Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Missing Setting: World War I

I've recently made my way through the 1,000+ page collection of the Nausicaa of The Valley of the Wind Manga and have been blown away. It's good, and by the end reminded me of the Lord of the Rings in its scale and depth. If you've read anything here, you'll know that I don't throw that compliment around lightly.

Another property I love is Valkyria Chronicles. It was heavily influenced in its look by Nausicaa, and that's one of the reasons I love it so much. I don't usually buy art books or design books, but I couldn't pass up the technical manual for Valkyria Chronicles.

Why am I talking about these things? It's made me realize that I love the dirty, grimy trench-ridden setting of alternative World War I settings. The technology is still primitive, air force isn't so much of a factor, and cavalry still plays a role. Tanks are primitive but exist, and everything has a post-steampunk, traditional Victorian steampunk of course, feel to it.

We're missing out! I can't think of a single game setting that focuses on World War I level tech. Everything is either too primitive, putting it squarely in that steampunk camp, or too advanced putting it into World War II territory. I don't even need a game that is based on our own era of World War I. I'm just asking for something like the aesthetic.

Hell, just give me a Valkyria Chronicles RPG, and I'll call it a day. It already has classes all ready to go!


  1. Valley of the wind is amazing, it was a formative part of my childhood. I still think about it.

  2. If you like these things, check out the anime Last Exile. Ripe with potential for D&Dification, stylistically the setting tends to reflect the clash of eras represented by WWI.

  3. Naussica of the valley of the winds is a fabulous comic. Every page is wonder and every panel is as well crafted as Shakespearan dialogue.

    The WWI era is under-represented in gaming. I spent a while working on a wwI inspired post holocaust setting and delved into the history of the war but there was a point where the tragedy and horror of the war overwhelmed me and I just couldn't trivialize the suffering and carnage with a game setting for an RPG.

  4. @adeptgamer - what a childhood you must have had! I didn't discover Myazaki until high school when Princess Mononoke came out on DVD, but I watched that over and over, and it's still one of my favorite films. It's tops in my book for Ghibli films to this day.

    @Anathemata - I'm always looking for good anime recommends. I find that largely I have a difficult time getting into most Anime other than Ghibli films, Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, and a lot of the Gundam stuff. I will definitely check that out, thanks!

    @JDJarvis - I knew I couldn't pass up the chance to finally read it when they were releasing the collected hardcover edition, I'm just super psyched I got it when it was $35.00 and readily available on Amazon, that book spiked huge in value very quickly!

    Wow, that sounds like an incredibly heavy setting. WWI is already very dark and grim for me, but to add a Holocaust to the history? Woof, that would be pretty rough. It sounds like an excellent novel in the making though!

  5. Nausicaa is an amazing anime, in large part due to the WWI-punk look and feel. I've always liked the look of that period technologically. You could easily convert a lot of 20's/30's pulp fiction era games to the 1900-1919 period without much work beyond swapping in different graphics.

  6. I think the Great War is overlooked (except as a background element ala CoC or Spirit of the Century) as it is not seen as a 'heroic' era, but rather the antithesis of heroism in is industrial slaughter. But their were heroes (the fighter aces, Sgt York, and more) but they are often lost in the noise of trench warfare.


Noble Knight Games

Wanna support The Hopeless Gamer? Shop at Noble Knight Games via the banner below!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...