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keftiu
Senior Scribe

538 Posts

Posted - 06 Apr 2021 :  20:22:36  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas


To note, I'm not defending either the company OR the writer in this instance, because honestly I could not give a damn in either direction, as I haven't read the adventure. The only thing that might irritate me is what someone else just said... there was LORE and the LORE was removed. I've been mildly interested in seeing some adventure stuff involving frog folk (I was thinking about using them in Katashaka.... but I also keep getting sidetracked with work, so a lot of my stuff ends up in my head and not on paper), so if there could have been a good story and they snipped that piece... that part sucks.



“I don’t care if there was racial discrimination, but I draw the line at lore being edited out!” is not a great look.

4e fangirl. Here to queer up the Realms.

Edited by - keftiu on 06 Apr 2021 20:23:01
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Rils
Learned Scribe

USA
108 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  00:52:35  Show Profile Send Rils a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Scots Dragon

Shoving in repeated uses of the descriptor 'primitive' to a person of colour's work where it wasn't previously included is, however, not a good look.



Having read the adventure through a few times now, I'm not sure I would use "repeatedly" to describe the two times the word 'primitive' shows up. For those who don't have the book yet, here's the references:

- Once to describe the temporary refugee-camp shelters of the trading post, following phrases like 'ramshackle shelters' and 'makeshift dwellings'. It's creating a mental image of the situation. "The place looks and feels more like a refugee encampment than a trading post. The primitive shelters are the new homes of the grippli who escaped from the evil yuan-ti..." (page 93)

- Once to describe the decorations at the village. "The simple domes of the grippli's residences and storage buildings are spread haphazardly around the marsh. Mud-brick with wicker roofs, they're modest affairs, primitively decorated with giant crab claws." (page 97)

Neither of these are applied directly to the grippli themselves, and are in context of describing the mud-brick thatched-roof villages created by a swamp-based amphibious low-tech tribal society. Applying the word "colonialist" to WotC's motivations seems a bit of a stretch, as nothing in here indicates that the grippli are portrayed as inferior to anyone else, or that the editor is trying to make a modern sociopolitical statement by their physical descriptions of a fantasy frog people's village.

It's totally understandable that the author is disappointed that changes were made to his adventure without the courtesy of running it by him - I would be too. But as an observer of the situation getting only one side of the story, I'd be cautious about applying any further nuance or bias beyond that.

Dugmaren Brightmantle is my homey.

Edited by - Rils on 07 Apr 2021 00:57:26
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PattPlays
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280 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  03:03:02  Show Profile  Visit PattPlays's Homepage Send PattPlays a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rils

quote:
Originally posted by Scots Dragon

Shoving in repeated uses of the descriptor 'primitive' to a person of colour's work where it wasn't previously included is, however, not a good look.



Having read the adventure through a few times now, I'm not sure I would use "repeatedly" to describe the two times the word 'primitive' shows up. For those who don't have the book yet, here's the references:

- Once to describe the temporary refugee-camp shelters of the trading post, following phrases like 'ramshackle shelters' and 'makeshift dwellings'. It's creating a mental image of the situation. "The place looks and feels more like a refugee encampment than a trading post. The primitive shelters are the new homes of the grippli who escaped from the evil yuan-ti..." (page 93)

- Once to describe the decorations at the village. "The simple domes of the grippli's residences and storage buildings are spread haphazardly around the marsh. Mud-brick with wicker roofs, they're modest affairs, primitively decorated with giant crab claws." (page 97)

Neither of these are applied directly to the grippli themselves, and are in context of describing the mud-brick thatched-roof villages created by a swamp-based amphibious low-tech tribal society. Applying the word "colonialist" to WotC's motivations seems a bit of a stretch, as nothing in here indicates that the grippli are portrayed as inferior to anyone else, or that the editor is trying to make a modern sociopolitical statement by their physical descriptions of a fantasy frog people's village.

It's totally understandable that the author is disappointed that changes were made to his adventure without the courtesy of running it by him - I would be too. But as an observer of the situation getting only one side of the story, I'd be cautious about applying any further nuance or bias beyond that.


