I've been reading Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration by Felipe Fernandez-Arnesto recently. It's an excellent overview of human explorers from prehistoric times to the current day, with the bulk naturally focused on the Iberian voyages of the 15th and 16th centuries, though I confess to a slight irritation at the author. (Fernandez-Arnesto believes that it was the poverty of Western Europe, especially Iberia, which caused the burst in exploration and colonisation - not technological advances - and that this is generally the rule around the world. Fair enough, but it leads him to be overly dismissive of other factors, such as personal bravery - Vasco da Gama for example is portrayed as a fool and an incompetent who could barely tell his arse from his elbow, which simply doesn't square with his achievements. There are also a heck of a lot of unsourced assertions throughout the book; whatever happened to popular history books with actual bibliographies?) You can also quibble about whether mass migrations such as the Polynesian colonisation of the Pacific, however impressive, really qualify as "exploration" in the same sense that Magellan's voyage did.
But anyway, I'm getting off on a tangent. Reading the book has given me an idea: Animal fantasy in the Age of Sail. Think of it. European animals (Rabbits and lynx from Spain and Portugal, Hares and foxes from the British Isles,
It surprises me that there isn't a game, much less a series of novels, about this. (There may be and I'm just not aware of it, of course.) It seems so obvious.
Anyway, I'm of the growing opinion that the world needs more Animal Fantasy role playing games, if only to seize the ground back from the furries - who as we all know are the lowest of all the many forms of geek, sitting just below LARPers and people who write stories about Kirk and Spock naked bedtopwrestling.
More thoughts on this tomorrow. By which I mean Animal Fantasy, not Star Trek slash fiction. Just to be clear.