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The Case for a Kaldoran Ocean Port

You know, since I first picked up Encyclopedia Harnica No. 1 way back in 1984 in a small Queensland country city, I’ve always loved Kaldor. But one thing has always bugged me about the kingdom; it has this commercial fair that goes on for over two months. I mean, a fair might take three or four days of trading, perhaps even a week, but two months? Sure, there’s the annual caravans that arrived from the four cardinal points of the compass, but seriously, who thinks mere caravans can transport enough cargo to keep a commercial fair going for over 2 months!

Before you go on, this post—in fact, the entire series—assumes that you have read An Ocean Port for Kaldor, and that you are somewhat familiar with the world of Hârn in general, and the Kingdom of Kaldor in particular. If not, then you probably won’t make a great deal of sense out of it.

The Great Summer Fair

It wasn’t until I read Life In A Medieval City, by Joseph & Frances Gies that I realised that it was possible. In that book, the Gies discuss the city of Troyes, located in the heart of the Champagne region of central France. It had two fairs a year, one July to August (the “Hot” Fair or Fair of St-Jean), and one November to December (the “Cold” Fair or Fair of St-Rémi). In 1250, the population of Troyes was roughly the same as Tashal (~10,000), but there were some significant differences which meant that Troyes could support two big fairs every year.

The area around Troyes is a broad and fertile plain. Well populated even in the early Middle Ages, the Champagne region was wealthy and easily accessible from Italy, Germany, Spain and the Low Countries. Well-heeled and well stocked with goods, the merchants of Europe descended on Troyes and other major centres in Champagne to trade almost all year round. For it’s time, Troyes was very advanced, had a stable government and, because of its location, there were few wars that bothered the city.

Tashal Isn’t Troyes

But Tashal presents a few problems for merchants that Troyes didn’t have:

  • it’s far away, and made to seem even further by the ocean gap between the continent and the island;
  • you have to deal with creepy wizard-enforced embargoes;
  • there’s an arduous trek through wilderness teeming with ghastly barbarians and horrible monsters; and
  • you have deal with semi-civilised kingdoms and primitive conditions.

So there are lots of reasons to think that the Great Summer Fair, as written, is not so great or so full of cool stuff that it could go on for two months. I mean, how many times could bags of salt, bales of fur, or a few Khuzan trinkets really change hands? As for wool, does anyone seriously believe anyone at the fair actually sees more than a few bales of wool? Don’t forget that wool is Hârn’s major export, but why would you transport it to Tashal from Vemionshire (let alone Kanday) only to transport it pretty much all the way back again on the way to Thay? Wouldn’t you be better off to bring a couple of bales of your finest to Tashal, and ship the rest directly to, say, Kobing? Or, if you are a Kandian merchant, ship it directly to Cherafir or Thay by sea?

It just doesn’t make sense to transport a whole bunch of luxury goods overland from Thay when the pulling power of your goods could easily force the Hârnic merchants to come to Thay. After all, it’s only a few more leagues in an already long journey from Kanday/Tharda, and little less convenient from Azadmere or Leriel/Lorkin. No, if Tashal is to keep its place as a central point of commerce for the island, and all the wealth that implies is brought into the kingdom, Kaldor must develop a port capable of taking ocean-going vessels. Only by eliminating the expense and danger of the overland trek can you convince foreign merchants to continue to arrive in Tashal.

More Positive Reasons

There are two more really good reasons to develop a port for Kaldor.

The first is that a Kaldoran port becomes an alternative to Cherafir and Thay, both controlled by Melderyn and the aforementioned creepy wizard-enforced embargo. A bit of adroit marketing, spreading the word in the inns, taverns and coffee houses of the continent, and soon the Larun are bypassing Melderyn altogether, for a more friendly haven (with appropriate bribes….I mean, bonding house rebates, of course!)

The second reason is that any ship offloading good in a Kaldoran port will want to load up with more goods, even if it’s only wool (high volume, low value goods). An empty ship earns her owners nothing; in fact it costs them money (in wages and upkeep). A central point to ship bulky goods like wool means that all those Hârnic goods will be coming through a Kaldoran port instead of a Melderyni port. That has to be good for the Treasury coffers!

