Of course there were women warriors. A ten-second Google search gives us plenty of precedent. Point that out to a guy like Summoner, however, and the goalposts start moving all over the place.

Well yes, but those historical examples were the exception to the rule. There weren’t many dedicated warrior cultures composed of females. Generals and commanders don’t count because reasons. 

By the time you get to the phrase “upper body strength” and “the tremendous weight of full plate armor,” you know you’ve descended into the utmost depths of forum comments hell. That’s why I’m with Cleric. There’s no use debating history with opinionated laymen. I’ll go a step further though, because I don’t want history in the conversation period. Or at least, I don’t want history thrown around like it’s legal precedent.

This is for the simple reason that secondary worlds like Eberron or Golarion (or Handbook-World for that matter) have their own history. Their unique cultures, philosophies, and levels of techno-magical development determine the nature of the setting. Earth may be relevant as a point of reference (players tend to come from Earth after all), but that doesn’t mean Merrie Olde England is the gold standard for Faerûn. You’re allowed to diverge from the known. That may be the definition of worldbuilding.

Caveats apply. Should your world still “make sense?” Of course. It may not be a deal-breaker for me, but if rapiers existing side-by-side with knights in shining armor gets your pantaloons in a twist, take one of ’em out! Can you choose to set your game in pseudo-historical times? Pendragon is a thing, and I’m glad that it exists. I’m also glad that it’s aware of its own tropes. We’re all creative people, and we each get to decide what “our world” looks like. I’m no sensor, and I’m not going to claim that a sexist setting can never be interesting. But if you value creative control, why the crap would you cede it to the nebulous forces of “historical accuracy?” You can always imagine different, and that’s your greatest power as a fantasist. History informs, but it doesn’t get to dictate. That’s true whether you’re talking about women warriors, anachronistic systems of government, or the prevalence of firearms vs. fireballs.

So what do you think, guys? Have you ever been bludgeoned about the face and head by the phrase “historical accuracy?” Conversely, is there some particular point of “thing A wouldn’t exist in setting B because logic” that sticks in your craw? Let’s hear all about your world’s relationship with historical precedent down in the comments!


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