Pre-Application: Lonmouth (and the state of the Kingswood)

For those wondering what a 'pre-application' is: before I actually put together an app for Lonmouth of the Stormlands, I wanted to discuss a potential location for it, as well as get some info on the current state of the Kingswood, as I can't find much of anything on the forums.

My proposed location for House Lonmouth, which doesn't yet have a warp, is as follows:
proposed area.png

My reasoning for this is as follows:
1. (primarily this one) It's one of the most empty parts of the Stormlands, so it makes sense to put a project there
2. (a bit of a stretch)A couple of members of House Lonmouth were canonically close friends to Velaryons and Targaryens, so having Lonmouth be closer to the Crownlands would make sense
3. (even more of a stretch) My proposed location for the castle is at the 'mouth' of the lake, which is quite long.

I would suggest that the Wendwater act as part of the border between the Crownlands and the Stormlands. One of the aspects of the build I was considering is a fortified bridge across the river, which would make sense if the Wendwater was the border, acting as a way of defending the Stormlands from the north.

This would put it in the Kingswood, as Felwood is canonically at the southern end of the Kingswood. According to canon, the Kingswood does have villages of smallfolk living in it, it doesn't mention the presence of any noble houses, but neither does it mention that there aren't any.

I can't tell what the current state of the Kingswood is on the server, there are no forum threads (that I can find) for it as a large scale terra project, but it does look as though some terraforming is in progress further downriver from my proposed location; can anyone tell me who is in charge of all this? I don't know if there is already an established forest style/schemset combination for the Kingswood, if there is, I would of course follow it for the forested parts of the project, and if it hasn't been established yet, I could either start it, or leave the forest until a style has been established.
 
Hey mdm, thanks for starting this thread. The Kingswood is a bit of a mystery to most beyond being the location of Roberts many hunting parties, but here are some other descriptive pieces of canon:

"there were so many hiding places in the deep of the kingswood that outlaws often evaded capture for decades"
(ASoS, Tyrion 9).

"the writ of House Baratheon runs to the south bank of the Wendwater and lower reaches of the kingswood"
(World of Ice and Fire, The Stormlands)

"The children made their homes in the vast primeval forest that once stretched from Cape Wrath to Cape Kraken, north of the Iron Islands (today all that remains of this great wood are the kingswood and the rainwood)"
(World of Ice and Fire, The Stormlands)

There are also numerous references to the Kingswood Brotherhood, renowned for their archery, and various other bands of outlaws.

To summarize, the Kingswood is an ancient woodland, closely associated with Royal hunting parties but also outlaws.
Sound familiar?
That's because it's basically GRRM's version of Sherwood Forest, home of Robin Hood.

Royal forests in England are sometimes called Kingswoods so drawing comparisons between our Kingswood and Royal Forests are kind of a given.
When an area was "afforested" anyone living in the area could be granted hunting and felling rights by royal decree, a process which GRRM references in FFC, Jaime 4:

"...when we rode against the Kingswood Brotherhood. He paid the smallfolk for the food we ate, brought their grievances to King Aerys, expanded the grazing lands around their villages, even won them the right to fell a certain number of trees each year and take a few of the king's deer during the autumn. The forest folk had looked to Toyne to defend them, but Ser Arthur did more for them than the Brotherhood could ever hope to do, and won them to our side."

Common people were allowed, in Westeros and in England, to live among the royal forests, but the land ultimately belonged to and was controlled by the monarch. Development was heavily restricted in order to preserve the vert (trees) and venison (game) . For this reason I don't think a noble house could be located inside the borders of the Kingswood.

This makes your proposal for the placement of Lonmouth, and consequently the current placement of Manning, a little problematic.

Annoyingly, official maps are very unclear as to where the Kingswood begins and ends.
The problem is compounded by the lack of clarity on the regional border. Canon says the border follows the Wendwater, but that would cut off Massey's Hook from the Crownlands, so that can't be right. Most maps kind of follow the southern part of the Wendwater, but it seems fairly ambiguous.

Though, in all maps, major locations are placed on the borders of the Kingswood, with none in the middle. Our server currently (as it was WorldPainted) seems to be defining the edge of the Kingswood where deciduous trees end and coniferous trees begin. Both Felwood and Harvest Hall are pretty much on this border so their positions make sense.

