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View Full Version : Good 18th to 20th Century (Fantasy) RPGs?



Mr. Mask
2014-06-12, 11:22 PM
You don't usually hear much about RPGs set between the 18th and 20th centuries, though I find that an interesting stretch of time. Particularly, fantasy ones seem to be few. There are a few names which have come up, but I don't know which ones are worth getting.

Know of any RPGs set in this period of time? I expect there will be a few GURPS books in the eras which I'll look up, but I'm more interested in other systems. Some names I've heard on the subject are Duty and Honour and Colonial Gothic. I don't know about those.

Aces and Eights seems to handle the wild west portion of the time period very well from what I've heard. Can't think of any seafaring RPGs though.

Mr Beer
2014-06-13, 01:37 AM
Call of Cthulhu?

There must be a bunch of Steampunk games by now that fit the genre.

I would think a Victorian Steampunk/Shadowrun mashup could be awesome, would require a consistent design vision and major background prep work though.

DonEsteban
2014-06-13, 02:35 AM
Space 1889 is certainly worth looking up. It's Victorian Steampunk (more steam than punk) with a spacefaring twist. The original version by Heliograph had really, really great fluff mixed with a not so great mechanics. Then there was a version by Pinnacle Entertainmant using the Savage Worlds System and there is a recent version using the Ubiquity system published by Uhrwerk Verlag in German that is, very shortly to appear in English, too.

This brings me to mentioning two products that are certainly worth looking at: Savage Worlds itself, which supports pulpy action with or without magic, and Hollow Earth Expedition, which has very nice, pulpy fluff and also uses the Ubiquity system. I've looked at the books and quite liked both of them but never actually played, so someone else should comment on them.

Also, Fate can easily handle this, but you seem to be looking for fluff more than crunch, so I would direct you to Spirit of the Century, which is highly regarded.

Brother Oni
2014-06-13, 06:40 AM
There's a couple of setting splat books for oWOD (Victorian Age: Vampire and Werewolf: The Wild West off the top of my head).

Deadlands for a steampunk/horror/Wild West feel.

Beat to Quarter is the companion game to Duty and Honour and is a Age of Sail era naval game: review (http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/14/14545.phtml).

Mr Beer has already mentioned Call of Cthulhu.

GolemsVoice
2014-06-13, 12:11 PM
Check out Unhallowed Metropolis! (http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/13/13671.phtml). It's not exactly 18th to 20th century, not chronologically at least. But in spirit! Very recommended, even if the mechanics are a bit clunky.

Mark Hall
2014-06-13, 03:58 PM
Aces and Eights is a western RPG from Kenzerco.

Ravens_cry
2014-06-13, 06:41 PM
Deadlands is a steampunk/weird west game set in this period.

Jay R
2014-06-13, 06:57 PM
Privateers and Gentlemen was an 18th century sailing RPG from Fantasy Games Unlimited, connected to the miniatures game Heart of Oak.

Mr. Mask
2014-06-13, 10:41 PM
That's more neat RPGs in the period than I expected to pop up (though if that about covers them, it certainly is less saturated than other settings). There don't seem to be any set in the 20th century, though (had thought there'd be one set during the world wars). Did Twilight 2020 have material for 20th century campaigns?

Going to check out some of these RPGs in the meantime. Having trouble finding Privateers and Gentlemen, but I've got a look at most of the others. I like Duty and Honour's system of ordinary playing cards in place of dice.

Rakaydos
2014-06-13, 10:53 PM
Check out Nogglestones, by Sanguine Games. Portals to the fey realms open in the mid 1800s. Shenanagens ensue.

While I haven't played it myself, I can vouch for the system it shares with Ironclaw and Myriad Song.

Brother Oni
2014-06-14, 04:47 AM
That's more neat RPGs in the period than I expected to pop up (though if that about covers them, it certainly is less saturated than other settings). There don't seem to be any set in the 20th century, though (had thought there'd be one set during the world wars).

