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 Is there a real era equivalent of the Sword Coast?
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thenightgaunt
Acolyte

USA
36 Posts

Posted - 27 Nov 2021 :  03:15:10  Show Profile Send thenightgaunt a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I know that the answer likely will vary from region to region within the realms, but is there a generally agreed upon real world equivalent era for the Sword Coast?

By that, I mean, is Waterdeep and it's environs a Medieval-esk city (say 1066 to 1485), a Todor-esk city (1485 to 1603 so basically a good chunk of the Renaissance), or something much later or much earlier then that?

Or am I thinking way off and the historical influences on the area are more French or Spanish?

I was just curious as there were significant changes to technology, society, economy, etc in the shift from late middle ages (later chunk of the medieval period) up through the Elizabethan towards the end of the Tudor period.
For example, the shift from subsistence farming to producing excess that could be sold (and an exploding wool industry).

I'm not expecting a hard date like "Waterdeep takes place explicitly during the end of the reign of Henry VII" but I just figured people might have a preferred equivalent time period they base the Realms on somewhat.

Personally, I end up basing it on the Tudor period, but with anachronistic elements from all over mixed in.

Edited by - thenightgaunt on 27 Nov 2021 03:16:43

Zeromaru X
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Colombia
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Posted - 27 Nov 2021 :  04:01:13  Show Profile Send Zeromaru X a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, according to Ed Greenwood, he wrote the Realms without using the Real World as basis. That said, some authors who later added to the Realms during TSR did used the RW as reference, so you will find some places that are easily identifiable (some people says Tethyr is equivalent to Medieval Spain), and other places that have none and you will have a hard time trying to fit it with RW places (such as Waterdeep or Neverwinter).

Instead of seeking change, you prefer a void, merciless abyss of a world...
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Ayrik
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Canada
7623 Posts

Posted - 27 Nov 2021 :  04:18:12  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Phft, doesn't seem very hard to me:

Waterdeep = Seattle
Neverwinter = Vancouver
Baldur's Gate = Los Angeles

[/Ayrik]
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thenightgaunt
Acolyte

USA
36 Posts

Posted - 27 Nov 2021 :  04:23:27  Show Profile Send thenightgaunt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
That's a good point. But here's what got me curious.

So nothing fantasy really comes from a vacuum. Things are taken from history, or misunderstood versions of history. If we look at Waterdeep though, based on technology, how society works, the economy of the city, etc, there's likely a real world era it's closer to than any other.

It's got a thriving guild system, it's got guns of a sort, it's got steel in great amounts (which might imply coke production but that's iffy depending on the technology being used), and it's got books! The printing press exists and has existed for well over a century. And literacy abounds. So at least 1500's maybe? There's definitely a renaissance feel to the city instead of a middle ages feel.
http://archive.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/rl/20031029a

That's what I'm curious about.

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HighOne
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172 Posts

Posted - 27 Nov 2021 :  21:24:45  Show Profile Send HighOne a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by thenightgaunt

So nothing fantasy really comes from a vacuum. Things are taken from history, or misunderstood versions of history. If we look at Waterdeep though, based on technology, how society works, the economy of the city, etc, there's likely a real world era it's closer to than any other.

Lately, Waterdeep has felt a lot like Renaissance Italy to me. But at this point, the Sword Coast is a collaborative work by numerous authors, all with different ideas and inspirations. Depending on which authors' work you emphasize, you can make the Sword Coast look and feel like just about any European region from 600-1700.
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Lord Karsus
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Posted - 28 Nov 2021 :  00:57:58  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Yeah, it, like a lot of other places that don't really feel 'exotic', is more of an amalgamation of all the different sources of influence that have been churned up and spit out as stereotypical western medieval fantasy.

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bloodtide_the_red
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Posted - 28 Nov 2021 :  18:14:18  Show Profile  Visit bloodtide_the_red's Homepage Send bloodtide_the_red a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you want to compare the Real World to the Realms....it's a mess.

Waterdeep is only a couple hundred years old. Waterdeep is founded as a "city" in 1010DR, depending on what "now" you use for the Realms, that does not even come close to big Old World cities. And 11th century Waterdeep was automatically medieval. Though guess you can say travelers from the South, somehow, transformed the barbarians of the North into civilized people in a week or two.

But then the Netherese were also medieval (and so were the elves and dwarves for many years before that). By the End, Netheril has all the PH equipment except guns and spyglasses.

So all this fits in more with the Realms as a Post Apocalypse setting for the North and Sword Coast. But while both areas were recovering and wild for a thousand years...the rest of the world moved on. The southern Sword Coast, the Empires of the Sands, were "Renascence" era well before 1000 DR.

Europe has always been a bad fit for most of the North. The North is the 16h century Americas, and that makes Waterdeep more of New York then anything else.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 28 Nov 2021 :  18:27:47  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There are also a lot of other factors that prevent nailing down an era equivalent -- there's a lot of stuff in Realms history that isn't in real-world history, and vice-versa.

A lot of fantasy is based on an idealized western Europe. But historical western Europe had a powerful monotheistic church that really shaped society, and it didn't have magic, dragons, elves, or orc invasions.

Given different historical elements, there are going to be major differences in social and technological development. With technology, in particular, things that in the real-world were invented in a particular sequence could have been developed concurrently or in a different order, due to all the different influences in the mix. Something in the real world that might not have been invented until 1438 could have been invented 2000 years ago by dwarves, in the Realms, and slowly spread to other races.

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Kelcimer
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USA
128 Posts

Posted - 30 Nov 2021 :  05:32:00  Show Profile Send Kelcimer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hello thenightgaunt!

I do not think you are going to find a good historical equivalent. In order to understand history, it is important to also understand geography and economics. History can't be separated from those. Or they can, but at the cost of having a much less complete understanding of it.

One of the most rudimentary things that any tinpot king would do is conquer up the river valley. The reasons of this a very simple. A ruler wants to control the hinterland, because the hinterland is the source of food and people (more people in an comic system = larger potential of said economic system. Also, a larger population means more people to draw upon for making armies. Bigger army diplomacy is historically a thing). Every nation properly wants to secure its food supply and have a bigger army to defend itself and then go conquering with. Baldur's Gate and Waterdeep should both have had rulers that have conquered up their respective river valley's, but they just didn't (because this is a fantasy setting and you need frontier). So where in human history do we have large prosperous cities at the mouth of decent rivers that HAVEN'T conquered up their river valley? I can't think of a single example in history.

To give you an idea about how important river systems are to the building of civilizations, here is a really interesting video on how the lack of navigable rivers retarded the economic development and integration of of Africa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fof9xZA7dpg

Basically, it is the navigable river system that enables the prosperous city at its mouth to come into being.

