This is Totally Against my Post Rules But… [Open Thread]

February 25, 2012

I’m curious how many people out there that run into this blog are RPG players. Not console or computer RPGs (which I enjoy, mind you, and I’d love to discuss them with anyone at some point) but I’m talking about table top RPGs. Dungeons and Dragons, Tunnels and Trolls, Vampire the Masquerade (or any of the Creature the Verb White Wolf games, the two Mage games being my favorites), Burning Wheel, Legend of the Five Rings, Cyberpunk/2020, Shadowrun, Rifts/Palladium etc…any of these things.

I’m asking because I’m considering doing an OGL product, a rulebook, that jokes about one of the earliest problematic and racist books from D&D history. Just about everyone I know that has played since at least AD&D remembers just how, well, racist Oriental Adventures felt. It’s a classic example of exoticism and racial worship at the most common target for these things – Asia.

I, too, will admit I once idolized Japanese culture. No longer, though I do have a deep love for it in general from that period in my life.

As a bit of a backhanded homage to that, and a way of having fun with D&D, the d20 system, and privilege in general, I want to write an RPG manual for adventures in the savage and inesecapable West called “Occidental Adventures.” It’d include all the rules for playing as well as notes where it’s different from its (nonexistent) parent system. I’m considering naming the parent system after two things that are alliterative and part of classic fantasy and mythical discussions of somewhere in Asia. I’m not sure where yet, but it’d have to be deserving of being the “Imperial power” in this little cultural in-joke.

I’m sure this is offensive to someone and, if so, I’m sorry. But I’d love to write a description of the exotic and noble Knight. 

So, let’s chat about it.

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6 Responses to “This is Totally Against my Post Rules But… [Open Thread]”

  1. Carrie Says:

    I am interested in hearing more about it. I played one campaign in oriental adventure and was ready to kill the DM by the third session. He apparently couldn’t figure out what to do with my character. Not sure if it was because of his inability to talk to smart gamer girls, or the parameters of the setting. Me thinks both. So yes, tells me more…

    • Luarien Says:

      Oh, gamer girls! My heart weeps for you and your kind. Nothing incenses me more as a GM, as a player, as a writer, as a designer than seeing women getting shoved into standard roles for women or when they’re shoved into “gothy games about sex and feeling” like Vampire the Masquerade. Because apparently all women are the same, or they’re supposed to be.

      In this case, I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet but it would be d20 based (like OGL D&D/Pathfinder/etc), it would be really positive-spin racist, and it’d ramp up all of the ridiculous myths of Europe in how it’s described. Luckily, Victorian Europe didn’t understand their own history any better than the East, so there’s lots of great excotisized misunderstandings about medieval Europe as well. Like how swords weight a thousand pounds and everyone had superhuman strength because of they did.

      • Carrie Says:

        I’m a huge fan of satire and playing devils advocate, it makes your perspective larger and more objective. If anything, it would be a great exercise to make you a better writer even if you didn’t complete or get an entirely working version right away.

  2. jasondegray Says:

    Been playing table top RPG’s for years. Interesting idea you have here.

  3. PsiMatrix Says:

    You and I should sit down and discuss this over a long game of GO.

    • Luarien Says:

      It’s been so long since I’ve played Go…but that’d be awesome. It’s the perfect kind of game for discussions too, since it isn’t complex enough to get in the way of thinking.


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