Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Road to Ulakand

Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2000 13:47:34 EST
From: Gary Welsh
Subject: The Road to Ulakand

This is a brief treatise on a merchant road that goes west out of Ket across the plains to Ulakand and thence across the steppes to the far east, to lands that are legendary in the Flanaess.

Ket is on a plateau of sorts, between the Yatil Mountains to the north and the Barrier Peaks to the south. It is a hilly land, heavily forested in the south and central parts (the Bramblewood), and bordered in the west by the Tusman Hills (separates it from Tusmit to the northwest) in the south by the Pen-Wilds, or Pennors (separates it from the Plains of the Paynims [Bayomens]). In the southeast, the hills around the Fals River, and Thornward, have often been the sites of skirmishes and clashes between Bakluni west and the rest of the Flanaess in the east. The swords and spears of Bissel and Veluna have always been pointed against Ket. But there has also been much profitable trade in Ket as -- this place is the crossroads between two vastly different cultures. Caravans go from Lopolla [Hlupallu] in all directions.

To the northeast, a road goes to Molvar, and thence over the mountain road all the way to Krestible in Perrenland. To the east, a road goes around the Bramblewood and down to the river valley to Thornward, in Bissel, and thence east to Veluna, or south to Gran March. To the west, traffic flows down the Tuflik River to Ceshra and Sufmur, and eventually out to the Drawmij Ocean and the coastal cities of Ekbir and Zeif. Also to the west is the wide and dusty Ulakand Road, which fords the Tuflik River and strikes off aay from the Pen-Wilds, with brown and purple mountains in the distance to the south (left hand side) and eventually flatness everywhere. After hundreds of miles of flat, dry plains, the road heads into the trade center of Ulakand [Yolakand], once the capital of a great Paynim Khan.

From Ulakand, one can go south across the lands of Ull, to the settlements in the Ulsprue Mountains in the west (known to be inhabited by cyclopes and cloud giants), or the the hill-town of Kester [Ghastoor] in the southern hills. Across those brown hills, one would pass into an even drier set of plains, the Dry Steppes, which is almost desertlike -- hundreds of miles more to the south, one would eventually come to the mud and brick city of Karnoosh, on Lake Karnoosh -- an ancient site holy to the Baklunish, rebuilt after the Invoked Devastation. This oasis is one of the few sites for hundreds of miles about that support a large population. Karnoosh has routens.s south to Tashbul and the Sulhaut Mountains, and also west, possibly to the mountain kingdom of Zufon (SoD, p. 154)... The Pass of the Clenched Fist is the only pass across the Sulhauts, into the Sea of Dust (SoD, p. 171). In Karnoosh, Paynims, Ullites, dark Jahindis, and even folk of Sa'han and Behow can be seen -- many drawn by the annual slave fair held here (SoD, p. 143).

"Turrets and domes dominated the brick city of Karnoosh. The walled portion of the place -- the actual city -- was relatively small; no more than seven or eight thousand souls were enclosed by the high barriers. All around the city, except on the side that abutted the sorte of the big lake, were ancillary villages and towns that quadrupled or quintupled the total population of the area. Most of these smaller places were liberally dotted with caravansaries and wine shops where traders and laboreres could find housing and amusement during their brief stay.

"Continual streams of merchants came to the city, for Karnoosh was a hub where purveyors from north, south, east and west could exchange commodities.
An open bazaar was always busy. Slaves, spices, animals, ivory, and a mulitude of other goods were sold and traded there. The brick casbah housed sufficient troops to encourage everyone to do business peacefully, but just in case auxiliary forthresses also stood on either flank of the city. The Shah of Karnoosh was very rich and very powerful. There were no strong states around his little realm, so for a century there had been no warfare troubling the place. Such peace and prosperity brought even more merchants to Karnoosh, and it was a thriving cosmopoilis by all measures of the whole of Oerik" (SoD, p. 150).

