Everyone stand back, because I’m about to unleash my unpopular opinion about politics in roleplaying settings. Some people love the idea, because it allows them to explore possibilities in a safe and creative environment. Others hate the concept, because they prefer to keep their escapism free from real-world problems. What’s the right answer? Where is the happy medium?
I don’t care.
No, seriously. I don’t even understand why this is a topic for serious discourse. If you (and your group, of course) want to play something political, then by all means do so. Just don’t tell other people that they have to, or dig deep to prove that there’s something political in everything if you’re willing to scratch the surface. If you don’t want that sort of content in your game, leave it out. Don’t tell other people that they can’t have it if they want it. The same goes for published systems and settings. If it’s not to your tastes, play something else.
This came up because DoubleZero is grounded in espionage and law enforcement. Those are politics-adjacent. Am I going to include political content in the game? Not directly. There are character Professions, as well as Skills and Fields of Experience, that touch on it. Do I issue any specific political stances in the game? No consciously. I think I’ve done a decent job of making the core rules neutral.
Does that mean that people won’t read into it? Of course not. If someone decides that it’s too liberal, or not liberal enough, they’ll pitch a fit. Should they choose to see it as too conservative, or not conservative enough, they won’t hold back. That has more to do with the “roleplaying community”, the internet, and the current state of human civilization than it does with my game.
Politics in Roleplaying Settings
Will there be political content in some of the settings I want to create for DoubleZero? Absolutely. Not all of them, but a few that I think have interesting roleplaying possibilities. My goal is to make them more fun than preachy, but I’m not going to avoid having any sort of message just because someone might clutch their pearls and swoon onto the fainting couch.