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Author Topic: A useless society?  (Read 838 times)

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Offline nitouken

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A useless society?
« on: September 14, 2006, 12:17:11 AM »
I was writing this up for submission to the society section, when I realized I had not a clue what they did now. Here is the somewhat incomplete article.

A strange double hulled craft bumps the dock at Port Grensard, with a man dressed in somewhat tattered grey hanging from the rigging. He throws a light line to a dockhand, and runs out a gangplank. Oddly, he does not disembark, but merely begins puttering about on the deck of the catamaran and setting up a rack hanging with strange herbs and spices. He looks like he expects his customers to come to him.

HISTORY

Long ago, a few of the race of man decided that, far more important than the continual squabbles and fights of their fellows, was seeing the other side of that hill over there. Some of them went into the mountains, but that is another story. This story concerns those who came to the sea, stopped, and then continued onward.

Legend speaks of one of their number deciding that the sea must be conquered, and, having seen small boats and rafts in use in the small pond near his hometown, decided to do better. He went on to invent the first ship. This legend is almost certainly not true. However, it is almost certain that this man, remembered in song as Eldagan, the builder of Elda, invented the concept of multiple masts. The first ship was an enormous craft, which some claim still floats in the balmy equatorial regions, with nine masts. The poets claim that it took five thousand great oaks and fifty years to craft the ship, but this cannot be confirmed. If, however, the dimensions were anything similar to the larger ships used by the Seafarers today, it is entirely possible that with primitive tools and techniques it could have taken that much wood and time to construct Elda, an ancient Farahi word meaning turtle. When she was finished, Elda was taken laboriously to sea, with the first Seafarers and their families on board. Nine hundred men and women and children set out on that great craft, leaving fully five thousand on the beach. Those who remained on the beach founded the town of Rhiad, but, again, that is another story. The Seafarers were not seen again for many centuries.

RECENT HISTORY

It was within the last hundred years that the Seafarers reappeared. Although their disappearance was virtually undocumented, their reappearance was very well documented indeed. The legend of their existence had been around for millenia, and there was always a ship's captain in any dockside tavern who, for the price of a jack of grog, would tell you of his sighting of a great ship with many masts far to the south or of men and women walking on the surface of foggy water, but when the first quad-hull sailed up to the docks in Halvaridon, questions immediately began to surface.

The woman who piloted it gave no answers, however. She simply came ashore and asked where she could hire a large ship. An enterprising, although curious, captain named Gath of the Brissinti cog Oliya's Lament quickly agreed to follow her out to where she was insisting she needed someone to come. Less than a day out from Halvaridon, the woman, whose name is not known, sailed around the point of a nearby island and disappeared. When Gath followed her around that point, his breath was taken away by the sheer immensity of what he saw. An enormous catamaran sat at anchor in a very deep bay, her twin hulls holding the bottom of her deck a full yard above his jib boom.

When brought on board, he discovered that the masters of this ship called themselves Seafarers and required certain supplies. They then brought out gifts for the captain, nearly stunning him with the potential for profit inherent in their offer. When he brought them the things they required some few weeks later, they paid him handsomely and disappeared. Of course, the word of a real encounter with the Seafarers spread quickly, and now it is not uncommon to see one of their personal boats at a dock or quay in some small harbor, although it is still rare that they venture near large cities such as Halvaridon. They are known to allow outcasts to join them, and the rare herbs and unguents they bring from unknown lands command princely prices. They are consummate storytellers, although it is rare that they ever venture from their crafts. To this date, however, Gath's sighting of the huge catamaran is the only confirmed sighting of an actual Seafarer ship.



Any ideas for how they fit into a world?
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Offline Ria Hawk

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Re: A useless society?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2006, 01:30:30 AM »
Sea traders, obviously..  Just from the description, I see them a little as sea-faring gypsies.  Always on the move, stopping in one place just long enough to re-supply and do some trading (one port's common good is another port's priceless treasure, and I figure they capitalize on it).  I could also see them engaging in the odd bit of piracy, particularly among the young and wild.  An essentially floating city would make a great base of operations, especially if their ship building traditions are more advanced than the rest of the world's.  If no one sees them, then they probably shun contact with outsiders; probably you've got a few people who will put out from the catamaran and head to port in smaller ships to trade.  If everyone and their families lives on-board, they're probably pretty clannish, and possibly a tad inbred if there's not many city-ships or of there's not much contact between them.  Most likely they don't consider themselves part of any nation, and the captain of the ship is probably like the local lord or mayor. 

*gasp, breathe*

That's all I can think of now.
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Offline MoonHunter

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Re: A useless society?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2006, 09:00:07 AM »
These people will be semi-nomadic... following the currents and the winds along certain paths so they can be in certain waters at the right times.  The right waters will be for harvesting certain plants and food.

These are fisherman, with a little agriculture on the decks.  I would also see them as sea ranchers.  They would open floating keep kelp attached to the boats.  Originally they would be attached to the boat, but eventually they would attach barrels and poles to hang it across.  The entire kelp forest ecology would then follow those booms.  Thus divers could go for muscles, fish, and so one.  Algea blooms would be attached the same way... or towed a ways behind the ships.  Those large blooms will attract wild fish and promote another ecology that can be harvested.

Also kelp develops pods, that develop "gas" for flotation. These could be developed to be larger, aiding in the floatation of rafts.  The kelp, if properly dried and treated could be used as a thin wood.

Certain fish create valuable oils. They will hunt those animals for both food and fuel oil.

They could utilize some kind of dolphin, or semi-intelligent creature as their companions and mounts. Companions could then "herd" some critters. They could also pull their own skiffs. 

In addition to trading and fishing, they will probably be crafters. There is a lot of "free time" on a wind ship on a long voyage.  They will have time to learn the skills and practice them.  Their materials will be limited, but they skills will be strong.

Pirating and raiding is an option, but these people don't need to be aggressive... especially if the need to trade with people.

More ideas coming.
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