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OK I have a theory based on observations of our own world.

Cities collect the disconnected, dissolute, broke. ambitious, misfits, outcast, ambitious, those not tied to clan or family in the way there society would probably expect them to be.

As well as the natives of the city that were raised there?

Is that true of some cities, most cities or all cities?  with reference to glorantha?

Edited by Jon Hunter
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19 minutes ago, Jon Hunter said:

OK I have a theory based on observations of our own world.

Cities collect the disconnected, dissolute, broke. ambitious, misfits, outcast, ambitious, those not tied to clan or family in the way there society would probably expect them to be.

As well as the natives of the city that were raised there?

Is that true of some cities, most cities or all cities?  with referee to glorantha?

This massively depends on culture. In Dara Happa, the proper people who are like us and not filthy peasants obviously live in cities like real human beings. In Sartar, it might be a little weird and new with these newfangled cities, but ultimately it's just an extension of tribal life as the cities aren't really independent from the countryside. In Kraolorela, I imagine the theory is that city and countryside form a harmonious whole (while in practice the city extracts resources from the countryside to keep running). 

Virtually everywhere, cities can't replace their population on their own due to an increased mortality (this is historical). In most places, the city (being a power center) acts extractive with regards to the countryside (this is also historical).

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31 minutes ago, Jon Hunter said:

Cities collect the disconnected, dissolute, broke. ambitious, misfits, outcast, ambitious, those not tied to clan or family in the way there society would probably expect them to be.

As well as the natives of the city that were raised there?

Is that true of some cities, most cities or all cities?

My understanding from some research & poking around is that Esrolian cities seem to be more cohesive than this picture. Not entirely, but better; an intensely interwoven network of guilds, client houses, and noble houses--everyone belongs somewhere. Of course, Esrolia has an extensive history of urbanization which isn't really paralleled on Earth, and isn't extant elsewhere in the main play area.

(I don't really know much about Peloria/Dara Happa & the whole Kralorelan East, but I think their urban history is similarly extensive.)

Nochet's filled up with weirdos and oddballs, but that's also not a representative "sample city" because seriously... it's Nochet. Thing's huge. It's like comparing Chicago to Joliet or Moline.

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I have five players in my group - their characters are as follows:

  • A Humakti warrior (heavy cavalry) - he works out of Clearwine for the clan/tribe, but is obviously mobile
  • An Orlanthi noble - his family is based around Clearwine but lands owned outside (and now in Apple Lane)
  • A Uroxi redsmith - he trades in Clearwine, not clear where he resides
  • An Ernaldan merchant - she trades and worships in Clearwine, resident either in or just outside 
  • A Vingan madam (pimp) - she works in Clearwine because that's where her employees find work, and therefore most likely to be a permanent resident

So I'd agree that many of the permanent residents are likely to be either the dissolute, ambitious misfits, or the ones who are meant to stop them. But doesn't that describe most adventurers?

Cities are places of enormous opportunity, and therefore also of danger. The rootless (or free agents) of society are often best placed to take advantage of this, but they can only exist there because of the steady flow of other people who are not dissolute (or at least not primarily so) upon whom they can prey.

Clearwine is not a particularly rough city, but despite their differences all cities give rise to the same (or similar) social and economic forces - it's just a matter of degree. So you can expect them all to have class distinctions, criminality/immorality (whatever that means in that place), injustice and exploitation. Things like slavery will vary, as will the meting out of justice, not just because of laws/mores/traditions but also because of competency/organisation/wealth of the ruling class. 

But there will also be a tipping point of how many grifters/thieves/pimps a city can support, and this will be based upon how much 'honest' activity goes on there, and how effective law enforcement is. Obviously cities will foster innovation (incl. magical research), intellectualism and learning, high art, exquisite craftsmanship and a cosmopolitan outlook, so cities will attract the cream of society as well - doers and thinkers. Pavis under the Lunars was both an organised foothold of civilisation and also a hangout for the dregs of several societies. 

It's that cheek-by-jowl placement of the virtuous and enlightened alongside the villainous and venal that gives cities their distinctive vibrancy and tension.

Of course, this being Glorantha, nobody need be wholly villainous or wholly virtuous all the time...

Edited by Sumath
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Keep in mind that most Gloranthan cities are relatively small (1000-5000 people), so the "dissolute" can't as easily disappear there as you might think. Most people have at least a vague understanding of what groups they belong to. Major cities like Nochet or Glamor are the exception. 

