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Barwickian last won the day on June 15 2013

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About Barwickian

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  • Birthday 11/09/1968

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  1. Barwickian

    Real Locations that should be fantasy

    I've been there. Learnt to sail around Mull.
  2. Barwickian

    Real Locations that should be fantasy

    I don't post very often, but when I do people may have noticed over the years that I favour low fantasy and historical fantasy over the grandeur of high fantasy. So let me tell you about Barwick-in-Elmet, the Yorkshire village where I grew up. This will explain my username, and probably my low-fantasy preferences. Before I plough into it, I'll just note that this kind of history isn't unusual to most of us Europeans. Most of our villages date back about thousand years. Fantasy villages written by American designers seem more inspired by the Old West frontier settlements - Hommlet is a classic example. It doesn't look right, it doesn't feel right. It has no history in its design or landscape. So here's some archaeology, a little history, and an unusual folk custom. I realise this thread is mostly inspirational pictures, but sometimes pictures want context. The oldest obvious human 'building' in Barwick is a single-vallum, figure-8 shaped Iron Age hillfort known as Wendel Hill. It's never been dated, but the nearby Becca Banks earthworks have been dated to the 1st century AD, probably thrown up to stop the Roman general Agricola and his legion as they marched north (if so, it failed). I suspect the hillfort is up to a century older. Within the hillfort lies the motte of a late-Norman motte and bailey castle, which we call Hall Tower Hill. The castle - its licence was granted by King Stephen, c. 1150AD, has long since vanished. The castle's bailey was the smaller part of the figure-8 of the hillfort; the larger part became part of peasant tofts (gardens). Hillfort plan Aerial view - the line of hedges marks the hillfort vallum (bank and ditch). After the Romans left and the Saxons invaded, Barwick was part of the Cambric kingdom of Elmet, part of Hen Ogledd, the Old North (Hen Ogledd's most prominent king was Hen Cwl - Old King Cole of the English nursery rhyme). Along with Rheged, Elmet was one of the last surviving ancient British kingdoms. It finally fell to the Saxon Northumbrian king Edwin in 616. Barwick is sometimes erroneously considered the capital of Elmet, but in truth, no one knows where Elmet's capital was. After the Saxons, the Vikings came. Barwick lies about 15 miles west of York, a prominent Viking trade town in the 9th and 10th centuries, and the centre of Erik Bloodaxe's 10th-century Kingdom of York. A pair of Viking carvings were incorporated into the 12th century foundations of the village church, All Saints' Church, probably dating from the 10th century. This is one of them. Barwick is listed in Domesday Book as an outlying settlement of nearby Kippax. Its name, originally bere-wick, means 'beer village', and it's thought it was an outlying hamlet where barley was grown. By the mid-12th century its importance increased, and the de Lacy family of Pontefract moved the northern caput (head-place) of their barony there, and built the motte and bailey castle c. 1150. All Saints has an unusual bell tower, constructed in two phases in the 15th century. The lower part is constructed of local magnesian limestone, a sought-after building material. The upper is finished in cheaper stone.The clock face is red because Barwick belonged to the Duchy of Lancaster (the current Duke is Queen Elizabeth II). While Yorkshire folk who still keep the rivalry with Lancashire like to commemorate the 1462 Yorkist victory at the Battle of Towton - about 6 miles from Barwick, the bloodiest battle ever fought on English soil - it's likely that any Barwick folk there fought on the losing side. The Houseof Lancaster's lands were mostly in the North. The Yorkist lands were predominantly in the south. The local lords in the later middle ages were the Gascoigne family. Sir William Gascoigne (1350-1405) was Chief Justice of England under King Henry IV. A probably apocryphal story has it that he is the judge who had Prince Hal (the future Henry V) imprisoned - read your Shakespeare and note young Hal's crimes with Falstaff. A later Gascoigne, Sir Thomas Gascoigne, had a triumphal arch celebrating the American victory in the War of Independence built at his estate in Parlington, two miles south of Barwick. It's the only such monument in Britain celebrating the American victory. The inscription reads "Liberty in N. America MDCLXXXIII". The Gascoignes have long since died out, but one of Barwick's four pubs is The Gascoigne Arms. The Maypole Barwick's prominence dwindled over the centuries. Its inhabitants farmed, and made caustic lime in limekilns around the village. Its claim to fame these days is the maypole in the middle of the village. Its uncertain when Barwick first erected its maypole. Some say it's an ancient tradition going back to pagan times, but it's far more likely its more recent - perhaps the 17th or 18th century. At 90 feet (26 metres), it's the tallest village maypole in England. The maypole is made of two lengths of Norwegian pine, spliced together and mound with iron. It needs upkeep. Every three years, on Easter Monday, the maypole is taken down for repainting. When I was a kid, we took it down the old-fashioned way - a village man, the Maypole Climber, shinned up to the iron bands above the garlands and lowered a guy rope, which which he pulled up four heavier roles and attached them to the pole. One rope came towards Hall Tower Hill (towards the viewpoint in the image above), another down Main Street (to the right of the image), a third down towards the church, and the last one over the rooftops to the left to the courtyard behind the Black Swan pub. As the whole village turned out to hold the ropes under the guidance of the village Pole Master, the ground at the base of the maypole was loosened and dug out with pickaxes and shovels, then, slowly, at the Pole Master's instructions, lowered onto waiting ladders, then onto the shoulders of scores of man,, then carried to Hall Tower Field for repainting. These days, since The Day The Maypole Fell, it's done with a crane. As well as repainting, the garlands were replaced. The garlands are made little ribbons with bells on - an old garland bell is a good luck charm, and I carried one as a key fob for many years. During the three weeks between Easter Monday and Whitsun, the new garlands are carried to every house in the village and touched for luck. Several times, while it was down for repainting, lads from the neighbouring village of Aberford or the town of Garforth, stole the maypole in the middle of the night. Must have been a few of them - it takes a few score of people to carry the maypole. The most recent attempt was in 1966, when Aberford lads successfuly stole the top half 3 days before the maypole raising ceremony. Barwick had to quickly get a new top half and repaint it. The orginal was found the day before the ceremony - so for a few years, the village had a spare. Maypole raising is done on Whitsunday, amid great celebrations at Hall Tower Hill, where crowds sit and watch the events. It's become something of a tourist attraction. Children from the village infant school dance around a smaller maypole (we practised for weeks when I did it). Older children from the junior school perform country dances (we practised for weeks when I did it). A village girl is chosen as May Queen and other children chosen as attendants (I was crown-bearer once). There's a fair. There is a lot of beer drunk. A lot of beer. There are marching bands, brass bands. The maypole is raised in pretty much the reverse of how it's taken down. There's is one important difference - once the maypole is set in place, and the Maypole Climber ascends to remove the ropes, he must continue climbing to the very top of the maypole to spin the fox weathervane and bring luck to the village... For many years, the maypole climber was my neighbour, Arthur Nicholls, who built a smaller maypole by his farmhouse to practice. I think that's him in the picture above. The Day the Maypole Fell Easter Monday, 1981, the maypole fell down Main Street while it was being lowered. I, aged 12, was on the Main Street rope with my sisters. I didn't quite realise what was happening at first - the rope went slack, the maypole seemed to be getting shorter, and then people started running. Fortunately, it landed in the street and everyone got clear. The tip hit the curb, and the top two feet broke off. A lad grabbed it (and the bent weathervane) and tried to make off with it, but one of my neighbours saw and brought him down in a rugby tackle a couple of hundred yards away. These days, with much regret, the village uses a crane to raise and lower the maypole. The next maypole raising will be at Whitsuntide, 2020, if you'd like to visit.
  3. Barwickian

