what classifies as "history"

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what classifies as "history"

Postby Seven Sons of Sin » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:13 am

This is not meant to sound prudish, but in the field of history there is a fine, often ambiguous, line between "history" and "political science." They often overlap. What is a poignant distinction, is that political science is far more contemporary than history. Political scientists can write about what happens in the 2010s- a historian? Not so much.

My concern is that a lot of the history we're writing is ongoing history. From an OOC perspective, I 100% endorse the idea of "providing some facts" that answer some really simple questions (like who was in charge of Cordor in the 20s).

History, I think, for the purposes of the Encyclopedia, should otherwise avoid seeking to answer historical questions - i.e., "how did Kohlingen fall?" or "what happened during the Stonehold Wars" - but provide basic historical facts.

Additionally, history is the absolute pure pursuit of knowledge. Biases are prevalent, but when you get detailed information, it is not history formulated by a historian, but pieced together by the most vocal parties (this is not what history should be about). I think we need to trim up on specifics and provide very general, informative details. Think of an elementary school history textbook. You don't learn about the specifics of the East African campaign in WW1, but you learn that Verdun was a pretty important battle.

Also, we shouldn't record anything that I'd say is "current" - if the IG year is 110, for example, we wouldn't anything post-90.

This allows actual characters in the actual game to actually be historians.

Am I alone in these thoughts?
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Re: what classifies as "history"

Postby Marsi » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:27 am

Seven Sons of Sin wrote:Also, we shouldn't record anything that I'd say is "current" - if the IG year is 110, for example, we wouldn't anything post-90.

This allows actual characters in the actual game to actually be historians.

Am I alone in these thoughts?


no, I've urged this in the past, for the exact same reason. I admire the effort here, but I don't think comprehensive history belongs on the forums.
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Re: what classifies as "history"

Postby UGrabMyDrumstick » Wed Feb 18, 2015 2:28 am

Seven Sons of Sin wrote:Am I alone in these thoughts?


You're not. While I appreciate the efforts made by those contributing to the Arelith timeline, I constantly question its value. I'm not sure who it's for and I'm worried about the impact an OOC timeline is going to have.

I believe pretty firmly in keeping history in game (beyond broad strokes used as basic reference points). Those who want to record history have to do a lot of work in doing so, and thus earn the right to write that history with the creative license they might or might not see fit. What we're doing by recording such detailed information in an OOC context is giving more weight to those who have been around a long time, or those with better memories, and less weight to those who actually do the IC work of assembling the information and spinning it however they see fit. Not to mention the very obvious issue of metagaming.

I honestly just don't understand the value of keep track of this stuff OOC in such a detailed manner. I can certainly see the risk, though.
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Re: what classifies as "history"

Postby Dinosaur Space Program » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:28 am

I believe there is some merit to putting down semi-objective history to a certain point. A lot of players were not around back when a lot of things happened but this is all common knowledge from an IC NPC standpoint. The NPCs know a lot of things because a lot of them were alive back then or were involved even as just mute bystanders. Why can't the characters if they are the kind to look and ask? There was some effort to make a database of 'written history' that could have been translated into books when they became a thing but most of it was long lost to all the change overs the forums and other such things have experienced.

Putting down history since books and player made books came to find their ways onto shelves I feel is not as necessary simply because it is still rather young and people should have opportunity to write it themselves. The OOC databases prior to that was the only form of recording the players had, however. While I appreciate the IC attempts to preserve history, I cannot help but recognize the fact that a lot of them are made by Alts.. who go out of their way to glorify their past characters or their friends in far more inherent detail that the rest of our characters could know. Or they could know often.

While the thoughts of letting characters be Dante, writing his own versions of the Hells and his happy parade through them with all his favorite philosophers is a Fun thought, I do not think it does the server and its rich history any credit. The fact remains that history has NPCs as much as it has PCs.

So basic change overs, who was in charge of what for how long, political agendas that changed things, events that happened that impacted things... All of these should be recorded in NPC memory just as much as PC. And it should be the player's decision if he wishes to ask NPCs to know who say.. the councilors of such and such era are, if that character could learn it. It shouldn't be left to the devices of PCs alone.

An OOC timeline (perhaps bereft of too many gooey details) allows the player to be a historian that doesn't rely on scrambled IC sources. Because why Wouldn't the city of Cordor have a long list of names, dates, and people who have ran the government available in their library? Just because that is not IG implemented does not mean that the information wouldn't be IC available.

Arelith has grown to ignore its NPCs. Perhaps it's time we acknowledge that they were there too.
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Re: what classifies as "history"

Postby Urch » Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:51 am

Perhaps you could work with the devs/dms to create IC history on this, or work out a means for them to put said history somewhere on the island for you to discover.

History written IC might be biased in some cases, but that is the same in real life. It is written by the victors, the glorified, the creative, and the politically/spiritually motivated. It might be wrong, it might be right.

