The Five towns province as a populated region is 300 years old and occupies a 4,050 square mile area with an ample population density of 60 people per square mile. The area is roughly 33% arable land and has a population of 240,000.


  • 1,333 arable/settled sq. mi. (853,120 acres)
  • 2667 wilderness sq. mi. (1,706,880 acres)
  • Total Population: 240,000
    • Isolated Population: 4,800
    • Population living in villages (475): 213,600
    • Population living in towns (5): 21,600
  • Towns: (5) distance between each 28 miles
    • Northup (pop. 7,350)
    • Easton (pop. 5,880)
    • Middlemost (pop. 3,675)
    • Ottercove (pop. 3,175)
    • South Downs (pop.1,520)
  • Villages: (475) average distance between each is 3 miles, average population of 450
    • Bettle (pop. 800)
    • Brige (pop. 750)
    • Cela (pop. 600)
    • Del (pop. 525)
    • Glorian (pop. 575)
    • Lara (pop. 725)
    • Mildre (pop. 550)
    • Shirl (pop. 650)
    • Thelmat (pop. 575)
    • Tiller Fane (pop. 500)
    • And 465 others (average pop. 450)
Five Towns Province map

Natural Features:

North Cairn Wood

This large dense forest is the primary source of lumber for the Five Towns region. The wood is home to woodcutters, foresters, huntsmen, and a wide variety of wildlife, both dangerous and mundane. Several villages of faern exist within the wood and there are said to be both fairy circles and ancient monoliths located within its depths. The forest stretches north from the Bristol Rock River for 40-miles and extends west beyond the valley and into the Bristol Foothills.

South Cairn Wood

While part of the same great forest as the North Cairn Wood, the area south of the Bristol Rock River has become a far more sinister and dangerous place since the coming of the darkness. The curse is said to have originated in the forest but has since spread far out into the surrounding lands and created a blight the likes of which have not been seen in the province for hundreds of years. The creatures of the southern Cairn are less timid and more dangerous than in any other area of the Five Towns. Travelers have been avoiding the roads and trails of the wood for a dozen years and have avoided the forest itself for twice that long.

Reed Marsh

The eastern shore of Lake Reedmace was always a swamp, but with the building of the great dam to the east fifty years back all the southern lands have become an enormous marsh. The rising water table swallowed villages, castles, and roads. Undercut small dams, drowned crops, and changed the landscape entirely. With the changes have come beasts and monsters which make the everchanging land their home and hunting grounds. Some of these have come in from the river, others have simply expanded from the lake, and still others have slunk in from the darkness that has infested the neighboring South Cairn Wood.

Inland Breakers

The stretch of rolling hills that flow from the cliffs along the Emeralt Bay west to Middlemost, north beyond Ottercove and south to the borderlands are home to many vineyards, farms, and mines. The region is well populated with thorps and villages and the town of Ottercove is located in the northern area of these hills.

Lake Reedmace

Lake Reedmace is the largest lake in the province, being 7-miles wide north to south and just over 10 miles wide at its widest point. There are several basins in the lake, reaching 25 feet, 30 feet, 45 feet, 85 feet, and the deepest being 125 feet, with all five basins having relatively steep side slopes. There are several shallow bays on the lake that are less than five-feet deep and two large islands.

Active Fortifications & Ruins:

There are six fortifications scattered about the province of Five Towns. The three active fortifications consist of two keeps and a tower. All of which are used to house the king’s troops or garrisons for the empire. The remaining three structures, a castle, a keep, and a tower, are all abandoned to the wilderness and to what use is unknown. Below you will find a closer look at each of these structures.

Fort Theel

Or as it is better known to the locals, Theel Keep. Built 100 years ago, this is an active military outpost of the Kingdom. The fortress is located just north-east of the town of Middlemost. It represents the power of the Empire and casts a protective shadow across the town below it.

