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Pen & Paper Roleplaying Central => Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion => Topic started by: BedrockBrendan on October 15, 2020, 03:21:08 pm

Title: HISTORICAL CAMPAIGNS
Post by: BedrockBrendan on October 15, 2020, 03:21:08 pm
Thought a general thread on history campaigns might be useful. A place to put good resources and talk about approaches to running historical RPGs.

One thing I will point to is the utility of picking up a historical atlas book (preferably one that is specific to the time or place you are setting your campaign). I use more general purpose ones too (which can be very handy for getting a sense of the global situation (especially with things like trade, which historical atlases often help provide great visuals for).

Another thing I've been doing when I run historical games, because you don't know what kind of resources you will find for things like maps and architecture, is starting with my available resources first, then working around that. So for instance, planning a haunted adventure in ancient china, and I have some books on architecture. But if I start with the place and kind of structure first, I may find it hard to get good information. So I am beginning by finding a well described building in a book called China's Old Dwellings, then building the adventure and everything around that (so wherever that takes me in China, that will be my area of focus for the adventure). It is a one shot so I have the advantage of not tethering it to an existing campaign (where my options in terms of placement may be more limited).

Anyone else running historical campaigns?
Title: Re: HISTORICAL CAMPAIGNS
Post by: XxST0RMxX on October 15, 2020, 06:15:53 pm
I haven't run a strictly historical campaign, but my favorite historical campaign resource I have used to create cultures in my own games has been Testament: Roleplaying in the Biblical Era (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/19191/Testament-Roleplaying-in-the-Biblical-Era). The ancient world is very interesting, and I love the adaption of the Israelite, Canaanite, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian cultures. The cultural differences are emphasized with a player character Piety score, which fluctuates based off what your cultural considers holy or sinful. Its written for 3e, so I've never run any of the rules strictly as-is, but I've still found it an invaluable resource in creating a world very different from the standard faux-medieval d&d setting.

I've supplemented this with non-gaming resources including The Encyclopedia of Angels (https://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Angels-Second-Rosemary-Guiley/dp/0816050244), my own bible (Mostly the pentateuch), a print copy of The Code of Hammurabi I got as a gift a while back (Apparently going for almost $1,000 on amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Code-Hammurabi-Forgotten-Books/dp/1605060518/ref=sr_1_52?dchild=1&keywords=the+code+of+hammurabi&qid=1602799294&s=books&sr=1-52)), and I'll admit wikipedia too.
Title: Re: HISTORICAL CAMPAIGNS
Post by: Darrin Kelley on October 15, 2020, 06:22:49 pm
I have always wanted to play in or run a campaign set in the mythic age of Ancient Egypt. As in, pre-Christian, pre-judism, pre-Islam. Pre-Abrahamic. Because the culture of that era has always fascinated me.
Title: Re: HISTORICAL CAMPAIGNS
Post by: Darrin Kelley on October 15, 2020, 07:26:04 pm
Yes. I said, pre-Abrahamic. As in, the time periods that happened before the rise of the Abrahamic faiths. Where the Abrahamic perspective wasn't even relevant. That's what I want to explore and experience. Ancient Egypt had thousands of years of history, beliefs, customs, and general existance that pre-dated the Abrahamic condition. That's what I want to see and explore. What came before.

Egypt had its mythic age. Where the gods were the rulers of society. Before the rise of human Pharoahs. It also had ages where the Ancient Egyptian population shifted toward having a singular god. Which brings a whole new level of historical exploration. And it is my belief that any number of those Egyptian eras are worth exploring from a gaming point of view. It's a treasure trove of information and history that really hasn't been touched much upon at all.
Title: Re: HISTORICAL CAMPAIGNS
Post by: Bren on October 15, 2020, 08:44:52 pm
Another thing I've been doing when I run historical games, because you don't know what kind of resources you will find for things like maps and architecture, is starting with my available resources first, then working around that. So for instance, planning a haunted adventure in ancient china, and I have some books on architecture. But if I start with the place and kind of structure first, I may find it hard to get good information. So I am beginning by finding a well described building in a book called China's Old Dwellings, then building the adventure and everything around that (so wherever that takes me in China, that will be my area of focus for the adventure). It is a one shot so I have the advantage of not tethering it to an existing campaign (where my options in terms of placement may be more limited).

Anyone else running historical campaigns?
Currently I'm running a Boot Hill 2E campaign set just after the Civil War in the Trans Pecos. It's perhaps as much Western movies and TV shows as it is historical.

