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Jeff

Notes on Wintertop

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I posted these notes on the FB Runequest page and thought I'd repost them here:

The Old Tarshites have about 10 clans. Wintertop Fort is shared by several clans, including the Hendarli. Wintertop previously served as a sacred city and place of pilgrimage - it was not the capital of Tarsh (that was traditionally Bagnot, and later Furthest).

WINTERTOP FORT
At 1200 meters, Wintertop Fort is in a deep valley at the base of Kero Fin. The valley gets over 3 meters of snow each winter. The locals herd cattle and sheep, hunt and raid for a living. What little agriculture they have is mainly dedicated to growing emmer wheat. Sacred shadow cats wander around freely throughout Wintertop valley; it is forbidden to harm these cats. At the base of the valley, the Squat Inn provides accommodations for pilgrims and merchants.

Wintertop Fort itself is a small city ready to provide porters, climbers, and haulers to anyone who pays. The city is best known for its great temple to Orlanth Son of the Mountain Goddess that is regularly visited by Orlanthi pilgrims from as far away as Talastar and Maniria. A group of hot springs right below the temple has curative powers.

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Here are more notes.

Wintertop Fort has a population of 3000 people. I suspect that is most of the population of the valley. Maybe another 1000 live outside the urban area in the valley. This means there are probably four clans in the Wintertop Fort. One of these is the Hendarli clan (not tribe).

Politically, they are dominated by the Shaker's Temple, who has raised a king for the whole of the Tarsh Exiles (Unstey of the Hendarli). A maintained road connects Wintertop to the Shaker's Temple.

An trader's road connects Wintertop with the Solthon Valley. Wintertop maintains close ties to their kinfolk in the Solthon Valley (which is as close as Arim's Valley). 

The great temple to Orlanth and Kero Fin is supported by Orlanthi pilgrims. Local bandits generally leave the pilgrims alone. Orlanth gets Snow here from his half-sister.

The locals grow emmer not barley. Emmer actually grows better than barley in mountainous areas, and is Kero Fin's special grain. You can also make beer out of it. A hot spiced beer is particularly popular with the locals.

Architecturally, Wintertop was founded in the 14th century. I think the primary fortifications are the valley itself, although the main settlement has fortifications built in the 1570s (Sartarite stone-masons, I think). 

The largest and most-impressive looking building in the town is the great temple, made of stone, and likely rebuilt in the 1570s as well. The lesser buildings are made out of stone and wood (which is easier to heat). Houses are simply square block structures with peaked roofs. The ground floor is usually stone, and wooden floors built atop it.

 

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

Houses are simply square block structures with peaked roofs. The ground floor is usually stone, and wooden floors built atop it.

Minor suggestions: in an earthquake prone region, there were a number of ancient methods of making buildings more resistant to earthquakes.

The simplest was to build on a foundation of packed earth, with a more expensive and later method being to build on three layers of unmortared orthostat stones, with the layers absorbing the shock waves (in our history the method goes back to at least the 5th century BC and is apparent at the Tomb of Cyrus in Pasargadae). You do not want foundations resting on bedrock or natural soil, so your lower 'built in stone' level probably rests on a layer of packed earth.

Then there's the structure on the foundation: Building in wood is likely to create relative cheap and earthquake resistant structures, as the structure will flex and bend - though a sufficiently powerful earthquake will wreck it. Stone structures can be built using closely fitting mortar-free polygonal masonry which 'dances' and then resettles after an earthquake; L-shaped blocks at the corners will reinforce the structure; trapezoid doorways, tilting slightly inwards will help (these can be near square 'Earth Runes').

Additional: recall reading a description by Greg about De Garavum, the Temple of the Great Shaker, and it included the Inca-style masonry of polygonal blocks.

Edited by M Helsdon
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10 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Minor suggestions: in an earthquake prone region, there were a number of ancient methods of making buildings more resistant to earthquakes.

The simplest was to build on a foundation of packed earth, with a more expensive and later method being to build on three layers of unmortared orthostat stones, with the layers absorbing the shock waves (in our history the method goes back to at least the 5th century BC and is apparent at the Tomb of Cyrus in Pasargadae). You do not want foundations resting on bedrock or natural soil, so your lower 'built in stone' level probably rests on a layer of packed earth.

Then there's the structure on the foundation: Building in wood is likely to create relative cheap and earthquake resistant structures, as the structure will flex and bend - though a sufficiently powerful earthquake will wreck it. Stone structures can be built using closely fitting mortar-free polygonal masonry which 'dances' and then resettles after an earthquake; L-shaped blocks at the corners will reinforce the structure; trapezoid doorways, tilting slightly inwards will help (these can be near square 'Earth Runes').

Additional: recall reading a description by Greg about De Garavum, the Temple of the Great Shaker, and it included the Inca-style masonry of polygonal blocks.

Shaker Temple is ancient. I can certainly imagine it as being ashlar masonry (a technique often associated with the dwarves). But it was beyond the scope of that set of notes.

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3 hours ago, Jeff said:

Shaker Temple is ancient. I can certainly imagine it as being ashlar masonry (a technique often associated with the dwarves). But it was beyond the scope of that set of notes.

Regular ashlar masonry is far less resistant to earthquakes and tremors than polygonal ashlar. The Inca used both types but polygonal has much greater strength.

I thought the detail might be of interest, though not in those notes.

inca masonry.png

Edited by M Helsdon
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