yeloson: (Default)
2012-04-29 06:42 pm

Steampunk Racism: The RPG edition

Just because there seems to be a roll of these, I guess it's time to point them out.

Into the Far West attempts to take the Wild West and add wuxia. But they decided they didn't want to include any Indians at all, because they were "afraid they couldn't do them justice". But apparently they can do Chinese folks justice, or something. Oh, and add white people doing kung fu with steampunk stuff.

Um. Ok. It makes me think of the all too repeated argument against showing black folks as thugs, pimps and hookers on tv- "But then we wouldn't be able to put ANY black folks on tv at all!". Oh, I see.

Steampunk Musha: Victoriental Adventures

Well, if the name wasn't enough, by the description alone, apparently Japanese and Chinese are interchangable languages and so are the cultures.

I mean, oh god asking Steampunk, where people will research how clothing was dyed and stiches were done by hand, to have to look up the fact that China and Japan are... like... not the same.

And of course, Wolsung's art can speak for itself:

So, anyway. It's one thing to want to have an idealized alternate history of your culture where you're not, like, a major cause of suffering that lasts centuries and has effects to people to this day. But it IS a whole other thing when your idealized fantasy history also means that POC are non-existent or fulfill the EXACT SAME RACIST STEREOTYPES of the 1800s. See, that's where you go from escapism fantasy to racism.

But hey, the your imagination is the only limit!

And what does it say about your imagination that it's stuck in the centuries old tropes?
yeloson: (Default)
2012-04-27 11:31 pm

Dog Eat Dog - a game to grab

Dog Eat Dog is a teaching game about colonialism, and how it creates internalized isms in the process. I've played it a few years ago and I consider it an excellent teaching game.

The kickstarter ends in 47 hours, and for $5 you can get a PDF, or shell out for a full book. The game designer is also looking to donate 25 copies to schools and orgs if he can hit the stretch goal before things end.

Check it out:
yeloson: (Default)
2012-03-28 04:36 pm

Dog Eat Dog

Dog Eat Dog is a game about imperialism - how it changes cultures and people, and how we make survival choices in the face of it. I think it's an awesome teaching game and really recommend folks to go support!
yeloson: (pic#459018)
2011-04-25 05:11 pm
Entry tags:

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple

Daniel Solis is making a roleplaying game that's heavily inspired by Avatar the Last Airbender. Preorders available on Kickstarter, and you can get either the PDF or the hardcover of the game. More details about how the rules work are here.
yeloson: (pic#459018)
2010-11-20 10:45 am

RPG Sale: Polaris & Bliss Stage - pay whatever you like!

You can pay whatever you like for Polaris or Bliss Stage!

Ben's one of my favorite designers- all of his games sharply hit on the human condition, and none of them are like anything else out there. Go check'em out!


Polaris is a game about a dying society at the North Pole. Their world of perfect harmony collapses under corruption and in-fighting while armies of demons gather without.

You, one of the last knights protecting the land, with a sword of starlight and an oath of honor, you will see who and what, if anything, you can save, before you also fall in battle or fail in your heart and turn to the demons.

It's a GM-less game where the mechanics are resolved primarily through specialized "key phrases" that turn conflicts into bargaining - "I kill the Demon King", "But only if you are captured in return", "But only if I am unharmed", "And so it was."

Bliss Stage

Aliens have come and conquered the Earth... through our dreams. Everyone over the age of 18 has fallen into a stasis-sleep, "The Bliss" and the kids who have survived the last 7 years have finally cobbled together a means of fighting back.

Jumping into the dream world, you construct giant robots made of your love and care for those closest to you- to fight the aliens and hopefully free our world. But in doing so, your risk your relationships- damage to your dream-mech is damage to your relationships... can you protect your friends? Can you save the world?

Bliss Stage is a post-apocalyptic anime soap opera. You jump between scenes of bonding and friendship... and terrible nightmare worlds of the aliens. Think Satoshi Kon meets Evangelion and you won't be far off.
yeloson: (Default)
2010-10-01 10:22 am
Entry tags:

Sudden influx of new DW Friends


If you've subscribed here looking for gaming stuff, I don't do a ton of posting on gaming on my personal journal here- mostly rarely and mostly locked to friends only.

