Science in the high Middle Ages

Science in the high Middle Ages

Postby Galloglaich » Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:13 pm

Some useful ideas from this thread on ENworld:

http://www.enworld.org/forum/general-rp ... -ages.html

Originally Posted by Quickleaf wrote:Thanks for all the suggestions everybody! I could spend the whole summer followng up on all the resources offered in this thread (and believe me I'll try to read as much as I can)!

Great point about Galileo! Galileo's relationship with Pope Urban VIII was fascinating, but it also bears pointing out that the previous pope had Galileo under house arrest and when Galileo released Dialogue Concerning Two World Systems he alienated Pope Urban. Even with allies in the church, Galileo was treading on thin ice. That's the way I think a lot of the proto-science/alchemy will be viewed - accepted by a few enlightened forward-thinking elites in the church but otherwise discouraged or condemned outright.

I think where the rubber meets the road as far as the PCs are concerned is the laboratory, at least as a genre convention for the type of game I'm planning. A lot of the philosophy can be left in the background or be used as a plot device or else for role-playing. Skills can handle the rest.

But the laboratory, that's something special. So what can PCs do there?

Autopsy
With access to a corpse a character can make a Heal check to study the circumstances of death.

Forensics DC
Determine time of death 20
Determine cause of death 25
Every day since the death (max modifier +10 DC) +2 DC
Scene is outdoors +5 DC
Scene is disturbed +2 DC
Scene is extremely or deliberately disturbed +5 DC

Brew PotionsBrewing potions in a laboratory is efficient, reducing the cost by 10%.

Create Alchemical Mixtures
A character with the Alchemy feat may apply a known formula to create an alchemical mixture.

Monstrous Dissection
With access to a monster’s corpse, a character can dissect and analyze its physiology in order to better understand how the monster functions, gaining a +5 bonus on a Monster Knowledge check. In addition, a character can make a Heal check to perform a variety of procedures.

Dissection DC
Extract useful magical component or poison 20
Perform taxidermy to preserve the corpse 25
Preserve a piece of the monster containing one of its
powers or aura, useable as a consumable item with the effect lasting no longer than until the end of your next turn 15 +monster’s level

Pathology
A character with a tissue sample from a creature may make a Heal check to analyze it for disease.

Dissection DC
Determine presence of disease 15
Determine nature of disease 20
Develop inoculation against the disease providing
+5 bonus to defenses against acquiring it 15 + disease’s level

Treat Weapons
Within a laboratory it is possible to create silvered weapons, or develop and apply any number of oils useful in combat against particular foes.
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Re: Science in the high Middle Ages

Postby Alina » Tue Jun 16, 2009 2:30 pm

Not so useful for the high middle ages. Autopsies were never performed, and dissecting a corpse was considered grossly immoral and illegal. It just wasn't done. That's why medieval knowledge of internal anatomy was so poor. It wasn't until the 17th and 18th centuries that people really began performing human dissections. A dissection of a monster though, that might be plausible.
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Re: Science in the high Middle Ages

Postby Galloglaich » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:52 am

Actually, I recently learned, this isnt true, they were doing dissections in iniversities as early as the 14th century in Italy.
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Re: Science in the high Middle Ages

Postby drkguy3107 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:18 pm

Where is your source for this? I have seen a few medieval anatomy books, and they aren't so good.
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Re: Science in the high Middle Ages

Postby drkguy3107 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:19 pm

Oh and btw, 14th century isn't high middle ages. I would say 1100-1300 is high middle ages, and I am being charitable with that, 1250 might be more accurate. Once you get into the 14 century, your looking at late middle ages (renaissance).

However, your enworld forumites, may not care about the distinction.
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Re: Science in the high Middle Ages

Postby Galloglaich » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:26 am

No, you are right. But in the 14th Century they were apparently trying this, and it had become policy by the early 16th. My source is a book I've been (rather slowly) reading on the Medieval Universities.

It also seems that this practice was done in secret going way back, at least to the Muslim Golden Age (9th-12th Century) among the famous alchemists and probably back to the Greeks.

G
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