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Author Topic: L5R and Asians  (Read 569 times)

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Offline BeorningTopic starter

L5R and Asians
« on: May 19, 2013, 03:56:39 PM »
I was wondering: does anyone here is from Asia and knows Legend of Five Rings RPG? Alternatively, does anyone here know what people from Asia (especially Japan) think of this game / setting?

I mean, Rokugan is obviously inspired by Asian cultures, but (as far as I know) it's been created by Western people (Americans?). So, what's real Asians' perception of it? A respectful homage to their cultures - or a set of cliches and stereotypes?

Offline Ephiral

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Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2013, 07:18:40 PM »
Not Asian here, but it's generally recognized as a pretty poor pastiche, to the point that at least one artist was fired for including kanji calling the creator an idiot (after it was pointed out to him, because he couldn't read it). It's also highly amusing that the writers can't seem to decide if it's fantasy China or Japan (take a look at the distances listed and the time it takes armies to march them sometime).

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2013, 12:56:59 AM »
Hmm. And I thought it was pretty impressive setting. Now I'm a little ashamed  :-(

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2013, 12:28:38 PM »
No reason to be ashamed.  Fantasy settings are just that, fantasy.  If you enjoy the setting then play in the setting, but just realize that the setting is a fantasy one and not a realistic interpretation.

Offline Oniya

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Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2013, 12:34:36 PM »
at least one artist was fired for including kanji calling the creator an idiot (after it was pointed out to him, because he couldn't read it).

*sporfle*

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2013, 01:01:58 PM »
No reason to be ashamed.  Fantasy settings are just that, fantasy.  If you enjoy the setting then play in the setting, but just realize that the setting is a fantasy one and not a realistic interpretation.

True that. Still, it kind of makes me feel bad about trying to come up with a wuxia-inspired setting... I mean, if the L5R people didn't get it right, my own setting would probably turn out to be totally offensive for real Chinese people.

Offline Oniya

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Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2013, 01:16:52 PM »
Have you watched any of the wuxia-style movies?  (handy list)  That's the sort of thing that people expect when they see 'wuxia' - not necessarily historical accuracy.  If you were trying to put together a 'medieval China' or 'feudal Japan' setting, then some accuracy would be recommended, but the genre alone implies fantasy.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2013, 03:21:23 PM »
True that... but that's what non-Chinese people would expect. I'm not an expert on wuxia, but some of these movies do take place in historical China, feature era-appropriate clothing etc.

I suspect a Chinese person could be offended, when being confronted with a setting that took a few elements of their culture, but added too much of fictional stuff.

After all, that's what L5R gets bashed for, right? That it tries to make fantasy Asia, but doesn't make it right...

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2013, 03:24:42 PM »
There is no way to make something so authentic that nobody bashes the setting.  The best thing to do is just make something fun for yourself and your players.  I could sit here all day and bash every medical show on television for a lack of authenticity, but truth is people love those shows and so watch them because in the end of the point of the show is entertainment.  The point of your game is fun, not historical accuracy.

Offline Caeli

Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2013, 10:26:58 AM »
Even wuxia movies aren't in and of themselves terribly accurate when it comes to setting and costumery. There's a lot of creative liberties that are taken (in some films, less liberties are taken than more), and you'll often see elements of different time periods inserted willy nilly, missing altogether, etc.

Like Pumpkin said, the point of the game is fun. You can, of course, make every effort to be authentic - a lot of players who enjoy that type of setting will appreciate the effort (or at the very least, appreciate the atmosphere that your effort creates). But you don't need to pin down historical details for the sake of being accurate.

I tend not to care so much if there are elements of the culture thrown in gratuitously for exoticism (though I do get irritated when what's taken are [usually inaccurate] stereotypes, rather than actual cultural elements), but I do get frustrated when the players/creator think that the setting is indicative of or presents an accurate representation of the culture in question. Then yes, I do get offended - but it's not because of historical inaccuracy, but because of the arrogance.

