Showing posts from December, 2015

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.

MaterialSpecific GravityPounds per Cubic I…

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 Tests1TalcCan be scratched by fingernail2GypsumScratched by copper/bronze coin3CalciteScratched by copper/bronze coin4FluoriteScratched by steel; scratches coin5ApatiteScratched by steel; scratches coin6FeldsparScratches glass7QuartzNot scratched by steel8TopazNot scratched by steel9CorundumNot scratched by steel10DiamondNo mineral harder

The table below shows the hardness for various gemstones.

GemstoneHardnessSerpentine1.5Amber2-2.5Chrysocolla2-2.5Tortoise shell2.5Pearl2.5-3.5Jet2.5-4Coral3.5Rhodochrosite3.5-4.5Rock crystal3.5-5Lapis Lazuli5.5Moonstone5.5-6Turquoise5.5-6Opal5.5-6.5Tanzanite6Chalcedony6.5-7Jade6.5-7Peridot6.5-7Garnet6.5-7.5Kunzite7Quartz7Tourmaline7-7.5Zircon7.5Beryl7.5-8Spinel8Topaz8Chrysoberyl8.5Sapphire9Ruby9Diamond10
Source: Wikipedia, Dragon #248

Melting Points of Common Metals

Temperatures are approximate.

Note that the following metals are alloys of the above: brass - copper/zincbronze - copper/tin; usually, 90%+ copper (common is 95%)1electrum - silver/gold
Also note that although aluminum and titanium are quite common in the Earth's crust, they do not occur naturally in a metallic state. Their manufacture was not mastered until the 20th century. (Aluminum was first easily produced by Charles Martin Hall in the town of Oberlin, OH.)

1. Sometimes metals other than tin are used, although tin is the most common.

Source: Tesarta

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 hexArea of hex (rounded)112338414522631742855970108715195203462554130779351061401386421528451754502165754871100866012513532150194861752652220034641250541275002165061000866025
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.

Region1000130015001700Balkans--78Low Countries--23British Isles2559Danubian Countries--69France5151619Germany3121315Italy5101113Poland--46Russia--1018Scandanavia---3Spain 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*Neolithic20Bronze Age18Classical Greece20-30Classical Rome20-30Pre-Columbian North America25-35Medieval Islamic Caliphate35+**Medieval Britain20-30Early 20th Century30-40Current 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

AnimalNamealbatrossrookeryalligatorscongregationangels*hostantelopeherdantsarmy, colony, nest, swarmapesshrewdness, troopapparitions*academyassesdrove, herd, paceaukscolony, flock, raftbaboonsflange, troopbacteriaculturebadgerscete, colony, company, setbanshees*racketbarracudasbatterybasilisks*tacklebassshoalbatscloud, colonybears (adult)sleuth, slothbeaverscolony, familybeesgrist, hive, nest, swarmbehemoths*spectaclebirdsbrace, congregation, dissimulation, flock, volarybisonherdbitternssedge, siegebloodhoundssuteboarssounder, singularbobolinkschainbucksbrace, clashbuffalogang, herd, obstinacy, troopbullfinchesbellowingbullocksdrovebutterfliesflight, flutterbuzzardswakecamelscaravan, flock, traincaponsmewscaribouherdcaterpillarsarmycats (general)clowder, clutter, glare, nuisance, pouncecattledrove, herd, teamcentaurs*eminencecheetahscoalitioncherubim*compasschickensbrood, peepchicksclutch, chatteringchimerae*braidchinchillacolonychoughsclatteringclamsbedcobrasquivercockatrices*cabalco…

Populations of Medieval Cities

15,000-22,00023,000-49,00050,000-125,000528 ADHamadanCarthageAlexandriaIstakhrCtesiphonAntiochMilanEphesusConstantinopleMiletusSalonicaRomeRavennaRayySardiaSmyrna737 ADCtesiphonAlexandriaConstantinopleFustatAntiochHamadanBasraKutaDamascusMosulNishapurRayySalonikaShirazToledoWasit1000 ADDamascusAlexandriaBaghdadFezAntiochConstantinopleHamadanBasraIsfahanCairoKalrouanCordobaMeccaMosulNishapurPalermoRayySeville1212 ADAleppoAlexandriaBaghdadBresciaAntiochCairoBrugesBasraConstantinopleBukharaDamascusCordobaMilanFlorenceSamarkandGhentShirazHamadanTunisHeratVeniceIsfahanKairouanKonyaLondonMahaliaMarrakeshMeccaMosulNaplesNishapurNovgorodPaduaPalermoParisPisaQuaRabat-SaléRayyRomeSanaSevilleTabrizToledoVeronaWasit1346 ADAntwerpAlexandriaCairoAvignonBaghdadConstantinopleBasraBarcelonaFlorenceBergamoBolognaGenoaCologneBresciaGhentDamiettaBrugesMilanFerraraCordobaParisHeratCremonaTabrizIsfahanDamascusVeniceLiegeFezLilleGranadaLuccaLondonLubeckMarrakeshMagdeburgNaplesMahaliaPaduaMantuaRouenMeccaSam…

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

Miscellaneous History

Roman Empire
Duration of the Republic: ~500 yearsDuration of the Empire: ~400 years

Symbolism of Heraldry

Colors and MetalsArgent (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. Heraldic LinesDancette: Water.Embattled: Fire or the walls of a fortress or town.Engrailed and Invected: Earth or land.Indented: Fire.Nebulee or Nebuly: The sea or water.Ragulee or Raguly: Difficulties which have been encountered. OrdinariesBar: For "one who sets the bar of conscience, religion and honor against angry passions.Battune Sinister: Marks a royal descent that is barred by illegitimacy from succession to the throne.Bend: Defense or protection.Bordure or Border: Frequently adopted as a "difference" between relatives bearing the same arms.Canton: Bea…

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.

Mythosa Regions Map


Mythosa Overlay Maps


Mythosa Climate Map


Order of the Obsidian Tower

The Order of the Obsidian Tower is a society of wizards dedicated to the acquisition and control of magic. It is based in Spÿre but maintains chapter houses throughout Karnathas, Aeranoth, and Zarkhir. Members of the Order are feared and respected (mainly feared) due to the resources the organization is said to possess.

The Order is primarily concerned with the preservation of arcane knowledge. Its members believe that magic in the "wrong hands" is dangerous - whether the nethermagic once wielded by the Mystarchs, or a powerful magic item acquired by an adventurer, or anything used by the Blood of Aan.

Cultural Keywords

From My friend Robin writes fantasy novels. She uses the following list when she creates new cultures for her books. I have found it to be very useful when I'm working on settings for my game worlds. It is especially helpful when I'm "stuck" and need a little push - the list frequently suggests an interesting facet or angle that I can expand upon.

Color Psychology

Like death and taxes, there is no escaping color. It is ubiquitous. Yet what does it all mean? Why are people more relaxed in green rooms? Why do weightlifters do their best in blue gyms?

Colors often have different meanings in various cultures. And even in Western societies, the meanings of various colors have changed over the years. But today in the U.S., researchers have generally found the following to be accurate.

Black Black is the color of authority and power. It is popular in fashion because it makes people appear thinner. It is also stylish and timeless. Black also implies submission. Priests wear black to signify submission to God. Some fashion experts say a woman wearing black implies submission to men. Black outfits can also be overpowering, or make the wearer seem aloof or evil. Villains, such as Dracula, often wear black.

White Brides wear white to symbolize innocence and purity. White reflects light and is considered a summer color. White is popular in decorating and in…