Havard wrote: ↑
Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:49 pm
I've posted many threads about this setting over the years, but I think we need a more general thread to organize things a bit. The HR series are not the only TSR/WotC books to detail a fantasy version of Earth, and other companies have also produced D&D and D20 material. We have had many discussions on how to combine various materials of these lines.
Let's look at the core products first:
The AD&D Historical Reference (HR) series(TSR)
You are talking about combining all of these products (and that's a valid way to go) but I wondered if they were originally
intended to be standalone things.
And then I read something about them being written to work in pairs (although there are an odd number of them, which would imply that HR8 went missing).
I know HR6: Age of Heroes
comes with a circular map (like a flat earth) that had that part of the world surrounded by a circular sea. I think that would either be something that cuts off the idea of the world being spherical and other cultures being beyond that sea...
...or you would have to say that things in some or all of the HR books are "incorrect".
I also don't think they all cover the same time period, which kind of makes them a little bit harder to use together. Not in a "realistic" way, anyway.
And I'm not sure that the combinations of magic...and PC magical abiliities...are all on the same level as each other. HR3: Celts Campaign Sourcebook
seems to cut down religious spellcasting to the Druid class, while other books don't do that. But Wizards seem rare everywhere.
They all seem to be lower in magic level than standard D&D.
I can't say I've figured out how to use any of them. I avoid them in the past, but have been looking at them a bit more recently, with thoughts of seeing if they can be used as the basis of a Spelljammer crystal sphere. (I did specifically buy HR6: Age of Heroes
to use in Greatspace.)
Havard wrote: ↑
Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:49 pmChronomancy and connection to other official D&D Worlds
Also worth mentioning right away is Roger Moore's Chronomancy article, since it assumes that the Earth described in the HREF series is the same as LaTerre from the Mystara Setting and Gothic Earth from the Ravenloft subsetting, Masque of the Red Death as discussed here
. Dragon Magazine also had tons of material
I wonder how much this was a continuation of the original Historical Reference plan, under a new brand identity...
...and how much, this took the opportunity of building on top of the canon from the HR books, in the same sort of way that the Spelljammer boxed set used Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk as background themes for three crystal sphere outlines that Jeff Grubb developed.
I think that the Masque of the Red Death link is especially opportunistic. It's genius really. You have someone making a RPG product based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe and loosely connected to Ravenloft. They need real-world stuff and raiding the HR series gives them a bunch of extra stuff, without doing all the extra work.
This kind of reminds me of how Spelljammer connects to a few campaign settigns..while Planescape links to more campaign settings.
The HR products can work on their own, in pairs (apparently), as a set of seven connected lands (subsettings?) or as the backdrop for Chronomancy or Mask of the Red Death.
If we ever get a Historical Reference forum at The Piazza, I think there will be different people wanting to use it in different ways.
Havard wrote: ↑
Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:49 pmConnection to 3rd Party D&D Settings
The main product lines that cover earth-like settings for the d20 system are:
Those green HR books should really have been boxed sets, with a sourcebook for the GM, a guide for the players and an adventure. But they were not.
These products do not truly fit the HR product line, but they are mostly different versions of the same idea. With the HR products being very small, you need more to get an entire game from them, so raiding from some of these other products is going to be essential. But with the historical roleplaying genre, I think you have different designers having different takes on mythological things, like deities, legendary creatures and how much magic a setting based on that culture should have.
I believe that Yarth was an alternative Oerth used for the Sagard the Barbarian books and that it had a lower level of magic that Oerth. (So that's Greyhawk with the magic level turned down, if I recalled that correctly.) What you might have if you try to make a big campaign out of all these product lines is slightly higher levels of magic in some. Classes that exist in some areas, but not others and different ways to implement the same idea.
It might be an idea to look for an average or skim through the different rules to find the "historical" rules that you think are the most fun, so that you can pull books towards that baseline and tweak similar things so that they work together.
Havard wrote: ↑
Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:49 pmDeveloping Fantasy Earth Further
We also have several threads developing this setting of Fantasy Earth one region at a time:
Does this summarize the most important things we have so far?
I'm not sure if these are the most important things we have found so far. (If there is ever enough demand for a bespoke Historical Reference subforum at The Piazza, it might be easier to see the big picture.) But the world is a big place and there must
be a lot of low profile cultures that have amazing myths of monsters and awesome legendary stories, that we just have not looked at yet.