Saturday, May 7, 2011

World Events

For the last few weeks, I have been distracted by politics. There is a lot of things going on in the world, including things that effect me personally and on a day-to-day basis. Here are a few of the items, and how they can relate to RPGs

The Royal Wedding.
I am not a royalist. Yes, my country is part of the commonwealth, and yes, I respect the royal family as being the figureheads of the commonwealth, but I am not one to examine every move the royals make, follow articles, or indulge in pictures. That said, the Royal Wedding was on every television station, every radio show and every fifth internet-news site that I visited. Furthermore, there was all-day tea and costumes at work. It was hard not to get caught up in the pageantry and the hype of the wedding; especially since there is a lot of bad news happening in the world.

How to use the Royal Wedding in your games? Well, it could be an event. If your characters were invited to the wedding, or to one that was similar, your game could include a great amount of political intrigue and etiquette. This may be a challenge for characters who enjoy drawing attention to themselves. W|hat if the bride (or the groom) was kidnapped? Obviously, the kidnappers would have to go through security, and the player characters would be the ones with just the right skills to solve the crime (much to the embarrassment of Scotland Yard). Of course, this is assuming that the characters are rescuing the royals. An interesting twist would be if the characters were hired to kidnap / rescue the bride. What if aliens had touched down at that exact moment? What if a member of the wedding party was turned into a vampire? If either of these things happened, the characters may need to deal with the aliens / vampire in a way that does not interrupt the ceremony. What if Kate's gown or tiara was stolen 24 hours before the ceremony and the characters had to find a way to get it back? In one of my games, a necromancer who was against the wedding used the ghosts of old royalty to steal the crown jewels; and the characters had to get the jewels back as well as stop the necromancer before it became an international incident and embarrassment.

The Canadian Federal Election

When the radio wasn't talking about the wedding, it was talking about Canadian politics. For those who do not know, last year Canada had a conservative minority government. The government was put on hold for the Olympics, and the first order of business was to get a new budget passed. It didn't pass. This triggered an election filled with the usual politicking on all parties. The results, however, were anything but normal or expected. First, the Green party actually got a seat in the house of commons! Second, the Liberal party (centre) did not do very well, the NDP (far left) became the opposition party, and the Bloc Quebecois (separatists) only got four seats. Finally, the conservative party gained a majority government: 60% of the seats with less than 30% of the votes. And while this type of result may be common in Canadian politics, the results of this majority will be unveiled at the end of 4 years when there will be another election. In the short term, the budget that caused this election will go through without any changes.

With regard to how we can use the election in some games, it depends on the kind of story you want to tell. If you want to write stories about the rise of a leader, look to Jack Layton and what happened in Quebec. If you want to talk about a return to power (or recurring villain, depending on your political preferences), take a look at Harper. If you want to look at young people in politics, start to follow the career of Pierre-Luc Dusseault, who, at the age of 19, is Canada's youngest ever member of parliament. The characters could work for a young politician, to ensure his success, downfall or that the status quo be maintained. If you want to play a game where the rights of the people are systematically being removed (and no one is noticing, caring, or thinking that it is a bad thing), look at the workings of the Canadian government for the last 10 years. If you want to see the effects of a Big Brother Law on a country with free speech, stay tuned.

Bin Ladin's Death
Right on the heels of the election came the news of Bin Ladin's death.

I am not sure what to say on this matter. Am I glad he (and hopefully his organization) is no longer a threat? Yes. Was there another way that it could have ended in a satisfactory manner for capitalist countries? Doubtful. Am I celebrating the way certain people are? No. I think my reactions are typical of Canadian's. However, one week after the event, I am very tired of this man's name being thrown all over the media like he was a saint. He wasn't. Let history forget his name (though not his deeds). Instead, please give short biographies of the fire-fighters who were in the Towers, and of some of the soldiers who are fighting.

On the other hand, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. What will be the reaction to his death? How will the relationship between the United States and Palestine be affected throughout the years? How will people react to scenes like this? Again, maybe it's just because I'm a Canadian who has participated in an election with very interesting campaign promises that I am thinking about these things.

I am not even going to touch how this part of history could be inspirational or useful in a game. I feel that, at this time, it would not be in good taste.