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33 minutes ago, Darius West said:

There is only one thing you need to know.  Do the Aeolian Cataphracts still ride around with form/set lightning lances?  Shock cavalry ftw.

One might use Thunderstone-tipped lances in this way...

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Backford (small city): Also called Salt Town, the inhabitants thrive from the collection of salt from the Syphon River. Salt from Backford is exported to Dragon Pass. The city is surrounded by stout w

Guys, this is the best, I feel like I am reliving my 1990's RuneQuest but with more and better detail. The Heortland map is great, I have a copy of How the West Was Won and will need to reread it this

That material was from my 1994 website. I had been exploring a possible RQ3 version of the Aeolian Church and Heortland 1616 was where and when I set my first Glorantha game. Nick Brooke and his work

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Scorpionman Meat - So based on the Tradetalk 12 Saronil Whiteteeth in Chaoswood "It squirmed and struggled as huge chunks of fluffy white meat were removed from its tail, dipped in the butter and served to the matriarchs." Trolls like scorpionman tail... maybe an interesting trade opportunity here? Evidently the trolls digestive track keeps them from being tainted with chaos? The silk trade to larger Holy Country cities from the troll spiders along with salt and fish from the river to Sundome are really developable for Backford to me.

Are there any references to a player character developing an immunity to scorpionman poison? I know its a stretch but if they will be fighting them a lot over the course of the campaign it may come up.

Also, Stonewood would be for very high level PC's if and when I could develop that further, besides a quick dash and grab for novelties which would be perilous of course to hinder regular moves in that direction for trade.

Backford Wharf - Regarding Backford (I don't know enough about the magical bridges but will read up more) I am curious about a wharf. If there was one there, what form would it take? Pretend maybe the Erol deepened the riverbed and slightly constricted its flow with maybe a crude spillway? I need more research here for sure... but wanted your thoughts on an appropriate wharf, maybe just beach the merchant craft?

Thanks again in advance for any input ~ thoughts.

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1 hour ago, Erol of Backford said:

Scorpionman Meat - So based on the Tradetalk 12 Saronil Whiteteeth in Chaoswood "It squirmed and struggled as huge chunks of fluffy white meat were removed from its tail, dipped in the butter and served to the matriarchs." Trolls like scorpionman tail... maybe an interesting trade opportunity here? Evidently the trolls digestive track keeps them from being tainted with chaos? The silk trade to larger Holy Country cities from the troll spiders along with salt and fish from the river to Sundome are really developable for Backford to me.

The Trollwood trolls have way too good access to scorpionmen swarming out of the Foulblood Forest, up the slopes and into their territory. They would be the natural middlemen, and are known worshipers of Argan Argar.

I have no idea how well scorpionman meat in carapaces will keep, or what fermentation method the trolls might want to use to make it travel. Salting the tails might do the trick. So, salt to the Troll Woods... trade established.

 

1 hour ago, Erol of Backford said:

Are there any references to a player character developing an immunity to scorpionman poison? I know its a stretch but if they will be fighting them a lot over the course of the campaign it may come up.

I haven't seen any rules for developing an immunity against venoms or poisons - this isn't Nethack. I know that the Nordic people develop an immunity against mosquito venom over the years, but personally I got unlucky, attracted a massive infection and inflammation from a mosquito bite in the ankle after a full year in Norway, and have developed a very strong immune reaction against mosquito stings which leads to inflammations.

 

1 hour ago, Erol of Backford said:

Backford Wharf - Regarding Backford (I don't know enough about the magical bridges but will read up more) I am curious about a wharf. If there was one there, what form would it take? Pretend maybe the Erol deepened the riverbed and slightly constricted its flow with maybe a crude spillway? I need more research here for sure... but wanted your thoughts on an appropriate wharf, maybe just beach the merchant craft?

In analogy to the Nochet transit from the Fish Road to the market in a temple, I expect the Backford temple that allows to enter the Fish Road there to be on the shore of the Syphon, with some architecture allowing the Syphon into the sanctified area. Right next to that, a little bit downriver - towards the Choralinthor Bay -  there should be a place with reasonably deep water where middle sized craft should be able to arrive.

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6 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

So based on the Tradetalk 12 Saronil Whiteteeth in Chaoswood "It squirmed and struggled as huge chunks of fluffy white meat were removed from its tail, dipped in the butter and served to the matriarchs." Trolls like scorpionman tail... maybe an interesting trade opportunity here?

Ah, so that's where that idea comes from!  We may not end up seeing that in canonical form, but it would suggest why there seem to be fewer raids by Gagix to the north.

6 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Are there any references to a player character developing an immunity to scorpionman poison? I know its a stretch but if they will be fighting them a lot over the course of the campaign it may come up.

No, not to my knowledge, but you could certainly establish that each time a PC successfully resists scorpion venom, then they develop some immunity/tolerance to it.  Add +1 effective CON in resisting up to a maximum of perhaps 1/2 their CON? 

A couple notes:  1) there is some precedence with the Humakti gift: +4 to effective CON against disease or poison; 2) if you want to improve resistance to poison, get the Vigor spell from your local Ernalda temple!  I learned this technique recently from one of the PC's in one of my campaigns where they got stung by a scorpionman and immediately cast Vigor - it worked!

6 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Backford Wharf - Regarding Backford (I don't know enough about the magical bridges but will read up more) I am curious about a wharf. If there was one there, what form would it take? Pretend maybe the Erol deepened the riverbed and slightly constricted its flow with maybe a crude spillway? I need more research here for sure... but wanted your thoughts on an appropriate wharf, maybe just beach the merchant craft?

