World Building Discussion: Medieval Times

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Archeia, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. Archeia

    Archeia Level 99 Demi-fiend Staff Member

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    World Building Discussion




    -Medieval Times-


    This is the start of a series discussing about World Building/Settings to help spice up our games. They are in form of "tutorials" and everyone can share their thoughts and ideas in this. Everyone is free to disagree with the written article and add their own versions. It would be nice if we can add sources to said information so more research material can be shared among the users. After we compiled enough information we will move them to the Tutorials Board and make a series for world building articles.

    Now without further ado, here's a start! Based on a 2005 article, back in a nostalgic place that is now long gone, a guest (he didn't had a name or anything) left us an article about his observation of Medieval Times in media and his own research.

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    Types of Castles:

    Generally castles in games are all ruled by a king. In the medieval times this was not true. Usually castles could only be build with the approval of the king, so he could make sure the castle was in the hands of someone he could trust. In times of anarchy there were generally outbreaks of illegal castle building.

    The Norman conquers developed castle building into a fine art, of course they had to as it was such an insecure period that defense was a necessity of life. Most people when they think of castles think of a massive stone beast, but before 1100 ad all castles were made of wood.

    Motte and Bailey Castles:

    These types of castles were built on an artificial or natural mound (the Motte) with a deep ditch surrounding it. Around this was an area of land, called a Bailey, this is where the buildings used by the people working in the castle were, stables, store houses, bakeries, cottages, kitchens and quarters for soldiers.

    The Bailey was surrounded by a wooden paladise and an outer ditch or fosse. Sometimes water was diverted by a nearby stream into this ditch. There are no good examples of Motte and Bailey castles left today, as most were rebuilt in the 12th century and replaced with stone keeps.

    Early Keeps:

    Shell keeps, of which few survive, were set on artificial or natural mounds. Stone walls 8-10 feet thick and 20-25 feet high enclosed a circular or polygonal area of 40-100 feet in diameter. Within the walls residential buildings in stone and possibly wood were built. A stronger design was the square or rectangular Norman keep which developed mainly in the middle and late 12th century.

    These immensely strong keeps were too heavy for artificial mounds and had to be built on natural high points. The keep walls were 20 feet thick at the base, rising to over 100 feet in height. Bedchambers, garderobes (latrines), and passages were built inside the thickness of the walls. Corner turrets provided an unobstructed line of sight along each wall.

    Edwardian Castles:

    The keeps were ideal for the time in which they were built, but by the middle of the 13th century the needs had changed. A base that could be used for offensive actions rather than pure defense was needed. So the keep was discarded in favor of another design, known as the concentric design. These castles are often called Edwardian.

    Concentric Design:

    Concentric castles have no central strong point like a keep. Instead they rely on rings of walls, one inside the other, with towers along the sides of the walls. Most Edwardian castles have three concentric rings of walls and towers. The central area was kept as an open courtyard around which were clustered separate domestic buildings, such as the ones described above. The outer wall was ringed by a moat with access over a draw bridge through a separate gatehouse or barbican. Several Norman keeps were converted into concentric castles. The central keep was usually retained for accommodation.

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    Below are a few designs observed from movies/novels/games, such as Lord of the Rings.

    Helms Deep Styles:

    These types of castles are built with natural features around them, to offer more protection, such as rivers, cliffs or even the sea. While these provide more protection they also are a danger, as there often isn’t an easy way out, for if there was the enemy could come from there too. In Lord of the Rings, there was a way out through the caves, although that too was dangerous, perhaps you could have the heroes escaping through a dangerous path, which could be under water, through a mountain or underground.

    Village Surrounded Castles:

    These castles are sort of like Motte and Bailey castles, however they do not necessarily have to be on a hill. They would generally have a stone keep or castle as the center point and around that would often be a moat. After the moat would be a village or city, whatever. The village would extend right around the actual castle, it would most likely be where most of the castle workers live and sleep. Around the village would be another wall, usually a wooden one as it is quite a large area to do in stone.

    Well that about wraps up the castle designs section. Of course there are many more different ways of making castles, this is just a guide line for you to use if you wish.

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    Residents of the Castle!

    A lot of games I have played have people living in a castle, who really, just shouldn’t be there. Also a lot of games have vital people missing, who should always be in a castle, this section outlines the different jobs that your people occupying the castle or lands around it could have, as well as a brief description of what they are and how they could be used.

    Jobs:

    Bailif:

    They are in charge of allotting jobs to the peasants, building repair, and repair of tools used by the peasants.

    Could be used if you have a part of the game where you stay in a city as a peasant, or maybe a quest could be to find the Bailif to issue an order to repair a building.

    Blacksmith:

    Also known as smiths, have variety of contributions to a castle. Here are some of those things:

    1. They forged and sharpened tools and weapons.

    2. They beat out dents in armor

    3. Made hinges for doors and window grills.

    Obviously he could be used as a shop keeper, or perhaps you could make it so you had to place an order for a weapon/armor and he fill make/fix it for you after a certain period of time.

    Bottler:

    They are in charge of the buttery or bottlery. I guess just a humorous job you could have, or maybe you could make a mini game involving working at a bottlery.

    Butler:

    They cared for the cellar and was in charge of large butts and little butts (bottles) of wine and beer. Under him a staff of people would be around to help.

    Well you must have seen/heard of these guys SOMEWHERE, basically they are servants, although in this case they manage the wine and beer, could be used at a feast where you place an order for wine/beer or you could make a mini game involving serving people wine and beer.

    Carpenter:

    They built flooring, roofing, siege engines, furniture, paneling for rooms, and scaffolding for building. Generally he builds things, mainly involving buildings but also you can see siege engines there, which a vital piece of equipment for any army planning to lay siege to another castle.

    Carters:

    They are workmen who brought wood and stone to the site of a castle under construction. Could be used if you have a scene where a castle is being built, these would be the people carrying stone and wood to where the castle is being built.

    Chamberlain:

    They are responsible for the great chamber and for the personal finances of the lord of the castle. A very important person in any castle. He is (as stated above) the finance advisor of the lord of the castle.

