- Using whatever strength I had left, I pulled off the covers, and reached for the pendant I had hung on one antenna of the television.
- “Please come with me, Dusty,” I asked of him. “I have to go save the world again.”
- — Sailor Nothing
No matter how old we may be now, all of us were once young. The world was unexplored and exciting, full of possibility. What we lacked in experience and wisdom, we made up for in possibility and enthusiasm. We dreamed of fame, fortune, wealth, glory, respect. We wanted to be astronauts, cowboys, firemen, doctors, singers, rock stars, or all of the above at once. After all, we didn't know what was possible – and that meant ANYTHING was possible. We looked at the world through guileless eyes, felt it as fully and intensely as anyone ever could. When we came to a new idea, we embraced it zealously and whole-heartedly, convinced we'd found the secret that would change the world. When we loved, we were convinced it was the most passionate ever felt; when we hurt, we thought it was a tragedy the likes of which had never been seen. We were convinced that we had the whole thing figured out, that we could make everything perfect if we just had a chance, if the grown-ups would just listen. After all, we could do anything if we put our mind to it. We were fearless. We couldn't wait to grow up so we could grab life by the horns.
And as we mature, we realize the follies of our youth. We learn that our love and pain are not unique, that everyone in the world has gone through the same; this was comforting, but it was also disappointing. We found out that there are no more cowboys, that we didn't have the money or determination for medical school, that we couldn't pass the physical to be an astronaut or that becoming a famous musician is just a matter of luck and we'd probably have to get a job doing something boring, even worse, something LAME. We learned that growing up isn't about suddenly being able to do everything you ever wanted; it's mostly about learning how stupid you were when you were young. We learned from our mistakes and shook our heads, wondering how we could ever be dumb enough to make them in the first place. Our potential was replaced with reality. We found out that no, life wasn't going to be an open book for us. We become jaded, we figure out we're not that special, that the things we love aren't really the best things in the universe, that our fresh new ideas had been tried before a thousand times. Our fearlessness turned out to be recklessness, so we cast it aside. We weren't going to change the world, we were just going to live in it.
Yet even after learning this, we still long for the fire and passion of our youths. Yes, we know that we're not that special and yes, we know the things we believed were silly... but wouldn't it be nice if they weren't? The promises of our youth could never be fulfilled... but it still felt good to think they could, right?
They can. We didn't get wiser when we grew up, we just became more cynical. We weren't stupid back then, and our greatest mistake, our only mistake, was telling ourselves that we were. We stopped putting all of our selves into everything we did because we became too afraid of failing, of letting ourselves get hurt by the effort. So we told ourselves that trying was silly. We abandoned the dreams we had rather than see them fail. We gave in to our fears.
And now it's time to overcome them.
A Game Of Fighting Fear Edit
Princess: The Hopeful is a game about the promises of our youth fulfilled, inspired by the “maho shoujo” or “magical girl” genre of Japanese anime and manga. Princes and Princesses are those who haven't given in to that fear of inadequacy and failure. They come from a world unlike the World of Darkness, a better world, a kinder world, a just world. They come from the world we all wished we could make before we knew it was impossible – and they seek to prove us wrong. A better world wasn't impossible, and it still isn't. As a Princess, power isn't a gift to you, it's a responsibility.
You can fix problems... There's too much we just resign ourselves to. We say, "That's just the way it is," and live with the pain. You don't have to. You can do things, real things, to solve people's problems. You don't have to feel frustrated. You can be their white knight against the cruel world. Few people have the power to do this and the chance to see the world work the way we think it should is too tempting to pass up.
But some problems don't want to be fixed. Life is a Gordian knot. There's not always an easy way to do things, even against apparently supernatural threats. People are complicated and confused. They will often act against their best interests without thinking. Many insist on the Status Quo because they know how to live with the Status Quo, and something new makes all of their supposed wisdom worthless.
Because doing good can be terrifying. An angel is another kind of monster. Those who do what they believe is right, relentlessly, unapologetic, frequently frightening those around them. It's understandable -- you have power and they don't. No matter how kind you try and be, you're taking the decision out of their hands. Not everybody will be thankful. Many will try to destroy you or chain you down. They might be right. They might be wrong. To act, you need the resolution to decide what is what and many will call that inhuman.
And sometimes the good guys can't win. You're powerful, but you aren't all powerful. You can't be every where at once. You can't account for simple bad luck. No matter how much you want to believe otherwise, you can and will fail. People will die. People will suffer. And because you're in the thick of it, you're going to feel their pain worse than if you stayed at home and turned on the TV. Doing the right thing can be a trial without end.
But you can't walk away. Because sometimes they do. Blissful ignorance is no longer an option. You can't hide behind the excuse that there's nothing you can do. And sensitive to the hearts of others, you can't shut out their pain -- or their joy. Those rare moments of beauty and happiness are what make the fight worth it. You need to protect that, because without those occasions of hope, life is not worth living. Once your eyes are open to that fact, it's hard to shut them again.
Sometimes you find rewards where you weren't looking for. Sometimes you find enemies where you didn't expect them. The world will never be the same after you. You are going to change things, even if you're too small for the cosmos to notice just yet. You're a force of chaos, shaking people from the sleep they've been in. Once you start performing your little miracles, people will take notice. Living with and for others means you can't always be discreet. You're different. You're not playing by the rules anymore. You're laying down new rules and once people understand them, they'll try and exploit them, like they did with the old rules. You are a revolutionary force.
You'll just have to find out for yourself. In the end, a world of darkness is a world of possibilities. Many of them are not pleasant -- we've spent millennia creating societies of light expressly out of fear of them. Under the blanket of night lies an undiscovered country. It might be empty, waiting for you to build your own palaces. It might be flush with danger, patiently lying just out of sight. And it might be hiding the very treasures we've thought were impossible. The darkness, the shadows, the occult -- it is like Pandora's Box. In it might lay evils we can't imagine. But slam the lid too fast and you lock away Hope forever.
Theme: Fighting FearEdit
Princess is a game about making a difference. A Princess can defeat the monster, she can win the election and start instituting reforms, she can rescue the cute boy. However to do it she’s going to have to face her fears. The monster isn’t a harmless creature from a Saturday morning cartoon: Death is a real possibility, serious injuries are likely, nightmares are almost inevitable. The election isn’t won with a short speech about hope, it’s a dirty campaign where her good name is viciously dragged through the mud. Sometimes the hardest part about being a hero is just ignoring how embarrassing it is to stand up for what you believe in when everyone says you're wrong. A Princess can save the day, but she’s probably going to have to stare down her own nightmares to do it.
Sure you can solve one problem, but can you solve all of them? Can you find the energy to run for mayor, mentor the people who need it and spend all night fighting monsters? When will you sleep, and when will you have room for some desperately needed me time to think about your own problems? A Princess’ magic makes her feel like every problem in the world is her personal responsibility, it’s an impossible burden that will wear her mental, physical and even emotional stamina to nothing. The only way she can survive is if she can find friends to support her and allies to share the load.
Next: Light and Dark