Sucks when a couple of words sets a whole thread ablaze. Props to the checking.

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Irennan
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Italy
3369 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  05:07:47  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rils

quote:
Originally posted by Scots Dragon

Shoving in repeated uses of the descriptor 'primitive' to a person of colour's work where it wasn't previously included is, however, not a good look.



Having read the adventure through a few times now, I'm not sure I would use "repeatedly" to describe the two times the word 'primitive' shows up. For those who don't have the book yet, here's the references:

- Once to describe the temporary refugee-camp shelters of the trading post, following phrases like 'ramshackle shelters' and 'makeshift dwellings'. It's creating a mental image of the situation. "The place looks and feels more like a refugee encampment than a trading post. The primitive shelters are the new homes of the grippli who escaped from the evil yuan-ti..." (page 93)

- Once to describe the decorations at the village. "The simple domes of the grippli's residences and storage buildings are spread haphazardly around the marsh. Mud-brick with wicker roofs, they're modest affairs, primitively decorated with giant crab claws." (page 97)

Neither of these are applied directly to the grippli themselves, and are in context of describing the mud-brick thatched-roof villages created by a swamp-based amphibious low-tech tribal society. Applying the word "colonialist" to WotC's motivations seems a bit of a stretch, as nothing in here indicates that the grippli are portrayed as inferior to anyone else, or that the editor is trying to make a modern sociopolitical statement by their physical descriptions of a fantasy frog people's village.

It's totally understandable that the author is disappointed that changes were made to his adventure without the courtesy of running it by him - I would be too. But as an observer of the situation getting only one side of the story, I'd be cautious about applying any further nuance or bias beyond that.



Primitive is a worthless adjective if you want to create a mental image of something. The reason is that primitive is not a sensory adjective. The brain doesn't perceive things as "primitive", that's an interpretation that *some* might make a posteriori, mentally or out loud. It's basically an opinion that some may hold, interwoven in *their* perception, and does nothing to create a mental image. You could maybe use the word in a thought of a character, or in a filtered perception if you use a focused filter for a character who would find those buildings primitive (along specific sensory details that the character notices above others, and that actually create a mental image of what they're experiencing--otherwise you're making a mistake), but in a neutral voice? Yeah, worthless. And this isn't advanced stuff, this is writing 101. People whose whole job is writing and editing this stuff should know such a basic concept.

One could also argue that if you describe the art and architecture of a culture as primitive, you're describing two huge aspects of that culture, and therefore of the people who have that culture, as primitive.

But let's set that aside. Would have they called makeshift reufuges built by, say, elves or Waterdhavians fleeing a catastrophe "primitive?". Very likely not. This is what the author was trying to avoid, but that WotC disregarded. WotC was making (intentionally oir not) a commentary on the grippli, that went against the intention of the "PoC voice" (lol) that they hired.

Even ignoring the whole matter of using "primitive", let's not ignore that fact that this person was the only designer to be singled out not being involved in the process, and that it feeds into WotC's history of discrimination against PoC employees.

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 07 Apr 2021 05:17:24
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keftiu
Senior Scribe

538 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  05:23:38  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Arguably /the/ reason people know PanzerLion is the work he did to showcase the rich history of Chult in order to supplement the mess that was Tomb of Annihilation, motivated largely by how that book depicted Chult as a place full of “primitive people” who couldn’t even build their own cities. Candlekeep Mysteries’ hiring process was driven by an explicit push for diversity; hiring a Black creative whose most notable work is trying to make your Africa-equivalent less insulting to black people (and more interesting for players!) only to toss out his lore-based work and double down on colonialist descriptors of an indigenous group he clearly took pains to humanize makes their views starkly clear.

Sure, it’s only two uses. How many times did they need to add a term he hates with racist connotations to his work before he’s allowed to be pissed, especially when getting away from that crap is his entire public brand? This is the second big name Black creator hired on from the community that they’ve treated poorly; how many times do they need to do it before we admit WotC has a race issue?

