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, 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 uncle 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 of perceptions.
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.
(Originally Posted April 18 ,2012)