If one had turned west instead of south, way back at Ulakand, one would have continued along the great plains, skirting the north-reaching arm of the Ulsprues, and heading due west, where one road would branch off north to Antalotol, while another continued west across plains which no map in the Flanaess ever detailed... If you keep going west, you come to another coast, a wedge-like sea that comes in from the Dramidj Ocean, nearly as far south as the latitude Karnoosh is at (29 degrees lattitude, Karnoosh is at about 26 degrees). The road turns south and goes around the coast, where it goes past little port towns, and also inland to the mountains to the south (which are distantly connected to the Sulhauts further east). Here, one is truly in western or central Oerik.

This wedge-shaped sea that cuts southward from the Dramidj divides the Bakluni subcontinent from the rest of western Oerik. To the west and north are the so-called "khanates" and beyond that coast is the rocky, volcanic isle of Fireland.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Re: Ehlonna and Sheldomar (still long)

Date: Sat, 25 Mar 2000 22:53:26 +1200
From: Craig & Julie
Subject: Re: Ehlonna and Sheldomar (still long)

>Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2000 13:12:55 GMT
>From: Paul Looby
>Subject: Re: Ehlonna and Sheldomar (still long)
>>So, you're postulating a seasonal "let's all go to the hills" for the
>>entire Sheldomar valley? :-)
>Yeah why not - load up granny and the kids on a cart and hit the road! :=
>No seriously - if you want to put seasonal floods in - then meltwater f=
>the Lortmils in spring is the way to do it. I don't have the map in fron=
t of
>me - but IIRC the Sheldomar has a lot of tributaries sourced in the
>mountains which will catch meltwater runoff in spring.
>The magnitude of the effect downstream is another question. The topology=
>the river valley and the soil types there would be big factors I think (=
>being a geographer). It might not be an all out head for the hills - but
>there probably would be some seasonal flooding.
>That's my take on it - anyone want to add to, subtract from or just plai=
>napalm this?
>> What's the average height of the Lortmils? They are geologically old a=
>> weathered so I'd say not so high (maybe 1000 metres with the odd high=
>> peak) so with the exception of a few months (at most over winter) pro=
>> don't get snow very often, so probably not too much run off in spring.
>Pat E wrote:=20
>The Appalacians are old as well, but the presidentials, and green mounta=
>(NH, and VT) get a TON of snow, and contribute to spring flooding along =
>rivers (such as the Saco river, east of Mt. Washington).
While Paul Wrote:=20
>Still if you look at places like the mountains of central Spain and sout=
>Italy - they get snow in winter. Not a whole lot, but enough to cause fl=

Both these examples are in the 40-45 latitudes (approximately the same as the lands of Iuz, while the Lortmils are closer to 30 degrees lat (Shanghai, Israel, Libya). I'm not saying that these lats. don't get snow, they do but in my interpretation of the Lortmils they don't get a lot of snow, not enough anyway to cause spring melt problems in the Sheldomar basin. I have them as similar to my local hills, they get the odd dump of snow over the winter but it seldom lasts more than a day or so, sometimes a week and it doesn't cause too many problems, there is some flooding but
that's mainly due to the rain at lower altitudes than snow. I don't see winter melt as being too much of a problem in the Lortmils. The rivers would flood occasionally but this is probably more due to rainfall than snow melt.

I have the snow line ending further north, maybe somewhere in Furyondy with falls infrequent further South.

>>The Sheldomar starts in Rushmoor and again I don't see this as a major
>>cause of spring run off, it lacks a big Mt catchment to really get a lo=
t of
>>spring melt. The Javan on the other hand probably floods a lot with tho=
>>Mt tributaries flowing down from the Crystalmists!
>Agreed on the Javan. Doesn't the Sheldomar have three or four tributarie=
>sourced in the Lortmils though?=20

Yep, but the Lortmils are a lot lower than the Crystalmists. I'd equate the Javan more in line with the Ganges as its headwaters are in the Flanaesses equivelant of the Himalayas, so I'd see seasonal flooding as being quite a problem in that valley, not so much in the Sheldomar one- well at least not caused by snows. I'd have spring rains causing floods more than snow melt in the Sheldomar Basin, but that's just me.

