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Medieval Stasis


Mr. R
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10 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

In all cases, most of my campaigns, are travelogue. The people, who do not travel outside of their 20 mile radius, are the folks that do not matter much in the grand scheme of things, therefore, it is the traveling adventurers that leave their marks on history. So, I guess this means that, that classic, dark ages, campaign, isn’t that much of a template for the stuff I’m doing, because I prefer a bit more than dumbstruck villagers looking at the ruins of aqueducts, and thinking it’s the products of giants. As a GM, I prefer the company of learned, competent, adventurers. 

 

I don't think I was meaning that line of thought, though I was probably unclear.

 

The PC's are not unlearned or incompetent, but they also do not have google and an full awareness of what the world holds.  

With over developed setting the players will know the worlds details.  While a good roleplayer can try to ensure that their PC's only act on what the PC would know, there is a vast difference between a player knowing details and playing like they don't and the player actually not knowing and being genuinely surprised. 

 

Players portraying a competent party that gets to discover the truth behind the legend is a lot more fun than players who know what is going on pretending that their PC's do not know.

 

It is less "dumbstruck villagers looking at the ruins of aqueducts, and thinking it’s the products of giants"  and more of "the villagers avoiding the dark forest because of the legendary Beast and the tendency of anyone disappearing and the Heroic PC's venturing into the unknown to end the threat". 

 

A setting book should tell me there is a Legendary Beast and give suggestions on what the beast could possibly be, but leave it to the GM to actually decide what the Beast is.   Making every iteration of the campaigns in the setting different.   This is different from an Adventure Module taking place in in the setting about the Legendary Best in the Dark Forest, and adventure should be completely fleshed out and contain needed everything except the core rules.

 

By definition Adventurers are exceptional and far more competent than the mundane "normal folks".   But that doesn't mean Adventurers have access to a magic google and Wikipedia :winkgrin:

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OTOH as a GM I like a setting that's extensive enough, and has enough variety, that I can choose which area of the setting I would like to base my game in, depending on how the more local conditions match the game I want to run. As PCs become more prominent their adventures can branch out over wider areas and more diverse play. Kind of like the fantasy RPG version of a buffet table. ;)

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Its not the stagnant tech that bothers me so much, but the stagnant borders and societies.

 

Yeah.  Look, as a GM, you need adventures for the players to get involved in.  That means you need chaos, history, instability, trouble, wars, etc.  If its peaceful, stable, and consistent for 5000 years, there's nothing to explore and no adventure out there for the PCs.  I mean, unless you're just doing "get the kitten out of the tree" type stuff.

 

What ruins are you going to explore?  What lost structures, what tombs, what ghost-ridden shambles?


Think back to the best games, the best modules, and the best settings you've played in.  How many of them are based in a stable, ancient calm land of peace and prosperity that never changes?  How many were based on war-torn, shattered lands that suffered vast disasters and are reformed over and over?  That's what gives the opportunities for adventure and excitement.  There aren't any dungeons, there aren't monsters in a settled land with people living peaceful lives, there's nothing to do.

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12 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

 

 

In all cases, most of my campaigns, are travelogue.

 

 

 

 

 

Ditto, and for the exact same reasons.

 

That, and it makes soap opera-like politics come up a lot less.  A little clash here; a little run-in there, but none of that VTM slog....

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

Ditto, and for the exact same reasons.

 

That, and it makes soap opera-like politics come up a lot less.  A little clash here; a little run-in there, but none of that VTM slog....

 

 

I have my own objections to VTM. But that is besides the point. 

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A peaceful land can also have less peaceful threats lurking in the darkness.

 

With threats lurking around every corner, how does that L2 commoner farmer and wife, and their L1 kids, survive?

 

Many great campaigns see the adventurers dealing with the threats lurking in the shadows, and preventing them bursting forth, and laying waste to the stable, ancient land and its denizens lacking much ability to defend themselves.