4e fangirl. Here to queer up the Realms.

Edited by - keftiu on 07 Apr 2021 05:25:44
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deserk
Learned Scribe

Norway
150 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  07:52:39  Show Profile Send deserk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

Arguably /the/ reason people know PanzerLion is the work he did to showcase the rich history of Chult in order to supplement the mess that was Tomb of Annihilation, motivated largely by how that book depicted Chult as a place full of “primitive people” who couldn’t even build their own cities. Candlekeep Mysteries’ hiring process was driven by an explicit push for diversity; hiring a Black creative whose most notable work is trying to make your Africa-equivalent less insulting to black people (and more interesting for players!) only to toss out his lore-based work and double down on colonialist descriptors of an indigenous group he clearly took pains to humanize makes their views starkly clear.

Sure, it’s only two uses. How many times did they need to add a term he hates with racist connotations to his work before he’s allowed to be pissed, especially when getting away from that crap is his entire public brand? This is the second big name Black creator hired on from the community that they’ve treated poorly; how many times do they need to do it before we admit WotC has a race issue?


I'm not exactly eager to come to WotC's defence, but quite frankly I think the implication of a racist attitude from WotC to be quite hyperbolic and paranoid. That is to say, you are assuming QUITE a lot (and not a exactly generous assumption either) based on VERY little. They are in the business of making money, and that is ALL they care about at the end of the day; no matter what platitudes their designers might like to habitually spill out on Twitter on various political topics. But in the corporate world of America; they are hardly unique in that.

And Chult does have cities built by Chultans. And I seriously doubt that in any publication FR designers have described Chultans as being "primitive"; so try to bear in mind those are YOUR words and assumptions, not theirs. But yes, WotC did destroy most settlements in Chult save for Port Nyanzaru in the 4e and 5e era; as they did with countless other cities and lands throughout Faerun in the same period. And I seriously doubt it is out of some racist malice; but rather part of an overall strategy of theirs to dumb down the Realms; make it as easy and consumable for people who don't care about the Realms and as alienable and unappealing as possible to Realms fans of 1st/2nd/3rd edition era. And that means keeping the lore as simple and uncomplicated as possible.

It's also worth bearing in mind that Chult isn't the only African-based culture in Faerun. The Turami of Turmish are as well, and Turmish is an economic, intellectual and political powerhouse in the Sea of Fallen Stars, with many large metropolitan cities and prosperous settlements.

Edited by - deserk on 07 Apr 2021 08:17:12
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Irennan
Great Reader

Italy
3369 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  08:03:00  Show Profile Send Irennan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you believe WotC doesn't have a history of discriminating against PoC, check this article, which received support from a variety of other content creators, including former WotC staffers for MtG like Alexis Janson. Racism, as well as a plethora of other kinds of idiotic and counter productive mentalities, are a reality within a lot of corporates. Assuming that just because a corporate wants money all its people will act with only that goal in mind, without bias or personal opinion, is extremely naive. WotC's decisions in the past show this.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RDhVZ4x_Zf1abOpGfEGMI4xtYMA7AghCN5uWIfJRa6c/preview?pru=AAABcrssKnc*34ig3gk0A079zdYiOmJUVA

To all Facebook-using FR fans, you might be interested in checking out this page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450517575051806/

Edited by - Irennan on 07 Apr 2021 08:04:25
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keftiu
Senior Scribe

538 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  09:02:33  Show Profile Send keftiu a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Turami have one paragraph of detail in 5e and a single page in 4e. You’re really gonna lean on them as your defense that WotC has done right by Black characters in the Realms?

4e fangirl. Here to queer up the Realms.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
10106 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  12:34:50  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas


To note, I'm not defending either the company OR the writer in this instance, because honestly I could not give a damn in either direction, as I haven't read the adventure. The only thing that might irritate me is what someone else just said... there was LORE and the LORE was removed. I've been mildly interested in seeing some adventure stuff involving frog folk (I was thinking about using them in Katashaka.... but I also keep getting sidetracked with work, so a lot of my stuff ends up in my head and not on paper), so if there could have been a good story and they snipped that piece... that part sucks.



