Rural response to the Silver Ravens (book 3+ spoilers)


Hell's Rebels

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Warped Savant wrote:

Ravounel isn't a self-sufficient country so they depend on trade from neighbouring countries. Nidal and Cheliax are their closest neighbours so it makes sense that the group should at least set up some deals with them. Cheliax isn't getting a lot out of it, really, as Ravounel mostly seems to offer luxury items, have no real army to speak of, and they can't really use Menador Gap for anything tactical if they wanted to.

I really like how the negotiations worked (I had my doubts but me and my group all enjoyed them). I'm glad they weren't complex. And I'm really glad they didn't take too long, especially since it was mostly one person being involved and the others there as support just in case it was a trap or something.
If it was a long, drawn out thing the non-social half of the group would've been really bored. But it gave the two social ones a great chance to shine with the other two still feeling a little involved.

I did not have the impression Ravounel was not self-sufficient, but that could be incorrect. And I did not think much trade (at least volume enough for food supplies, etc.) was making it through the Gap (before the pc's close it.) The references suggest traffic is already low even before the pc's close it permanently.

The comments about ease of play and speed to resolution are valid and important. My analysis focuses much more about how the encounter fits into the larger narrative of the regional politics both secular and sacred and much less about how the play experience would work. I also should confess that while I intend to change it, I haven't figured out how. Fortunately, I'm 3 Books away from needing an answer.


Ravounel is likely self-sufficient in terms of staple foods and building materials. But in terms of metals other than silver, textiles, and most manufactured goods I imagine it's in considerably worse shape. Some of those deficits are things your characters could address with a farsighted economic policy, but in the short run they'll need trade partners.

Latrecis wrote:
And I did not think much trade (at least volume enough for food supplies, etc.) was making it through the Gap (before the pc's close it.)

given the limitations of overland transportation, the only thing merchants were likely to use the Gap for would be exporting silver and importing something of comparable value.

Shadow Lodge

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Handsome Gracchus wrote:
Ravounel is likely self-sufficient in terms of staple foods and building materials.

Ravounel explicitly has the following natural resources in abundance: fish, salt, silver, granite, and timber. From descriptions of the various noble houses, we can surmise that the following natural resources are also in evidence: deer and other game (Houses Aulamaxa and Delronge), and horses (House Delronge). House Tanessen has an interest in ironmongery (arms and armor) which implies iron extraction and charcoal production from the timber already mentioned. House Vashnarstill has an interest in shipbuilding which implies, apart from the timber already mentioned, cultivation of flax or hemp for sailcloth, as well as pitch that is a convenient byproduct of the charcoal production already mentioned. Of the iron, flax, and hemp, there is no particular climatic reason that the flax and hemp cannot be cultivated in Ravounel, and I would surmise that they are.

Other points of canon: 1) Sunset Imports transships gold, slaves, and black marble from Arcadia (the black marble is used to create the facades for Egorian's major buildings), 2) Whitegate Market traffics in gold, platinum, and silver, 3) Bleakbridge is home to "hatters and cobblers", 4) Highwall Market sells paper, which implies paper milling, 5) Olmer's Smithy is described as "one of the few remaining blacksmiths in Old Kintargo, most having moved to either Jarvis End or Yolubilis Harbor," 6) Redroof Market also has numerous cobblers, and notably sells imported clothing, "everything from Chelaxian wares to more exotic foreign styles."

Given this, and the use of game animals for leather and furs, Ravounel probably doesn't rely on imports for textiles generally, though it almost certainly imports cottons and silks. I further suspect that given the damp climate, there is a high demand for wool, and conveniently, the Menador Highlands that wouldn't support horses would support sheep. There's probably enclosure, and if there isn't there probably will be in short order.

The iron might well be imported, though it's not clear whence it would come. An interesting note: Korvosa's economy notably and explicitly relies on imports of iron and textiles from its motherland, which, given the geographical realities, probably means Kintargo, Corentyn, or both. Corentyn is not described as having native industry, rather relying on transshipment tolls for its revenue, but that's probably an oversight. Likewise, Kintargo is not described as having a native iron industry. Hellcoast (specifically Devil's Perch) is described as having exploitable mineral deposits, but apart from silver (named in the Nightglass book), they are not named. Likewise, Kantaria is named as a "mineral" transshipment site, though the minerals are not named. These two sites, however (Devil's Perch and northwester Menador) are likely the sources of that portion of Ravounel's iron which isn't mined domestically.

As for other metals, silver is often found together with gold, copper, nickel, lead, and zinc-lead. Whitegate Market is said to traffic in gold, silver, and platinum. Copper, nickel, and lead in particular find uses in industries or crafts Kintargo is described as having, notably clockwork-making. Speaking of which, precision machine tooling and gears are known.