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Civilization depends on making sure all major threats to ordinary people are removed where the bulk of the people live,  You cannot have a thriving culture with farms and art and architecture and so on if there are horrible things living in the cellar and monsters lurking nearby.  That's why in the oldest settled areas there are no major predators around any longer (and, off topic, why its idiotic to reintroduce them); that's how civilizations become settled and last.  If the kingdom of Plaznstein has been in this area for 3000 years without war or trouble in its borders, there's not going to be anything in those borders to cause trouble any longer.  Adventurers already went into all those caves and cellars and wiped out the bad guys. Other than evil people who abuse their position of power, etc.

 

That's not to say some new thing cannot arise, just that the history precludes any constant presence of menace and adventure.  Its the difference between walking through the worst part of a big city and walking through the ritzy, high-end district.

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One of the things I really enjoy about Hero's Turakian age setting is that it includes a detailed time line with major historical events specified for every realm and region in the known world. Not all of these have permanent effects, but many reflect the world's evolving geopolitical profile. One outstanding example IMHO is the kingdom of Umbr. The following is from TA pp. 72-73:

 

The lands now known as Umbr were once a part of the great kingdom of Carshalt. After King Hrorgel the Golden fell to the evil power of the necromancer Thronek, a succession of petty kings and dukes created their own realms throughout the Carshaltan Lands. As the years passed, some prospered, while others did not; borders and fiefdoms shifted with great frequency.


In the 2400s and 2500s, one of those petty kingdoms was Umbr, which occupied the south bank of the central run of the Dragonsmoke River. Selvaine Aliere, the king of Umber from 2443-2470 FE, was a man of ambition and pride. Determined to expand the size and power of his realm, he did so partly through deft political maneuvering, partly with a few minor wars. More importantly, he passed his desires on to his sons, who slowly but surely pushed the borders of Umbr outward, conquering Jevrain and Derathon to the west, and several principalities and duchies to the east. By 2584, Umbr was a large and prosperous realm stretching from the Greyward Mountains to the shores of Lake Beralka.


The House of Aliere ruled Umber for the next 1,700 years, surviving periodic raids by the Gorthunda, the Trusca, and various tribes of Orcs, Ogres, and Trolls, a war with Keldravia in 3222 SE that cost Umbr its territories east of the Whitburn River, and a secret takeover of the royal family by the quixotic sorcerer Algashar in 3477-3481 SE. But the Aliere dynasty at long last came to an end in 4267 SE. The king died with only a sickly boy as his heir, and within a year the boy was dead as well. The powerful nobles of the Regency Council began to fight one another for the throne, leaving naught but destroyed villages and ravaged wheat fields in the wake of their bloody battles.


After a season of warfare, one of the nobles, Duke Gestren Sendres, won the victory by making an alliance with the powerful lords of the fiefdoms of Mezendria and Mircasea. He promised to end their vassalage and grant them their lands outright as kings themselves. Both preferring to accept half a loaf rather than chance taking the whole, they brought their armies to reinforce his. King Gestren married a distant cousin of the Alieres to legitimize his rule. Since then the House of Sendres have been kings in Umbr, and if their realm be smaller than that ruled by the Alieres, it is still every bit as prosperous.

 

In a number of cases those past events include things both natural and un- which led to permanent changes in the landscape. Again with the example of Umbr:

The capital of Umbr sits on the Dragonsmoke River, across from Voitaigne but separated from it by such a broad stretch of river that only ferries, not bridges, connect the two. In the 3100s, after a fire destroyed much of the city as it existed at that time despite the frantic efforts of two water-wizards to stop the conflagration, King Serril ordered a grand rebuilding. The result was a city more orderly than most in Ambrethel. It consists of a grid of public squares (designed, in part, to represent the black-and-gold checks of the Aliere coat of arms), each connected to the others by a broad road. Dorrel Droguine, the royal palace, occupies the center of the city and is surrounded by its own wall (in addition to the larger wall around Dyvnar as a whole).

