|Role-Playing In The Land Of Oz|
By Adam Reeve
I will attempt to confine my remarks to matters relevant to role-playing and (to me) obvious errors made by overseas acquaintances and friends. I'll fail, but at least I'll try.
The main misconceptions about Australia are:
1. That all Australia is like Ramsey Street from Neighbours;
2. That we all live in the bush with Skippy;
3. That we are all beer-gutted, beer-swilling, raucous rednecks;
4. That everybody lives within 5 minutes of the beach;
5. That outback Australia is populated largely by crocodile-wrestling fools and mystical aboriginals cheerfully living without material possessions and dispensing wisdom to passers-by;
6. That Australia is populated entirely with criminals.
Ramsey Street is not Australia. There are bits of Australia that look like that, in the nicer suburbs of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. I have yet to meet a street full of such saccharine-filled, well-spoken, clean-cut, ... well you get the idea.
At the other end of the scale, Australia is not like a big stretch of eucalyptus bushland with a koala in every tree and a kangaroo in every kitchen. Duh. Like every other country in the world we have confined the tattered remains of our untouched bushlands to reserves, except for the bits where there's nothing to cut down, dig up, or build with a view of.
We DO drink beer. We are human after all. Some of us are pretty damn good at it. Also, since our beer is for the most part a big improvement on foreign beer, (hides behind his computer) - well skip that. Drinking beer is an Aussie tradition as it is in many hot countries inhabited by westerners, because after working all day in the hot sun a cold beer is just what the doctor ordered. Ask any Egyptologist.
And Australians tolerate differing points of view. Really. Which means we tolerate people who espouse not tolerating other people. Got it?
Rural Australia is largely populated by rural Australians who are just like everyone else except that they wear a lot more rabbit-fur-felt hats and are very independent-minded (which is how you get when it's a two-hour drive to the front gate from the house). Croc-wrestling morons do exist but jungle law keeps their numbers down. Most Aboriginals who live in rural areas are regular people, whether they're dirt-poor and living on the missions, or living traditional style, or whatever. A lot live in their own communities, and they speak a bit differently.
OK, having got all that off my chest, I've decided to include a little general background which might be useful for gamemasters planning to set adventures in Australia, but who feel a bit lost as to what it's like there.
Geography & Wildlife...
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Copyright © 1999 Adam Reeve