I'm thinking that a natural solution re: ford/bridge may be that there is a long 'causeway' or ledge of rock that is the ford.  The Syphon runs up and over this 'dam' at a point where the banks widen, and thus the river spreads out sufficiently that travelers can cross this ford, but do get their feet wet (bad for boots and leather, I suppose, with the salt).  Long ropes might be used on days when the tides and water are high or in flood to guide ferries.

I think any "spillway" would mark the Fish Road itself.  With a long rock ledge/dam, and often lower water across it, that will be more challenging for the water-breathers, so an intersection of the Fish Road with the ford is the longest point where water-breathers may be regularly exposed or vulnerable to air (whereas it is outbound or inbound along the river that is more at issue for air-breathers who want to travel the Fish Road).  But perhaps a gradual slope/rise up to the ledge allows not only fish to head inbound, but its easier to maneuver wagons into the Fish Road.

Wharfs likely to either side of the ford on the south side (Backford proper is south of the Syphon). 

The big question though is whether the Syphon is actually navigable for any merchant craft?  The main Heortland ports are Karse and Leskos/Durengard (with Durengard as the trade center).  Though the Syphon has much less elevation change, my guess is that while you might ride the tide in to Backford, you'd have a hell of a time getting your boat back out to the Bay - the tide, the current, and the wind are all against you.  And this is a main reason why Backford cannot really replace either Karse or Leskos/Durengard as a Heortland port.  Now, that's not to say you couldn't take a wild ride inbound on the Syphon - and maybe the Wolf Pirates do so? - but my guess is that it's small fishing boats that come in with the tide, and then take the Fish Road back out (with plenty of prayers and offerings to the Syphon to pass successfully).

4 hours ago, Joerg said:

I expect the Backford temple that allows to enter the Fish Road there to be on the shore of the Syphon, with some architecture allowing the Syphon into the sanctified area. Right next to that, a little bit downriver - towards the Choralinthor Bay -  there should be a place with reasonably deep water where middle sized craft should be able to arrive.

I think location for the Fish Road temple makes sense.  But I'm not convinced that there's good deep water passage here for middle-sized craft.  Otherwise Backford might well rival Leskos/Durengard as a port being right on the Heortland Road.  And there are no indications that it does. 

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Dried shrimp are shrimp that have been sun-dried and shrunk to a thumbnail size. They are used in many East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian cuisines, imparting a unique umami taste. Umami, which is also known as monosodium glutamate is one of the core fifth tastes including sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Umami means “essence of deliciousness” in Japanese, and its taste is often described as the meaty, savory deliciousness that deepens flavor. How would you say “essence of deliciousness” in Uz? This cracks me up!

A handful of shrimp is generally used for dishes. The flavors of this ingredient are released when allowed to simmer. Dried shrimp was introduced to the American South in the 18th-century colonial period, by thriving Filipino fishers in Saint Malo, which was located in present-day St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, on the shore of Lake Borgne, until 1915. In south Louisiana, dried shrimp are often added by Cajun cooks to gumbo, to add an intense salty flavor. They can also be eaten as a snack by themselves, and can be commonly found in snack-size portions in south Louisiana's stores.

Simple enough, change "shrimp" to scorpionman meat and change "Asian" to Genertela. "Cajun" would be Troll and the menu in Troll Pack could have scorpionman gumbo when in season. Too funny. 

Additionally, from what I read scorpionmen mate during spring and summer then give birth several months later to LIVE babies, called “scorplingmen.” There could be some interesting sample gathering ventures into the Footprint to get the babies. Does Bagog figure out a way to generate "herd fertility", a gruesome thought... Maybe that is what allows Bagog's ability to have her minions overrun Backford? Maybe one venture into the Footprint would be to snatch scorplings? If only Bagog can generate infants than this becomes a heroic task either way its creepy stuff!

I don't know what Nethack is...

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I meant Gagix, was reading in the Cuts Book when I was typing...

I like the Vigor spell idea and the thought on log term resistance to poison if it ever comes up.

The causeway fits well enough for me, I'll use that. In order to get to and from maybe there is a tow-path along the Syphon to get boats back to Mirrorsea as I don't think everyone could use the Fish Road? (I will need to read up on the Fish Road.) Funny to think they are being towed downhill! I'll also need to develop the small town that is about 28 miles west of Backford, the Runequest Campanian shows one there but no name is given likely as its under the 1000 population mark. I'll assume a small wharf there to transfer Backford goods to seagoing craft? I'd say based on the discussions here that only low draft canal boats could make it to Backford unless the river were flooding and that would be wild and dangerous without magical ~ elemental assistance.

I like how this is shaping up, again thanks to all of you for the input.

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12 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

Additionally, from what I read scorpionmen mate during spring and summer then give birth several months later to LIVE babies, called “scorplingmen.” There could be some interesting sample gathering ventures into the Footprint to get the babies. Does Bagog figure out a way to generate "herd fertility", a gruesome thought... Maybe that is what allows Bagog's ability to have her minions overrun Backford? Maybe one venture into the Footprint would be to snatch scorplings? If only Bagog can generate infants than this becomes a heroic task either way its creepy stuff!