“I don’t care if there was racial discrimination, but I draw the line at lore being edited out!” is not a great look.



So, being indiscriminate and just caring about the final product and whether or not it serves my interest is now wrong..... I have to dig into every single person's race and personal values to determine whether they have been cheated in some way? So, please, provide me the report you have made on every single person at WotC and their moral and ethical viewpoints on things that worked on this product. Until you can show me that for EVERY SINGLE ONE, you're blowing hot air.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
3534 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  15:33:37  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by deserk

quote:


And Chult does have cities built by Chultans. And I seriously doubt that in any publication FR designers have described Chultans as being "primitive"; so try to bear in mind those are YOUR words and assumptions, not theirs. But yes, WotC did destroy most settlements in Chult save for Port Nyanzaru in the 4e and 5e era; as they did with countless other cities and lands throughout Faerun in the same period. And I seriously doubt it is out of some racist malice; but rather part of an overall strategy of theirs to dumb down the Realms; make it as easy and consumable for people who don't care about the Realms and as alienable and unappealing as possible to Realms fans of 1st/2nd/3rd edition era. And that means keeping the lore as simple and uncomplicated as possible.

-Yeah, it seems like the crux of the issue is this. Don't want to insult the people that like 4e/5e so I'm not gonna say any of it is "dumbed down", but per the designer's own words, the thing was truncated and altered by WotC to be as generic as possible, as to be able to be plopped down in any setting. That design mentality really makes no sense to me. Anything can already be transplanted anywhere, as evidenced by the decades and decades of people already doing that regardless of the level of detail those things have. I just added the city of Huzuz into my homebrew world, for example. I kept what worked and changed what didn't with minimal thought and/or difficulty. The company 'pre-pruning' their products and robbing them of, in this case, what makes them unique and distinct and vibrant and is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. I don't see any benefits.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

Elves of Faerûn
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Vol. VI- Mechanical Compendium

Edited by - Lord Karsus on 07 Apr 2021 15:34:42
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  16:36:57  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
WotC doesn't want lore, because that could get in someone else's way... They want all of their writers/designers to be free to do whatever they want, because it's apparently just too hard to have to worry about lore, and because if you worry about lore, then you can't include kewl things like submarines named after real-world books and equipped with a combination lock that the combo is an Easter egg. Lurue forbid that anything should stand in the way of *that* kind of creative monstrosity disaster "vision"!

So they picked a setting full of continuity and lore so they could ignore all that and just bank on the name as they shove in anything that someone thinks of, regardless of origin or fit.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 07 Apr 2021 16:38:09
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
667 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  16:57:48  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

WotC doesn't want lore, because that could get in someone else's way... They want all of their writers/designers to be free to do whatever they want, because it's apparently just too hard to have to worry about lore, and because if you worry about lore, then you can't include kewl things like submarines named after real-world books and equipped with a combination lock that the combo is an Easter egg. Lurue forbid that anything should stand in the way of *that* kind of creative monstrosity disaster "vision"!

So they picked a setting full of continuity and lore so they could ignore all that and just bank on the name as they shove in anything that someone thinks of, regardless of origin or fit.



Please tell me that you just made up that ridiculous example.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Lord Karsus
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USA
3534 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  17:05:24  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Welp

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Scarlet_Marpenoth

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

Elves of Faerûn
Vol I- The Elves of Faerûn
Vol. III- Spells of the Elves
Vol. VI- Mechanical Compendium
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TheIriaeban
Senior Scribe

USA
667 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  18:19:49  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Welp

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Scarlet_Marpenoth



Ok...

Goodness, that is....well, dumb. I COULD see something like a regular ship with an air bubble around it like a spelljammer (seajammer?) but an actual submarine? And one that looks like a ray? Wow.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

My FR writeups - http://www.mediafire.com/folder/um3liz6tqsf5n/Documents
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
34704 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  18:23:37  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Welp

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Scarlet_Marpenoth



Ok...