Theel keep is a large stone fortress that forms the fortified center of the second largest defensive compound in the Five Towns province. The keep itself is 7-stories high and sits on 7-levels of subterranean storerooms and dungeons. In addition to the viscount, the viscount’s family, and their retainers, Theel keep has a regiment of 90 men-at-arms.

The fortress is built on top of a hill and surrounded by both a water-filled moat and stone walls. Integral towers fortify the keeps corners and are accessible from within; these provide enfilading fire and strengthen the keep’s structural integrity. The keep and towers are round to better deflect attacks by battering rams or catapult missiles. The rooftops include crenellations to protect defenders as they fire ranged weapons at attackers.

Green Lake Tower

This free-standing 6-story square, stone tower sits on the eastern shore of Green Lake, some 6-miles northwest of the town of South Downs. The tower is both a garrison of 12 men-at-arms for the Kingdom and home to the local Magus (5th level Mage), her family, and their retainers. While there is no wall, there are a half dozen buildings (stables, workshops, and storage buildings) surrounding the tower and making up the campus.

Sunrise Tower

Sitting high atop the cliffs of Elizabeth Island, the keep known as Sunrise Tower acts as a lighthouse, lookout, and lockup for Otter Cove; both the town and the body of water. The compound is built from and carved into the stone of the island. The keep itself is 4-stories tall and has 4 basement levels used for securing criminals and political prisoners alike. Sunrise tower is supported by a pair of round towers and a thick defensive wall which runs along the cliff face. There is a standing force of 64 men-at-arms but has the capacity for 3-5 times as many. In addition to the soldiers, the fortress is home to the baron, baron’s family, and their retainers.

The keeps location, sheer rock walls, and single road up from the dock make assaults against it near impossible. Perched high above and overhanging the cove, the crenelated towers of the keep are able to rain destruction down on any who seek to assault it. It is said that in its 250-year history, that none have been able to breach its walls through strength of arms.

Reed Marsh Ruins

The ruins of Castle Werthingham were once the ancestral home to Lord Crichton, Earl of the Vale. The fortress has been abandoned for the last 50-years and continues to sink ever deeper into the marsh. With the conquest of the Empire came the damning of the Bristol Rock River a hundred miles south of the Five Towns and with that damn came a rising of the water table around Lake Reedmace. That series of events flooded the fertile lake valley in which the castle was located, washing away the low hill the castle sat upon and dragging at its foundation. Eventually, pulling the fortress from its hilltop throne and dragging it into the cattails. Rumor speaks of strange reptilian creatures having taken up residence in the ruins.

The Norei

Located on the western shore of Lake Reedmace but spared the fate of the far bank is the abandoned tower known as The Norei. Over the last 300-years, the squat 3-story tower has been a monastery, bandit haven, garrison, and home to the Witch of Huldra. Today, few people are willing to approach it for fear of ghosts, ghouls, and other restless spirits thought to dwell within its shadow. The tower itself is surrounded by the remains of both wooden and stone walls, an assortment of smaller structures, and a series of winding trails that seemingly go nowhere of note.

The Watch House

Before the darkness engulfed the South Cairn Wood and all communication with Chadrian ceased, this imposing fortress kept watch over traffic on the Bristol Rock River. Today, it is a looming, dark shadow on the southern bank from which erie sounds and foul odors emanate. The keep is a gathering of four square towers connected to a larger fifth by high stone walls. Each of the smaller towers is 3-stories tall and the keep itself is 2-stories taller than these. It is known that there are at least two layers dug out of the stone beneath the fortress. The portcullis has been closed since the darkness came and no one has dared approach closer than the far bank of the river.

Roads & Bridges

The province of Five Towns has been in existence for 300 years and is crisscrossed with footrails, dirt paths, and roads both stone-paved and bricked. The highroads in particular are paved, cambered for drainage, and flanked by footpaths and drainage ditches. Both the Empire and the Kingdom take seriously the need for well maintained highways. Here you will find a brief description of the most important roads and bridges of the province.

Angels Bridge — Nine miles north-east of Ottercove can be found a truly marvelous carved stone span. This high arching bridge soars high above the Lime River and is renown for its beauty. Many travelers take this route simply to see its majesty and wonder. It has been rebuilt 4-times in the past 300-years and each time it has become grander and more elaborate. It is wide enough for three wagons to cross abreast, 400-yards long, and is constructed of the palest granite so that it seems to glow even in the light of the moon.

Breakers Road — Between Easton and Ottercove, rolling over the hills of the Inland Breakers is this well-travelled and highly patrolled stretch of road. Most of this road is through arable land and many friendly villages, roadside taverns, and farmsteads are along this route.

Bridgeway Highroad — This is the road that travels between the Fiends Bridge at the southern end of the province and the Angels Bridge at the northern edge of the Five Towns region. This road passes through the towns of Ottercove, Middlemost, and South Downs. To the north, 20-miles beyond the bridge, lies the town of Clayton and beyond that the city of Staedholm. The name and nature of the Highroad changes at the Fiends Bridge, beyond which it is known as the Dark Road and the lands under the sway of the darkness.

Dark Road — This is the name given to the forest road that follows the southbank of the Bristol Rock River and plunges through the Southern Cairn Wood. Some say it is dangerous and others say it is haunted, whatever the case, it is avoided by those who live north of the river.

Earls Road — More commonly called “Muckmire Trail” by travelers. On good days, this road goes south 28-miles to Herons Crossing. On bad days it turns into an uncrossable morass 15-miles south of Easton. Once a commonly used mercantile path that has become a seasonal shortcut with the building of the damn on the Bristol Rock River.

Fiends Bridge — This is an impressive stone and wood structure which spans the Bristol Rock River at a point some 10-miles north and west of the Watch House and 6-miles south of the town of South Downs. Over the last few years it has begun to accumulate mold and rot, but it remains a sturdy bridge and is wide enough for two wagons to pass each other upon it. Due to its location, it has become a haunt for trolls, who like to nest beneath the bridge. These beasts have been driven out or slain many times, but they continue to recur.

Northton Road — Crossing the northern swath of the province between Ottercove and Northup, this stretch of road is well maintained, despite crossing a relatively unpopulated stretch of wildlands. Kings patrols are not uncommon, but the traveler should be aware that the further one goes from either end, the more dangerous it becomes.

Reedmace Road — The Reedmace splits off of the Bridgeway Highroad and crosses along the north shore of Lake Reedmace before connecting to the Tradesway Highroad northwest of Easton. This is a low traffic road that crosses through some wild territory, as a result it is not the best maintained or patrolled road for travelers. It is not unpopulated, but it is a very rural trek.

Skirtswood Road — This north-south stretch of road runs between the towns of Northup and South Downs. Along most of its length the road is populated with lumber villages due to the closeness of the North Cairn Wood just a few miles to the west.

Tradesway Highroad — Running from the heartlands through Northup, Middlemost, and Easton to the border of the Empire and into Hesepe. The border town of Frowen is 30 miles east of Easton at the Treaty Bridge and the city of Galestmore is beyond that. Much interstate commerce travels the Tradesway and it is well patrolled by the Kings soldiers.

I don’t get a lot of visitors, but when I do get them I feel bad about the rather poor sitting options I had for them in the office. I’ve tried multiple solutions; from a dog-slobber stained living room chair to a waiting room chair on wheels, and a few things in between. All were unacceptable.

So I wanted something that would fit in my small office, not hide my shelves in such a way that I can’t enjoy my nic nacs, and still be reasonably comfortable. So, I picked up a small couch-thingy for my office. Is it a bench? A loveseat? Wayfair calls it a tufted bench settee, so I guess that’s what it is.

