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The Stad

A New Post at Gammeltårn

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They had set the table at the eastern side of the vast rotunda, near enough to an opening that they got plenty of light, but not so near that the wind would blow all their charts and maps away.  Here they spent many hours each day, deliberating on designs and consulting the records they had dug out of what seemed to be a library, several floors below them.  This tower was the largest in the complex, ancient beyond all reckoning, and yet largely unspoiled by the long northern winters and the harsh salt winds that blew off of the Bay of Storms, and so it had been selected as the center of their operations as they went about exploring the rest of the ruins and establishing facilities to house, feed, and outfit the new garrison.

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Makny and his cousin Kjell looked over the many parchments again as Kjell reported on the latest surveys.

"We have taken full account of the lower districts along the water, but only a portion of the central ruins have been fully charted.  Of the openings in the cliffs in the upper district, we have found many, but I will not yet say that all have been discovered, nor have we had men enough to spare to determine how these caves and tunnels connect." 

"Thank you cousin," Makny replied, "It seems that we will need to request further resources from your father.  How has work progressed to clear the pass?"  The entrance to the bay was a narrow track that wound through the rocky hills of the Burial Isle in the south.  In many places it had been obstructed by landslides or washed away by long-gone rivers, so that it was difficult to follow on foot, and nearly impassable to a wagon and a team of oxen.  Supplying the settlement had been difficult in the summer months, and with winter approaching it would be nearly impossible.

"Work along the trail is slow," Kjell admitted tiredly, "It seems that the only travelers it has seen these past years have been game."

Makny rubbed his eyes and bent closer to the maps, as if on their thousandth viewing they would reveal some new path into the cove that had yet gone unnoticed.

Suddenly they heard footsteps and heated words from below, and Makny turned as several men reached the top of the stairs across the room.  At the front came a rough looking man with an air of importance, followed closely by several of his guards, and trailed by one of Makny's hapless lieutenants.

"Sir, I've told you, the commander is busy!" the lieutenant puffed. He had obviously been trying to stop the men for several floors now, to no avail.

"And I've told you, your head of the household guard can make time for a Rigr who is here on the Jarl's business," the man snapped back.  Makny waved the lieutenant off as the visitors swept onward, and mustered up the most hospitable tone he had at his disposal.

"My lord Hammel, welcome.  It is good of you to come visit us in our new quarters."

"Enough of your jests," the man cut in sharply, "We are both busy men."

Makny's face hardened. "Indeed we are. I see your guards have come with you to these chambers; am I to bear this as an insult or to take it as a threat?"

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Hammel advanced toward the table, though his men kept their distance.  "You are to see my men as the warning that they are.  Word moves quickly in the north. Whispers abound that the Stromvakt seek for themselves a mighty stronghold, a seat from which to carve out their own lands."

Makny nearly snorted. "Surely a man of your position and esteem would not believe such idle gossip.  We are here at the order of my uncle, the Lord of Førstlys.  After the city nearly fell to Raavage's forces, he saw the need for a place that might keep his people safe in a time of even greater peril."

"I would expect you to have a good story to justify your presence," Hammel retorted, "But your words do not hold weight.  The guild is wary of your work here."

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"You speak of the guild as though we are not a part of it.  Have you forgotten already who broke the siege of Duergvenn and rescued you and your garrison?  And which colors do you see behind you on that standard?  This is my uncle's land.  He may do with it as he sees fit, as is his right, as is the right of any lord in this guild, in order to keep it secure against those who would do him or his people harm."

"Do not speak to me of Duergvenn as if it solidifies reputation," Hammel sneered, "No victory serves only one cause.  Your loyalty has yet to be truly proven."

"Is that why you are here, then? To test our loyalty by telling us to leave?"

"No, young lordlings," he said derisively, "I am here to present you with a summons.  Your loyalty will be tested far from here, along the banks of the Antler and the shores of the Winter Lakes.  The remnants of the enemy have crept from the shadows and gathered in the heartland, and now they threaten the Capitol itself.  In the aftermath of these wars Chorian cannot gather enough men from his lands alone, so each true guildsman is called to go and eradicate this menace once and for all.  If you indeed fight for all of Mitgardia, you are to sail for Northridge in a fortnight."  Hammel ended with a smug smile. 

"If that is the case, I look forward to riding with you once again."

"Indeed," Hammel scoffed before he whirled and swept out of the room.

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Makny waited until the Rigr was gone, then turned back to his cousin.  "That was a strange visit."

"Yes," Kjell nodded slowly, "I would have expected my father to send word of these happenings himself.  The guild might have sent out the call to arms, but we may only go at his command.  Of course, that is if the Rigr even speaks the truth..."

