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D&D General Favorite Fantasy Africa stuff

Zardnaar

Legend
Aussie accent for the win. It's a head turner :)

Not that anyone can really understand what we're saying half the time.

I'm not that much of a fan of it, sucker for eastern European or parts of USA/Canada. Pretty much anything foreign that's not another Anglo saxon cousin type county.

The girls seem to like Irish/Scottish though. I don't mind them.
 

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Voadam

Legend
Yet we never see 'fantasy Africa' an advanced society with knights, guilds and so forth. They're invariably always 'noble savages' containing a pastiche of real world African stereotypes.

Never?

Here is literally the first sentence description of Svimhozia: "Imagine, if you will, the lands of Africa some two to three thousand years ago, but with cities and cultures that rival Ancient Rome for their glory."

Later on:
Detailed Kingdoms, Towns and Cities! Along with information on each kingdom’s history, rulers, noble houses, topography and other details, you’ll discover dozens of cities, all with information on population, government, economy, temples, underworld, interesting sites and more!
Culture and Society in Depth! Learn about each land’s nobility, social castes, military forces, religion, clothing, culture, diet, trading practices, recreational habits, architecture and more!

So if you are looking for African fantasy kingdoms and noble houses it seems to have you covered.

From the review of Lands of Gold and Fire
We've got five new nations with unique backgrounds here. Aksum (Ethiopia/Somali States) a coastal trade nation on the losing side of a war with the Mbey while their empire is in rapid decline, Khemet (pre-Ptolemaic Egypt) a land shrouded in eternal night after the Queen betrayed the gods, Maghreb (the Barabary States) where the wasteland villages and prosperous coastal cities exist in an anarchic alliance to resist an impending invasion, Manden Kurufaba (The Mali Empire) the most prosperous land in Ifri, buckling under a flood of refugees fleeing the troubles elsewhere, and Mbey (the Kingdom of Kongo) decimated by the Atabean slave traders, their ruler has given in to despair and madness, bargaining with eldritch abomination spirits and waging war against the Aksum to capture more slaves to sell to the Atabeans- buying enough weapons in the hope of driving the invaders from Ifri.

Dark skinned noble savages with facial scarring and spears, coming from a vast dark and barely sketched out continent.

It always comes down to that.
I suggest expanding whatever you have been reading.

There is a big array of options for African fantasy stuff in existing RPG material.
 


I find most 'fantasy not Africa' contains a heck of a lot of Western stereotypes about the region, in much the same way as 'fantasy not Asia' does.

As an Australian, I also find RPG depictions of 'fantasy not Australia' to be rife with stereotypes about Down under, that are cringeworthy and simple at best.

It's often just lazy stereotypes.

I honestly prefer totally made up cultures, with no real world analogue to compare it to.

Made up or not, I prefer cultures that actually make some sort of sense. Whether your African-analogue is "noble savages" or "knights in armour", I want to see some sort of logical reason for them to have the culture that they do. Too many of even the published settings have a whole heap of stuff that just shouldn't be. For instance, the "knight" as we know the European concept, evolved out of Germanic social structure, and as such never emerged in the Mediterranean outside of influence from the north, so if I saw African style "knights" roaming about, sure that's fine, but show me it in the context it makes sense. Lazy worldbuilding is lazy worldbuilding whether it's against the grain or not.
 

Indeed.

Using real world cultures as a baseline for a fantasy culture invariably leads to stereotypes being applied.

For Aussies, its always some kind of 'Road Warrior meets giant marsupials, meets the Outback' vibe.

Africa gets 'noble savages'. Asia gets 'martial arts land'. And so forth.

Its why I like cultures like (say) the Suel empire in Greyhawk, and how they have evolved into the Scarlet Brotherhood - Arayan racist/ xenophobic Monk/ Assassins who now live in a jungle, wear Red, and are attempting to reclaim the lost empire.

You cant really pin a 'real world' culture onto them.

Yeah, but a lot of the "Australian" stereotype is cultivated and propagated by Australians themselves. Think of the "larrikin rebel" ideal - in truth, Australians are some of the most rule-obsessed and law-abiding people in the world.
 


MGibster

Legend
Have your 'not Europeans' be where martial arts originated, due to 'not Africa' being your 'not Rome' and a highly advanced civilisation of knights and so forth and banning weapon use by their conquered peoples.

And then people will complain about cultural appropriation with the additional sin of ascribing cultural origins of a particular custom or practice to the wrong cultural/ethnic/racial group.
 



Voadam

Legend
Conan the Adventurer is the current 2d20 RPG sourcebook on Conan's Africa.

Conan the Adventurer is the definitive guide to the lands south of the Styx River, including serpent-haunted Stygia, Kush, Darfar, Keshan, Punt, Zembabwei, and that vast region known to the folk of the Dreaming West as “the Black Kingdoms”. Rife with mystery and ancient, long forgotten cultures and ruins, this region is brimming with potential for adventure and intrigue.
 

So RPGs now have a number of fantasy versions of Africa or Afro-Fantasy to draw on. Which ones do you like and why?

Midgard has its big Southlands sourcebook for Pathfinder with some 5e separate support. A lot of Egypt flavored stuff, I have not dived into the other parts.

Just in case anyone missed it, Kobold Press will be launching a big Southlands 5th Edition kickstarter on Nov. 30

Find out more and be the first to be notified when the Kickstarter goes live:
Southlands Kickstarter

126900481_3498907226859138_7177657241219420611_o.jpg
 


Voadam

Legend
For the life of me I cant remember where I saw it, polyhedron, but I'm pretty sure there was a continent on Toril possibly by Kara-Tur that was modeled on Africa, Malatra. It wasn't ever detailed much as far as I know, but I remember coming across it somewhere.
Malatra was part of the RPGA system, their Living Jungle campaign. I had forgotten about that. I was never part of the RPGA but I came across their Malatra site at one point years ago. The link includes the Player's Info PDF, it is a jungle area in southern Kara Tur, so close, not a full continent. The people are a mix of dark brown skinned ancient spelljammers and the native human ethnicities of the region.
 


Voadam

Legend
Anyone got a good name for a fantasy not Mali?
Bamako. The current capital.
Songhai, an empire in the region from the 15th to 16th centuries.
Wagadou was the name of the earlier Ghana Empire of the area, but the name is already associated with a 5e fantasy Africa setting.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Bamako. The current capital.
Songhai, an empire in the region from the 15th to 16th centuries.
Wagadou was the name of the earlier Ghana Empire of the area, but the name is already associated with a 5e fantasy Africa setting.

That's alright they won't recognize the name.
 

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Faolyn

Hero
Yet we never see 'fantasy Africa' an advanced society with knights, guilds and so forth. They're invariably always 'noble savages' containing a pastiche of real world African stereotypes.

I recall conversations after Tomb of Annihilation came out, where people who wanted to see a more technologically equal African- or South American-style setting were accused of just wanting D&D Wakanda. Like the only possible choices are "noble savages" and "noble savages with magitech."
 

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