Upcoming Ki Powersource isn't Asian? Prove it!

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Edit: The term "Asian" is used throughout this thread. The intent was to address the culture/feel of feudal China/Japan. In retrospect, I now realize that using the term "Asian" without further explanation was inaccurate and insensitive. I did not mean to ignore the cultures of other Asian countries with this terminology. Unless otherwise stated, all instances of "Asian" are likely intended to refer to the cultures of feudal China and Japan. I apologize for any confusion or unpleasantness that this may have caused.

There's been a lot of discussion on this subject in various topics, but I haven't seen a single thread dedicated solely to proving or disproving whether or not "Ki" is going to end up essentially an "Asian" power source.

Reference Information
Dictionary.com gives Ki the following definition.
"the circulating life energy that in Chinese philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things; in traditional Chinese medicine the balance of negative and positive forms in the body is believed to be essential for good health."

Wikipedia states the following on Ki (or Qi.)
"In traditional Chinese culture, qi is an active principle forming part of any living thing. It is frequently translated as 'energy flow,' and is often compared to Western notions of energeia or élan vital (vitalism) as well as the yogic notion of prana."

The 4th Edition Player's Handbook states the following on Ki.
"...monks harness the power of their soul energy (or ki)..."
In the same paragraph it states that Ki is, in fact, going to be a power source.

Not "soul energy."

Not "soul."

Ki.

The term Ki itself is Asian.

The Player's Handbook goes out of its way to describe the power source itself as "soul energy" first, to explain what Ki is. This was not done with any other power source, inherently suggesting that to readers of an English language Player's Handbook, the term Ki may be foreign (specifically Asian).

Now, I'm not opposed to Ki as a power source.

I won't even be that bothered if it is released as an (essentially) Asian power source.

What does bother me is that people on these boards rather vehemently insist that Ki is not and will not be an Asian power source.

At the moment, I am fairly convinced that the Ki classes will all be Asian in flavor. The actual truth will not be known until we get a full PH3 preview about a year down the road. In the meantime...

I want anyone who thinks that Ki is not going to be an Asian power source to list the non-Asian classes that they realistically and honestly believe Wizards of the Coast will release under the Ki power source.

Pretty simple.

Prove that Ki can stand on its own as a non-Asian power source by listing non-Asian classes.

To clarify, I'm really not trying to be argumentative, and I won't really care regardless of what happens with the Ki power source. I just feel like no one is making any convincing arguments as to how WotC will release the Ki power source as not specifically Asian.

So let's hear it!
I honestly fully believe that Ki will be based on Asian stuff. However, I would like (and believe that I have heard mentoned) names that were not all Asian. Or, at least, not all of them.

[As an aside, I don't think that "Ki" is so much "Soul" energy, so much as "the energy inside you." Fine line to draw, but it removes the ramifications of Incarnum and the afterlife.]

For example, I fully expect "special visual effects" to play in image in nearly all the Ki class' powers. However, just because they use Ki, does not name the name have to be Asian in origin. Lets set up an example name list:

Defender: Rounin- Trained in noble blade-arts, these master warriors are their own masters.
Striker: Monk- A true student of ki, these characters best equipment is their own body
Leader: Sensei- A teacher of the ways of ki, who can show any ally how to weild it in a useful way
Controller: Streamer- These characters find themselves with bountiful reserves of ki, and often times must release them in dramatic ways, such as balls of energy, and earth-rending punches.
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I've seen Sohei thrown around as Ki defender, and Soulblade (formerly Psionic) as a second Striker. Incarnate as a leader or controller rounds out the list...
They've stated that none of the Player's Handbooks will be a book in the nature of Oriental Adventures.
I should expect that most of the names of old "Asian" classes will be discarded, much like many 3.5 classes were left in the dust (see Archivist, Warmage, Spell-theif.) 4e gives the chance to discover new ground for these power sources, and give them good names. Names that are not exclusively English or Japanese.

4e also gives the chance to incorperate the elements of Ki (and while we are on the subject, Psi) into the core setting. It may be of Asian inspiration, but to characters in the game, a Ki wilding monk is just as normal as a fey-pact warlock, which is just as normal as the psionic Empath.
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That doesn't mean anything.

We have a books filled with paladins and other westerner concepts and it's not about 'Running game in western europe'.
My stand on the matter:

Ki=/=Asian, Ki is a subset of Asian.

Your reference basically says that ki is an inherently Chinese concept. So ki is not Asian, ki is Chinese (from your own reference information, at least). Thus ki could only represent one, or just a few more, of the asian archetypes.

I do not know if other people insinuate otherwise, but from the threads that I posted, none of them claimed that ki has no asian roots. Rather, people such as I believe that it should not be the end-be-all destination of all asian-themed classes.

Let me reiterate that I would love to see the ninja or even the (kind of a stretch) samurai as ki classes alongside the monk. They can represent the power source properly, and while country-specific, could easily fit into most games.

But when discussing the ki power source and what other classes could be in it, there is a mindset that ki is defined by being Asian. This is false. It may have originated there, but that is not all the continent has to offer.

So, when one thinks of a ninja, for example, I am not opposed to giving them the shadow power source if the flavor is sufficient. You can make a samurai and turn it martial; that will work, too. But if WotC decides to put them in ki, it should be because of the underlying nature of that power source, and not because, "it's Asian".

I urge everyone to remember that Asia is not merely a continent composed of China or Japan.
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There's been a lot of discussion on this subject in various topics, but I haven't seen a single thread dedicated solely to proving or disproving whether or not "Ki" is going to end up essentially an "Asian" power source.

So let's hear it!

By your logic, Warlocks need become evil breathers of oath. (The origin of Warlock is Warluga or Oath Breaker).
To be fair, I think that if we must set up an equation for "D&D Ki," it might go something like this.


