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DMMike
08-22-2008, 09:34 AM
Any sticklers for historical accuracy out there? Do you get frustrated when the peasants have multiple room houses? Or when ringmail and chainmail coexist? (See also: Literacy thread)

I like a gray area of pre-printing press, post-iron working, sewers-in-cities (only) type development. Magic doesn't mess this up much, because a given kingdom (chiefdom or authoritarian) is lucky to have one or two decent mages. Monsters aren't too much trouble either, since the big ones can usually be dispatched by sending out the army.

Where do you draw fair game and faux game history lines?

MortonStromgal
08-22-2008, 10:12 AM
Depends on the game, I don't expect much historical accuracy playing D&D but if I am playing Dark Ages Vampire/Mage/Werewolf or Ars Magica I expect a lot. That said I'll let some minor things go if it interrupts the game, like if the peasant had a two room house I can live with that 4 or 5 room and thats killed it for me.

Webhead
08-22-2008, 10:36 AM
I'm not historically savvy enough (especially when compared to some of my freakishly-intellectual players) to want to worry about deep historical accuracy in my games. I tend to detach my games from "historical reality" simply because I know that, given enough time, I'll muck something up if I don't. The last thing I want to worry about bogging down my game is "That shouldn't exist in this part of the world yet. It won't be introduced to this culture for another hundred years".

That said, when I do try to set something in a historical era, I will make sure to do research so that I can portray it properly within the game. I like ambiance and I really try to make players "feel" like they are in a different world.

An RPG campaign that I've wanted to run for a while (but, sadly, probably never will) was going to be set in ancient Mesopotamia. Naturally, I had to do a good bit of reading to make sure that I knew everything I would need to portray the time and place properly within the game.

Still, even my "historical" games tend to have elements of "fantasy" that shake things up a little from the norm (and help dismiss some "accuracy" arguements).

tesral
08-22-2008, 12:35 PM
The best way I know to describe it is to describe it. I don't get my shorts in a bunch if someone has an anachronistic world, as long as they are consistent in that anachronism.

I keep prodding my Friday DM to think though his world building in order that it not bite his butt in the long term. I don't say you can't do this or do that, but think it through. What is the effect on your world at large?




Technology runs from early renaissance in the more civilized areas to late iron age in the sticks. There are some anomalies to this pattern, but finding them is part of the fun. Magic is very strong, often replacing technology; for example, artificial light is common in the great cities, but of magical origin rather than electrical. There are many centers of culture and the arts are well cared for in most large cities. Medicine, printing, and scientific farming are some of those arts that are practiced in the great centers. This is not to say all the world is entirely safe. For every mighty city there are five pockets of dark superstition, and three or four decadent decaying empires, all for your enjoyment.

The World abounds with sentient life. Race refers to your species, not the color of your skin. Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Avians, Centaurs and more rub shoulders in the towns and cities, more or less at peace. This is not to say that bigots do not exist, but they are not common. A good rule is; the larger the town, the more cosmopolitan. The number of different cultures is vast. Almost any character idea can be accommodated.

What follows is a few general bits of information that will be helpful in gaining the flavor of the place. Each culture will have its own take on any one of these items, but I am not trying for an historical recreation. That said, it is a role-playing game and certain terms and ideas will help one get into the mood.


The Quality of Life
In the traditional heroic fantasy life is medieval Europe, with all the mud and grime scraped off. I will endeavor to put some the mud and grime back on, but with the effect of magic taken into account.

Most people work very hard. The majority of people on Greyhawke are farmers of some kind. While sensible methods of farming are known and used, power is still supplied by wind, water, animals, and your back. Crop yields are low by today's standard. Many more people are required to work the land to feed the population.

Most people do not have all they want to eat. They have enough, but no more, and sometimes they have less. Only the very rich have all the food they want, and in hard times even the rich tighten their belts.

Even so, the effects of magic are felt. The presence of Clerics means that the crushing famines and plagues that devastated Europe in the 13th century are impossible. Clerical magic will save the crops, and cure the plagues. Do anything less and the remaining people will have different gods next year.

Life is pre-industrial. This means that ready made goods are rare. Everything from the bit of lace on m'lady's dress to the shovel in the hands of a slave are made one at a time, by hand.

