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Into the Mother Lands: A Sci-fi RPG by PoC Designers

When Eugenio Vargas spoke to us on our podcast back in November about this Afrofuturist RPG, it was still months away. Now the game has hit Kickstarter, and has made over $100K in the first couple of days!


Imagine if African explorers had set sail for the New World long before Europeans did... but got transported to a new planet instead! This planet is developed by a civilisation of African descent.

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Choose from five cultures and several professions such as the Bio Priest or the Spine Ripper.

The team behind Into the Mother Lands is a group RPG designers, all people of colour, led by Tanya DePass, the founder of the non-profit group I Need Diverse Games.

You can pick up the PDF for $25 or the hardcover for $50, plus an array of dice, screens, maps, sheets and more.

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Ixal

Adventurer
This is their selling point to score points and get immediate pledges to the KS from some people who are of the like mind-set who will back no matter what just to support this.

The other selling point of this KS seems to be that every person part of the writing and design team is a person of color, which is fine but making it a specific statement about the project is them scoring points with another segment of the population who will auto-back to support for this reason without looking into the project.

The third is the artwork, which is really good. Good artwork will always get me to look at a project, if only to check it out.

The success of this KS will not be based on the game itself, though. It Will be for the first two reasons here. It's another anti-colonialism (which is often treated as synonymous to also being anti-white when the tag line also includes the fact that no non-person of color is on the design team in any way) fantasy rpg based on hypothetical what-if white people were never part of the world culture.

I'm just imagining how people would react if this game was designed by an entire group of non-people of color and Advertised (virtue signaled) it like that and decided that every single facet of art and culture in the game completely ignored any reference to any of our world's (planet earth) many, MANY other people of color or indigenous cultures. I'm betting that KS would get slammed on Twitter for being bigoted and the designers pushed out of the industry.

As a person of earth and an anthropologist, I'm kinda getting tired of all the racism and hypocrisy.

It will be very interesting to see how they will write up a setting that has exploration in it without any colonialistic tropes at all. You can't expand any culture without establishing colonies somewhere to have a base of operation to further explore and settle. And no game, story or entertainment (tv show, movie, etc) can work without some kind of conflict in it. Conflict is the driving force of all dramatic situations and action in every good story told. Without conflict there is no reason for anybody to act.

If this game was a Cortex game I'd still be pretty tempted to back it. Cortex System is one of my favorites. The art is quite phenomenal IMO and the class (profession) names are evocative enough to definitely make them distinctive from other games. That's very cool.
Yeah, the comment about not having "earth baggage" because the ships left before Europeans arrived is rather strange as, as it was already said, slavery was practiced in Mali way before Europeans arrived and the entire setting story is them colonizing a different planet with the only difference being that they can't do it from a position of strength. Still, that the Musalians use their own name for the planet instead of the name the natives have given it sounds like a very colonizer thing to do.
In itself it wouldn't be a problem if they were at least aware of it, but the baggage claim makes it sound that either they are not or they chose to ignore and deny it.

The time since the first arrival also gets longer with each iteration. In the kickstarter they say thousand years, in the podcast season 1 its 1500 and in season 2 they are already at 3000 years.
 

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imagineGod

Legend
Correction: Arab inspired rpg. It is a great game and setting. There is no Islam in Coriolis.
Correction, the culture in Coriolis is inspired by The Golden Age of Islam and Persian Renaissance which is intertwined with Arabian and Asian cultures but not exclusive.

The Shiite Islam of Persia is NOT Arab and neither is the Sunni Islam of Turkey. The Golden Age of Islam was followed by the Timurid/Persian Empire Renaissance with roots in Mongol. The richness of the art also has influences from the Mughsl Empire of the Indian sub-continent, all united by the commonality of Islam, not Arabia, though the Mughals were not majority Muslim. This was then followed by the Ottoman Turks of ancient Anatolia, not Arabs.

Obviously, in the far future the Islam of our world is not the faith in Coriolis, which uses the phrase Church of The Icons. However, you can see this cultural evolution and interplay in Turkey which was built upon the fallen Constantinople of the Eastern Roman Empire of Byzantium after it fell to the Islamic expansion that started out from Arabia but the moved east and north. The East began the new fulcrum, not Arabia.. After the fall of the Christian Empire, the Ottoman Turks who were conquerors were influenced by Byzantine culture much more than Arabian culture.

This, the united cultural thread through all the above is Islam, not Arabia.

Before making corrections, please understand Islamic culture better. It is more than one tribal group and was part of a world Renaissance before the European Renaissance.
 


imagineGod

Legend
That was my point. There is no reference to 'Islam, the religion' on Coriolis.
You do not need a word reference to Islam to know that the artistic influences in the Coriolis RPG are from the Golden Age of Islam that started in Arabia but was refined through Asian influences of both the Islamic Timurid and Persian Empires and even the Mughal Empire of India.