Cordor might not have such names of NPCs written, because it might have come from an age which was to be forgotten. I understand the Baronial Age was a dark age of sorts for Cordor (at least from what I have heard of it). Perhaps Ventinari did not wish such information to be publicly known. Perhaps it was a time that he despised, and tried to erase. Any action could have a meaning behind it. Find out IC.

Besides, If you need OOC information on the island use the encyclopedia.

PM the folks in charge, I am sure they would be willing to work with you on this.
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Re: what classifies as "history"

Postby The Pretty Prince of Parties » Wed Feb 18, 2015 6:32 am

I'd prefer to see fewer lists of dates, myself, and more little vignettes and stories. The sorts of things that someone telling the story might jot down. Then again, I'm biased - the entire reason I'm in college studying Classical Greek & Roman history is because I love all the colorful little stories.

An example:

Instead of "~71-72 AR: Mistican Wars. Misticans make early gains, but suffer loss of leadership after bombing Aristotlus Street. Cordorians ultimately victorious despite heavy losses."

You could have: "You know, I hear Vince the Mistican - the fellow that led those armies - weren't all that awful a fellow despite bein' a human supremist. When old Councilor Steinsson handed himself over to ransom a guard patrol that'd gotten kidnapped, well, Vince treated him right kindly - even personally cooked the man a steak dinner! 'course, none of that gave him any pause when it came time for him to hellball Aristotlus street. Sent up humans in flames, right alongside the elves and dwarves and hin. Vetinari were right mad about that one! Vince didn't survive the day!"

Or, well, both. Maybe I'm just weird.
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Re: what classifies as "history"

Postby The Man of the Moon » Wed Feb 18, 2015 7:34 am

I agree most of said above.

At least my intention is about keep short entries for each thing, and not detailled articles/posts in each entry.

But as that requires some work, I though may be fine enough to keep gathering first the data, and after that, polish and reduce the entries to a single or a couple lines.

That should keep the Chronology valuable enough to keep track on the history, but not breaking the pleasure of historicians to research the Lore.

or, certainly, we may leave "public" only the most generally known events and "hide" all the stuff that should require further IG research to win. [Devs should speak here about what they prefer]

Defo, from the start, my idea was not at all show everything in edtaill, but brief short lines to let DMs o players looking to create some background in their histories to use those generic entries, and last but not the less, the player delight of be allowed to rtack the line of the Arelith History, that in short or not, deserves to be kept that way as to help understand how deep and keen can be a history sewed by centuries of characters strugling in a remote island.

The Pretty Prince of Parties wrote:I'd prefer to see fewer lists of dates, myself, and more little vignettes and stories. The sorts of things that someone telling the story might jot down. Then again, I'm biased - the entire reason I'm in college studying Classical Greek & Roman history is because I love all the colorful little stories.

An example:

Instead of "~71-72 AR: Mistican Wars. Misticans make early gains, but suffer loss of leadership after bombing Aristotlus Street. Cordorians ultimately victorious despite heavy losses."

You could have: "You know, I hear Vince the Mistican - the fellow that led those armies - weren't all that awful a fellow despite bein' a human supremist. When old Councilor Steinsson handed himself over to ransom a guard patrol that'd gotten kidnapped, well, Vince treated him right kindly - even personally cooked the man a steak dinner! 'course, none of that gave him any pause when it came time for him to hellball Aristotlus street. Sent up humans in flames, right alongside the elves and dwarves and hin. Vetinari were right mad about that one! Vince didn't survive the day!"

Or, well, both. Maybe I'm just weird.


Answering to that, I may prefer that kind of info provided by npcs with you may talk, while keeping a timeline clean, short and dry on detaills.
Disclaimer: All what I write are simple opinions of a player and always with honest intention to contribute constructively and from respect, but with a poor knowledge of English.

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Re: what classifies as "history"

Postby Marsi » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:13 am

My ideal forum timeline, if there is cause for one at all, would provide names and dates but strictly no detail, and delve nothing into settlement/player specific events.

67 AR ~ Forsworn founded
72AR ~ Wharftown war
94AR ~ Benwick falls
(not accurate dates!)

This would serve as a skeleton for player historians, preserving the dry but necessary specifics that often get forgotten in time.

as an aside- I think Benwick's fall is a great stopping point for "history", the start of the "third age".
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Re: what classifies as "history"

Postby The Man of the Moon » Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:54 am

Marsi wrote:My ideal forum timeline, if there is cause for one at all, would provide names and dates but strictly no detail, and delve nothing into settlement/player specific events.

67 AR ~ Forsworn founded
72AR ~ Wharftown war
94AR ~ Benwick falls
(not accurate dates!)

This would serve as a skeleton for player historians, preserving the dry but necessary specifics that often get forgotten in time.

as an aside- I think Benwick's fall is a great stopping point for "history", the start of the "third age".


I was thinking about provide a bit more, like at least say...