An industry that should be prominent but isn't is glass-making. There is probably some glass-making to supply the lenses that would be used as scientific instruments at Alabaster Academy, but it hasn't scaled, probably because so much of Kintargo's salt goes to export rather than the production of soda ash.

Quote:
Some of those deficits are things your characters could address with a farsighted economic policy, but in the short run they'll need trade partners.

So. Ravounel has an economy largely geared toward domestic production, is self-sufficient as to food (fish, grain, salt, etc.), and exports little except silver, fish (packed with salt for preservation), salt, and granite. It also transships gold, black marble, and slaves. Its domestic production of flax and/or hemp, wood, and pitch is adequate to support a shipbuilding industry, which in turn supports fishing and trade. Hemp would likewise be the raw material for paper milling, which likely runs on the water power of the upper Katharevousa and Yolubilis Rivers, and competes with linen- and wool-spinning mills for space (and are supplied with labor from ongoing enclosure of the highlands). Finished linen and wools, as well as canvas for sailcloth, would be produced in Kintargo itself, likely on a putting-out basis, after being shipped down the river. Production of metals other than iron is adequate to support domestic needs, while iron production is either inadequate or nonexistent (probably the former). Production of charcoal and horses are adequate towards domestic needs. Glassmaking is underdeveloped.

Changes produced by the revolution include: 1) an export quota to rump Cheliax, in some form, likely of goods Ravounel already exports, since that's what the Chelish will know and care about; 2) abolition of slavery leading to the end of slave transshipment from Arcadia (which has already largely shifted to Corentyn in any event); 3) renewed competition with Corentyn over the remaining Arcadian trade, as Ravounel is no longer restricted by Cheliax's granting of a monopoly to Corentyn; 4) possible opening of Ravounel Forest to intensified exploitation (depends on relations with the native strix); 5) disruption of the Menador Gap trade route; 6) disruption of iron imports from Hellcoast.

Policies to address or manage these changes might include:

1) Government investment in soda ash production and native glassmaking. This accomplishes three things. First, it decreases the total amount of the raw salt export, meaning that the absolute amount exported to Cheliax, calculated as a percentage of total salt export, is lower, leading to more of the national wealth staying in the country. Second, it gives Ravounel two other, unfettered exports: soda ash itself (from which other glassmakers like Sandpoint can benefit), and finished glass, both sheet and ground. Third, salt production is a big industry with a factory system already, and the development of this allied industry fosters big industry generally. Cypress Point needs stimulus, perhaps a state-owned glassworks could be built there even if Kintargo itself might be more convenient. Vyre might make another possible site of investment. This would also serve to tie it more into an integrated Ravounel economy, and it's not like there isn't a surfeit of available labor.

2) Regulation of sheep-land enclosure and population redistribution. Enclosure is a brutal process, and I don't imagine the new government would want to dirty its hands by allowing it to continue unabated. It will probably stifle the pace of development to a degree, but regulating the enclosure of sheep land and concomitant development of wool spinning according to a plan developed in consultation with the locals will lead to better outcomes in the long term and avoid the health hazards associated with big textile works.

3) A similar regulatory scheme can be adopted for hemp production and paper milling. Paper milling in particular is chemical-intensive, and the need to manage the Yolubilis and Katharevousa fish stocks and runs must be taken into account.

4) An even more delicate touch needs to be taken with respect to managing the exploitation of Ravounel Forest, since the Kitkasiticka are in a precarious spot population-wise and need to be protected. Perhaps migration from Devil's Perch can be incentivized, at least among some of the tribes that have abandoned their lands to settle in Ciricskree. Tribes like the Windspires who have already refused to abandon their lands under pressure are probably not going to move.

5) Deepmar, however, can be mined relentlessly, as there is no settled population on the surface. Given that there is no settled surface population, however, labor to harvest the crystals that grow on the island (I forget what they're called, but they're magically useful and a good supplementary export) will have to be found. Cheliax managed this by putting political prisoners there and forcing them to labor. Ravounel would either have to do the same (oh, don't get so squeamish, the Thrune loyalists, Asmodeans, and Norgorberites are irreconcilable), arrange for some of the prisoners already in Dunrock to go there, provide incentives/subsidies for free workers to move, or co-opt the local derro.

5) Reopening of the Menador Gap. If only to foster iron imports from Menador. It would also facilitate migration of refugees and malcontents from Cheliax into Ravounel, especially if Ravounel is able to get control over Menador Keep in the Book Six negotiations.

6) Ending the blockade of Pezzack. This is another means to increase iron imports, plus one of two text-based opportunities to export the revolution (the other being in Thuryan, where Andoren agents are already present). This can be accomplished in a couple ways. Manticce Kaleeki or a PC can create a teleportation circle in the town to connect to Kintargo or Vyre. Ravounel could pursue a diplomatic strategy to convince the Chelish government to lift the blockade. It could insert itself into the town's rebels' already existing engagement with the local strix to harass or bypass the besieging army (see: Nightglass, Nightblade). Or it could actually march its army into Hellcoast to break the siege, relying on the Kintargo Contract to prevent reprisals on Ravounel's soil by Cheliax.

