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Thread: What is required for a monastary

  1. #11
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    Sounds like you've given the backstory quite a lot of thought, but, if you don't mind me saying so, I think the plan of your monastery could be different. I'll try to be constructive rather than critical.

    - the scale of your monastery looks really big. The entire thing is ~1600 ft from west-east. Compare it to this picture of a monastery from google images (http://www.historyfish.net/images/mo...aulieu_100.jpg). Beaulieu monastery is about 300 ft end to end. Your free to make yours bigger - it sounds like there are more things happening in yours than a typical Christian monastery - but size is important

    - related to that, note the way the different buildings in Beaulieu monastery are all joined up. They aren't spread out over a wide area, with big gaps between them. The dormitories (labelled 'dorter' in Beaulieu) are on the upper floor, above the cellar, parlour, chapterhouse etc. The monks also don't get their own houses, as in your map; they might get a room (cell) for themselves, but mostly I suspect they just sleep in a single room in rows of beds. What I'm trying to say, basically, is that the whole monastery is much more compact. Land at the top of a mountain would be at a premium; the less space is taken up by buildings, the more can be used for farming.

    - I still think a number of the things you have included shouldn't be. Why do they have their own foundry/smithy? Why their own clothier? Based on the map you've made, I would suggest that you could actually have a (small) village outside the east gate. The village could have weavers, blacksmiths, etc. There'd still be plenty of space for fields, especially since there aren't likely to be many people in a monastery-village complex. Also, why are general labourers included within the monastery? Monasteries did need labourers in the past, but they would *always* be outside the walls. They aren't members of the religious order (at least not in a professional sense) and so they wouldn't be allowed to live there. It sounds like you already had the basis for a village without realising it.

    - on a much more basic level, there is something rather strange looking about those cisterns. First, it makes a lot of sense that you'd want all your water in the same place - saves maintenance and time. Secondly, are there walls around those? Are they underground? How can they exist without falling down the slope?

    - from your description, it sounds like your monastery might be more like the kind of thing found in Asia, rather than Europe. I found this (http://studiesofamerica.files.wordpr...temple-map.jpg) picture on google images, showing the Eastern Shaolin Monastery. It has many of the same things I've already mentioned, like compactness, although it's a bit hard to tell with that image.

    I've probably written enough for today. Hope some of those comments are helpful.

  2. #12
      WillP is offline
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    They are very helpful, and have given me a lot to think about. As for the cisterns. I'm not happy with how they look on the map. Idealy they should be large reseviors along the sides of the mountain, preferably covered, but I have no idea how to draw something like that. Any ideas on that would be helpful.

  3. #13
      AMXPariah is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillP View Post
    They are very helpful, and have given me a lot to think about. As for the cisterns. I'm not happy with how they look on the map. Idealy they should be large reseviors along the sides of the mountain, preferably covered, but I have no idea how to draw something like that. Any ideas on that would be helpful.
    What about the walls being cisterns? If they were wide enough, you could have 5-foot walkways on either side of a 10 foot gap. The rain enters the cistern through the gap and gets stored inside the walls. The monks could even work out a running water system that way. Also, here are some pictures of ancient cisterns for inspiration.
    Last edited by AMXPariah; 05-12-2013 at 02:22 AM.

  4. #14
      Krazma is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillP View Post
    They are very helpful, and have given me a lot to think about. As for the cisterns. I'm not happy with how they look on the map. Idealy they should be large reseviors along the sides of the mountain, preferably covered, but I have no idea how to draw something like that. Any ideas on that would be helpful.
    Cisterns don't necessarily need to be visible. It could be constructed to channel rainwater from roofs and catch basins into an underground tank, and the water could be drawn up much the same as a regular well. Consider the rain gutters on most houses could as easily lead to an underground storage tank. Also, there's no reason that even has to be outdoors; the cistern might be accessible from the kitchen or cellar area, for instance. If you want them to have "indoor plumbing," have the cisterns built into the upper story of the building and feed a gravity-powered system. Doesn't have to be high-tech.

    Of course, for cisterns to be practical, the area needs to have at least moderate precipitation. Alternately (or as well), they might have constructed condensation traps. Normally, those are not really sufficient for this purpose, but if these guys are wizards, they might have enhanced their efficiency somehow.

  5. #15
      rdanhenry is offline
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    In the key, "12. Monk/Wizard Logding" should be "Lodging".

    It looks more like a military camp than a monastery, because of the way those lodgings are laid out. Maybe it's a repurposed site and those use to be military barracks? Maybe four monks to a building (could easily be more, especially if they've mastered bunk-bed technology).

  6. #16
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    Here is a redo of the monastery which is more to my liking. It seems there is some confusion as to the lodging (understandable). What I have envisioned for my novels is more a combination of McCaffrey's Wyers, especially during the long interval when Benden declined, a center for study and reflection, and a seminary. There is no distinction between the sexes here (Monk and Wizard are appropriate titles for both men and women) and most acolytes were born and raised in the monastery.

    Rdanhenry, Thanks for the typo catch. My proofreader missed that one (guess I'll have to fire him).

    What is required for a monastary-monastery.jpg
    Last edited by WillP; 05-14-2013 at 05:02 PM.

  7. #17
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    Just a thought. Tanners where kept to the outskirts of towns due to the smell of the process. It would be unlikely ther would be a tanner within the walls.

  8. #18
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    I would make the granaries much larger personally. And if they're growing their own grain they'll need a barn to store the wheat and thresh it over winter (this needs to be a big barn that's out in the open so doors can be opened on both sides to get wind flow through it), and a mill to grind it down into flour (perhaps a wind-mill next to the irrigation "windmill", or alternatively it could be powered by water from the cisterns).

    Personally I find it hard to accept the idea of individual structures for the monks and wizards' living quarters. It's an incredibly inefficient way of housing people both in terms of raw materials and in terms of heating in winter (which is particularly important on a mountain top). Granted, this is to reflect an existing story so if that's how you've presented it, that's how it is, but if you have flexibility I'd seriously look at having large multi-room structures instead.

    The only other thing that struck me is generally the temple/church in a monastery is by far the largest structure. After all - that's the point of it being there.

    Of course, a disclaimer, this isn't a map for the sake of a map, but a map reflecting a place in a story, so without knowing the details many of my comments might be irrelevant.

  9. #19
      Tracker is offline
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    Hello:
    How do the monks make a living? Unless the monks survive on alms only. They will need to make money for things they cannot grow or create. The monks will brew beer to drink and normally will have a diary animals to make cheeses that will go well with the beer. Those are for survival of the monks. Monks have made money by weaving, by illuminating books, by copying books or printing. Growing food to sell as well as for themselves. Making boots and shoes and craft or trade that is not against their religion.

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  10. #20
      atpollard is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumboot View Post
    The only other thing that struck me is generally the temple/church in a monastery is by far the largest structure. After all - that's the point of it being there.
    It is helpful for any community to have a building in town large enough to accommodate all of the adults for an important meeting ... many experimental and pioneer communities built a 'meeting hall' of some sort that often served as church, school, town hall and dance hall as needed. Your church would seem to be a logical structure to fit that purpose.

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