But this is a fantasy setting, so we could say that numerous monsters, dragons, and other essentially barbarian humanoid races keep nations from forming properly; but the counter to that is that if there really are that many monsters, dragons, and other essentially barbarian humanoid races that would prevent a proper nation-state from coming into being, then why are these cities so populous and prosperous? A more balanced approach is that these cities are not as populous as they are described in the source material, they do seek to control their frontiers and have conquered farther than the source material suggests, but that they reach their limit of what they can control due to geographic, geo-political, and monsterous factors.

Working out those specifics might not be something that interests you, though.

You asked the specific question: "By that, I mean, is Waterdeep and it's environs a Medieval-esk city (say 1066 to 1485), a Todor-esk city (1485 to 1603 so basically a good chunk of the Renaissance), or something much later or much earlier then that?"

The answer is "Yes". If you want to treat it as a Medieval-esk city, okay, do so. If you want to treat it as a Todor-esk city, okay, do so. This is your Realms and you can do what you want. If some part of Waterdeep and the nearby landscape doesn't make sense to you, then just change it to fit the vision you have for your game.

Edited by - Kelcimer on 30 Nov 2021 05:32:26
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thenightgaunt
Acolyte

USA
36 Posts

Posted - 01 Dec 2021 :  21:21:26  Show Profile Send thenightgaunt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kelcimer

Hello thenightgaunt!

I do not think you are going to find a good historical equivalent. In order to understand history, it is important to also understand geography and economics. History can't be separated from those. Or they can, but at the cost of having a much less complete understanding of it.



Lol. Not to worry that's the stuff I live for. I've cruely over-earmarked my copy of Gies' Life in a Medieval Village, grabbed a print copy of Expeditious Retreat's A Magical Medieval Society Western Europe; and am currently reading my way through both Cumberland Games' Town: A City-Dweller's Look at 13th to 15th Century Europe and Barbara Hanawalt's Growing up in Medieval London (a wonderful book re-examining a lot of old assumptions while actually using records of the period). So I'm all interested in your comments here. But I'll only quote part of your post just for speed's sake.

I realize that the forgotten realms is going to be all over the place in this regard. I think this one response hits the nail on the head.
quote:
Originally posted by bloodtide_the_red

So all this fits in more with the Realms as a Post Apocalypse setting for the North and Sword Coast. But while both areas were recovering and wild for a thousand years...the rest of the world moved on. The southern Sword Coast, the Empires of the Sands, were "Renascence" era well before 1000 DR.



The Sword Coast is a chaotic region that really could be best described as fantasy post-apocolyptic. Of course that's one of the amusing things about the setting is it's history really could be summed up as "and then arose the empire of the elves, but then they fell; then arose the empire of the goblins, and they fell really fast; then arose the empire of the dwarves, and they fell; then arose the empire of..." and so forth. To the point where a smart farmer who finds the strange sealed stone doorway set into the earth under what was supposed to be his new turnip patch is probably best served by sighing, burring the thing under a thick layer of dirt and moving the field over.

But good fantasy needs a foot in reality and I love the reality stuff. So I've assumed for my own games that the farmland surrounding Waterdeep was quite a bit more expansive, spreading up along the river Dessarin towards Goldenfields. It also gives the lords a reason to care about the valley beyond just monsters and the like. The Dessarin Valley is perfect for sheep country and the real money product in a region like this would be wool. The one good thing you could say about the Spellplauge is that it probably finally did in the old Thoss Bhalein, the greedy, controlling master of the The Solemn Order of Recognized Furriers & Woolmen.

But yeah. I realized that most of the time author's don't really think things through like that. That's how we get things like Daggerford, a small walled town that can somehow afford a castle despite only having 1200 residents, but only has 40 buildings and is supported by 2 small farming villages. That...that math doesn't add up. Oh well. But at least for my own writing it'll work if I can build a functional real world model to base it on.

So for era I think I'm largely looking at both technology and where society is and what it's ready for.
The latter I think is easy. Waterdavians are pretty much up for anything. I mean there's a Underdark themed family restaurant. They're a fairly literate people but there's really no mention of education beyond training schools but not everyone can get an apprenticeship (that's part of the point) so that implies there's something like grammar schools or a bit more organized an effort than just leaving it up to the parents to teach them at some point in their busy day.
So I think technology and the expansion of private wealth among the lower classes might be a good indicator. I've been meaning to work my way through the old books and guides to get an idea and I'm heavily leaning towards something in the Tudor era.

quote:
Originally posted by Kelcimer

Hello thenightgaunt!
The answer is "Yes". If you want to treat it as a Medieval-esk city, okay, do so. If you want to treat it as a Todor-esk city, okay, do so. This is your Realms and you can do what you want. If some part of Waterdeep and the nearby landscape doesn't make sense to you, then just change it to fit the vision you have for your game.



Yeah, that's pretty much the most consistent response I've been seeing. Which is frustrating. I get being vague so writers and players have freedom but it can cause confusion. Like why the hell would anyone pass over a much more advanced ship and instead purchase a ship of a type that IRL was long unused by the time the first one showed up? I guess the old one looks more "fantasy" but it's a crappier ship. I get the adventure author liked it and thought it looked cool (and had no clue about how naval warfare worked) so that's the one the Navy use when chasing the players, but it's still a shittier ship than the one the players are in, it can't catch them. Yeah but it's supposed to, so maybe the answer is magic? But if magic resolved all the issues in that design 400 years ago, why'd they make this new design which is apparently worse?

That's the road that leads to gamers and fantasy enthusiasts sounding like morons when talking to anyone with an inkling of education in history. And I've watched that conversation in real life at a con. It wasn't a pretty one.
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
7623 Posts

Posted - 02 Dec 2021 :  02:25:14  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by thenightgaunt

... so maybe the answer is magic? But if magic resolved all the issues in that design 400 years ago, why'd they make this new design which is apparently worse?

1) Not everyone has access to magic.

2) Cost. Cost to purchase. Cost to operate. Cost to maintain, repair, secure, insure. Performance, efficiency, and style are all great to have ... but cost is always a consideration and often ultimately limits all other considerations unless resources are unlimited.

Not everyone in our world drives a money-is-no-object luxury sports car. Not everyone in our world drives a (theoretically) more efficient electric or hybrid car. We don't even use environmentally-conscious sources of materials, labour, energy ... we use "worse" alternatives because they cost less.