That's not quite correct (don't recall where that variant popped up).  As noted in the Bestiary p.104: They live in small villages, each containing a single Scorpion Queen who continuously spawns masses of glutinous eggs. In every hatching are many males and a few females. The females live a subservient, secluded life until the Queen dies, or a new village is founded.

Except, in the Footprint, there is only ONE Queen, Gagix, and she lays all the eggs! 

The preference is to use the Ritual of Rebirth (see RQ Classic Cults of Terror - s/b same in upcoming Gods of Glorantha):  During the spell’s duration, any prisoner eaten by the Queen will be laid in an egg at the conclusion of the spell. One season after the devouring, the egg will hatch and the being or beings devoured under the spell will be reborn as one of the scorpion races. The upper torso and head will remain identical to the one devoured; the lower body will now be that of a scorpion.

Basically, the scorpionmen need to bring back food for Gagix' regular rituals (don't think there's any seasonality to this particularly).  She eats the victims, lays the eggs, and then you get the hatchlings a season later. 

And Gagix is a huge, bloated scorpion queen (she previously devoured three rival queens and gained all their knowledge/lore/magic).  She is a heroquest level opponent.

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Sorry if I mislead. I was thinking maybe Gagix allowed some other females to also reproduce to increase reproduction. The idea that she increases output is the same result. I wasn't quoting Runequest but typical scorpion reproduction with scorpionman replacing scorpion. It sounded simple enough. Will just assume Gagix increases her offspring output to the numbers allowing reconnoiter of Bullpen and Backord and eventual overrun. This would be more than 20 years after the start of this campaign being generated. I love this level of detail, it really allows the players to better imagine their surroundings and solidifies reasons for being in a place. No thought to deal with Gagix, no one in my campaign will have a Heroquest Super Bowl ring! Thanks again.

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7 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

In order to get to and from maybe there is a tow-path along the Syphon to get boats back to Mirrorsea as I don't think everyone could use the Fish Road? (I will need to read up on the Fish Road.) Funny to think they are being towed downhill! I'll also need to develop the small town that is about 28 miles west of Backford, the Runequest Campanian shows one there but no name is given likely as its under the 1000 population mark.

Yes, a tow-path is a potential option.  Whether the Syphon likes that or not may be another question.... 

Not much to read up on the Fish Roads - think it's all in the Guide.  Basically they are "roads" through the water that allow passage for both water- and air-breathers equally so that neither is "out of their element".  They are quite long.  Whether they are holding up following Belintar's demise is another question.

As for the small town on the small fjord, you probably mean Sklar (which is not on the Syphon).  It's one of the primary ship-building centers in the Holy Country (IIRC some of Greg's old maps name it "Fleet" since that is what it builds) - the other primary ship-building center is Diros Island at Nochet.

image.png.3732eda40bf34d9822250dbad417c4c5.png

However, if you're looking for a small town (albeit on the opposite bank) that is towards the Bay from Backford, there is one called Milran (this map from King of Sartar).

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Milran is the site of a battle in 1624 when Broyan, Argrath, and probably Harrek, return to Heortland after the victory at Pennel Ford in Esrolia and defeat the remaining Lunar army units there.  It's not quite to the Sound but getting closer. 

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Oh, I wasn't looking for it but there is a good bit on Scorpionmen in Resolutions - Chaos. Outside of Rebirth it seems eggs are lain in Storm and hatch by end of Sea. It talks a bit about allied spirits in giant scorpions which is a bit scary. Looks like I'll need to reread Snakepipe Hollow as I recall there is a nice band of scorpionmen in there...

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2 hours ago, jajagappa said:

I think location for the Fish Road temple makes sense.  But I'm not convinced that there's good deep water passage here for middle-sized craft.  Otherwise Backford might well rival Leskos/Durengard as a port being right on the Heortland Road.  And there are no indications that it does. 

Both Durengard and Jansholm have similar access from the Bay, on much tamer estuaries. There is little hinterland to Backford that makes that city the better entryway.

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13 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Are there any references to a player character developing an immunity to scorpionman poison?

Yes, it is called death: Permanent immunity to any poisons. More seriously, as Jajagappa said, Humakt's gift. His idea of gaining CON just for resisting specific disease or poison is good.

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Yes Jaja, it was Sklar, I couldn't find it. The maps I have show Midrue between Backford and Jansholm.

I am looking for anything on that area. I sent jeffjerwin a note as he seemed to have developed quite a bit by the looks of his posted Volsaxiland's map.

I realize the canal boat its 1800's modern (the canal boat) but it would be interesting pulling the boats back to Sklar or a wharf near there, possibly a tow-path gets developed over time? Someone would have to make the tow-path or develop it. Maybe Backford sponsors some Dwarves to build, anybody rent gnomes for excavation purposes? Likely too costly with Dwarven labor... 

1113226337_MulePowerCanalBoat.PNG.10ea377753f9f55a737eb5cc87db96c1.PNG

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36 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

I realize the canal boat its 1800's modern (the canal boat) but it would be interesting pulling the boats back to Sklar or a wharf near there

Sklar is on a different, smaller, sound though without any major rivers (just waterfalls off the cliffs above).  It is not on the Syphon, so really no reason to bring (or be able to bring) tow lines there.  Sklar's little bay is all about fleet-building (or was). 

Bear in mind that the cliffs of Heortland are high - 300m in most places.  The river outflows are like great gorges and probably don't have much in the way of banks until further inland.  This is why Karse is so prominent in trade as its a natural harbor, and there is no high cliff blocking access up into Volsaxiland (the Marzeel vale is by far the easiest passage for trade).  Similarly Leskos is out below the plateau along a fairly sheltered section of its sound, so convenient for larger merchant ships to offload and then have cargo ported upriver to Durengard by mule and wagon trail (or via smaller boats working upriver). 

