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Posts posted by Himoto

  1. It's not "want to be". It's what fair skin mean in their artistic language versus what it means in ours. Ot does NOT follow that they want depicted that way by strangers. That's a self-serving leap of faith. 

    Rather like someone whose name happen to sound rather vulgar in English (or just be hard to pronounce correctly in english) may prefer English speaker to use an alternate pronunciation or nockname rather than constantly being called something vulgar or having their name mangled by anglophones, even while they prefer to be adressed by their proper name in their native language.

  2. Art is a method of communication. You start with an idea you are attempting to communicate (which can be a politically motivated thing, or simply an emotion you want to convey, or a deep innovative thought about art itself, or just 'Here is a powerful, beautiful samurai lady' because that's what the person who comissioned you to make the art asked you to convey), and you attempt to convey it to the people viewing the art. 

    Like any other method of communication, there are codes and alphabets and languages to art, and each culture grows their own. This can range from how colors (eg is white or black the color of death?) are interpreted, to cues on how to represent certain notions of ethnicity, to numerical analogies, to reference to other famous works of art of a given culture.

    And, like any other method of communication, if you start randomly throwing words in a language only you understand in the conversation without ever explaining those words, no one's going to understand what you're babbling on about. Heck, a word may be a perfectly legitimate way of saying something in one language, and an obscene swearword in another. Phoque may be seal to a French audience ; but by an English speaker to an English audience, it's going to be interpreted as a certain F-word. 

    That's why there's a major difference between a Japanese person painting fair-skinned Japanese people for a Japanese audience ; and a western person painting fair-skinned Japanesse people for a western audience. It's the difference between a native French speaker addressing a French audience in French, and a native English speaker with limited knowledge of French addressing an English audience in an approximate imitation of French. 

  3. 1 hour ago, El_Ganso said:


    Yea, I guess I understand that.

    In which case I would argue that Rokugan falls within the First Camp also. Intellectually I know that a society based on Feudalism is a society with shaky foundations, but like I said before, there is a certain level of Buy-In one must make in order to enjoy the stories being told about Rokugan.

    The whole "Appeal to Tradition" when resolving conflicts, the outright denial of Facts in the face of an Honorable Samurai's Word, the systemic denial of land and property of the masses, and yes, even xenophobia, are all things one must accept as "par for the course" when dealing with characters and stories in Rokugan.

    I guess the only thing that worries me are those people that can't see the flaws of Rokugan and actually believe it's some sort of utopia of Honor and Virtue. On the other hand, I have a bridge I would like to sell to those people.

    The problem is, by and large, that's how Rokugan is shown in the context of the story,  because the focus of the stories is almost exclusively on the honor and virtue, with very little effort spent on showing those dark sides (that, yes, exist). Rokugan *could* be a crapsack world, but it rarely is, because the focus is on noble, honorable samurai.

    It is, in short, the difference between bog-standard feudal fantasy/fairy tales (say, second camp) and Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones-style deconstruction (first camp). Rokugan has the potential to resemble the later, but spends entirely too much time believing its own propaganda that it is actually the former. 

  4. I didn't say those were compelling stories.


     It is unapologetically a society in decay with its citizens grasping at straws to maintain some semblance of sanity.

    Then I'd say the setting question or undermine the idea that strongman politics are good, if they're represented as part of a setting where everything is falling apart. In which case, we're closer to the first camp: characters may believe the system is good ; but readers can see it's rotten. 

    I was thinking more of the Imperial fetishism in Star Wars where far too many authors and fans insist on clean pretty empires because they have cooler ships (and where the "Empire stands for order and law against chaos and anarchy" mentality is always brought up). 

  5. 12 hours ago, El_Ganso said:

    I agree that it's bad writing, but I don't agree that acknowledging the flaws and working to subvert the status quo is strictly better.

    It is perfectly valid for a protagonist to accept the status quo and roll with it, it is the premise of every story where players decide to fly for the Empire instead of the Rebellion, or lead an army for The Horde instead of the Alliance

    Depends how you write them. 

    A lot of those "fly for the empire" stories end up in one of two camps : first, the camp of tragic irony, where we, the audience, are privy to how utterly wrong the character is, and how likely their devotion to the empire is to end badly for them and/or not work out in the long run. Second, the camp of (basically) Imperial propaganda, which present strongman politics, police state systems and the ilk, from the perspective of a reader, as good (or at worse necessary evils) because they bring order and unity against chaos, disorder and outside thread (often, while portraying democracy as feeble, deadlocked and unable to accomplish anything).  (It's not just presenting character who believe those things: it's presenting characters who believe those things and never questioning or undermining those beliefs). 

    The first camp make for great writing, and great stories. The second camp present as essentially correct the argument of every dictator in the past century to justify their dictatorship. 

