Finally, nearly Christmas and the last level of the Caras Castle maps are edited and tidied up. All that remains is to add the room details for description purposes and then hit the details of the main characters for the solo adventure and the town gazeteer.
The ramparts of the castle are covered with slate roofing thus providing soldiers manning the walls with some protection from missiles.
Gate house towers
City corner towers the stairs lead down to the ground level positions
River towers the stairs lead down to the ground level positions
Mid river tower
Muster spaces but also a storage area.
Missile storage – Bins of arrows and bolts
Balcony that gives a clear view of the courtyard covered with a simple slated roof. Attackers gaining the central courtyard would find themselves surrounded by firing posistions on all sides.
Balcony outside staff rooms
Senior staff room
Senior staff room
Bregol’s Bedroom secret entrance to 18
Bregol’s Reception room
Corridor stairs leading to top level of tower will have a guard
Haradric mistress’ room
Haradric mistress’ room secret entrance to 13
Hall way space reached by stairs from below or wooded walkway
Eunuch responsible for meeting Haradric Mistress’ daily needs and guardian of the hallway.
Entrance hallway of noble lodge – visiting nobles and important guest are lodged in this section.
Guest room – Nobles are lodged in these rooms so they are well appointed.
Guest room – Peep hole hidden in portrait
Guest room – peep hole hidden
Secret chamber accessible through secret door in corridor. Has spy hole into rooms 24 and 26. Two possible reasons for this chamber. a)Bregol constructed it to view the rooms to gain blackmail evidence against visiting nobles b)It is a hidden chamber long-forgotten with an alchemist laboratory and some potions that will help an adventurer on a quest.
Well at this rate, I won’t even get the castle top levels out before the month is out. This is a nearly completed version – I got held up when I had to digitally add in windows that I had forgotten to include. I would like to add some more details to the rooms later but they aren’t needed for the main details.
The ground floor levels of Castle Caras Celairnen are reached via a drawbridge and bridge that span a wide defensive ditch. As the central castle is at the top of a rocky outcrop and backs onto the steep cliff down to the river, the risk of seige machines being brought to the main walls is very remote. Hence the purpose of the ditch is to create a killing field for the archers of the castle. Like all castles that have developed over time buildings have been added into the central courtyard, defensive structures have been converted to other uses and the overall feel is now of a ruling administrative palace rather than a defensive fortress.
Defensive towers are three floors tall and topped by blue slate conical roofs. The lower levels are only accessible from the wall levels via the spiral stairs. The embrasures provide a wide arc of fire out onto the defensive ditch and also down to the river below.
Central River defensive tower is similar to the corner towers described above except access to the tower can also be gained from the ground floor via a hidden door in room 18 which can be barred from both sides as needed.
The right gate tower is similar to the corner towers. It has a stairway leading to the main wall above the gate and can be entered through a stout oak door which can be barred from the inside and outside of the tower.
Central town-side towers are similar in style to the corner towers. Spiral stairs give access up to the defensive ramparts and both towers can be barricaded from both sides by stout doors.
At the far end of the courtyard is the town’s administrative offices. The outer office is staffed by six scribes responsible for the administration of landing fees, permits and the other day to day minutiae of running a Charter town.
Inner office staffed by two senior scribes.
Records libraries lie off the inner office and are stacked with scrolls and papers related to the trade and administration of the town over the last twenty years. The doors to these rooms are often open during the day but are firmly locked at night (PL Medium).
A series of steps lead down to an iron gate which is locked at night (PL medium) and a stout wooden door barred on the outside. These steps lead to a hidden water source down in the rock from which all the castle water is drawn. During the day in peacetime, it is often left open and unguarded.
The kitchens are a constantly busy place. It would be difficult to pass by them without being noticed. A kitchen boy sleeps in the room to tend the fire and help the baker prepare bread for the morning.
The larder is guarded by a single wooden door. Inside a wide array of perishable goods and preserved rations that keep the castle functioning are kept. A single arrow embrasure is closed up with wooden boards which can at need be removed.
