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Medieval European Fantasy

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A nun, a barbarian and The Grim Reaper walk into a bar...
"Fantasy, for us, is a knight on horseback running around and killing things."
Todd Howard, Game Informer Issue 138

No matter where a fantasy story may be written, whatever rich history the author's homeland might have, most fantasy stories take place in Medieval Europe (or a facsimile thereof, possibly reasonable), especially England. People will fight with swords and shields, and the government is usually vaguely feudal: it may not map well to any real-world political system, but it usually has hereditary monarchs and nobles (which many other cultures also have, but if European titles are used, you're in a Medieval European Fantasy). Medieval European Fantasy settings are sometimes littered with Schizo Tech, though Fantasy Gun Control is often a limiting factor.

The modern Trope Codifier for Medieval fantasy is The Lord of the Rings, which was based heavily on European folklore, but this trope has older roots in the tradition of fantasy works set in actual medieval Europe, especially those connected to or influenced by Arthurian Legend.

Christianity may appear, as it almost always did in Medieval and Renaissance literature,note  but it is fairly rare to find Christianity — or any real-life religion — in modern fantasy settings: that might attract distracting controversy towards the work, and wouldn't make sense for a setting that's supposed to be a different world than our own. Mythopoeia is possible, as well as Crystal Dragon Jesus. This will partly depend on whether it's a High Fantasy or Low Fantasy setting, as religion and magic are often closely associated.

This is also frequently the setting of Eastern RPGs, Wutai aside, as well as most Western RPGs in between Sci-Fi games. The first settings of Dungeons & Dragons are perhaps the most well-known example — even though many later D&D settings avert this trope, the sheer popularity of Faerûn makes this trope almost synonymous with D&D. Notably averted however in Wuxia, which is a sister trope (Chinese fantasy with a long literary tradition, set in a pseudo-historical Alternate Universe China, featuring magic, wandering errant martial artists, legendary artifacts, dragons and the rest). Played straight in most fantasy anime. Arthurian Legend usually (but not always) overlaps with Medieval European Fantasy.

Often depicts the setting as more Arcadia and the Ghibli Hills than the actual medieval Europeans viewed it as, though not always.

Prone to People of Hair Color.

May be imported in a Feudal Future, with or without advanced technology.

If the setting's history starts with The Time of Myths, jumps straight to the medieval period and stays there forever, it's trapped in Medieval Stasis.

See also Heroic Fantasy, Standard Fantasy Setting, Standard Japanese Fantasy Setting, Fantasy Counterpart Culture and Hermetic Magic, all of which may overlap with this. See Urban Fantasy and New Weird for alternatives fantasy fans, who were getting tired of this setting, came up with.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan is more of neo-medieval fantasy, as architecture, civilian attire, and government are reminiscent of the Middle Ages, but the military is more modernized, having 3D maneuvering equipment, powerful cannons, basic rifles, and more modern-day uniforms. Much later into the story, this trope is subverted as it turns out that the island on which most of the series takes place is kept specifically in Medieval Stasis by both its rulers and the hostile outside world, which has World War-era technology including radio, tanks, artillery, battleships, and blimp-like airships. Attempts to modernize the protagonists' island leads to a comment noting that they're hundreds of years behind, though by then they had independently developed rocket launchers due to new leadership facilitating technological advancement (before this turnover, flashbacks showed that simple inventions like revolvers and hot air balloons had been suppressed).
  • The author of Dragon Knights was a fan of The Lord of the Rings and it shows''. Even though it's a Japanese series, none of the names adapt well to the Japanese language, there are European-style castles, and European-style dragons.
  • The Heroic Legend of Arslan is set in a rather thinly veiled expy of the Byzantine/Sassanid wars. Full of brave warriors, crusading templars, super heavy armored cavalry, and more evil sorcerers than one could shake a very large stick at.
  • Ancient Belka of the Lyrical Nanoha franchise is shown to have this setting, with knights on horseback, castles standing tall, and kingdoms ruled by super-powered monarchs at war with one another while using Schizo Tech.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth has an interesting subversion. Cephiro itself is certainly Medieval European Fantasy. But the three Magic Knights are summoned from Japan. And Autozam represents the United States of America, Chizeta represents India/Arabia, and Fahren represents China.
  • Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is set in a post-apocalyptic world were the people has regressed to Feudalism. The Torumekians hearken back to the Medieval Europe, with their society of lords and nobles and soldiers going to battle in full-plate armor. Whereas their main enemy, the Dorok are more inspired by Medevial China/Japan, with their caste of warrior monks, Chinese-looking writing, and religious piety.
  • Spice and Wolf is set in a world that looks almost exactly like Medieval England, and even brings in many Medieval England cultural ideas for Deliberate Values Dissonance with the audience, but it's also a world where primeval animal spirits (or "Gods") are a real, if now almost extinct, race, and even capable of walking amongst humans in disguise.
  • Walkure Romanze appears to take place in one of those, until it becomes clear that modern day technology is clearly available to everyone and that modern cultural sensibilities are quite prevalent. It would appear that, though this isn't elaborated upon in the slightest, the story is set in some kind of alternate history in which technology kept progressing but some social values and aesthetics simply stuck in the middle ages (so schools which operate just like modern day Japanese highschools can have a "jousting clubs" with horses and lances but which otherwise don't function any differently from a modern school's kendo or archery club). People dress in Renaissance looking outfits but carry cellphones and fly in airplanes. Perhaps most intriguingly, the only weapon seen in the series which was explicitly used for war until recently (rather than sport) is... a flintlock pistol.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Krull is set in a magical, vaguely Medieval setting, despite the vaguely Stormtrooper-like mooks.
  • Ladyhawke takes place in Medieval France and features the magical element of a Forced Transformation curse.
  • The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit take place in Middle Earth, based on Medieval Europe.
  • The Princess: The kingdom is pseudo-medieval, with a standard monarchy and feudal trappings. It has no magic or other purely fantasy elements however, unusually. East Asian and African-descended people (or their equivalents) in the European-analogue land are the only obvious departure from the typical setting, and even then Julius suggests they're foreigners the king welcomed into his land and court.

