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Historical adventures -- a little market research


cjbowser

Would you be interested in historical scenarios?  

54 members have voted

  1. 1. Would you be interested in historical scenarios?

    • Yes!
      23
    • No!
      1
    • Maybe!?!
      12
    • Frell that, I want a whole sourcebook
      18


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I've got some free time on my hands and was thinking about putting my graduate degree in history to use. What are people's thoughts on historical scenarios? I'm not looking to do an entire sourcebook, because a lot of that can easily be researched by the end user. Instead, these are scenarios that pivot on historical events, allowing the players to take part in the events of history.

Pre-gens would be included.

If you respond, feel free to mention what type of information you think is a must-have for any historical scenario.

If you think sourcebooks are needed, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. ;)

BTW, I'm keeping the historical period close to my vest for the moment, while I make sure it'll work out. Also, I haven't talked to any publishers yet, so if there's interest, let me know.

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I voted yes, but it would really depend on the historical period. Also, there are some historical periods where I would like a complete source book, mainly so I don't have to research all the relevant information. However, a one shot scenario is a great way to gauge interest, allowing for a source book later.

Rod

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I would very much prefer a sourcebook. :)

Most historical periods are not very well documented, and often there are

only very unclear or even contradictory accounts.

Therefore, if I had only the adventure without a description of the back-

ground and had to research the background myself, I could easily end up

with a research result that does not really fit the adventure, at least not

as it was intended by its author.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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Swashbuckling France Sourcebook.

From The Three Musketeers through The Scarlet Pimpernel. Set up a bit like BRP Rome; some background information, a highlight rules for handling such adventures, and a few scenarios to support them.

A small section within the Swashbuckling France book that referred to the work already done on Clark Ashton Smith's Averoigne for Cthulhu Dark Ages (within Worlds of Cthulhu magazine) and Val-du-Loup for BRP would be a great addition. It would allow Keepers to tie the already-developed for CoC/BRP adventures/themes to those within the new sourcebook as well as provide a connection between CoC and the larger BRP system. (The upcoming Strange Aeons II as well as recently released Cthulhu Invictus show that many CoC players are willing to expand out of the 1920s into other historical eras for play and thus should be willing to come over to the larger BRP system.)

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I voted 'maybe', but I should qualify that. I'm not interested in all periods of time, so the specific period would be important. I'd also like to have background material included in the scenarios. This doesn't have to be comprehensive, but it does have to provide everything I need to make up NPCs and run the scenario properly. - and that would vary from one setting to another. If the setting is medieval or later Europe, I could probably make a good go of it without much background material. If the setting is Easter Island, I would need a lot more. If the setting was Inca America I'd want the whole sourcebook.

Thalaba

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

__________________________________

 

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I also think that a soruce book, or at least a game with a lot of historrical info is the way to go.

I think that one major reason why historical games have not fared well in the past is because most "end users" won't reasearch the stuff that can be "easily researched". As a result, they really don't know what to do with the game.

Take a look at the recent trend in historial RPGs overlaced with magic, zombies and other crap. Why do they do this? Because most people look at a hostircoal setting and thing "boring". But once you add stuff that gamers are familar with from fantasy RPGs they can just run the "historical" game the same way they run everything else, only withs some new trappings.

So for a historcial supplment to get anywhere at all, it essentially has to be a basic primer on the setting. Otherwise you are just wasting your time.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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I would very much prefer a sourcebook. :)

Therefore, if I had only the adventure without a description of the back-

ground and had to research the background myself, I could easily end up

with a research result that does not really fit the adventure, at least not

as it was intended by its author.

The scenarios would include as much historical information needed to get through the scenario, but wouldn't contain historical information that didn't pertain directly to the scenario.

Ideally, I'd like to do a full sourcebook, but am not sure the market's there. That's why I'm asking the questions. ;D

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Swashbuckling France Sourcebook.

