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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite. . .
PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:56 pm 
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LOL! No apologies sought or needed. It's good to see you posting!

Trade could be a cool topic. I was a big fan of how it was presented in the Dark Sun setting. Each of the City States had several commodities they were known for. Obsidean? Urik! Pottery or olive oil? Balic! And of course iron from Tyr. And based on how far the city states were from each other, you could make a good guess of where things were cheapest and most expensive. The original Codex similarly had basic industries listed for Coryani provinces and Milandesian cities. I wish we had that across Onara.

On sea trade, I've taught sailing to kids for 11 summers of my life and have volunteered on the Tole Mour and Pilgrim of Dana Point (heart breaker! It sank in harbor this year in the early days of the Coronovirus shutdown. If the people had all been on site, it might have been caught in time to save). We both know I am a much harder fan to please on RPGs and all-things-boats than the typical gamer.

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. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite. . .
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:45 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:37 pm
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To extend on the trade, routes, and sea travel discussion in a much less well thought out post, I wanted to agree on the importance of water travel in general. It is my understanding that travel and trade by water was generally significantly easier/faster than overland travel, especially in such bodies as the Mediterranean compared to the more storm tossed Atlantic. It is my impression that the Lauriol Sea to the south of the Coryani Empire is more of a Mediterranean type sea, while the Gulf of Yarris is more a more Atlantic sailing nature.

Considering the significant importance of water travel, it has greatly surprised me how poorly explored the perimeter of the Lauriol Sea is. The far side of it is literally closer (by days travel) than Grand Coryan, but apparently the empire is almost totally devoid of even mapping of the area. This surprises me.

Also considering water travel is the important of rivers as connective tissue and for the flow of culture. I would anticipate that cities such as Plexus, Panari, and Grand Coryan might all be well connected by culture and trade because they are on the same body of water - which apparently is navigable all the way to Grand Coryan. Because of the river trade, these three cities should be significantly more connected with each other, than with say Paldaris, for while it is closer to Plexus than Coryan, it is an entirely overland route.

I have wondered about the importance/navigability of the unnamed river that separates the Coryani Empire from Almeric. That seems a source that at least one major city should exist on.

And finally, there is the question of Ansharan Gates on trade. While the Ansharans seem to have put a fairly prohibitive price on using the gates for adventurer's that seems odd. While obviously the price should be high, since they are the sole arbiters of a very valuable resource, still it makes little sense to price yourself out of usefulness. It would seem to me, that major amounts of trade should be going through these portals, especially to such far off locations as the First City. Even with the limitation of having to go through the Citadel of Anshar or the Citadel of Illiir, it would seem that if one is shipping grain from the Coryani Empire to the First City, a trip through a portal would shave months of travel and danger from a shipment, rendering that a much preferred route. Other routes might also exist that short circuit some nonmagical routes, such as Coryan to Milandir, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite. . .
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:11 am 
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Certainly with regards to the Sea of Lanterns and Loriol Sea, lack of mapping is covered by the big "here be monsters" marked on all maps. Between the cyclops (and I think the Berokene 'evil' Elorii colony), not much would get through the area. The Gulf of Yarris mapping would have issues with the Black Ships running everyone down.

The Ansharan Gate prices have fluctuated wildly over the years (from 1000gp in 3.5 to 5000gp in 5e and 500gc in ARG); really only as a game mechanic for PCs to be denied access to the Gate network. Ansharan's usually get denied for other reasons (PCs usually haven't attuned to the destination gate). As the gates are the only (known) source of income to support the Legion of Grim Lamentation, the price needs to be low enough for regular income while keeping out the plebians. (Whether the Legion are even human or not has not been explored to my knowledge. I only recall ever seeing them fight once.)

For small, high value items (gems, Legendary equipment etc), the 'trade houses' should be able to afford the prices for regular gate travel and would indirectly be supporting the Legion.

