Into the Far West getting the side eye

December 12, 2010

Into the Far West had me hesitantly excited, after all, Wuxia + Wild West is a good idea, and one which stuff like The Good, the Bad, and the Weird show you can do in awesome ways.

…but then:

What is the role of American Indians or analogues group in the setting?

There is no analogue. For three reasons:

1) American Indians did not feature for the most part in Spaghetti Westerns — usually due to a lack of Europeans who could convincingly play them. The stories just didn’t concentrate on that part of the West, as a result — which added to the Spaghetti Western’s odd sense of dislocation.

2) There is really no accompanying analog in Wuxia stories — and we’re shooting for the overlap between the two genres.

3) RPGs already have some frankly troublesome issues surrounding portrayals of minorities/”the other”, and I didn’t want to contribute to that. You’ll also note from our artwork that we’re going with a cross-cultural look to our characters — similar to the BBC’s decision of “colorblind casting” on their series.

…so… you trust yourself enough to incorporate wuxia, and asian influences without being problematic… but not Indians?

This is sounding a lot like Patricia Wrede’s Thirteenth Child where people want a twee Wild West without all those troublesome Indians.

In this case, asians are being used as the Model Minority even in a fictional fashion to replace the scarier Indians.

I’d imagine if you’re building a setting that is not-earth, why not include Indians? Indians who aren’t losing a war of genocide and displacement, in fact, a world without such a war?

To repeat the Penny Arcade analogy about the power to create and making wackness:

“This is like having the ability to shape being from non-being at the subatomic level, and the first thing you decide to make is AIDS.”

Sigh. I’m tired of having to keep coming back to the options of either invisibility or stereotypes. For a hobby “limited only by your imagination”, people seem to have rather narrow confines.

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