7) Embarking on a program of naval expansion. This is necessary if Ravounel wants to compete in the Arcadian trade (even if it relinquishes sovereignty over Anchor's End, which it probably would - maintaining it is a practical impossibility). It is also necessary if Ravounel wants to try and break the blockade of Pezzack by sea. In the meantime, Kintargo could act as a port for the Andoren navy in the Steaming Sea. Andoran needs a port on the open ocean if it wants to supply Talmandor's Bounty without paying the tolls at Corentyn. This is not to say that Kintargo will charge nothing in port tolls - merely less than the rate to pass the Arch of Aroden. Using the Andoren navy this way also limits the need to exploit Ravounel Forest to the hilt to supply the needs of break-neck naval expansion, and allows it to proceed at a steady pace.

Quote:
Latrecis wrote:
And I did not think much trade (at least volume enough for food supplies, etc.) was making it through the Gap (before the pc's close it.)
given the limitations of overland transportation, the only thing merchants were likely to use the Gap for would be exporting silver and importing something of comparable value.

As stated above, I think the imports through Menador Gap would have been of iron, silks, and cottons.

Shadow Lodge

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Oh, I completely forgot to mention internal improvements, namely canal- and road-building because this isn't Eberron, damnit.

There are three notable roads that run through Ravounel, each originating in Kintargo but with vague destinations: the Night Road from Kintargo to [somewhere in Nidal], the Silver Road leading to [the rest of Cheliax], and the Ravounel Road leading to [the rest of the Archduchy of Ravounel]. The Night Road and the Silver Road enter the city on the mainland, while the Ravounel Road enters on Argo Isle (and so has to pass a bridge over the western Yolubilis delta). If I were to guess, the Night Road goes generally east-south-east and terminates in Ridwan. It could follow the coast to Nisroch, but there isn't much point in doing that since shipping is so much easier than land transport. The Silver Road probably follows the right bank of the Yolubilis River (crossing a bridge where the Katharevousa enters the Yolubilis, and served by a ferry at Whiterock) through the Menador Gap and terminating in Kantaria. The Ravounel Road generally follows the Yolubilis left bank and terminates in Pezzack.

This road network is clearly inadequate to support an internal economy. It is oriented first and foremost toward facilitating international (or, when Ravounel was a province of Cheliax, inter-provincial) trade, and secondarily to facilitating troop movement. The Ravounel and Silver Roads largely serve the same areas before they split off near the Yolubilis source, and those areas are in any event better-served by the Yolubilis River itself. Acisazi and other coastal settlements in western Ravounel are not served at all, and Cypress Point is probably bypassed by the Night Road - at best, it's served by a spur, but probably not.

A number of improvements immediately suggest themselves. The first is a spur off the Ravounel Road to Acisazi. The second is a moving of the Ravounel Road north from the Yolubilis to hug the edge of the Ravounel Forest (I may have been a bit pessimistic above, and this may be the Ravounel Road's current route). The third are a number of small roads into the forest itself to facilitate contact with the Kitkasiticka and timber-cutting. There will also need to be spurs to towns on the Yolubilis to aid in shipment of timber to Kintargo. The fourth is a cross-road through the North Plains from Cypress Point to the Terapassilion, intersecting the Night Road. There would also need to be a connection from this cross-road to the upper Katharevousa.

Other than navigational canals and possibly the construction of water reservoirs along the already-existing rivers, there isn't much call for canal-building. Ravounel sits entirely in the Yolubilis watershed, and its water transport needs are provided by the rivers. The only major canals called for would seem to be to connect the Katharevousa and Southern Usk Rivers, and the Katharevousa and the Sedna Rivers. But the first is a long cutting of dubious utility, since any goods that need to be shipped can be shipped by sea to Nisroch and upriver. And the second has formidable natural and political boundaries in the way. If it could be built, however, it would largely displace the Menador Gap as a trade route. There's also the possibility of a canal from the Yolubilis through the Menador Gap to the Maiestas River, but that is a long cutting, and the Maiestas doesn't lead anywhere worth going.


I don't understand the enclosure issue other than the basic idea that it was about private land ownership all season long, nor why it was so brutal. Can you explain?

Shadow Lodge

roguerouge wrote:
I don't understand the enclosure issue other than the basic idea that it was about private land ownership all season long, nor why it was so brutal. Can you explain?

