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  • The Wan Kuei retcon **Be extra respectful**

    A Spin-Off from the Second Inquisition thread.

    There hasn't been an official announcement (as far as I know) but a number of developers: Jason Carl, Matthew Dawkins, and Justin Achilli have all basically said that there's not going to be any more Kuei Jin/Wan Kuei content. Indeed, we've seen multiple "soft retcons" like Tokyo being a Camarilla City and references to Chinese cities under the control of the Camarilla or Cainite Blood Cults in books like FORBIDDEN RELIGIONS.

    It seems very likely the Kuei Jin/Wan Kuei have been retconned out of existence. That not only haven't they been "Tremere Antribued" or not mentioned but not only don't exist anymore but have never existed.

    This is a thread about discussing that decision but note that this is going to be a SPECIALLY watched thread due to the subject of racism, orientalism, erasure, and other subjects. We have Asian American and Asian gamers who have very strong opinions on the subject and they need to be taken at their word.

    I have faith in you guys to share your thoughts and not only be understanding and respectful but willing to discuss the issue safely. Everyone should act as if everyone here is open minded and willing to learn.

    Thanks.


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  • #2
    Responses from Other Thread:

    Originally posted by Damian May View Post
    Its literally the same everytime I bring up my Indonesian, Indigenous and Melanesian players of the last two decades that enjoy KotE ( albeit, a version of KotE that I've invested a great deal of time in improving), their existence is erased and ignored and certain people keep bringing up examples of whitefellas from 20 years ago being dickheads as a reason not to allow Asian ( and other) players a choice in what they play.
    I think the white dickheads were less important, though always annoying, than the feelings of the Asian American gamers themselves. It should always be them over the people looking for an excuse to be racist assholes.

    Originally posted by Kharnov View Post
    I didn't originally want to carry on about this because the topic had been dropped, but I do not think CTPhipps was being intentionally dismissive, and he did explicitly say that whatever decisions end up being made ought to be made in collaboration with Asian players. I just noticed that he was almost always talking about things other than what Raziel said, either his personal experience with other Asian players or the fact that, regardless of anyone else's opinion, the developers seem to have decided on a blanket retcon. I haven't followed this topic closely enough to say whether or not they have actually sought out comprehensive feedback from Asian players, or if they are just going with what they think is the "safe" option without necessarily checking with everyone first; I am really just taking CTPhipps' word about that decision even being made, though I feel pretty safe doing that.

    But I do also think that a different thread should probably be created or resurrected if people want to keep discussing this; this one is supposed to be about the new Second Inquisition book.
    It's kind of funny in a not ha-ha but funny-awkward way but I actually have no idea what I could possibly say regarding Raziel's points because I'm literally not qualified to comment on them. I can only relate the feelings of Asian American gamers that I heard and the Hong Kong and Japanese gamers I've talked to regarding the subject. I can't judge the merits of the content as an Asian gamer the way they can or Raziel can from his own perspective.

    Certainly, he knows how he feels on the subject and I have no business telling him how to feel on it.


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    • #3
      Taken alone, Kindred of the East is an interesting game with cool stuff in it. Of course, it’s not a good source for Asian culture, history, or even myths. Just like the core V:tM books aren’t good sources for European culture, history, or mythology.

      Problems arose with an attitude that was (and perhaps is) extremely prevalent with WW books where non-white non-western stuff has to be extra powerful, cool, mystical, and special. There were a few design decisions which really exacerbated this problem: Asians are so spiritual that there isn’t much of a masquerade other there. The terrible “Great Leap Outward” which really pushed Kuei-Jin superiority over Kindred into our faces. Making it so that basically only Asian people can become Kuei-Jin, rather than tying it to location of death and/or spiritual beliefs of the deceased.

      All that said, I don’t think that they need to throw out the entire sub-setting to fix those problems, just be a bit more reasonable about things. I suspect that the current group involved in creating V5 are unlikely to be reasonable in addressing issues with KotE.

      I think that if they had originally just put Kindred in Asia (as they did with Africa) then it would have been fine, though I don’t see any fundamental problem with how they did it either, aside from some problems in execution and attitude. I don’t care that much about retconning, I have long abandoned adherence to metaplot and if I want to use KotE I will use it in what ever way I please.

