Concerns about the new Selunari

Hello Alliance.

I know every one has been talking talking about old race of gypsy and asking for changes to be made in the Alliance to insure that everyone feels safe and respected when they come to game.

I also know that Alliance staff and owners have been putting a lot of time and energy into the changes to the races for the new rules coming out. And I am glad to see the fruits of change on the new national website.

Kudos to all of you. :)

But I have some concerns. Now these are not mentioned to poke holes or start debates, these are mirly things I found out while doing a little google fu before my local game. I only bring it up because I don't want these things to become an issue later on and I hope that maybe they can be worked out before the new addition of the rules are released.

Sela is(was) a city in both ancient and religious Text as seen on this web page.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sela_(Edom)

khadir is also Qadir in Arabic whice has a meaning based on this entry.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Qadir

And the word mahzari is also a family name for people of Arabic decent. As show on these two pages.
http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=mahzari
https://www.google.ca/search?q=mahzari&oq=mahzari&aqs=chrome..69i57&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8#q=mahzari&start=0

And for the last concern Is the Jewels on the head. I use the http://alliancelarp.com/races/selunari/ Picture as a reference that this is the type of minimal cosutme that is needed. Well it is fairly close to the bindi, The red or black dot on a person from Indias forehead. This is a religious symbol of their faith which can be read hear :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bindi_(decoration)

but it is also worn in the form of jewels by people of India as a decoration which still shows their Hindu faith and/ or origins. Like some of these pictures:

https://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://asiagardens.es/blog/wp-content/uploads/bindi_03.jpg&imgrefurl=http://asiagardens.es/blog/2013/07/25/the-bindi/?lang=en&docid=mDqA_guxJOI2lM&tbnid=rhu5W4r9CFiU5M:&w=730&h=507&bih=785&biw=1440&ved=0ahUKEwiYj_LEy_nMAhWCx4MKHSyCBsgQMwg2KAYwBg&iact=mrc&uact=8

https://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=https://media.indiacurrents.com/media/images/2015/september/youth_bindi.jpg&imgrefurl=https://www.indiacurrents.com/articles/2015/09/07/why-white-girl-wearing-bindi&docid=ThPWYWIh780UnM&tbnid=QjJz0vGGUEqRLM:&w=432&h=462&bih=785&biw=1440&ved=0ahUKEwiYj_LEy_nMAhWCx4MKHSyCBsgQMwgxKAEwAQ&iact=mrc&uact=8

https://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.khabar.com/12_15_Youth.jpg?w=400&imgrefurl=http://www.khabar.com/magazine/features/youth-why-is-that-white-girl-wearing-a-bindi&docid=-Ht1Pzv6g1804M&tbnid=Vniz35fC0yagQM:&w=300&h=300&bih=785&biw=1440&ved=0ahUKEwiYj_LEy_nMAhWCx4MKHSyCBsgQMwg3KAcwBw&iact=mrc&uact=8

https://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/480x270/p030p3mv.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p030yl7k&docid=Ly7k-4_s7CmpEM&tbnid=zYR1DhaASvLl-M:&w=480&h=270&bih=785&biw=1440&ved=0ahUKEwiYj_LEy_nMAhWCx4MKHSyCBsgQMwhOKBYwFg&iact=mrc&uact=8

https://www.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_VpUUkGnzv4/UXSROdi8quI/AAAAAAAAAGU/IDA8waTi43E/s1600/2597B985DC96FBCDBC5E1625ADDF96.jpg&imgrefurl=http://everlandclothing.blogspot.com/2013/04/bindi-controversy-and-cultural.html&docid=bhLatncFjxVNtM&tbnid=S1P7GqcDvBOqWM:&w=500&h=350&bih=785&biw=1440&ved=0ahUKEwiYj_LEy_nMAhWCx4MKHSyCBsgQMwhBKBEwEQ&iact=mrc&uact=8

Now, I just wanted to bring to light some of these close cultural similarities between the games race, and some of the real world aspects of these things just so we don't have to go through the "gypsy" argument 5 years down the line.
 