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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite. . .
PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2020 3:18 am 
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Lol. I said two posts but I'm moving slowly and writing more than I thought on Trade. Maybe I'll do three? ...

Grain beyond the Corvus River

Cody talked a little about the importance of the Corvus River to the Coryani Empire. Especially in the shipment of grain via large barges. I don’t see anything that I would contradict. The Corvus is to Arcanis what the Mississippi or the Nile are to the real world. It’s THE highway goods travel on. And no surprise ... the most powerful human nation is centered on it.

Those grain barges are controlled by 5 “Grain Families” and we got to see one of them toppled from powerI (Otrecco) for trying to fiddle with the grain trade way back in the original campaign (think the mod was Grains of Sand). Grain trade & flows of cash are so large you need major players. The5 grain families are (or become) Patrician class and serve directly as vassals to the Coryani val'Dellenovs. And lose that status when the val’D’s loose faith in them…

I would guess that Coryan also exports at least some grain to the League of Princes. The river runs down to Plexus and out to the gulf of Coryan. And then its just a boat ride away to Liveh, Eppion and the Shadow Towns. Boats are cheaper and faster than carts and wagons. Wagons are also pulled by horses, that need to eat. In heavily travelled areas you can’t count on forage, so some of your cargo capacity is now being diverted to feed. Your horses also need to sleep. Boats don’t. So while a wagon on a road covers 20 miles on a decent day, you can expect coastal vessels to cover 140ish miles/200ish kilometers with decent weather. If cities have enough farmland to produce all the food they need within 20 miles then maybe local sources are cheaper. That might be true for Option or Liveh. For anywhere else, its should be the boats that win. The Shadow Towns are in the middle of forests. They're getting staples from somewhere else and and that somewhere is probably cheapest when it comes from Coryan. This is probably a political issue from time to time. Grain trade also (potentially) promotes dependence on Coryani … and no doubt produces irritation to farmers beyond 20 miles of port cities...and also various kio lords who dislike Coryani interference in "their" back yard..

This same logic suggests that parts of Coryan imports grain as well. If it’s harder moving large quantities of grain overland via roads, then I think its logical there should also be ocean trade in grain harvested in the other agricultural “superpower” - Milandir. I put a throw away reference to this in the old IK module The Cold and the Dark. Grain would be harvested inland in farms and surpluses sent down river via barge to the ports of Naeranth and Yarvek. From there they would go out to major cities on the coast like Savona, Sulpecci and maybe up to Pearlspar and Censure. It should be cheaper to get grain into Savona by Milandesian ship rather than overland from Balantica. My opinion looking at the maps. In Milandir the Grain export is probably controlled by the val Dellenov and the crown. A bad harvest in Milandir might mean less exports to Savonna, but Balantica should be able to make up the difference (at some cost). Censure might fare less well on the rare year Milandir has a bad harvest. I know they have a peninsula full of farms near them. I don't know if they are usually self-sufficient or a net importer/exporter of agriculture.

So grain is capital B "Big Business." Its run by major players. And it's trade has political implications.

The First City and Trade:

For all that, it's probably unrealistic for much grain to be traded from Milandir and/or Coryan to the First City. This despite the fact that that there is a reference to such grain trade in the Blessed Lands book. There is no easy water route from Coryani or Milandir. The alternative, overland, it takes a caravan "weeks to a month" to get there. Logically, whatever is pulling the wagons of grain is mostly eating “cargo space” as it goes. For "weeks to a month" ... because there isn't forage to be found in the Blessed Lands. Come to think of that, they need to eat on the way out too. I don't really know how much you can load on a wagon, but two months of fodder for horses probably isn’t leaving much room for anything else. I don’t see how grain trade at volume is possible from the Known World. Khitan as a source of grain is even worse. All the above, plus the Voie. That leaves shipments by sea from Khitan and/or the Far West. That does look feasible. Even then it's still several days from the docks to the First City, which probably means food is more expensive in the First City than the rest of the Known Lands and is THE limiting factor on the population. Which helps explain why the Pearl, while a slum, is not densely packed. Even if the rest of the city was reclaimed, it’s not clear to me that it could sustain a larger human population without some kind of improved infrastructure.

