Race in fantasy: signpost

Race has been an issue in fantasy world-building and gaming for a while now. Since the beginning really, but it has been a slow burner in terms of how much attention most gamers have paid to it (as a topic of discussion rather than just as a box to fill on the character sheet).  I’ve… Continue reading Race in fantasy: signpost

Categorized as Journal Tagged

Racial mixing vs separation

In this post (part of a series on race in fantasy), I will discuss the logic of what happens if different fantasy races can interbreed, and what world building options are therefore open to a logical world-builder. Two disclaimers before I get into this: I am talking about biological heredity: what modern science calls genes… Continue reading Racial mixing vs separation

Dragons in core 5e

I’ve looked over the information in the core 5e Monster Manual about dragons and analysed it to bring out some universals, some patterns of variation, and some less-patterned specifics. These might be of interest if you’re a GM running 5e dragons (or especially if you’re considering homebrewing dragon stat blocks), or a crunch-oriented player in… Continue reading Dragons in core 5e

Humanoid hybrids in 5e

I would like to review the evidence for interbreeding between different humanoid races in official core 5e DnD material. I suggest that the amount of interbreeding implies that several of these races qualify as a single species, if such a scientific term can be applied to fantasy creatures. (This point is relevant to a few… Continue reading Humanoid hybrids in 5e

Categorized as 5e, Rules Tagged

Africa in the ‘middle ages’* – first readings

I’ve been thinking about researching African history for my world building. I’m a long way from having much worth saying on the subject, but the question was raised on the FaceBook group Medieval World Building: where do you start researching the continent? So I’ve transferred a section of my very first reading plans into this… Continue reading Africa in the ‘middle ages’* – first readings

School of Adventure—Player vs Player (Year Four part 1)

I’ve spent the autumn running the School of Adventure’s Year Four mission online. With about half my original players now off at different secondary schools, I’m down to a core of kids who are now all in the top year of the same real-life primary school and I think pretty much all friends in school… Continue reading School of Adventure—Player vs Player (Year Four part 1)


I’ve done a little reading on portcullises and castle gates. This was sparked by a discussion in a Dungeons & Dragons (DnD) Facebook group about whether an Immovable Rod would stop the descent of a portcullis. Which led to the question of how heavy a portcullis is. I have yet to find an actual figure… Continue reading Portcullises

Coinage systems: western European models

This is a follow up to my earlier post on historical coinage in general (and how it differed from the tons-of-gold decimal system in the Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks). Here, I offer some usable currency systems; they are based on historical models, though mostly somewhat simplified. I have chosen realms and periods where the coinage… Continue reading Coinage systems: western European models

Coins and currency

This post offers some advice on coins and currency in fantasy game or fiction settings. It responds to the way coins are described in Dungeons and Dragons (DnD) rulebooks, with specific reference to the popular and influential current fifth edition of the game (5e), but I aim to give enough information and references that you… Continue reading Coins and currency

Settlements: critique of the DMG guidelines

I’m spurred to write this post by the settlement generation section of the D&D 5e Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG). It looks like it is giving a nice little primer on world building settlements for a medieval fantasy setting. But I think there are a few points where it departs from my own understanding of medieval… Continue reading Settlements: critique of the DMG guidelines