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      • #4
        I really dug KotE. Lots of really cool ideas, not the least of which is creating a character who was damned to hell but so badass that you managed to escape and come back to life. Really though, it should have been its own game rather than being a separate, side game within Vampire: the Masquerade that prevented people from being able to play Vampire: the Masquerade in large sections of the world.

        To be completely frank though, I'm glad V5 is going to ignore it. I haven't liked much of anything coming out of V5, and if they tried touching KotE I have no doubt that they'd just make everything worse. Better for everyone, both those who liked KotE and those who hated it, that it's going to simply be ignored by new White Wolf.

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        • #5
          My own opinions on Kindred of the East was colored by the issues it caused in my game groups but my lack of interest in it as a PLAYER and STORYTELLER is the only thing I can comment on, really. Specifically, I feel like it's not something I would ever use because the game feels like a different splat.

          The Kuei Jin are effectively Risen with the powers of entering the Spirit World.

          They're completely different from Cainites.

          And don't really have a reason to interact with them, honestly.

          Like Werewolves.

          So, the biggest issue is that I don't see how they can really have an impact on most Cainite games and the "Great Leap Outward"/V:TM Bloodlines way seems a poor way of doing it.



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          • #6
            Yeah. The biggest problem with them, like changelings, has always been the isolation. I played a little bit of a KotE game, and they can be fun on their own.

            They are introduced to the setting and are immediately all at war with everybody. That's just not how you introduce a new type of player character to a setting. I love the KotE in concept and their books can be fun to read, but the isolation is hard to accept, both in the "why are there no Kuei-jin in New York?" aspect and the "Why are there no Ventrue in Bangkok?" aspect

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
              My own opinions on Kindred of the East was colored by the issues it caused in my game groups but my lack of interest in it as a PLAYER and STORYTELLER is the only thing I can comment on, really. Specifically, I feel like it's not something I would ever use because the game feels like a different splat.

              The Kuei Jin are effectively Risen with the powers of entering the Spirit World.

              They're completely different from Cainites.

              And don't really have a reason to interact with them, honestly.

              Like Werewolves.

              So, the biggest issue is that I don't see how they can really have an impact on most Cainite games and the "Great Leap Outward"/V:TM Bloodlines way seems a poor way of doing it.
              Yeah, I feel like one of the issues, that was really unnecessary, was the exclusivity of it. No kindred in Asia that don’t get killed immediately, extreme antagonism between the vampire types. If they want it to be compatible with the V:tM setting, they should have been more moderate about that. Maybe the Camarilla is allied with one Asian faction, maybe the Sabbat is allied with a different one, maybe the Anarchs of California are on friendly terms with Kuei-Jin.

              I actually think that this was a problem with Werewolf as well. Kill on sight isn’t really that interesting. The6 should have gone with a more complex and nuanced interaction, since violence can still be an option if STs want.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sergeant Brother View Post

                Yeah, I feel like one of the issues, that was really unnecessary, was the exclusivity of it. No kindred in Asia that don’t get killed immediately, extreme antagonism between the vampire types. If they want it to be compatible with the V:tM setting, they should have been more moderate about that. Maybe the Camarilla is allied with one Asian faction, maybe the Sabbat is allied with a different one, maybe the Anarchs of California are on friendly terms with Kuei-Jin.

                I actually think that this was a problem with Werewolf as well. Kill on sight isn’t really that interesting. The6 should have gone with a more complex and nuanced interaction, since violence can still be an option if STs want.
                I think the hostility of the Wan Kuei to the Cainites was the worst way to do it as you could easily have just inserted them as "vampires not descended from Caine" who join the Camarilla despite their differences. You could then have them as Primogen, Princes, and so on. You might even give things like the Ravnos and Setites more credibility in their claims the Caine thing is completely bupkiss.

                Or heck, have their own faction that Cainites could join.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sergeant Brother View Post
                  I actually think that this was a problem with Werewolf as well. Kill on sight isn’t really that interesting. The6 should have gone with a more complex and nuanced interaction, since violence can still be an option if STs want.
                  That was one of the things I liked most about the KotE setting. The Yama Kings served as a powerful villain for virtually all of the player splats in the region (vampires, shifters, hsien, mages, wraiths, hunters, etc). So these groups had natural reasons to ally and work with one another. You could have big social scenes in which members of multiple different groups show up a big diplomatic meeting to engage in negotiations and whatnot and those wouldn't be weird or terribly unusual. You could even have a mixed group player characters composed of a vampires, shapeshifters, mages or whatever, all coming together to oppose the machinations of the Yama Kings and it would work entirely within the setting, whereas something like that is pretty impossible to imagine occurring elsewhere.

