• COMING SOON! -- Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition! Level up your 5E game! The standalone advanced 5E tabletop RPG adds depth and diversity to the game you love!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

German-themed game resources

XCorvis

First Post
I'm kicking around an idea for a German-themed campaign. Does anyone have any good resources for something like that? I'm thinking of Medieval type stuff, and historical resources. Has anyone else already run a similar game?

Thanks!
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Keefe the Thief

Adventurer
Perhaps it would be a good idea to define what you mean by "German-themed" first? Anyway, it would perhaps be better to talk about "Holy Roman Empire"-themed, if you want anything resembling medieval. Germany as a concept during that time is, uh, problematic. ;) Simply start with the article on Wikipedia here - it´s decent enough, and you´ll be using it for gaming not for historical science, so you´ll be ok.
It´s not my time period as a historian, however, so i cannot help you with English links about the subject.
 

XCorvis

First Post
I did see that article, but it's mostly names and dates. I was looking for cultural information, maybe 15th-17th century? (Yes, that's not Medieval, I changed my mind a bit.) But I'm really just getting started, so anything that others have found useful would be of interest.

This Wikipedia article (List of German expressions in English) has a bunch of terms I can drop in to help establish the setting, but I'd like to be able to go beyond that and describe some of the cultural elements, like architecture and politics.
 

Derren

Hero
As Keefe said, there isn't a general "German" flavor during that time as Germany did not exist till the 19th century. Before that it was the Holy Roman Empire. A collection of many small kingdoms. So you have to decide if you want to concentrate on one of those kingdoms or want to use the concept of many small countries into your campaign. I made the experience that most foreigners thing of Bavaria when they talk about Germany although the modern impression of the historic Germany probably uses things from many different kingdoms which makes it hard to research it.

I suggest you pick a event in the HREs history which matches your campaign world most and analyze that instead looking for general information.

You might also want to get some information about Warhammer (the fantasy game, not 40K) as the Empire in that game was inspired by renaissance Germany. You could also try to read some german literature from that time (Stay away from Faust part 2, that will drive you insane).
 
Last edited:

WhatGravitas

Explorer
XCorvis said:
I did see that article, but it's mostly names and dates. I was looking for cultural information, maybe 15th-17th century? (Yes, that's not Medieval, I changed my mind a bit.) But I'm really just getting started, so anything that others have found useful would be of interest.
Ah, the problem is: The notion of Germany as a political nation is very new (end of 19th century) - previously there was a very messy heap of smaller duchies, principalities, and other stuff. Only in 1871, it was "unified" under the lead of Prussia as a single "Germany"

I guess for the time before, you'll be most interested in:

For a feel of personalities and events:
Johannes Gutenberg
Martin Luther
The Thirty Years' War
Brothers Grimm
Unification of Germany

Some defining states:
Prussia
Austria

Other stuff:
Revolutions of 1848
House of Hohenzollern

I guess Wikipedia is your best friend. This stuff kept us occupied for almost 1-1/2 years in school (full 2 years, if you add Weimar Republic, WWII, and Rise of Nazism), so I cannot really think of any resources without getting into a heap of German books - because our history is messy, really.

Cheers, LT.
 

Turjan

Explorer
Derren said:
As Keefe said, there isn't a general "German" flavor during that time as Germany did not exist till the 19th century.
Just a nitpick: Since 1512, it has officially been named "The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation", which means that the concept of a German nation was obviously alive during the time in question, and actually already a long time before that.

I agree with trying to stick with some local tradition. There's not so much to read about German cultural information, except if you go for the time of the 30 Years' War: Then I'd recommend reading the Simplicius Simplicissimus, which captures the thinking of the time quite well.
 

WhatGravitas

Explorer
Turjan said:
Just a nitpick: Since 1512, it has officially been named "The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation", which means that the concept of a German nation was obviously alive during the time in question, and actually already a long time before that.
Ehh... but that was different. The very concept of nations is quite new (see here). And in Germany, the national movements started around the beginning of the 19th century... and it was a movement of intellectuals. Previously, it was more of a moniker to imply a loose connection between the many states. As I'e said... German history is a bit messy.

Cheers, LT.
 

Derren

Hero
Yes the name "Germany" did exist for a long time, but the idea of Germany as a unified country? Only as vision in the mind of power hungry monarchs of one of the HRE Kingdoms.