Perhaps it's as likely for the "dissolute" to set up residence in the more unregulated shantytowns or surroundings villages of an urban centre, and then wander in to look for jobs or the like. This probably varies culturally - not all cities will have those (for example in areas of endemic warfare). 

In medieval Europe, there was the idea - at least in some areas - of the "one year and one day", where if one could survive in a market town/city for that period, one would be free of one's prior obligations to the feudal lord. I suspect this concept is somewhat fanciful rather than something that was widely respected, but hey. I don't know if Glorantha has anything similar. Not that feudalism as such is typical of Glorantha, and urban Orlanthi preserve their clan ties rather than dissolve them, but perhaps the Lunars have some notion like this - they're quite big on new beginnings and manumissions and the like (in addition to its opposites, of course.)

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On 2/11/2020 at 5:41 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

... In medieval Europe, there was the idea - at least in some areas - of the "one year and one day", where if one could survive in a market town/city for that period, one would be free of one's prior obligations to the feudal lord. I suspect this concept is somewhat fanciful rather than something that was widely respected, but hey...

This was often explicitly incorporated in the"city charter," which often (usually?) came straight from the King.

In places where the monarch was strong, the right to become a freeman this way was probably well respected.  If the monarch was weaker, and the local noble(s) able to do as they wanted, the city's rights might be less respected.

A few cities became strong enough (aka wealthy enough) to have castle-caliber walls built, and hire and/or train professional-caliber soldiers, and no longer needed the King to keep them safe.

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I thought about this when working Vol 2 of rubble runners, the collection contains fewer natives to  Pavis than I had expected.

Now this could be for a few reasons;

  • Foreigners and oddballs make more interesting characters, so get written up more
  • Pavis is a weird city having the rubble next to it and being the urban center of Prax, which would attract fotsam from all over Prax
  • Also being a post  war setting migratory patterns are probably higher.

But i was interested in other peoples views.
 


 

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On 2/14/2020 at 6:23 AM, Jon Hunter said:

But i was interested in other peoples views.

What need be said, you are correct!
I wonder if you turned your gaze to the small enclaves in the rubble (speaking of rubble runners), like Mani’s Fort or the Real City, whether this situation could be ameliorated.

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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On 2/11/2020 at 11:48 AM, Jon Hunter said:

Cities collect the disconnected, dissolute, broke. ambitious, misfits, outcast, ambitious, those not tied to clan or family in the way there society would probably expect them to be.

As well as the natives of the city that were raised there?

Is that true of some cities, most cities or all cities?  with reference to glorantha?

Heavily true for all regions that have been disrupted by a generation of war and occupation, and then suffered the disaster of the Great Winter (where the cities have the largest stores of food). And once you're in the city, the odds are low that you'll go back "home". But many who arrive in the cities are refugees - not just individuals but whole families and bloodlines.

Nochet has around 25k Heortling refugees from Sartar and Heortland - making it the "largest" Heortling city in Glorantha and comprising a bit shy of 1/4 of the city's population. Nochet (and some other coastal cities like Handra) is about to receive another wave of refugees in 1625-6, but these are coming from the west - a wave of those fleeing the destruction of Pasos and Nolos.

Karse and Durengard took in refugees during the Lunar invasions and the Great Winter, and now will take in more as the ravages of both Queen Gagix and Harrek's Wolf Pirates increase.

Opportunities for trade, wealth and power will draw many of the others: true for the coastal cities of the Holy Country after the Opening, for Pavis after Dorasar's settlement and the opening of the Pavis Road, and other places along significant trade routes (e.g. Furthest). 

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4 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

What need be said, you are correct!
I wonder if you turned your gaze to the small enclaves in the rubble (speaking of rubble runners), like Mani’s Fort or the Real City, whether this situation could be ameliorated.

I touched on it there, manside is more mono cultural, traditional Pavis. New Pavis is a more 'a hive of scum and villany'.

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2 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Heavily true for all regions that have been disrupted by a generation of war and occupation, and then suffered the disaster of the Great Winter (where the cities have the largest stores of food). And once you're in the city, the odds are low that you'll go back "home". But many who arrive in the cities are refugees - not just individuals but whole families and bloodlines.

