Religion suffuses role-playing’s most basic structure: the adventuring party with a fighter, thief, wizard, and cleric. Fantasy mainstays like demons, dragons, heavens and hells, pantheons, diverse monsters, and magic originate in religious lore. The decisions people make without thinking about their cosmology carry ideological weight that validates some demographics and denies others—and not even just in terms of religious identity. This article is a toolkit to help creators and players of games and fiction build religious characters and organizations, portray them with fairness and respect, and draw on real-world lessons to craft fictional religions which sing.Read more
I get this question more frequently than any other in my professional and gaming life. I get it almost exclusively from white folks, since gaming’s Eurocentrism requires people of color to play outside their race most of the time. My answer is emphatically yes, but please study how to do it. Here’s why and how.Read more
If you’re a new arrival from the past couple days and you want to hear me say things to more people, here are some more interviews for you to enjoy.Read more
I hope you enjoyed Part I of my series on Thousand Arrows, sensitivity, and respect. Here, Part II addresses issues specific to our 900-backer stretch goal, “Dragon King’s Gambit.” In this campaign, a sea monster attack in December 1592 forces the Imjin War’s Chinese, Korean, and Japanese combatants to work together against a common enemy. It draws on historical, literary, and religious sources: I wouldn’t call it fantasy, but it features folkloric and legendary entities important to East Asian religious practice.
While we’re unlikely to unlock DKG, its subject matter has generated some concern above and beyond the core game. My previous post on best practices for historical gaming governs my take on the Imjin War. But I want to go a little further and break down some of the reasons why folks might worry more about DKG than about core Thousand Arrows, as well as why I think DKG is important nonetheless.Read more
I’d like to share some principles I follow when I work with historical and real-world settings, either in play or in design. For shorthand, I’m going to refer to them as “historical,” but many of these principles also apply to games set on contemporary Earth. This article refers to choices I made in Thousand Arrows, but it isn’t really about Thousand Arrows, so you still get a proper Imjin War-focused Part II later on.Read more
The Giant Robot of Offense is a framework for creating content which won’t harm people. I use it for role-playing games, but it applies to any media which generate participatory elements (including cosplay and fanfiction). Think of your creation as a giant badass anime robot you’re building. Here’s how to make media, and/or build a robot, which won’t harm anyone except for bad guys in giant rubber suits.Read more