A message to non-Natives
over 1 year ago
– Fri, Mar 12, 2021 at 12:16:20 AM
Today, I want to talk a little bit about who should be playing this game. I've seen a trickle of concern that Coyote and Crow is something non-Natives shouldn't bring to their table. Before I get into how we've handled this situation in the text of the game itself, I wanted to share my broader thoughts on the topic.
To me, RPGs are about bringing people together, sharing stories and leaving the table with a collective experience that makes all of the players lives just a little bit brighter. I want everyone to play Coyote and Crow the way it was intended to be played: With an open, respectful, joyful heart, and a sense of wonder and adventure.
Let's talk about the "A" word. And I'd like to start off by providing a simple analogy. Let's say a person travels to a different country with a different culture from their own and someone invites them into their home for dinner. They sit down at the table and when they're offered food they say, "I wouldn't feel right eating this. It would be appropriation." Hopefully it's obvious how off target that is. Yes, the analogy isn't perfect. But my point is this: Appropriation, at its root, is about taking. What we're doing is giving. And what we're giving you is fictional. It's not the traditions or history of any real world tribe or nation (more on that in a little further on).
When it comes to the actual game, we address this concept head on in a few ways. First, we have pages at the start of the book that directly speak to non-Native players and Native players. We discuss how each group should approach the game and some obvious no-no's for non-Natives. But throughout we call attention to specific things where there might be a chance for any non-Natives to misstep or for Natives to add value. A perfect example of this is the Ceremony Skill. This is a fully functioning Skill on its own and is useful as is to anyone playing. But we also call this out as a point where Native players can speak with their Story Guide and work to create Specialized versions for the Skill that allows for different effects and parameters based on that particular Native's culture and traditions. In this scenario, non-Natives don't need to take any special actions. Just play the game as it's written, and you're fine.
I also want to point out that on the character sheet there's a line called 'Other Identifiers'. This is a place where Native players can add their tribe if that's something they want to do. Real world tribal identity is not required for your character and in fact is specifically called out as something not to do for non-Native players. I'm not going to go into expansive detail here, but we do address the concept of identity, nationalism and tribal affiliation further in the book.
The core book focuses on the city of Cahokia and to a lesser extent, the surrounding area called the Free Lands. While we touch on the neighboring nations identified in the map, we'll leave the deep dive on those to future expansions. We'll be tapping Native writers from those regions to more fully realize each and give them all the unique flavor and feel that they deserve. Those expansions will address more directly how real world tribes intersect with the world of C&C, but we'll have the same qualifiers and guidance for non-Native players in those books as well.
The reality is that most of the people who do the worst kind of appropriation, the worst stereotyping and racist behavior, aren't going to want to play this game. We don't have to worry about them because this book is so in your face "not-white" that it's going to act like repellent. Good. We don't need them. Will there be folks who trip up and say something stupid at the table and offend someone else? Abso-freaking-lutely. But that's no different than any other day in America. Don't use that as an excuse to not play Coyote & Crow.
To sum up, I get it. Not wanting to appropriate culture is a good instinct. But trust our whole team when we collectively say, we want you to play our game! We want you to enjoy this and to share it with us. And if you're ever not sure about a specific point, ask us. While I'd love to think that this update will put the issue to bed, I'm fully aware that it won't. We're already planning on expanding those opening pages in the book that discuss how to approach the game. We want everyone feeling good when they sit down to play Coyote & Crow.
And let me end on a tease! We'll announce one final stretch goal if we hit the current one. That next stretch goal is going to be a stand alone adventure for Coyote and Crow from a certain Nebula and Hugo award winning Native author!
The Warrior Icon
over 1 year ago
– Mon, Mar 08, 2021 at 11:05:20 PM
Just a quick update. Today we hit another tremendous milestone. Thank you all so much for your continued generosity and support. Our whole crew is elated over the response to their work and we're all so excited to finish what we've started.
I also have a slightly embarrassing situation to address. A very kind person pointed out that our icon for the Warrior was almost identical to the modern icon used in Black Power messaging. This was entirely an error on my part. I used a placeholder mock-up instead of our final icon and we've since remedied that. You can see the actual icon for the Warrior in the current image on the Campaign page. The icon that was there previously was an internal use only illustration that was meant as a developmental reference and was never intended for print. I apologize to anyone who was confused or concerned, and I truly hope there was no offense caused. We have the deepest respect for our Black allies and our icon was always meant as a nod to them.
Donated Copies Update
over 1 year ago
– Sun, Mar 07, 2021 at 02:20:06 AM
Good morning folks,
When we planned this campaign out and did our best guess at what our response might be, we hoped we'd get 100-200 books donated. In that scenario, there were two issues at play. One was going to be determining who gets those books and the second was going to be the time it took for me to personally organize and plan for those deliveries. But today, at the start of day 5 of the campaign, things are looking a little different. We're currently around 1500 donated copies and I would not be shocked at all to see us at more than 3000 donated by the end of this Kickstarter.
First and foremost this is a time for celebration and joy. In a lovely coincidence, I just received a tribal newsletter this morning reminding us of the Cherokee word "gadugi" which means working together for the tribe and for the greater good. All of your donations are certainly part of the greater good and I can't thank you enough.
