The year is 1992, and Rifts is a breakout success. It’s the gonzo RPG experience that no one knew they wanted, and people are screaming for more. The books out are selling like crazy, but the world is still insanely under developed. World Books One and Two, The Vampire Kingdoms (Northern Mexico) and Atlantis respectively, were well received. 1993 is supposed to build on the successes of the last few years, with Dimension Book One: Wormwood, and the third and fourth World Books, England and Africa, planned for release. Things didn’t go as planned.
I’ll start with full disclosure, when I was growing up, and in the nerd circles I hung around with (pre-internet nerds were more social I think), if you weren’t playing 2e Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, odds are, you were playing a game by Palladium Books. Most likely, you were playing that crazy roller coaster of instability, Rifts. As a kid, I loved this game, and it still pulls on the old nostalgia strings. As an adult, looking at it, I shake my head in wonder at just about everything, then flip to the cool power armour suits and equipment section. It deserves a more attentive look now though, as the first part of the Review and Revise post category.
So, as I’ve explored the internets in my quest to rapidly expand my breadth and depth of knowledge on the subject of racism and SF&F culture, I’ve come across a disturbing, but sadly predictable trend within the tabletop gaming culture towards POC asking for increased recognition and inclusion in gaming materials. The trend is “Missing the Point”. Tabletop roleplaying is all about several things. Wish fulfilment. Escapism. Imagination. Power fantasies. Story telling. POC want these things too, but are currently, largely, denied it in official materials and canon resources. When a POC or supportive non-POC brings up the subject of racism in tabletop gaming, or of lack of inclusion of POC or other minorities in gaming materials, the result is the same. The POC or commenter is immediately attacked, the discussion hijacked or derailed, and the point they were trying to raise is utterly and completely missed by the attackers or the non-commenting population. Where did this attitude come from?