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24

There's two ways that I can think of. If you want a really simple solution? Declare that "Common" is a common second language. It's by no means universal - and as you move further away from major borders and trade routes it can completely disappear - but it's common enough that almost anyone could know it without straining plausibility. In mechanical terms, ...


19

Telephones began arriving at the start of the century. At first, they were strikingly modern, available to the rich and well-connected. For example, in Connecticut in 1901, a hotel advertised "a telephone in every room" as a luxury. (That "telephone in every room" is a nice marker. A hotel in London was advertising something similar around 1920.) For cars, ...


17

1930 Air Transport: Not much civil aviation. but rapidly growing; the 1932 DC3 will revolutionize air travel. Military aviation branching into three fields: Bombers, Transports, and Fighters; scout planes also used. Airships (Zeppelins, mostly) provide commercial long distance air travel. ...


17

Latin (and to some extent Greek) used to be the lingua franca during the middle ages. Later on, French became the language of diplomacy and nobility. Everyone that mattered [1] speaks a local variation of said language which should still be understandable by another speaker. For example, Quebecois and French or American and English. So, you could have ...


14

I think it may be more a question of location rather than time. Up until the 1940s, neither cars nor telephones were common in rural southern areas of the United States (particularly Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, and the Southwest). My mother grew up in 1940's Louisiana and phones were not common in the area she lived, not even party ...


14

I'm writing this from an American perspective, but I'm sure the experience of the 1960s varied wildly depending on where and how you lived. As my father used to say, "If you remember the 60s, you weren't there." His point was that there was so much going on, so much exploration, so much tumult, that even keeping track of it all was difficult as it was ...


13

I live in São Paulo and think it is a great city, and Brazil overall has been improving a lot these past few years. But as another poster wrote the negative aspects and exaggerations can be put to good use to provide a cyberpunk flavor. So here's a few select facts for São Paulo, followed by how you could use them in the setting: the city is very vertical, ...


12

Some 1870-1900 travel guides with bits about Vienna in the period: The illustrated English guide through Vienna and its environs (1873) A handy illustrated guide to Vienna (1906) A Satchel guide for the vacation tourist in Europe (1873) Notes from the Journal of a Tourist: Italy, Spain, central and northern Europe (1890), fist hand account of the Vienna ...


12

For this I like to start in the same place that I approach new cultures in real life. Food! Everything about a culture initially developed around means of supporting the civilization that the culture infests. Usually this is very very very food-centric. Imagine if one of these two cultures you mentioned is focused around grain. They make a lot of bread ...


12

Excellent question! On one hand, the players' reactions are normal. Social context is central to any character, and the social context of medieval Europe just comes easier. You're asking for even deeper improv than a typical RPG session requires; it's skirting close to Whose Line Is It Anyway territory. Which is great! If the players are on-board, this can ...


12

Some background: languages are shared only as far and wide as they can be communicated. Any farther than that, and variations start. Soon you have comprehensible dialects, then incomprehensible dialects and other languages. As you say, technology is what made entire countries speak the same language. Example: BSL is the British Sign Language. There's one ...


11

The first thing is: you don't actually want historical accuracy. For example, you probably don't care how food is preserved or how people relieve themselves. You want historical verisimilitude. I know this sounds like a quibble! But it makes your life so much easier. You don't need to be accurate. You just need to throw about a few interesting details. And ...


11

It's not a general separation from historical events that you need, it's putting historical events in the right place. Two ideas spring to mind: Keep the real horrors of the era out of the game entirely. Make the military events part of the background. I'd make these two points explicit in your writeup, so that the next GM running this setting has some ...


11

The 1960s were a time of spiritual exploration and social awakening. In the world of the Cthulhu mythos, these things could represent the sort of knowledge that leads to understanding things that should never be learned. Inside every commune lurks a dangerous cult (artists and sensitives were particularly susceptible to Cthulhu's dreams); "free love" is a ...


10

The interface is absolutely terrible, but The Historic American Engineering Record has a maritime project. When it has what you want, it's absolutely brilliant - see for example this drawing (one of several) of The Steam Tug HERCULES. You can try searching by type of ship or you can search for "maritime", which seems to turn up a number of ships. When you ...