Where…Oh, Where?

But where is a good location for a Kaldoran port? How will you decide? Never fear, this question was raised a few years ago, and Robin Crossby and I batted it about for a couple of months. At the end of that, I wrote an article that many of you have probably already downloaded and read. If you haven’t, then click here to go get it right now. Of course, it’s completely unofficial because as of 720TR, there is no port or even any serious plans for a port. At least, not in official, or canon, HârnWorld material.

Once you’ve read (or re-read) the article, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. And next time, I’ll discuss why the saving of Tashal as a commercial hub by building a port is also its death knell.

22 comments on The Case for a Kaldoran Ocean Port

  1. Dear Leitchy,

    Before I re-read the port article; I would like to add my 2d. I think the reason Tashal could attract goods to make the ardous journey, is coin. I see the Tashalan merchants refusing to trek elsewhere knowing that cash greedy traders will make the effort for the Khuzan coins so plentiful in Kaldor.

    I see the fair as a side effect of this ‘enforced’ trade; unlike troyes which seemed more like an agreeable agreed conveniant place to trade. Troyes is a good place to trade; Tashal is a bad place ‘to’, but vital ‘for’, trade.

    Get the cash out of Kaldor and Tashal loses importance, IMHO

  2. Having re-read the article, I am more convinced that Tashalans have nothing to gain from a sea port.
    It would IMHO improve the effieciency of trade links; but Tashalans have no need of this as it would ‘backwater’ their geographically arbitrary nexus of trade. Non-Tashalan Kaldorans would not care so much about this however.
    I am not sold on the idea that a sea port would generate significantly more trade; even in the long run. To me it is clear that traders already ‘bite the bullt’ on going to Tashal for some reason (I think it is cash); and that the Tashalans buy all they can. But I am no economist,,,

  3. Let me take the reverse to your position; I don’t think the merchants of Tashal have any say in the matter. It is the foreign merchants who bring the luxury goods and buy the wool who have all the power. And it is they whom I see as the factor behind building a port in Kaldor.

    We’re told that the Gulf of Ederwyn is extremely hazardous to shipping, which is why Kandian and Thardan merchants travel overland through dangerous territory rather than risk the voyage by sea. And it’s not so far from Azadmere or Leriel/Lorkin to Tashal, as such things go. So in many ways, a fair at Tashal makes sense. I just don’t see it making sense in the longer term. It makes more sense to me for the foreign buyers to force the Tashalans and everyone else to make the journey to them, and they would like to be in Thay. After all, that means they don’t have to shell out for the expenses of guards, donkeys and horses, wagons and wagoners. More profit for them…and remember, they have the buying power.

    So, if they let it be known that they’d prefer to carry out their business with Kaldor outside the embargo of Melderyn (although this embargo isn’t something that is public knowledge, I find it hard to believe that most experienced merchants wouldn’t be in the know), but that the expense of moving cargo overland from Thay was proving too much, I think the merchants of Tashal would catch the hint…and they would in turn word up the powers-that-be. No-one said Troda Dariune was stupid. 😉

    I see no reason this scenario couldn’t happen.

  4. Hello,

    I very much like this kind of economical tinkering, and in this respect, the article by Leitchy is a gem. 🙂

    However, I disagree with Leitchy at several points.

    1) As Leitchy wrote, trade in goods produced in Kaldor is hardly a reason for any caravan to travel to Tashal. Thus there has to be a different rationale for the caravans to arrive in the first place. What Peter the skald wrote sounds good for me: cash. The cash is not produced in Kaldor, but in Azadmere. Azadmerean gold is the only thing merchants from the north and west of Hârn don’t have access to.

    In my vision, Azadmere has long-standing trade links with the Kaldoran crown. Kaldoran crown has either monopolized or closely controls trade with Azadmere, and thus controls the flow of gold into the Hârnic economic system. Tashal is the seat of the Kaldoran crown, so it’s pretty natural that foreign traders need to visit this place in order to trade for the Khuzan gold.