 

Another thing I appreciate in TA is that practically every realm and location, even the most apparently serene and stable, contains some plot-inspiring feature, either within or without, described in the main text or included in the "GM's Vault" section. Continuing with Umbr, this is from TA p. 73: Several years ago, King Laudrec granted leave to a large group of Gnomes to take up residence in the hilly Mnoos Forest, where they claimed their ancestors had once dwelt, provided they paid annual taxes and tribute. They did so for two years, but then the payments ceased, and all efforts to resolve the situation have met with little more than clever words and delaying tactics on the part of the Gnomes. The king fears he may soon have to roust them out of the forest with soldiers, and does not look forward to the prospect.

 

And elaborating on that detail in the GM's Vault on p. 283:

Spoiler

The group of Gnomes in Mnoos Forest didn't lie to King Laudrec when they told him their ancestors once lived there... but they didn't tell him the whole truth. They failed to mention that their forefathers destroyed their own homes by creating some powerful enchanted items they lost control of. The Gnomes seek these items in the belief they can control them. They're near to finding them, and once they have them they'd not only be able to resist King Laudrec's attempts to collect the taxes, they could probably bid fair to conquer his kingdom.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

In the 2400s and 2500s, one of those petty kingdoms was Umbr, which occupied the south bank of the central run of the Dragonsmoke River. Selvaine Aliere, the king of Umber from 2443-2470 FE,

...

By 2584, Umbr was a large and prosperous realm stretching from the Greyward Mountains to the shores of Lake Beralka.


The House of Aliere ruled Umber for the next 1,700 years, 

 

And there is a prime example of what we are talking about.

 

It starts well, and then jumps into silliness.

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2 hours ago, assault said:

 

And there is a prime example of what we are talking about.

 

It starts well, and then jumps into silliness.

 

"The longest surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BCE and historically attested from 781 CE." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynasty#Longest-lasting_dynasties

 

I.e. historically verifiable, 1, 240 years. Other sources assert historical evidence as far back as 539 CE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Kinmei

 

Legendarily, 2,681 years. But what is fantasy fiction if not modern legend?

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2 hours ago, Lord Liaden said:

 

"The longest surviving dynasty in the world is the Imperial House of Japan, otherwise known as the Yamato dynasty, whose reign is traditionally dated to 660 BCE and historically attested from 781 CE." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynasty#Longest-lasting_dynasties

 

I.e. historically verifiable, 1, 240 years. Other sources assert historical evidence as far back as 539 CE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Kinmei

 

Legendarily, 2,681 years. But what is fantasy fiction if not modern legend?


OK, fair example.

Also exceptional, and full of Shogunates and such.

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15 hours ago, assault said:

 

And there is a prime example of what we are talking about.

 

It starts well, and then jumps into silliness.

 

Silly from a realistic historical and sociological perspective, probably.  From a gaming and publishing perspective, what would the benefit of filling several pages up with the details of 1,700 years of rulership changes, naming each successive ruler in the Royal Family, and discussing changes to those Royal Families every few generations, with a rapid succession of rulers in times of turbulence, going from 2,000 years before the game begins to a mere 300 years past?  Recall that, 300 years ago, there were no United States.  Would you purchase a setting book that went through details of the leadership equivalent to summarizing the leadership in each US state (plus Federal and maybe some of the larger municipalities), before and after becoming a state, and any and all conflicts and border changes and the Federal level, from 1721 to 2021?  There's a sourcebook that would just FLY off the shelves!

 

Spoiler

And into the dumpsters.

 

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It is also a little of the "chicken or the egg" situation in a lot of cases. 

 

In Fiction, do the long lasting empires exist because there are no major technological or social advancements, or are their no major technological and social advancements because the empires are so long lasting and resist/fear change? They sort of feed into and onto each other.

 

Like in physics, objects in motion will stay that way until something else interrupts its motion or direction. 

