Cultural Diversity in RPGs
There has been a lot of talk lately about cultural diversity in RPGs,
specifically about both artwork and depictions of characters in the
setting text; with people demanding that out of politically correct motives
there should be more ethnic diversity in roleplaying games.
Well, I for one refuse to kowtow to the ultraliberals who are pushing this kind of bullshit.
I make you all a guarantee: THERE WILL BE NO WHITE EUROPEAN CHARACTERS IN “ARROWS OF INDRA”.
I don’t care how much the Tangencites call me a racist, or pressure
me to include white people, claim that I’m speaking from a position of
“east indian privilege” or that its “subtle racism” to suggest that just
because there weren’t actually any white europeans in the Mahabharata
that’s a good excuse not to have them in a game based on the selfsame
concept. Their absurd arguments about how this is a “fantasy setting”
and that my refusal to budge on this issue while I do include many other
anachronisms is clearly a sign of my extreme prejudice against whites
will fall on deaf ears.
I don’t care how racist it may seem to some. If it makes me unpopular
on Tangency, so be it. In order to honor my setting and maintain a
sense of credibility, I can’t have white people in it.
Well, there’s “whiter” people and “darker” people in it… yakshas are
gold-skinned, and there’s Pandu, who’s a pretty unnaturally pale guy.
But those aren’t really actual white people, and I’m not trying to use
them as a substitute so don’t go around accusing me of that either. And
before anyone mentions it: NO, just because Pandu is a very
pale-skinned guy who is kind of a fuckup and gets himself cursed in a
really stupid way and then dies young setting the grounds for a divisive
war of succession that would bring all of Bharatan civilization
crashing down; it does not mean that I’m making him symbolic of white
people nor am I suggesting that all white people are kind of fuckups who
piss off mystics and then get magically cursed and die from having sex
leaving defenseless sons to the mercy of their blind uncles and evil
cousins who want to usurp the throne (that should probably be theirs by
right anyways, because the uncle was the elder son who was denied the
throne only because of his blindness). Its just a fantasy story! I’m not
implying that all white people are somehow like Pandu, and if you think
that, its pretty clear that you are the one who has a pretty warped set
Shit, some of my best friends are white people. I have nothing
against them. But I just don’t feel like some politically correct
asshole should be able to FORCE me to include them in my RPG setting,
just for “ethnic diversity” for its own sake.
I mention a distant kingdom of southeast asians… does that help?
Anyways, to conclude:I’m not a racist; but I won’t budge. No White
People in Arrows of Indra. If that makes me unpopular, so be it, but
somehow I trust that white people who game will care more about whether
its a really good game (which it will be) than about whether or not
there’s a white person on the cover, or a kingdom of white people in the
book. I think that gamers are gamers first, and that gamers of all
stripes are interested in the same thing: that the game be awesome.
That’s why lame, prefabricated PC-settings where “diversity” is more
important than the setting actually making sense, or kicking ass, tend
to do rather poorly. And why I feel fairly certain that white people
will buy Arrows of Indra even if they don’t feel “represented” by the
skin colour of the characters in the setting. They’ll still relate to
the characters and peoples in the setting of Jagat as adventurers,
rogues, heroes, kings, merchants, priests, magicians, soldiers, people
with families, people with duties, dark secrets, problems, struggles,
all the things of the human condition. I don’t think you have to be
East Indian to feel a connection to the setting, because regardless of
skin colour the setting is a human setting. Whether its the Mahabharata,
the Iliad, the Arthurian legends, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, or
Game of Thrones. We all get this stuff.
Currently Smoking: Raleigh Jopo + Dunhill 965
(originally posted April 18, 2012; in the old blog)