Friday, 6 February 2015

LXXX. Locations and Environments

Seeing how I haven't painted anything new for a whole month and the blog started feeling neglected, I went through my notebook and pulled out scattered bits of lore I've gradually come up with so far. I put the bits together into these paragraphs.


GARDENS of HECATE 


Gardens of Hecate is a historical region, dating back to the Ancient times. There are several stories that attempt to explain its name. One says that the area was rich with magical herbs and the people who lived there were famous as herbalists, sorcerers and healers - so the Ancients named the region after the goddess associated with these very things. Another speaks of a temple of Hecate, whose ruins might probably still be found somewhere near the mountains. Those who are more knowledgeable say that the name might come from the fact there are so many entrances to Underworlds hidden across the region - and Hecate is a chtonic deity. But the most probable answer is that the name comes from the Ancient settlement that stood there long ago. The settlement was called Trivia, because it was placed where three roads met. Trivia also happens to be another name for Hecate (the goddess of crossroads, among other things). On its site, the town of Heron stands today. The largest part of the region is now under Glassfog County, ruled by the Waywode family.
  

the town of HERON


Heron is a town in Glassfog County, which is a part of the Southern Province of the Adlerburg Monarchy. 
To the west of the town lie the plains of the Golden Valley, going on for many miles. To the north are forests and wetlands, and beyond them the bed of the river Deep Run. South of Heron is an alluvial plain formed by Quiet River and its tributaries. To the west, there is a large forested area and the landscape goes more vertical as a mountain range springs up that way. However, beyond that moderate elevation the plains continue relentlessly. 
Mighty Brook flows through Heron, effectively splitting the town in two by the middle. North of the town close to a dozen watermills have been built on the small river. Mighty Brook ends up in Quiet River further south. In Heron's surroundings one can find a number of villages and hamlets, such as Wells, Mudhorn, Foolsmarch and Swallowmire; and some solitary farms as well. There are several monasteries in the town's vicinity, and in the woodlands to the north-east stands Castle Waywode, the seat of counts Waywode- lords of  Glassfog County.
 
Up until several generations ago the area had been under occupation by the Hassanag Empire, and most people had fled north. When the Hassanags were pushed back, counts Waywode returned and repaired the damaged castle. They sought to repopulate the area, so they brought craftsmen, traders and peasants from their other lands across the Empire. Heron thrived, and became quite a prosperous town. However, over the course of the last fifteen years two plague epidemics have ravaged the South, and the population diminished visibly. A number of villages have been completely wiped out, and the town lost much of its populace as well. Ghost hamlets and decaying, uninhabited neighbourhoods are a result of this. The county is still recovering from the plagues, but things are seemingly getting better. More and more people are moving into Heron's half-timbered houses, and trade is doing well.

  CASTLE WAYWODE

 

Castle Waywode is the seat of counts Waywode and the current residence of the Countess, whom you've already met. The Countess is not a Waywode, though; but a Vérzőfarkas. Her family's lands are in one of the eastern provinces. She is married to the current Count Waywode, who is not around much. So the Countess takes care of his county while the man is far away, fighting for the Empress in the ongoing war in the north.
The castle is situated north-east of Heron, standing on a small hill and surrounded by the Waywode Hunting Grounds. It was built centuries ago by the first Count Waywode, nicknamed Hogsbane because he, legend says it, put an end to a monstrous wild boar that was terrorizing the countryside. The creature got immortalized in the family coat of arms, which features a skewered boar. There is talk that the castle is haunted, and that this is due to the monster-boar's dying curse. Some of the people who have been guests at the castle claim that they saw processions of ghostly quadrupedal shapes noiselessly passing through luxuriously furnished rooms in the dead of night. Others say they felt random chills, heard hollow cries and shreaks and howls, or encountered disappearing rabbits and ethereal pheasants in dimly lit corridors. This has alwasy been dismissed as a silly superstition by the more skeptical. But everyone has to admit they have never heard of any other case of a site allegedly haunted by ghosts of game...

