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About the changes in the new version of Conan the Wanderer

This is a thread which only backers can appreciate, as they are the only ones with two PDF versions of this book…
I fully understand Modiphius’ concern about selling a product to an RPG audience whose sensibilities during the last 10-20 years have changed and evolved. However, comparing the two versions of Wanderer, the situation does not make sense at all.
“Cosmetic” changes of words like “Mysterious” with “Ancient” or “Exotic” with "Different"are just a pure betrayal of the REH spirit.
Maybe the “exoticism” traits may be offensive for somebody who consider them to be colonialistic relics…but please, BE RATIONAL.
Khitans and Vendhyans are NOT Chinese and Indians, but rather fantasy, over-simplified and stereotyped versions as seen through the eyes of an early 20th-century Pup Writer from Texas.
Backers paid money for a “pure REH” experience and, frankly, actions like these will not make this Conan more pure REH than the Conan from the Mongoose rpg or the old Marvel comics.
Actually, your Conan in this way will be less “REH”.
If you delete any “exotic” or “mysterious” reference in GREAT REH Stories like “the People of the Black Circle” … you are just maiming a great story.
And your game is SUPPOSED to help us telling those stories…
Sorry Modiphius, but I frankly feel disappointed.

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I completely agree. All these ridiculous changes because some one thought that some people who BTW will never read that book might be offended by it! That’s the dictatorship of the offended!

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Next they will change mention of “slaves” and “slavery” to “free laborers” and “free labor trade”. Modiphius, but you dropped the ball with the changes to The Wanderer.

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Wow. Are they really the only changes???

There are 140 changes. In some cases as single word or name had been changed in other cases whole paragraphs were completely rewritten.

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I wonder if Jason Durall and Chris Lites knew they were going to be removed from the credits as writers to make room for Basheer Ghouse “Cultural Sensitivity Reader”?

Quote:
“140 changes. In some cases as single word or name had been changed in other cases whole paragraphs were completely rewritten.”

Seems like Wanderer got the L. Sprague deCamp treatment.

The game now has it’s own pastiche…True to REH indeed.

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Admitedly I spotted many of these cosmetic/sensitivity changes, but not all the 140 ones.
However, I highly doubt that the original writers (Durall & Lites) could have ever used really culturally offensive words.

But if “Exotic” and “Mysterious” are considered to be offensive words…we have an obvious problem with Modiphius.
What will happen when you will (maybe) going to publish the promised Pict-focused book called Spear & Fang?
Picts in REH are treated as evil and wild, characterized by way worse traits than those used for Iranistani or Vendhyans…
Will Modiphius use “sensitivity” writers even there??

As a further point, if you REALLY want to be true to REH, Vendhya or Kithai must be treated as “exotic” and “mysterious”: they are not even inside the official map drawn by REH!!
It is obvious that Vendhyans, Khitans or Kosalans in REH are always depicted from a Western point of view, and, from that poinf of view, they should be both “exotic” and “mysterious”.

Let be frank and check Conan Core Rules p. 14: the vast majority of PC in this game are going to be Westerners.
Or Check Core Rules page 237 “The Mysterious East”…Are we going to get a Sensitivity Censorship even on that already-published book?

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It seems that Basheer Ghouse was the wrong person for this job as “Cultural Sensitivity Reader” because he does not seem to have any knowledge about the genre and the works of REH, or he would not have demanded most of those changes!

There are tools that allow to to compare PDFs and the one I used returned 140 text changes.

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It would be great if they explain the reason for every single change in the book. Every single change should be explained in detail and not in a short sentence that explains nothing!

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I wish there was and option to get either the original version in print or the culturally sensitive one if that was to the reader’s taste. I am not even remotely hoping that would happen, but at least I wouldn’t get force-fed sensitivity training. I get enough of that from everywhere else. RPG’s are/were my escape but alas I can no longer get a refuge from modern cultural hang-ups.

My issue I guess.

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No.

That’s why.