    I’ve discussed the long-range importance of Khuzan gold in my treatise on the history of Khuzdul, readable at Harnic Inquiries.

    2) When discussing the need for a Kaldoran port, I think Leitchy puts the wagon before the horses. As long as there is no pressing economical need for a port, it’s no issue.

    The two “More Positive Reasons” become options only if a) there would be a reasonably well accessible location for the port within the Kaldoran sphere of influence, and b) if the Kaldorans or the merchants would have a pressing need (i.e. a good risk-benefit ratio) for increasing the quantity of trade goods flowing in and out of Kaldor.

    While I don’t wish to discredit the idea that more trade would always be good and sought after by the merchants, I doubt they lack the impetus to invest in such a project. Kaldor really isn’t that important in the interregional trade. The existing pattern already works quite well, providing the foreign merchants with a supply of gold.

    3) When discussing the location for a port of Kaldor in the downloadable article, I think Leitchy misses several crucial points:

    a) Kaldor doesn’t control the Kald River south of Jedes. Opening up and securing this part of the Kald River would be a major economical strain for the crown & the merchants. Would this new trade route really pay for the needed investments? How much more Khuzan gold and Vemionshire wool can Kaldor export to pay for the costs of a new, distant port?

    Nevertheless, a port in the estuary of Kald clearly is the most potent place for a Kaldoran port. This is also the only place where we can speak of canal-digging. Only that the vertical drop of the Kald River would require major engineering. But with Khuzan skills, this could be just about possible. If the Khuzdul would see the need for providing their skills… And what would the Sindarin think of Khuzan engineers meddling with the flow of Kald River just at the edge of the Kingdom of Evael?

    b) The other options for a canal are simply beyond the scope of Kaldor, land-locked with 105.000-130.000 inhabitants (= work force). In addition, the terrain is hardly level, so that even here major engineering feats would be necessary. Such canal-building projects were only begun by emerging states with population of millions, and the routes of the canals went through densely settled regions.

    c) In addition for a and b, a question of Hârnic geographical knowledge and its utilization arises. Do the Hârnians see their surroundings from the bird perspective like us? If they don’t, how would they find out the shortest and easiest route to the sea? On Terra, the human capacity of understanding and utilizing cartographic knowledge in the manner suggested in Leitchy’s article only developed with the beginning of the 16th century. Utilizing such a knowledge in territories not known or controlled – and/or inhabited by potentially hostile natives – developed only in the 19th century.

    In summary, I think Leitchy has looked at a map the Hârnians don’t have, and thrown in an idea the Hârnians wouldn’t get. And if they would, they would lack both the impetus and the financial assets to do anything about this fantastic dream.

    A strong YES for p-Hârns and campaigns wishing to benefit for such a major economic project. A strong NO for the socio-economic possibility of such a major project in the Hârn described in the sources we have. 🙂



    Another questionable idea is the port of the Thardic Republic. Questionable for just the same reasons as the Kaldoran port.

    Looking at the Hârn maps, the only major improvement in trading routes I see (and think the Hârnians would be able to see, understand, and utilize) would be cutting the overland trek of the Salt Route between Moleryn and Trobridge by changing the route to go from Coranan to Shiran to the south-eastern corner of Lake Benath (where there already is a Thardic legionary fort), and from there over the lower Athul Mountains & hills to Farin River. IMHO, the hazards of the passes through the Athul Mountains would be small compared to the benefits of transport by water and the drastically shorter trek through barbarian wilderness.



  5. Hi Leitchy,

    If the power is in the hands of the foreign mercantylers then I agree; they would lobby for a port; probably the power is their hands..

    If the power is in the hands of the Tashalans (including the crown and the goldmeister Curo) such a lobby would be unsuccesful unless it could show the new ‘situation’ to be more beneficial than the status quo..which would IMHO be a tough call.

    I think a lot rests on ones opinion of who is more powerful in the relationship: The foreign mercantylers or the Tashalans. However, people like Troda Dariune would no doubt benefit a shift in this balance as you mention.

