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Thread: Intercontinental Trade on Krynn

  1. #21
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    As a minotaur, I can confirm that our navy is large and dangerous. I am not at liberty to discuss specifics of the League's military strength.

    Aside from the usual "it's your game" comments, I think it is important to remember the gnomes. They have, iirc, created several submarines and other super ships. If reigned in by living among another race, using their money, etc., I can see sailing technology leaping ahead. And what works will be copied and adopted by other sailors and cultures that come into contact with them.

    Game on!
    Seriously; what's the point of being a minotaur if you're not going to skewer something, anything, on those beautiful horns....

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    Sorry I was gone so long, busy time of year for me with spring seeding, but I got a rainstorm today and nothing is broken so I can get back to this.

    Quote Originally Posted by bguy View Post
    Well during Dragons of Winter Night there is a reference to the parts of Solamnia that haven't been overrun by the Dragonarmies yet being dependent on Palanthas to keep from starving.

    With Palanthas in her hands and the harbor under her control, the Highlord could easily starve the rest of Solamnia into submission and then wipe out the troublesome Knights.

    If the harbors of Palanthas were essential to keep the rest of unoccupied Solamnia from starving then Palanthas must have been doing a lot of sea-borne trade with Coastland and Southland. (And since Palanthas isn't exactly overflowing with farmland, I imagine the Palanthians were buying food supplies from Northern Ergoth and then selling that food to the Coastlanders and Southlanders.)
    I would agree with that. Palanthas is obviously not self-sufficient, because there is rocky dry lands around the city. So they must import most of the resources they need through trade, particularly maritime trade because according to the Rise of Solamnia trilogy, the road leading out of Palanthas was terrible before Jaymes built it. I would assume trade with Ergoth and Kalaman would probably be about as far away as they got though in the WotL era, but they would have spread farther and further by the time of the War of Souls. I don't see them sailing to Adlatum or Taladas at all however.

    Moreover, doesn't the fact that Palanthas is the richest, most populous human city on Ansalon suggests it must have a thriving maritime trade? What else could the Palanthian economy be based on? It's very difficult to get to Palanthas by land, so overland trade is out. It doesn't have any substantial hinterland to develop agricultural wealth. And AFAIK its never been suggested that Palanthas has any special natural resources or unique talent for manufacturing. As such I can't really think of any other way the city could have become so wealthy and influential other than by being a maritime trade hub.
    Sure, but rich compared to what? Is Palanthas like the Republic of Venice in 1200 AD or London in 1200 AD? Both are maritime hubs and did trade, but one was much richer than the other. Palanthas is rich, but Ansalon after the Cataclysm was a pretty crap-sack world. It has a lot of nice buildings that they managed to maintain from before the Cataclysm, but the key to Palanthas' power after the Cataclysm was in its security and survival rather than its power from trade.

    With the defeat of the dragonarmies and the rise of Solamnic power of course, the merchants went further into these liberated lands across Ansalon and made a lot of money. When the Summer of Chaos came they adapted to living under the Dark Knights, and maybe generated more trading links with Nerakan dominated nations in the east. Which is why Jaymes Markham's father in law became rich enough to build a tower to display his gold.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ITA_CRX View Post
    How much have you read about Dragonlance? I ask because some of what you posted is contradicted by either novels or source books.
    Ho ho ho. Somebody doesn't know me very well, nor do they read my signature line. In short, authors are generally sloppy about shared world details, and editors are even sloppier. Everyone is interested in telling a good story, but not particularly interested in making it all work together. So we have to pick and choose our sources carefully to ensure that we have the best stories and the stories that agree with other stories. If we want Dragonlance to feel like a living breathing world, then it all has to make sense in the end.

    But I can show you that I can dive into sources very deep indeed. There are always pearls of good ideas to be found in the murk of even the worst written Dragonlance stuff.

    Prior to the Cataclysm, there was significant trade around the continent and even the Silvanesti were involved because they affiliated themselves with Istar. Istar was a major destination because of the amount tithes that were sent there in addition to the other luxuries the city wanted/needed. Palanthas also became a major port city and grew in wealth prior to the cataclysm and it was all by sea trade.
    Yeah, but we were talking about post-cataclysm here. Pre-cataclysm had trade around the entirety of the continent, and many great port cities including Tarsis, Palanthas, and Istar.

    Who does Palanthas trade with after the Cataclysm, and what does it trade? Heck, I was hoping to use this thread to talk about commerce on Ansalon. Instead, people want to insist that Ansalon has to be on the verge of European-style "oceanic" expansion and conquest because it is the center of the Dragonlance world. Why? Why can't Ansalon be colonized instead of colonizing?

    This was about the size of the ship. They were large ships with three masts as opposed to small ships with three masts jammed on them.
    Having a large ship does not mean that it can go to Adlatum. Like I said, a cog can be massive but not seaworthy on the blue water deep ocean.

    They actually had significant trade within the Minotaur empire. The empire had several different islands and each island was the producer of a major resource. Ore came from one of the smaller islands and food was produced at others. I believe the empire had 5 major islands and then a lot of other smaller islands further east into the ocean. Weapons, tools, grain, cloth, taxes etc all had to be transported by sea and the only way to maintain the empire was to have a navy. The minotaurs were also explorers and kept ranging out farther east and north into the ocean. The minotaur wars trilogy also had a minor sentence where they talked about another continent.
    Sure, but that is all domestic trade that can be done with small cargo hold ships, largely done by military forces of the Minotaur Emperor. When Minotaurs come to Flotsam or whatever, they come as belligerents not traders.