Clothing is a luxury. It takes a family of four an entire year to spin enough thread to weave the cloth for one shirt. Those wealthy enough to own spinning wheels can work a little faster. As a result most people have one outfit. If they saved their money or bought used clothes they might have two. The rag man and used clothing seller are important businessmen. The limiter is not how well you sew, but how quickly the thread can be spun. Only the rich have a variety of clothing.

People do not travel. Doubtless everyone has heard the old saw that "Most people never traveled more than twenty miles from the place they were born". It is true. Most people didn't, and that tends to be the rule on Greyhawke as well.

Magical forms of travel are expensive and rare. Boats, animal power, and feet are the way travel is done, mostly by foot. Few places have roads worthy of the name.

People are parochial. Strangers will be viewed with suspicion in places that seldom see strangers. Rumors will abound about other nations and people that have never been seen. Such rumors will bear little resemblance to the truth. The maps of our world created before anyone had seen the world are good examples. "Here be dragons." It is less a statement of actual dragons than admitting that "We don't know". Nations of people with their faces in their chest, wolf people, Prester John, and so forth. The world was populated with ignorance.

Greyhawke is, for the most part, an armed society and as such is a polite one. A rude son-of-a-beatch doesn't live long. In even the most civilized cultures, an insult will be discharged with blood. Honor is a person's one true claim to respect, and the poorest wretch will defend it to the last breath.

Valdar
08-22-2008, 12:56 PM
I try to keep it reasonable, and keep my mouth shut when players inadvertently let anachronisms slip into the game. A recent backstory I got had a scene in which a bartender illegally gave wine to a 15-year-old. My historical brain said "no, that 15 year old would be right at home in a medieval tavern", but the part of my brain that wants players to come up with interesting backstories said "shh!".

DMMike
08-22-2008, 03:38 PM
I like the Thindacarulle story - that's a good point about thread. But it sounds a little on the unruly side. Maybe that's unique to Greyhawke, but I don't see a lot of rulers letting the populace run around with deadly weapons, killing each other in someone gets lippy.

(D&D warning)
Enter the Commoner class - proficient with one simple weapon i.e. the club.

The tavern brings up another question of mine - what cultures had the money to blow on prepared food and alcohol? I imagine that taverns didn't proliferate until the middle class did, which was what, 1500-1600s?

boulet
08-22-2008, 04:23 PM
The tavern brings up another question of mine - what cultures had the money to blow on prepared food and alcohol? I imagine that taverns didn't proliferate until the middle class did, which was what, 1500-1600s?

I wish I could find informations about taverns in medieval time. Probably it was organized differently. But be sure that people loved beer, wine, mead, schnapps... Even monks were good at fermenting ! So I would be surprised if there wasn't an outlet for alcoholic products. It's kind of a constant with mankind.

When it comes to lodging and prepared food I think you're correct to correlate restaurateurs and hoteliers with middle class. But another very important factor may justify such activities : pilgrimage. For instance pilgrimage to Rome and Santiago de Compostella were very important in terms of travels, cultural contact and economy. Many towns and abbeys developed by the sheer proximity to a flux of pilgrims.

Ben Rostoker
08-22-2008, 06:48 PM
I'm a History Buff, so I LOVE historical accuracy... but in a game of D&D I'll let allot slide cause of magic.

Valdar
08-22-2008, 07:08 PM
The tavern brings up another question of mine - what cultures had the money to blow on prepared food and alcohol? I imagine that taverns didn't proliferate until the middle class did, which was what, 1500-1600s?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pub

Roadside inns (tabernae) in the British Isles appeared shortly after the roads themselves. A horse can only travel so far if it has to carry food for itself and the rider, so any traveller would be a patron of a tavern.

Restaurants, on the other hand, got their start after the French Revolution when all the private chefs and waiters found their patrons headless.

boulet
08-22-2008, 08:16 PM
when all the private chefs and waiters found their patrons headless.

aaaaw... good time

Skunkape
08-22-2008, 09:56 PM
Since my game world is not Earth, I don't worry to much about historical accuracy. If that's what you like, I say go for it but I don't prefer to be too accurate, specially since it's a fantasy game world that I run.

tesral
08-22-2008, 10:09 PM
I like the Thindacarulle story - that's a good point about thread. But it sounds a little on the unruly side. Maybe that's unique to Greyhawke, but I don't see a lot of rulers letting the populace run around with deadly weapons, killing each other in someone gets lippy..