>That's how I see them as well. Wide dry grasslands - rain perhaps in spr=
>and winter (?).
>>The Uleks, which I've never really developed, I'd say would again be
>>something similar - perhaps like parts of Victoria or South Australia, =
>>for wheat & vineyards. Intensive farming along the river valleys, pator=
>>sheep farming in the drier uplands.
>I'd go with that - but I also see occasional floods in springtime. The
>rivers might not overflow every year - but every so often they will,
>especially with a particularly wet spring after a hard winter.

Agreed. actually I've just checked my notes on Keoland & found that I've put a reasonable amount of emphasis on spring floods, so may have to reverse my argument :)Oops.


Probably better you didn't:)
My geography degree has only been good for writing up countries for my AD&D campaigns!

BTW here in my take on the climate of the region, based on my incomplete write up of Keoland.

Keoland enjoys a temperate, Mediterranean style climate. Summers tend to be long, hot, dry and dusty with the temperatures often reaching into the mid to high thirties (Celsius). Winters tend to be mild with the temperature seldom dipping below freezing, except in the northern provinces.

The climate is driest in the central and western regions; areas close to the two main river valleys, the Sheldomar and the Javan, use irrigation and canals to bring water to the crops during the driest months. Gradsul and the southern coast has the highest annual rainfall. In most areas precipitation occurs mainly during the spring months when the moisture heavy south-easterly winds sweep in from the Azure Sea bringing the rains which replenishes and nourishes the soil. Summer is dry often bringing droughts especially to the inland regions. In both spring and autumn the plains are swept by fierce thunderstorms. Cumuli-nimbus clouds tower up into the stratosphere, bringing heavy rains and sometimes even tornados.

Keoland's climate is due both to its geographic location and the prevailing long term synoptic weather patterns in Greyhawk. In the winter months the prevailing winds in the Flanaess come from the north-east, sweeping down across the central kingdoms into Keoland, bringing snow to many of the more northerly kingdoms but having spent most of their force by the time they reach the Lortmils they bring little more than cold dry winds, with little or no rain to Keoland. However they do deposit some snow on the higher peaks of the Lortmil Mountains and bring frosts and cold temperatures to the northern provinces of the kingdom.

In spring the south east trade winds arrive, blowing in from the Solnor Ocean and Azure Sea and pushing the winter winds back northward. The south easterlies are warm and moisture laiden and as they meet the cold dry northerly winds they bring rain to the lands. These spring fronts bring heavy rains to Keoland and the other nations of the Sheldomar Valley for about a month during Planting but as quickly as they arrive the rains depart and the long hot summer begins.

As well as having heavier rainfall the coastal regions are also more humid than the central and northern provinces, due to the influence of the Azure Sea. Another feature of the climate of Keoland is the hot, dry Fohn wind, called the Dragon's Breathe by locals, that blows in from the Sea of Dust beyond the Crystalmist Mountains. This super-dry wind dries the land, sucking the last of the moisture out of the air as it blows down from the high mountain valleys. The Dragon's Breathe (Note: I have to come up with a better name than that one day:) brings high winds, dust clouds and scorching temperatures to Keoland during summer.

Keoland's climate has a definite north-south and east to west gradient. The central and northern regions tend to be both hottest and driest during the summer months and the coolest during winter as they are furthest from the moderating influences of the Azure Sea and so have the greatest extremes in temperature. Summers tend to be coolest in the Good Hills where the higher elevation brings cooler temperatures. During winter these hills sometimes get a sprinkling of snow but it seldom remains for more than a day or two

Keoland is a large kingdom in the South West portion of the Flanaess. The
Rushmoors form the nominal western boundary of the kingdom while in Azure Sea, some 600 miles south of these marshes form the southern boundary. To the east the mighty Sheldomar River is the kingdoms eastern border while the Javan River bounds it to the west. In the far north western corner of the kingdom the most recent acquisition to the lands, the County of Javan lies on the western shore of the Javan and this province stretches as far west as the Stark Mounds.

Most of the kingdom lies within the Sheldomar River Basin and consists of a huge plain that stretches from Gradsul in the South to the Thornwood, the capital of Bissel far to the north, a distance of some 1,000 miles.

