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Al-Qadim, Oriental Adventures and problems

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  • #16
    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
    *shruggs* I have not talked about those opinions as much as aboutb the solutions- which, again, IMO, it is to learn from those books, and do better research. but to judge that material by the standards of that time while understanding how those standard have evolved.
    I agree that doing better research is key, as well as understanding how yesterday's standards changed in the course of becoming today's.

    Here's a thing to consider, though - even by the standards of the time it was published, calling Asian stuff "Oriental" was not cool.

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    • #17
      But that's my favorite instant ramen flavor


      You've been playing around the magic that is black
      But all the powerful magical mysteries never gave a single thing back

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      • #18
        Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
        I agree that doing better research is key, as well as understanding how yesterday's standards changed in the course of becoming today's.

        Here's a thing to consider, though - even by the standards of the time it was published, calling Asian stuff "Oriental" was not cool.
        Oh, it's a new book?

        Only seen people starting to dispute oriental in the past couple of years...

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        • #19
          Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
          Who's advocating book-burning?
          It's not a fringe opinion when it results in the book being pulled from sales by the publisher.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by GenerallyConfused View Post

            Oh, it's a new book?

            Only seen people starting to dispute oriental in the past couple of years...
            Nope, it was published on 1985


            Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

            "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

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            • #21
              Al-Qadim was amazing and I'm very glad it existed. It provided me an insight into other cultures at an early development age that I attribute with helping me avoid the racism and xenophobia that I grew up around.

              It seemed so much more enlightened and interesting than the stereotypical European fantasy of the time.

              Oriental Adventures also had magic swords!




              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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              • #22
                Acting like Asian people didn’t exist to be consulted in the 80s/90s is absurd. These products were just as racist then as they are now, and being torn apart by the people whose culture they crudely borrow from is a perfect fate for them.


                Remi. she/her. game designer.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                  Al-Qadim was amazing and I'm very glad it existed. It provided me an insight into other cultures at an early development age that I attribute with helping me avoid the racism and xenophobia that I grew up around.

                  It seemed so much more enlightened and interesting than the stereotypical European fantasy of the time.

                  Oriental Adventures also had magic swords!


                  Gotta agree with that. While there is problematic stuff that in, Oriental Adventures managed to serve as a vehicle for meeting some people who ended up becoming life-long friends of mine. Another guy I know from high school got interested in Arabian mythology thanks to Al-Qadim, ended up learning Arabic and these days he's living and teaching in Qatar. While I'll be the first to acknowledge problematic aspects of the material, at the same time I think it's better to have had it, warts and all, than for TSR to have just strictly wrote standard medieval fantasy and ignored other cultures entirely.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post
                    Gotta agree with that. While there is problematic stuff that in, Oriental Adventures managed to serve as a vehicle for meeting some people who ended up becoming life-long friends of mine. Another guy I know from high school got interested in Arabian mythology thanks to Al-Qadim, ended up learning Arabic and these days he's living and teaching in Qatar. While I'll be the first to acknowledge problematic aspects of the material, at the same time I think it's better to have had it, warts and all, than for TSR to have just strictly wrote standard medieval fantasy and ignored other cultures entirely.
                    Part of what I remember about the book was also the fact it strongly stressed the cosmopolitan and tolerant aspects of Arabic culture. The book talked about how you'd meet orcs, elves, dwarves, and humans all hanging out in one city without any problems. Plenty of them would be worshiping the same gods too, divorcing the whole, "All Orcs worship Gruumsh" and "All Orcs are evil" things.

                    Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
                    Acting like Asian people didn’t exist to be consulted in the 80s/90s is absurd. These products were just as racist then as they are now, and being torn apart by the people whose culture they crudely borrow from is a perfect fate for them.
                    No, but you weren't supposed to play them or engage with their cultures in Dungeons and Dragons. They were EXOTIC LAND and places you visited.

                    Mind you, part of what I appreciate is the fact that they're NOT about Japan or Persia. They're about fantastic Disneyland versions of these lands.

                    The same way Cormyr is not France.
                    Last edited by CTPhipps; 07-28-2020, 10:28 PM.


                    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                    • #25
                      Like seriously you learn about as much about Asian culture/geography from oriental adventures as you L5R.


                      You've been playing around the magic that is black
                      But all the powerful magical mysteries never gave a single thing back

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Dwight View Post
                        Like seriously you learn about as much about Asian culture/geography from oriental adventures as you L5R.
                        Obviously you'll learn absolutely nothing about RL Japanese culture from Oriental Adventures (Which is a bad name yes) but you don't learn anything about Medieval Europe from Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance either.

                        You MIGHT be inspired to look up actual historical fact and culture because of it, though, and thus be inspired to become a better educated person.


                        Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                          Obviously you'll learn absolutely nothing about RL Japanese culture from Oriental Adventures (Which is a bad name yes) but you don't learn anything about Medieval Europe from Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance either.

                          You MIGHT be inspired to look up actual historical fact and culture because of it, though, and thus be inspired to become a better educated person.
                          Anyone trying to learn about a real life culture from a fantasy setting needs to reevaluate their whole life in general


                          You've been playing around the magic that is black
                          But all the powerful magical mysteries never gave a single thing back

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                          • #28
                            Concerns over book burning are an extremely reductive way to engage with the matter of people arguing against the existence of certain forms of literature, divorced from the context of exactly what it was that Nazis sought to repress and the general culture of anti-intellectualism they promoted through their big public ceremonies of violently destroying them. Thoughtful opposition to that ought not to believe that all ideas have equal value.

                            A publisher opting to drop a book in particular is just another expression of capitalism; they're acting based on what they think has a market. So long as promoting books costs money, nobody is obligated to promote a book that they perceive will not return on an investment. It is in no way equivalent to book burning.

                            It's good to have drawn positively from certain works, but I should think that the thing to pursue from that is to continuously iterate towards even better products rather than double down on an idea that there was nothing to criticise before. Advocate for the building upon what was good.

                            The difference between how Western people depict themselves and how they depict people that have historically been the victims of colonialism is in the power disparities and the fact that colonialism has agendas with continuing significance. Pop culture is the only way that most people will have any idea of medieval France and Iran (and sense of how those things provide foundations to the modern country). Nobody in America is advocating for making war on modern day France. A French person or person of French descent might be subject to certain mistreatments in America, but there are treatments of people from or descended from Iran that are more severe, more dedicated and more systemic.


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

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                            • #29
                              They have started a reread of KotE - and it is more brutal than the other rereads.

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                              • #30
                                That's some low effort content there, what's next a review of the Charlie Chan series?


                                You've been playing around the magic that is black
                                But all the powerful magical mysteries never gave a single thing back

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