Paizo Top Nav Branding
  • Hello, Guest! |
  • Sign In |
  • My Account |
  • Shopping Cart |
  • Help/FAQ
About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Beginner Box

Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

Pathfinder Comics

Pathfinder Legends

PaizoCon 2014!

Question to foreign gamers


Dungeon Magazine General Discussion

1 to 50 of 66 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Andoran

This thread is started as an apology to the thread "Question to German subscribers" which I somewhat threadjacked.
My question is this: as a foreign gamer, how do you think your societal influences differ from those of a U. S. gamer?
Do you use the same literary influences...say Tolkien/Leiber/Vance/Moorcock/Lovecraft/...I fully realize this list is not all-inclusive, but these were the heavy hitters that really influenced G Gygax when he wrote the game....ooops...R E Howard can't forget him?
Do you use the same mythological basis?
To attempt to synopsize Verminlord, from Ruhr in Germany, if he wants to think medieval he can go down to the old medieval wall and take a look at it. Totally different countries are very close to him, and he can go to the places where myths occured and soak in the feel of it. I think the closest thing to this I had was when I lived in Florida and could go to the old fort in St. Augustine. I ultimately intend to go to some old ruins in the Yucatan, but that's not in the cards right now. Everything in the U. S. A. is built to not last, and of course that influences the game for me. We also have a lot more violence on the tube, and a lot less flesh, than other places.


I immigrated to the U.S. in 1978 at age 11, Heathansson, from Germany. I got my U.S. citizenship in 1987. I don't consider myself a German any more, obviously. I think you pose an interesting question. The most influential thing on me growing up as a pre-teen in Germany was soccer. I played it, lived it, breathed it whenever possible. The other influential thing was the Wild West. I grew up watching German Westerns (Karl May--Old Shatterhand, Winnetou, go google it and be surprised) and we played a lot of Cowboys and Indians. I saw every episode of Bonanza in German...it was actually weird to hear Hoss' real voice the first time I saw it in English.

We did play knights a lot as well....my grandfather made me a shield out of the back of an old TV and we used to beat the crud out of each other with broomsticks in the woods behind my house. There were a lot of medieval museums around--a castle near my hometown had a lot of armor and weapons on display and I enjoyed visiting the castles, but nothing was as cool as dreaming about the Wild West....Germany has a huge following of U.S. western culture--there's German country music, German trucker music and live Wild West plays conducted in huge outdoor amphitheaters.

So, the assumption that European D&D players might have had a different influence on them growing up than U.S. gamers might not be as valid as you might think. I didn't really appreciate the incredible amount of historical treasures and museums in Germany until I got older, became American, and visited them when I went to vacation in Germany and visit family. It's certainly easier to visit places like that when they're right next door, but that doesn't mean you appreciate them more...I think that's an internal decision.


Thanks for creating a separate thread, Heathanson. ;-) So let me contribute to this one!

I grew up in French-speaking Belgium and now live in Germany. For me, the big revelation that drew me into fantasy (and, indirectly, later on to RPG) was Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It is one of the rare books I can read over and over. I read it for the first time when I was ten and have re-read it many times since then, at different steps of my life.

From there I read LotR (the French translation, as my English was still somewhat defficient) and moved on to the Hobbit and then Michael Moorcock (the whole Stormbringer saga and a couple of other books). My reading of Moorcock was intersped with Edgar Poe, Roald Dahl and H.P. Lovecraft.

So it seems that, even though I grew up in a very "French" setting my interest for fantasy came through English-speaking authors.

At the same time, I agree with Verminlord's comment that living in Europe means that you have a much more direct link to the medieval culture which is so important for most fantasy settings. Living in Belgium meant that I had direct access to medieval towns (e.g. Bruges, Hasselt) or castles (e.g. Bouillon) and beautiful pieces of gothic architecture.

Last year we visited Krakow, in Poland, which is a stone-throw away from Berlin, and there you can see an amazing collection of medieval weapons and armors (it is in the old castle). You could spend hours and hours just comparing the different types of two-handed swords, halberds or crossbows. My girlfriend (who is less of a geek than I am) had to literally pull me outside!!

Also, I don't know how history courses are given in the USA or anywhere over-sea, but here, since medieval history is integral part of our own history, it means that we had two full years of history classes dedicated to that period in high-school. On the other-hand we have no idea about the secession war in the US, but that's not "our" history, so it just gets mentioned and we move on to something else. :-)

In my case, I think that this more direct contact to history (medieval or other) means that I am very picky about fantasy settings and books. I hate it when it is "historically wrong" or not realistic.

I studied latin and ancient greek for seven years, so I get sick when I see "Hercules" or "Xenia" on TV. It is just so wrong. And, no, I can't accept that it's just for fun. It is just *too* wrong.

That's why I prefer settings like the current D&D Three (Greyhawk, Faerûn or Eberron). They do not try to imitate or copy history, but are free inspirations. On the other hand, I have some problems with Warhammer's Old World.

Bocklin


Oh, and Heathansson....calling non-U.S. gamers "foreign" might be offensive to some people. I know you don't mean it to be an insult...I've done it myself, but I try to just refer to non U.S. gamers as that...non U.S. gamers. I try very hard to not let the ugly American thing pop up...you know--the guy who goes to Mexico and wonders why there's some many "foreigners" there. The world is a great place, and pretty much equal on the Internet, and not necessarily centered on the U.S., although many people I know can never see it that way.

Like I said, I know that you didn't mean it to be an insult and I don't think anyone is going to take it that way on these boards, but some people elsewhere might....I think the nature of your question shows a genuine curiosity about other cultures, which isn't necessarily a common quality and I find it commendable.

It's a bit of a sensitive topic for me since I faced a lot of semi-discrimination when I came to the U.S. by people who assumed that all Germans were Nazis and hated people who weren't white. It really irked me back then....just the other day someone at work gave me a Nazi salute, thinking they were being cute and I went off on them.

I apologize in advance, it's not my place to be the PC police here or anywhere else, but it's something that I feel rather strongly about. It could be argued that since Paizo is in the U.S. and D&D was invented in the U.S., anyone who's not an American gamer is a foreigner, but a 30 year old game that went global decades ago and is played around the world is no more an American game than say...Risk or Monopoly. I greatly admire all those non U.S. gamers who play D&D and might not be able to get all the books in their native language, so they learn English in order to play the game more readily. I don't think I would manage that....if Settlers of Catan was only available in German, how many people in the U.S. would play?

Andoran

farewell2kings wrote:

Oh, and Heathansson....calling non-U.S. gamers "foreign" might be offensive to some people. I know you don't mean it to be an insult...I've done it myself, but I try to just refer to non U.S. gamers as that...non U.S. gamers. I try very hard to not let the ugly American thing pop up...you know--the guy who goes to Mexico and wonders why there's some many "foreigners" there. The world is a great place, and pretty much equal on the Internet, and not necessarily centered on the U.S., although many people I know can never see it that way.

