Irongate PDF Uploaded

I've uploaded a small (one-page) PDF for the town of Irongate (found in the Ruinlands region) that I put together for one of my current Mythosa campaigns. It can be found on the Downloads page.

Mythosa PDF Updated

I finally updated the Mythosa PDF (available on the Downloads page). When I switched from a static HTML site to Blogger, I obviously wanted to preserve the Mythosa pages. Originally, I just printed the pages to PDF and stitched them together into a single file. This was good enough for a start, but not for the long term.

I took the contents of the PDF, cleaned it up, reformatted it, and reposted it. It still could use some more artwork, but that will come later.

Campaign Setting Formats


While reviewing my backlog of PDFs, I was looking through a small campaign settings book (what and by who is irrelevant). As I'm looking through the Table of Contents, I see the same standard chapter - Races, History, Organizations, Religion, etc. On the one hand, this is a good, boilerplate approach to a setting and organized in such a way as to be easily digested by the reader. But on the other hand, I was thinking, is this the only way? We've been following the same basic template for presenting setting information since the late 70's. It's not bad (I certainly have done and am doing the same thing), but is there a better way?

State of the Site

While there is an "About" page on this blog (link over to the right), I figured I'd post some explanations of what is going on with this blog as well as the old Mythosa site.

Currently, the old website is gone (even after I spent a bunch of time revising it…sigh), and this blog is the Internet home for Mythosa, TableSmith, my iOS apps, and whatever other projects I may be working on. I got rid of the old site for a couple reasons. First, I realized that "fantasy campaign setting" sites really aren't a thing any longer. Most of them are gone, and the handful that remain haven't been updated in years (some have been sitting idle for over a decade). Farland is still going, but it's an exception (and has always been at a higher level of quality than most every other world site, mine included). Other than that, most people have moved their content to blogs rather than static HTML sites.

Now, just conforming to the current fashion isn't a reason to move. But I looked at what I was doing with my website, and moreso what I was paying each year to maintain it, and it didn't really make much sense. Blogger (which I'm currently using) meets my needs well enough, and it's free. I'm continuing to pay for the "Mythosa.net" domain, but that's very little compared to maintaining a web host. File storage is handled by Dropbox, so it made little sense to keep the old site going.

The second reason for moving was that a blog supports a "train of thought" development style. I don't have to fill in an entire "chapter" of information if I want to present a portion of the subject; I can just post it to the blog. Granted, I could do that on a static site, but partial entries portray an unfinished, unprofessional appearance. With blogs, it's expected. Plus, the level of detail I've maintained in the past has been, in my opinion, not worth the effort (for me or for visitors). I have some more extensive thoughts on that which I'll be putting into a future post.


An obvious question is why the Mythosa information is in a PDF and the "Gamer's Almanac" has been converted to blog posts. I'd started converting the Mythosa pages to blog posts, but it seemed too disparate. Instead, I compiled the old content into one big PDF (which needs to be reformatted at some point), and only new material will be posted to the blog (and eventually will become supplemental PDFs). The Almanac, on the other hand, is made up of articles that someone would be more likely to be searching for on-line. I figured it would be easier for people to find (and use) that information if it was accessible directly on the blog rather than tucked away inside a PDF.

Weights of Common Substances

Compiled by Andrew Roy

The table below provides density figures for many common (and some not-so-common) substances. This information is useful for determining the weight (or volume) of objects and cargo. This table was pieced together from a wide variety of sources, listed in full at the bottom of the page. The inspiration for this comes from the old Dragon magazine article, "How Heavy is My Giant".

These figures have not been rigorously checked. Do not rely on this as a scientific reference!

Note on measures: Specific gravity is a measure of an object's density. A cubic centimeter of water at 4°C weighs 1 gram, and has a specific gravity of 1. The specific gravity numbers below can be read as "grams per cubic centimeter" (or kg/liter). A solid object with a specific gravity greater than 1 will sink in water. Weight in pounds per cubic inch and foot is also provided to save non-metric users some time on the calculator.

Mohs Hardness Scale

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material.

RatingTest RockOther Tests
1TalcCan be scratched by fingernail
2GypsumScratched by copper/bronze coin
3CalciteScratched by copper/bronze coin
4FluoriteScratched by steel; scratches coin
5ApatiteScratched by steel; scratches coin
6FeldsparScratches glass
7QuartzNot scratched by steel
8TopazNot scratched by steel
9CorundumNot scratched by steel
10DiamondNo mineral harder


Melting Points of Common Metals

Temperatures are approximate.

