Friday, April 22, 2011

1d8 Reasons for perpetual medievalism

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.


  1. #n, elves are smart enough to keep man and the other lesser races down, their technology is so advanced it's indistinguishable from magic.

  2. Doh! Its a missed edit on my part.

  3. I like medieval settings, but it works well with magic and technology. Look Ars Magica. As the tech increasing the magic is disappear.
    If you are playing in a short term setting (n*weeks or n*months) you don't need to worry about the changes and you don't need for "just cause" arguments.

  4. I don't disagree with you Roleplay. Ars Magica is a neat game BTW, good magic system and decent rules.

    Its a little too explicitly Christian for my groups taste and while it does not require it, solid historical grounding improves the game.

    of my "player base" only two of us even like the period. The rest are more focused on later areas such as the late Renaissance or Elizabethan period.

    Ars can be made to work with those but its tyricky and kind of defeats the point I think.