[/Ayrik]
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Kelcimer
Learned Scribe

USA
128 Posts

Posted - 02 Dec 2021 :  10:05:21  Show Profile Send Kelcimer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by thenightgaunt
Lol. Not to worry that's the stuff I live for. I've cruely over-earmarked my copy of Gies' Life in a Medieval Village, grabbed a print copy of Expeditious Retreat's A Magical Medieval Society Western Europe; and am currently reading my way through both Cumberland Games' Town: A City-Dweller's Look at 13th to 15th Century Europe and Barbara Hanawalt's Growing up in Medieval London (a wonderful book re-examining a lot of old assumptions while actually using records of the period). So I'm all interested in your comments here. But I'll only quote part of your post just for speed's sake.



For odds and ends of Medieval stuff I would recommend the channel Lindybeige. Here is a video of his on the importance of River Crossings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZSl-ijkd7U&t=52s

You might find "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond to be an interesting read. It provides a great overview of how civilizations develop. https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393354326

Another interesting book is the "The Breakdown of Nations” by Leopold Kohr. It is a good book as to why nations act as they do and to expand ones understanding about how geography affects international relations. It is applicable regardless of the time period you are talking about. https://www.amazon.com/Breakdown-Nations-Leopold-Kohr-ebook/dp/B01N58TSWY

quote:
Originally posted by thenightgaunt
Yeah, that's pretty much the most consistent response I've been seeing. Which is frustrating. I get being vague so writers and players have freedom but it can cause confusion. Like why the hell would anyone pass over a much more advanced ship and instead purchase a ship of a type that IRL was long unused by the time the first one showed up? I guess the old one looks more "fantasy" but it's a crappier ship. I get the adventure author liked it and thought it looked cool (and had no clue about how naval warfare worked) so that's the one the Navy use when chasing the players, but it's still a shittier ship than the one the players are in, it can't catch them. Yeah but it's supposed to, so maybe the answer is magic? But if magic resolved all the issues in that design 400 years ago, why'd they make this new design which is apparently worse?



I feel for you. It took me a while to figure this out, but one of the reasons why I think Forgotten Realms works is that it makes sense if you just look at one small part of it, but it doesn't make sense when you zoom out and look at the whole world. This is actually a strength, because it means people will pretty assuredly find someplace in Faerun that they like in order to start a game. It isn't a unified campaign setting, but a campaign setting of campaign settings. Often when I find something that doesn't make sense to me, it becomes the springboard to an adventure where I sort that area out more to my liking.

As an extraordinary example: I wound up having so many problems with Waterdeep that I nuked it so that I wouldn't have to deal with all the outstanding questions that it raised for me. In another thread Sleyvas wound up prodding me with questions about trying to find a way to salvage Waterdeep without nuking it and after a couple of weeks I figured out two separate ways to achieve that. One involved rewriting a good chunk of Waterdeep's history and getting it to a place that would make sense geographically and economically. The other involved recontextualizing Waterdeep's history as to why it is the way it is, which involved a large magical effect distorting a lot of the decision making of many millions of people. There are two off-ramps to have the people no longer affected by that magical effect, the hard way and easing it off. So that is really three options. Doesn't matter for my game, but I appreciated the intellectual exercise. :)

The point being, in order to make any large swath of Faerun consistent you'll have to change stuff. Maybe a little. Maybe a lot. And that's fine. That is what will make your Faerun game unique to you.

The important thing for you as a DM is that the campaign setting makes sense to YOU. If it doesn't make sense to YOU, then you won't have as much fun running it and you'll have a harder time explaining it to your players.
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thenightgaunt
Acolyte

USA
36 Posts

Posted - 02 Dec 2021 :  17:37:55  Show Profile Send thenightgaunt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kelcimer
For odds and ends of Medieval stuff I would recommend the channel Lindybeige. Here is a video of his on the importance of River Crossings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZSl-ijkd7U&t=52s

You might find "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond to be an interesting read. It provides a great overview of how civilizations develop. https://www.amazon.com/Guns-Germs-Steel-Fates-Societies/dp/0393354326

Another interesting book is the "The Breakdown of Nations” by Leopold Kohr. It is a good book as to why nations act as they do and to expand ones understanding about how geography affects international relations. It is applicable regardless of the time period you are talking about. https://www.amazon.com/Breakdown-Nations-Leopold-Kohr-ebook/dp/B01N58TSWY



Oh yeah. Lindybeige is a treat. I'll take a look at those other books. They sound interesting.

quote:
Originally posted by Kelcimer
I feel for you. It took me a while to figure this out, but one of the reasons why I think Forgotten Realms works is that it makes sense if you just look at one small part of it, but it doesn't make sense when you zoom out and look at the whole world. This is actually a strength, because it means people will pretty assuredly find someplace in Faerun that they like in order to start a game. It isn't a unified campaign setting, but a campaign setting of campaign settings. Often when I find something that doesn't make sense to me, it becomes the springboard to an adventure where I sort that area out more to my liking.


(forgive me for only quoting part of the post there)

Oh, I agree. At least 2 times now I've picked large areas of blank map and gone empire building for a campaign or 2 and Forgotten Realms is loose enough with it's lore and setting that you can easily do that without huge problems.

You might find this interesting. What sparked this line of thought was an issue I've had regarding standard D&D in 5e. There are no halfling villages.
Lemme explain.

There aren't a lot of non-quirk villages in most of the modules these days. Or at least not a lot that get actual attention aside from a 2 sentence mention. I'd say Red Larch in Princes of the Apocalypse is the last one I really noticed. But the others are more "normal but suffering under a unique issue" like Barovia being vampire haunted or "it's a fishing village but they're all frog people despite the harsh winters in this region" or "it was nice before the giants" and etc...
But there's not really any good normal villages you could kinda transplant over (ie: no Homlet to copy paste). And there's a tendency towards focusing on the eccentric. Here's a nice normal village and your 3 main NPCs are THRONGAR the triceratops-man general store owner, Bingles the Tabaxi Tavernkeeper and Dianah the human mayor but who's secretly cursed with an ancient bloodline and is really a werewolf.

There's not really any normal halfling villages. There's no Shire anymore. I guess writers find that too dull. It's got to be "the shire, but wait, the houses are all on the backs of giant CRABS!!!!"
That's cool but you need the mundane to exist for the fantastic to actually be fantastic and not just another oddity.

There's not really any good examples of "ok, here's a normal village. It's nice. This is how it works. Copy, paste and edit as needed". So I figured why not make that? Why not sit down and make a cheap or free pdf that's basically "here's a normal farming village like you'd see outside of waterdeep. How it works, where the money comes from, who handles the law, etc" for people to use if they wanted.

Though the first hurdle I hit was, ok, is this a medieval village or renaissance? And if either, when, because there's a lot of centuries within even those eras and a lot about how villages worked changed across them.

We did have something like this in older editions, but young players and DMs seem hesitant to touch previous edition content. That'll probably last right up until their starter edition get's replaced by 6th I'll bet.

