Friday, 31 July 2015

Chapter 1 - Part 1




I have witnessed countless years, some think me dead, but I assure you I can still feel the air moving around my limbs even though they tremble with age. I can still hear the birds sing in the woods and on the fields even though my body is covered in the marks of time. And though the gods have forsaken me, for I am no longer called Wotan's Oak, I still stand rooted at the Opstalda, as it stands rooted in the Baldmund.

At this stead I have watched families grow and wither with the seasons like I did, I've heard the cries of newborn children only to later hear them cry for another chance at life when death comes to take them. I've grown attached, if you will, to the inhabitants of the Opstalda stead. My limbs held their children, my flesh eventually fed their stoves.

Under this autumn sun however, I sense change in the air. I watched the lord of the Opstalda leave his children behind and witnessed the arrival of an usurper keen on taking his daughter and heiress. The dark-haired brute from the south does no good, he knows to take from the wood but returns nothing, all he brings is death. He arrived with a threat of destruction however, and the lady heiress Baldtrud was forced to tolerate his presence.


Of course autumn brings the responsibility of stockpiling for winter, and lady servant as well as surrogate mother Nedda can't do this gathering by herself. I witness the bright-eyed grey lady from the North plucking pears that had once seemed so strange to her, the last harvest of the year. The activities on the stead no longer allow for the frolicking and socializing I witness in warmer times, it seems in autumn, relations too turn colder.


The stead offers no privacy though, nor does living so close together with six others. The slave boy Rassgos of the eastern horse people has become a man, I can tell as he washes himself with collected rainwater outside the stead. He is working hard to leave his nomadic past behind and learns to work the land with help from my beloved Nedda.

Everyone works until late in the autumn evenings to amass a surplus. Even the suitor, Sigimund, has decided to provide his share. I watch him as his face shines with pride at yet another successful catch. His eyes glisten and in them I sense the reflection of the bloody bird, and maybe a deeper, more sadistic, playful glee.


It is with the same predatory glance I catch him approaching my lady Baldtrud, he even greets her with what resembles a feral grunt.

"Come to watch the peasants tend to their greens have you, dapper huntsman?", sneered Baldtrud as she noticed him, "or are you here to tell me your tribesmen have come to burn the stead down anyway?

"I'm not here to argue with you Baldmunder, I've lived here for months and provided for you and your family with my bare hands, yet all this time you deny me your bed like I'm a common hick."


Baldtrud laughs, "you, provide for our family? Do you think we can live of just red bird meat? And your Frankish name holds no sway here, we know your kind, once the tribes gather under a king men will leave their wives behind and travel to distant lands to fight men in dresses, I will have no such lunacy hurt my stead."

Sigimund simply sighs at the remark, he loses some of his edge and macho as he shrinks a bit, or so it seemed. His predatory glance had not left his eyes however, and I sensed it was not the first time he addressed a lady in this manner, cunningly.


Well milady, of course my work was not the only thing keeping us alive, excuse my stupidity. It's just that Frankish women don't offer as much resistance to the charms of a man, but that's why I've come here. I want a true prize, not some woman who withers away in a secluded room, demanding fine metals and the best cloth from Lugdunum, I want a woman who can live."

"You amuse me, Frank, you change faces like the weather over the bay, I think it is something else you want."

Sigimund grins, "what is it you think I want then milady?"


"I think you want to be like those Frankish ladies you speak so dearly of, maybe I should take your balls then and feed them to the ducks, you can even wear a dress."

My boughs protested, I disagreed, this, this could not be, the Frank was a bad influence, he had to go. If the gods had not forsaken me, thunder strike him now, if I could move my sharpest branch I'd throw it at the man's heart. Change was here, Sigimund, who did not know how to respond, stammered and stepped back. His power was drained as Baldtrud was now in control. It seemed as if she had been infected with the man's sadism, and I could not stand to watch or listen any longer.

I reached for someone else, someone, something to distract me from this spiel, and there she was. Baldtrud the elder, daughter of Sigiman, caught in the same panic as me just moments before. She had seen it all unfold through a narrow opening between the thatch of the roof and the walls of the stead. As Baldtrud the younger returned to the stead she was shocked at what she thought had happened.


Her ears were not what they used to be and Baldtrud the elder mistakenly believed that the lady of the house had courted, that is actually become romantically involved with, this outsider. She snickered all night reminiscing what great things the stead and the Baldmunders had brought her. Her, a simple servant. However, if the Frank's tribe moved in on these lands... so much was at stake.


...


That was part 1, the autumn of 300 everybody! Hope you enjoyed. If so leave a comment, and to stay up to date of new parts and chapters follow me on twitter @VMeyers93 or check out my story thread at Plumb Bob Keep.
While my original project was ambitious and is still being worked on, I will now focus on a new neighborhood that is not as ambitious and allows me some fun just playing the sims.

The setting is very similar to my original plans. It's 300 AD in an undescript place this time, somewhere in Northern Europe both close to the Roman Empire and the realms of the Germanic tribes with their warrior kings and queens.

The starting neighborhood is a secluded valley at the estuary of the river Bald, the region is called the Baldmund, it's people the Baldmunder - which happens to also be the family name of the warrior lord who ruled the region in name until he took leave to fight in the south. The region is characterized by dense northern pine forests as well as deciduous forests of poplar, willow, ash, and birch. Waterfalls and streams cut through rock cliffs in the rocky hills inland before they appear underground and provide the spongy soil beneath the sandy forest heath with fertile mineral waters. In the bogs at the estuary the water comes trickling out again and forms treacherous marshlands where only the most water-resistant trees will take root.