 

What would the USA (and the rest of the world) be like if we had never invented the train, automobile or plane? If everyone still had to get around by horse, boat or on foot? There would be no internet, not gps, no satellites, all long distance communication would still be by letter and take months to reach the person it was sent to. If that was the case, there would still be large areas of the planet we wouldn't know about or only have legends and rumors of. The population would be way smaller, medical breakthroughs would be rare and take decades to spread around the globe. Most people would still be farmers as there would be no quick way to move food large distances before it rotted away. Almost definitely no electricity or power grids in any town or city. 

 

We would still be living in a pre-industrial era society, as all those advancements came from easy travel, steam engines, mass production and movement of large amounts materials, resources, and people, etc... and more importantly quickly moving ideas, information and technology from one end of society to another. Someone invents the telegraph and within a few years everyone in the USA can communicate with each other in minutes or hours instead of months. That was only because the trainlines were already in place and allowed the quick building of the telegraph poles and infrastructure along those routes and they could send all the materials needed to the places that didn't have them (metal mining, copper wires, correct tools. None of those were mined or available in most parts of the USA, so all had to be premade/mined and shipped by train to the town and cities along the routes. If they had to send all that by horse-drawn wagon it would have taken decades to build, and probably wouldn't have been done at all. (Of course, without trains and the materials they provided it would be highly unlikely anyone could build a telegraph in the first place as very few places would have all the things needed in one location (metal tooling machines, copper, electricity, education, etc...) for someone to figure it all out.)

 

So it is not impossible to believe that in a world without mass transit, engines, motors, electricity, rapid communication and dissemination of ideas and technology, combined with magic, monsters, wizards, long-lived races reluctant to change, and lets not forget "Gods" that directly interact with the people of the world (at a minimum via spells, divinations, etc... but also potentially direct involvement) that kingdoms and empires would last a lot longer then they do in our world. 

 

Plus, "big numbers" are epic and fantasy, even realistic fantasy, should still be larger then life in some regards. 

 

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1 hour ago, mallet said:

It is also a little of the "chicken or the egg" situation in a lot of cases. 

 

In Fiction, do the long lasting empires exist because there are no major technological or social advancements, or are their no major technological and social advancements because the empires are so long lasting and resist/fear change? They sort of feed into and onto each other.

 

Like in physics, objects in motion will stay that way until something else interrupts its motion or direction.

 

 

While historical change is certainly real, I believe our perceptions are also colored by growing up in a society in which change is considered natural, fundamental, and desirable. We've come to expect newer, bigger, faster, and tend to equate such change with "better." Other civilizations, like those of China and Egypt, have based their societies on the principle of an ideal order which achieves its proper balance and essentially continues indefinitely. Awareness of historicity is a relatively recent development. For example, when the Elizabethan English put on a play like Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, the characters were in Elizabethan dress appropriate to their social status, not authentic Roman gear, since the audience saw human nature as fundamentally constant so such details didn't matter.

 

1 hour ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

An isolated, relatively small land like Japan has a better chance of having a long continuous history but they still were wracked with wars, changes of government, etc.

 

Quite so. The example of the Turakian Age kingdom of Umbr I quoted earlier mentions a number of such incidents during its long ruling dynasty.

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For me the problem is that those kinds of large sweeping setting are useless to me.  Except to weigh down a shelf and collect dust.

 

Adventures do no happen at that scale.  A smaller setting book that actually has smaller focused information is far far more useful.  The Sword Coast is what?  The map is around 1200 miles north/south and maybe 600 miles east/west not including the ocean.  The islands are in an area around 300 miles N/S and 100-150 miles E/W?  And even then the SC is an immense area where most of it will never be actually used.  And yet so many settings seems to think mapping out and entire world in even broader wide strokes is "better"??

 

While not perfect, Sword Coast is the best modern setting of it's type.  A broad high level overview of area.  And then individual supplements that combine setting and adventure information for specific locations.  But even then the setting info is suitably imprecise allowing the individual GM to tinker or ignore easily. 