(Asian Martial Arts + Martial Arts Movies + Hollywood + Anime + Videogames) * D&D 4e Design Paradigms = Ki Powersource.
[Edited as per TwinBahamut's suggestion.]


I feel that true history and religious philosophies on the idea will weight very little on the idea. On the contrary, I think that things like "Kill Bill" and "The Matrix" "Soul Calibur," and "Dragon Ball" will have a far greater impact on "Ki." And no matter what, the designers will spin the idea so that it fits into their conception of how it could fit into the D&D world. As such, I feel that we can expect that there will be Ki classes with non-Asian names, and at some point possibly, Asian names in non-Ki classes.
Let your voice be heard! Tell WotC to Publish D&D 4e under the OGL!
Using an eastern-themed power source in conjunction with non-eastern-themed classes seems a little silly.
To be fair, I think that if we must set up an equation for "D&D Ki," it might go something like this.


(Asian Martial Arts + Martial Arts Movies + Hollywood + Anime) * D&D 4e Design Paradigms = Ki Powersource.

I feel that true history and religious philosophies on the idea will weight very little on the idea. On the contrary, I think that things like "Kill Bill" and "The Matrix" and "Dragon Ball" will have a far greater impact on "Ki." And no matter what, the designers will spin the idea so that it fits into their conception of how it could fit into the D&D world.

Other than the fact that I would add videogames to the equation (for Street Fighter's influence alone, of nothing else), I agree with this. The Ki Power Source is going to be about a particular pop culture concept of Ki, not the historical philosophy.

My stand on the matter:

Ki=/=Asian, Ki is a subset of Asian.

Your reference basically says that ki is an inherently Chinese concept. So ki is not Asian, ki is Chinese (from your own reference information, at least). Thus ki could only represent one, or just a few more, of the asian archetypes.

I do not know if other people insinuate otherwise, but from the threads that I posted, none of them claimed that ki has no asian roots. Rather, people such as I believe that it should not be the end-be-all destination of all asian-themed classes.

I will also echo this sentiment. I would think it is perfectly fine if every Ki class has an Asian name and embodies a classically Asian archetype. I would not think it fine if classes were thrown into the Ki Power Source simply because they had an Asian name and embodied a classically Asian archetype.

By your logic, Warlocks need become evil breathers of oath. (The origin of Warlock is Warluga or Oath Breaker).

This really isn't either a relevant comparison or a valid description of how the word Warlock is used in D&D. Everyone is using a modern definition of "ki" in this discussion, and the 4E Ki Power Source is almost certainly going to coincide with that modern definition. The old root of Warlock as "oathbreaker" is irrelevant, since the modern definition of "warlock" that is used in 4E, "male witch" has been the primary definition of the word for at least the past 300 years.
I posted this in another thread today, but it's directly relevant to this, so I'll repost it here too.

I do NOT dig the "Ki = Asian" idea. It's stale, boring, and even offensive. I agree that certain "asian classes" are archetypical enough to be their own classes, but I definitely think that they ought to be disseminated throughout the power sources, rather than being shoehorned on racial, cultural, or real-world geographical bases. Furthermore, as another poster pointed out, "Ki" and most of the classes usually associated with it are distinctly Japan-centric concepts, with the occasional nod to Chinese culture. The evidence is the nomenclature: Ki, Ninja, Samurai, and Shugenja, for example, are all Japanese words. Other cultures, including Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Tibetan, Punjabi, and many others from across eastern asian have their own martial concepts, traditions, and terminology, so why isn't there more examples of fantasy classes based upon non-Japanese or non-Chinese ideas? Hell, what of India? Africa? Oceania and the Americas?

(I'm not especially worked up; I just like things to be fair. The concept of "Ki" definitely doesn't represent all asian cultures, and so I think that "Ki" ought not to be associated specifically with asian concepts. Hence, I like the idea of "asian classes" across several power sources.)

Easy examples, IMHO, of unique "asian classes" are Monks (Ki) and Ninjas (Shadow). It's definitely true that certain other classes, Martial ones in particular, are a good fit for some types of those characters, but not necessarily. For example, a ninja (Rogue) who is a master of espionage and covert martial maneuvers is clearly a different sort of character from a ninja (Shadow Striker) who can mystically become insubstantial or turn into a pure shadow-form.

...Your reference basically says that ki is an inherently Chinese concept. So ki is not Asian, ki is Chinese (from your own reference information, at least)...

...I urge everyone to remember that Asia is not merely a continent composed of China or Japan.

This is nitpicking at best.

Dictionary.com itself states under the term "Asian"
"Usage Note: Asia is the largest of the continents with more than half the world's population. Though strictly speaking all of its inhabitants are Asians, in practice this term is applied almost exclusively to the peoples of East, Southeast, and South Asia as opposed to those of Southwest Asia—such as Arabs, Turks, Iranians, and Kurds—who are more usually designated Middle or Near Easterners. Indonesians and Filipinos are properly termed Asian, since their island groups are considered part of the Asian continent, but not the Melanesians, Micronesians, and Polynesians of the central and southern Pacific, who are now often referred to collectively as Pacific Islanders."

Don't try to undermine the topic at hand with semantics like this.

Ditto to this that Aluman had to say.
By your logic, Warlocks need become evil breathers of oath. (The origin of Warlock is Warluga or Oath Breaker).

Thank you to those who are trying to remain on topic, rather than attempt to somehow tear me down with semantics. Like I said, I'm looking for ideas here, not trying to be argumentative.

I agree with this sentiment, though I am concerned about it at the same time:
I would think it is perfectly fine if every Ki class has an Asian name and embodies a classically Asian archetype. I would not think it fine if classes were thrown into the Ki Power Source simply because they had an Asian name and embodied a classically Asian archetype.

