8 Million Gods is another supplement that I wrote for Torg Eternity. As you might be able to guess from the cover image, it is an adaptation of Shinto to work within the game world. One of my reasons for writing this is that I wanted to be able to create and play Shinto characters in the game, and that had not been a priority for the designers. (Unsurprisingly.) A further reason for writing it was that portrayals of Shinto in gaming have, in the past, not been very good. (Recently, Scion, from Onyx Path, has done a good job — and I wasn’t really involved.)
There are always issues when putting something from the real world into a fictional context, perhaps even more so in a gaming context, where the author does not have complete control over how the elements will appear in stories. However, there is no shortage of people putting Shinto elements into fiction within Japan. (One manga author included a story where they decided to make O-Inari-san into an otaku in their manga, and immediately all the power went out. They still did it, though, and the manga did well.) Personally, I think this is part of what it means for something to be an element of a culture.
There is a wider issue for Shinto, which is that, insofar as Shinto is a part of Western culture, that is almost entirely through its role in fiction. That is not ideal, because Shinto is not primarily fictional, but this is an issue more suited to my Mimusubi blog than this one.
This supplement has not sold anything like as well as the two that were released on the day the Infiniverse Exchange launched. Even now, 15 months after release, it is still a bit short of getting the lowest bestseller mark. Financially, writing these things is not worthwhile, and in this case I paid for quite a bit of art. As I would like my writing to be financially worthwhile as well, I suspect I will have to look at other venues.
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