D&D for NDNs? Could it be?
Native American game reviewer Daniel Starkey’s review of Ehdrigor for influential culture blog BoingBoing presents the new tabletop role-playing game as just that. And what’s more, he says Ehdrigohr is good.
“I’ve seen so many attempts to incorporate Native influences into games fail,” Starkey says. “Ehdrigohr is nothing like those haphazard fumblings.”
Starkey outlines the game thus: “Ehdrigohr starts from the base assumption that there are no colonizers. There are also no dwarves, orcs, elves, or gnomes. It’s a world populated by nine nations of humans, inspired primarily by Native cultures and mythologies. They’ve learned to coexist with spirits and natural forces around them, but must also contend with monstrous creatures called ‘Shivers’ that emerge at night from dark places inside the Earth. It’s a black-and-white mythos that reflects many of the values inherent in Native culture—at least as I’ve experienced it.”
The official description of the game also stresses its differences from the knights-vs-monsters D&D tradition: “Culturally, Ehdrigohr is a non-traditional fantasy world. Rather than fantasy seen through a Euro-Medieval lens, Ehdrigohr is instead crafted to take inspiration from the myth and folklore of tribal, and indigenous, cultures around the world. Though it is a human-centric world, each of the cultures of Ehdrigohr promises to have its own flavor steeped in magic. These are not ‘primitive’ cultures but nations that have chosen their own interesting paths and traditions in their effort to survive the ravenous hordes that come in the night.”
Starkey points out that traditional D&D-type games have an inherent racial bias, something Ehdrigohr avoids. “Dungeons and Dragons may have some Indian-inspired tribes in its expansions,” Starkey explains, “but they are always treated as different or inferior. Indigenous weapons do less inherently damage than an equivalent weapon wielded by a dwarf or elf, not to mention the gross depiction of Natives using primitive clubs. In all cases, we’re treated as intrinsically lesser.”
Here’s a video outlining the game that creator Allen Turner, who is black and Native, prepared for a Kickstarter campaign. For more on Ehdrigohr, visit its official page at Council-of-Fools.com.