I'm afraid this will likely be a horse/cart or chicken/egg situation. In the end, we'll have little way of knowing the course of logic that WotC used to select the classes they will select. We can hope that they won't simply use "Asian" as a guideline here, but we'll just have to take their word for it.

I can see concepts like the Soulknife (though I would wonder why they'd separate it from Psi in the first place) or the "Streamer" (as Wizardmon dubbed it) falling into Ki. I'd be more inclined to call the "Streamer" something like "Channeller" or "Conduit" though. But let's keep the ideas coming.
If "Ki" is the power source of the soul, then I think there is a place for some Incarnum in Ki. The more I think about it, the less appropriate I think it will be for Incarnum to define the entire power source, but I definitely think it could define how one Ki class uses the power source. After all, classes in the same power source don't have to have much -- or anything -- in common with one another when it comes to how they access and interact with their power source, just so long as they do. For example, Wizards study to control magical power, while Warlocks make bargains with powerful beings for an investiture of power, and Sorcerers have their power fused into their essence, but all three classes are Arcane.

Thus, I think Ki might include an Incarnate class, perhaps as a Leader.
I do NOT dig the "Ki = Asian" idea. It's stale, boring, and even offensive. I agree that certain "asian classes" are archetypical enough to be their own classes, but I definitely think that they ought to be disseminated throughout the power sources, rather than being shoehorned on racial, cultural, or real-world geographical bases. Furthermore, as another poster pointed out, "Ki" and most of the classes usually associated with it are distinctly Japan-centric concepts, with the occasional nod to Chinese culture. The evidence is the nomenclature: Ki, Ninja, Samurai, and Shugenja, for example, are all Japanese words. Other cultures, including Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Tibetan, Punjabi, and many others from across eastern asian have their own martial concepts, traditions, and terminology, so why isn't there more examples of fantasy classes based upon non-Japanese or non-Chinese ideas? Hell, what of India? Africa? Oceania and the Americas?

(I'm not especially worked up; I just like things to be fair. The concept of "Ki" definitely doesn't represent all asian cultures, and so I think that "Ki" ought not to be associated specifically with asian concepts. Hence, I like the idea of "asian classes" across several power sources.)

Easy examples, IMHO, of unique "asian classes" are Monks (Ki) and Ninjas (Shadow). It's definitely true that certain other classes, Martial ones in particular, are a good fit for some types of those characters, but not necessarily. For example, a ninja (Rogue) who is a master of espionage and covert martial maneuvers is clearly a different sort of character from a ninja (Shadow Striker) who can mystically become insubstantial or turn into a pure shadow-form.

Except this is game, not an tool to explore the various culture of the earth.

We've all been exposed to some degree of martial art movies and animes, the vast majority of them being either Chinese or Japanese. And a lot of us want to be able to create those concepts we've seen in those media in the game. So yes, we want Samurai, Ninja and Monks, even if they have nothing to do with the historical/cultural version.

While I'm sure Korea (for example) has rich folklore, great stories and quite possible more than enough material to warrant it's own power source worth of class in D&D... I can't say I really care about it. Nor do I really care about the cultural equivalent of class from Colombia, Tanzania or Yemen.

Is Asia only Japan and China? No. But D&D isn't a teaching tool to show the unwashed masses that fact, it's a gaming tool to let those unwashed masses play fantasy characters (has narrow minded as it may be) - and fantasy doesn't have to be politically correct.

In a game that is extremely europe-centric in it's view and concept, the only other nations that get some kind of representation are Asian Nations - Yes, it's pretty much only China and Japan, but that's a hell of a lot better than the representation that Africa or say, South America are getting. It's not an insult, it's a compliment - it means those concept are powerful and vivid enough (or at the very least, marketable enough) to imprint themselves on a generation of people that have nothing to do with them.
This is nitpicking at best.

Dictionary.com itself states under the term "Asian"
"Usage Note: Asia is the largest of the continents with more than half the world's population. Though strictly speaking all of its inhabitants are Asians, in practice this term is applied almost exclusively to the peoples of East, Southeast, and South Asia as opposed to those of Southwest Asia—such as Arabs, Turks, Iranians, and Kurds—who are more usually designated Middle or Near Easterners. Indonesians and Filipinos are properly termed Asian, since their island groups are considered part of the Asian continent, but not the Melanesians, Micronesians, and Polynesians of the central and southern Pacific, who are now often referred to collectively as Pacific Islanders."

Don't try to undermine the topic at hand with semantics like this.

Ditto to this that Aluman had to say.

You Ki comes from Asia, therefor all Ki classes should be Asian!
Extension of logic: The origins of the word have meaning in how they are used.
Me: Warlock means breaker of oath originally. Clearly indicating that wizards chooses words not for their meaning or origin as significant, but because of the Xth factor. In the west an early analog of the Ki belief (The belief that drives acupuncture and other ancient cures) is the Humor system of Hyppocratius.

What they call Ki can embody a lot of ancient Greek type ideals, because of this similarity.
Thank you to those who are trying to remain on topic, rather than attempt to somehow tear me down with semantics. Like I said, I'm looking for ideas here, not trying to be argumentative.

I agree with this sentiment, though I am concerned about it at the same time:


I'm afraid this will likely be a horse/cart or chicken/egg situation. In the end, we'll have little way of knowing the course of logic that WotC used to select the classes they will select. We can hope that they won't simply use "Asian" as a guideline here, but we'll just have to take their word for it.

I can see concepts like the Soulknife (though I would wonder why they'd separate it from Psi in the first place) or the "Streamer" (as Wizardmon dubbed it) falling into Ki. I'd be more inclined to call the "Streamer" something like "Channeller" or "Conduit" though. But let's keep the ideas coming.

