Saturday, April 16, 2011

O is For Occuptation (Military)

In the year 2011, the United States is still in a military occupation of Afghanistan. This has been the case for many years. However, this blog is not for a political conference, merely the introduction of what military occupation is about.

In a fantasy game, many races are conquerors and masters of the world, or the near world, at various points of time. In many fantasy genre based games, it often starts off with some type of lizard man or proto-lizard man like race, giving way perhaps to the dragons, then the elves and dwarves, and finally man. In Michael Moorcock's series about Elric, Elric's own people ruled the entire world at one point.  In the Palladium Fantasy system, the ancient times were ruled over by the Old Ones, the Palladium version of the Cthulhu mythos.

In such times, its easy to imagine cities becoming occupied by non-natives and using their strength of arms to crush any resistance. Depending on the nature of the campaign, it could go a few ways.

In the first, the players are actually part of the invading force. They could see themselves as the good guys, people just doing their jobs or part of an evil empire on the expansion. Their jobs would be to stop smuggling, smash rebel cells, and quell resistance through any means necessary. Depending on their own nature, the game could have heroic overtones. The players are in a monstrous community that has committed abominable acts against the players homeland and the players are not leaving till the monsters ability to inflict such carnage is completely destroyed.

The players could be 'simple' soldiers just there doing a job. Depending on the length of time they're in this foreign city, they may develop friends and allies among the natives. It worked well enough in Good Morning Vietnam right? Of course in such instances, the players may have rivalries and hatreds in their own side such as seen in movies like Casualties of War and Platoon, where their own side has its own monsters.

On the other hand, the players could be the locals under invasion from outside sources. Once again, depending on the nature of the players, the game play could follow various patterns of either heroic resistance or monstrous retaliation. For example, the players may be smuggling medical supplies to help their people out. On the other hand, they could be smuggling spell components of such a horrific nature, that their very existence is damning to peace.

The players could be resistance fighters who specialize in burning down military bases and snipping high ranking leaders. They could be opportunist that seek to rebuild the country in their own image, trying to control the ebb and flow of hatred against the outsiders and pushing their own agenda upon their people.

In circumstances where foreign powers are involved, the natives don't necessarily all band together. Various differences such as religion and clannish behavior, can easily lead to schisms that the oppressors can take advantage of. Indeed, in some cases, the only source of food and shelter may be the oppressors as everything else has fallen to ruin under the onslaught of war.

Military occupation may not be for everyone, but it is something that has happened for thousands of years and is a rich source of story potential.