On a basic level, enforcing the newly-drawn property lines required hiring bounders or suborning county sheriffs to keep people out of formerly-common pastureland, or in cases where land was converted from subsistence farming to cash farming (e.g., of cash crops or livestock), off the land entirely. Using force to make people leave their homes has predictable consequences for their ability to maintain bodily integrity or accumulate wealth, especially when they have little of either to begin with.


roguerouge wrote:
I don't understand the enclosure issue other than the basic idea that it was about private land ownership all season long, nor why it was so brutal. Can you explain?

My understanding is that it involved an economic shift where feudal subsistence farming came to be seen as less of a money maker than commercial wool production. Landlords who had (for generations) allowed peasants to work communal plots of land and feed themselves while producing a little revenue discovered they could fence in (enclose) the land, kick out the farmers (which generally took violence), and raise sheep for sale of wool on newly developing international wool markets (for dramatic profits).

The net result was a lot of displaced and pissed off peasants and some very wealthy landowners. I don't recall all the details, but I think it coincided with the rise of early proto-capitalism and a shift of thinking of the land as a feudal thing the peasants had some traditional rights in to thinking of the land as a commercial thing you could maximize profits on.

Shadow Lodge

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Some further thoughts about agriculture, animal husbandry, and aquaculture in Ravounel.

Agriculture in Ravounel likely takes the form of distinct bands based on the wind shadow of Ravounel Forest. We have it from the description of the North Plains that the prevailing winds are west to east, off the Arcadian Ocean, that "the rains that water these prairies in the warmer months turn them icy in the winter, given them the appearance of a sub-arctic tundra," and that the "agriculture [of the North Plains] mainly goes to supporting the population of Kintargo." We are also told that the region hosts salty brine springs that supplement Kintargo's own production from salt flats. This suggests to me food agriculture in relatively poor (well-watered, but salty) soil - potatoes (Ravounel likely got potatoes before anywhere else in Avistan, assuming they were originally an Arcadian crop), beans, and hardier strains of wheat, are likely the main food crops. This kind of agriculture is also likely practiced by the small populations on the north and west coasts of Ravounel around Cape Dis, which are likewise not protected from the easterly winds, though less intensively due to the availability of fish. Between the Ravounel Forest and the Yolubilis River, and also along the coast of the North Plains (due to the wind shadow of Vyre Island) the air is likely drier but also warmer. This is where we see cash crops like hemp, which is used primarily for paper milling, ropemaking, and as a recreational drug (both Kintargo and Vyre being ready markets for the latter). Hemp is likely grown along the entire left bank of the Yolubilis until about the confluence with the Katherevousa, competing with wheat and alfalfa (this is basically subsidized by the Delronges and used almost exclusively for horse fodder). Root crops and clover are also important here, as part of crop rotation.

The Yolubilis is likely polluted along most of its length due to the paper mills and charcoal burning around Ravounel Forest, so river fishing is likely concentrated only among the highest reaches around Oakrib Inn, and otherwise during periodic runs of spawning sea fishes (like salmon). The Katharevousa, however, has few settlements along its length, and is called out as being an important center of fishing. Likewise the entire coast of Ravounel, though Nisroch Bay is more productive generally than the coasts west of Vyre Island. Nisroch Bay, and particularly the Yolubilis mouth, are rich in shellfish.

Horse-raising takes place in a small triangle formed by Kintargo, Whiterock, and the northwestern tip of Ravounel Forest. The Menador foothills see sheep and goats raised for wool, cheese, and meat. Pigs may be kept on the North Plains. Large game like deer can be found in Ravounel Forest, while hares can be found on the North Plains and fowls around and downstream of the confluence of the Yolubilis and Katharevousa Rivers.

Overall, I'd expect the cuisine of Ravounel to somewhat resemble Asturian, Basque, and/or Galician, albeit with much less beef, which I don't think would be common in Ravounel.

This now has me thinking about the feudal subdivisions (counties and baronies) of Ravounel. I'll probably make a thread later this evening about those, and reforms thereto that the revolution could make. Expect maps!

Shadow Lodge

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I also wonder about native alcohols. Obviously Cheliax is famous for wine, and also exports hops (e.g. to Taldor). There is probably beer brewed in Ravounel, and grapes should also do well in the climate. What also apparently does well, because Luculla sells them, are blackberries. Luculla uses them for sweets, but they can be fermented.

Shadow Lodge

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So rather than a new thread (I've never been confident in my OPs), Imma just post the maps here.