    I think the implication in Canon is that the mercantylers make the land trip because they have to…to me it is difficult to see the advantage to Tashalans in changing this…

  6. Just another thought…maybe the foreign mercantylers would court a non tashalan like Troda Dariune to develop a port…it would be in both their interests…

  7. What Ikka said.

    Just participating in the “How much gold would it take to wreck the Harnic economy” thread got me thinking about this. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the only thing that makes the Tashal fair of real importance is Khuzan gold. Azadmere is currently the only major gold source in western Lythia, so this is what attracks trade from the mainland (mostly carried by merchants from Thay who sell to mainland merchants in Thay or Cherafir).

    The mainland merchants might be interested in a Kaldoric port, but the merchants of Thay/Cherafir are very much against it (and they’re the ones turning up to Tashal and with a relationship with the Kaldoric merchants/Crown), and the Tashal merchants just don’t care – everybody comes to them to buy their stuff anyway.

    A Kaldoric port is an interesting idea to explore, but I suspect that to really get royal interest there would need to be a political angle to it – how would it increase the power of the Kaldoric crown. They only way I can see this is if Kaldor gained control over an area with port acess – such as Chybisa. Colonisation of the Setha Heath might then procede a pace, leasing to one or ports starting up eventually along the coast.

    De Coucy

  8. In my opinion Kaldor, for matters of national political prestige and some pretty powerful economic incentives, will want to establish its own presence on the coast of Hârn. I’ll be touching on those in my next piece.

    There are two things of importance available from Tashal; Khuzan gold (probably in the form of jewelery rather than straight bullion, although there might be a few coins about) and wool. Don’t forget the wool. It might seem to be a humble commodity but if you understand the importance of medieval English wool to the Flanders cloth-makers, you can see how important Hârnic wool can be to Lýthian merchants. England’s wool trade with Europe is the reason the English Chancellor of the Exchequer used to sit on a wool sack in Parliament; to symbolize the importance of the wool trade to the English treasury coffers. And Kaldor is the largest wool producer on Hârn. I think this, more than anything other factor, is why Tashal is the commercial hub of the island.

    It doesn’t really matter where a port is established; Tuleme Island was selected because that area is at least notionally under Kaldoran sway, a fact that isn’t being challenged by any other country. It also presents an interesting place and set of issues that a campaign could be based on, and that is paramount (remember, we’re not modeling a real world here, we’re merely providing a fertile setting for gaming). And, as I hope I’m conveying here, it presents a very interesting set of possible consequences for the future of Kaldor, and Hârn as a whole.

  9. 🙂

    First: “The fact is […]”, later a lot of anecdotes from England transferred into Kaldor – and finally: “we’re not modeling a real world here, we’re merely providing a fertile setting for gaming”

    Yes, in all its absurdity, I totally agree. This is why Hârn IS a real fantasy world. 😀



  10. {sigh} You are correct; “the fact is that…” is utterly redundant and quite wrong. I’ve replaced those empty words.

    As for the rest, Kaldor is an analogue of medieval England in many aspects (hey, you go with what you know, right?) And while establishing a port on Tuleme Island is a bit ridiculous, the way it’s presented, it’s at least feasible and is certainly good fodder for gaming. 🙂

  11. Seems a little odd that Kaldor and Tharda, two of the strongest powers of Harn – which is an island – do not have reliable access to a seaport…. However since this is a fantasy world pointing out all the other historical anomalies of Harn would fill another two million words of print….

    The major problem here is that Evael, the Sindarin kingdom, is smack dab in the middle of the best access point for the rest of Harn. It is too bad that the creators of Harn could not have put Evael in less intrusive location (e.g. the southern Sorkin mountains, the southern Felsha mountains or perhaps off the coast of Kanday on the island of Anfla). The next best option is encouraging the Sindarin to stop dithering and make that final journey to the Blessed Realm. What are they waiting for? The Khuzan are doing their part by slowing dying off in their remote mountain civilization. Why can’t the elves take a hint and move on?

