Setting Q & A, Part Two: East of Gallinea

Lin Liren wrote to us last week to ask some questions about the setting, and with Liren’s permission here are the questions and answers. Liren’s questions and comments are in bold, mine are in non-bold.

Is “The Queen’s Cavaliers” an “Egalitarian Feminist Text” like “Aliens” and recent Smash-Hit Animes like “A Certain Magical Index” where women are powerful while still maternal and men can be equally as brave, honorable and noble as women. Or are we mostly cackling Mostache-Twirling “Cal from Titanic” and Bumbling Homer Simpsons?

More the first than the second. This is a world where anyone can be a hero, regardless of gender. In the history of Gallinea, there was some sexism against men — being relegated to soldiering tasks instead of leadership or science roles, for example — but in my opinion players and GMs shouldn’t be focusing on any sort of exclusion of that sort. I just don’t think it’s fun. (I can’t actually stop anyone from playing that way, but I do call it out as not the best practice.)

It is well known that Louis the 15th (whose reign seems to paralell the alternate history of this setting) has a close friendship with Emperor Kangxi of Quing Dynasty China. It would not be too audacious therefore to assume there would be the occasional Easterner Heroine/Hero wandering the France of this setting, right?

Well, our France is called Gallinea, so it’s not exactly the same, but yeah — there’s a counterpart to Asia in our world, and players can create characters who come from there, or if they want characters whose ancestors came from there but who grew up in Gallinea. In the core books we don’t really detail the lands to the east for reasons of thematic focus, but I am definitely committed to a setting in which people are able to play Eastern/Asian characters. And not have them stick out as “the other” unless it’s what a player specifically wants.

Linking to the above question, would Buddhism therefore be one of the accepted religions in the Egalitarian Society of this setting?

That’s an excellent question and one which I have never thought of before. I honestly don’t know enough about Buddhism to feel comfortable with detailing an explicit analogue for it without major research, but I think that probably something like Buddhism exists in this world, in the same way that Asrianism is a reskin of Christianity. Gallinea officially welcomes all faiths (and those without faiths), so they should be accepting of an expy Buddhism as much as anything else. Of course, if the players and GM want to play up religious intolerance among the traditionalists — or just play “Buddhists” as outsiders — that’s possible too. It all depends on if there’s legitimate buy-in from everyone involved and an agreement that such themes would be pursued rather than glossed over.

(I find religious conflict to be more interesting than racial or gender conflicts, so in my own games I might, with player buy-in, explore such themes in my own games. But I don’t think it’s my place to mandate that to anyone.)

By the way, Gallinea is not a world where one or more religions are objectively true. There aren’t spell-casting clerics running around performing miracles from Essere or the Desert Goddess. You can’t plane-travel to meet a deity in a higher realm. Much like our own world [*], everyone has their own beliefs and it’s a matter of faith and philosophical outlook, instead of metaphysical assurance.

[*] Again, this shows my own outlook on religion; others with different beliefs may indeed think that the real world does display supernatural certainty. If someone wants to play that up in their TQC games, I can’t stop them, but I am not planning for the system to explicitly support that apart from GM fiat.

The “Louis 15th’s Friendship with Emperor Kangxi” question came up because not 12 months before this project was launched, there was a beautiful, beautiful exhibition of Artifacts, Painting and of course Letters exchanged between the Two Kings.

Hence the proliferation of Silk, Spice, Chinese Style Art, China (the utensils type) and of course Tea-Drinking Culture in the France of Louis 15th.

I thought that since the Friendship between Kangxi and Louis 15th did so much to shape the Culture of “Musketeer Era” France that the issue of a parallel counterpart to Quing Dynasty China is a relevant one, if only as a footnote.

I’m adding “research more on Louis 15th’s Friendship with Emperor Kangxi” to my list of things to accomplish once the kickstarter is over, and I will be adding in some details. It’s been a loooooong time (27 years) since my last Chinese History class so I’ve forgotten nearly everything I once knew.

And yes, on a personal note, hopefully there would be the odd musketeer who would have learnt or be influence by Chinese Swordsmanship/Magic, or even perchance one or two of the people who taught them said styles residing in Gallinea perchance?

As for the postscript, yes indeedy, I can’t see why there wouldn’t be someone influenced by “the East”/China in Gallinea. That sounds quite interesting to me.

Thanks again, Liren, for asking these great questions!