Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Research Can Be Fun...

Here are some excellent free documentaries on YouTube you can mine for adventure material...

Monty Python's Terry Jones on the Crusades (he has a whole series of Medieval docs, I think this is the only one on YouTube, but there's a bunch more on Netflix if you have that)
(And if you don't want to listen to Terry Jones going on about the Middle Ages then, really, what kind of human being are you?)

BBC doc on Medieval maps, including lots of stuff about dog-headed men and a guy who uses his single grotesquely-swollen foot as a form of sunblock.

Leonard Nimoy narrating a thing on the Library at Alexandria...


  1. Thanks for the heads up on the Crusades documentary.

    I believe Terry Jones's Medieval Lives has its own channel on youtube.

  2. I'd like to say that Jones did one about the Greeks too, but I may be making that up, or confusing it with the mid-80's Odysseus done by Tony Robinson.

  3. Watching documentaries is great for gaming inspiration. As well as the tabletop stuff, I'm writing for a post-apocalyptic Steampunk game, and there's plenty of good documentaries (BBC and otherwise) out there that have given me great ideas to work into games.

    Inspiration from historical battles, politicking, technological innovations, cultures, religions, even fashion. It all helps in creating a richer, more vibrant world to play in :-)

  4. In a similar vein, 'Inside the Medieval Mind' is fantastic. The episode on Belief in particular is nicely applicable to D&D.


  5. There's even a greater selection of books: A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman, The Middle Ages by Morris Bishop, Ian Mortimer's The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England,the Joseph and Frances Gies series of " Life in" books. If you want to know about a few of the major conflicts in the 13'th-14'th century in Europe, Desmond Stewarts' The Hundred Years War and Wars of the Roses is very good and Western Warfare in the age of the Crusades by John France paints a really good portrait what it was like if you were a solder or even an adventure in any of the campaigns.

  6. @Ursca

    I liked those alright, but the humorless, hyperdramatic narration could bug some people

  7. Hyperdramatic narration bugs the hell out of me. I far prefer the kind of narrator who sounds like he's telling you all about it in the quiet corner booth of some bar somewhere over a couple of pints of Arrogant Bastard, or something.