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Tizun Thane

Adventure of the circle of gold

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For a mysterious reason, this old published adventure found a special place in my heart. But I never played it. Did anyone have this chance ?

Where did you locate the kingdom? I think the kingdoms of Galvoie or Merionnyd are good candidates, but I'm open to suggestions.

Did the challenges become tedious in the long run?

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Galvoie is deeply entwined in the Conte du Graal and Klingsor. (See Chretien and Wolfram von Eschenbach)

I would suggest a placement in the Perilous Forest, where a similar enchanted realm was created by Gwenbaus in the Vulgate Merlin and Livre d'Artus.

Perlesvaus places the 'Cercle d'Or' at Montesclaire, which is probably Alclud, but that contradicts the geography of the adventure.

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2 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

Where did you locate the kingdom?

I stuck it south of Cameliard, in the Arden Forest between Avon and Severn, so yeah, pretty close to Galvoie. (Sure, there is Worcester near-by, but that is hardly an issue.)

I also made it a bit smaller. The adventure implies roughly 1 day of travel  between encounters (IIRC). I was making it more like a few hours in between, meaning that it was possible to ride all the way to the capital in a couple of days. Not only will this speed up the adventure some, but it makes it easier to fit the kingdom on the map (unless you wish to claim that it is all in Faerie).

2 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

Did the challenges become tedious in the long run?

Perhaps a bit, but on the other hand, the players seem to enjoy it as an easy source of glory.

Also, I have reused it from time to time as a backdrop for other adventures, such as turning the magical protections off after Grail Quest and allowing the monsters to start attacking again, requiring the PKs to help in fighting them back.

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Thank both of you for your answers 🤩 The Arden Forest and The Perilous Forest are both interesting. To my knowledge however, Gwenbaus was just trapped in a "carole" forever dancing, but it sounds very intriguing.

Speeding up the adventure is probably a good idea, but cut off a lot of "courteous" opportunities to shine.

1 hour ago, jeffjerwin said:

Galvoie is deeply entwined in the Conte du Graal and Klingsor. (See Chretien and Wolfram von Eschenbach)

I know, I know,  but for now, I don't know how to use creatively all this stuff with Gawaine.

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9 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

Thank both of you for your answers 🤩 The Arden Forest and The Perilous Forest are both interesting. To my knowledge however, Gwenbaus was just trapped in a "carole" forever dancing, but it sounds very intriguing.

Gwenbaus is a magician (a 'wise clerk') and derives ultimately from Gwyn ap Nudd. There are three major 'marvels' made by him in the Perilous Forest - a form of courting the 'wise lady of the Perilous Forest' (a 'king's daughter', though never named) - the Castle of the Caroles (which also appears in Meraugis), the magic chessboard (probably a variant of the magic chessboard in the Second Continuation and the Didot Perceval, as well as Gwenddolau's magic gwyddbydd board), and the Turning Castle... Loomis related him to Curoi, the Irish wizard. The Perilous Forest is crowded with other strangeness: it is the home of Hellawes, Annowre (though she is also placed in Darnantes, nearby), one version of Merlin's tomb, the abbey of the Perilous Hall, where Moyse suffers eternal torment, etc.

In this regard Arden may be a better choice, as it doesn't displace these things. Though I might add the 'De Boys' family and Celia and Rosalinde to any adventure there...

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On the Turning Castle... do you tend to represent that as an actual, rotating castle? Or one that uses or sits within the Celtic seven-turning maze motif?

Just curious.

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3 hours ago, Khanwulf said:

On the Turning Castle... do you tend to represent that as an actual, rotating castle? Or one that uses or sits within the Celtic seven-turning maze motif?

Just curious.

Actual rotating castle works out pretty well, as you no doubt are aware. ;)

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6 hours ago, Khanwulf said:

On the Turning Castle... do you tend to represent that as an actual, rotating castle? Or one that uses or sits within the Celtic seven-turning maze motif?

Just curious.

It's literally turning in the romance, but it's only mentioned in the Vulgate. It is, however, a folk-translation of Caer Siddi (though the real etymology is the Irish Sidh, or mound). Here's a brief article (in French, if you can read it): https://www.persee.fr/doc/roma_0035-8029_1911_num_40_158_4633. Suffice to say it's a somewhat common romance motif associated with wizards.

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Ok, so yes, it generally has been assumed to be actually turning. Though I still am concerned that there has been a misunderstanding of the origin of the turning maze as it was brought into the ballads.

French is not at my command, sadly. Caer Sidi itself is conflated with the Castle of Glass of legends as well--always on an island, and thus separated from the mortal world by the sea.

 

--Khanwulf 

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2 hours ago, Khanwulf said:

Ok, so yes, it generally has been assumed to be actually turning. Though I still am concerned that there has been a misunderstanding of the origin of the turning maze as it was brought into the ballads.

