Quixotic Observation

01 Jul

I’ve been looking at city maps recently, particularly medieval maps, and I noticed something. Or rather, I noticed a lack of something.



Taken from a 17th Century map of Paris

Several medieval maps depict windmills in and around their cities, but I can’t think of any maps of fantasy cities that include them. For that matter, I can only think of a few fantasy pictures with windmills and none involve cities. That’s an interesting omission considering the importance of mills to a city. Not every city will be situated in a place where windmills are an option, but their absence in fantasy illustration is interesting.

Windmills2From the same map. I like this one because it shows a large mill within the city walls.

Perfect for the court sorcerer.

This provides DM’s with a quick and easy way to add a bit of color to their cities. Windmills are evocative, like wizards towers, and can be tied in equally well with either magic or steampunk style technology.


From a map of 13th Century Rhodes.

A battery of windmills along a coastal wall could have more purpose than grinding meal.

Historically windmills have been connected to such fantastic individuals as Don Quixote and Frankenstein. Who can forget the climactic end to the 1931 classic Frankenstein?


Good thing there was a Groupon for torches and pitchforks!

This has me thinking about ways to use windmills in game settings. I’ll save that for another post, more grist for the… well you get the idea.


Posted by on July 1, 2014 in Cool Stuff, Fantasy, Gaming, World Design


Tags: , , , , ,

3 responses to “Quixotic Observation

  1. mikemonaco

    July 9, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    I am surprised to see all those windmills inside what looks like city walls (or castle walls) in the third picture! What were those for?

    The miller was often the wealthiest guy in a village or town because of his position (all the local farmers depending on him to mill their grain) and often mistrusted & resented, so the miller of a given area would naturally be under suspicion when stuff begins to go wrong due to some monster, magic, etc. A lot of mills were burned down in the 14th century peasants’ revolts (with the millers inside!). And maybe some mills really are up to no good, beyond cheating farmers or adulterating flour, like that scientist guy in the last picture.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: