Oriental Adventures and Alternatives

by Hawke Robinson published 2022/11/12 09:45:18 GMT-7, last modified 2022-11-12T09:45:19-07:00
There have been an increasing number of articles (and people?) protesting against the Dungeons & Dragons books and settings titled "Oriental Adventures". What are some of the issues expressed? What are the published past and currently in-print alternatives (are there any)?

In recent years there has been an increasing uproar against "Oriental Adventures". This article attempts to summarize a few of the more commonly stated concerns, and any suggested modifications to consider, including alternative published books.

I approach this article with trepidation almost certain that in today's climate anything I say (due to peopple's judgment of my exterior appearance, age, current socioeconomic status (regardless of my past), ethnicity, etc.), I will be will be lambasted.  I am hoping folks (perhaps overly optimistically?) will allow a productive conversation on what has turned into a sensitive topic in recent years. Something that results in a useful solution for those wishing to run role-playing games in mythical and historical settings like:

China's Yangshao Era The Warring States Era, to Qing/Manchu Eras

Japan's Jomon through Sengoku, to Tokugawa Eras.

Korea's Choson through The Kingdoms, to Yi Dynasty periods.

Please, if at all possible,  focus on a solutions oriented approach to this.


Oriental Adventures has been a lot of fun for many. In recent years however, there have been calls not only for the removal of considering any future revisions of it, or using old out of print version, but even eliminating use of the word "Oriental", or the phrase "East Asian".

Some of the concerns evoked by the the above terms include:

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Some of the concerns about the D&D Oriental Adventures books include:

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Is it Possibly to "Patch" OA?

If Patching Not Sufficient, Any Published Alternatives?

If patching isn't sufficient, if the entire work is corrupt to the core, are there any published (past or present) role-playing game systems and/or settings that detail a mythical equivalent setting in a way that addresses the issues of those concerned?

Some suggestions from the community include:

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Counters from others about those suggestions include:

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What is an Acceptable Replacement Short Word/Term for "Oriental" or "Eastern Asia"?

Oriental - Objects, Antiquated, or Worse

Used to refer to object (vases, rugs, etc.)...

Antiquated colonial western Europe centric.

Banned by:

  • Washington State
  • New York
  • ...

East Asia / East Asian

Alternative Word/Words/Phrase/Phrases, or Only Allowed Specifics?



Email to Professor Edward Slack at EWU:

Dear Professor Slack,

I was a student in your East Asian History class back in 2004. We also
spoke last year regarding a research project I was considering
(still a work in progress).

In today's political climate I have run into a snag that I was
hoping you might have some helpful suggestions on how to address.

When speaking with friends and family from Japan, China, and Korea,
they didn't understand why this was an issue, so unfortunately weren't
able to provide any suggestions.

Unfortunately for those in the US, U.K. etc., generally either not of
similar descent at all, or 2nd/3rd+ generation, people are taking great
offense to either "East Asia" or "Oriental". I hate that I even have
to worry about this, but in todays climate, since I represent multiple
companies, I unfortunately have to tread extra carefully.

I have generally used "East Asia" as per your class for speaking about
Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Korea, etc. But in the past few years
people have passionately attacked such a term as racist, colonialist,
middle-aged-white-male-patriarchy, inaccurate, etc. Oriental only came
up because one of the games considered for use in the research is
titled "Oriental Adventures".

Again, those from East Asia didn't seem to care about either term,
thought oriental was just antiquated but not offensive, and were
puzzled by the upset of the others.

Since this is a work that I hope can eventually be published somewhere,
do you have any suggestions on how to address the issue?

Any current alternative language that (at least for the moment) is
"safer" to use (if any such alternative exists), without having to
least each and every country/culture every time referring to that
region, or group of cultures in that region?

Do you have any suggested contacts or research material you would

Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter.


Hawke Robinson

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