Thursday, 20 November 2014
The Pig-ignorance, or Goblin-ignorance, of My Critics
Seriously, I can get hating someone. That’s a given. But see, when I hate someone I try my damnedest to hate them for what they have done or written. I want to go out of my way to point out what they’ve done, and to justify why they suck in that way. On the other hand, it seems like with the people who hate me, they want to go out of their way to lie. I guess its easier for me than for them, I should be understanding; after all, I don’t have to lie! Most of what people I hate do sucks, while most of what I do doesn’t suck, and that’s where my opponents run into a problem. That problem has certainly given them some trouble, and given me ample opportunity to show them just how little they know, when it comes to Arrows of Indra.
So its no surprise that when someone went onto RPGnet asking for setting material for India he was quickly flooded by people telling him my game was worthless and he should by no means even give it a look (of course they don’t want him to even look at it! If he looked at it he’d know they were lying!). They omitted to mention to the OP that, if it was setting he wanted, Arrows of Indra is a 184 page book with 108 pages (a nice Indian number!) of SETTING material (that’s counting the monster section, which is full of indian-themed monsters, and takes up 24 of those 108 pages). No, instead they went with the lie that they’ve been circulating, practicing and honing in “something awful”: that my game is nothing but D&D with a thin veneer of indian-facade painted over it. I guess they finally decided that was a better tactic to go with than trying to claim it was racist or what-have-you.
Is this the work of SA Goons? Well, the people slandering my game linked directly to a thread on SA with a series of posts trying to deconstruct my game in the most negative light possible, so yeah. Its interesting to note that the “review” they do of it stops well before the setting section.
That clued me into something: these guys are facing a major problem with Arrows of Indra. Most of them aren’t very familiar at all with the setting. They’re WAY less familiar than I am. The guy doing the hatchet-job in the SA thread very wisely stopped before getting to the setting section because he realized he didn’t have the knowledge to actually be capable of criticizing what I wrote about the Mahabharata-inspired setting (which should tell you something right there about the quality of the setting). Unfortunately for them, they haven’t always been able to stop other anti-pundit idiots from similarly shutting up. Its been quite frequent that we see people making some statement of outrage at some alleged atrocity I’ve written into the book, when in fact the truth is that what they think is error, omission or ignorance on my part is an utterly intentional choice based on actual Indian myth and history (and their crowing about it only highlites how dangerous it is for them to know only a little about the subject).
Take Goblins, for instance. One of the things that I was accused of on the thread as “proof” that Arrows of Indra is nothing but a bad D&D-clone that barely pays lip service and gives no respect to Indian mythology is the fact that I have Goblins listed in the monster section!
Here’s the quote from an ignorant ass named “technoextreme”:
“He actually goes on later to explain that its effectively AD&D without any consideration of any Indian mythology to the point where goblins make an appearance.”
Guess what, motherfucker? I put Goblins in there out of consideration to Indian Mythology, because Goblins are a creature of Indian Mythology (just like every other creature in my monster section, excepting a few of the specific giant animals, though the concept of giant animals themselves is very well-founded in Indian myth; and excepting the “monstrosity” which was put into to allow for the ridiculous diversity of “unique” monsters also found in Indian myth).
So since you’re not only ignorant of Indian Mythology but also ignorant enough to want to school others on it, let me educate you: In the Puranas (and somewhere in the Srimad Bhagavatam, if I recall), there is reference to Vitala, second level of the Patala Underworld, where Shiva reigns in one of his forms. One of Shiva’s titles/names is Pramathadhipa, which means “he who is served by Goblins”. The legends of Shiva make mention that his court was mostly not of men but of all manner of wild creatures: satyr-like Ganas, ghosts, demons, Apsaras, Gandharvas, Yakshas, and also the Goblins. These had a kingdom in Vitala, where they mined for gold (in some versions of the story, the gold in Vitala stemmed from the river Hataki, which was actually a river created by the fluids that would pour from between the legs of Shiva’s fierce Underworld Goddess-consort, Bhavani.
Of course, anyone who actually read Arrows of Indra would know all the above, because it's in the setting material. All except that last part; I didn’t want things to get too “Tantric”.
The Goblins are called Bhuta-Ganas in Sanskrit. Now, like most mythological creatures in Indian folklore the definition of that creature is kind of malleable; that’s what happens when you have a 5000 year old tradition that spans several religions. As you can see from the name, the Bhuta is really a type of Gana, originally. Later on, a creature called the Bhuta comes to be interpreted as a kind vampire (a blood-drinking creature) or ghost with a backwards-facing head. But in the period of the Puranas, it was clearly a sort of goblin.
Incidentally, while they’re called “Goblins” their stats do not match the typical goblin of the D&D monster manual.
Now, Arrows of Indra certainly does make a lot of concessions to the OSR framework in which it exists. Anytime I had a choice between various ways of presenting something from Indian Myth, I always intentionally chose the way that was closest to what would fit in the framework of traditional D&D. I did this intentionally, because I wanted AoI to be as accurate as possible but as playable as possible in the framework of an OSR game. No one is pretending this isn’t the case.
But its ridiculous to pretend that (especially in the huge amounts of setting-material) it isn’t also the most accurate and extensive attempt at making an Indian Mythology RPG to date; which is what these assholes are doing in their zeal to try to slander the game, or rather its author.
Currently Smoking: Gigi Bent Billiard + Dunhill 965
(originally posted July 23, 2013; on the old blog)