There are no Duchies in Ravounel. It is too small for them, and none of the families are called out as having a Ducal title. There are three areas with which the Kintargo Contract concerns itself, which correspond neatly to the three Counts of Ravounel: the Isles, Ravounel Forest, and the North Plains. We can make a pretty good guess as to which family (Tanessen, Sarini, and Aulorian) has which title based on their economic interests. The Aulorians are interested in salt, which is produced on the North Plains and silver, which is produced in the Menador foothills. Their County, therefore, likely encompasses everything east and south of the Yolubilis River. The Tanessens concern themselves with the defense of Kintargo, which suggests that they have a special interest in Kintargo. Kintargo's first territory was on Argo Isle, and it spread onto the mainland from there. The Tanessens, therefore, are probably Counts of the Isles. Their domain is the city of Kintargo, Vyre Island excluding the city of Vyre itself (which is a free city), Deepmar, and various smaller islets east of the Dismal Nitch. The remaining County of Ravounel Forest consists of everything west of the Yolubilis River and goes to the Sarini, who have no economic interests and can thus go anywhere.

The Tanessens count as vassals the Jarvises and the Vashnarstills. The Sarini count as vassals the Delronges, the Sabinuses, and the Hyrmaguses, and formerly counted as vassals the Juliacs and the Borjannis. The Aulorians count as vassals the Aulamaxas, the Jhalteros, the Victocoras, the Aeldervenks, the Mayharts, and the Solstines, and formerly the Urvises. The Delronges control formerly Juliac and Borjanni land, and the Aulamaxas control former Urvis land (this is what makes them Archbarons - having absorbed former Baronies).

The following map shows the Counties and Baronies of Ravounel on the Night of Ashes:

[url]http://oi63.tinypic.com/8zh0s0.jpg[/url]

Many of the towns on this map do not appear on the map of Ravounel in The Kintargo Contract. Their placement, and the placement of the roads of Ravounel, are educated guesswork on my part. Lighter color of settlement denotes larger population - red markers are locations with small to no permanent civilian population. Settlements are as follows, roughly from north to south, and west to east:

Deepmar: a hamlet-sized (48) penal mining colony, owing allegiance to the Tanessens;
Vyre: a free large city (17,300);
Cypress Point: a small fishing town (1,850) owing allegiance to the Aulamaxas (who are largely absentee in Kintargo)and then to the Aulorians;
Acisazi: a free hidden village (146) in Sarini territory;
Kintargo: a large city (11,800) partly owing allegiance to the Jarvises and Tanessens (for whom it is also the seat), and partly to the Aulorians. This and being the former seat of the Archdukes have led to significant municipal self-government, though not Free City status. Industries include salt processing, shipbuilding, fishing, and finishing goods extracted begun upstream, including wool, canvas, linen, metal goods of various kinds, and masonry;
[Solstine]: a small salt-panning and farming town on the North Plains owing allegiance to the Solstine family (who are largely absentee in Kintargo) and then to the Aulorians;
[Urvis]: a small salt-panning and farming town on the North Plains that formerly owed allegiance to the extinct Urvis family, but now owes allegiance to the Aulamaxas, and then to the Aulorians;
[Delronge]: a large town and stockyard at the center of great horse and cattle ranches and the seat of the Delronges, also owing allegiance to the Sarinis;
Whiterock: a small town where granite is brought from quarries to be shipped, the seat of the Jhalteros, also owing allegiance to the Aulorians;
Dargarsti: a small town and the seat of the Sarinis on Cape Dis;
Kitkasiticka: a free hidden hamlet (59) in Sarini territory;
[Juliac]: a small town where hunters in the Ravounel Forest congregate, formerly the seat of the Juliacs but now part of the Delronge domain, also owing allegiance to the Sarinis;
[Victocora]: a small town at the confluence of the Yolubilis River and the Katharevousa River, where fishing boats from both streams dock to have their catches preserved in North Plains salt. The seat of the Victocoras, and owing allegiance to the Aulorians;
[Aulorian]: a large town devoting to smelting the silver and other metals (primarily lead, copper, and zinc, which are found in silver ores) that come down from the Menador Mountains. Also the site of clay deposits that are useful in making kilns. Seat of the Aulorians (the Aulorians also directly control the area around the Terapassilion, where salt is extracted, but have no seat there);
[Aeldervenk]: a small town on the upper Katharevousa with few silver deposits, but good terrain for water power. This makes the town a site for wool spinning, and most of the surrounding domain is sheep pasture. Seat of the Aeldervenks and owing allegiance to the Aulorians;
[Borjanni]: a large town devoted to processing wood, either into timber, into pitch, tar, and charcoal, or into paper. The site of numerous mills. Hemp is also milled into paper and rope here, and flax is spun. Formerly the seat of the Borjannis, but now part of the Delronge domain, also owing allegiance to the Sarinis;
[Mayhart]: a small silver-mining town, and the seat of the Mayharts, owing allegiance to the Aulorians;
[Hyrmagus]: a small farming town primarily devoted to flax and hemp as cash crops. The seat of the Hyrmaguses, owing allegiance to the Sarinis;
[Sabinus]: a small fishing town and gateway to Devil's Perch. The seat of the near-extinct Sabinuses, and owing allegiance to the Sarinis.

(Names in brackets are provisional. I have names in mind for most of them, but I'm not really happy, and I would appreciate your input.)