I just found this web site. I don't know how accurate it (and especially the links) are but it looks good enough to give you a quick overview over the history of Germany.
http://www.germanculture.com.ua/library/links/history.htm
(You just have to pick out links about medival Germany from all the nazi history stuff)
 

Turjan

Explorer
Lord Tirian said:
Ehh... but that was different. The very concept of nations is quite new (see here). And in Germany, the national movements started around the beginning of the 19th century... and it was a movement of intellectuals. Previously, it was more of a moniker to imply a loose connection between the many states. As I'e said... German history is a bit messy.
I know about the concept of "nation". However, the term was used, and the notion that the idea of a cultural entity called "Germany" did not exist during that time is simply wrong. The notion of Germany and a German kingdom has been established perhaps in the 10th century, but definitely from the 11th century on. This can also be seen from the point that Bohemia, which was a part of the HRE during nearly all of its existence, was never seen as a part of Germany and didn't get its circle during the reforms of 1500 and 1512. Even if there were many mostly independent states on the territory, this is all that matters as a cultural background. For roleplaying purposes, the situation is ideal. That's probably why we have games like Ars Magica or WFRP :).
 

XCorvis

First Post
Lord Tirian said:
Ah, the problem is: The notion of Germany as a political nation is very new (end of 19th century) - previously there was a very messy heap of smaller duchies, principalities, and other stuff. Only in 1871, it was "unified" under the lead of Prussia as a single "Germany".

I begin to see the problem. ;)

Since several posters seem to be German (or at least IN Germany), maybe you can recommend specific interesting regions to focus on? My goal is to have my players think "Oh, we're in some kind of fantasy Germany instead of fantasy England or France". I'm building a new campaign world and I'm not going for historical accuracy, so I'll fit the interesting bits together and hopefully get something I like.

Thanks for the help so far, everyone.
 

QuaziquestGM

First Post
This is the first time that I have noticed anyone actually claiming to play The Dark Eye.

I assume that Keefe is German and is playing with the German rules set. (is this true?) I've looked at the English translation and found it to be unplayable, though only due to the fact they did not include the magic system. I noticed at last year's DragonCon that FanPro had finally released the Campaign setting book Land's of Adventura...but still did not include the magic system. (Come on...a fantasy game with both priest and magic users and they never give spell descriptions????) They have finally put the Core book in the 1/2 price bin at my lgs, but I still can't justify the purchase.

However, if you can find it, the core book did strike me as a "German" setting, the assumptions did not quite fit the American (hollywood/pseudo english) assumptions for a quasi European low magic fantasy setting. The depictions of character dress also struck me as German.

The production values of the book were also quite good. You may want to consider it for source material, but again, as translated, this system as a game is unplayable unless you go "Magic free".
 

WhatGravitas

Explorer
Turjan said:
However, the term was used, and the notion that the idea of a cultural entity called "Germany" did not exist during that time is simply wrong. The notion of Germany and a German kingdom has been established perhaps in the 10th century, but definitely from the 11th century on.
Huh? Source?

As far as I know, the main part of "German culture" was the more like something like a shared German language. The conception of German culture (Goethe, Bach, Mozart, "Land der Dichter und Denker" ("Country of Poets and Thinker")) is a fairly new conception.

Note that you only have a Culture of German-speaking Europe. The only thing that was culturally unifying, was the shared German language. Note that under that conception, Austria and Switzerland are also part of that shared culture.

During the Middle Age, the very fractured sacrum romanum imperium developed from East Francia (which was also called regnum teutonicorum - Realm of the Teutons), which is partially French now. The Germans consist of Frisians, Saxons, Thuringii, Franks, Alamanni, and Bavarii. And I've probably forgotten some.

The name "Deutsch" (or "German") comes from Ludwig der Deutsche ("Louis the German"), and his kingdom fell apart after his death into smaller kingdoms. Later, people just used his name to sound more important, to give their claims more gravitas.

Even today, a Frisian is very different (in local dialect, as well as culture) from a Bavarian, or a Saxon. And I've seen my fair share of local culture - my father is from Bavaria, and I lived in Hesse, Bavaria, and Northrhine-Westphalia.

Just look at the word "German" itself: In Germany, we call ourselves "Deutsche", which stems from diutisc - "Folk". French call us "Allemands" - the origin are the Alamanni. And English call us "Germans", from germanus. If even other languages cannot pin that culture down to a common denominator... well, you get my gist.

The label "German" is floating through history - but is has changed its precise meaning and translation fairly often. And the same region was re-named.

And sorry for being that verbose and stubborn - but doing all that stuff in history for years... tends to burn into your mind.

EDIT: And I think I'll drop it from now on, because it's probably derailing the thread far too much.

QuaziquestGM said:
This is the first time that I have noticed anyone actually claiming to play The Dark Eye.

I assume that Keefe is German and is playing with the German rules set.
About Keefe - I think it is. "Das Schwarze Auge" (literally: "The Black Eye") is quite popular in Germany. Though it's also a cheap, unplayable D&D rip-off in German! ;)

(Tongue-in-cheek! I just cannot touch it without getting the urge to destroy the books. I cannot stand it... and prefer D&D by so much more for fantasy - despite the flawed German translations of D&D)

Cheers, LT.
 