  • The Cup of the World by John Dickinson is set in a world that strongly resembles Medieval Europe, albeit one in which some sort of magic exists. It's also mentioned that the ancestors of most of the world's inhabitants arrived as settlers from an unidentified land to the North.
  • The Deryni works of Katherine Kurtz feature feudal governance and a Christian Church to rival the secular government.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: The setting of the Second Age includes kingdoms ruled by some form of monarchy, swords and their various accoutrements for weapons, and most- if not everybody- seem to be heavily rebellious. By the time of the Third Age, some technological advancements regarding weaponry have been invented and clothes tend to more resemble 20th century clothing.
  • The First Law trilogy is mostly this setting, though it would definitely be late medieval or even early Renaissance. Or at least the corruption and backstabbing politics of the Renaissance. As the timeline progresses, the series apears to settle in Early-Modern European Fantasy.
  • The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion popularized the setting in modern times, though it bears less of a resemblance to High Medieval Europe than many of its successors. It was Tolkien's attempt to create an English mythology based on the Saxon, Welsh, and Celtic mythos that were subsumed by the Norman popularization of King Arthur.
  • Hurog: Vaguely medieval, vaguely European, with a couple of little countries unified under a high king, castles, swordfights, dragons, dwarves and all that. The king's court seems a bit anachronistic, as the king's habit of keeping a male concubine seems to be largely accepted, and everyone knows that the queen has a lover. Like in The Lord of the Rings, the botany isn't accurately medieval European, either.
  • The Iron Teeth is occupied by humans that live in a medieval society with Kings, nobles, peasants,and medieval levels of technology.
  • Jack Vance's Lyonesse trilogy is set on the mythical island of Hybras, off the coast of France, and shares a style and approximate era with many ahistorical Arthurian romances.
  • Osten Ard, the setting of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, strongly resembles Medieval Europe in terms of society (though not so much geography) with a number of direct Fantasy Counterpart Cultures and an obvious Catholic Church-analogue.
  • The Mortal Instruments: Idris positively screams this, and thus City of Glass could be seen as fitting this genre, whereas the rest of the setting is Urban Fantasy, especially being focused mostly on New York City.
  • The setting of No Good Deed... is heavily patterned on mid-15th Century Europe, particularly the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Ranger's Apprentice is a young adult/children's series with this setting. Occasionally the stories move beyond "Europe", however.
  • The Kingdom of the Isles from The Riftwar Cycle, although it's implied this may be because its people are directly descended from European refugees fleeing the Enemy, in the same way that Kesh is of Asian stock.
  • George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire is set primarily on the fictional continent of Westeros, based on medieval European culture; its geography and history are also loosely based on England/Great Britain (the North is analogous to a blend of Northern England and the Scottish Lowlands, while the Westerlands with their mineral wealth correspond to Wales and Cornwall). Dorne in the south has Spanish flavor, setting it apart from the rest of the continent. Locations in Essos generally are further removed from the medieval Europe archetype and have a variety of influences: for instance, the Free Cities bring to mind the Mediterranean city-states of Italy, Greece, and Phoenicia, while the cities of the Slaver's Bay (Astapor, Yunkai and Mereen) and Qarth seem primarily inspired by ancient Mesopotamian civilizations such as the Assyrian and Babylonian empires, with elements of Dynastic Egypt.
  • The Sword with No Name trilogy by Andrei Belyanin has a modern-day man transported by unknown means to such a setting, full of deliberate anachronisms. For example, the Big Bad is an Evil Sorcerer terrorizing the land from his floating city and is Wicked Cultured (he actually wears a modern-day business suit).
    • Belyanin's Jack The Mad King books are also set in this sort of setting, minus the Fish out of Temporal Water scenario, but still full of anachronisms (like the protagonist and a giant using modern street slang, although that could be Translation Convention). Until the last story, though, when the characters head East to save a sultan's daughter.
