Nationality Feats!?!?!?!

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Nationality Feats!?!?!?!

Postby Springheeledjack » Sat Oct 25, 2003 11:46 pm

Does anyone else have problems with Nationality Feats in the EA Factbook? Only the French can be Charming? Only Italians are good at Gambling?

I could see if these were suggested typical national feats, but strictly limiting them to one or two specific nationalities is completely ridiculous. What if I wanted an Industrious Japanese character or a Level-headed American. Sorry, these feats are not available to these nationalites. :shock:

Moongoose is way off the mark with this concept. This is against the very spirit of B5.

This whole idea smacks of stereotyping at best, pure R-A-C-I-S-M at worst. :evil:

Since when did Mongoose hire the Dilgar to write for them?

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Postby jadrax » Sun Oct 26, 2003 12:55 am

Just Ignore the national restrictions.
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Postby KDLadage » Sun Oct 26, 2003 3:33 am

jadrax wrote:Just Ignore the national restrictions.
Certainly... but this does not answer the question of "why were they included in the first place?" which I would be interested in knowing.
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Postby Pascalahad » Sun Oct 26, 2003 10:52 am

Well, being french I certainly appreciate the "charming" part, but I agree with you in that this concept is ridiculous (I don't have the book yet, so I assume you didn't misunderstood the idea).

I had the same problem with the Hawkmoon RPG from Chaosium, which implied similar "certainties" about characters from different countries. In this game, we french had a hard time getting more than 5'3" in height, and though we have basketball teams, too (as the excellent Tony Parker proves on a regular basis) !

Well, for my part I will also ignore all the restrictions when it comes to that chapter. :wink:
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Postby jadrax » Sun Oct 26, 2003 1:17 pm

KDLadage wrote: Certainly... but this does not answer the question of "why were they included in the first place?" which I would be interested in knowing.
I have to conceed, it did seem an unbelivably nieve idea. But i am sure there are people who can get much more worked up over it than me.

Maybe its just a ploy to get people to buy the book fast before its recallled for racism ;o)
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Postby Neo » Sun Oct 26, 2003 3:18 pm

I liked Nationality feats myself and I liked the Regional Feats in Forgotten realms where these sorts of feat first got thier inspiration as a notion that people from different regions tended to have certain characteristics in common.

The statement that these feats smack of racism is about the silliest thing I've ever heard... seriously dude take a chill pill. :lol:

Do these feats play upon stereotypes FOR SURE, is that a bad thing, .. well no not at all imo. People don't have to use them and they can certainly juggle them around to suit if they think Dutch should be charming and not the French.

The point was to give characters from different regions or planets something unique and specific to them without it being another mundane Stat bonus, and these feats do that. they make everyon just a little different and they have added heaps to my game.

People are far too quick to bandy words like Racism about and that word and the bigotry attached to it has no place here or in relation to this topic.
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Postby bob_morden » Sun Oct 26, 2003 7:24 pm

i'm sorry, neo, but you can't compare national or regional feats in a imaginary realm and in real world !!!!
i can't believe that you can't understand that making stereotypes a part of a game isn't a good thing !!!

and frankly, the fact that you make jokes in making fun of someone who have a different opinion than yours proves that you haven't understood a thing in were is the problem.

maybe i wouldn't call it rasism (a more extreem idea than that), but i believe that pointing differences between nationality that way isn't quite heathy.

Besides that, i'm fine !! ;) !!
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Postby ShadowScout » Sun Oct 26, 2003 7:59 pm

Let me say that I like the feats themselves - they'd allow really nice "character background" additions. However, I must concur that limiting them to nationalities like that is very, very close-minded. Why should extra mountain experiance only be picked up in switzerland??? It may shock some people, but other countries have mountains too... and it was a bit annoying to see us Autrians lumped together with the Germans -again-, especially when Their feats are quite contrary to "stereotypic" austrian behavoirs... (I mean, we're certainly one of the less militaristic countries around these days... and have been ever since the Turk wars... and our industrial efficiency also leaves something to be desired, though that's getting better since the last few decades I heard... however, there are a few things austria is known for - leftovers from the days of the K&K monarchy is an appeciation for the finer things in life, from art to good cooking, an somewhat bloated burocracy, and a collected "let's take it easy" way of life that sometimes borders on lazyness... I kinda missed that a bit :wink: )

I think those feats should be taken for themselves, and allowed by "GM decree" as starting character feats IF the BG story of the player convinced the GM to allow him to take that one (so if someone plays a lurker who sent his youth travelling on his fathers boat because that one was an french oceanologist, why the hell shoudn't he be able to have "Seagoing"? Or why can't a nepalese gurkha take "Mountaineer" Or why should "Born Pilots" only occur in welsh families?). That way it'd be a great way to spice up BG stories...