A small section within the Swashbuckling France book that referred to the work already done on Clark Ashton Smith's Averoigne for Cthulhu Dark Ages (within Worlds of Cthulhu magazine) and Val-du-Loup for BRP would be a great addition. It would allow Keepers to tie the already-developed for CoC/BRP adventures/themes to those within the new sourcebook as well as provide a connection between CoC and the larger BRP system. (The upcoming Strange Aeons II as well as recently released Cthulhu Invictus show that many CoC players are willing to expand out of the 1920s into other historical eras for play and thus should be willing to come over to the larger BRP system.)

As the author of a couple of the CDA background articles in WoC (Bayt al-Hikma and Constantinople) as well as Cthulhu Invictus, I'll bear that in mind. This however, would be straight BRP. No Cthulhu.

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I voted 'maybe', but I should qualify that. I'm not interested in all periods of time, so the specific period would be important. I'd also like to have background material included in the scenarios. This doesn't have to be comprehensive, but it does have to provide everything I need to make up NPCs and run the scenario properly. - and that would vary from one setting to another. If the setting is medieval or later Europe, I could probably make a good go of it without much background material. If the setting is Easter Island, I would need a lot more. If the setting was Inca America I'd want the whole sourcebook.

Thalaba

This was more of a general question, not specifically tailored to the period I'm working on. So, I'll mark you down as a qualified "yes". I just felt the need to explain that I was working on something. ;)

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I also think that a soruce book, or at least a game with a lot of historrical info is the way to go.

I think that one major reason why historical games have not fared well in the past is because most "end users" won't reasearch the stuff that can be "easily researched". As a result, they really don't know what to do with the game.

Take a look at the recent trend in historial RPGs overlaced with magic, zombies and other crap. Why do they do this? Because most people look at a hostircoal setting and thing "boring". But once you add stuff that gamers are familar with from fantasy RPGs they can just run the "historical" game the same way they run everything else, only withs some new trappings.

So for a historcial supplment to get anywhere at all, it essentially has to be a basic primer on the setting. Otherwise you are just wasting your time.

Thanks for the feedback. I see where you're coming from, but am hoping that a time period I'm working on will be adventursome enough that you won't need zombies, magic, or squid-headed gods. I'm not knocking any of those, I just want to try something different.

And sorry about the "end user" comment. My mind was fully engaged in work mode when I typed up the initial email and couldn't think of a better phrase.

There will definitely be a primer, at least enough to get the feel right.

Based on the responses so far, it seems as though my belief that there would be no interest in a full source book was off base. Yay me!

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Tastes differ widely, but for me something with about the amount of information

found in Call of Cthulhu monographs like Secrets of Morocco or Mysteries of Ti-

bet would be most welcome - at least not significantly less, although it could of

course be "streamlined" to fit an adventure instead of an entire campaign.

The reason is that I would like to have the option to add to the adventure if it

goes well, and for this I would need enough background information to design

my own follow on adventures.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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As the author of a couple of the CDA background articles in WoC (Bayt al-Hikma and Constantinople) as well as Cthulhu Invictus, I'll bear that in mind. This however, would be straight BRP. No Cthulhu.

Understood. I guess this is a hangover from reading on Yog Sothoth about the "Secrets of ...." books. Quite a few posters there have noted that there is not an effort to mention things already developed in other scenarios within the area covered by the Secrets book. What I was trying to convey is that an appendix that did allow the use of the straight historical scenarios within CoC would be good and give the book a bigger appeal.

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Understood. I guess this is a hangover from reading on Yog Sothoth about the "Secrets of ...." books. Quite a few posters there have noted that there is not an effort to mention things already developed in other scenarios within the area covered by the Secrets book. What I was trying to convey is that an appendix that did allow the use of the straight historical scenarios within CoC would be good and give the book a bigger appeal.

Fair enough. It's something to bear in mind. If I did include Cthulhu references, it would definitely be in an appendix.

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Oh, I don't want magic, zombies and such for a historical game. I'm just pointing out that most historical games tend to fail to some extent becuase most GMs don't know enough about the setting to know what to do with it. And most GMs don't want to do any research, either.

One example, is the semi-historical RPG Pendragon. Although set in a mythical Arthurian age, the game society is heavily based on historical feudalism. However, most gamers didn't really know enough about knights and the Middle Ages to run the game properly. And this was at a time when 90% of gamers were playing in fantasy world that were pseudo-medieval in theme. That's why in the latter editions more and more space was devoted to explaining the feudal system and the hows & whys of knighthood.