Metal°K°C°F
aluminum942°669°1236°
copper1357°1083°1982°
gold1338°1064°1948°
iron/steel1808°1535°2795°
lead601°328°622°
nickel1726°1453°2647°
platinum2045°1772°3222°
silver1235°962°1764°
tin505°232°450°
titanium1933°1660°3020°
zinc693°420°787°

Hex Areas

A lot of gamers use hex paper for maps, battle schematics, etc. Hexes are usually defined by how far across they are from one flat side to another. This is great for most purposes. Occasionally, however, you want to know the area of a set of hexagons. The formula, unfortunately, is a bit daunting for the non-mathematically inclined. Here's a simple table showing the area of various hex sizes:

Distance across hex Area of hex (rounded)
1 1
2 3
3 8
4 14
5 22
6 31
7 42
8 55
9 70
10 87
15 195
20 346
25 541
30 779
35 1061
40 1386
42 1528
45 1754
50 2165
75 4871
100 8660
125 13532
150 19486
175 26522
200 34641
250 54127
500 216506
1000 866025

The formula, in case you want to insert values that aren't on the table or want exact values, is: (6tan30*Distance^2) / 4.

Populations of Medieval Europe

The table below contains the approximate population of various parts of Europe during the Middle Ages. Numbers are in millions.


Region1000130015001700
Balkans--78
Low Countries--23
British Isles2559
Danubian Countries--69
France5151619
Germany3121315
Italy5101113
Poland--46
Russia--1018
Scandanavia---3
Spain and Portugal--910

Source: The Medieval Technology Pages

Human and Animal Lifespans

The following information is compiled from a number of sources. Additional lifespans may be found at Dr. Bob's All Creature Site.

These represent estimates of the life expectancies of the population as a whole. In many instances life expectancy varied considerably according to class and gender. Life expectancy rises sharply in all cases for those who reach puberty. All statistics include infant mortality, but not miscarriage or abortion.

Humans by EraAverage Lifespan at Birth (years)
Upper Paleolithic33*
Neolithic20
Bronze Age18
Classical Greece20-30
Classical Rome20-30
Pre-Columbian North America25-35
Medieval Islamic Caliphate35+**
Medieval Britain20-30
Early 20th Century30-40
Current world average66.12 (2008 est.)

*: At age 15: 39 (to age 54)
**: The average lifespans of the scholarly class were 59–84.3 years in the Middle East and 69–75 in Islamic Spain.