Of course, there Are a few that fit their "place" and none other. Things dependent on different environmental conditions... Isulated Skin, Cold/Heat, High/Low-G, Electrical, Radiation & UV Tolerance... (Not disease tolerant though - that can more reasons then born/living in a certain area). Of course, similar palace would also allow those feats to be taken - why should only the turkish and mexican PC's get to choose "Heat Tolerance" and those from the arab deserts, the african sahara or the desert gobi -or all the other hot, dry contries- not??
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Postby JonAcheson » Mon Oct 27, 2003 3:43 am

Count me in on the "nationalistic feats suck" side of the argument. It's not racism, but it's not far short. Call it jingoism if you want a word.

I also dislike the fact that many of the feats can be duplicated by just BUYING MORE OF A SKILL. Why not use the basic mechanisms of the game to get the same effect? Making it a feat just makes it harder to keep track of.

And the writeups for the nationalities were just as bad. For the record, I work with a number of Russians, and I have never ONCE heard a Russian claim anything was "a Russian inwention." (Their chocolate is surprisingly good, too!)

What a waste of valuable pages!
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Postby Eryx » Mon Oct 27, 2003 10:40 am

Its hardly a waste of pages. Just ignore the nationality requirement and keep playing.
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Postby ShadowScout » Mon Oct 27, 2003 12:56 pm

JonAcheson wrote:For the record, I work with a number of Russians, and I have never ONCE heard a Russian claim anything was "a Russian inwention."
Certainly not... I never once heard that from a real-life russian too - not even when I visides the (then) USSR when I was in school...
...but That one didn't come from current real life anyway, but is a leftover from the days of 1950 communist russia, where some of that really did get said for propaganda purposes (immortalized and thereby over-valued by the lines of a certain "Mr.Chekov" in "Star Trek" of course... and I suppose the mention in the EA book was a nod towards that... I found others too...)

As for the feats... The main point is that you can take ONE of then for free at character generation. Sure, some may just have the effect of one more skill level... but a free skill level effect is nothing to sneeze at, right? And they nicely give more weight to a PC's BG story - if handeled correctly by the GM. All that I count as great idea - Only most of the limitations make no sense (but drop those and make taking those feats dependent on "GM rule" and we're set...)

Can't wait to see what other races may have as feats... I mean, some of those could apply to any race, others maybe not - but there may be other things specific to Drazi or Narn or Minbari...
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Postby KDLadage » Mon Oct 27, 2003 1:46 pm

Eryx wrote:Its hardly a waste of pages. Just ignore the nationality requirement and keep playing.
Nobody is saying that this cannot be done. I think that those who have claimed that this was a bad idea cite that it is (a) unneccessary to limit these feats to specific regions or nations within the rules, (b) seems a bit stereotypical, jingiostic and (borderline) racist to suggest that these feats should be limited to a specific regions or nations.

I mean, by all means, please use the feats and remove the specific racial/regional/geo-political restrictions. But one has to wonder: why were such restrictions were allowed to be in the game in the first place?

Consider this:

I am quite certain that if a feat called "Enhanced Rhythm" were to be created and the rules stated that only people of "Africa and African decent" were allowed to take it, people would be up in arms about it -- and rightfully so.

I am equally certain that a feat called "Prejudiced" created with the restriction that you had to be "Caucasian" or perhaps "White American" would cause an equal amount of uproar -- again, for good reason.

In and of themselves, having a "Prejudiced" feat or an "Enhanced Rhythm" feat is not the problem. Painting a given region or people with those traits and bolting those traits onto a given region of people and claiming (via the rules) that none outside that region can have these traits... this is bothersome to say the least.

I have no trouble with a whole slew of background feats being created and having "suggested" or "relatively common" feats listed for some areas.