    • A variation in Belyanin's Tsar Gorokh's Detective Agency series, where the setting involves a Fish out of Temporal Water scenario, in which a modern-day Russian cop is transported to an idealized fantasy (almost fairy tale) version of Medieval Russia. There are still many aspects of the trope, but its more their Russian equivalents. For example, there are no brave knights in the books, but there are brave druzhinniki (the Tsar's guard), armed with sabers and Hand Cannons. While the Tsar is just and beloved by the people (it's the boyars, the aristocratic advisors, they don't trust), he can get a little hot-headed and is quick to punish when he's sure the guilty party has been found. The protagonist, being a fresh-out-of-police-academy rookie cop is insistent on following due process and finding enough evidence. Also, all supernatural is straight out of Russian fairy tales, with the Big Bad of the entire series being Koschei the Deathless, a prominent figure in those tales. There are some Western influences, though, such as zombies rising out of their graves.
  • Fiona Patton's Tales of the Branion Realm are set in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture version of Britain, with many unusual names.
  • Widdershins Adventures is set in a late medieval/Renaissance fantasy counterpart of France.
  • A Wizard in Rhyme takes place primarily in a Fantasy Counterpart France. (Specifically, it's an actual Alternate History version of medieval Europe; the splitting point was that at the founding of Rome, Remus won instead of Romulus, so the city is called Reme.)
  • The Traitor Son Cycle is very obviously based on Western Europe circa 1300s, with a dash of Arthurian mythos and hermetic magic thrown in.
  • Ankh-Morpork and environs started out as this, since Discworld was initially just a parody of fantasy tropes. However, since Sir Terry didn't believe in Medieval Stasis, it progressed very rapidly, reaching a level he described as "Late Georgian, but without the late George" for much of the series, before Raising Steam dragged it kicking and screaming into the Century of the Fr ... er, the Victorian period.
  • The world of I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level is explicitly stated to be very heavily European-inspired, from the architecture, the culture of nearby Flatta village, and the technology level in general.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and the subsequent Narnia books are set in a medieval world.
  • In The Arts of Dark and Light, the Republic of Amorr has a fair bit of Ancient Grome to it, but otherwise its world of Selenoth is of this kind. Savondir is a straight late medieval/early Renaissance culture as far as aesthetics and technology go, and even Amorr has such things as cathedrals, High Middle Ages-style heavy cavalry and armor, and pants. The other human cultures are in roughly the same range (the Dalarns in the North are a little more primitive), while the elves are more of a typical Dungeons & Dragons culture (with more present-day social values and lots of Utility Magic that enables a fairly modern lifestyle, but still cloaked in medieval trappings).
  • The Tortall Universe by Tamora Pierce is a straight example of this. The feudal system in Tortall is analagous to that of medieval England, with landed nobles acting as knights and war leaders in service of a king. Tortall's immediate neighbors include other Fantasy Counterpart Cultures, such as the French-flavored Tusaine, the Grim Up North populated by berserkers and sailors in "wolfships", and the landmass to the south, which is based on North Africa. The series' various protagonists push back the social boundaries of medieval society as regards the rights of women and common folk.
  • Villains by Necessity: In keeping with much straight fantasy, the book has this as background. Kings, knights and stereotypical medieval towns abound. There is mention however of the Six Lands being more feudal in the past until Good won, and becoming more democratic as parliaments were set up. Additionally, there's Natodik, which is a desert country (though Mizzamir's helped change that a bit with his magic) plus an (unseen) more Mid East flavored country with a sultan.
  • Averted in the Zaltec gamebook series. The characters all appear olive-skinned, the architecture is Ancient Near Eastern, and the monsters look like traditional African masks.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Outpost: The series is set in a fairly standard Medieval Europe analogue, with the clothing and weaponry typical (aside from some bombs the Prime Order has, and Talon wearing more masculine garb), plus general social conditions. Generic feudalism exists, though the government overall is now a repressive theocracy. Unlike many examples though, there are a few characters who have non-European looks.