Basically my opinion is: I believe Wizards has moved from the playground ideals of 'Ki means Asian which means AWESOME!' and understand that nearly all culture and historically recognized places have 'guy who has vast reserves of inner energy'

The French during WWI charged against machineguns because they believed that someone with enough moxy could EASILY overpower a machine gun. Were they right? No. Doesn't change what they believed.

Ki is simply a cool term for a style of archetype that existent in all cultures.

Hell the modern Action Hero exemplifies parts of Ki.

To say that this word comes form X so X must be where all ideals of the source are found, means that A). Martial/Divine/Arcane/Elemental/Shadow/Primal are all occidental in origins, thusly: No outsiders allowed.

B). Ki/Psi are Asian in origins, despite only representing two large areas (The 'orient' and 'india') of this vast contient of people who don't all share these beliefs, Anything that is Asian in origin is getting shoved into these two power sources.

This is the primary reason I charge those who state Ki = Asian as at the very least Accepting of racism.
Well, the funny thing is, you can't get much more generic than "monk" and yet when monk gets the Ki power source, it suddenly becomes Far Eastern.

I mean, really, monk is a western concept. Monk is an English word with Greek origins. How is that Asian? And yet, the default assumption for D&D monks is not "Religious Hermit," its "Martial arts guys who kill for the balance" or some such nonsense.

So yes, I'd like to see Ki classes with culture neutral names (No Samurai, please), but no matter what they are, they're going to be seen as Asian because of their power source.

Ok, so what kinds of classes could they do without using Chinese/Japanese names?

Monk, obviously.

Geomancer or Channeler would work for a Controller, but as soon as you give one of them the Ki power source, they're going to be Feng Shui masters.

Swordsage would be a fantastic name for a Ki Defender, or Warlord like leader, but it probably won't happen because of Tome of Battle, everyone is going to be thinking "Swordsage is a striker!"

Avatar would be a cool leader, and while Asian, its not Chinese or Japanese. If you wanted a Western (semi-)equivalent, you could use Incarnate (oops, well I'm not implying that it should be Incarnum or anything...3.5 will probably have killed that possibility too).

So I think there are options. However, in reality, I fully expect Samurai to be the Ki Defender (but come on, WotC, even Sohei would be a better name).
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Power sources are fluff, anyway. Rename "Ki" into "Leet". Or "Badassery". Or whatever you want, if it bothers you.

Ultimately, the classes are agglomerations of numbers with tacked on fluff. And not very strongly tacked on. Power source is one of those tacked on bits of fluff. Just change it if it bothers you.

edit: Come to think of it, I want my single-sword striker (whatever they end up calling it) to be powered by Bad-assery. That's right. How do I do that super-slashing-kill you stone dead-strike? Puuuure bad-assery.
Except this is game, not an tool to explore the various culture of the earth.

We've all been exposed to some degree of martial art movies and animes, the vast majority of them being either Chinese or Japanese. And a lot of us want to be able to create those concepts we've seen in those media in the game. So yes, we want Samurai, Ninja and Monks, even if they have nothing to do with the historical/cultural version.

While I'm sure Korea (for example) has rich folklore, great stories and quite possible more than enough material to warrant it's own power source worth of class in D&D... I can't say I really care about it. Nor do I really care about the cultural equivalent of class from Colombia, Tanzania or Yemen.

Is Asia only Japan and China? No. But D&D isn't a teaching tool to show the unwashed masses that fact, it's a gaming tool to let those unwashed masses play the fantasy character they have (has narrow minded as it may be).

I can agree with this. D&D is fantasy, and more importantly, it's fantasy that has to compete in a predominantly eurocentric (American) economy, so there's no real expectation that D&D will or should be "culturally objective" or whatever.

I suppose the part that sticks in my craw is how some folks seem to assume that since all the concepts we've associated with "ki" in fantasy games are "oriental" or "asian", those conceptual elements are wholly representative of "oriental" or "asian" fantasy; this is plainly false.

We've borrowed the idea of "ki" from Japanese (and to a lesser extent, Chinese) culture, or rather a parody thereof, in order to apply it to a fantasy game. There's nothing wrong with this. What's wrong is pretending that it's representative of "asian" fantasy in general. Since D&D's "Ki" doesn't represent anything or any cultural group realistically, I don't think it needs to nor should limit itself based upon real-world referents. In other words, since the Ki power source doesn't really represent "asian" cultural beliefs at all, why should it restrict itself to "asian" concepts?
@Tiddlywinks: I do not seek to undermine your discussion; in point of fact, I am in complete agreement with you; the ki power source will most likely have a certain cultural feel akin to that of Chinese and japanese traditions.

Unfortunately, even though they are simple semantics for you, this is cultural identity for me. Filipinos are Asians; yet we have nothing to do with samurai, ninja, or even monks.

It is a simple request to stop isolating Asia to two countries, because to me, this "semantics" is pretty significant. I will gladly involve myself in discussions of how a samurai who charges at the speed of sound should rightly be ki; I just request, in return, for our racial identity to be respected. I do not know if you get it, but delegating Asian to mean these concepts alone is a constant insult to us.

So please. Let us freely discuss ki, but let us avoid the term to blanket Asians as a whole.

@tyrandor: I agree with your post, but not in its delivery. Case in point, seeing these three "archetypal oriental" classes in 4e would be a blast, and I for one would not try to inhibit their production in PHB3 at all. I am also not pushing for the inclusion of certain iconic Filipino mythologies to be included in DnD core; I can release that myself with the GSL.

And you are exactly right; DnD is not a geographical learning tool. As such, I would like to see a samurai alongside a rogue with a rapier. They are not divided by culture; they simply live in the same campaign world.

