Friday, October 19, 2012

NIGHT RIDER - Fiction from High School and a Cool 3D Drawing of Skull Castle!

Holmes Basic Sample Dungeon Cross Section
I was poking around in the attic the other day and finally found my two copies of Gallery Magazine that I worked on as the Science Fiction Editor back in high school.  I wrote two science fiction/fantasy stories for the magazine during that time but distinctly remember writing the second piece as a junior in 1983 because in essence, it was my first ever written recap of D&D play, and also my first attempt at fiction writing.  Rather than just writing it from a blank piece of paper which I have always had a hard time doing, I wrote up an AD&D adventure centered around a wizard's keep called Skull Castle and the story itself is called "A Visit to Skull Castle".  So where did I get the idea for skull castle you might ask?  The Holmes Basic D&D sample dungeon cross section for Skull Mountain of course!  For the second story, I ran a friend of mine through the adventure that I wrote during study hall - yeah, we weren't studying real hard, but it was for the school magazine after all!  I took notes during play about what happened and afterwards, I wrote up a recap of the adventure as a basis for the second magazine story.

I totally forgot about the fact that I had done this little prequel story first while in 10th grade in the 1982 edition of Gallery Magazine, and that it included a very cool 3D view of the castle that I drew up and inked for the story!  I was just learning drafting at the time (I took a drafting class in 9th grade in high school and eventually got a degree in architecture) but had drawn up many a dungeon plan prior to drawing this.  In fact, if it wasn't for D&D I probably would have never become an architect in the first place.  The castle drawing actually looks like a perspective but may have been an isometric type of drawing though if so, it's it doesn't look like its in the usual 30/60 degree angle format (but it may be).  I'll have to slap this sucker on the old drafting board and see if it really is a true perspective or an isometric drawing.  Either way, it's a precursor to some of the cool castle drawings I did for Iron Crown Enterprises back in the day, a few of which were 3D perspectives or isometric/axonometric projections like this one.  It also illustrates my fanaticism and intense interest in castle design and construction and castle drawing which was a direct result of playing D&D as a kid.

I had a book when I was a kid (though I'm not sure where it is now) simply entitled Castle by David MacAulay (see Amazon link here:  Castle by David MacAulay) which describes how the Norman Conquerors built their castles to control Wales after their conquest of England in 1066.  The book is wonderfully illustrated and includes plans, perspectives and illustrations of a fictitious castle supposedly built in Wales following the Norman Conquest.  The drawings are very detailed and take you from design through construction, and even illustrate a siege of the castle at the end by an opposing army.  This is where I learned the most about how actual historical castles were really built, and the book is highly recommended reading for anyone who has an interest in this topic, especially gamers and military history buffs.  I went on to earn a minor degree in Architectural History from UVA along with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Design, and wrote my minor thesis on, you guessed it, the Evolution of the Tower Keep in Medieval England.  That's up in the attic too and maybe someday I'll scan that in to post here as well.

In the meantime, enjoy my first foray into fiction writing and an early 3D castle drawing in the story below.  I'll post the recap of the actual adventure from the 1983 publication of Gallery Magazine as a followup to this blog post.  I'll see if I can find the original plan layout for this castle and the dungeon write up to post here as well, but my guess is I've lost it at this point.  There's nothing to keep me from re-creating the castle plan and D&D adventure write up from the recap and the drawing below though!

Copyright notice:  All original artwork and works of fiction on this page are copyrighted by the original writer and artist, Daniel Cruger.  This story and artwork may be downloaded and used for personal use only and may not be reproduced for commercial purposes in any way without the express written consent of the owner.

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