The guardroom can be entered from the main courtyard. The castle no longer garrisons a full militia here but 14 soldiers are permanently billeted within the walls. They man the walls in two shifts and are supplemented by locally billeted other members of the militia. Consequently, there will be 7 soldiers at ease here sat by the fire, eating, playing cards or in the dormitory beyond.
The dormitory is filled with 7 bunks and 14 trunks for personal effects. The trunks have very simple locks (PL light). At the far end a curtain hangs over the embrasure for the arrow slit. When not sleeping the guards keep the wooden shutter down unless the weather is inclement.
The door to this room is, like the door to the armoury, made of stout oak, bound in iron and locked (PL Very Hard). The ancestral armour of the house Silanir is kept within.
The sergeant’s rooms are often occupied but are clearly empty when is voice can be heard dressing down one of the guards. It is simply furnished with a desk and bed.
A stout oak door bound in iron and locked (PL Hard) protects the armoury from the casual intruder. Inside is a store of weapons needed to protect the castle in a time of siege. Not that this has happened yet but the captain makes sure that all the weaponry is well-tended and ready for action.
Hall chamber with stairs to upper levels and locked oak door bound with iron.
Storage room with a hidden door (perception Light) concealed by a hanging and a rough plasterwork wooden door made to look like stone.
Entrance hall. A set of wooden stairs lead to the next floor. Two locked wooden doors (PL Light) stand in the far wall.
The muster room
Guardroom – metal grill looks out on to the hallway from the main door.
Hall. Stairs lead up into the tower on the left and down to the gaol below
Entrance hall. Designed to serve as a defensive space for the tower funnelling attackers into the kill zone from the arrow slits of both guardrooms.
Minor hall used for general castle functions and meetings. Stairs lead up to a wooden structure that makes the second floor.
Open walled courtyard with a rain-fed pond.
The main courtyard is often busy throughout the day with castle staff, administrators, day guards, merchants and the general public. At sunset, the main gate is closed to the general public and the courtyard becomes a quieter place.
The upper story to this building overhangs the one below. Beneath is space for stabling several horses of a short period of time. Longer-term stabling of horses is provided closer to the Causeway gate.
Used as storage space but part of the defensive structures of the castle. The doors in and out can be barred in either direction to hinder attackers progress. Stairs lead up to the next floor.
Anteroom to 32 and 34 is again another part of the defences of the castle that has slowly been converted to more prosaic day to day use. In this case a temporary tack room
Used as storage space but part of the defensive structures of the castle. The doors in and out can be barred in either direction to hinder attackers progress. Stairs lead up to the next floor.
So Mapvember has arrived and as a little fun and to keep me going, I am going to try and join in this year. I can’t promise a map a day but I can contribute a little of the work ongoing in Caras Celairnen. Castle Basement level.
Stairs passage from outside kitchen to the hidden well used to draw water in case of seige.
A rough area for transporting smuggled goods. The stairs lead up to a secret entrance in a lodge beside the main keep.
A locked door (Pick lock: Hard) of hardened oak bars entrance to a store area for smuggled goods. D10 crates with Southern wines and spirits. D10 pouches of hallucengenic herbs hidden in each crate (Perception: Medium). In the far wall is a secret entrance (Perception: Medium) to the excavation site beyond.
A 25′ diameter cirular chamber of rough hewn rock stretches up in a small dome. Torchlight flickers off of a enormous pale yellow skull of a great dragon.
The guard post stairs down from the keep lead to the dungeon. A single guard keeps a lonely vigil until relieved every 2 hours. His only task is to ensure that prisoners have not found the means to escape. The cell keys are kept by the guard captain and the chamberlin.
Each cell is barricaded by an iron door (Pick Lock: Hard). Inside two small wooden benches serve as beds. In one corner is a piss pot and the other a small jug of water.
One little side project is an inn generator for Middle Earth (it’s not a tricky job but I’m not hitting it hard at the moment) so that I can just add colour to stops on journeys. One in created for the Shire Campaign is the Midnight Rooster which has become the base of the characters. Hence, it received a little more than the usual brief description. I have used the “Remarkable Inns” ratings system (well worth getting a copy here).