Jared Tufted Bench Settee by Jennifer Taylor
relax and sit a spell

It’s nice enough. I thought it would sit a bit taller, but I don’t think that’ll be an issue. The fabric is some sort of polyester blend and the color works pretty well for the space. This is the first time I’ve shopped the Wayfair site and I found it to be painless. The shipping was free and took about 5-days, the price seemed highish (but that’s mostly a furniture thing), and the thing arrived undamaged. I call that a win.

If you like it so much that you want to get one of your own, you can find it over at the Wayfair site at this link:

One more purchase from Amazon, with thanks to the Black Friday week sales. New monitors for my desk set up. I picked up two Acer monitors to replace the HP monitors I’ve been using for the last few years.

I was satisfied with my 27-inch, 1920×1080 monitors and didn’t see a need or feel a want for more resolution until I started working on my Warlock’s Cauldron D&D campaign. For that campaign I was using real world geography and using Google Maps to create my world maps. I found the 1080 screen shots I was using for the maps didn’t cover the space I wanted. That was the first flickers of new monitor desire started with that experience. These aren’t 4k, but I don’t really need to pay that kind of money.

These Acer monitors are 32-inch beasts and have a resolution of 2560×1440, which should be good for a few years. They were discounted by $78, which put the price point right at $210. The pair of them makes for a pretty big purchase for me, but that’s not the end of the story.

Surprise. Surprise. My existing video card didn’t have the muscle to run both of these monitors at their native resolution. So I had to go and get a new video card. That was damn near as expensive as buying another monitor. But it’s arrived, installed, and I’m up and running without any jagged pixel bits ruining the experience. These things are big. Damn big.

new 32-inch monitors
old 27-inch monitors

You can see, in the above pictures, that I’ve painted and put the desktop on a couple of the pieces of my homemade desk. Drawers are in progress and the main part of the desk is still a work in progress, but it’s coming along. 

I just got these monitors set-up and running right tonight, so I can’t pass along anything but initial impressions. They’re big, they’re impressive (or rediculus), and I like the smaller bezel. I like them and unless they fail in some way, I can’t imagine that changing much. If it does, I’ll let you know.

One of the items that showed up in ads above my email on Black Friday was an offer for 50 custom cut stickers for $20 from StickerMule. I’m willing to waste a twenty on an experiment. I mean, hell, I did buy a half-dozen baseball caps, and that was way more than 20-bucks. Besides, I wanted to put that rampant lion shield on some stickers. So I did. Here are the results.

fifty rampant lion shield stickers

I think they look pretty good. They’re about 3″ tall, slightly narrower, and the the printing is sharp, clear, and good quality. I like the way the inner border is faint but visible. I’m curious to see how the hold up to the wear and tear of everyday life, the sun, and whatnot. I received a bit of promotional stuff from them along with my order, a few stickers and weirdly, a coaster.

stickers and promotional extras

Anybody wants a sticker, drop me a note and I’ll hook you up. Next time I might change up the design to actually include the URL, but the first time around I just wanted the plain shield. Also, I’ll let you know how they hold up. Later.

Things are still very busy around these parts, what with school and work and life going on. But I did find the time to put the terrible lizard back together.

cracked neck

busted tail

I didn’t put much effort into the repair, just some superglue and a bit of patience. All those wrinkles help to conceal the breaks and it looks good from across the room, but if you pick it up it’s pretty easy to spot where the repairs were made.
good enough