    Minotaurs Do. Not. Sow. and pay the Iron Price, to quote another fantasy series. While I agree that they might have links to the Minotaur League on Taladas, they don't bother to trade goods they get from Taladas with other people in Ansalon. Nobody talks about Taladan luxury goods in any of the Dragonlance novels. Dwarven and Elven luxury goods yes, Taladan goods, no.

    It was actually because they were kicked out of almost every other city and Sancrist was the one area that was guaranteed they would not be kicked out of. Also, they ran the entire Knights out of Sancrist for years. This would require a navy so they could send troops places. After the WOTL the Knights were still headquartered in Sancrist but now had operations throughout Solamnia. You can only have that with a navy.
    The Knighthood at time the War of the Lance was a few hundred people, and the Knighthood had very little power except in Sancrist and in isolated strongholds in Solamnia.

    The WOTL source book contradicts most of this. Solamnia had a quick recovery after the Cataclysm and even the kender cities of Hylo and Lemon became ports.
    Nope. WOTL Sourcebook, Page 74.

    "Three hundred years after the Cataclysm folk are just beginning to look beyond their borders. What they are discovering is that the old maps are wrong and new maps are hard to find. Those few merchants and travellers that have explored this new land are the only source of news from other places and trade is minimal at best."

    Palanthas is the largest city and it is the most thriving seaport on Ansalon as its entry says on page 164, but it is in the context of a continent where trade is minimal at best. The primary exports are ships, ale, and textiles. So in other worlds they turn grain into booze and wool into cloth. They do make ships though, so I guess they don't just buy them from the Saifumi.

    The Night of the Eye discuss a significant amount of shipping since the heroes are always hopping on ships to go places and taxes on a shipping route was the major component of the novel. Also, the nations of Lemish and Saifum are both known as locations that are big on piracy.
    To nice places in Western Ansalon sure, to Adlatum and Taladas, no.

    Without significant shipping, you don't have pirates.
    Not true, the Arabs did a lot of piracy even though Europe was largely cut off from trading with the east. Largely because of all the Arab pirates. The Arabs took slaves and raided coastal areas.

    Also, think about where the pirates are, Saifum and the Minotaur empire in addition to the blood sea cities and Lemish. If there was really no shipping in that area, they would then need to sail west of Kalaman to conduct any piracy. They would not sail 600+ miles without the knowing there were boats to plunder.
    There would be trade around the coastal areas of the Bloodsea sure. Still doesn't point to significant amounts of trade, nor a market of overseas trade.

    The Lemish pirates would be operating in New Sea and the Straits of Algoni.
    Yep.

    Additionally, because bandits controlled all of the roads in Abanasinia, shipping around the peninsula would have been a ton safer than going overland.
    That I will need a source for. It seems pretty safe to go from Solace to Haven for example.

    It is probably why New Port is a city at all. Just based on the amount of piracy, you can infer there is a significant amount of trade by sea.
    You don't need much trade for a city of 3,200 people. As for piracy, like I said, they can raid islands, coastal cities, and other places. The pirates will trade too, but they won't be filling cargo holds with several metric tonnes of luxury goods.

    Sadly, I don't yet own Cam Bank's masterpiece Races of Ansalon, so I really can't say why the races developed differently. As far as Ergoth, that is all probably just minor errors by the authors.
    Authors make a lot of mistakes, but the fact that Ergoth is white before the Cataclysm, and has a black ruling class after the Cataclysm is consistent across multiple sources. I don't think Cam talks about it much in his book other than to say that Ergothians are black. As far as the rest of Ansalon is concerned they would be, because the Black nobility have the sea power and expertise, and the legal freedoms to travel.

    I sort of agree. If you look at a map of new sea, the area/towns west of Schallsea would have developed shipping routes with destinations as far away as Palanthas and Kalaman.
    Why? Ankatavaka is a town of 2,256 people. Crossing 1,888 people. Haven by contrast is 14,889 people. If those small cities had major trade links with cities as far away as Kalaman they would need to be much bigger. Pisa for example was about 40,000 people in the 13th century.

    Also, the town of Alsip and Halter Wood southwest of Qualinesti would be a place ships continued to travel to because that is basically the only way for Wizards to travel to Wayreth. And even throughout the dark times after the Cataclysm Wizards continued to take the test.
    Most would have masters that could teleport there, or other magical means of travel. (ie. The Faerie Road) The Silvanesti wizards for example, probably road on Griffon-back. But in the end, travel would have been very difficult for wizards, because Aslip is also only about 9,000 people. There would have been boats that could get there of course, but it also not a city that does a great deal of trade. All the descriptions of getting to Wayreth physically also seem to talk about going through Abanasinia as far as I've seen.

    There was a submarine operating throughout New Sea with no problems, so it is probably deep. Not to mention the map shows that it has significant coastal shelves with massive areas of deep water.
    Conundrum the novel right? Sure, but that is a small sub. I also don't doubt there isn't deeper water in the interior of the NewSea closer to Sanction. I'm just saying the NewSea is not as deep as the mediterranian or as large. It would be more like the Black Sea... and the Sea of Azov is a very shallow part of the Black Sea. I also don't see any evidence that large sea trade was a part of the NewSea. No luxury imports or exports described in the sourcebooks. No large cities. Nothing to suggest that it is anything like the Mediterranean.

    As for the map, I don't see any clues one way or another about the depth of any of Ansalon's oceans. They can't all be equally deep, and some seas and oceans are going to be shallower than others. There is a reason most ships can't simply pull ashore wherever they like. Sometimes a deep sheltered harbour is hard to find.