Limiting them as the rules apparently do, seems an unneeded and rather short-sighted approach.
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Postby Guest » Mon Oct 27, 2003 2:18 pm

The idea of national feats first appeared in The Wheel of Time D20 Role-Playing Game by Wizards of the Coast. In that book, each nation was given a number of background feats and the player could select one of them at character generation for free and still had access to those feats later. I dont have the EA book yet (hopefully get it today) but it sounds like this is what should have been done. Since both the French and Italians can be charming and both can be gamblers, these background feats should have been available for both nationalities. You limit each nationality to say 4 or 5 possible feats that can be chosen from and go from there. Of course most if not all of these feats can apply to all nations in some degree but you pick the 5 that will most likely apply to the average person in that country.

Since this wasn't done in this book, I would suggest that dms make up their own list. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water, background feats are a good idea, all thats missing is choice.

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Postby Enlightened Bystander » Mon Oct 27, 2003 2:31 pm

JonAcheson wrote: I also dislike the fact that many of the feats can be duplicated by just BUYING MORE OF A SKILL. Why not use the basic mechanisms of the game to get the same effect? Making it a feat just makes it harder to keep track of.
Because these are in adition to the normal amount of skill points (there are lots of similar feats that supply bonuses to skills, I think in the PHB, but certainly in the Star Wars one
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Postby jadrax » Mon Oct 27, 2003 3:06 pm

Anonymous wrote:The idea of national feats first appeared in The Wheel of Time D20 Role-Playing Game by Wizards of the Coast.
Actually i think the Forgotten Realms setting did it first, but i could be wrong.
Since both the French and Italians can be charming and both can be gamblers, these background feats should have been available for both nationalities.
Vegas must be so exotic with only the French and Italians being allowed to go there....

You have just highlighted the problem, Charming and being a Gambler have nothing to do with nationalities.... Thouse feats should be open to everyone.
Of course most if not all of these feats can apply to all nations in some degree but you pick the 5 that will most likely apply to the average person in that country.
How do I deterime what an average person in a country has? I am betting that if i drew up a list it would be totally different to yours, because of my own culteral bias. Also both lists would be innaccurate.

Now there are some feats that are regional in nature, Ones that help with Mounteneering should be purchasable by people who grew up/lived near mountains, ones that help with survival in heat or against tropical disease you can do in a similer way. But thats an actual hard requirment, mesurable and open to all. Anyone can live in such areas.
Don't throw the baby out with the bath water, background feats are a good idea, all thats missing is choice.
Its actually quite odd, when i got the Firgotten realms book I actually liked regional feats, its only when you start looking at them in context iof the real world I see just how bad an idea they are. They don't add options, they limit them, If you want to be an exceptional woodland gorilla fighter in Forgotten realms, you ahve to come from a Cirtain region. If you want to be the ultimate assassin in Royoken you have to have the right sername.

How limiting is that?
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Postby Neo » Mon Oct 27, 2003 3:29 pm

bob_morden wrote:i'm sorry, neo, but you can't compare national or regional feats in a imaginary realm and in real world !!!!
i can't believe that you can't understand that making stereotypes a part of a game isn't a good thing !!!

and frankly, the fact that you make jokes in making fun of someone who have a different opinion than yours proves that you haven't understood a thing in were is the problem.

maybe i wouldn't call it rasism (a more extreem idea than that), but i believe that pointing differences between nationality that way isn't quite heathy.

Besides that, i'm fine !! ;) !!
It all depends on how you want to look at it, you see stereotypes as some slur made at real life people, when the actuality of it is, is that it is JUST a game and the characteristics are just there to add to the game and distinguish different nations from one another not to make a REAL LIFE statement... be serious :shock: LOL

When you start taking small things like nationality feats and assuming it is some ill intended poke at various nations in a roleplaying game, then i'm afraid your just starting to look a little TOO HARD into trying to find something to gripe about.

Should we then assume games like Risk promote genocide and war, oh hang on I was the Russia in the last game I played of Supremacy and I invaded USA.. damn doesn't that mean I've just stereotype the Russia as a warmongering country?....

Simple answer... OF COURSE NOT! :lol:

why? well because what is stated or implied in a game is just make believe, fun, or a lighthearted joke or stereotype and has absolutely no bearing on real life or real life opinions in ANY way.

