World History as told in the links below seeks to combine elements of dungeons & dragons races, magic, character classes and gods with real world historical events. On the face of it, much of the history included is deliberately wrong ... it would be a mistake to assume that any part of what's written on this blog about the apparently real history of humans in different parts of the world is true, without doing one's own research.
This requires certain presuppositions in the telling of these histories, given the potential influence of the potential power surrounding these fantasy elements. Therefore some suspension of disbelief is asked for. The written concept needs to adhere to the various perameters discussed here.
The goal is to create a historical framework that's familiar to players, who can therefore operate within a predictable historical context. This is done by presupposing, first, that despite the alternate history being created, the general movement of world culture and technology remains the same ... both for the alternative history thousands of years ago and for the time of the game world in the 17th century. For this, the "butterfly effect" — that even a tiny change can lead to vastly different outcomes — is absolutely ignored. One means of explaining this is that there are actual Gods as well, who that these can influence the world's predestination.
All that's needed is to seek plausibility in placing other races, in restricting the availability and power of magic to limit its overall influence, and to presuppose that the greater resourcefulness or physical prowess of other beings — including monsters — balances the eventual results. This can be fairly thought of as a narrative bias.
Identity & Culture
The history created works to maintain the feel and attitude of the 17th century, in which autocracies and social systems were institutionally cruel, casually employing torture, public punishments including hanging, drawing and quartering, the inhumane use of prisons and workhouses, slavery and widespread exploitation of the poor and helpless. War and conflict were pervasive elements, involving brutal tactics and atrocities. Disease, famine and massacres were fairly common. Religious minorities faced discrimination from brutal suppression of their beliefs.
The reason for retaining these aspects of the setting are to instill the notion that it was a very different world from the one in which we now live. This makes the stakes for survival higher. This also delimits the behaviour of players, who are therefore free to act as the natives do, without moral condemnation for their actions not in keeping with ACTUAL human behaviour in the time period. There are, however, several belief systems that the game world suspends, that were not in place in the 17th century.
- Equality of the sexes: all entities in the game world are more or less blind to any distinction of ability between male and female. While reproduction takes place as usual, the choices made by either sex to participate or become a character class, a leader, or a monarch, are never reflexively considered by denizens of the setting. Woman, man, it makes no difference in terms of ability where the rulership of the realm is concerned, nor in which way one person chooses to live their life from another.
- Witches are not burned: because magic is a reality, and because clerics are among those casting magic, society has not adopted a practice of using "witch" as an excuse for the ignorant destruction of a person. While spellcasters are feared, they're also much respected; and the presence of one is generally seen as a benefit to the community, and NOT someone to execute for political reasons. Moreover, because the setting possesses a sense of equality regardless of sex, the practice of having a woman who's inherited property executed at the stake as a witch, so her property falls to the church, is not done.
Real history includes much dispute about who really did what, who what peoples came from where, or what the motivation behind an occurrence really was, etcetera. Because the history of the setting is being made up, however, absolute knowledge is possible. It's possible for the DM to state, for example, that a given people WERE responsible for the eradication of another, or the establishment of a culture, and when. It's recognised that within historiography, research and conjecture are the order of the day, but this is not "real history." Therefore, moments in time, even thousands of years before, as stated in the links below, happen as they're described, because the dungeon master says so. And he would know; he was there.