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Is it okay to mix eras in real life to make a new setting?


New Member
I couldn’t find a way to explain this shortly in the title but basically, I’m writing a fantasy story that’s doesn’t have a specific time setting, but it has aspects of certain eras. For example, swords and knives are widely used and only soldiers or people in the military use guns (something like flintlocks for example), monarchs rule, and the clothes worn are reminiscent of early 19th century fashion, and the cultures I based my kingdoms on didn’t exist at the same time. These clash with each other (guns were quite widely used in the Victorian era). Is this alright?


Yes, absolutely! You don't have to strictly adhere to actual history with fantasy, which is one of the nice things about it. Steampunk, for instance, is a deliberate mixing of time periods, and it's awesome. There's no reason you can't have a world with fashion from one era and weapons from another. Just as long as your world's development of fashion, weapons, technology, politics etc is internally consistent, it doesn't have to match reality.


People do this all the time. People take from various periods and cultures to make their fantasy ones. Do keep in mind, though, that a lot of things are tied to technology levels in some way. If there's no big factories running on steam or water power, then all the fabric is being woven by hand, so only the richest people are going to have a big closet full of clothes. Or maybe they figured out how to weave using magic, so maybe flunking out of magic school means you gotta go weave cloth instead of doing cooler magic. You don't need to figure EVERYTHING out but if you get a couple then that can make some really interesting bits for your world.

Just keep in mind that if you do something like "this totally isn't Japan, I swear, but it's an isolationist island empire and they use honorifics like -san and -kun and also they have samurai" it looks really dumb and lazy. Same thing with lifting most of a religion and pretending you made it yourself. Like don't do what they did with Dune, and especially don't make a rich white boy the messiah for all the poor brown people who can't save themselves for some reason.


So, you are basing your setting on a fantasy version of the '84 Lynch version of Dune? ;) If you aren't already then check it out (just be prepared to fast forward over certain parts, imo haha :p )

But in all seriousness, you can either go with "rule of cool" and just decide it is that way, or find an in-universe justification for why guns are less commonly used than in real life for the era. Doing the latter might be interesting because it might have broader implications for the setting. For example, we see industrialization as inevitable because we are most aware of the timeline where it happened. But there is an alternate timeline that exists in Earth's history where industrialization didn't happen even though it could have. China was pumping oil by 1300 and had already developed water-powered forges even earlier, but China never industrialized - why? Because labor was cheap so the huge investments in capital that needed to be made before industrialization really started to pay off weren't worth making.

By contrast in Europe, industrialization was driven by England, and the rest of Europe had to industrializae to keep up. But why England? Because it was an island nation so it was hard for labor to migrate to England if demand was high and supply was low. And because the black death had created a labor shortage that allowed workers to demand more pay, but since there wasn't that much more product available the increased pay mostly caused inflation that may have reduced effective earnings, which then pushed workers to demand even more pay, and the cycle continued until by the advent of industrialization IIRC wages in England were something like 8x what they were in China and about 4x what they were in the rest of Europe which had suffered similar processes but less dramatically since those nations weren't islands.

So what would happen in a world that didn't have the equivalent of the black death in a similar period of its history, and where there were no major island nations able to become a driving force for industrialization? Could technology have kept increasing without the industrialization necessary to introduce mass production so every gun has to be hand-crafted by expert artisans?
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New Member
Thank you for all of your answers! I’ve actually made a decent explanation to why guns are scarce and why some silks are much more expensive than others. I didn’t want to bring this up in a new thread since it’s just a small question but I want to know if the reasoning (for the scarce guns) is believable.

So let’s call the first kingdom/continent ‘Delta A’. Delta A made guns in the first place as a better alternative to knives and swords, they also made guns as a counterattack to magic users (for context, Delta A finds magic repulsive and pure evil). But ironically, the gunpowder they use is imported from ‘Delta B’, one of the places where magic users thrive, the gunpowder itself is basically an excess of when magic is done on rare types of metal.

So despite Delta A finding Delta B ‘repulsive’, they have a sort of peace agreement where they don’t like each other but still supply a few resources. Interestingly, Delta B uses this against Delta A at one point to force them into joining a war (because Delta A relies on Delta B more than the other way around).


Sounds like the US and Soviets in the cold war. Soviets had food shortages because they spent 20% of their GDP on the military and the U S sold them food. Meanwhile the titanium the U.S. needed to build SR-71 spy planes to spy on the Soviets was mostly manufactured by the Soviets so they bought the titanium from the Soviets. Also kinda like anticompetitive gentlemen's agreements between nominally otherwise competing corporations to not push into each others' markets so they can have higher profits.