    Chaplin:

    They provided spiritual welfare for laborers and the castle garrison. The duties might also include supervising building operations, clerk, and keeping accounts. He also tended to the chapel. Really just a unique job for a member of your castle to have.

    Clerk:

    The person responsible for checking material costs, wages, and kept accounts.

    Another job to give your person, of course if you had a castle that the player took over this job could be quite useful.

    Cook:

    They roasted, broiled, and baked food in the fireplaces and ovens. Quite simple what they do really.

    Falconer:

    They are highly skilled expert responsible for the care and training of hawks for the sport of falconry. A great character for a mini game or maybe even a PC (Playable Character).

    Knight:

    A professional soldier. This was achieved only after long and arduous training which began in infancy.

    Anyone who doesn't know what this is, well really I don’t understand how you couldn't, my guess is that this is the most used profession, job, class etc.

    Marshal:

    They are officer who is in charge of a household's horses, carts, wagons, and containers. He also oversaw the transporting of goods.

    Well again just another job to be used, would be good if the player owned a castle, he could organize trade routes or whatever with neighboring kingdoms/castles.

    Messengers:

    They are servants of the lord who carried receipts, letters, and commodities. This was almost the only way to talk to other castles, forts, armies and kingdoms. A castle without one isn’t a castle without them!

    Miner:

    They are skilled professionals who dug tunnels for the purpose of undermining a castle. Could be used in a siege of another castle, where you have to mine underneath or protect the miners themselves.

    Minstrels:

    They are part of the castle staff that provided entertainment in the form of singing and playing musical instruments. Pretty much a Jester, always a good thing to have at a feast or big event.

    Scullions:

    They are responsible for washing and cleaning in the kitchen.

    Really just another one of those jobs to give to your people to make them actually have a job, no real point to it (that I can think of).

    Steward:

    They take care of the estate and domestic administration and Supervises the household and events in the great hall, also referred to as a Seneschal.

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    The list below is a list of important people in a castle, I think all castle’s should have one, doesn’t matter the purpose.

    Squire:

    A class attained at the age of 14 while training as a knight. He would be assigned to a knight to carry and care for the weapons and horse.

    All knights back then had a squire, so this too, is an important job.

    Watchmen:

    Is an official at the castle responsible for security and are assisted by lookouts (the garrison). Most games will have these anyways, really they are just guards.

    Woodworkers:

    Tradesmen called Board-hewers who worked in the forest, producing joists and beams.

    The Lord/Royal Family:

    The most important person in any castle, the owner. In most cases it will be the king. Of course in medieval times each “king” would normally have a number of castles under his command. Each of these castles would be manned by a Lord he trusts, so when creating the owner he doesn’t have to be the king.

    Also I think the Lord is quite an important person and you should make him quite in-depth, however this article isn’t going to tell you how, however there are a great number of good articles about making characters.

    The Lord’s Family:

    Queen:

    Really doesn’t do much, she sits there with the King on most occasions, of course she has her own time in which she should do things that she enjoys. She shouldn’t embark on any missions the king goes on unless it is relevant to your plot.

    Prince:

    An important figure. He is almost like the king in every respect, he goes to war (as a commander), attends meetings and competitions etc.

    Princess: You have free will on what she does.

    Not all workers live in the castle, some may live in outlying buildings or other places. Some may sleep in the castle however it won’t be the great comfort that the Lord will have.

    Guests to the castle are also treated with respect, and will generally get good rooms and seats at feasts.

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    This concludes Part 1!

    Discussion is open anytime~
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2012
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  2. Archeia

    Archeia Level 99 Demi-fiend Staff Member

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    Weapons in Medieval Times




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    Axes

    Scimitar

    Bow

    Backsword

    Broadsword

    Crossbow

    Daggers

    Falchion

    Gladius

    Greatsword

    Halberd

    Javelin

    Katana

    Lance

    Longbow

    Long-sword

    Mace

    Morning Star

    Pike

    Pole Arms

    Rapier

    Sabre

    Smallsword

    Spears

    Tomahawk

    Two-handed Sword

    Warhammer

    You must be wondering why there are oriental weapons listed here. The Medieval Ages were the first ages of when the West (Belgium, Germany, etc.) started trading with the East (more specific, the, then strong, Mongolian Hordes) and, likely, the traders could also get their hands on oriental weapons, which were very finely crafted, so good to sell back here.

    References for their looks:

    http://www.medievalc...tal-swords.aspx

    http://www.armsofvalor.com/

    Swords:

    The most common weapon, almost a necessity in any medieval game, goes hand in hand with knights. This category has the most things to go with it as it was the most widely used weapon of the medieval times.

    Scimitar:

    It is a type of sword, normally with a deeply curved blade with a single cutting edge, though some are known to exist with a blade very shallowly curved. This curve makes the Scimitar almost exclusively a slashing sword.

    They can be found in one or two handed variants, with blades ranging in length from around 30" to 36", and the blades, while commonly depicted as being very wide (from cutting edge to the rear of the blade), seem most often to have been very thin.

    Broadsword:

    There are two types of broadswords, the European broadsword and the Chinese Dao, which is commonly translated as a broadsword as well. However the two are very different.

    The European broadsword had a blunt edge and a sharp tip. The blades usually have a diamond cross-section, and are very heavy. They are usually used against armored knights, first by using the dull edge to knock your opponent out, then using the weight of the sword and the sharp tip to pierce straight through the amour.

    The Dao, on the other hand, is a light cutting weapon. It has a very thin, swept-back blade, with a swept-in handle. It is normally used with one hand, and sometimes two were wielded at once, to sacrifice balance for offensive potential. There is normally either a large ring or bits of colored cloth attached to the bottom of the hilt.

    Backsword:

    Backsword is a denomination of any type of sword, generally of European origin, that has only one edge, with the back of the sword often being the thickest part of the blade.

    Some backswords curved in order to make slicing/chopping action easier, at some expense of thrusting power, but this should not be seen as an overwhelming trend in the type, but rather limited to specialized forms.

    Sabre:

    The sabre (or saber) is a European backsword with a distinct curvature and a rather large hand guard, covering the knuckles of the hand as well as the thumb and forefinger. The length of sabres varied, but they were always made to be worn in a scabbard hanging from the waist.

