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Historical settings: Medieval vs everything else

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by Aemar, May 6, 2019.

  1. Aemar Learned

    Aemar
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    Strictly from a non-fantasy perspective, is there anything more cliched nowadays than a medieval-based game setting? Planning to develop a small historical game based on a realistic setting, and I'm still pondering on whether I should opt for a full medieval background or lean more towards Renaissance. Is it that people are more inclined towards accepting an apparently simpler setting more than anything else?
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
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  2. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Yes, the "high fantasy" one.
    Is there any medieval setting done right?
     
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  3. Sranchammer Arcane

    Sranchammer
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    Late Antiquity makes for better fantasy setting
     
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  4. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    Aztec
    Mughal
    Sumer

    Many underutilised historical settings that could make for some interesting rpgs.
     
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  5. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Go with renaissance. There are fewer renaissance historical games than medieval ones, and you get to implement cool weapons like early gunpowder stuff, weird combination weapons like gun-swords, gun-axes, gun-maces, halberds with 3 different blade styles on the head, bucklers with a spike for striking, etc. Really cool weapon variation even without enchanted items. Great armor variety, too: thick bulletproof steel breastplates as the highest armor tier, full gothic plate armor, but you can still get chainmail and brigandine. If you have paper doll inventory you can also go wild with the selection of clothes for the player, some really cool-looking stuff in the renaissance, more so than in earlier medieval eras. A renaissance setting gives you a much higher visual and functional variety for equipment than pretty much any other era, due to how transitional and experimental it was: a lot of older medieval stuff was still in use but there were also ridiculous experiments in creating new weapons that incorporate the cool new gunpowder technology.

    It also offers exciting scenarios to dump the player in. Support different city states during the Italian Wars! Participate in the final push of the Reconquista and deal with the Spanish Inquisition (can involve some minor fantasy elements, even, with all those allegations of witches and sorcerers)! Go on a conquistador expedition to the new world! Travel to Constantinople in the last years before its fall and decide between helping the Byzantines or fighting for the Turks! Get involved in the reformation and help out either the Catholics or the Protestants in medieval Germany!

    Tons of really cool under-used scenarios that offer great opportunities for role-playing and C&C.
     
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  6. Wayward Son Fails to keep valuable team members alive

    Wayward Son
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    They tend to do “medieval” in aesthetic pretty much only. They don’t tend to get into the shit that’s actually interesting like the tense and strenuous political structures, the intrigue and backstabbing or the confusing maps and borders. They take only the appearance and none of what could make that setting interesting.
     
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  7. Alexios Scholar

    Alexios
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    Old West
     
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  8. Tavernking Don't believe his lies Shitposter

    Tavernking
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    But I can't roleplay properly if my character isn't be a white male
     
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  9. Duckard Savant

    Duckard
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    Most "medieval" set games don't actually pick a reasonable time period and location as a basis, so you end up with stuff like people wearing great helms and close helms on the same battlefield. The overall vagueness is great if you want the game to be a vehicle for players to live out their fantasies, but not so great if you want to do justice to the history. I'm no expert, but I think you need to be at least a little specific about when and where your game takes place. Then you can research about the technology, culture, etc.
     
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  10. Tavernking Don't believe his lies Shitposter

    Tavernking
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    I would like to see more interesting historical RPGs

    - Play as a citizen of Carthage against Rome in the Punic wars
    - Play as a raw recruit for the Teutonic Order to exterminate the Lithuanian pagans in the name of god
    - Play as a phoenician seafaring merchant who gets caught up in a dastardly plot
    The possibilities are endless!
     
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  11. hello friend Arcane

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    If you do Aztec-inspired fantasy instead of going historical you can make all the people white if you want to. Fantasy or not, it would be tremendously interesting to have a game in that setting that DIDN'T coincide with the Spanish invasion. That's cool - but pretty much every fictional treatment of the Aztecs has to do with the Spanish invasion.

    The possibilities are indeed endless. Phoenician adventures on the seven seas sounds fun.
     
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  12. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    What about a semi-historical "Phoenician/Greek/Roman ship gets lost on the high seas and gets stranded on the Mexican coast, meets native American civs".

    based on this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tecaxic-Calixtlahuaca_head
     
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  13. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    sounds awesome
     
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  14. adrix89 Savant

    adrix89
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    Why are there so many of my country here?
    It's mostly because they want their fancy knights in plate armor, swords and castles.

    Ancient Chinese with martial arts, Ancient Greek and Rome with their gods and myths, Renaissance with rapiers could also be interesting.