The statement "seat of" is somewhat facetious in all cases. While some families are more absent than others (the Sabinuses, Solstines, and Aulamaxas are of particular note), all the heads of the noble families live in Kintargo most of the time. This was almost certainly a move made to weaken them, and the power structure in the towns is probably a balancing act between retainers, guilds, burghers, and popular tribunes. The division of territory is deeply irrational, and leads to outcomes like the Delronges having most of the wealth in the County of Ravounel Forest due to controlling most of the Ravounel Road (and tolls thereon) as well as almost all the productive land.

Fortunately, there is surprisingly little the nobles can do about land reform and boundary reform in the context of the revolution against Barzillai. All of the counts align themselves with Thrune initially, and only the Tanessens (who control none of the mainland lands) are necessary to placate in the aftermath. The Delronges are also necessary to placate, but apparently Melodia can be bribed with something less than the return of her entire property - and she'll be grateful. The Aulamaxas and Solstines don't want territory. The Aeldervenks can be blackmailed out of theirs. The Victocoras and Sabinuses are themselves rebels. The Hyrmaguses are probably as close to extinction as the Sabinuses. The Vashnarstills were all but dispossessed by Thrune anyway. Only the Jhalteros stand out as the odd ducks.

So here's a tentative boundary reform for Ravounel post-revolution. Counties are abolished, the baronies are transformed into self-governing districts with either a settlement or a location (to which people will be dispatched until it becomes a settlement) as the center:

[url]http://oi63.tinypic.com/scytzn.jpg[/url]

nb: the hexes used in these maps are Ultimate Campaign/Kingmaker-sized hexes. There are 549 hexes in Ravounel, including water hexes. Y'know, in case anyone wanted to stat the place for some reason >_>

Shadow Lodge

Bother. I'd forgotten how URL tags worked on this board. These should work properly:

Ravounel, pre-Night of Ashes

Ravounel, post-revolution


This is all really good info. Currently using it to introduce rural slice-of-life on trek to and from Menador Gap, but we'll see if the players pick up on this stuff to do kingdom management.

Shadow Lodge

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zimmerwald1915 wrote:
(Names in brackets are provisional. I have names in mind for most of them, but I'm not really happy, and I would appreciate your input.)

Returning to this project, let's come up with some canons for the creation of names in Ravounel. Place names are an odd mixture of fantasy nonsense words (like "Ravounel" and "Kintargo") and straightforward English names (like "Cypress Point" or "Deepmar") to which at first there doesn't seem to be an organizing theme. We can surmise that the oldest place names, derived from the period of Taldan control, are the most Greek; that more Latin names are from the period of the pre-Age of Lost Omens Chelish Empire; and that English names are from the Civil War or post-Civil War period. So let's start with the names we know and try to piece together something.

Deepmar: meaning "deep cut," clearly refers to the mining that takes place there. The isle itself is also named "Deepmar," but this may be a case where the isle was named after the town rather than the reverse (c.f. Vyre, Kintargo).

Vyre: clearly named after Vyre Island, on which it sits. But "Vyre" itself is a nonsense word. "Ver-," from the PIE prepositional root "per-," is similar, and carries the meaning of priority of forwardness. Which would make sense as a modern name given the city's age, but doesn't seem like the name it would be founded with.

Cypress Point: named after a stand of cypress trees, and the fact that it sits on the end of a cape. C.f. "Sandpoint." Actually, Sandpoint is a good comparison all around. They're about the same size and have the same primary industry - fishing.

Acisazi: this is a town of a non-Taldane-speaking people, and cannot be easily mapped to Greek, Latin, or English as a result. Fittingly, it's also a fantasy nonsense word. It does sound a bit like "Anasazi," a Navajo pejorative for the Pueblo people, but that doesn't make much sense for a people to name their own town. A potential clue to the name could be found by comparing to similar elven settlements - Erages in Kyonin and Arsmeril in the Mierani Forest - but these are both also fantasy nonsense words. So is Mirivenn, the larger city of which Acisazi is a colony. In any event, we won't be naming any other aquatic elf settlements, so it doesn't matter.

Kintargo: "Kint" sounds like "Kent," which derives from the Latin "Cantia," conveniently meaning "coast." As Kintargo is a coastal city, this makes sense. "Argo" is the name of the isle on which Kintargo was founded and on which its oldest districts sit. Strictly speaking, we don't need to look further down the etymological tree, as names based on the geography are common enough (e.g., Vyre City on Vyre Island), but it turns out that it's also related to the root "arg-," for "shining" or "white," hence "argent" for silver. Kintargo therefore can mean "silver coast," which fits very well. I suspect that more thought went into this name than any of the others.

Whiterock: named after nearby silver-flecked granite quarries, transshipment from which forms the main part of the economy.

