Welcome to the very first issue of Manifesto. This one is pretty slim, but hopefully I’ll be able to cram a lot more into future issues. If you have any recommendations let me know.
Recently I published three principles of leftist play as a response to OSR/FKR, and other stuff.
Play in these traditions often seems to come down to authority. The authority of the referee to make decisions about the world. The authority of the fiction; of authenticity or realism. The authorities of taxonomy and tradition. Even, somewhat counterintuitively, the authority of a dice roll, embodying an impartial oracle.
Obviously authority isn’t unique to OSR/FKR play. Story games grant authority for genre to the game designer and their mechanics—a firm hand at the narrative wheel. As do many 5e tables, ordering their fictional universes by means of ‘rules as written’ or ‘rules as intended’.
I think we owe it to each other to examine these authorities, and to prioritise a communal, consensual approach to play instead. Not necessarily to abandon these dynamics, but perhaps to de-emphasise them.
If you fancy talking about it join the LEFT PLAY Discord server, if you’ve not already!
I’ve decided that for every one bit of theory I talk about here I owe you at least three links to examples of leftist, anti-authoritarian, or experimental practice in play—to keep things in perspective.
Shrug off the authority of numbers! Create something that exists beyond or between the established form of RPGs! And then submit it to this jam!
As someone with a keen dislike of maths and an increasingly short attention span for mechanics, this jam is ideal for me.
The black screen when switching channels on a TV is equally as important as the actual show is. The background noise of your computer fans whirring let you know that it’s alive. The small things you don’t think about hold up the actual content of what you’re doing.
This project speaks for itself, and is about as anti-authority as an RPG zine can get.
Postcards From Cable Street is an anti-fascist rpg charity zine.
It features exclusive content for systems such as Mothership, Troika! Best Left Buried, PBTA and self-contained systems, as well as a number of essays, an interview and original games.
The proceeds from this RPG Zine will raise money for Hope Not Hate and Football Lads & Lasses Against Fascism.
Revolution is never simple—there are few simultaneously good and easy answers to undoing capitalism. Reliance expresses this dilemma in a game about picking up in the aftermath of revolution.
Gameplay has players confronting and analyzing the contradictions of their new world, and then acting on them to fight back against the forces of reaction and counter-revolution from within their own population and from external powers as well.
It’s a game of acknowledging and exploring the challenges of building a world out of the bones of an old one, and of acknowledging just how entrenched the structures of the capitalist mode of production are in every level of our society and mindset.
That’s it for now. More soon! Love, Oz.