    Additionally, as you mentioned the Dragonarmy was based out of Sanction and did ship units out of Sanction. After the Chaos war Sanction became a significant port because of its location and the fact that it was not controlled by a Dragon Overlord. After the War of Souls, Sanction became the headquarters of the KoS and as such, would still be a major shipping location. All of that indicates that New Sea was not shallow nor treacherous to navigate.
    Sure, but the Dragonarmy never really went to the NewSea's narrow neck. They did invade Blodehelm and Abansinia and Eastern Solamnia, using the deeper parts of the Newsea but they also didn't really maintain their conquests very well.

    I think this is the main point of your post, which I think it is now safe to say Ansalon has always had a significant amount of shipping. Probably more so than Europe because of the shape of the continent. Heck, remember Tarsis was at one point the biggest shipping destination in Ansalon. With that much shipping you will always have ships being built and improved upon over the years.
    If Ansalon has always had a significant amount of shipping after the Cataclysm, why are the large cities so few, and who do they trade with?

    As for ocean going vessels capable of intercontinental travel, eh, maybe. If you look at the Saifhum islands, if they were conducting piracy operations west of Kalaman, then they would be traveling away from the coast for significant amounts of time to reduce travel time significantly.
    Yep, because the Saifumi are a Sea People that moved in post-cataclysm. People not from Ansalon, because they have no ethnicity in common with people from Ansalon.

    With ships being lost in naval battles and to Zeboim's temper, you would always have a steady stream of new ships being built and each one would have some minor modifications and/or improvements. And with the amount of time that Ansalon had shipping operations, 2,600+ years, you would have a continuous improvement in the ships.
    Technology does improve over time, but not inevitably. I will also say that technological development also takes quite a bit of study and quite a bit of money, something post-Cataclysm Krynn was pretty short on.

    I think it is safe to say you would have ships that are capable of intercontinental travel, however, it is probably almost none ever did conduct intercontinental travel.
    No, it isn't safe to say that at all. I mean, you can cross the ocean with some pretty basic ships, but reliably, with reliable navigation? C'mon... There is no silk road. There is no spice trade from India. There is no impetuous to really travel across the ocean. The Ansalonians know about Taladas so I could see them starting in Ansalon's near future (after Rise of Solamnia) to start making the trip up the spine of Taladas to the other continent.

    However, the Sea Peoples who conquered Northern Ergoth, founded a freewheeling pirate republic in Saifum, and sailed into the treacherous waters of the Blood Sea already arrived a couple years ago, with better ships than could be found on Ansalon. Where there is trade, where there is large cities, where there is a maritime culture to speak of are in the places that has contact with them, on the Northern Coast.
    Last edited by ferratus; 05-13-2017 at 02:56 PM.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weldon Chen View Post
    Well, yeah. But since we have nothing new. Ferratus's original post is really about his request for commentary about Ferratus's 16th century Ansalon, and the discussion is all about whether centuries of time allows any nations to become intercontinental. In my mind, he's picking our brains on what we think might happen, and how it merges with his ideas on a game he's going to run. and whatever we say, with our explanations, goes into how "realistically" it can happen.
    Almost, I actually want to talk about what would happen when the continents start interacting with each other, and what they would trade with each other.

    Instead we have been sidetracked with talking about trade in Ansalon itself, which I kind of think the work has already been done by Cam Banks and other authors in the WotL sourcebook. For the most part, in that book the major exports of all places are largely basic goods for consumption by nearby nations. I don't see that the Abanasinia does a lot of trade with Kharolis for example, or else why is it such a mystery that Tarsis is landlocked? Why don't people have coastal maps?

    Then the War of the Lance occurs and Solamnia has a unifying ideal and new links across the continent. Great for trade, and more trade does happen. What also happens though is recovery from a world war, world war II, an invasion by the Father of All and Nothing that sends wraiths that erase people from existance across the globe, the loss and rediscovery of magic, the complete depopulation of about 1/3 of the total landmass of continent due to dragon overlords, a war involving the trapped souls of the dead... all within a person's lifetime.

    Clerical blessings will help a lot, as will more acceptance of wizardly magic. But business is going to suffer, and a lot of places are worse off than before the War of the Lance, not better off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SaygahMinotaur View Post
    As a minotaur, I can confirm that our navy is large and dangerous. I am not at liberty to discuss specifics of the League's military strength.
    Nobody is disputing that you can be dangerous sailors. I just think you don't know how to use a navy to take territory or control waterways, otherwise you would. You guys just raid to steal captives and treasure to prove how strong you are, but you do not trade or establish rulership where your ships land on shore, except for Silvanesti... which you are going to eventually lose.

    Aside from the usual "it's your game" comments, I think it is important to remember the gnomes. They have, iirc, created several submarines and other super ships. If reigned in by living among another race, using their money, etc., I can see sailing technology leaping ahead. And what works will be copied and adopted by other sailors and cultures that come into contact with them.