Ardos

Artisan
South Michigan Staff
The problem with gypsy was that it was a fantasy race portraying some of the stereotypes of the actual romani people. If you are really going to get into the nitty gritty details by saying there are possibly problematic names being used that are real names, then you're going to inevitably either shoot down every "wanderer" race or make the race localized in one specific chapters lands. I do understand your fears about the gem, but I think the lack of gem limitation is great to hear (I may wear 2 or 3 to avoid exactly that). I currently play a gypsy and have been attempting to stay away from the tropes, as that was the problem in the first place, and am glad to see the new changes.
 

Gandian Ravenscroft

Knight
Chicago Staff
Marshal
Now that they are on the website, was there supposed to be some announcement of Selunari? I'm not mad, just curious.

Constructive criticism: Meaning no offense to Samara and whoever took the Selunari picture on the Alliance website (it's a good picture with great costuming), it might be a good idea to get a picture of a Selunari with a non-red gem (and ideally more than one) and a non-central gem (maybe a few gems arcing over the brow, etc.). I don't think the bindi thing will be a significant issue, but it might be better to have a visual that steers new players away from creating that issue rather than setting that general appearance as the standard.
 

Auric

Administrator
Alliance General Manager
Alliance Logistics
Now that they are on the website, was there supposed to be some announcement of Selunari?
We have a few small details to work out before an official announcement is made, expect one early next week.


Thanks all for the early feedback I'll make sure others are made aware of this thread to review concerns.
 

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
Now that they are on the website, was there supposed to be some announcement of Selunari? I'm not mad, just curious.

Constructive criticism: Meaning no offense to Samara and whoever took the Selunari picture on the Alliance website (it's a good picture with great costuming), it might be a good idea to get a picture of a Selunari with a non-red gem (and ideally more than one) and a non-central gem (maybe a few gems arcing over the brow, etc.). I don't think the bindi thing will be a significant issue, but it might be better to have a visual that steers new players away from creating that issue rather than setting that general appearance as the standard.
Yep, we need more pictures but because the owners voted to make this happen immediately, we had to rush.

Please take pictures and send them to me! We'll need them for the updated Rule Book anyway.
 
The only real problem that I have heard about them is that one gem is REQUIRED to be in the center of the forehead. If the requirement was maybe softened a bit to where it had to be on the face and visible, then people could place it anywhere they wanted without specifically evoking the idea of a Bindi.
 

Gandian Ravenscroft

Knight
Chicago Staff
Marshal
The only real problem that I have heard about them is that one gem is REQUIRED to be in the center of the forehead. If the requirement was maybe softened a bit to where it had to be on the face and visible, then people could place it anywhere they wanted without specifically evoking the idea of a Bindi.
Allowing the gem(s) to be anywhere on the face would be a good step towards avoiding issues (and avoiding people claiming there will be issues, which are probably gonna be a thing currently), as well as also allowing for more general creativity.

Some Selunari could have two gems under their eyes, some could have a gem on their chin, some could have a gem above each eye, all of them would look cool, would have individual flair, and would all be recognizable as Selunari. :)
 

zehnyu

Squire
I have faith that the organization is doing the best that they can with what time they were given.

I would also like to thank volunteers who offered months of their free time to make an amazing packet; and would like to remind all of you that more thought goes into making National changes than you may think.

Please be courteous and remember that it is other people's hard work, and it does not come from thin air.

-Ali
 
I would really like to see the option of placing a gem (or 3) where I would like to place them on my face rather then just a forehead one.

I would also like to mention that I have two gaming friends who I asked , about how they would feel if their last name (kadir and khadir) was used in this way.
Both were honest and said the could tolerate it if they played the game, but a family name in Arabic culture is pretty special it defines them and groups them together.

