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

Rupert

Active member
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Why would bad weather make things so horrible? I frequently pop on the 14th century hood for such conditions. It's awesomesauce in bad weather. Nowadays people wear flimsy nylon hoods if anything. They would pity *us* in a rain or snowstorm. I will give moderns the edge on footwear, though. Our shoes are one of the modern world's greatest accomplishments.
Good modern outdoors and bad weather clothing is really good - light and effective. However, it's also bloody expensive, often (but not always) wears out fairly quickly, and it's hard to repair so that it remains effective.

I just wish 'natural fibres' didn't always mean 'cotton' in mainstream clothing, unless you pay a lot extra for wool. It's all very well for lightweight summer clothing and indoors wear, but its effing useless for much else.
 

FoolishOwl

Registered User
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Well, "unbroken" suggests there's no happiness, or that they'd be better off dead than alive. People would find happiness in their families, sex, music, work, religions, etc.
Yes, and a prosperous peasant would have their woes, but they'd also feel that they've got it fairly good, since, by their standards, they did. If you portray everything as a shocking contrast with early 21st century living standards, that wouldn't come across.
 

insomniac

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Yes, and a prosperous peasant would have their woes, but they'd also feel that they've got it fairly good, since, by their standards, they did. If you portray everything as a shocking contrast with early 21st century living standards, that wouldn't come across.
There are definitely times I'd rather be a villein than a factory worker...
 

mynamelegend

Registered User
Validated User
Yes, and a prosperous peasant would have their woes, but they'd also feel that they've got it fairly good, since, by their standards, they did. If you portray everything as a shocking contrast with early 21st century living standards, that wouldn't come across.
As long as they were male, followed the right religion, had the right accent, had the right bloodline, had the right bent of masochism to enjoy getting up at 4 AM to till frozen fields, and didn't mind the chance that slightly inclement weather could end the lives of everyone you've ever known in a miserable two-year famine so extreme that people KILLED AND ATE THEIR OWN CHILDREN.

Great Famine of 1315-1317. And that's one of dozens of massive "death toll in the full percentage of the population" famines taking place in the 14th century.

Pre-modern times were a shitstorm of misery and you can point to basically any time and find that the only way to avoid suffering plague, famine, continent-spanning conflagration of inhumanity caused by war or church, or other similarly jolly events is to die too young for that to happen. Yes, much worse than the modern day. Just because you can occasionally get your nose above the waterline and take a few breaths doesn't mean you're not drowning. Your authentic 14th century parka isn't actually that authentic unless you kill half your kids, never travel away from the building you were born in, live for years on 800 calories a day or less, watch some roving crusaders casually rape your wife and daughters and take all your food because some dumb-ass pope decided to make a political statement, and then finally die of the black plague.

But hey, at least you're warm in the snow, so that's nice.
 

Dalillama

Registered User
Validated User
It depends really heavily on who and where you were. A Russian or Chinese serf's life was basically unending drudgery with not enough food and random beatings. An English yeoman farmer worked pretty hard, but wasn't going cold or hungry for the most part. An Irish boaire worked less and ate better, but had access to fewer luxuries. A Dutch burgher had a life that was largely comparable to what a decent salary would give these days except there's no plumbing and the standard of medical care is shit. A Klamath fisher works less than a boaire and eats like a king, and aside from antibiotics, hormone replacement and access to books I'd take it over most any modern arrangement.
 

Reynard

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It occurs to me that it's kind of uncomfortable to suggest life before modern conveniences is not worth living considering how much of the population of the world does not enjoy what we do in the affluent West. Are modern hunter gatherers' lives not worth living, or those of people who live as their ancestors have for centuries?
 

mindstalk

Does the math.
Validated User
the standard of medical care is shit
Meaning half your children will die. Something that was true all the way up to royal families.

It occurs to me that it's kind of uncomfortable to suggest life before modern conveniences is not worth living considering how much of the population of the world does not enjoy what we do in the affluent West.
OTOH, now I want to be alert to running into someone who argues both "the past wasn't that bad/progress is European whiggishness" and "global poverty is horrible and the fault of capitalism".
 

mindstalk

Does the math.
Validated User
Hunter-gatherers have generally speaking had a higher quality of life than your average 14th century serf.
The usual comparison is between hunter-gatherers and early farmers. That's brutal to the farmers. By high medieval times it's looking somewhat different... though the later American colonies had a lot of Europeans running away to join the Indians.

14th century is something of a nadir, what with bad weather famines and the Black Death.

Hunter-gatherers are said to have more free time, often more height, and more independence. OTOH they also often have higher chances of dying in violence.
 

Silvercat Moonpaw

Quadruped Transhuman
Validated User
I'll tell you one thing modern living unambiguously has in relation to the past: access to information. By which I mean "$#!+ for my brain to do".

Also psychiatric medications.

I know because both of these have improved during my lifetime. (Well, I got on medication; I don't conclusively know if the actual stuff is any better.)

It's not that I think the past was miserable. I just know I probably have a better quality of life now than in a great many hypothetical historical or historical-like settings and would rather imagine a setting more like Now or Future-That's-Not-Terrible-Again.
 
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