  • From Gloryhammer
    • Their first album,Tales from The Kingdom of Fife is set in Medieval Fantasy Scotland. It starts with an evil sorcerer and an army of undead unicorns laying waste to Dundee and rides the tropes from there. This is because it is an Affectionate Parody of Power Metal Heavy Mithril bands.
    • The fourth album Return to the Kingdom of Fife is set in an altered timeline shortly after Tales... although there's now random advanced technology everywhere, and the start of the story turns the setting into a nuclear wasteland.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • The Arthurian Legend is one of the Ur-Examples of this genre as part of the "Matter of Britain" alongside the "Matter of France", especially as it evolved over the years to incorporate more fantastical elements such as Merline and Nimue, the Lady of the Lake, and the subsequent Chivalric Romance and setting was developed.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons plays with this trope, depending on which campaign setting you choose to explore:
    • Forgotten Realms plays this straight...ish, given its inherently High Fantasy setting leads to certain changes. Still, for overall aesthetic, it fits this much better. Subverted with its subsettings, which instead distinctly focus on other cultures as their Historical Fantasy building blocks; Al-Qadim is Arabia-inspired, Kara-tur is based on Japan and China, and between them Maztica and Anchôromé cover Pre-Columbian North, Central and South America.
    • Greyhawk plays this trope straightest of all, and is perhaps the original reason for D&D's association with this kind of setting.
    • Dragonlance is essentially this with some heightened emphasis on chivalry.
    • Birthright runs wholeheartedly with this trope, even toning down some of the more traditional Standard Fantasy Setting tropes associated with D&D to better play up its basis. The land deliberately looks like a not-Europe in terms of climate, the setting revolves around embracing the Divine Right of Kings, giants and dragons are both Dying Races, and most monsters are either lone individuals warped into a monstrous state by being corrupted with the essence of a dead God of Evil, or somehow bred from those divinely blooded mutant kings. The game even uses Welsh (or at least a semblance of it) as the setting's native language.
    • Mystara zigzags it; whilst some areas are definitely playing this trope straight, others subvert it, and the setting as a whole is so incredibly weird that it probably counts as an aversion, what with the Hollow World, the civilization of catfolk samurai who ride flying sabertooth tigers on the moon, the flying city built from magitek, and so forth.
    • Eberron is a strict aversion; whilst the setting has some overtones reminiscent of post-World War Europe, its foundations lie in Dungeonpunk by way of Magitek Dieselpunk, Pulp Fantasy, and Noir.
    • The Nentir Vale averts this; the World looks absolutely nothing like Medieval Europe and is clearly shaped by the many fantastical races, creatures, events and powers. Floating islands are called out as an uncommon but natural part of the background scenery, whilst the different races have very distinct aesthetics to gear and structures, so the environment looks even more alien. Dwarves, for example, prefer strong geometric symbols, whilst the tieflings of Bael Turath favored twisting, cylindrical buildings and weapons with a half-melted, jagged aesthetic.
    • Planescape subverts this and goes full-on New Weird; the setting's centerpiece, Sigil, can be described as Industrial Revolution London turned into a Fantasy Kitchen Sink, whilst the planes themselves run off literally every heaven and hell trope you can think up.
    • Dark Sun is another aversion, being set in a fantasy version of The Apunkalypse, where everyone uses bone, chitin and stone weaponry because metal is so rare that metalworking skills have gone extinct. The game takes place on a Standard Fantasy Setting that was devastated by multiple genocidal world wars fought with Black Magic that was powered with the very life-essence of the planet itself, transforming it into a Death World made up of barren wastes populated by the mutated, psionic monsters that were tough enough to survive.
    • Ravenloft both plays it straight and averts it, depending on where you go. Different Domains have different technological levels, so while many (like Barovia and Darkon) are this, some, like Dementlieu, are closer to the Victorian era, and others, like Har'akir, are even earlier, being more akin to ancient Egypt.
    • The 3rd Party setting Wagadu Chronicles is an intentional aversion, the creators wanted to raise awareness of African Culture by making a setting based on ancient Africa.
  • Pugmire is a post-apocalyptic setting populated by Uplifted dogs after Man's disappearance who use plastic as currency and treat human Lost Technology as magic. Otherwise though it's effectively a more story-based version of D&D with dogs.
