Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Creature Comforts - An Introduction

J.R.R. Tolkien spoke at length regarding the Hobbit’s desire for creature comforts, even while adventuring in dragon’s lairs and destroying dangerous artifacts. Despite the horrible dangers lurking around every corner, a Hobbit could rest easy if he had his favorite tobacco, drink, or tasty morsel of food. Gygax & Arneson continued this view when they developed Halflings for Dungeons & Dragons. Through danger and distress, a Halfling could be expected to weather it all as long as he knew there was a warm bed and a cozy fire waiting for him.

While that particular view of the Halfling has gone by the wayside in more recent editions of the game, the idea of creature comforts can still be an important factor in motivating a character and improving the general role-playing experience of the players. Regardless of your chosen character race, creature comforts can represent both reward and motivation for going out into the dangerous world, killing bad guys, and taking their stuff.

So what, exactly, are creature comforts? Well, for the purposes of this series of posts, creature comforts are little inventions that help folks get along a little more comfortably in a specific environment. Intelligent creatures have an odd habit of spreading out into all kinds of different terrains and climates, both hospitable and inhospitable, so anything that can make their lives easier is a welcome addition. In a fantasy campaign setting, magic can help ease the burden of folks quite a bit, but in this discussion, we’re going to pretend magic doesn’t exist; or alternatively, we’ll pretend that magic hasn’t been used as a tool to ease one’s lifestyle.

My focus for this series will be on clever inventions that don’t require magic, and that have a reasonable chance of being able to exist (and some cases may actually exist, somewhere). I’ll do my best not to create “Unobtainium”* type components or ingredients for these items. I'll avoid invented animals, plants, or chemicals that exactly fulfill a specific use. For example, you won’t find a creature comfort in these posts that utilizes a special "ink bug" to provide a component for special writing ink.

Here are the terrain/environments I plan on covering:







Everywhere Else

That’s a lot of topics, so I have a lot to come up with. Please stay tuned!

Until next time…

Game excellently with one another.

*Author's note:  Thanks to everyone on Twitter who pointed me to TV Tropes.com and who provided all the helpful advice.  I know it seemed like a lot of trouble for one word, but it really helped.  Thanks, again!


  1. Anonymous11:30 AM

    This sounds very interesting. I love to areas with little fiddly bits & items for the players to puzzle over. I look forward to your articles.


  2. Thanks! Now comes the hard part where I actually have to provide content, lol. I've got plenty of ideas though, so no worries!