Last edited:

Keefe the Thief

Adventurer
Heh, yes TDE is the dominant RPG on the German market. I´ve no idea how good or bad the English translation was, but it´s really been described to me as sub-par very often. A D&D ripoff... well, it was perhaps at it´s conception. If you look at game and background now, you´ll not see a lot of things reminding you of D&D. It´s actually funny how many people´ll tell you that the game you´ve played for all of your life is actually unplayable - but of course, that happens to D&D-players all the time, too. :)
 


Turjan

Explorer
Lord Tirian said:
Huh? Source?
Try this.
Lord Tirian said:
The name "Deutsch" (or "German") comes from Ludwig der Deutsche ("Louis the German"), and his kingdom fell apart after his death into smaller kingdoms. Later, people just used his name to sound more important, to give their claims more gravitas.
The title "Louis the German" was not used prior to the 19th century. He was referred to as "rex germanorum" in West-Franconian sources, though.


Anyway, for the RPG, I'd go with WFRP, as hong and others suggested. I find more interesting RPG topics in earlier times, but that was not asked for.
 

WhatGravitas

Explorer
Keefe the Thief said:
It´s actually funny how many people´ll tell you that the game you´ve played for all of your life is actually unplayable - but of course, that happens to D&D-players all the time, too. :)
Don't worry - my hate of DSA is more of personal pet peeve, than truly founded. Don't ask why, it simply is that way. Sorry, if I offended you in some way.
Turjan said:
Okay, this is nice. While I think some things are possibly discussable, I see your point and won't deny that my opinion is flawed. That's the problem with history, eh? Depending on your historian, history can be presented very differently.
Turjan said:
Anyway, for the RPG, I'd go with WFRP, as hong and others suggested. I find more interesting RPG topics in earlier times, but that was not asked for.
Yeah... you may want to look here (result of short googling), the official homepage, and surfing a bit around the web. The Warhammer Empire is definitely a nice way to sprinkle medieval flavour on almost any campaign: It's probably the best one can get: The archetypical flavour, minus the historical facts - just the feel, in the dose you want for a fantasy game.

Cheers, LT.
 

Keefe the Thief

Adventurer
Lord Tirian said:
Don't worry - my hate of DSA is more of personal pet peeve, than truly founded. Don't ask why, it simply is that way. Sorry, if I offended you in some way.

Oh, absolutely not. RPGs are games that are mostly centered around emotion - strong likes and dislikes are really a part of the package. Why, i resented D&D for a long time until Eberron made me see the light. And TDE was and is a very specialized game you either love or hate.
So, no worries there. :D
 

Mustrum_Ridcully

Adventurer
Lord Tirian said:
Don't worry - my hate of DSA is more of personal pet peeve, than truly founded. Don't ask why, it simply is that way. Sorry, if I offended you in some way.
But I know other (including myself) German players that dislike DSA. But I have heard the newest edition (4th) has become a lot better.
I didn't play a lot of DSA, but the old 3-d20 rolls for a skill check system and the Weapon Comparison Factors were a PITA. The setting is interesting and I guess well done, because it offers a lot of variety and an interesting history. But some adventures (while interesting to play) suffer a bit from the fact that they seemed aimed at young, easily impressed players, not as hardcore role players with D&D, Shadowrun and Torg experience.
I liked to say: "Oh, DSA. Dann lass uns mal den Weichspüler rausholen..." (feel free to translate this phrase yourself :) "

Unfortunately, I can't really add much to the topic at hand.
DSA is certainly a good resource, but it's not entirely German-Themed.
Warhammer's Empire is definitely German-Themed (though sometimes it sounds funny for German speakers. Calling a street "Schwangergasse" (Pregnant Street) and things like that. :)

I think the Wikipedia links on the topics should provide a good start. It's probably not as if you need a 100% historically accurate description of Germany for a RPG setting.
 

XCorvis

First Post
Mustrum_Ridcully said:
Unfortunately, I can't really add much to the topic at hand.
DSA is certainly a good resource, but it's not entirely German-Themed.
Warhammer's Empire is definitely German-Themed (though sometimes it sounds funny for German speakers. Calling a street "Schwangergasse" (Pregnant Street) and things like that. :)

I think the Wikipedia links on the topics should provide a good start. It's probably not as if you need a 100% historically accurate description of Germany for a RPG setting.

Wikipedia links for the current German states have been a bit more revealing of culture, and the WFRP resources sound interesting. I'm also investigating the Knights Templar and some other knightly orders in the area at the time.

Again, thanks all!
 

Turjan

Explorer
If you ever reconsider the time frame you are aiming at, I'll suggest looking at the high medieval time. Ars Magica is set in one of the sweet spots (around 1220) for D&D-like adventures in this area.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top