If something as minor as nationality feats can upset you so much I wouldn't read the history for Armageddon 2089 you'd surely have an apoplexy :P
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Postby hassanisabbah » Mon Oct 27, 2003 3:45 pm

There is such as thing as a Cultural difference between nationalities, though its not possessed by all members of a given culture. Nationality feats should apply to be people brought up in that culture from another culture (or of mixed parentage)
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Postby KDLadage » Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:39 pm

Neo wrote:It all depends on how you want to look at it, you see stereotypes as some slur made at real life people, when the actuality of it is, is that it is JUST a game and the characteristics are just there to add to the game and distinguish different nations from one another not to make a REAL LIFE statement... be serious :shock: LOL
Making light of something that can be offensive to a great many people is something I am always serious about. Stating that it is no big deal is not a solution, nor is it a reasonable responce, in my opinion. The fact is that, if I am reading this thread correctly, Charming is a trait that only the French can have. This is a stereotype. And a poorly thought out stereotype at best. It is not something that any game should perpetuate.

Had the book contained the traits and then, in a section dealing with the French stated that the following are seen as common of the French people, then this would be better (albiet, not ideal).

Had the book contained the rtaits and then said nothing of where these traits are more or less common... this would have been ideal.
Neo wrote:When you start taking small things like nationality feats and assuming it is some ill intended poke at various nations in a roleplaying game, then i'm afraid your just starting to look a little TOO HARD into trying to find something to gripe about.
Niehter I, nor anyone stated that there was any ill intent. Just that it was ill advised to do it this way. Please do not put words in my mouth, or anyone elses.
Neo wrote:Should we then assume games like Risk promote genocide and war, oh hang on I was the Russia in the last game I played of Supremacy and I invaded USA.. damn doesn't that mean I've just stereotype the Russia as a warmongering country?....

Simple answer... OF COURSE NOT! :lol:
This line of arguments fall under the falacies: Red Herring, Straw Man, Appeal to Indignation and many others. Thus, I will ignore it.
Neo wrote:why? well because what is stated or implied in a game is just make believe, fun, or a lighthearted joke or stereotype and has absolutely no bearing on real life or real life opinions in ANY way.
Please go look at such games as "FATAL" and "RAHOWA" for why I feel that saying "it is just a game" is no excuse for such things.

Neo wrote:If something as minor as nationality feats can upset you so much I wouldn't read the history for Armageddon 2089 you'd surely have an apoplexy :P
Fear that this is how that game might be handled is one of the primary reasons I have purchased none of those books thus far.
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Postby Guest » Mon Oct 27, 2003 7:09 pm

KDLadage wrote:Had the book contained the rtaits and then said nothing of where these traits are more or less common... this would have been ideal.
What would have been ideal is if they had allowed the basic stats to cover these things, which they do, and not added a pile of feats to a system that is already overburdened with them.

Let me clarify that last point: I think that a Feat is, at heart, an exception to the rules: you can use two weapons, etc. This isn't an unreasonable thing, and in some ways it allows you to manage the necessary exceptions. The problem is when you have so many feats that the exceptions outnumber the rules. I think that D20 is in danger of this happening, if it has not happened already.

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Postby KDLadage » Mon Oct 27, 2003 7:28 pm

Anonymous wrote:What would have been ideal is if they had allowed the basic stats to cover these things, which they do, and not added a pile of feats to a system that is already overburdened with them.
Feats of Kewl Powerz -- I agree. Feats that aid in the low-level character differentiation... no, I think the game can use a few more of them to be honest...

Anonymous wrote:Let me clarify that last point: I think that a Feat is, at heart, an exception to the rules: you can use two weapons, etc. This isn't an unreasonable thing, and in some ways it allows you to manage the necessary exceptions. The problem is when you have so many feats that the exceptions outnumber the rules. I think that D20 is in danger of this happening, if it has not happened already.
Some fets are exceptions, yes. Others are enhancements, lenses, foci or what-have-you. Feats that are exceptions to the rule should be rare (much more so than they appear to be in d20). On that I agree. Feats that are a tiny bit of flavoring added to spice things up are a good thing and help to keep down the old 1st/2nd edition problem of "a fighter is a fighter is a fighter" syndrome.

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