Depends on where you are in the world. But knives are everywhere. Swords, not so much.

the Eyrian Empire sends armor and weapons home with every soldier than leaves the army after a full enlistment. The Reserves consists of all these men (and not a few women), and every generation of soldier before them. The average village will have enough arms and armor to field an impressive militia and the people with experience to teach the militia how to use them.



IThe tavern brings up another question of mine - what cultures had the money to blow on prepared food and alcohol? I imagine that taverns didn't proliferate until the middle class did, which was what, 1500-1600s?

When in the world are you? In Ancient Rome the lower classes ate out exclusively. Most homes did not have kitchens. A "tavern" in medieval terns could be as simple as someone opening a keg of ale and selling it to his neighbors. Brewing was on the home scale. The formal establishment of the Pubic House was a later invention.

Game worlds can be as the writer decides.

Dimthar
08-22-2008, 11:08 PM
I guess the idea to "Enforce" a particular "Historical Accurate" characteristic of your world will depend on how it will benefit the opportunities for "Role-playing" or "Challenge" the PCs.

My favorites are (in no particular order):
1) Illiterate populations.
2) People does not know how to swim
3) Language barriers
4) Social Classes or Birth Rights (Nobility or Slavery)

As for technology for the "Medieval type fantasy world" I allow the best technology available at the time as kept or utilized by Europeans, Muslims and Chinesse. I prefer "Alhambra" type Palaces not your typical "Dark and unsanitary" medieval castle.

I don't bother with things like:
1) Life expectancy
2) Hygiene (everybody are normally clean and wash their hands when appropriate).
3) Banks of other "Financial" institutions.

.

tesral
08-22-2008, 11:45 PM
I
I don't bother with things like:
1) Life expectancy
2) Hygiene (everybody are normally clean and wash their hands when appropriate).
3) Banks of other "Financial" institutions.

.

I bother with a great deal, but the characters don't. Banks exist, but I cannot recall any PC every darkening the door of one.

Most cultures all but revere the bath.

Life expectancy is high. Food, good hygiene, magical healing. Oh yes the Jug of Babba Yaga. Very important that.

Bearfoot_Adam
08-23-2008, 06:40 AM
The formal establishment of the Pubic House was a later invention.

.

You have formal Pubic houses? Now that is one liberal society.

Sorry i'm aware that pun and pointing out grammatical errors are the lowest form of comedy but it's early, I'm tired, at work , and couldn't help myself.

DMMike
08-23-2008, 10:13 AM
After having served in a modern military, I've come to appreciate the limited resources of some governments. I apply this to medieval armies/troops by assuming that most soldiers will be lucky to use, much less keep, equipment so expensive as scale mail or a sword. Good point about the knives, tesral.

Good point about kitchens too, but I still don't see commoners taking hard-earned cash to buy prepared food. I can totally see the peasantry gathering together for a communal serving of daily slop, though.

Dimthar - hygiene and banks make excellent adventure hooks (does "don't bother" mean you don't require the players to partake?). A good plague or shady vault owner never hurt anyone! :)

I'm not so picky, by the way, about being historically accurate, so much as I am developmentally accurate. In the sense of one invention leads to another. I want to avoid having a hunter-gatherer society living right next to a city, because the obvious disconnect could be painful to the players as well as myself.

Dimthar
08-23-2008, 07:12 PM
Dimthar - hygiene and banks make excellent adventure hooks (does "don't bother" mean you don't require the players to partake?). A good plague or shady vault owner never hurt anyone! :)

I don't use them while describing my worlds. Non Magical Plagues/Diseases just happen (Don't go into the details of why, rats, garbage, etc). Magical Healing exists but most clerics can only cure the basic stuff since they are probably low level.

Coins exist but not printing-money (bills); people borrow from the local lord or loan sharks.

An official bank in a Magical world would have to be some type of "Gringotts (Harry Potter)" which in my medieval standard version doesn't make sense.

.

tesral
08-24-2008, 05:49 PM
I'm not so picky, by the way, about being historically accurate, so much as I am developmentally accurate. In the sense of one invention leads to another. I want to avoid having a hunter-gatherer society living right next to a city, because the obvious disconnect could be painful to the players as well as myself.

