fmitchell
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Historical and Cultural Context of the Mythic North

Wed 22 Jan 2020, 00:19

While Swedes and other Scandinavians have at least a vague idea of how their 19th century went, we Americans are less informed on historical Sweden. (And sometimes, infamously, our own history.)

For example, a reference to "prohibition" in the rules had me scouring Wikipedia to learn that Sweden did and does restrict sales of hard liquor but not beer.[1] Likewise, I had to check that Sweden had a state church, essentially Lutheran, to which everyone at least theoretically belongs.[2]

Swedes and/or historians: are there other historical and cultural differences that we non-Scandinavians might need to know in order to play in (or run) the Mythic North? For example, were Spiritualism and seances as big in Sweden as it was in North America and Britain, or did wealthy and educated Swedes mostly reject supernatural beliefs beyond conventional piety?

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[1]: Compare to America's Prohibition Era from 1920 - 1933, which banned all alcohol except for "religious" and "medicinal" purposes, was widely flouted, fueled the growth of American organized crime, and is widely regarded as an unmitigated public policy disaster. (EDIT: OK, according to Wikipedia it did reduce alcohol consumption and related diseases, so maybe not a total failure.)

[2]: The U.S. famously has "freedom of religion", wherein various religious factions, mostly Christian, feud with each other but can't actually outlaw their opponents.
Frank Mitchell

HILDA: This isn't much of a pep talk. Can't you say, 'you can do it!'
ALFUR: Sure! You can do it! (Statement for encouragement purposes only. You may not actually be able to do it.)
-- Hilda ep. 9 (Netflix, 2018)
 
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Vader
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Re: Historical and Cultural Context of the Mythic North

Thu 23 Jan 2020, 20:36

Extremely interesting question, and one I hope the background material in the game will address, at least to some degree (it certainly ought to).

The 19th century is not really my era, but I'll try to start this off for you, at least to some small degree:

As far as I know, spiritualism never was a big thing in these parts. And there was the Lutheran Protestant state church -- but it did not quite have monopoly on the souls of the populace. There was a fairly vivacious Christian Revival movememt in Sweden (väckelserörelsen) during the century, in which probably dozens of Christian cults cropped up; some indigenous (like e.g. the Baptist Union / Baptistkyrkan); some imported from the US (like e.g. the Seventh-day Adventist Church / Sjundedagsadventisterna).

Swedes of the time, especially in the rural population, would not have rejected the supernatural; far from it. But instead of focusing on Ouji boards and seances, this belief would have focused on precisely the kind of thing that is the very core topic of Vaesen: the shy or invisible creatures -- some benevolent, some malevolent, most indifferent; all dangerous -- that humans share the world with, and how to relate to them and keep them happy.
- They're a bit like Facehuggers, aren't they?
- Face ... huggers?
- Yeah, you know. Alien.
- ...?
- The horror movie, Alien.
- There's a horror movie called Alien?? That's really offensive! No wonder everyone keeps invading you.
 
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Ebrim
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Re: Historical and Cultural Context of the Mythic North

Sun 26 Jan 2020, 17:17

It also seems useful to point out that this isn’t the real Scandinavia in the 19th century. You’re free to do with it as you like. Have whatever drink laws you want. :)
Catch me on Three Skulls Tavern: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-xiy ... Tl8q0x32ng a Forbidden Lands AP which focuses on learning the game, playing Raven’s Purge
 
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Daïna
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Re: Historical and Cultural Context of the Mythic North

Mon 27 Jan 2020, 07:11

Of course. But it can help us non-Swedish people to build a mental image of real Scandinavia so we can have a good basis to imagine our own version. 
I was wondering about the Church, and I thank you both for your illuminating informations.  :D
 
fmitchell
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Re: Historical and Cultural Context of the Mythic North

Wed 29 Jan 2020, 14:12

To paraphrase RuneQuest, Your (or my) Mythic North May Differ. One of the attractions of a quasi-historical setting, though, is that cultural and social norms differ, which makes for interesting role playing and potential plot hooks.

There are probably enough similarities between the Mythic North and Anglo-American pop culture depictions of the Victorian Age that I could probably fake my way through it. But I'd rather not have to. One of the advantages of the Mythic North, as opposed to some heavily abstracted and whitewashed U.S. or Britain, is that it has a history embodied in part by the Vaesen themselves. True, Britain has its fairy-folk, some of which came from invading Danes, but American folklore consists mostly of witches, ghosts, a deal-making Devil in various guises, scattered Native American beliefs heavily reinterpreted as one of the above, literary fiends like vampires, and some colorful but ultimately interchangeable local monsters.

At the very least (as someone up-thread said) I'd like to disregard history intentionally. So far my Internet searches have turned up little -- lots of broad Swedish politics, little day-to-day detail -- so I guess, appropriately enough, I'm off to the library.
Last edited by fmitchell on Thu 30 Jan 2020, 05:40, edited 1 time in total.
Frank Mitchell

HILDA: This isn't much of a pep talk. Can't you say, 'you can do it!'
ALFUR: Sure! You can do it! (Statement for encouragement purposes only. You may not actually be able to do it.)
-- Hilda ep. 9 (Netflix, 2018)
 
Byrax
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Re: Historical and Cultural Context of the Mythic North

Wed 29 Jan 2020, 20:05

I am still hoping for some new Egerkrants images showing ordinary life in both rural and urban settings in the Mythic North.
 
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Ebrim
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Re: Historical and Cultural Context of the Mythic North

Wed 29 Jan 2020, 23:51

I am still hoping for some new Egerkrants images showing ordinary life in both rural and urban settings in the Mythic North.
That would be very welcome indeed.
Catch me on Three Skulls Tavern: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-xiy ... Tl8q0x32ng a Forbidden Lands AP which focuses on learning the game, playing Raven’s Purge
 
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Daïna
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Re: Historical and Cultural Context of the Mythic North

Thu 30 Jan 2020, 08:58

What I had a hard time picturing was how the streets and buildings looked like. I had to go through numerous 19th century and early 20th centuries photographies to have a clue. And then, those lack colors, so I’m not there yet. 
 
Byrax
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Re: Historical and Cultural Context of the Mythic North

Fri 31 Jan 2020, 05:52

Some pictures of the streets and houses in Upsala and life at the countryside, say a farm with its inhabitants, would be most useful. Also, a few images of ordinary items, tools, weapons and transports from the era - eases understanding of tech level for instance. Sketches would suffice. There are surprisingly little written about the era, even in Swedish.
 
stewpidbear
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Re: Historical and Cultural Context of the Mythic North

Sun 16 Feb 2020, 10:27

Replying here just to bump this topic because I think it’s a very good idea. A guide to general life and look would be an excellent idea for budding GM’s.

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