  6. There are many ways to isolate a country without resorting to xenophobic political isolationism. Geographic isolation works, for one. Even if you do use xenophobia, you can give a nod to the consequences, or just show your point of view characters at least aware it's not a perfect system. Not whole stories of it; just passing mentions here and there. It's not hard, and only focus-damaging to the fringe minority who cling to the empty fantasy of fiction being entirely divorced from the world of its reader.

    Quite frankly, if you can't imagine anything better than creating a system that needs to legitimize (both in the sense of justifying, and in the sense of presenting it as without negative consequence) extreme xenophobia to keep its focus...you don't have enough imagination in the first place,to be a good witer.

    Good witers don't need that kind of crutches to keep their focus where it needs to be.

  7. Quote

    Yeah, but who  is to argue with the celestial order/gods?

    The two order of beings who are above any fictional celestial orders and gods : Readers, and writers. 


    Dude china didn't NEED anything from the west, until british merchants started smuggling in opium.  There was a whole war fought about it until the UK forced a bunch of concessions out of the emperor.  Obviously modern times are different, but we're dealing with a medieval era setting. 

    Even by then, China was trailing severely behind in technology, which directly contributed to losing the aforesaid war. This was after about two centuries (ish) of relatively (compared to Rokugan) mild xenophobic isolationism. 

    Medieval China (through various dynasties) fortified the Silk Road, traded and sent embassies with its neighbors, welcomed foreign visitors and ambassadors, and sometime adopted their ideas. The  Yuan (Mongols) more so than the other, but even the Ming era saw flourishing trade and diplomacy. Heavier-handed xenophobic isolationism comes into play fairly late in Chinese history, and was rapidly followed by the decline and fall of the Chinese empire, a decline that they've spent the past century working hard to recover from.

    Even Japan was fairly mild on its xenophobia compared to Rokugan: even at the worst of Japanese isolation, they still received yearly trade ships from the Netherlands and European books were not entirely unknown. And, of course, Japan had fairly open lines of communication with its East Asian neighbors. And that's at the worse of Tokugawa isolationism. Pre-Tokugawa, Japan still had extensive contacts with East Asia, and, at various periods, traded over a much broader region. 

    Again, that period of isolation directly led to a severely technologically behind Japan (that did a much better job of catching up than Europe, but still needed decades to do it). 


    Meanwhile, we have Rokugan. Rokugan, whose isolation has been near-total for not the two centuries of so or Japan and China, but for six centuries; whose xenophobia lead to conservative elements that want to put even ambassadors to death (cf Rama Singh). That rokugan has no nearby equal nation with which to maintain trade : no Korea or China (or Japan) to trade with and learn from (via the exchange of ideas). 

    That Rokugan is a grossly exaggerated parody of the real instances of xenophobic isolationism in Asia, where even the real consequences (of what China and Japan actually did) are laundered away, leaving only pretty clean xenophobia. To make sure the consequences of that don't catch up with Rokugan, Wrath of God wiped out the relevant nations with footnote plagues. 

  8. Which in turn is nowhere near as cringey as the Pretty Clean Not Evil xenophobia some fans insist on. 

    Portray heroic characters who believe in xenophobia as one of their flaws, yes. Portray an empire that stunt and limit itself because it fears outsiders, yes. But don't sanitize xenophobia, let alone make it right. It's a rotten, at times downright murderous mentality that's founded on cowardice (in Rokugan's case, institutionalized cowardice), one that will almost always lead to serious harm for the involved parties, by isolating and limiting them. 

    Portraying rokugani who are right to fear outsiders ; a Celestial Order (as AEG almost did with the Phoenix-Unicorn war) that *actively* punishes the empire for not being xenophobic enough? That's bollocks.  

  9. Good strategy often leads to overwhelming numbers. 

    This is worth noting, because people often think that good strategy should translate to winning without regard for numbers...and while it can, a good strategist should also know (as about the first lesson they learn) that fighting without a numerical advantage is a foolish, risky, desperate way to fight. The Lion SHOULD be shown to outnumber their opponents most of the time, because the Lions are *good* at deploying their forces to achieve victory, and achieving numerical advantage is a big part of that, 

    (And even an outnumbered general's best move is usually to concentrate their forces against a weaker part of the enemy army, achieving *local* number advantage and using it to break the enemy's coordination)

  10. It's not reviling, but it's certainly namecalling. You use a label for them designed to evoke a negative impression (that they're not arguing honestly). 

    And yes, you are a in free society where you can say what you like. But just because you have the right to say something, doesn't mean that thing is the right thing to say. Sometime, there are better ways to phrase t hings. Sometime, it may be best to stay silent and ignore something you feel is not genuine rather than hurl labels that may well be wrong at the poster. 

    You don't *have* to, and neither do anyone else. I can't force you, and even if I could I probably wouldn't. But I will say that, in my opinion, if everyone made an effort toward assuming good faith on the part of others, we'd have more interesting, less hostile discussions. 

