Friday, 18 May 2018

Temple and Church Generator

A series of tables designed to produce buildings that are places of worship, with a number of features - architectural, social and so forth. This is not a 'place of worship generator'; stone circles or sacred groves are out. This also rather places itself in an urban context; a town large enough to have multiple temples. A list of real world inspirations will come at the end.

This all acts as a compliment to my Religious Processions post - though it is less Roman; more London-like. Nonetheless, the two should be able to overlap. Even if you find yourself sacrificing a White Ox in the Methodist Central Hall.

Why write this? Aside from an interest in ecclesiastical architecture, it seems to me that architectural detail sometimes takes a back seat in description. This is not super detailed and doesn't require that you tell your Perpendicular from your Decorated. Nonetheless, buildings should have an impact on players, especially those built to impress (or those that cannot help but do so). Many fantasy worlds bring religion to the fore; this is doubly true if Clerics or Prophets (or Mendicants, or Dervishes, or Disciples or Pietists or what have you) are among the player characters. Further: temples, churches - the seats of so many great occasions, a focus of communal life - these should not be all cast from the same mould. Even if they are of the same faith, from the same region or as an article of faith must be built to a specific plan. Let there be variety!

Likewise, there was an intent to remove them from a 'Lean Times in Lankhmar' style religious quarter and put them in districts; within a wider context. Yes, there are Forums, Acropoli, Kremlins, Cathedral complexes and the like, but I hoped to imitate parishes and wards: teeming urban life. Prayer and holiness being no small aspect of life.

Moreover, the more details you have of a place, the better use that the GM or players can make of it. There is, naturally, a time for detail and a time for broad sketches, but one should be able to 'zoom in' on specific scenes - and will require a form of description by which to do so. Go out; practice your descriptive writing on a building sometime: could you describe well enough to hold the man features of it in someone's mind? I have linked to this interview before, but there is very real benefit in being able to describe something, even in an age when you can just find a picture of it on your magic internet brick.

I suggest there is even an appetite for this. I have no great knowledge of the Assassins's Creed series of video games, but folk certainly seemed to appreciate the possibility to get up close to and exploit Florentine churches. A different medium, doubtless, but not without impact on another. If you want another example, look to Victor Hugo and The Hunchback of Notre Dame  - a book very focussed on buildings. Or indeed, Ackroyd's Hawksmoor. The mysteries of P.D. James also tended to be fairly stuffed with architecture.

Some of the below ideas will have a social impact; others a physical one. A fountain in the square by the Church will be of interest to the hydromancer; the more church officers there are the more people there are to convince to give you the key to the Holy Water Cellar; a copper roof will have an impact for the lightning wizard whereas a lead roof may offer some protection from the magical radiation of a baleful comet.


d10 Building Material
1
Red brick
2
Yellow brick
3
Limestone
4
Flint
5
Marble
6
Stone - dressed
7
Stone - rough
8
Stone - heavily banded
9
Decorative tiles
10
Covered in stucco
                                         

d6 Window style
1
High and Classically proportioned
2
A riot of stained images
3
Narrow, swirling patterns
4
High set, decorative tracery
5
Low set, small windows
6
Narrow, set back arrow slits