It's been a fun little side project. I'll post a link if I ever finish.

quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik
1) Not everyone has access to magic.

2) Cost. Cost to purchase. Cost to operate. Cost to maintain, repair, secure, insure. Performance, efficiency, and style are all great to have ... but cost is always a consideration and often ultimately limits all other considerations unless resources are unlimited.

Not everyone in our world drives a money-is-no-object luxury sports car. Not everyone in our world drives a (theoretically) more efficient electric or hybrid car. We don't even use environmentally-conscious sources of materials, labour, energy ... we use "worse" alternatives because they cost less.



Now generally yes. But I'm talking about actual ship design concepts that became the norm as money and technology increased. But in some of the ship books we've got a pair of ships side by side that should be separated by hundreds of years. From a car perspective we're talking about a Model A next to a tesla, not a reliable diesel workhorse truck based on a 70 year old design vs a big expensive ford f-150 that mechanics curse at after you drop it off.

There are basic upgrades to ship design and so forth that are not expensive on the building end but were the result of decades and centuries of shipbuilding and were just found to work better. Mast placement, sail shape, basic shapes, etc... And once discovered were replaced the old ones almost universally.

That's why I used it as an example of a tricky item. It shows off the severe anachronism issue D&D can have for those who care at all about any sort of verisimilitude. I'm not trying to solve it personally, just using it as an example. You make some good points though.

Edited by - thenightgaunt on 02 Dec 2021 17:57:10
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
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Posted - 02 Dec 2021 :  18:41:27  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So... In a setting with multiple sentient non-human peoples, multiple ways to travel to other inhabited worlds, magic, deities, and giant flying lizards in serious need of breath mints -- it's having ships that don't match real-world history that breaks the verisimilitude?

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thenightgaunt
Acolyte

USA
36 Posts

Posted - 02 Dec 2021 :  20:57:11  Show Profile Send thenightgaunt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

So... In a setting with multiple sentient non-human peoples, multiple ways to travel to other inhabited worlds, magic, deities, and giant flying lizards in serious need of breath mints -- it's having ships that don't match real-world history that breaks the verisimilitude?



Yes. Good fantasy needs a foot in reality. It's the mundane that makes the fantastic actually fantastic and gives life to the world.

So let's look at the Dessarin Valley north of Waterdeep. Fleshing out the region was a great addition in Princes of the Apocalypse. Though it was missing a great deal of flavor that would have helped bring the region more to life.
Look at Red Larch. It's a small village, hell it's barely a village in terms of number of buildings, yet it supports some rather advanced stores like a baker and a dressmaker and a butcher. So it's a village with a baker...and no mill? And not really described as surrounded by farmland capable of supplying enough grain to make it worth anyone's time or cost to have a baker. And a dressmaker. Wow. Ok at least the random encounter table has it listed that there's a 1 in 20 chance of running across shepherds watching their sheep. This is great looking sheep country. But...the town has none of the relevant workshops, storehouses and industries needed to handle all that precious, profit laden wool? But they have a dressmaker? And the PCs should be up to their armpits in sheep wandering around those hills. And it'd make a lot more sense for it to be a weaver who works to turn that raw wool into a much more easily transported good that can be sold to passing caravans.

As for the butcher. Yeah I get where the intend was there. Good one. But why is it more profitable to kill the sheep and cattle raised in the area and preserve them in expensive preservatives then to just drive the herds the week journey down the road to Waterdeep for sale and slaughter? And isn't guarding this road so they can safely do that EXACTLY what the Waterdeep City Guard are for?

Like I said, I'm not looking for actual answers for these. I came up with my own when I ran the campaign. But it gets across the idea I hope. Having the shepherds, their flocks, a thriving wool industry and so forth more prominent and not an after thought would bring life to the region and give players a real feeling for WHY anyone cares about this dumb valley. It's because this place is likely providing half the raw cloth used to clothe Waterdeep. That's huge. And structurally it provides a better in for the critical moment when a shepherd shows the party the burial site which SHOULD be the first clue that there are rival cults in the area. Instead of them murderhoboing their way through the valley which is how it's written.

My original point about ships was that without a "roughly" set technology level and era equivalent, the nature of just the sword coast is very chaotic and sometimes nonsensical. And for quite a few players and DMs that can be either annoying or frustrating.
Like having a pre-keel ship listed along side keel-ships. The keel lets a square rigged ship prevent lateral movement, increasing it's speed and stability.

But because they're all lumped together you get that fun moment where the DM says that the navy is pursuing your small caravel with a mighty Dromond warship (because the author thought it looked cool and had decent speed and a lot of sailors and was 2x as expensive as the caravel in the book). To which a knowledgeable player sighs with relief and says it isn't a huge threat because that's a big Greek, single square sailed galley or the 12th century at best being used to purse what is basically a small, fast, massively maneuverable Portuguese ship of the 15th century which can use it's twin lateen (triangular) sails to just...tack into the wind...and generally out maneuver and stay ahead of the Dromond until it's rowers collapse. Because if there's one thing single mast square sail ships suck at, its going against the wind. One of many reasons they stopped using that design by the time the caravel was in use.

That situation is completely avoidable of course and both you I and any good DM could just work around it, but it's just so very very silly. And that can take away from the moment.

Edited by - thenightgaunt on 02 Dec 2021 20:59:04
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 02 Dec 2021 :  22:05:20  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by thenightgaunt

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

So... In a setting with multiple sentient non-human peoples, multiple ways to travel to other inhabited worlds, magic, deities, and giant flying lizards in serious need of breath mints -- it's having ships that don't match real-world history that breaks the verisimilitude?



Yes. Good fantasy needs a foot in reality. It's the mundane that makes the fantastic actually fantastic and gives life to the world.



You're missing my point. Why should history and technological developments follow the exact same timeline as the real world when there are huge differences between the real world and this fictitious one? And why is having historically anachronistic ships -- which, honestly, most players would never even notice -- such a huge deal-breaker when there's a freaking dragon flying by and an elf wiggling his fingers to throw lighting at it? The last I checked, there was a notable absence of elves, magic, and dragons in the real world.

Not allowing for divergent development because of divergent elements is far more unrealistic than a Greek ship coexisting with a Portuguese ship in a place where neither Greece nor Portugal exist.

I'm also not going to quibble over whether or not a town has a mill. If they don't have one, fine, there's one in a town nearby and they trade back and forth. It's long been established that the maps only show more prominent details, and books only focus on the sexy stuff, so not having something explicitly noted doesn't mean it doesn't exist. We know there are villages and very small communities scattered around that aren't on any maps and aren't named and described in published lore.

