The core of an unlikely idea

Monday, July 11, 2016 - 18:30

It all began because of the colors of India.
My love for the East is well-documented - the Mysterious Orient and all that.
Adventure fiction is the intersection of narrative and geography (and history, too), and it's a swell way for traveling without moving - excellent, if you are a young kid sitting in the shadow of a factory in a big industrial town in, let's say, the early seventies.
And if Edgar Rice Burroughs provided a nice escape route to the heart of darkest Africa, then Kipling transported my generation in India.
India which was exotic, dangerous, and filled with color and bustle. Later would come other authors - but Kipling's Kim and John Huston's adaptation of The Man that Would be King were the gateway drug for a generation - and for me.

Flash forward thirty-odd years, and here I am pitching to the heads of GGStudio a new game.
We are in Lucca, at Lucca Comics & Games, where the Italian edition of Savage Worlds is about to be awarded the Game of the Year prize. The crowd and the din are overwhelming.
Steampunk, I say. Airships and strange creatures, steam technology and derring-do. But...
But What about a more colorful, exotic setting? What if all that's left of the Victorians is the Raj?
What if, instead of the usual corsets and stovepipes, brass fittings and goggles... what if we were dealing with silk saree and colorful uniforms?
And elephants! And many-colored cities! And the temples and mysteries...

It was a core of an underdeveloped idea.
An exotic, non-Western, diverse and "ethnic" sort of steampunk adventure game.
Of course, that small core already carried two BIG questions
a . what about the rest of the world?
b . how do we deal with the most unsavory aspects of colonialism?

Answering the second question actually also gave us the answer to the first.
Or the other way around.
But we'll talk about that another time.

Davide Mana
Asti, Italy