Makny came around the table and the two walked towards the edge of the high battlement.

"I am loath to send you away while your help is so sorely needed here, but I feel that we need to know your father's will on this matter."

Kjell nodded silently. Makny felt a strange anticipation rising within him, while out over the bay the first high clouds of the afternoon drove landward.

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Spoiler

A couple of overhead shots of the scene:

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I didn't have the time to finish this before the Challenge 1 deadline, so I guess it's going to be a freebuild.  My first attempt at an all-Lego scene, I still need to work on my lighting.  C&C welcome on everything! 

Edited by The Stad

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Excellent MOC! I particularly like the beams of stone and the windowed bridge section, but unfortunately those parts are kind of lost in most of the pictures.  Still it's a great attempt at an all LEGO scene, I find it odd that you gave a nice border effect around the stairs too if that was the plan they look awesome in the overall picture, love the details in the floor! Dark blue was a really nice touch, and good work doing an illustrated story.  

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This is a fantastic MOC! :wub:

Major respect to you for the 100% LEGO scenes, the one where Hammel is walking away with Knell and Makny looking on shows the real depth of the scene. Great work!

The story itself is incredible, really well written and the characters really came to life in just a few lines.

As @W Navarre said you could have saved yourself some pain by not making the bits not shown so ornate, but that's more friendly advice than criticism.

Lovely stuff! :thumbup:

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Very nice overall shape to it. It looks like a very cool hall and stonework. I also really like the story! It’s good to see that other guilds have a bit of internal strife now and again too! I really like the flooring and the carpet patterns.  It’s nice to see the overall structure even if the photos don’t show much of it.

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awesome! I love the overall settings - I really like the idea of the tower being built. Nice touches with the floors and the 'interiors'. I also found the story quite intriguing - I want more! :moar:

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This is pretty epic! I like how you used different greys (old light grey and new light bley, for example) mixed together, as it gives a subtle bit of aging to the appearance. The all-LEGO shots are great, too, especially the one with the forced perspective.

I will say, however, that a lower camera angle will help the scenes become more immersive. For example, in the first picture, the viewer is peering down at the top of the flagpole, rather than looking up at the figs at the top of the stairs, where a person in the scene would be expected to be standing. In immersive, all-LEGO scenes, camera angle becomes even more critical to really sell the moment than in regular LEGO building. I would try to compose the build with the final shots you want to get in mind, so that you don't have to make odd choices at photography time because you made the foreground too narrow and thus you need a high-angled shot to crop out the exposed table surface beneath it. It is frustrating how wide the front of a build often has to be in order to not have bits of unwanted material showing through; the front portion with the steps would need to be probably at least three times as wide to get a really sweet, minifig-perspective shot of the build. Shooting from lower allows details like the excellent windows to come into the shots, too, resulting in less of the build effort going for naught. 

That being said, the build is awesome. I love the inlaid mosaics everywhere, the great use of different depths to create visual interest among all of the grey, the very cool and massive columns and angled beams, the wands used for chair backs, the scaffolding denoting the work in progress, and the great posing of the figs. Keep up the good work, and I hope my advice makes sense for the photography. All-LEGO shots is my current preoccupation in building, so it comes from a place of love, not judgement! I hope to see you doing more of it, and soon!

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Good job!  I like the closeups that help compel the reader into the story, with the overall shot at the end.  It keeps distraction down I think.  Well done to make all the shots out of this.  I like the carpeting, and particularly the mini posing.  That fur ruff (Penguin if I'm not mistaken?) really looks good and gives a sense of the cold.  The scaffolding and forced perspective in the back is great as well.  I'm enjoying reading the story.  I hear you on the rebuilding too.  I'm still trying to put finishing touches on the full build that I wanted to include on the challenge but didn't get in time.  Glad to be able to see yours and glad you stuck with it, though!

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On 11/28/2018 at 4:54 AM, W Navarre said:

Excellent MOC! I particularly like the beams of stone and the windowed bridge section, but unfortunately those parts are kind of lost in most of the pictures.  Still it's a great attempt at an all LEGO scene, I find it odd that you gave a nice border effect around the stairs too if that was the plan they look awesome in the overall picture, love the details in the floor! Dark blue was a really nice touch, and good work doing an illustrated story.  

Thanks! I had a better perspective shot that showed more details:

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But I didn't like the wedge being showed off.  This started out as part of a large octagon, but I couldn't get the wedge to come together with other wedges in a good way.  I definitely should have gone back and straightened out the sides of the stairs to get better pics. Live and learn, eh?

