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Hereford Eye
August 7th, 2010, 02:02 PM
The city called Hope sits at 1500 ft above sea level at the confluence of two rivers, thin strips of life through a desert stretching 20 days ride to the south where the desert is damned by an ocean. One river descends from the northwest where a range of mountains forms another boundary to the desert though the land slowly rises two thousand feet above the city, the desert flora morphing into mountain shrubbery. The mountains rise another six thousand feet to the highest peak at 9,230 ft. The road paralleling the river takes 15 days to reach the mountains.
The mountain ranges slowly arcs around the desert eventually reaching the ocean some 15 days ride due west out of the city. The northeast to east range raise to its highest point at 8,000 ft. The second river drops from this range northeast of the city, 10 days ride.
The river formed by the confluence runs south east to the termination of the northeast range into the ocean. This stretch of river is navigable by barges in winter and spring but barely supports canoes in summer and fall.
The southern desert below the river is a hilly nothing, the land marked by a few scattered mesas reaching to about 4,000 ft. The desert floor is blessed with the occasional oasis, the locations of which are a closely guarded secret of the nomads that call it home.

The confluence makes the land on which Hope sets marshy with some bit and pieces of highland above the flood levels but most of the homes sit just above river level. The marsh makes it easy to establish canal networks that often run dry in the summer months but facilitate movement in the winter. Bridges cross the canals at unexpected points.

Hope is home to a multitude of peoples. There are a spattering of the southern nomads, a contingent from the farms fed by the river system, as well as segments from the mountain foothills, the land between the rivers, the remnants of a conquering horde that rolled into the valley two hundred years ago, the remnants of the horde that preceded the latest horde by a hundred years, as well as other minorities numerous enough to be a problem.

Governing this polyglot will take some genius.

Additions, deletions, counters?

August 7th, 2010, 07:00 PM
The words "remnant of a conquering horde" put me in mind of Chinese history. Conquerors have come and gone, but the Chinese way of life always seemed to assimmilate their conquerors, leaving one with the impression that, in a sense, the conquerors were conquered.

That being the case, I would recommend something similar. That is to say a government that has stood the test of time by enduring conquerors and assimilating them. For that to work, there would need to be long-standing traditions and culture, of a categorically insular, elitist and rigid nature.

Just a rough 'sketch' for government. Anyone biting?

August 9th, 2010, 11:28 AM
...where the desert is damned by an ocean.

:confused: I didn't know oceans could damn things. Unless it's an ocean god for some sort.

Hereford Eye
August 9th, 2010, 11:43 AM
What prevents the desert from spreading on forever? The damned and daming ocean!

August 9th, 2010, 12:15 PM
What prevents the desert from spreading on forever? The damned and daming ocean!

Oh, you mean damming.

I guess you could say the desert is dammed by the ocean though most people would say it the other way around.

BTW, daming means to knight a woman. Her title would be Dame rather than Sir.

August 18th, 2010, 07:05 PM
The land is ruled by an Emperor from a long line of emperors. He's as much a slave to tradition as the people, but through his line, civilization has flourished. We came from a rude folk in small fishing and hunting villages. We used to trade pretty shells and bones for other shells and bones, but one came along many many generations ago that forged our people into a semblance of unity. The arts flourished. Science flourished. We invented paper and printing, and knowledge spread like wildfire. People were becoming literate left and right, and it only fed our desires for more knowledge, more control.

The Emperor's line did away with the barter system and introduced currency in the form of coin. Taxes were minimal simply because the nation became so profitable in its dealings with others that we made our money through trade rather than labor. Ours is a desert land, true, but we have found many deposits of minerals and gemstones out on the dunes.

Then came the magic users. Our Emperors quckly forged alliances and the trade of minerals stopped. We became a nation of powerful magi and the crystals of our desert are the purest in all the world. They hold much magical energy, and our Emperors of past ages thought it wise to hoard the power to themselves.

They came to rule more and more lands through simple dominion over magic. We didn't abuse our conquerees. Quite the contrary, we caused them to become a true and absolute part of our own nation. Their customs intermingled with ours and we became more than we once were.

Though the desert appears to go on forever from the local observer, there are, in fact, lands beyond the dunes that are rich in plant and animal life. Our Emperor saw this and was pleased. We went to bloody war with the inhabitants of the fruitful lands across the mountains. But we prevailed over them and we assimilated them as well. Their wealth became ours. Ours, theirs. We took their knowledge and gave ours freely to thier children.

They seem to have had a natural affinity for magic, and over the centuries, this particular people became powerful. Enough time had passed, however, that the old hurt of conquer was forgotten. To them, they had always been and always will be under the dominion of the Empire. They formed the backbone of the Emperor's authority, and with them, we wanted to expand yet further.

Of course, problems cropped up when the Empire became large. We could find no easy way to administer the disparate lands. We couldn't tax them effectively.

The current Emperor was a genius of his time. He had absolute power, but was wise enough to delegate. Thus were the administrations borne that contol all the lands under the Emperor's dominion. They see to all the details, the policy and taxation, the trade and export of goods.

It wasn't many centuries after we became thus that other people wanted IN. From far and wide, people flocked to us. Our villages became towns. Our towns became cities and the people flourished. The trades became lucrative and the products and services became superior.

Now, the current Emperor, in his infinite wisdom has pulled all his magic user together and opened up the school of knowledge, a grand cathedral in the desert where the arts as well as magic are studied.

It is an inconvenient location, but even that is evident of our Emperor's wisdom. Should we face attack at the hands of our enemies, the school will remain safe, will remain a bastion of knowledge and power in a sea of anarchy.

No one will dare attack the magi within those walls, for they are powerful indeed, and they serve the Emperor willingly. They answer only to him, and are above the menial peace officers that the various administrations have concocted to police the citizens.

September 21st, 2010, 08:14 PM
I have created a SVG map of Hope and placed it in my blog (http://www.sffworld.com/forums/blog.php?b=731), since I can't attach a file directly to this post. Sigh. It seems I'm spending too much time getting around the limitations of SFFWorld.