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Non-dwarven mining and quarrying?


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Is mining and quarrying the exclusive province of the dwarves? I've looked through my pdfs and can find almost no mentions of it, though obviously the many metals, gems, and stone needed for all sorts of things must come from somewhere. But I don't remember seeing mines or quarries on maps, or reading that mining or quarrying was part of a clan or tribe's economy. Is it a sacred process that only dwarves are allowed to do (i.e. Mostal is to mining what Dormal is to seafaring)? I would assume at the least that elves mine copper and trolls mine lead, since they aren't getting that from dwarves! But how about humans?

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No, there are human mines too. The Salt Mines of the Big Rubble are detailed in Pavis: Gateway to Adventure. Humans mine the halite in daylight, trolls at night. 

A quick search for mines in The Guide to Glorantha shows there are all sorts of mines in all sorts of places. 

Edited by AndrewTBP
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Thought these were interesting. From The Guide to Glorantha.

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Copper Caves: These caves are the entrance of what was an extensive dwarf mine in the God Time. The Praxians avoid this place, claiming it is haunted by Mostali ghosts.

page 447

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Saresangk: Long ago this was a dwarf colony,but it is now mined by slaves from Ilkarnet. Large quantities of gold and lapis lazuli are extracted until the demons that still inhabit Saresangk awaken and kill all the miners. The mandarins of Ilkarnet then wait for the demons to rest again and send new slaves to continue mining. They have done this for over a century.

page 290

This seems to be a recurring theme in a few other mines as well, you are not alone in the dark. Hope you got lots of lamp oil!

 

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8 hours ago, AndrewTBP said:

A quick search for mines in The Guide to Glorantha shows there are all sorts of mines in all sorts of places.

I'm only seeing a handful of non-Dwarf mines and no quarries. Nothing in Dragon Pass, for instance.

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I suspect most Gloranthan mines worked by non-Mostali are shallow open-pit mines worked until the godbone runs out and then abandoned or run on a small scale. 

Historically, mining was brutal, deadly work that generally required either compelled labor or desperate people, so it's not surprising that our sources tend to not center it, compared to the relatively pleasant grinding struggle of subsistence agriculture. 

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9 hours ago, Eff said:

I suspect most Gloranthan mines worked by non-Mostali are shallow open-pit mines worked until the godbone runs out and then abandoned or run on a small scale. 

....which probably makes for some cool places to have NPCs and enemies, such as a bandit settlement, a hole that Chaos comes out of, a temporary base for Tusk Riders, and so on...

9 hours ago, Eff said:

Historically, mining was brutal, deadly work that generally required either compelled labor or desperate people, so it's not surprising that our sources tend to not center it, compared to the relatively pleasant grinding struggle of subsistence agriculture. 

The thing that surprised me more was not so much the lack of information on mines in or near Dragon Pass, but the lack of information on resource acquisition/trade routes/etc. We have kingdoms at war but, apparently, when you have a giant Chaotic Bat shaped hammer, everything looks like bat food nails... the Lunars don't seem interested in doing much more than sending Terrors across the land, and making it rain meteors. I think even Jeff mentioned that the Lunar infantry and cavalry are pretty small and lazy because their magics are so strong... but after the Dragonrise, one might think they would wise up a bit and start cutting off supplies to Sartar? It's hard to raise an army if you don't have any bronze to make the weapons and armours. Especially if most mines in Dragon Pass have been tapped out and Sartarites have to import these materials through Beast Valley or the Holy Country or something.

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5 hours ago, lordabdul said:

The thing that surprised me more was not so much the lack of information on mines in or near Dragon Pass, but the lack of information on resource acquisition/trade routes/etc.

Yeah, I think there are great opportunities for someone to write about the economics of Dragon Pass and Glorantha. The original writings were focused on spiritual and military, RQG has amplified the deep social aspects of the world, the time is ripe to flesh out the economics.

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10 hours ago, lordabdul said:

The thing that surprised me more was not so much the lack of information on mines in or near Dragon Pass, but the lack of information on resource acquisition/trade routes/etc.

That kind of things isn't much fun for a lot of gamers.

Some people like to know that kind of thing, but a lot of people aren't interested.

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5 hours ago, soltakss said:

That kind of things isn't much fun for a lot of gamers.

Some people like to know that kind of thing, but a lot of people aren't interested.

It depends on your gamers, of course. But economics has already been introduced in RQG on a micro scale with occupations, cost of living, hides, harvest rolls, etc. If they want to play within the kind of social structure that RQG introduces and encourages, then economics is going to come with it. My players are trying to develop Apple Lane, encourage another clan to defect to their tribe, fund a new shrine, navigate between competing interests of their tribe and clan, and figure out how to get to an important artifact buried in a cave-in. All of these have economic implications and require me to give them answers to questions about how things are done in Sartar. If your adventurers are more of the wandering adventurer type, then certainly they couldn't care less about these things.

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8 hours ago, soltakss said:

Some people like to know that kind of thing, but a lot of people aren't interested.

...including the designers themselves :)   (I had asked about it in the "Glorantha Lore" thread and the fact that Jeff didn't reply implicitly means that he's not interested in that aspect of Glorantha indeed!)

I myself am not interested in it per se, but I'm interested in it for the adventure and story opportunities it opens. If tribes have to protect ore shipments from nearby quarries, secure agreements with whoever controls the mine (potentially outbidding other tribes), reach out far away to get an influx of raw materials (or even already manufactured goods) while ramping up for war, and so on... that creates many opportunities for adventuring! And, more importantly, these opportunities are not just for the warrior-type PCs, but also for the Issaries merchants who do the trade negotiations, the Lhankor Mhy scribes who keep an eye on the numbers, and the thanes who want to do a bit more non-combat stuff.

And before someone says "You can make it up yourself! YGWV!", I will indeed make it myself, but I'm lazy (I'm French and half-black) so I hoped someone else (preferably the original authors) had done at least some of the work of figuring out where the mines are, who owns them, and where the shipment routes go ;) 

Edited by lordabdul
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I did work a little bit recently on some of the economics of an Orlanthi clan in Sartar, but it's fairly dry (starts with "assume a clan that grows nothing but barley across its 200 hides of land" and then goes into assumed kilocalorie needs per day) and very unfinished even in dealing with an ideal clan, let alone dealing with tribes, cities, confederations, kingdoms, and empires. 

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20 hours ago, lordabdul said:

The thing that surprised me more was not so much the lack of information on mines in or near Dragon Pass, but the lack of information on resource acquisition/trade routes/etc. We have kingdoms at war but...

Silly, silly man.  Epic, mythic conflict has little or nothing to do with economics and logistics.  Clearly.  That business is for boardgamers and grognards.

!i!

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49 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

Silly, silly man.  Epic, mythic conflict has little or nothing to do with economics and logistics.  Clearly.  That business is for boardgamers and grognards.

I know you're always half joking but I made it clear in my latest message that my remark wasn't for simulating economics and logistics (I'm far from being a boardgamer or grognard, trust me). Instead, it was for opening up possibilities of roleplaying and adventuring for non-combat PCs. One of the things that often fascinates me about ancient epic warfare (and modern too, for that matter) is how "business as usual" is affected (or not), how mundane lives change (or not), and so on. Which is probably why I liked the premise of the Red Cow campaign.

Edited by lordabdul
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A few thoughts on mining in Dragon Pass:

1.  The existence of smiths with magical powers (Gustbran initiates, etc) likely means a fair amount of metal is recycled from broken weapons and tools in ways not possible in the real world.

2.  Some clans may live in the mountains and make their living by mining and trading ore.

3.  Trolls likely trade some metals for things more tasty to eat.  

4.  Most farming clans can work metal but have to trade for it, having used up any easily mined metals on their lands long ago.

5.  During the occupation, the Lunars likely use slave labor to mine in the Quivini Mountains and then process the ore in Boldhome.

