Sunday, 4 June 2017

Inspirations from Castle Menzies

Last week we visited Castle Menizes - a sixteenth century Scottish Castle located near Aberfeldy on the edge of the south-eastern highlands.

On the drive back to where we staying in Killin I was struck by how many game-able ideas there were in just one castle:

1. A strong room within the thick walls of the keep, only accessible by a stone trap door in the floor above.

2. A lifelike model of a ship in a glass case (magic?)

3. A cellar full of barrels (there's one in nearly every adventure but it's great to wander into one)
4. A table made from barrels.
5. Doors reinforced with iron gateways
6. Spiral Staircases with wall sconces (once again, it's just great to wander past something like this)

7. Each tower has one more floor than in the main building, so each room is joined to the main building by confusing stairs - some up, some down.

8. A secret compartment hidden in the thick walls behind secret door in the wooden panelling.

9. A room in the roof-space accessible only through a narrow opening high up in the wall with no ladder.

10. One wing of the castle is uninhabitable with collapsed roof and rotten floors

11. Due to later extensions, some rooms are now inaccessible, stairways lead to blank walls, and fireplaces are boarded up.

This vein of ideas lead me to ponder the rest of the holiday:

12. A wooden house built on pillars over the lake. The inhabitants avoid the woodland around as it is inhabited by bears and wolves, and they travel up and down the lake by boat, and trading. For some inexplicable reason, no one eats the fish in the lake. (Truly - in the archaeological digs no fish remains have been found)

13. Strange unexplained changes in the weather in moments from blazing hot sunshine to near darkness, freezing hail, then torrential rain.

14. The level of the lake is unusually low, revealing remains of a ruin poking out of the water. (Actually this holiday it was a sandy beach, but previously it's been ruins).

15. A small island in a lake accessible with care from the shoreline across a narrow spit of land. It turns out to be a treacherously boggy jungle marshland. The island shows signs of ancient civilisation. The smoldering remains of a fire indicate someone has been here only recently but there is no sign of them.

16. A well built ancient paved way leads over a pass from one valley to the next. Its purpose is unclear, and it is now used only by the brave. Locals try to prevent you from treading its path with dire warnings. In reality it was made by an ancient people, now seldom seen, to transport heavy machinery when creating underground water pipelines.

17. The river is crossed by a rickety old wooden bridge with broken planks - the only alternative is hoping from one rock to another across the raging torrent.

With this mindset, even mundane happenings on holiday turned into game-able ideas:

17. A magical vanishing box: when items are placed into it and the lid is closed they vanish and reappear in a secret compartment elsewhere. (I placed my sunglasses in the compartment below the steering wheel in the car and they vanished. I thought I was mistaken so bought new sunglasses. The second pair also vanished... I found them both down a hole at the top at the back!)

18. The painting looks normal at first glance - but then you notice that one of the people appears twice. You recognise their face as someone you know, and they are not a twin...

19. The door is held open for you by a small fox. It stares at you, and there is clearly deep intelligence behind the eyes, but it makes not a sound.

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