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In my opinion most of the changes are either ridiculous or dumb or show complete lack of knowledge about REH’s Conan, but that does not stop me to aks why their “Cultural Sensitivity Reader” thought that these words or even whole passages had to be changed. That’s no force-fed sensitivity training. That’s pure curiosity because most of us do not understand it.

I think that anti-racism activists, who in my opinion see racism everywhere even if there is none, should really learn that a black man is not always some one with a black skin color but could be a chimney sweeper black from grime. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. :wink:
But sadly we live in a dictatorship of the insulted where people who try to defend to freedom of speech can become victim of those who feel insulted by them.

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It’s not really a secret that people with darker skin don’t want to be called “exotic”. Apparently you need a cultural sensitivity reader to figure this out, because none of the original authors watched the office:

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To be honest, I’m not a reader of REH’s original Conan material, so my opinion may not count, but it does not make my life any worse if a culture is not called “exotic” or “mysterious”.

Ricky Gervais once said somewhere:

“Just because you are offended does not mean you are right.”

I find that very true, but I don’t believe it applies here. Oftentimes it’s the little things that keep stuff like racism alive, even if it is unintentional. Because if you keep thinking in certain terms about a group of people (even subconsciously), it can affect your behavior (without you noticing or wanting it). This is basically straight our of 1984.

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Even if those are fictive people?

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Despite being fictive, the people in Conan are clearly intended to be real ones (or at least ancestors of real ones), Khitai is China, Vendhya is India, etc. The Hyborian Age is the Hyborian Age of Earth after all.

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That is why we need cultural sensitivity readers to shape our sub-conscious for us. I’m glad I have someone who cares about my inner gaming life enough to volunteer (or get paid with my kickstarter money) to help mold my psyche. I wish Crom cared as much…

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Only in REH’s mind. He wrote his stories at a time in which real fantasy worlds with no connection with Earth did not exists.
All cultures in his stories are only based on his interpretation of certain real cultures and in many cases have nothing to do with their real world counterparts. Khitai is NOT China, it is only based on REH’s limited knowledge of ancient China, Vendhya is NOT India, it is only based on REH’s limited knowledge of ancient India, etc.
If you really believe that cultural descriptions in fantasy RPG books should be revised that they do not include anything that a member of the real world culture this particular culture is based on is not insulted, where should you stop? Can an US American still write about a culture based on medieval France? He could unwillingly insult the French… :wink:

I believe that this whole affair has its origin in the completely overheated racism debate in the US, and we all know that US Americans are prone to hyperventilate over such things. And sadly this kind of irrational behavior has already spread to Europe… :frowning:

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QUOTE:
“I believe that this whole affair has its origin in the completely overheated racism debate in the US, and we all know that US Americans are prone to hyperventilate over such things. And sadly this kind of irrational behavior has already spread to Europe…”

I agree with this statement. I have been involved with several very insightful and enlightening discussions that had people of multiple ethnicities talking about and sharing their experiences around this through my church.

Having served in the military with people from all over the US, traveled to multiple countries in the Middle East, Japan, Latin America; went to school with and work with people who have cultural backgrounds from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. I have never equated my love of pulp sword & sorcery with a lack of respect or dignity towards anyone I have had the fortune to meet and learn about their life and culture.

Some of my best memories are playing with children in Iraq. I was in full military gear and they came right up to us and were curious and engaged. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

I live in a college town that is incredibly diverse and participate in a cultural friendship program with students from all over the world.

I have no fear or antipathy toward anyone because of what culture they came from.

And I still love the exaggerated tapestry of mystery and menace that is captured in the best sword & sorcery.

It’s Modiphius choice on how they want to present their product line but it really feels like they were were not secure enough in themselves to respect the source material in the face of perceived societal backlash.

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You said it and that’s the problem.
That’s the HYBORIAN AGE!!!
And, in that context, the words “Mysterious” and “Exotic” may even add value to the matter we are talking about.

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Ricky Gervais once said somewhere:

"Just because you are offended does not mean you are right.”

You are aware that Ricky was referring to people like you, aren’t you? :shushing_face:

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