6.  Ernalda-related cults would have magic to find various kinds of ore and likely heroquests which let you find a lode on your lands if they work.

7.  Esrolia probably imports a lot of copper; it's mostly flat land (I think) and the Earth cults need lots of it.  

Adventure Seeds:

  • The bones of those slaughtered in the Dragonkill have turned into some kind of metal - a special metal, or maybe just the usual ones.  The Lunars are now mining it because they can handle the many angry ghosts at those sites.  
  • The Earthshaker Temple needs copper and is shaking down mining clans for it with threats of earthquakes.
  • Gold is being mined by slaves and shipped to Peloria for the solar folk to use; let's free some slaves and liberate the precious metal!
  • Raiders made off with the clan's metal supply - now the blacksmith can't make weapons or tools.  Time for a roadtrip to one of the cities to trade for metals.
  • A special Heler ceremony requires getting a lot of silver (That's the water metal, right?), but the clan/tribe doesn't want to wipe out all its coin/jewelry wealth.  But there's an abandoned silver mine; if you can clear it out and then collect some ore, everyone wins, save the monsters in it.  No one liked them anyway.
  • Dwarves show up with a contract in which your ancestors agreed to present them with 1 ton of bronze at the start of the next season.  Otherwise, they can take all your tools and weapons.  You need to get some bronze FAST.

 

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I think one of the reasons the topic is more and less ignored is that those who like to twiddle with such stuff (me frex) realises soon that all the basic assumptions in economic and logistics modeling ... is not applicable.

For instance, if you do such stuff in ... say a very popular level based rpg, you can externalize magic and  say it is a special case that may apply bonus/malus to stuff. The model creaks and lists a bit, but it still feels relevant, because it is essentially feudal Western Europe with magic tucked on. Glorantha ... isn’t.

In order to model it you need to invent so many new tools, and test them and evaluate the implications and ... and ... and.

It is the same reason statistical black-box models usually works better than physical correct mass flow models in biological system modeling. We just don’t know enough about the mechanics, and there is too many non-linear parameters and feed back loops too include them all to get it even slightly correct.

On a low level you can do it, a clan level economic is probably describable and possible to model in a way it not feels too strange (see King of Dragon Pass computer game for one excellent example).

But on a “national” level ... it would be a huge undertaking and demand a lot of understanding of and inspiration to Glorantha. If Greg had shoehorned in a PhD in economics and logistics somewhere in the curriculum we would probably had it easier to build on something. Now I think hand-waving-black-box modeling is the only realistic way to go. All other kinds of models would have a difficult time to find a large base of players accepting for it to be relevant.

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I think @Hteph is correct, and moreover, based on the numerous threads about "if Sartarites can do [x] with POW why don't they just [insert munchkin strategy that spirals wildly out of control]" 

It's kind of the same with economics in this case. If you try to quantify the economic output of Sartar, or its raw materials supply system, someone is INEVITABLY going to come along, having done the numbers, and go "well, why don't they just [insert ludicrous consequence of getting the initial economic numbers somewhat wrong, or by implementing synergy with magic]." 

My personal, general, response to these kinds of things is to point out that your average person is never going to have "optimal" strategies, due to practical and cultural constraints. Ie. your average Sartarite cottar is unlikely to strategize keeping their POW topped off, or is unlikely to have an incredibly detailed, long-term budget meant for reinvestments, or to come up, or feel comfortable with, using cult secrets along anything that might give them an edge. 

This is somewhat true to real life. Medieval Europe had a taboo against taking interest on loans even though that would have led to more economic development, and there was no concept of a limited company that could insulate consequences from the investors. And the idea of discrete, individual coffers was less conceived of than today, with the fortune of one family member usually coming to obligations to support their relatives (which means long-term investments and savings is a lot more difficult). Granted, it's not quite the same, but you get the point. 

Simply put, there's never going to be a non-exploitable write-up of economy or raw materials in Glorantha that has any level of detail to it, and so you either have to drop the optimization attitude when applying that to in-universe cultures, or you have to limit yourself to resources-as-plot-devices, imho. 

