[Runequest] Medieval Tech Levels

Sven Lugar vikingjarl at gmail.com
Sun Feb 14 13:36:38 EST 2010

Oddly enough, if you look at the Lord of the Rings movies through the 
lens of an anthropologist, you come to a remarkable conclusion:
1) Workable Buttons, as opposed to toggles, are a fairly late invention. 
Hobbits have buttons, everybody else uses low tech laces.
2) Tailored & fitted clothes are an 18th century invention. Since Cloth 
is the most labor intensive product - loose or voluminous sleeves, 
clothing, etc are a sign of the wealthy in lower tech cultures. After 
the industrial revolution, tailored clothing, & lots of different sets 
of clothing became a sign of the wealthy. Hobbits have Post-Industrial 
Revolution styled tailored clothing, everyone else wears baggier 
medieval styles.
Conclusion: Hobbits are the highest tech culture in the LOTR!!!

On 2/13/2010 4:36 PM, Mark Ahnen wrote:
> Granted, Rubin....how long did it take to go from fueling fireworks in 
> China to blasting the gates of Constantinople?  Not 2 millenia.  And 
> hydralics were used by the ancient Greeks in their temples.
> A quick study of 'secret ops' and truly secret ops shows people are 
> inventive and keep secrets poorly.  Indeed, many civilizations 
> 'invent' things separately....but not in fantasy worlds.
> Fantasy worlds are remarkably stagnant.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Date: Sat, 13 Feb 2010 18:11:58 -0600
> From: jurrubin at gmail.com
> To: runequest at rpgreview.net
> Subject: Re: [Runequest] Medieval Tech Levels
> Heck, I've had dwarves in my campaigns protect their underground 
> cities using primitive gunpowder and water-powered traps. They just 
> don't share that technology in the same manner the medieval guilds 
> wouldn't share their secrets.
> On Sat, Feb 13, 2010 at 5:47 PM, Mark Ahnen <ahnen at hotmail.com 
> <mailto:ahnen at hotmail.com>> wrote:
>     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,
>     Mark
>     ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>     Date: Sat, 13 Feb 2010 09:29:41 -0800
>     From: soltakss at yahoo.com <mailto:soltakss at yahoo.com>
>     To: runequest at rpgreview.net <mailto:runequest at rpgreview.net>
>     Subject: Re: [Runequest] Medieval Tech Levels
>     Asher
>     > 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
>     Simon
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