Given the logistical hurdles of getting wagons to the Blessed land I can only conclude that the only items worth taking to the First City (or beyond) are small, light and expensive. Blastpowder from Altheria certainly. Fine weapons, maybe. Silk on the trip back certainly. Fervidite ingots back certainly. Spices, expensive reliquaries, and illuminated manuscripts? Yes. Slaves? Sadly yes. Fruits and vegetables and grain … No. Despite the fact that the First City is between the Coryani Empire, The Khitani Empire and the far west, its geography is hostile to easy trading.

I haven't talked about the Kurenthe weather yet, but I should. It's one more terrible hazard that should oppress trade in the Blessed Lands. Yes, you go with professional guides that know about the weather and how to react to it. On the other hand you have an entire caravan of wagons packed on a narrow road and limited abilities to outrun or dodge some of the terrible things that can happen quickly. You might have the supplies to make a temporary shelter in the event of red snow. But what does a caravan do during the Black Rain except die under the zombie apocalypse? Given the choice of doing the run to the First City or running a barge up and down the Corrvis from Coryan to Plexus over two months (maybe multiple times) what would any sane man or woman chose? I'd do the barge...

No one should choose to do the Blessed Land's run unless (a) they don't have better options or (b) they're getting paid more than they would in other (safer) options. I said food was probably more expensive in the First City. That should applies to everything not dug up by tomb raiders and archaeologists. The First City might indeed have options for the wealthy that come in from exotic lands. But its shouldn't be cheap to get it there. Living in the First City ought to be more expensive than living in Naeraanth or Grand Coryan. It's my opinion that the marketplaces of the First City are probably overstated in the Blessed Lands book, for their size if not their diversity.

Being poor in the First City has got to be harsh for the have nots. I suspect people starve in winter with greater regularity than other major Arcanis cities. And of course the nickname for the Andyar (the sporadic natives of the Blessed Lands) is the Cobo" which means the wretched...

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AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite. . .
PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2020 1:56 am 

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The First City has an Ansharan Portal, right? How about a church-mandated exemption from the usual fees for foodstuffs?


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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite. . .
PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2020 3:20 am 
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Nyalakene wrote:
The First City has an Ansharan Portal, right? How about a church-mandated exemption from the usual fees for foodstuffs?
That's a great question/idea. I'm sure that in the First Imperium they *MUST* has used the Four Ansharan Gates in the city to import foodstuffs, because the kurenthe blasted landscape was even worse then than it is now. Another possibility now that the Gates have been reactivated could be a subsidy from the Golden Court to make importation of food by Gate cost effective...

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. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite. . .
PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2020 11:11 am 
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To the use of the Gates for bringing in food and supplies, it brings up an interesting question:

Who ran the Portals back in the day?

In the modern era, the Portals are run by the semi-Independent Temple of Anshar as recognized by the Mother Church of Coryan, though how much control the MCoC has outside of their designated lands is rather dubious. For example, in Milandir they're probably run by the Milandisian Orthodox Church, with something of a gentleman's agreement of "we're not going to raise a huff about this as long as the network remains open." They seem to run this at a profit, as the portals are probably one of the biggest 'money makers' for the Temple of Anshar for their own needs (officially to run their charities, but in Arcanis nobody is that pure).

In the olden days, though, it is possible that the Portals were a national resource of the Imperium, directly controlled or managed by the Imperator and/or the Hierophant (the religious head of the Imperium). During that time, we know that worship of the PoM was more unified than it is in the modern era, and that the separation between Church and State was pretty close to non-existent, which means that a religious monopoly is also a royal monopoly. If this is so, then the Portals were used at the whim of Illiir's Throne, and could be used for whatever was needed.