Similarly, unless every single building is detailed, I'm not going to assume that failing to mention business type X means it doesn't exist. There's no mention of a mill? Maybe, as I said, it's because they use one in village down the road. Or maybe it's because the people running the unmentioned but still present mill are locals with nothing of interest to PCs.

Since most PCs don't walk into a town and say "okay, I've got some grain here, where can I get it milled?" does it really matter if they don't know where the mill is? Are your PCs prowling the countryside of every town, tallying up all the farmlands and crops and herds to make sure it all fits some checklist?

I don't feel that it's a DM's job to analyze every single building in every single town to make sure they can answer questions their players will never think to ask. If you know your players and know the story, you can cover the stuff you need to cover, wing it (or use any of the gazillion resources out there for DMS) on other stuff, and keep your energy focused on telling the story.

Even if we had a 40-volume set of 500-page books of pure Realmslore, things are going to be left out because they're not important for a roleplaying game. Sure, I agree that the mundane adds realism. But being hyper-focused on the mundane destroys the magic. And there are different types of mundane element -- telling me how people live adds a lot more realism than telling me that there is precisely 3704 heads of sheep divided among 23 shepherds.

I'm not going to drive myself crazy sweating the small stuff. It's like I've said about favoring short NPC statblocks, as opposed to the page-long ones that detail everything: give me enough information that I can do what I need to do and make something my own, and I'm good. I'll fill in the blanks I need to fill in and not worry about the ones that will never be relevant.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 02 Dec 2021 22:11:55
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Kelcimer
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Posted - 03 Dec 2021 :  06:34:21  Show Profile Send Kelcimer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hello Wooly Rupert!

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
You're missing my point. Why should history and technological developments follow the exact same timeline as the real world when there are huge differences between the real world and this fictitious one? And why is having historically anachronistic ships -- which, honestly, most players would never even notice -- such a huge deal-breaker when there's a freaking dragon flying by and an elf wiggling his fingers to throw lighting at it? The last I checked, there was a notable absence of elves, magic, and dragons in the real world.

Not allowing for divergent development because of divergent elements is far more unrealistic than a Greek ship coexisting with a Portuguese ship in a place where neither Greece nor Portugal exist.



thenightgaunt has a point. "Other inhabited worlds, magic, deities, and giant flying lizards" are part of the buy in for the setting. When people start playing DnD they know that these are things that are going to be part of the experience. There is no such buy in for things like ship designs from all across the ages all coexisting in the same time period.

It is a matter of how knowledge spreads organically. One civilization will invent, discover, or domesticate something. Then the next civilization over comes into contact with this new invention, discovery, or domesticated plant or animal. Then some early adopters in the second civilization get ahold of the new thing and it starts to gain legs there. This happens whenever any two civilizations interact. (this is one of the points in "Guns, Germs, and Steel") So somebody comes up with a better ship design. They are faster, carry more of a load, more sturdy, or whatever. They have advantages over the prevalent ships everybody else has, and puts other civilizations at a disadvantage. Well, people naturally do not like being at a disadvantage. So a short time later those other cities are going to start making ships like the ones that are out competing them. In this manner knowledge of ship designs would naturally transmit from area to area.

So it does not matter if the ship design is a design from real world Greece or Portugal. What matters is the advantages and disadvantages of each design, which are objective. If one design is clearly better, then the poorer design should naturally fall into disuse. If they do not, then that suggests something odd is happening to cause that to be. Which if there is an explanation then fine.

Now, I know that the designers were just going for something that is cool and getting the vibe they wanted for the material they are generating. I agree with you that most players just need to know that they are on a ship and roughly how fast it is compared to another ship and they won't get hung up on the details. But if the players know the difference, then they cannot forget what they know. It may bug them. If it bugs them, then by all means create a solution. And the thenightgaunt has a point that the ship design prevelant in the region has implications for how developed the economies and societies are. It wouldn't matter for my game, but it matters for thenightgaunt and so he needs to come up with an answer.

Now did he want to have to solve this problem? No. He just wanted to gather some information to establish a baseline so that he could focus on the adventure creation. But he has to wrestle with this first.

I can relate. I know a few things about geography and how it impacts the placement of cities and how it affects the interests of nations. I have my own map of Faerun that I modify. When I focus on an area and realize the placement of cities or some aspect of the geography doesn't make sense, then I just change it.
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Kelcimer
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Posted - 03 Dec 2021 :  06:43:04  Show Profile Send Kelcimer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hello thenightgaunt!

quote:
Originally posted by thenightgaunt
But because they're all lumped together you get that fun moment where the DM says that the navy is pursuing your small caravel with a mighty Dromond warship (because the author thought it looked cool and had decent speed and a lot of sailors and was 2x as expensive as the caravel in the book). To which a knowledgeable player sighs with relief and says it isn't a huge threat because that's a big Greek, single square sailed galley or the 12th century at best being used to purse what is basically a small, fast, massively maneuverable Portuguese ship of the 15th century which can use it's twin lateen (triangular) sails to just...tack into the wind...and generally out maneuver and stay ahead of the Dromond until it's rowers collapse. Because if there's one thing single mast square sail ships suck at, its going against the wind. One of many reasons they stopped using that design by the time the caravel was in use.

That situation is completely avoidable of course and both you I and any good DM could just work around it, but it's just so very very silly. And that can take away from the moment.



I am persuaded. Ships are not my thing. But if you were at my table fielding that information I would stop, have a thoughtful discussion on the matter, and then hot fix it on the spot with a solution based upon the knowledge of all the players on the matter. I don't care if it about basketweaving. If it relates to how the world functions and getting the details right make it for my players, then I will adjust the world.
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 03 Dec 2021 :  15:50:56  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kelcimer

Hello Wooly Rupert!

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
You're missing my point. Why should history and technological developments follow the exact same timeline as the real world when there are huge differences between the real world and this fictitious one? And why is having historically anachronistic ships -- which, honestly, most players would never even notice -- such a huge deal-breaker when there's a freaking dragon flying by and an elf wiggling his fingers to throw lighting at it? The last I checked, there was a notable absence of elves, magic, and dragons in the real world.

Not allowing for divergent development because of divergent elements is far more unrealistic than a Greek ship coexisting with a Portuguese ship in a place where neither Greece nor Portugal exist.



thenightgaunt has a point. "Other inhabited worlds, magic, deities, and giant flying lizards" are part of the buy in for the setting. When people start playing DnD they know that these are things that are going to be part of the experience. There is no such buy in for things like ship designs from all across the ages all coexisting in the same time period.



So you, too, are saying that history and technology should follow the exact same development as the real-world despite vast differences in cultural, historical, and religious influences?

