When I first started thinking about castle towns in the Known World of Blueholme, I was looking at real-world medieval English villages for inspiration. However, I soon realised that such defenceless settlements would never be able to survive, much less thrive, as outposts of the Realm in the Wilderness. Furthermore, the haphazard growth of development didn’t sit well with the idea that the Realm represented Law, and thus order.
Enter another real-world model, this time closer to my present home: the walled villages of southern China. These clan settlements were exactly what I needed. Their regular layouts, complete with walls, iron gates, and watchtowers, were much more evocative of the fantasy world which is slowly being born out of the BLUEHOLME™ rules.
This has nothing to do with taking my thesis students to study this place today. That their research is leading them in this direction is entirely coincidental. 😉