(Probably the only thing of note recently is that I'm thinking of running an Avatar the Last Airbender based rpg using the Smallville rules, but that will be posted on Deeper in the Game with more details in a month or two)

Gamers of Color is where we talk about anti-racism and social justice in all kinds of games- videogames, MMO's, boardgames, CCGs, mini's, RPGs, etc.

Deeper in the Game is where I talk about tabletop roleplaying games.
yeloson: (Default)
2010-03-05 12:39 pm
Entry tags:

RPGirl Call for Submissions

via behlehman:

RPGirl zine is setting up for their next issue, and they're looking for submissions.

I snagged the first issue and was really impressed with how much info they had, and how real it was- it's definitely for women by women without BS performative aspects (ala Marvel "Models" or "Part Time Sorceress" antics).

If you're a gamer on my flist, definitely check it out and consider contributing.
yeloson: (Default)
2010-02-06 07:37 pm

Role Playing Girl

Role Playing Girl is a zine (print & PDF) that is written, edited, illustrated, etc. by women who are involved in the roleplaying hobby- as designers, publishers, and gamers.

I've just gotten my copy, and only had a chance to skim it, but two things immediate jumped out at me:

First, that the zine does an incredible job of highlighting and promoting - there's 25 notable women in roleplaying - listing credits of games they've worked on, in what fashion, links to websites, blogs, galleries, etc. There's listings of conventions, games, podcasts, communities, etc. I mean, there's a lot there.

Second, that the articles mostly have pictures of the authors with them. If you're not seeing enough women in gaming (whether because you're isolated or because you're not looking) it puts faces for you to relate to. Not that I think there's any need to "prove with pictures" for legitimacy, but if you're dealing with people's monkey brain of assumptions, images are one way to go straight to the point.

Anyway, something for my roleplaying gamer folks to check out.
yeloson: (Default)
2009-04-22 11:33 pm
Entry tags:

The Transpheric Wars

That steampunk idea? Finally came to me.

1860. The first aetheric transmitter is built, aliens are contacted. Or rather, alerted to the presence of Earth, which is fortunate for them- their fleet fled their dying world and they're nearly out of supplies.

Less fortunate for Earth, for they observed from space for a few months, figured out what nations were the most powerful, and came down in their aetherships with nothing but cannons and fire. Britain, France, Spain, the Dutch, cities and ports blasted beyond hope. The Colonial Era is interrupted by a new colonization...

1861. Plans for the Ghazali Device are found and construction begins in secret, in several locations around the world. The aliens are taken by surprise as their ships fall from the sky due to aetheric disruption blasts.

They retreat to their Lunar base and regroup. Humanity demolishes nearly all of the alien outposts on earth, and spend the next several months scavenging technology from the fallen aethercraft wreckage and attempting to rebuild civilizations. Several colonized nations flip the balance of power, forming alliances and building their own Ghazali Aetheric Disruptors...

1862. The world begins to see a future. New technologies are being created everywhere- steamsuits of power armor, new metallic alloys, advances in medicine and chemistry, skyships, etc.

Nations begin looking to each other as prey, though everyone looks at the dark spots on the moon, the signs of the alien settlements spreading... Sometimes they do raids in remote places, out of sight of the many observatories and aetheric disruptors, and a few bases or survivors are found on earth, clearly part of some greater plan, though no one knows quite what...

Style & setting stuff

After blasting the colonial powers to hell, I'm thinking the colonies around the world are where we see the new centers of power rise. Places where people have fled and mixed, areas with natural resources or at least good trade routes.

I'd probably want a list of 3-4 good places to set a game- Shanghai, Cuba, Morocco, Bombay, etc.

Gamey Stuff

I've been thinking a bit about a modded version of Shadow of Yesterday. I'm thinking of four character archetypes - Scientists, Guardians, Leaders, and Rogues.

