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August 29, 2007, 1:28 pm

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Kastraad and New Pastello


Kastraad is a Keep and Bailey upon a good sized hill in the mid country. While there has been several battles not far from it, it has been a quiet location for a generation or two. Recently it was taken over by a New Lord, Sir DuKon. He and his few men at arms took the keep from the previous owner (a lazy braggart called Lord KelSen the Fat). After setting himself up as a Lord, he found himself in a difficult position of needing money and being unable to take it (or lands) from his better fortified neighbors. Thus the founding of New Pastello.

Kastraad is a tall square tower made from a dark grey veined stone. Its size allows DuKon to use it as a manor and a barracks. The Bailey wall has recently been repaired with a dark tan stone quarried near by. Labor to repair the wall and the Lord’s other projects are from Old Pastello (the original village), the cluster of huts that pretended to be a village of KelSen, and the other serfs. He has used up all his people’s feudal obligations to him (and then some… if these people really understood their rights under King’s law, they could be freemen already).

New Pastello is a classic Bastides. (You literally can see an image of it in the Encyclopedia Geographica by the entry for Bastides). All bastides have a grid layout and a central market square with a covered weighing and measuring area surrounded by a low defensive wall. New Pastello does not variate from this plan.  The streets are straight and well laid out in a nine by nine grid. (They are roughly cobbled, so they are muddy in the rains, with stones in them for support). There are two gates to the bastides, one to the north road and one to the south with a muddy trail that pretends to be a road to Old Pastello and KelSen.

Each building, and there are five to each block, are already built now (or still in process of being finished). The buildings here all follow the same two story format, suitable for shops under and hearth over. The windows are small and all thick waxed paper, as there is no glass of any quality to be had in the area. The foundation and low support of the buildings are, like the walls, are made of the quarried dark tan stone (not in blocks or brick, but in rough square shapes, then mortared together roughly for a patchwork effect). The roofs are all Lauzes roofs, made of black stream stones rather than tile.  The roofs are fireproof and very weather resistant, however they require a great deal of internal bracing. Since wood is cheap in this area and tile is expensive and imported a good ways, they opted to make roofs here.

One note: They do not use chimneys here, simply open places in the roof under the eves. The innovation of the chimney (as we know it today, was invented in the mid 1400s in Europe and not that long after in China) has not reached here.

The town is growing in population, though to be honest, it seems very deserted right now (almost a ghost town). The few people that do currently live here are happy to be here. Living here allows them to be free of their feudal obligations. The Sir (as the locals call Sir DuKon) is not a harsh master. Though The Sir is the town’s landlord, taking rent from those living here (though he wishes to sell some of the buildings). He is a bit concerned that so many of the buildings are empty, but he knows they will fill soon enough. There are some new farmers taking up residence around the new town. The Sir is excited by the new rent from his tenants (and the presence of food will lead to more people in the town).

The Sir, followed by one or two of his men at arms (armies in the local parlance), is a common sight in the town. The Sir takes a personal interest in everything and is constantly checking to make sure he is getting his tax and revenue.  He even knows everyone in the town by name, profession, and where they live. While Sir DuKon is very "detail oriented", fastidious, and a touch greedy, he is fair in his dealings. He is also working on promoting his little town, trying to steal away journeymen from guildsmen in the surrounding area.

FYI: Bastides began to appear as feudalism began to wane in medieval France, and were an attempt by landowners to generate revenues from taxes on trade rather than tithes (taxes on production). Farmers who elected to move their families to bastides were no longer vassals of the local lord, they became free men. They were encouraged to work the land around the Bastides, which in turn attracted trade in the form of merchants and markets. The lord taxed dwellings in the bastides and all trade in the market. Ease of tax collection is the reason for the grid layout (property taxes) and the covered weighing and measuring area in the marketplace.

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Comments ( 7 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

March 23, 2006, 15:39
This post is almost a history and postfedual economics less in the guise of a post. However, the importance of various elements needs to be explained because of the things we, post moderns, would of taken for granted or assumed were there.

This place is nearly a formula, Castle plus Bastides. These began to bloom in France in the 1300s, and other places in Europe in the next few centuries.
Voted Scrasamax
March 23, 2006, 16:20
Solid, certainly not lacking in detail, however I think it lacks that certain something that gives a community vitality, makes it alive. I would like to know more about the specific bastide of New Pastello, otherwise i think this could be instead posted in the Article section on world or setting building.
Voted Cheka Man
March 23, 2006, 19:39
It's good but not wonderful.
Voted manfred
March 24, 2006, 7:57
It has a definite medieval feel, and is interesting info, but as said, it lacks the certain 'spark' that makes it really alive.

You could add the growing interest of people living around, and informants (not really spies) sent from other lords that want to see if this idea works. Also, if he manages to attract a master of some trade that lived elsewhere before (under some other lord), there you have instant conflict. The lord's need for money can also persuade him to try things not tried before, or tried and abandoned, or tried and forbidden ever since - all plot hooks. Stealing secrets of a trade is tricky, too, and prime opportunity for adventure.

It is a start.
Voted Murometz
March 24, 2006, 11:25
I have no issues with the history and economics lesson. That I like. I just think that you wrote this too quickly maybe (the frequent use of parenthesis are a clue to that). Its just a bit dry, though again, I have no problem with hard-core realism!
August 29, 2007, 13:28
Updated: updated for a spelling error
Voted valadaar
July 14, 2014, 8:35
I agree with Muro on this one. Good details, but the plethora of parentheses is somewhat distracting.

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