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HISTORICAL CAMPAIGNS

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I would like something about myths from Middle Orient in the Jahiliyyah ("age of ignorance"), the pre-islamic age with the Sumerian, Akkadians, Mesopotamian, Babylonians pantheons.
Goodman Games did some Mesopotamia stuff and their was a Dragon article on Mesopotamia in the 2000s too
 

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Bluenose

Adventurer
I would like something about myths from Middle Orient in the Jahiliyyah ("age of ignorance"), the pre-islamic age with the Sumerian, Akkadians, Mesopotamian, Babylonians pantheons.
Babylon on Which Fame and Jubilation are Bestowed might do some of that (it's around the time of Hammurabi, so hundreds of years after Sumer and Akkad were more than history).

Edit: And I've also remembered Zenobia, which is distinctly later but has more emphasis on the Arab world.
 
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Wasteland Knight

Adventurer
I've played in a couple of games that were essentially TTRPG analogs of "historical fiction" novels, i.e. adventure took place in a historical time period, around historical events but PCs were fictional (but historically accurate) characters.

Generally, these sorts of games require either a good amount of research or high degree of knowledge among the GM and players.

The specific games/systems used were:

1. "Dark Ages" Europe with Ars Magica. Ars Magica was my first exposure to this sort of gaming experience. It was quite interesting going from playing gonzo-fantasy D&D to historically accurate Magi in Europe.

2. Hundred Years War with a homebrew system

3. Thirty Years War with WHFRP

ETA 4: Viking raiders with some supernatural elements using some variant of the Runequest/Chaosium d100
 

Wasteland Knight

Adventurer
I've run a few Mythic Earth adventures using Mythras, and I'm a few months into a Mythic Britain campaign, using the supplement of the same name, which started with the "Waterlands" adventure, an excellent Celtic mystery-horror scenario set in the fens of the north east coast of England. Mythic Britain is set around 500 CE and is more of a Bernard Cornwell style than Excalibur, even though Arthur, Merlin and Morgana are knocking around this time though as dark ages Celts. British druidism is represented using the animism magic system, with the Annwn otherworld being accessible to druids (only) and magic the province of spirits. Early Christians can venerate saints but only very rarely successfully call on Miracles.

Looking forward to Bronze Age Mythic Babylon (during Hammurabi) which is looking very good, due out sometime in 2021.

I've read through Mythic Britain, and it looks to be a great foundation for a campaign. I think Mythras makes a great system to run these sorts of games.
 

Bilharzia

Fish Priest
I've read through Mythic Britain, and it looks to be a great foundation for a campaign. I think Mythras makes a great system to run these sorts of games.

Mythras characters are generated out of a specific culture and career, that foundation and the rules core system tends to give the game a fairly realistic feel to which you can then add whatever supernatural/magical/mystical elements you like, all of which is supported by the main rule book. It's not as noodlely as GURPS and it's broader than Ars Magica (although it does share some authors with Ars).

If you're running a Mythras Vikings campaign Logres can cover some of this at a pinch (although of course it's much earlier) but there is also a "Vikings of Legend" supplement which is pretty close to the Mythras rules, based on the Mongoose RQ II rules which is the predecessor to RuneQuest 6/Mythras.
 

Got some links? I collect this stuff.

No, sorry, I downloaded the pdfs, and didn't keep the links.
Got your back on this one

not as far back, but still of use, espec. for WWII:
 

Samloyal23

Adventurer
Ever since the 2E AD&D Historical Reference Guides came out I have wanted to play a campaign set during the Jewish Wars, fighting against the Roman Empire. I snatched those books up as soon as they came out, still have my set. Even playing later editions they are an invaluable resource.
 

Ever since the 2E AD&D Historical Reference Guides came out I have wanted to play a campaign set during the Jewish Wars, fighting against the Roman Empire. I snatched those books up as soon as they came out, still have my set. Even playing later editions they are an invaluable resource.

That is a cool campaign idea. I wrote a module that I never released called the Secret of Actium, for my Caligula RPG, that is set in Roman Egypt during the Alexandrian Riots.
 

