Medieval Bills of Exchange — A Writer’s Perspective

Last week there was a question in the comments from Ellen Hawley who wanted to know how the innkeepers who stored and organised the transport of goods on behalf of merchants were paid by those merchants. I touched on this subject a bit when we were looking at how ransoms for prisoners of war were […]Continue reading “Medieval Bills of Exchange — A Writer’s Perspective”

“Just Enough Light: Some Thoughts on Fantasy and Literature,” the 2021 Tolkien Lecture by Guy Gavriel Kay — A Pilgrim in Narnia

I was pleased last week to watch the 8th annual J.R.R Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature, an annual lecture on fantasy literature held at Pembroke College, Oxford, this year broadcast online. The Tolkien Lecture on Fantasy Literature was established in 2013 at Pembroke College, Oxford, where J.R.R. Tolkien worked for twenty years as a professor […]Continue reading ““Just Enough Light: Some Thoughts on Fantasy and Literature,” the 2021 Tolkien Lecture by Guy Gavriel Kay — A Pilgrim in Narnia”

Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part X

THE RISE AND FALL OF EMPIRES At the mention of the word “empire” no one would fault you if the first thing that sprang to mind was the Roman one. After all, that’s arguably the most famous empire of all, at least in the Western world. But it wasn’t the first, and it certainly wasn’tContinue reading “Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part X”

Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part Nine

TRADERS, PLUNDERERS, AND PIRATES Every fantasy world has its material goods, whether it be everyday items such as food and clothing, or more specialised items such as weapons and armour. The most basic goods will be made from the most basic, readily available materials, such as stone and bone, wood and horn, fur and feather,Continue reading “Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part Nine”

Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part Eight

BARBARIANS With the rise of civilisation there came a new characterisation of those who had already existed since long before. As people began to gather together in large urban centres and dwell there for generations, putting down roots, the folk who had continued living nomadic or semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer or pastoralist/horticulturalist lifestyles as they had forContinue reading “Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part Eight”

Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part Seven

THE AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION AND THE RISE OF CITY-STATES Mesopotamia, the land “Between Rivers”, namely the Tigris and Euphrates in what is now Iraq, is considered the cradle of civilisation. There are a number of factors that made it perfect for the rise of the first known cities and city-states, but it’s important to note thatContinue reading “Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part Seven”

Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part Six

CULTURE: MATERIAL AND SYMBOLIC Studying real-world cultures can help you in your endeavour to populate your world with realistic societies. You needn’t invent a culture whole cloth; you can base your fantasy cultures on one or more existing ones, or even blend two or more of them to make a new one. Just keep inContinue reading “Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part Six”

Making Friends For Life From Tabletop RPGs — StoryTogether

Great, lasting relationships are built on the foundation of shared experiences. Whether it’s the couple who have been married for fifty years, or a group of best friends since childhood, or even a long-running team in sports, the foundation of the experiences that they’ve shared form the strength and depth of their relationships. Marriages, friendships, […]Continue reading “Making Friends For Life From Tabletop RPGs — StoryTogether”

7 Tips to Write Better Fantasy with History — The Spinning Pen

7 Tips to Write Better Fantasy with History So you think you have an original fantasy world? That may be so, but creating something from nothing is nearly impossible. Much of what we create is repackaged. We borrow. We polish. We add a flame. Some of the greatest writers borrow from history to create their […]Continue reading “7 Tips to Write Better Fantasy with History — The Spinning Pen”

Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part Five

FORMS OF GOVERNMENT The next thing you’re going to want to consider is what sort of government (if any) each society that inhabits your fictional world will have and how stable it is. If you take a look inside any typical history book, you will quickly realize that the story it tells is mainly concernedContinue reading “Worldbuilding for Fantasy Writers and Gamemasters, Part Five”