Real World Inspirations for Fantasy Locales

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Peter Von Danzig

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Thurant Castle, Germany

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It's always good to look these castles up, they typically have quite colorful histories.

This one (Thurant castle in the Rhineland) was the home of a Robber Knight for a while, it was captured and partially destroyed a few times, eventually it became part of a long lasting settlement between two bishoprics, with the soldiers of one bishop occupying one side and those of the other rival bishop occupying the other. That's why it has two burgfried (the cylindrical towers, which were used as positions of last resort during sieges).

This one was probably captured because it lay below the height of some surrounding hills. Once you got into the gunpowder era in the later 1300s it became possible to position cannon on hilltops and destroy castles which didn't command the heights.

The half-timbered house in the center which looks a bit out of place was added, along with the gatehouse, in the 20th Century after the castle had been damaged during wartime.
 

Peter Von Danzig

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A "castle" near Gdansk in Poland, begun by an artist in the 1970s and never finished

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ffilz

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It's apparently an abandoned mill house in Spain, that's all I know.
Hmm, it looks suspiciously like this mill:


If so, it's a photoshop to put it into a more dramatic setting.
 

Peter Von Danzig

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A quick reverse- image search seems to identify it as 'Casa Muino das Maquias'.

Casa Munio das Maquias appears to be that wonderful stone building covered in moss. Here is a wikimedia commons entry


as best I can determine it's an old mill house in Galicia in Spain, near a town called Vigo.

Apparently farmers used to go there at night, in secret, to mill their grain because milling was strictly regulated by the monarchy or some local authorities and you were supposed to only use the designated, expensive mills. So it has a bit of a story around it, it seems.
 

ffilz

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Anyway, I was asking about the other building but I think that is also a mill or some kind of ore processing building for a mine... probably in North America though who knows.
Like I posted above, I think I found it. If so, the photo in this thread was altered to make the cliff more dramatic.

Reverse image search didn't work for me so I Googled for "abandoned mill cliff" and found several pictures of the same mill, which on examination seemed to show the same mill as the above picture (based on board positioning, windows, etc.).
 

Peter Von Danzig

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So here is a real castle, Burg Frankenstein, near Darmstadt in Hessen (one of several castle Frankenstein’s in Central Europe, and not to be confused with the town and castle Frankenstein in Silesia featured in our Road to Monsterberg series). There are a ton of cool stories with this one, even though it's right next to a pretty big town. This castle was the home of a famous alchemist, and near the castle grounds there is a fountain of youth, a ‘felsenmeer’ (‘sea of stones’) and a hill crowned with magnetic boulders where lightning often strikes, compasses don’t work and witches are believed to gather on Walpurgis night. According to legend, the castle is near the lair of a man-eating lindworm and a water spirit which can change into a fox. It is situated in a forest called the Odenwald, meaning ‘forest of Odin’.

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Peter Von Danzig

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This is the sea of stones


The odenwald - the weird heathen-haunted forest nearby, with all kinds of strange legends


I guess this is the "devil's stone" mentioned in the Wiki 1665696214545.png

This is an old mine entrance nearby

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This is inside the mine, which is a Unesco World heritage site

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Peter Von Danzig

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Ok, y'all ready for this one? This is about as close to a real life "Temple of Set" ala Robert E Howard Conan as I've ever heard of.

"Pluto's Gate" aka the Pluotonion at Hierapolis, aka "the gateway to hell", is an ancient Greek temple in what is now Turkey, was devoted to Pluto, the Hellenic God of death and the underworld (among other things). This temple, built over a hot underground river. The temple and associated oracle was run by a special caste of castrated priests. But here is the creepy part.

The cave and underground river that the temple was built over emit carbon dioxide gas at lethal concentrations. So lethal that anyone venturing into or even near the cave entrance quickly dies. To emphasize this, the priests sold birds and other small animals which could be thrown into the temple and you can see them instantly die. There were (and I guess still are) air pockets in the temple, the location of which was known to the local priests. They would crawl inside as part of an initiation rite, and, if they did everything right, they would emerge unscathed.

The Greek historian and auctore "Strabo" commented on this place: "Any animal that passes inside meets instant death. I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell"

Of course today, we know exactly what carbon dioxide is, so it is partly demystified for us. But to me it's still scary. Imagine how creepy this place was back in the "Conan Era"

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BedrockBrendan

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I blogged about it here (tried posting the pictures here but that isn't working for some reason): http://thebedrockblog.blogspot.com/2022/10/a-visit-to-high-rock-tower.html

It has some pictures I took at High Rock Tower, a pretty interesting spot in Lynn (built on a hill where John Murray Spear is supposed to have constructed an 'electric messiah' called the New Motive Power. Shortly after its constructed, they say an angry mob dismantled it. The tower itself is now an observatory. The look of the tower just adds to the atmosphere. And there is still gothic style cottage tucked in the hill below the tower (abandoned).
 

Peter Von Danzig

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I blogged about it here (tried posting the pictures here but that isn't working for some reason): http://thebedrockblog.blogspot.com/2022/10/a-visit-to-high-rock-tower.html

It has some pictures I took at High Rock Tower, a pretty interesting spot in Lynn (built on a hill where John Murray Spear is supposed to have constructed an 'electric messiah' called the New Motive Power. Shortly after its constructed, they say an angry mob dismantled it. The tower itself is now an observatory. The look of the tower just adds to the atmosphere. And there is still gothic style cottage tucked in the hill below the tower (abandoned).

Wow what a story. That's a great idea for a Call of Cthulhu type game

 

BedrockBrendan

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Wow what a story. That's a great idea for a Call of Cthulhu type game


I have game mechanics and flavor material for it for something I was working on (different system) if you want them. It would definitely work for Cthulhu. I believe Kenneth Hite has an episode of Ken and Robin Talk about Stuff dedicated to it which you might find helpful.

It's a very interesting story. I became aware of it when I interned at the Lynn Historical Society and had to do a double take when the librarian showed me (I believe she was having me catalog old newspapers but I could be misremembering). It sounded like something out of a movie. It's right around the corner from me too.
 

Peter Von Danzig

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(borrowed from Archeology and Civilizations). Players of Call of Cthulhu and other similar genre games make note of the last line.

"Union canal Falkirk tunnel, Scotland
Built 200 years ago to link Falkirk with Edinburgh for the transportation of mostly coal .

Body snatchers also used this canal to transport the bodies to the anatomists In Edinburgh"
 

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