It's unlikely to be very many British designed games set around the world wars as WW1 left an indelible impression on our collective psyche and WW2 is still within living memory. The period is also fairly saturated by tactical combat miniature games as well.

D20 Modern, the Delta Green setting for CoC are contemporary settings (mid 90s), while there's a whole bunch of Cold War era espionage games (James Bond RPG and Top Secret for example).

GolemsVoice
2014-06-14, 05:18 AM
I know there is at least a GERMAN CoC supplement for Cthuloid adventures during WW1, which also covers general life during and in the war. Seems it's only available in German, though.

You might want to check out this (http://redwaspdesign.wordpress.com/call-of-cthulhu/), just for fun.

Brother Oni
2014-06-14, 11:08 AM
I know there is at least a GERMAN CoC supplement for Cthuloid adventures during WW1, which also covers general life during and in the war. Seems it's only available in German, though.

Without treading on too many board rules, I'm curious about how the Germans view WW1. For the stereotypical British view, Blackadder Goes Forth covers pretty much everything you need to know about how we view it, but I don't know much about the German point of view.

Do you also see it as a massively pointless waste of life, with plucky Tommys in the muck commanded by inept generals who have no understanding of tactics or strategy more complex than human wave into the meat grinder?

The Mod Wonder: This is not a good place to answer that.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2014-06-14, 12:30 PM
While the new World of Darkness is by default set in the modern day, it carries over very easily into basically any time and place imaginable, so long as you have a good enough understanding of how things actually worked then and there. To help with that, there's a new "Dark Ages" book coming out that features a new era and setting for each of the game lines. Previous to that, there was already "Mage Noir" which set Mage: the Awakening in the 1930s, and "New Wave Requiem" which set Vampire: the Requiem in the 1980s. The Dark Era's book includes sections on Werewolf:the Foresaken in the 1970s, Promethean: the Created (their game where you play Frankenstein's Monster) in the 1930s, Geist: the Sin-Eaters (where you play dead people saved by ghost-spirit hybrids who catch a ride in their mind) in New Zealand in the 1950s, and Mummy: the Curse in the end of the 19th century.

The other settings range from a little out of your time period (Changeling: the Lost playing fairy abduction victims in the reign of Louis XIV, Vampire: the Requiem in Elizabethan times, Hunter: the Vigil in Salem, and all the way to Mage: the Awakening in Alexander's conquest of India), but the World of Darkness is flexible enough to easily take any time era.

Admiral Squish
2014-06-14, 06:35 PM
[shameless plug]
You could always check out Crossroads: The New World (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?345327-Crossroads-II-I-m-on-a-Mammoth).
It's set in 1750, which is on the early end of your requested time-frame, but it's a very interesting setting. Alternate history plus magic, set in colonial-era north america. We've got a race of giant Inuit people in the north and their domesticated-mammoth-riding neighbors, a massive trade confederacy that covers most everything from the Rockies to the Appalachians, Anasazi cliff canyon cities with spider-silk bridges, the last remnants of the Ming dynasty on the western coast, who allied with the Sasquatches of the temperate rainforests, colonial European colonists on east coast, including shadowy inquisition agents, and an aggressively expanding Aztec empire in the south.
Tons of original material, too, including sasquatches, customizable half-giants, tiny fey folk, feathered ghost-serpents, chinese illusionist fox-folk, ghost-like shadow folk, half-animals... Oh, and let's not forget half a dozen new classes, including runecasters, martial artists, and medicine men, and dozens of community-created monsters.

We'd love to see you in the thread, but I'll understand if homebrew isn't your thing. Maybe you'll get to play it when we publish it.
[/shameless plug]

Mr. Mask
2014-06-14, 07:03 PM
Sounds pretty interesting. If you make use of (pre-colonized) American folklore, I'll definitely look into it. Can't promise I'll be able to offer much in the thread. I'm not much of a pathfinder player, and most of my input would probably be contrary to what your audience wants.


WoD: With the mentions of World of Darkness, how well does it work without the vampires and werewolves (I could homebrew it, but I'm not sure how fun it is without vampire magic and the Masquerade)?



