Aslan, Samurai and other allegories

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TrippyHippy
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Aslan, Samurai and other allegories

Postby TrippyHippy » Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:21 am

While struggling to pronounce half the Aslan words in my ongoing Pirates of Drinax campaign, it was pointed out by one of my players that it's easiest to do so my imagining you are doing the dialogue in a Japanese Samurai movie. It actually works very well….which got us all looking at the relative parallels between the expansionist Imperial culture of the Heirate, and that of medieval Japan. Are the Aslan really just an allegory for this, do you think?

And if so, what other allegories/parallels have you found between the Traveller universe and our real world?
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Nog
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Re: Aslan, Samurai and other allegories

Postby Nog » Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:53 am

TrippyHippy wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:21 am
While struggling to pronounce half the Aslan words in my ongoing Pirates of Drinax campaign, it was pointed out by one of my players that it's easiest to do so my imagining you are doing the dialogue in a Japanese Samurai movie.
Japanese has no "L"s!
(EDIT: and Hawaian, cited below, has no "S"s and no "F"s!)

To me Aslan sounds vaguely like an African language, somewhere between a Bantu and a Khoe language, but that's probably only because I speak none myself :) The colours of the Aslan spaceships also look African to me!
Last edited by Nog on Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:46 am, edited 3 times in total.
paltrysum
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Re: Aslan, Samurai and other allegories

Postby paltrysum » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:20 am

I think of it as similar to Hawaiian, with its plethora of vowels all running into each other.
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Sigtrygg
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Re: Aslan, Samurai and other allegories

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:08 am

In the original Aslan article in JTAS the final few paragraphs had role playing Aslan tips and it said the closest human culture to take inspiration from are the Samurai.
Reynard
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Re: Aslan, Samurai and other allegories

Postby Reynard » Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:10 am

Terrans see the similarity of parallel physicality to lions which Aslans bristle at. At the same time, humans made comparisons of culture common to Aslan with probably stylized references to ancient feudal Japan with great liberties as it was the closest (and still off) fit to put into human perspective. It's mostly the clan structure, system of honor and duty, family importance, separation of male and female functions and their obsession for the military and conquest of territory. Again, very simple comparisons that both Aslans and feudal Japanese would bristle at.

I wonder what other japanese native animal would have replaced the African lion to represent a militaristic feudal culture of the Aslans.
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Re: Aslan, Samurai and other allegories

Postby steve98052 » Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:51 pm

I think the language was constructed with the idea of, "What sounds could most readily be pronounced with a mouth full of big, sharp teeth?"

I think the best description is that the Aslan are unlike any human culture, and as diverse as one might expect of beings scattered throughout thousands of worlds, but that the ones most likely to be encountered by border humans have a superficial resemblance to Samurai.

One example of the diversity of Aslan is the culturally Darrian Aslan. Given their adoption of Darrian ideals of peace and intellectualism, typical Aslan would probably treat all culturally-Darrian Aslan as females, even those who are physically male. If not particularly familiar with them, the typical Aslan would probably expect that observation to be taken as fighting words -- and then be surprised when the culturally-Darrian Aslan patiently launches into an explanation of Darrian society, the long-standing role of Aslan in it, and the superiority of peace, learning, and cooperation to fighting for land. And the typical Aslan might take that as fighting words, and be surprised when the culturally-Darrian Aslan defends himself just as well as any other Aslan, particularly when some Darrian martial arts move gets the typical Aslan on the floor with his hands bound behind his back, without any blood having been spilled.
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Re: Aslan, Samurai and other allegories

Postby Reynard » Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:55 am

Recent Traveller Aslan books have mentioned there are aslan in other empire who, over generations, have assimilated to the cultures they share whether superficially or to the point other aslan societies almost consider them not aslan. This gives you plenty of options on how to play your particular aslan. Mine went from a proper aslan daughter to a firebrand pirate onboard the Harrier with a grudge against her own people and it all worked logically. We see it happen in human history and throughout many societies.
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Re: Aslan, Samurai and other allegories

Postby Condottiere » Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:33 am

I'm going to assume the original concept was a highly patriarchal pride of lions where the women folk did most of the work, which you probably could extend to a clan.

From that you could overlay anything from Sengoku era Japan to the Scottish Highlands.

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Re: Aslan, Samurai and other allegories

Postby ochd » Sun Sep 30, 2018 10:30 am

TrippyHippy wrote:
Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:21 am
And if so, what other allegories/parallels have you found between the Traveller universe and our real world?
I don't know the Traveller universe well enough, but the Sword Worlds strike me as being inspired by the Vikings, and early illustrations of the Zhodani look like they were modelled on some orientalist tropes.

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