    Game on!
    Sure, with humans/dwarves putting money and research towards gnome technology. But other continents have gnomes too, and they might have more money and incentive to invest in that technology.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ferratus View Post
    I would agree with that. Palanthas is obviously not self-sufficient, because there is rocky dry lands around the city. So they must import most of the resources they need through trade, particularly maritime trade because according to the Rise of Solamnia trilogy, the road leading out of Palanthas was terrible before Jaymes built it. I would assume trade with Ergoth and Kalaman would probably be about as far away as they got though in the WotL era, but they would have spread farther and further by the time of the War of Souls. I don't see them sailing to Adlatum or Taladas at all however.
    Why not? Palanthas is geographically well positioned to launch inter-continental expeditions to the north (seeing as it is on the northern coast of Ansalon.) It has the wealthy merchant community necessary to fund such exploratory and trade missions. It is a center of scholarship (having both the University of Palanthas and the Great Library) and seems to have good relations with the gnomes (gnomes manned the catapults that defended Palanthas from naval attack and one of the Dragonlance comics shows Lord Amotheus meeting with a gnomish inventor), so it is likely to be a center of innovation for navigation and ship-building. And it already has a strong maritime tradition stemming from its dependence on the Ansalon inter-coastal trade. As such Palanthas would seem to be one of the most likely candidates for launching some inter-continental expeditions.


    Sure, but rich compared to what? Is Palanthas like the Republic of Venice in 1200 AD or London in 1200 AD? Both are maritime hubs and did trade, but one was much richer than the other. Palanthas is rich, but Ansalon after the Cataclysm was a pretty crap-sack world. It has a lot of nice buildings that they managed to maintain from before the Cataclysm, but the key to Palanthas' power after the Cataclysm was in its security and survival rather than its power from trade.
    But Palanthas only had that security because it was wealthy enough to pay for it.

    Just consider this, as of the time of the Battle at the High Clerist's Tower, the Palanthians maintained an active duty army of 1,000 soldiers (that number if mentioned several times in DoWN and DoSD.) If we go by the population estimate for Palanthas in the War of the Lance sourcebook (approximately 30,000), then that means the Palanthians had over 3% of their population in their army. That is proportionally a rather large army since Palanthas was still at peace at that time. (As a point of comparison, currently for the United States only .4% of the population is on active duty in the military.)

    Yet even while the Palanthians were maintaining such a large army, they also were fully maintaining all their buildings (including the buildings around the Tower of High Sorcery that no one is even using) and financing other "luxury" items (like a university). For Palanthas to be able to afford both guns and butter they must have been very prosperous.

    Clerical blessings will help a lot, as will more acceptance of wizardly magic. But business is going to suffer, and a lot of places are worse off than before the War of the Lance, not better off.
    True, but the Palanthians have survived even greater adversity. (The entire city was destroyed during the Blue Lady's War, yet it quickly recovered and was as prosperous as ever by the Summer of Chaos.) Palanthas is just too well positioned as a natural trading hub between western Ansalon and eastern Ansalon for it to fail to prosper. (And especially with the growing influence of Shinare in Solamnia which is likely to provide a major boost to commercial activity.)

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by bguy View Post
    Why not? Palanthas is geographically well positioned to launch inter-continental expeditions to the north (seeing as it is on the northern coast of Ansalon.) It has the wealthy merchant community necessary to fund such exploratory and trade missions. It is a center of scholarship (having both the University of Palanthas and the Great Library) and seems to have good relations with the gnomes (gnomes manned the catapults that defended Palanthas from naval attack and one of the Dragonlance comics shows Lord Amotheus meeting with a gnomish inventor), so it is likely to be a center of innovation for navigation and ship-building. And it already has a strong maritime tradition stemming from its dependence on the Ansalon inter-coastal trade. As such Palanthas would seem to be one of the most likely candidates for launching some inter-continental expeditions.
    You make good points, though I don't see them as great of mariners because again, they don't really know about the world.

    There are also little evidence that Palanthas has colony cities or trading posts, extra-territorial enclaves, or any other evidence of a trading Empire, save for in Nordmaar. The Solamnic Knights have circles and agents everywhere, but the Solamnic Knighthood and Palanthas are not synonomous and the Solamnic circles aren't much interested in commerce. Who is Palanthas trading with besides Nordmaar? I can't find any evidence of them trading with Khur, or the elven nations. They do seem to have some relationship with Ergoth and the Gnomes of Sancrist as you said.

    Now on the other hand, the Saifumi/Ergothian Sea Peoples are scattered across Ansalon's northern coasts in a way you would expect from those who are master mariners and traders. You find them in Flotsam, in the Northern Islands, in the Western Islands, and Nordmaar. The Ergothians and Saifumi are famed as the superior mariners in all the sourcebooks and novels as well. Ansalon was colonized by a foreign continent because someone outside Ansalon invented the superior ship building technology.

    But Palanthas only had that security because it was wealthy enough to pay for it.

    Just consider this, as of the time of the Battle at the High Clerist's Tower, the Palanthians maintained an active duty army of 1,000 soldiers (that number if mentioned several times in DoWN and DoSD.) If we go by the population estimate for Palanthas in the War of the Lance sourcebook (approximately 30,000), then that means the Palanthians had over 3% of their population in their army. That is proportionally a rather large army since Palanthas was still at peace at that time. (As a point of comparison, currently for the United States only .4% of the population is on active duty in the military.)
    Actually, the size of Palanthas in the WotL sourcebook is 100,000 people (for comparison about 1/6 the population of Constantinople in the early middle ages) so 1000 active duty soldiers isn't particularly onerous.

    I would also say that Palanthas' security is due to the fact that they are surrounded by ocean and mountains, with the single pass being guarded by a unbelievably large citadel. A bit impractically designed, but the gates are high and strong and it would be extremely resistant to being besieged.

    That said, I understand that they trade, but I don't see them trading far and wide because there aren't many people worth trading with on Ansalon to support 200 ton cargo ships.

    Yet even while the Palanthians were maintaining such a large army, they also were fully maintaining all their buildings (including the buildings around the Tower of High Sorcery that no one is even using) and financing other "luxury" items (like a university). For Palanthas to be able to afford both guns and butter they must have been very prosperous.
    Yeah, but none of these things say that they are ready to jump across the ocean. It does mean they are primed to compete with the Ergothians and Saifumi though which already have.

