One of the most common tropes of the D&D genre is "Perpetual Medievalism" For some reason or other mankind (or halfling kind or whatever) never seems to advance must past the 14th century sans gunpowder.
Its a fun and workable way to run a game and while its not to everyones taste (I myself like Early Enlightenment technology from time to time) it is popular enough.
Here are 1d8 reasons for technology to not be able to advance
#1 Will of the Gods . Gods don't allow it, it won't happen. Great with powerful Clerics
#2 Lack of Resources . Some of the resources vital to industry are rare enough to make any real advancement impracticable. This works well in settings with limited steampunk as well, no coal and not enough peat and wood for a true steam age.
#3 Gremlins sur la Monde. The world is full of Gremlins or other spirits who utterly destroy certain technologies. These critters might be invisible, actually beneficial in some way or unknown to anyway.
#4 Magic doesn't Mix. Magic is everywhere and it doesn't play well with technology. This does mean technology would work in an antimagic zone but thats a net plus as it allows a little mix and match.
#5 No one thought of these things yet. With magic out there people might not even bother and as history has shown many cultures could care less about progress.
#6 Too many apocoli . The constant catastrophes faced by the world seriously impact progress and every so often, everything gets rebooted to a more robust form (i.e. pseudo-medieval)
#7 The laws of physics are different. This one is really simple. Stuff you don't want doesn't work.
#8 Technology eats souls. Technology damages the afterlife and too much of it brings on oblivion. Frankly this is A bit pretentious for me but some might like the notion and it allows evil technomancer plots ala the World of Darkness.
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