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Using the real world as a fantasy setting

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
I disagree. RPGs take up issues that bear on the actual players all the time. Issues of gender representation for example, or sexuality, or race, just to pick a few. You can address those issues, and have them present in a game, without un-safing your space - that why we have table contacts. Personally, I'm not interested in catering to people who are unwilling to confront an unwelcome truth. History is full of atrocities and injustice, and some of those will be at least tangentially linked to groups that one or more players belong to or identify with. If those players cannot deal with the realities of history, all the sides, not just their side, then their issue is far bigger than whether or not they are enjoying their evening of role playing.

That's not to say you should look for hot topic items of course, or chose things you know will prove divisive at the table. Obviously you shouldn't do that. But I also don't think you should cater to people who want to revise history, or repurpose to serve political ends, or just stick their fingers in their ears and shout LALALALALA because they don't like what they hear. Not every player is suited to every game, but that does not, in any way, mean that those games shouldn't be played, only that those players probably shouldn't play in them. Role playing is a fine way to engage with issues like injustice, or hatred, or intolerance, provided the group agrees. There's a chance there for the players to really examine what they think, and have some agency to act on their beliefs in what is a very safe, consensual space.
 

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Let's imagine in my homebred version of 7th Sea Castilla is the kingdom of the good guys, building schools and universities in the New World of the natives, whiles Avalon is ruled by a secret lodge of vampires and demons (the own Avalian queen is a reptilian alien who sacrifices children for potions of eternal youth) who wants to destroy the Church because this is supporting the best order of Castillan vampire-slayers. How would you feel in a tabletop like this?
 

atanakar

Hero
I chose Arthurian Myth and British Legends to do just that, using Romance of the Perilous Land. The mix between reality and fiction of that period «that never was» is strong in the collective imagination. It is easy to do. It's mostly Pagan but I decided Christianity is burgeoning at the King's court.

What happens to real world religions at my table, stays in my table.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
Let's imagine in my homebred version of 7th Sea Castilla is the kingdom of the good guys, building schools and universities in the New World of the natives, whiles Avalon is ruled by a secret lodge of vampires and demons (the own Avalian queen is a reptilian alien who sacrifices children for potions of eternal youth) who wants to destroy the Church because this is supporting the best order of Castillan vampire-slayers. How would you feel in a tabletop like this?
You're asking the wrong dude. I don't have the hangups you're talking about. Not that this example is anything much like the ones you mentioned before anyway since this one has a pretty significant fictional overlay. I think it's a pretty simplistic fictional overlay btw, very black and white. Nothing wrong with that, but talking about black and white and real history in the same breath is a fruitless task, since actual history isn't black and white.
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
Has anyone tried something like this?
Well, yes. Usually in historical contexts, not modern.
Some of the Published:
  • Pendragon (Arthur's England existed)
  • RuneQuest 3 (bronze age europe is one of two settings covered in the deluxe box; the other is Glorantha)
  • Bushidō (early shōgunate Japan, with magic and monsters)
  • Sengoku (also semi-historical Japan, Sengoku period)
  • The Blossoms Are Falling (Earlier Japanese setting)
  • Mazes and Minotaurs (harryhousen style Imperial Greece)
  • Paladin (Knights of Charlemagne, but with some magic happening)
  • World of Darkness (Vampire, Werewolf, Changeling, Mage, Wraith, Hunter) — Modern world.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel (many myths) — Modern world
  • Chill (general post-gothic horror in the modern world)
  • Bureau 13 (The Bureau 13 novels - mortals facing all kinds of supernatural threats)
 

Hoffmand

Explorer
@LuisCarlos17f - So you advise avoiding any RPG content that might offend a Christian at the table, but you're fine offending any Jews, Pagans, or Muslims at the table? I don't mean for that to sound adversarial, but this is essentially what you're suggesting. Obviously, the game needs to be a safe space, and no one wants to offend anyone else or make them uncomfortable, but I vehemently disagree that the result of that is that you should never roleplay certain historical periods. Of course you should, just like you should be up front about what a campaign entails at the start, and a player who is uncomfortable should be able to opt out. I don't think it's appropriate to give Christianity a special pass though.

I would never force a player to participate in in-game actions that violate their personal precepts of course, and each player gets to make a character that stands for whatever they want. So if they're playing a character that, for whatever reason, would not stand for the destruction of a Christian temple, then they wouldn't participate or would actively work against it. The history of a period isn't a straight jacket and individual characters aren't, or shouldn't be, forced to align themselves with groups or actions that make them uncomfortable. That does not, in any way, make whole swathes of history unplayable as RPG settings though.
Unless they are in an area where there are no Muslims,Jews, or whatever. I am from a region that is so ethnically and religiously homogeneous that it is not a concern. We pretty much look at other cultures and ethnicities with wonder and curiosity. Then we watch tv and see what is happening in the world and decide to stay away from many of them.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
Wolves of God, Sine Nomine's latest RPG does this for the Seven Kingdoms era of English history. Players take on the role of a warband of Anglo Saxon freeman who wish to make their mark on the world. It layers on Christian Saints and treacherous Galdormen who pay lip service to saints and angels yet practice foul sorcery to proud Anglo-Saxon Warriors who face off against all manner of men and beast. Add in Roman ruins, treacherous fey, enchantresses, and demons.

It's based on the same heavily modified version of B/X that powers Stars Without Number. It has strong flavor and is written almost in character with an Anglo-Saxon bias. The experience system really puts you in an Anglo-Saxon mindset. There are a set of glories (things you should proud of) and shames (stuff you should be ashamed of) based on your character class. Leveling up requires certain Reputation thresholds where Reputation is Glories-Shames. Note that shames only count against you if they are found out unless you are a Saint since God knows everything you do.
 

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

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