    And I'm addressing it here because I don't read every thread and your post was the first significant example of it I noticed around here. Perhaps there were others I didn't notice because they were used in situation that had less impact on me personally ; in which case I'm sorry I missed them and failed to address them. But in any event, this was the first case that really jumped out at me. 

  11. 1 hour ago, qwertyuiop said:

    You're definitely allowed to make the request. But people are also free to perceive posts as they may. If the content appears to be false advocacy, it runs the risk of being called out.

    Assuming good faith in internet discussions might have been a basic rule in the past, but it can't be accepted as a given now.  If bad faith communication weren't so prevalent (in general), maybe.


    What harm does it do to address the argument as if it was given in good faith? The only thing you deny yourself is the ability to resort to what's essentially a form of namecalling (ie, actually calling things "virtue signaling".

    Is that such a terrible loss for treating other people with respect? 

  12. Can we please not parrot insulting ideas like "virtue signaling" or "looking to be offended" and just accept that people actually believe what they say and aren't saying it out of ridiculous ulterior motives?

    Assuming good faith should be a basic rule of internet discussion. 


    (Also the problem with Tauriel in Hobbit wasn't the inclusion of a female character ; it was the bit where, y'know, they both a)forced her into a romantic plotline that ate up all her character development, and b)ballooned out of proportion into taking up way too much of the film)

  13. Even in such a setting, women would still be 50% of the population (which is not necessarily the same as 50% of the named characters), and to exclude them from military activities and thus from the story you would still need to rely on the existence of sexist rules in the setting. That's the core of it. If you need to have active sexism in your story to justify your setting's gender balance, then you need to think twice about the setting you're writing. 

    Again, it can be done, sparingly and with excellent narrative reasons (faithfulness to the original setting not being a narrative reason). But the general rule of thumb should be to avoid those except when necessary. 

  14. There is one fundamental flaw in the comparison between gender representation and ethnic/racial diversity. 

    There have been, and still are, lots of places in the world that are not ethnically or racially diverse. Places in the world that don't have around 50% of women in their population, though? Yeah, that's...not really a thing that happened outside some very narrow organizations. 

    You can justify fairly easily (via isolation) an ethnically homogenous setting without invoking racism or discrimination. There are times where it,s problematic (mostly, in the gross over-representation of all-white casts, something Rokugan is not guilty of) ; but you don't need to directly invoke racism or rely on it in order to achieve that goal. (In the specific case of Rokugan, there is also the matter that an obvious samurai culture peopled by non-asian people is a can of worm all of its own)

    The only way to have a setting where women aren't as present as men, on the other hand, is to have active rules in your setting limiting women participation ; in other words, to make sexism a cornerstone of your setting. It can be done, of course; but it should only be done sparingly and with excellent narrative reasons (NARRATIVE reasons, not faithfulness to the original setting). These reasons don't exist in Rokugan. 

  15. 2 hours ago, Huitzil37 said:

    I don't think Doji Hotaru is a problem or something to be worried about, but this attitude that every action carried out in the name of that goal is good is basically forbidding people from noticing the astonishing regularity with which high-profile attempts to "change something to make it more accepting to women" map to "make it more acceptable to socially-powerful white upper-middle-class Woke people who have no intention of actually supporting it by spending money; make it impossible for unpopular nerds to interact with it and turn its community into a group that punishes unpopular nerds for not yet killing themselves." 

    Martyr complex, much?

  16. 12 hours ago, Doji Takashi said:

    I know, it is the same in my mother tongue and it is listed as the second meaning of this word in said Dictionary. I concern myself about linguistics and I work with definitions. I deliberately use words according to proper semantics in the hope that it might educate people in a subtle way. Thank you for the opportunity to explain it explicitly!

    Semantic is the defense of those who don't own their words. 

    Applying the term "perversion", given its secondary meaning, to a story change that involves a character's sex being changed...well, that gives a much more sinister reading to your line about "educating people in a subtle way". 

    I'm sure that's not what you meant. But being clear about what you mean (say: by avoiding the use of words that could be interpreted otherwise given the circumstances, rather than deliberately using confusing wording "to educate people in a subtle way") is your job when trying to communicate a message. Failure to do so is squarely on your shoulder, whatever (bad) reason you give for it.

  17. 6 hours ago, Toqtamish said:

    The Kami were playable in the CCG. 


    It won't be an issue. 

    Playable in the CCG yes, but in storyline tournaments (except for the very occasional Legacy tournament), no. They were never legal for play in any of the standard tournament formats. 

    That said, in a culture where ancestors guide and influence the living, it's not exactly hard to justify dead people impacting the result of storyline tournament.

    "Oh, Matsu Tsuko was in your winning deck despite being dead? Well, clearly the peopel who went and actually did the fighting received guidance from Tsuko."

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