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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As with so many things Gloranthan, I think the key is to look at the magics available to the people.

Maran (Gor or otherwise) is excellent for exposing new seams for open-cast mining.  Swems and other earth-borers (Uz or Hsunchen) can find and retrieve isolated nodules.  Lodril and some of the Sons and Servants seem perfectly suited, and in the east the Earth Eater offers a likely candidate.  Aldryami who speed a plant's growth can disrupt rock with fast-growing roots.

Etc, etc to your heart's content, and your varying Glorantha...  😁

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3 hours ago, Ali the Helering said:

Aldryami who speed a plant's growth can disrupt rock with fast-growing roots.

Love it. IMG they're highly efficient phytominers. When you want a little copper, plant "copper tree" seeds that metabolize the metal, accelerate the growth and collect the fruit. 

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On 10/30/2020 at 2:30 AM, soltakss said:

That kind of things isn't much fun for a lot of gamers.

Some people like to know that kind of thing, but a lot of people aren't interested.

Yeah, man!

I mean, if only (back in the day) someone had thought to fictionalize the Travels of some trader-guy, and his consequent adventures.  It'd be a Bit of impetus -- and it Varies, of course -- for folks who thought this sort of thing could work.

Alas for lost opportunities, don't you think?

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All subterranean peoples of Glorantha are miners in some sense. The Mostali are the most obvious, but the Uz are miners as well, extracting rich layers or seams of minerals that satiate some of their more sophisticated rock gizzard enjoyment.

Any form of sedimentary rock holds quite a bit of nourishment for the mineral cuisine of the trolls, and various forms of igneous or metamorph rocks have veins rich in ores or metals sought after by man, dwarf or troll alike. Mostali include minerals in their diet, much like trolls, but also share the search for raw material for their metallurgy with humans.

We know of other species with smiths, like the slarges of Tarien, or the at least partially subterraneous lesser Antigod races of the East. The Elder Giants created items of metal (and other materials) for their giant cradles, indicating a technological sophistication shared with some individuals of lesser giant races (like the enthralled giant smith in Red Cow village).

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I suspect most Gloranthan mines worked by non-Mostali are shallow open-pit mines worked until the godbone runs out and then abandoned or run on a small scale. 

That's one way to do it - disturbing the resting sites of dead gods, or at least where pieces chopped off of deities ended up being buried by dirt and other things. Another way is panning for metals (any metal but sea-metal) from riverine deposits.

 

The silver mines in the foothills of the Stormwalk Mountains in Heortland are quite likely following veins of the metal into clefts and caves, and man-made tunnels into those rocks. The geology there starts with limestone but has tectonics beneath those layers - whether from Larnste stomping on Krarsht or from the sons of Veskarthen pushing up the surface from below to create their own peaks. Many of them not fire mountains, much like Quivin.

 

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Historically, mining was brutal, deadly work that generally required either compelled labor or desperate people, so it's not surprising that our sources tend to not center it, compared to the relatively pleasant grinding struggle of subsistence agriculture. 

Depends on the where and when. A lot of mediaeval European mining was done by highly specialized folk who admittedly had somewhat shorter life expectance than farmers, but way better than fishermen on the ocean shores. And that specialization was already found at the Hallstatt salt mines which gave the name to the late (local) Bronze Age/early Iron Age culture of continental Celtic speaking people which is such a good source for the Orlanthi in just about any aspect other than their ability to fly.

Mining is brutal only if the local bosses are brutal. Quite often, miners were granted a broad range of privileges way beyond those of the nearby (at best semi-free) farmers would have, as an incentive to move into the region. Taxing the miners made little sense when putting tariffs on the traders moving the stuff would tax every ounce of ore produced.

Any mining requires a steady supply of foodstuff to the miners. In that regard, the miners were the same kind of drain on any regional manager (lord) as were standing military forces.

 

17 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I think Joerg is correct,

I can hardly disagree with this, but I note that I haven't contributed to this thread yet... There have been other threads on mining and smelting, though, where I did write a few short sentences, and possibly more long ones.

