Touring the End: The Hall, pt 2. Being There

While an overhead view of a room provides an excellent perspective from which to study the arrangement of furnishings, it is not how most of us relate best to the spaces we encounter.  For such purposes, it is better to look about a room from the point of view most familiar to us.  To this end, let us step into the Hall from the front door.

From within the entryway alcove we are much better able to admire the numerous objet d’art and great works of portraiture hung about the walls.  Directly ahead, we can also see into the Foyer (dark at the moment).  The East and West Corridors lie to the right and left, respectively.

HL-X The Hall-Triplett

Touring the End: the Hall

We begin our guided tour of the Redmaynes’ ancestral home with the entrance hall, referred to within the family and their retainers simply as “The Hall.” Not to be mistaken as a tip of the hat to our own penchant for brevity, the habit of using such inostentatious language was a well-established one in the old Baron’s household, despite being at odds with the sense of propriety in architectural and sartorial display. As we move through the manor, we shall observe this stark dichotomy, among others, frequently.

The Hall was the first part of the house to be restored in the sixteenth century, after fire had destroyed most of the original monastery. It is done in simple Tudor style, with oak paneling throughout and a fine plaster knotwork ceiling. Most of Sir Godfrey’s outputs of monies on the house were spent in this room, as he wanted to have a fine hallway in which to receive tenants and noblemen. Of special interest is the priest hole under the main staircase, which is extremely difficult to find if you don’t know where to look.HLa The Hall-Ovrhd-4blog -lrg

In 1553 Queen Mary I visited Grisleigh End on a royal tour of the border counties, but made it no farther than this hallway – the minute she learned that this had previously been a monastery she assumed that it was one of the church properties that her father had handed out to his cronies, and left in a huff, but not before Sir Godfrey had procured one of the new shillings Mary had had minted upon her succession to the throne.

In 1648 an unnamed Roman Catholic Priest of the local parish of St. Dismas was hidden in the priest hole for a time, until it was realized that no one was looking for him. The main staircase was extensively rebuilt in the late eighteenth century, when the long forgotten priest hole was rediscovered.

George Hanover (prince regent and later King George IV) had the priest hole outfitted as a small bolt-hole in case any creditors came looking for him, and then promptly forgot how to open it up. One of the favorite house party games of Grisleigh End guests in the early twentieth century was trying to figure out where the priest hole was and how to get into it. The mysterious disappearance of the occasional visitor over the years would invite the comment that they must have found the hole and gotten themselves shut up inside it.   This, however, is very probably extremely unlikely.  So I’m told.

Marcon is a hoot!

Gaming at Marcon is a hoot!

We get a tremendous amount of well-lit space, tables galore, literally comfortable chairs (please do not expect the Spanish Inquisition) and a Con Suite with the best ALL-INCLUDED food I’ve experienced anywhere.

Sad for the businesses of the very sizable food court, but I ate so well in the Con Suite I didn’t drop a dime on food all weekend. Eggs, bagels, and bacon at breakfast, sliced-to-order roast beef with mashed potatoes for dinner. 008Brownies and cookies and other sweet noshes all day long; veggies and dips, chips and a salsa bar, and endless soda and coffee as well. Considering that every other Con seems to charge a door fee and then sells you food separately or licenses a vendor at captive-market rates, Marcon is actually a steal for the price!

But I digress.

On to the gaming! Ran multiple sessions of Grisleigh End: Estate of Confusion, and loads of fun at every one. I’ll get back to that in a moment.

Took breaks from GMing to do some actual playing. First I paid a visit to the small town of Arkham, MA, as a character in Call of Cthulhu. It might surprise some of you, but it was my first time taking a run at this game. Had a great time, but it was really weird; no one died and less than half of the players went insane. Heck, there wasn’t even any gibbering. Nobody saw that coming!

Met Chad Willis, the bright mind behind Inventor’s Market, a fast and humorous bit of Steampunk fun. It’s up on Kickstarter right now, having hit its goal on its launch day. Very much enjoyed both the game and an excellent chat on combinatorial mathematics and their use in designing games. I look forward to getting my copy of the Market’s final release (I pledged today) and many inspiring discussions to come!

But I digress. Again.

Chad was one of several designers who played GE:Estate of Confusion over the weekend and, as much joy as I find in running the game for anyone and everyone, I am most particularly excited about getting into the structure and mechanics, the bits and bobs of what makes the game work. The hours after a session often find me seated around the board with one or two people poking the pawns around, passing cards back and forth, proposing tweaks large and small and batting about how those would play out in a real game. My love of analysis and constructing castles in the sky (or the Welsh hinterlands along the English border…) is rarely so well-stimulated as in these times of positing means to make this pretty darn great game into a completely freaking awesome one.

And I got to do that several times, with some really sharp and insightful people. I’m a happy game-maker.

Marcon is this weekend!

We will be debuting the newly-revamped board (Now with sharper contrast!  New and improved labeling!) this weekend at the Midwest’s Premiere Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention.  GE Board  Ver6 1-1 halfsize  Here’s a low-res scan of the latest.

Marcon will be our largest convention to date, both in size and scope.  We have attended for many years and run various games at times, but this will be our first time running one of our very own creation, which makes it particularly exciting.  We’re currently on the schedule for Friday evening at 8:00 and Saturday at 1:00 and 9:00, but we’ll do our best to run more sessions if time and table availability allow.

Come out for a great time gaming, geeking, and more in Columbus this weekend!