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Old 08-07-2011, 07:04 PM   #1
ULFGARD
 
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Default "Pure" historical roleplaying?

How many of you do "pure" historical roleplaying? What I mean by this is that you do your best to run a historically accurate game. Never mind whether or not it might be possible for the PCs to actually alter the course of our history -- I mean that it's generally historical insofar as it is "our world" up to the start of the game, that there is no magic/supernatural that cannot absolutely be explained as happenstance/superstition (irrespective of character or even player belief -- my miracle may be your scheduled eclipse).

I'm curious, since I like the idea of running or playing in a straight old west game, though it's hard for me not to allow some magic of that "happenstance/superstition" variety just for funsies. Even so, in this context, I'd hate to run or play in something where this supernatural element dominated the story. Furthermore, within the extent of playable research (I like historical accuracy, but I'm not striving for a PhD thesis on tribal relations to Texans on the frontier in 1853), the idea is for historical accuracy within reason UP TO THAT POINT and continuing in general beyon that time. Not that I'd be looking to hunt down Lincoln and assassinate him, or Lee, or whomever you choose -- that wouldn't make much sense unless my character (or party) had a GOOD reason to do so... But that party actions could change history, either in small ways or even large (i.e., by founding a company that creates the transcontinental railroad first).

This same idea could be applied to any historical epoch. And the idea isn't "simulationist", but rather is to enjoy a historical fiction where the characters are the protagonists set against a grand historical background. Who is doing this, if anyone? And who likes the idea? How has your success/enjoyment been in doing so or playing in such a game?
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: "Pure" historical roleplaying?

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Originally Posted by ULFGARD View Post
How many of you do "pure" historical roleplaying? What I mean by this is that you do your best to run a historically accurate game. Never mind whether or not it might be possible for the PCs to actually alter the course of our history -- I mean that it's generally historical insofar as it is "our world" up to the start of the game, that there is no magic/supernatural that cannot absolutely be explained as happenstance/superstition (irrespective of character or even player belief -- my miracle may be your scheduled eclipse).
It's hard to sell those to my players, whether historical or contemporary; they prefer the fantastic genres most of the time. But there weren't any fantastic elements in my campaign Salle d'Armes, set in France in 1716. Aspects of the campaign reflected such things as the War of the Spanish Succession, the financial schemes of John Law, and the Old Pretender's sojourn in France. Unfortunately I never managed to have them run into Maurice de Saxe. . . .

Bill Stoddard
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: "Pure" historical roleplaying?

Its possible but I always want to explore the mystic context so a "pure" game wouldnt interest me.
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: "Pure" historical roleplaying?

I've played or run non-magical games/campaigns in WWII, the Old West, Ancient Rome and modern times.

The few times I've had "mysterious" events, they've always been unsolved - did some of the Anansazi really watch from that ridge as the ehroes defeated the unethical lumber company, or were those figures local Indians or just the PCs imagination?

I've never really had any problems with them, with either my players or as a player. They can be lots of fun, and in some systems, very, very dangerous.
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:03 PM   #5
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Default Re: "Pure" historical roleplaying?

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
It's hard to sell those to my players, whether historical or contemporary; they prefer the fantastic genres most of the time. But there weren't any fantastic elements in my campaign Salle d'Armes, set in France in 1716. Aspects of the campaign reflected such things as the War of the Spanish Succession, the financial schemes of John Law, and the Old Pretender's sojourn in France. Unfortunately I never managed to have them run into Maurice de Saxe. . . .

Bill Stoddard
I know the feeling. I can get old west sold. But it's a hard one to sell. And besides, I'm in between groups right now. I don't want the cinematic approach, either. Real gunfighters with a VERY tiny dose of the supernatural are good enough to keep things interesting. Of course, PC deaths are quite likely -- one good gut shot and a handful of bad rolls and it's game over. Oddly, that's MORE generous than real life in most games (including GURPS). Too bad I'm not near you -- I'd play that game in a heartbeat. And I bet I could find one or two other players to join in, so long as it was "hard core" enough.

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Its possible but I always want to explore the mystic context so a "pure" game wouldnt interest me.
Well, my "pure" historical would allow for that, so long as it wasn't overt and didn't dominate the campaign. In other words, it could be a mystical campaign, but magic couldn't trump the real world abilities of characters, just give them an edge. Even so, I prefer a much less mystical approach in "pure" historical games. I did, however, enjoy playing an Ars Magica game a few years ago. Unfortunately it fizzled well before it could explore it's full potential.

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Originally Posted by Whitestreak View Post
I've played or run non-magical games/campaigns in WWII, the Old West, Ancient Rome and modern times.

The few times I've had "mysterious" events, they've always been unsolved - did some of the Anansazi really watch from that ridge as the ehroes defeated the unethical lumber company, or were those figures local Indians or just the PCs imagination?

I've never really had any problems with them, with either my players or as a player. They can be lots of fun, and in some systems, very, very dangerous.
My only successful purely non-magical historical game has been Old West. There it was great, and has been to this point one of the best climaxes to any campaign I've ever played in or ran -- the perfect shootout that took care of all tensions...

That's exactly the way magic should work in a historical campaign -- was it real or was it imagination?
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: "Pure" historical roleplaying?

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Originally Posted by ULFGARD View Post
Well, my "pure" historical would allow for that, so long as it wasn't overt and didn't dominate the campaign. In other words, it could be a mystical campaign, but magic couldn't trump the real world abilities of characters, just give them an edge. Even so, I prefer a much less mystical approach in "pure" historical games. I did, however, enjoy playing an Ars Magica game a few years ago. Unfortunately it fizzled well before it could explore it's full potential.
TBH I use mostly psionics and psionics derived kind of magic nowdays, OTOH I put it in every scenario i can think of.
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: "Pure" historical roleplaying?

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TBH I use mostly psionics and psionics derived kind of magic nowdays, OTOH I put it in every scenario i can think of.
Nothing wrong with that, just not quite what I'm going for here. I'd have no problem playing or possibly even running such a game. (Heck, I have on both counts, but that's another story or two.)
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Old 08-08-2011, 03:00 AM   #8
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Default Re: "Pure" historical roleplaying?

Generally, no. I do run Pendragon, from time to time, and by the Boy King timeline, mostly, but that is itself an anachronism the size of a small bus.

In Ars Magica, we basically try to get the century pretty much correct.
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Old 08-08-2011, 03:24 AM   #9
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I've always wanted to play in a TL2 and below realistic game even if I had to make new characters every few sessions.
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Old 08-08-2011, 04:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: "Pure" historical roleplaying?

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How many of you do "pure" historical roleplaying? What I mean by this is that you do your best to run a historically accurate game. Never mind whether or not it might be possible for the PCs to actually alter the course of our history -- I mean that it's generally historical insofar as it is "our world" up to the start of the game, that there is no magic/supernatural that cannot absolutely be explained as happenstance/superstition (irrespective of character or even player belief -- my miracle may be your scheduled eclipse).
Well, depending on whether you view larger-than-life characters and a mildly cinematic style as magical/supernatural I might have done quite a lot of this. I've played in or run 16th-century Japanese-setting campaigns, 17th-century campaigns in the spirit of The Three Musketeers, late Eighteenth-century "smallswords and lace", Napoleonic period, American westerns, 1890s adventure inspired by Kipling and Jack London, 1920s cliffhangers and detective adventures, Thirties Noir detective, WWII, 1950s detective and espionage, and Thatcher-era James Bond.
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