Do you really believe that technology exists independently of all outside influences on the people creating and using it? Because that's far more unrealistic than anything else I've seen brought up, here.

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thenightgaunt
Acolyte

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Posted - 03 Dec 2021 :  19:20:30  Show Profile Send thenightgaunt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kelcimer

Hello thenightgaunt!
I am persuaded. Ships are not my thing. But if you were at my table fielding that information I would stop, have a thoughtful discussion on the matter, and then hot fix it on the spot with a solution based upon the knowledge of all the players on the matter. I don't care if it about basketweaving. If it relates to how the world functions and getting the details right make it for my players, then I will adjust the world.



Hello, as well. And thank you, though I'm not hugely into ships. My players would disagree and give exasperated sighs though. I just get interested and the ship thing was an example of...well let's just call it an aspect of the old "rule of cool" in game writing. For issues like those I myself just do a quick rewrite. A sort of "ok, I'm not a fan of this so...now everyone's in the same general style of ship but the pursuing navy's is just a bigger, faster one, full of soldiers, as was intended" or "eh, they have magic sails". Which I think all DMs do from time to time.

As you can gather from my comments in my reply to Woolly Rupert there, economics and infrastructure items are the ones that set my eye twitching though. LOL. I know many may not care but, as you might have guessed, something as simple as "what they heck? there aren't nearly enough sheep!" or "wait, where's the mill?" can set me off down a path that will leave some folk's eye's glazed over.

But I think you interpreted my core desire here perfectly.
quote:
Originally posted by Kelcimer
No. He just wanted to gather some information to establish a baseline so that he could focus on the adventure creation.


Spot on. As with the original question on this thread. I'm not looking for an official era or anything. I was more curious about what kind of an equivalent era do other people place the sword coast at. Do they think of it more in medieval terms, or something else? More Tudor-like?
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thenightgaunt
Acolyte

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Posted - 03 Dec 2021 :  19:58:18  Show Profile Send thenightgaunt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
I don't feel that it's a DM's job to analyze every single building in every single town to make sure they can answer questions their players will never think to ask. If you know your players and know the story, you can cover the stuff you need to cover, wing it (or use any of the gazillion resources out there for DMS) on other stuff, and keep your energy focused on telling the story.

Even if we had a 40-volume set of 500-page books of pure Realmslore, things are going to be left out because they're not important for a roleplaying game. Sure, I agree that the mundane adds realism. But being hyper-focused on the mundane destroys the magic. And there are different types of mundane element -- telling me how people live adds a lot more realism than telling me that there is precisely 3704 heads of sheep divided among 23 shepherds.

I'm not going to drive myself crazy sweating the small stuff. It's like I've said about favoring short NPC statblocks, as opposed to the page-long ones that detail everything: give me enough information that I can do what I need to do and make something my own, and I'm good. I'll fill in the blanks I need to fill in and not worry about the ones that will never be relevant.



Ok. But I'm not saying that it is either YOUR job to do that or any other DM's. If you are happy running a game or playing a game where that's all ignored, cool. Good on ya.

I AM saying that this is stuff I like to think about.

To me, knowing how the made up community works does tell me a LOT about how people in it live. About what they'd be concerned about. About the kind of things they'd need help with. But that's ME.

And you asked if I think that the development of technology must follow similar lines as it did in real life. To that my answer is "yeah, probably". No invention is created out of nothing. They are built upon what came before and what shaped the minds of those who interacted with them. Gutenberg didn't invent his press whole hog. It was based on many many generations of previous inventions by a lot of other people. Without their contributions, the final product wouldn't have been the same. Heck, if I remember right, Gutenberg's real innovation wasn't the press itself but this little hand held mold thing that let him cast a LOT of identical little letter slugs in a short amount of time. Which made having
a box of 100 'e' slugs suddenly no longer an issue.

Would technology be the exact same in a fantasy world as real life? Nope. Like you said, dragons. Though I'd say the hand-me-down inventions of dwarves and elves would be a bigger influence. As for magic, high price tag would likely keep it from being a huge help in many cases. What good's a magic printing press that shapes it's letters to suite you that costs 10,000gp? It sounds like better incentive for someone to figure out a cheaper, non-magical one that only costs 1000gp.

And the same social and developmental factors that drove people in the real world to make decisions would also exist in a fantasy world.
There are things that exist outside of magic. Let's take a really basic one for example. Water. Medieval towns were generally found on waterways, and this should largely be the case for most towns in a fantasy setting. Yes, magical water generation is available, but it's expensive and not reliable long term. Someone steals the magic barrel or it stops being enough to support the growing settlement or whatever. But humans need water. They need a flowing river, stream, etc, or they need to be able to get enough of it up from wells. And where does it start? Does every small group of farmers and settlers who want to start a new farm head out hauling behind them a magical fountain that can one day supply a city with enough water to provide for 10,000 people?

I'm not going to begrudge anyone for wanting to play D&D in a setting like World of Warcraft where you can have a medieval town that's built at the base of a giant hydroelectric dam, because someone wanted a cool battle between fantasy heroes and a robotic eel atop a dam. If none of that bothers them, cool.

But I'll also ask that they not begrudge me my desire to run D&D in a setting where I sat down an applied logical consistency to the design of the game world. Even if only for my own amusement.
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ElfBane
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Why don't you just do it the way you want to?? The reason, IMO, that Lore isn't precisely spelled out is to allow the DM the liberty of "winging it". And here you are WANTING to enslave yourself to a precise timeline or set of rules. Relax, enjoy the game. And if you have players that try the "Rules/Lore Nazi" stuff on you... wellll that adventurer may just encounter the first Dragon ... when he/she was on Point, scouting, and is too far ahead for the party to effectively help.
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 03 Dec 2021 :  23:07:05  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by thenightgaunt


But I'll also ask that they not begrudge me my desire to run D&D in a setting where I sat down an applied logical consistency to the design of the game world. Even if only for my own amusement.



No one is asking you not to apply logical consistency -- the opposite, in fact: You have to apply ALL factors.

You say "And the same social and developmental factors that drove people in the real world to make decisions would also exist in a fantasy world." But that's not true. A major social and developmental factor in real world Europe was a large, powerful, monotheistic church. That doesn't exist in the Realms. And in the Realms, orc hordes and powerful nations of mages were some of the factors that didn't exist in the real world. Various peoples of the Realms have been, at various times, far more advanced than their human neighbors.

It's not logical to assume the same progression of technology at the same pace when there are wildly different factors involved. You're comparing apples and oranges.

Heck, just look at real-world technological development between different cultures. China beat Europe to the punch on a lot of things, and Europe was way more advanced in a lot of technological areas than anyone in the Americas. Different factors, different progression, different end results.

