Culture Feature: RPGs & Authors Beyond the Western Standard


log in or register to remove this ad


Libertad

Hero
Coyote and Crow restricts player choices in Character Gen by the ethnicity of the player.

This is what the book says on the matter:

A Message To Native American Players

If you have Indigenous heritage from the Americas, we invite you to add your personal knowledge and cultural traditions to your Character and to this game in any way you and your fellow Players see fit. Feel free to include an alternate history of your tribe or nation into this world and make it a part of your game in any way that is enjoyable. Or don't. There's nothing that says your Character has to be from your tribe. That's entirely up to you.

Feel free to change the rules too. While we try to call out situations where you might want to include your traditions and heritage in the mechanics, we certainly won't catch them all. Have a better name for something from your language? Call it that! Have a more fun definition for a Skill that fits with your tribe's history than what we have here? Speak with the Story Guide and change it up. With that said, keep in mind that the intention of this game is not to simply take the reality of our lived world and transpose it onto a future fictional world. This is a work of alternate history fiction. In the world of Coyote & Crow, the last 700 years of our real world history never happened.We encourage you not to overlay your tribe's recent past onto this different future, but instead think in terms of what could be, of what might have been. We'll supply plenty of ideas and suggestions, but it will be totally up to you how much or how little of your tribe or nation you want to bring into the game with you.

Additionally, you may be in situations where you are playing with non-Native players.We'll have specific instructions for them on how to be respectful and to keep the game fun for all. For the most part, you can just direct them to play off the page. That is, if it's in this book, they can do it. If it's not and those players want to do something that may be drifting into a sensitive or inappropriate territory, you'll have to decide whether that's something you'll want to stop play over to discuss. To avoid this potential disruption, we suggest discussing these possibilities prior to your first Session.

If you're Native and a Story Guide, you'll be able to more easily navigate these situations as you'll be leading the game and helping set the tone and scenarios. Nevertheless, it's best to make sure everyone is aware of boundaries before play begins. This is especially true if you're going to play the game at a convention with strangers. Do not ever feel like you have to educate non-Native players at the table. It's their responsibility to play respectfully within the rules or to learn more outside of their time spent at the game table.

A Message To non-Native American Players

If you do not have heritage Indigenous to the Americas, we ask you not to incorporate any of your knowledge or ideas of real world
Native Americans into the game. Not only may this be culturally insensitive, but many of the assumptions you might make would not fit into this timeline. Instead, delve into the details of the world you are given without trying to rewrite history or impose your perspective.

Please avoid the following:
• Assigning your Character the heritage of a real world tribe or First Nation.
• Assigning your Character a Two-Spirit identity.
• Using any words taken from Indigenous languages that aren’t used as proper nouns in the game materials or listed as being part of Chahi (see below)
• Speaking or acting in any fashion that mimics what are almost certainly negative stereotypes of Native Americans.

In the real world, the terms “Indians”, “First Nations Peoples”, “Indigenous”, and others are often used semi-interchangeably. Please
keep in mind though, in this alternate world, none of these words exist or would ever be used. The aforementioned labels all are products of colonialism and in this game, colonization never happened. Instead, people refer to themselves by their given or chosen names, their tribes, the cities they live in, and to some degree, the nations of which they are citizens.

If you are playing with other Players who are Native, do not be afraid to ask respectful questions about their own tribal identities in relation to things that are happening in the game. We suggest you ask those questions away from the game table. Some people are happy to share their stories or their culture, but for many it can be emotional work or deeply personal when often, they're just there to play a game and have fun.

Please remember that “Native American” is a very loose term and that Indigenous peoples are an incredibly diverse group. You wouldn't expect someone from Belgium to know about Irish history. Much the same applies here. Just because you have a Native player in your playgroup does not make them your go-to expert or the person to get permission from. However, don't be afraid to play this game. The world in this book is rich and diverse, full of science and spirituality. The people of this world do all of the same things you do. They love, work, aspire, struggle, hurt, heal, fail and triumph. Play your characters as people, not “Natives,” and you'll be fine.

To give some perspective on this as a US citizen but who is not Indigenous, there's been an ongoing problem of non-Native people incorporating aspects of culture and spiritual traditions without consultation from the original practitioners to do so in a respectful way. In the 70s there was an entire industry of "plastic shamans" of people pretending to be Native American and charging people money to learn about "mystic Indian secrets." There's also the fact that when it comes to pop culture in general, most people telling stories about Native Americans aren't Native themselves, using consultants from that group, or are proper anthropologists/historians/etc in the societies they're talking about.

A good example to pull from this are the Quileute Tribe in Twilight, but when it comes to cultural penetration most people think of them as werewolves in popular culture. Meanwhile, their actual stories and history aren't given much thought.