    The origins of the sabre are somewhat unclear, and it may come from designs such as the falchion or the scimitar. Originally, the sabre was used as a cavalry weapon that gradually came to replace the various straight bladed cutting sword types on the battlefield. As time went on, sabres became insignia of rank in many armies, and dress use of sabres continues to this day in some armed services around the world.

    During the 19th and in the early 20th century, sabres were also used by some police forces. The sabre was later phased out in favour of the baton (or night stick) for humanitarian reasons. A derivative of this weapon is used under this name in the Olympic sport of fencing.

    Gladius:

    A gladius (gladius hispaniensis, the spanish sword) is a short sword, 60cm long, used by the Roman Empire legionaries and gladiators before widespread adoption of the spatha.

    The gladius is straight and double-edged, with a V-shaped tip, and primarily constructed for thrusting action and use together with a large rectangular shield, the scutum. The cross-section of the gladius is typically rhomboid, providing the blade with good stability for stabbing.

    The gladius is frequently depicted in coats of arms, especially of military corps.

    The name is Latin, and the diminutive form is gladiolus, also the name of a flowering plant with sword-shaped leaves.

    Katana:

    The katana is the Japanese longsword (Daito), although many Japanese use this word generically as a catch all word for sword "katana" is the kun-yomi (Japanese reading) of the kanji; the on-yomi (Chinese reading) is "tou" (pronounced [to:]). It refers to a specific type of curved, single-edged sword traditionally used by the Japanese samurai. The scabbard for a katana is referred to as a saya.

    It is primarily used for slashing, and can be wielded one- or two-handed (the second being the most common mode). It is worn with cutting-edge up. While the art of practically using the sword for its original purpose is now somewhat obsolete, kenjutsu has turned into gendai budo - modern martial arts for a modern time. The art of drawing the katana is iaido, and kendo is an art of fencing with a shinai (bamboo sword) protected by helmet and armor.

    Falchion:

    A falchion is a fairly short, one edged sword of European origin. Falchions are found in different forms from around the 11th century up to and including the 16th century. In some versions the falchion looks rather like the scramasax and later the sabre, and in some versions the form is irregular or machete like.

    Unlike the double edged swords of Europe, few actual swords of this type have survived to the present day. It is presumed that these swords had a lower average quality and status than the longer, more expensive swords. It is also possible that falchions were used as tools when they were not pressed into service as weapons. There is ample pictorial evidence of falchions used in combat by commoners and noblemen alike, and this type of sword was most likely fairly popular.

    Rapier:

    A rapier is a slender, sharply pointed sword with a blade at least 90 centimeters in length, often sporting an elaborate hilt and hand-guard. For most of its period of use, the rapiers was double-edged, some later rapiers were single-edged (with a sharply triangular blade) or edgeless. A rapier is capable of both cutting and thrusting attacks, but the thrust is the main attack in all rapier fighting styles.

    Long-sword:

    The Long-sword is a type of sword developed as the answer to increasing armour protection coming into use in Europe in primarily the 14th century. No exact definition of a long-sword exists, but it is usually of a larger size than a sword meant for single hand use. The hilt is larger, accommodating a grip with two hands.

    The average blade length of a long sword is around 110 centimetres (3 feet and 7 inches), and the weight is usually between 1.2 and 1.8 kilograms (2.6 to 4.0 pounds). The actual size and weight of a long-sword would depend on personal preference and build of the wielder.

    Greatsword:

    A generic term covering the largest versions of slashing, usually straight bladed European swords.

    Since a great sword usually sported a longer, heavy blade - and could require two hands to properly wield - the name came to imply any kind of two-handed sword.

    Two-handed sword:

    A two-handed sword, used as a general term, is any large sword that requires two hands to use.

    For lack of a better word, the designation "two-handed sword" is also used when speaking about a weapon from the European renaissance. This kind of sword was often of the same length as the person wielding it, and had a very long hilt to allow leverage when cutting with it.

    Contrary to popular belief, two-handers made for combat use are actually quite light, averaging around 2.5 to 3 kilograms. Even so, with the mass distributed over a length of close to two metres, effective use took a man of substantial strength.

    Ranged Weapons:

    Next up we have Ranged weapons, another thing used throughout Medieval Times quite a lot. These come in all sorts of sizes, ranging from the bow to javelins. These have been used dozens of times throughout history. NOTE: this does not include guns!

    Bow:

    A bow is a weapon that shoots arrows. It is useful for hunting and war. The technique of using a bow is called archery.

    A large number of different bow designs have been used in different cultures and time periods. Common designs are: solid wood (the English longbow), laminated wood (Japanese and Saami bows) and bone-wood-hide composite (Middle East, India, Mongols). The short bow used by the Mongolian hordes was fired from upon a horse and used for hit-and-runs and the other Asian flocks used composite bows, which were made from multiple materials, hence the name, and could be drawn to the ear of the archer and beyond.

    In modern times, the plastic composite and compound bows dominate for sport and hunting practices.

    Longbow:

    The longbow was used in the Middle Ages both for hunting and as a weapon of war and reached its zenith of perfection as a weapon in the hands of English and Welsh archers.

    The longbow was first recorded as being used by the Welsh in 633 C.E., when Offrid, the son of Edwin, king of Northumbria, was killed by an arrow shot from a Welsh longbow during a battle between the Welsh and the Mercians -- more than five centuries before any record of its military use in England.

    Longbows were difficult to master because the draw-weight often exceeded 50kg. Considerable practice was required to produce the swift and effective fire combat required. Think of it as this, Longbows had a reach up to 200 meters, and most archers could fire up to 12 arrows a minute, crossbowmen could fire over 300 metres (1 yard = 90% of a metre) and 2 bolts a minute. That’s pretty handy isn’t it?

    Skeletons of longbow archers are recognizably deformed, with enlarged left arms, and often bone spurs on left wrists, left shoulders and right fingers.

    Crossbow:

    A crossbow is a weapon that consists of a prod (similar in appearance to a bow) mounted on a stock similar to a rifle stock, which has a mechanism to wind and shoot its bolts. These bolts are typically called quarrels, and do not depend upon lift as arrows do. Crossbow bolts must be made to have consistent weights as the mechanical process of engaging a bolt forces a more uniform process than that of using a bow and arrow. It is this consistent performance which has made the crossbow historically a significant force in warfare.

