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Mythic Polynesia Now Available


lawrence.whitaker

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Kia orana! May health be with you!

This, the traditional greeting of the Oceanian people, can be heard throughout a region covering a vast triangle with sides measuring over 10,000 kilometres. At the three corners of this triangle lie the Hawai'ian Archipelago in the north, the continental islands of Aotearoa in the south, and mysterious Rapanui in the far east. 

Mythic Polynesia describes the people and cultures of the Great Ocean, and is a complete guide to roleplaying in this vast area of myth and legend. Examining the traditions, myths, gods, spirits and creatures of the Great Ocean, the Polynesian islands are brought alive and presented through the Mythras game system. 

The book includes an exhaustive overview of Oceanian life, the tribes, their magic, and their complex history and politics. A section on staging Polynesian campaigns offers Games Masters copious guidance on creating compelling Mythic Polynesia adventures at the gaming table. This is part of the Mythic Earth range of sourcebooks for Mythras, and is not a standalone game. Either the Mythras core rules or Mythras Imperative is needed for play.

TDM

Lulu

DTRPG

Softcover: $35.99

Hardcover: $45.99

PDF Only: $22.99

240 pages, colour

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The Design Mechanism: Publishers of Mythras

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16 minutes ago, rsanford said:

Congratulations Pete & Loz!

Thank you - but thanks should really go to Mark Shirley and the production team - Carol, Sophia, Colin, Roena and James; they're the ones that did all the hard work in writing, editing, layout and art (direction and illustration).

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The Design Mechanism: Publishers of Mythras

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That is great, thanks, I love that Mythras is still supporting Mythic Earth.

I have used my cult credit to buy this, having some cult support.

At the risk of being cheeky, any news on the eagerly-awaited Mythic Greece?

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20 hours ago, jimmy said:

Using the term "game designer" very loosely. He looks to have one credit on Dissident Whispers which mean a single spread with an adventure.

Just having that one designer-credit speaks to the overwhelming likelihood of a quite-substantive gaming background; it seems a bit disingenuous to critique him on this basis.  Add a full RPG in development (I mean, there's a lot of those, which mostly don't see the light of day), & a pretty extensive gaming podcast back-catalog.

But he *is* Maori (which is the key basis for his critique)

I haven't read his whole twitter thread, but I have skimmed a bit.

I hope to see some other comments from Polynesian gamers (and will finish reading the thread), but... as it stands, there's enough for me to (rather regretfully) suspend my plans to buy, pending further review.
 

Edited by g33k
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Well, I am a New Zealander of European descent. However, I am also an educationalist and I do know that this book has stumbled on to some very sensitive areas here. 

The basic criticism that really rings true is that the source material used in this book’s references is hopelessly out of date. In order to be culturally responsive, I really think they should have consulted somebody with up-to-date academic authority on these cultures’ histories before they published. They did with the Rome sourcebook, didn’t they? Why not here?

The defense put out by some that it is just fantasy and people shouldn’t be so sensitive is a very dismissive attitude. If you are going to try and create a book that celebrates Polynesian culture and mythology, then you ought to take these issues seriously. 

I fully understand, going on past publications, that The Design Mechanism and associated writers are not people who would be so dismissive, however. So I look forward to their considered response. 

 

Edited by TrippyHippy
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Hopefully, we will soon see more rpg books authored by/ in collaboration with members of the depicted cultures. I think I can imagine just a bit, by analogy, how that Maori guy feels.  If even I, as an Italian, which is not a marginalized ethnicity (except in very specific circumstances) and is firmly on the side of the European colonizers, feel sometimes offended or, at least, irked when my culture appears stereotyped in rpg books, I can imagine how these guys, whose culture risked erasure, can feel.

And I'm really proud that there are now rpgs about Italian-related things made by Italians on the English speaking market (in particular, Lex Arcana and Brancalonia, which are both very good). 

So, I really hope these voices will be heard.

  

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On 11/20/2022 at 10:57 AM, TrippyHippy said:

The defense put out by some that it is just fantasy and people shouldn’t be so sensitive is a very dismissive attitude. If you are going to try and create a book that celebrates Polynesian culture and mythology, then you ought to take these issues seriously. 

It's also an argument at odds with the Mythic line, since one of its big draws is that the fantasy is derived from the myths told by the people of the setting.

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On 11/20/2022 at 2:57 AM, TrippyHippy said:

... it is just fantasy and people shouldn’t be so sensitive is a very dismissive attitude ...

*winces*
I hope none of that is coming from TDM ...
(of course, there are plenty of rando-gamers willing to speak up online, even if TDM would rather they not)


Though honestly, I'd have hoped (in fact, I'd have expected!) they'd have done this project better, and not now be riding the tiger of controversy.  Cultural consultants & "sensitivity readers" are becoming the norm; TDM sometimes posts on "Big Purple" (rpg.net), who has a banner specifically calling-out the rise in anti-AAPI racism & violence.  I'm a little baffled that this seems not to have occurred to them.
 