I ran a long (4 years real time) Honor & Intrigue campaign primarily set in 1620s France with the occasional detour to Italy, Spanish Netherlands, and Holland. The blog (https://honorandintrigue.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-first-post-adventure-1-hanged-man.html) I used had a number of resources and sources. Most of which should still be active/valid.

Your advice on using the locations and information you have available is very good advice which I have not always heeded. I picked 1622 Paris and then spent an inordinate amount time locating maps of the city and other data for that time and place. One good example of following that advice was I had found a very nice map for the town of Bergen op Zoom and used it for the 1622 siege. Though I did shift the year of the siege to 1623 to fit where we were in the campaign.
Title: Re: HISTORICAL CAMPAIGNS
Post by: SHARK on October 16, 2020, 09:38:05 am
Greetings!

My own world of Thandor has always been deeply historical. Thandor is a fantasy world, but a fantastic world that has many layers of real-word History that inspires it throughout the milieu. I have carefully developed regions featuring Ancient Roman and Greek cultures, as well as the Celts, the Germanic barbarians, and the Norse. I also have huge regions that feature barbarian Slavic culture, Baltic barbarians, Finnish barbarians, and synthesis cultures blending primitive Uralic and Asian tribal peoples. There are also ancient Iberian influences, as well as Etruscan, Phoenician, and Carthaginian influences and cultures. In other regions of Thandor, I have over a dozen cultures inspired by the Mali, the Numidians, the Berbers, the Swahili, Maasai, Kenya, the Zulu, and the kingdoms of Axum, Ethiopia, and Nubia, as well as the Bedouin and Arabic cultures. Then there are the Parthians, the Persians, the Hittites and Egyptians, as well as the cultures and peoples of Central Asia. I have very detailed regions embracing a variety of Steppe cultures and kingdoms, being inspired by the Huns, the Magyars, the Scythians, Avars, the Pechenegs, Tatars, the Kazakhs, the Soggdians, the Kushans, the Kwarazaam, and the Mongols.

I couldn't stop with that, either. I then developed regions embracing ancient India, over a dozen cultures, peoples and kingdoms there, as well as ancient China, Korea, Japan, South-East Asia, the Tibetan Empire, the peoples and kingdoms of Nepal, Burma, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. There are of course many fantastic elements and weird races and peoples too, with a variety of cultures being formed that are essentially hybrid cultures--blending two or more different cultures and peoples together. While not always highlighted in popular history in our own real world, these kinds of hybrid cultures and mixed societies and peoples have been going on forever, from the beginnings of history. I have fun tossing fantasy races and cultures into a blender with history-inspired cultures, peoples and religions, and create some new things that are always pretty interesting and cool, and at least entertaining.

I have different religions in my world of Thandor, both Polytheistic and Monotheistic, but also various varieties of Barbarian Paganism, Dualism, Monism, and more. Lots of crazy different religions, many of which do not get along and play well together. Just like throughout history, people prefer their own religion and their own culture and race, so others that are different in whatever ways are routinely discriminated against--and often persecuted and oppressed. In some areas, race isn't a big issue, but culture and religion very much are. Similarly, in other regions, race is seen as the most prominent thing. And every dimension embraced with such variables. It creates a richer and more dynamic campaign milieu where all of these considerations and aspects are important and meaningful, and have accordingly their own benefits and drawbacks alike, depending on the region, culture, or people.

Genuinely cosmopolitan, open-minded and accepting societies that place relatively low values or emphasis on race, religion, or culture are quite rare, and tend to stand out like islands in a sea of an entirely different reality. I'm often inspired by trends and attitudes of different cultures in India, the Song Empire of China, or the culture of Norman Sicily, or the culture of the Kazakhs ruling the silk-road city of Samarkand. Very inspiring and fascinating on so many levels--and yet, nothing like Seattle 2020.

I use real world History to inspire much of the world of Thandor, and have done so for decades. Adding in fantastic races and cultures, religions and different elements makes it all very fun, and quite wild.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
Title: Re: HISTORICAL CAMPAIGNS
Post by: soltakss on October 23, 2020, 04:38:11 pm
I am currently running a Dark Ages Prydain using a mixture of Revolution D100 and RuneQuest. It uses a bit of magic and supernatural stuff, as I am as influenced as much by myths/legends/folk tales/fairy tales as by historical accounts.
Title: Re: HISTORICAL CAMPAIGNS
Post by: RPGPundit on October 24, 2020, 10:56:31 pm
Undoubtedly having a historical atlas of the area where you are running is pretty fucking essential.