Samloyal23

Adventurer
That is a cool campaign idea. I wrote a module that I never released called the Secret of Actium, for my Caligula RPG, that is set in Roman Egypt during the Alexandrian Riots.

There is nowhere near enough content in RPGs for Jews, despite our outsized presence in other media. Jews were mentioned in several of the HR books, but there was not one single Jewish oriented character class. The Crusades took place in our Holy Land, but the guidebook just treats us as bystanders to the warfare. It really pissed me off, despite how much I loved those books.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
There is nowhere near enough content in RPGs for Jews, despite our outsized presence in other media. Jews were mentioned in several of the HR books, but there was not one single Jewish oriented character class. The Crusades took place in our Holy Land, but the guidebook just treats us as bystanders to the warfare. It really pissed me off, despite how much I loved those books.
Did you ever encounter Testament by Green Ronin? It's Old Testament, so it's a bit further back than either a Roman or Crusader campaign. But it's still interesting.
 

Bluenose

Adventurer
Did you ever encounter Testament by Green Ronin? It's Old Testament, so it's a bit further back than either a Roman or Crusader campaign. But it's still interesting.

Orbis Mundi 2 is probably the most in-depth coverage of historical medieval Europe/North Africa/Middle East, and does have some depth on Judaism and include a few prominent Jewish characters. There's not much else, though I remember one edition of Pendragon including rules for Jewish knights (not unknown in the tales it's based on).
 

Zsong

Explorer
I'm of the mind that we all don't like the same things and that's okay. If this is something you and your group are comfortable with then I say more power to you. If y'all are having fun then you're doing it right. I do agree that there is a deep wellspring of role playing possible.
The only problem with that style of play is everyone has to agree on what is racist and what is not racist and how people in general treated people of other groups in that time period. And that can get heated if people disagree or feel differently on these topics. I generally don’t want to be on a soapbox preaching my views on these topics nor do I want to listen to someone else’s when I sit down to play a game. They never end with civil discourse from my experience. It’s like walking on eggshell for me
 


Eltab

Is this a moon, or is it a space station?
+1 for Testament.
It works well for about the era between the Judges and the Babylonian Captivity. I have not tried to do anything with the Mythic Past chapter but the material is evocative. Enough cultural material about nearby peoples (from Egypt to Babylonia) is provided so the campaign can travel and make it feel like you are in a different land.
 

zarionofarabel

Adventurer
Thought it might be cool to start a general history RPG thread. How do you approach running a game set in real world history? Any times and places you think are particularly well suited to RPG adventures? Recommended books, primary sources, breakdowns and historical atlases?
Just about any time or place in history is chock full of adventure potential if you look for it. I would say anything set around large scale military or political upheaval is ripe for the picking.

I will throw in with the Mythras crowd and enthusiastically suggest Mythic Britain. It is easily one of the best takes on the King Arthur myth I have encountered.

I also enjoyed reading the Mythic Rome setting. It isn't set up for adventure like Mythic Britain, but it is a very concise reference for the time period for the Mythras system.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I prefer to draw on history for inspiration but am not that interested in playing a campaign in a historical setting. My reason is the same reason I don't like running games in well established fictional settings like Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr Who, Lord of the Rings, etc.: they tend to get caught up in arguments on canon and even when they don't uber fans will be disappointed if I get something wrong about the period or fictional world.

Similarly, I'm not interested in playing in a game pitched as a historical game when it is set in a period or culture I have a lot of familiarity with. It is immersion breaking when the DM has a very shallow or unfactual understanding of the history and culture.

But I absolutely love to draw on real-world cultures to inform my fantasy worlds.
 

Samloyal23

Adventurer
I have heard good things about Testament, I want to get my hands on a copy one of these days. I have the Pendragon supplement "Knights Adventurous", which has a chapter on the Jewish religion but no actual crunch for Jewish characters. "Charnel Houses of Europe: The Shoah" is a sourcebook for the game Wraith: The Oblivion by Black Dog Game Factory. It deals in depth with the Holocaust. It is not for the squeamish, but is designed to educate people about the genocide that took place during WWII. "Kabbalah: Mythic Judaism" for the Ars Magica game is the only book completely dedicated to Jews in an RPG setting that I know of, and as a Jew who does not actually play Ars Magica I thought it was really well done. If you know about another Judaic RPG supplement or game, I am all ears...
 