However, I fail to see why the inclusion of Japanese and Chinese folklore are a compliment to Asia as a whole. Perhaps it is a compliment to Chinese or Japanese (I can't speak for them), but they are, again, a small part of Asia.
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Eh, had a post, but the whole thing is getting too political, so I erased it. Not all Asian fantasy tropes are represented under the Ki power source. Case in point: Kensei - a martial power source exclusive paragon path, with obvious Asian roots.
@kaldric: I am about ready to bow out as well. I'll let it go if you guys let it go; it's just a request to avoid me being insulted that's all.

So let me see if I could get back to the discussion. It's to make samurai, ninja, and monk sound less geographically dependent, right?

I personally think monk is okay as it is, thanks largely to the githzerai archetype.

Samurai, would fit in if renamed as Swordsage, as they said. Eventhough it was used in Tome of Battle, that's a fairly recent book in late 3.5, and I doubt it produced a specific mental image. I'd say re-use it. It works well with the "mystical bond with your weapon" theme, and it can even get rid of the samurai devotion to a daimyo.

Ninja - I'm stumped with this one. Shadowdancer, perhaps?

How about just calling them Samurai and ninja and monk? I kind of like them as they are. :D
Me Kruzko, me bard... And me sing song for you! Explore Philippine Mythology for your 4E game, and visit us at Nosfecatu Publishing!
@Tiddlywinks: I do not seek to undermine your discussion; in point of fact, I am in complete agreement with you; the ki power source will most likely have a certain cultural feel akin to that of Chinese and japanese traditions.

Unfortunately, even though they are simple semantics for you, this is cultural identity for me. Filipinos are Asians; yet we have nothing to do with samurai, ninja, or even monks.

It is a simple request to stop isolating Asia to two countries, because to me, this "semantics" is pretty significant. I will gladly involve myself in discussions of how a samurai who charges at the speed of sound should rightly be ki; I just request, in return, for our racial identity to be respected. I do not know if you get it, but delegating Asian to mean these concepts alone is a constant insult to us.

So please. Let us freely discuss ki, but let us avoid the term to blanket Asians as a whole.

beej_silver, I apologize if I offended you in my use of the term Asian.

I used that term mainly because it seemed to be the one that's been prevalent in all the other threads that have gone on tangents into this topic. It seemed that the discussion on the boards was using the term Asian with a clear intention of "Far East" as the rough definition, and more specifically meaning "feudal China/Japan" in flavor.

I admit that it didn't even cross my mind that this may come across as culturally insensitive, and I apologize for not taking that into consideration. I meant no offense.
@Tiddlywinks: I do not seek to undermine your discussion; in point of fact, I am in complete agreement with you; the ki power source will most likely have a certain cultural feel akin to that of Chinese and japanese traditions.

Unfortunately, even though they are simple semantics for you, this is cultural identity for me. Filipinos are Asians; yet we have nothing to do with samurai, ninja, or even monks.

It is a simple request to stop isolating Asia to two countries, because to me, this "semantics" is pretty significant. I will gladly involve myself in discussions of how a samurai who charges at the speed of sound should rightly be ki; I just request, in return, for our racial identity to be respected. I do not know if you get it, but delegating Asian to mean these concepts alone is a constant insult to us.

So please. Let us freely discuss ki, but let us avoid the term to blanket Asians as a whole.

@tyrandor: I agree with your post, but not in its delivery. Case in point, seeing these three "archetypal oriental" classes in 4e would be a blast, and I for one would not try to inhibit their production in PHB3 at all. I am also not pushing for the inclusion of certain iconic Filipino mythologies to be included in DnD core; I can release that myself with the GSL.

And you are exactly right; DnD is not a geographical learning tool. As such, I would like to see a samurai alongside a rogue with a rapier. They are not divided by culture; they simply live in the same campaign world.

However, I fail to see why the inclusion of Japanese and Chinese folklore are a compliment to Asia as a whole. Perhaps it is a compliment to Chinese or Japanese (I can't speak for them), but they are, again, a small part of Asia.

I think you and I are sorta on the same page here, beej. I think both of us are more interested in the words used to define the Ki power source than we are in the classes which may or may not be a part of that power source.

Terminology might seem insignificant to some, but the truth is that the words we use shape our understanding of the world. (Symbolic interactionism FTW) Thinking of "Ki" as meaning "Asian" changes peoples' understand of both words. Since the connection between these two words makes those folks' understanding potentially less accurate about something as important as culture, we want folks to be more careful about the words they use.

What's Ki might be Asian, but what's Asian is often not Ki. Therefore, Ki does not equal Asian.
@Tiddlywinks: Thank you for understanding. I just felt it important to tell the other side of the world that the term is misleading and insulting to us Asians that are not a part of the "popular two", and I likewise apologize for derailing the purpose of your thread a bit. That was never my intention.

@doctorhook: Yes, I do believe we similar views; we are both hopeful that when WotC defines ki, all classes under it will make as much sense as Primal did (at least, that's what I get from you). By defining ki as Asian, the concept for Asians as a whole changes for those who play the game, and that is what we're avoiding.

So, basically, if they make Samurai a ki class, it would be nice if it was because of a mystical soul-bond with their weapon, and not because of geographic identity alone (in this case Swordsage does fit perfectly; but it may conflict with Swordmage). It goes back to why they just didn't make the monk martial; some of the monk's later supernatural abilities are mystical in nature, and this is what I want from a ki class.

Ninjutsu, on the other hand, always sounded more arcane (or shadow) to me. There's nothing mystical about it; mysterious is a better word in my book.
Me Kruzko, me bard... And me sing song for you! Explore Philippine Mythology for your 4E game, and visit us at Nosfecatu Publishing!
This is always the coolest, and I always love pasting it in these things:

In its early development, the D&D game was supplemented by various booklets, and in one of these the monk, inspired by Brian Blume and the book series called The Destroyer, was appended to the characters playable. So too was the cobbled-together martial arts specialist placed into the AD&D game system, even as it was being removed from the D&D game. In my opinion, the point certainly went to the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game players!