 

Speaking of Hero products, and this is my personal opinion, they suffer from the "Far Far Far Too Much" syndrome.  Too much detail. Too much density.  Far too intertwined.  Too much in on book to effectively use.  If you decide that "blah blah" is not right for you campaign and decide to remove it, the removal is far more effort than you can expend for a weekend game because instances and influences of "blah blah" are throughout the product and you begin to drown in removal and replacement "fixes".   And even if you decide to run it as is, the details and density of text mandates the expenditure of more effort than was required for your most daunting real world professional requirement.   I was able to read/skim the Sword Coast plus an adventure in a single afternoon and ran session zero the next day.  I spent an entire weekend with Narosia, which I had to READ, and after getting through the 2nd culture, took a look and realized there were a bazillion to go.  So it went on the shelf and I was all "D&D it is". 

 

In the games that you actually play, Medieval Stasis isn't really relevant.  If you are slogging down the muddy track between villages on the frontier of the Kingdom Blah Blah, the fact that there is a ruin from the Ancient Ones really doesn't matter.  Even if the GM has turned the ruin into a dungeon.  But to the PC's and the current regular NPC's the exact history is irrelevant.  Oh the GM could easily make up myths and legends for entertainment.  But unless it is to set up a quest, none of the players will care about the "history".  Heck they will not care about any of the surrounding kingdoms/nations/tribes unless their PC's actually need to do something there or counter something here.   The only purpose for extensive timelines or deep histories satisfy the author and provided casual reading for the GM's.  Since reading the complete setting/adventure book by the players should never be done since it would spoil the game, just what value to the weekly session is knowing that 45,000 years before your adventure that the High King Blah Blah rules the Kingdom of Who Cares?

 

As an intellectual exercise Medieval Stasis exists.  But what practical or impractical value does that 1000 pages of minutia have for tomorrows afternoon game session.   Especially when the participants of that afternoon games session are only able to scrape up four hours every two weeks to game and the GM will only be able to dedicate maybe an hour to prep.   That is the market.  

One hour prep for a four hour session every two weeks. 

 

People will spend a couple weeks to read through a RPG's rules.  Not sit down and study them, but to read a few pages here and there over a period of a couple weeks.  Once they believe they know enough they will see if they can get their friends to make PC's.  And if the session zero takes more time than their normal session or the PC's do not intrigue the players enough during that session zero they will not play it. 

 

IF the GM manages to lead the players successfully out the other side of session zero, then he must be able to run the four hour session with one hour of prep for the campaign.  

 

That is why D&D 5th is dominating.  The average GM can prep for today's session with an hour of prep.  Each Adventure book may have six to ten individual encounters, but the DM only needs to read the one they are playing today.  For League night it was common for each tables DM to arrive about an hour early and prep right at the table before the players get there. 

 

Does D&D's world have a long and detailed history?  Yes, after all the game has been around since the 70's and carries all the baggage and detail that comes with it.  Did WotC immediately inject all of the history into their 5th product?  No.  The selected a tiny slice of part of it, boiled it down to just what a DM and players might need and published that.  Medieval Stasis?  I don't know because the info I am using today doesn't really talk about enough that it would come up.

 

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Spence, that is a very thorough, very practical analysis. For the priority of just getting a group together when possible to have a fun gaming session, your requirements are completely appropriate. From the perspective of publishing games in order to sell them for people to play, that makes a great deal of sense.

 

My priorities are probably in the minority, but I enjoy a reading about a game world as a world. I eat the detail up with a spoon. I love seeing how all the bits fit together, their similarities and their differences. I love rich history because I derive satisfaction from understanding how a world grew to be the way it is at the default start date for a campaign. And I love playing with those details, tweaking them to suit my preferences, "what if-ing" certain things in my imagination to get them to a state that pleases me more.

 

One reason I enjoy the Turakian Age so much is that I've spent literal years thinking about and modifying it like that. It's kind of a hobby. The process is still ongoing, in fact. Mind you, I never would have bothered if I didn't have such a detailed coherent setting to start with.

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It seems to me that everyone is missing information. Rather the free exchange or control of information slows progress. The Chinese had black power for how long? And iirc they knew that it could be weapon used. However once Europeans got a hold of it, look at the changes it wrought. 
 

