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"History v. Fiction: Nation v. Imagi-nation" Topic


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1,242 hits since 31 May 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Queen Catherine01 Jun 2017 10:26 a.m. PST

I've been torn and trying to make up my mind.

I was thinking about trying to look for some good fantasy-fiction [i.e. speculative fiction] about the renaissance / ECW period, which I guess would also be int he steampunk genre. On the other hand, much of the real history is just crazy, more interesting than anything anyone can make up.

This has to do with some of our groups blogging projects, one of which is late Elizabethan / ECW era. I was originally thinking of doing a series of blog posts about an historical character, but some of the imagination stuff by people like Tidders [Wittenburg v. Monrovia, and "For Ye King"] is also really tempting.

What do you think is a more fun project – doing an imagi-nation or an historical narrative?

Any books / films inspire you either way?

Thanks!

Pauls Bods Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2017 10:55 a.m. PST

Imagi-Nation, you won´t get bogged down (unless you want to) with any real world historical accuracy stuff.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2017 10:55 a.m. PST

Steampunk is more generally considered to be Victorian or Edwardian.

This series might interest you:

link

You can't be wrong when you go Imagination.

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2017 11:06 a.m. PST

It's not realty steampunk but have a look at girlgeniusonline.com

x42

Ottoathome01 Jun 2017 11:21 a.m. PST

Depends

Historical fiction requires that at several points you "True up" your "fiction" with history, and allow it to move the story forward in a normal historical way. Complete Imagination places the burden for future events squarely on your shoulders.

For example in historical fiction you don't have to design everything. In the period you are indicating incorporating Christianity (and four or a dozen different types depending how many independents and dissenters you wish to let in) is a problem and you will spend many pages and time puzzling out rather than simply using what history gave you. In Imagination land you have to reinvent the system all over again (in which you will wind up writing a history of religion if you don't watch out or you will wander off into the weeds of silliness and boredom. For example just slapping a new name like "Kourousanity" for Christianity, or inventing sects like "Bobism." Bobism is a religion invented by a guy named Bob. He gave the religion his name because he wanted to name it after his wife Judy, but that name was already taken.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2017 12:07 p.m. PST

For inspiration take a look at "A Mid Summer's Tempest" by
Poul Anderson. Prince Rupert and Oberon defeat the Puritans.

Toy Soldier Green01 Jun 2017 1:05 p.m. PST

Start with 2 small imaginations.

mrinku01 Jun 2017 1:18 p.m. PST

Michael Moorcock's "Gloriana" might fit the bill. Dark fantasy version with steampunk elements of Elizabeth I.

There's also the role playing game "All For One" from Triple Ace Games which adds supernatural elements to Dumas for inspiration.

My own preference would be to add weird to history. I'm with @Ottoathome that it saves a lot of work.

Stoppage01 Jun 2017 1:37 p.m. PST

Look up Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales (19 February 1594 – 6 November 1612) – Charles the First's older brother.

Might be a good candidate for alternative War of the Three Kingdoms.

Richard Brooks Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Jun 2017 2:12 p.m. PST

Another vote for the Ring of Fire /1632 series. Great reading and full of ideas for gaming.

mrinku01 Jun 2017 4:10 p.m. PST

@Stoppage, another one in that vein could be Henry VIII's older brother Arthur not dying young. A very interesting alternate history could result from England staying firmly Catholic as a result of Arthur and Catherine's uninterrupted marriage, with Henry on the sidelines as a (present day) Prince Harry-esque playboy and soldier spare.

Even having Henry inherit if his brother later died without issue, but after Henry was married himself might avoid the whole can't-get-a-male-heir-divorce-defy-the-pope-found-the-CofE business.

Sobieski01 Jun 2017 4:14 p.m. PST

Historical for me, alpha and omega.

Personal logo Narratio Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2017 7:13 p.m. PST

+1 Ottoathome – Having a solid historical base means so much work is done for you. Who is nearby, what do they think of you or you of them. Religion, economics, politics… It saves you an awful lot of work in establishing a back story.

GurKhan02 Jun 2017 7:41 a.m. PST

If you want 16th-17th-century ImagiNations, you need look no further than H Beam Piper – link and its sequels by other hands (at least one of which is online – PDF link ) .

"Down Styphon!"

Khusrau02 Jun 2017 7:41 a.m. PST

Seconding Gloriana, there are quite a few Moorcock novels that are inspirational, and the Corum series could easily have inspired chunks of GoT.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP02 Jun 2017 11:32 a.m. PST

Captain Blood by Rafael Sabbatini. Yes, the novel that inspired the classic Errol Flynn film. So it's post-Cromwell, but still well within your target range.

