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Creation Date: March 1st, 2010 07:15 PM
Blue Ghost Blue Ghost is offline
Musings of a Knight of the Imperium.
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In Moot Member Blogs More Fantasy thoughts Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #433 New September 18th, 2018 10:15 AM
Another thing that makes me scrunch my lips is taking 18th and 17th century pirates, and putting them into the high middle ages setting.


The middle ages had piracy, but typically the vessels were either longboat like or castle like. Typically the drommond or caraval had what's known as a Fore Castle, or Forward Castle. It was just as the name suggests, a wooden version of a crenelated castle battlement or turret, though usually rhombic like to match the form factor of the ship's forward hull. The after upper deck was essentially a "giant" medieval battlement with a large space, as it too had crenelations, typically with the shileds of whoever was on board strapped to the sides.

Why is this important? Because pirates operated these vessels as well as medieval navies of the time. The rigging was pretty straight forward, not as intricate as their counter parts in later centuries, and there certainly weren't any cannons. And yet in D&D, Pathfinder and one or two other games that I recall, there's a "special section" where classic gunpowder age of sail pirates are tossed in there. In fact there's a game called "Vikings, Pirates and Knights" or something similar.

Oh dear.

There's a lot of artistic license taken with historical periods, but this one probably irks me more than others. There's no reason to bring in ships firing cannonballs into a period that was already alive with its version of piracy. But, marketers and lazy research for lazy gamers who are just into the fantasy and really don't care about the historical context, make these games for said same lazy gamers who just want to see pirates and knights. Eh, okay, whatever. But people try to educate themselves with things that are entertaining. In fact that's part of the definition of entertainment.

But it's another thing that annoys me about fantasy. Mixing of tech from various historical periods can be forgiven to a certain point, but it's like when the tech base for the military is horse, blade and bow, then all of a sudden you have gunpowder based weapons again, it's the whole "American Ninja" syndrome, where the image and function of the image is more important than the actual history.

And again, you forgive it to some extent. I mean guys and gals like to fantasize about idealized settings, clothes and whatever else. For guys it's being a muscular knight with really cool armor, cool sword and-or some gadget that gives them an edge and puts them apart from your typical warrior. Women like to typically look more glamorous, and so they get the idealized dress, medieval castle, white horse, carriage, and 19th century riflemen guarding said castle.

Eh, I'm harping on this because I see so much bastardization of history and mythology, but it's like market forces take precedent no matter how much I b_tch on this blog, and no matter how much teachers, professors and history and mythology enthusiasts gripe and complain. Ultimately there's a marketing team or just a group of uneducated people that looks at trends and decide to make either a game or some experience that crashes various historical periods together to get the result they desire.

I guess the thing that gets me is that fantasy is traditionally, cross culturally, in a low tech environment. Whether is Asian mythologies of any kind, from India to Japan and beyond, the Meso American societies, Africa, and everyplace else, legends and fables deal with individuals prizing rare items and dealing with threats or other challenges.

So, the guy is always dashing, maybe muscular but otherwise physiucally fit, and the woman is either a beautiful princess or a hottie warrior "maiden" (so to speak) in skimpy armor. It's all make believe. It's all fiction. It's all invented. But again, what would a medieval knight think of marketers' interpretation of their myths and history.

It's not really my job to go out there and shout "hey! You got it wrong!", but at the same time it's like you want to tap the people making fantasy garbage on the shoulder and tell them to knock it off, or to have a bit more consideration. As for the Final Fantasy people well, I'd just like to knock them on their backside for all the Final Fantasy and like garbage to come out of that nation.

If I ever run another fantasy game (doubtful), I'll let the players have whatever their hearts' desire. And then I'll let the games reality smack them in the face; i.e. "Well, I'm sorry Karen, but you did say you bought a bikini armor outfit, and that crossbow bolt struck you mid section, where you probably should have had armor, but didn't." Or, "Well Sam, yeah, you did buy banded armor, however the tech base is 13th century, and "rouge" or "red" banded armor won't exist for another century or two. That's why the smith back at the smithy was scratching his head with his hammer when you made that special request, and I tried to remind you that you got a single layer chain mail shirt, which you thought would be galvanized since you went swimming to save the princess last session. So, not only is not banded, but it's rusting away. But hey, roll some dice to see if it helps you in combat. Normally I'd just let the weapon slice into you, so you can just call me mister Nice."

And so it goes.

Whether you're fighting kobolds, lizard men, orcs, cruising the surf in an elven destroyer a-la War Craft 2, or spelunking some cave in search for treasure, have a good time. If you've read my diatribes on the topic, think I'm an old cranky coot, well, you're right. But maybe the next time you roll that 20 sided die you might think about some of the history behind the legends you're dealing with. I mean you can't take it too seriously, but at the same time, you shouldn't let it get too corrupted.
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RSS Feed 2 Responses to "More Fantasy thoughts"
#2 November 25th, 2018 09:20 PM
Blue Ghost Says:
Well, let's be honest. People are lazy. Gamers have a large lazy population, and so a portion of them get their education from games, not realizing that the author is putting forth a gimmick, or the author themselves are just as guilty of being lazy by not doing any research. I mean I get that it's fantasy, and you can't take it seriously in the least, but on that note, it's like how do you get the idea across that the fantasy is a mixture of elements, for the reader and player to go do some digging around if they want the full story. Whatever. I'm not going to change it, and quite frankly, if people are dumb enough to buy into mixed fantasy wholesale, well, I guess they have only themselves to blame. But it's like my old history teacher used to say, sometimes we get too much from popular media (his example was a student saying that they saw jousting on The Flintstones).
#1 September 18th, 2018 04:57 PM
timerover51 Says:
Blue Ghost, the only way to fix the marketing problem is have the players vote with their dollars, and not buy the historical mixing products. The other cure would be for Game Masters not to allow it.

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