    I think that Harn canon/fanon should introduce the idea that the Sindarin have FINALLY “departed” and some prime real estate (Evael) is sitting there for future human settlement. I think this open up a huge amount of future adventures with all the various human Harn powers battling it out for control.

  12. Dear Leitchy,

    I take on board the case for wool. IMHO Kaldor could be undercut/sidetracked in the wool trade by other nations..even Kanday.

    My reasoning is spurred by my vague impressions of the ‘king cotton’ policy of the American Civil war..whereby the confederacy tried to embroil Britain in the conflict (what an alternative history!) by starving her of cotton. Hello India!!!!

    My point is, wool may be very important, but it is potentially also very vulnerable…lots of intrigue potential!!!!!! (I still favour the cash imperitive however!). If not Kanday; where-else could Gazump the Kaldoran wool trade?

  13. Two points:

    1) My criticism to this piece has been in many ways unwarranted. Reading it through again (and forgetting about the Port of Kaldor stuff NRC has written, with canals etc.), I see this is foremost a scenario and only secondarily a suggestion of economic development in Hârn. My apologies, Leitchy.

    2) I ventured to do some basic maths on costs of transport, presenting several scenarios for Kaldor to export its wool. A port at Tuleme Island came out clearly as the best solution, and I believe Hârnians themselves are able to see the benefits.

    In my calculations, changing the export route of Kaldor wool from Tashal-Oselbridge-Burzyn-Thay-Emelrene into Tashal-Jedes-Tuleme-(Melderyn)-Emelrene would cut the costs of transportation roughly by 80 %. This would bring the prices of Kaldor wool down to very near the prices of Kanday wool*, making Kaldor instantly into a Hârnic “superpower” of wool production. Especially if we assume that the present wool surplus of Kaldor is of very high quality (to make it economical to export it at all).

    This is a new insight for me. Leitchy, thanks for throwing my thoughts into a new and interesting orbit. 🙂


    * As of now, Kanday is the major wool-exporter of Hârn, and the only one on Hârn to have real meaning in the scale of Venarive. (See the Lythia economic map.)

  14. Just to set the record straight, Robin contributed to the Port of Kaldor article, but I wrote it. That’s the official stance, you understand. 😉

    In developing my discussion, I didn’t go as far as to do any calculations; I haven’t the foggiest notion about where to start with that, so my hat’s off to you, mate! But I took it as axiomatic that transportation by ship is far more cost effective than a caravan.

    There is also the advantages of the Kald River watershed itself; all the wool can come downstream to Jedes and Tuleme; very little in the way of energy is expended. You simply float the wool on barges and go with the current. Transporting goods upriver is a little more difficult, but they can be high value, low volume (although I suspect a fair percentage of the talbars would be completely empty).

    To answer Peter the Skald about what region might provide competition with Hârn over wool, I’m not certain. I seem to recall something about sheep in southern Shorkyne (between Trierzon and Shorkyne…a disputed zone subject to numerous border conflicts). But you also have to remember that the type of sheep is also important (type of sheep = type of wool). For example, Australian merino wool is highly prized, especially the lower fibre sizes (14 micron fibre is especially prized by Italian suit makers). In medieval times, English wool was prized for these same reasons; wool from sheep raised on the Continent wasn’t a good as English wool.

    Now, I don’t recall any official material saying that Hârnic wool was better than Lythian wool, but it’s a reasonable stance to take. So wool from, say, Shorkyne will be cheaper (because it’s closer), but Hârnic wool might be better, in the sense that it’s easier to work or produces better cloth or takes a wider range of dyes…or multiple reasons.

  15. The port at Tuleme is an interesting idea, but I am not sure there if enough economic incentive behind what would be an expensive and very exposed venture (it is along way from the current borders). It could also bring additional conflict with other countries and tribal nations. I suspect Kaldor’s feudal government would be much more interested in expanding into lands around their borders which would provide revenue, military and political benefits.