...The fact of the matter is that the admixture of Occident and Orient was an unsuitable combination. The games stressed a European historical base and mythology. Even though the AD&D game monster roster ranges far afield, it is still of basically European flavor. The whole of these game systems are Occidental in approach, not Oriental - at least not in the sense of what is known as the Far East; China, Korea, Japan, and Mongolia...

...As you develop your Oriental Adventures campaign, it is recommended that you remove the monk character class from the European-type campaigns. Why? Because what is found herein is superior and in the proper surroundings as well!

That's what Gary thought, in the intro to Oriental Adventures. What really gets me is that the original inspiration for the monk was the Remo Williams adventure series. Seriously! A cheap, cheesy 60's and 70's chop-socky martial arts ripoff of the Executioner books. There's hundreds of these books, it's hilarious.

Edit: Brian Blume was a guy who worked at D&D at the time - he must have liked the books.
The phrase "ki is asian" is capable of being taken a few ways.

It could mean that Ki is the power source for asian characters, who have asian facial features, asian names, live in places with asian like cultures, etc, etc, etc.

I can almost guarantee that won't be the case.

It could mean that Ki is the power source for character types popular in asian mythology.

I can almost guarantee that won't be the case either, because modern fantasy tends to be as influential in D&D, if not more so, than cultural myths.

Most likely, Ki will be the power source for the myths and popular fantasy tropes that originated primarily with asian martial arts mythology. But it won't be a direct read from several hundred year old myths. It will undoubtedly contain elements of the modern fantasy genre that descended from those myths. And the modern genre is no longer exclusively asian. Its got roots there, sure, and there's lots of it in asia- from anime, to wire-fu, to hong kong cinema, and more. But an awful lot of that sort of fantasy is produced elsewhere, and no longer has overt connections to asian culture. Take the Matrix, as an example. Its Hong Kong cinema and Wire-Fu done on a Hollywood budget for american sensibilities. The only overt reference to anything asian is the fact that the martial arts they practice are called out as being kung fu, albeit with guns and without an asian person in sight.

So to the extent that the above is what is meant by "ki is asian," then yeah, ki is asian. Its about as asian these days as the druid is Irish or the barbarian is Viking.
Except this is game, not an tool to explore the various culture of the earth.

We've all been exposed to some degree of martial art movies and animes, the vast majority of them being either Chinese or Japanese. And a lot of us want to be able to create those concepts we've seen in those media in the game. So yes, we want Samurai, Ninja and Monks, even if they have nothing to do with the historical/cultural version.

While I'm sure Korea (for example) has rich folklore, great stories and quite possible more than enough material to warrant it's own power source worth of class in D&D... I can't say I really care about it. Nor do I really care about the cultural equivalent of class from Colombia, Tanzania or Yemen.

Is Asia only Japan and China? No. But D&D isn't a teaching tool to show the unwashed masses that fact, it's a gaming tool to let those unwashed masses play fantasy characters (has narrow minded as it may be) - and fantasy doesn't have to be politically correct.

In a game that is extremely europe-centric in it's view and concept, the only other nations that get some kind of representation are Asian Nations - Yes, it's pretty much only China and Japan, but that's a hell of a lot better than the representation that Africa or say, South America are getting. It's not an insult, it's a compliment - it means those concept are powerful and vivid enough (or at the very least, marketable enough) to imprint themselves on a generation of people that have nothing to do with them.

I don't think D&D's (or the Ki power source's) primary intent is to be a cultural teaching tool, but just as such a view of the game would be unrealistic in its idealization it is also unrealistic to categorically deny that gaming as a medium has certain human effects. Your post outlines the elements of the issues here well. I think you are very aware of much of the situation, acknowledging that there are real world analogy particulars that you (and by extension, many gamers) do not want to study up on and that the game as is is very Euro-centric. IMHO, however, I think you draw the line too harshly in limiting what the development of the game should concern itself with. Ultimately, it is a very fine line. It is hard--perhaps even impossible--for anything to not be something-centric!

Aside
Personally, I am interested in D&D as "fantasy-centric" rather than "euro-fantasy-centric." Some feel the "euro" part is essential to D&D identity, so they might prefer that "d20" instead be the broader, more GURPSy core. I'm just not sure why anything beyond D&D is needed as opposed to simply new D&D settings. Just thinking outloud here.


Having said all that--and perhaps "compliment" section aside :P--I like what you wrote and how you wrote it. I felt it was well-intentioned and respectful and brought up some good points.

beej_silver, I apologize if I offended you in my use of the term Asian.

I used that term mainly because it seemed to be the one that's been prevalent in all the other threads that have gone on tangents into this topic. It seemed that the discussion on the boards was using the term Asian with a clear intention of "Far East" as the rough definition, and more specifically meaning "feudal China/Japan" in flavor.

I admit that it didn't even cross my mind that this may come across as culturally insensitive, and I apologize for not taking that into consideration. I meant no offense.

for getting it. The very fact that "Asian" is being used solely with the intent of meaning Japan and China is the problem. Hand-waving the issue is disregarding a lot of people. Speaking for myself only here, it's a matter more incredibly (though forgivably) annoying than egregiously offensive. In either case it hardly takes walking on eggshells to remedy. Beyond all that, let the debate rage on.

In other words, since the Ki power source doesn't really represent "asian" cultural beliefs at all, why should it restrict itself to "asian" concepts?

Amazingly well put!! :D At this point I think:

A) The Ki power source will be broadened in scope and flavor to include something like Incarnum,
B) Ki classes will all be Japan-flavored classes with other Asiany classes falling naturally into other power sources, or
C) Ki classes may end up as all martial artsy classes, perhaps pulling from many different traditions beyond Japanese and Chinese.

