Christo Meid 7 May 2017
Loss of language and assimilation?
I know this didn’t come up in the game I played of Circles of Power at Dreamation, but this piece by Alex Roberts got me thinking about assimilation of cultures by another and how that might play out in Circles of Power. It could be slow, poignant and nostalgic, brutal and harsh, or something else altogether.
To play out the longer types of assimilation and the resistance to, I would expect time would have to fast forward, with scenes jumping…and perhaps power dynamics changing and new Circles appearing.
Kind of scary, but what a powerful tale it could be.
An interesting article which is relevant to the themes of Circles of Power. It presents one of many messy, hard problems that the game hopes to explore.
This post from +Curt Thompson does an amazing job of communicating the heart of circles of power, in my eyes. It’s a game about people who are left on the margins of an oppressive society, but whom receive magic as a form of activism and restorative justice. It’s power for those who need it, not for those who have it in plenty. Good stuff.
Originally shared by Curt Thompson – 36 commentsI was working on something this evening that made me consider my default assumptions about fantasy and urban fantasy in particular and thought it was interesting enough to share.
I realized that I have the subconscious association of magic and magical empowerment with the ‘other’ in society. With women and people of color, queer people, trans people, people with variant neurochemistry and such. Not just because I identify with the outsiders, but because (and put on your flame-retardant shorts, this is where I’d get trolled if my comments were still open), magic is not, as Warren Ellis once suggested, the ‘cheat codes of the universe’. Magic is more akin to socialist revolutions.
Things like the Hermetic type of magic in World of Darkness games and D&D’s rote magic have never set my imagination on fire. Mind you, I don’t think they are bad, exactly. They just never rang ‘true’ for me. They never had that sense of verisimilitude that never has anything to do with reality, but rather how real something feels.
And magic in the hands of the already enfranchised never feels ‘real’ to me. Why would a guy like Harry Dresden need to search for another source of power, for instance? He’s a white, straight, good-looking dude. He’s 99 percent of the way there. Or Harry Potter for that matter? Or Dr. Strange? Yes, they have challenges. But in the context of the greater society, their challenges are ones that almost tailor-made for resolution within the existing power structure.
No, in my head, in my game settings, magic is in the hands of the bent-backed old washer women, the failed suicides, the gay uncles and aunts, the junkies and the drag queens, the choir leaders who have to schedule time for two funerals a week because of gun violence, the ones who hear the voices and see shadows out of the corner of their eyes, the AIDS activists and the transfolk.
Because those people, unlike the ‘White Council’ (indeed) are the ones who would be searching for and dedicated to looking outside the existing power structure for themselves and their communities. Like Russian and Chinese commoners, these are the people who would be willing to tear down everything, if it evened the scales a little.
For me, magic is rebellion. Magic is punk, a giant middle finger to a world where reality itself is stacked against some folks. Magic is power to and of the people. It’s gritty, it’s bloody, it’s sexy and scary and it might just do more harm than good. Like all revolutions.
And I am always surprised to see a metaphor that rich almost always co-opted to make a character who was already born on third base that much cooler as they slide home and claim the win.