So, I want historical but not historical… what should I do?

I want a story about gladiators, but I don’t want actual Ancient Rome, so I guess my options are alternative History/low-fantasy and sort of other planet post-space travel artificially archaic society? I don’t want any modern things or throwbacks to modern mindsets… any other options?

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So does that mean that the future apocalyptic bombed-back-to-the-stone-age thing is out?

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I’m planning to write a weird world war one story that images what would happen if you introduced black magic into the already horrific war. You could do a historical fantasy or an alternate history if you want.

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More like in Firefly when a colonized planet is kept to a specific society model… or something else not too complicated.

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This direction?

or

This direction?

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No, I don’t want access to modernity, I think. Maybe I will do a spin off on that lost Roman Legion that settled in China, but through some sort of dimensional gate.

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You don’t have to set a story in Ancient Rome to write about gladiators. You can use the concept of the gladiators for your story set in any time frame. This is what Suzanne Collins did for the Hunger Games. The book takes place into the far future and she took the idea of the gladiators from Ancient Rome and made it different for her world, so it could fit in.

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Something Game of Thrones style, then? Or, even though I haven’t watched it yet, the Jason Momoa series See comes to mind. I think it’s got the post-apocalyptic artificially archaic vibe you were mentioning.

I guess what I’d figure out is what these gladiators are supposed to be/do. Like… Why are they gladiators and not hunter-gatherers? What in their society/culture has dictated that they take up gladiatorship, and not something else? Do they choose to be gladiators, or are they made to be? Is it a class thing? Is it something desirable? What are the drawbacks, and what is their purpose? Entertainment or actual combat? Etc… I think once that’s figured out, the world should show up on its own :woman_shrugging:

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Yes, that’s why I am more keen on either Kay’s alt history or complete and even more dogmatic rebuild of the empire vs new setting, inspired by… and I want very simple set-up that wouldn’t require a pages of background work. I will think about it.

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I really don’t want anything modern, so I think I want sticking to the basics as accurately as possible, empire, city, emperor, etc without renaming things or creating a lot of lore. So maybe like Hollywood costume drama of 1950s

Alternative history could be a good path to follow. The whole ‘what if’ thing could place your gladiators in any setting, any time, just as long as the lore makes sense as to how that transition happened. So you could throw gladiators forward or put them in a different country because the Romans invaded or the Empire didn’t fall. That kind of thing.

I have no idea if that makes sense xD

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I was just thinking invented Emperor honestly… or even keeping names for, say, Emperor, but have story that doesn’t comply exactly to the period, etc. Just yeah, Hollywood version not even aiming for historic accuracy, more like rule of cool

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Gladiators are just fighters in a death match ring. I guess you could take from any culture history. Aztec Flower Wars might be of interest.

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No, their sports is probably closer to a gladiatorial fight, but the killing only comes after the game.

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That’s true.

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Low fantasy or alternate history is pretty good.

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May I interest you in some Magi: The Kingdom of Magic? One of the main characters does Gladiator fighting.

Don’t mind me, just shilling me fave anime series.

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Thank you for the rec!

I kinda have a story in mind, I just want to try to figure out how to keep the setting lean and have as little lore as possible, but is easy to understand and not get in the way. Anime relies on visuals but in writing it is harder to pull it off.

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for sure, i always find it really obvious when someone watches a lot of anime and is now writing in that ‘style’, and i’ve never seen it done well.

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