That noted, the south bank of the Syphon may offer enough room for a possible tow-path to bring boats back towards the bay (can't really say "downriver" in the case of the Syphon!).  Not sure about the currents in the Fish Road within the Syphon and whether or not they provide any possible route back to the bay.  That may be something of a one-way trek.

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Good points on the cliffs being so high and the minimal width for possible path... looks like a potential survey of the south side is in order but am thinking now that any trade would have to be developed greatly, salt, silk, fish before there is reason to come back down the river to the bay, sounds so strange saying that. Thanks again.

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5 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Bear in mind that the cliffs of Heortland are high - 300m in most places.  The river outflows are like great gorges and probably don't have much in the way of banks until further inland.  This is why Karse is so prominent in trade as its a natural harbor, and there is no high cliff blocking access up into Volsaxiland (the Marzeel vale is by far the easiest passage for trade).  Similarly Leskos is out below the plateau along a fairly sheltered section of its sound, so convenient for larger merchant ships to offload and then have cargo ported upriver to Durengard by mule and wagon trail (or via smaller boats working upriver). 

Other than the Syphon River (which has a Chaos void at its headwater), the model of all Godtime water flowing upriver is pretty much unworkable. There was rain already in Godtime, falling to the earth and collecting in rivulets or re-emerging as springs after being soaked up by soil.

The rivers did sliver inland throughout Godtime (until Skyriver Titan called down his brothers and summoned all other rivers to reverse their flow in order to aid Magasta's efforts to seal away the void of Jotimam). But either the water was glacially slow flowing uphill, or something else happened.

Given that river sediments in Glorantha - even sediments from rivers that died before the Dawn - don't appear to behave much differently from river sediments in the world we know, I prefer the answer "something else happened".

In my opinion, the rivers of Godtime were watery tentacles with an internal dynamic, internally cycling water while slowly creeping as far inland as they possibly could. They would have a headwater - often resembling a pool or bubble of water - which would have led the way, and they would spawn off children branching off, entwining their own flows back  from and to the Seas (or inland bodies of water) with those of their parents.

Internally, such a river tendril would have an outer skin of water flowing uphill, slowly eroding the soil or bedrock the river was creeping up, collecting nourishment for themselves, magical as well as nutrients for the life that they contained. All of that would be transported to the inside of the tendril, where a counterflow would carry back the stuff scooped up, and digest and sort it, dropping off dross like pebbles or rougher sands only where that backflow would be faster, and dropping off finer silts and clays where the river had a broad bed, and the transport would be slower. In that way, the silty valley bottoms were left behind by the rivers creeping up the valleys.

Amphibious water beasts like e.g. the Nogatending boat birds or river craft like the Nogatending bird boats or Suvarian reed craft would use both the uphill currents and the inner downhill currents for propulsion. If you wanted to go downriver, you had to lower your webbed feet or paddles into the inner currents.

 

Now, does this apply to the Syphon River?

Not so sure about that, because the Syphon too heeded the command to rush towards the Chaos Void, like all the other (at the time dormant?) rivers of the world. Only in his case, the strongest pull towards a Chaos Void still was upriver, so the Syphon alone of all chaos fighting rivers would draw on the water of the seas to pour with all its might into the Chaos at its headwaters. There is a good chance that all the waters of the Syphon now flow uphill.

Not a certainty, though - for an alternative theory, the Syphon might actually concentrate its outer membrane's salt and send back desalinated water or freshwater carried in by minor tributaries inside.

 

Either way, from up close, the syphon river would bear more similarity with a jellyfish tentacle on a beach than with a normal river or rivulet IMO.

5 hours ago, jajagappa said:

That noted, the south bank of the Syphon may offer enough room for a possible tow-path to bring boats back towards the bay (can't really say "downriver" in the case of the Syphon!).  Not sure about the currents in the Fish Road within the Syphon and whether or not they provide any possible route back to the bay.  That may be something of a one-way trek.

Depending on the slope, people might even use carts to pull the river craft back downriver. Drawn by oxen rather than horses - the kind of horse yoke shown in the woodcut would be too modern technology for Glorantha. Pulling chariots and perhaps light carts with yokes similar to oxen yokes is the best horses can do in Glorantha, IMO. Heavy cargo is pulled by oxen, or by people.

 

5 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Good points on the cliffs being so high and the minimal width for possible path... looks like a potential survey of the south side is in order but am thinking now that any trade would have to be developed greatly, salt, silk, fish before there is reason to come back down the river to the bay, sounds so strange saying that. Thanks again.

Carrying salt down towards the bay would be like carrying owls to Athens. Gloranthan tides are pleasantly slow, making salt gardens so much easier to manage.

I wonder what causes the seven day rhythm of rising and falling water that can be observed quite spectacularly at Moonbroth. This apparently happened long before the rising of the Red Moon, and the seven day cycle is markedly different from Annilla's cycle of 1D6+1 days (unless a six is rolled).

