3 hours ago
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Seeds of Revolution
Happy Fourth of July to everybody who celebrates such things.
The holiday has got me thinking about revolutions and how they might be used in gaming. Just a glance at the Wikipedia page listing revolutions and rebellions shows that there are a lot of real world examples to draw inspiration from. If the leap from real to imagined is to great, they’ve also got a page of fictional rebellions and coups to help you out--though they seem to have fairly broad definitions of what constitutes such.
Revolutions/rebellions can provide a lot of material to work with. They can be positive or negative, or both, at different times--the term can encompass everything from the Star Wars trilogy to the Reign of Terror. There are counterrevolutions and competing revolutionary forces (The Mexican Revolution of 1910 being a great model for this--and James Carlos Blake’s The Friends of Pancho Villa being a great fictionalized view of the whole bloody affair). The highest ideals and the basest acts of humanity are on display.
Revolts in fantastic fiction show most of the characteristics of real world ones. Conan takes part in a coup largely free of ideology and gets himself a kingdom. The supposed democratic revolt of John Farson, “The Good Man”, against the feudal rule of the gunslingers in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series is a horrible farce, and representative of the greater dissolution of the world. The communist-by-way-of-the-French-Revolution nation of Quatershift in Stephen Hunt’s steampunkish novels has the absolute worst elements of the real revolutions that inspired it--from purges to nonsensical ideologic policies that cause massive death.
Well, you get the idea. Maybe amid the monarchies, magocracies, and decadent republics of the standard fantasy world there's room on the map for a land in the midst of revolution, or recently recovered from one. Maybe PCs are based in such a country. That would be put an interest spin on standard adventuring, and provide potential fodder for a lot nonstandard ones.