I am glad that we have largely left behind all-white games in the L&L space. I think the expectation that most people have is that you will see a diverse cast of characters. I appreciate that about Concordia, particularly where they have course-corrected with their pantheon. I think they are doing some other interesting things in that space, too.
There is maybe no perfect way to handle the issue of cultural diversity and real-world inspirations, but I still think that what they are doing is worth an upnod. You got your Targaryens, sure, and your red-heads, and your Romans–
But there is also a house that has clear East Asian influences and one with South Asian influences. I grabbed one of those from the roster because I am always dying to see something – anything, please, god – that isn’t just your standard Western French-British-Something take on fantasy. Then I ran into players who maybe had been expecting something more Western in the house, so I popped in a request to get more clarity. I wanted to know what staff’s intent actually was, and I like the answer I got.
Rather than directly copy and paste real-world cultures into the game, they’ve made a choice to draw on multiple places for inspiration to avoid generalizing, tokenizing, or fetishizing any real-world culture. In this case, yes, the house has elements of North India, but also Moorish Spain. I’m kind of curious if there’s a connecting thread of thought in that they were both extension of Islamic power at times, what with the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire in North India, but I haven’t sat them down for details – and I actually enjoy classical India better so DON’T FEEL THE NEED TO DRAW THAT LINE ON MY ACCOUNT.
Right now, at this moment, all I really care about is that they are doing something different, something interesting, and something coming from a place of curiosity and thoughtfulness. I wouldn’t say that they are a perfect game, and there’s choices I wouldn’t have made, but holy fuck please I hope more fantasy L&L games in the future draw from a wider well than the tiny Western European fantasy well.