Gw Temp

Menu

Article - 'Medieval Britian, Issue One' by Guest

An item about Game Design posted on Feb 28, 2005

Blurb

A nice article detailing Medieval Britian. Includes Castles, Occupations, and the Royal Family.

Body

This is the first of series of articles that I hope to write. Maybe 1 every 2 weeks, depends on how much homework I get, anyway here I fo.
Most RM2/3 games that I’ve played are based around the medieval times, they all have a few things added in, mainly magic but still most at the raw are from the medieval times. This article will explain one of the major things of Medieval times, castles. The whole series will be based around Medieval Britain.

Types Of Castles:
Generally castles in RM2K games are all ruled by a king. In the medieval times this was not true. Usually castles could only be build with the approval of the king, so he could make sure the castle was in the hands of someone he could trust. In times of anarchy there were generally outbreaks of illegal castle building.

The Norman conquers developed castle building into a fine art, of course they had to as it was such an insecure period that defence was a necessity of life. Most people when they think of castles think of a massive stone beast, but before 1100 ad all castles were made of wood.

Motte and Bailey Castles: These types of castles were built on an artificial or natural mound (the Motte) with a deep ditch surrounding it. Around this was an area of land, called a Bailey, this is where the buildings used by the people working in the castle were, stables, store houses, bakeries, cottages, kitchens and quarters for soldiers. The Bailey was surrounded by a wooden paladise and an outer ditch or fosse. Sometimes water was diverted by a nearby stream into this ditch. There are no good examples of Motte and Bailey castles left today, as most were rebuilt in the 12th century and replaced with stone keeps.

Early Keeps: Shell keeps, of which few survive, were set on artificial or natural mounds. Stone walls 8-10 feet thick and 20-25 feet high enclosed a circular or polygonal area of 40-100 feet in diameter. Within the walls residential buildings in stone and possibly wood were built. A stronger design was the square or rectangular Norman keep which developed mainly in the middle and late 12th century. These immensely strong keeps were too heavy for artificial mounds and had to be built on natural high points. The keep walls were 20 feet thick at the base, rising to over 100 feet in height. Bedchambers, garderobes (latrines), and passages were built inside the thickness of the walls. Corner turrets provided an unobstructed line of sight along each wall.

Edwardian Castles: The keeps were ideal for the time in which they were built, but by the middle of the 13th century the needs had changed. A base that could be used for offensive actions rather then pure defense was needed. So the keep was discarded in favor of another design, known as the concentric design. These castles are often called Edwardian.

Concentric Design: Concentric castles have no central strong point like a keep. Instead they rely on rings of walls, one inside the other, with towers along the sides of the walls. Most Edwardian castles have three concentric rings of walls and towers. The central area was kept as an open courtyard around which were clustered separate domestic buildings. Such as the ones described above. The outer wall was ringed by a moat with access over a draw bridge through a separate gatehouse or barbican. Several Norman keeps were converted into concentric castles. The central keep was usually retained for accommodation.

Here are a few designs that I got from movies, such as Lord of the Rings.

Helms Deep Styles: These types of castles are built with natural features around them, to offer more protection, such as rivers, cliffs or even the sea. While these provide more protection they also are a danger, as there often isn’t an easy way out, for if there was the enemy could come from there too. In Lord of the Rings, there was a way out through the caves, although that too was dangerous, perhaps you could have the heroes escaping through a dangerous path, which could be under water, through a mountain or underground.

Village Surrounded Castles: These castles are sort of like Motte and Bailey castles, however they do not necessarily have to be on a hill. They would generally have a stone keep or castle as the center point and around that would often be a moat. After the moat would be a village or city, whatever. The village would extend right around the actual castle, it would most likely be where most of the castle workers live and sleep. Around the village would be another wall, usually a wooden one as it is quite a large area to do in stone.

Well that about wraps up the castle design section. Of course there are many more different ways of making castles, this is just a guide line for you to use if you wish. Next up, People of the Castle!

People of the Castle!
A lot of games I have played have people living in a castle, who really, just shouldn’t be there. Also a lot of games have vital people missing, who should always be in a castle, this section outlines the different jobs that your people occupying the castle or lands around it could have, as well as a brief description of what they are and how they could be used.

