History In TTRPGs

If you have been hanging around the Variant Ventures page for a while, you will know I am the history guy. I like history, I write about it frequently, and I talk about ways to implement historical factors and events in your game. Today, however, I want to make a statement – most TTRPGs are not, and should not, be 100% historically accurate.

I will let you all recover from this shock. Surely, I hear you say, you should want as much authentic historical stuff in your game; after all, you’re the history guy! While it is true that I like to include elements from our history to enhance my games, this is not required, nor expected. Fantasy TTRPGs draw from FANTASY sources, some of which are historically inspired. Unless you are playing a historical role-playing game, the world you are probably in has things that ours never has. Magic and dragons are a few that come to mind. So the history of Earth is not the history of your fantasy world.

So what does this all mean? What it means is, most fantasy settings take inspiration from our world, but are not beholden to the same standards. It would be entirely possible for the only metal the people of your world have to work with is bronze, with steel being a recent discovery, functioning like +1 magic weapons. It is also possible that the structures of society and day-to-day life for most people is not what a peasant in 12th Century Medieval Europe experienced. Just because the standard fantasy village acts much like this doesn’t mean it has to. This seems to be a default style because it is what people expect from a “fantasy” setting.

Moving past the three-mile stretch of Medieval England that many adventures seem to take place in, you have wonders that would make a commoner’s jaw drop. If you want to draw on other historical examples, look beyond Medieval Europe for inspiration. If you prefer to let your mind wander then feel free. There is no book or rule that says every fantasy village has to be made from log homes with an inn and blacksmith. The possibilities are endless!

What is the most exciting place in your fantasy world? Who are some of the most interesting people? Tell us all about it in the comments! And come back soon for more from the team at Variant Ventures!

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