                  Compared to the "kill on sight" that's more common in the Western supernatural community (especially in regards to werewolves and vampires) the Asian setting was incredibly refreshing.

                  That's why I found it pretty unfortunate that Vampire/Wan Kuei interactions devolved down to "kill on sight" because that was pretty boring. At the same time there was, at least, a nod towards the idea that the beef between Wan Kuei and Kindred was largely rooted in the anger of the Wan Kuei Ancestors (many of whom were still harboring grudges from their mortal days during colonialism), and younger Wan Kuei didn't really have any issues with Kindred and were more than happy to interact with them.

                  But that wasn't really given the level of exploration that it needed, and The Great Leap Outward ended up being the only major interaction we ended up getting and it kind of sucked all the energy out of the room in regards to anything else.
                  Last edited by AnubisXy; 03-30-2022, 11:24 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AnubisXy View Post

                    That was one of the things I liked most about the KotE setting. The Yama Kings served as a powerful villain for virtually all of the player splats in the region (vampires, shifters, hsien, mages, wraiths, hunters, etc). So these groups had natural reasons to ally and work with one another. You could have big social scenes in which members of multiple different groups show up a big diplomatic meeting to engage in negotiations and whatnot and those wouldn't be weird or terribly unusual. You could even have mixed groups of supernatural beings coming together to oppose the machinations of the Yama Kings.

                    Compared to the "kill on sight" that's more common in the Western supernatural community (especially in regards to werewolves and vampires) the Asian setting was incredibly refreshing.

                    That's why I found it pretty unfortunate that Vampire/Wan Kuei interactions devolved down to "kill on sight" because that was pretty boring. At the same time there was, at least, a nod towards the idea that the beef between Wan Kuei and Kindred was largely rooted in the anger of the Wan Kuei ancestors (many of whom were still harboring grudges from their mortal days during colonialism), and younger Wan Kuei didn't really have any issues with Kindred and were more than happy to interact with them but this wasn't really given the level of exploration that it needed, and The Great Leap Outward ended up being the only real interaction we ended up getting and it kind of sucked all the energy out of the room in regards to anything else.
                    I think with some older players, there was also the "clear the board for the new hotness" that was annoying. Sort of like how Serpentor always was shitting on Cobra Commander to make Serpentor look cool but all it did was make people hte Serpentor and like Cobra Commander more. I don't know how many V:TM 1st Edition fans were fans of Vannevar Thomas, the Anarch Free States, and so on but the fact was that they all got thrown under the bus to make the Kuei Jinn look badass.

                    San Fransisco By Night is also a "occupied city state" that the Kuei Jin have check points and papers and murder of its Cainite population done with the idea you'd run a resistance against them.

                    https://whitewolf.fandom.com/wiki/Sa...cisco_by_Night


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                    • #11
                      No idea how to approach the Orientalism issues, so I’ll just leave here the three intended-to-be mutually exclusive versions of Wan Kuei rolling in my headcanon:

                      1. They’re all Caitiff. Or rather, all Caitiff are Wan Kuei; all of them are spontaneously arising revenants (in the original folkloric sense of the word) who retain mangled memories of the afterlife.
                      Here there are no ‘Cainites without Clan characteristics’ type of Caitiff; there are only 1) Wan Kuei mistaken for Cainite, because people killed by Cainite violence (including failed Embraces) have a disturbingly higher chance of rising as Wan Kuei, and 2) ‘orphaned’ Cainites whose sires are unknown, and 3) trouble-making Cainites who survived being disowned by their Clan. The last one is the original meaning of ‘caitiff’, which then got expanded as a slur against the former two types.
                      Wan Kuei started thriving in Asia because Cainites were centered on Europe, but Wan Kuei could rise from any part of the world. They remain thriving in Asia because of historical inertia and strategic pacts with the Judges of the Dead.