Of course, if it is a national resource, you probably wouldn't see casual merchant traffic using the Portals in that era, or if there was they probably needed both Royal Permission and/or had to pay a heavy tax on its use. This is very similar to the Posting Houses along the Persian Royal Road in the time of the Achaeminid Empire. If this is so, in times of trouble the Imperator could open the portals as much and for however long they demanded, but I doubt you'd see food going through on a day-to-day basis. Without that central authority, however, it has become more democratic how it would be used.

Intersting point re: the Portals - How would they work in sieges, especially in ancient days? In the modern day, a city with a Portal always has a 'safe' port to import resources in during a siege, or people out as needed, at least as long as money is being spent on the Temple of Anshar. If the Portals were a national resource in the ancient days, would this make many First imperium cities essentially immune to Sieges, especially by people like the Myrantians or Ossarions who (to our knowledge) lack the worship of Anshar to activate or interdict the Portals?

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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite. . .
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 10:53 am 

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Location: Michigan
Are they really only relevant to sieges? Don't we have at least two examples of gates being moved and still operating? If that is the case, it might be possible for an advancing legion to take a gate with it. It might not be useable in transit, but when they set reach a city on the border near the conflict they could easily set up the gate there, and and quickly bring in reinforcements/supplies at least near the front, if not at the front. It might be reasonable to consider the gates as filling the same category as trains for military logistics purposes. After all, anywhere with a gate has 1-2 legions only a day away, right?

Though that does raise an interesting question about how gates work now. Back in the elder days (3.5) there were PoM gates that activated blue, and Ssethric gates which activated red. I believe now that gates are gates but if activated by a human they are blue and if activated by a Ssethric they are red. Which ignores or raises the question about why a believer in Anshar and a believer in Yig would trigger it differently when supposedly they are the same god. We've even seen historically that the gates can be opened using arcane magic, which makes sense since the celestial giants designed them (and taught the cyclops) and built the world gates, and thus there should be some way for the dwarves to activate them as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite. . .
PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:02 pm 
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It has varied over the campaigns. At one point is was 10 medium creatures per activation, then time based. Need to check the book for the current workings.

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 Post subject: Re: Musings of a Canadian Nierite. . .
PostPosted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:54 am 
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I should be finishing my thoughts on trade at the ends of the known world (Censure and the Shadow Towns) but the Gates are always interesting...

I have always thought that the monetary charges to use the Gates of Anshar in the "modern day" were probably the main source of funds for the Legion of Grim Lamentation... which we know exists outside the Coryani Legion infrastructure. Nothing has ever stated that anywhere about how the Legion funds itself if its not Coryani. I think this seems like the most reasonable source.

It's an interesting question about who controlled the Gates in the First Imperium. Cody raises interesting questions. Obviously at first it Anshar and presumably her newly minted priesthood. After the Gods went back to "Paradise" of left to fight the end times, my guess is the Imperator/Heirophant were ultimately fun charge as Cody has suggested. Perhaps they placed the day to day duties on the Legion of Grim Lamentation....where it has remained ever since. Cody thinks they would have been used for strategic purposes rather than casual trade and I think that's probably right. Though again, no food was being grown in the Blessed Lands so I expect importing grain was a strategic necessity.

Sieges are also an interesting question. The ssethric campaign against the eladru had problems because they'd just vanish by Gates when the Ssethrics started showing up. It wasn't until the ssethrics persuaded Big to share the knowledge of gates with them that the eladru were virtually wiped out. That strongly suggests that the Gates can move strategically important numbers of people and goods. Even if they generally aren't used that way today. As far as we know, there is a hub and spoke network of gates. The hubs cannot be moved. But the spokes can be. The ratio of Ansharan Gates that are "hubs" to the Ansharan Gates that are "Spokes" is currently unknown. In a fairly recent mod, PCs are tasked with saving an Ansharan Gate that cannot be moved. That one Gate was clearly a "Hub" gate.

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. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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