 At least3d20 Features and scheme

Notable Exterior Feature Notable Interior Feature Overall scheme
1
Clock accompanied by statues Tall iconostasis Gothic ‘Dome’
2
Clock, with clockwork figures Intricate rood screen Baroque, decorated dome
3
Circular colonnade around spire White and gilt pillars and ceiling Four towers, one at each corner
4
Numerous gargoyles Whispering gallery Very tall spire with many sides and windows
5
Flying buttresses Numerous memorial plaques on the walls Flat-topped tower
6
Ornamental balcony Faded flags hang from the celing Numerous turret-topped ribs across the roof
7
External pulpit Ornate fan vaulting Thick twin towers at the front
8
Flat front with rising curiliques Hammer-beam ceiling Ridged, pyramidal spire capped with a statue
9
Protruding turret Intricate, well kept, wall paintings Circular, focussing on a central platform
10
Onion dome Wide second tier  Broad triangular pediment and columns
11
A Sacred stone is set into a wall niche Transi tombs Tall, square tower with a cupola
12
Rounded, barrel-vaulted roof Simple wooden panelling Only the tower of this church remains
13
Squat, round tower  Ornate wooden panelling Long and low roofed, with many arches
14
Ornamental porch with caryatids Plaques with scripture Wide, with a large entrance underneath a great arch
15
Square tower, diamond shaped upper level and three small turrets Crypt in imitation of pilgrimage destination Wider than it is long
16
Long, curved scrollwork on the front Box pews A high, narrow arch supports a tapering spire
17
Copper/Lead roof Stove among pews Square, underneath a wide dome
18
Gilt statues in stone niches Elaborate altar canopy No tower. High, thick, buttresses
19
A series of urns decorate the roof line Gilt and mosaic decoration Perfectly round, with a low dome.
20
A balcony occupies the front Elaborate lamps and symbols hanging from ceiling Unassuming, unornamented, at a similar height to buildings around it.


At least 2d20 for infrastructure.

Place in Urban Infrastructure Place in Religious infrastructure
1
Island church, right in the middle of the road A Peculiar, outside the usual hierarchy
2
Burial place for a noble lineage Devoted to fallen soldiers
3
Centre of worship for a specific Guild The Seat of a Bishop/High Priest
4
Centre of worship for a society of lawyers Shares space with another denomination
5
Attached to an infamous prison Devoted to a foreign population in the city
6
Attached to a law court. Those condemned to death have their last service here Attached/formerly attached to a Monastry/Convent/Nunnery/Abbey (&c.)
7
Outside the city walls A synod or prominent committee meet here
8
Terraced among houses and shops An Ecclesiastical court meets here
9
Attached to a barracks. Attached to a school
10
In a rough area Former temple of the unbeliever
11
In a prosperous area Contains a holy relic
12
By the waterfront Former/Current parish of a radical or controversial clergyman
13
On a viaduct Respected for the quality of it’s music and liturgy
14
The temple is close by a neighbourhood of non-believers Former/current residence of a militant order
15
Coins are held in safety here before being inspected to ascertain their quality Church-run hospital
16
Large Churchyard Devoted to an obscure divine figure
17
Meeting place for intellectuals An especially devout congregation.
18
Leper chapel (or set aside for other quarantined persons) A rather less than devout congregation
19
Close to a Market  Well-staffed with priests and lay assistants (possibly including anchorites)
20
Close to a fountain, conduit or other water supply Definitely not well staffed with priest and lay assistants

Inspirations include: The Temple Church, Inn of Court; St Dunstans-in-the-West, London; New St Pancras, Greater London; St Clement Danes, London; St Mary Le Strand, London; All Saints Margaret Street, London; St Mary Woolnoft, London; St Georges Bloomsbury; Westminster Abbey; Westminster Cathedral; St Magnus Martyr [inexplicable splendour of white and gold]; St John's Smith Square; St James Garlickhyhte, London; St Olave Old Jewry; St Sepulchre without Newgate ['The bells of Old Bailey']; St Brides, Fleet Street; St Peter ad Vincula, Tower of London; St George's Garrison Church, Woolwich; Methodist Central Hall, London; Quaker Friend's House, Euston Street, London; St Alphage, Greenwich; St Chad's, Shewsbury; King's College Chapel, Cambridge; Jesus College Chapel, Cambridge; St Edward's, Cambridge; The Round Church, Cambridge; Ely Cathedral; Cordoba Cathedral; St Mary's, Whitby; St Peter and St Paul's, Pickering; The Pantheon, Rome; The Jerusalemkerk, Bruges; St Anne's, Bruges; St Walburga's, Bruges. 

Go forth and investigate for yourself!


Questions for readers: Do these produce unique, interesting buildings?

Are any categories confusing?

Does this rely too heavily on the listed examples?

Is anything missing? Is anything superfluous?

No comments:

Post a Comment