French is not at my command, sadly. Caer Sidi itself is conflated with the Castle of Glass of legends as well--always on an island, and thus separated from the mortal world by the sea.

 

--Khanwulf 

It isn't actually clear that the fortresses mentioned in Preiddeu Annwn are the same fortress or whether they are different stops on an Otherworldly journey, which I thin is quite possible: there are fragmentary references in Welsh sources (as well as John Dee!) to an Arthurian expedition to Iceland and Greenland. Caer Wydr is usually on an island, but may be distinct from Ynys Wydryn and so forth: we simply don't know. It does resemble in certain ways the 'tower' or 'pillar of glass' encountered in various Imrama stories and in the Partholon story, which suggest possibly an iceberg.

In Welsh, 'siddi' can mean 'turning', but here it's thought to be an Irish loan-word. A 'turning castle' appears as Curoi's fortress in Irish myth, and that legend, in any rate, is probably not contaminated significantly with romance influence. There is also a turning castle in Perlesvaus, and if I recall correctly, in Artus de Petit-Bretagne.

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On 10/5/2019 at 5:10 AM, jeffjerwin said:

Here's a brief article (in French, if you can read it): https://www.persee.fr/doc/roma_0035-8029_1911_num_40_158_4633. Suffice to say it's a somewhat common romance motif associated with wizards.

Wizards and faees of course. As mentionned in the article, there is litteraly a turning castle in "la Mule sans frein", the "Mule without bridle", a gawain adventure of the XIIe century.

Quote

Girt were the fortress’ walls with moats profound,
And brimming torrents roll’d impetuous round;
Whilst, like a millstone, on its central base
Revolv’d with ceaseless course the whole enormous mass;
Swift as a top, when some impatient boy

With frequent lash speeds on the circling toy.
Bridge there was none, whereon he might assay
To vault with dexterous bound, and force his future way.

A translation I found online in english.

http://elfinspell.com/FabliauxMule.html

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22 hours ago, jeffjerwin said:

It isn't actually clear that the fortresses mentioned in Preiddeu Annwn are the same fortress or whether they are different stops on an Otherworldly journey, which I thin is quite possible: there are fragmentary references in Welsh sources (as well as John Dee!) to an Arthurian expedition to Iceland and Greenland. Caer Wydr is usually on an island, but may be distinct from Ynys Wydryn and so forth: we simply don't know. It does resemble in certain ways the 'tower' or 'pillar of glass' encountered in various Imrama stories and in the Partholon story, which suggest possibly an iceberg.

In Welsh, 'siddi' can mean 'turning', but here it's thought to be an Irish loan-word. A 'turning castle' appears as Curoi's fortress in Irish myth, and that legend, in any rate, is probably not contaminated significantly with romance influence. There is also a turning castle in Perlesvaus, and if I recall correctly, in Artus de Petit-Bretagne.

An interesting observation that hadn't occurred to me before, and will be filed away. The Arthurian expedition to the uttermost north (Iceland and Greenland) is fascinating, as it was drawn on to promote English supremacy and claim over these lands. (Along with Scandinavia I might add.)

The fascinating bit is that you could get the effect of a ring of islands around the north pole, if the pole mentioned is magnetic and it was located under what is now Greenland--a Greenland absent its ice cap! Scientists suspect the magnetic pole was at one point located under Greenland, so such an echo seems hauntingly similar to the Peri Reis Map of Antarctica free of ice.  

The "castle of glass" as an iceberg is a very intriguing take as well. Why not?

 

--Khanwulf

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21 hours ago, Khanwulf said:

The "castle of glass" as an iceberg is a very intriguing take as well. Why not?

It might be worth noting that in Celtic Myths the Formorian Leader Balor lived on an island of glass . It also wouldn't be too much of a stretch for the ancient people to have discovered how to make Pykrete- it's a very low tech recipe, if you wanted a less magical/mystical explanation. That could let you run a lost continent sotry when the ice island melts into the oceans. 

 

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7 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

 

It might be worth noting that in Celtic Myths the Formorian Leader Balor lived on an island of glass . It also wouldn't be too much of a stretch for the ancient people to have discovered how to make Pykrete- it's a very low tech recipe, if you wanted a less magical/mystical explanation. That could let you run a lost continent sotry when the ice island melts into the oceans. 

 

The Formorians were also inveterate sea raiders. They could easily have--in that same breath--based from a variety of icebergs in the Hyperborean days of Irish myth.

But the imagery of an ice-castle carved with Formorian heat rays (see: Balor's eye) melting into the sea as knights run off with its mystic gem (or... cauldron?) is precious.

--Khanwulf

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