Of course, if you want great alternative history fantasy, you need to look at Tim Power's The Drawing of the Dark and stuff by Guy Gavriel Kay.

Oh, and if it's circa ECW, the term is probably more "lacepunk" than steampunk.

Justin Penwith02 Jun 2017 3:00 p.m. PST

More info on Lord Kalvan and the subsequent novels is located here: hostigos.com

spontoon02 Jun 2017 4:33 p.m. PST

My Imagine-nation; Mirlitonia, has it's army made up of all the units of my historical armies that wear mirliton headgear. Needless to say, it's weak in cuirassier!

Ottoathome03 Jun 2017 5:05 a.m. PST

My Imagination armies are all purpose built. What Queen Catherine is looking for I am not quite sure but much depends on the use you are going to put them to. If it's to write historical fiction that's one thing and my comments on "true-ing up" to history apply. On the other hand if you are just looking for a backstory behind your historical battles that's an entirely different thing altogether.

Using an Imagi-Nation with real nations is perfectly fine. In this case you are just sandwiching in the imagi-nation between two historical counties. Easy to do and you have the advantage of using the whole real world as in. It's like an Opera or a play, one more character's not going to hurt. In fact I use "double duty." Each of my Imaginations does "double duty." Each is modeled on a real country and in the games I can pitch a battle between the Imagi-Nation version of the country and a real version of another country, even a battle of the Imagi-Nation version against its proto type.

For example

Saxe Burlap und Schleswig-Beerstein is the Imagi-Nation version of the Hapsburg Empire of Maria Theresea

Bad Zu Wurst is the Imagi-Nation version of Prussia.

Gulagia is the Imagi-nation version of Russia

Flounce is the Imagi-Nation Version of France.

The Grand Duchy of the Grand Duke of Gorgonzola is an Imagi-nation version of a conglomerate of the larger Italian States.

In my battle write ups it's Imagi-nation against Imagination, or a real counterpart. In my historical story behind the whole world It's the first, Saxe Burlap und Schleswig Beerstein against the historical states.


It IS, after all Imagi-Nations.

TheBeast Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2017 7:48 a.m. PST

Having a solid historical base means so much work is done for you.

Quite true, but with an imagi-nation, you never worry about someone producing a new tome with contrary historical evidence, which your play partners will offer you with FIENDISH delight. ;->=

Doug

John Miller03 Jun 2017 1:32 p.m. PST

Queen Catherine: Early in my wargaming life, about 1966, I was considering doing 18th Century imaginations, Getting the idea from the book "Charge". The draft board put a stop to my plans and I never did do any imaginations, (still have a company of 30mm Stadden Prussian grenadiers I finished at the time, however). I was "inspired" then, by the movie "The Prisoner of Zenda" and thought the ancestors of the heroes, heroines, and villains in the film and their kingdom, would make great characters for my fictitious nation. Still love the movie. John Miller

mrinku04 Jun 2017 8:39 p.m. PST

The middle ground is exactly what "Prisoner of Zenda" does, in keeping the big picture historical (no need to have Faux-Prussia or Pseudo-Britain) but making the local setting fictional but based on something that did exist. Ruritania is fictional, but quite typical of the numerous small grand duchies and principalities that made up pre-unification Germany. George Macdonald Fraser used this to good effect in Royal Flash (which is based on Prisoner of Zenda, but also deals with Bismarck and the revolutions of 1848).

Much depends on campaign scope. Anything above the scope may as well act as background and save you making stuff up. If you're running a skirmish campaign set in the Peninsular War, the actual battles don't have to be historical, but it feels better if there's some context from the progression of the war.

Ottoathome05 Jun 2017 7:05 a.m. PST

One other point should be recognized. I realize that by saying this I will get everyone's knickers in a twist, but it has to be said.

Fiction is crap.

It is crap from the standpoint of history and from the standpoint that it can inform anything. In History you can take events that happened and from them derive patterns and make generalizations that we can live by, and you can make judgements of what ought or ought not to be.

In fiction, on the other hand the characters, the plots, even the whole world and reality is a puppet that dances to the authors slightest whim no matter how absurd, unusual or bizarre, and he can put into the mouths of his characters the most absurd things and have them believed or reified. That's where historical fiction is bad, even dangerous. Basing historical judgements or even taking guidance from fiction is dangerous.