Wibblesham, The Shire
$ $ $
Hobbits and Eriadorians
Friendly to all Free Peoples
One common room and two single rooms
The Midnight Rooster sits at the foot of the hill on the bank of the River Fayn in Wibblesham. Sarsen sandstone blocks have been used to build this tavern, each block telling its own story through the weathering on its surface. The original building has been enlarged by burrowing into the hillside to create a small smial for the owners that faces into the stable yard at the rear of the inn. The area in front of the inn is churned with mud due to the proximity to the river. To allow patrons to enter and leave without tramping through the mud wooden planks have been added to create a veranda and entrance route. Round to the side, within view of the entrance, a patch of ground is used for regular games of toss the horseshoe.
Inside the main common room is furnished with simple pine tables and benches scrubbed with with regular use of soap and water. In each corner of the room a hanging brazier smoulders casting a musty fragrance into the room. In the winter, the table closest to the fire is occupied by the Gaffa and Sam; anyone who tries to occupy these seats, should they be empty, will receive disapproving stares and if they still don’t take the hint then Theo will come and have a quiet word. The inn has three lodging rooms – one common room and two single rooms. Should the inn become overfull then Theo will seek alternative space in local houses of the village although the costs will rise.
The inn keepers are Theodulf and Primrose Sandy who manage most of the day to day affairs. Theodulf is well known within the village, often consulted by Mayor Gresham Shaper on matters outside of a moot. The capable pair are supported by a stable boy Benji Heathertoes and Molly Bracegirdle the kitchen assistant.
A portly, bustling Harfoot of average height whose nut-brown round face is always ready with a friendly greeting for both local and visiting traveller. As the Inn is never packed with travellers, being on a less travelled routes, Theo can take the time to get to know his customers and is very knowledgeable about the travelling conditions for the local region. He will be able to inform travellers of the state to the toll at Axbridge by Cluad and the presence of Amlin’s blue-scarfed Road Wardens.
Cheery and with a ready laugh, Primrose is most often found in the kitchen of the Midnight Rooster preparing the food for the evening or around the village collecting ingredients for the meal. In addition, she can be found clearing the sleeping accommodation and doing the laundry. As she often says, “a woman’s work is never done” as she tucks a stray strand of light brown hair back into her cap. The poor woman should be given more recognitions for when her husband is out with his cart collecting a delivery of ale or goods from further afield she is also serving drinks and attending to the customers.
Ales and Drinks
A light ale with the smell of caramel and herbs and a light fresh taste.
A dark chocolate porter ale kept for winter
A rather bitter brew drunk as a restorative with morning breakfast
Roasted wild mushrooms
Rabbit stew with Rosemary
Lamb hot pot with neaps and tatties
pint in a pot
dish of the day
sausage, bacon, egg and slabs of bread
Bread and cheese
Common room lodging
Shared room of eight guests with straw pallets
Single room lodging
Individual beds with fresh linen
Enough space for ten horses with feed included
Cribbage, Nine-man Morris, Horseshoe rings, singing led by Ed
Patrons of note
Short-haired and lean in the face for a Hobbit, Gresham has a quietly handsome visage often marked by an expression of mild puzzlement. Some think he spends too much time on reflection and philosophy. Gresham is not only the Mayor of Wibblesham but also a respected sculptor who is called upon for commissions from Fornost to Tharbad. He lives behind the Inn and has a studio in the wood on the far side of the hill.
Ring of Shaping: Allows wearer to sculpt quickly and exactly according to his feeling.x3 PP multiplier.
Short Sword: Avar kynac (long knife), blood-drawing. +15OB; does a secondary slash critical.
Shield: Missile warding. +10 DB; +20 DB versus missile attacks.
Braces: Suspenders, protection against bleeding wounds. Reduces bleeding hits per round to the body and neck by half.
Unusually for Hobbit Shirriffs, the Shirriff of the Valley Rovers division of the Southfarthing is a rosy-cheeked and sandy-haired female Fallowhide. Born with an adventurous spirit Mally was always to be found climbing trees with her elder brothers or boating and swimming in the river Fay. With a natural sense of justice she became a natural choice for Chief Shirriff. She can be found in the Rooster chatting to locals and catching up on the gossip and rumour with a smile and a ready laugh.
