Anachronism Stew
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Basic Information

This Trope refers to the way that period pieces and time travel films can often get away with excessive historical inaccuracy and almost never get called on it. Most TV and film audiences don't know the Renaissance from the Dark Ages or the English Restoration, after all, and with a little fudging it's all pretty much the same… I can't believe I typed that.

Related Tropes



Game and Story Use

  • Adventure Seed: Zedekiah Brown
  • The level of detail needed in a Historical game is set by the players - the more they know about the era in question, the more accurate the GM ends up having to be, or else Suspension of Disbelief is lost. Players of a lengthy campaign have plenty of time to dwell on little details that might be over looked in a 2-hour film. This unfortunately tends to create one of two scenarios:
    • The GM ends up doing tons of research in an attempt to render a realistic portrayal of the era in question.
      • And still probably gets some smart alec player pointing out a detail he got wrong.
    • Players may never be happy gaming in the eras of the greatest personal interest to them, unless the GM has a greater interest and familiarity in the era.
  • Clever GMs enlist the aid of the players.
    • You might quiz them prior to the campaign and pick an era they only know a little about, but have some interest in. Then you can bluff your way through it.
    • You might ask them to do some research and share it.
      • Show and Tell: every session, each players homework is to bring one fact they didn't know about the era.
      • Draft the Know-It-All: If you trust your resident history buff, you could ask him to assistant-GM, and reward them for working in details that enhance the setting.
    • You could just talk frankly with them, and ask them not to break scene by pointing out historical accuracies. Tell them that any diversion from history that you intended to be a clue will be called out with a roll of a relevant knowledge skill (such as History, Archaeology, or Investigation). If you're not prompting them for a skill check, then any flaws are just mistakes on your part, and you'd appreciate it if they didn't point them out in the middle of the game.
  • An appealing solution may be to make your game an Alternate History, so that you can hand-wave inaccuracies away as being just another part of what's different here.
  • The other option is to use a glaring anomaly as a sign that something is wrong - much as someone returning to their own time and seeing a sky full of zepplins should realise that he has made a mistake somewhere.
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