  • In 7th Sea, only Ussura is truly medieval. Other countries are well into mid-17th century Renaissance, with Age of Exploration and Thirty Years' War playing key roles in the world development. The ruins of the ancient Syrneth civilization also mix things up a bit.
  • Ars Magica even calls its setting 'Mythic Europe' and is set in historically correct settings with many folklore and religious fantasy thrown in for the good measure. In a nutshell, it is a version of actual medieval Europe where All Myths Are True.
  • Citadels is set in a Low Fantasy Medieval Europe style age of conquest.
  • The Dark Eye has Aventuria, a rough equivalent of Europe with Mittelreich modeled after the Holy German Empire. Other countries and lands also fit the role of Fantasy Counterpart Culture.
  • Justified in GURPS Fantasy with the world of Yrth, where a massive magical backfire several centuries before the current date transported in large numbers of humans from medieval Europe, who then did their best to build themselves a new home that looked and worked more or less like what they came from. Simultaneously double subverted by the nation of Sahud — first, it was populated with medieval Asians, and second, they were mostly peasants from four or five different cultures, who tried to do the same as the Europeans but ended up with a society that looked less like any actual Asian nation of the period and more like The Mikado on acid, as written by Monty Python.
  • King Arthur's Pendragon, as the name suggests, is based on Mallory's version of Arthurian England, mixing high-medieval setting with magic and Celtic paganism.
  • The default setting of Ironclaw is the kingdom of Calebria, split between major houses based on different European cultures (Avoirdupois=French, Bisclavret=Scottish, Doloreaux=Germanic, Rinaldi=Italian), and overseen by the monotheistic Church of S'Allumer. The "Book of Jade" supplement (Jadeclaw in 1st edition) introduces the nation of Zhongguo across the seas from Calebria, for a more Wuxia campaign, while "Book of Horn and Ivory" has fantasy counterparts to Africa and the Middle East.
  • While Rifts is set in the future, the England Sourcebook has heavy overtones of this, right down to huge heaping handfuls of Arthurian Legend. Justified in that the setting is a Fantasy Kitchen Sink with more than enough Anachronism Stew, Days of Future Past, and Schizo Tech to go around.
  • Warhammer Fantasy partially played the trope straight and partially averted it: Its 'focus' faction, The Empire, was modeled off the Holy Roman Empire during the 16th/17th century (pre-Thirty Years' War). Its neighbor, Bretonnia, started out looking like pre-revolutionary France during the 16th-18th century, before regressing into this trope by becoming a The High Middle Ages-style feudal nation based on Medieval England and France with a dash of Arthurian mythos, while its northern neighbor Kislev was modeled off Tsarist Russia, the Kievan Rus' and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the 16th century (but with more emphasis on empty steppes and Cossacks). Other factions ran the gamut of 'feudal monarchies with steam power and guns' (the Dwarfs) to 'Ancient Athens-style Enlightenment monarchy but with 11th century technology but magic' (High Elves), 'Renaissance era Italy' (Tilea), '16th century Spain meets the pre-Reconquista period' (Estalia) or 'Mayincatec absolute theocracy/magocracy' (The Lizardmen). The forces of disorder similarly ran the gamut from '13th century absolute military dictatorship' (Dark Elves) to 'The Horde' (Chaos, Greenskins), 'daemonic Viking Age Scandinavians' (Norscans, Warriors of Chaos) or 'Social Darwinist nightmare' (Skaven). Its RPG spin-off, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, bases much of its setting on the Empire, making most adventures in the game an example of this trope but with guns present.
  • Symbaroum is set in a Dark Fantasy world that heavily borrows from Swedish myth and folklore, with a distinctly Medieval European aesthetic to the artwork. The major demihuman races are elves, dwarves, goblins, ogres, trolls and changelings.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is set in 9th century Europe in the Low Middle Ages and heavily incorporates Norse Mythology into its story as the title clearly implies. Additionally, the game has a few elements of the Arthurian legends such as Excalibur which is located within Stonehenge and can be used by the player character as a weapon.
  • One map in Backyard Skateboarding, Merry Old Englandland, fits this trope perfectly.
  • Castlevania takes place at various points in history, including the Middle Ages, The Renaissance, the modern age, and even 20 Minutes into the Future, though the overall aesthetic is Gothic Horror.