 

One possible cause for the seven day tidal cycle could be the entirety of the earth cube bobbing up and down in the waters of the world, a late keepsake from Umath pushing his parents apart, or possibly even from further back when the cubic pearl Bab first pushed through the upper boundary of the primeval sea, creating the first Dry Land, marking the start of the Green Age after the Blue Age. If that is the cause, than major tectonic events like the Breaking of the World, the impact of the Blue Moon and higher up sky debris, the tectonics ending the Second Age in southern Genertela or the Red Moon pushing up from Darsen, leaving behind the Crater, could have influenced those tides. At least as tsunamis.

The impact of the original Blue Moon might be another candidate for the starting point for this bobbing motion. The blue moon had disappeared from the sky, and the activity at that Praxian oasis started, so Moonbroth.

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OK, I found the fish roads but as I said had never heard of them before. We didn't have those back in the mid~late 80's...

Several questions:

Where does the Fish Road end/stop that passes Backford into the footprint and can you travel there down to the Underworld (any detail or articles on this) if you were crazy enough to do it? Is that a Hero Quest thing? Again any PC's in my campaigns do not have Hero Quest Super Bowl rings.

Can Chaos beings use the Fish Road and if so how does one guard against them using it or stop them from walking right into Bullpen or Backford for that matter? Did this happen when the scorpionmen overran Backford?

If the Fish Roads can be used to take wagons to the City of Wonders, there is already a clear path for trade in and out of Backford you'd just have to travel the 65 miles minimum to get there. Can you jump off/out of or onto/into the Fish Roads when and where you want or is it only at the terminals for entry and exit? Yes you may need a breathe water spell if you could move off/out of them.

It is almost like there would need to be inns along the Fish Roads? I can imagine the names: The Frowning Carp, The Bearded Dolphin, Magasta's Bog...the names are limitless... 

Possibly travel is sped up in the Fish Roads? Is there magical assistance to movement therein? It would most certainly help military troop movement as well as trade.

Are tolls levied on goods and travelers and if so who gets the funds?

Could a bird fly in the Fish Roads or a character with a fly spell do so?

When "Belintar's mortal frame expired and the Tournament failed to produce a replacement" what happened to all the niffy things he helped create? Do the Fish Roads collapse suddenly (if/when he really dies) and drown all those air-breathers in them in 1616 or are they permanent until someone godlike dispels them?

Thoughts and comments appreciated!

1893568115_FishRoads.PNG.08d02f91c20012bee570c70f93c08a95.PNG

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26 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

Where does the Fish Road end/stop that passes Backford into the footprint and can you travel there down to the Underworld (any detail or articles on this) if you were crazy enough to do it? Is that a Hero Quest thing? Again any PC's in my campaigns do not have Hero Quest Super Bowl rings.

The Fish Road into the Footprint apparently goes down wherever the Syphon waters go in pursuit of the Chaos Void. That place is definitely on the Other Side, dangerous and a heroquesting place similar to the Eternal Battle.

 

26 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

Can Chaos beings use the Fish Road and if so how does one guard against them using it or stop them from walking right into Bullpen or Backford for that matter? Did this happen when the scorpionmen overran Backford?

I doubt that the Fish Road played a role in the scorpionman outbreak.

Access to the Fish Road is through temples. Without the proper rites in the temples, travelers (including their steeds and draught beasts) cannot gain the ability to breathe water. These temple termini are few - Nochet, Seapolis, Backford, Deeper, and the City of Wonders have them, and the one below the City of Wonders may not be in this world any more, or it doesn't connect to Belintar's magical city any more. I expect that the Fish Roads remain functional between the other termini, for the simple reason that they haven't been used or mentioned in older material and it would be a pity to leave them unused.

 

26 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

If the Fish Roads can be used to take wagons to the City of Wonders, there is already a clear path for trade in and out of Backford you'd just have to travel the 65 miles minimum to get there. Can you jump off/out of or onto/into the Fish Roads when and where you want or is it only at the terminals for entry and exit? Yes you may need a breathe water spell if you could move off/out of them.

If you have a means to breathe under water for hours and days, you don't need the fish roads. As a means of transportation, ships traveling the surface are superior in carrying capacity and speed of travel, especially since traveling the fish roads puts you up against the viscosity of moving under water. Maybe not quite as bad, but if you have traveled a few miles along a sandbar in at least hip deep water, you will have an idea about the workout that is. The one use that I see for mass transportation where the Fish Road beats ships might be herding beasts into the city, but any beast will be in an out of context situation, probably as bad as if you granted them the ability to walk on a water surface.

The exact extent of the "field" that allows land folk to breathe air while on the Fish Road hasn't been described. A High Llama rider might be just within the effect on the upper edge, and the width needs to be enough so that opposing traffic can be passed.

Jumping on the Fish Road cannot be done in order to gain the atmospheric advantage, although water creatures supposedly can swim through the area just normally. Land dwellers using the Fish Road probably cannot "fly" (swim above the bottom) unless they can do so on dry land, too. If you want to start swimming off the Fish Road, I suppose you have to stray far enough to the side walking on the sea bottom until the water breathing effect is lost. There might be some warning signals or a short transitory period that may allow the walker to return into the area of effect.

I am unsure what happens to someone walking the Fish Road who gets picked up by some unfriendly sea dwellers (e.g. Sea Trolls) and carried out of the area of effect. Presumably such a victim will drown.

The rules about entering in a terminus are written in similar terms as the use of dragonewt roads by dragonewts in Dragon Pass.

 

26 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

It is almost like there would need to be inns along the Fish Roads? I can imagine the names: The Frowning Carp, The Bearded Dolphin, Magasta's Bog...the names are limitless... 