Offline Oniya

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Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2013, 10:36:57 AM »
Even wuxia movies aren't in and of themselves terribly accurate when it comes to setting and costumery. There's a lot of creative liberties that are taken (in some films, less liberties are taken than more), and you'll often see elements of different time periods inserted willy nilly, missing altogether, etc.

That's exactly why I mentioned them.  It's kind of like the way steampunk isn't accurate as far as portraying the Victorian era.

Online Vekseid

Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2013, 04:07:15 AM »
Not Asian here, but it's generally recognized as a pretty poor pastiche, to the point that at least one artist was fired for including kanji calling the creator an idiot (after it was pointed out to him, because he couldn't read it). It's also highly amusing that the writers can't seem to decide if it's fantasy China or Japan (take a look at the distances listed and the time it takes armies to march them sometime).

Last I heard they were mixing in British colonialism.

An official rank in the Rokuganese military is 'corpse'. One gets the distinct impression that translators were actively having fun at the creator's expense.

Though I think Mr. Wilson's art is more a comment about Wick's ego than anything.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2013, 05:15:55 AM »
What's wrong with the art?

Offline Ephiral

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Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2013, 02:46:39 PM »
Wilson was the artist fired over the "Wick is an Idiot" incident, mentioned above. And honestly, the lumps L5R takes aren't because it gets it wrong, they're because it gets it wrong with a huge dose of pretentiousness. The impression I get is that John Wick is one of those unfortunate Asia-fan types who thinks they know a lot more than they do because they devoured a (very limited) handful of Western sources on their chosen subjects. Fortunately, he's left the company (and Wilson is back), and the curernt crew are mostly the sort of ascended fans who want to see it cleaned up and tightened, and are doing a significantly better job.

And yeah, I'm pretty sure that writers were poking fun at Wick with certain things, particularly character and clan names. Clan names have included the Otaku (since changed to Utaku) and the Doji (roughly "blunder" or "screwup") have turned up as clan names. Characters have included Kuso, Baka, and O-Ushi ("great cow"). Somehow I doubt there were that many coincidences - and it's pretty telling that they all made it past editing.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2013, 03:08:38 PM »
Argh. I think you just managed to kill any interest I used to have in L5R...  :-(

Offline Ephiral

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Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2013, 04:11:17 PM »
Not what I meant to do. I'd say stick to 4e, which cleans up a lot of the faults in previous editions, both mechanically and fluff-wise, but it's not a horrible setting. Just... not to be taken as resembling real feudal China or Japan in any but the most superficial ways. Earlier editions are... problematic in places, and the timeline can be a bit ridiculous (this is what happens when you let a CCG dictate your plot), but... well, I'm fond enough of it that I keep trying to get my local group to resurrect our L5R game and convert to 4e. And I'm the picky one when it comes to what systems and settings I'll play.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2013, 04:20:53 PM »
If it makes you feel any better I had a friend in highschool whose parents were from Japan.  They were pretty strict in terms of culture and following a good many practices.  She was pretty knowledgeable on the whole thing and said while not perfect there was enough of a feel that she enjoyed playing a Crane Clan member.

Online Vekseid

Re: L5R and Asians
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2013, 08:42:25 PM »
If it makes you feel any better I had a friend in highschool whose parents were from Japan.  They were pretty strict in terms of culture and following a good many practices.  She was pretty knowledgeable on the whole thing and said while not perfect there was enough of a feel that she enjoyed playing a Crane Clan member.

The early 12th century era is, for the most part, okay on its own, if you don't think too hard about the history. Knowing Japanese just lets you smile at the names. Hida - pig, etc.

It's when you consider the history that stuff really collapses. Stuff turns from jokes and amusing ignorance to callous disregard and insulting ignorance. Compare where Rokugan is seven centuries after naval cannons to where most of the world thinks Japan will be seven centuries after she was introduced to naval cannons.