Personally I like option A, with option C a respectable second. However, for those critical of A I do acknowledge that it would seem to make the name "Ki Power Source" kind of odd at first glance.
Barbarian is also an offensive term. We should get rid of it. Calling indigenous peoples "Barbarians" is oppressive, colonialist, and disgusting.

Also, the Divine power source is oppressive to my atheist beliefs.

Also, Demons are horrendously offensive, and Tieflings mock the Christian faith by presenting obvious devil-figures as heroes. Asmodeus is clearly meant to be a personification of the Christian "Satan", ruling the 9th level of Hell, and in your game he murders a god, and ultimately becomes a god? Hello?

Also, Fighter is a terrible name for a class, or occupation. The name personifies violence.

Just saying... as long as we're going to be sensitive, we should probably look at some of the other stuff that, you know, might be seen as offensive.

BTW, I'm not saying that I'm offended by any of this. Just saying that there are a lot of other more sensitive issues than this, and WotC doesn't worry about offending people in regard to those, so they probably aren't going to care too much about the "Eastern" powers being all Ki-based, and Japan/China centric.
Barbarian is also an offensive term. We should get rid of it. Calling indigenous peoples "Barbarians" is oppressive, colonialist, and disgusting.

Also, the Divine power source is oppressive to my atheist beliefs.

Also, Demons are horrendously offensive, and Tieflings mock the Christian faith by presenting obvious devil-figures as heroes. Asmodeus is clearly meant to be a personification of the Christian "Satan", ruling the 9th level of Hell, and in your game he murders a god, and ultimately becomes a god? Hello?

Also, Fighter is a terrible name for a class, or occupation. The name personifies violence.

Just saying... as long as we're going to be sensitive, we should probably look at some of the other stuff that, you know, might be seen as offensive.

BTW, I'm not saying that I'm offended by any of this. Just saying that there are a lot of other more sensitive issues than this, and WotC doesn't worry about offending people in regard to those, so they probably aren't going to care too much about the "Eastern" powers being all Ki-based, and Japan/China centric.

No kidding. If you (the general 'you', not you Kaldric) are offended by the possibility that ki might be 'the Asian power source', you are *way* to freaking PC and sensitive.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
(My apologies in advance if I outright ignore some posts. I believe the matter has been discussed, debated, and resolved, and going into it again will only make me sound repetitive. It will furthermore solve nothing, and derail the thread. Please take this in no way as an insult to you or your opinions)

Amazingly well put!! At this point I think:

A) The Ki power source will be broadened in scope and flavor to include something like Incarnum,
B) Ki classes will all be Japan-flavored classes with other Asiany classes falling naturally into other power sources, or
C) Ki classes may end up as all martial artsy classes, perhaps pulling from many different traditions beyond Japanese and Chinese.

Personally I like option A, with option C a respectable second. However, for those critical of A I do acknowledge that it would seem to make the name "Ki Power Source" kind of odd at first glance.

Interesting thoughts. :D I like "A" as well, and I keep hearing that Incarnum is an ideal expansion for ki.

However, I must admit to a fault here - I only halfheartedly tried to read incarnum, and then I discarded it immediately because of it's difficult-to-grasp mechanics. So, a request (I seem to be making a lot of these today): Can anyone tell me how incarnum and all those chakra stuff functioned flavorwise?
Me Kruzko, me bard... And me sing song for you! Explore Philippine Mythology for your 4E game, and visit us at Nosfecatu Publishing!
Interesting thoughts. :D I like "A" as well, and I keep hearing that Incarnum is an ideal expansion for ki.

Incarnum isn't really. When you get down to it Incarnum was just a test bed for a new magic item system that just didn't pan out.

However, I must admit to a fault here - I only halfheartedly tried to read incarnum, and then I discarded it immediately because of it's difficult-to-grasp mechanics. So, a request (I seem to be making a lot of these today): Can anyone tell me how incarnum and all those chakra stuff functioned flavorwise?

Flavorwise? Don't really know, but mechanically:

Incarnates and Soulborn are alternate versions of Clerics and Paladins dedicated to an alignment rather than a god.

Totemists were warriors who tapped into the power of various creatures, pretty much what the PH2 Warden is.

All 3 could use a special set of built in magical items called Soulmelds that used a new set of slots called Chakras that mirrored the standard ones. They could enhance each Soulmeld by determining how much power went to each one and at later levels make them even stronger by not using a magic item that would have used the associated "real" slot.
Edit:

The 4th Edition Player's Handbook states the following on Ki.
"...monks harness the power of their soul energy (or ki)..."
In the same paragraph it states that Ki is, in fact, going to be a power source.

Not "soul energy."

Not "soul."

Ki.

The term Ki itself is Asian.

Soulborn

Incarnate

Totemist

All soul fueled. Ki is the power of souls in 4e, Incarnum was in 3e so there :P
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As an example of a non-asian class that would work as a ki class, move the soulknife from being a psionic class over to being a ki class.

However, I must admit to a fault here - I only halfheartedly tried to read incarnum, and then I discarded it immediately because of it's difficult-to-grasp mechanics. So, a request (I seem to be making a lot of these today): Can anyone tell me how incarnum and all those chakra stuff functioned flavorwise?

I don't really remember the chakra stuff too well, but the generic idea of incarnum was that it was the power of all souls(or it might have been all souls that have yet to be born, I forgot which). Incarnum users were those who borrowed the power of those souls to create items that contained the "essence" of those souls allowing them to draw upon the abilities that the soul would eventually have in life.....or something like that.
Soulborn

A LG/CG/LE/CE champion? Sounds like a Paladin.

Incarnate

As Soulborn except NG/NE/LN/CN.

Totemist

Look at the Warden.