Artwork by Francesco Balsamo.

That is all for now. There are other places (like these Underworlds I keep refering to) and other topics (such as religion and heraldry) that will get covered in the future. I made a separate page for writings on lore; you can find it in the sinister sidebar, below the Soundtrack. The page will gradually be updated as I publish new information in the posts.

*   *   *

I've started thinking about terrain again. Listed below are six types of environments in which the future skirmishes between my miniature gangs might occur, with lists of terrain pieces that will make the environments come alive on the tabletop. This will help me plan what to build. Some terrain pieces are generic, and may appear pretty much anywhere - trees, woods, fences. Others have a more narrowed-down usability- e.g. tombstones will normally be used in graveyards, or a barn in villages and farms. There will also be terrain pieces that are landmarks, unique to a specific location and appear nowhere else. I have already made a portion of the entries in those lists, but there is plenty more to do.


WOODS
There are plenty forests, woodlands, thickets and groves in the area around Heron, especially to the north and the east of town. 
  • trees
  • woods
  • rocks/rubble
  • mushroom ring
  • shrine of St. Hubertus
  • uprooted tree

FIELDS
Glassfog County is a plain, and gloomy fields, grasslands and meadows roll in all directions. Along with dark forests, this is the most common wilderness environment around.
  • rocks/rubble
  • trees
  • fences
  • windmill
  • ruined cottage
  • rotting wagon with supplies
  • mud 

Artwork by Larry MacDougall. © Wizards of the Coast





TOWN
Some encounters might take place in the town's streets.  
  • town houses
  • inn
  • shop
  • watch house
  • church
  • water well
  • walls
  • fences
  • barrels/crates/parcels 
  • shrines 
  • monument
  • townsfolk

Artwork by Omar Rayyan. © Wizards of the Coast


FARM
A number of farms, some inhabited and some decaying, are scattered across the wilds. 
  • cottage/ruined cottage
  • fences
  • pumpkin patch
  • hay wagon
  • water well
  • farm animals
  • pigpen, henhouse, other small structures
  • barn
  • trees
  • rocks/rubble
  • mud 

Artwork by Larry MacDougall. © Wizards of the Coast


VILLAGE 
There are villages around Heron, both dead and alive. The plagues have taken their toll.
  • cottages/ruined cottages
  • fences
  • pumpkin patch
  • water well
  • barn
  • trees
  • inn
  • chapel or shrine
  • windmill 

Artwork by Omar Rayyan. © Wizards of the Coast
 

GRAVEYARD
The final resting places of the good folk of Heron and the surrounding villages. There are burial grounds near each settlement. Some are centuries old, forgotten and concealed by the woods.
  • tombstones
  • old graveyard
  • fences
  • walls
  • chapel
  • church
  • trees
  • woods
  • mass grave
  • shrines
  • monumental cross

8 comments:

  1. Amazing work, Ana! I was hoping you'd post soon and you've not disappointed. I've always wanted to know more about the setting of your collection of wonderful miniatures and I'm glad you took the time to compile this description. Was a very enjoyable and captivating read and I'm looking forward to learning more about your characters and the world they inhabit. A fantastic choice of artwork also. Really captures the dark, dreary and bizarre Gormenghastesque feel that I get from your creations quite often.

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  2. A very good read, Ana. Great job of providing context for your miniature creations.

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  3. Good stuff, this sort of attention to detail and care is what elevates your models beyond being simple gaming pieces. I like the idea of a house haunted by the game slain by the owner, it reminds me of the Winchester haunted house curse (particularly as told in the book The Vorrh). I'm a huge fan of your work.

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    1. Thank you, Bruticus! I am familiar with the Winchester Mystery House, but I've never heard of The Vorrh before. Now that I've googled it, it seems like something I might enjoy. So, thanks again. :)

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  4. Really good background, and very well written. I second the Gormenghast reference. It also reminds me of an old film, The Company of Wolves, which is set in a forest. This sounds great.

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