The common cultural thread is Islam not Arabia.

Hence, Coriolis is an Islamic culture inspired Futurism. It is not Arabian Futurism. Referring to the vast culture as Arab is insulting to many Persians and Turks I know. Use the right words when speaking of cultural influences.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
The success of this KS will not be based on the game itself, though. It Will be for the first two reasons here. It's another anti-colonialism (which is often treated as synonymous to also being anti-white when the tag line also includes the fact that no non-person of color is on the design team in any way) fantasy rpg based on hypothetical what-if white people were never part of the world culture.

I'm just imagining how people would react if this game was designed by an entire group of non-people of color and Advertised (virtue signaled) it like that and decided that every single facet of art and culture in the game completely ignored any reference to any of our world's (planet earth) many, MANY other people of color or indigenous cultures. I'm betting that KS would get slammed on Twitter for being bigoted and the designers pushed out of the industry.
Don't post again in the thread, please. There's too much to unpack here, but this post is crammed with inappropriate terminology and dog-whistles. This is your 5th warning for this sort of thing.
 

Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
You do not need a word reference to Islam to know that the artistic influences in the Coriolis RPG are from the Golden Age of Islam that started in Arabia but was refined through Asian influences of both the Islamic Timurid and Persian Empires and even the Mughal Empire of India.

The common cultural thread is Islam not Arabia.

Hence, Coriolis is an Islamic culture inspired Futurism. It is not Arabian Futurism. Referring to the vast culture as Arab is insulting to many Persians and Turks I know. Use the right words when speaking of cultural influences.

The authors themselves describe their setting as Arabian Nights - In Space on page 9. (I would add with a mix of Firefly and Lovecraftian horror.) Hence my use of the word Arab.

I'm not going to debate this any further. It's a beautiful day outside. I have relaxing gardening to do. I've had enough internet drama for today.
 

imagineGod

Legend
The authors themselves describe their setting as Arabian Nights - In Space on page 9. (I would add with a mix of Firefly and Lovecraftian horror.) Hence my use of the word Arab.

I'm not going to debate this any further. It's a beautiful day outside. I have relaxing gardening to do. I've had enough internet drama for today.
Arabian Nights in space is, safely, a misconception with the word "Arab" since those popular stories are actually based on "Tales of One Thousand and One Nights" by a Persian princess, Scheherezade (Shahrazad).This series collects stories from across the Middle East and parts of Indian stories.

So despite the name "Arabian Nights" in the English translation, it was not Arab culture

Seriously, there is this terrible mis-conception in the West that the many rich Persian cultural influences are Arab. They are definitely not.

 

imagineGod

Legend
Here, you can read more on Wikipedia to understand this more:

One Thousand and One Nights (Arabic: أَلْفُ لَيْلَةٍ وَلَيْلَةٌ‎, ʾAlf Laylah wa-Laylah)[1] is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age. It is often known in English as the Arabian Nights,

The main frame story concerns Shahryār (Persian: شهريار‎, from Middle Persian: šahr-dār, 'holder of realm'),[8] whom the narrator calls a "Sasanian king" ruling in "India and China."[9] Shahryār is shocked to learn that his brother's wife is unfaithful.

See it was mistranslated as Arabian Nights by Westerners because it was written in Arabic. Imagine if all Europeans using the Latin alphabet are all considered to be Latin people.
 

Aldarc

Legend
You do not need a word reference to Islam to know that the artistic influences in the Coriolis RPG are from the Golden Age of Islam that started in Arabia but was refined through Asian influences of both the Islamic Timurid and Persian Empires and even the Mughal Empire of India.

The common cultural thread is Islam not Arabia.

Hence, Coriolis is an Islamic culture inspired Futurism. It is not Arabian Futurism. Referring to the vast culture as Arab is insulting to many Persians and Turks I know. Use the right words when speaking of cultural influences.
I will say that it's a bit off-putting that an Islamic futurist setting would have a complete absence of Islam as if the culture and religion could be so neatly separated and removed from each other. The Icons are probably my least favorite part of the setting.
 

imagineGod

Legend
I will say that it's a bit off-putting that an Islamic futurist setting would have a complete absence of Islam as if the culture and religion could be so neatly separated and removed from each other. The Icons are probably my least favorite part of the setting.
Because a futurist setting does not need to carry everything f r om our present time or past.

Most European cultures still use Latin alphabet but do not call it the Latin alphabet. And even though many too are inspired by the Italian Renaissance, but do not call themselves Italians except those in modern day Italy or with roots thee.