In the Border Creation thread I recently posted this image of my proposed borders of the Kingswood:

1600194205150.png

This area (below image) of deciduous trees is a little awkward, as it extends the line of deciduous trees quite far south, though it is less dense. I would recommend possibly thinning out the trees in this area, probably as a result of agriculture.

1600194227096.png

Consequently, this is the area where I would suggest you place Lonmouth. There are no projects in this area at all between the sandy area to the south (the in-progress Musgood project by Hgkoolaid ), the border of the Reach (Fawnton) to the west, the Kingswood to the north, and the lands of Felwood to the east.

As for the Kingswood, I would expect a project application for it to have a map showing a vast and dense ancient woodland, dotted with a few small settlements, several outlaw hideouts, and an area of managed woodland with one or two hunting lodges near KL.

Interested to hear your thoughts.
 
Hey mdm, thanks for starting this thread. The Kingswood is a bit of a mystery to most beyond being the location of Roberts many hunting parties, but here are some other descriptive pieces of canon:

"there were so many hiding places in the deep of the kingswood that outlaws often evaded capture for decades"
(ASoS, Tyrion 9).

"the writ of House Baratheon runs to the south bank of the Wendwater and lower reaches of the kingswood"
(World of Ice and Fire, The Stormlands)

"The children made their homes in the vast primeval forest that once stretched from Cape Wrath to Cape Kraken, north of the Iron Islands (today all that remains of this great wood are the kingswood and the rainwood)"
(World of Ice and Fire, The Stormlands)

There are also numerous references to the Kingswood Brotherhood, renowned for their archery, and various other bands of outlaws.

To summarize, the Kingswood is an ancient woodland, closely associated with Royal hunting parties but also outlaws.
Sound familiar?
That's because it's basically GRRM's version of Sherwood Forest, home of Robin Hood.

Royal forests in England are sometimes called Kingswoods so drawing comparisons between our Kingswood and Royal Forests are kind of a given.
When an area was "afforested" anyone living in the area could be granted hunting and felling rights by royal decree, a process which GRRM references in FFC, Jaime 4:

"...when we rode against the Kingswood Brotherhood. He paid the smallfolk for the food we ate, brought their grievances to King Aerys, expanded the grazing lands around their villages, even won them the right to fell a certain number of trees each year and take a few of the king's deer during the autumn. The forest folk had looked to Toyne to defend them, but Ser Arthur did more for them than the Brotherhood could ever hope to do, and won them to our side."

Common people were allowed, in Westeros and in England, to live among the royal forests, but the land ultimately belonged to and was controlled by the monarch. Development was heavily restricted in order to preserve the vert (trees) and venison (game) . For this reason I don't think a noble house could be located inside the borders of the Kingswood.

This makes your proposal for the placement of Lonmouth, and consequently the current placement of Manning, a little problematic.

Annoyingly, official maps are very unclear as to where the Kingswood begins and ends.
The problem is compounded by the lack of clarity on the regional border. Canon says the border follows the Wendwater, but that would cut off Massey's Hook from the Crownlands, so that can't be right. Most maps kind of follow the southern part of the Wendwater, but it seems fairly ambiguous.

Though, in all maps, major locations are placed on the borders of the Kingswood, with none in the middle. Our server currently (as it was WorldPainted) seems to be defining the edge of the Kingswood where deciduous trees end and coniferous trees begin. Both Felwood and Harvest Hall are pretty much on this border so their positions make sense.

In the Border Creation thread I recently posted this image of my proposed borders of the Kingswood:

View attachment 4874

This area (below image) of deciduous trees is a little awkward, as it extends the line of deciduous trees quite far south, though it is less dense. I would recommend possibly thinning out the trees in this area, probably as a result of agriculture.

View attachment 4875

Consequently, this is the area where I would suggest you place Lonmouth. There are no projects in this area at all between the sandy area to the south (the in-progress Musgood project by Hgkoolaid ), the border of the Reach (Fawnton) to the west, the Kingswood to the north, and the lands of Felwood to the east.

As for the Kingswood, I would expect a project application for it to have a map showing a vast ancient woodland, dotted with a few small settlements, several outlaw hideouts, and an area of managed woodland and one or two hunting lodges near KL.

Interested to hear your thoughts.
Thanks for all this feedback, here is what I have to say:

I hadn't really considered the idea of the Kingswood being protected royal hunting grounds, and if, as it seems likely, this is the case, I agree that it doesn't make sense to have any noble houses within the lands that are directly owned by the throne. That said, I think it could also be possible to have the protected area of the Kingswood extend only as far down as the Wendwater; it does make sense that natural borders would be used where possible. As you have mentioned, the borders of the Kingswood are fairly ambiguous, and it could be possible that the region which is reserved for hunting by the throne is not the entire forest.

One thought I had was that I would imagine that the Kingswood was only made a royal hunting forest by the Targaryens when they united the Seven Kingdoms and made KL their capital. I doubt that any of the old Storm kings would have been able to reserve such a large area of land just for hunting. If it is the case that the Kingswood was only reserved as a hunting forest by the Targs, I would say it is unlikely that there had been no development prior to the invasion, especially along the Wendwater, which I would imagine is a prime location for a noble house to have established themselves.

Another thing to consider is that Lonmouth isn't the only house in the Stormlands we don't have a location for yet. From what I can tell, Blackberry, Brownhill, Greenpools and Redpool are all projects in the Stormlands, and I am conscious of the fact that there isn't an abundance of unused space in the Stormlands to put all of them. If space in the Stormlands does prove to be an issue, it doesn't seem logical to eat into it even more with the Kingswood, which doesn't have clearly defined borders anyway.

As a final note, a lot of what I had envisioned for Lonmouth and much of my drive to do it was centred on the river. Obviously, if we decide that this location doesn't work with the canon, then we shouldn't use it, but if we do decide to put Lonmouth somewhere else, I will probably reconsider whether I would still be interested in the project. Trying to shoehorn in an idea for one place into another is typically not the best idea, and I don't know if I would want to essentially redo all the plans I have right now. Please don't look at his paragraph as me trying to use guilt to influence any decisions; I want what is best for the server as a whole, and if I were to continue to apply for a project halfheartedly because it wasn't what I had envisioned, that would not have ideal consequences.

-MDM
 
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I hadn't really considered the idea of the Kingswood being protected royal hunting grounds, and if, as it seems likely, this is the case, I agree that it doesn't make sense to have any noble houses within the lands that are directly owned by the throne. That said, I think it could also be possible to have the protected area of the Kingswood extend only as far down as the Wendwater; it does make sense that natural borders would be used where possible. As you have mentioned, the borders of the Kingswood are fairly ambiguous, and it could be possible that the region which is reserved for hunting by the throne is not the entire forest.
This is good thinking, but what then are the "lower reaches of the Kingswood" mentioned in the quote from World of Ice and Fire? Most maps show what appears to be more dense forest south of the Wendwater which I have to assume is also part of the Kingswood. Maybe it means the area around the headwaters of the river, but would that be "lower reaches"? Many questions that I think a proper Kingswood app needs to address.

One thought I had was that I would imagine that the Kingswood was only made a royal hunting forest by the Targaryens when they united the Seven Kingdoms and made KL their capital. I doubt that any of the old Storm kings would have been able to reserve such a large area of land just for hunting. If it is the case that the Kingswood was only reserved as a hunting forest by the Targs, I would say it is unlikely that there had been no development prior to the invasion, especially along the Wendwater, which I would imagine is a prime location for a noble house to have established themselves.
I disagree that it wouldn't be possible that the Kingswood used to be royal forest belonging to the Storm Kings, but would say I agree that the official afforestation is likely to date from after Aegon's Conquest. The land may have belonged to nobles then, but as in reality, the land would have been stripped from the nobles when the lands became royal forest. This thinking might allow for the creation of ancient ruins in the Kingswood, but the whole point of a Kingswood is that it belong to the King, not nobles, new or old.

Another thing to consider is that Lonmouth isn't the only house in the Stormlands we don't have a location for yet. From what I can tell, Blackberry, Brownhill, Greenpools and Redpool are all projects in the Stormlands, and I am conscious of the fact that there isn't an abundance of unused space in the Stormlands to put all of them. If space in the Stormlands does prove to be an issue, it doesn't seem logical to eat into it even more with the Kingswood, which doesn't have clearly defined borders anyway.
If the Reach and Crownlands are anything to go by, we have plenty of space to fill. There are still several extensive "dead zones" in the Stormlands. Several of the projects you mentioned aren't specifically Stormlands houses, I just put them there because I felt the region needed more houses, which can be changed if necessary.

