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"Realistic" things that no-one actually wants to deal with in fantasy games


found the shaved monkeys
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These things sometimes get addressed in play, but half-heartedly. Because in the end, it's just not fun to "simulate" too much! What do you think?

1. Coins and monetary system
Walk into a bar, throw down a coin that you just looted from the 2000-year old Tomb of the Demon King. It is of unknown weight and purity and has scary looking runes stamped onto it. The barkeep takes it no questions asked and gives you your change, which operates on a decile system - 1 demon-king gold coin, and a beer costs 1/10, so there's 9 silvers back.

2. Languages
Most games have more or less complex rules for which languages are known by whom to what level. In practice, everyone just talks the same language, though the NPC orcs might use broken English.

3. Hygiene
Getting a bath is never a priority, let alone intimate hygiene-related matters. Do the characters use toilet paper? Don't ask, don't tell. Just walk straight in to the throne room after a month in the wilderness without a change of clothes.

4. The logistics of wilderness trekking
Similar to the above, the extreme difficulty and unpleasantness of roughing it outdoors is usually elided into a couple of rolls for foraging and random encounters. No-one bats an eye at heading off into trackless wastes without so much as a bedroll. And it's kind of assumed that the backpack is as carefully designed, lightweight and waterproof as the most hi-tech products of the modern outdoor leisure industry,

5. Horses
Horses are just machines that transport PCs from place to place. They might not have names, they certainly don't get sick or injured, they always have enough food and water, and never make trouble. Operate at the maximum pace that the book says they can for 14 days straight? No problem.

6. Xenophobia

Half a dozen armed-to-the-teeth ruffians can walk into a small village in a place that's not even inhabited by their ethnic kinfolk and get a bed and a meal without a problem. There are a few racial prejudices played out in the most exaggerated way to make a point, but as for general stranger-wariness and shunning of outsiders, it's not an issue.


Registered User
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Toilet arrangements in dungeons. Both for the adventurers and the inhabitants.


I used to be Ovid.
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8. General sickness and disease: it lowers player effectiveness and agency for longer periods without much pay-off.

I am a sucker for systems that handle some of these things well, though: like TOR's journey mechanics and wilderness travel.


Registered User
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9. Proper treatment of aristocrats. If things were handled realistically, many PCs would have been executed long ago.

10. Religion. Even your average D&D cleric only prays for spells, not for any other reason, and he or she doesn't do any other ritual, pilgrimage, penance, fasting or similar. If you're not a cleric, the gods often might as well not exist.

Lord Raziere

Registered User
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11. The fact that most superpowers would probably kill you if used.
Just go look up any science article examining any superpower on ANYTHING and they will probably tell all about how if you had this power, it would kill or injure you for having it without some required secondary superpower. fantasy often has these powers in the form of magic in some way shape or form and people just use them without a second thought.


neither glitter, nor substance
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For things "no-one" wants to deal with, there's a surprising ammount of games that do it and people that complain about it when it's not properly adressed, especially 2-5 and 9-10. Warhammer, GURPS and The One Ring come to mind especially, but discussions about "How do I make my players actually roleplay being religious" and "Do you also have trouble with suicidal players giving lip to everyone" are older than the Internet.

12. Nutrition
Without proper nutrition you would feel and act sub-optimally. This can quickly become an issue if you spend a lot of time trekking and exploring long-lost ruins deep beneath the earth. Scurvy and other nasty issues might pop-up if the rations you picked up are not well-balanced, and conservation becomes an issue if you want to spend weeks in some fancy mega-dungeon even if you did bring several weeks' worth of food. Drinking water is usually a serious issue for any traveller, but is glossed over even more often than food.
Of course, this is also something people ignore IRL (including myself).


Registered User
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13. Clothing, aside from generic "cold-weather" and "hot-weather" gear. Changing, washing or otherwise dealing with clothing is rarely bothered with.

14. Related to the above: drying, or keeping things like paper dry. PCs can happily wade through rivers (or sewers!) without issues afterwards.


Registered User
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15. Society: a pre-industrial setting would not be a level field. The normal state of affairs would probably be oppressive and "evil" for the majority from a modern perspective, but of course an ancient extra-dimensional evil phenomenon make better adventure.

16. ”You can make a difference”: the idea that PCs can rise through the ranks and right some wrongs would not be impossible, but there would be resistance as somebody's privileges and class "purity", if you like, would be in danger. Low status characters would not get past the guards in their efforts to have a chat with a noble. In all their conduct they would have to work through people who know somebody who know somebody who know somebody, and in the end they would be considered peasants.

You could build your game around a noble PC or PCs who, supported by a retinue with a variety of personalities and skills, would have access to barons and baronesses, would have the freedom/permission to travel (as an armed group) and "right" the wrongs, meanwhile benefitting from the inequality.


Registered User
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17. Concussion. The idea that someone can't consistently get knocked unconscious and then happily get up and take on fight after fight.

18. PTSD. The idea that someone can't psychologically deal with doing it either.


Registered User
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19. The actual time required to put on armor. Party is sleeping soundly when attacked. Unless he's sleeping in his full plate (good luck with that), the encounter would be long over before the fighter could suit up. Not to mention that it really isn't a solo job and he really needs help to put it on as well.
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