In my previous post, I was describing two "magic systems" for a generic game engine.
One more unique system talked about "demons." Despite having a more interesting mechanic,
I thought I bet many people will find this a little odd - if I renamed this mechanic people would respond better and Even though the concept can use any mini, from any era, it'll be regarded as niche.
The other "psychic powers" was very mainstream. I thought: I suspect people will respond more positively, even though it is a more generic, boring system, pigeonholed in the modern/sci fi periods.
That inspired this train-of-thought post....
But why? Is mentioning angels and demons so odd?
I find it interesting how I rarely see recognizably Judeo-Christian material used as wargame background, in a coherent manner.
Let's consider religion/deities in wargaming.
Norse gods? By the bucketload.
Greek gods and demigods? Absolutely.
Celtic gods & myths? Represent.
Egyptian gods? Sure. Set and Anubis say hi.
Even recently invented, less-mainstream deities are popular. I bet a surprising amount of readers could quickly identify "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn"* (*an obsession I've never really 'gotten' - I must not be one of the cool kids)
Wargamers have a history of reusing complete belief systems, legends and pantheons of gods for background, often with only minor alterations.
But anything with clear coherent Jewish or Christian links is conspicuous by its absence. Angels, demons, "faith" power - yes, as part of other, generic systems, but rarely in concert as a specific background. I'm wondering - is it because has links to an active faith? But everyone likes psychic or paranormal powers - and that's something many people actively believe in. Wiccans don't make people uncomfortable about magic. People wargame religious wars (even recent/active ones) all the time.
The Judeo-Christian writings and folklore have an impressive array of material. I doubt it is because it lacks interesting content. I mean we have:
The ultimate "dark lord" who fell from grace to become the archenemy of mankind (no, it's not Horus)
"Fallen" angels (who secretly manipulate humanity, MJ12-style?), who have specialist powers
"Demons" who can possess and control like puppets, as well as buff/debuff
"Nephilim" - halfbreed demigods (Hercules wannabes or link with Nazi experiments)
"Golems" - relentless clay 'robots' - before Warmachine
"Miracles" - a fully fleshed out "magic" system with a myriad of examples
The materials could be set in any period. Here's a few random samples: modern times, as secret war (think the later seasons of Supernatural), or a spin-off of Weird War 2 (nephilim, Hellboy-esque Nazi experiments), 16th Century Prague (alchemists, rabbis and golems) or simply ancients wargaming with supernatural elements using a less mainstream magic system.
It's like games are willing to use one or two bits and pieces, perhaps renaming them, but not to use them in recognizable quantity, unlike the ubiquitous not-Celtic or not-Norse settings/factions that litter every fantasy wargame ever.
The only example I can think of is the now-defunct West Wind Game "Lucifer's War." Remember how popular that was? Me neither. (Actually that's not a fair example - the minis are pretty awful looking so I can't imagine them being a big draw)
Even straight Biblical historicals aren't heavily represented. WW2. Napoleonics. Medieval. Dark Ages. Biblical? It's can't be the rather lame sandals everyone wore then because Greek and Roman minis are relatively popular in comparison. I always raise my eyebrows when I see the Biblical armies painted in blogs as they are so rare and unusual. It just seems surprising that the world's most popular book, chock full of ancients battles, barely gets a look in. I mean, when do you expect to see Perry Miniatures or Wargames Factory bringing out Philistine spearmen plastics in 28mm?
Although perhaps being overhauled in recent years, the concepts of angels and demons and miracles are at least as rooted in Western culture as vampires and werewolves (though perhaps not zombies for the current generation - my goodness that's an over-used genre!) and certainly far more than random Norse gods.
To reiterate the topic - (and keep any replies focussed) -
Q1: Do you think Judeo-Christian myths/folklore/call-it-what-you-want, are under-represented in wargaming?
Q2: Why do you think this is?
A related, wider question is
Q3: What other myths/legends/folklore/beliefs/religions/historic races/time periods are under-represented in gaming, that would make great gaming backgrounds?