I decided to look up some inspirational pictures on the good old internet for my Hellfrost campaign. I was also digging around for a bit more of the potential underpinnings of the setting. Stories pop into my head fairly easily, but its the texturing of details into the story that (hopefully) moves things from my "throw pop culture fantasy stuff into a blender" approach to making the setting work a bit better for the players.
Trust me when I say, however, that I harbor no illusions of being anything more than an enthusiastic hack with some dice and some really fun players.
At any rate, upon looking up what the southern Hearthland countries would be like, especially New Asper in Aspiria, it came up that, since it was built quickly and deliberately after the last in a series of really bad events in the setting, New Asper was compared by one of the people discussing this with me to the Bastides of France, which were towns built in previously wilderness areas, designed and implemented largely by a single driving force, rather than being towns that sprung up piece by piece over time and designed by multiple settlers.
Currently, in France, many examples of medieval structures that have survived to the present day have been buildings in settlements that started out as Bastides. So I looked up some of these for inspiration on how New Asper would look.
I'm fairly certain the metal signs are much more modern than the buildings, but I kind of like those as a kind of anachronistic indicator that "could" have existed in a more fantasy style setting.
If it weren't for that darn modern street in front of it, that's a darn fine example of what watch towers might look like in the type of city I'm trying to present.
I like the above as the type of wall that you would see constructed from the native stone of the area, fairly quickly, without too much time to work the stone. Plus, it gives the dwarves something to complain about, what with the stone not being symmetrical and visually pleasing.
A good old fashioned town square along with a well. Makes a GM wonder what could fall into or crawl out of a well like that, doesn't it?
Hooray for fortresses built to conform to the natural contours of the wilderness. That adds lots of character for the appearance of ye olde fortress.
I just liked the above picture for picturing people walking and discussing important matters that must be done in the more idyllic confines of the town, before venturing out into the savage wilderness.
Now, the other thing I was looking for was some inspirational pictures of the cultures that the Finnar are based on. I could have done some digging for Engro, Saxa, and Inari, as well, but I think people already have images in their heads over Roman, Norman, German, Norse, and Romani culture. On the other hand, I'm not sure that Sami nomadic people (also referred to as Lapplanders, but I didn't realize that some Sami people consider that an insulting term used by other Europeans) conjure a specific image.
I knew from reading some material on Vikings and Germanic tribes that they often considered the nomadic Sami people to be dabblers in the supernatural, ascribing things that RPGs usually assign to witches, druids, or rangers to these folks. Other than that, the culture seems to have a lot traits that are similar to, yet distinct from, Nordic, Germanic, and even north american Inuit cultures.
On to the pictures:
I thought this was a good picture to get an idea of the nomadic aspect of the culture.
Lots of red accents as well.
The above are some accent pieces from clothing.
The above is a Sami actress in some period accurate dress, which seemed fairly worthwhile to throw onto the pile.
The final picture, above, came up when looking up information on the Sami, and I thought it was a nice piece to show the encroaching winter of the Low Winterlands in the Hellfrost setting, which a lot of the Finnar people would be traveling across in their nomadic wanderings.
Also, just as I was concluding this post, the following came through on Thwipster:
Thwipster Deal of the Day: Northlanders--Sven the Returned
So, now I had to pick that up as well, especially since I've been diversifying my comics reading.