Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad


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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 12:04

Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

Dear developers,

I love Stone Soup very much, I've been playing it already for three weeks. The game is incrediable, but it has one point that disturbs me.

Yesterday I found an item called "Sword of Jihad", which berserks you and your servants during the battle. It would not be a problem, if the name of the item didn't contain word "Jihad".

So, there are three big problems:
1. It uses real terms from a real religion. I think it's a little bit gross.
2. It demonstrates the followers of this religion as "stupid berserks".
3. The "Jihad" phenommenon is misinterpreted.

I hope you will fix that points.
God bless you.

Best wishes,
Ahmed Karim

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 13:31

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

I'm not a dev, but I'll try to give a serious answer.

The first problem I see has to do with how a large religion like Christianity or Islam is a place in which different confessions and philosophies live together, often contradicting each other, simply because different people have different opinions. To make an example, Catholics believe the Eucharist to be the real body of Jesus, while Protestants believe it's just a symbol; yet they are all Christians. So there are Sunnis who think that jihad is just an inner effort to become better, and other Sunnis (a much smaller number) who think that jihad is a command to make war against infidels and/or wrongdoers; during different times, one interpretation was prevalent on the other, with the "inner effort" being the most widespread now, which doesn't mean that the "war" meaning has disappeared or been forgotten.
It's also worth saying that the Sword of Jihad doesn't belong to the real world (or to Islam), but to a world in which it has been created by The Shining One, who is a god known for an extremely bellicose attitude, and who requests his believers to become literal soldiers to kill demons and undead. So, even if we understood "Jihad" in its classical Arab meaning, "effort", the effort requested by The Shining One is that of waging holy war.

As for using terms from real religions, there are angels, cherubs, ophanim, and the Seraph, who are revered by Christianity (and Jews, I think, although I can't bet on that), and the daevas, who are evil spirits in Zoroastrism. I'm sure there are more out there. So if the reasoning is that it's not OK to use terms from real world religions, a lot of things need to be changed too. Which isn't to say they shouldn't, but it must be seen as a wider problem than just the Sword of Jihad.

Anyway, calling the Sword "Sword of Holy Rage" is OK for me. Or "Sword of the Righteous". Or something else. I also agree that if even more Muslims thought that Jihad means "effort" rather than "war", it would be easier for us Westerners to accept the "effort" meaning, too.
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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 16:15

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

If i was going to pick a different name, i would call it "The Sword of Righteous Fury"

I would also put this quote in the flavor text

Samuel L. Jackson wrote:Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the The Shining One when I lay my vengeance upon thee!
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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 16:52

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

This is just through a quick wikipedia search:

Jihad (English pronunciation: /dʒɪˈhɑːd/; Arabic: جهاد‎‎ jihād [dʒɪˈhaːd]) is an Islamic term referring to the religious duty of Muslims to maintain and spread the religion.

This has a fairly specific meaning, and based on this meaning I can see why the Sword of Jihad would be offensive since it turns you and your allies berserk and the flavor text includes "This blade is notorious for inducing bloodthirsty rage in both the wielder and all of his or her mortal followers."

It just seems like it's there for cheap humor and not for badass points (which I assume why religious/mythological references are normally used all over Crawl).

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 16:57

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

Joking aside, "Jihad" is a politically-charged term nowadays, while "angel", "daeva", etc. are not. While I don't think every person who ever claims to be offended by something needs their whims catered to, I do think the sword of Jihad is out-of-place anyway and the fact that it might offend people just makes it even worse. I don't think the request is unreasonable and I don't really see any downside to renaming it.

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 17:01

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

I think crawl players (minus tavern) are mature and intelligent enough to have religious terms in the game without misinterpreting these terms or the followers of that religion.

Btw, why are they called daeva and not deva?

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 18:33

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

removeelyvilon wrote:I think crawl players (minus tavern) are mature and intelligent enough to have religious terms in the game without misinterpreting these terms or the followers of that religion.