All soul fueled. Ki is the power of souls in 4e, Incarnum was in 3e so there :P

Micha stop deluding yourself. Just because something was 3.X does not mean it will be in 4e. If this wasn't true where are the vastly more popular Book of Nine Swords classes?
Micha stop deluding yourself. Just because something was 3.X does not mean it will be in 4e. If this wasn't true where are the vastly more popular Book of Nine Swords classes?

We like to call those the Phb classes.

The Phb classes -ate - Tome Of Battle.

Just like Ki ate Incarnum.

It doesn't have to be "AZNZZ MARTIAL" (Like I suspect it most likely will be), it could very well own up to it's own fluff and have clearly non asian themed classes contained within it. And even then providing the classes are well designed and not simply Azn Martial (see below for class examples) then I'd be fine with that. Providing I got the impression that they actually used the power of souls.

I will mail bomb Wizards or something if they make a Samurai or Ninja class.. Because those are just fighters or rogues.
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I think while things like Incarnate and such would work as ki, they're still more suited to things like psionic. When you look at something like Monk, and what it's abilities have generally been for around forever now, it only makes sense to slap the Power Source Ki on it.

Stuff like Sensei though? Um, sensei's were like teachers and stuff... how does that warrant it's own class? Things like that probably wont be ki at all. Heck they probably wont be made, mostly because what I think people are wanting out of soemthing named "sensei" is an asian warlord... and we already have warlord...

Anyways yeah. Either they start inventing some enirely new classes altogether or they're slapping things that don't make sense into Ki anyways. Asian Shugenjas use elements... while it can be argues that it comes from elemental gods... kami, it's still kinda arcane.

Really I just think it's going to be harder and harder to fit things into the ever-growing list of power-sources as time goes by, this is just the start.

also this will probably all get edited later on, as i'm really freakin' tired while posting it, I probably rambled about nothing.... but yeah


- The 9th Kami Fu Le... er... Luneth Hireydin

First Edit:
I will mail bomb Wizards or something if they make a Samurai or Ninja class.. Because those are just fighters or rogues.

Well I totally agree here.

and also... Ssshhhh..... they have spies in our midst....


EDIT #2: Yep. I just realized something. Why would wizards suck power sources into each other? the more sources there are the more PH's they print the more money they make. Seems like a plan I wouldn't doubt any company from doing.
We like to call those the Phb classes.

The Phb classes -ate - Tome Of Battle.

That is only partially true. Desert Wind, Setting Sun and Shadow Hand have not yet been "updated."

Just like Ki ate Incarnum.

Prove this. Beyond a mention of "soul energy" in PH1, where in DMG, MM, FRCS, FRPG, AV, MP, D:CD, MoP or OG has this even been implied? Nowhere.

It doesn't have to be "AZNZZ MARTIAL" (Like I suspect it most likely will be), it could very well own up to it's own fluff and have clearly non asian themed classes contained within it. And even then providing the classes are well designed and not simply Azn Martial (see below for class examples) then I'd be fine with that. Providing I got the impression that they actually used the power of souls.

AZN Martial!?!? Would you please quit calling it that. That is possibly the most offensive thing to call it. It basically says that anyone who would like it that way is an AZN fanboy and does not deserve to play D&D.

I understand you don't like the idea that Ki is most likely going to be based off of the Wuxia style martial arts showcased in many Hong Kong action movies and Anime action series, but that doesn't mean that the same is true of most D&D players. There are plenty of archetypes currently unavailable to play that would fit perfectly in the Ki power source without you trying to cram Incarnum into it just because you don't like that most of the Archetypes it would cover come from outside the European subcontinent!

I will mail bomb Wizards or something if they make a Samurai or Ninja class.. Because those are just fighters or rogues.

Just Fighters and Rogues? Lets see a Fighter or Rogue do the following things:

  • Stop an opponent from moving by nailing their opponents shadow to the ground.
  • Create a blade of wind that cuts things 20 feet away with a sword slash.
  • Create a dozen doppelgangers of themselves.
  • Cut a tree in half with a twig.
  • Breath fire.
  • Launch a fire bird shaped blast of energy from their sword.
  • An aura of such icy calm that it actually freezes things.
  • So much control over their bodies that they can reattach or regrow limbs.


Plus threatening to do physical damage to people and things because you don't like the thought of something being included just tells people that you should not be listened to.
You're obviously not familiar with European Mythology or western fantasy if you think -that- is supernatural and "beyond the scope of inferior europe!"

There's nothing there that Martial really doesn't cover already.

And quite a few of those things would not even fit within one powersource as it is.

Actually quite a bit of that fits under the Elemental and Shadow power source in theme more so than Ki, from the description we have been given so far.
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  • Stop an opponent from moving by nailing their opponents shadow to the ground. "Knocking prone reflavoured" or use the SHADOW PS
  • Create a blade of wind that cuts things 20 feet away with a sword slash.
    Multiclass Swordmage
  • Create a dozen doppelgangers of themselves. ok you got me here
  • Cut a tree in half with a twig. ????
  • Breath fire. Be a Dragonborn, Multiclass Sorcererer/Wizard/Swordmage
  • Launch a fire bird shaped blast of energy from their sword.
    Swordmage
  • An aura of such icy calm that it actually freezes things.
    MC Arcane Class
  • So much control over their bodies that they can reattach or regrow limbs.
    Multiclass Cleric/Warlord/Bard

Ok it's streching it but i don't see why Samurai should be able to to this. Rename this class something other but don't call it Samurai. Samurai are fighters and not mystical swordsman. It destroys the honor of Samurai when you make them "Anime Fighters" (i like anime fights, i just don't want Samurai to be like that). Ninja should be a Shadow PC Class i think and i hope there will be no "Naruto Ninjas" (i love naruto)
I certainly find the idea of segregating all classes and character concepts of Asian origin into the Ki power source offensive.

Where do I begin with this...

Does that mean if I crash into something with my stereotypical driving skills as an Asian, I'm using my Ki power to do it?
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