 

 

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Simply put, there's never going to be a non-exploitable write-up of economy or raw materials in Glorantha that has any level of detail to it, and so you either have to drop the optimization attitude when applying that to in-universe cultures, or you have to limit yourself to resources-as-plot-devices, imho. 

Economy is exploitable. Full stop. More often than not, regulations control that exploitation, having been dictated by some power. We have clay tablet long distance correspondence from the first Assyrian Empire which proves that people were avoiding tariffs and taxes, and were punished in rather lenient terms compared to the Codex of Hammurabi, with the next generation continuing this side-stepping of customs etc.

These pieces of correspondence show us that not all Bronze Age trade was managed as "diplomatic gifts" between distant rulers, exchanging easily portable exotic wealth with one another.

Far trading margins were fantastic when there was some sort of natural or enforced monopoly on certain wares or markets. The Hanseatic League had full control over the Baltic Sea trade after cowing Denmark, besieging Stockholm and driving out the Likedeeler pirates with the help of the (mostly English) Teutonic Knights, until (ironically) English gentleman adventurers broke their monopoly with the tacit accomplicehood of the Danish kings. The Dutch "East India" company had a virtual monopoly on the production places of cloves and nutmeg, an economic benefit that allowed them to hold out against Spanish mercenaries paid with American colonial gold for 80 years with mercenaries of their own.

More recent Real World cases of breaking monopolies were rubber, coffee and cocoa spread to new areas of cultivation.

 

Glorantha has similar cases. The Middle Sea Empire imported not just the tea leaves but tea cultivation into their homelands, with Seshnela still continuing that while the cultivates in Jrustela may have gone feral, or semi-feral with timinits cultivating them somewhat. The Vadeli colonies may have picked up some abandoned plantations and put them back into operation.

Maybe the Goddess Switch was a symptom of such transplantation of cultivates as well as the theological experiment. Earlier, the Jrustelan colonies experienced great success with importing new crops alongside the associated grain goddesses.

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35 minutes ago, Joerg said:
18 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I think Joerg is correct,

I can hardly disagree with this, but I note that I haven't contributed to this thread yet... There have been other threads on mining and smelting, though, where I did write a few short sentences, and possibly more long ones.

 

I was going to say... so obviously Sir_Godspeed is not ruled by the Great Compromise and he scoffs at time!

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45 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The silver mines in the foothills of the Stormwalk Mountains in Heortland

Interestingly enough, having Sartarite clans obtain most of their bronze and other ores from Heortland (along with whatever still active mines there are in Dragon Pass) would solve a lot of problems: these are trade routes that are quite far enough that the Lunars couldn't really disrupt them except for the short time they had control over the Holy Country (and so we can ignore this whole topic for most of the Lunar occupation and subsequent Hero Wars, and go back to having fun with heroquests and powerful magics and giant bats). Plus, it kinda makes sense since the people of Sartar and Heortland have some shared history and culture.

Of course, the other nice thing is that any adventure that uses these trade routes is a good excuse for the PCs to go south, which is a good change of pace from the usual Sartarite-adjacent stomping grounds... and brings them near the Ludochs, which I know you like :) .

Edited by lordabdul
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7 hours ago, Joerg said:

I can hardly disagree with this, but I note that I haven't contributed to this thread yet... There have been other threads on mining and smelting, though, where I did write a few short sentences, and possibly more long ones.

 

Not sure why I mistook @Hteph for you, I must've been very tired. Fixed it, anyhow.

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12 hours ago, g33k said:

Yeah, man!

I mean, if only (back in the day) someone had thought to fictionalize the Travels of some trader-guy, and his consequent adventures.  It'd be a Bit of impetus -- and it Varies, of course -- for folks who thought this sort of thing could work.

Alas for lost opportunities, don't you think?

I have not included myself in the "lot of gamers", of course. I love this kind of thing.

The people at Chaosium know what sells well and what to focus on.

I'd love to see this kind of thing in the Jonstown Compendium.

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