                      2. The ‘true’ Wan Kuei are all Cainites too, but they’re the Children of the Second Generation. There simply were more Seconds than the three who got usurped by the Third Generation. The lack of Clan characteristics is purely due to them not being descended from the thirteen Thirds. They settled in Asia because that’s where they originally fled the Children of the Third Generation ie. modern-day Cainites.
                      However, some of the CofTG flowed to Asia and settled there too, eventually being accepted as honorary Wan Kuei. Most of them were Lasombra, Tzimisce, Salubri, Cappadocians and Ravnos. They shared their Disciplines with the ‘true’ Wan Kuei and each other, giving all of them the reputation of elemental sorcerers, master necromancers, wicked illusionists, demonic shapeshifters, etc. though it’s unlikely that one Wan Kuei can do all of those tricks. Among them, Lasombra and Tzimisce still thrive, and are the tripartite pillars of Wan Kuei society along with the ‘true’ Wan Kuei.

                      3. The Hungry Dead as described in the STV materials Analects of the Damned and Record of the Hungry Dead by hsienfan.


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                      • #12
                        I like the retcon because seeing how local culture interacts with the culture of the 13 Clans is far more interesting than Extra Mystical and Enlightened vampires based on (westerner's perspective) of Asia (China).

                        And I don't think there is a way to fix them without turning them into a completely different thing, for a number of reasons:
                        1. You have to allow native Kindred in there, people generally want to play standard VtM while not playing "foreign invader vampires" who are "messing with the balance"
                        2. Then you also have the problem that Asia gets its own special type of supernatural, that people other people may want to play elsewhere. So you might want to allow them elsewhere and to non-Asians (This last part just being smart, as it is no longer the 90s). This also helps reduce the Orientalism and Yellow Peril present. But then:
                          1. You have to change a lot of stuff about their lore and WoD lore in general, so that it fits.
                          2. It really bloats the setting. Because then you have two different types of vampires, that live in the same cities but have completely different themes.
                        I think locking specific supernatural to certain region (or worst certain race) was always a bad move and I'm glad V5 moved away from that. Plus, I like how Clans are broad archetypes and the Kuei-Jin don't really fit into it (unless go you with "vampire as a foreigner's interpretation of an Asian vampire"

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                          It's kind of funny in a not ha-ha but funny-awkward way but I actually have no idea what I could possibly say regarding Raziel's points because I'm literally not qualified to comment on them. I can only relate the feelings of Asian American gamers that I heard and the Hong Kong and Japanese gamers I've talked to regarding the subject. I can't judge the merits of the content as an Asian gamer the way they can or Raziel can from his own perspective.

                          Certainly, he knows how he feels on the subject and I have no business telling him how to feel on it.
                          If you frame it as you have to *say* something, make a declaration, you are correct. My point is that you never asked them a *question* about their perspective, either. Admittedly, that could have led the whole conversation off-topic, but that happened anyways. The topic of "erasure" was brought up by a couple of people, but you never asked them if/why they felt the erasure of "WoD: Gypsies" was warranted but the erasure of the Wan Kuei was not. You never asked what they thought the Wan Kuei brought to the table that was worth preserving. You never asked them their ideas for how to address the problematic aspects of the Wan Kuei while still keeping them around. And yes, that needs to be done carefully as well; you can't just demand answers from people. But I think asking them questions in way that is respectful and open-minded would do a better job of making them feel like their opinions are being heard than talking around those opinions because you can't think of a declarative response to make. As you put it, you wouldn't be telling him how to feel about it, you'd be asking to understand how he feels about it.

                          And again, I was not trying to say that you were being intentionally dismissive. But you literally asked "what am I missing here," and I was just trying to offer a perspective from someone outside who could see where both sides were coming from.

                          Like you, I definitely do not feel like I know enough about the matter to answer whether or not the Wan Kuei should be kept around, or what would be the best way to proceed would be if they were kept as canon. But I am very interested in hearing the opinions of people more qualified, and that includes asking questions to understand better. I am glad that this thread has been opened up, so long as it's kept respectful and it provides an opportunity for people raised in the relevant cultures to make their thoughts and feelings known

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Kharnov View Post
                            If you frame it as you have to *say* something, make a declaration, you are correct. My point is that you never asked them a *question* about their perspective, either. Admittedly, that could have led the whole conversation off-topic, but that happened anyways. The topic of "erasure" was brought up by a couple of people, but you never asked them if/why they felt the erasure of "WoD: Gypsies" was warranted but the erasure of the Wan Kuei was not. You never asked what they thought the Wan Kuei brought to the table that was worth preserving. You never asked them their ideas for how to address the problematic aspects of the Wan Kuei while still keeping them around. And yes, that needs to be done carefully as well; you can't just demand answers from people. But I think asking them questions in way that is respectful and open-minded would do a better job of making them feel like their opinions are being heard than talking around those opinions because you can't think of a declarative response to make. As you put it, you wouldn't be telling him how to feel about it, you'd be asking to understand how he feels about it.