That is the main thing. History can look after itself. I am not writing a history of The 1200s in Europe, but with Dragons and Elves. I am writing my own world. Internal consistency is the only thing that matters.

nijineko
08-24-2008, 09:55 PM
my worlds are perfectly internally consistant in the historical sense. as i'm writing them, they are whatever i say they are. and if they change... well, some adventurers must have had a whiz-bang time travelling adventure, ne? ;D maybe that'll be the next campaign i run... interested? ^^

mrken
08-24-2008, 10:05 PM
Even though I am sort of anal and love history, I don't hold the players to most historical accuracy. But I do try to draw the line at stuff like buying at the grocery store, moving with boxes, wallets, drinking ages and modern morals. It would be nice if people knew a bit about history rather than just like yesterday but only a thousand years ago. I try to get some feeling for history in a medieval game. Nix the Nintendo's and Mp3 players.

Valdar
08-24-2008, 10:14 PM
Yes, consistency is good, but even minor anachronisms/inconsistencies still bug me. If you want to say something that means "forcibly coerced", don't say "railroaded" unless there are actual railroads in your world.

Medieval Europe had more technology, economy, and wealth than this thread is giving it credit for, btw- banks, for instance, started in Genoa in the 1200s to finance merchant ventures. In fact, if it weren't for the church suppressing them, they probably would have developed and thrived sooner (Charging interest on loans, the premise of banking, was called "usury" and considered a sin. It could only come about with the introduction of Arabic numbers in Europe, which allowed bankers to keep their records in a system that the church auditors couldn't read...)

(Was going to ramble more, but I think this merits a new thread...)

mrken
08-24-2008, 10:19 PM
I agree with the banking issues, but i have placed my time line about 1000 AD. :) And banks were not really available for common folks. More for the nobles and wealthy merchants.

Valdar
08-24-2008, 11:52 PM
I agree with the banking issues, but i have placed my time line about 1000 AD. :) And banks were not really available for common folks. More for the nobles and wealthy merchants.

Yes, banks were just that- Nobles had a stigma against dabbling in commerce, so banks were a way for nobles and merchants to interact. PCs shouldn't be considered "common folks" past level 3, though =)

It would be interesting to see how typical players fare in a 1000 AD game, though- Plate armor would be legendary, weapons that rely on mass infantry tactics (early guns, halberds, long pikes) would not exist, and there'd be no distilled alcohol. Your finest warriors would be wearing chain and packing longswords, lower ranks in leather with axes.

Come to think of it, you could have your players watch that recent Beowulf movie to get an idea of what was around...

tesral
08-25-2008, 12:19 AM
Medieval Europe had more technology, economy, and wealth than this thread is giving it credit for, btw- banks, for instance, started in Genoa in the 1200s to finance merchant ventures. In fact, if it weren't for the church suppressing them, they probably would have developed and thrived sooner (Charging interest on loans, the premise of banking, was called "usury" and considered a sin. It could only come about with the introduction of Arabic numbers in Europe, which allowed bankers to keep their records in a system that the church auditors couldn't read...)

Arabic numerals also allowed you to do double entry book keeping and not rob yourself blind.

Banks existed, they where called other things. the Knights Templar were loaning money on a regular basis for example. Rome had banks (The Temple of Saturn) Almost every aspect of modern banking was inverted shortly after coins themselves about 900-600 BC .Insurance for example. Lloyd's started in a coffee house in London in 1688. Lawyers and lawsuits; new stuff right? Wrong. the Anglo-Saxons were about the suingest people around. They hare a large and detailed tradition of law long before the Conquest of 1066.

But, if you don't want to deal with banks, fine, don't have them. Lawsuits are not "adventurous" so I don't deal with that aspect of society much. Do I know how it works in my world? Yes I do, and if it does come up I can handle it.

The skinny is that people have been people for a very long time, and we do not think in substantially different ways than the ancient Egyptians or the people of the Indus Culture, or Cro-Magon man for that matter. We will tend to invent and re-invent the same mechanisms for dealing with the same problems again and again.

theorcrist
08-31-2008, 09:13 AM
In my campaigns Pubs are few but do exist. They usually aren't frequented by commoners (who are rural folk scraping by in their farmsteads and laborers in communal living situations with little cash to blow on eating out), rather by urban specialists such as smithies, government officials, transient traders, and adventurers. I don't know if this is historically accurate, but the most important thing for me is that it makes sense in the context of my world.

My technologies are really low usually. I play gritty!

Blake.

malchya
05-28-2010, 03:19 PM
As a history nerd and compulsive reenactor I usually attempt to infuse a certain level of historical accuracy into my fantasy worlds. As each of my worlds has its own internal history, that does allow a bit of leeway for me, though.

