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Mark Mohrfield

Zola Fel River Trade

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Boats on the River of Cradles tend to be made out of reeds. Flatboats (rafts) are sometimes made out of wood, although reeds are still more common. The boats bear a striking resemblance to the crafts used on the Oslir River system (also fairly primitive reed boats) - so much that the God Learners speculated that all Riverfolk in Genertela share a common root.

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I had a bunch of Back Eel river folk relocate to Corflu as settlers, brought in by the Lunars, where they started hunting Newtlings for them. Their magic worked on the Zola Fel and their boats were similar. They came to a nasty end thanks to my Pcs.  

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Given the land around it, the Zola Fell would have a wind blowing inland almost every day. You have a similar situation with the Sacramento River in California. The current carries you downstream but the wind can blow you right back up - especially in the narrow straights (i.e. where the canyon walls are close to the river). So sailing at least part way up the river is a viable option. 

Once you get further inland, and the wind is less reliable, the old Californians would use oxen; Literally, they would run a tow line to shore and have oxen plod upriver, towing the boat behind them. You'd use the rudder (pretty good steerageway against the current) to avoid running into banks. It was very slow (10 miles a day was great speed) but it was reliable. I could easily picture Sun County making some extra money towing boats up to Pavis. 

The Keelboat, used on midwestern rivers, was propelled by having a gang of men on each side of the deck. The man in front would push his long pole into the river bottom, and then walk aft, literally pushing the boat with him, at the back, he would lift his pole out of the water and walk back up front. He was followed by the next man, and so on. With a practiced crew, they could make decent speed. It's worth mentioning that in the keelboat era, river transportation cost six times as much per mile to go upstream as to go down; not just for the extra time taken, but for the cost of the extra men. 

On the Zola Fel, the keelboat technique would work best in late Fire Season, or after the crops have come in and before the rains. You'd have a large, partially idle population, and goods to transport to the city; keelboating would be a good seasonal job. For player characters it would also give characters from the Pavis area an excuse to have boating skill, knowledge of the river valley, and friends in the Zola Fel cult. 

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I used the reed boats of Lake Titicaca for inspiration when I ran the Troubled Waters scenario, and I also based a marsh community in the New Bog on the floating villages on the lake. There were a couple of ceremonial double hulled boats, one was a temple and the other served the village headman.

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10 hours ago, pachristian said:

 ... You have a similar situation with the Sacramento River in California ... 

Once you get further inland, and the wind is less reliable, the old Californians would ... 

The Keelboat, used on midwestern rivers ... 

I don't think real-world models of science (climate, hydrology, etc) are reliable models for the mythical / magical processes of Glorantha ...  The same sorts of methods may be used, but where they get used (and why) may be completely different.

 

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After much fanfare, ultimately Corflu was a failure as a Lunar entrepot. As a result, there really wasn't that much trade between Corflu and New Pavis - the Pavis Road back to Dragon Pass was far more significant. Also it is worth keeping in mind that the Lunars did not build a fleet at Corflu and the soldiers who participated in the amphibious assault on the Holy Country in 1619 were carried by a third party.

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Oh there is certainly enough activity to get adventurers from Nochet to Pavis by ship. And ironically, I can imagine that after 1628 that trade dramatically increases (at least once the Wolf Pirates are engaged in Dragon Pass, instead of plundering mercantile trade). But after 1625, Pavis is no longer part of the Lunar Empire and is a friendly city to Nochet.

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3 hours ago, Iskallor said:

I mean the river cataracts south of three kilometres island.

Yeah, for larger vessels that would be a major problem, but if you use a smaller vessel, you can portage.

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Yeah, for larger vessels that would be a major problem, but if you use a smaller vessel, you can portage.

Or magic.

Because Glorantha.

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On 1/14/2017 at 4:59 PM, m0n0cular said:

I also imagine quite a lot of arms and armour going downriver to be stockpiled in Corflu. Of course, that would draw a lot of attention. In my game, the Empire leverages Corflu's position as the only Lunar route to the sea to build up trade through the port of goods from Sartar, and those goods - particularly wool - hide a lot of things they would rather keep quiet. There are those in Corflu with their suspicions, but few brave enough to ask why so much goes into storage instead of onto ships.

In the real world, smuggled arms etc are often shipped in pallets labelled "machine parts" or are in films, anyway. I would imagine the Lunars shipped a lot of stuff under bales of hay, or whatever, enabling them to make prefab ships. They didn't need to last long, just enough to get to Karse.

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7 hours ago, Iskallor said:

I mean the river cataracts south of three kilometres island.

The only reference I can find to these is in the The Celestial Engine scenario in Pavis: Gateway to Adventure. Are they mentioned anywhere else? Earlier in the same work it states that the river is "slow moving and without serious obstacles until above Pavis" (page 59). Perhaps they disappear in Storm and Sea seasons when the river reaches its greatest depth.

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p19 0f the River of Cradles book, where it mentions the river is tidal to below the cataracts south of 3 kilometre island. Of interest is the mention that the tides rise 6m with the Blue moon, with flood tides reaching ten metres.  Sounds like North Western Australia/Northern Territory.

 

So I think the river folk time their cargo trips to Pavis to coincide with the tides once every 6 or so days.

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10 hours ago, Iskallor said:

p19 0f the River of Cradles book, where it mentions the river is tidal to below the cataracts south of 3 kilometre island. Of interest is the mention that the tides rise 6m with the Blue moon, with flood tides reaching ten metres.  Sounds like North Western Australia/Northern Territory.

 

So I think the river folk time their cargo trips to Pavis to coincide with the tides once every 6 or so days.

That would make a lot of sense.  Portaging is good for building muscles if it doesn't wreck your back first. :)

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On 1/17/2017 at 5:59 AM, Jeff said:

Also it is worth keeping in mind that the Lunars did not build a fleet at Corflu and the soldiers who participated in the amphibious assault on the Holy Country in 1619 were carried by a third party.

Very interesting, and something I didn't realise at all. Who were the third party?

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2 hours ago, m0n0cular said:

Very interesting, and something I didn't realise at all. Who were the third party?

My guess is Rightarmers paid for by the Red Earth Alliance.  Both may have good reason to fear Rikard or Broyan.

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27 minutes ago, metcalph said:

My guess is Rightarmers paid for by the Red Earth Alliance.  Both may have good reason to fear Rikard or Broyan.

Or it could have even been the Esrolian fleet at Nochet, encouraged by Queen Hendira (and also paid by her Red Earth Alliance).  All depends on whether Queen Hendira was more open or more secretive about aiding the Lunars against the Old Kings.

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7 hours ago, m0n0cular said:

Very interesting, and something I didn't realise at all. Who were the third party?

 A guess on my part , but I can see the Lunar Empire hiring a fleet from who ever had a ship to spare or rent out instead of building a Fleet to attack Karse. The Lunar Empire Fleet could have then come from the Easter Islands, Teshos, Wolf and Vormain  Pirates , Fronit, and even Troll ships from Jureastela ( Hired by Blue moon Trolls).

 It would be far cheaper and faster to hire mercenary ships then build a fleet from scratch.

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