Goodness, that is....well, dumb. I COULD see something like a regular ship with an air bubble around it like a spelljammer (seajammer?) but an actual submarine? And one that looks like a ray? Wow.



And it has a combination lock, which I don't believe we've seen in the Realms before, and the combo is RAS's date of birth. (I looked it up, given how obvious an Easter egg it was). And Jarlaxle's pseudonym is also a reference to something from RW pop-culture, though I don't recall what it was, off the top of my head.

Doing something like having a regular ship with an air bubble would be doable; there was something like that in the Druidhome trilogy, IIRC.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 07 Apr 2021 18:24:39
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farinal
Learned Scribe

Turkey
266 Posts

Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  18:30:41  Show Profile Send farinal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Scots Dragon

quote:
Originally posted by farinal

To be honest, he was hired by Wotc to produce a specific kind of material. Delving too deep into lore, especially on a shared IP, is rarely asked from an amateur writer who is hired to write 3-4 pages of one-shot adventure. Once you deliver the text and got paid, the text in question is the property of WOTC. They can edit or remove any part they wish.

As someone who tries to write and publish RPG materials as a hobby, I certainly do not sympathize with a huge corporation against one passionate fan, but in the end, it is a business. You get hired to do something specific and you agree to their terms beforehand. I think the real problem was the WOTC's lack of communication with the writer to inform him of their editorial process.



Shoving in repeated uses of the descriptor 'primitive' to a person of colour's work where it wasn't previously included is, however, not a good look.



What does the skin color of the writer has to do with the editorial process? Can you add or remove certain words depending on the ethnicity of the writer?

Primitive means something "very basic or unsophisticated in terms of comfort, convenience, or efficiency"

I really dont understand the identity politics associated with this discussion. You write something and you accept that WOTC can do what they want with it. They can edit out stuff, add stuff or dont even publish it at all. If the writer is so sensitive that he doesnt even want to tolerate a word being added to his work then he should not be working with this kind of contracts as a freelancer in the first place.

Btw I think the book is kind of a mess too. First one is pretty railroady and Perkins' adventure is not even an adventure (it is a pretty great read though) and I havent read rest of the stuff from the freelancers yet.

I think with this kind of backlash coming from the freelancers and some parts of the community maybe it should be best that WOTC continues acting as a private company and stop trying to be an NGO on social problems because either they lack the depth (or willingness) to handle such issues and they cant get no love from some parts of the community no matter what they try to do.

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Edited by - farinal on 07 Apr 2021 18:31:29
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
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Posted - 07 Apr 2021 :  19:06:12  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The issues are that ethnicity is really a big concern in the US, and saying someone or a culture is primitive has, historically, been an excuse for someone else to come in and impose their "superior" culture on native peoples, regardless of whether or not those native peoples want it (or just wiping out those native peoples altogether).

As for what WotC tries to do -- they're not really trying to do anything, and that's also part of the problem. They're saying, "Hey, we know this is a problem and we're going to do our best to address it," and then turning around and doing nothing at all, at best, or in cases like this one, not working with or even contacting their token PoC writer as they heavily revamp his work and use terms that he as a PoC person would not use.

If they'd given this one writer the same treatment they gave others working on the same project, then it would have been a different story altogether. Seriously, even a simple phone call on their part could have avoided a lot of this. "Hey, we like this material, but we really need to keep it focused on the adventure itself. Can you trim out some of this other material?"

It's not just an edited for-hire work, it's their whole corporate culture and behavior.

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Candlekeep - The Library of Forgotten Realms Lore
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Wendolyn
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 08 Apr 2021 :  01:06:40  Show Profile Send Wendolyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by deserk

quote:
Originally posted by keftiu

Arguably /the/ reason people know PanzerLion is the work he did to showcase the rich history of Chult in order to supplement the mess that was Tomb of Annihilation, motivated largely by how that book depicted Chult as a place full of “primitive people” who couldn’t even build their own cities. Candlekeep Mysteries’ hiring process was driven by an explicit push for diversity; hiring a Black creative whose most notable work is trying to make your Africa-equivalent less insulting to black people (and more interesting for players!) only to toss out his lore-based work and double down on colonialist descriptors of an indigenous group he clearly took pains to humanize makes their views starkly clear.

