There are several great expansions being funded among the stretch goals in the FateCore Kickstarter, and one that I’m especially geeky about is Court/Ship, a nifty and fascinating concept from the multi-talented J.R. Blackwell that sets as its premise the court of King Louis XV of France dealing with an alien invasion. Yes, you read that right.
J.R. has written several posts on her blog about the project, but the one I’d like to share here is especially relevant IMO because it gets to the heart of the thematics of what she’s creating, and it took a conversation with a colleague for J.R. to realize it:
“It’s about colonialism,” I say, waving my fingers, “About how a group of people can perceive another group of people as less than human, less sentient, less important, in order to justify taking what they want.”
“Hmm,” she says.
“Not that I actually SAY that at any point,” I tell her. I don’t say, ‘Oh, this is about colonialism everybody’ instead I have the aliens tell them ‘I KNOW you can talk! I think it’s ADORABLE! But no, really, we’re going to eat like, those eight people over there right now.”
First, I love that the game is about colonialism, because that’s an issue I think deserves more focus. And it’s a front-and-center topic in my own creative endeavors these days - Vigilants and Vagabonds will explore it pretty blatantly. But secondly, I love the story of how J.R. came to realize it so organically. And even better, I love that the topic is explored in a twisted-up kind of way, with the group of people who represent the colonizers in our real-world history becoming the colonized in Court/Ship. Basically I love art that says stuff without having to actually say the stuff its saying. You know, it’s that whole “show, don’t tell” thing that fiction writers do.
And also, as I mentioned to J.R. on Twitter, I’m really glad she’s jumped into the Fate pool. You can bet there will be more about Court/Ship and J.R.’s other Fate project, The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences RPG, featured here on the Harping Monkey in the coming months.