From Daniel D. Fox and Richard Iorio:
Our modern concept of race, indicating a division of humanity and a collection of cultural and physical traits, began during the Age of Enlightenment. It was made readily apparent as European powers began colonizing the New World. Even while debates centering around the justification for rebelling against Britain were made, those debates failed to encompass the concept of freedom of rights for all. Slavery took many abhorrent shapes; the colonization of Native lands, and through institutionalized enslavement of Native Americans and Africans. Although many Europeans found slavery incompatible with the moral beliefs of Christianity at the time, slavery as a practice remained prominent in some parts of the world. The concept of race and racism was born from prejudices and ideas about other people, and foisted upon those who did not match European physical, intellectual, economic and spiritual identities. In truth, the ideas of race itself was unusual from the perspective of Europeans; to them, there were only Christians, and those who did not conform to their faith were heathens or savages. But, as economic interests deepened and the Thirteen Colonies grew to prominence in the New World, a level of economic stratification and codification of racism was established. It goes without saying that racism was given legitimacy by legal force in the Colonies to subjugate Africans and Native Americans.
Slavery in Colonial America is an incredibly complex topic. Save for the Iberian Kingdoms, institutionalized slavery was not prominent in early modern England. Integration and interracial marriage wasn’t uncommon by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, as time marched forward and the lines became blurred between Christian and ‘heathen’ through marriage, it caused the Europeans (most prominently started in the Caribbean by the Barbadians) to distinguish between those who are free, and those who are slaves. This would be realized in the Thirteen Colonies by Virginians of Chesapeake, who passed draconian laws to distinguish between Christian or heathen, and freeman or servant. This definition was extended to clearly define what it means to be white, black or mulatto – using terms that causes our modern minds to reel. Furthermore, as the institution of slavery would slowly be banned in the northern Colonies, it became more entrenched in the southern colonies as the need of labor grew (eventually culminating into the Civil War).
While race is an incredibly important discussion, and has real-world implications, the scope and complexity of this debate is not the focus of COLONIAL GOTHIC. You will certainly read stories of free born Africans, former indentured servants and Native Americans; we will not attempt to sugarcoat or camouflage the realities of the Thirteen Colonies. To ignore history does no honor to those who suffered and perished due to deeply-troubling and complex institutions of the early modern world. That being said, this is not a game where you will acquire slaves and raise plantations; this is a game where the downtrodden arise to become active participants in a hidden war whose roots lie deeply in a time before the first European stepped ashore on the New World. This is a game where you play an agent fighting against supernatural powers who mean harm to every woman, man and child. It is also a game where you’ll blaze your own path in a New World, free from the outdated thinking of the old. While you may very well play in a game against historical institutions that did not apply the same rights to all, the game, at the end of the day, is just a game. COLONIAL GOTHIC is not meant to be 100% historical accurate, but it does not mean that history does not inform this game.
In summary, you will never be forced to take part in uncomfortable situations in COLONIAL GOTHIC. Your GM and the gaming group should have a discussion prior to playing to achieve unanimous consent on what topics are ill-suited for your game table.
Finally, although the topics covered in COLONIAL GOTHIC may be grim & perilous, this game in no way, shape or form supports or condones racism of any kind.