Nochet has around 25k Heortling refugees from Sartar and Heortland - making it the "largest" Heortling city in Glorantha and comprising a bit shy of 1/4 of the city's population. Nochet (and some other coastal cities like Handra) is about to receive another wave of refugees in 1625-6, but these are coming from the west - a wave of those fleeing the destruction of Pasos and Nolos.

Karse and Durengard took in refugees during the Lunar invasions and the Great Winter, and now will take in more as the ravages of both Queen Gagix and Harrek's Wolf Pirates increase.

Opportunities for trade, wealth and power will draw many of the others: true for the coastal cities of the Holy Country after the Opening, for Pavis after Dorasar's settlement and the opening of the Pavis Road, and other places along significant trade routes (e.g. Furthest). 

Great answers

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  • 3 weeks later...

Looking to earthly examples for inspiration :- Urbanisation for craftspeople was a thing right back into the bronze age.

So if your family were great potters then you might relocate to town in order to make the most of your skills. Its fairly easy transport clay and fuel, less so pottery so you want it where it will be sold. Likewise charcoal production and transportation (along with firewood) was a fairly major industry in Ancient Greece. 

Yes Beer with Teeth have been doing some research on this and there might well be a resulting Jonstown pack in the works.....

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You would want an infrastructure that keeps the best craftspeople away from the fields and inside their workshops, except for the holy days.  But then you also want skilled craftspeople to oversee the harvesting of the raw materials used in your trade, e.g. a master ship-builder to oversee the logging for new ships. Sorting the clay into brickmakers' quality and potters' quality, possibly even superior ceramics like china.

 

Transporting charcoal actually was a bit of a problem as it is a high volume, low weight cargo, at least according to the sword metallurgy course material I read. Human porters might have a better efficiency than ox carts or beasts of burden. Even river transport of charcoal is a wasteful use of a barge.

Setting up near a source of clay may be more efficient than moving into town, although that may depend on the size of the pieces you are going to bake, and possibly the number of times you put a piece into the kiln. Do you apply glazing or other painted ornamentation to the unburnt dried object, or do you apply the glazing after the first burn?

Huge storage vessels are probably produced near their destination, as transporting barrel-sized pithos jars or the even larger buried clay vessels used in wine-making in Georgia (in the Caucasus).

Amphorae were designed as transport containers, transporting them empty would be less or a problem. As long as they keep to the few standardized sizes, there should be carts or river vessels designed to transport them.

Firewood and other lumber may be easier to transport as long as you have a downriver waterway towards your destination. Even marginally navigable rivers can be used to float lumber. In case of doubt, dams (also those built by beavers) can aid in regulating the transport of the lumber.

 

RQ2 has a quite long section on guilds which is reflected in Apple Lane and to a lesser degree in Pavis, but which hasn't been brought up again in RQ3 or later. Horsemasters, weapon masters, alchemists...

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11 hours ago, Joerg said:

You would want an infrastructure that keeps the best craftspeople away from the fields and inside their workshops, except for the holy days.  But then you also want skilled craftspeople to oversee the harvesting of the raw materials used in your trade, 

Transporting charcoal actually was a bit of a problem as it is a high volume, low weight cargo, 

Setting up near a source of clay may be more efficient than moving into town

Firewood and other lumber may be easier to transport as long as you have a downriver waterway towards your destination. Even marginally navigable rivers can be used to float lumber. In case of doubt, dams (also those built by beavers) can aid in regulating the transport of the lumber.

Snipped a fair bit to answer:

Yes to keeping people in their workshops. From experience materials selection is going to be the occasional visit and possibly apprentices afterwards. There's lots of Babylonian cuneiform arguing over quality of materials promised vs actually delivered.

The point on charcoal is very fair. In Ancient Greece charcoal/firewood bearers and producers were very low status but a lot were involved in carting it in (often in baskets). It was however quite lucrative both for large land owners and a way of picking up actual cash for the poor. Stickpickers are an important part of keeping a town or city running and keeping the home fires burning!

Our initial assumption was that indeed you'd do your potting near you clay. But it turns out there's quite a lot of physical evidence that it was the other way around back in ancient times. BwT Archaeology department got quite excited and geeked right out over this. Turns out you want to make your amporah near to where you fill them. 