Recently I was attempting to run a bronze age/age of heroes setting and a couple of my players continued role playing while I dealt with real life for about half an hour. Upon my return I was appalled to discover their characters sitting in the dining room of one of their apartments pouring wine into goblets and arguing over which side of the plate the salad fork should be placed! They were getting heated enough about it that they were talking about walking out into the courtyard and settling it with swords! Shudder......

tesral
05-29-2010, 06:14 AM
In my campaigns Pubs are few but do exist. They usually aren't frequented by commoners (who are rural folk scraping by in their farmsteads and laborers in communal living situations with little cash to blow on eating out), rather by urban specialists such as smithies, government officials, transient traders, and adventurers. I don't know if this is historically accurate, but the most important thing for me is that it makes sense in the context of my world.

My technologies are really low usually. I play gritty!Blake.

The two terms do not really go together. One can play a high fantasy, light hearted, iron age game.

May I recommend "Life in a Medieval Village (http://www.amazon.com/Life-Medieval-Village-Frances-Gies/dp/0060920467)". It is a good historical baseline for how the common people lived in the era.

michaelsbagley
06-08-2010, 03:39 PM
Interesting topic...

As a big history guy, I am very into historical accuracy... But on the whole, my favourite RPGs are fantasy, and an escape for my need to focus on historic details, so while my historic knowledge can tint my game play, I don't worry about it too much... Specially when most of the people I game with aren't big history nuts like I am.

I've had a random notion from time to time to run a historically accurate game, but I doubt I could get local players into it, and most of my fellow re-enactors that are into the same time periods as I am big on, and are into RPGs as well, are in different states. (As and FYI, I strongly prefer face to face play over online play, although I do see the need and purpose behind online play, it is just a personal preference). If I was to do a historically accurate game (from some miracle of finding a handful of players similarly interested), I would likely run a 17th century (muskets are becoming common, but not completely common yet), and it would likely be using GURPS, or some other generic system, as I just don't think any edition of D&D would really work. Savage Worlds might cut it, if I was going to do historical with larger than (real) life action.

tesral
06-09-2010, 07:09 AM
Let's face it. Life in medieval times sucked. Totally filled with horrid ways to die and you didn't have to be an adventurer.

Crom on his Mountain
06-14-2010, 06:41 PM
I want historical acuracy, but I always give up on trying to hammer it into players. Most players simply refuse to go along and simply float around as if it didn't matter.

Lord Captain Tobacco
07-30-2010, 06:59 PM
I apologize in advance for the historical approximations which follow…
Much of this question deals with definitions.
Something to be said about the pubs (as opposed to bars, taverns, and hotels). The first Pubs were not private business enterprises. Instead, each lord, on his manor, would divide up his land into the following categories (other than his manor house): the actual farmland (or mines), mills, living quarters for his serfs. Even as peasants swore loyalty to the master of the manor; the lord also had a responsibility (handed to him from the king) to protect and maintain those subjects of the crown.
The difference between surfs and slaves is that slaves are forced to work under threat of punishment – surfs work because it in their best interest to do so. One of the tools used in keeping the serfs content and prevent them from leaving is to provide entertainment. The county fair is a direct offshoot of the festivities which mark the end of the harvest (Oktober fest!)
Another tool was the public house. All of the houses on the manor belonged to the lord who would assign quarters to tenants; but the public house was a specifically designated building which would allow the manors working class to meet and relax from the efforts of the day. Having beer and wine on hand would take the edge off any rough events that may have happened in the past. The publican (barkeep) would manage the service and report to the lord if the ‘meeting’ part showed any stirrings of unrest.
Over time, showcasing these ‘pubs’ became a game among the landed. This had the effect of having money devoted to eventually making the place nice enough for visiting nobility. This encouraged travel among the nobility and entourage. It also goes without saying even the smallest manors could find a room for a travelling smith. The rising middle class also managed to secure the ability to rent (for a night or two) a room during their travels. And all of these people could expect a roadside pub about every eight to fifteen miles, making all kinds of new revenue sources.

That’s probably more thought about pubs than most people need. I only use history to remind me to keep my story consistent. Someone before mentioned this and I agree. Adventuring parties would be an anomaly on the road while pilgrims, minor merchants and the like should take up the majority of roadside encounters. But if you want it for your game, go for it. But if you want to keep your players sane: keep the changes known and solid.