As the total amount of Indigenous American tribes number in the hundreds, and many tribes now number only a few hundred or thousand, they often don't have enough cultural penetration that the average person can easily research them; there's also the fact that many traditions are intentionally kept secret from outsiders due to fears of incorrect information spreading.

Contrast this with Japanese anime and manga. It's not that hard to research actual Japanese history and culture, or speak with Japanese people on their own culture. But when it comes to a small isolated tribe who only passes down history within their own circle it's all too easy for even a mid-level or big-time writer/media personality to end up giving an incorrect view of what some Indigenous cultural aspect is really like. And have their voice end up as the dominant voice for their people, like what happened with the Quileute.

Naturally this isn't a one size fits all aspect; like mentioned, there's a lot of different tribes who have their own standards on what they're comfortable in sharing, but it is a recurring problem that there are many tribes who don't want outsiders to engage with certain cultural details given all too often it's been used the wrong way. I will say that the "no using non proper nouns from Indigenous languages that aren't in this book" may be a bit hard to do as the English language has so many loanwords.
 
Last edited:




aramis erak

Legend
This is what the book says on the matter:





To give some perspective on this as a US citizen but who is not Indigenous, there's been an ongoing problem of non-Native people incorporating aspects of culture and spiritual traditions without consultation from the original practitioners to do so in a respectful way. In the 70s there was an entire industry of "plastic shamans" of people pretending to be Native American and charging people money to learn about "mystic Indian secrets." There's also the fact that when it comes to pop culture in general, most people telling stories about Native Americans aren't Native themselves, using consultants from that group, or are proper anthropologists/historians/etc in the societies they're talking about.

A good example to pull from this are the Quileute Tribe in Twilight, but when it comes to cultural penetration most people think of them as werewolves in popular culture. Meanwhile, their actual stories and history aren't given much thought.

As the total amount of Indigenous American tribes number in the hundreds, and many tribes now number only a few hundred or thousand, they often don't have enough cultural penetration that the average person can easily research them; there's also the fact that many traditions are intentionally kept secret from outsiders due to fears of incorrect information spreading.

Contrast this with Japanese anime and manga. It's not that hard to research actual Japanese history and culture, or speak with Japanese people on their own culture. But when it comes to a small isolated tribe who only passes down history within their own circle it's all too easy for even a mid-level or big-time writer/media personality to end up giving an incorrect view of what some Indigenous cultural aspect is really like. And have their voice end up as the dominant voice for their people, like what happened with the Quileute.

Naturally this isn't a one size fits all aspect; like mentioned, there's a lot of different tribes who have their own standards on what they're comfortable in sharing, but it is a recurring problem that there are many tribes who don't want outsiders to engage with certain cultural details given all too often it's been used the wrong way. I will say that the "no using non proper nouns from Indigenous languages that aren't in this book" may be a bit hard to do as the English language has so many loanwords.
That's one of two restrictions by race.
The other is "two spirit" folk.
If they feel the need to block something by race, perhaps they simply should not have included it in the first place?
 

Pedantic

Legend
That's one of two restrictions by race.
The other is "two spirit" folk.
If they feel the need to block something by race, perhaps they simply should not have included it in the first place?
Those aren't game mechanics, they're talking about actual specific religious and cultural practices in the real world, and proposing that without an appropriate background and understanding, it would be inappropriate to portray a facsimile of them while role-playing.

This isn't "elves can't be paladins" this is "don't use the names of real world religious rituals you don't understand as spell titles."
 

Anon Adderlan

Adventurer
Coyote and Crow restricts player choices in Character Gen by the ethnicity of the player.
This is what the book says on the matter:
In other words the initial statement is correct.

there's also the fact that many traditions are intentionally kept secret from outsiders due to fears of incorrect information spreading.
No, that is not why they keep their traditions secret, and I suggest you actually speak to a native rep before advocating for them.

Contrast this with Japanese anime and manga.
You mean the media which appropriates from cultures which aren't Japanese, uses Nazi imagery as a stylistic choice, sexualizes minors, and features all sorts of problematic themes?
 

Libertad

Hero
No, that is not why they keep their traditions secret, and I suggest you actually speak to a native rep before advocating for them.

It's one reason out of several, and I've actually been in conversations with some Native Americans on these kinds of topics, so it is something that does apply to various tribes. And I also pointed out in my post that even that isn't one size fits all.

You mean the media which appropriates from cultures which aren't Japanese, uses Nazi imagery as a stylistic choice, sexualizes minors, and features all sorts of problematic themes?

Kind of weird to assume Japanese media is a monolith in this regard, given that such themes in the industry are controversial in Japan as well as the West. If anything, this proves the point I made in the post you quoted: that your awareness of such problems in anime/manga industry showcases that Japanese media produced and designed by Japanese people on their terms is much more well-known than the equivalent for many Native American tribes.

I don't think you're making this argument in good faith.
 
Last edited:

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top