  • Chrono Trigger subverts this by starting out with two time periods that fit this trope, then taking you to a high tech future. 1000 AD seems to be pretty schizoid, though, seeing as how they have refrigerators, stoves, apparently large-scale power plants that would be necessary to operate both, guns, mechanized warfare, and steam power (the ferry), but there are no cars or paved roads, and Guardia's standing army has no firearms. On the other hand, Guardia is the sole world power in 1000 AD, so it's not like they need firearms.
  • Clustertruck: The fifth level is "Medieval", and has a lot of medieval traps, such as spikes and flamethrowers.
  • Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped: The theme of the levels Toad Village, Gee Wiz and Double Header is a stereotypical despiction of 15th century Europe (specifically Great Britain and Rome). The first warp chamber is based on this setting as well. Features include oversized frogs (as well as magicians that can turn Crash into one), swordsmen, tents in the levels' landscapes, and (in the last level of this kind) giants with two heads. The boss battle againsgt Tiny Tiger takes place in a parodied version of the Roman Colosseum.
  • The Dark Souls series is set in a mix between Medieval European Fantasy and Dark Fantasy, having all the typical cliches like knights, dragons, archers, wizards, castles, etc. but with a Darker and Edgier take on it.
  • The original Diablo has this in full force. Act One of the sequel takes place in the same medieval region, but quickly departs it in favor of Qurac, Mayincatec, Hell, and the a scary snowy place in that order.
  • The Empire in Disciples is a typical example. There are knights, priests, inquisitors, mercenaries, peasants, Christian-themed angels.
  • Dragon Age:
    • The games and books take place in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture setting, where most countries/cultures having a prototype in our history. The nations of Ferelden and Orlais are based on Medieval England and France, respectively, right down to the accents. Antiva, though never shown, is described like Rennaissance Italy, although Antivans have a Spanish accent for some reason. Other parallels are less Clear.
    • Interestingly, Dragon Age: Origins does not include any horses or mounted warriors, reducing the image of a knight a little. The novels, on the other hand, have them in spades. The Orlesians, for example, fight mostly using their heavy cavalry troops known as the chevaliers (French for "knights"), while the Fereldans prefer infantry, with a mix of magic and war dogs thrown in.
    • The sequel introduces the Free Marches, which are implied to be the equivalent of the Holy Roman Empire, except the Free Marches is just a name, with each city-state being, pretty much, on its own. Kirkwall, for example, doesn't even have a king but a Viscount. However, the city of Starkhaven does have a prince and a royal family, but the Prince of Starkhaven rules only Starkhaven.
  • The Dragon Quest series is a Denser and Wackier take on this. Dragon Quest VII is the only one that doesn't play this trope straight, adding in robot NPCs.
  • The Drakengard series uses this theme along with Dark Fantasy. Amusingly if one looks at the games world map one can see that it is Europe just flipped upside down.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Arena and Daggerfall Downplay it. Most of the races show cultural influences from outside of Europe, such as the Middle Eastern/African influences on the Redguard, Native American on the Argonians, and influences of the Chinese and Mesoamerican (in addition to the primary influence of the Romans) Empires on Cyrodiil. Overall though, the atmosphere of the games fits pretty squarely into the standard European Fantasy mold.
    • Averted by Morrowind, which is the most abstract game in the series to date. While some of the Imperial settlements still invoke this trope, the native settlements (such as the Telvanni mushroom cities and Redoran hollowed-out giant crab shell cities) and the landscape itself (ranging from mucky marshlands to ash wastes to Lethal Lava Land) are incredibly alien. It also features significant Earth Drift, where even the majority of the native animal species have no Earth analogues. It is also interesting as it's the only game in the series (besides Arena, in which every province is visited) that takes place in an Elven homeland. Particularly the Dunmer, who have more basis in the ancient Near East with some Biblical Hebrew/Israelite influences. (Led to Morrowind by the Moses/Abraham hybrid prophet Veloth, who are struggling for independence during occupation by a powerful foreign empire and who practice a comparatively unusual religion for the setting.)
    • Oblivion. Despite all prior lore stating that Cyrodiil was a dense tropical jungle, it appeared here as a European-style temperate forest land. (With a Cosmic Retcon Hand Wave thrown in to explain it.) Nearly every non-Daedric foe is based on a real life animal or a creature from real world mythology. Most of the races were portrayed without their connections to the non-European cultures they had in the previous games.
    • Skyrim embraces this trope, focusing specifically on a Grim Up North Scandinavian flavour. Cultural diversity among the races is restored, and there is a better balance of enemy animal and creature varieties.
