Saturday, 11 June 2016

ane myle lange, full of wood, guid for fostering of thieves and rebellis

Donald Munro's Description of the Western Isles of Scotland is exactly that, a list of the 209 individual islands of Western Scotland, written in 1549 just as the idea of an independent kingdom of the isles - once a very real and fascinating and D&Dable society that will have to wait for another post - was slipping from living memory, and then largely forgotten for 300 years.

Obviously there is only one thing to be done with such a list, viz. (and using the Last Gasp Grimoire's amazing tool) make it into a random generator:

Hit this for a random Scottish island in delectably difficult early Modern Scots 

This is not a perfect generator - the list is odd in some places and I couldn't be arsed to reformat it - and it often throws up islands with a thin, one-line description. It also doesn't have any (explicitly) fantastical elements. But if you want a random archipelago full of places like the one quoted in this post's title (in this case a place called Gruynorde which has its own fascinating subsequent story), Munro's list will give you lots of nitty gritty detail about sheep and herring and the lives of people clinging to a carpet of granite and moss at the edge of the known world, in the shadow of the circles their ancestors raised to gods crueller even than the sea.

PS the full text is here.