Tabletop role-playing games that recreate real history, high society and war


A look at tabletop RPG systems with settings and characters based on actual moments in history, like WWII, Civil War, and Regency-Era England.

RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons are designed to allow players to “escape” to a magical fantasy world, the distant future, or “Steampunk” style alternate story settings, but the true eras of history can sometimes overtake the novelty and the strangeness of fantasy worlds, as the following historical tabletop role-playing game prove. Spanning eras of history ranging from the Regency of England to the Civil War, these RPGs present players with difficult times and pressing trials to be challenged and challenged – just like their ancestors did.

Tabletop RPGs are very evasive in nature, using special rules, character creation mechanics, and parameter descriptions to immerse players in worlds and characters that are not their own. But there is a strange paradox about escape; although many people use tales of fantasy worlds and sci-fi futures to ‘escape’ unpleasant parts of their lives, the imaginary settings they immerse themselves in are often much more unpleasant – worlds laden with war, ‘inequalities, antagonistic individuals and other “evils” against which the main characters must fight.

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Escape storytelling and RPGs, therefore, are not about ignoring hardships, but living out stories where people have the skills, positions, and opportunities to challenge the outrageous fortunes of their lives. These various RPGs – games about labor strikes, games about war, games about the country’s aristocrats navigating stifling social mores – rarely avoid the dark and cruel moments of history, but encourage the players, through their characters. , to fight against unfair circumstances and to make a change in the world, for better or for worse.

The price of coal

Historical Tabletop RPGs The Price of Coal 2

The Price Of Coal: A History Game About Labor Rights, designed by Jennifer Adcock and recently funded on Kickstarter, highlights the 1921 uprising of West Virginia coal workers against unfair labor practices, culminating in the Battle of Blair Mountain, where the U.S. military and National Guard slaughtered up to 100 workers with guns, gas and air bombs left over from World War I. In this card-based GM-less RPG, each player creates a network of relationships between their unionized Coal Mining PCs and the family members they support, then draws and responds to prompt cards to describe what their characters do in the weeks and days leading up to the Battle of Blair Mountain.

Carolina Death Crawl

Carolina Death Crawl Historical Tabletop RPGs

Posted by Bully Pulpit Games, Carolina Death Crawl is another card-based RPG, this one about a group of soldiers trapped behind Confederate lines during the Civil War, desperately trying to get back into Union territory alive. Character creation in this game involves choosing two different character cards and combining them – one with a first name, rank, and characteristic, the other with a last name, regiment, personal quirk, and question mark. ‘story. During the game, as a group of four players draw cards with descriptions of raids, escapes, and actions, the characters are chosen one by one, leaving only one traumatized survivor to return home and face the consequences of their actions.

Witches of the night

Night Witches RPG PBTA

Witches of the night, also published by Bully Pulpit Games, uses the “Powered By The Apocalypse” system to allow players to tell stories about fictional aviators from the 88th Night Bomber Regiment, an all-female group of Soviet female aviators who flew missions against the Nazi forces during World War II. Gameplay in Witches of the night alternates between tense nightly bombing raids on German ground forces and daytime scenes where pilots search for supplies, explore interesting relationships, and try to avoid angering the NKVD secret police.

Related: Must-Have Tabletop RPGs That Are ‘Forged In The Dark’

Good company

Good Society Historical Tabletop RPGs

Posted by Storybrewers Roleplaying on Good company RPG puts players in the shoes of the gentlemen of the aristocratic England of the 19th century during the time of the Regency – the setting of famous romantic novels by authors such as Jane Austen or the Brontë sisters. In truth Pride and Prejudice Where Jane eyre fashion, actors of Good company take on the roles of heirs to be married in charge of important estates and socialites seeking to improve their lot in life, then weaving together stories of ambition, honor, family, loyalty, betrayal and love . Extensions to Good company basic rulebook add options for Dungeons & Dragons-magical-style stories, swashbuckling masked heroes, lower-class minion stories, and multigenerational tales.

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Sources: Kickstarter, Bully Pulpit Games, Storybrewers Roleplaying

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