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Thread: A city coveted by many, but owned by none. (concept for review)

  1. #11
      Ascension is offline
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    Heh heh, you n me both Funny how stream of consciousness brainstorming works. Think I'm gonna do me up one of these ideas.

  2. #12
      Mulliman is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascension View Post
    In such a city, it's my thought that the guilds would run the city as a defacto government of merchant princes or maybe left over nobility.
    That would only make up half of the power of the city. The other part would have to be the embassies of the over-sea empires. These would contantly try to encroach on the local power structures, such as the guilds or the town council.

    Being based so far away from any civilized lands, the city could not be very large, but as you say, economical and political terms, extremely important.

    Have you given any thought as to what kind of trade this city deals in? There must be a reason for why the city's is so important, even though trade with nomads and barbarians was extremely profitable in ages past (fur and other un-processed resources). Perhaps the tribes bring wares from an advanced kingdom even further away, such as spices, precious metals or whatnot? If the resource is some kind of drug or narchotics, that has made the upper classes of the civilized continent addicted (with perhaps supernatural side-effects, as well as negative ones), things become very interesting.

  3. #13
      ravells is offline
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    I really love the concept. It will make for an interesting city design to accommodate the underlying power structure.

  4. #14
      Aristotle is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulliman View Post
    The other part would have to be the embassies of the over-sea empires.
    Yeah, I don't want to completely forget that various powers exist outside of the city, even if most of them have agreed to not attempt to take the city directly... they would still be among the most influential buyers and sellers on the market. I want to be careful though. I'm purposefully leaving other continents, and even the bulk of the one the city sits on, vague for development as the campaign progresses.

    Being based so far away from any civilized lands, the city could not be very large, but as you say, economical and political terms, extremely important.
    Hmmm... The plan is for the city to be quite large actually. Likely one of the largest in the world, though nearly half the current occupance are temporary residents: Merchants and dignitaries from abroad, travelling craftsmen, and so on...

    Have you given any thought as to what kind of trade this city deals in? There must be a reason for why the city's is so important, even though trade with nomads and barbarians was extremely profitable in ages past (fur and other un-processed resources).
    All sorts of foreign goods are brought in for sale to city residents, sale to the primitive natives, and export deep inland to a series of undefined (and not primitive at all) kingdoms and small empires. Those same kingdoms and empires export goods out to the city for use there as well as export. Those inland cultures are isolated, and prefer it that way, so most of the trade into and out of the interior of the continent is handled by the trade houses that have developed relationships on both sides. My city just happens to be the most convenient, established, portal to that region. Mostly due to it's placement at the mouth of a river that (like the Nile) has a prevailing wind that goes opposite the current to allow for sail upriver and faster travel in general.

    The area directly outside the city is also seen as a 'new world' filled with riches to be had by those willing to manage the risks. Local farming and hunting are profitable. Possibly logging too. A mountain range full or ore and gems has brought a flood or prospectors, though the mountains are a bit further away and certainly dangerous.

    I'm basing a lot of the trade off of what little I know about early silk and spice trade The romanticized view of the city and surrounding lands is being influenced by early settlement of the americas.
    Last edited by Aristotle; 07-25-2008 at 11:05 AM.

  5. #15
      su_liam is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    ...To me, it's a nice standoff. Now, this assumes that the rulers of the other places have an understanding of free markets and economics; madmen generally understand neither and just go to war to compensate for something else in their life.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aristotle View Post
    ...The mad man who just doesn't care? Sounds like a campaign story arc to me, and is sort of the reason I developed the idea. With no formal army it falls to mercenaries, including the heroes of my campaign, to sort things out before things escalate to a seige.
    It's probably happened more than once. With the long supply lines through hostile territory(see below), it usually ends in disaster. Somewhere in a capital far, far away, a formerly insane former dictator winds up hanging from a light pole or impaled on a long stake. Not to say it isn't a disaster for your city too...

    Quote Originally Posted by Aristotle View Post
    ...I'm sticking to a "strangers in a strange land" theme with a vaguely european culture building a thriving city on the perimeter of a rain forest on a tropical continent. I'm borrowing heavily from similar situations in history, including the crusades, the discovery of the new world, the wild west, and numerous examples of the british empire throughout africa and the near east. My natives will be influenced by the cultures of the natives in most of those examples...
    Think, "Fever Swamp." Malaria and all that rot. Natives trying to to invade the city get tooled by the superior technology(or magic or whatever[I'm not a fantasy type, really])of the defenders. Also, under threat of invasion, most of the local factions band together. When a faction tries to strike out into the wilderness to carve an empire it's usually defeated by disease, morass, and ambush by natives unseen in the dense undergrowth. The plantations mentioned below are the result of some of the more successful military adventures as well as diplomacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aristotle View Post
    ...Local products have a market too though. Those 'old world' crops that can grow in the harsh 'new world' environment (and wouldn't otherwise survive the trip) have found a market. New world crops that can be grown right outside the city have to travel less distance and are that much easier to get to market. The primitive locals cash in on locally grown spices, though plantations are becoming more common and cutting out the locals.
    Any food items shipped in from afar will be ridiculously expensive. Local options for food will do well in competition. I can see local kingpins munching on fruit shipped from some far country, expensively preserved by sophisticated magic. Part of the, "White Man's Burden," might be to eat nasty native fare like guava paste, taro root, and roast leg of giant spider.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aristotle View Post
    ...Hmmm... The plan is for the city to be quite large actually. Likely one of the largest in the world, though nearly half the current occupan(ts) are temporary residents: Merchants and dignitaries from abroad, travelling craftsmen, and so on... ...
    Read Years of Rice and Salt, it has a great description of Mecca in the off-season...

  6. #16
      Ascension is offline
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    I was having another idea until I read that you want this to be near trees and mountains. I was thinking this could be a port city on a delta near the edge of a desert, sort of like Alexandria. That way the only real way to attack it is from the sea with a navy since overland marching would be stopped by the desert. But after reading that you want a more Euro-temperate climate I'm shot down again except for making it similar to Florence or Milan or some of the other great Italian city-states of the Renaissance.

  7. #17
      Aristotle is offline
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    Actually the people are from a euro-centric, leaning toward the nordic actually, continent. This city is actually on a tropical continent. I'm mashing up lots of south america and africa here, and saving near and far east inspired regions to the unmapped east. I am however pretty married to the idea of the area for several hundred miles inland being dominated by thick, overgrown, rainforests. I've just always wanted to run a game in a jungle...

    The mountain barrier beyond, that makes all of that rainforest possible, has a desert on the other side though. Most of the 'civilized' cultures on the continent would lie beyond the desert to the north-east, on the savanna to the south south-east of the jungle, or beyond both.

    *grumble* I need a regional map. I started a thread in regional where I posted some concepts, and have even posted a request for commission... At the same time I'm looking at tutorials and thinking of taking another stab at making the map I want. It's so clear in my head. If only photoshop could read minds.

  8. #18
      Weero is offline
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    This sounds somewhat like the Ten-Towns of Icewind Dale, only the Ten-Towns isn't a international trade-hub.

    Anyways, I think I might just use this idea(or the equivalent) for my campaign.

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