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What is Coyote and Crow?

Coyote and Crow is a tabletop roleplaying game. While the initial product will be what is commonly referred to as a ‘core rule book’, the name also refers to a potential line of products that will be in the Coyote and Crow universe. While these may initially be supplemental books to the core rule book, the brand may eventually branch out into card and board games. For now, the focus will be on the core rule book only.

Who will be creating Coyote and Crow and what is the goal?

I am the primary creator of Coyote and Crow. I’m a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, a writer and photographer, and someone with a long history in the board and roleplaying game industry. My goal is to assemble a team of creatives with North American Indigenous identities to add their collective skills and knowledge to this product. This will include writers, artists, graphic designers, editors, and more.

As of this post, I’m currently in talks with an art director, graphic designer and a couple of writers. I’ll make individual announcements as people officially come on board.

The goal of the project is two fold. First, to create a unique, challenging and creative game that can stand out in the current marketplace. It must also show First Nations people in a new, sincere, and non-exploitative light.

The second goal of this project is to connect to new roleplaying audiences, specifically, Native American and Indigenous populations that have been continually underrepresented or misrepresented in western media. While not being exclusionary to non-Indigenous populations, this game should feel as though it is about and for people with First Nations heritage.

What is the world of Coyote and Crow?

The world of Coyote and Crow takes place in the future, but one with a different past than our own. In this alternate world a devastating climate event roughly 100 years before Columbus set sail, changes the course of history. In this world, colonization never happened. The people of the two continents instead went through a period of extreme weather that lasted centuries, causing an entirely different kind of struggle. Temperature changes, war, disease, and migration all took a huge toll on the people of these two continents.

But they also inspired change, adaptation and growth. Slowly but surely, they pulled themselves back from the brink. Eventually, new science, new technologies, and new understandings began to help these fledgling nations begin to flourish. Technology on this world eventually surpassed where we are in our real world today.

Along the way, they began to learn that the strange purple marks that were seen on plants and animals for generations and were originally thought to be a sign that the Great Mother had left them but might one day return, was something much more. Using advanced technologies, they began to harness what was called the Adahnehdi and learned that it truly was a gift to elevate humans.

Now, 700 years later, 12 nations thrive across the two continents and the crowning jewel of the northern continent is the city of Cahokia, a true metropolis, a hub of learning, culture, and diversity. For years, the Earth has been returning to the state it had been in prior to the fateful event. With the seas calming and the ice sheets retreating, and the vastness of the rest of the world before them, the people are starting to wonder what might be out there. What dangers, treasures, knowledge or power might be had beyond the snow and oceans? With the climate no longer a shared threat, alliances are no longer as powerful as they once were and all of the nations are beginning to feel a new tension.

And if that weren’t enough, as the weather has improved, so have reports of people seeing or hearing things that many thought were nothing but the superstitions of their ancestors – spirits, creatures, beings not of this world, moving once again. Are they real or just an expression of the new anxiety people are feeling?

This is the world the players will find themselves in when they play Coyote and Crow.

** Please note that this project is in development and many terms and concepts are not finalized.

Commonly Asked Questions

What does the title Coyote and Crow refer to?

It refers to a story that has become the most common myth among people of the northern continent. The story is about the night before the Awis, the event that changed the world, and how the Great Mother came to Coyote and Crow to give them a mission.

What about appropriation by non-Native players?

While no one can control what end users do with a product, there will be specific instructions and guidance given to Native and non-Native players in the book. In addition, it’s important to remember that the history of our real world diverged from the history of this fictional one more than 700 years ago. Much of what players will experience in this game is entirely speculative, extrapolated from or inspired by total fantasy as much as it is by First Nations history prior to 1400.

Will this be a utopia or idealized world or any variation on the ‘noble savage’ trope?

No. While certain aspects of this world could be considered ‘better’ than our real world, human beings are still human beings. Players will still have to contend with greed, violence, shame, pettiness, power struggles, politics, and all of the other dirt that comes along with living on this planet.

What happened to the rest of the world?

Unlike most other games, certain questions will be not be answered by this book or likely future ones. While this first book will concentrate on Cahokia and the northern part of the northern continent, future books may discuss the central and southern continents. As for Europe, Asia and the rest of the world, that’s not a question that needs to be answered by this book. Instead, that will be up to the individual story tellers to decide.

How will language be handled?

In the game, there will be dozens of languages acknowledged along with a couple of ‘common’ fictional languages that are considered trade or universal languages. The book itself will be written in English with occasional use of various nouns pulled from real First Nations languages, mostly in conjunction with proper nouns. These words will be vetted by native speakers before going to print to ensure proper usage.

Is there real magic in this world?

That’s also a question that is best left to individual story tellers. While the Adahnehdi grants players certain extraordinary abilities, they could be explained by science. As for what lurks out in the darkness, maybe it’s a spirit, or maybe there’s a more simple answer. These kinds of questions will be addressed in detail in the book, but in short, the answers are best left undefined in a rule book.

How will this book be funded and published?

In this current market, the two most obvious paths for publishing are Kickstarter or through an established publisher (who often use Kickstarter themselves). The current plan is to get the project into a presentable state without any crowdfunding, using nothing but personal funds. Once in a presentable state, the game will be shown to a number of suitable publishers on the grounds that the agreement, whatever form it takes, must include only citizens of recognized tribes on the creative team and that I, remain in direct creative control. This is to ensure that any publisher who takes on the project does not reshape it to their own purposes or in any way endangers the integrity of the project.

Art by Jeff Holt – Jeff is not Indigenous and this is placeholder concept art only
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