Animal and Creature Group Names

AnimalName
albatrossrookery
alligatorscongregation
angels*host
antelopeherd
antsarmy, colony, nest, swarm
apesshrewdness, troop
apparitions*academy
assesdrove, herd, pace
aukscolony, flock, raft
baboonsflange, troop
bacteriaculture
badgerscete, colony, company, set
banshees*racket
barracudasbattery
basilisks*tackle
bassshoal
batscloud, colony
bears (adult)sleuth, sloth
beaverscolony, family
beesgrist, hive, nest, swarm
behemoths*spectacle
birdsbrace, congregation, dissimulation, flock, volary
bisonherd
bitternssedge, siege
bloodhoundssute
boarssounder, singular
bobolinkschain
bucksbrace, clash
buffalogang, herd, obstinacy, troop
bullfinchesbellowing
bullocksdrove
butterfliesflight, flutter
buzzardswake
camelscaravan, flock, train
caponsmews
caribouherd
caterpillarsarmy
cats (general)clowder, clutter, glare, nuisance, pounce
cattledrove, herd, team
centaurs*eminence
cheetahscoalition
cherubim*compass
chickensbrood, peep
chicksclutch, chattering
chimerae*braid
chinchillacolony
choughsclattering
clamsbed
cobrasquiver
cockatrices*cabal
cockroachesintrusion
codlap
coltsrag, rake
cootscover, raft
cormorantsgulp
cowskine
coyoteband
crabscast
cranesherd, sedge, siege
crocodilesbask, float
crowshorde, murder, parcel
cubslitter
curlewsherd
curscowardice
deerherd, leash
demons*legion
devils*bombast
dogskennel, litter, pack
dolphinspod
donkeysdrove, herd, pace
dottereltrip
dovesbevy, cote, dole, dule, paddling, piteousness
dragons*dignity
dryads*brace
ducks (flight)flock
ducks (ground)badling, brace
ducks (water)paddling, raft, team
dunlinsfling
eaglesaerie, convocation
eelsbed, fry, swarm
eggsclutch
elephant seals (weaner pod = yearling elephant seals)pod
elephantsherd, memory
elksgang , herd
emusmob
falconscast
ferretsbusiness, cast, fesnying
finchescharm
fishcatch, drought, haul, run, school, shoal
flamingoesflamboyance, stand
fliesbusiness, cloud, swarm
foxeslead, leash, skulk
frogsarmy, colony, knot
gargoyles*audacity
geese (flight)skein
geese (ground)corps, herd, gaggle
ghosts*congress
ghouls*shroud
giraffestower
gnatscloud, horde, swarm
gnusimplausibility
goatsdrove, herd, tribe, trip
goldfinchescharm
goldfishglint, troubling
gorillasband, troop
goshawksflight
grasshopperscloud
greyhoundsleash
griffins*senate
guillemotsbazaar
guinea fowlconfusion
gullscolony, screech
haresdown, husk
harpies*clamor
hawks (flight)kettle
hawks (general)cast
hawks (spiraling)boil
hedgehogsarray
hensbrood
heronshedge, sedge, siege
herringsarmy, shoal
hippopotamusesbloat
hogsdrift, passel, parcel
hornetsbike, nest
horses (general)harras, stable, team, troop
horses (wild)herd
houndscry, mute, pack
housecatsclowder, cluster, dout, nuisance
hummingbirdscharm
hyenascackle, clan
ifrits*storm
impalasherd
insectshorde, nest, plague, rabble, swarm
jackrabbitshusk
jaysband, party, scold
jellyfishbrood, smack
kangaroosherd, mob, troop
kittenslitter, kindle
lapwingsdeceit
larksascension, exaultation
leopardsleap, leep, lepe
leprechauns*indulgence
liceflock
lionspride, sault, troop
lizardslounge
locustsplague
magpiescharm, gulp, murder, tiding
mallards (flight)sord
mallards (general)brace
maresstud
martensrichness
mermaids*gossip
micemischief
midgesbite
minnowsshoal, steam, swarm
molescompany, labor, movement
monkeysbarrel, carload, cartload, tribe, troop
mooseherd
mosquitoesscourge
mudhensfleet
mulesbarren, pack, rake, span
naiads*swell
nightingaleswatch
ottersbevy, family, raft, romp
owlsparliament, stare
oxendrove, herd, team, yoke
oystersbed
parrotscompany, pandemonium
partridges [or grouse or ptarmigans]covey
peacocksmuster, ostentation, pride
peepslitter
pekingesepomp
pelicanspod
penguins (general)colony, huddle
penguins (nursery)
pheasants (brood)nide
pheasants (flushed)bouquet
pheasants (general)nest, nye
pigeonsflight, flock, kit
pigletsfarrow
pigsherd, litter, sounder
pilchardsshoal
plovers (flight)wing
plovers (general)congregation
polecatschine
poniesstring
porcupinesprickle
porpoisescrowd, herd, pod, school, shoal
prairie dogscoterie
pupslitter
quailbevy, covey
rabbits (young)nest
rabbitsbury, colony, down, drove, husk, leash, trace, trip
raccoonsgaze
ratscolony, pack, plague, swarm
rattlesnakesrhumba
ravensunkindness
reindeerherd
revenants*depravity
rhinoceroscrash, stubbornness
roebucksbevy
rooksbuilding, clamor, parliment
rooks, ravens, crowsstorytelling
ruffshill
salmonrun
sandpipersfling
sardinesfamily
scorpionsbed, nest
seabirdswreck
sealsbob, colony, crash, harem, herd, pod, team
seraphim*glory
sharksschool, shiver, shoal
sheepdown, drove, flock, fold, hurtle, pack, trip
sheldrakesdoading
skeletons*drudge
skylarksexultation
snailsescargatoire, rout, walk
snakesbed, den, knot, nest, pit
snipewalk, wisp
sparrowshost
sphinxes*finery
spiderscluster, clutter
spirits*penumbra
springbokherd
sprites*resolution
squirrelsdray, scurry
starlingschattering, murmuration
stingraysfever
stoatspack, trip
storksmuster, mustering
succubi*opulence
swallows (or doves, goshawks, or cormorants)flight, gulp
swans (flight)flight, wedge
swans (general)bevy, bank, herd
swiftsflock
swinedrift, sounder
tealspring
termitesbrood, colony, nest, swarm
thrushmutation
tigersambush, streak
titans*majesty
toadsknab, knot, nest
trolls*malevolence
trouthover
turkeysgang, posse, raft, rafter
turtledovesdule, pitying
turtlesbale, dole, nest, turn
unicorns*blessing
valkyries*cavalry
vipersgeneration, nest
vultures (circling)kettle
vultures (general)venue
walrusesherd, pod
waspsnest, swarm
waterfowlknob, plump
weaselsgang, colony, pack
whalesgam, herd, pod, school
widgeonscompany
wild catsdestruction
wildfowlplump
wolves (general)pack
wolves (moving)rout, route
wombatswisdom
woodcocksfall
woodpeckersdescent
wormsbed, bunch, clat, clew
wraiths*degradation
wyverns*poachment
zebrascohort, crossing, herd, zeal

