5 Reasons I Love Historical RPGs

It’s no secret: I love RPGs with a solid historical base. Luckily, I have a group of fellow gamers that indulges me for the most part, even if our historical games come with a liberal sprinkling of fantastical tropes. But whether we’re sitting down for some neo-Victorian Gothic Horror or I’m leading the way through another pulpy romp, nothing gets me excited like some historical accuracy. If arcade games are your cup of tea, then sites like 온라인 카지노 are definitely made for you.

While I could go on at length about what I enjoy about historical games, they say a picture is worth a thousand words. If one picture is worth a thousand, how many words is a gif worth?

5. THE CLOTHES

Yep, let’s just get the shallow reason out of the way. Fashion has been going downhill since the 1960s. I’m not saying I want to lace up a corset every morning (you’ve heard me complaining about Unhallowed Metropolis’ ridiculous “battle corset” notion, right?), but the basic Victorian silhouette? YES PLEASE.Jlaw Haute Couture

4. Research, research, research

I am the sort of nerd who considered going back to school for a master’s degree simply because I like doing research and writing papers. It’s a sickness.

(And tying these two bullet points together, remember the Unhallowed Metropolis Masquerade Ball? Credit in part lays with the awesome book of historical costumes I found: Fancy Dresses Described)

Sherlock Do Your Research

3. Paying homage to forgotten badasses

History classes tend to trot out the same cast of characters over and over, ignoring huge swaths of human history in favor of another story about Important White Dudes. So when I come across a woman like Julie D’Aubigny, I want to find a way to remind people that history is full of forgotten heroes (or fashionable villains). Sometimes re-sharing a page on social media isn’t enough, so these characters will inform my playing – like when Julie D’Aubigny inspired my Numenera character.

Lady Sif Fight

2. Romanticism

I am well aware that, for all the faults and foibles of the modern era, as a woman I am far luckier to be living in the 21st century than the 18th. And yet, there’s undeniably something exciting about a time before all the corners of the map were filled in. This is also why, on the opposite end of historical stories, I’m a fan of science fiction, especially stories of space exploration (when I can find ones that aren’t as full of white dudes as my history books were, anyway)

And the number one reason I like playing historical RPGs is…

Tangled Wistful

1. NO MAGIC

My loathing for magic can’t be described with gifs. It would take a master thesis (filled with delicious delicious footnotes) to fully convey my dislike. While I put up with supernatural creatures like The Shellycoat in Unhallowed Metropolis and allow Zap Macguffin to do silly things like touch a mysterious Soul Crystal, at the end of it all, even when weird stuff is happening, the historical games I play have a firm grounding in history and SCIENCE, above all else.

Harry Potter I Love Magic

Bartlet Wrongness

Are you a fan of historical RPGs? Tell us your favorites!


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About the Author
A city girl with midwestern roots, Angela has been on the internet for far too long. A geek of many stripes, when Angela isn't pretending to be a different person every weekend she can be found reading, writing (that novel will come out some day!), or preparing for her eventual life as a crazy cat woman. Angela also blogs about gaming at the blog Gaming as Women http:///www.gamingaswomen.com

6 comments on “5 Reasons I Love Historical RPGs

  1. Arlene says:

    You won’t love it (because of that ‘icky magic’) but Witch-Hunter is an alt-history game. I loved it for the wide variety of backgrounds (yes, I am a male or female midwife or female or male sailor) and the depth of the research. There just aren’t many games set in the 17th century. And you have to know what really happened to do a good alt-history.

    Researching for my character, I learned about the status of the assorted colonies in North America, the local tribes in those areas, and the status of the Catholic Church in France; plus what the middle class of France wore. I also looked into proper naming conventions of the era and area of my character’s origin (giving rise to a number of groans at my table as people tried to pronounce her name, or their eyes glazed over how long it is).

  2. Angela says:

    @Arlene – That’s the game by our friends at Paradigm Concepts, right? (They did Rotted Capes). I actually got a copy of Witch Hunter from them at Origins because I was going on about historical RPGs there, lol. I haven’t had a chance to really dig into it, but so glad to hear from someone else that the historical portion is super rich!

  3. Hexeter says:

    Back deep in to the days of yore I had the opportunity to play a clunky little OneShot Release of Indiana Jones the RPG. To this day I still think of it as the most generally fun Roleplaying I ever did. Sure it came with its hints of something beyond what we know but it was never easy, never understood and NEVER in the hands of the Players.

    It was amazing to actually use my wits and social skills instead of consulting a list of Weapons/Armour/Spells to deal with every situation. Don’t get me wrong.. I relied on my Saturday Night Special more than a few times but my lasting love of “Keep the mysticim out of the hands of the Players” was founded right then and there!

    Being able to use things like my mountain of National Geographics (which over time pretty much became my “Modules” on a Monthly basis) and my Library as primary tools in my creativity was very liberating. So often after a session my group would come to me with “How the hell did you make THAT up?” and I’d hand them a National Geographic and blow their minds.

    It was once true that History was written by the Victor..but now? History is well worth another look.

  4. Mawdrigen says:

    Call of Cthulhu. It has magic, but the magic is mind blasting truths of the universe. But there is something awesome about facing unstoppable evil and sometimes managing to delay the inevitable.

    The fact that it gives me an excuse to research history is neither here nor there.

    I totally have the 1893 maps of London due to call of cthulhu

  5. Syren says:

    I haven’t played any pnp games in particular with a very solid historical base, but I personally enjoy playing historically accurate bidness in my play by post games. My favorite eras being the post Civil War US West and the short period of time after what most would consider the absolute fall of the Roman Empire in modern day Italy.

    The former is a stark place where after brother has faced brother those who couldn’t accept the reality of things would retreat to the still wild but steadily modernizing west as the railroads still expanded civilization outward and extended Eastern American influence in what was originally an almost anarchistic expanse. Criminals were finding it harder to eke out a life since advancements in communications were making it easier for people to know of their crimes across the nation much quicker, and morally these kinds of people became un-persons. Eliminated as people and wanted dead or alive, with a dwindling amount of safe havens to run to and no shortage of people coming after them. The fashions ran the gambit of post Victorian, asian influences, and the pragmatic rugged gear of those who built or ran out there. Guns were finally of a step where you could consider a degree of accuracy, but were still very much high caliber low velocity and medicine was on the verge of some very powerful changes but was still being plagued by various kinds of hoodoo in wonder drugs and other things.

    I just like it really.

    The post-fall is more about the idea of how a land looks after the complete disillusion of a great civilization. There was still power in the old symbols but you could no longer live solely on them, nobility had lost its edge unless you had the military might to back it up, there were a plethora of out of work men of arms wandering the landscape taking what they needed or being caught up in the power schemes of the more ambitious or desperate. Tribes the Empire considered to be savages in the past were now picking apart the remains of their land, and establishing their own short kingdoms and back in Constantinople those rich trademasters of the Eastern Roman Empire tried desperately to use their money to re-establish their western power. Often being betrayed by their own mercenaries.

    It was an almost ancient post apocalyptic time. Chivalry, honor, and valor, now widely regarded as the luxuries of the past, have been cast aside in favor of transitory loyalties and a rule of law ever available to the highest bidder. Alliance and reputation are the true currencies now, and a careless word or unpaid tribute can cost the ultimate price. While these events mean dark times for the common folks, they offer a once in a lifetime opportunity for an individual determined to seize the moment, to follow it to riches, power, glory and, most likely, an untimely death.

    So yeah.

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