    What I would like to see is more WW1/WW2 alternative history setting or fantasy. Mostly because the technology is much more tactical than blatantly overpowered like in modern times.
     
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  15. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
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    I have a soft spot for the heroic medieval fantasy in the vein of sir walter scott and sir thomas malory and the like. Chivalric pious knights on a quest for the holy grail and all that. But I don't trust anyone to make it, the meme is repeated a fair bit in popular culture - particularly for kids - but it's never played straight. Always cheesy instead of sincere, or a parody. Some things only work as myth, the moment you try to deconstruct it or make a checklist facsimile the magic is gone. There just isn't enough soul in the gaming industry.
     
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  16. Aemar Learned

    Aemar
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    Off the top of my head I'd say Kingdom Come: Deliverance, way more effort put into a historical setting than any of the ''historical'' games out there on the market. Vavra had major balls to go for a more realistic approach.

    Impossible to ignore your pro-Renaissance arguments after reading such a great post. From a gameplay perspective, Renaissance is definitely unique when it comes to the range of available scenarios to choose from, not to mention the assets you can create: state of the art body armours alongside gunpowder weapons, etc.

    That's true. One has to be a history nerd in order to even consider developing a more accurate setting, especially when knowing that most gamers don't even bother with historical accuracy at all. It's a project that eats up a lot of resources, and you need to at least be assured there are enough people out there to truly appreciate the amount of invested effort.

    Historical RPGs... A term that sounds a bit weird, knowing it's something that goes against the overwhelming current of orcs-elves-dwarves-dragons-magic-etc, elements most people associate RPGs with. Despite some doubts, I believe there is a place for this kind of products on the RPG market; if I'm wrong, a game of this kind would at least make you stand out of the crowd.
     
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  17. Viata Arcane

    Viata
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    I want a game based on Old Testament. Playing as Prophets cleaning the Canaan region from people that do not fear the Most High. The final battle is you playing as Elijah vs 450 Baal's prophets. The post-ending scene has Jezebel being throw out of the window.
     
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  18. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    If you go for it and need someone to help you with historical research, ring me up. I have a full time job and can't devote too much to side projects but I can provide you with proper sources and give you feedback on historical accuracy, that kind of stuff.
     
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  19. Wayward Son Fails to keep valuable team members alive

    Wayward Son
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    Honestly, while a true Historical RPG would be really cool, I was saying that a fantasy RPG that incorporated elements of the actual political climate of i.e. the 10th century AD would be really interesting, with a really morally gray world filled with choices that are neither good or bad.
     
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  20. Norfleet Moderator

    Norfleet
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    So, a Crusader Kings RPG?

    That's because the Aztecs themselves weren't a particularly ancient civilization and had only been around for about a hundred years prior to the Spanish Invasion. You want an ancient civilization of that geographical region, you're looking for the Mayans.
     
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  21. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Or the Toltecs.
     
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  22. Galdred Studio Draconis Patron Developer

    Galdred
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    One of the most interesting things about medieval times was the feudal relations, and complex conflicting loyalties that could come from them(you are a vassal of king A for one fief and king B for another. How do you handle a war between them without looking like a traitor?). It is much more interesting than choosing between the good and the evil option to me. But if you don't plan to make it a core component of the game, another period might be better.

    I think the period choice should be defined by what you intend to focus on in the game, especially for an historical one.

    Another definitive advantage of the medieval times was the small scale of the battles, compared to ancient times and Renaissance.
     
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  23. Wayward Son Fails to keep valuable team members alive

    Wayward Son
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    This. This so fucking much that it hurts that people don’t think this.
     
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  24. Viata Arcane

    Viata
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    Tbh, if you want historical rpgs instead of fantasy one, we should ask for more people reading historical books instead of LotR. We also need someone making a historical rpg(that doesn't suck) to show people that one can sell this kind of game. No one wants to develop a long game if there is 0 proof it's going to sell, that is the true.
    I remember how Sawyer said he took inspiration from historical events, yet he never had the opportunity of making a historical rpg, sadly. :dealwithit:
     
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  25. Mikeal Savant

    Mikeal
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    What do you mean by Medieval Europe? You mean Early, High or Late Middle Ages? Which part of Medieval Europe? Generic XIII-XV century England and France? Swamps and wilderness of Batls? Kievan Ruthenia? North Africa? Anatolia? Armenia? Steppes of Khazaria? Spain during reconquista? Mighty Holy Roman Empire? City states of Italy? Poland? Hungary? There are endless posibilities in Medieval Europe, however few can see outside XIII-XV century England and France.
     
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