10

In the 13th century, "..an average day's journey on horseback was about 30 to 40 miles, although it varied widely, depending on circumstance. A messenger on horseback, without riding at night, could cover 40 to 50 miles a day and about half as much on foot. In an emergency, given a good horse and a good road (which was rare), and no load, he could make 15 ...


9

Grey Ranks is based around the 1944 Warsaw Uprising.


9

You can base them on existing cultures that you're familiar with. For example, southern China, western Africa, and northern Argentina have vaguely similar climates (very vaguely!), but radically different cultures. You probably don't want adjacent cultures to be quite that different. Alternatively, pick different choices for: Hair style. (Short hair or ...


9

My go-to solution for this is to dig up scans or reproductions of old catalogs. I like the Sears catalogs quite a bit, as you get a nice cross-section of what people would have been buying at the time. There's several sites online, but here's one with the 1937 Christmas catalog. It's toy-focused, but there's some early electronics and kitchen appliances and ...


9

Such a thing actually existed in that time period. Many different versions of setting your enemies on fire were popular. Check out Greek Fire. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_fire


8

Wikipedia is pretty good for this sort of thing. In their article on the 1930s, there's a subsection specifically devoted to technology which lists of of the advances of that decade. Changing the year in the URL easily gives us the 1920s, 1910s, etc.. Granted some of the tech they list is more mundane than you're interested in (e.g. toasters, zippers) but ...


8

Ah, the Cold War is in full swing: the communists are fighting revolutions killing thousands in South America, Africa and Asia while America gets dirty by helping dictators. Nuclear holocaust looms on the horizon in Cuba and Germany. Freedom is squashed in Eastern Europe by tanks while hippies trip on LSD. The space race leads to two men walking on the ...


8

The big question here isn't so much how to transport Cthulhu into the 60s but what aspects of the Cthulhu mythos you want to capture and bring ahead. I think people have already explained the turmoil of the time that would seem to make it apt for this period, so instead I'm going to focus on Lovecraft's themes and how you could transport them ahead 30-40 ...


8

(Disclaimer: I'm a Brazilian) Most fictitious representations of Brazil exaggerate on some of the negative aspects, specially relating to the violence and corruption (which are quite high, but not as much as seen in some movies). This exaggeration can be used to your benefit if you consider that in most cyberpunk settings, the worst aspects of a society ...


8

You might want to take a look at the various, already extant adaptations of the Norse theme. Examples include Midgard, Midgard, and, to mention a non-D20 product as well, Yggdrasill. You might also want to check out the various online threads dealing with the topic along with some great free resource sites (like this, or this, for example, but google is ...


7

Telephones were common by 1905 in the United States (3 million or more handsets). Long distance calls began around 1915. The Ford Model T was produced beginning in 1908 until 1927, and it was the quality of roads that hindered widespread adoption of "car culture" in America. The first successful cross-country automobile trip took 62 days, in 1919. I think ...


7

There are two questions: the explicit one: Until when where telephones and automobiles not generally wide spread? This “when” is already discussed in other answers, but you should note that the “when” must also be connected with “where”. While the 1920s can be a good answer for New York City, this does not hold for e.g. the Amazon jungle, the heart of ...


7

Do your research. If you're writing for your own group, you only need as much accuracy as they need to believe the historical setting. However, if you're going to publish, you need a modicum of historical accuracy. Verisimilitude is key. And there are two edges. One is that you only need enough right to get past the average purchaser's willing suspension ...


7

The 1930s section of the (rather old looking :)) The People History site (found via google) appears to have somewhat brief yet interesting, relevant info on the era. Note (and check) the links to the individual years in the middle of the right column too. There are quite a number of other (imo poorly designed, yet quite) informative-looking, minor sites ...


7

Other people have already discussed keeping Common around as a 2nd language, so I'll describe another approach. Consider modern Europe: The average person speaks their native language fluently, and anywhere from 1-3 more languages with anywhere from crude skill to fluency depending on how often they use it. The more tightly-packed the language regions are, ...



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