Vajra Game Graveyard: NativePunk: California

Vajra Game Graveyard is a series of write-ups of games and game settings that we wanted to make, but that (most likely) will never be made.  If you’re reading this and have a strong desire to help one of these dead game ideas become reality, email creative [aht] vajraenterprises [dot] com.

P.S. We don’t use AI generated art in our games, but we have just for the Vajra Game Graveyard series.  You can read more about our position on AI generated art here.

Setting Concept

The world of nativepunk is an alternate history in which the conquering and decimation of indigenous peoples by colonial powers was stymied by the power of native magic.  The effort to colonize the globe is still ongoing, and indigenous peoples are more populous and in charge of much more of the world than they are in the real world.  Gameplay takes place in the state of California, where the majority of the population is native but live under an apartheid-like system of government, suppressed by white colonial powers who fear and have outlawed native magic.


The heroes are native Californians, heirs to warrior and magical traditions, trying to live their lives in spite of, or in opposition to, colonial suppression.  Most characters will have magic powers based on the real-world magical traditions of native peoples from the region, such as the ability to turn into a bear, to control lightning, to control rattlesnakes, etc.


Colonial powers, who want to suppress native peoples and native magic (even while some want to try to learn about and steal native magic).  Various spirits and monsters from native mythology.


Colonialism and the horrors it has visited upon indigenous peoples.  The vibrancy, diversity and wisdom of native cultures.  The reasons and means used to suppress other people’s cultures.


Traditional native styles, decorations and motifs but adapted to a modern, urban culture.  In many ways the world of Nativepunk is a stunted world, still stuck fighting the battles of colonialism, and this is reflected by a 1970s aesthetic and level of technology (even though the game takes place in an alternate modern day).

Research Needed

Native Californian history, cultures and traditional beliefs.  The means used to oppress native peoples in other places (such as South African Apartheid).


In order to make this book, we would have to seek out a co-author who is part of Native Californian culture and who can make sure native peoples and their beliefs are presented accurately and respectfully, and in a way that celebrates rather than fetishizes or alienizes native peoples.  It will be important to give a portrayal of traditional native magical beliefs that does not invent fictional details, but that also doesn’t publish details of closed practices that native peoples would not want published.  Whether or not it’s okay to center fictional gameplay, by a largely non-native audience, around native peoples’ beliefs is a question that will have to grappled with.

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