Saturday, August 6, 2016

Against the Wicked City: a new blog I just started to check out

A poster on the RPGsite provided a link to History and anachronism in RPGs from Against the Wicked City by Joseph Manola. It's an interesting post that displays some real insight about trunning a semi-historical RPG setting.. And I noticed the tag line for the blog:
Romantic clockpunk fantasy OSR gaming in a vaguely Central Asian setting. May feature killer robots. .
Which interests me since the anachronism post reveals that his setting is mostly early modern. Now the early modern period covers 1500-1800 (more or less). Against the Wicked City includes

  • Technology: circa 1800
  • Politics: circa 1600
  • Great Road/Silk Road: circa 1300

What that means in play is elegantly summarized by Mr. Manola here:
What does the early-modern-ness of ATWC actually mean? It means that PCs have flintlock weapons. It means they drink coffee when they're tired and gulp down laudanum when they're in pain. It means they read printed books and navigate with the aid of dry magnetic compasses and use spyglasses to check what's raising that distant dust-cloud out there on the steppe. All of those things create expectations in the minds of players. They might be fuzzy on the details, but they'll know that their musket-wielding, coffee-swigging PCs don't belong to the same world as Genghis Khan. Some of this knowledge will be explicit, but a lot of it will be implicit, a generalised sense of the kind of world which those things imply, and of the kind of lives their PCs are likely to be able to live within it. Anachronisms which don't interfere with that are probably fine; but anachronisms which do interfere with it really need to add something worth having to the setting in order to earn their keep.
I'm speculating, but I suspect that including coffee, pain killers, and guns in the setting will make it more accessible to the players since those are all familiar aspects of the modern (or post modern...are we post modern now?) world.

I'm traveling so I may not have time to check this out for a while, but I'm sure I will find some interesting stuff to use. And he's thoughtfully provided a handy page entitled: Against the Wicked City: Collected Information.And there are random tables....

Check it out.

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