Firewood. I think I agree on firewood and rivers...but. Firewood. It's not like today. Axes are your primary wood cutting tool. Saws exist but only for going WITH the grain (ie making boards or long planks) NOT cross-cutting across it. So it's easier to make planks than it is to make rounds to split with an axe. So firewood is most likely sticks or longish logs rather than chopping short chunks of firewood like we see today. Turning big trees into lump wood charcoal is also efficient for making small fires as the burning breaks it down into useful sizes and smaller homes in towns and cities. 

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24 minutes ago, Thaz said:

Our initial assumption was that indeed you'd do your potting near you clay. But it turns out there's quite a lot of physical evidence that it was the other way around back in ancient times. BwT Archaeology department got quite excited and geeked right out over this. Turns out you want to make your amporah near to where you fill them.

Could you direct me toward your references on this? I've just started the research/pre-writing stages of my next bigger project, writing up an Esrolian city, and this sounds like useful reading. I basically just assumed clay from the near by river(s) and stream(s) would be used.

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7 minutes ago, Crel said:

Could you direct me toward your references on this? I've just started the research/pre-writing stages of my next bigger project, writing up an Esrolian city, and this sounds like useful reading. I basically just assumed clay from the near by river(s) and stream(s) would be used.

I'll nudge our academic type for references and PM you

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6 minutes ago, Thaz said:

Firewood. I think I agree on firewood and rivers...but. Firewood. It's not like today. Axes are your primary wood cutting tool. Saws exist but only for going WITH the grain (ie making boards or long planks) NOT cross-cutting across it. So it's easier to make planks than it is to make rounds to split with an axe. So firewood is most likely sticks or longish logs rather than chopping short chunks of firewood like we see today. Turning big trees into lump wood charcoal is also efficient for making small fires as the burning breaks it down into useful sizes and smaller homes in towns and cities. 

My source for this old and ancient pyrotechnology actually claims that charcoal useful for stacking in smelting furnaces or in a kiln is best from well-sized pieces of wood. The charcoal you get for barbecue is ok for the actual smithing (at least ironsmithing) and possibly melting and casting metals, but if you have longer term closed fires, well-ordered stacking of the fuel assures good aeration and hence good continuous high temperature. I suppose that means that the lumber for charcoal would be logs from wood with five to eight inch diameter, possibly heat-treated in three meter pieces or so. Once charred, these logs are a lot easier to break into segments of maybe a meter or half that.

Unused charcoal doesn't weather much, although it may be compressed in humid soil.

Judging from the earthware funnel caps for hearthfires fairly recently unearthed in Hedeby. (designed to let a fire burn down to the embers without having to keep a fire watch all night, the hearth fire would have had a diameter of maybe two feet, which limits the length of logs fed into it considerably.

Adzes produce all manner of splinters that will burn just a little slower than kindling, but which will doubtlessly have been used either in the fire or otherwise to spread over muddy or sandy surfaces for better footing. If you burn them when wet, they are useful for smoke-curing meat or fish, but you'll want an earthware chimney to contain that smoke. Wicker with a strong coating of clay will do, too, as temperatures are just below boiling water.

 

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5 hours ago, Crel said:

Could you direct me toward your references on this? I've just started the research/pre-writing stages of my next bigger project, writing up an Esrolian city, and this sounds like useful reading. I basically just assumed clay from the near by river(s) and stream(s) would be used.

I guess it depends on your geology. If you are on the edge of Greater Darkness glaciation, you'll have access to marl and high quality clays in the morraines left by Valind's minions, and I would expect Skyreach Mountain to have had a few "productive" glaciers of its own during that time. As well as that great loess soil downwind from the edge of the glacier.

Riverine deposits of clay will form only in slow stretches of the rivers, or in the seasonal flood plains. When rivers get dammed or where they enter lakes you have a good chance at getting some riverine clay deposits. Like with loess, the presence of plants to slow the fluid will help in sedimentation.

In Nochet, the clay pits surround Meldektown, the Aeolian exclave south of the walled city and southeast of the (encroaching) Antones estates. These are likely such estuary clays.

I struggled a long time with the fact that Godtime rivers flowed uphill - if they did so, where would the sedimentation occur? Fortunately, there is an easy answer to that - the outward movement of the river tentacles was upriver, but there would have been an internal counter-stream feeding the booty from the conquest of the dry place back to the parent body of water, and excreting those parts that were of less value. Hence the riverine sediments from Godtime are hardly different from our world's geology.