    A crossbow contains a string which is held in place by a nut when the bolt is loaded and the cross bow is engaged (referred to as at full cock). Typically, the nut is at the end of the shelf (also called the bolt rest).

    Paladins and knights asked the church to ban crossbows as they could penetrate armor.

    Javelin:

    Javelins were often all wooden, with either one or both ends sharpened. They could be used for throwing, or hand-to-hand combat. They weren't great weapons, but their length and versatility made them valuable. The main reason I put this in here was the lack of ranged weapons.

    There were 2 types of javelins, heavy ones, which were thrown first, with hooks, to make shield bothersome and useless. The lighter types, meant to kill people.

    Others:

    In here will be all sorts of weapons, axes, spears and maces plus a whole lot more.

    Axe:

    An axe or ax is a tool with a metal blade that is securely fastened at a 90 degree angle to a handle, usually of wood. The typical use for an axe is to split wood and chop down trees, but alternative uses in the past have included the battle-axe and the throwing-axe (the Frankish axe or francesca), both used in war.

    The method for fastening the blade to the handle has varied over time. It can be lashed, as was probably common in old stone axes, but also simple 'wedged', whereby the end of the handle is slit, then inserted into a socket in the blade, and is held tight by a wedge introduced into the slit and pounded in with a mallet.

    Tomahawk:

    A Tomahawk was a type of Native American axe. Traditionally short and resembling a hatchet, with a wooden shaft and, initially, with a stone but later with a iron or brass head. A general purpose tool it is often regarded as solely a hand or thrown weapon. The name comes into the English language in the 17th century as a transliteration of the Virginian Algonquian word.

    Daggers:

    A dagger is essentially a special form of knife, where the tang is placed along the center line of the blade.

    A dagger is more a weapon made for thrusting than a tool for slicing and cutting. Historically daggers were important secondary weapons in Europe during the Middle Ages and the renaissance. Often a dagger is fairly long, and some may verge on being of sword length. Most daggers are double edged, although there are exceptions.

    A modern version of the dagger is the bayonet, which becomes a spear type weapon when mounted on the barrel of a rifle.

    Pole Arms:

    A pole weapon is a close combat weapon with the main fighting part of the weapon placed on the end of a long shaft, typically of wood. The use of pole weapons is very old, and the first spears date to the stone age.

    The purpose of using pole weapons is to either increase angular momentum, and thus striking power, when the weapon is swung, or extending reach. Pole weapons are relatively cheap and simple to make, and they were fairly easy for most people to use effectively as they were often derived from hunting or agricultural tools.

    Spears were probably first used as hunting weapons, either for thrusting or for throwing; the ability to strike the prey from a relatively safe distance no doubt appealing to the hunters. It was likely recognized almost immediately that they were also most useful against predators and other humans.

    Massed men carrying pole weapons with pointed tips (spears, pikes, etc.) were recognized fairly early in the history of organized warfare as effective military units. On defense the men holding the spears were hard to reach; on the attack, as in the Macedonian phalanx, they were devastating to those units which could not get out of the way.

    Spears:

    A spear is an ancient weapon, used for hunting and war. It consists of a shaft, usually of wood, with a sharpened head. The head may be simply the sharpened end of the shaft itself, as is the case with bamboo spears, or it may be of another material fastened to the shaft. The most common design is of a metal spearhead, shaped somewhat like a dagger, and made entirely for thrusting.

    Spears of different designs were used for close combat and for throwing. One of the most famous throwing spears is the pilum used by the Romans.

    Lance:

    The lance is a pole weapon based on the pattern of the spear but adapted for mounted combat. The lance is perhaps most known as one of the foremost weapons used by European knights, but the use of lances were spread throughout the old world wherever mounts were available.

    In Europe, lances for jousting were much different from the weapons used in war. In jousting lances, the tips would be blunt and the center of the lance could be designed to be hollow, in order for it to break on impact. In war, lances were much more like ordinary spears, long and balanced for one handed use.

    Mace

    An advance on the club, a mace is a wooden, metal-reinforced or metal shaft, 3 or more feet (a meter or more) long, with a head made of iron or steel adding another foot to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) to the length of the weapon. The head is normally about or slightly thicker than the diameter of the shaft, shaped with flanges, knobs or spikes to allow greater penetration of armor. It, like the war hammer and various other weapons of the time, came about because of the increased use of more effective armor on the battlefield.

    A variety of mace called the morning star had its spiked metal ball suspended from a chain attached to the handle, rather than being directly mounted.

    Medieval bishops carried maces in battle instead of swords, so as to conform to the canonical rule which forbade priests to shed blood.

    Morning Star:

    The morning star is a medieval weapon that consists of a spiked ball on the end of a chain attached to a pole. It is a derivative of the mace.

    A combatant would swing the ball on the pole around his head and attempt to strike his opponent with it, often with deadly force.

    Sometimes, instead of one large spiked ball, the pole was attached with 3 spiked metal balls connected in chains. This modification is called "flail".

    Warhammer:

    A war hammer is an archaic weapon of war intended for close combat, the design of which resembles the hammer. The war hammer consists, like the tool it resembles, of a handle and a head. The handle may be of different lengths, the longest being roughly equivalent to the halberd, and the shortest about the same as a mace. Long warhammers were pole weapons meant for use against riders, whereas short ones were used in closer quarters and from horseback. Later warhammers often had a spike on one side of the head, thus making it a more versatile weapon.

    Warhammers were developed as a consequence of the ever more prevalent metal armors of the medieval battlefields during the 14th and 15th centuries. The war hammer could deal blows of tremendous force to the target, especially when mounted on a pole, and by impact alone do damage without penetrating the armor. The spike end could be used for grappling the target's armor, reins, or shield, or could be turned in the direction of the blow to pierce even heavy armor. Against mounted opponents the weapon could also be directed at the legs of the horse, toppling the armored foe to the ground where they could be dealt with.