I doubt that. There might be designated camp sites, but permanent land dweller habitation under water would probably a deal breaker for the Seas outside the termini. Merfolk aren't renowned for building shelters in the land dweller style. Sea dwellers might use the camp sites for trading with the resting travelers.

On the other hand, if you think you can produce some form of underwater Apple Lane that makes sense, show us how it is done.

 

26 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

Possibly travel is sped up in the Fish Roads? Is there magical assistance to movement therein? It would most certainly help military troop movement as well as trade.

There might be some seven miles boots effect for travelers, but if so, it is absent from the description. We don't know whether or how the water currents like tidal currents affect travelers - do they experience such like wind, or will they exert the full force? The latter seems to prohibit foot travel.

Sending a force of land dwelling military along such a route requires a lot of trust. The effect on the troops probably is worse than for Varus's legions traveling into the Germanian forests.

 

26 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

Are tolls levied on goods and travelers and if so who gets the funds?

The toll probably is the tithing to the temples that perform the rites on travelers willing to enter. I would compare that to temples providing healing.

The temples probably paid something (worship energy) to Belintar and the Sea gods. After 1616, the situation is unclear, after 1624 even more so.

In my projection for the Hero Wars, the Fish Roads with their magical effect might be one desperate survival ploy for when the Flood is going to strike. Refugees would be able to enter the domain of the Sea Gods that come raiding as supplicants. The Flood is going to last two years or so until the lowlands fall dry again, so refugees had better pack quite a big lunch packet...

 

26 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

Could a bird fly in the Fish Roads or a character with a fly spell do so?

I would say yes, although not at full speed.

Would a bee keeper be able to bring a hive onto the Fish Road? The bees wouldn't be able to find flowers, but they might still be able to fly about

 

26 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

When "Belintar's mortal frame expired and the Tournament failed to produce a replacement" what happened to all the niffy things he helped create? Do the Fish Roads collapse suddenly (if/when he really dies) and drown all those air-breathers in them in 1616 or are they permanent until someone godlike dispels them?

At the very least, I expect the Fish Roads to linger for a few decades. The entry rites may get more and more difficult over time.

I think that the Fish Roads are the result of magical treaties initiated by Belintar, but probably treaties between Sea deities and Land and Air deities. There may have been some additional exchange of magic between the contractual partners, like associate cults exchange spells.

 

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9 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Where does the Fish Road end/stop that passes Backford into the footprint and can you travel there down to the Underworld (any detail or articles on this) if you were crazy enough to do it? Is that a Hero Quest thing? Again any PC's in my campaigns do not have Hero Quest Super Bowl rings.

It goes to the Toe Hole in the Footprint, and yes that is a hole/passage that goes to the Underworld.  No, no other details or articles on that at this point, but potentially demons might escape to the mundane world through it if they can overcome the Syphon's current.

It undoubtedly was a Belintar God-king quest, but whether anyone else ever used it is unknown. 

9 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Can Chaos beings use the Fish Road and if so how does one guard against them using it or stop them from walking right into Bullpen or Backford for that matter? Did this happen when the scorpionmen overran Backford?

The Syphon passes through the Stone Wood.  The Stone Wood generally stops Chaos. 

As for the expected scorpionman attack on Backford (think that is said to occur in 1626), the scorpionmen likely come down from the Jab Hills (think limestone cave complexes there as in Kentucky or southern France) and hit Backford from the south.

9 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

If the Fish Roads can be used to take wagons to the City of Wonders, there is already a clear path for trade in and out of Backford you'd just have to travel the 65 miles minimum to get there. Can you jump off/out of or onto/into the Fish Roads when and where you want or is it only at the terminals for entry and exit? Yes you may need a breathe water spell if you could move off/out of them.

I don't think you need a Breathe Air/Water spell, as long as you stay within the confines of the Fish Road.  But there are only certain entry and exit points.

Whether you could use wagons or not is another question.  My guess is small boats pulled by large fish or sea turtles.

9 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

It is almost like there would need to be inns along the Fish Roads? I can imagine the names: The Frowning Carp, The Bearded Dolphin, Magasta's Bog...the names are limitless... 

Possibly travel is sped up in the Fish Roads? Is there magical assistance to movement therein? It would most certainly help military troop movement as well as trade.

Are tolls levied on goods and travelers and if so who gets the funds?

Could a bird fly in the Fish Roads or a character with a fly spell do so?

Yes, inns along the Fish Road seem cool.  Maybe ludoch manage them. 

Yes, travel is probably sped up (I'm thinking of the fast current in "Finding Nemo").

Yes, if trade occurred along it, then expect tolls.  Belintar the God-king would get it, and perhaps some portion goes to the mer-king of the Mirrorsea.

Could you fly the Fish Road?  Possibly, as long as you don't "fly" out of the "road".

9 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

When "Belintar's mortal frame expired and the Tournament failed to produce a replacement" what happened to all the niffy things he helped create? Do the Fish Roads collapse suddenly (if/when he really dies) and drown all those air-breathers in them in 1616 or are they permanent until someone godlike dispels them?

Many begin to deteriorate in some fashion.  The Magic Bridges fade from rainbow to grey - more like wisps of cloud or fog - and sections are just... gone.  Maybe similar with the Fish Roads?