Edited by g33k
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Well, as a long supporter of TDM, this saddens me. It is a first stumble by a great group, and I hope this very classy group can come up with a good response and institute an equally classy solution. Good luck mssrs. Whitaker and Nash!

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56 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Well, as a long supporter of TDM, this saddens me. It is a first stumble by a great group, and I hope this very classy group can come up with a good response and institute an equally classy solution. Good luck mssrs. Whitaker and Nash!

Big corporations stumble on those issues all the time, and are much less forgivable than a small studio with limited resources such as TDM. I hope they will learn from the incident. They continue to have my support as a customer as far as their other products are concerned. As for the book I hope they set up a reasonable response to the concerns that were raised.

From what I have gathered, one big issue stems from the very genericity of the book, which spans the entire Pacific Ocean, inevitably incurring in false generalisations and in bundling together different peoples. This alone  is fishing for trouble. After all, they did Mythic Britain, not Mythic Keltia. And they did Mythic Rome in the late Republic, not from Romulus to the Late Empire (Mythic Costantinople is more of a mess, though). I believe there's a lesson to be learned there.

 

 

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9 hours ago, g33k said:

*winces*
I hope none of that is coming from TDM ...
(of course, there are plenty of rando-gamers willing to speak up online, even if TDM would rather they not)


Though honestly, I'd have hoped (in fact, I'd have expected!) they'd have done this project better, and not now be riding the tiger of controversy.  Cultural consultants & "sensitivity readers" are becoming the norm; TDM sometimes posts on "Big Purple" (rpg.net), who has a banner specifically calling-out the rise in anti-AAPI racism & violence.  I'm a little baffled that this seems not to have occurred to them.
 

I am not at all TDM, but Loz has publicly made the statement they are discussing it internally on rpgpub.net about a week ago, and was willing to listen to Liam’s critiques on the TDM forum back in early April. It’s unclear if Liam reached out or not. 
 

Mark Shirley had some discussion on this in the mythic-Polynesia channel on the discord a few months back, including a discussion of sources chosen and why. https://discord.com/channels/469341944888164352/965255966952153158/1008922418678603807 Will take you to the discussion if you have an account 

Edited by Raleel
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As some of the others in this thread I am a Pākēha from New Zealand/Aotearoa. I went to secondary school in the late 80s and early 90s and I can say that our history was only glossed over, and what was taught about Māori history were mostly racist myths used to justify colonialism. Reading through the twitter thread so much of what is highlighted matches those old, false narratives, and sounds very similar to what is spouted by white supremacists in our country today.

I'm not saying the authors are white supremacists, but Mythic Polynesia reproduces a false history of Aotearoa that is widely used to this day by racists and bigots to foster hatred against Māori.

In the recent years there has been a big push to teach history properly in New Zealand (it's still ongoing) and resistance to this by, well, racists. There is a whole raft of newer, more accurate sources that also celebrate Māori and Pasifica culture.

That's the saddest thing about the whole situation - it could have been so easily avoided.

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  • 1 month later...

Still no reaction to the critique by TDM. I'm not knowledgeable about Polynesia, so I really wouldn't know, but what has been levelled on drivethru.rpg and rpg.net pretty much convinces me that there is a problem with this book that needs to be adressed by the publisher. I've told the publishers as much some time ago in an e-mail, and I know that other people e-mailed them around the same time, but there hasn't been any reaction yet.

I've bought pretty much everything Mythras (with the exception of the Classic Fantasy line) up to now, but until TDM adresses the whole think in some way, I won't be a customer anymore.

 

EDIT: Yes, I know it is maybe a lot to expect an answer between Christmas and New Year's Eve. I'll just keep hoping that some time around mid-January, they'll say something, anything ...

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On 11/22/2022 at 6:45 PM, Greville said:

...

I'm not saying the authors are white supremacists, but Mythic Polynesia reproduces a false history of Aotearoa that is widely used to this day by racists and bigots to foster hatred against Māori.

...

Yeah, that's a thing.

Authors & publishers  don't have to be racists  to have unwittingly used racist sources & propagated a racist narrative... produced a racist product.

Given the repeated testimonies to this effect  by people who are in a position to know  (and the fact that TDM clearly does not, in fact, have people in a position to know) ...  TDM has to face the fact that they've taken crits to both the R.Leg and the L.Leg:  they haven't got a leg to stand on.

(same for Mark Shirley, btw)

Time to own up to the F'up, and do something substantive...  Like (as has been suggested) pulling the product from the retail channel, and hiring the people they should have had on-board originally, to fix what should have been a masterpiece instead of ... what it is.

 

Quote

 ... but until TDM adresses the whole think in some way, I won't be a customer anymore ...

Yeah, me too.
It's not just the Mythic Polynesia line:  TDM is selling racist product right now, at this very moment (I just checked) and... they're trying to ignore the criticism, pretend it doesn't exist?
Not OK.

