Ice Tower Floorplans
Here's the Ice Tower floorplans, finally at a demonstrable WIP stage. Comments please on any and every aspect from drawing skills (which I know are minimal) to castle layout design.
Any suggestions for the empty rooms will be welcome.
I imagined this castle maybe thirty years ago and made a few rough sketches at the time, but I was limited by my lack of artistic ability. About 5 years ago I discovered Dungeonforge and attempted to recreate the castle digitally, but DF's zoom function wasn't up to the task, though it helped tremendously with smaller projects. Six months ago I discovered Viewingdale, and was at last able to begin a digital floorplan of this castle.
Now at last I can show it and get some feedback.
The outdoor map of the castle and environs is still on the virtual drawing board - rocks and snow are a nightmare to draw effectively - especially for a non-artist. :(
Scale: The castle is 100ft square, with 30ft towers and 10ft walls. It is 300ft high.
Copyright: I'm still hoping to use this in a book one day, so although you are welcome to make use of it in a personal game, otherwise all rights are reserved. Thanks.
Somewhere in the Frozen North, on a rocky knoll within the crater of an extinct volcano, stands the Ice Tower, built of white stone and covered in permafrost. This is the abode of the evil Ice Queen, and the lava caverns honeycombing the mountain beneath the castle are the (currently unmapped) lair of her orc army and other denizens of darkness.
The foundations of the castle hold the torture chamber and dungeon, with cells in the outer walls. A trapdoor in the floor drops into the caverns, whilst a wide stair joins the torture chamber to the throne room three floors above for the convenience of Her Majesty's entertainment. The only other exit is via the southeast tower and guardroom.
The basement holds the Queen's stables. The main stair does not connect with this floor, but passes through. The exits are via the corner towers and via a ramp to the courtyard.
The ground floor of the castle houses the workshops and the courtyard. The gatehouse holds a double gate, portcullis, drawbridged pit and a second portcullis.
The first floor contains the throne room, with a dais backed by a tapestry. Behind the tapestry is personal access to the Queens (northeast) Tower. Only the Queen and her most trusted staff have access to this tower. The guardroom above the gatehouse has murder holes. A wooden walkway lines the walls, connecting the towers, on each floor.
The Great Hall, with its huge U shaped table is the feasting and entertainment centre for the Queen's guests. The battlemented roof of the gatehouse forms a useful watch platform over the courtyard.
The kitchen is the main food prep area and entertainment centre for the menial staff.
Level 4, Level 5, Level 6:
Staff Dormitory, Barracks and Armoury are self-explanatory.
The Guest Bower is the quarters for the Queen's guest of honour.
The Audience Chamber is for private meetings with the Queen, more informal than the Throne Room. This floor also includes the Queen's library. When I find the right one, I'll decorate the floor of this room with a pentagram. This is where she performs her ritual magic.
The Queen's Bower and bedroom are the personal quarters of the Queen.
The battlements incorporate guardrooms in the towers.
Originally Posted by icosahedron
twenty years mulling it around in my head, six months hammering it into the computer, a hundred people viewing it...
and just a single, four word comment? :((
Is it a decent layout? what does it lack? how can it be improved? Lead me on the road to cartographic excellence (or at least competence).
(Thanks Neon, no ingratitude meant - at least you responded). :)
Note that I've no idea what I'm talking about. I'm no historian, nor a castle designer or anything like that.
I think artistically it's ok, the resolution of the images doesn't give it the credit it is due, though.
However, I'm thinking it feels rather wasteful to have the courtyard enclosed by a 9 story wall. I'd think a wider, but lower layout would have made more sense. For example, having the kitchen on the same level as the dining hall would be rather practical. Same goes for the queen's library, bower, and bedroom, maybe with the audience room as well.
Barracks on level 5 - well, depending on what kind of troops you have there, I imagine you'd want them a) close to the courtyard so you can quickly deploy them there, and b) close to the stables so they can deploy as cavalry units. Also, armoury would be good to have close to your troops, preferably on the same level as them.