Btw, why are they called daeva and not deva?


I don't see any reason to assume the players of Crawl are any more intelligent or mature than random internet users.

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 18:35

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

Also the immediate assumption that somebody saying "this is somewhat offensive to me and has poor implications" is trolling or insincere seems a bit dickish.

Especially when the joke Sar posted showed everybody understood the poor implication!

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 18:37

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

I think equating Beogh priests walking on water to the sword of Jihad is silly. I think that's on the level of Djinni as far as religious imagery goes.

A more apt comparison would be to have the "Habit of the Immaculate Conception" as a robe or something. Would just sound weird, regardless of sociopolitical implications.

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 19:13

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

AhmedKarim wrote:1. It uses real terms from a real religion. I think it's a little bit gross.

You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. However, I don't think it's a good idea for game designers to try to avoid offending people, because there will always be people who will choose to find something offensive, and changing games in response to those complaints generally leads to an endless stream of increasingly minor complaints, meaning a lot of extra development work when nothing was really wrong in the first place. Especially in an open source game like Crawl, players can just download the source code and make any edits they want, so I see no reason why any change should be made to the official code base just to satisfy a complaint because a player chooses to find some detail of the game offensive or gross.

2. It demonstrates the followers of this religion as "stupid berserks".

I don't see any -Int stat on the sword, so I don't know where you're getting the idea of "stupid" from. Also, keep in mind that this is a fantasy game, and does not accurately model reality or demonstrate anything about the real world or the people in it.

3. The "Jihad" phenommenon is misinterpreted.

From what a muslim friend of mine has told me about Islam, "Jihad" is a religious duty that muslims have to spread Islam peacefully when possible, and through violence when peaceful methods don't work. In Crawl, it's best to deal with situations without berserking when possible (due to the costs and downsides), and berserk when you need the extra power boost, which somewhat resembles the idea of using peaceful methods when possible, to the extent that such a concept could reasonably be represented in a game that's almost entirely about various forms of fantasy violence. The sword is holy branded, which fits with the idea of being religious. The neat feature of having allies berserk when you do suggests a sort of solidarity in thinking, which is what ideologies, religious or otherwise, are all about. All in all, the name seems extremely appropriate thematically to me.

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 19:18

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

I always though about TSO in crusader terms, not islamic. I was looking at it from a westerner's point of view, though.

I wonder if some christian (Elyvilon...), jewish (Zin...), japanese (Okawaru...) or kabbalist (Nemelex...) person will raise objections in near future. Why is it that they always stick to the name, not the meaning?
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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 19:22

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

Nekoatl wrote:
AhmedKarim wrote:The sword is holy branded, which fits with the idea of being religious.

What religion allows you to brand your butterknife with demon-slaying powers?
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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 19:24

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

kuniqs wrote:I always though about TSO in crusader terms, not islamic. I was looking at it from a westerner's point of view, though.

Well, the TSO zealot was called Paladin, so there's a clear Christian reference there.
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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 20:05

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

Nekoatl wrote:
AhmedKarim wrote:1. It uses real terms from a real religion. I think it's a little bit gross.

You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. However, I don't think it's a good idea for game designers to try to avoid offending people, because there will always be people who will choose to find something offensive, and changing games in response to those complaints generally leads to an endless stream of increasingly minor complaints, meaning a lot of extra development work when nothing was really wrong in the first place. Especially in an open source game like Crawl, players can just download the source code and make any edits they want, so I see no reason why any change should be made to the official code base just to satisfy a complaint because a player chooses to find some detail of the game offensive or gross.

2. It demonstrates the followers of this religion as "stupid berserks".

I don't see any -Int stat on the sword, so I don't know where you're getting the idea of "stupid" from. Also, keep in mind that this is a fantasy game, and does not accurately model reality or demonstrate anything about the real world or the people in it.