    Halberd:

    A halberd is a pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 14th and 15th centuries. It consists of an axe head topped with a spike mounted on a long shaft. The back of the axe head was often fitted with a hook for grappling mounted combatants.

    Halberds were two-handed axe-like weapons consisting of four parts:

    • a handle roughly 7 or 8 foot (1 m 70)long

    • an axe blade

    • a point

    • often a hook or thorn on the back side of the axe blade

    This made the halberd cheap to produce and very versatile in battle. Its length allowed to deflect spears and pikes, its point allowed to keep sword-wielding opponents at distance, and the hook would be used to draw armored opponents to the ground. The axe blade, obviously, was for cutting into unarmed opponents and horses.

    Pike:

    A pike is a pole weapon once used extensively by infantry and foot-soldiers principally as a counter-measure against cavalry assaults. Pikes were extremely long weapons, and could exceed six meters in length.

    The steel tip was fairly long compared to the shaft, making the weapon most unwieldy in close combat. This meant that pikemen were often equipped with a sword for close encounters.

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    Religion




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    The English Medieval Church played a much bigger role than the churches these days. Everyone, be them peasants or nobles believed that God, Heaven and Hell all existed. From the time Christianity spread, people were taught the only way to get into Heaven was if the Roman Catholic Church let them. Everyone was terrified of Hell and all would have been told of the horrors in hell waiting for them in weekly services they attended.

    The control of the church was total. Peasants worked on church land for free. This wasn’t very good for the peasants as the time they spent working away on the churches land could have been spent on working their own land to provide food for their families. They paid 10% of their yearly income to the church (this tax was called tithes).

    Tithes could be paid in either money or goods produced by the peasant farmers. As peasants rarely had any money they mostly paid with harvested grain, animals, seeds etc. This usually cost the peasant a lot of work as seeds for example, would have been needed to grow next years crop to feed the family. What the church received from tithes was kept in a huge “tithe barn”, a lot of the grain was eaten by the rats or poisoned by their urine. To fail to pay tithes, or so the peasant were told, would mean their souls would go to hell after they had died.

    You also had to pay for baptisms, which, so the church said, was the only way to get to heaven (you could not go if you did not get baptized), marriages (there were no couples living together in Medieval Times as the Church taught that this equaled sin) and burials – you had to be buried on holy soil if your soul wanted to go to heaven. Either way you look the church gets money.

    The church also did not have to pay taxes, which made them wealthier than any other king in England. The sheer wealth of the church is best shown in their buildings, cathedrals, churches, monasteries etc.

    In Medieval England, peasants lived in cruck houses. These were filthy, usually no more than two rooms, with a wooden frame covered with wattle and daub (a mixture of mud, straw and manure). No cruck houses exist now - most simply collapsed after a while as they were so poorly built. However, there are many medieval churches around. The way they were built and have lasted for centuries, is an indication of how well they were built and the money the Church had to invest in these building.

    Overall the Church was the richest, most powerful landowner in all of England.

    FUN FACT: Did you know that Hospitals started in the church?

    [​IMG]



    Medieval Towns




    [​IMG]

    Towns, have you ever seen a game without one? Well, normally these would have a weapon shop, an armor shop, an Inn, some important person’s house (eg. Mayor or King) and a few random houses. Sure this is fine, but I’m just going to go a bit more detailed than that.There were few towns in Medieval England and those that existed were very small by our standards. Most people in Medieval England were village peasants but religious centers did attract people and many developed into towns or cities.

    Medieval towns tended to grow around areas where people could easily meet such as cross roads or rivers. Towns needed more water than a village to a nearby water supply was vital. Rivers were used for washing, drinking and disposing of sewage (if it hadn’t already been dumped on the street).

    Village people came to towns to trade; there for the owner of the town had to make sure the town was safe. Often towns would have a large fence built around the perimeter of the town, with the gates locked at night to keep out undesirables.

    A successful town attracted many merchants to it. Many towns were owned by a lord and it was in his interest to attract merchants, as they had to pay tax. The more merchants, the more tax the lord gets. Taxes were collected by a sheriff. As many people could not read or write the system was open for abuse and corruption. This is why many people in towns wanted to get a charter.

    A charter gave people in a town certain rights that were clearly stated in the charter that town had. Many charters gave towns the right to collect their own taxes thus removing corrupt sheriffs from doing so. It was also common for a town to ask for its own law court so that legal problems could be settled quickly.

    Towns were a dirty place to live in. There was no sewage system as we have today. Many people would throw toilet waste out the window and onto the street along with other rubbish. This in turn attracted a lot of rats into the towns, thus leading to the Black Death. Sometimes a town would use pigs to eat up rubbish. The water was also far from clean, as it would have been polluted by rubbish thrown in from towns upstream and downstream.

    Therefore, as people would have used this source of water (they had no other choice) and because people knew little about health and hygiene, disease was common. Life expectancy was short. Life for a poor person in a town or city was often described as “nasty, brutal and short”.

    As homes were made of wood, fire was another danger in a town or city. Walking in a town at night could also be dangerous. Though towns had a curfew (a time when everyone had to be in their homes) no town had a police force to deal with those who broke the law. No town had street lights - the only choice was candles but in a wooden city or town, these ‘street lights’ could prove disastrous.

    Shops attracted people to a town. The shops also doubled as a home for the craftsman that worked in it. A sign outside of the shop showed people what that person did for a living. Signs had to be used as so few people could read or write.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. RavenTDA

    RavenTDA just another mask

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    Very nice little display of facts you got going here. It's good to look over for some ideas for games inspired by medieval times and pretty crucial to those following that time frame exactly. Sometimes I forget the terms of certain individuals like the Scullions. I think I've heard of them being called scullery maids as well. I knew they were in the castle and I think in my game I tagged them as "kitchen helper" but it sounds so much better to get the proper term for them.
     
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  4. Scinaya

    Scinaya ~

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    l'd like to add from historical point of view that the lords of castles (except one per nation) usually were not the king, but a vassal of the king who had sworn loyalty to their king. They were allowed to keep up army and rival in power with the neighboring lords, but they should give part of the taxes they collected from peasants to the king and keep the rest to keep up their forces that king was allowed to borrow and mobilize any time. The vassals usually held the title of knight.

