In the recent interview on Wandering DM, a comment was made about how the Blackmoor players never 100% bought into the idea of fantasy. This reminded me of a question I've long had about the Blackmoor group. Why was their never an RPG campaign set in the Napoleonic (or Victorian) era?
From what I've read, Arneson was more of a Napoleonic fan than a fantasy fan. Plus, by that time you had the Hornblower and Flashman book and, in 1975, Alexander Kent's Bolitho books, giving a possible framework for such a campaign. [It's too bad that the Sharpe novels didn't come out a few years earlier]. So, a Napoleonic campaign seems to be a natural next step for an RPG yet it doesn't appear that it was even considered.
Post by captainjapan on Nov 24, 2019 15:02:03 GMT -6
This is pure speculation on my part:
I think Dave Arneson had become tired of refereeing. My impression is that some of the more simulationist players in his groups would contradict him during historical play on the basis of "realism". Arneson wanted to play, but since there weren't many willing referees, he was forced to do it if he wanted to game at all(sound familiar?) Also, it was his house. I think he began insinuating himself into his own games out of boredom. That's when the wacky stuff would start happening. Choosing fantasy opponents rather than historically realistic ones allowed Arneson the freedom of operating 'below board' during the games. Stats were unknown to all but himself since fantasy creatures' movement, tactics, and combat effectiveness could not be looked up in a reference book. Arneson hates rules lawyers, and the fantasy genre was his defense against them.
By the time Adventures in Fantasy was published, many years on, the die had been cast. Sci-fi/fantasy was the most commercially viable rpg to produce. Since then, all tabletop rpg's that I'm aware of have been more or less "unrealistic". That being a feature of the medium. Napoleonics would be a very tough sell. I bet he would have liked to play a Napoleonics rpg, if given the chance. Just, not run one.