Posted on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 by Games_and_Sports
As a game master/storyteller, one of the more difficult challenges that I face when I'm designing a game is setting the stage of a different time period. It is especially difficult to do this in a believable manner for my players when the game is set in a historical setting. I have found a collection of books that help with this challenge. Each series begins as "The Writers Guide to Everyday Life in....". While many of them are out of print, thankfully they can be found at the Santa Clara County Library District. Here are few samples of my favorites:
This is the first book in the collection and one of my favorites. It gives you detailed information in a simple easily accessible method. This allows you to add in those small elements that really create the fantasy of living in the Victorian and Regency Era for the players. For example, it details common foods and drinks so you can reference that when your players stop for a drink at a local tavern. It also details cultural elements like the proper attire and time period for mourning in a Victorian household.
Have you ever felt the desire to design a fantasy game that is closer to the historical Middle Ages than to the fantasy worlds that are often promoted in role playing games? Well, this is the book for you. Just like the Regency and Victorian England book, this book gives clear and concise information about life in the Middle Ages.
Say you are working on a game that takes place during the Napoleonic Wars and you decide to add details from that time period to really make the game come alive for your players. This book gives you all the right details needed to flesh out the world your players are experiencing.
So you're playing Mage the Awakening and one of your characters decides to cast a ritual that sends them back in time to the Renaissance period and they need to find an ancient text. How do you find the information you need quickly that will allow you to portray the time period accurately? Why, with this book of course.
Recently there have been several role playing games released that take place in the colonial Period, such as Colonial Gothic, Solomon Cain, and Witch Hunter : The Invisible World. Check out this book for historical information to add realistic details to your game.
Mobsters during prohibition, werewolf Nazis who cast occult rituals and film noir type detective stories are just a few of the many different stories that you can set up in this time period. this book gives a lot of information to flesh out your world.
These books offer a wealth of information. What book collections do you use for inspiration and material when you're planning a game?