Like I said, I know that you didn't mean it to be an insult and I don't think anyone is going to take it that way on these boards, but some people elsewhere might....I think the nature of your question shows a genuine curiosity about other cultures, which isn't necessarily a common quality and I find it commendable.

Duly noted. I meant no insult. I guess that's a little cultural centralism showing through. I guess I should say people who come from different countries than the U. S. A.?

In my defense, I did refer to my own country as the U. S. and not America which includes two continent's worth of countries.
But, yeah. As an example, what Bocklin said: he likes FR/GH/EB better because they don't try to emulate a history that they do not understand fully. That's the type of insight I'm looking for here.
Or Xena/Hercules. I must profess to a somewhat embarrassing enjoyment of these campy shows, even though they have no respect for time period or theological/mythological accuracy.
Xena fights at the battle of Troy, then next week alongside Boudicia against the Romans. I get the jist, though; John Wayne as Genghis Khan, everybody riding thoroughbreds instead of steppe ponies, or Tony Curtis and Kirk Douglas in The Vikings really just hurt me as wrong.


Even better, those German Westerns I talked about were filmed in Italy and Yugoslavia...and the main American Indian character was played by a French actor. Some of my friends just consider that to be very "wrong"....they also think that German country music is "wrong." They don't mean it in a nasty way, though, they're just amused ;)

Andoran

farewell2kings wrote:
Even better, those German Westerns I talked about were filmed in Italy and Yugoslavia...and the main American Indian character was played by a French actor. Some of my friends just consider that to be very "wrong"....they also think that German country music is "wrong." They don't mean it in a nasty way, though, they're just amused ;)

Reminds me of the Clint Eastwood westerns shot in Italy... they were so bizarre, but the absurdity of it all gives you a peek into another realm entirely.


I like to chime in as another "foreigner" (no offence taken but it did strike me as really 'merkin).

As another European (a Dutch one this time) I can only afirm the above reactions regarding the visibility of medeival history around me. I have visited many museums and castles in the Netherlands and abroad and many of the older cities around here have remnants of medeival buildings and in some of these cities the original layout of the cities is still apparent.

Regarding foreign lands and languages closeby, this is especially true for the Netherlands. From where I live Germany is 2 hours away by car as is Belgium, Luxembourg and France are only about double the distance and Great Britain and Denmark aren't that far either. Basicly we are surrounded by "foreign" countries with foreign languages.

The mythological background of D&D is largely european, 2 of the writers you mention (Tolkien and Moorcock) are British themselves. However I do disagree a bit with Bocklin as I tend to like the more historicaly european-like settings more, like Ars Magica, WoD Dark Ages and some described in some dutch, german, french and british roleplaying games or assesories. This as opposed to high fantasy settings. I do agree somewhat with Bocklin on Games Workshop's Old World as this setting is more an extreme caricature than an alternative magic Europe, although I do like the greyness of the setting. I totally abhor the manga-ised fantasy except for those that are rooted in japanese mythology.

In all I think our sociological and mythical backgrounds aren't that much diferent as the main mythical background of the american (D&D) fantasy is largely european. I think it is safe to say that there is more interest, in the U.S.A, for european geology, history and mythology because of D&D and fantasy, the same way I've done research into the U.S.A. because of my playing and storytelling Vampire the Masquerade cronicles in New Orleans, Chicago and San Fransisco (I have a Rand McNally Road Atlas especially for this). Roleplaying games broadens your horizons and not just to elves and dragons but to history and foreign lands also.


I'm going to chime in on this thread, though I'm not a non-US gamer. However, I did live in Europe during some pretty formative years of my live (10-almost 15) and it did have a huge impact on my life. Though I did live in a country where I could understand the language (England), the sense of immediate history was always there. The Air Force base I lived on had a 1000-yr old monastery on it, which over time had been converted to a manor house. The trees in the back of the priory were brought back by Crusaders (they are cedars of Lebanon). Castles were usually no more than a couple hours drive away, not a sense of "over there" that I got when reading similar histories before moving to England.

One thing that I think was an interesting thing on the part of the Department of Defense Dependent School Districts was a particular class called "Host Nations." A "native" teacher would teach local/national history to us American kids. Never had I had a more fun class - I learned cartography, heraldry, Britain before the Normans, Britain before the Romans, stuff that I never got in a American History class. When studying Shakespeare in English class, we had the option to go see plays at Avon-on-Straton.

Anyways, my two copper pieces.


Since Canadians are 90% American anyhow, you probably don't mean me, but I did live in India as a child and a lot of my mythology is flavoured by the adventures of blue-skinned Rama, Lord Krishna and the other incarnations of Vishnu. Along with his buddy Hanuman the monkey-god he kicked demon/rakshasa butt and travelled to all kinds of exotic places.

Andoran

Krypter wrote:
Since Canadians are 90% American anyhow, you probably don't mean me, but I did live in India as a child and a lot of my mythology is flavoured by the adventures of blue-skinned Rama, Lord Krishna and the other incarnations of Vishnu. Along with his buddy Hanuman the monkey-god he kicked demon/rakshasa butt and travelled to all kinds of exotic places.

Let me explain myself, what I am seeking here. Way back in college I took a Japanese Culture class. One of the little factoids that stuck in the back of my brain was ice cream. In Japan, apparently they have sweet potato-flavored ice cream. I doubt that, as a citizen of the U. S., with my sense of what goes with what, I could even conceive of sweet potato-flavored ice cream. And, laws of transitivity holding true, that HAS to apply to Dungeons and Dragons somehow. There MUST be something I am utterly incapable of thinking of, due to the strict blinders placed upon me by my own culture.

I worked with a woman from India at my last job, and I must have drove her nuts trying to get her take on the whole "rakshasa" thing. The whole tiger-head-backwards-hands motif was news to her.
But, yes, I mean you or anybody who might have even glimpsed the nebulous sweet potato-flavored ice cream. And Rush rocks!!!


Heathansson wrote:
And Rush rocks!!!

Oh yeah, another D&D playing Rush fan....there's quite a few of us here on these boards, I've noticed.


I am Finnish gamer, currently living in Germany though...so I'll go from that point.

As others have said, I guess Europeans have a bit better grasp on Medieval times...I'd think that at least most of us have visited some old castle as a school trip at least, and get taught those times in history (well, our culture moved from prehistory to history relatively late, in 12th century, so Middle Ages don't get that much coverage in our history as they probably do in UK or France...).
On the other hand, some of the writers mentioned in the first post are really marginal sources...very little of Vance or Leiber has been translated in Finnish while eg. Tolkien and Howard are known more extensively (and of course the newer stuff like Weis & Hickman, Eddings, Kay etc...).
Lovecraft and such are of course also popular as are other genres than fantasy (before third edition of D&D became The Fantasy RPG Available I would guess eg. White Wolf games were much more popular than AD&D...).

Of mentality, one thing I have noticed to be different is view to heroism. View of many US people I have discussed with about matters of popular culture seems to be that heroes are and should be these ideal unblemished beings standing on pedestals doing great things and in general being role models for us mere mortals...while Finns typically have love for the underdog, people who struggle and occasionally manage to do good things despite their inherent faults. I doubt many Finns could play a "straight" LG paladin as seen in PHB...and even our heroic epic Kalevala is full of heroes who err in judgement and commit acts of highly questionable morality.


