Gaming - Genre



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Condition: Stub
ID: 5799


June 16, 2009, 10:21 am

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The Insular Village


It is easy to forget in our fast paced globally connected world what the reality of village life would have been like.

Our modern world is very fast, well connected and compared to just a few decades ago, much smaller. Thanks to the internet I have friends I have never met, but know across electronic media. These friends have been as close as a few counties away and as far away as other continents and even the other side of the planet. The village, a hallmark of fantasy settings, exists in a strange mixture of neo-renaissance faire and convenience store modes of operation. Reading local literature into the history of the small town I live in opened my eyes to how much the world has changed in the span of a few generations.


The modern world is laced together by ribbons of concrete and asphault. Highways, interstates, toll roads all the way down to county roads and service roads, chances are there is a road that can take you where you want to go. On top of these roads there is a massive infrastructure of convenience stores, truck stops, gas stations, roadside attractions, hotels, motels, auto garages, restaraunts and the like. Automobiles and large semi-trucks/lorrys carry massive amounts of frieght to support networks of chain stores, retail outlets, and malls. Groceries are imported from across continents, finished goods follow the same routes. Beyond the roads there are freigh lanes in the ocean to facilitate the transit of massive cargo and container ships moving everything from automobiles to cloth, toys, food, raw crude oil and other chemicals.

Less than 100 years ago, the main mode of transit of goods were the networks of railroads that connected major cities. If you notice, in most industrial sections of cities, there are railroad tracks. Of course I am speaking only of America and can only guess about other nations and continents. Many people think the rail came later and the industrial parks were there first. In truth the industrial regions grew around the paths where the rails ran. Cities and towns sprouted along the rail lines. Many of these small towns are fading as the railroads loose ground to road frieght and the new towns and cities are growing around the interstates. If you were to look at my hometown from above, it would vaguely resemble a lopsided dumbbell. The larger lobe is centered around Depot Hill, the rail-head for the region. The smaller dumbell is growing around where 'Main street' intersects the Interstate, and is composed of hotels, restaurants and a new industrial park that is independant from the rails.

That's alot of background material. But to appreciate what the basic village doesn't have, you have to appreciate what you do have now. The village didnt have an interstate, it didn't have a railroad. It didn't have motels, fast food chains, grocery stores, or many of the other things we take for granted today. The village is the focal point of a spread out community of agriculture, for every one townsperson, there are going to be ten or twenty or even more people who only travel to town on a monthly basis.

Motel, What Motel?

There is not a motel, hotel, or inn in every village. Only villages and townships that are lucky enough to be on a regularly traveled trade route are going to have permanent rental lodgings.

Have Ale, Will Travel

Now almost every village will have some sort of ale house, tavern, or some other social point for hard working men to spend some coin and blow of some steam. These aren't television bars, but places where the menu is whatever the staff happens to feel like cooking, and the drink menu is going to be very short. In certain areas, this local tavern will likely serve multiple roles, as likely being the local whore house if there is one, as well as a commonfolk meeting hall. Once you travel far enough, the type and flavor of ale or lager sold will completely change it's character, like wine in France.

I'll Have a Combo #3

Restaurants are also a very modern concept that won't exist in the basic village. The tavern will likely have some basic food they serve but there isnt going to be a printed menu nor will there be many choices. The only cuisine is home cooking, and that will vary from region to region. One of the things about food is that without rapid transit, refridgeration, pasteurization or preservatives, food is limited in how far it can be shipped before spoiling. Buying a fruit salad now can contain fruit from multiple countries, while in the era of the village, almost any non-preserved food will be produced less than a week's travel on foot from the village.


Social Services


The Family Unit


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Comments ( 4 )
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November 1, 2010, 19:27

Over 600 hits and no comments yet?  Let's see if I can right that injustice now . . .

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the purpose of this stub is to make us think about what life in a realistic medieval or pre-industrial village would have been like, by comparing and contrasting life in a modern town.  To this end, it starts off well, but dwells overmuch in the modern details.  To run a medieval campaign, I don't need to know that railroads and highways helped modern towns develop; instead, I want to know more about how pre-modern villages grew up around waterways or possibly caravan routes.

A certain amount of contrast is helpful, however.  The fact that motels/inns were relatively uncommon is useful, for example.  But adding relevant gaming details would make it much more so.  Inns were scarce?  Fine, but I want to know how travellers were normally accommodated in a town with no rental lodgings.  Did they have to camp?  Or were they usually put up for the night by someone?

Properly researched and expanded, this post could help lend a touch of realism to any pre-industrial campaign setting.  Remember though, that in fantasy games magic will almost always have some influence on this subject, be it to make travel easier or aid in long-distance communication.  Adding a section for that might therefore be prudent.

November 1, 2010, 23:42
This is an incomplete submission, I got so far into it and got tired of writing on it.
November 2, 2010, 3:02
Meh, I figured as much. I just saw that it has been out for almost a year with no comments. Didn't mean to unearth it if you'd have rather kept it buried . . .
November 2, 2010, 10:53
No biggie, once my in-work gets so full, I push some partially finished stuff out as stubs or attach it to the Temple of the Stillborn codex

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Wet Faeries

       By: Murometz

Sages and naturalists frown at the common name given to these strange creatures by the small folk, but sometimes the silliest nicknames for creatures, places and people persevere in the minds of many. “Purifiers”, “Pond Jellies”, “Breath-Stealers”, “Lung-Ticklers” and “River Butterflies” are much less commonly heard appellations for these life forms. Wet Faeries are basically (and simply) a species of fist-sized, fresh-water jellyfish. Several traits steer them toward the peculiar category however. Firstly, Wet Faeries are nearly invisible in the water, much like their marine cousins but even more so. One can swim in a river swarming with these critters and not even notice their presence. Secondly, they possess the unique ability to clean and purify whatever body of water they inhabit. They do this via some sort of biological filtration process, sucking in all toxins present in the water, and releasing it back in its purest form. Needless to say, they are both a blessing and a curse to whichever folk dwell beside the rivers and lakes Wet Faeries inhabit. On one hand, no purer water can be found anywhere than a Wet Faerie lake or pond, and yet, in “pure” water “life” tends in fact to die out, lacking the needed nutrients to prosper. Thirdly, their “sting” is (unfortunately) virulently poisonous to all mammalians. Wet Faeries are loathe to sting anyone or anything, using their barbed fronds as a last line of defense, but if stung, most swimmers will suffer respiratory arrest, and die within minutes, usually drowning before they can make it back to shore.

Alchemists, druids, and less savory characters have studied these creatures over the years, and have predictably found all the ways Wet Faeries could be exploited. Morbidly humorous, some bards find it, that the Poisoners and Assassins Guilds as well as the Healer’s Union, all prize these creatures. The assassins use the extracted venom in obvious fashion, while the priests and healers use the still-living jelly-fish to sterilize other poison potions and to cure those already poisoned on death’s door.

It is known that a certain Earl Von Trumble keeps his vast castle moat stocked with Wet Faeries, the waters so clear that every bone of every one of his past enemies can be clearly seen on the bottom, twenty two feet below.

Encounter  ( Any ) | June 20, 2014 | View | UpVote 5xp

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