  • Fable has this as its setting, but II and III avert it, having Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution-era settings respectively instead.
  • The first five Final Fantasy games go in and out of this. The seventh, eighth, and thirteenth games are very much not examples, but most of the rest have some degree of this. The tenth is an odd example. It has anti-technology, though that turns out to be the Big Bad's plan. It also has more Asian inspired elements coming across as a mash up of Medieval Europe and Asian Wuxia. Played straight with the sixteenth.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The games in the franchise tend to be set in European-esque lands with a roughly late-medieval level of development. While a few entries do include lands based on other cultures, like Eurasian steppe analogue Sacae from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade and Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, the least European-themed game is Fire Emblem Fates, where Japan-like Hoshido is one of the two main nations in the setting (though even here, its rival nation of Nohr is square in this trope).
    • Played with by Fire Emblem: Three Houses; the main setting of Fódlan has one foot in the European Renaissance, with it being implied that the Church of Seiros is the only reason why it hasn't already fully progressed past the medieval era. Additionally, the myriad lands surrounding Fódlan are all indicated to have rather non-European cultures; for example, Brigid has a vaguely Native American/Polynesian culture, while Almyra is an amalgamation of various Middle Eastern and Central Asian cultures.
  • Guild Wars nails this trope in all other aspects but subverts it when it comes to geography: The tutorial level of Prophecies (pre searing) looks like the game would be something like this, with medieval castles, green Ghibli Hills and otherwise European geography. Then the Charr summon their Earth-Shattering Kaboom. Ascalon ends up as a broken wasteland and every other locations tries to avoid this trope. The rest of Tyria is (in order) Death Mountain, a Beach Episode, Jungle Japes, Shifting Sand Land, Slippy-Slidey Ice World and Lethal Lava Land / Mordor. The continent Cantha in contrast is the Far East while Elona has heavy African and Middle East influences.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic has the Haven faction, which is your typical European castle with knights, archers, monks, etc. Until HoMM V, the Tower faction used to be a typical "ivory tower" city full of magical libraries and wizards. It has since been replaced with a more Middle Eastern-themed floating desert city and renamed Academy.
  • Hero & Daughter is superficially set in a village lorded over by a king in a European-style castle, with villagers living in subsistence farming and herb-gathering, an adventurer's guild in the town, and mentions of other kingdoms and their royalty. It's mostly superficial because the premise is the game is that the hero must rely on the help of the Haremancer to summon allies to make up for being permanently deleveled to level one — he then summons characters from across dimensions to facilitate a Fantasy Kitchen Sink feeling, and the existing world turns out to be full of Schizo Tech elements (like guns coexisting with medieval weaponry).
  • The nation of Leanbox in the first Hyperdimension Neptunia has this theme, complete with wide open fields that give it its title of "the Land of Green Pastures". Purple Heart even comments on how old-fashioned it looks when first arriving there. The sequel and later games (which would be set in a different continuity) would drop this altogether in favor of a more modern look.
  • The King of Dragons, a Beat 'em Up in which you fight lots of classical fantasy monsters and the red dragon as the final boss.
  • One of the worlds of Landflix Odyssey is a parody of Game of Thrones. So of course it would have this setting.
  • The Legend of Zelda is predominantly Medieval European Fantasy with Greek flavor, though the games have a lot of Asian influences as well. Link's Awakening, Wind Waker and Phantom Hourglass avert this to an extent, however, having more early modern Pacific/Caribbean-style tropical island settings instead. While Spirit Tracks returns to the European-esque setting, it moves into the early modern period with elements of Steampunk. Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom mix Medieval European Fantasy with Sci-Fi Magitek and Jidaigeki elements.
  • Played with in Little War Game, while there are Soldiers, Archers, and Dragons, there are also Airships and Ballistas. It can be argued that this is needed for competitive balance considering that the game is a Real-Time Strategy game.