Hi,

I'm a French gamer, since 1981 and as I can see around me a lot of the older gamers came to rpg and d&d from reading and loving Heroic fantasy/SciFi books, now the younger come more from video game than from litterature.
There is not really enough well known French writters for this kind of story and we all read Tolkien, Vance, Moorkock, Tanith Lee, Herbert, Ursula le Guin and so on.
Even if we have castles, ruins, things of ages past everywhere we opened our mind and everyone learned from rpg to listen and learn about Aztec, Egyptian, Greek, Norse, Celtic, Indian and others mythos, some are close and are our past.
I want to add that in France there is great creativity in the rpg from independant people who try to create new games in a non professional way(amateur).


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Pawns Subscriber
magdalena thiriet wrote:
I doubt many Finns could play a "straight" LG paladin as seen in PHB...and even our heroic epic Kalevala is full of heroes who err in judgement and commit acts of highly questionable morality.

I think that goes for most Swedes as well. Besides, the Miko Miyazaki kind of paladin is so much more fun to play.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Speaking as a Brit, there are a number of factors at play, I guess. On the one hand, I was exposed to English-language media, much of which is actually American. As such, I am reasonably comfortable with American cultural references, a lot of the SF and fantasy I read was by American authors, and as such my interest in fantasy and D&D was triggered off by that reading. (To be honest, I didn't really differentiate between US and non-US stuff at the time, I just read what was available in the library.)

I also think that the typical D&D-er doesn't really have the same attitude to history and mythology than the "typical" man in the street. I am very interested in medieval history (once you get to the Rennaissance I really lose interest) but that came AFTER, and was spurred by, my interest in RPGs (I remember it quite distinctly: I bought and ICE Vikings supplement for Rolemaster and it had an excellent "Further Reading" section: I found myself dipping into Nordic sagas, then general reading on Vikings, then stuff on Europe at the time, then the Holy Roman Empire, and.... Well, you get the picture). But if you look at the typical man in the street, he is more interested in Celebrity Big Brother and the Premiership than any of this. We do have a lot of heritage lying around in Europe, but it goes largely unremarked and the context is very little understood (at least in the UK). Ask the average Welshman about the Mabinogion, and he'll look at you blankly.

That said, anyone vaguely educated has at least an appreciation that there is thousands of years of history, back to pre-Roman times, in Europe. Let's face it, we have Stonehenge just sitting there to remind us. I remember going there with my dad about 20 years ago - an American guy stood there and said, "Wow - that must be at least four hundred years old!" No, mate - about four thousand. That's not an anti-US dig, but more a symptom that for a country which only really came into existence about 250 years ago, four hundred years seems an incredible length of time. In Europe, we have a continuity of history, including documentary records, leading back to pre-Roman Athens about 2500 years ago (and if you count the Sumerian stuff from Iraq, maybe 4000 years ago). In human terms, that is very "deep time". Some of our celebrated heroes - Queen Elizabeth I, King Alfred the Great, crikey even King Arthur - are so much more ancient than the relatively brief span of European settlement in the Americas.

And there are some cultural differences too - I have always struggled a little bit with the paladin "concept": a guy who kills people because they are evil. That has always struck me as a bit of moral absolutism which relects an American frontier spirit, a relaxed way with weapons of violence (i.e. guns) and even perhaps a rigid religious/moral code (Europe being much more secular than the US, by-and-large). (Certainly, Charlemagne's paladins were just his cronies, and his enforced "conversion" of the peoples of Europe to Christianity was a far from benign process).

But overall, I think that the average D&D-er in the US probably has much more in common with his counterpart in Europe or elsewhere than differences - we are interested in stuff that leaves most of the population cold (history, mythology and so on). I think this unites us much more than anything else.


Well.. I'm from Brazil(w00t) and I moved to the U.S. last year(2005)....I think that we all have similar concepts as gamers and don't think your nationality influences your game, basically because we all get most of the RPG info from the U.S.
I'm still trying to "adapt" my roleplaying knowledge to english, as some of the the feats and skills have completely different names. For instance: Even though i know how to play D&D, I 've never played the game in here, with Americans...I'm looking foward to it though : D


HELLFINGER wrote:
Well.. I'm from Brazil(w00t) and I moved to the U.S. last year(2005).... I 've never played the game in here, with Americans...I'm looking foward to it though : D

Good luck Hellfinger--hope you find a good gaming group. Welcome to the U.S.!!


What an interesting discussion. I have been thinking about this a bit lately too. It's fascinating to read some other perspectives on this here, and hear about other people's experiences of roleplaying outside the US.

I'm Scottish, but I've lived in Japan for coming on six years. My wife is Japanese, and I am considering introducing her to roleplaying. This brings up all sorts of interesting cultural differences, as I have to struggle from the very start with explaining the very European/Western archetypes used in D&D classes. Moreover, Japanese literature is quite far removed from Western literature; the Japanese translation of the Lord of the Rings is considered a very difficult read here, and very few people seem to have read it. And of course reading in general tends to be overshadowed by manga. So it's hard to know which parts of the picture she is familiar with at all.

Regarding the sweet potato ice cream, I haven't come across that one, but I have tried soy sauce ice cream (lovely!), soba noodle ice cream (hmmm), spinach ice cream (yuck!), rice ice cream (not much of a flavour, interesting texture), sesame seed ice cream (another hmmm), and probably others I've forgotten about. But I have to say, I don't think you should take any of these strange and bizarre flavours as an indication of how different Japanese culture is; most Japanese people find the idea of these flavours just as strange as you and I. And there are strange cooks in all countries - consider the recipe for beef roasted in Coke I once read in my local newspaper back home.

Nevertheless, the issue of cultural backgrounds is absolutely a real one, which for better and for worse I have to live with every day.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Thorf wrote:


Nevertheless, the issue of cultural backgrounds is absolutely a real one, which for better and for worse I have to live with every day.

I would really like to know more about it. I watch a lot of Anime, read Manga and few books about Japan. My picture is of course very distant from the reality, but I would be deligthed to hear about some typical differences, so that I can better understand.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Be warned: long, rambling post.
Interesting Thread.
Just note, the base for most fantasy stories is deeply rooted in myths from Europe. Tolkien and Moorcock are just two authors drawing heavily on European mythology, and if you think back to the historical and mythological examples given in the AD&D 2nd Ed. Players Handbook for each character class, most of those mentioned there are from an European background. So, the basis for classical fantasy is more or less the same in the US or in Europe, I think.
But being closer to historical remnants gives you different view on history, if you are so inclined anyway.
Two examples: In my hometown, there are several churches dating back to the middle ages, as we have a diocese dating back to 815 AD. The current bishop is the 70th. Most of the churches were heavily destroyed during WW2, but have been rebuilt since. (As an aside, the nearly wholesale destruction of almost all towns and cities is one reason for the basically pacifistic stance of many germans, I think – “Never Again”.)
And if while in primary school you stand before bronze double doors dating back to 1015 AD, the doors depicting scenes from the Old and New Testament, each half of the door being about 1 meter wide and nearly 5 meters high and each wing being ONE PIECE, that surely leaves an impression if your mind is open to such things. For a view, use this link. . It is part of the Unesco World Heritage, as well. (And yes, I´m proud of the history of my hometown, if you could not guess that ))). I live within walking distance from that church, and have nearly all my life.

Considering ancient cultures, in the Rhine area, you have quite a lot remnants of the romans, dating back about 2000 years. A few years ago, one of the most important battle sites in northern Germany, where according to the various historical accounts the battle between three roman legions and several Germanic tribes ended with the complete and utter defeat of these three legions (the 17th ,18th and 19th), was found. This battle was decisive in ending the roman expansion to northern Germany. This battle was a nearly legendary occurrence, and until a few years ago, no one knew where it happened. The site is about two hours away by car from my home town. See this link. In my home town, there was roman silver found in the 19th century, which probably has some connection to this battle. It is thought that this may have been loot of this battle, buried here for unknown reasons. That is quite close to the “typical” RPG behaviour.)) (As an aside, the name of that place, Kalkriese, would translate as Chalkgiant ))

I´m working for the city government and work to protect historical buildings and other monuments (but not directly the churches), so history is the base of my daily work.

But that’s far off-topic.

What I wanted to say was that being surrounded by history and being interested in that topic lead in my case to intensive studies of historical sources, which has of course influenced my gaming. I did not try to make D&D more historical accurate, that point would be moot, but I´m interested in RPGs in historical settings.
It´s like Bocklin wrote, I can´t stand these inaccuracies in media. I remember a rather awful german TV feature about the Nibelungen perhaps a year ago (ancient german legend stuff). In the opening scene, they went into a church which was distinctly Romanesque in style, whereas the story basically is from the migrations era after the fall of the roman empire, about 4th – 5th century AD, so the church was about 500 years off… I went ballistic on that error, my girlfriend taunts me with that to this day. Well, it got much worse after that…

I once started a Vampire: Dark Ages story set in Florence, and the first thing I did in preparation for that story was buying an Art Guide to the city to get the details right. (I visited Florence and Tuscany about ten years ago, it’s a fantastic area steeped in history)

I also love the Ars Magica game, and think that their sourcebooks are just great. As they say themselves, their books are not history textbooks, but they are well-researched.

So, in my case, it is not so much the mythology that separates me from fellow gamers in the US (if it would, we would have serious problems communicating about the game), but the closeness of even ancient history that probably makes a difference.
I can´t ignore that history if I play a game that is supposedly set in a historical era, even if fantasy elements are added. I don´t need every detail right, but there should be no glaring and obvious errors. If there would be a setting that says a city had several million inhabitants in the Middle Ages, that would just not do for me. Tens of thousands inhabitants, that’s possible, but not millions. And, by extension, even background elements in pure fantasy worlds should have an internal consistency as well. If the authors place a large city in the middle of a desert, they should at least give some explanation just how the city survives there, and not just “hey, it´s magic”.

Ok, bored you all long enough now…

Stefan


Great post, Stefan!

Reading it reminded me that I completely blanked out on Wagner! But he is a key German fantasy author (ouch!). Well, he did not mean to be one, at least not in the sense of "fantasy author" as we mean it today, but his Nibelungen quadrilogy (is that a word?) is really a classical piece.

I finished reading it last month and am still thinking of it a lot. You can't help wonder how much of this has influenced Tolkien.

Just a hundred years (ca.) before LotR was written, you had a full opera saga with Dwarves/Gnomes (called "Kobold" in the original German version), Dragons, Giants, Heroes and a Ring of power that is coveted by all at the center.

In terms of D&D rules (now the Wagner purist will crucify me for this), you also have Wild Shaping, Invisibility, uses of the Craft Magic Weapon Feat, a couple of crazy Half-Celestial Human female Fighters, etc.

The Pantheon is also quite interesting and would make a great basis for a D&D Setting.

That's definitely one non-US/non-anglo-saxon source for fantasy, that would deserve to be more read.

Bocklin


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Well, Wagner just used (some say abused) a much older story that was rediscovered around 1800.
(As an aside, the Wagner operas were abused by the Nazis, which makes them suspect to this day. It does not help that Wagner himself is reputed to have been outspoken antisemitic.
It shows time and again that the Nazi regime has a huge influence on germany even today. You just cannot ignore that part of history in germany, even if you wanted to. Even ages-old folk-lore is sometimes suspected to be tainted by Nazi influence. But I digress, sorry.)
The heroic and tragic story was written down somewhen in the 13th century, and has its historical roots in the migrations of the 5th century.
The magical motifs used in this epic are probably timeless folk-lore, dwarfs and alfen are old germanic/northern mythological creatures, as trolls are.
I´m no expert on these topics, so if someone knows better, feel free to correct me.

Stefan


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules Subscriber

It is well known that Tolkien knew much about northern european folklore, the names of his dwarves are taken straight out of the edda, the ring idea probably owes to the nibelungen, as Bocklin pointed out.

Folktales are inspirations for many authors, so I think all "western" authors are somewhat influenced by these folktales. (With western, I mean an eurocentric world view, which has had the biggest influence on the US, I think.) It is a basic indoeuropean source of ideas, dating back to times immemorial. Just compare greek gods to northern gods, and you will find some parallels. AFAIK, Zeus has his parallels to the northern Tyr/Ziu (the latter being a more germanic spelling), who is reputed to have been the chief god before Odin/Woden/Wotan entered the scene. And I think the parallels between Thor and Heracles are pretty obvious.

So, american authors cannot help but being influenced by these myths as well, but of course american culture developed differently from some point onward. The pioneer spirit probably is very much a part of the american culture, as far as I can tell. Only within the 19th century, the whole area of what is now the US was conquered and settled. Compare this to the ages-old kingdoms in europe at the time, being very much set in their ways, and it is nearly logical to assume that there is a difference in spirit.

These differences continue to this day. Even if I open a can of worms now, but this pioneer spirit may be the cause for the insistence of the american populace regarding weapon laws. Sorry, but I just don´t buy the necessity of being able to defend yourself all the time. (It bears repeating, this is of course my point of view, which is probably skewed.) This might just be one of the reasons why there is a difference in the reception of violence in gaming. I have the impression that american RPGs are, very generally speaking, more given to violence than some european ones. I remember old adventures from the german "The Dark Eye" (or is it "Aventuria"?) that had right from the beginning more encounters where violence was no option, compared to D&D.

Enough for now.

Stefan

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Re Tolkien, my understanding is that he was very much influenced by the folktales of ancient Europe, which informed a lot of the LotR. As a professional philologist, he was interested in the origins of language and words and read most of the great folktale epics as part of this. He also felt that us Brits rather lacked a "national epic" like the Kelevala (right spelling?) and the Ring Cycle/Volsungsaga (also possibly a dodgy spelling - apologies) of Finland and Germany respectively, and wanted to create something in a similar vein for Britain.

(As an aside, an interesting comparison can be made between the Shire and the counties of Warwickshire and Oxfordshire where Tolkien grew up and worked - the Shire is essentially an idealised English Midlands rural landscape of, say the late 19th/early 20th centuries, with it's small villages, rolling hills dotted with woodland, and friendly (though rather short) locals. As a further aside, there are also some implicit assumptions concerning class and station that run through the relationship between Sam and Frodo that are very British, at least for the period but still in evidence to some extent today.)

(As yet a further aside, I always enjoyed the interplay between the orcs and uruks who captured Merry and Pippin when they are discussing what to do. Tolkien was in the trenches in World War One and the way those orcs talk is pure British tommy and NCOs. I always felt disgruntled they left that out of the movie version of the Two Towers, especially when the shovelled so much crap in to that one, but I really am digressing a long way now.)

I certainly think, on a further comment, that maybe there is a difference in the implicit attitude to violence between US and European players. I don't really have much to base this on, other than my observation about paladins in D&D. Again, I think that we are more similar than different, as certainly my group comprises computer guys and accountants, and who may therefore see the game as a release from our nerdiness and geekiness. I think we all get some enjoyment from the safe, and therefore empowering, "violence" that we can wreak in D&D, and I imagine that is the case whether we are from London, Berlin, Boston or Tokyo.

What I think is interesting is why some of us prefer the mix of roleplaying v power-gaming that we do, and whether this has any impact depending on our culture. Any comments?


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
...us Brits rather lacked a "national epic"...

The Mabinogion wasn't epic enough? King Arthur? Cu Chulainn and the Tuatha de Danaan? Firbolgs? Giants? How much more epic can ya get? ;-)

I've seen aforementioned Finnish epic spelled "Kalevala", for what it's worth.

I know my group uses combat/violence in D&D to act out their frustrations in Real Life(tm), which I think is a better outlet. For me, if I don't have a game coming up, "gratuitous violence" helps, usually in the form of Doom, Diablo, Halo, games like that. Are we expressing a form of rebellion against the things we cannot change by vicariously living out a violent expression in a non-physically harmful media? Probably. I know that by the time I've blown up said Covenant Armada a few times, my anger has subsided to a manageable point. My players are more relaxed after they've battled the bad guys minions, decimating them with their skills and powers. Is it healthy? For us, yes. It's probably the same reason we all game (and for my group, why we're in the SCA) - it's an escape. We put on our garb, or pick up our character sheet and dice, and forget about Life, even for a few hours. By the time Real Life(tm) rolls back around we're ready to look at things from a different perspective and "git 'er done."

Back to the subject at hand...

When I lived in Bedfordshire, the immediacy of history did make a deep impression upon me. One of the very first family trips my dad took my brother and I on was to Belvoir Castle, where we got to go to the top of the tower and view the land around us. Really gives you the reason it was built on top of a hill. They also held a jousting tournament - talk about making an impression on a ten-year old mind!

I also had a chance to go hawking when I was 14 - there is an odd sense of power when you're holding a bird of prey on your hand. You can feel their talons pressing into your hand, despite the thick leather glove you wear. I got to see a peregrine falcon in action - it dive bombed a rabbit. All the animal shows in the world cannot recreate that experience for me. I got to feed a barn owl. I could not even hear that owl approach from flight and land on my arm - the only sign I knew that bird had landed was the weight on my arm. Also got to see a golden eagle (named Shakespeare) do its magic. To this day, I would still love to have a bird like those I saw in England.

Though I'm not a big fan of Tolkien, there is a really really good sign that the movies and his work have had a big effect. They are building a subdivision in my town called The Shire. The street names are Baggins Way, Ringbearer Court. The place looks absolutely amazing - I hope I can afford to live there!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Just an amusing fact about 'Wagnerism'. King Ludwig's most knewn castle Neuschwanstein (http://www.neuschwanstein.de/) was built after his wish to built a perfect setting for Wagners (fantasy) opera. He even let built a cave with lakes to be in his 'fantasy' world (http://www.linderhof.de/).
Speaking of an early fantasy fan.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

As a Norwegian who has lived in Belgium, Russia and the UK (and is currently living in the US), I'm less than entirely certain about which influences come from where, or whether they are meaningfully traceable to being European. Like everyone else, my first experience with fantasy was Tolkien about 20 years ago, but I also read a bunch of other fantasy stuff, like the Conan comics and Stephen King's "The Stand". Still, I DM very differently from the Americans I've met, so there might be something there...

Also, I would like to strongly second the conceptual differences between heroism in the US and elsewhere; read the Older and Younger Edda (the Old Norse viking sagas), and there is little classical heroism involved. Instead, you get large amounts of shockingly messy violence, and a stoicism that is at times highly entertaining (In one memorable sequence, one guy comes out of a house with a poleaxe sticking out of his back. When asked if the house's owner was home, he answers "No, but his axe was" - and only then dies). Perhaps this lack of chivalric purity is why my groups rarely play paladins - and when they do, they are never actually likeable, but rather foam-at-the-mouth holy warriors? One of the paladins even owned thralls he had taken in combat. Even though he treated them well, that is quite a bit away from the Arthurian concept of the pious knight...

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Um, coming to think of it, that same paladin who staffed his longhouse with battle-captives also rode a polar bear instead of a horse and wore a wolverine helmet over his walrus-skin cloak. I guess that last flourish might possibly be something of a Norwegian quirk.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules Subscriber

Regarding chivalry, I think this was more of an romantic ideal than daily reality. A knight was basically a warrior out to kill his enemy, not a holy man happening to wear armor and carry a sword. Read accounts of historical battles (eg. from Osprey), and you will not find much chivalrous behaviour.
I think this ideal was - conciously or not - developed to have a counterweight to the realities of war and battle.
To put it in D&D terms, most knights would just not have any good alignment, at least not for long. Many would be neutral, and not a few evil. It was for this reason that Paladins in 1st and 2nd ed was hard to qualify for, I think. It is very diffcult to meet the demands of "holiness" and conduct battles against countless enemies.

Stefan


Oh yes, I remember reading some of the goriest stories ever in Edda...highly entertaining in macabre way.
The Finnish epic is indeed spelled Kalevala which was collected in mid-19th century as a continuous story while the stories themselves are dated to be from relatively new (18th and 19th century) to over 2000 years old (there appears to be a reference to a meteor strike in Estonia which happened ~400 BC...). And Tolkien was a fan, most evident was story of Turin Turanbar in Book of Unfinished Tales, which is basically a retelling of story of doomed hero Kullervo (who is basically a messed-up kid who ends up killing loads of people before committing a suicide).

Moving to differences in mentality, I don't know how much this applies to gamers but anyway...
Once upon a time there was a Swedish tv show Expedition Robinson which was about sending bunch of people to an uninhabited island and making them to perform in all kinds of contests while naturally also trying to survive in wilderness. It was mostly about solidarity and teamwork (they were Swedes after all).
Then the idea was bought to US with name Survivor, and somehow they managed to turn it into seething hotpot of conflicting personal relationships, backstabbing etc. Somehow after that Finnish (and from what I have heard, Canadian) survivor became amusingly dull since there all the contestants were much more relaxed and not turning everything into a dramatic moment, they were acting basically like it was a nice vacation on tropical island...

Similarly, some have commented that Americans shouldn't be allowed to make wildlife documents since they tend to overdramatise them to point of silliness, finding danger and conflict even in places where there is none...

I haven't played enough with US gamers to know if they are more likely to go for larger-than-life stories in dramas that are their (characters') lives than, say, European players.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Lilith wrote:

The Mabinogion wasn't epic enough? King Arthur? Cu Chulainn and the Tuatha de Danaan? Firbolgs? Giants? How much more epic can ya get? ;-)

Point well made - perhaps I should clarify. An ENGLISH epic - the Mabinogion is Welsh and Cu Chulainn is Irish (and both writeen in "Celtic" languages, not English - I won't bore you with notions of nationhood within the various countries [England, Scotlan and Wales, plus the province of northern Ireland] that make up the UK, but the relevance is that they were very real separate entities until the medieval period and beyond [in the case of Scotland]). King Arthur wasn't really written down until the medieval period. And while we sort of have Beowulf, the action all happens in Sweden. (I don't really dispute your point, actually, just passing on a comment I read about Tolkien. It might not even be true - I haven't spoken to old JRR lately to confirm.)

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Stebehil wrote:

Regarding chivalry, I think this was more of an romantic ideal than daily reality. A knight was basically a warrior out to kill his enemy, not a holy man happening to wear armor and carry a sword. Read accounts of historical battles (eg. from Osprey), and you will not find much chivalrous behaviour.

I think this ideal was - conciously or not - developed to have a counterweight to the realities of war and battle.
To put it in D&D terms, most knights would just not have any good alignment, at least not for long. Many would be neutral, and not a few evil. It was for this reason that Paladins in 1st and 2nd ed was hard to qualify for, I think. It is very diffcult to meet the demands of "holiness" and conduct battles against countless enemies.

Stefan

I think the notion of chivalry arose with the troubadour tradition in medieval France, where courtliness and romance were elevated by the troubadour poets (I am far from an expert in this subject by the way, but then again it has never stopped me opining before - I saw a interesting documentary that suggested in passing that the troubadours may have been influenced by Moorish poetic traditions, so in fact our nights in shining armour have an islamic antecedence). While these notions became fairly widespread as an ideal and were celebreated in such medieval works as Morte d'Arthur (spelling?), the Song of Roland and so on (and attached to the D&D paladins), it is quite true that they had very little bearing on actual medieval warfare. Consider, for example, Henry V's (supposedly a hero king, at least if you are English [apologies to any French readers]) execution of the French nobles captured after Agincourt becuase they had to many to hold and ransom and nowhere to put them. Certainly, the Nordic sagas don't have much in the way of chivalry - battle for them was about killing the other guys and getting out alive. And the motivations were almost gangsterish.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Lilith wrote:
Though I'm not a big fan of Tolkien, there is a really really good sign that the movies and his work have had a big effect. They are building a subdivision in my town called The Shire. The street names are Baggins Way, Ringbearer Court. The place looks absolutely amazing - I hope I can afford to live there!

I hate to say it, that sounds almost unbearably twee - maybe another difference between UK and US sensibilities? ;-)

While I agree that the LotR movies probably have given the hobby a big kickstart, I always had some problems with the settings in NZ. They never looked quite right to my imagination, I guess, as I was probably seeing more quintessentialy English settings. Cosidering the aforementioned Shire, the rendition of that always looked a bit wrong to me in the film. As I say, it reads as very English to me - I think the vegetation and so on just made it look alien. (I am not a huge fan of Peter Jackson's trilogy, though I respect his breadth of vision. I just think that, as a non-Brit, mybe he didn't "get" it as much as he thought. Or maybe I'm just an old bigot.)


This has been an interesting thread--my sense is that Europeans and Americans have a lot more in common than we think we do, despite the strange combination of religious righteousness with violence that is a bit more prevalent in the U.S. (This, of course, ultimately derives from Europe as well--blame Cromwell, Cortez, and all of those fine kings, nobles, and princes of the church who got their dynastic ambitions mixed up with their religious convictions, and then blame Cotton Mather, Woodrow Wilson, W, Pat Robertson and whoever else for carrying on the tradition here and getting "American democratic values" mixed up with the bible.)

One earlier poster mentioned trying to get a Japanese wife to play, and I'm rather curious if there are any other gamers on this board who have had any experience playing FRPGs in Asia or Africa, or with people who grew up in Asian or African cultures.

My experience has been playing a game in China where the DM was trying to include his Chinese girlfriend in the game, and trying to include a Chinese girlfriend in a game here in the states. Neither girlfriend developed much of an interest, although his girlfriend at least was sporting about it.

I think part of this experience was just a matter of people who don't really have the escapist streak that most of us gamers have (amen to Lillith), or at least people who are in the habit of using other ways of escaping reality. Although Chinese culture has a long and very interesting history of fantasy, on the mainland today the culture seems really focused on material realities and competition over them (both among rich and poor). And also the college examination grind (common to all of East Asia) gives teenagers very little time to develop any hobbies or interests at all--for most of us, I think this is the time of our lives when we developed this hobby, and if we hadn't done it then, we probably wouldn't be very much into it now.

That said, there is a ton of material in Asian cultures (and I'm sure African as well) that could be used in an FRPG setting. Oriental Adventures and related material are a start, but it's kind of limited (very Japan-centric), and, well, "orientalist" (i.e. reflecting a Eurocentric idealization of "Eastern" cultures). So I'm not sure that what's available would have the same kind of cultural resonance for the hypothetical Asian gamer that the standard RPGs like D&D have for an audience with a European background.

It seems to me there is a huge potential market for pen and paper roleplaying games in Asia today, but it would probably require an enterprising person with both gaming expertise and a good knowledge of the Asian counterparts of the folklore and fiction that influenced the founding fathers of the FRPG world over here.


Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
Point well made - perhaps I should clarify. An ENGLISH epic...

Ahh...ENGLISH epics are a mite rare. Their good stories seem to have come from the peoples they conquered. ;P

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Lilith wrote:
Ahh...ENGLISH epics are a mite rare. Their good stories seem to have come from the peoples they conquered. ;P

Yeah, well .... (shuffles feet uncomfortably)

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
One earlier poster mentioned trying to get a Japanese wife to play, and I'm rather curious if there are any other gamers on this board who have had any experience playing FRPGs in Asia or Africa, or with people who grew up in Asian or African cultures.

I have very little insight into African culture, but I have been out with some Asian girls and can make some very hesitant comparisons based on that (though I never tried to play an RPG with them).

I think one of the primary requirements for an interest in fantasy is probably living in an industialised society. This allows you to idealise a bucolic past (let's face it, life as a medieval peasant was sh!t - you waded through the stuff most of the time) and gives you a sort of nostalgic, romantic, "pastoral" image of ancient times (there is an interesting essay by Prof Tom Shippey in the Penguin Book of Fantasy Stories along those lines). Most Asian cultures are busy industialising but there is also a big rural sector - in other words, they haven't travelled as far down the road to obliterating a rural, pastoral heritage, they still have one and know that it isn't quite so sweet and lovely.

Also, and connected to this to some extent, Asian culture tends to be quite materialistic (though also see below). A trip to Singapore was very interesting in that everything was geared to making money. I am an arch-capitalist (I didn't get where I am today without crushing a few of the proletariat along the way) but there was very little allowance made for, well, culture. Yes, they have a big arts centre, yes, they have big libraries: but the concentration is not on airy-fairy "arts" but on their application in a business environment (the girl I was seeing was a graphic designer, but she saw it in business terms, not as an artistic calling). And the government wasn't very interested in the heritage of the place - Chinatown was turned into a sort of gaudy theme park cum bar area, and virtually none of the buildings on the island are more than 20 years old. (A couple of caveats - the history of the Malay penninsular is strained, and politics a tricky subject in Singapore, which may explain a preference for looking at the here-and-now in Singapore in particular that may not be so prevalent elsewhere in Asia. Also, I wasn't there that long, so maybe missed a lot. But these were my impressions.)

I also think that playing D&D requires you to have a certain detatchment, i.e. the magic and stuff is just a game element, not real (irrespective of what a certain film with Tom Hanks in may suggest). Asian culture, however, is deeply superstitious. Even supposed aetheists do weird stuff (like the girl I knew in Singapore, who changed her name because it was more likely to net her a good husband - heh, and then she met me....) for good karma. A couple of Thai girls of my acquaintance were both deeply religious (little statues of the Buddha, praying and jossticks) and completely ruthless in their personal lives (a very curious mixture, if you are not used to the culture). While Buddhism is quite different from Christianity, we all know the aggro that some in the Christian community feel towards our hobby because they think Summon Monster I really is trying to summon a monster from the netherworld. I think that if the "spirit world" surrounds you all the time, you don't really feel the need to play with little figures to conjure up an imaginary magic universe.

I suspect these coments may be more particular to Southeast Asia, which has been my particular Asian stamping ground. I suspect it applies less to mainland China (a supposedly strictly atheistic society, though also very materialistic) and very little to Japan (an advanced industrialised society, with a thriving Manga (sci-fi and fantasy) and computer gaming scene.

Also, as a counter argument to all, this, I expect we all heard about the Krean guy who managed to kill himself by playing a MMORPG for 72 hours straight. But then again, maybe not - the computer game experience is very different to "traditional" paper and pencil RPGs - much more competitive (and materialistic?).

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:

That said, there is a ton of material in Asian cultures (and I'm sure African as well) that could be used in an FRPG setting. Oriental Adventures and related material are a start, but it's kind of limited (very Japan-centric), and, well, "orientalist" (i.e. reflecting a Eurocentric idealization of "Eastern" cultures). So I'm not sure that what's available would have the same kind of cultural resonance for the hypothetical Asian gamer that the standard RPGs like D&D have for an audience with a European background.

A very interesting point, and well made. I'm certainly not aware of any "authentically" Asian settings. The WotC Oriental Adventures source book was written by an American, and presumably the others were too. And I also can't recall anything arriving in Dungeon from an Asian author.

Asia may be the next big area for RPG, but it is possible that the entrenchment of computer gaming and MMORPGs (a huge phenomenon in Asia) may muscle D&D out of the way (D&D Online does appear to be having teething troubles, to say the least, because it is more of an attempt to creat a pen and paper experience in a computer game).


This is a great thread. Gonna have to read all of it before I have my tuppence worth as a Brit. Keep it coming, lads.


Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:


One earlier poster mentioned trying to get a Japanese wife to play, and I'm rather curious if there are any other gamers on this board who have had any experience playing FRPGs in Asia or Africa, or with people who grew up in Asian or African cultures.

I had my Japanese wife play D&D a few times, as well as playing with other Japanese friends in Japan. There was no problem with the material, they had played games like Dragonquest since '86 (which was based heavily on D&D monsters and themes) and continue to do so, but the pen and paper never really picked up there. So, the only problem I found was with the concept of P&P or tabletop games. The statement Aubrey the Malformed made about industrialized societies is very true, but in Japan's case it equated to having access to game systems and PCs.

I can't say how players from rural China or LDCs in SE Asia would approach the setting culturally, but in Japan it's a non-issue, everyone has grown up with the idyllic D&D medieval setting. There are also more 'Asian' style RPGs, most based on Chinese or Japanese medieval times, but they generally focus on warfare and battle tactics.

That being said the Japanese RPGs usually mix a little Asian influence by including ninjas, samurai, monks, but unlike D&D they don't bother separating the campaign setting. I think that may be a reflection of the way Japan is adept at adopting and melding foreign influences into their domestic culture almost subconsciously now. Either way it's pretty comfortable for North American and Europeans from my experience (Canadian working with Europeans in advertising).

And, regarding Dragon editors being Asian, I found Anime and Asian Studies students from North America were more versed in Japanese and Chinese myths and folklore than the average person on the street (the monks and priests still knew more). The Japanese constitution has a very strict separation of state and religion (unlike some who only pay lipservice to the idea) and this may be why Buddhist and Shinto folklore isn't taught, not sure how the Chinese schools approach the issue.

Finally, I would love to see more African influence in RPGs, as I know virtually nothing about it, but hope to do a trek there in the next few years.

Andoran

I'm so glad so many people like this thread. It's like having a gazillion penpals all at once.
Again, I'm sorry that I came off as "Merkin" by calling out to "foreign gamers;" I had my three-y-o on my lap at the time and I really didn't do a very good job of content editing; I hope that if I had reread I would've caught the callow sound of it, but I really don't know. At least I think I learned something in the experience. You should get exp. for fumbles.

Qadira

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Heathansson wrote:

I'm so glad so many people like this thread. It's like having a gazillion penpals all at once.

Again, I'm sorry that I came off as "Merkin" by calling out to "foreign gamers;" I had my three-y-o on my lap at the time and I really didn't do a very good job of content editing; I hope that if I had reread I would've caught the callow sound of it, but I really don't know. At least I think I learned something in the experience. You should get exp. for fumbles.

Y'know, "merkin" has a double meaning...

Andoran

I do now. Thanxs to Wikipedia. Yoips!!! It has a lotsa meanings. I meant the ignizant Yankee Doodle one...
Ow, my big toe really tickles there on my uvula.


I hadn't really thought about the whole thing of computer/video games beating pen & paper RPGs into the market in most of Asia. Many of us grew up before video games were fun, absorbing, and affordable, and thus developed a strange, relatively low tech hobby that we're passing on to the next generation, culturally speaking. Video games are certainly huge throughout East Asia--but it's not necessarily a natural transition from video games to something that requires one to visualize stuff in different ways.

I'm not sure I agree that fantasy requires an "individualist" orientation (or even that "Asians" aren't individualistic--they can be quite individualistic in certain ways--it's just that social pressures for conformity tend to be stronger and last until retirement in many cases.) Fantasy does tend to appeal to a "modern" audience, though--in many ways the fantasy movement as a literary genre is both an outgrowth of modernity and a rebellion against it. To people who retain some element of actual belief in the magical and spiritual elements that we moderns play with like toys to make our fantasy, those elements are instead folklore--they help people to interpret observed phenomena rather than to think about human problems in the abstract. But in China and Japan, enough people are distanced enough from old superstition to fuel genuine fantasy literature and film. And there is also enough antiquarianism (especially in film and TV) to fuel what we might call the SCA side of people's imaginations.

So, it might be difficult to compete with videogames (it is here), but if you've seen Princess Mononoke or the Seven Samurai or watched any of the bazillion martial arts soap operas and mini-series available on Chinese TV, you've got to believe the potential is there for people to enjoy roleplaying. The big problems, I think (besides competing with videogames) are that people don't develop hobbies until adulthood (due to the "examination hell" of the college entrance tests), and that when they do develop hobbies there's a tendency toward group activities sanctioned by the culture at large. Neither of these is an insurmountable issue, but the marketing would have to be different.

Jonnee Cow (sp?)--you mentioned that there are some Japanese RPGs out there--what are they like?


Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:

Jonnee Cow (sp?)--you mentioned that there are some Japanese RPGs out there--what are they like?

(

I'm gonna try to remember...way back in the day, when the NEC9800 was the PC of choice there was a Record of Lodoss War RPG, a bunch of no-named RPGs (bad imitations of Dragon Quest)... The newer ones included Resurrection of the Goddess (they actually made a US version of one of them...) - the coolest thing with this game was that you captured enemies into a bracelet, then by mixing certain types created new monsters. The coolest thing was that by the end of the game you had melded dozens of creatures to make the ultimate henchmen. You could make gods (Thor, Vishnu, Zeus, etc.) by the end and ultimately put Lucifer into your party and killed God!!! Which is why they didn't import that version... :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules Subscriber
Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:

This has been an interesting thread--my sense is that Europeans and Americans have a lot more in common than we think we do, despite the strange combination of religious righteousness with violence that is a bit more prevalent in the U.S. (This, of course, ultimately derives from Europe as well--blame Cromwell, Cortez, and all of those fine kings, nobles, and princes of the church who got their dynastic ambitions mixed up with their religious convictions, and then blame Cotton Mather, Woodrow Wilson, W, Pat Robertson and whoever else for carrying on the tradition here and getting "American democratic values" mixed up with the bible.)

Well, of course we have a lot in common. The cultural roots are basically the same, if you take the cultural mainstream in Europe and the US. Christian religion is a formative element, and as the settlement of North America was done mainly by western european forces, they brought their culture and religion with them. Even if modern countries of today are secular and have or more or less strict separation of religion from state matters, the christian basis cannot be denied. There are other influences in the US as well, as it was a attractive place for emigrants for centuries, who all brought their own cultures with them. You won´t find a Chinatown in most European cities, and that will make a difference.

Stefan

Cheliax

farewell2kings wrote:

I immigrated to the U.S. in 1978 at age 11, Heathansson, from Germany. I got my U.S. citizenship in 1987. I don't consider myself a German any more, obviously. I think you pose an interesting question. The most influential thing on me growing up as a pre-teen in Germany was soccer. I played it, lived it, breathed it whenever possible. The other influential thing was the Wild West. I grew up watching German Westerns (Karl May--Old Shatterhand, Winnetou, go google it and be surprised) and we played a lot of Cowboys and Indians. I saw every episode of Bonanza in German...it was actually weird to hear Hoss' real voice the first time I saw it in English.

We did play knights a lot as well....my grandfather made me a shield out of the back of an old TV and we used to beat the crud out of each other with broomsticks in the woods behind my house. There were a lot of medieval museums around--a castle near my hometown had a lot of armor and weapons on display and I enjoyed visiting the castles, but nothing was as cool as dreaming about the Wild West....Germany has a huge following of U.S. western culture--there's German country music, German trucker music and live Wild West plays conducted in huge outdoor amphitheaters.

So, the assumption that European D&D players might have had a different influence on them growing up than U.S. gamers might not be as valid as you might think. I didn't really appreciate the incredible amount of historical treasures and museums in Germany until I got older, became American, and visited them when I went to vacation in Germany and visit family. It's certainly easier to visit places like that when they're right next door, but that doesn't mean you appreciate them more...I think that's an internal decision.

Thanks, that was interesting


Lol, I lived in Europe for a few years; I played rpgs with Europeans and it was great; different snacks; wierd stuff on sticks that were great, got a bit lost in the language sometimes, but hey. Being an American of Finnish decent; I have tried; tried hard to read; chant; sing the Kalevala, but I just cant do it; I dont know the beat or cantor; it is very very hard to read in English. For fun some of you Europeans might read my Gamers with Passports post as I am very much enjoying your guys input here.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Heathansson wrote:

I'm so glad so many people like this thread. It's like having a gazillion penpals all at once.

Again, I'm sorry that I came off as "Merkin" by calling out to "foreign gamers;" (..)

Don't worry, we are all foreigners in most parts of the world. Sometimes I even think I am one in my own land...

Anyway, this thread is fun to read!

I am german and played with a lot of different people. It has always been nice to experience different ways to play the same game. I started using the german material when the red box has been available here - 1E.
When we visited our FLGS for the first time, I realized that Ad&d has been available, but only in english. Well, now there was me, standing in the FLGS, holding the AD&D Players Handbook and Ravenloft 1 in my hands - the decission was a fast one: Buy it and learn english!!!
It was hard at the beginning, but now I read english books as if they were german, and... uups, I am led astray...

More to come, my break at work is over and I have to go back to my screen...

Talk,err...write to you later!

1 to 50 of 66 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Older Products / Dungeon Magazine / General Discussion / Question to foreign gamers All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.

©2002–2014 Paizo Inc.®. Need help? Email customer.service@paizo.com or call 425-250-0800 during our business hours: Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM Pacific Time. View our privacy policy. Paizo Inc., Paizo, the Paizo golem logo, Pathfinder, the Pathfinder logo, Pathfinder Society, GameMastery, and Planet Stories are registered trademarks of Paizo Inc., and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Player Companion, Pathfinder Modules, Pathfinder Tales, Pathfinder Battles, Pathfinder Online, PaizoCon, RPG Superstar, The Golem's Got It, Titanic Games, the Titanic logo, and the Planet Stories planet logo are trademarks of Paizo Inc. Dungeons & Dragons, Dragon, Dungeon, and Polyhedron are registered trademarks of Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and have been used by Paizo Inc. under license. Most product names are trademarks owned or used under license by the companies that publish those products; use of such names without mention of trademark status should not be construed as a challenge to such status.