As a final note, a lot of what I had envisioned for Lonmouth and much of my drive to do it was centred on the river. Obviously, if we decide that this location doesn't work with the canon, then we shouldn't use it, but if we do decide to put Lonmouth somewhere else, I will probably reconsider whether I would still be interested in the project. Trying to shoehorn in an idea for one place into another is typically not the best idea, and I don't know if I would want to essentially redo all the plans I have right now. Please don't look at his paragraph as me trying to use guilt to influence any decisions; I want what is best for the server as a whole, and if I were to continue to apply for a project halfheartedly because it wasn't what I had envisioned, that would not have ideal consequences.
I really appreciate your honesty, and I know these kinds of discussions have been inspiration-killers for past projects and ideas. I don't make the rules, I just try to advise on how projects fit together in a way that makes sense. If you convince a couple of mods that your plans are appropriate then by all means, build away, so long as we are all aware of the potential consequences further down the line when we come to tackle the Kingswood as a whole.
 
Again, thank you for this feedback. A couple more thoughts I've had, after reading a bit more about Royal Forests (mostly from Wikipedia tbh)
This is good thinking, but what then are the "lower reaches of the Kingswood" mentioned in the quote from World of Ice and Fire? Most maps show what appears to be more dense forest south of the Wendwater which I have to assume is also part of the Kingswood. Maybe it means the area around the headwaters of the river, but would that be "lower reaches"? Many questions that I think a proper Kingswood app needs to address.
In the context of a 'Royal forest', 'forest' does not necessarily refer to Woodland: "Royal forests usually included large areas of heath, grassland and wetland – anywhere that supported deer and other game". I would take this to mean that the afforested area does not necessarily correspond to the entire woodland. It's also possible that while the afforested area doesn't occupy the entire area of woodland, people still use the name 'Kingswood' loosely to refer to the entire woodland.

The following are very rough calculations, and I know that GRRM doesn't always pay the closest attention to scale, but nonetheless:
Using this map of English royal forests and this map of Westeros with a scale, I have estimated that the area of the Sherwood forest afforested area (one of the largest in England) is about 1,000 km^2. The area on the Westeros map between King's Landing, Blackwater Bay and the Wendwater is about 80,000km^2 (this is about the same size as Ireland (EDIT: for clarification, the entire island, not just ROI)). This already seems like a (ridiculously) massive area to be reserved for the king to hunt in; I think it would be justified to say that only part of the 'Kingswood' is actually the 'King's wood'.

I disagree that it wouldn't be possible that the Kingswood used to be royal forest belonging to the Storm Kings, but would say I agree that the official afforestation is likely to date from after Aegon's Conquest. The land may have belonged to nobles then, but as in reality, the land would have been stripped from the nobles when the lands became royal forest. This thinking might allow for the creation of ancient ruins in the Kingswood, but the whole point of a Kingswood is that it belong to the King, not nobles, new or old.
Again from wikipedia: " The areas that became Royal Forests were already relatively wild and sparsely populated, and can be related to specific geographic features that made them harder to work as farmland. Prosperous, well-farmed areas were not generally chosen to be afforested; if they were, they tended to lose the status fairly rapidly. In the Scots Highlands, a "deer forest" generally has no trees at all. " I would imagine the banks of the Wendwater are fertile and well farmed. Even if the afforested area does extend further south, it's entirely possible that there is an 'exclusion zone' along the banks of the Wendwater for farmland. On the map I linked above, you can see that the forests are not entirely continuous (see around Selwood/New Forest for example).

On the officers of the forest: " The chief royal official was the warden. As he was often an eminent and preoccupied magnate, his powers were frequently exercised by a deputy. " One thought I had was that maybe House Lonmouth could be wardens/deputy wardens of the Kingswood as a kind of tradition (similarly to Wardens of the North, Wardens of the South etc.) It would fit with how the house was known to be friendly with the Targs.

If the Reach and Crownlands are anything to go by, we have plenty of space to fill. There are still several extensive "dead zones" in the Stormlands. Several of the projects you mentioned aren't specifically Stormlands houses, I just put them there because I felt the region needed more houses, which can be changed if necessary.
I hadn't realised that these projects weren't Stormlands specific - if that is the case then this shouldn't be an issue.
 
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