Dargarsti: this name actually comes from one of the Bestiary introductory blurbs, and it's just my surmise and inferences from that blurb that 1) places it on Cape Dis and 2) makes it the old seat of the Sarini archdukes. It is a nonsense word, and it shows. "Dar" is an Arabic (Semitic) term for "house," while "gar-" and "-sti" are both PIE. "Gar" refers to a spear or stick, while "sti" also refers to sticks or sticking with things. You can gloss that to mean "house of spears," "house of tortures," or "house of needles," though the last one suggests something more Nidalese than Chelaxian. I do note the similarity to the Venetian "Arsenal," which combines similar disparate roots in this way.

Kitkasiticka: similar to Acisazi, a fantasy nonsense word that doesn't need analysis because it's the only settlement of its kind.

* * *

So we have names that derive from the geography of the area and names that derive from the dominant industry. The larger settlements both have geography names, while the smaller ones tend to have economic/usage names. The larger settlements also tend to not be straightforward English while the smaller ones do - Dargarsti stands out as an exception but remember, it is where it is due to surmise.

We can also get guidance as to what stems to use from the names of the nobles. Most sound vaguely Latin/Italian/Spanish (though of course being nonsense words most of the time), but a few, like Aeldervenk which sounds vaguely Dutch and Mayhart which sounds vaguely English, stand out.

With that in mind, proposed names for the bracketed towns will follow (and of course if you're inspired feel free to propose your own).

Shadow Lodge

So. Names.

[Solstine]: Brinemoor, for the brine springs and flat land surrounding the town;
[Urvis]: Slipaway, originally a nickname gained after the extinction of the Urvises. That and the neglect of the Aulamaxas made it a good Bellflower destination, and even though the route has shifted north to Varisia, the name stuck and there remains a comparatively large free halfling population;
[Delronge]: Marvira, from the ancient horselord word for "horse," which survives in the names of the Nidalese horse breeds, and the Chelish word for "estate;"
[Juliac]: Brackenbower, from the hedge that the townsfolk raised to ward off the Ravounel Forest;
[Victocora]: Heronswade, from the Yolubilis herons that congregate in the marshy confluence of the Katharevousa and Yolubilis Rivers;
[Aulorian]: Argeforn, from the smelters, and especially the silver smelters, that form the backbone of the town's economy;
[Aeldervenk]: Schapkill, meaning "sheep's creek," for the wool-spinning mills that dot the upper Katharevousa River;
[Borjanni]: Ashford, being a shallow area (now behind a weir the drop of which powers saw- and rope-mills) became the spot where the Ravounel and Silver Roads met, and also the site of charcoal-burning kilns;
[Mayhart]: Greenwall - Carliss Mayhart's current residence is actually named after the town, which is itself named after the conifers that shelter the silver mines of this mountainous town;
[Hyrmagus]: Canape, for a double-pun on cannabis, which is grown there, and the canopy of the nearby Ravounel Forest; and
[Sabinus]: Carmus, for the hero whose statue stands in Highwall Market - also bears a little similarity to Cures, a chief town of the Sabine people.

Shadow Lodge

Huh. I seem to have inadvertently named Ashford after a town in A Song of Ice and Fire.

Any suggestions for a replacement name? Pickford (from "Pitch-ford"), maybe?


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
zimmerwald1915 wrote:

Bother. I'd forgotten how URL tags worked on this board. These should work properly:

Ravounel, pre-Night of Ashes

Ravounel, post-revolution

Would you mind dreadfully if I used these and your musings on town names for a larger, "in-universe" map of Ravounel I've been working on for my campaign? This stuff has been so useful for fleshing out the region and really helped me as a GM, but since I'd probably be posting some stuff online, I'd rather check with you before doing so.

Shadow Lodge

physicist-pi wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:

Bother. I'd forgotten how URL tags worked on this board. These should work properly:

Ravounel, pre-Night of Ashes

Ravounel, post-revolution

Would you mind dreadfully if I used these and your musings on town names for a larger, "in-universe" map of Ravounel I've been working on for my campaign? This stuff has been so useful for fleshing out the region and really helped me as a GM, but since I'd probably be posting some stuff online, I'd rather check with you before doing so.

Not in the slightest. Die gedanken sind frei.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

So, I'm still not 100% happy with these, but your thoughts so far?

First is this one which doesn't have Acisazi or Kitkasiticka marked on it.

Second is one after the aquatic elves and strix have made their thoughts known on how terrible these Chelish cartographers are, which can be found here.

Both are pretty big actually, so zoom in.


Those maps look really good, physicist-pi! If my campaign wasn't already finished I'd totally be using them.

Shadow Lodge

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physicist-pi wrote:
o, I'm still not 100% happy with these, but your thoughts so far?

