“He realized...that the loudest are the least sincere, that arrogance is a quality of the ignorant, and that flatterers tend to be vicious.”
― Isabel Allende, Zorro
Zorro might not have been the first masked crusader for justice, that honor likely falls to the Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. Nor was Zorro the first noble character that rebelled against the establishment for the good of the common people. That storied archetype can be traced back to Robin Hood and earlier incarnations. Created by American pulp writer Johnston McCulley, Zorro is unique amongst his literary peers as walking between two distinct worlds: the Old European autocracy and the New World democracies. A character born of the noblesse oblige of the elite and the revolutionary spirit of the downtrodden, the helpless.
Less than a year after the publication of The Curse of Capistrano in 1919, the landmark movie The Mark of Zorro starring Douglas Fairbanks went into production. The popularity of Zorro exploded for the last hundred years into dozens of movies, television series, comic books, video games, and now roleplaying games. That cultural breakthrough of a positive, heroic Latinx character into the mainstream can’t be understated. Representation matters.
Zorro is not only one of the literary foundations of the romantic, two-fisted swashbuckling heroic tradition (inspiring later characters such as the Lone Ranger and the Green Hornet), but is the canon inspiration in the backstory of one of the most famous superhero characters in the world that needs no introduction.
When young Bruce Wayne visits the movie theater that fateful night his parents are murdered, it is Zorro that they see. Later, when the boy that would one day be Batman wants to learn to be a hero, it is the fencing blade he takes from his family crest. While his demeanor is quite different, presenting a different mask to a cowardly and superstitious lot, Batman continues to eternally battle for justice, honor, and the common people.
Sometimes, before we find the courage to fight injustice in the real world, our mythical heroes engage in the fight. Stories of valor and honor combating the stains of bigotry and hatred. In these turbulent political times, when our neighbors are deported in the still of the night by ICE, Zorro has become a symbol of class warfare, Latinx pride, and the power of courage to fight against tyranny.
We’ve entered a new age hungry for hope and heroes. Look for Zorro’s mark, for surely, he walks amongst us.
Powered by Morra: Zorro comes with three separate Genres inspired by the mythology of Zorro:
“We make our own monsters, then fear them for what they show us about ourselves.”
― Mike Carry
There is a sacred shrine where the monsters go to tame their beast, where redemption is sought, and the wicked suffer for their crimes. Salvation Falls is a small bedroom community near Seattle, nested close to the tech giants yet isolated close to the Cascades, where the world drives past them. Named for a blessed wellspring and waterfall with mystical properties, this quiet town is quintessential Americana small town where there are few prying eyes and the monsters of the night, called shadowkin, live openly within the mortal community.
This Sanctuary City is for shadowkin refugees seeking redemption, a chance to reclaim their human souls. Some shadowkin hate the very notion of it. As do the secret agencies of the government, worried that it’s a potential haven for terrorists and it’s never easy. They will literally kill shadowkin and humans alike to keep other such Sanctuary Cities from being formed.
The people of Salvation Falls must remain united, forever vigilant to protect what they have and hope their experiment serves as a lighthouse in a dark, and stormy world. And now, in secret, there are seed communities forming around the world all with one goal: redemption and solace.
“You punched me, made me walk through shitty water, dragged me through a crackhouse... and now I'm gonna have to kill this fucking clown!”
― Steven King, It
Juvenile goats are wild, ornery, and ready to fight the world. Biologists refer to them as kids. Often this misnomer is applied to children and rebellious teenagers. Some might consider the term pejorative, but there’s an often unspoken truth that every adult instinctively knows, even as they tell themselves otherwise. When children and animals sense evil or danger, beware!
Adults are blinded by the mundane responsibilities of the world: pay the rent, put food on the table, and make sure the lights stay on. Many have forgotten the importances of the real stories, the ones that matter the most when times are dark and hope seems lost.
Children, even those too-cool-for-school cynical teenagers, still believe in the important things: fellowship, justice, and magic. They know the ancient laws of the universe. Promises must be kept, dares should always be taken, and good will always triumph over evil.
It starts with a curious occurrence, something the adults refuse to believe. And then, they feel it on the back of their neck; something is wrong— a mystery is afoot— and it’s up to those meddling kids to find the clues and crack the case; be it a greedy old man in a monster master or an eldritch terror from the dawn of time.