Friday, November 8, 2013

The Facts of Life

Because it's quite common for fantasy games/stories to be set in a roughly medieval time period, it's best to do some research so your world fits the facts.

The Middle Ages and the Dark Ages are synonymous. The dates for this period are roughly 400-1500, basically from the the fall of Rome to the Renaissance. And that is broken down further into three periods: Early (500-1000), High (1000-1300), and Late (1300-1500).

The "Dark Ages" is a misnomer in that during this time there was actually quite a bit of information exchanged, particularly via trade with foreign countries. 

Education wasn't limited only to cloistered monks. The later Middle Ages (1000-1500) were a time of philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, anatomy, engineering, etc.

Not all knowledge of the Ancient World was lost "in a single day and night of misfortune" like Atlantis. Much learning remained from Rome, Greece, and Arabia. And even more knowledge was introduced through contact with eastern Asia. Silk, spices, gunpowder, and decimals (just to name a few) came to Europe during this time.

Healthcare and sanitation were not as good as they are today (speaking in regards to the sterile and shiny Western world), but it wasn't all filth and squalor either. People took baths, brushed their teeth, and washed their hands after doing their business. The cleanliness of the water being used for these activities is what's really up for debate.


  1. If I were to design a fantasy setting from scratch I'd set it in the very early middle ages, basically featuring the fall of rome as the big background event and use that to explain all the ruins etc.

    1. I agree. It would be fun to have the characters be the grandchildren of the last true citizens of the empire. Maybe the world is caught between remaking itself and clinging to the past out of nostalgia. I'd also like to shoot for something a few centuries later - right on the cusp of the High period - when it is realized that the empire isn't coming back, but there are still fantastic and mysterious bits of it lingering about.