Friday, January 25, 2013

Race to Monk Mountain

Or, A Mountain of Monks.
Mount Athos.
Credit: Wikipedia.
I can't remember how, exactly, I came across this, but I found this article on Wikipedia a few weeks ago about a place in Greece called Mount Athos, also known as the Holy Mountain. It's on a peninsula and its main distinguishing feature is that it is full of monasteries, about twenty in all. The first ones seem to have been built during the reign of Basil I, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire. Over time, more and more were built, that eventually, the mountain and the peninsula itself were more or less given over to the monks and it holds a unique political status in Greece.
Xenophontos Monastery.
Credit: Wikipedia.

Any hoot, the idea of a mountain full of monks was more than a little interesting and the potential for worldbuilding, RPGs, and wargaming were apparent. Having such an area in a fictional world would add a nice dash of flavor. For RPGs, such a place could be used as a point of origin for clerics and monks. Maybe earning admittance to one of the many monasteries is a goal that a cleric or monk character strives for. Maybe they sent out by their order with the mission of acquiring outside knowledge and bringing it back. For wargaming, it could be an area and a goal for either side: One player has the objective to raiding or capturing the mountain, while the other player has to defend it.
Zograf Monastery.
Credit: Wikipedia.

One interesting bit that would certainly make things interesting for worldbuilding and RPGers would be the fact that women are forbidden from setting foot on the mountain, unless they have prior written consent from the monks. That would certainly be a challenge for female characters.

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