While Huldufólk explores the themes of good and evil, there are limits to the evil this game comfortably explores. Therefore, the following themes are not part of this game:
- Sexual violence (including coercion or anything other than enthusiastic consent)
- Domestic violence or abuse
- Discrimination in any form, including based on gender, sexual orientation, race, or religion. Wars which are only tacitly over religion, such as the crusades, are certainly an exception, but genocide is not, nor is slavery.
There are a number of reasons Huldufólk steers clears of these themes, and they include:
- While certain Huldufólk characters can be written with dark themes, the inclusion of these specific elements would make the game far darker than Huldufólk’s intended tone.
- We believe that these themes can only be handled respectfully in a game that is geared around grappling them delicately and directly, and that is not the focus of our game.
- We do not want to provide a space where real life monsters can roleplay out their fantasies, or find a place where they can roleplay their true ideals under the guise of fantasy. We do not want monsters in the real world to pick up this game and find vindication within its pages.
In no way is this book saying these problems don’t exist in the world, both the real world and the world of Huldufólk. We’re instead saying these themes are not part of the game. They do not come up in game, in character backstories or histories, in metaplot, faction plot, or personal plot, in Canon NPCs, or any NPCs at all.
If you’re wondering why these themes are omitted, consider the following scenario:
A local bar has a patron who is drugging girls’ drinks, and then trying to bring the girls home with him. If you’re on the Blessed’s side, there are a number of ways you might interfere with this. A Friend of God might make sure the girl has a friend there to interfere at just the right time. A Bringer of Fire might have the bar add color changing straws which warn when a drink has been drugged. A Redeemer might kill the perpetrator while he’s shaving in the shower. From the Good Guy’s side, it can be an awkward but interesting situation to engage with, almost cathartic for some players. But from the Banished’s side … do you really want to see what an evil character would do to make the situation worse? Do you really want players’ characters fighting in game over whether the antagonist successfully takes ones of those girls home with them? Now, consider where the story goes if we have the Huldufólk interfering with the Nazis in World War II, or handling a drunk, abusive parent. It’s a place we don’t want our game to tread.
If you are running Huldufólk for a table top group, we ask that if you choose to delve into any of these themes, you do so like a chef adding ghost pepper to their dish: with extreme care and prudence. If you are running Huldufólk as a LARP, we ask you to steer clear of these themes altogether, and make sure your players do the same. In a game that pits good vs evil, encouraging Banished characters to make the world worse and thwart the Blessed’s best efforts, there are certain forms of evil that are best left outside the game.
Huldufolk follows the Olivia Hill rule:
If you’re a fascist, you’re not welcome to play this game. It’s against the rules. If you’re reading this and thinking, “You just call everyone you disagree with a fascist,” then you’re probably a fascist, or incapable of drawing inferences from context and acknowledging a dangerous political climate that causes the oppressed to be hyperbolic. Don’t play this game. Heal yourself. Grow. Learn. Watch some Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood or something.
(The Olivia Hill Rule is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 license and is by Machine Age Productions.)
Note that as you read through Huldufolk: there is no fascist faction. There’s no group advocating for “pure” Huldufolk, and that’s not even a thing possible in the setting. There’s no “mudbloods”, no one despises humans. There’s no need for even fantasy fascism or racism. The closest Huldufolk is willing to tread is Classism based on upbringing (see The Stolen), and even that is with a critical eye and not aspirational. The takeaway should be: if you or your Storyteller runs something with a Fascist theme, they’re breaking the rules.