The winding stairs could become a bit of a bother, especially with troops going to their barracks on level 5, and serving staff going from the kitchen to the dining hall. Will they be able to pass each other? Will the trays of food survive? Is there another way of transporting food to the dining hall?
I'm not sure where the ramp from the stables to the courtyard is found - is that the red arrows? It'd have to be a rather long ramp or the slope would bother the horses, I think.
Oh, and having the stairway from the throne room to the torture chamber is a nice touch, but having it connected to the front door might not be a good idea from a defensive standpoint. If it's just for the queen's perusal, it might not need to be so wide as well. A closed off stairways embedded in the walls may be better - only leave exits at level -2 and 1, maybe with secret doors to level -1 and 0, but why would the queen ever want to go to the stables?
Escape routes may be useful as well - a secret exit from the castle somewhere that's easy to get to from where the queen usually spends her time, such things.
Again, I'm no expert, hardly even an amateur, and if you have a reason for making some of those design choices, you're most welcome to them.
Don't be disappointed by a lack of response, it happens sometimes. That being said...
Originally Posted by icosahedron
I'm not an architect, and my own castles/keeps probably break all kinds of rules but I think this seems like a good layout.
I think what it lacks more than anything is some shadowing, etc. to give it some depth. Everything seems very flat.
It's a nice layout you have there :). But the two points where the roof intersects with the towers looks a bit odd to me. Is the top part of the tower spreading out above the roof, is the whole tower cutting through it? Some shadows (even soft ones) could do some miracles to the scene just like Steel General said. Keep up the good work! :)
Cheers Alfar, some valid points there.
I've wondered on numerous occasions over the years about filling in that courtyard, but I'd already wriiten that section of story, and if the courtyard doesn't go there, I can't see how there could be one at all. Maybe I should fill in and rewrite.
Not disagreeing, just explaining my rationale, but although a wider, lower plan would be better for a real castle, this is a fantasy tower and I wanted a 'stone fang' effect.
Unfortunately, as you say, this leads to certain practical problems with layout, and feedback on that is part of what I was hoping to gain from showing it here.
I imagine the spiral stairs would get tiresome, OTOH real castles have lots of them, so maybe it's just something castle-dwellers accept as part of their environment? Any notions on that, guys?
I did check the width of the spirals - they're quite wide - I even placed a serving maid token on one of the middle floors, northwest stair, as a scale guide, so I think people could pass ok.
The drawing does lose something without Viewingdale's powerful zoom capability to see detail.
Good point about the main stair. I devised the transverse pattern before I'd really figured out where the lower level would lead to. Maybe that needs a re-think. I like the hidden stair idea. :)
I briefly considered escape routes, but since the castle stands in the crater of an arctic volcano, I figured by the time the enemy is beating the gate down, they'd have the castle surrounded. And the queen herself could simply cast a spell and fly away.
Cheers Steel General, I'm not sure that Viewingdale lends itself to shadowing (Redrobes may correct me there). So I think if I did any shadowing, it would have to be a final finishing touch in a Gimp 'arty adaptation' rather than the working map.
Cheers Jykke, the towers cut through part of the roof. They're pretty much straight. The original sketch didn't even have a walkway around the turret, they were fully enclosed by the pinnacle roofs.
Oh, I didn't so much mean that the spiral staircases would be tiresome, more that having to go up 4-5 levels to serve dinner to the queen in her quarters... ouch. ;)
Also, I didn't mean for you to fill in the courtyard - I was suggesting maybe leaving the walls around the courtyard lower (like, two levels or so?), and let the main tower grow above it.
As for escape routes, you do have the exit down to the caves below, yes?
I do think moving at least some of the troops to level 1 would benefit the daily life of the inhabitants.
How many people live there again? Maybe you don't need an entire floor for the kitchen.