Again this me just trying to make sure that we don't have to debate this 5 years down the line. ;) I look forward to the new changes in the edition as every one keeps saying "oh its going to be good."
 

llywelyn

Artisan

zehnyu

Squire
I can understand that.

But here's the thing.

When people come onto this forum with complaints to something new, most of the time they go straight for 'this is what I don't like'. And you're sending it out very publicly into the community for everyone to read.

That includes the people who volunteered to work on the things you're criticizing. They have no way of knowing who you are, or your tone. All it does is make them no longer want to offer their time, since all they ever see is criticism. And that is firmly implanted across this board in regards to multiple changes over the last two years.

All they see is a bunch of people ripping apart something they worked very hard on, in a tone that sounds potentially condescending, whether people mean to be or not.

I get that changes happen; and not all of us are going to like them. I get that you are trying to get ahead of debates 5 years from now; but the culture of this game (and others) is always changing.

-Always-.

There's no way for us to predict those debates, and the best we can do is have those discussions as they come, the best way we know how. But I would recommend, if you have concerns, to reach out to those people privately who easily offer their contact information online; or to customer service so it can be fielded appropriately. That way it comes to those hard working people in a positive format, and in appropriate light. It makes things easier to be received, and makes your points more prominent, and not potentially dismissed because 'someone is complaining on the boards again.'

Because that is a culture problem in this community. And it's one that should get changed.

-Ali
 

Paladin of Chaos

Scholar
Moderator
Hi folks! If you have concerns, please feel free to talk to the owner(s) of your local game(s) so National staff has a chance to address any concerns in their varied meetings and channels of communication. These forums are intended for players to discuss RP, costuming, customs and the like, and the best way to make your voice heard to National staff is direct communication.

Please keep in mind that the players and staff that put many behind-the-scenes hours to make these changes are your peers, fellow players, and members of the same amazing community as you! References to real world religions and cultures are impossible to remove from any game or culture system therein, so keep in mind how you would have implemented changes and the choices you would have had to make in crafting a well-rounded, interesting and engaging packet.

As always, thank you in advance for keeping discussion respectful and moving forward!
 

EC-JP

Scholar
Alliance Rules
This is a procedural response instead of a substantive one-

Please remember that complaints, concerns, and criticism should be properly directed and not just thrown onto the message boards. Most of our volunteer national staff (both "full time" like the ARC and ALC and special groups like the Playtest coordinators and Race committees) report directly to a chair/team lead. Complaints may be directed to that individual to ensure proper handling.

If, for any reason, you feel that individual is the improper one, National Customer Service has a very active board presence.

If your concerns motivate you strongly enough, both the current Alliance Chair and Mike V also have very active internet presences and are easily accessible.

Lastly, concerns may ALWAYS be directed to your local Owner, who has the option of escalating as appropriate.

Thank you.

JP
 

Gandian Ravenscroft

Knight
Chicago Staff
Marshal
I totally get what you're saying in regards to people complaining about changes, but please remember that a lot of people (myself included) offer opinions and feedback in a positive light. There are people (myself included) that never comment in a public place unless they feel they are being pleasant about it. I don't like interpersonal conflict in the real world. I understand that the great folks that have been working on the Selunari are volunteers, and I respect that. I've worked hard on things for LARP and like to be treated kindly, too. Please remember we're not all snarky internet trolls.

If there is a less public, more direct line of communication where you would rather have people (like myself) offer their level-headed and casual feedback, could you please point us towards where that might be via email address, etc.?

Thanks! :)
 
Let me start by saying that I appreciate the desire to be helpful, and particularly appreciate the extremely civil tone these concerns were raised in. It is very important on the internet, talking with or about people who are not personally acquaintances, to do one's level best to be calm so that feelings don't get spiked.