The country generally slopes from west to east slowly rising in elevation the further west one travels. The vast plains of Keoland barely rise more than 300' in height from the Sheldomar River to the foot hills of the Good Hills, some 250 miles further west. These highlands are the only hills of any note in Keoland, and reach a peak of some 1500 feet above sea level. They are named the Good Hills for they are both fertile and have a favourable climate for growing crops and for orchards as well. Apples, pears, apricots, peaches, olives and even some citrus fruits are all grown in the valleys and slopes of the Good Hills. Beyond the hills the land falls away sharply as the hills drop down the Javan River Valley.

The most fertile soils are found closest to the Javan and Sheldomar River's where the annual floods deposits alluvial material that supplies the sustenance for the regions cops. The further north and west one travels from the Sheldomar the drier and stonier the soils get and the less suitable they become for arable farming. Instead the northern and central areas tend to rely more upon the raising of livestock, especially sheep and goats, for their livelihood.

Because the richest soils tend to be located nearest the Sheldomar Valley it isn't surprising to find that the majority of the kingdom's population live near this vital waterway, in fact more than 60% of the population live within 100 miles of the Sheldomar river, in the three main provinces of Gradsul, Sheldomar and Middlemarch. Population density is lessens in the central and western areas of the these provinces. The least populated provinces are in the far northern borderland provinces of (Javan, Rushmoor and Northmarch as well as the Southern Marches which lie between Dreadwood and the Azure Sea. The cooler, more temperate climate of the Good Hills, with its fertile soils, is also a favourable place to live so this region tends to be quite densely settled as well.


Craig Courtis

More on guns, a little on the Kalevala

Priority: normal
Date sent: Thu, 2 Oct 1997 17:05:24 CST
Send reply to: The GREYtalk Discussion List
Organization: Dominican Univ., River Forest, IL
Subject: [GREYTALK] More on guns, a little on the Kalevala
Originally to: greytalk@MIT.EDU

>IMO The gun would be used by the short lived races, Orcs are a good
>example of a race that would use GunPowder....Note I still don't use
>Gunpowder in my Greyhawk Campaign...

How about that Terry Harrison, eh? First he gives us a great use for gunpowder, and then he tells us he doesn't use it.

Jeff Mckillop added:
>>But Orcs are unlikely to invent GunPowder, so they will need as way to access it.
>True, and who would be stupid enough to give the secret to them?

I don't know about stupid, but Iuz, the Hierarchs, the Slave Lords, and Turrosh Mak (if you use him) would all benefit from outfitting their humanoid troops with firearms. Yeah, I'm using this idea.

Jonathan Wilson, and I believe some other people too, have suggested that gunpowder should be a secret guarded by dwarves and/or gnomes. Keep in mind that scrying magic keeps secrets like that very hard to protect. Mr. Wilson also pointed out that there would be no reason to develop firearms because there is magic. Fair enough, but then you have to say that swords and armor don't exist either, because you don't need them if you have magic either. Obviously, not everyone is a magic-user (at least not in most people's campaigns) and that other options should exist for the other classes.

Terry Nixon wrote:
>I have read the Kalevala and I use one of the Finnish deities in my
>Greyhawk campaign, and will possibly bring in some more.
>Didn't someone on the list mention that Mordenkainen originates from
>some Finnish source?

Did you really get through the whole thing? I tried it when I just started college, but I only got about halfway. As to Mordenkainen, I suspect that Mr. Gygax was inspired by the names in the Kalevala, but I don't think it was borrowed from any source.

Lastly, I wrote:
>I can just imagine the surprise when a mid-level druid decides to
>defend a castle by using Stone Shape to make the castle walls dodge
>the cannoballs!
And Alan Clark responded:
>Ha! Just imagine the argument you would have on your hands if I was
>running the game and you were trying to sell me on that one...

Would you believe we were playing Toon? Okay, so even I can't defend myself on that one. In campaign play, I wouldn't allow it either. Still, in just a one-shot adventure, it would be pretty funny...

Scott “Volstagg” Casper
old orc: “Looks like them humans are back with another party. Time to break out the gunpowder again...” --great NPCs, Shannon!