For many years I played what we called “D&D” with my friends – it wasn’t really Dungeons and Dragons. I think of it as loosely based on the fantasy world that was created to deal with a vague concept of D&D. At first we utilized only a few of the aspects of the system.
Slowly but surely, even the dice functions were left by the wayside as we turned the game into a diceless freeform. This was fine because by that point we had learned each other’s style, and had learned to trust each other, and had learned to balance success and failure in the story.
The content in this story was what others might have considered a “feminist egalitarian text” in that the story reflected our own values and mores. It was just a story to us – something that reflected our ideals.
Love won out over hate. Women and men were treated equally. Just because a female character got pregnant, or had kids, didn’t mean they had to stop adventuring.
Women and men, men and men, women and women, transgender and shape-changing people all met, fell in love, made love, and enjoyed the fruits of their relationships. Monogamy existed, but so did polyamory.
What a person did with their body was considered their own to do, and when others broke this rule it was a terrible crime. There were female and male deities, and people who worshiped no deity.
There were people in the story who allowed hate to rule their actions, prejudiced people, angry people, people addicted to rage, drugs, spiritual energy.
There were people who made bad choices, or who were so broken by the things that happened to them as to be nearly nonredeemable. But healing, forgiveness, and the power of hope was emphasized as means against these beings. Some antagonists were just people with conflicting goals and agendas.
It wasn’t always fluffy bunnies and white light. Sometimes evil had to be ended with violence, and sometimes mistakes were made, bad choices were decided by the characters. Sometimes what was broken could not be healed. It made the triumphs sweeter, and kept the story grounded in something more realistic.
But these stories I collaborated on weren’t a part of anybody’s political agenda, except in Carol Hanische’s classic concept called “The personal is political.” They were just for our personal amusement and edification. It was as if tailor-made movies or TV shows were created and projected on our personal Cartesian theaters.
And that’s exactly how I like to play RPGs. It’s just nice that a game like The Queen’s Cavaliers already takes for granted the sort of values I’ve always had and always promote in my everyday life. I don’t feel like I have to “file off the serial numbers” or “shoehorn” my version of things into the fiction of The Queen’s Cavaliers.
BTW if you missed the Kickstarter and want to pre-order The Queen’s Cavaliers, it’s available here.