Marketplace (2015)

beer-garden-174865_1920This is another bit of player-submitted content for the roleplaying game, Avalon, the Legend Lives.

Culloden is a small highland village renowned for their craftsmen of instruments of war so when I stumbled onto this location “Marketplace by fast-flowing stream” without any description, within a few hours, I had an idea of how I wanted to convey what life might be like for a village perpetually surrounded by such macabre artifacts.

Marketplace by fast-flowing stream.
woods-863333_1920Gravel crunches underfoot as travellers take the short rocky pathway veering off the bend in nearby Ardwell road, to a shaded recess edged by a cantilevered deck that abuts the stream-fed ravine. From the balcony, anglers cast their lines for pike in the crisp, clear waters below. In the clearing, an open-air marketplace is here, locals offering their Culloden wares, famed for instruments of war, to the curious and colourfully-eclectic gathering of foreigners and highlanders. One man eyes you with an unreadable expression while running a razor blade back and forth along a strop, a knife collection on offer, various grades of whetstone present with which he has fashioned a complex array of blade shapes and sizes. Near him, a leatherworks, and from the tent poles an assortment of goods from belts and blanket straps, breastplates and gauntlets, pouches and an innovative tripod stool for the wilderness traveller seeking respite. A woodworker’s tent hosts a display of miniature pillories and a gallows, the merchant’s eyes glinting eagerly as he demonstrates a guillotine with heads of cabbage, encouraging interested parties to visit his shop on Hangman’s Walk. Further beyond lay the food stalls and outdoor seating is arranged by a wagon laden with ales from the nearby distillery, a barmaid travels back and forth, bearing drinks by the dozen. Two enterprising bards, viol and dulcimer in hand, entertain the crowds with a spirited reel. A gaggle of children dance in the shadow of this macabre offering, embracing the spirit of the highlanders — living to the fullest. ♣

autumn-222372_1920Initially, I pictured this as a forestal setting off from the main road, with a deck/dock/balcony area for fisherman and a cluster of tables around several booths and it developed more or less from there. The idea of a biergarten is traditionally German, but I loved the idea of moving this into the highland setting with a mish-mash of vendors.

I hope to see future development by the admins for this area in the future. Conceptualizing what an area looks like in your head is always the first (sometimes the most difficult) part of world-building, in my opinion anyway. Try researching ‘highland villages in the middle ages’ and you’ll find there aren’t many preserved replicas outside of what you see recreated in film. In other words, damn difficult without context. This spot was a lot of fun though and I cheered when it was accepted for inclusion. 🙂 Hope you enjoy too.

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