The #RPGaDAY topic for yesterday was all about inspirational illustrations. Which game has the most inspirational interior artwork? I’m not sure why “interior” is in that question. Can’t the cover artwork be inspirational as well?
Right now, I’m split between two games for having inspirational artwork. And for “inspirational artwork” I’m reading that as artwork that says everyone can be a hero: you can be the hero in this game. Spoiler: I’m not making a final decision between the two.
My first is naturally the Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars RPGs. They made a specific effort to have a gender balance in their artwork — there are lots of women in the books, heroic women doing heroic things. The images of Leia Organa are of her empowered, not a thing to be rescued. One of my favorite covers for this is Fantasy Flight Games’ Age of Rebellion core rulebook: there’s Leia positioned in front of Luke, like she’s protecting him. Who is the dynamic hero you want to play? It’s the woman. Fantastic!
There’s women and men in there. There’s beings of all color in there. You can play whomever you want in the Star Wars universe and it’s all good.
But then 7th Sea goes even further.
In each of the 7th Sea sourcebooks, there’s this thing at the beginning called “A Note from John…”, where John Wick writes a quick aside about each book. In the Crescent Empire book, his note talks about how two guys came up to him at a game convention and asked him to sign the core rulebook. Not uncommon, but they wanted him to sign it by the image on page 155. Then they said, “Thank you for saying we can be heroes in your world.”
Here’s that image.
I mean, Star Wars is great, but everyone is able-bodied and you can do a lot with fictional species. Over at 7th Sea, you’ve got a prototypical adventuring party starting out Chapter 1’s two-page splash — and did you notice that the woman closest to the viewer has a peg leg? There are gay men and women characters in the game. The ruler of this nation is gay. The ruler of this one is bisexual. This hero is transgender. This villain is, too. This person is genderfluid. While most of this is evident in the text, the artwork supports the diversity.
7th Sea is a game that always swam counter to your gaming expectations. First edition came about in a time where you built your character with points and you took disadvantages to gain more positive points to make your character even better. “I’ll add a peg leg to my character and give her one eye. How many points do I get back for that?” you ask. And the game said no, you have to pay to get those. “But those are disadvantages,” you say. No they aren’t, the game replies. You just made your character more awesome.
7th Sea takes that and just adds more. Gay? Sure. You can be a Hero.
The only reason why I go back and forth between these two games for which is the more inspirational is Star Wars did better with PoC in the core rulebook than 7th Sea did. For all the diversity in the 7th Sea line, there sure were a bunch of white people in the core rulebook. That’s changed a lot in the other books, but I look back at that book and it veered too close to Caucasian-land than intended.
Honorable mention: the pregenerated characters in the current edition of Chill. There are at least three heroic envoys in the printed books that use wheelchairs. Print out all the pregens and spread them out and throw darts at the mess. Good luck hitting a straight white man. There are so many different characters, so many different backgrounds and nationalities. Gender identities, ableism, racial backgrounds… it’s a melange of heroes fighting against the night. You, no matter how you identify, no matter your background, have a good chance to find a hero that’s like you. You can be a Hero.
Previously on #RPGaDAY…
Last year, we looked at which game my group was most likely to play next. This, and other questions, reveal a bit about how the RPGaDAY question writers play. I’m guessing they have one group that plays a long campaign, four hour sessions once a week? And when they’re done, that group of four or five will start up another long game.
Anyway, I’m currently in a long game and when it’s done, probably with the same group of friends again in probably another long game where we revisit The Armitage Files. ((So ha! I’m like them!)) But there are other games I’d like to get involved in. The Sprawl, yes. An Apocalypse World game? Yes. And I’d love to get back into that monthly rpg game day thing we had back in Arizona.
In 2015, the topic was “Favorite Illustrator”. Diego Rodriguiez has been doing some awesome things with landscapes this past year for 7th Sea. Take a look.
In 2014, the topic was “Oldest RPG you still read or play”. Well, I still dig around in the old books, but let’s see what’s the oldest that’s currently on the upstairs shelf… Oh, hey there Inspectres!