*: fantastic creatures

Source: HerePointless, and Wondermark

Populations of Medieval Cities


15,000-22,00023,000-49,00050,000-125,000
528 ADHamadanCarthageAlexandria
IstakhrCtesiphonAntioch
MilanEphesusConstantinople
MiletusSalonicaRome
Ravenna
Rayy
Sardia
Smyrna
737 ADCtesiphonAlexandriaConstantinople
FustatAntioch
HamadanBasra
KutaDamascus
Mosul
Nishapur
Rayy
Salonika
Shiraz
Toledo
Wasit
1000 ADDamascusAlexandriaBaghdad
FezAntiochConstantinople
HamadanBasra
IsfahanCairo
KalrouanCordoba
Mecca
Mosul
Nishapur
Palermo
Rayy
Seville
1212 ADAleppoAlexandriaBaghdad
BresciaAntiochCairo
BrugesBasraConstantinople
BukharaDamascus
CordobaMilan
FlorenceSamarkand
GhentShiraz
HamadanTunis
HeratVenice
Isfahan
Kairouan
Konya
London
Mahalia
Marrakesh
Mecca
Mosul
Naples
Nishapur
Novgorod
Padua
Palermo
Paris
Pisa
Qua
Rabat-Salé
Rayy
Rome
Sana
Seville
Tabriz
Toledo
Verona
Wasit
1346 ADAntwerpAlexandriaCairo
AvignonBaghdadConstantinople
BasraBarcelonaFlorence
BergamoBolognaGenoa
CologneBresciaGhent
DamiettaBrugesMilan
FerraraCordobaParis
HeratCremonaTabriz
IsfahanDamascusVenice
LiegeFez
LilleGranada
LuccaLondon
LubeckMarrakesh
MagdeburgNaples
MahaliaPadua
MantuaRouen
MeccaSamarkand
MessinaShiraz
ModenaVerona
Mosul
Nishapur
Novgorod
Nuremberg
Palermo
Palma
Parma
Pavia
Piacenza
Pisa
Prague
Qua
Rabat-Salé
Rome
Sana
Seville
Siena
Sultaniyah
Toledo
Valencia
Vicenza
Wasit
Yasd
1483 ADAlexandriaAleppoCairo
AysutAntwerpFlorence
BaghdadBarcelonaGenoa
BasraBolognaIstanbul
BergamoBresciaMilan
BordeauxBrugesNaples
BursaBrusselsParis
DamiettaCologneTabriz
EdirneCordobaVenice
HeratCremona
IsfahanDamascus
LiègeFerrara
GdanskFez
KairouanGhent
MagdeburgGranada
MahaliaIsfahan
MeccaLille
MessinaLisbon
ModenaLondon
MosulLubeck
NovgorodMantua
PalmaMarrakesh
ParmaMoscow
PaviaNuremberg
PiacenzaPadua
PraguePalermo
Rabat-Salé:Rome
SanaRouen
SienaSamarkand
StrassbourgSeville
ToledoShiraz
UlmToulouse
WroclawTunis
ValladolidValencia
ViacenzaVerona
Vienna
Yasd

Historic City Populations

Greek City-States

Populations were generally around 20k-30k. When they got larger they'd break away to form a new city (exceptions: Athens, 100k).

Renaissance

100K+ in many, 50K+ in others

Symbolism of Heraldry

Colors and Metals


  • Argent (white or silver): Peace and sincerity.
  • Azure (blue): Loyalty and truth.
  • Gules (red): Military fortitude and magnanimity.
  • Murray (sanguine): Not hasty in battle, and yet a victor.
  • Or (yellow or gold): Generosity.
  • Purpure (purple): Royal majesty, sovereignty and justice.
  • Sable (black): Constancy, sometimes grief.
  • Tenne (tawney): Worthy ambition.
  • Vert (green): Hope, joy and sometimes loyalty in love.

Three Act Structure

Syd Field, author of "Screenplay" and "The Screen Writer's Workbook", has outlined a paradigm that most screenplays follow. A paradigm is a conceptual scheme. This paradigm is the structure that holds screenplays together. According to Field, screenplays follow a three-act structure, meaning the standard screenplay can be divided into three parts: Setup, Confrontation, and Resolution.