I kind of love them. It's a nice touch using different handwritings for the various labels, even if some of the fonts are a touch hard to read. Makes it look like it's been through a wringer of censors, which I'm sure was the intent. The "official" town markers being sized proportional to population while the indigenats just want to make damn sure you know they're there is another good touch, though the writing of "Kitkasiticka" in the strix's red (not the town marker itself, just the writing) is kind of hard to see against the largely black background. Maybe use a yellow or light green if you can rationalize a pencil that would produce that color (pitchblende?).

Deepmar penal colony is left off the map entirely, though again I suspect that was intentional and gives it a gulag/secret city feel. Maybe add a marker for it on the second, edited map? Carmus is ever so slightly in the wrong place. The prevailing winds are northwest to southeast, and would blow into the main cove that is open to the northwest. It should sit on the southeastern shore of the smaller neighboring cove, just a smidge northwest of where it is now, for better harborage.

"Part of the Land of Nidal" rubs me the wrong way as a descriptor. You could just leave off the "Part of the" and it would work fine. Also, the "North Plains" label should probably straddle the border, as the geographic feature itself does.

"Ashford" is a name from A Song of Ice and Fire, and I would rather it not be. I suggested "Pickford" as a replacement a few posts ago.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
physicist-pi wrote:
o, I'm still not 100% happy with these, but your thoughts so far?

I kind of love them. It's a nice touch using different handwritings for the various labels, even if some of the fonts are a touch hard to read. Makes it look like it's been through a wringer of censors, which I'm sure was the intent. The "official" town markers being sized proportional to population while the indigenats just want to make damn sure you know they're there is another good touch, though the writing of "Kitkasiticka" in the strix's red (not the town marker itself, just the writing) is kind of hard to see against the largely black background. Maybe use a yellow or light green if you can rationalize a pencil that would produce that color (pitchblende?).

Deepmar penal colony is left off the map entirely, though again I suspect that was intentional and gives it a gulag/secret city feel. Maybe add a marker for it on the second, edited map? Carmus is ever so slightly in the wrong place. The prevailing winds are northwest to southeast, and would blow into the main cove that is open to the northwest. It should sit on the southeastern shore of the smaller neighboring cove, just a smidge northwest of where it is now, for better harborage.

"Part of the Land of Nidal" rubs me the wrong way as a descriptor. You could just leave off the "Part of the" and it would work fine. Also, the "North Plains" label should probably straddle the border, as the geographic feature itself does.

"Ashford" is a name from A Song of Ice and Fire, and I would rather it not be. I suggested "Pickford" as a replacement a few posts ago.

Yeah, I'm already changing up the fonts, due to a player with dyslexia in my group, I'll shift Carmus a bit. The bit about "Part of the Land of Nidal" came from a map of Scotland from the 1600s I used as inspiration, but I definitely agree that it isn't really needed. Been shifting some of the stuff around as well, your thoughts on this one?

Shadow Lodge

physicist-pi wrote:
Yeah, I'm already changing up the fonts, due to a player with dyslexia in my group, I'll shift Carmus a bit. The bit about "Part of the Land of Nidal" came from a map of Scotland from the 1600s I used as inspiration, but I definitely agree that it isn't really needed. Been shifting some of the stuff around as well, your thoughts on this one?

I'm immediately struck by how much easier the fonts are to read. There are two further changes I'd make to how text works, however. First, see if you can curve the labels for roads and rivers to follow the courses of the things they are labelling. It just looks nicer. And second, the labels for "Menador Mountains" and "Archduchy of Hellcoast" which intersect geographic features should have a whited-out background like the one under the label "Ravounel Forest" to make them easier to read.

Other minor quibbles: the marker for Kitkasiticka is now a different color than the text (which is easier to read now that it's lighter, but could be made even easier by emboldening the text). The marker should be lightened to match the text. And I'm pretty sure Deepmar Penal Colony is in the wrong place. The marker should be about where the "C" in "Colony" is.

You may want to place additional labels where the roads meet the edges of the map. For example, at the intersection of the Night Road and the edge of the map, an arrow pointing east and some text saying "To Ridwan." Similarly the Silver Road terminates in Kantaria, and the road south from Pezzack (which may or may not be called the Ravounel Road at that point) would terminate in Belde.


One bit of detail you can include during the rural travel bits is, if you have a PC that's a noble, mention the that they're traveling through the lands they (or their family) own. That has the benefit of making the character's nobility not totally off screen ("Where does your family's money come from" "We're nobles!" "But where does it come from?").

Shadow Lodge

deuxhero wrote:
That has the benefit of making the character's nobility not totally off screen ("Where does your family's money come from" "We're nobles!" "But where does it come from?").

To be fair, many of the NPC nobles (I'm thinking of Archbaroness Aulamaxa in particular) probably have exactly that attitude. Dispelling it in a PC noble would, however, be an unambiguously good thing.

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