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While we embrace the aesthetics of several sub-genres of fantasy fiction, including High Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror, Pirates, and Steampunk, there is really an overall genre that is the breath and the life of everything we put out on the internet. That’s the relatively new idea of Hopepunk.
“The opposite of grimdark is hopepunk,” declared Alexandra Rowland, a Massachusetts writer, in a two-sentence Tumblr post in July 2017. “Pass it on.”
So that’s the #1 objective of The Rogue Crusade, passing on the following idea, in Rowland’s own words:
“Hopepunk says that genuinely and sincerely caring about something, anything, requires bravery and strength. Hopepunk isn’t ever about submission or acceptance: It’s about standing up and fighting for what you believe in. It’s about standing up for other people. It’s about DEMANDING a better, kinder world, and truly believing that we can get there if we care about each other as hard as we possibly can, with every drop of power in our little hearts.”
Every good story has layers of meaning. Like an onion. Or a parfait. There is the literal story on the surface, and the deeper tale that tells us something about ourselves. Hopepunk is our ultimate message. Being recklessly and rebelliously kind. It cares about your religion, race, or background, as much as the fantasy worlds we dive into care. Jess frequently says that the Gospel Jesus was Hopepunk Bard. You can believe what you like. Either way:
“Hopepunk is a radical call to arms for us to imagine better,” Andrew Slack, creator of the non-profit Harry Potter Alliance, said. “To embrace the fact that fantasy is not simply an escape from the world but an invitation to go deeper into it. That we must fall in love with the world that we so deeply wish to change.”
That’s the driving force to do what we’re doing. To make a difference by bringing form, function, and fantasy to every day life. Making things we use every day a little more magical through storytelling. True Celtic Bard storytelling, where holding a journal “forged in dragon fire” and keeping a sparkling “potion” bottle on your windowsill with your favorite scent awakens some secret part of you that you may not even be consciously aware of. Like Dumbo’s magic feather, some secret part of you that gives you the strength to do the next right thing, to face the monsters of the real world and get that XP.
We all have skills, feats, and abilities that make up our character. Let’s use them to make the world a better place.
We're pretty excited about this newest invention of our crew, because it's exactly the word for everything we make.
We pull ideas and intentions from the Aether and bring them to life using a combination of Tinkering, Coding, Lasers, Stitching, Chemicals, and Electricity. We use real, tactile, natural materials to create one-of-a-kind wondrous items. This combination of using the technical tools available to us to bring ideas from pixels to reality is at the core of all of our work.
We're working on changing our relationship with tech, our chief makers all being of the Millennial generation that remembers what it was like to run barefoot in creeks at the base of wooded hillsides while fully embracing technology as it came. We believe we can do lots of little things to have our Tech become a sort of companion, rather than a master of our attention and time, and that's also part of Aethercraft magic.
We're still working out exactly what this means for all of us, but we do know that we're all about breaking boundaries and embracing each other's differences. Aethercraft at the story level immediately breaks the boundary between medieval fantasy and victorian steampunk, learning daily magics from around the world and all walks of life, and telling tales of Faeries and Dragons and Dryads alongside Alchemy and Artifice and Robots as we learn from the Trees and Stars.
The art of our makers is about to take a deeper, more introspective turn as we explore our individual spiritualities in our work. Aethercraft & Hopepunk embody this too. Our love for each other is not diminished by our differing points of view, as we are a very diverse group of beliefs who have come together under these overarching ideals and methods of hope, crafting, and making a difference.
Humans run in packs, crews, parties, and ohanas, and the Crew of the Rogue Crusade has come together through these things that have become our mission in the last few years, in addition to our general love of storytelling and gameplay.
We're a pretty accepting bunch no matter what religious, social, political, or personal labels you don as part of your character sheet, let alone the physical characteristics you were born with. The only thing we hate is hate.
IT TAKES ALL KINDS TO MAKE A BALANCED PARTY. If the Rogue Assassin and Holy Paladin can put aside their differences and work together to fight a common enemy, we believe everyone can come together to make this world a better place for future generations.
So if you are of the persuasion to attack any of our crew for any of their beliefs from the Conservative Christian to the Agnostic Witch or anyone in between, let alone any one of our crew's (or anyone's) individual heritages or life experiences, we understand that our craft is not for you, and encourage you to spend your money elsewhere.
Otherwise, we look forward to meeting you and your own adventuring party as we all go through this Quest called Life together.