Also the powerful effect of culture. I was watching a king fu flick (yeah I know) the interesting thing was the background was that the hero was studying this strange new weapon-steel swords. The villain used that against him because the prevailing culture set in the movie, Bronze weapons were only accepted. The steel uses we’re practicing in the dark from watchful eyes. So naturally they shouldn’t be trusted.

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On 9/13/2021 at 10:34 PM, assault said:

A peaceful land can always stop being peaceful.

 

 

Precisely.  Ideally, this is the thrust of the adventure; this is why the characters are here: they are taking part in th e change, and their actions will affect the resolution of that change.

 

 

On 9/14/2021 at 9:16 AM, Hugh Neilson said:

A peaceful land can also have less peaceful threats lurking in the darkness.

 

This is another source of adventure: peaceful doesn't mean without strife, or without conflict completely.  Highway men, thieves, con artists, cattle rustlers, organized crime- these all exist even,in times of peace.  There are social ills as well: prior to the Civil War, the slave states in the South were remarkably peaceful.  That doesn't mean there wasnt a serious wrong that needed righting.

 

 

On 9/14/2021 at 9:16 AM, Hugh Neilson said:

 

With threats lurking around every corner, how does that L2 commoner farmer and wife, and their L1 kids, survive?

 

Precisely:  Player-class characters assisit them with their overwhelming problems, stumble into something resembling a larger plot, and the game is underway.

 

 

 

Getting back to generations of history built into a world book and why it just doesn't matter:

 

Millions- billions, hundreds od billions, maybe- of people throughout history has known and understood history and knew it all the way back to Creation-   some said their God did it; others said _their_ God did it; others still said it was the work of a pantheon.   Some said it was all spontaneous: put enough dry corn in enough flannel shirts in enough hayfields, and mice will spontaneously burst into existence.  Others will tell you that it doesn't matter if a pond is manmade: leave it to sit long enough, and it "just naturally" have fish in it.  A host of other folks will tell you that everything that ever would exist in all the universe was pressed  tightly in it own unique singularity until the compression got so incredibly powerful that it threw up and the universe was born.

 

This goes on with shorter spans of history, too.  According to the textbooks, North Korea's last leader birthed himself from a grizzly bear or some such nonsense.  I think the current one walked out od the mountains as an infant or something equally ridiculous.

 

Paul Bunyan single-handedly created every famous feature of the American landscape, and Cher thinks Mount Rushmore is a natural phenomenon.

 

The simple fact is, no matter which person or group got it right, that means that the majority of the himans ever to exist had absolutely no clue what the history of their world really was.  In some cultures, they still don't.  I may be wrong, but I am betting a number of indeginous Amazonian tribes are basing most of their universe on $hi7 their great-great grandparents totally made up, and Google Earth has yet to reveal any significant telescopes on the Sentinel Islands.

 

_All_ of these people share a common history, at least to a point, and damned few of them know the actual "correct" one, and even the most scientific one is still being filled in even today.

 

Yet none of this has in way affected their adventures in any way.  The Sentinelese know only "outlanders bring death," so they defend themselves by delivering it themselves.  How many slaves in the American South do you suppose were taught any sort of in-depth history?  Of what culture?  Of what continent?  Realistically, they were likely taught by ther elders "we are slaves and if we act this way or that, our lives are a tiny bit less awful," and a few stories of past events to help reinforce those lessons.

 

But it didnt stop them from fighting as hard as they could when given the chance- some for freedom; some for the status who (I cant imagine why, but I wasnt there).  Others risked everything to run away for freedom, and others helped hunt them down.

 

They had adventures (no; I am,not romanticising a horrible situation, but "they voluntarily went up against great odds in the face of horrible and mortal danger for a sliver of a chance to change their lot in life or that of someone else" is absolutely nothing if it isnt an adventure.

 

The Crusades- or, as I tend to think of that period: yet another reason I dont suffer from any sort of "white pride"- were adventures almost identical to many a D and D game.

