Tags

,

When worldbuilding a fantasy world one of the thing that might come up are histories. There are two major problems that often come up. They are too long and sparse – things happening thousand of years in the past and not much else -, or they are filled with useless details.

When making a history for an RPG, I usually have some idea about the final for now end state for the game to take place. I can usually find some steps that must have taken place before the current state may arise. But how much time should there been between those?

When we look at history, we have some units and unit-like words we use to structure it, like decade or generation. The latter may be anything between 15 and 25 years. So I think that the significant steps, I devised should happen within that timeframe. Somewhere between 10 and 25 years. Not 100s or 1000s as is typical with fantasy worlds. And since I’m a gamer, why not roll some dice?

d8+d6+d4+7 = [10,25]

This gives spacings I like for the important events, but it’s still rather dry. So I use this mechanism to get some events. To do this and to get some variety, I call the d6 the hard history die. Hard as in what historiography was about much of our history: wars, politics, so-called great men. The d8 is the soft history die. Cuture, philosophy, maybe science.

If the d6 is odd, count back from the event step you rolled for, and put a hard event there that let to the main event. If it is even, count forward and invent hard event that followed from the main event.

The d8 works much the same way for soft events, except the other way round. Count back for even and forward odd.

  • d6 odd: prerequisite hard event
  • d6 even: follow-up hard event
  • d8 even: prerequisite soft event
  • d8 odd: followup hard event

Let me demonstrate. In the Rebellion setting, I have hinted about the Realm of Royal Couple. That couple being brother and sister who the rebels with help of their allies turned into magical weapons. After the empire fell, those two and some followers traveled south, overthrew the ruling dynasty there and founded the Realm. The main events may be like:

  • Death of Father Sky, Fall of the Empire
  • Creation of the Ashen Ways, Leaving of the Hearth Lord who was venerated mostly south of the Empire across the mountains.
  • The Couple and followers cross the mountains and become allies with local lords
  • Fall of the ruling dynasty, founding of the Realm
  • Conquering of the Eastern Motherlands
  • The couple rarely appears in public anymore

I roll d4+d6+d8+7

Year 0: Death of Father Sky, Fall of the Empire

Year 17: Creation of the Ashen Ways, Leaving of the Hearth Lord (1, 1(hard pre), 8(soft pre), 7)

Year 30: Arrival of the Couple in the Realm’s northern region (1, 1(hard pre), 4(soft pre), 7)

Year 45: Founding of the Realm (4, 1(hard pre), 3(soft follow), 7)

Year 65: Conquering of the Eastern Motherlands (4, 6(hard follow), 3(soft follow), 7)

Year 93: Couple rarely seen in public (4, 5(hard pre), 2(soft pre), 7)

Now, intersperse some the secondary events.

History of the Realm of the Royal Couple

Year 0: Death of Father Sky. Over the following years, many divine domains fall to the rebels.

Year 9 (soft): Rumors about a seafaring people from across the sea come up for the first time. The Hylimoi will be seen across the coasts of the continent in ever greater numbers over the following decades.

Year 16 (hard): A compromise is reached. The remaining loyalist gods are allowed to leave to “Lands empty of human footprints” with the help of the gods who have sided with the rebels and will thus discorporate.

Year 17: Creation of the Ashen Ways (1, 1(hard pre), 8(soft pre), 7)

Year 26 (soft): Exodus of an increasing number of minor gods and their followers through the Ways. Decay of more divine domains.

Year 29 (hard): Death of the Lord Red, leader of the Rebellion.

Year 30: Arrival of the Couple and followers in today’s Realm’s northern region (1, 1(hard pre), 4(soft pre), 7)

Year 44 (hard): Covenant of the Lines: The local nobility and the newcomers will bring down the dynasty in the south and rule as a constitutional monarchy, lead by the Couple, who are ageless.

Year 45: Founding of the Realm (4, 1(hard pre), 3(soft follow), 7)

Year 48 (soft): Arrival of the Cultists of the Great Serpent from the west. They are welcomed in the Realm under explicit protection of the Royal Couple. The cult’s practices have a lasting influence on the forming culture of the Realm.

Year 65: Conquering of the Eastern Mother’s Lands (4, 6(hard follow), 3(soft follow), 7)

Year 68 (soft): The Lady’s City, another successor state founded by the Rebels, Lord Red’s daughter specifically, collapses. In the following years, refugees from the Lady’s loyalists will find their way into the Realm. Using a legal trick, they are labeled as the “Eastern Serpent Cult” and thus enjoy protection.

Year 71 (hard): The Couple’s first chancellor dies, who held the office for 26 years, since the founding of the Realm. Severe infighting the Council of the Line follows.

Year 88 (hard): The new Chancellor is murdered when inspecting the troops at the border to Spider Tribers’ lands. Two of the Lines are found guilty of high treason and removed from Council. The third chancellor is appointed quickly and starts reforms to curb the Lines’ influence among military and magistrates.

Year 91 (soft): Creation of flash towers manned by triples of mages have made it possible to communicate from one end to the Realm to the other in a single night, and for the first time been made available for private citizens at affordable costs.

Year 93: Couple rarely seen in public (4, 5(hard pre), 2(soft pre), 7).