    And the peasantry was usually tied to their birth place partly because, they got their income by farming the land of the lord. The peripheral land owners usually were part of nobility as well and had their small amount of peasants under them, but regular people rarely owned their land and couldn't really move around, without risking to end up without a roof to stay under. Handicraft professions had a bit more mobility, since they didn't necessarily need to stay on the exact place always, unless there was specific law in region to prohibit moving away.

    Of course there was the church too which had huge impact on politics and society. XD Bwah enough of history, but thought of tugging that stuff in here to give seeds for the development of the world. At least for me it is all so dear.

    I love the medieval setting, since it is full of potential conflicts and especially the lower class had little freedom.

    (EDIT: AAAND getting into architecture of the era is very inspiring. The gothic and romanic era castles are very romantic to look at.)
     
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  5. Domin0e

    Domin0e Like a leaf in the wind

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    Knights were noblemen, many of whom in fact had their own castles (or some other sort of private property) and did not usually stay in foreign castles. On the other hand, common soldiers/guards could be found in greater numbers.

    Carpenters might have built siege engines, but almost none (excluding Ballistae) were used for defending. Catapults, as well as battering rams and siege towers were mostly built on the battlefield, as there were a few more trees 1000 years ago.

    You are also missing a few important residents of castles, the most important ones (I can think of) are the Bowyer, who crafted Bows, and the Fletcher, who crafted Arrows. A Tanner might be an option, too, as leather was used for clothing, amogst many other things.

    We need to distinguish if the castle was wether a "imperial castle" which were built by the king (or any other ruler) or a nobleman's castle (e.g. a knight's castle). The church had castles, as well, but those were more like reinforced monasteries.
     
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  6. Archeia

    Archeia Level 99 Demi-fiend Staff Member

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    Thank you Scin for the wonderful contribution! I updated the 2nd post with more information too :D

    @Dominoe damnit I got ninja'd :p

    Yes I have acknowledged that this :"tutorial" (should I say article? :o ) is far incomplete because of the massive amount of resource materials that has to be compiled. So your input is very much welcome and appreciated as we expand more on the list and create tons of corrections C:
     
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  7. Domin0e

    Domin0e Like a leaf in the wind

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    @Archeia: At your service. ;) We could possibly fill bookshelves with all information regarding medieval times and the article is a neat base to expand. :)

    On first sight, the "Bastardschwert" (which would translate into something like One-and-a-half-handed-Sword, maybe someone knows a proper english term, though) seems to be missing. It was basically a one-handed sword with a longer handle (hence "a half") so you could swing harder when holding it with 'both' hands, or simply use it as a one-handed sword.

    EDIT #1: You listed the "morning star" twice.

    Talking about specific sword design, there were the Flamberge and Estoc, the latter was basically pointy sword (one or two hand, both existed) and used to fight against chainmail or plate armor.

    From my knowledge, a good bowman was able to penetrate plate armor, as well. Mostly those, who used longbows - I might be wrong here though.

    The dagger section looks a bit.. short. I know, there were some special knives, like the Kris - but I need to look them up first.

    Regarding Warhammers: Deadly. Smash your opponents ripcage. It wasn't only able to do damage without penetrating your opponents armor, it didn't even need to, since you simply ripped their lungs with their rips. Or smashed their heads. Well, you know where this leads. :3

    As for religion, don'T forget to mention they stored wisdom away and destroyed every trace of it. We would probably live in another world nowadays if they didn't ban all the awsome technologies from ancient times.

    (Will edit when done digging through towns, that section need it's own thread. :> All those years of listening in history class, all those documentations, all those years I soaked up information on castles.. finally I can share my wisdom.. :p )
     
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  8. Archeia

    Archeia Level 99 Demi-fiend Staff Member

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    That would be spectacular! I also wanted to cover medieval knight armors and clothing to show the difference of class citizens since they were...very interesting to look at. But in due time, my internet is really terrible right now haha.

    It would be nice if economy could be covered too.
     
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  9. tpasmall

    tpasmall The Mauve Avenger

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    I really thought this was going to be about the establishment, Medieval Times, but I like it nonetheless.

    I always find myself reading more about this stuff than actually working on my game, I love history. It's also worthy to note that depending on the governmental style in place, (feudalism, absolute monarchy, imperialism, etc.) castle life would have been very different. Awesome topic, looking forward to the rest of the series.
     
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  10. Indrah

    Indrah Megane Berserker

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    Holy shit. I am dumb and cliche-raised enough that I have SO MUCH TROUBLE thinking of WOOD WALLS in CASTLES. It does not compute. MY feeble little mind can only equate castles=stones x.x

    Falconers. Holy shit, why did I never consider FALCONERS!

    Also I flat out cant wrap my head around huge ass greatswords wighting around 3kgs only. >< And Frick, pikes being 6 metres? Consider my mind blown.

    Well Nessy, I HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY, YOU BIACTH! You ruined me! Now I'm SWAMPED with inspiration for a castle centric medieval game. I hope you're happy >I

    Also btw you don't have the acutal SERVANTS besides the butlers and kitchen staff in there. Who did the laundry? The cleaning and dusting? :o
     
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  11. Archeia

    Archeia Level 99 Demi-fiend Staff Member

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    To answer that, the term maid is actually modern. You only had PEASANTS/SERVANTS. Which is given a job by the Bailif or the Lady of the Castle (Who is the housekeeperish) while her hubby handles politics. And it could be anything, which is handling the stables, cleaning etc. I didn't feel the need to even specify general Household terms who didn't really have a name?
     
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  12. Domin0e

    Domin0e Like a leaf in the wind

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    Indrah, a two-handed greatsword may have weighted only 3kg, but there were swords like the claymore (a scottish sword) which were heavier. Also, you had to carry your armor as well, maybe even a second and third weapon. It adds up, especially if you remind yourself, those guys were smaller than we are (iirc, 1.50m to 1.60m was the norm). And since pikes were used against rides, they had to get them off their horses BEFORE the trampled their troop down. ;)
     
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  13. Archeia

    Archeia Level 99 Demi-fiend Staff Member

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    I also wanted to add the existence of Serfs.