Towering over the usual patrons of the inn, the blonde-haired, craggy featured Riverman is a well known visitor to the Rooster during the summer trading season as he makes trips up the Fayn to Axbridge and Sackville with goods for trade. In general, he keeps to himself sitting in the corner of the common room to drink and eat before retiring to his camp and boat at the end of the evening. However, if a game of cribbage is on offer he may stay later, particularly if there is a chance of playing for money. Those seeking local knowledge of the area surrounding the Branduin would do well to ask over a game of chance rather than directly.
Trading 30, Gambling 25, Boat handling 45, River Lore 45, Region lore (Fayn & Branduin) 38, Navigation 30
Items of note
Superior steel handaxe +5OB
A grey-haired Harfoot of many summers can be found, pint and pipe in hand, either enjoying the warm sun on the veranda in the summer or occupying the prime spot near the fire in winter holding forth on the local news and business of the day. He doesn’t much like the refugees from Cardolan who he thinks are stirring up trouble by not fitting in with the live-and-let-live philosophy of Wibblesham.
Intense chocolate brown eyes peering out from under white bushy eyebrows, Sam is Gaffa’s companion in arms. Sam remembers the great migration and the fearful days up in the Ettenmoors and the stories of his elders of the days when Hobbits lived by the Anduin. He provides a counterbalance to Gaffa over the refugees, reminding him that they are all refugees and of the worries of settling into a new land. He is however, quick with advice on how things should be run in Wibblesham, whilst being supportive of Gresham as Mayor.
Stout, even for a Hobbit, and with traces of flour in his hair and clothing, Bill is the local baker. He pops in to the Rooster at the end of the day for liquid refreshment and the dish of the day after a hard day in the bakery, leaving the lad to stoke the fires before the next night’s bake. A widower, he and his sons bake the finest bread between Michel Delving and the Branduin. Bill is very knowledgeable about local matters as his sons who travel delivering bread to the local farms gather rumour and gossip.
With a ready smile, this ruddy cheeked farmer will happily launch into song and fill the common room with bawdy songs of love and life. The rest of the locals are well-versed in the songs and join in readily with choruses and responses. Ed is the local most likely to welcome travelling strangers with a strong gripped handshake and an earnest greeting. Soon the visitor will find that they have bought him a pint and revealed the reasons for their journey and, if not careful, minor details that should not be revealed. Ed is a good judge of character and if concerned about the traveller will send a message to Shirriff Mally or Mayor Gresham.
Dark hair tied in a top knot and with a permanent scowl of his face would lead most to think of Creg as at the least unfriendly, if not hostile. However, a blow to the head when younger has left this simple farmer with a permanent twist if features. Creg can often be found in the Rooster on market days amiably chatting with fellow Wibbleshamites over a pint or two of Golden Ale. He is a very trusting soul and generous to a fault and the locals will protect him from those who may take advantage of his simple nature.
The stable boy is a twenty-five year-old Eriadorian of average height and chestnut brown hair. Mostly, Benji tends to his own small holding of a few sheep and goats on the edge of the village. However, when he notes that visitors are arriving by road he will pop down to stable the horses. He is a likeable chap who has a reassuring way with livestock and especially horses. He keeps the stables clear and the grain hoppers for the horses are always filled. Any conversation will inevitably turn to either the horses at hand or the fine animals he has tended at some point in the past.
Hair falling in dark curls and dark red pouting lips would make most grown hobbit boys melt on the spot and they do. Molly is without a doubt the most popular girl in the village and currently is helping her aunt in the kitchen of the Rooster to keep her away from obvious trouble. Thankfully she is a diligent girl with a sensible head on her shoulders. Her father is only too keen for her to find a suitable husband, if only to reduce the number of idle hobbit youths he regularly has to scare out of his flowerbeds.