    The major site that I think is more viable for trade is on the eastern shore of Lake Benath near Messlyneshire. That would majorly open up trade between Tharda and Kaldor and allow the possibility of trading into Orbaal via Arakalia. A Lake Benath port would be reasonably close to Tashal, so would significantly benefit the existing major markets. It would seriously diminish (and probably eventually kill) the Salt Route though.

  16. Nice article. I don’t see why Kaldor couldn’t simply expand their borders to the east and build the port creating one, two or three additional overland caravan routes for goods from Cherafir.

  17. It’s been a while, but let’s look at the responses from Wayfarer and Castlemike. I believe the Tuleme Island article actually deals with both of these situations, but lets examine them again.

    A port on Lake Benath makes Kaldor’s trade subject to interference by the Thardic Republic. Don’t forget that trade is a two-way thing, and goods flowing to—and more importantly from—Kaldor’s port on Lake Benath will have to travel across the lake and then down the Thard River. That makes it hostage to whatever control Tharda wishes to place on it. At the very least, there would be steep taxes and these could become punitive if relations between Kaldor and Tharda were to turn sour. And they aren’t all that good now!

    Kaldor simply extending it’s borders to the east is not really an option. Firstly, there’s the matter of the dwarves; I doubt they’d appreciate becoming subject to the Kaldoran crown…for a start, the Khuzan king would be out of a job, and I doubt he’ll sit still for that!. 🙂

    The second is the coastline itself; there are no suitable locations for a harbour on any part of that coastline. The shoreline is mostly cliffs or is extremely rugged, and the path from Kaldor has to cross a major mountain range. Remember that the road to Azadmere along the Silver Way is steep, rugged, and practically impassable now; blazing a trail through gargun infested mountains would be much more expensive than building a port on Tuleme Island.

    Lastly, that coastline is subject to harassment from Orbaal (and points further east). Don’t forget, the Orbaalese are basically pirates at heart. Any port would have to be heavily defended and there would be little, if any, warning before an attack. That would mean Kaldor would have to build a naval capability to keep the shipping lanes clear. A further expense. Tuleme Island is reached via a log, narrow estuary. Not a lot of room for manoeuvring a large vessel, and within range of shore defences and lookouts. Lookouts with beacons who can give advanced warning of an attack to the harbour.

    In summary, a port on the eastern shore of Lake Benath puts all Kaldor’s trade under the thumb of Coranan or—even worse—Golotha, and a harbour on the eastern coastline of Hârn is expensive to establish and maintain, and not safe even then. Tuleme Island is cheaper, safer, and not as vulnerable to foreign interference.

  18. I was in the Navy for 15 years. There were occassions where we actually received fresh ship stores from small sailing boats on occassion without ever anchoring in port.

    There are a lot of factors to consider. Ships are expensive to build, purchase and operate so there should not be bunches of them in pirate hands particularly the best of breed. Doubtful the majority sail around major harbors with navies that patrol their waters.

    It’s only 160 miles from Tashal to the eastern shore of Harn which falls under the shipping radius of Thay versus 225 miles between Tashal and Thay.

    Each person’s Harn determines exactly how much more dangerous those 80 or so miles beyond the borders of Kaldor are or if there are not at least 3 – 6 safe layover points (Forts, Manors or Abbeys).

    IMO shipping should be relatively safe within a 100 – 200 mile radius of the city of Thay.

    I find it odd that there are not ambitious Franchised or Free or Manorial Lords with Bonded Master Mercantylers along the eastern coast of Harn who are not making at least one or two caravan trips to Tashal with valuable rare goods each year.

    Even a few small or very small caravans with extra guards zig zagging between local manors or avoiding them entirely could be very lucrative. Possibly it’s not in their best interests to take things up another degree or two due to the diminishing cost of return to expenditures and infrastructure. Purchasing additional mounts to transport the goods and feed them each year is a significant cost. Things begin spiraling. Bulkier goods require more mounts and more men to tend them along with additional guards which returns less profit.

    We might be currently at the sweet point. Eastern Mercantylers receive better prices for rare and scarce goods in limited quantites sufficient to meet the current demands of Tashal nobility and other wealthy customers. Less profitable goods travel from Thay to Tashal.

