Saturday, September 24, 2016

Notes Towards "Los Enmascarados: Masked Heroes of Old Mexico"

A Nearly two years ago, I wrote an article for Savage Insider Vol. 2, Issue 2 called "Character Gallery: La Pantera" in which I created a Zorro-style heroine and her supporting cast. Earlier this month, Robin and I were at a loss for what to do for our weekday night duet game, so we pulled that character out of mothballs. It was kind of shaky at first -- I've wanted to run a proper Zorro-style game for ages and had a bit of stage fright -- but it's gotten much better and it's gotten me thinking again about writing a Zorroesque Savage Worlds supplement. Since I'm still deep in The King is Dead, I'm just going to jot down some of the things I've been thinking and put them someplace I know I'm not going to lose them: here on the blog.
  • For a title, I'm thinking Los Enmascarados: Heroes of Old Mexico (or maybe Masked Heroes of Old Mexico). Even though he doesn't state a year outright in the original Zorro novella The Curse of Capistrano, it takes five minutes reading a Wikipedia article on Californian history to realize the Zorro stories are set after Mexican independence, not the Spanish colonial period. Frankly, I grew up with a lot of racist assumptions about Mexico that were partially fostered by Hollywood affiliating Zorro with Spain instead of his true homeland, so I'd like to do what I can to correct that.
  • "Enmascarado" itself is a term I've lifted from lucha libre, but it basically just means "masked man." It's appropriate and helps suggest a history that runs from Zorro to El Santo (or, perhaps, from the Scarlet Pimpernel by way of the Napoleonic Wars to Don Q and then Zorro).
  • Hey! I found the art from the cover of the Time-Life Old West book The Spanish West! It and many of the other indelible paintings of Californio vaqueros are by an obscure British painter named James Alexander Walker, so they're free for use as public domain art.
  • The Vaquero
  • The Enmascarado
Please note that I do not have a proper drawing tablet.

  • Technically, the The Curse of Capistrano is out of copyright, but Zorro Productions, Inc. can be… contentious… when enforcing their dubious trademark. While I would love to contribute directly to the legacy of one of my favorite fictional characters – especially if ZPI is willing to give access to art resources and the like – I worry that the licensing costs would be more than the book would be worth. So, unless PEG or somebody else with deeper wallets comes forward to finance this thing, that means no direct references to Zorro in the book. Should I write ZPI anyway? (Probably not.)
  • Honestly, I’d prefer to some degree to do an off-model homage because I want to directly contradict the subtle racism of the usual “Spanish California” mythical setting and also because not having the real Zorro in the setting would let the player characters be more important.
  • I’ve got ideas both for how to run solo hero campaigns (start at Legendary) and group campaigns (share the masked identity between different heroes, like in some Republic serials or Team America). Heck, I’ve even got some half-formed ideas on adding horror and fantasy elements (Aztec, Mayan, and other indigenous mythology, were-creatures, etc.).
  • I can’t see this one having a Plot Point campaign, but it would have extensive adventure generators and overviews of the different regions of Mexico. Maybe 30 - 50 pages total? $3.99 price point (same as a comic book these days)?
  • I wonder if I could arrange some kind of cross-promotion with Finger and Toe Models. They've got a line of "Adobeville" models.
  • Heck, I wonder if I can reuse any of the La Pantera material. I need to ask. The history of the Yucatan is fascinating. 

I'll probably keep adding notes to this as I think of things. I know it's weird, but I do some of my best thinking in public.



EDIT: 
  • Mexican landscape artists whose work might be useful:

1 comment:

  1. Very cool! Are you familiar with the cultural influence of the novel Ramona? You might add it to your reading list if you want to punch up the Mexican-Californian feel even more. As Wikipedia puts it: "The novel's influence on the culture and image of Southern California was considerable. Its sentimental portrayal of Mexican colonial life contributed to establishing a unique cultural identity for the region."

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