And of course, once the City of Wonders is sacked, and is gone, there is no terminus point for the Fish Roads.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Access to the Fish Road is through temples. Without the proper rites in the temples, travelers (including their steeds and draught beasts) cannot gain the ability to breathe water. These temple termini are few - Nochet, Seapolis, Backford, Deeper, and the City of Wonders have them, and the one below the City of Wonders may not be in this world any more, or it doesn't connect to Belintar's magical city any more. I expect that the Fish Roads remain functional between the other termini, for the simple reason that they haven't been used or mentioned in older material and it would be a pity to leave them unused.

Yes, that sounds correct to me.

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

I doubt that. There might be designated camp sites, but permanent land dweller habitation under water would probably a deal breaker for the Seas outside the termini. Merfolk aren't renowned for building shelters in the land dweller style. Sea dwellers might use the camp sites for trading with the resting travelers.

On the other hand, if you think you can produce some form of underwater Apple Lane that makes sense, show us how it is done.

Since the ludoch mer-folk breathe air, these could be some sort of coral reef/rocky outcrop.  Or potentially the God-king created large air bubbles/pockets connected to such.  Or, the roads are simply fast, and there was no reason for stopping.

I like the idea, but perhaps each is unique, and requires that you make sure you don't roll off the "wrong" side of the bed?

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

At the very least, I expect the Fish Roads to linger for a few decades. The entry rites may get more and more difficult over time.

They are probably more resilient overall than the Magic Roads.  But while the connection from Seapolis to Deeper is likely still maintained, it's unclear whether the road from Backford (or Nochet) can be exited once the City of Wonders is gone.

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Something to keep in mind, once the Wolf Pirates have sacked the City of Wonders in 1624, they've probably sent Wolf Pirates along the Fish Roads to see what treasure they can find there, too.  That might trigger some further destruction to the Fish Roads, perhaps Wardings are invoked, curses sent, etc. for such violations. 

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21 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Something to keep in mind, once the Wolf Pirates have sacked the City of Wonders in 1624, they've probably sent Wolf Pirates along the Fish Roads to see what treasure they can find there, too.  That might trigger some further destruction to the Fish Roads, perhaps Wardings are invoked, curses sent, etc. for such violations. 

In order to get onto the Fish Roads, you need to follow the rites (and presumably binding oaths) of the temples providing that service. Maybe not in the City of Wonders, though, where you would descend into the basment below the city into the grand exchange, and probably start breathing water as soon as you are at sea level. (Why bother with an air bubble?)

The Grand Exchange would have been the most exciting place in the Fish Road system, apart maybe from Deeper.

And much of the Grand Exchange will be in ruins, or cut off from whatever surface place was connected to it. There might be something like a void bubble hovering over the Fish roads entering here, but as I said, there are no stories yet in which these Fish Roads have been used, and it would be a crying shame never to use them, so I postulate that it is still somewhat possible to cross over from the Backford or Nochet roads into the southern network. Risky, sure, why not?

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One of these days I'll get to setting up actual PC's and their backgrounds that have some instilled/learned longing to fight Chaos and the Lunars but not until all these plot lines with trade, the fish roads, the City of Wonders and how to tie lots of old RQ2~3 adventures into a Backford Champaign come together.

More questions on the Fish Roads and possible underwater combat:

Let's say you have the River Eyes spell and Breathe Water with like Extension 10...

Do the fish roads hinder movement to the point of exhaustion (What would be the point?) or does the magical nature of them and or the rites to enter them gain you freedom of movement, walking running. It doesn't seem to be meaningful to have the Fish Roads without some movement benefit? Walking 60 miles on the bottom of a river, bay, sea, ocean doesn't sound like fun. Take a boat maybe?

Possibly Mobility3~4 is cast on you as part of the entry rites or ceremony?

If so and you can move freely would your abilities as an air breather be more or less normal? Sword and mace attack be normal or would only thrusting weapons be useable if some Mobility type spell wasn't cast?

I read through GMKen's topic related to the Elf Sea and treasure hunting, and I have the old Strangers in Prax booklet. Fond memories I must say from the mid 90's and so more reasons to investigate and vet this pre-campaign.

Question, who knows (living or dead) how to make Frog Masks and if no one alive does what would be a way to go back in time to discover it without doing a Hero Quest? I haven't done any Hero Questing but going back to learn how to make frog masks in old Pavis might not be too dangerous? Any brief suggestions as to level of difficulty and plot line?

Also for sorcery, is there some sort of freedom of movement spell like a phylactery of action for water or could you say use a Form Set Water with a 1" range with a multi-spelled skin of life to be able to survive and move underwater, maybe even out of the Fish Roads? If you could use a short range form set water as a forcefield what intensity would it have to be. Not thinking water dynamics and fluid displacement, though this could create buoyancy issues and prevent one from staying submerged? (This is supposed to be Runequest and Glorantha not physics class.) Its like you'd have a forcefield something like the image attached but it would be for water? Funny question, how many AP would spaceman armor have?

397437826_RefractorField.PNG.3f92a1f0c3f9499deaf8714ac39bb36d.PNG

Can power spirits be used to cast sorcery if they are bound into the item with the matrix on it? Though they wouldn't actually cast it for you would they. So how do you set up a sorcery spell to cast it when you want it or do you have to wait 25 melee rounds to cast an cool spell?

Could you cast form set water on say a crossbow and its bolts to use it underwater? I start thinking of those Air-bender movies which I have not seen.

I suppose if you had advance sorcery you could cast a group of spells and move through the air, why bother with underwater besides for trade purposes though flooded cavers filled with Chaos are always fun adventuring scenarios.