    Serfs are allowed to have personal properties and can own houses and have their own farming tools. They can also live with their own family but they can't choose jobs or freedom to move and are required to work on the landowner's land too. The rest of the peasantry are called "Land bound slaves." (thanks for the name for that scin :>)

    Also @Indrah, I'll be adding this into the main list soon but here you go:

    Almoners: ensured the poor received alms.Atilliator: skilled castle worker who made crossbows.

    Baliff: in charge of allotting jobs to the peasants, building repair, and repair of tools used by the peasants.

    Barber: someone who cut hair. Also served as dentists, surgeons and blood-letters.

    Blacksmith: forged and sharpened tools and weapons, beat out dents in armor, made hinges for doors, and window grills. Also referred to as Smiths.

    Bottler: in charge of the buttery or bottlery.

    Butler: cared for the cellar and was in charge of large butts and little butts (bottles) of wine and beer. Under him a staff of people might consist of brewers, tapsters, cellarers, dispensers, cupbearers and dapifer.

    Carder: someone who brushed cloth during its manufacture.

    Carpenter: built flooring, roofing, siege engines, furniture, panelling for rooms, and scaffoling for building.

    Carters: workmen who brought wood and stone to the site of a castle under construction.

    Castellan: resident owner or person in charge of a castle (custodian).

    Chamberlain: responsible for the great chamber and for the personal finances of the castellan.

    Chaplain: provided spirtual welfare for laborers and the castle garrison. The duties might also include supervising building operations, clerk, and keeping accounts. He also tended to the chapel.

    Clerk: a person who checked material costs, wages, and kept accounts.

    Constable: a person who took care (the governor or warden) of a castle in the absence of the owner. This was sometimes bestowed upon a great baron as an honor and some royal castles had hereditary constables.

    Cook: roasted, broiled, and baked food in the fireplaces and ovens.

    Cottars: the lowest of the peasantry. Worked as swine-herds, prison guards, and did odd jobs.

    Ditcher: worker who dug moats, vaults, foundations and mines.

    Dyer: someone who dyed cloth in huge heated vats during its manufacture.

    Ewerer: worker who brought and heated water for the nobles.

    Falconer: highly skilled expert responsible for the care and training of hawks for the sport of falconry.

    Fuller: worker who shrinks & thickens cloth fibers through wetting & beating the material.

    Glaziers: a person who cut and shaped glass.

    Gong Farmer: a latrine pit emptier.

    Hayward: someone who tended the hedges.

    Herald: knights assistant and an expert advisor on heraldry.

    Keeper of the Wardrobe: in charge of the tailors and laundress.

    Knight: a professional soldier. This was achieved only after long and arduous training which began in infancy.

    Laird: minor baron or small landlord.

    Marshal: officer in charge of a household's horses, carts, wagons, and containers. His staff included farriers, grooms, carters, smiths and clerks. He also oversaw the transporting of goods.

    Master Mason: responsible for the designing and overseeing the building of a structure.

    Messengers: servants of the lord who carried receipts, letters, and commodities.

    Miner: skilled professional who dug tunnels for the purpose of undermining a castle.

    Minstrels: part of of the castle staff who provided entertainment in the form of singing and playing musical instruments.

    Porter: took care of the doors (janitor), particularly the main entrance. Responsible for the guardrooms. The person also insured that no one entered or left the castle withour permission. Also known as the door-ward.

    Reeve: supervised the work on lord's property. He checked that everyone began and stopped work on time, and insured nothing was stolen. Senior officer of a borough.

    Sapper: an unskilled person who dug a mine or approach tunnel.

    Scullions: responsible for washing and cleaning in the kitchen.

    Shearmen: a person who trimmed the cloth during its manufacture.

    Shoemaker: a craftsman who made shoes. Known also as Cordwainers.

    Spinster: a name given to a woman who earned her living spinning yarn. Later this was expanded and any unmarried woman was called a spinster.

    Steward: took care of the estate and domestic administration. Supervised the household and events in the great hall. Also referred to as a Seneschal.

    Squire: attained at the age of 14 while training as a knight. He would be assigned to a knight to carry and care for the weapons and horse.

    Watchmen: an official at the castle responsible for security. Assited by lookouts (the garrison).

    Weaver: someone who cleaned and compacted cloth, in association with the Walker and Fuller.

    Woodworkers: tradesmen called Board-hewers who worked in the forest, producing joists and beams.
     
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  14. Scinaya

    Scinaya ~

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    Ah the serfs. <3 The way for the bottom class to gain a bit of freedom. The feudal system had the rest of the people rather tied hard on the ground they lived at and were often considered a property of the land's lord.

    (Your update on the church reminded meee...)

    The church was also the point of science, partly because it also wanted to control what science was approved. The monasteries had the libraries and monks copied texts (of usually religious origin) by hand to be passed on generations. Books were overall expensive and since first printing machineries (in Europe that is) first were developed rather late (about 1040) they were also rare. Naturally reading was therefore also a rare skill and it was not uncommon that the nobility could only write their name untill later in medieval era. They anyway had scholars educated at church at their court for that reason. Science was yet stuck in many aspects in monasteries too, since the official view of church was that everything to be known already existed in Bible and any information could be remedied by simply researching and interpreting it right way.

    Monasteries also were the place where medicine developed and monasteries often had herbal gardens and were the places where the early form of hospitals were formed. They also gave away humble amount of food and rags to beggars and the very poorest end of peasants in these areas.

    Unfortunately the people doing research or healing outside of church were often considered heretics or witches... And later many monasteries closed their doors from the sick in fear of plague and sometimes even chased diseased off their gates with weapons. ;w; Happy times. (Plague is another whole story... Ahhh there is so much there! XD)
     
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  15. Espon

    Espon Lazy Creator

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    This kind of blows away what you see in almost any game based around medieval times. Often times all you get is a stone structure sitting above a small town, and the number of guards in the castle outnumber the total number of residents. Most weapons are just ways to whack your enemy... then again in real life a typical person couldn't be hit by a sword multiple times and still be standing.

    I find the bit about churches kind of funny since some of the people there seem to be greatest sinners out of anyone.
     