    True, but the Palanthians have survived even greater adversity. (The entire city was destroyed during the Blue Lady's War, yet it quickly recovered and was as prosperous as ever by the Summer of Chaos.) Palanthas is just too well positioned as a natural trading hub between western Ansalon and eastern Ansalon for it to fail to prosper. (And especially with the growing influence of Shinare in Solamnia which is likely to provide a major boost to commercial activity.)
    Who are these people they are supposedly trading with in Eastern Ansalon and for what?

    The only thing I can see is Nordmaar, from which they get some gems and exotic fruit. While that can be profitable and a good trade for Palanthas' wool textiles and agricultural products, it doesn't take much of a ship to get there. Otherwise there isn't any real reason to go further east because the other lands are monstrous, evil, or pirate infested.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ferratus View Post
    You make good points, though I don't see them as great of mariners because again, they don't really know about the world.
    True, but how much did Spain know about our world in 1492? The Palanthians may not be exploring yet, but they have the potential to do so.

    There are also little evidence that Palanthas has colony cities or trading posts, extra-territorial enclaves, or any other evidence of a trading Empire, save for in Nordmaar. The Solamnic Knights have circles and agents everywhere, but the Solamnic Knighthood and Palanthas are not synonomous and the Solamnic circles aren't much interested in commerce. Who is Palanthas trading with besides Nordmaar? I can't find any evidence of them trading with Khur, or the elven nations. They do seem to have some relationship with Ergoth and the Gnomes of Sancrist as you said.
    Well here's the relevant quote from the Palanthas game supplement (pg. 34).

    Every trade route makes it way to Palanthas sooner or later (usually sooner), and any wares that enter the city can be found for sale in the Trade Exchange. Here you'll find clothing, weapons, food, and jewelry from every port in Ansalon. What's more, you'll also find items from places that most folk can never visit: weapons forged in the sealed caverns of Thorbardin, garments spun from Silvanesti silk, and curios so bizarre that one is hard pressed to associate them with any known culture."

    The reference to trading with every port on Ansalon would mean the Palanthians are trading with Khur (as both Kuri-Khan anad Ak-Khurman are port cities.) Trade with the elves has probably been horribly disrupted in the 5th Age due to the destruction of Qualinost and the conquest of Silvanesti, but prior to the Chaos War the Palanthians seem to have had good relations with the elves. (The Dragonlance Classics 15th Anniversary edition had the Silvanesti place an ambassador in Palanthas during the War of the Lance, and if the Silvanesti have opened diplomatic relations with the Palanthians then they would presumably establish trading relations with them as well.)

    As for the Palanthians not establishing colonies, maybe not but I suspect they effectively had an informal empire in Coastland and Southland. (Why else would those parts of Solamnia be getting their food from Palanthian middle-men instead of directly from the food producers.)

    Now on the other hand, the Saifumi/Ergothian Sea Peoples are scattered across Ansalon's northern coasts in a way you would expect from those who are master mariners and traders. You find them in Flotsam, in the Northern Islands, in the Western Islands, and Nordmaar. The Ergothians and Saifumi are famed as the superior mariners in all the sourcebooks and novels as well. Ansalon was colonized by a foreign continent because someone outside Ansalon invented the superior ship building technology.
    Well the first Ansalonian inter-continental expeditions might well be a combined effort between Palanthas and the Saifumi/Ergothians. (In the same way that the Kingdom of Spain used a Genoese explorer in 1492.) Maybe Palanthian money will fund an expedition for some intrepid Saifumi or Ergothian captain to sail to Taladas in the hopes of finding new markets for Palanthian trading companies.

    Actually, the size of Palanthas in the WotL sourcebook is 100,000 people (for comparison about 1/6 the population of Constantinople in the early middle ages) so 1000 active duty soldiers isn't particularly onerous.
    I think you misread that. On both page 138 and page 164 of the WotL sourcebook it says the population of Palanthas is 30,587. (That said I personally think the number of 100,000 makes more sense. 30,587 seems a little low even with Ansalon being as depopulated as it is.)

    I would also say that Palanthas' security is due to the fact that they are surrounded by ocean and mountains, with the single pass being guarded by a unbelievably large citadel. A bit impractically designed, but the gates are high and strong and it would be extremely resistant to being besieged.
    But oceans don't provide you with any security if you don't have a warships and/or coastal defenses to keep seaborne raiders at bay. The Palanthians could afford both (maintaining both a large naval force and the gnomish artillerymen), and thus their city was invulnerable to seaborne attack.

    Who are these people they are supposedly trading with in Eastern Ansalon and for what?

    The only thing I can see is Nordmaar, from which they get some gems and exotic fruit. While that can be profitable and a good trade for Palanthas' wool textiles and agricultural products, it doesn't take much of a ship to get there. Otherwise there isn't any real reason to go further east because the other lands are monstrous, evil, or pirate infested.
    Nordmaar is also a likely source of tea and/or coffee (i.e. tarbean tea), and other spices which at least on Earth were enormously profitable trade items.

    In the 4th Age, post-War of the Lance they probably did a great deal of trade with the Silvanesti. (Purchasing silk, incense, dyes, perfumes, wines, and other Silvanesti luxury goods.) That trade has obviously been cut off in the 5th Age, but if the elves are able to make ago of their new country then such trade could revive.)

    Khur is a source for excellent horses (which would be very in demand in Solamnia) and per the WotL sourcebook it also has diamonds and spices.

