Monday, July 12, 2010

Gentlemen ...

I think it is time to admit this.  I think that I must end these campaigns.

More and more the commitment on my part has been waning, particularly since my workload has been increasing steadily at my job, which I started five and a half months ago.  I have less time at work to play.  I'm finding that, when I am home, I have no interest in the campaign at all.  That, I must accept, is a sign.

I have been pressing myself to write the fiction I wish to write more regularly, with a thousand words a day; I started a novel on the 1st of April, which I've just finished.  I am 13,000 words into a second novel.  That's the dedication that I applying to that venture.  That is the reason I'm not running an online campaign at home.

In many ways, I'm running out of time.

So let me wrap up.

Symeon, I don't fault you; obviously something was keeping you from posting through the day, and I was having trouble finding a thread for you to follow.  I was going to give you a vision from drinking the water, that would show you finding a young boy, and sneaking him north along the coast to an uncertain place (that would turn out to be Chalcidice), while he protected a copper bowl (the womb) that was capable of restoring life to the dead.  In other words, I was reduced to giving you a quest, with no definite rule about whether you'd undertake it.  I suppose it wasn't the best of ideas.

Andrej and Avel, it turned out that the two of you were also on a quest, though I did hope it was voluntary.  Chgowiz was meant to join you again; he did roll up a character two weeks ago, but with the exception of explaining that he was delayed by life, he hasn't spoken to me.  I feel he would have joined, but even so I think we've all gotten a bit tired of trying to make this happen through the computer.

My plan was to show that Albert was, in fact, a cousin of Eberhardt Hornung; that on some level, he did have the right to ask for rent, and that there would be some difficulty in legality.  I hoped somehow to encourage him and the party to take on this enormous beast, which was going to wander around for weeks if necessary, tearing down trees, knocking over shacks, whatever was necessary to get the party involved.  I don't know exactly how you would have killed it, but that wasn't my problem.

But it's all over now.  I wish you all well, I know I'm leaving you in the lurch and so on.  I hope there was some enjoyment.  All in all, however, it is no substitute for a real campaign.  If I were to try this on line again, I would do it through some system where we could meet online on a given evening, and play real time.  I don't see that happening anytime soon.  I am, however, leaving it on a shelf, so you may not want to destroy your characters.

I will be continuing with the Tao of D&D, and I will be available as before for feedback.

So long, and be well.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Inside the Keep

Friday, June 27, 1650

I will describe the principal condition of the gatehouse.


As can be seen, there are three levels, not including the tower. As said, the road runs alongside the highest level, which is reached by a set of stairs that are ten feet wide and six feet from top to bottom. The floor below, would be reached from a set of stairs immediately to the left of the main entrance, the side opposite to that shown in the picture.

For simplicity, let us refer to the highest principal floor as the “Entrance Floor”; to the floor below that as the “Service Floor”; and finally, to the lowest floor as the “Cellar.”

Each floor is, in the main, 24’ long and 16’ wide. The Entrance Floor has three windows on the side facing the viewer, which would be the SOUTH wall; these windows are, from entrance to the rear of the Gatehouse, 3’ wide, 1’ wide, and 3’ wide. Each are 5’ high. The total height of the wall surrounding the Entrance Floor is 11’ high. There are two windows on the EAST wall, opposite to the entrance, which is on the WEST wall. These windows are each 2’ wide and 5’ high. There are two windows on the NORTH wall, respectively 1’ wide and 3’ wide, each 5’ high and arranged oppositely to the narrow and wide window shown, with the 2’ space between them. The Entrance Floor has no roof. There is a chimney that rises in the SW corner, but this chimney at present does not rise above the wall, and cannot be seen. The floor is sturdy, but water damaged from open roof.

Where the stairs descend to the Service Floor, there is an iron ladder fixed into the wall that leads to the bell tower. The Belltower is 5’ square, and stands 18’ above the wall of the Entrance Floor, or 29’ feet above the top step of the entranceway, or 35’ above the road. As can be seen, it has 8 windows surrounding it, each 1’ wide and 3’ high. There is a bell that remains in the belfry, that is 18” in diameter and in great need of cleaning and polishing. It has no rope, and a quick inspection suggests that the wooden frame holding the bell may need to be replaced. The ladder leads to a single ‘roost’ inside the tower, which is 4 and one half feet in diameter, with an open hold for the ladder and a 1’ wide hole in the center for the bell rope. So it is quite cozy, but large enough for two thin archers using short bows, or one archer using a long bow or crossbow of any size.

The Service Floor corresponds in size to floor above, and is partly buried into the hill. As pictured, the dark area on the wall on the left that might appear to be a window is in fact a door, 6’ high and 3’ wide. Otherwise there is again the narrow window and the wider window, the same dimensions as the floor above. The windows on the NORTH wall also correspond to those of the floor above. The door is oak, perhaps 4” thick and reinforced; but at the moment, is in swollen condition, and cannot be budged.

The Service Floor may have once corresponded to a kitchen, focused around the oven in the SW corner, next to the door. The state of the overall room is moderately dry, the floor above being waterproofed with sap by the Gypsies. This is where the peat has been processed, with the oven being lit in wet weather to keep the room dry. At present most of the prepared peat is laid out at the base of the stairs, to carry up to the entranceway when the time comes ... the damper peat is towards the oven.

The Service Floor also has an ‘Alcove’, a 5’ by 7’ space which extends out from the EAST wall, which seems to have been built so as to cover the well which extends downwards, perhaps 40’. It is difficult to tell, as a light does not shine upon the water below. However, there is water down there, of unknown quality. The winch and pulley system are worthless, and there’s no bucket. The well is square shaped, 3’ square, with thus a 2’ space on either side of it. As can be seen, there are two windows on the north and south walls of the Alcove.

The Cellar is reached by another iron ladder, in the NE corner, with a hole in the floor somewhat larger than the bell tower - about 4’ by 5’. There was at one point a winch on the ceiling above the hole, but all that is left are the brackets. A descent into the cellar shows it to be a fairly dry, cobble-stone walled space, at the moment filled with dried dirt drained from the peat. The cellar appears to be drained by a 9” diameter hole at the base of the east wall, and the floor is gently sloped (about 4 degrees) from the west wall to the south.

The walls of the gatehouse overall are 6 - 8 inches thick, of granite, the plastering almost all gone.

Likely, the gatehouse wouldn’t keep out a determined mage, but it would probably hold back a mob for awhile if it was well stocked and defended.

The view from the Belltower gives the sight of mostly forest, which appears to have newer growth closer to the gatehouse, and older growth beyond; it would appear once there was a circle of cut-down space, but this circle has overgrown in the last 7 years.