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  16. Julien Brightside

    Julien Brightside Veteran

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    A very good thread. I like it.

    Though, there were a lot more countries in the past, so it would also lead to more castles being built.

    Now, I am a bit curious on how we should translate some of this to a RPG.

    The standard structure of a RPG town seems to be:

    King (if big town)

    - Queen

    - - Prince or princess

    Soldiers/guards.

    Inn or tavern. (I am not sure how often they occur in medieval towns, but I am pretty sure they filled a needed purpose. Alternatively, should be possible to rest at the local monastery for knights.)

    Merchants (Now, it is probably not likely that smiths would sell a lot of weapons and armors to random passerbys, but we can put them in the game anyway. A good thing about the VX ACE tileset has added signs with certain symbols that is a good indication of what is sold at the place.)

    Then you have the random citizens that produce flavor and plot points.

    As for the weapon system:

    Thrusting weapons should have some sort of critical hit chance.

    Two-handed weapons will of course deny the option of having a shield.

    Bow and Crossbow would also have sort of critical hit chance, though they would have a bigger chance of missing.

    Hammer weapons would have a lower damage output than swords, but due to their bludgeoning ability, they would be able to neglect defenses of whoever they hit.

    Party:

    Having a priest in the party would make the party able to read books.

    In battle he could have two abilities:

    Promise heaven to own party = Encouraging buff that makes them deal more damage and take less?

    Put the fear of hell in the attackers = Fear buff, enemy deals less damage and is more likely to flee.
     
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  17. tpasmall

    tpasmall The Mauve Avenger

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    In medieval times, the 'inn' and 'tavern' were usually the same place. In England they were called 'pubs' (short for public house), and it was a place to meet up, have drinks, provide stabling for horses and have a place to eat and sleep. They were basically what the name implied, a house open to the public, instead of being a private dwelling. The owners were called landlords.
     
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  18. Scinaya

    Scinaya ~

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    I'm sure that is exactly what Martin Luther was thinking just as well, when he nailed his thesi on the Door of Wittenburg church. XD
     
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  19. Archeia

    Archeia Level 99 Demi-fiend Staff Member

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    Mostly I was hoping this series would be more like a pool of inspiration rather than taken at face value. We have the power to bend and make a Medieval Fantasy. But I think in order to do that, we should know the roots of the source. I saw a lot of people going medieval is overrated when only a VERY FEW games do it well. And they're usually been the inspiration resulting into "cliched" rehashes when the medieval era has so, SOOOOO much material to work with.

    I do have a list of possible weapon/armor/etc. effects but I wasn't sure to put it in Tutorials or in Discussion.
     
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  20. Domin0e

    Domin0e Like a leaf in the wind

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    The only thing I have not yet talked about are Towns/Settlements, so let's see what we got here.

    First of all, there are several types of settlements, ranging from small Hamlets, over villages and towns to cities (least to most inhabitants). There are also special types of towns and cities, for example the Borough, which is derived from the germanic "Burg" which means "fort" or "castle" in english and can be compared with the english -bury, the scottish -burgh or, well, the german -burg. Those suffixes usually indicated fortified settlements, some examples here would be Canterbury, Edinburgh or Hamburg.

    Where did people settle in medieval times? Well, the most prominent spots were rivers and crossroads. That was because of trading, which meant money, because of merchants and craftsmen. Those settlements normally grew into either towns or even cities. Smaller settlements usually were found by streams or along the trading routes, as they could be supplied by wells. Around those settlements, farmers were cultivating fields and breeding some domestic animals, those were expensive, though.

    Also, think about where the money was in those settlements. Hamlets and Villages definitely did not have much. And in towns and cities, there was a wealthy minority, which consisted of noblemen, merchants and a few skilled craftsmen - You would probably call those "citizens" - and the majority of the inhabitants, the commoners, many of those without any wealth and maybe even in debt with some landlord. The citizens would reside inside the town wall, whereas the commoners would dwell around this central city

    Hint: Stone was more expensive than wood, but some commoners might were able to afford a stone base for their walls.

    Settlements were dirty, yes. Bedpans full with urine and excrement as well as other waste was simply thrown in the alleys between houses. Those were cleaned every now and then, and some very wealthy cities might have had some kind of sewer system, although those were nowhere as good as the roman ones (and yes, romans had sewers. But the chruch wanted nobody to know anything in those times..), so no need to scrap any sewer dungeons, yay!

    In medieval times, people's sleeping pattern were differnt from ours. they would wake up in the middle of the night, use their bedpans or go visit their neighbour and have a little chat. This was some kind of safety measurement. In case of fire, EVERYBODY in the neighbourhood had to help. This was a law! (Because it's better to save the whole neighbourhood/town than just your own belongings, be social damnit!)

    Life Expectancy was 40-50 years, depending on the influences. And, as a note to all those people whining about 16-18yr old party members: You were grown up by the time you were 14 years old god damnit, and probably spent a good portion of your life helping your father (hunting, working, etc.) or were already trained in using some kind of weapon if you're of noble origin (mostly swords or rapiers here), so please, PLEASE stop telling me I can't have sword-wielding brat as hero, thank you!

    There are still many things we didn't cover, such as medicine, law and the church. I would have to refresh my knowledge on those a bit and maybe other members also know a thing or two, so don't be shy and share your wisdom! :)

    There you go Nessieh!

    PS: I checked most stuff I remembered with the interwebz in order to not give out wrong information. If I, however, ended up posting something that is plain wrong, please tell me so!

    Edit: Have some links regarding weapons and knighthood!



    , talks about (broad-)swords.


    , talks about those sharp or pointy lil' fellas.


    , shows some lesser known weapons of all kinds.


    , features handguns, sabers, cutlasses. Also cannons. And ships. And a bottle o' rum! And many other melee weapons.


    , even though not really medieval anymore, rapiers are still common weapons in our games, aren't they?


    , covers a broad range of projectile weapons, from shortbows to 'english' longbows.


    , shows us how to properly load a crossbow. And how to shoot one.


    , deals with differnt kinds of axes as well as some background on vikings.


    , it, well, deals with knights in armor, I guess. ;)


    , Tournament rules, more information on knighthood and honor.
     
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