Unlike masonry, chemical fingerprinting of ceramics doesn't appear to be that good for determining the origin of the material. The iron (ochre) content may exclude certain (types of) sediment near a place producing pottery, but that's probably as far as it goes.

 

Volcanic ash is rather unlikely to form clays, but it may still be an ingredient for earthwares of a more porous character. Add some glazing, and you have suitable containers.

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On 2/12/2020 at 3:48 AM, Jon Hunter said:

OK I have a theory based on observations of our own world.  Cities collect the disconnected, dissolute, broke. ambitious, misfits, outcast, ambitious, those not tied to clan or family in the way there society would probably expect them to be.  As well as the natives of the city that were raised there? Is that true of some cities, most cities or all cities?  with reference to glorantha?

While I feel sympathetic to your initial thesis, not all cities are like that IRL.  Historically, especially in Medieval Europe your model is spot on.  In more centralized civilisations that were more ordered, this was much less the case.  Certainly not everyone comes to a city because they are misfits.  Most come because they already have a job waiting for them.  Some come for education.  Some come with a supply of goods to trade.  I do note that you include the word ambitious twice, and it is true to a certain degree that any of these  people might be ambitious, but really everyone is always ambitious until they reach the limit of their competence aren't they?  I know that many people arriving at a city to be educated, for example, are less ambitious and more intimidated.  

Ancient cities form in 2 main ways.

Firstly as an outgrowth of trade.  The city either has a resource or exists on a trade nexus between 2 or more major tradeable resources.  These won't be common items like wood or clay, but high value resources like gems, or furs, or feathers, or metals etc.  Pavis and its cradles would be an example of this.  IRL, a good example of this would be the cities of the Silk Road.

Secondly there are cities formed as an outgrowth of power.  These cities start primarily as intentional encampments (religious or military primarily) that are close to the resources necessary to put down roots, like a reliable water supply, a food supply etc, then consider availability of other resources.  Most Gloranthan cities in Genertela formed this way it seems, but Sun Dome temples seem to be a particularly obvious example.  IRL one might point to the 70 odd Alexandrias that Alexander the Great founded to exert power across his new empire.

It is likely that urbanization begins as the hunting range of nomadic hunter gatherer societies begins to become constricted by population growth, and thus having learned of seeds, people begin to cultivate seeds, leading to a localised settlement that will slowly grow over time.  Essentially hunter gatherers became victims of their own success, and their laid back, low time intensive lifestyle became increasingly difficult due to overuse of resources as populations grew.

In Glorantha, cities form for different reasons, but primarily for trade.  In history, one of the things that defined the status of a settlement was how many market days a place had.  Villages would have markets only rarely, and mainly these would be country fairs.  Towns would have some shops that were open for trade every day, but would have a primary weekly trading day.  Cities however served as permanent market sites.

Now if you have a city that is founded by a religion, it is likely to be heavily regulated and the religious authorities are going to be all-important, with literal power of life and death.  This is no place for misfits, who will rapidly form part of the out-group of sinners and be dealt with unless they learn to conform in a hurry.

Military settlements will be less harsh, as they attracts camp followers that provide goods and services to the troops, and while there will be times when the camp commanders decide that discipline is too lax and chase out the camp followers, this won't happen often once an encampment has become a permanent military settlement, but by the same token, the camp followers will also turn into shop owners and begin to organize to protect their rights.

The great place for misfits will be the trade hubs, and the larger the city the better the opportunities.  There are relatively few cities in Glorantha that are large enough to maintain a major criminal culture, but that is one possible outgrowth of misfits in a settlement.  Major cities like Nochet will also have a network of nearby settlements, such as smaller cities, towns and villages that all serve as a collection system for the resources that the major city needs, and all the peripheral settlements will be providing for the "super"-market that the major city represents.  Thus if criminal misfits want a foothold in the major city, they may need to gain control of one or more of the "feeder systems" so they can extort or otherwise exploit it.  In trade hubs, there is much more acceptance of deals being made and broken fast-and-loose based on availability, and with fancy footwork and a glib tongue it is possible for a middleman to make a fortune.  This is prime misfit territory.  This is all the more likely if there is also a high risk high profit industry nearby.

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6 hours ago, Darius West said:

  I do note that you include the word ambitious twice, and it is true to a certain degree that any of these  people might be ambitious, but really everyone is always ambitious until they reach the limit of their competence aren't they? by.

Don't read to much into things like that....   maybe a mistake

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