    Goodlund has abundant forests which could be a valuable source of naval stores.

    And Blodehelm has abundant rice fields. (Admittedly not the most profitable trade item, but given Palanthas' own lack of food supplies, they probably like having an alternate source of food other than Northern Ergoth or Kalaman.)

    So there is a wide range of products the west would want from the east, and Western Ansalon has plenty of goods to trade with the east as well. (Foodstuffs, livestock, alcoholic beverages and textiles from Solamnia. Steel, jewelry, weapons, tools, and alcohol from Thorbardin and Kayolin. Precious metals, gems and technical marvels from Mt. Nevermind. etc)

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by bguy View Post
    True, but how much did Spain know about our world in 1492? The Palanthians may not be exploring yet, but they have the potential to do so.
    The entire Mediterranean, 1500 miles of African coast, the North and Baltic seas.

    In 20 years, Portugal would also have a viceroy in India. In 50 years an empire that spans the mediterranian.

    The Italian city states had colonies all over the Mediterranian, North Africa and Crimean Black Sea.

    Here is a world map from the time period. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_..._world_map.jpg

    Well here's the relevant quote from the Palanthas game supplement (pg. 34).

    Every trade route makes it way to Palanthas sooner or later (usually sooner), and any wares that enter the city can be found for sale in the Trade Exchange. Here you'll find clothing, weapons, food, and jewelry from every port in Ansalon. What's more, you'll also find items from places that most folk can never visit: weapons forged in the sealed caverns of Thorbardin, garments spun from Silvanesti silk, and curios so bizarre that one is hard pressed to associate them with any known culture."
    I imagine most of their weapons are forged in Kayolin rather than Thorbardin, but I'll take your point. Palanthas at least is a 5th Age supplement, so that would fit with what I said about Nerekan domination leading to greater links to the east. I don't know how they traded with the Silvanesti and had a giant bubble over their entire kingdom at the time though.

    But two ideas seem to be at war here, and it is a complaint Falconer has often raised. Is Ansalon a post-apocolyptic land of mystery where trade is minimal like it says in the War of the Lance sourcebook, or is it a place where people travel its length and breadth knowing all the cultures and peoples across Ansalon and easily trading with them? If it changes from one to the other it has to happen in a believable way, in stages, taking into account the massive amount of death and depopulation that has occurred since the War of the Lance.

    The reference to trading with every port on Ansalon would mean the Palanthians are trading with Khur (as both Kuri-Khan anad Ak-Khurman are port cities.) Trade with the elves has probably been horribly disrupted in the 5th Age due to the destruction of Qualinost and the conquest of Silvanesti, but prior to the Chaos War the Palanthians seem to have had good relations with the elves. (The Dragonlance Classics 15th Anniversary edition had the Silvanesti place an ambassador in Palanthas during the War of the Lance, and if the Silvanesti have opened diplomatic relations with the Palanthians then they would presumably establish trading relations with them as well.)
    Just because goods come from Ak-Khurman does not mean that the Palanthans go to Ak-Khurman. I wouldn't assume just because a Buddha ended up in a Danish Viking's Hoard that a viking went all the way to Central Asia to get it.

    Obviously there are links in a chain when it comes to trade routes, with people needing different things along the way. Saifhum makes salt which it trades to Nordmaar for timber. Nordmaar trades exotic foodstuffs in exchange for the weapons made by Kayolin dwarves and wool from Solamnic plains etc. etc. People don't just trade, they trade what they can spare (usually what they have in excess) to make themselves better off by acquiring things that are scarce. Generally goods have to change hands many times before ending up with their final owner.

    Stuff from the far east and Africa ended up in the markets of London in the middle ages long before the Europeans were ready to cross the ocean.

    As for the Palanthians not establishing colonies, maybe not but I suspect they effectively had an informal empire in Coastland and Southland. (Why else would those parts of Solamnia be getting their food from Palanthian middle-men instead of directly from the food producers.)
    Who says that they are? The idea that Palanthas doesn't get most of its food from Solamnia's vast verdant farming plains is simply bizarre and the person who said that Palanthas is providing food to the agriculturally richest part of the continent was just out to lunch. That makes absolutely no sense. The agricultural production of Solamnia is a key plank in its wealth and power.

    Well the first Ansalonian inter-continental expeditions might well be a combined effort between Palanthas and the Saifumi/Ergothians. (In the same way that the Kingdom of Spain used a Genoese explorer in 1492.) Maybe Palanthian money will fund an expedition for some intrepid Saifumi or Ergothian captain to sail to Taladas in the hopes of finding new markets for Palanthian trading companies.
    Yes, which is what I've been saying all along, I think you'll find. Ansalon will probably get to Taladas because it is the easiest to get to, but it doesn't really have the impulse to go across the ocean for no reason, and its nations will probably not take over the globe like Europe did.

    1) There is no massive technological disparity between cultures like on Earth
    2) Ansalon is not on one end of a trade route that spans a super-continent
    3) Trade and population simply aren't as robust as they were in medieval Europe.

    I'm going to give it a hundred years for Ansalon to rebuild and prosper, and then I'll say it is the 16 century, which was the very beginning of Europe's explorations. It is not the 16th century during the Rise of Solamnia (the earliest gunpowder weapons appeared in Europe in the 14th century) Ansalon is not ready to take on the rest of Krynn, and Palanthas doesn't have a cross-continental trading empire.



