Re: inside the walls

From: jeffrichard68 <richj_at_...>
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2004 15:41:51 -0000

> FWIW when I wrote the 'generic' Sartarite city
> description I took the arrangements of Pavis as a
> guide (after all Dorasor presumably learnt his style
> there), but drew on Viking Jorvik for an understanding
> of what the houses would be like. Greg and others then
> later modified that original. There we have a model of
> a mixture of timber buildings that are urbanised
> 'steads' (gardens instead of homefields, many more
> single family dwellings) with some 'stone' buildings
> for the rich. That's pretty much a good feel for how a
> 'Orlanthi' city might be.

Yeah - I always used a little article on Hedeby for inspiration. Eventually I'll make it to York someday (I've never managed to make it out of the South of England).

> But while there might be parts of Whitewall that feel
> this way overall I (and I think others) don't see
> Whitewall as a living city but a citadel. Think Helm's
> Deep more than Edoras. Think cyclopean walls of an
> imposing royal palace not the homes of the masses.
> Think dusty corridors hung with decaying tapestries
> and dust-covered fountains, long unused, rather than
> common folks hovels. Think Balazaring citadels not
> Pavis.

Yes - Ian has captured my thoughts exactly. Think Helm's Deep, Mycenae or the Acrocorinth (in fact go to the Files section and look at the picture of the Acrocorinth for inspiration).

> There will be few 'shops' as we understand them. Some
> craftsmen may work here, supporting the royal
> presence, but I doubt many are associated with
> agricultural production. My suspicion is that
> Whitewall imports much of its necessities, one reason
> why it never took off as a city. So I think that
> cheesemakers, tanners, dyers and the like would not be
> found here, far easier for them to be located close to
> the source of production. Think high status crafts
> which 'add value' to raw products instead. In addition
> think warehouses and importers who supply the
> commodities from outside. Think a great marketplace
> where traders come (well once came) to supply the
> thanes and kings.

And most of the crafters are there to provide goods for the king, his thanes, and his followers. And many of these crafters work for (or are supported by) the king or important thanes. Whitewall is a town tribute - not trade - sustains.

>If we feel the need for a tavern (probably
> the outgrowth of an oversupplied beer importer) let's
> just have the one.
> Similarly its all too easy in 'fantasy' cities to
> throw in too many wierd elements or humour. Less is
> more as they say. So the marble longhouses, warrens
> for strange fury animals, battling Meerschaum pipe
> makers etc, while individually okay begin to grate
> when thrown together. There is a taste element here.
> Whatever oddities may work for you and your group may
> not work for others. People feel happy overelooking
> the one or two they don't like, but plop them on every
> street and folks will soon feel overwhelmed. Note that
> even the wacky Greg doesn't throw handfuls of wierd
> elements everyplace, just one or two to lighten the
> tone. And even then some folks complain...

I cannot agree with this more. I like to imagine that the great hall of the High King is a marble palace - but based on whatever a First Age Heortling king's hall looked like. When it comes to weirdness - less is more. The few weird things we want to keep stand out more when there is just one or two.


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