Tomorrow is the big day! They’re coming to install my new garage door and all the goodies that go with it.
Tonight I came home and moved stuff around in the garage, so that they’ve got room to work their magic. Moving stuff around meant putting stuff away and organizing, which needed to be done, but still, I’ve got other things going right now… But I did it. That’s done. Then I went through and touched up about a half-dozen small spots in my drywall where there were pock marks or missed spots and in a pair of corners that just didn’t look right. I’ll let those dry and then dab some primer on them and be good to paint.
Speaking of which, I found some semi-gloss white in the basement that I’m going to use on the ceiling. Why semi-gloss? Because it’s a bathroom and because I want as much protection from the water,  steam, and moisture as I can create. So, semi-gloss paint on all the walls AND the ceiling. It just holds up better than satin or eggshell, and I wouldn’t even consider a flat.
Then I started editing a Truckcast while I ate some tacos, worked on my house plan for my duct design class, and then I realize you hadn’t gotten a post today. So here I am, putting up a post. The Truckcast isn’t done, so that’ll be up Friday, what with school tomorrow and all that jazz.
Lot’s going on here at home and at work. Things are busy, busy, busy. But I did take the time to make this .gif of my face. I was going to use it in place of that profile picture over there on the right, but it didn’t work. No .gifs allowed. Which is kind of a bummer. But I’ll share it with you, because we’re tight like that.

Word from the Facebook grapevine is that there is definitely some Irish in my ancestry. This comes from those who have had their DNA tested, so it’s legit. And that’s not even from the McCarrick side of the family. It’s not all that surprising, but definitely more verifiable than a google search on my last name. 😉
I did get some sanding and some touch-up mudding done this weekend, but not as much as I should have. I also started a project to build a rack, but it went off the rails and ended up being a waste of 2-hours. I did get laundry done… so that’s a thing. The new plan is this; next weekend Lady Ronn is going to throw her sister’s bridal shower and will be away, I’m going to have everything primed and cleaned up  when she get’s back. Once that is done, things should really start to move as I already have all the finishing bits piled up in the garage and basement.
And since it’s Sunday, here’s the inspirational image for the day…

now i want hunan chicken for dinner

I stumbled over this on one of my ever-widening spirals down the rabbit hole that is the internet. Once I had seen it I knew I had to make some changes and share. Because I’m just that kind of guy.

Michael Knight, a lone crusader in a dangerous world. The world of the Knight Rider.

What would 4 seasons of this look like in the mid-eighties? Let alone three television movies: Knight Rider 2000, Knight Rider 2010, and the Knight Rider 2008 reboot that failed to gain traction. And, of course, we cannot forget the short-lived team Knight Rider from ’97… the possibilities are mind-blowing.
I’m no expert, but it may not have been a hit without the talking car.

I’m back on the sauce. I was trying to break the caffeine habit by drinking green tea, but the call of my weekend routine was too strong. That routine works out to a pot of coffee on Saturday and another on Sunday, no sugar, but lots of artificial creamer. So cheers to you and let’s see what I got up to over the weekend.

not being careful enough

It’s been a long time coming, but on Sunday I put the knife in the vinyl cutter and gave it a test run. I checked Amazon and apparently I ordered this thing on October 30, 2016. I’ve taken my own sweet time in getting any use out of it. I should be ashamed of myself.
I used the green, because I can see no project in the foreseeable future that will require or necessitate green vinyl. My other choices were black, white, yellow, or red, and three of those colors have very obvious uses with regard to arohen dot com. As you can see in this first picture, I was not very careful in my weeding and I let the vinyl roll back onto itself and ended up tearing off an arm, but otherwise, consider me suitably impressed.
What is weeding? I’m glad you asked. Weeding is the process by which unnecessary vinyl is removed from a design. It wasn’t bad on this design, but I imagine it can be tricky when working with small letters or intricate designs. On the design below, I had some problems with the finer bits lifting off the backing and wanting to curl up. I imagine I just need more practice.
still not perfect, but quite a bit better

I tried something a little smaller and included the outline to determine how precise the cuts are. You can see that it mostly worked out well. There is one section above the upper arm where the outline didn’t survive. I haven’t worked up the courage to try a two or three color, layered piece quite yet. Honestly, just getting the blade depth set right nearly put me out of my mind.
Lady Ronn is already asking for T-shirts for her upcoming bridal shower. So I should probably get this process down and figure out how well lettering works. And I think somebody’s car is going to get a sticker…