Nations in Gaming
It's July, and that means over the course of the month all of North America is going to be celibrating their nation's birth. And that means this is a great chance to talk about Nations themselves as the theme for this month! As usual with the first article of the month we're going to talk about the basics of what our theme means. So what is a Nation?
A Nation is a group of people who share the same culture. They have connected or similar beliefs on a macro scale and a shared history, and usually a language. In truth that's all that really defines a nation. Most often we view nations through the lens of countries. Russia is a different nation from the United states for example. Or a better example might be that North and South Korea are different countries, but in many ways to have a nationality that is simplified to Korean is not unusual. Of course there's no definitive measurement for when a nation is formed or broken, so people tend to use concrete ideas like borders and countries.
Nations can grow and change and evolve over time. It's almost impossible for them not to. Cultural ideas shift, leadership changes, values are adjusted, needs change. Sometimes this change comes about as a union of ideas and people, other times it's a division. The entire history of the world could be viewed as the division and reunion of nations over time. It is a powerful force not to be overlooked.
Of course though, this is about tabletop role-playing games after all, and this concept applies there quite strongly. You cannot have a role-playing game without some kind of national influence. If your campaign includes even a single person, then that person has come from somewhere, they have some history, some origin. Whether it's as simple as a "Generic fantasy knight" or as complex as "High inquisitor of the grand Nation of Wysteria, may it's light shine forever.".
Even the lacking of a nation can be part of your story. A newly birthed clone has no true parents, no cultural they are inherently a part of, and may even have few or no others like it to share that lonesome existence. In such a case that character is defined by missing a nation all their own. Others may be driven by a rejection of their old life, and may even desire to create a nation all their own. A nation without borders, a free nation. Or perhaps they'd rather make a kingdom, that could also be a fantastic concept for a game.
And there too are many games and stories about the attempt to recover a lost nation, whether figurative or literal. Hidden cities of gold, sunken kingdoms, and striving to make a nation "great" again. Of course these stories rarely end well. A nation is the product of evolution, and evolution doesn't run in reverse.
Stay tuned all this month for more articles about Nations and Nationality! It's gonna be a wild ride.