Similarly, the Coriolis RPG imagines a far future that assumed the Golden Age of Islam never ended and its influences continued into the future changing and evolving and every n thought Islam is no longer the religion of the future, its cultural influence remains.

The Icons are important, because during The Golden Age of Islam both science and religion were in harmony. Something we see in Coriolis with both technology and prayers

I lived in such a culture. So Coriolis speaks to me intensely. Different from Western European views on science and religion.

I just tried to correct the person who tried to wrongly correct me that Arab was the foundation because of "Arabian Nights", and I said no, because " One Thousand and One Nights" stories as told are more likely Persian, not Arab.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Because a futurist setting does not need to carry everything f r om our present time or past.

Most European cultures still use Latin alphabet but do not call it the Latin alphabet. And even though many too are inspired by the Italian Renaissance, but do not call themselves Italians except those in modern day Italy or with roots thee.

Similarly, the Coriolis RPG imagines a far future that assumed the Golden Age of Islam never ended and its influences continued into the future changing and evolving and every n thought Islam is no longer the religion of the future, its cultural influence remains.

The Icons are important, because during The Golden Age of Islam both science and religion were in harmony. Something we see in Coriolis with both technology and prayers

I lived in such a culture. So Coriolis speaks to me intensely. Different from Western European views on science and religion.

I just tried to correct the person who tried to wrongly correct me that Arab was the foundation because of "Arabian Nights", and I said no, because " One Thousand and One Nights" stories as told are more likely Persian, not Arab.
This is a bit of a gish gallop of issues that don't entirely speak to the point that I'm trying to make.
 

imagineGod

Legend
I will say that it's a bit off-putting that an Islamic futurist setting would have a complete absence of Islam as if the culture and religion could be so neatly separated and removed from each other. The Icons are probably my least favorite part of the setting.
Because a futurist setting does not need to carry everything f r om our present time or past.

Most European cultures still use Latin alphabet but do not call it the Latin alphabet. And inspired by the I tali n Renaissance but do not call themselves Italians except those in modern day Italy or with roots there.

Similarly, the Coriolis RPG imagines a far future that assumed the Golden Age of Islam never ended and its influences continued into the future changing and evolving and every n thought Islam is no longer the religion of the future, its cultural influence remains.

I just tried to correct the person who tried to wrongly correct me that Arab was the foundation because of "Arabian Nights", and I said no, because " One Thousand and One Nights" stories aa told are more likely Persian, not Arab
This is a bit of a gish gallop of issues that don't entirely speak to the point that I'm trying to make.
Probably tired of people mis-representing The Golden Age of Islam as Arab when it was so much more diverse revolving around Islam the uniting culture not Arabia.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Probably tired of people mis-representing The Golden Age of Islam as Arab when it was so much more diverse revolving around Islam the uniting culture not Arabia.
That's a fair point but not what I'm talking about.

Edit: But as this conversation appears to be going nowhere productive anytime soon, I will drop this conversation so that the thread can resume talking about Into the Motherlands.
 


MGibster

Legend
A game like Into the Mother Lands would have had a much more difficult time finding an audience in previous decades. Even if you could have published it, I have a hard time imagining it on the shelf at my local gaming store next to AD&D, Rifts, and Vampire. And this is just a reminder of one of the ways gaming is better today than it was in my youth. Maybe I'm just weird, but I love that there is a veritable cornucopia of games out there even if I'm not personally interested in all of them. We tend to use diversity as a shorthand for race, gender, and sexual orientation, but what comes with it are new ways of seeing the situation and new ideas for how to handle things. This just strikes me as something beneficial to the the hobby as a whole.

And I'm not going to lie, I really want a Bertrand plushie.

Plushie.JPG
 



CubicsRube

Adventurer
Supporter
I'd love to see more cultures used for inspiration in RPGs, as there's so much I don't know.

As a white Australian, I've grown up knowing very little about African cultures. An RPG based on some of these has the real potential to be new and exciting exciting me.

I do sit in the camp however of needing to know what system they'll use before backing it. I wonder how many others are in that space also?
 

imagineGod

Legend
I'd love to see more cultures used for inspiration in RPGs, as there's so much I don't know.

As a white Australian, I've grown up knowing very little about African cultures. An RPG based on some of these has the real potential to be new and exciting exciting me.

I do sit in the camp however of needing to know what system they'll use before backing it. I wonder how many others are in that space also?
If you want an RPG more directly influenced by real African cultures, look out for The Wagadu Chronicles for DnD5e. Sadly, it is funded on Kickstarter as a computer game, but the RPG books were added in one of the goals, so may become available via DriveThruRPG Print-on-Demand.

Also, Jerry D. Grayson, has some interesting Afro-Futurism using the Open d6 System.
 
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