    Real Locations that should be fantasy

    Looking over the thread, images I posted years ago of Gordale Scar and Malham Cove in Yorkshire never showed up. Gordale Scar is reputedly Tolkien's inspiration for Rivendell. The two locations are within walking distance of each other. Gordale Scar Malham Cove To these I might add Troller's Gill, near Appletreewick in Yorkshire, home on local folklore to a Black Dog known as the Barghest (yes, that's the one that gives the name to the fantasy monster). Also near Appletreewick, The Strid is a narrow, low gorge where the River Wharfe narrows to a point where it's possible to jump across - but people have died trying. The river here is some 30 feet deep, undercuts the rocks, moves with the speed of an express train, and the rocks around are slippy. Fall and you die. Strid Woods are a site of special scientific interest - an untouched upland oak forest. Half an hour's walk downstream of The Strid are the ruins of Bolton Abbey. From the far side of the Wharfe to the abbey, a path leads up to the Valley of Desolation, which is actually quite lovely - it's retained the name since a sotrm a couple of hundred years ago blew the trees down. They grew back. The Strid Strid Woods - looking downstream from The Strid. Bolton Abbey. I've ancestors buried in that graveyard. Posforth Gill, Valley of Desolation Keep heading up the Valley of Desolation, and you'll climb Barden Fell to the natural viewpoint of Simon's Seat, with views over Upper Wharfedale.
  4. Held action. "I plant myself here and will let no one pass." It's an issue common to all turn-based games - you're not actually standing still in the doorway unless you say so - you're already beginning your next action. We just break it down into turns to make actions easier.
  5. Barwickian