Sure, it’s only two uses. How many times did they need to add a term he hates with racist connotations to his work before he’s allowed to be pissed, especially when getting away from that crap is his entire public brand? This is the second big name Black creator hired on from the community that they’ve treated poorly; how many times do they need to do it before we admit WotC has a race issue?


I'm not exactly eager to come to WotC's defence, but quite frankly I think the implication of a racist attitude from WotC to be quite hyperbolic and paranoid. That is to say, you are assuming QUITE a lot (and not a exactly generous assumption either) based on VERY little. They are in the business of making money, and that is ALL they care about at the end of the day; no matter what platitudes their designers might like to habitually spill out on Twitter on various political topics. But in the corporate world of America; they are hardly unique in that.

And Chult does have cities built by Chultans. And I seriously doubt that in any publication FR designers have described Chultans as being "primitive"; so try to bear in mind those are YOUR words and assumptions, not theirs. But yes, WotC did destroy most settlements in Chult save for Port Nyanzaru in the 4e and 5e era; as they did with countless other cities and lands throughout Faerun in the same period. And I seriously doubt it is out of some racist malice; but rather part of an overall strategy of theirs to dumb down the Realms; make it as easy and consumable for people who don't care about the Realms and as alienable and unappealing as possible to Realms fans of 1st/2nd/3rd edition era. And that means keeping the lore as simple and uncomplicated as possible.

It's also worth bearing in mind that Chult isn't the only African-based culture in Faerun. The Turami of Turmish are as well, and Turmish is an economic, intellectual and political powerhouse in the Sea of Fallen Stars, with many large metropolitan cities and prosperous settlements.



I love Turmish, it is the area of the realms I know the most about, but I think it is a bit of a stretch to say they are an African culture. Their culture is hard to map to any real-world equivalent. Some have said they are based on Turkish culture, but that also seems like a bit of a stretch. The parts of Turmish that are the most consistent from the early days are that Turmishans are: 1) tall and handsome, 2) wear ornately adorned plate/metal armor, and 3) the male merchants wear square beards. This doesn't strike me as particularly African. Would people even think of them as being African, if the Turami didn't have dark skin? What if pale-skinned folks from the Moonsea wore square beards and ornate plate armor? I doubt we would consider them as having an African-inspired culture. But I digress.

As to what happened to POC_gamer, I think it is a real shame. I have greatly enjoyed his blog for a long time now. I hope that Wizards get sufficient blowback from this so that they (and other RPG companies) are careful to avoid these colonialist tropes going forward.
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PattPlays
Learned Scribe

280 Posts

Posted - 08 Apr 2021 :  02:57:49  Show Profile  Visit PattPlays's Homepage Send PattPlays a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by TheIriaeban

quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Welp

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Scarlet_Marpenoth



Ok...

Goodness, that is....well, dumb. I COULD see something like a regular ship with an air bubble around it like a spelljammer (seajammer?) but an actual submarine? And one that looks like a ray? Wow.



And it has a combination lock, which I don't believe we've seen in the Realms before, and the combo is RAS's date of birth. (I looked it up, given how obvious an Easter egg it was). And Jarlaxle's pseudonym is also a reference to something from RW pop-culture, though I don't recall what it was, off the top of my head.

Doing something like having a regular ship with an air bubble would be doable; there was something like that in the Druidhome trilogy, IIRC.


5e hasnt' been averse to real world references. Take the Trinkets Table percentile die table, as well as the punny magical components to most cantrips. Lots of references there but most people don't notice it. I suppose that's the same for easter eggs.

