I love the science fiction and fantasy genres for a multitude of reasons. One of them is the way that we can mirror issues that are happening in the real world and then place them under a microscope and examine them in a way we couldn’t do so. Who could forget TV”s first real interracial kiss Or how Battlestar Galactica (reimagined) brought us a poignant look on the fear and paranoia we were facing after 9/11? Some of those themes are still relevant today. Fantasy in some ways has dropped the ball. Instead we get a certain level of racism inherent to the setting. It’s easy for us to hate orcs, because they’re orcs and it’s their nature. There is even criticism leveled against the father of the Genre, Tolkien himself. While these criticisms aren’t always accurate, there’s a certain inherent level of this kind of racism prevalent in most fantasy systems. Some of my favorite modern fantasy/horror games are filled with terrible racial stereotypes and tropes that if taken at face value, are just damaging. Honestly, this doesn’t need to be a major theme of any game, or even something most storytellers bring up in the course of play. Our games are in essence heroic stories in which we can be the hero and triumph over adversary. Most players give no thought to the issues they face, as they’re more interested in having fun and hanging out with friends. Continue reading
One of the main things that keeps me coming back to world building is the creativity it allows me. One of the things I really loved about the Ryoko Owari boxed set from L5R, is the way that specific elements of the city stood out. Even though the boxed set detailed a great many things about the city, it seemed like only the really memorable pieces stood out. Lover’s Gate, the Dragon Bridge, the Temple of the Sun, Teardrop Island, the Green Walls, etc. I didn’t need to know where everyone stood, and nor did my players. What they remembered was some of the key elements of the city that were brought forth for them.
So, here’s Laketown.