Sorry if some of ese questions don't make sense, its been a while since I've played, thanks again for any input.

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20 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

One of these days I'll get to setting up actual PC's and their backgrounds that have some instilled/learned longing to fight Chaos and the Lunars but not until all these plot lines with trade, the fish roads, the City of Wonders and how to tie lots of old RQ2~3 adventures into a Backford Champaign come together.

Maybe by then we'll have a Heortland book. 🙂  But in the meantime, there's a good bit there to play around with.

21 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

Do the fish roads hinder movement to the point of exhaustion (What would be the point?) or does the magical nature of them and or the rites to enter them gain you freedom of movement, walking running. It doesn't seem to be meaningful to have the Fish Roads without some movement benefit? Walking 60 miles on the bottom of a river, bay, sea, ocean doesn't sound like fun. Take a boat maybe?

Possibly Mobility3~4 is cast on you as part of the entry rites or ceremony?

All we have to go on is what's in the Guide p.254: Belintar used his great magic and his command of the elements to construct a network of magical roads, commonly called the  Fish Roads. These roads connected Nochet, the Syphon River, Seapolis, Deeper, and The Deep. Where the roads operated, underwater beings could travel onto the land and air-breathers could travel underwater as long as the travelers remained on the Fish Roads. When the God-King ruled it was not unusual to see a merman swimming through the air, as if it was water, alongside wagons creaking to market. Likewise, parties of humans were sometimes seen walking along the bottom of the bay as if it was dry land while creatures swam back and forth around them.

The Fish Roads per se should not hinder movement.  They are designed to facilitate some very specific, likely ritualistic or potentially mythic, movement that allows interaction of Air-breathers and Water-breathers.  Now, humans can shuttle around and across the bay all very well by boat.  Merfolk can swim where they want to and don't have a specific need for a "fish road", until you go inland.  But yet, If you look at the Fish Roads, they are mostly through the water with the exceptions of connecting to one of the markets in Nochet, and the passage up the Syphon.

If you start at the Deep, the farthest point of the Fish Road (and far out beyond the Mirrorsea), then follow the road to Deeper, and then to the City of Wonders, you have the primal invasion of the Earth by the Waters.  Except you end up at the City of Wonders first.  And what happens there?  Perhaps you are turned from a path of "invasion" to a path of "trade" and "exchange" (or perhaps that was the original and the Waters are reminded of that?).  And then you fan out, gently, like the waters of the Mirrorsea.  You come to Seapolis, and have exchange with the Boat People.  You come to Nochet, and trade with the Earth People.  You go to Backford, and instead of battling the Storm Gods, the air-breathers come into the waters and the water-breathers swim through the air!  That path does lead on to pass through Law and Chaos to plunge into the Underworld, but perhaps that is a path that only Belintar with his allies by his side dares to take - a leap of faith into the Darkness.

These are long passages, though, with only selected stops.  And they are magical roads built by Belintar.  So we should figure they are fast-moving currents, but somehow mingle air and water together, or allow for mutual breathing of the opposite element.  There are rituals to enter.  Instead of Air and Water battling as in the Storm Age, they find peace, so the ritual would seem to require an exchange of elements (salt of the sea and tears of the storm?).  The ritual allows you to step into the "conveyor" belt of these air-sea currents, and off you go.  (Is Mobility needed?  I don't know that it should be - just step in and let the magic carry you off.)  Movement should be quick, but exactly how long is unknown.  (It's about 70 km by Fish Road from Backford to the City of Wonders.  If it was a flat, straight, smooth road, you'd figure 2-3 days.  Perhaps it's a day's travel instead, or was when the magic worked right.)

45 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

If so and you can move freely would your abilities as an air breather be more or less normal? Sword and mace attack be normal or would only thrusting weapons be useable if some Mobility type spell wasn't cast?

I'd say that the magic makes the abilities of air and water breathers equal in both elements.  But... I'd guess that the magics of the Fish Roads are powers of peace and harmony between elements.  Draw your sword or raise your trident and perhaps the wrath of both elements comes down upon you - unable to breathe, sluggish movements... At least while Belintar was alive.  But now Belintar is gone, and perhaps the inherent suspicion between Sea and Storm rises again...

48 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

Question, who knows (living or dead) how to make Frog Masks and if no one alive does what would be a way to go back in time to discover it without doing a Hero Quest? I haven't done any Hero Questing but going back to learn how to make frog masks in old Pavis might not be too dangerous? Any brief suggestions as to level of difficulty and plot line?

Yes, perhaps as the Fish Roads deteriorate, the need for Frog Masks increases.  Assuming you have one of the RQ Classic books (e.g. Plunder or Borderlands), but it is a Zola Fel quest (supposedly the secret has been lost, but somewhere...).  So you'll likely need to go to the River of Cradles, perform a ritual to bring you to the Primal/First River of Godtime, follow its track across the land until it reaches the place of the Frog Woman.  You probably need to court her and win her love for her to bestow a Frog Mask upon you.

54 minutes ago, Erol of Backford said:

Also for sorcery, is there some sort of freedom of movement spell like a phylactery of action for water or could you say use a Form Set Water with a 1" range with a multi-spelled skin of life to be able to survive and move underwater, maybe even out of the Fish Roads?

Sounds like you may be thinking in lines of RQ3 sorcery.  RQG sorcery would likely take a different tack requiring you to Combine Water and Air and Command it to stay set in some bubble form. 

 

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