Mean Streets and Mean Villains is a role playing game set in the 1970s world of high fashion cops and robbers, such as such as Starsky and Hutch, Miami Vice, Police Woman, Columbo, Kojak, Hawaii 5-0, Cannon, The Rockford Files, The Avengers and New Avengers, The Professionals, or films like Dragnet and the Dirty Harry series. It looks like a lot of fun, and there are even stats for “dress sense” and “coolness.”
Dark Age is an rpg set in 6th century Britain. Not entirely historical, it provides a nice infusion of myth. The author, Jon, writes that
The Dark Ages world is a distorted version of our own historical dark age Britain and Europe. The game is set in 610AD but things are not quite as they were in the real historical world. Major differences include:
More towns & cities survived the departure of Rome, so there are many urban areas. Magic is much closer to the surface. The power balance between celts, picts & Saxons is much more balanced, no single power has a significant ascendancy. There is growing pressure from the continent, the Byzantine empire is not content to maintain itself but is beginning to develop an expansionist bent. The Romano-British do not rule, but their great houses occupy positions of influence within British society. Atlantis & Lemuria/Mu were real places. Atlantis and Mu were both magically powerful cultures who fought a great war. The magical remnants of this clash, tens of thousands of years ago, still reverberate through the known world. Mechanisms are far more advanced than the real-world of 610AD, much roman and greek technology has been maintained and developed, partly with the assistance of lemurian and atlantean lore.
I personally really like games set in a mythic historical time. And I actually think that sometimes, mythic elements actually make a game MORE historical. After all, the people of ancient times believed in magic — and behaved as though it had an influence on their lives. If an army believed that toting out the relic of an ancestor made them more powerful, why not include that in the game?
The Dice Deck Designed Role Playing Game has a couple of interesting mechanics. To resolve an action, you roll 2d10, multiply by 10 and add the result of 1d10. If you roll a 10, you roll again, making the result somewhat open ended. You compare this score to attributes which range from 2 to 200 points.
The other interesting mechanic is the use of “culture cards”, which define the various races, and groups in the game.
Dirty 30s is a sourcebook for role playing games set in the 1930s. It has a timeline and notes on fashion, slang, prices, jazz, Natiz, Commies, the Mafia, wars, Airships, weapons, cars, ships trains, art, architecture and more.
Phobos is an RPG of the “Wonders and Terrors of Technology and Magic.” There doesn’t appear to be any real background, but the system is geared toward a modern setting with magic. It uses an open-ended d20 system (in which you roll again if you score a 20).