On the other hand, fiction is great fun. It's great to read and dream on, and it can tickle your fancy and play with your emotions and all that is fine so long as you realize that it is not real. One problem with basing your fictional world on something you read in anothers fictional world is that the fictional world you are using as a model will become your paradigm just as our real world does, and there is a great danger your fictional effort will come to be a rewrite of a fictional world and you're just derivative.

In my Imagi-Nations and in my battle report and the backstory writings. There is no attempt to make it sound like real history. You know from the moment you get into the first few paragraphs that you are not only not in history, not even in historical fiction, you are in a burlesque. It is pure Marxist history- Groucho, Chico, and Harpo, that is. Princess Trixie of Saxe Burlap und Schleswig Beerstein is a flighty, frilly teenage prom-queen type who's interested in boys, shoes, shopping, boys, clothes, boys and boy toys. (Did I mention the boys). King Leonardo of France is lazy and despises government duties. He just wants to live a quiet life with his mistresses and the little things of life so he goes around the palace disguised to avoid his ministers and courtiers. A faithfool footman, a stout sentry, a dashing courtier, a humble forester, a lacky, a chambermaid , or a chamber pot. All these have been ruses Leonardo has undeertaken to avoid any sort of work. King Faustus the Grump and his brother Humberto are military genius's in the land of Bad Zu Wurst, and their battle reports of their battles are a series of correspondences which generally degrade into airing the family dirty laundry, insults and arguments over who mother loved best. Sha-Na-Na, the Nattering Nabob of Negativism, the Shah of Ikea is a morose, manic depressive whose gloomy predictions and despairing diatribes force all around him to despair-- they go looking for the mute's in bowstrings to end their misery.

When you move it to that level you can do anything you want and history be damned.

It's also monstrously great fun.

Musketier Supporting Member of TMP05 Jun 2017 12:55 p.m. PST

Why not have a fictitious campaign in an overall historical setting? If your period of choice is "Pike & Shot", you could even dispense with certain aspects dear to imagi-nation culture, such as devising uniforms. In fact, the Italian Wars or the Thirty Years' War offer enough putative sideshows and unrecorded local struggles to keep you going without having to come up with a whole new setting. Plus the period had early inventors and mechanics on the one hand, and more than enough superstition on the other, to justify as much or as little technology and/or magic as you care to include.

Ottoathome07 Jun 2017 5:38 a.m. PST

Dear Musketier

In effect that's what people usually do day in and day out. Most games are not historical at all, that is drawn up with any specific battle in mind. Only the hard core "regularize" their imaginary battles by writing up reports and designing uniforms.

John Miller07 Jun 2017 1:17 p.m. PST

Speaking as one who has never really done imaginations, I have always thought designing their uniforms and keeping records of my various regts. glorious deeds would be a great part of the attraction. John Miller

Ottoathome08 Jun 2017 8:39 a.m. PST

Dear John

Depends.

Depends largely on the gamer and what he wants out of it. For me it has been pretty much as you have said, designing the uniforms, and in fact the whole country and writing down the battles and back stories, though how "glorious" they are in an out and out burlesque is debatable. Some people get into Imagi-Nations to make "killer" armies, unbeatable collectons of figures. Others out of a secret desire to be Napoleon or Frederick the great. Biut for me it's the allure of the comical storu.

John Miller08 Jun 2017 3:20 p.m. PST

Ottoathome: Well you certainly seem to be enjoying yourself, and that's what we are here for. And speaking of enjoying oneself, I find the narratives about your own "imaginations" very entertaining!! Thanks, John Miller

Queen Catherine09 Jun 2017 8:26 p.m. PST

I like the idea of a side-show campaign, or fleshing out one that is not particularly well documented.

I don't think I'd bother painting historical minis in imagi-nation colors. There's no reason to since the historical ones offer great variety, anyway, and many are poorly documented so you can paint them what you want!

I think the figures have more value as historicals.

I'm leaning towards all historical figures and paint schemes, but using them for fun on the table and making up some stuff until I can do something more "historical".

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Jun 2017 6:44 a.m. PST

Another vote for Piper's Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen. Great stuff!

Bill N12 Jun 2017 8:55 a.m. PST

Musketier Supporting Member of TMP 05 Jun 2017 1:55 p.m. PST !
Why not have a fictitious campaign in an overall historical setting?

This is my preferred approach as well. It has the advantage of providing some historical context for the players. However you are not bound by the historical timeline in creating scenarios or fielding armies.

Ottoathome15 Jun 2017 6:32 a.m. PST

But it does not provide the benefit of equality.

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