    I think you misread that. On both page 138 and page 164 of the WotL sourcebook it says the population of Palanthas is 30,587. (That said I personally think the number of 100,000 makes more sense. 30,587 seems a little low even with Ansalon being as depopulated as it is.)
    So I did, I read the stl piece limit. 30,000 way to small to do what you are asking of it. It should be at least 10x as large to support the shipping industry that does the amount of trade it does in the Palanthas Sourcebook, and there is absolutely no way in hell it grew by its normal population after being completely and utterly sacked by a Death Knight within one person's lifetime. Not possible.

    But oceans don't provide you with any security if you don't have a warships and/or coastal defenses to keep seaborne raiders at bay. The Palanthians could afford both (maintaining both a large naval force and the gnomish artillerymen), and thus their city was invulnerable to seaborne attack.
    The city of Constantinople survived for a long time despite having almost no navy that could fight off the Turks. Palanthas I would say may have enough ships to deal with pirates, but who really would take on Palanthas after the Cataclysm? There were a lot more soft targets, and even a half dozen ships would discourage and pretty much repulse any attack in that sheltered harbour and walled city. Plus, Palanthas is blessed with more than its share of wizards.

    Nordmaar is also a likely source of tea and/or coffee (i.e. tarbean tea), and other spices which at least on Earth were enormously profitable trade items.
    You are compressing a lot of the earth's biodiversity into one tiny sub-tropical jungle which is a couple hundred miles away from Mediterranean Climate Palanthas.

    In the 4th Age, post-War of the Lance they probably did a great deal of trade with the Silvanesti. (Purchasing silk, incense, dyes, perfumes, wines, and other Silvanesti luxury goods.) That trade has obviously been cut off in the 5th Age, but if the elves are able to make ago of their new country then such trade could revive.)
    Silvanesti was a living nightmare and most of the Silvanesti were exiled to Southern Ergoth in the 4th Age. I think this is a case of another author not really caring if what he wrote matched up with what was going on in the setting. Silvanesti made silk because it is pretty and soft and that sounded like something elves would make. Then you have prior to the War of the Lance where the Silvanesti were utterly isolationist to the point that they didn't know how to trade with the wizards at Wayreth anymore.

    Khur is a source for excellent horses (which would be very in demand in Solamnia) and per the WotL sourcebook it also has diamonds and spices.
    Solamnia can make excellent horses of its own (due to having the biggest plains on the continent), and getting horses from Khur to Solamnia would be unbelievably difficult.

    The Nerakans would love to have them though, and probably ride Khurish horses most of the time.

    Goodlund has abundant forests which could be a valuable source of naval stores.
    Solamnia has lots of wood much closer than Goodlund.

    And Blodehelm has abundant rice fields. (Admittedly not the most profitable trade item, but given Palanthas' own lack of food supplies, they probably like having an alternate source of food other than Northern Ergoth or Kalaman.)
    Plains of Solamnia provides the food for Palanthas. Blodehelm makes rice for the ogres of Blode, of whom they are a client state.

    So there is a wide range of products the west would want from the east, and Western Ansalon has plenty of goods to trade with the east as well. (Foodstuffs, livestock, alcoholic beverages and textiles from Solamnia. Steel, jewelry, weapons, tools, and alcohol from Thorbardin and Kayolin. Precious metals, gems and technical marvels from Mt. Nevermind. etc)
    Sure, I'm not saying that there isn't going to be any trade, just not a huge amount compared to let's say Adlatum. Adlatum has both Coin Dwarves and Colinesti traders, developed markets, and hasn't been blown to smithereens several times within a single lifetime.

    The idea that Ansalon is on the cusp of a massive expansion, right now, is absolute folly.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ferratus View Post
    The entire Mediterranean, 1500 miles of African coast, the North and Baltic seas.
    But they didn't know anything about the Americas and yet they still explored it.

    I imagine most of their weapons are forged in Kayolin rather than Thorbardin, but I'll take your point. Palanthas at least is a 5th Age supplement, so that would fit with what I said about Nerekan domination leading to greater links to the east. I don't know how they traded with the Silvanesti and had a giant bubble over their entire kingdom at the time though.
    Silvanesti expatriates maybe who were living outside the shield.

    But two ideas seem to be at war here, and it is a complaint Falconer has often raised. Is Ansalon a post-apocolyptic land of mystery where trade is minimal like it says in the War of the Lance sourcebook, or is it a place where people travel its length and breadth knowing all the cultures and peoples across Ansalon and easily trading with them? If it changes from one to the other it has to happen in a believable way, in stages, taking into account the massive amount of death and depopulation that has occurred since the War of the Lance.
    The Chronicles don't really support the idea on Ansalon being a land of mystery were trade is minimal. There we had Derek Crownguard and company having no problem getting to and from Solamnic territory to Tarsis. The First Council of Whitestone where nations from all over Ansalon attended a diplomatic conference. And perhaps most tellingly Tanis and company not thinking it was a big deal to charter a ship from Flotsam to take them to Palanthas or Sancrist. (Nor did Maquesta seem that concerned with sailing off into the west.) If ships can be easily chartered to sail from the Blood Sea to Solamnia then obviously the continent has recovered a great deal from the Cataclysm. (Which makes sense given that the Cataclysm was 350 years prior. It would be absurd if Ansalon had not recovered after that much time.)

    Just because goods come from Ak-Khurman does not mean that the Palanthans go to Ak-Khurman. I wouldn't assume just because a Buddha ended up in a Danish Viking's Hoard that a viking went all the way to Central Asia to get it.
    But if ships can sail from Flotsam to Solamnia, why wouldn't they be able to sail from Ak-Khurman to Solamnia. The Goodlund Peninsula is not some insurmountable barrier to get around.

