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Old 12-10-2017, 08:26 AM   #1
Reaver
 
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Default "Medieval" fantasy with tech 2?

Out of boredom I read the low tech book. I noticed that a lot of things are available early on (I was particularly surprised about long bows and crossbows, I thought they were tech 3). Now I wonder if you could create a medieval fantasy setting while limiting yourself to tech 2. Most of it seems to be there, except for the obvious stuff like plate armor. Or am I missing something?
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:44 AM   #2
Phil Masters
 
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Default Re: "Medieval" fantasy with tech 2?

The difference between those TLs is ... real but subtle, and plate armour aside, mostly ends up involving non-combat stuff. So if you don't mind not having knights in shining armour - which might even reduce the combat advantage for very rich characters (or to put it another way, save dedicated fighters from having to drop a lot of points in wealth) - and are aiming to focus more on the sticking-swords-in-monsters stuff than on the feudal economics stuff, TL2 would probably be fine. Frankly, a lot of Conanesque fantasy is probably more TL2 than TL3.

Of course, you'd be even less justified in letting TL4 stuff like clocks, telescopes, or big galleons slip in, if your players would worry about that.
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Old 12-10-2017, 12:02 PM   #3
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Default Re: "Medieval" fantasy with tech 2?

What non-combat stuff?
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Old 12-10-2017, 12:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: "Medieval" fantasy with tech 2?

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What non-combat stuff?
Well, take a quick look at the list of technologies in Low-Tech (p. 6). At TL 2, it suggests common developments are "Riding horses and mounted herdsmen; concrete; large glass objects; arches, vaults, and domes; early water mills; theoretical mathematics; humoral medicine. ... Multiethnic empires; founding of universal religions; philosophy; historical scholarship; coinage.", while at TL 3, you've got "Three-field rotation; moldboard plow; heavy horses; flying buttress; windmills and widely used water mills; distillation; compasses; numerals with zero... Universal religions; monasticism."

So, your TL 2 setting might lack some stuff people associate with the medieval period, even if only unconsciously: the moldboard plow, for example, is generally considered to have allowed the heavier soils in Northern Europe to be effectively tilled for intensive agriculture. So if you're earlier than that, regions that we think of as major medieval centers, like England, Germany, and northern France, will be much less important and heavily settled. Or consider distillation! Without that, everybody, from peasants to the nobility, will be drinking beer, wine, and mead, but not whiskey, brandy, vodka, etc.

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Old 12-10-2017, 12:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: "Medieval" fantasy with tech 2?

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What non-combat stuff?
Well, the thing that first occurs to me is a significant improvement in agricultural technology. Which matters a lot to historians, and to the peasants and landowners living there -- but adventurers are often the sort of people who want to get as far away from farming as possible. And shipbuilding technology improved a lot, but not in ways that make a huge difference to adventurers -- though the feel of travel by round ship will be a bit different to travelling by longship, and strictly speaking you may be able to get further, more safely.

You do get some significant advances in architecture. So if you want proper medieval castles, or soaring cathedrals, you really have to go to TL3. But you can have perfectly good solid walls at TL2.

Which is just a start. TL3 does also give you a wider selection of weapons, I should note, but the basic sharp things to poke in the other guy go right back to TL1 or 0.
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Old 12-10-2017, 01:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: "Medieval" fantasy with tech 2?

Remember TL2 is more in common with the "Classical" era than with "Medieval" era
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Old 12-10-2017, 01:43 PM   #7
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Default Re: "Medieval" fantasy with tech 2?

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What non-combat stuff?
It can be generalized as Starting Wealth. That's $750 instead of $1000. Making every non-combat thing you encounter only 75% as big or that much lower in quality would go a long way,
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Old 12-10-2017, 02:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: "Medieval" fantasy with tech 2?

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Now I wonder if you could create a medieval fantasy setting while limiting yourself to tech 2.
Sounds like RuneQuest and Glorantha to me.
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Old 12-10-2017, 03:04 PM   #9
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Sounds like RuneQuest and Glorantha to me.
Or a Romano-British Arthur game.
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Old 12-10-2017, 04:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: "Medieval" fantasy with tech 2?

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Of course, you'd be even less justified in letting TL4 stuff like clocks, telescopes, or big galleons slip in, if your players would worry about that.
Instead they get to see galleys... Horses will be smaller too, so lighter cavalry and/or chariots, rather than heavy horses with big guys with lances mounted on them.

Oh, and bronze plate will be a thing.
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