3. The "Jihad" phenommenon is misinterpreted.

From what a muslim friend of mine has told me about Islam, "Jihad" is a religious duty that muslims have to spread Islam peacefully when possible, and through violence when peaceful methods don't work. In Crawl, it's best to deal with situations without berserking when possible (due to the costs and downsides), and berserk when you need the extra power boost, which somewhat resembles the idea of using peaceful methods when possible, to the extent that such a concept could reasonably be represented in a game that's almost entirely about various forms of fantasy violence. The sword is holy branded, which fits with the idea of being religious. The neat feature of having allies berserk when you do suggests a sort of solidarity in thinking, which is what ideologies, religious or otherwise, are all about. All in all, the name seems extremely appropriate thematically to me.


1. Making minor changes because you believe it would make the game more inclusive is not some huge drain on dev resources, and is a good thing for its own sake. And your own argument about how easy it would be to shift that burden on to the player is an argument for the ease of just making the edit and committing it.

2. This is a trivially worthless argument: media makes commentary, overtly, subtly, or implicitly, all the time. Saying "its fantasy" is like saying Aslan can't represent Jesus because he's a lion in a book.

3. Regardless of whether your definition of Muslim faith is correct, the word as typically understood represents a violent Muslim act thanks to recent events. As Crawl is not trying to make detailed commentary on other religions through artifacts, its safe to assume the basic impression of "Jihad = holy berserker" is more or less what will come across.

4. Fisking is annoying as fuck.

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 20:07

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

Sprucery wrote:
kuniqs wrote:I always though about TSO in crusader terms, not islamic. I was looking at it from a westerner's point of view, though.

Well, the TSO zealot was called Paladin, so there's a clear Christian reference there.


TSO could have inspiration from multiple sources, or the Sword of Jihad was a bad thematical fit.

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 20:09

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

kuniqs wrote:
Nekoatl wrote:The sword is holy branded, which fits with the idea of being religious.

What religion allows you to brand your butterknife with demon-slaying powers?

Othodox Christianity does stuff like this. They bless all kinds of things, and they believe demons are real. I know of an Orthodox priest who even blessed his golf clubs in an attempt to improve his game. I would be surprised if there aren't other religions with similar practices that I'm less aware of.

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 21:29

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

Someone could code the DC:SS: NONCONTROVERSIAL EDITION, with all religious imagery and references removed, as well as all females (some branch of Judaism doesn't want images of women to exist, or maybe that's just the editors of Di Tzeitung.). Since a couple religions disallow depictions of humans, all creatures should be substituted by robots. This also means no blood and no violence on animals or plants! The gods can then be edited into microchips that give you special skills the more you use them. Also, a lot of audio files are needed, because some religious groups think that learning how to write or read is a sin, and that an illiterate is worth ten of his alphabetized peers.

More seriously, the OP may be bait, but I don't think it's a useless discussion per se.

Also, is TSO's symbol actually a cross? It looks more like the Jesus of Rio. Just saying, because I only noticed it today. Angels totally are Crusaders, though.
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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 21:33

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

Shtopit wrote:
Also, is TSO's symbol actually a cross? It looks more like the Jesus of Rio. Just saying, because I only noticed it today. Angels totally are Crusaders, though.


It's the veve of the voodoo loa Baron Samedi.

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 21:53

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

removeelyvilon wrote:I think crawl players (minus tavern) are mature and intelligent enough to have religious terms in the game without misinterpreting these terms or the followers of that religion.
Well the person who named the sword in the first place wasn't mature enough to do that, so...

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 23:57

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

In my experience, people who rail against political correctness are usually just dicks who want to be nasty to other people without getting called on it.

OP's post is good, and fixing the name of this particular artefact is probably overdue.

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Post Thursday, 19th January 2017, 00:11

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad

Why not just change it's name to sword of The Shining One's Anger and be done with it?

I get the whole "we can't be too PC it's not about the Islam Jihad word" mentality, but if the sword really isn't about the Arabic Jihad, why not change it's title?

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Post Thursday, 19th January 2017, 02:15

Re: Remove, rename or rework Sword of Jihad


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