Tuesday, July 28, 2015


I use a lot of history in my H+I campaign and some of the fictional characters and events will still be related or otherwise tied to real historical figures and events. From my reading, English history focuses on the Elizabethan and the English Civil War and Reformation periods and kind of skips over the 1620s. Similarly, French history for English speakers focuses on the religious wars of the 16th century, Henri IV, and Louis XIV. Not much about Louis XIII is covered, despite the popularity of Dumas' Three Musketeers. Spanish history spends a lot of time on this period as part of the Golden Age and the Eighty Years War with the Dutch, but not so much of that is translated into English. Therefore I've had to do a lot of searching to find information about this period. As an English speaker, this is harder for history of the continent, but fortunately online translation programs like Bing and Google help to decipher the overall meaning of foreign language articles. Usually I use Bing, but for short passages when I am trying to really get a better reading I'll use both Bing and Google. Also Bing doesn't do Latin, so I use Google for that.

Note that you can translate in either direction so if you want to add in some foreign sentences you can translate from your native language to all sorts of other languages. As long as your players aren't fluent in the language in question they probably won't notice the occasionally silly translations that the programs provide -- and if they are fluent, well then they can have a good laugh.

This is likely less of an issue for European gamers, but I'm an essentially monolingual American (and no Fortran, Cobol, Basic, and Pascal don't count even if they did satisfy a university requirement) and I don't live in Europe anymore so I'm this post is mostly for the vast American gaming public. But hey even if you are multilingual you won't speak or read all the languages that Bing and Google can translate. So maybe this will still be helpful at some point.

One tip for finding additional articles with an Internet search is to use the native language of the country involved. So if I want to find sources in French, Spanish, Dutch, or German I will use the person, location, thing, or idea written in that language. This has allowed me to find quite a few minor historical figures that don't turn up in the first two or three pages of a search done in English as well as a few concepts and locations.

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