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Kelcimer
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Posted - 04 Dec 2021 :  00:59:10  Show Profile Send Kelcimer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
So you, too, are saying that history and technology should follow the exact same development as the real-world despite vast differences in cultural, historical, and religious influences?



This is a straw man argument. I don't really have an opinion on the precise development of ship building design. That is entirely extraneous to the point being made here. Which is that if two ship designs are used in a given era and one of them is clearly more advantageous to have then the other one would fall out of favor.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
Do you really believe that technology exists independently of all outside influences on the people creating and using it?



This too is a straw man.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
It's not logical to assume the same progression of technology at the same pace when there are wildly different factors involved.



And this too is a straw man.

You are acting as if we are making different arguments than we are.

I am not sure what point you are trying to make here, other than you really like the idea that some peoples would persist in using a vastly inferior ship design in the face of being out competed by a vastly superior ship design. I don't know what sensible argument there could be for that other than "those are cool ship designs", which has already been acknowledged.
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 04 Dec 2021 :  03:47:22  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
There's no straw man here. Just because something was phased out by a certain point in the real world does not mean the same thing would happen in a place with wildly different influences. I don't get why it's so difficult to understand that changing variables changes the end result.

Again, look at the real world. Even today there are plenty of examples of better technologies that have not supplanted worse ones. Electric cars, for example, quite predate cars with internal combustion engines -- but here we all, almost 200 years later, with billions more gas-powered cars than electric ones in existence. Sure, electric cars weren't all that practical or efficient when invented -- but neither were gas ones. And yet electric cars were pretty much forgotten for well over 100 years.

Look at vinyl records. We have streaming audio, CDs, MP3s -- and vinyl records are still being made. There are better technologies, but some people continue to buy vinyl, so the inferior technology lingers decades past its prime.

Even in the real world, better does not always replace worse. It's not at all unrealistic for the same thing to happen in a fictitious setting.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 04 Dec 2021 03:49:26
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thenightgaunt
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Posted - 04 Dec 2021 :  03:49:53  Show Profile Send thenightgaunt a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by thenightgaunt


But I'll also ask that they not begrudge me my desire to run D&D in a setting where I sat down an applied logical consistency to the design of the game world. Even if only for my own amusement.



No one is asking you not to apply logical consistency -- the opposite, in fact: You have to apply ALL factors.



No, you're telling me that I'm wrong to want to apply consistency to the design of a game world. And I can't apply all factors because they aren't real. I can't assume that elven farming techniques would advance what would otherwise be late medieval farming to modern factory farm levels because elves aren't real and so using them is just a random handwave to make whatever you want to work to work.

How can a place as small as Goldenfields supply all of Waterdeep with food? Handwave it, and say it's unicorn fertilizer if that's enough. For me though, it isn't enough.

Let's say I want to design a farm town outside of Waterdeep.

I have 2 options I like and they are wildly different because they're based on techniques 500 years apart. You cannot have the advanced one while keeping the old because the advanced one was based on 500 years of learning new things about plants, farming, soil quality and so forth and adapting them to the old ones. Once you know these techniques there is zero reason or benefit to keep the old ones. And while those differences can exist thousands of miles apart, it's silly to imagine them living side by side. Because eventually the farmers using the old techniques would start to wonder if maybe the reason they keep losing kids during the winter to starvation is because they're not doing whatever the fat happy folk across the river are doing.

Now I'm fine with both types of farming for my story, but they do produce different types of communities around them. One might be a better producer then the other. One might need help more and be constantly on the edge of ruin. Those differences could bring in different elements and pressures that could make for different but interesting plot hooks and adventure ideas. So which to go with? Well like I said I like both perfectly equally.

In that case, then knowing something like "oh, Waterdeep does have primitive seed drills thanks to gnomes" helps because then I can say "oh, that's relatively advanced agricultural tech. Ok it'd make more sense for it to be the latter farm town style".

That's the question I was asking. Not "Is waterdeep a perfect tudor city?" but "with it's advancements, what might be the roughest possible equivalent?

Because knowing THAT also makes it easy to make other assumptions instead of having to research the lore every time in the hopes of finding out if at some point in the last 30 years Ed Greenwood mentioned offhand that they know enough about plumbing in Waterdeep that they have invented the U-bend or if people are dumping chamberpots out into the gutters.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 04 Dec 2021 :  05:36:55  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by thenightgaunt

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by thenightgaunt


But I'll also ask that they not begrudge me my desire to run D&D in a setting where I sat down an applied logical consistency to the design of the game world. Even if only for my own amusement.



No one is asking you not to apply logical consistency -- the opposite, in fact: You have to apply ALL factors.



No, you're telling me that I'm wrong to want to apply consistency to the design of a game world. And I can't apply all factors because they aren't real. I can't assume that elven farming techniques would advance what would otherwise be late medieval farming to modern factory farm levels because elves aren't real and so using them is just a random handwave to make whatever you want to work to work.


The game world itself isn't real. Why can't things that are very real within the game world be applied to that world?

And no, I NEVER said you were wrong to want to apply consistency. I'm saying you're wrong to refuse to apply in-setting factors to a fictitious setting just because those factors don't exist in the real world. You're applying your own handwavium as a reason to avoid handwavium.

You don't want to consider that elves and dragons and orc hordes would have an influence? Fine, take them out. Don't have them in the setting at all. That's the only logical way for them to not have any influence.

Since you're refusing to apply factors that very much would influence this fictitious setting, I see no point in continuing the discussion. I'm out.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 04 Dec 2021 05:38:58
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

Australia
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Posted - 04 Dec 2021 :  06:40:06  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Kelcimer

Hello thenightgaunt!

quote:
Originally posted by thenightgaunt
But because they're all lumped together you get that fun moment where the DM says that the navy is pursuing your small caravel with a mighty Dromond warship (because the author thought it looked cool and had decent speed and a lot of sailors and was 2x as expensive as the caravel in the book). To which a knowledgeable player sighs with relief and says it isn't a huge threat because that's a big Greek, single square sailed galley or the 12th century at best being used to purse what is basically a small, fast, massively maneuverable Portuguese ship of the 15th century which can use it's twin lateen (triangular) sails to just...tack into the wind...and generally out maneuver and stay ahead of the Dromond until it's rowers collapse. Because if there's one thing single mast square sail ships suck at, its going against the wind. One of many reasons they stopped using that design by the time the caravel was in use.

That situation is completely avoidable of course and both you I and any good DM could just work around it, but it's just so very very silly. And that can take away from the moment.