Commonly known as Herbert is the long suffering father of Molly, who he adores. Herbert has a small farm on the hills outside of Wibblesham and has sent Molly to work with his sister Primrose at the Rooster where he hopes she will be kept away from the local hobbit boys. Primrose should keep her safe enough during the day. On the other hand, it wouldn’t hurt to occasionally check up on the girl and then it would be rude not to have a pint and a chat while he was at.
1 Common room
Inside the main common room is furnished with simple pine tables and benches scrubbed with with regular use of soap and water. In each corner of the room a hanging brazier smoulders casting a musty fragrance into the room. In the winter, the table closest to the fire is occupied by the Gaffa and Sam; anyone who tries to occupy these seats, should they be empty, will receive disapproving stares and if they still don’t take the hint then Theo will come and have a quiet word.
Primrose and Molly are usually busy in here preparing food or washing bedding. The kitchen is large with scrubbed preparation tables from which cooking utensils hang. A couple of large kettles and pots sit by the fireplace where a fire is always burning. Near the door three laundry tubs can be found.
3 Hay loft
Originally a storage space for a cart this area now is where bedding and oats for the stabled horse is kept.
Each stable has room for two horses in close quarters if needed but in general only one horse is stable in each double doored stall which allows comfortable movement for the beast.
5 Store rooms
A passage from the original building has been built to connect the inn to the hill behind. A door which is not often locked (PLlight) leads down to the store rooms and the entrance to the Sandy’s Smial. The storerooms contain about a week’s worth of provisions for the inn.
6 Living room
Entrance to the Sandy’s smial is through a locked door (PLMed). It is a cosy dry space with a small fireplace on the inner walls flanked by two comfortable armchairs. Rose patterned curtains hand over the round windows that look out onto the inn’s courtyard. In front of the windows is a small dining table with three stools. Currently in one corner is a small camp bed for Molly if she is staying at the inn overnight.
The bedroom is relatively large for a hobbit smial and contains a generous double bed, a large wardrobe that occupies one wall and a dressing table in front of the windows.
8 Single guest room
The larger of the two guest rooms is clean and has storage for items in a lockable trunk (PLMed). The door to the room can secured with a key rented from the inn for 5tp per day (PLMed).
9 Single guest room
The smaller of the two guest rooms is clean and has storage for items in a lockable trunk (PLlight). The door to the room can secured with a key rented from the inn for 5tp per day (PLMed).
10 Common sleeping dormitory
The dormitory is regularly swept and the pallets are beaten and aired every week making sleeping comfortable if basic. There is plenty of light provided by a number of small windows around the room. Paying guest will need to provide their own bedding, although it is possible to hire sheets and a blanket for 2tp per night. Theo is proud of the safety of his inn and travelling kit can be left safely in this room.
In the courtyard a simple well which draws its water from the Fayn.
In the Shore district of Caras Celairnen tucked up against the main walls and away from the main streets is the Captain’s Daughter. For where is stands this is an impressive in complete with brewery and a good sized drinking room. The two story structure is the home of Hrothgar and like his name sake it serves the finest mead in the town.
“Then it came into his mind to raise a mead house, mightier far than ever was seen by the sons of earth, and within it, then, to old and young he would all allot that the Lord had sent him, save only the land and the lives of his men.”
Well so lay the grandiose hopes of Hrothgar, a Northman who though trained in weapons never saw action. His wife Hilda and his son and daughter (Unferth and Hrethal) help in the running of the inn. The inn does well because the mead is good and Hrothgar has relations who are rivermen. From such contacts Hrothgar also runs a quiet line in hard to come by artefacts.
“So lived the clansmen in cheer and revel a winsome life, till one began to fashion evils, that field of hell.”
All was well with Hrothgar’s inn until he opened up new cellar space. Behind a rock wall he discovered a passageway that led down into the underdeeps of the old Dwarven citadel. Perhaps not so bad if these depths had not become how to all manner of dwellers of the dark. Soon his inn became plagued by strange visitors and worse his paying guests would disappear. It soon became clear to Hrothgar that he would have to block up the cellar. However, no matter what method he tried there was always one visitor who returned thirsting for fresh meat, Grendel. The only solution was to slay the monster as quickly and quietly as possible before the authorities became aware of the danger and took the inn away from Hrothgar.