  • Majesty, though it's an affectionate parody and set out to be a Cliché Storm. The Player Character is a monarch (addressed always as Sovereign) who hires various armored knights knights, bearded wizards, clerics, and other oddball "heroes" to explore and defend a realm. The cities are built by peasants who live in thatched-roof cottages and die in droves to ratmen, unless intercepted by a member of the guard, who will die instead. Elves, dwarves, and gnomes are also in residence.
  • Mount & Blade, which tries to keep as close to a realistic medieval setting as is physically possible, has this trope as its entire point. The games feature a number of empires based on historical nations such as the Mongolian Empire's 'Khergit Khanate' expy, though not all of the empires existed at the same time or necessarily had contact. On the other hand, the With Fire and Sword Expansion Pack is explicitly set in Eastern Europe in 1655. No points for guessing the time and locations of Napoleonic Wars
  • While Paladins is a Dungeon Punk world with a variety of settings, the maps Stone Keep and Magistrate's Archives are the most European-styled of all the maps. Taking place in a stone fortress, Stone Keep appears to be a cross between a medieval castle and a monastery. Magistrate's Archives appears to be a cross between an observatory and a library.
  • Phantasy Star III has a variant: it turns out that the entire medieval-style world the game takes place in is in reality an Arc-like spaceship that was fleeing the destruction of a very technologically advanced planet, and all the inhabitants are descendants of the ship's original population. After about 1,000 years and a lot of conflict, they lost their ancestors' technological advancements as well as the knowledge about the real nature of their world.
  • The Princess Maker games take place in one, with the exception of Princess Maker 5. Mithril is the highest form of equipment to obtain, and long dresses are common to be worn by women. The second and fourth game are given specific years of 1200 and 1400, respectively, to place them.
  • Runescape features numerous kingdoms with kings, knights, Christian-based religion and churches, and European castles, though with Arabian and African/Caribbean based settings as well as some post-Medieval European technology.
  • Sonic and the Black Knight - Justified in this case, since it's based around the Arthurian myths.
  • Most of the Star Ocean games attempt to avert this by setting up a sci-fi universe, but fall right back into it by leaving you stuck on an 'undeveloped world' (which are mainly Medieval European Fantasy worlds) for most of the game.
  • Total Annihilation: Kingdoms: the kingdom of Aramon takes the stereotypical theme of European Fantasy. It has knights, wizards, dragons, along with gunpowder cannons.
  • Played with in Valkyria Chronicles, which used to be one of these settings, complete with magic crystals and people born with mystical abilities, but has since progressed into an analogue of a different bloody and war-torn period of European history. Even so it still has many stylistic nods to the genre, with The Empire's soldiers wearing combat armor designed to look like Diesel Punk knights, wielding anti-tank rocket launchers shaped like jousting lances and their heavier tanks even looking like mobile castles. Ragnite itself meanwhile, the mineral that's key to fueling industrial civilization, is what would in any other medieval fantasy be considered a mystic orb.
  • The Warcraft series, at least as far as the human kingdoms are concerned. The third game and the MMORPG add a slew of other settings, such as the vaguely Asian nightelves, the Native American-ish Tauren, Caribbean Trolls, the Steampunk gnomes (and goblins), the Magitek-using draenei, vaguely Persian-ish Blood Elves, and the nordic vyrkul. Later on, there's the addition of the Asian-themed pandaren (the trailer revealing them has a pandaren monk (in a conical hat, no less) using a bamboo staff to thoroughly beat the crap out of a human and an orc with kung fu), originally introduces as a joke.
  • The Witcher, and the books it's based on. In this case though, it's based on Slavic mythology while making use of Eastern European (more specifically Polish) culture and history as inspiration.
  • Played with in Wurm Online, which seems to be set in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the Mediterranean; there's wine instead of ale, you can plant olive groves and some of the architecture has a faint Ancient Grome vibe.


    Western Animation 
  • Hanna-Barbera's The Smurfs (1981) based on Peyo's comic of the same name. The show is set in a unknown medieval kingdom full of fantastic creatures.
  • In Rudolph's Shiny New Year, the Archipelago of Last Years is a group of many islands, each representing a year in the past. For example, the island of 1023 is a Medieval European Fantasy inhabited by fairy-tale characters and run by a Knight in Shining Armor.


Video Example(s):


Legion Classes

The overall faction resembles a fantastic (albeit Low Fantasy) interpretation of European knights.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / MedievalEuropeanFantasy

Media sources: