Villages, farms, valleys and hills

Xeon

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May 17, 2006
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Hi all,

I'm currently stuck and need some help. :)
Basically, in my story(fantasy), I want my character(a side character) to live in a village and one night, some troops came and masssacred the village.
I want it to be such that the soldiers will kill him and his body will fall down from a high point.

In such a case, could I let the village be situated on top of a mountain? I mean, it just sounds crazy to me. Mountains are too high and having villages/farms on it is crazy.

I've thought of hills, but hills are generally so short and gentle that if you fall down from the hill top, you'll actually roll down since it's more or less of a slope!

I've thought of valleys, and letting the village be situated in the valley. The troops would come and chase him and he would run to the valley-top where he will get killed and his body will fall down from the tall height. But that's crazy, because valley-tops means mountains, and climbing mountains in one shot when people are chasing you is crazy too.

I've thought of locating the village on a cliff so that it's a perfect place for him to fall down from, but that's equally mad. Cliffs are rocky areas and rearing cows and fields on top of a cliff? Darn!

Does anyone have some ideas? I need a place where I can situate the village in. That place must have an area nearby where the character can fall to his death from a tall height.

Thanks all! :)
Xeon.
 
Well, you could have the village on a plateau, a tableland, and there are gorges and crevices nearby that are quite steep, sheer, etc.; these could (possibly) be used by the village for disposal of waste, their midden-heaps, etc. Something like what we have in "the Badlands", where a lot of it is very flat ground, but situated on high ground overall, and some of those drops are sheer, let me tell you, with land-bridges that are less than four feet wide, and several-hundred-plus foot drops on either side. Something like that could be a possibility.
 
Xeon, lots of settlement in neolithic to mediaeval times were set up at high points, precisely because they were much easier to defend. You have than in evidence from everything from bronze age hill forts, to mediveal towns built on hills, such as Stirling. :)

Also, you wouldn't generally have animals grazing on the high points - they're on the plains below - it's just the people who want to keep high and safe. :)

Also, you might want to reconsider "mountain" there are plenty of steep hills that would be able to host settlements, with dangerous cliffs close by. I live practically under one myself. :)
 
I'm not sure how far you want your character to fall but a possibility would be a deep well? Then it doesn't matter where the village is.
 
Actually, goats do quite well grazing up in the mountains, and there is generally enough game to help support small, isolated communities. Land that lends itself more readily to farming, lowland forests that are rich in game, would tend to be controlled by the most powerful families or individuals, so when you add what Brian said about being more defensible, there would be nothing surprising about a small independent community living in a mountain village. (Which is not to say that sooner or later someone wouldn't attack them, but for long stretches of time no one would consider it worth the trouble.)
 
Xeon said:
Hi all,

I'm currently stuck and need some help. :)
Basically, in my story(fantasy), I want my character(a side character) to live in a village and one night, some troops came and masssacred the village.
I want it to be such that the soldiers will kill him and his body will fall down from a high point.
Either this is a cliche writing subject, or we both had a very similar idea. :eek:

Anyway, the plateau idea would probably be the easiest, although you'd have to come up with a reason as to why your character would allow himself/herself to be chased towards what he/she knows is a dead-end dropoff.
 
I may sound like a spoilsport here, but generally it's better to figure out your setting and the situation of your characters, and THEN come up with the events of your story according to the opportunities you've already created.

So, if the mountain village works well for the general outline of your story and makes a plausible setting within the world you've chosen to write about -- as well as stimulating further ideas for interesting situations -- then go for it ... but moving a whole village of people into the mountains just so that one of them can plunge from a height is going at things backwards.
 
Hmmm. I may have read the original post in a bit of haste. I had thought that you were actually thinking of using such a setting, but had doubts about it; and yet you didn't want to give up this image for some reason, and were simply wondering how well such a setting would really work. But if, as Teresa indicates, you're going for writing a story and have just this image in your head, it's best to let the story dictate, not the image. It can be a great spur, but it shouldn't chain you down.
 
How about a fishing village which supplements its diet with birds eggs gathered from the cliffs along the shore? There could even be a sacred site that looks over the sea from the cliff tops. Then if there's some kind of magic involved in his death, the sacred site would be a good hook point.
 
Thanks a lot, all! These are really some awesome ideas! :D
The one about the sacred site is really creative, among others.

From Teresa:
I may sound like a spoilsport here, but generally it's better to figure out your setting and the situation of your characters, and THEN come up with the events of your story according to the opportunities you've already created.
Actually, no. I've already figured out the setting and plot of the story, just that I've to make my story believable and not lame. ;)
I've chosen to base the story in a kingdom instead and let the character die outside the kingdom after war came. It's better that way.

Thanks all! I just gotta say that I really love the people here; you've all been much more supportive than I thought. It's unreal. ;)
Xeon.
 
Geneva is on a lake, cut out by glacial action. One side of the lake is a range of fairly old, smooth mountains, the Jura (made out of Jurassic limestone; what a coincidence) The other side, the Salève, is a slip plain escarpment, with a near vertical face towards the lake. They go hang gliding from the top of it, frequently crossing national borders. Back from the edge, it slopes down fairly gently, and herds and even cultivated fields stop maybe ten metres from the edge.
There's a good 2,000 ft drop at places, at others the edge has crumbled giving a softer slope at the bottom. Hotels, restaurants and the télécabine are placed as close to the edge as they dare, private houses and farms somewhat further back. Though there are some paths traced up the face, there are other places, where rock climbing schools give lessons, where the top actually overhangs, and just occasionally a block of rock the size of a double decker bus will break free and seriously disrupt trafic on the road along the foot.
This region has been used for summer grazing for at least three thousand years, despite the lack of water sources at the top.
I can't find anything that shows how steep it gets, but believe me, bits of it do.
 

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What about a seaside community? Plenty of grazing for animals, plenty of arable land for growing, probably a freshwater sea outlet at some point and any number of very steep, very tall cliffs lining the beaches.

the North Yorkshire Coast is full of such.
 
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