    Doubling the supply of rare goods doesn’t necessarily double the demand of customers capable and willing to pay for those same goods at the same prices.

    No port is actually necessary just a manor with a small dock comparable to Jedes.

    IMO it is really hard to believe there are not several bays or coves capable of harboring seagoing vessels along a 100 mile stretch of coast line and a dozen or more suitable for launching and docking small boats (Under 40 feet) not counting additional coves for smaller boats in the 20′ – 30′ range .

    Cargo could be rather easily transported by small boat or boats to shore in less than a day in most instances probably in less than half a day for most cargos under 10,000 d. The ocean going ship never needs to actually dock or even anchor out although that does facilitate the transfer of cargo.

    Sure the Orbalites have pirate tendencies but I don’t see them lying in wait anchored off a manorial village for an occassional cargo for extended periods of time. It’s to easy to be spotted by the Thayan Navy or reported to them as pirates. Thayan captains would be very receptive to reports of pirates due to fedual spoils resulting from capturing a ship.

    Since Thay has a Navy that patrols their waters. There is no reason a Master Mercantyler or Ship’s Captain couldn’t “gift” a Naval Captain or Noble to provide them with an “escort’ them for a short trip up North which would tend to discourage most pirates.

    The shipping articles makes it pretty clear there are not huge numbers of ships sailing the seas. IMO the majority sail under feudal naval or guild control.

  19. A few more thoughts on the subject. I think it comes down to a few key questions.

    What constitutes a port in the medieval era in a world like Harn?

    Would Kaldor need more than a single sea dock for the first couple of years? (It would take time for the existence of the port to become general knowledge. Once it was common knowledge how many ships regularly pass the potential port in a normal trading season?).

    Would Kaldor need more than 3 or 4 sea docks after a decade or two due to the limited number of ships?

    The cost of transporting goods via the Kald river barges and overland caravans or peddlers. While it is generally cheaper to ship goods by water in comparison to overland that is not true if transporting goods overlands negates most of the taxes and fees incurred via goods transported by the Kald river barges.

    For me the standard is a single sea dock capable of securing sea going vessels (ships) to facilitate the transfer of the cheaper bulkier and or heavier trade goods like wheat, wool, oil, wine and other liquids in quantity while minimizing manpower and cargo losses compared to transferring goods with small boats (rocking in the waves) to a ship anchored off shore.

    A key point is that a port is also all the infrasturcture that supports it which is one reason it so hard to build a port. Without the infrastructure to support it the port will fail.

    A minor port requires very little infrastructure basically the sea dock, a grain silo and a warehouse, and generally some kind of modest fortifications (an ounce of prevention is usually worth a pound of cure). Possibly a trade offficial and a local trading representative or factor to oversee the local surplus trading goods.

    A single sea dock can tie up two ships and possibly more in a pinch. Unless thereis an awful lot of ship trade few start up ports will need more than a single dock for several or more years until trade is grown and a market for goods is established.

    Each port should become a minor local trading hub as other surrounding manors bring their excess goods to the port for trade and transport to other parts where the goods are in demand.

    For the first few years after a port is established it shouldn’t require that many ships laying over to drop off a few goods, replenish ship stores and pick up some additional cargo (probably small cargos of wheat or grain or bales of wool or jugs of olive oil which can sit in a grain silo or warehouse for prolonged periods until they are needed).

    Depending on the Harn ships can be tied up alongside another ship with goods brought across the other vessel if a vessel has reason to be docked for a lengthy period instead of out sailing and generating income.

    I think Kaldor could slowly grow a small port town with several or more docks and regular sea trade over a decade or so rather inexpensively along the lines of immigration and developing one a 10 L Tower manor with a single sea dock, warehouse and grain silo.

  20. Going to need a local pilot at some point for a port for the unfamiliar waters or most ship captains won’t take the risk of losing their ships.

  21. Regarding Lake Benath trade, I disagree with Leitchy somewhat.

    I think there is sufficient demand for a port on Lake Benath. Firstly Tharda is not that organised/centralised, there are a lot of factions at all levels competing for political and/or economic advantage from their competitors.

