This work is a compilation of a wide spectrum of aspects of the medieval world and medieval life gathered under the impetus of a dedication to pursuing research that most people in this busy modern age simply don’t have the time, patience, or general inclination to embark upon by themselves. Most of the pertinent information is boiled down and condensed for the sake of clarity and convenience. While some of the information presented may be deemed by a few to be rather esoteric or superfluous in nature on first reading, further exposure reveals it to actually embody the basics for understanding the medieval environment in such a way that it becomes more compatible with the aims and purposes of a roleplaying game.
Here, all the little details of the medieval gameworld in which the character was born and grew up are provided, and it behooves the player to be familiar with the experiences and practices to which the characters have been exposed throughout their lives up to the time when they are brought into active game-play. This adds a dimension and richness to one’s roleplay that benefits the whole game for all involved. Where the player is dealing with a GM who is using this information as the basis for his fantasy world, it becomes an indispensable primer for roleplaying in that world, an aid to getting used to the practices and inside the heads of the medieval people who will populate the gameworld, with whom the players’ characters must blend (to a certain extent).
This is covered in the first part, “The Medieval Mind”.
“Conditions of Daily Life”sheds light on the most common blind spots or complete misinterpretations or cross-period amalgamations in most peoples’ concepts of the medieval era that commonly get transferred directly into most GM’s medieval fantasy gameworlds. Now some of these blind spots or misinterpretations or cross-period amalgamations can make for an interesting gameworld, BUT the GM should use such things with knowledge aforethought so he can anticipate their impact on the other medieval standards drawn from the historic records in order that his world have a sense of internal consistency to aid and reinforce the players in suspending their disbelief.
The only liberty that has been taken in compiling this work is the fact that the usually much narrower definition of the “period of the game” for purposes of defining the “medieval era” discussed in this book, which observes a general cut-off point of 1348, on the eve before the great devastation of the Black Death, is occasionally broadened due to the fact that a few developments or social practices that are commonly associated with the medieval period actually did not come into being until the eve of the Renaissance or later. These are included due to the need to show the developments that often followed certain practices or innovations. Because many of these things have little real impact of the essential “feudal” nature of the hierarchically stratified medieval society or the basic “medieval-ness” of the genré for the purposes of tabletop gaming, AND due to the fact that in most peoples’ minds they belong together, they are included BUT identified as clearly as may be so as not to cause confusion with the historic record, with dates to provide a “long view” perspective.
There is no more important aspect to successfully roleplaying a character in a medieval fantasy setting than the player’s understanding of the conditions that prevailed historically, both in regards to the social realities and the technological accomplishments. Once the player has these things under his belt, he will be ready to play any sort of character that appeals to him in a medieval-based fantasy setting with exceptional insight and skill, to the envy of all the other players and the pride of his GM.