 
At the river bed we find a treacherous moor in a willow forest called the Draugrmyrr, here a wise man lives, the Wytte of the Baldmund, his council is sought after in all matters that require wisdom or mystical knowledge.




When the stars and moon are right or whenever the gods fulfill their end of a bargain the wise man will come out to the green fields and perform ritual to celebrate their divinity with the other people who live along the fields.




Like the Baldmunder of Opstalda, the homestead at the edge of the fields where our main protagonists make their home. The Baldmunder have lived in these parts for as long as they can remember and know the lands like the back of their hand. Fate would have it though that a tragedy befell upon this family, and as faith would have it tragedy makes for the greatest tales.

The lord of the stead departed on an expedition with gathered warbands from all over the Germanic realms, leaving his heir and daughter Baldtrud behind, in charge of the family and under protection of her brother-from-another-mother Ammund. It didn't take long however for the dark-haired Sigimund of Sigirik to move in with the Baldmunder and their three servants. Sigimund offered them protection, not burning down their house with his tribe that is, in exchange for a place to stay and the hand of Baldtrud. While Baldtrud has grown to appreciate the boastful antics of Sigimund love is nowhere to be found yet. Though, fret not, it is but the autumn of the year 300, Amor may yet point his arrows at the couple or an altogether new interloper.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

World building.

Since I haven't really had any content to show yet, I thought I'd post some behind the screens stuff.

About the world:

The world starts of in our own real world, ca. 300 AD. What happens then in world history will be largely the same as in real history, however, because our universe is populated with sims witches, werewolves, vampires, genies, bigfoot, zombies, and teleporting ninjas, myth and history will collide. And of course aliens will make an appearance, as elves of some otherworldly type this time, as well as plant sims, who will be more like dryads or nymphs. This means that while history plays out more or less along the lines of real history, some dramatic changes in history may take place (imagine, for example, a China never submitted by the west because the martial artists of the boxer rebellion could actually stop bullets).

The majority of our stories will be set in an area of low wetlands somewhere in Northern Europe along the border of the Roman Empire, it is supposed to be reminiscent of the historical Low Countries but is tweaked a bit here and there.


The lay of the land:

For our neighborhoods I created an area of land in SimCity 4 that loosely resembles said Low Countries, this way I can alter neighborhood layout as history progresses. The map however is not finished in the included screenshot image, all 'towns' are labeled with the name of the area and the mayor's name which is an English translation of the prior.

The red border indicates the edges of the map within which the stories will take place (at first).


Below we have an altered version of the map on which I indicated Roman paved roads, the Legion headquarters at Noviomagus and Colonia Ulpia Traiana (CVP), as well as the city Forum Hadrianum in the West and the Roman camps along the limes, the border of the Roman Empire.



Mind you, while most of these sites will be ruins in 300 AD, CVP will be rebuilt as the fortress city of Tricensimae, and the area around Noviomagus remains settled and an active Batavian trade hub along the North-South trade routes between the Roman Empire and Northern tribal peoples.


The people:

At this time in history the concept of a nation state has not yet been invented, therefore people travel freely throughout most of the world though the laws of the land may differ from place to place. That is, if those same people haven't yet found a spot to lead a somewhat pleasant sedentary life away from the dangers of the road.



While north of the Rhine people live of the land in small communities, they are (sometimes) united by a Germanic identity, this thing in common, gives the Germans their cause to resist further roman incursions and organize raids into roman territories, though obviously economics and the thinly stretched roman legions also play a big role.



South of the limes, the multi-ethnic roman legions (consisting of Africans, Scythians, Romans, Iberians, etc.) are stationed in big HQ camps as well as smaller forts along the border. Outside of those forts there are still more settlements of Celts, Germans, and Romans, as well as entire cities (colonia) protected by garrisons, where roman trade brought chicken, grains, legumes, almonds, spices, wine, and olive oil, as well as knowledge of masonry and bronze casting.


Religious life:

Very little is known about the exact details of Celtic and Germanic religious life during and before the dark ages. It is however safe to assume that like the Romans, they worshiped a pantheon of multiple gods and goddesses. Traces of Gallo-Roman religion and sometimes even Germanic religion reveal evidence for the use of holy sites and it is extremely likely that a class of hallowed persons existed in Germanic and Celtic societies.

Meanwhile the Roman Legion is supposed to represent the imperial cult throughout the empire but also brings such exotic religions as Christianity, Mithraism, and several other cults to the North.

An impression of a Gallo(-Roman) holy site with conquered weapons and holy white cattle.

A reconstructed (Gallo-Roman) temple to the Celtic goddess Nehalennia near to where I live, right on the Northern limes.


I hope at least someone found this interesting, maybe leave a comment, I plan to do more updates on my world building process for this Warwickshire challenge about things I considered in world building and the actual process of building in The Sims 2.

Yours sincerely,
Vincent

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Welcome!

This is my first Sims2 Legacy project / Warwickshire Challenge and my first time blogging it.

This is not a legacy project in the traditional sense as I will not limit myself to ten generations. Rather I will try to make this blog a feuilleton of sorts in which I'll keep track of the major characters that reside in the fictional low countries my stories take place in.

I hope the stories will interest you and ultimately inspire you to do something similar.

Yours,
Vincent

This is where I got data for the warwickshire challenge:
http://modthesims.info/t/422049

Info about the Legacy Challenge, which I borrowed the name and some inspiration of, can be found here:
http://sims.wikia.com/wiki/Legacy_Challenge


Tags will be used to differentiate between the story lines that one blog post deals with.
That way you can follow the tale of family X by clicking on the X tag which will provide you with a list of posts tagged with X.