Jobs:
Bailif: in charge of allotting jobs to the peasants, building repair, and repair of tools used by the peasants.
Could be used if you have a part of the game where you stay in a city as a peasant, or maybe a quest could be to find the Bailif to issue an order to repair a building.
Blacksmith: forged and sharpened tools and weapons, beat out dents in armor, made hinges for doors, and window grills. Also referred to as Smiths.
THE most common person(excluding royal family) in games. Obviously he could be used as a shop keeper, or perhaps you could make it so you had to place an order for a weapon/armor and he fill make/fix it for you after a certain period of time.
Bottler: in charge of the buttery or bottlery.
I guess just a humorous job you could have, or maybe you could make a mini game involving working at a bottlery.
Butler: cared for the cellar and was in charge of large butts and little butts (bottles) of wine and beer. Under him a staff of people would be around to help.
Well you must have seen/heard of these guys SOMEWHERE, basically they are servants, although in this case they manage the wine and beer, could be used at a feast where you place an order for wine/beer or you could make a mini game involving serving people wine and beer.
Carpenter: built flooring, roofing, siege engines, furniture, paneling for rooms, and scaffolding for building.
Generally he builds things, mainly involving buildings but also you can see siege engines there, which a vital piece of equipment for any army planning to lay siege to another castle..
Carters: workmen who brought wood and stone to the site of a castle under construction.
Could be used if you have a scene where a castle is being built, these would be the people carrying stone and wood to where the castle is being built.
Chamberlain: responsible for the great chamber and for the personal finances of the lord of the castle.
A very important person in any castle. He is (as stated above) the finance advisor of the lord of the castle.
Chaplin: provided spiritual welfare for laborers and the castle garrison. The duties might also include supervising building operations, clerk, and keeping accounts. He also tended to the chapel.
Really just a unique job for a member of your castle to have.
Clerk: person who checked material costs, wages, and kept accounts.
Another job to give your person, of course if you had a castle that the player took over this job could be quite useful.
Cook: roasted, broiled, and baked food in the fireplaces and ovens.
Quite simple what they do really.
Falconer: highly skilled expert responsible for the care and training of hawks for the sport of falconry.
A great character for a mini game or maybe even a PC (Playable Character).
Knight: a professional soldier. This was achieved only after long and arduous training which began in infancy.
Anyone who doesn’t know what this is, well really I don’t understand how you couldn’t, my guess is that this is the most used profession, job, class etc. used in all RM2K/3 games. Even most other RPG games set in medieval times WILL have a knight in it.
Marshal: officer in charge of a household's horses, carts, wagons, and containers. He also oversaw the transporting of goods.
Well again just another job to be used, would be good if the player owned a castle, he could organize trade routes or whatever with neighboring kingdoms/castles.
Messengers: servants of the lord who carried receipts, letters, and commodities.
Quite important I think, this was almost the only way to talk to other castles, forts, armies and kingdoms. A castle without one isn’t a castle IMO (In My Opinion).
Miner: skilled professional who dug tunnels for the purpose of undermining a castle.
Could be used in a siege of another castle, where you have to mine underneath or protect the miners themselves.
Minstrels: part of the castle staff who provided entertainment in the form of singing and playing musical instruments.
Pretty much a Jester, always a good thing to have at a feast or big event.
Scullions: responsible for washing and cleaning in the kitchen.
Really just another one of those jobs to give to your people to make them actually have a job, no real point to it (that I can think of).
Steward: took care of the estate and domestic administration. Supervised the household and events in the great hall, also referred to as a Seneschal.
Important person in a castle, I think all castle’s should have one, doesn’t matter the purpose.
Squire: attained at the age of 14 while training as a knight. He would be assigned to a knight to carry and care for the weapons and horse.
All knights back then had a squire, so this too, is an important job.
Watchmen: an official at the castle responsible for security. Assisted by lookouts (the garrison).
Most games will have these anyways, really they are just guards.
Woodworkers: Tradesmen called Board-hewers who worked in the forest, producing joists and beams.
Just a job to give to people if you want more.


The Lord/Royal Family:
The most important person in any castle, the owner. In most cases it will be the king. Of course in medieval times each “king” would normally have a number of castles under his command. Each of these castles would be manned by a Lord he trusts, so when creating the owner he doesn’t have to be the king.
Also I think the Lord is quite an important person and you should make him quite in-depth, however this article isn’t going to tell you how, however there are a great number of good articles about making characters.
The Lord should also have a family. I’ll start with the Queen.
Queen: Really doesn’t do much, she sits there with the King on most occasions, of course she has her own time in which she should do things that she enjoys. She shouldn’t embark on any missions the king goes on unless it is relevant to your plot.
Prince: An important figure. He is almost like the king in every respect, he goes to war (as a commander), attends meetings and competitions etc.
Princess: I’m not very good on this person, you will have free will on what she does.
Well that about wraps up the people of the castle and my article.
A few notes I’d like to add,
Not all workers live in the castle, some may live in outlying buildings or other places. Some may sleep in the castle however it won’t be the great comfort that the Lord will have.
Guests to the castle are also treated with respect, and will generally get good rooms and seats at feasts.
That’s all for now folks, my next article will be on the weapons of Medieval times, until then, cya!
Raytane.