is why I don't think there really is a way out of this, except by not speaking to or engaging with other cultures. Even an attempt to engage with offend and alienate people for a number of reasons. And the people offended will not have to be as articulate about their feelings to be given credence and consideration. But not engaging is also a failure. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

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          • Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post

            This is why I don't think there really is a way out of this, except by not speaking to or engaging with other cultures. Even an attempt to engage with offend and alienate people for a number of reasons. And the people offended will not have to be as articulate about their feelings to be given credence and consideration. But not engaging is also a failure. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
            Seriously, let the market decide. If someone puts out a game that's racist trash, don't buy it, don't back it and don't signal boost it.

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            • Some other highlights from the read-throughs that amused me.

              Taking Kara Tur's notions of honour and family honour as an in-setting element to its logical conclusion with a scenario of a family of asians sitting and eating dinner when they experience a sudden wave of shame washing over them the father saying "...what did my son do now?"

              Suggesting that Al-Qadim shouldn't have a random monster table but instead a random family table for how the PCs are either getting roped into their extended family's bullshit or ending up in really polite honour fights where one PC's distant cousin insists on extending hospitality, but it clashes with an existing obligation.

              I kind of adore this one because the fixation on the nuclear family is a real problem that means a show like Game of Thrones had millennia old noble houses that seemed to boil down to a pathetically small handful of people. Some of these problems go well beyond the show like how the Starks' closest relatives seem to be the Karstarks who went their own way a thousand years earlier.

              Last edited by Lioness; 03-26-2021, 06:32 AM.


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              • I think any question of racist elements in a work of fiction need to reckon not only with how it makes people of whatever given depicted group feel about their representation, but also with the question of what kinds of narratives about that group it is cultivating or perpetuating in people who are not part of it, especially in those who are in a position of relative greater social power.

                Heck, that's not even necessarily something limited to the question of "is this racist". There are forms of characteristically African American media (or media that has been targeted at but was not produced by them) that members of those communities can find compelling or empowering, but where the narratives therein are also utilised by significant proportions of White Americans as a basis and structure for their bigotry. One has to grapple not only with the question of "is this racist" but also "what will racists do with this", on the understanding that the answer to that is more sophisticated than "racists will see anything through that lens so nothing can be done about it anyway".

                And to be absolutely clear, this is not me saying that, say, certain kinds of rap music should restrain themselves because of how racists use the imagery to reinforce their worldviews. It's about applications of critical theory, and that there are things people should be responsible about handling. In the latter case, especially when it's a matter of how one group (a more powerful one particularly) depicts or utilises the tropes of another group.


                I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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                • Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                  I kind of adore this one because the fixation on the nuclear family is a real problem that means a show like Game of Thrones had millennia old noble houses that seemed to boil down to a pathetically small handful of people. Some of these problems go well beyond the show like how the Starks' closest relatives seem to be the Karstarks who went their own way a thousand years earlier.
                  It really hammers home how bad Martin's research into just about everything is, and how embarrassing his many attempted dunks on Tolkien are. Compare the ancient noble house Stark to the "rich dudes in Shire" Baggins family (not including the Sackville-Baggins family).

                  This of course isn't as bad as his claim that "The Dothraki were actually fashioned as an amalgam of a number of steppe and plains cultures… Mongols and Huns, certainly, but also Alans, Sioux, Cheyenne, and various other Amerindian tribes… seasoned with a dash of pure fantasy.", which singlehandedly made the Dothraki super racist. But it is indicative.

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                  • Originally posted by Lioness View Post
                    I kind of adore this one because the fixation on the nuclear family is a real problem that means a show like Game of Thrones had millennia old noble houses that seemed to boil down to a pathetically small handful of people. Some of these problems go well beyond the show like how the Starks' closest relatives seem to be the Karstarks who went their own way a thousand years earlier.
                    Depends. If you take it as the rule rather than the exception that each generation of a given house is lucky to not be the last...

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