Malruhn
07-31-2010, 11:09 AM
I tend to run a historically accurate game - however, I have areas that are 1400's era Europe, and other areas that are 700's era England. In much of my world, the huge majority of the population is engaged in food production (80%+) which is a stretch and didn't happen on Earth until the later 1600's. Hand-in-hand with this, a "wealthy" farmer will have a SINGLE metal knife that was both tool, weapon and eating utensil.

Although I've relaxed a bit in my time, I've tended to use the adage that for every 10,000 people with a stat of 10, there is ONE with an 11. For every 10k with an 11, there's ONE with a 12 and so on... lather, rinse, repeat. This made PC's VERY special! The problem was solved for me when I actually did the math... and in a group with three PC's with one 18 apiece, that would mean 300,000,000,000 (300 BILLION) folks with a 10.... and my world doesn't have ANYWHERE near that amount of people. I fixed it by using a bell curve - and now there is one 18 for every 5,000 TOTAL people (ballpark figure). This works to keep things KINDA reflective of reality.

As for legitimate "restaurants," there are VERY few - most are taverns that make ONE dish for the day (i.e.: mutton stew) and serve that to EVERYONE, all day long.

I've played with the prices of armor - to reflect history. MOST folks have leather armor. VERY few have plate ANYTHING. I used to HATE the old days, where you encounter a party and everyone goes, "Okay, robes-dude is the wizard, leather-dame is the rogue, and scale-dude and plate-dame are fighters or clerics. ATTACK!!" Now, my parties have lots of padded and leather armor - and that's about it. It both reflects history and makes parties question the abilities and role of anyone they encounter.

Oh - and gold is VERY rare. Most (90%+) commoners NEVER see a gold piece. Silver and copper are the norm - and barter is king. You wanna sell the new +2 sword you got from Nasty McNasty's hoard? The smith will gladly give you 500 silver pieces - and will start work on a new suit of armor for you... if you are interested. You want ten healing potions from the apothacary? He'll sell them for 100 silver pieces and a contract that says you'll go get him 50 pounds of Ickyroot from the south side of Bad Mountain on the next full moon... oh, and here's a blessed pair of scissors to cut the roots.

I LIKE barter!!

Sascha
07-31-2010, 11:29 AM
I used to HATE the old days, where you encounter a party and everyone goes, "Okay, robes-dude is the wizard, leather-dame is the rogue, and scale-dude and plate-dame are fighters or clerics. ATTACK!!"
I'd totally play plate-dame. In fact, I believe I have :P

tesral
07-31-2010, 01:20 PM
Dame, dude, "are you sure that is a whatever?" Been there, done that. Dude with a gunny sack two katanas and a dog.

templeorder
07-31-2010, 03:02 PM
I just depends on the setting. I try and keep things accurate as history is one of my three loves, archeology being another (hey, i get KMT magazine)... anyway, adopt items and customs the the local as needed. Some items can coexist depending on available materials, knowledge and skills of a specific locale. The biggest beef i have with DnD type games is that there are hundreds of top level predators. In my fantasy world, there's only a couple - lets face it, they are all competing for the same resources. I never like to fall back on "well, its magic"... that about sums it up... but it just depends on what the players want. I am careful to point out where expectations collide with the realities of my own settings.

Sascha
07-31-2010, 04:22 PM
The biggest beef i have with DnD type games is that there are hundreds of top level predators. In my fantasy world, there's only a couple - lets face it, they are all competing for the same resources.
Invasive species behaviors would suit D&D quite well, though. 'Specially when you treat the stock fantasy races *as* the invaders. Sure, there aren't enough natural resources to go around ... now that the humans (elves, dwarves, what have you) have set up shop in the area. ...Hmmm, I might have to use that as a hook.

(Heh, apparently history I can take or leave, but biology has to conform to some sort of logic. Go figure :P)

tesral
07-31-2010, 05:35 PM
I just depends on the setting. I try and keep things accurate as history is one of my three loves, archeology being another (hey, i get KMT magazine)

Love history, yes. Archeology? Part of the deal. However I am not gaming in an Historical Earth. There is no history to keep accurate to.



... anyway, adopt items and customs the the local as needed. Some items can coexist depending on available materials, knowledge and skills of a specific locale.