Personally I am very fond of historical RPGs. They tend to have a richness in detail and setting that make even the most detailed fantasy setting look shallow in comparison.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Oh, I don't want magic, zombies and such for a historical game. I'm just pointing out that most historical games tend to fail to some extent becuase most GMs don't know enough about the setting to know what to do with it. And most GMs don't want to do any research, either.

Thanks for the feedback this is the type of info I'm looking for.

One example, is the semi-historical RPG Pendragon. Although set in a mythical Arthurian age, the game society is heavily based on historical feudalism. However, most gamers didn't really know enough about knights and the Middle Ages to run the game properly. And this was at a time when 90% of gamers were playing in fantasy world that were pseudo-medieval in theme. That's why in the latter editions more and more space was devoted to explaining the feudal system and the hows & whys of knighthood.

Pendragon is one of the games that, in my opinion, blend history and myth in a very enjoyable way. It give the players enough detail to get the players into the proper frame of mind for Arthurian adventures. To be frank, Pendragon is one of the things that got me interested in studying history. I'd read the books and start thinking about whether or not they were accurate and head to the library to do more research.

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Tastes differ widely, but for me something with about the amount of information

found in Call of Cthulhu monographs like Secrets of Morocco or Mysteries of Ti-

bet would be most welcome - at least not significantly less, although it could of

course be "streamlined" to fit an adventure instead of an entire campaign.

I like Mysteries of Tibet and planned on using it as a partial template.

The reason is that I would like to have the option to add to the adventure if it

goes well, and for this I would need enough background information to design

my own follow on adventures.

That's a good point. I considered this more of a one-shot deal, but if I'm going to put work into it, might as well make it extensible.

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It's a multiple choice poll so you can vote for more than one option. I voted for Yes and also a supplement.

As a fan of Alternate Earthy stuff, I'd like such scenarios, in fact I'd prefer scenarios to a full-blown background supplement. The reason is that anyone can research background, even if few do so, but writing detailed and interesting scenarios is difficult. As a GM, I can take a scenario set anywhere in the Middle Ages and use it anywhere else in the Middle Ages, I can even take a scenario for a completely different period and use most of it in virtually any period. That is a lot easier than writing a new scenario from scratch.

The reason I also voted for an entire supplement is that I would like to see a number of connected scenarios published in a single supplement, as a campaign. Make it background light but resource heavy and it can be used in different campaigns. Put 6 or 7 scenarios in and you have something that is useful.

As for magic and beasties, I'm a fan of magical things in real world games, as long as they are not over-used. A dragon here and there fits in to most fairy tale/folk tale/folksong genres, but not if everywhere has a dragon. If you want to include some fantasy creatures that are appropriate to the setting then go ahead, it makes the scenarios more interesting. Similarly for spells, if they suit the setting then include them.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Simon,

Thanks for the feedback. I have a follow up question for you, and anybody else who answers.

I was checking my library and found a book that discusses the belief in magic and occult for the exact time period and culture I am thinking about writing on. Would you prefer the magic/beasties material integrated into the body of the material or included in an appendix/sidebar?

Right now, I'm looking at three interlinked and substantial scenarios, but that could always grow.

Thanks,

Chad

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If the descriptions are not that large then I'd put them in a sidebar. Spells are probably ideal for sidebars.

I'd want creatures to be described when they are encountered in the text, perhaps as a sidebar or as a half-page text box with a brief description, characteristics and perhaps a picture. That way, it wouldn't be too intrusive and saves hunting through chapters and appendices to find the creature's powers.

For example, if you wrote a number of interconnected pirate scenarios then you could include mermaids and sea dragons as creatures and would need to describe them in the text. You could also use some voodoo magic, when they travel to the Caribbean and describe them in sidebars alongside the NPCs who have the spells.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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Oooh - very cryptic :D

Is your period revealed by reading through some of the excellent material in the BRP Adventures books? IIR one of those babies was yours and was historically inspired...

"Tell me what you found, not what you lost" Mesopotamian proverb

__________________________________

 

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