Updated: Jun 25, 2020
Due to the Covid-19 crisis, all historical visits, guided tours and schools have been closed, and it is difficult to imagine a swift return to a normal situation, when we can safely travel to visit Scottish coasts or Egyptian pyramids. And while we may indeed love historical shows on TV, it is hard to fully discover and learn the history of a country or a place through a screen or a book, without being able to « feel » these locations.
At Thunderdice, we are used to creating immersive online experiences where we bring players into fantastic worlds and help them become, for a moment, sorcerers and paladins. And that’s when it clicked – with our partner Tours & Détours d’Edimbourg which organizes historical tours, we have decided to create the first experience of an historical Roleplay Game to allow you to immerse yourself in some key events of History… without leaving your couch !
1. What is an Historical Role-Playing Game ?
Historical Role-Playing Game is a mix of improv theater, an audio book and a guided tour. During a session, an actor named "Game Master" narrates a story based on a key Historical event. They introduce historical context (important dates, etc) through maps, engravings and photos to allow the event to take place in your imagination. But as a participant, or Player, you also become a major part of the event that is taking place in the Game Master’s scenario.
You play a character (doctor, soldier, etc) and your guide-storyteller embodies other characters who interact with you. They also describe the environment in which the scenario takes place. Similar to a « Choose your own adventure book », you make decisive choices during the game, like fighting or hiding from the soldiers who seek to capture you, or going to ask for information from this gruff sailor or this overworked barman !
In the Historical Role-Playing Games proposed by Thunderdice, you will have the ability to embody a character and discover through its eyes a historical event. While meeting new protagonists, you will also learn century old ways of working, feasting and living. And if you happen to be lost, do not worry at all, for your guide-teller is here to make sure that your craving for knowledge is fully satisfied !
2. How does it work ?
You may know some ttrpg Role-Playing systems (Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder…) : there are many and all have their own specific set of rules. However, Thunderdice has developed its own : HistoryAlive ! A group of simplified rules which can be learned in less than 5 minutes. While we indeed love to use different game systems during other Role-Playing Games, HistoryAlive! is made to help you immerse yourself easily in an historical periods. HistoryAlive! is therefore a straightforward system, adapted to every player, whether they may be already familiar with roleplaying games, or total beginners !
It is a dice based system. In order to succeed in doing a certain action, the result of these dice must be superior to a certain value which depends on the difficulty of the obstacles encountered by your character. And the typology of character you have chosen gives you bonuses which influence how easy an action is to accomplish : for example, a doctor can heal someone more easily than a menestrel ! Each has certain expertise and equipment, all based on true historical facts.
As a Player, you evolve in an open-world. After a brief description of the situation by your guide-storyteller, who exposes some historical context, your main objective as a character, and any other characters surrounding you when you start your adventure, you are absolutely free to act and speak. Do you wish to save this citizen who is brutalized by the guards ? Go and fight these bloody Redcoats ! Or perhaps you’d rather bribe them with some gold ? Or create a diversion to allow everyone to finally escape ?
The choice is yours !