One game I like to play is culture mashup. Take say, medieval Spain and mix with Hindu India. Mix the best parts of Japanese and Roman society. South African style apartheid with Humans as the underclass and Human-Avian hybrids as the minority overclass. Generally I pick two cultural periods and mash them together. Or I will take the basic behavior of an animal ,and translate that into a sentient culture. The politics of the henhouse as culture or the wolf pack, or the prairie dog town. The latter choice makes for good alien cultures.




The biggest beef i have with DnD type games is that there are hundreds of top level predators.

One does need to edit the Monster Manual. You really cannot throw the whole book, or series of same at a world. You can use many top predators, but you need them to have some physical separation, not all jumbled together.

kkriegg
08-09-2010, 12:30 AM
I like things to be a pit plausable. Modern assumptions, like mass production and instant communication, can ruin the suspension of disbelief. As was already stated, internal consistency is probably more important.

Niggling over historical details (especially amung people who were never even there) gets old real quick.

As long as a game puts me in a different world/time frame, and as long as they give humanity a bit of credit*, I can enjoy it.

* Peasants, for example. 90% of the population for most fantasy-inspiring eras. They might have limited information, limited technology, and struggle to survive in spite of this... but that does not mean 90% of the population is flat-out retarded and covered in dung.

tesral
08-09-2010, 09:58 AM
I like things to be a pit plausible. Modern assumptions, like mass production and instant communication, can ruin the suspension of disbelief. As was already stated, internal consistency is probably more important.

* Peasants, for example. 90% of the population for most fantasy-inspiring eras. They might have limited information, limited technology, and struggle to survive in spite of this... but that does not mean 90% of the population is flat-out retarded and covered in dung.

The difference between ignorant and stupid. Yes, in subsistence societies the general population tended to be ignorant of things outside their sphere of living. Stupid is thinking that means they were stupid. A medieval farmer knew a great deal, about being a medieval farmer. If he didn't he, his family, and everyone else would starve. (yes, and those 90% were farmers.)

Yes, the people of the time did not have as much practical knowledge as we do. I know more medicine than a physician of the time. But I stand on the shoulders of giants and live in a society that has placed farming in the realm of mass production to the point I have the leisure to learn.

So the farmers will not know book knowledge, they will however know the plants the animals, their care and raising. How to make what they need, the turn of the seasons, predicting the weather to some extent, and so forth. A great store of knowledge practical to their lives. They will be hard, strong people that can work all day. There of course will be exceptions, but any of us that tried swinging a mowing scythe all day would be a wreck that couldn't move in the morning. Mr. Farmer gets up, downs his porridge, and does it again.

Historical accuracy? Only if I am playing an historical game. An internally consistent world is more important.

Scribe of the Realm
08-14-2010, 04:43 PM
It's been a very long time since I've been inclined to dig out Air War or Squad Leader, but historical accuracy was the whole point of the war games I used to play.

Outside of the old Dr. Who RPG, historical accuracy hasn't been the slightest concern in any of the RPGs I've played. Game world consistency and plot continuity are much higher priorities. However, inaccuracies and anachronisms (historical or otherwise) are tools to add color or introduce plot hooks. Here are two examples I've used for a medieval setting:

Only the poorest of people in the distant reaches of the Empire still use Spartan lead coins.

The jewelry merchant is selling gold that is clearly of Sythian workmanship!

dwightemarsh
09-13-2010, 02:45 PM
Recently I was attempting to run a bronze age/age of heroes setting and a couple of my players continued role playing while I dealt with real life for about half an hour. Upon my return I was appalled to discover their characters sitting in the dining room of one of their apartments pouring wine into goblets and arguing over which side of the plate the salad fork should be placed! They were getting heated enough about it that they were talking about walking out into the courtyard and settling it with swords! Shudder......

Shudder indeed! What bronze age civilization has forks!

---------- Post added at 03:45 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:34 PM ----------

I find it interesting that historical accuracy is considered just one thing, where you are either more or less accurate.

In the Ars Magica game that I am in, I could care less about how accurate the maps are to the covenant that we are in compared to what history shows. I also don't care if the names of the nobles in the area match what is in history. On the other hand, if the coins that are snuck into our bags are supposed to be proof of diabolism, they had better not be upside down crosses, the symbol of St Peter. Of have the monk say, "Oh, pride, well, that is not that important of a sin, not like theft or murder."

tesral
09-13-2010, 03:49 PM
Just because they didn't doesn't mean they can't. Recall that in the Eastren part of this planet most people still do not use forks, but they don't eat with their hands either. Too much concentration of Eurocentric development lines.