On 11/29/2018 at 1:34 AM, Basiliscus said:

This is a fantastic MOC! :wub:

Major respect to you for the 100% LEGO scenes, the one where Hammel is walking away with Knell and Makny looking on shows the real depth of the scene. Great work!

The story itself is incredible, really well written and the characters really came to life in just a few lines.

As @W Navarre said you could have saved yourself some pain by not making the bits not shown so ornate, but that's more friendly advice than criticism.

Lovely stuff! :thumbup:

Thanks!  I've found in the past that the photos I imagine myself taking and the ones I actually end up taking are always different enough that it pays off to put the effort into areas that might end up on the cutting room floor.  

On 11/29/2018 at 1:51 AM, Muakhah said:

Very nice overall shape to it. It looks like a very cool hall and stonework. I also really like the story! It’s good to see that other guilds have a bit of internal strife now and again too! I really like the flooring and the carpet patterns.  It’s nice to see the overall structure even if the photos don’t show much of it.

Thank you, I feel like a story benefits from multiple layers of conflict and uncertainty.

On 11/30/2018 at 2:30 AM, en_zoo said:

awesome! I love the overall settings - I really like the idea of the tower being built. Nice touches with the floors and the 'interiors'. I also found the story quite intriguing - I want more! :moar:

Thank you!

On 11/30/2018 at 10:40 AM, Henjin_Quilones said:

This is pretty epic! I like how you used different greys (old light grey and new light bley, for example) mixed together, as it gives a subtle bit of aging to the appearance. The all-LEGO shots are great, too, especially the one with the forced perspective.

I will say, however, that a lower camera angle will help the scenes become more immersive. For example, in the first picture, the viewer is peering down at the top of the flagpole, rather than looking up at the figs at the top of the stairs, where a person in the scene would be expected to be standing. In immersive, all-LEGO scenes, camera angle becomes even more critical to really sell the moment than in regular LEGO building. I would try to compose the build with the final shots you want to get in mind, so that you don't have to make odd choices at photography time because you made the foreground too narrow and thus you need a high-angled shot to crop out the exposed table surface beneath it. It is frustrating how wide the front of a build often has to be in order to not have bits of unwanted material showing through; the front portion with the steps would need to be probably at least three times as wide to get a really sweet, minifig-perspective shot of the build. Shooting from lower allows details like the excellent windows to come into the shots, too, resulting in less of the build effort going for naught. 

That being said, the build is awesome. I love the inlaid mosaics everywhere, the great use of different depths to create visual interest among all of the grey, the very cool and massive columns and angled beams, the wands used for chair backs, the scaffolding denoting the work in progress, and the great posing of the figs. Keep up the good work, and I hope my advice makes sense for the photography. All-LEGO shots is my current preoccupation in building, so it comes from a place of love, not judgement! I hope to see you doing more of it, and soon!

Thanks, the mix of greys is partially out of necessity, but it does work to my advantage most of the time.

As I showed above, I did have a lower angle shot, but aside from being too lazy to rebuild the stairs (three times as wide sounds about right), I was also limited with how low I could go with the camera by how many light blue bricks I had for the background sky.  But I appreciate the critique, I really respect the amount of work and thought you've been putting into your own scenes.

On 12/1/2018 at 5:29 PM, Grover said:

Good job!  I like the closeups that help compel the reader into the story, with the overall shot at the end.  It keeps distraction down I think.  Well done to make all the shots out of this.  I like the carpeting, and particularly the mini posing.  That fur ruff (Penguin if I'm not mistaken?) really looks good and gives a sense of the cold.  The scaffolding and forced perspective in the back is great as well.  I'm enjoying reading the story.  I hear you on the rebuilding too.  I'm still trying to put finishing touches on the full build that I wanted to include on the challenge but didn't get in time.  Glad to be able to see yours and glad you stuck with it, though!

Thank you! Yes, the ruff is from the Penguin, and it is of limited utility (which I didn't find out until after bricklinking five of them), but has just enough extra room in it to allow for a new cloth cape and fits with the Ultron helmets for a cool combination.  And I'm glad you're enjoying the story!

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In the shot above, I would just crop off the bottom part; yes, that will leave you with chopped off guards, but that is fine. It sometimes helps a scene to have bits chopped off that you might otherwise want to see. 

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Great all-Lego build. My only criticism is that the urban map tile really sticks out like a sore thumb. Might be just me but I wouldn't use that in fantasy builds. Looks too much like what it's supposed to be: satellite photography.

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This turned out so well! The SNOT patterns built into the walls and floor are stunning, and the super solid stone look is perfect for Mitgardia :wub:
Lovely forced perspective work in the background :thumbup:

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