With the defeat of Grendel, the way became clear to explore areas of the Underdeeps opened up by the passage in the cellar. Many hidden doorways and collapsed passageways wait to be found and cleared. The risk is great but the potential reward of discovering a lost Dwarven artefact attract adventurers in the know to the Captain’s Daughter. Hrothgar charges a fee for entry to the Underdeeps and also sells adventurers packs of useful items such as torches and lanterns in bulk. Adventurers are expected to find their own path and pay a finders fee on all treasure returned to the surface. In addition, Hrothgar will often buy items that would be difficult to sell from adventurers.
This sideline in artefacts and a well connected network to distribute them means that Hrothgar often has small commissions for adventurers to undertake for a reward. These can involve the Underdeeps below the inn, but more often the wily inn keeper has heard rumour of an item in other locations which he believes he can sell on at a profit. For such tasks adventurers will receive the usual adventurer’s supplies excluding transport (unless needed to return the item).
So finally, I think I have managed to find a purpose for the town of Caras Celairnen. Using Rolemaster campaign lore it is an easy task to begin populating the town with militia and the usual tropes of healers, mages, and thieves. A random variation on percentages of populations really does take care of that. But who else lives in the town aside from the main characters of the town?
A simple trawl of medieval professions leaves a huge list of potential trades that could be used to populate the town. The problem for me as a GM is that I really don’t care about them in any detail, and neither will my players, who will probably only want to see the inside of the nearest tavern and the outfitters. However, my trick is to have these trades available to draw on to create colour to the daily life and give a reason for different districts to flourish. After all who would live in a town dominated only by criminals and militia?
So more to the point how common are these trades and how many of each will we need to populate the city. In Caras Celairnen, I have set 7 trading lords (that is lords of sufficient wealth to trade over distance). They will have their own network of middle men, merchants who will sell to the local market of transport goods onwards at their own risk. That means a transport crew (ship or otherwise) of around 20, dockers, warehouse men, clerks, would account for another 10 or more workers. That is without including servants needed for running the household, Although some may work for more than one employer. No man is an island they say, and certainly not all will be bachelors so now we need to multiply to include a family of between 5 and 12. Easily each Noble Lord could be directly responsible for the “existence” 50-100 people of the town
To support around 100 people there will need to be a baker, some form of costermonger, tailor, inn keeper with their families. Ancillary trades such as tailors, washerwomen, cloth dyers, leatherworkers, tinkers would also be needed but probably to a lower density than the main trades. So the trickle down effect means each noble lord creates around 150 people of the town.
Beyond these direct employs there are other direct employees we need to consider. The Militia need feeding and entertainment, as do the local healers, wizards and other local colour. There are also the middle merchants to consider who will also use services and goods and employ a few others directly. To complete these thoughts on the demographics of the town, because there are so many wealthy individuals, there will also be high quality, high end artisans. Not forgetting at the lower end the night soil movers and beggars.
Having considered all these factors the demographics of Caras Celairnen begin to look something like this.
A Militia Garrison for around 400 with 30 or so NCO and officers.
2 shrines with Clerics – one should be to Ea as this is Dunedain culture
30 or so healers of various levels
30 Guides but I may change this as there seems little need
4 magic users or different shades
74 Criminals in various guises of fences, footpads, burglers and thugs – some of whom will have day jobs.
400 businesses – Acater (food vendors such as bakers), innkeepers, boothman, colliers, costermongers, habdasher, iron monger, hay merchant, egglers, fishmonger, blacksmith, linen draper, mercer, milkmaid, oynter (oil seller), peddlers, pie sellers, spice merchant, vintner, leatherworker, fletcher, wool stapler and wood sellers
124 transporters to include carters, ferrymen, lightermen, bargees, and pilots
At a conservative estimate this would put the population of the town between 1500 and 4000 which neatly fits with the suggested population of the town by Thomas Mowinsky in Other Minds and Jeff Erwin in the Lindon gazetteer.