I am persuaded. Ships are not my thing. But if you were at my table fielding that information I would stop, have a thoughtful discussion on the matter, and then hot fix it on the spot with a solution based upon the knowledge of all the players on the matter. I don't care if it about basketweaving. If it relates to how the world functions and getting the details right make it for my players, then I will adjust the world.



I'm not persuaded. The moment is taken away when the DM lazily drops in RW names. Tell the players in their relthor sailing ship that they are being pursued by the Black Kraken pirate fleet in their omarth ships, which are twice their size and have black sails that spell death on the high seas. RW touchstones help some DMs, however they should never be featured in such a way that breaks the immersion of players. Too many FR products have made this mistake over the years.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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sleyvas
Great Reader

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Posted - 04 Dec 2021 :  14:26:17  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

quote:
Originally posted by Kelcimer

Hello thenightgaunt!

quote:
Originally posted by thenightgaunt
But because they're all lumped together you get that fun moment where the DM says that the navy is pursuing your small caravel with a mighty Dromond warship (because the author thought it looked cool and had decent speed and a lot of sailors and was 2x as expensive as the caravel in the book). To which a knowledgeable player sighs with relief and says it isn't a huge threat because that's a big Greek, single square sailed galley or the 12th century at best being used to purse what is basically a small, fast, massively maneuverable Portuguese ship of the 15th century which can use it's twin lateen (triangular) sails to just...tack into the wind...and generally out maneuver and stay ahead of the Dromond until it's rowers collapse. Because if there's one thing single mast square sail ships suck at, its going against the wind. One of many reasons they stopped using that design by the time the caravel was in use.

That situation is completely avoidable of course and both you I and any good DM could just work around it, but it's just so very very silly. And that can take away from the moment.



I am persuaded. Ships are not my thing. But if you were at my table fielding that information I would stop, have a thoughtful discussion on the matter, and then hot fix it on the spot with a solution based upon the knowledge of all the players on the matter. I don't care if it about basketweaving. If it relates to how the world functions and getting the details right make it for my players, then I will adjust the world.



I'm not persuaded. The moment is taken away when the DM lazily drops in RW names. Tell the players in their relthor sailing ship that they are being pursued by the Black Kraken pirate fleet in their omarth ships, which are twice their size and have black sails that spell death on the high seas. RW touchstones help some DMs, however they should never be featured in such a way that breaks the immersion of players. Too many FR products have made this mistake over the years.

-- George Krashos



Not necessarily lazy... for a lot of folks they just DON'T KNOW... so they start out learning all these new words by immersing themselves in this game. For instance, I never knew what a falchion was before this game, and so when I discovered the term and realized what it looked like, it was easier to describe a "weapon with that look" as a falchion. Everything was but a sword when I started, and a javelin was just a spear. Similarly, I have ingrained in my psyche exactly what the difference is between conjuration, evocation, illusion, enchantment, etc... but to others those terms just mean "magic". Now I know a ton of words about weapons, armor, castles, trees, metals, gems, spells, etc.... and sometimes when I try to talk to someone not so immersed I realize just how many terms for the parts of a knife I just take for granted.

Then there's AJA.... who continually makes me learn new words

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
3713 Posts

Posted - 04 Dec 2021 :  16:16:03  Show Profile Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Dromonds are canonical Forgotten Realms ship styles/designs anyway. As are galleons, junks, kayaks, longships, caravels, carracks, dhows, and a ton of other actual boat styles/designs. That aside, in my experience, it's always been more useful to be relatable to the players, rather than throw in buzzwords for the sake of immersion. Or, when/if you do, have visual aids or take a second or two to explain out of game exactly what a [insert Forgotten Realms buzzword term] actually is.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

Elves of Faerūn
Vol I- The Elves of Faerūn
Vol. III- Spells of the Elves
Vol. VI- Mechanical Compendium
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Kelcimer
Learned Scribe

USA
128 Posts

Posted - 05 Dec 2021 :  05:36:47  Show Profile Send Kelcimer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hello Wooly Rupert!

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Just because something was phased out by a certain point in the real world does not mean the same thing would happen in a place with wildly different influences. I don't get why it's so difficult to understand that changing variables changes the end result.


I didn't know how important keels were, but thenightgaunt articulated very cleanly how important they are and how fast they make non-keel boats obsolete. You don't need to know any other variables. As soon as keels are a thing, then non-keel boats will go out of use. Not rocket surgery.

Trying to say that keels won't catch on in non-keel societies because of elves, magic, or something is just kinda lame. The value of keels is independent of setting. It has nothing to do with magic and elves and stuff.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
Again, look at the real world. Even today there are plenty of examples of better technologies that have not supplanted worse ones. Electric cars, for example, quite predate cars with internal combustion engines -- but here we all, almost 200 years later, with billions more gas-powered cars than electric ones in existence. Sure, electric cars weren't all that practical or efficient when invented -- but neither were gas ones. And yet electric cars were pretty much forgotten for well over 100 years.


I don't think it is at all obvious that electric cars are superior to internal combustion engines. People keep trying to push electric cars, but so far they have not yet created enough value for people to transition to them in bulk.

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
Look at vinyl records. We have streaming audio, CDs, MP3s -- and vinyl records are still being made. There are better technologies, but some people continue to buy vinyl, so the inferior technology lingers decades past its prime.



Vinyl has made a resurgence in the past decade or so as people have come to recognize the benefits of listening to music on vinyl. Are records bigger and harder to transport than all the stuff you mentioned? Yeah. That's not the point. Vinyl sounds better. Here is a video by a musician expounding on the matter:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSpghVWxCAU

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
Even in the real world, better does not always replace worse. It's not at all unrealistic for the same thing to happen in a fictitious setting.



You haven't yet made your argument about the real world "better does not always replace worse", whereas I think thenightgaunt has sufficiently made his point about how technologies that become obsolete wind up not getting used anymore.

Thenightgaunt articulated the power of the keel. Here is what he had to say in case you forgot:

quote:
Originally posted by thenightgaunt
But because they're all lumped together you get that fun moment where the DM says that the navy is pursuing your small caravel with a mighty Dromond warship (because the author thought it looked cool and had decent speed and a lot of sailors and was 2x as expensive as the caravel in the book). To which a knowledgeable player sighs with relief and says it isn't a huge threat because that's a big Greek, single square sailed galley or the 12th century at best being used to purse what is basically a small, fast, massively maneuverable Portuguese ship of the 15th century which can use it's twin lateen (triangular) sails to just...tack into the wind...and generally out maneuver and stay ahead of the Dromond until it's rowers collapse.



Maneuverability of a ship is not like CDs vs records. Maneuverability on the high seas is a matter of getting your goods to their destination, is a matter life and death. The invention of the keel is not something that can lightly be ignored.

You have not yet said anything to justify it being lightly ignored.
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