    Exploring the Possibilities of HERO System

    Demiurgos, welcome to the boards. You're grokking Hero System a lot quicker than I did when I started getting really into it. I'm just highlighting Lucius' point above because this is a really important part of Hero System. You buy the effect, not the description. If Mind Link works mechanically for what you want the power to do (and I'm not convinced it does), then you use that, and call it "privacy field" and make its special effect invisibility (or illusion, or light, whichever you prefer). That way, the characters in the mind link will be visible to someone who sees invisible things. From the looks of it, you've figured that out already, but there's no harm in emphasising it. Were I to have a go at building the Mind Link privacy field, I might look at the limitations Normal Range (simple LOS is not sufficient), and as many levels of limited range as necessary to bring the power down to 2-3 metres range. There are usually several ways to build a particular power in Hero System; it's not question of the right way or the wrong way, it's a question of which you prefer, which way models the idea in your head best for you.
  6. Barwickian

    Writing 'Gandalf is here'...

    Thanks for the input, folks. Much appreciated. Sounds like the "noisy" limitation is exactly what I was looking for - and is very close to what I've recreated through the Side-effect: Hunted. It could go as a campaign rule, rather than a limitation - but so could Gestures and Incantantions. I'm inclined to use it as a limitation. The magical sense would work - and that was my first thought when looking at this earlier. I've been trying to get away from that, however, as I really don't want to consider rolling for every shadow-creature that may be in range. Side-Effect: Hunted keeps it simpler in play. There is a weakness, in that it isn't reversible (at least, not as written) - the forces of good do not necessarily detect the magical workings of the shadow-forces. For the purposes I'm thinking of, that's not a major issue. In a more egalitarian world, perhaps Magesight (a magic-detecting sense) would be the defining feature of a mage or magical creature ("They say she has the Sight.") I've used that in other campaigns. The advantage is that it lingers for some time on an area (not the mage) - a couple of weeks or so, depending on the mage's REC. This means the response may not be immediate, and abstaining from magic offers a way of letting the trail go cold, if the mage is travelling.
  7. Barwickian

    Writing 'Gandalf is here'...

    I've been pondering how to achieve this 'attracting unwanted attention' aspect of magic, as is done in MERP 2nd edition. In that, each time you cast a spell, there's a risk the shadow-forces notie and send someone (or something) to investigate. Castling spells in oneo fthe havens (Rivendell, Lorien, etc) is pretty safe, but in the Wilds it's risky, and in lands dominated by the shadow nigh suicidal. The best I've come up with is using a complication as a side effect (6E1 p394). Side-effect, always occurs, only effects environment near caster (side effect is Hunted by Shadow-forces, Infrequently, More Power, NCI, Liimited Geographical Area, Harshly Punish), -1/2 The Infrequently could be adjusted upwards for more powerful spells; the limited area is intended to make havens safe. Thoughts?
  8. Barwickian

    Hard maps (Hundreds)

    Yes. Each of the Hârn kingdom modules maps out the kingdom showing the location of each settlement (village, chapter house, keep, castle, town, abbey), with hundred and country boundaries marked. Symbols note which village hosts the hundred moot.
  9. Barwickian

    Harn and character point

    What sort of Hârn game do you want to run? For gritty low-fantasy consider competent normal (100pts + 30 in matching complications). You could go down to skilled normal (50 + 25 matching) if you're feeling particularly bold. For a typical Heroic game, Standard Heroic (175 + 50 matching) works well. Have you considered a superheroic game? PCs might be the sons of Noron, of Atànasîr (incubus) or vaènasîr (succubus) parentage. They might be Ívashù. They may be grey magi, on speaking terms with (or members of) the Council of Eleven. Hârn is a very broad setting.
  10. Barwickian

    Harn equipment

    Fenhorn's HarnPage has his most recent update of the great unified Hârn Price List. http://www.quicenter.com/harn/dl.asp?id=112
  11. Barwickian