Everything from TDM is tainted by this.

(n.b. Mythic Polynesia might well have been a holiday buy for our house; but ... )

Edited by g33k
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I haven't seen anyone try to counter the criticisms of the book in terms of accuracy - ie I haven't seen anyone say, "No the criticisms are off target, and the book is accurate."  The responses have always been in the form of "who cares if it's accurate, it's a gaming product" (which would be ok for a 7th Sea supplement about the cultures inhabiting a wide-flung archipelago, but Mythic Earth's selling point is, well, being Earth), conspiracy theories about the guy who wrote the longest critical twitter thread, or virtue-signalling about "anti-woke" they are.

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On 12/29/2022 at 12:28 AM, Jakob said:

 

I've bought pretty much everything Mythras (with the exception of the Classic Fantasy line) up to now, but until TDM adresses the whole think in some way, I won't be a customer anymore.

I wonder if you as owner of a bookstore got all the stuff for reviews for free. Be honest if never read more nonsense like your post. Blaming the whole publisher and threaten with „I won’t buy“ because they not answered you is a very poor reaction from a member of this new cancel culture (behaving like three years old children). TDM are are great publisher and made a lot of good things. Minimizing their work to one release is very poor. And one person started a personal vendetta against them and in this impersonal times of internet you jump to it. Sorry, very poor. I won’t buy any more translation of you as reaction…

 

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3 hours ago, NurgleHH said:

I wonder if you as owner of a bookstore got all the stuff for reviews for free. Be honest if never read more nonsense like your post. Blaming the whole publisher and threaten with „I won’t buy“ because they not answered you is a very poor reaction from a member of this new cancel culture (behaving like three years old children). TDM are are great publisher and made a lot of good things. Minimizing their work to one release is very poor. And one person started a personal vendetta against them and in this impersonal times of internet you jump to it. Sorry, very poor. I won’t buy any more translation of you as reaction…

 

Since the accusation is out in the open, I'll answer openly and not by private message, but just as a warning:

This is going to be boring. I just write it in the interest of full disclosure.

First, bookshop owners usually don't get review copies - and certainly not from companies whose books are hard to obtain as a retailer in the respective market. I never received a review copy of any title from TDM; though I did receive a total of 3 free pdfs from the German publisher of Mythras; but those were not for review, they were to aid me with my work as author and translator for them. They also happen to be pdfs of books I've actually bought in print and just don't have at hand.

We did sell books from TDM in our bookshop, and that means that I obtained some of them at a retailer discount (which is not as high as you might think, if you take into account the shipping fee). The only reason we haven't been selling them recently is that TDM changed its publishing model (more print on demand), which made it impossible for us to obtain their books. We do sell (and plan to keep selling, as far as I am concerned), the German edition of Mythras.

I've reviewed practically all new Mythras books that arrived on our shelves in our newsletter, usually glowingly; again, I didn't receive review copies.

I must also stress that we've only been selling Mythras titles at our bookshop because I happen to be a Mythras fan; economically, it makes little sense for us, because despite me championing Mythras, it is a true low-seller, and we would be much better of filling that shelf space with D&D or Call of Cthulhu books. But we do sell a lot of rpgs that don't really, well, sell, and I firmly believe that, in the long run, it is important to offer that kind of broad range, because even if most customers end up buying the new D&D adventure, they still appreciate coming to us and browsing through all that other stuff.

So, all in all, I've put a lot of unpaid work into Mythras - as a reviewer, as an author and more recently, as a translator; what I've received for free are 3 pdfs of books I had already owned in print. I'm perfectly happy with that.

Frankly, I do not care whether you buy any books translated by me; I usally don't receive royalties for sold copies, except for very few special cases.

I am also not aware to be part of some "Cancel Culture"; though I do hope to be part of a culture of respect, and for me, this first and foremost means taking critique seriously and responding in a genuine and thoughtful way; it is a very basic requirement of human interaction to me. TDM seems to be refusing to do this. That is the reason why right now, I don't feel like buying their stuff anymore, on a personal level.

Finally, if you think that the whole thing about MP is a "personal vendetta", then you are obviously misinformed.

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3 hours ago, NurgleHH said:

I wonder if you as owner of a bookstore got all the stuff for reviews for free. Be honest if never read more nonsense like your post. Blaming the whole publisher and threaten with „I won’t buy“ because they not answered you is a very poor reaction from a member of this new cancel culture (behaving like three years old children). TDM are are great publisher and made a lot of good things. Minimizing their work to one release is very poor. And one person started a personal vendetta against them and in this impersonal times of internet you jump to it. Sorry, very poor. I won’t buy any more translation of you as reaction…

 

The reality is that 'cancel culture' along with 'woke' and 'politically correct' are slurs used to justify being arrogant and insensitive.  There is no excuse for sloppy research when so many up to date and better resources are available.  If you are going to publish a book about a culture, it is incumbent on you to make it accurate. 

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