"Decolonizing D&D"

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
My impression was that a common game mode, after tomb raiding/dungeon looting, was knight errant/wuxia. You wander around until someone asks you to solve a problem for them. Freelance bandit/monster hunters. Hard to see that as 'colonialist' in itself.
I suspect this discussion is heavily aimed at the hexcrawl type of game--which is certainly still a thing, how much of one I couldn't even guess.

Special forces behind enemy lines would be a great way of justifying a lot of standard tropes: high risk of encounters, which you often seek out rather than avoiding; wandering monster (patrol) rolls, killing Imperials and taking their stuff, while also having social encounters with civilians or corrupt/sympathetic Imperials. It does have a high baseline of intensity, though.
And a pretty heavy failure-state.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
TPK seems to often be a risk for *crawl games.
Yeah, but this is a case where even if you avoid that, you're liable to have a problem that you've suddenly got the authorities all over you, and not necessarily in a setting where the rest of the setting being easy to hide.

And logically the PCs would be just one such group, not "the freedom of the West depends entirely on YOU". Though world-saving quests sound common anyway.
Unless you trivialize them, it doesn't matter if there's other groups if you're Robin Hood and his Folks.
 

Aesthete

A for Aeffort
Validated User
For me "decolonizing" doesnt necessarily mean "removing all references to empire and colonialism," but rather "don't structure gameplay as a validation of the philosophies, assumptions, and institutions of empire and colonialism."
 

DarkStarling

Brilliantly Crazed
Validated User
For me "decolonizing" doesnt necessarily mean "removing all references to empire and colonialism," but rather "don't structure gameplay as a validation of the philosophies, assumptions, and institutions of empire and colonialism."
Exactly what I was thinking.

Regarding divine magic, I’m not always a fan of where exactly the break happens but I do like that it’s a different thing.
 

Voros

Registered User
Validated User
The Romans wrote things like: "They tell us [Classical intellectuals] that all peoples that are near the sun, being parched by the great heat, are more intelligent but have less blood, and therefore, lack the steadiness and confidence to fight at close quarters, because those who are conscious of having less blood are afraid of wounds. On the other hand, the peoples of the north, remote from the sun’s heat, are less intelligent, but having a superabundance of blood are readiest for wars. Recruits should therefore be raised from more temperate climes. The plenteousness of their blood supplies a contempt for wounds and death, and intelligence cannot be lacking either, which preserves discipline in camp and is of no little assistance in battle."

They went to Britain and slaughtered all of the druids. They tried to force their practices on the Jews, and then massacred them when they revolted. They brutally suppressed Christianity.

Slavery was rampant and often brutal. The Romans went to war against "barbarians" and took tons of slaves, often against peoples who would not really have had any chance of opposing them.

You are fooling yourself if you think that the Romans are somehow better than European colonialists. The same way, the Romans thought that their culture was better than other peoples', and so they went out and forced it on them and took resources in exchange. If it looks better, it is probably because it was much longer ago, we have fewer sources from the conquered, and people have spent 2000 years romanticizing it (as is evident from the fact that the word 'romanticize' has the word 'roman' in it).
Totally agree. There are plenty of sources documenting Roman brutality, much of it from Roman sources. As an example the Roman triumph usually ended with the public beheading of the leaders of the defeated captives. Slaves (30-40 percent of the population in Italy) could be raped, tortured and executed at will (later there were laws against some violence but how effectively they were enforced is another question). The Roman army would punish their own soliders by killing one out of every ten of them by lot via stoning, beating or stabbing them to death, that is where the term decimation comes from.

Unless you were a wealthy (mostly male) landowner the Roman empire was far from the great society ahistorical sentimentalists claim. And things only got worse after the Republic ended and the age of Emperors started.

'What have the Romans ever done for us?' was a funny joke by Python but isn't a good guide to RL.
 

Lukas Sjöström

Society of Unity scholar
Validated User
This was one thing I liked about Empire of the East. The colonizing Empire were definitely not the good guys. They were an oppressive, expansionist, etc power, demonstrating all th colonialist tropes we have been discussing in this thread. It was the mission of the remaining Free Peoples to bring them down. Star Wars has a similar story. Mellnibone of the Elric stories is presented in a similar light, we are not really supposed to cheer for them. I don't mind so much if the colonialist power in an RPG is shown as not the "good guys".
Melniboné is explicitly based on the British Empire. In case "declining island empire that used to control virtually the whole world" is too subtle, Moorcock also described Granbretan in the Hawkmoon books. You can't, after all, include anti-imperialist sentiments unless you have an empire in the setting. Moorcock's decision to base the evil empire on his homeland rather than something further removed is a very deliberate one.
 

wheloc

He's trying real hard to be one of the good guys.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
And Indians dying of European diseases would have happened even if the Europeans were saints, it's not an indictment of behavior in itself.
You mean people from India?

My impression was that a common game mode, after tomb raiding/dungeon looting, was knight errant/wuxia. You wander around until someone asks you to solve a problem for them. Freelance bandit/monster hunters. Hard to see that as 'colonialist' in itself.

Special forces behind enemy lines would be a great way of justifying a lot of standard tropes: high risk of encounters, which you often seek out rather than avoiding; wandering monster (patrol) rolls, killing Imperials and taking their stuff, while also having social encounters with civilians or corrupt/sympathetic Imperials. It does have a high baseline of intensity, though.
Spec ops teams are pretty darn "colonial".

If you go into another country with a small military force to commit crimes, and you don't have a global superpower behind you, get get called a "terrorist" instead :p
 

DavetheLost

Registered User
Validated User
Melniboné is explicitly based on the British Empire. In case "declining island empire that used to control virtually the whole world" is too subtle, Moorcock also described Granbretan in the Hawkmoon books. You can't, after all, include anti-imperialist sentiments unless you have an empire in the setting. Moorcock's decision to base the evil empire on his homeland rather than something further removed is a very deliberate one.
Yes, and both were decidedly presented as antagonists, not protagonists. Moorcock's stand-ins for England were not displays of jingoistic patriotism. This is particularly clear in Hawkmoon.
 

mindstalk

Does the math.
Validated User
You mean people from India?
No, Native Americans. Many of whom seem to prefer 'Indian'.

Spec ops teams are pretty darn "colonial".

If you go into another country with a small military force to commit crimes, and you don't have a global superpower behind you, get get called a "terrorist" instead :p
'Terrorists' like Frodo, Luke Skywalker, the French Resistance, or other WWII partisans?
 
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