    Harn Hero 2016

    And the fact that I'm reading this more than a year after it was posted is an indication I'm far less regular these days. I've read the whole thread. IMHO people are getting far too hung up on modelling HârnMaster mechanics in Hero System. Why bother? HârnMaster does HârnMaster mechanics far better than Hero ever will. If you want Morality and Piety Points and Convocational SBs, play HârnMaster! The important thing is to get the mood and use the background. There are some things you can do, well within the bounds of Hero System, to get the Hârn flavour. All the below is no more than suggestions and 'this is how I do it - you may find a better way.' 1) Character Points and Power Level: For grim and gritty 'classic' Hârn, consider starting characters as competent normals, even skilled normals. But if you want the kind of Hârn only Hero can do well, what about a superpowered campaign, at the low-powered or standard superheroic level, with PCs being powerful Ivashu, the Sons of Noron, ancient Sidhe lords, or grey magi? You can almost guarantee the Earthmasters and Hârn's multiverse will come into this level of game. Having mentioned this possibility, I'll now turn back to a classic Harn feel at competent normal or standard heroic level. 2) For gritty combat, look to Fantasy Hero's grittier combat options - bleeding, infection, etc. Keep a tight rein on OCVs (or more properly OCVs + CSLs). Use Hit Locations and piecemeal armour. Use impairing/disabling damage. Do not feel obliged to use all these, though. You're playing Hero set in Hârn, not emulating HârnMaster. 3) Piety points: Fuel Divine spells with an END Reserve. Buy the END Reserve's REC with a custom limitation: Only when performing religious activities. You may want to increase the time slot of the REC as well. That works pretty much exactly as HârnMaster's piety points do, and is a simple thing to do in Hero. 4) Pvaric Magic: Buy Magic for each individual convocation, and separately for Neutral Magic (I'd advise against the HM1/HMG policy of a separate skill for each spell). Don't worry too much about convocational opposition, although you may choose a custom penalty for non-primary concovations (say -2 for secondaries, -4 for tertiaries/neutral, -6 for opposite). Build spells as appropriate. Spells use END, and require gestures and incantations, whcih can be ocercome at a penalty (see Fantasy Hero). By all means add Extra Time for spells that need it. You can add options emulating the bonus effects for high ML. Again, don't sweat modelling HârnMaster too closely.
  12. Barwickian

    Why are you wearing that?

    Restrictions you can place on people wearing armour and carrying heavy weapons are social, legal and practical. For breaching social norms, I like to demonstrate to players that what they're doing is unusual - they're the only ones on the street so equipped. Parents hustle their children away. Shopkeepers pull their shutters closed. If you want game penalties breaching social norms, impose a penalty for interactions with NPCs when improperly equipped. If it's a matter of legality, PCs will simply attract undue attention from authorities. In practical terms, it may be difficult to recover from long-term endurance while heavily armed and armoured. If the weight is sufficient, it may not be possible to recover lost short-term END (see the optional rule for END loss and encumrbance on 6E2 p46). What's typical 'civilian' equipment? Pretty much everyone will have a knife (eg, Katherine Hepburn's line in The Lion in Winter: "Of course he has a knife. We all have knives. It's the 12th century and we're barbarians."). Very light armour - soft leather, cloth - may be acceptable, particularly if it's designed to look like normal clothing. Even thicker hide armour, though that may mark someone as uncouth. A dagger in the belt may be acceptable, but fighting daggers are markedly different from knives. A walking stick or staff is acceptable, but a knowledgabkle person will spot the difference between a walking staff and a strong, aged ash-wood quarterstaff. Concealed weapons, even concealed armour, will be acceptable, though are likely to provoke an adverse reaction or undue attention if noticed. There was a market in disguised armour, such as thin mail sewn into a tunic. Remember that (in the TV series), Catelyn Stark's first inkling that something is wrong at the Red Wedding is when she notices Lord Bolton's mail under his sleeve. Nobles are allowed, even expected to carry their swords (not that it wasn't common for an unarmoured noble to wear the sword strapped around the waist - they generally carried the sheathed blade in their hand, with the belt wrapped around the scabbard). It may be that strangers are expected to disarm (everything but their eating knife) when meeting the local lord or lady. The castle is sure to have more heavily armoured guards. It's acceptable to be more heavily equipped if one has a reason - such as employment as a guard, or leaving or entering town, before one has a chance to disarm at wherever one is staying. These restrictions apply as much to NPCs as to PCs. It should not be common to see heavy arms and armour around town - which means if you do see it, there's a reason. Finally, assuming the characters are standard heroic, and the GM accepts most people aren't that good, an NPC rogue attacking a PC with a shortsword, wearing light armour, shouldn't present too much challenge to a PC fighter with a knife.
  13. Barwickian

    6e HTML Tasha's Ultimate Character Sheet

    Superb sheet - clear, and easy to follow. My new default.
  14. Barwickian

    The cranky thread

    Oh, man, that puts pespective on my torn muscle/crutches matter. May your issues be resolved soon, Collie.
  15. Barwickian

    The cranky thread

    Winter Soldier is a must-see. I am amazed they squeezed that much plot and arc-building into one movie. Chris Evans is, as ever, superb in the role. The Falcon is awesome, Redford is, well, he's Redford. And Jenny Agutter kicks ass. Literally. There are two teasers at the end. Wait until the very last credits roll. There are a couple of bits where you can see the CGI, but in the overall context of a great action flick, that's trivial.