Scientists are anyone who's discovered some new invention or scientific principle. Maybe a player can choose from a list of Secrets and they're the only one in the game who has access to that (unless they teach it to someone else, or maybe if they have an arch-nemesis).

Guardians are the flip side of that- they're anyone who has a secret ability or knowledge which has been passed down for generations, of which they are the guardian. This could be a special martial art, hypnosis, clairvoyance, etc. Again, they're the only one with access to the Secret except maybe their teacher and if they have an arch-nemesis

Leaders are just that- folks who are have social power in some group and responsibility. This includes anything from head of a Beduin nation to the last English noble alive on Earth. They're effectively the only ones keeping things together in this new world...

Rogues include pirates, never-do-well gamblers, warlords, etc. Wherever there's a power vacuum, they' come in to fill the gap. In a world short on resources, those who specialize in procuring or protecting them never are short of work...

Anyway, more to think about later.
yeloson: (Default)
2009-04-18 08:30 am
Entry tags:

Play on, Playa

Games I want to run/play:

D&D 4th Edition

I have a POC focal setting in mind (don't I always?). But basically I'd like to focus more play on social interactions and classic adventuring ("Guide the boat past the rapids!",etc.) with only one or two fights a night. And a heavy focus on Quests, with players making the majority of them. I think 4E has both gone a lot further in making tactical combat AND a lot further in non-combat stuff, but the latter part is overlooked. I really want to highlight that. Sadly, I can't see running it over Skype.

Bliss Stage

Post apocalyptic teenage angst. In giant robots powered by love. In a dream world. It's mostly the teenage angst mixed with robotic psycho damage that appeals to me. But it's also a damn great game.


Matrix paranoia in the world of the collective unconscious. I really like the "intense pressure-cooker" effect the game makes in terms of the missions and the agents just trying to get out alive. The rules are easy enough, though getting folks to catch the setting will be harder.

Full Light, Full Steam

This would be a long term game. Steampunk space game. I'd really need a solid group to do this. Though it'd be easy enough to strip the setting, I really want to play with the idea of a steampunk setting dealing with the colonized nations and their role as tools of England, etc. (of course, it always ends in revolution!, but, for that to mean something, I really want to explore the complexities.) It means a lot to me as a diaspora kid...

Primetime Adventures

I'd love to do an X-men academy kind of game with this. This is likely to be the first game I end up running in the future because the rules are easy, I can do it over Skype, and more of my friends are into X-men/superhero stuff and it's easier to communicate than a lot of the other games.
yeloson: (Default)
2009-04-17 11:34 pm
Entry tags:

Game up

The Emperor's Heart

Chinese Steampunk sci-fi - a secret society vs. the corrupt government. Wuxia swordfights on the sides of spaceships, sort of the inversion of Star Wars - a chinese story with sci-fi elements.

Crash Portfolio

Cyberpunk future - your character is literally rated on what you own - all of which have devaluing stats ("Old is out, new is now!"). All things are rated either Civilian, Criminal or Corporate. I'm thinking part of the game is about protecting things which aren't rated, which make up your identity ("The ability to speak my native tongue", "The community center where I grew up" etc.)

Ghost Rush

Chinese ghostbusters in the Gold Rush era. Being caught between being heroes, a necessary "service" and damned chinamen. Old west ghost stories are fun, but combining bits of history appeals to me.

By the Next Moon

A D&D 4E adventure, with a POC focal setting. Is it worth going through the GSL? I haven't decided yet.
yeloson: (stop silencing us)
2009-03-22 08:50 pm

You left me outside and now you want in

We are not allowed to express our political needs or tell our political histories because when we do it makes other people feel uncomfortable....silence about America's racial legacy is the price of admission to the social contract. - Melissa Harris-Lacewell

(Speaking from heart, speaking to healing. You know and I know the hate is out there. I don't link to it in these things because why should we let their hate use us like a computer virus, forcing us to forward hate on to each other? Wave after wave comes, so let's speak power and strength and do the opposite of what they do.)