:The world's greatest OOTA fan/critic: :"Powder kegs within powder kegs!": :Meta-Dimensional Cheese: :Why is the Wand of Orcus just back?: :We still don't know the nature of Souls and the Positive Energy Plane: :PC on profile, Aldritch Elpyptrat Maxinfield: :Helljumpers, Bungie.net: :Rock Hard Gladiator, RIP Fluidanim, RIP Pluto: :IRC lives:


https://thisisstorytelling.wordpress.com

T_P_T
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deserk
Learned Scribe

Norway
150 Posts

Posted - 08 Apr 2021 :  10:16:26  Show Profile Send deserk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wendolyn
I love Turmish, it is the area of the realms I know the most about, but I think it is a bit of a stretch to say they are an African culture. Their culture is hard to map to any real-world equivalent. Some have said they are based on Turkish culture, but that also seems like a bit of a stretch. The parts of Turmish that are the most consistent from the early days are that Turmishans are: 1) tall and handsome, 2) wear ornately adorned plate/metal armor, and 3) the male merchants wear square beards. This doesn't strike me as particularly African. Would people even think of them as being African, if the Turami didn't have dark skin? What if pale-skinned folks from the Moonsea wore square beards and ornate plate armor? I doubt we would consider them as having an African-inspired culture. But I digress.


I don't disagree entirely with your reasoning, but Turami have been depicted with an African appearance in artwork, and their physical appearance as described in the sourcebooks matches that. But it's obvious that Ed tries to avoid any direct real world parallel with any of his original Faerunian cultures, so yes it isn't reminiscent of a particular African culture nor any other RW culture. But it's obviously important for players from various parts of the world to be able to play something they can identify with.
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Wendolyn
Seeker

52 Posts

Posted - 08 Apr 2021 :  21:29:24  Show Profile Send Wendolyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by deserk

quote:
Originally posted by Wendolyn
I love Turmish, it is the area of the realms I know the most about, but I think it is a bit of a stretch to say they are an African culture. Their culture is hard to map to any real-world equivalent. Some have said they are based on Turkish culture, but that also seems like a bit of a stretch. The parts of Turmish that are the most consistent from the early days are that Turmishans are: 1) tall and handsome, 2) wear ornately adorned plate/metal armor, and 3) the male merchants wear square beards. This doesn't strike me as particularly African. Would people even think of them as being African, if the Turami didn't have dark skin? What if pale-skinned folks from the Moonsea wore square beards and ornate plate armor? I doubt we would consider them as having an African-inspired culture. But I digress.


I don't disagree entirely with your reasoning, but Turami have been depicted with an African appearance in artwork, and their physical appearance as described in the sourcebooks matches that. But it's obvious that Ed tries to avoid any direct real world parallel with any of his original Faerunian cultures, so yes it isn't reminiscent of a particular African culture nor any other RW culture. But it's obviously important for players from various parts of the world to be able to play something they can identify with.



Yes, well said. You are right bout the art, in particular the FRCG-4e pictures of Turmishans. I think you could also say that Akabar Bel Akash also has perhaps an East African appearance, say Somalian, or perhaps Middle Eastern. On the other hand, the cover of The Reaver sometimes seems African to me, but other times not. It's hard to distinguish the culture I think from the fact that Antonio has brown skin. And then Reya Mantlemorn from Descent into Avernus doesn't seem to me to have African clothing or equipment at all. Nor does the Turmish shown in the relevant section in Warriors and Priests of the Realms. In short, the art on Turmish is all over the place, and you're right, some of it is clearly African-inspired.

And I don't want to overstate the case that there is no African influence in the lore on Turmish. One example of such influence is in the Wizards and Rogues of the Realms where Turmishan wizards are described as being covered in animal tattoos that glow when they cast spells. However there are few such African influences in Ed's Polyhedron articles or the Vilhon Reach sourcebook, if I recall correctly.

And I couldn't agree with you more that it's important for players from other parts of the world to be able to play with something they identify with. I think it is one of the huge strengths of the Forgotten Realms that it has so many different cultures and ethnicities in it. Now these were not always done well, and some lean heavily on harmful stereotypes, but it is a strength of the setting that it is so encompassing.
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