Thought it might be cool to start a general history RPG thread. How do you approach running a game set in real world history? Any times and places you think are particularly well suited to RPG adventures? Recommended books, primary sources, breakdowns and historical atlases?
Technically, I've never done a proper historical game... but I've run several fantastic¹ settings that are historical in the sense of using a clear divergence point.
Pendragon (4th-5th-6th C but Arthurian)
Mazes and Minotaurs (boosted by the ICE Rolemaster/Fantasy Hero sourcebook Mythic Greece)
RuneQuest III on Fantasy Earth (bronze age) - just a couple one-shots
Spirit of the Century (1920's-1930's.)
Vampire: the Dark Ages
Ars Magica

A number of moderns that have various levels of fantasy, as well
Merc 2000 setting for Twilight 2000 2.0/2.2 - this is the most historic; it only adds more unrest
Delta Force - a couple runs of one-shots set in the present, so not technically "historical"
Dresden Files
Vampire: the Masquerade (1e)
Stargate SG-1

My Methods
The prime directive of any setting with a timeline: The timeline diverges to independence the moment the first PC takes an action.
Generally, I dive into a setting anyway, so...

With Pendragon, I read LeMorte d'Artur - it's good, if repetitive with the genealogies, and the Mabinogion
I also watched every arthurian film I could. And then just kept to the tone, and pulled interesting bits from the timeline. I also got to know the lay of the land by using Ordinance Survey maps, Google Earth, and the rulebooks. I recommend the films Tristan & Isolde, Excalibur, and the film version of Lerner & Lowe's musical, Camelot. I do not recommend TH White's Once and Future King, as it's essentially anachronisms galore. Any of the pendragon campaign books are excellent sources: The Pendragon Campaign, The Boy King, The Great Pendragon Campaign. I also recommend reading any of the norse sagas for getting into the Saxon mindset.

Mazes and Minotaurs I broke out the mythologies and read several. Plus reread a number of Plato's writings. I also used a Mythic Greece supplement for Hero System and Rolemaster. As a kid, bible stories and mythologies were my favored bedtime stories. Plus having watched aa bunch of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. but note that all of the good sources for popular Greece are very much not historic.

RuneQuest III deluxe included a Fantasy Earth map, and some excellent guidance. I did no research for it... but it's built on a bronze age baseline. Anything for Greece is a good start. If you're doing Glorantha, the greco-roman mythologies, and any archaeological works you've read/watched are good tools. With Greg's passing, I doubt you'll get gregged as often...

For the moderns, since the ones I've used are military, making certain players understand the roles of various ranks is important. The nutshell of that outside combat arms:
Field Grade Officers: Delegate and coordinate, compliance and budgeting.
Company Grade Officers: technical work, supervise and coordinate, delegating what can be.
Senior NCO's Adminsitration and training, shop foreman
Junior NCO's team leadership and technical work
Junior Enlisted (including non-NCO US E4's: SrAirman, Specialist-4): day to day labor, supervised technical work.
Combat arms are different, so I let that be more cinematic, to a point.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I tend to use what knowledge I have of history and then put a fantasy spin on it. I'd also look at various resources like the old dragon magazine articles on old cities (they contained maps and characters found in the city, possibly over a time period) since my general knowledge has large gaps in it. I would probably check out the old 2e green books depending on where I'm setting things or the castles and crusade books that go over similar material. Probably wouldn't do too deep a dive into it though, don't want to get bogged down in the details when everyone is just there to have fun.

The old dragon magazines actually had quite a bit of material now I think of it. People had come up with African class kits and some brief notes on the gods there. Dark ages England had a few expansive articles as well. There would likely be a lot more you could find, I'd suggest going to the dragondex website to look for articles to source.
 

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