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D&D General D&Difying History


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Because I'm not talking about modern stories with a thin veneer of the past.
Not only do I think your claim is false, I can present evidence that the exact opposite of what you claim is what's actually happening.

Take the 2021 film The Last Duel. It's set in 1380s France, and is based on real events. I won't go into detail about the subject matter, for the sake of Eric's grandma, but suffice it to say that it deals with some huge warts. Warts that have, in the past, traditionally been whitewashed, bowdlerized, excused or just completely ignored in order to present a romanticized version of the time period.

Warts that actually persist to this day in society, though certainly not to quite the same extent. But they're still present. And discussion of these warts, out in the open, by people who refuse to remain silent about them any more, has become more and more common in recent years.

A film like The Last Duel would not have been made in, say, the 1980s. Portrayals of medieval times at that time were still very naive and romanticized. It's only now that media is beginning to address some of these warts that have been ignored for so long.

So this is evidence that not only is the discussion of these warts in media not being curtailed, it is actually increasing. Pushed, at least in part, by the "forward-minded people" who are now trying to force these issues to be addressed in the present time. It's the precise opposite of what you claim.
 

TheSword

Legend
I’ve never actually done it yet but one day I hope to run a game set in a historically accurate Europe in the year 1,000.
The game would be set initially in Normandy and England and would play on the (at the time very real) fear that the turning of the Millenium would bring about an apocalypse of evil. Kind of like a millenium bug but with demons.

I’ve taught 1066 era history for some years so it would be based on an era of history that is dear to me.
Wow, sounds right up my ally. You need to be writing that! I’ve been reading the Last Kingdom series which is late 9th Century, so a bit wary but the tensions are very strong there.

Don’t forget you ran an excellent Norse Campaign which while not set in a historical setting, could easily have been a mythological history and had all the style and drama of one. It was excellent.

Trust the players, trust the DM, and don’t get too hung up in the details. There is no reason the game has to turn into a documentary. If anything series like Vikings and Black Sails have shown us how much tension and fun can be had in semi historical settings (with Vikings being pretty darn accurate as far as I can tell)

The inaugural Dragon Magazine copy for 3rd edition was themed around a Robin Hood setting, middle England with mythology woven in. It was very well written. (Just I was Ninja’d)

If people wanted to play 5e they could do worse than use AIME for a nonmagical version of D&D
 
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Have you run a historical (including mythic history) game in D&D? If so, what era and location did you choose? How to you integrate D&D's particulars? DID you swap out real world cultures for D&D races, or not use D&D races, or something else? How did it go?

I have made a few attempts but the most ambitious was Post-Roman Britain using 3.5/Pathfinder. I didn't necessarily direct swap cultures for races but generally speaking Dwarves were from the Wales region, Elves were from Ireland, halflings and humans were "local" and orcs and goblins had been pushed back to the other side of Hadrian's Wall (but I avoided saying "Picts are orcs"). The invading Saxons were replaced by hobgoblins, but in retrospect I should have made them the elves. It worked pretty well for a while but as happened a lot in that time it eventually collapsed under the weight of the system.

I used to use the Green books a bit back in the day. The two I really remember strongly are A Mighty Fortress and The Glory of Rome (the Glory of Rome was one of the things that helped launch a lifelong interest in Roman history). And I used to run Masque of the Red Death (which was set in a kind of alternate Victorian Earth). With changes it can work easy enough I think. But I also think it depends on how many D&D-isms you want to retain, versus how much historical realism you want (I think D&Disms, because they are highly gameable, are often something people might want to retain even if they don't fully fit the historical setting).

I also once ran a Ravenloft campaign set in the future of Ravenloft, during a WWI style war between the domains (with tech levels at about WWI technology). Not a historical game, but was a lot more like a historical campaign using D&D as the base. I think my main reason was I just really liked the idea of bringing gothic horror to No Man's Land and having Zeppelins loom in the sky.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Have you run a historical (including mythic history) game in D&D? If so, what era and location did you choose? How to you integrate D&D's particulars? DID you swap out real world cultures for D&D races, or not use D&D races, or something else? How did it go?

I have made a few attempts but the most ambitious was Post-Roman Britain using 3.5/Pathfinder. I didn't necessarily direct swap cultures for races but generally speaking Dwarves were from the Wales region, Elves were from Ireland, halflings and humans were "local" and orcs and goblins had been pushed back to the other side of Hadrian's Wall (but I avoided saying "Picts are orcs"). The invading Saxons were replaced by hobgoblins, but in retrospect I should have made them the elves. It worked pretty well for a while but as happened a lot in that time it eventually collapsed under the weight of the system.
I think generally speaking that telling various real world nationalities that they aren't human might not sit well?
 


billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
I really have no idea why this fairly benign thread is being turned into an argument. Can’t we just talk about fun historical campaigns rather than making it political?
Approaching history as exclusively fun is, in itself, a political position. If you're dealing with actual history, you're going to be dealing with a lot of ugliness. The choice to not address that ugliness is a political one.
I think as far as it all goes, if you want to elide historical ugliness in your games, TheSword, nobody's going to care. There are plenty of people who are into semi-historical stuff without wanting to dwell on where the bodies are buried. That's a personal choice and you're free to make it with a table of like-minded players.

But if you want to start talking about it in public, you're going to encounter differences in perspective that will reflect the politics of the topic and all its ugliness. And if, in particular, you try to control the discourse away from that ugliness, then you're engaging in a VERY political act.
 

But if you want to start talking about it in public, you're going to encounter differences in perspective that will reflect the politics of the topic and all its ugliness. And if, in particular, you try to control the discourse away from that ugliness, then you're engaging in a VERY political act.
Very much what I was trying to say, with less eloquent results.
 

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