It's unlikely to be very many British designed games set around the world wars as WW1 left an indelible impression on our collective psyche and WW2 is still within living memory. The period is also fairly saturated by tactical combat miniature games as well. With the number of WW2 video games, I hadn't thought tabletop games would be an issue. Roleplaying is more personal than running and shooting.


I'm also going to check out all the other stuff that's been mentioned. Maybe combine them... play James Bond style secret agents in a Call of Cthulhu game set in WWI, fighting the vampires of the Masquerade.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2014-06-14, 07:20 PM
Each of the games is assumed to wrong independently. The assumption is that if you're running, for example, a Changeling game, then the other game lines won't come into play. The most I would say you would find is vague reference or one or two NPC's of other lines per game, unless you're specifically running a cross-splat game, which has it's own pile of problems.

You can even play a whole game with just mortals, though mortals are kinda squishy. If you get shot, you'll probably spend a good week in the hospital... But yeah, nWoD is designed as a "toolbox" kind of game. Pick which book you're going to run as your "core", and then pick and choose from any other book things to throw in to make your campaign unique. Hell, I just read the quick synopsis of a Mortals campaign that ended in them fighting Stephen Hawkings as the big bad, as he was a servant of a Demon that the Church had bound into the idea of "education", assuming that education would always be under church control.

Though the campaign you described sounds kinda epic. I'd play in that.

Admiral Squish
2014-06-14, 08:05 PM
The pre-columbian stuff is my favorite material, personally. :smallbiggrin:
And you don't need to know pathfinder to contribute, we have plenty of contributors who don't actually make any mechanics, they just consult about the plausibility of various scenarios and discuss various possibilities.

Mr. Mask
2014-06-14, 08:47 PM
Gwyn: I'm tempted to write the campaign. Could go as silly or as epic and serious as I wanted. "What if instead Cthulhu isn't a reality, but an idea. A hallucination of the universe." A useless quote out of context. But you could do neat stuff with the deity.

How easy is it to generate you own content for WoD? Like if I wanted new magic, or a very different kind of vampire? It might be a lot easier than homebrewing something for Twilight 2013 or the like.


Admiral: Will chip in if I see anything I can be helpful with, then.

Jay R
2014-06-15, 08:48 AM
There don't seem to be any set in the 20th century, though...

Almost any superhero game, to start with.


... (had thought there'd be one set during the world wars).

Daredevils, from Fantasy Games Unlimited. "Role playing action and adventure in the two-fisted thirties".

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2014-06-15, 12:10 PM
How easy is it to generate you own content for WoD? Like if I wanted new magic, or a very different kind of vampire? It might be a lot easier than homebrewing something for Twilight 2013 or the like.


Admiral: Will chip in if I see anything I can be helpful with, then.

Shouldn't be too hard. I mean your basic mechanics is just roll a number of dice equal to two stats plus or minus whatever situational modifiers you can come up with. Homebrew is easy to come up with, but I would think tricky to balance. Vancian magic would be a little tricky to code in, but yeah. In the books themselves there are like 50 different magic systems to choose from. I can describe the main ones later of you like. You can pretty much mix and match them, though no promises on balance if you run a werewolf game where you give them Mage powers.

Flashy
2014-06-15, 12:43 PM
I would think a Victorian Steampunk/Shadowrun mashup could be awesome, would require a consistent design vision and major background prep work though.

I have to agree, the system fits the requirements of the setting really well. Throw out all the matrix stuff, leave the magic system largely as is, write in some setting appropriate weapons then compose the setting and you're pretty much there. Of course, the last two steps would take AGES.

Arjhan
2014-06-15, 06:22 PM
There are also some off brand rather unsupported rpgs that I personally like by Cakebread and Walton. These include Clockwork and Chivalry during the English civil war, maybe a bit early, Victoriana which is steampunk with magic, and Airship Pirates which is post-apocalyptic and the same tech level as Victoriana.