A few years back, I went to GenCon, the largest tabletop roleplaying convention in the US. I arrived excited and eager to play, and a little sad my friends whom I had attended ComiCon weren't with me. I had just gotten out of the registration line and saw a person dressed up in blackface as a drow/dark elf. I flashed back just about 4 days before when a friend of mine had to leave ComiCon, completely shaking with hurt because someone thought it would be cool to get in blackface to dress up as Storm from the X-men.

The day before I flew back, I saw a newspaper headline, "Blacks are leaving Indianapolis, feel unwelcome". I wonder why?

I began to start looking hard at my hobby. Everything from artwork to social circles and the behaviors around it. I tried to start up conversations. Conversations with people who were intelligent, who I knew personally, who had no problem analyzing social behavior and how it affected play (after all, a roleplaying game is nothing but a group socially deciding imaginary stuff...).

But those conversations failed.

At first I thought I wasn't approaching it correctly, I tried different tacks, from talking about the raw representation of the artwork, to the historical issues of blackface, to, well... everything.

But see, my mistake wasn't that I was talking to intelligent, well read people - it was that I was continuing to mistake ignorance on the part of intelligent, well read people as unintentional. I was giving benefit of the doubt to the people who had the least excuse to be ignorant of both history and media. It wasn't not knowing, it was choosing not to know.

Instead of turning their minds to a legitimate question, "Hey, how did I NOT notice that all the bad guys are dark, or that the language used around orcs = the language used on native populations, or that even POC heroes are dehumanized with glowing eyes etc.?", instead the response was "You're crazy/reading too much into it/it's just a game/why do you care/you should find another hobby!"

That's right. "If you don't like it here, you can leave." And then they turn around and ask why there's so few POC in their hobby or their numbers are shrinking. (I went to GenCon SoCal that year, and all I saw were asian and hispanic kids playing Yu-Gi-Oh. I guess people of color aren't into geek stuff, right?)

But my story is not unique. We've been silenced, we've been pushed out. What is changing at this point, is that we're giving up the hope of working with broken social contracts. We're giving up on trying to engage in negotiations and reconciliation with people and groups that place their primacy and our marginalization as a price to admission. We're making our own.

And this is where we face white rage. It's not enough to push us out of the circles and silence us there, it's the fact that we're having conversations of our own, building our own circles, and our price of admission is equal participation and they are outraged to hear the word "NO" applied to their demands to be let in, to silence us in our own spaces, to make themselves the center here as well, all guised under the rationalizations of making "civilized discourse", "letting all sides be heard", or quite simply, getting to be the authority.

I'm watching a lot of folks go through the same journey I did- where you realize hate will follow you into your escapisms, where you realize we're not all one because we love the same thing, where you start to find out whether people respect you as a person, or just for what you can do for them.

Maybe the question you need to ask, isn't "How can I say this so they understand?" but instead, "Why does this person with this level of intelligence not understand already?"

Or maybe you need to ask if you still want to be paying the price of admission to play in those circles, or if you need to be charging your own admission and opening up your own.

(ETA: I'm amused at the number of white folks showing up to comment, imagining that this is a plea for reconciliation, or better behavior, or sympathy cookies. It's not. I'm talking to other people of color going through the growing pains of realizing their circles aren't as "colorblind" as they thought they were. As hard as it might be to imagine, people exist outside of you, and the world is not all in relation to you.)
yeloson: (I'll cut you)
2009-03-04 06:48 pm
Entry tags:

How to drive (POC, women, teh Gheyz) out of your hobby

If you ever wanted to know why I walked away from most of the Indie RPG game communities, this is it, right here.

It's not just that there's a few assholes.

It's the way people just sit there and watch you get dogpiled, who say nothing.

Then show up 10 months later, "Dude, I felt bad about that. Hey, when are you going to write some more articles on Gamism?"

Hell no do I want to help you out or play with you when you watch me get dicked and then make nice with the same people who just shat all over me.