 

The river Brioq (which probably means "river" in the local tongue) was created when the continental shelf of this land lifted the neighboring landmass, a collision that raised a seven-thousand mile long mountain range nearly two months hard rising from this point, and brought from the crust of the land a massive subterainean glacier, exposing it to the sun foe the first time almost a million years.

 

The run off from these mountains filled what was once dry arid plains at their base, creating the inland sea around which seven city states have wasted and waged a quiet struggle of political and economic leverage.  Unbeknownst To any of the folks living in that land, the center of the inland sea lies over the caldera of a massive volcano, and the sandstone crust that seals it will, in seven hundred years, give way, draining sea and drying this river.  The icy water pouring onto the hot mantle below will create an explosion that will wipe life from this entire half of the continent.

 

Today, though, the Brioq gives way to hundreds of marshes and swaps along its path to this point, where the rocky granite lands create multiole series of rapids and broad slow shoals before meandering down the the fishing villages above the largest delta in this hemisphere.  Evaporation from this delta keeps the humidty high, but the cool coastal breezes in the delta (about dive hundred mikes south of you) condense the moisture, and even in the warmest seasons--

 

Dammit, Tommy; they are chasing us!  Do we see a way across or not?  Is it wide?  Is it slow enough foe the horses?  Will they freeze?  Hurry up, Tommy!   As soon as we clear the county, we need to head east to the seaport.  Is ther any cover, in case we have to make a stand?

 

And That, Sir, is _all_ the crap your Players will give a out the history of the Brioq River valley, its ecosystem, and its impact on trade and development during the last two centuries.

 

I absolutely gaurantee it.

 

Like I said: I enjoy a lot of it myself, as do others.  But when one sets out To write such a detqiled sourcebbok, one needs to understand that he is writing it for _himself_, for no one else will enjoy it as much as he does, even if it is delightful, and he shoukd approach the project knowing full well that what he is doing is unnecessary and for the most part, completely wasted.

 

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6 hours ago, mallet said:

What would the USA (and the rest of the world) be like if we had never invented the train, automobile or plane? If everyone still had to get around by horse, boat or on foot? There would be no internet, not gps, no satellites, all long distance communication would still be by letter and take months to reach the person it was sent to. 

 


Presumably ships and boats would be more important in terms of communications and transport. There would probably be sizeable canal systems in some areas.

Pre-electric telegraph systems would be in place, coupled with Pony Express-type (or Inca-type!) courier and mail systems. Of course these run into problems when you have to communicate over large bodies of water. But sailing ships can be pretty awesome, although still subject to unfavourable winds and such.

So communication can be a lot faster than you might imagine.

More generally, you could potentially have a 19th Century type set up without steam engines.

I won't go into the potential effects of magic, since it can both help and hinder communication.

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In a web serial I've been reading, there's a running joke that in game sessions, someone will inevitably stop the GM in mid-description with "Blah blah blah, politics."  It would seem to me that one could write that in one's world notes and save a lot of typing.  😂😂😂

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Battletech had Comstar as a group which specially withheld knowledge from the rest of the Universe AND secretly assassinated Scientists that were on the verge of rediscovering lost technology. They wanted the rest of the world to burn down and they come in as it’s savior.  I actually see the elves being like this. 😏 

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47 minutes ago, Duke Bushido said:

 

Like I said: I enjoy a lot of it myself, as do others.  But when one sets out To write such a detqiled sourcebbok, one needs to understand that he is writing it for _himself_, for no one else will enjoy it as much as he does, even if it is delightful, and he shoukd approach the project knowing full well that what he is doing is unnecessary and for the most part, completely wasted.

 

Matt Colville in his Running the Game gives the same advice. Do it and have fun but remember that most of the players won’t care. Also he had a nice sheet made that asked several basic questions before your first game, it dealt with the local area. And even THAT he suggested that you don’t need to fill out every detail. But it was nice to get a few detail down. Things like town name and name 3 villages. What is the forest called? What do the locals think of Elves? Or Dwarves? whose the local big bad? That sort of thing.

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