Recently it came to my attention that the title graphics and header font used throughout the Mists of Akuma books are offensive and disenfranchising.
The asian tabletop RPG community on Twitter has my gratitude for notifying me that the use of ‘Gang of Three’ and ‘Shoguns Clan’ for adventure titles, the setting title, and paragraph headers is inappropriate. It was never intended for Mists of Akuma to upset folks in any way and I offer my deepest apologies to anyone that was hurt, offended, or otherwise maligned by my choices as a graphic designer. That is 100% on me and I take full responsibility.
To that end the title graphics and header fonts used in Mists of Akuma are changing to be more accessible and inoffensive.
All of the Patreon posts for Vignettes of Soburin have been updated with new PDFs and cover images, as have all the active social media platforms I can think of. After this second wave of adventures is complete (66% done as of this post; see below) any new Mists of Akuma books, modules, and otherwise will use these new fonts.
There are a number of proofed books that aren’t available for sale yet which use the older fonts—the Shadow of the Demon Lord version of Imperial Matchmaker, Komoro Toko’s Menagerie, Festering Crowns, and others—and at this point altering those 500 odd pages is a greater task than I can accomplish at this time. The second wave of softcover adventures will be the last books using the original fonts, and when compiled into their hardcover adventure path during the layout process I’ll budget in time to switch them over.
While it is a reasonable request to revisit and fix these visual elements in all of the Mists of Akuma books, the implementation of that is a complicated and costly endeavor I’m similarly unable to tackle right now. There are 21 different books in print (over 2,000 pages of content between D&D 5e and SotDL versions) that would need to be reproofed (several hundred dollars of paper and ink) and judging by how long it took to alter the 50 or so pages of finished Soburin Vignettes PDFs, a month of layout work is an optimistic estimate. As a full-time RPG freelancer that’s a length of time I don’t have the margins to cover.
When we created Mists of Akuma the design team was aware that we were almost entirely non-asian and we tried to acknowledge it in the book in a meaningful way by entrenching the narrative of foreign intrusion throughout. Some of the themes regarding that are obvious—the chief foreign presence that previously subjugated and then were successfully rebelled against are named ‘Ceramians’ (a simple anagram) and the others are from ‘Ropaeo’—and in game terms it’s made very plain that they are the villains. The presence of the foreigner (which is the frame of reference and voice that we were inevitably writing with) is always treated as highly disruptive and is in no way aggrandized.
There were also sensitivity readings done by our Scholastic Advisor (Ryan Dughman) and a class of his senior students at Kansai University Dai-ichi Senior High School in Japan that resulted in a small list of recommendations all of which we followed, and I’ve had friends of mine here in Pittsburgh who’ve emigrated from Japan or are of asian descent read through the setting book with wonderful reactions. These folks have my gratitude and I still appreciate their efforts but for a wide variety of reasons (like the title graphics and header fonts) the consideration of a collegiate trained sensitivity consultant or firm would be a noted improvement. That represents a larger expense than my time doing layout or proofing new books which leads to the same obstacle—I don’t have the resources to address it.
This does not mean that I’m going to abandon a more thorough sensitivity revision of Mists of Akuma and I’m considering ways to manage doing so (it seems like an odd thing to do for a Kickstarter, but as an Indiegogo maybe it could be designed to revamp things on a book by book basis?), but whether or not it’s something I’m able to do, I know at least that it won’t happen before this fall. In the meantime I’m doing what I can to finish out the current projects and move forward to improve Mists of Akuma so it can be the best it can be.
Once again I want to thank the people that spoke up about their dissatisfaction with the title graphics and header fonts being used in Mists of Akuma, and offer my sincerest apologies for any harm caused by my faulty choices. I am always available and want to hear from anyone who is offended by anything in any of my books, so if that happens please don’t hesitate to contact me here, by email (mike.myler.adventures|at|gmail.com), @MikeMyler2, on Facebook. or via any of the RPG forums I frequent. My goal is to make fun, engaging, and worthwhile gaming content, and when I go astray I will always do my best to fix those mistakes.