    My take on the trade would not be travelling down the Thard, but terminating at Shiran or possibly Firis and selling to local mercantylers.

    I don’t see it as a heavily organised enterprise. The trade would likely start quite small and not overly organised initially. Perhaps one individual mercantyler, a coastal sized vessel (possibly registered in Tharda), a small crew and a very basic trading post on the eastern shore of Lake Benath with a trail through Messlyneshire to Tashal. The trade destination would be with Shiran or perhaps Firis.

    Local mercantylers would profit; being able to access trade goods all year round and being able to transport these goods faster and cheaper the annual salt route caravan. This means these local mercantylers could significantly undercut their rivals on the regular salt route caravans. This means that trade goods would likely be considerable cheaper for consumers and become significantly more available (not being restricted to once a year). As trade goods are often luxury goods, this means the Upper Elite are likely to be the biggest benefactors.

    The increases the local income and trade which will make local authorities happy.
    Trade over Lake Benath would grow steadily and gradually, taking several years to majorly impact regional trade. I suspect that by the time trade have grown enough for the senate to be generally aware of it and for it to become a political issue, it would be too late to roll things back. Plus there would be plenty of people profiting enough to use whatever means at their disposal to keep the trade flourishing.

    The most likely destination would be Shiran, which would then become a regional trading centre, most likely at the expense of Moleryn and perhaps Coranen. From Shiran thardic merchants could transport goods wherever either down the Thard river to Coranan and Golotha or overland throughout Tharda and beyond.

  22. Hello all, my first comment here.
    I’ve toyed with harn on and off (mostly off) sense 1986

    In regards to a Kaldor Port at the Tuleme Falls, I do have a few thoughts.

    To the best of my knowledge, the Sindarin had no malice towards the Kingdom of Lylan (Pre-Lothrim petty kingdom). And barbarians or not, I seriously doubt the Sindarin see the Pagaelin as an improvement, with or without the Navehen influence.

    If anything, the Sindarin seem to be rock solid isolationist, so long as the humans on their bordors respect the border. They don’t seem to have any interest if one group of humans replaces another, or conquors another, etc.

    I think a very very solid case can be made that the Evael will be a 100% non-player in efforts to help, or to hinder, a Kaldoric port.

    Having said that, if a GM wants to throw an elvish wrench into the works, all he has to do is have the Sindarin in his world believe, for whatever reason, that they don’t want any of the human Harnic states that close to them. Perhaps they changed their minds, and decide to be more involved in such things (which would no doubt lead to some withering comments from the Khuzan about elvish timing…..)

    I simply don’t see Melderyn being ‘directly’ involved, but I do believe Melderyn would prefer a more ‘contained’ Kaldor. As for Chybisa, a Kaldoric port would be an unmitigated disaster. The Genin train WOULD lose some of its trade. Even if the Genin trail retained a respectable flow of goods and wealth, it would shrink at least some, probably by a significant margin.

    The only real obstacles are the Pagaelin, and the internal will of Kaldor to do it (I could readily see Melderyn trying influence Kaldor’s internal will to do it).

    Given the nature of the Pagaelin, nothing short of a very ugly campaign would so much as dent them. At best, the Pagaelin could be ‘pushed’ out of the area, but this would result in more tribes trying live in a smaller territory, and thus a tighter food supply, and thus more raids.

    While a good case can be made for killing off any adult male Pagaelin, both Laranian and Peonian moralty pretty much demand the granting of quarter, which it is a 100% sure thing that the Pagaelin would regularly abuse.

    That quarter would eventually stop being offered (and for good reason) is a given. The only remaining question is what would happen to the Pagaelin women and children. In Terran terms, at best you are looking at a generation or three disfunctional families, although some heavy Peonian missionary involvement with ‘liberated’ Pagaelin women and children might help.

    A firmly waged genocide against the Pagaelin, or at least the ones in the area, would probably be most effective, and most simple, but would include a different kind of serious cost.

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