A new tabletop RPG crowdfunding campaign has gone live. Specifically, an RPG based on the LGBTQ+ super sentai team, Queerz.
For those not aware, Queerz is a manga written by ISA, a Japanese mangaka based out of London. It follows the titular team who use the power of rainbow empathy to transform into color-coded superheroes to combat the authoritative agenda of the Justice Order. Not only do they have to fight the Knights of the Justice Order, tearing apart terrifying constructs made up of physically manifested Ignorance with rainbow-colored lasers, super attacks, and dramatic bouts of teamwork. Following that they are able to reach out to members of the Order in a psychic dimension known as the Inner Space, helping them accept themselves and become friends. On top of that they have to handle civilian life like schoolwork and personal drama.
It is, to quote the creators directly, exuberantly campy and earnest; a slice of superhero fun with a progressive, glittery hope-punk aesthetic. Now thanks to Son of Oak Games, we are getting a Queerz RPG. You can create your own color-coded hero with skills and powers fueled by your own raw passion. You can unlock abilities based on your own interests like dancing, martial arts, science, music, or baking, create your own customizable superpowers and signature moves. All of this is done to help you literally destroy Ignorance. The RPG system will be heavily based on another superhero RPG, City of Mist with its own changes and additions.
While the Queerz RPG draws heavily on LGBTQ+ culture for its characters and world, the campaign does state that you don't need to identify with this community to enjoy this game. Queerz is about people learning to accept themselves and each other. That can be attributed to any number of things, be it the color of your skin, how you see the world, or even what you believe in. If any of that applies, you can suit up and destroy narrow-mindedness with your super sentai might in this RPG. Either way, it is great to see some highly progressive competition for other RPGs on the way.
The stretch goals for the Queerz RPG are extensive. There is a starter box for $35, which will give you Player's Guide, GM Guide, 5 character portfolios (all of which can be written with dry markers), sets of dice, and any stretch goals being added. Following that is the Adventure Box tier for $139, which will include action cards, additional custom dice, a book full of pre-written adventures, a physical printing of the first volume of the Queerz manga, and a limited run enamel pin. Finally, if you really want to burn a hole in your pocket there is the $269 Fabulous Box tier. This includes everything from lower tiers, a Limited Edition Ultimate Rulebook, eight additional Q-Factor Premium Dice, three more enamel pins (that's four total), and a plushie.
Update 9/20/21: We reached out to Steven Pope, one of the lead writers on the project with some questions we had about the Queerz RPG. He was happy to share some insight into the creative process. First, we asked just how much this RPG would take from City of Mist while also doing its own thing. Pope responded, "We have moves like Care and Be Vulnerable, really showcasing a game about making the world a better place. City of Mist is a game about mystery and grit and exploration, while this game is more about teaching, growing, and fighting ignorance. It’s all very idealistic in contrast to the grim (but super fun) world of City of Mist. We also wanted to simplify it a little bit, narrowing down the moves but making sure players still felt like they were really living out those colorful adventures."
Pope then spoke about how the Queerz RPG would try its best to balance civilian hijinx and superhero antics. While there are other systems out there that have taken elements from tokusatsu shows in the past, Pope wanted to be sure the stuff that happened in the classroom were just as intense as staring down the newest big bad.
But arguably the biggest challenge Pope and their team had to face down was making sure the game was an authentic experience where LGBTQ+ people felt respected and included.
The biggest thing we wanted to do was make sure that people felt included and respected. As a gay man, there’s very little more eye-roll inducing than something that claims to be gay but really just plasters rainbows over something decidedly… Not gay. So, we kept it in the family: We had queer designers make queer stories and queer characters and it really respects the player and MC’s intelligence.
We also wanted people who aren’t necessarily part of the LGBTQI+ community to still feel included as well, and that’s why we made The Runway - Which is basically “Hey, the thing that makes you more connected to the world around you and makes the world suck less.”
I guess the biggest hurdle, though, was adapting the idea of Ignorance. It was important to avoid an us-vs-them mentality and also show that everyone can have blind spots they need to work on and understand — even the good guys! It’s hard to gamify such a heady concept but I really think we pulled it off.
The Kickstarter campaign for the Queerz RPG will conclude on October 13, 2021. The game's expected to reach backers in September 2022. If you are curious as to how the RPG itself plays, you can watch the one-shot played by the gang at HyperRPG right here.