With that said: I'm not sure why most of these things are concerns. The term Sela, for example, is derived from the name of the race, which in turn is derived from two different words for the moon. Any resemblance to a real world term referring to something totally different is, like the TV disclaimer, a coincidence. Similarly, the other terms raised as concerns are literally sound constructs. They are not deliberately borrowed from other languages, they are simply interesting sounding collections of syllables. If there is genuinely a problem with the terms, they can be changed, but I assure everyone that they were not appropriated deliberately. I would point out that the name Aengus Og is a reference to a Celtic god of love. I don't think there's a problem with using the name, but it IS a religious reference, more so than anything in the packet.

As far as the bindi concern: this is something that was talked about at length by the packet writers and the owners. We have been looking at this and researching it for over two years now. I appreciate that there is a worry that it might be taken as offensive, but based on our research, including discussion with several members of the hindu faith, it really is not a problem. The actual bindi is a much smaller dot, worn low on the forehead (almost at eyebrow level), made with crushed plant paste. Please, please don't take this the wrong way; tone is very hard to convey via text. But this was something that quite a few people did some real legwork investigating several years ago, and it is frustrating (although not totally unexpected) to go over it again. I really, really do get where the concern is coming from, and yeah, I understand and can agree that the specific picture can be taken as reinforcing the wrong kind of idea here. For example: the text of the packet doesn't in ANY way say that the gem must be center forehead. The picture happens to be that way, but the actual rule for the prosthetic in no way requires that. If you want to have a trail of gems from temple to cheekbone, that is absolutely okay. And this is why it is really, really important to bring these questions directly to people in charge. That can be a chapter owner, the Alliance General Manager, Alliance customer service or the Alliance President, the internet famous Mike Ventrella. Clearly there is some misinformation running around:
The only real problem that I have heard about them is that one gem is REQUIRED to be in the center of the forehead. If the requirement was maybe softened a bit to where it had to be on the face and visible, then people could place it anywhere they wanted without specifically evoking the idea of a Bindi.
This is a concern based on hearsay, and it's just factually incorrect. The rules got fed through the telephone game and came out wrong; nobody's really at fault for this, but it does a solid job of illustrating WHY it's important to ask for the whole truth rather than working off anything that hasn't come from an official source, which in this case is the website and only the website until a new rule book is released. So: for any future concerns, especially those relating to upcoming rules changes, please verify what you may have heard by asking someone who is able to get you that verification. Specific to the excellent request by Alexander: ... and Ali just literally beat me to it.

Please, please do understand that I know these concerns came from a good place. I know people were motivated by the right intentions. It's not at all my intention to make anyone feel in any way belittled or rebuked. If you have read this and do feel that way, I apologize. Let me add my name to Ali's list of people who can field questions. Please feel free to send my a PM about this or any other topic.

-Dan B, Owner Alliance NH
 

Auric

Administrator
Alliance General Manager
Alliance Logistics
I can be reached at gm@alliancelarp.com regarding anything you want to discuss.

I want to add this regarding the thread however, nothing I see here was done in a negative way or to provide bad criticism to those who created the race packet. The Selunari team did an amazing job and I think everyone here can see that. Some potential concerns were seen so they were brought to the forums to report them in a manner that would guarantee visibility. No one should take offense to that, we are all members of this community and want to feel a part of it and heard. Because of these concerns being posted we can have people like @Dan Nickname Beshers chime in and show research and thought was put into decisions made. It's also possible something was overlooked and that can be discussed and addressed as well with the Selunari team and the Owners.

No doubt we helped cause some confusion here, we wanted to have everything in place on the website prior to making an official announcement which may be why some of the concerns are being brought up here. We will have something up next week that will include the rules behind the race change, so please keep an eye out for that.
 

B.Barber

Scholar
I would really love to see more crystals/crystal placement options- for one reason and one reason alone: Cool design opportunities/even less human appearance <3
 

Muir

Fighter
So as a player who is at this very moment in the car on the way to an event to play my Gypsy, what happens now?
 

stonegolem

Scholar
Marshal
Speak with your plot staff upon arrival. As I understand it, the individual chapters are being encouraged to write the change into their games in a way that meshes with the chapter plot as well as the national packet. They will guide you into how to proceed individually.
 
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