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What We Played: The Colonization of the New World (Microscope)

Mark E. Phair
markephair
Seattle, WA
Post #: 1
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“It’s like the Boston Tea party, but with dead bodies instead of tea.” (Pat, said of The “Homeward March” incident)
Historians: Mark, Pat, Sev
Yes: genocide
No: magic, air travel, non-human sapiens, non-earth creatures
Focuses: flora trade, Shelia Neki, Korian Imperialism, the Old World P’Troṋĉans (peh-trong-hchans)
Legacies: Black Fern (Pat, then Mark), The Alea (Mark), “Homeward March” (Sev), P’Troṋĉan and Korian Relations (Pat)

The story of the colonization of the land that would become Nida is as much about Old World politics as it is about what happened there, in what for many years was simply called the New World. As far as we know, the P’Troṋĉans were the first of the Old World explorers to visit. Hoping to curry favor with their much more powerful homeland neighbors, the Empire of Koria, they quickly shared the newfound route as a show of good faith. It is not clear whether they expected what happened next, but many historians agree that they should have, either way. Nobleman Trok had no sooner made first contact for the Korian Empire when he waged war against the native Zamians, setting a precedent in native/Korian relations. The P’Troṋĉans, ever more mercantile than warlike, settled in less-habited or even uninhabited areas, like the famous story of “ĉloĉ the peasant” who settled in the south (although his untimely crushing in his own poorly-constructed trading post whilst bragging about his construction prowess would eventually become little more than a darkly humorous punchline).

The first real well-known native was the Alean Shelia Neki (born Shelia Omasis), who, like her father, became a military thorn in the Korian’s side. Her father was attacked by Korians on the day of her birth, and he consented that she be secreted into the care of a friendly mayor of a nearby P’Troṋĉan settlement under the condition that she would be raised in such a way that she could and would avenge him. She grew up with a fiery hatred for the Korians, which, along with her exploits (such as the sacking of the coastal Korian city of New Krosa), earned her the nickname “Cutthroat” Neki. The mystery of her fostering was uncovered and revealed many years later by a Korian historian, which was used as the long-awaited Korian excuse to invade and destroy the P’Troṋĉans. Her legacy extended even further than that, though, as Neki City’s eventual rise to global prominence demonstrates.

Her Alea tribe shaped global history, despite the fact that the last known member died during the period marking the destruction of the Fareastern Forest. Their religious use of the psychoactive derivative of the blackfern plant, colloquially known as “tar,” was not just an early trading item, but also the source of both dismay and riches for Old World governments. The Korian Trok family, in particular, had to be bribed with Zamian water rights during The Water Wars to allow the passage of treaties banning blackfern, because of their massive plantation holdings. Perhaps their biggest legacy is their shamanistic religion, which eventually became one of the “Big 5” in the world, displacing Spothism; of course, some would argue that its adherents’ zeal is only because of the ties to blackfern.

It is unknown how much Alean blood was in the veins of the rebels who initiated the war of Nida Independence with the so-called “Homeward March” incident, but it is clear that their spirit was with them. In this bloody affair, shiploads of freshly-arrived Korian soldiers were attacked and killed, and sent back to the Old World on the same ships they came on, piloted by the few crewmen left alive. This was so emblazoned on the psyches of the Korians that it prompted one commando group to rename themselves in remembrance of it; from an historical perspective, is it at all surprising that the commando group was ultimately slaughtered?

It is unfortunate that so much of our understanding of native Nidan culture is framed by their relationship to the Old World. It is clear, at least to this historian, that more work needs to be done to uncover more of their pre-contact history.
Pat
user 8415259
Seattle, WA
Post #: 33
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Nice write-up, Mark!

I had a lot of fun with this game. I'd been wanting to do a Microscope game more grounded in reality (as much as I love a good techno-priest uprising), and Mark and Sev were kind enough to oblige me.

We all commented how tricky it was not to have our history parallel America's colonization too closely, but I feel like we ended up with a unique history after all.

I loved the tense scene with Chief Omasis (played by me) and the P’Troṋĉans mayor (played by Mark) in the tent with the chief's daughter being born while a Korian regiment was closing in on them. Mark did a great job as the mayor imploring the chief to let him help, somehow. Plus, the scene tied in as an excellent origin story for what made Neki so darn cutthroat.

Great game, guys!

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