                            And again, I was not trying to say that you were being intentionally dismissive. But you literally asked "what am I missing here," and I was just trying to offer a perspective from someone outside who could see where both sides were coming from.

                            Like you, I definitely do not feel like I know enough about the matter to answer whether or not the Wan Kuei should be kept around, or what would be the best way to proceed would be if they were kept as canon. But I am very interested in hearing the opinions of people more qualified, and that includes asking questions to understand better. I am glad that this thread has been opened up, so long as it's kept respectful and it provides an opportunity for people raised in the relevant cultures to make their thoughts and feelings known
                            I guess it's more the case of I don't even know what would be qualifying to say regarding him. I mean, his opinions are his own opinions and I have no business questioning them. His opinion is certainly something he's entitled to have.

                            Though I'd love to hear more from him.


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                            • #15
                              I think Wan Kuei are salvageable (but drop the Kuei-jin term). Personally, this is how I'd resurrect them:

                              1. Wan Kuei are just another breed of immortal. They have courts and histories of their own, but they exist beside Cainites. Cainite politics still exists in Asia, as it should do; Wan Kuei merely have their own structures which are necessarily separate and perhaps hidden from Cainite society. They are often more hidden and/or remote, since they, as a species, are geared towards Enlightenment rather than subsistence on mortal society for indefinite aeons. They could be somewhere between mummies and Garou in terms of numbers, but nowhere as high as the Cainites (who should be more numerous, as they can Embrace new childer).

                              2. Wan Kuei are not unique to Asia; only the Thousand Hells are. Non-Asian Hungry Dead exist, but those beings go to other Hell realms, such as Malfeas or whatever. Think Frank Cotton from Hellraiser, and Spawn. In the Middle East, these beings might be called ghuls, for example; in Eastern Europe they are vrykolakas; in the Nordic countries they might be the Draugar; in the Caribbean, they are zombies.

                              3. Wan Kuei might have unique paths to redemption or enlightenment based on the context of their curse, which is filtered through their culture. Some merely need to atone for what they did in life, or right a wrong; others need to fulfil a celestial duty. So Dharmas are just the option for those under the purview of the Celestial Bureaucracy; other types of Hungry Dead have other resolutions for their condition.

                              4. Drop all the fantastic racism. Wan Kuei would have as much reason to go to war with Kindred as mummies do -- i.e., it might be relevant in some circumstances, but for the most part, they have their own things to deal with.

                              5. Drop the Orientalist chic. Make the Hungry Dead outside of Asia just as cool as the ones in it, but in their own unique ways.

                              6. Fix the clunkier rules and use more generic terms that allow for this widening of Hungry Dead. So we have Essence instead of Chi, and Virtues (or a choice of Virtues) can work as opposed pairs of Life (or Excess) versus Death (or Denial), and Heaven (or God) versus Hell (or Devil/Demon).

                              In theory, you could have an Abrahamic Wan Kuei who chooses Piety and Submission for the Essence Virtues, with Heaven and Hell as Soul Virtues; whereas a Buddhist one could choose Reactivity and Morbidity, but still have the same Heaven and Hell Soul Virtues, or maybe even something like Enlightenment and Ignorance (depending on the branch of Buddhism).

                              A Draugar who has existed since the time of the Vikings might have the Essence Virtues of Bravery and Discipline, and the Soul Virtues of Fate and Doom, or Heaven and Hell (especially if they're from the Christian period).

                              In this conception, the Hungry Dead become more like the different types of Exalted, in that they may have different curses and 'patrons', but they broadly go through the same process of coming into being -- i.e., resurrection as part of a divinely mandated penance or duty.
                              Last edited by adambeyoncelowe; 03-31-2022, 05:03 AM.


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