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anonymous asked:

This might be a doozy, but do you guys have a best guess for what century/age of the real world standard fantasy RPG's take place in? (I'm thinking DnD 3.5, Pathfinder, etc.)

As a general rule, D&D is extremely anachronistic. It’s also not one setting. Third Edition and 3.5 both default to Greyhawk, (which, Ironically isn’t a setting I’m incredibly familiar with), which offers technology ranging from the 9th century up through the 18th, depending on what best fits the feel they’re going for. This results in situations where you have sailing vessels designed for broadsiding in a setting without gunpowder, and armor that never existed in the real world.

As a result, you can’t really tie D&D down, and this is before you start looking at the other campaign settings. Forgotten Realms is the one most people probably think of as the default D&D setting (it’s not, but that doesn’t really matter.) There’s Dark Sun, where magic drains life from the world, and the resulting environment is a barren wasteland. There’s Dragonlance, where, unsurprisingly, Dragons are the biggest threat (usually), and the world outside of fortress settlements is barely civilized as a result (incidentally, this is another setting, I’m not that familiar with). There’s Ravenloft, where the entire world is splintered across various horror themed mini-planes. There’s Eberron (one of the newer settings), which has a magitech/steampunk aesthetic going on. There’s Birthright, which is explicitly pulling from 13th century knights, and fairytale chivalry (though, I honestly can’t remember much about this setting beyond that.) There’s Spelljammer, where people fly magical sailing ships between worlds (including, potentially any of the ones I’ve listed here.) There’s Planescape, where characters wander between universes, including any of the ones I listed above.

If you want a D&D setting I can pin down to a specific moment in history, the only ones that come to mind off hand are Urban Arcana, Dark Matter and Shadowchasers, but those are both from D20 Modern, and by default they’re set around 2002 (give or take a year.) (Strictly speaking, there’s some Dark Matter supplements from back in the 90s, so that setting is a little older, but it’s tenure as a D&D setting starts in 2002.)

And, honestly, that’s okay. Fantasy is rarely designed to mimic specific moments in history. As a genre, it owes a lot to both J. R. R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard.

With Lord of the Rings, Tolkien was specifically pulling inspiration from the literary epics like Beowulf. He envisioned a forgotten version of Europe that existed in some forgotten dark age long before recorded history. The technology is an incoherent mix of different eras because, the idea goes, that much of this was lost, and then later rediscovered.

The result is: Middle Earth is usually read as a self contained world, with no relation to the real one. It’s treated as fantasy world, segregated from reality, rather than a piece of fiction that takes place in “the real world,” but this wasn’t Tolkien’s intent. Ironically, this actually sets Tolkien into a fairly small subgenre of fantasy, with series like Terry Brooks’ Shanara Chronicles, or Jack Vance’s Dying Earth (which became the basis for D&D’s spell casting system.)

Robert E. Howard just loved history. Really loved it. Apparently, to the point that he couldn’t pick a single favorite element, and simply grabbed pieces of whatever wasn’t nailed down. If you’ve never read the Conan stories from Howard, you really do owe it to yourself to take a look. More than Tolkien, Howard set the tone for modern Sword and Sorcery as a genre. So, while D&D inherits a lot of its ideas, like elves and dwarves from Tolkien, it looks to Howard, when the time comes to pick from a moment in history.

So the end result is a massive collection of anachronisms, and usually that’s acceptable. You have a fantasy setting, where different concerns gave rise to different technological priorities, and some of the things you take for granted in your daily lives just never happened.

It (sort of) makes sense that Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk don’t have firearms. Magic is very prevalent, to the point that convenient ranged weapons exist. Additionally, because of how gunpowder works, a single wizard or sorcerer could (theoretically) ignite your batteries with a stray fireball, which makes the entire idea of stockpiling powder a lot less appealing.

Of course, it’s also entirely possible you would have gunpowder in your setting. Warhammer pulls heavily from the 15th century Europe. Primitive firearms and all. Even with the danger of a Bright Wizard being able to detonate handgunner’s powder on a whim (or on accident).

The only times you’ll see serious criticism of D&D’s historical elements are when you try to do one of two things. Putting one of the campaign settings together into a coherent whole while accounting for the game’s rules and asking, “does this make sense?” No, the actual rules (particularly in 3rd and 4th edition) are designed to facilitate play for the party, and characters accelerate to godlike status (or outright godhood) with horrifying speed.

Or, when someone looks at individual technologies in a campaign setting and finds one that is dependent on a technology that never happened. For example: Forgotten Realms’ sailing ships, which are based on 17th century designs, which were heavily influenced by cannon fire.

When it comes to Pathfinder, I don’t know. What I’ve seen suggests it mixes 14th and 17th century technology together with gleeful abandon. I don’t know how fair that is, because I’ve never purchased or read a Pathfinder book or game.


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fool for you.

Pairing: Hollstein
Rating: Explicit
Chapter: 4/4
Word Count: 6.3k
Summary:  Carmilla, recently estranged from her family, moves to the small American midwestern town of Silas. Where she eventually meets Laura Hollis, who spends her nights bartending at the The Lustig. Laura and Carmilla aren’t a love at first sight story. But when you’re drawn to someone, in the end there’s nothing you can do but fall.

for @elise-baumn. thank you to @franticscrawls especially on this chapter. i was being extra and she pointed out something i’d overlooked in my… being extra and saved my life, LOL. also as always to both riss & @smollaura for being lovely, lovely cheerreaders. <333

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…what’s that? where’s the dr3 plot? what dr3 plot, who even cares that story was such a fuckin mess but LOOK IT’S YOUR FAVES