[Runequest] Medieval Tech Levels

Mark Ahnen ahnen at hotmail.com
Sun Feb 14 10:47:47 EST 2010

Asher, et al,


Something that is dreadfully missing is cause and effect.


Weapons develop in response to technology available and defenses employed.

Defenses develop in response to technology available and offenses employed.


What I find so bothersome, wearisome, annoying, what have you, is that in fantasy roleplaying...technology apparently hits a level and stagnates for millenia (some ancient, bastard sword floating around...or are ancient, enchanted/cursed weapons all clubs?)


Basically, you are focussing on stagnation.  That's cool...is it really worth spending so much time to justify it?


Just something to think about....


My best,


Date: Sat, 13 Feb 2010 09:29:41 -0800
From: soltakss at yahoo.com
To: runequest at rpgreview.net
Subject: Re: [Runequest] Medieval Tech Levels


> I've been contemplating the weapons list and the year 1300 AD.  It
> seems to make an a difference if I set a Europe-centered campaign prior
> to the Late Middle Ages -- or to a technologically equivalent fantasy
> realm.  From the 1300's onwards, we get platemail -- and a variety of
> weapons that developed in parallel with it.  (In response to
> platemail?)
Personally, I wouldn't be too fussed about what was and was not available in any particular period.

> I recently read that the bastard sword (or something very like it)
> first appeared around 1250, and that the first records of English long
> bows in battle are from around the 1280's or 1290's.  I am
> contemplating that era as a cut-off date; to keep those two weapons,
> yet exclude the Late Middle Ages.
English longbows were not used in massed form until that time, but longbows may well have been used by individuals earlier. How could you have a Robin Hood campaign without longbows? I'd introduce them in the 1180s and have them become more and more available after that.
As for bastard swords, I don't see a problem with them throughout the High Medieval period. The Normans of the Norman Conquest probably wouldn't have used them, but medieval knights certainly could have and I'd have them in my game from 1150 onwards.

> Any thoughts or reactions?  Am I missing something significant?  (Given
> my weak grasp of medieval history, I'm probably missing a great deal.) 
I'd say don't worry about it. As long as things aren't completely anachronistic then go for whatever you feel comfortable with. Crossbows in the medieval period are fine, so why not longbows? Bastard swords and broadswords are fine, but kukri probably aren't around in Europe.
See Ya
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