2015 ZR. Ser Dafyyd Silvertongue founds the Knights of the Road Order.

76756383893 YR. Wharftown acquires aerospacial facilities under the superview of Dr. Drizt Einstein.

94 AR. Surrended by the overhelming devil hordes, Benwick falls.

Marsi wrote:...
as an aside- I think Benwick's fall is a great stopping point for "history", the start of the "third age".


This is a good idea for surfacer historicians, as seems to be the most important event on the surface.
Disclaimer: All what I write are simple opinions of a player and always with honest intention to contribute constructively and from respect, but with a poor knowledge of English.

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Re: what classifies as "history"

Postby The Man of the Moon » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:44 am

As this is a Work Group, I may ask if you find suitable my suggestion of the previous post.

At some point, I shall "clean/purge" all the Timelines, and merge them into a single one Arelith Chronology, made with the collaborations and efforts of a large group of living historical players.

Then, the detaills will keep sunk IG, some of them, probably lost for ever... others maybe available...

I think a longer version of the Timelines should be kept in DMs / Developers hands, in case they wanted to refresh something or to introduce a wise npc with knowledge about certain area.


Ah... Seven... You were not alone :lol: never.


EDIT: There is a reason why I am keeping during the process long entries, and this is that those may refresh the memory and help to find others.

All shall be depurated.
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Re: what classifies as "history"

Postby CragOneEye » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:45 am

I would argue that concrete, versus non-concrete timlines when discussing irl history is based on the culture of where the history was written and timline it was written in. For example we do have specific dates for things that happened in the last 200 years at least in the real world. Further more, some ancient civilzations used calendars such as the Mayans. Hebrews used ancesterial hood meaning they could track things from this relative of this tribe died at the age of "x". Ancient Chinese tracked it through dynasties. Also it's good to point out history was often written by the victor, so fact that history is in arelith is written by people glorifying themselves is not far fetched. Example: for an event that did not happen that long ago. In the North American 1812 is explained very differently from Canada than it is from the US. Canada sees it as one of the few wars that the US actually lost at. As the US invaded Canada and got repelled, and then burnt down the White House after. The US sees it as a war they won, as they don't consider it as Canada being sovereign nation back then, and see it as part of their war with the UK, and as as they were able to win independence from the UK they see it as they won.

Further more Arelith is fantasy world not the real world set in forgotten realms setting, in a world of magic where it defies laws of physics and science. And the events for Forgotten realms proper is catelogued with specific year dates, so it's not that far fetched to see the same on arelith.
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Re: what classifies as "history"

Postby The Man of the Moon » Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:56 am

CragOneEye wrote:I would argue that concrete, versus non-concrete timlines when discussing irl history is based on the culture of where the history was written and timline it was written in. For example we do have specific dates for things that happened in the last 200 years at least in the real world. Further more, some ancient civilzations used calendars such as the Mayans. Hebrews used ancesterial hood meaning they could track things from this relative of this tribe died at the age of "x". Ancient Chinese tracked it through dynasties. Also it's good to point out history was often written by the victor, so fact that history is in arelith is written by people glorifying themselves is not far fetched. Example: for an event that did not happen that long ago. In the North American 1812 is explained very differently from Canada than it is from the US. Canada sees it as one of the few wars that the US actually lost at. As the US invaded Canada and got repelled, and then burnt down the White House after. The US sees it as a war they won, as they don't consider it as Canada being sovereign nation back then, and see it as part of their war with the UK, and as as they were able to win independence from the UK they see it as they won.

Further more Arelith is fantasy world not the real world set in forgotten realms setting, in a world of magic where it defies laws of physics and science. And the events for Forgotten realms proper is catelogued with specific year dates, so it's not that far fetched to see the same on arelith.


In our specific situation,

We may want dry, short and not expanded entries because the following reasons:

1. FOIG factor!
2. Encourage the IG research for those looking to know.
3. Keep a clean and easy to read/research data, that may be useful for DMs and as some players backgrounds/histories support.
4. Avoidance of biased info.

Non concrete timelines may:

1. Cause metagame (direct or indirect)
2. Cause Spoilers.
3. Uncourage historicians ("Why may I want to research what is already there?")
4. break the IG mystery...
5. Reinforce biased data
6. May be hard to follow or read, while ppl could get lost in a sea of text.
Disclaimer: All what I write are simple opinions of a player and always with honest intention to contribute constructively and from respect, but with a poor knowledge of English.

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Re: what classifies as "history"

Postby The Man of the Moon » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:26 pm

By the way... As there may be never a total update/ersearch/ time...

This one may be the best time to start shortening all and merging all the timelines into a single one Chronology.

* One, two lines at maximun.
* No hypothesys, no unveiled secrets...
* Direct, dry and short entries.
* Maximun summarized data, without detaills.

Will progressively polish, clean, redo when posible...
Disclaimer: All what I write are simple opinions of a player and always with honest intention to contribute constructively and from respect, but with a poor knowledge of English.

Thank you
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