Someone once asked me when I was first starting this endeavor what I thought success looked like. I said something to the effect of, 'I want a stranger, a Native, to walk up to me at a game convention and say, "I played your game and loved it" and if I can just get there, I'll call it enough'. Now I'm in the position to be able to deliver so many more books than I'd ever imagined. With that, I'm forced to change my outlook a bit.
And therein lies our new challenge. As we mentioned in the FAQ, you'll be able to request where you want your donated copies sent to. That's actually pretty easy for us to manage. You don't have to make a specific request, but if you have one, put it down. We aren't guaranteeing your copy will go to your requested library, but please read on.
Once the Kickstarter is finished, we're going to have to work out equity. What that looks like, I honestly can't say yet. We'll have to see how many books end up being donated and what sort of partnerships we forge with various library and tribal organizations during this process. But I can promise two things. 1) We're going to work hard to distribute the books as fairly and as widely across the US and Canada as we can and that your requests will be taken seriously. 2) We'll be as transparent about the process as we can and when our new website lands prior to the game, we'll have a list of the places the game ends up.
So please be patient with us as our small but dedicated team works to catch up with your incredible generosity. We're going to get it done and get it done right.
On a final note, I want to say that the specific success of the donated copies portion of the Kickstarter has inspired me to set a new, broader goal. Part of what Coyote and Crow will be about going into the future is not just donating books, but creating and encouraging organized play spaces for the game. Your kindness and spirit have shown that it's okay to dream big.
over 1 year ago
– Sat, Mar 06, 2021 at 11:02:36 PM
As we head into our third day, our little project is a very different thing than it was just at the start of this week. Our original funding goal is far behind us and with 28 days still ahead, our final destination is a long way off as well. We're working on a final stretch goal that we'll hopefully announce on 3/10. Thanks for your patience on those. Many of you have sent me wonderful ideas for stretch goals and we considered a number of them. In the end though, we're leaning more toward the voices of caution, whose warnings come from personal experience on going off the rails with too many stretch goals and an explosion of logistical complications.
In short, while our campaign total is going up, it's not like all of that extra money is just going in my pocket. Our priorities are in the following order:
- Bringing you a high quality game, well developed with great mechanics and art and a well paid team.
- Getting you the product on time and getting your donated copies to good homes
- Adding meaningful value to the game and the world we're building through stretch goals
- Getting copies into hobby stores and other retailers and start building a community for the game
- Using any momentum we get from this campaign to help fund future Coyote and Crow products
I'd like to mention that last point briefly. We've mentioned them a bit in the FAQ, but I want to say that we have real plans for Central and South American expansion books, expansion books for each of the five nations of Makasing (all written by local writers), at least one campaign book, multiple adventures, and more. In addition, we want to bring you a Story Guide Screen and a custom dice set. We don't have details on those yet, so please just know that they are on our radar and we'll reassess when this campaign is done.
But coming back to this campaign, I need to call out a large number of you who have either commented here, written us by email or hit me up on social media and have shared how happy this project has made you and how excited you are to see this world. That is giving us fuel, folks. I can't understate how spirit filling it is to get those messages and feel your enthusiasm. All of us working on this feel exactly the same way and we're all so excited to play with you in this sandbox we're building.
Well, that was humbling...
over 1 year ago
– Sat, Mar 06, 2021 at 08:12:37 PM
So, as I write this, we're coming up on 8 hours into the campaign and we're at almost 75k. Sorry this took a bit to write, but I've been working on my day job, side-eying Kickstarter all day while Heather does all the hard work. (Thank you Heather!)
I'm sort of stunned at the moment. When we set out our original plans and budget for this, I made peace with the fact that this might be a project that cost me a lot of my personal money but that it would be money would be well spent on my soul. When I say soul, I mean that I've invested a lot of personal energy into this, of course. I have a new found appreciation for every person who has ever launched a Kickstarter. But more than that, I've found that developing this game and working with an incredible group of talented people has helped me mentally survive this last year we've all been enduring.
By hitting our funding goal on our first day though, you all have given me a new set of challenges. I'm ready to take those on. We're going to find new ways to improve everyone's experience with Coyote and Crow and bring this game to as many people as we can. But the key word there is "everyone". Regardless of what level you backed at, I want to make clear that for the copies that are going to res or tribal libraries, it's imperative to me that those players get the same experience as the premium backers here. It's one of the main reasons that our stretch goals have been digital. I want everyone who has the opportunity to play Coyote and Crow to have the same level of immersion, the same tools, the same resources.
I'll be updating the FAQ and answering emails for the rest of the evening. Heather has just updated the Stretch Goals that will carry us through to 90K, but I wanted to add that ALL stretch goals from here on out include bonuses to all of our Native team members.
Whether you've backed or not, I know many of you have burning questions. And we're going to do our best to answer as many as we can, as quickly as we can. Please be patient with us.
In the meantime, thank you. All of you. More than anything you've justified my deeply held belief that there's a deep need for games like Coyote and Crow out there and room for better and more exciting representation for us all.