    Who says that they are? The idea that Palanthas doesn't get most of its food from Solamnia's vast verdant farming plains is simply bizarre and the person who said that Palanthas is providing food to the agriculturally richest part of the continent was just out to lunch. That makes absolutely no sense. The agricultural production of Solamnia is a key plank in its wealth and power.
    In peacetime I would agree with you but remember that that quote was in the middle of the War of the Lance. Solamnia's vast verdant farming plains were under enemy occupation at the time and Kalaman (which is obviously the grain port for the Solamnic plains) was under Dragonarmy siege. Thus the Palanthians couldn't get food from the Solamnic plains, which is why I imagine they were supplying southern Solamnia with food purchased from the Northern Ergothians.

    Yes, which is what I've been saying all along, I think you'll find. Ansalon will probably get to Taladas because it is the easiest to get to, but it doesn't really have the impulse to go across the ocean for no reason, and its nations will probably not take over the globe like Europe did.

    1) There is no massive technological disparity between cultures like on Earth
    2) Ansalon is not on one end of a trade route that spans a super-continent
    3) Trade and population simply aren't as robust as they were in medieval Europe.
    On the other hand Ansalon does have a goddess who is becoming more active in world affairs and is devoted to encouraging trade. All it takes is for Shinare to send a religious vision to some merchant prince about the wealth to be had from sailing to Taladas or Adlatum and get the ball rolling.

    I'm going to give it a hundred years for Ansalon to rebuild and prosper, and then I'll say it is the 16 century, which was the very beginning of Europe's explorations. It is not the 16th century during the Rise of Solamnia (the earliest gunpowder weapons appeared in Europe in the 14th century) Ansalon is not ready to take on the rest of Krynn, and Palanthas doesn't have a cross-continental trading empire.
    Sounds reasonable, though I still think that once Ansalon starts trading overseas (even if that doesn't happen for one hundred years), Palanthas would be in the vanguard.

    So I did, I read the stl piece limit. 30,000 way to small to do what you are asking of it. It should be at least 10x as large to support the shipping industry that does the amount of trade it does in the Palanthas Sourcebook, and there is absolutely no way in hell it grew by its normal population after being completely and utterly sacked by a Death Knight within one person's lifetime. Not possible.
    Why not. It sounds like most of the damage to the city during the Blue Lady's War was probably from fires raging out of control and while that would do a great deal of damage to buildings within the city, it wouldn't necessarily kill that many people. (Think of the Great Fire of London which destroyed 7/8 of the city's housing, but had a small death toll.) If most of the city's population survived the Blue Lady's War then the city should have been able to recover quickly. (Especially since access to clerics of Mishakal would allow for the population to grow very rapidly, since they would prevent plagues from devastating the city.)

    The city of Constantinople survived for a long time despite having almost no navy that could fight off the Turks. Palanthas I would say may have enough ships to deal with pirates, but who really would take on Palanthas after the Cataclysm? There were a lot more soft targets, and even a half dozen ships would discourage and pretty much repulse any attack in that sheltered harbour and walled city. Plus, Palanthas is blessed with more than its share of wizards.
    You don't think the wealthiest surviving city on Ansalon would be an incredibly tempting target to raiders and warlords if it wasn't properly defended? And for most of the Age of Despair, Palanthas wouldn't have any wizards (at least not openly.) Wizards had been banned from the city during the Kingpriest's reign (mentioned in the short story "True Knight") and weren't really allowed back in until Dalamar opened up the Tower of High Sorcery.

    You are compressing a lot of the earth's biodiversity into one tiny sub-tropical jungle which is a couple hundred miles away from Mediterranean Climate Palanthas.
    We know Ansalon has tarbean tea (which is obviously coffee.) Where do you think it is coming from if not Nordmaar?

    Silvanesti was a living nightmare and most of the Silvanesti were exiled to Southern Ergoth in the 4th Age. I think this is a case of another author not really caring if what he wrote matched up with what was going on in the setting. Silvanesti made silk because it is pretty and soft and that sounded like something elves would make. Then you have prior to the War of the Lance where the Silvanesti were utterly isolationist to the point that they didn't know how to trade with the wizards at Wayreth anymore.
    But wouldn't the Silvanesti exiles in Southern Ergoth still be producing goods. Indeed trade with the outside world would be essential for them. Southern Ergoth can't really support both the Silvanesti and Kagonesti populations, but the Silvanesti could produce luxury goods there, sell them to the outside world, and use the profits from that to purchase food supplies.

    As for Silvanesti being a living nightmare post-War of the Lance, it was being reclaimed over those 30 years, so each year more and more of the land would be restored. And the parts that were restored could obviously be resettled and start producing trade goods which the Silvanesti would need to sell to the outside world to fund the rebuilding of their capital. (Pink marble ain't cheap.)

    Solamnia can make excellent horses of its own (due to having the biggest plains on the continent), and getting horses from Khur to Solamnia would be unbelievably difficult.
    If Khurish war horses are better than Solamnic breeds, then there are Solamnic nobles that will be willing to pay the extra price. And if there is a demand then some enterprising trader will find a way to get the horses from Khur to Solamnia. (The Spanish were able to get horses across the Atlantic Ocean, so I'm sure the Khur can figure out how to get them from Khur to Solamnia.)

    The idea that Ansalon is on the cusp of a massive expansion, right now, is absolute folly.
    Well I would certainly expect a massive population expansion due to the return of the Gods (clerics of Mishakal would greatly curtail plagues and infant mortality, while clerics of Habakkuk would enable greatly expanded agricultural production.)

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