Ground Rules: Historical Culture Settings

Over the next few posts, we’re going to look at building settings based on/inspired by real-world cultures. However, before we jump in, we wanted to lay out a few basic ground rules we’ll be adhering to:
  • Flavor, not stereotypes – We’re looking to extract flavor from historical cultures, not to indulge in rampant stereotypes. So while we’ll be deriving the flavor and theme of the setting from various historical cultures, we’re going to really try to avoid indulging in any racial or ethnic stereotypes.
  • Inspiration, not alternate history – Although we’re using historical cultures as the primer for our exploration, we’re not building “what if” settings. To be clear – there’s nothing wrong with that! And if one of these posts gets you thinking about an awesome alternate history setting you should run with it! That said, it’s not the objective of this particular excercise.
  • No Racial Washing – We’re looking at building settings infused with the themes and concepts of various historical cultures. In most cases, we won’t even be discussing race as that’s a bit more detail than we would typically put into a setting hook. However, some of the hooks are based on cultures tied to distinct ethnicity and/or race and we won’t be washing away that distinctiveness when it arises.
And just a reminder: we’re not responsible for any bad accents at your gaming table. That’s all on you.

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