The Place of Sport in These Our Empires

In a thread about the media, Luke wrote:

All sport is war, all media is propaganda and all science is history.

I understand the second and third ones instantly, but the first needs more explanation. Especially given the character in my game who’s primarily defined as a heroic football player.

Perhaps I should have suspected the concept was not fully supported by the setting he tried to take an Acrobat lifepath while claiming that he had not, in fact, ever been an acrobat. But this is all spilled milk.

Let’s assume that I already know the degree to which a setting can be plastic under the loving attention of a gaming group. Assume further that I understand that players have investment in their character concepts it would behoove me to support, whether your honest opinions and advice suggest it or not. Assume even further that I do not consider being told that I’m wrong a personal attack. Just tell me what’s wrong with the picture. Should the football be far in the distance or backstory? Should it be made entirely figurative, a tenor to the characters martial skills that only modern humans of Earth, USA recognize as Uplifting Sports Saga?

Our take is that sport is simply a sublimation of war. Football is a way of expressing our warlike impulses without actually engaging in war.

In the era of the Iron Empires, people express their warlike impulses by engaging in war.

Likewise, the concept of celebrity is a form of propaganda - and supported by the propaganda rules in the game. They can cover the epic rise and fall of a heroic warrior-athelete or any other form of celebrity.

Our first playtest campaign focused on high powered Mafia lawyer, a jet-setting merchant propagandist, a lord-pilot police inspector, and an exiled kernn general reluctantly turned digital movie star (as a means of propaganda).

So all of these “contemporary” ideas and identities informed the lifepaths that ended up in BE, and still focused on the conflicts and power struggles between factions of our Infiltration level game.

In the era of the Iron Empires, people express their warlike impulses by engaging in war.

Or in war-sports like tournaments, gladiatorial combat, public executions, cat killing, etc…

There’s an example of medieval sport in A Distant Mirror that consists of nailing a cat to a post and beating it to death with your forehead. The trick is to kill it before it scratches one of your eyes out.

Film at 11!


Well, when you put it that way, how can I say no?

Honestly, I like that. I’ll see how I can apply this to our shared conception of the planet.

Mtiru, that’s a good call. A degree of flexibility allows a great deal of concept to stick with your character through burning. I just spoke to the player recently, and we managed to prefigure your advice; Now we’re thinking he’s a soldier who is an object of his Commune’s Disney-Sports-Movie-Like propaganda. Knight’s Tale meets Enemy at the Gates.

Haw! Football’s fer pansies!

Gosh, a designer and the writer! I feel so loved! Thanks for your responses, and congratulations on the latest in two separate lists of great work!