Question: Hi, a while back you answered my question with info on the size of the Bay of Thrax. I figure that is a good thing to put on the theme board what with the latest fleet news. Maybe split in to two posts? Original questions (with action specific stuff taken out):
1) How big is the Bay of Thrax? If the Bay of Thrax is like the Gulf of Mexico and I needed to patrol Houston and Corpus Christie I will make different choices than if it is like, idk, patrol Chicago and Milwaukee. 2 and 3) These are perhaps blitheringly stupid: How defended is the mouth of the Gray River? Would defense include inspecting ships that pass through and do not stop at the port?
GM comments: 1.Bay of Biscay would be a good comparison,
2 Mouth of Gray River passes right by Arx, and the entire fleet that belongs to the Crown (and technically the Iron Guard) patrols it, which is an order of magnitude larger than most great houses and compared to the fleet Thrax has without calling its banners.
Question: I'm sorry to ask again, because I know there have been several info channel discussions, but can we get a description of Arx and how the pieces of it connect to one another? What portions are exposed to what sort of approaches? ie: My understanding is that the Lower Boroughs is only exposed to a sea attack, because the rest of the city effectively cuts it off by land routes, so other portions of the city would have to fall before the Lowers could be attacked via land.
Answer: Correct, Arx is built ontop of a thousand foot elevation plateau, with the Lower Boroughs essentially built on the side of a gradual slope between the river and the rest of the city, and the mouth of the river meets cliff face without any practical means for a force to move along a shore from the eastern approach of Arx to the South. To enter the lower boroughs, they have to first get through the seawatch gate, or over the eastern walls, or cross the Gray River, which is massive and stronger currents than could be safely swum near the mouth even if one was uncumbered and could swim the thousands of feet across.
Answer: The city of Arx is the capital city of the Compact, the seat of power of the monarchy that rules over the once independent five kingdoms of the continent of Arvum. The central hub for commerce and trade on the continent, Arx is geographically situated at the eastern edge of House Grayson lands, above the mouth of the Gray River emptying into the Bay of Thrax.
The prominence of the city of Arx dates back to the time of the Reckoning a thousand years prior, when embattled survivors of the great houses rallied to the minor fortress where Arx now stands, formed the Compact for mutual defense, and managed to defeat the (supposedly) demonic forces that were waging a war of extermination against mankind. The surviving high lords selected one head of a great house to act as sovereign over the newly united Compact, with the new King ruling from the city of Arx. The power of the sovereign's dynasty has waxed and waned in the following thousand years, reaching an apex during the time of Queen Alarice the Great of house Grayson. The Assembly of Peers of the Realm has selected a new sovereign during times of unclear succession, but thus far the monarchy has never left the city of Arx.
The city itself is divided into 9 distinct wards. Five wards as residences for each of the great houses in turn, where minimal control by the crown is exercised. One central ward for the governing, trade and worship of the Compact as a whole. One ward for prominent commoners who call the city their own rather than living in the lands owned by the noble houses, one ward for visitors of the city and the less fortunate, and of course a ward for the crown's own residences.
Question: What are the actual entrances into Arx? Seawatch Gate is identified as the primary one, and there is mention in the Seawatch Gate description of the Great House wards all having their own entrances as well (although far less commonly used). Is that the case? (There are opposing ideas that they AREN'T individual entrances in each of the fealty wards, but I'm not sure if that was one of those player inventions that got around and absorbed, or if that bit of the Seawatch gate is just a remnant of Alpha that got adjusted.
Answer: There were originally gates in the fealty wards, but one of the Crownbreaker War era changes was those were all walled off, so the entrances are currently the Seawatch Gate and the docks of Arx.
Question: Between what latitudes does the map of the Compact lie? How many time zones does it have? Is there a land of the midnight sun? I've always assumed the map covering a land mass similar to North America from northernmost Canada to the Caribbean.
Answer: I don't really want to get into exact math right now, but to give you an idea, the map on the webpage is broken down into grid squares of 100 miles long and wide, which are then broken down into a mini grids of 100 1x1 mile grid squares. The length/width is about 3000 miles in each direction. So midnight sun would be up in the everwinter beyond where the Compact ostensibly controls.
Question: What would the average citizen of the Compact know about Nefer'khat?
Answer: Next to nothing, really. Most would be unfamiliar even with the name, except mentioned in childhood stories about Prince Cerdic Valardin that might mention a strange land of Pyramids somewhere beyond the Eventide Vast. But since trade doesn't exist with Jadairal or Nefer'khat, many think of them as just 'further east than Eurus' as a distant, inaccessible land that is probably mostly myth. The average citizen of the Compact takes anything said about Jadairal or Nefer'khat with a grain of salt, and believes it's likely most people claiming to know or be involved with either is a charlatan.
Question: Several of Redrain's vassal houses have holdings in the northern mountains, but it's never stated how high up they are. So generally speaking, how high up are our mountain strongholds? 7000 feet, 10,000, less, more? What would the height of our highest holding be? In other words: Do the northmen spend a lot of their time making fun of sea-level nobles who marry into Northern houses and then can't handle their alcohol, or have to catch their breath after walking across the courtyard?
Answer: Mostly in the 5k range, with some being as high as 10,000. There's gentle ribbing for altitude sickness.
Question: While understanding that the high majority of RP is and should be set in the city of Arx, occasion will sometimes call for nobles to return to their homes in their territories - to reassure their vassals, to introduce new members of the Household, to assess damage in war or during a catastrophe, etc. If for some reason we want to take our characters on a progress through our demesne, how do we do it? Do we go off-grid? Do we rp outside the gates?
Answer: The short answer is that letting people do scenes in distant domains is one of the goals of the coded GMing mechanics and dynamic rooms, to allow for that use case without making the grid diminished in importance or impacting organic RP. And that in the meantime, it's pure handwaving.
Now the long answer is that I haven't wanted to police travel time for character travel very much because it is a logistical nightmare from a continuity standpoint, and mostly I've been trying to prevent people from doing things that would be mutually exclusive while keeping things broadly in the same continuity. When systems come in, we'll almost certainly be grading travel based on Action Point usage, taking AP relative for the travel distance, and not permitting travel again until it can be met, which will allow for characters to RP and handwave a offgrid travel while keeping them from doing it again that could create continuity errors. I would see that as the best compromise in not forcing characters to be effectively away from the game for extended periods (weeks would be likely since we're doing 2:1 right now), but making sure it is accounted for in the sense they can't do multiple things at once. But yeah in the meantime, characters can handwave it in private RP, and I'll just be accounting for it in storyrequests and crisis actions that would offscreen-wise take someone off grid.
Question: This seems like it would be a think on the map. I know there is the Eventide Vast over in the Westrock Reach area and east. But what about all the rivers and their forks? Could we get the names of these? Having them on the map would be awesome for quick reference.
Answer: As a small reminder, there's going to be more geographic features than the map could really fairly show. Arvum is huge, so I'd assume for every major river shown, there's probably at least a dozen minor ones that aren't, though the major ones like the Gray River are a good mile or so across at wide extents and are major thoroughfares for ship transportation. Going from east to west, the joined river by the Twainfort is named 'the Mother', while the northeast smaller split running towards Hawk Hold is 'the Son', and the longer split to the west is 'the Daughter.'
The Gray River empties past Arx into the Bay of Thrax, which has the Mourning Sea beyond, with the far northeastern sea past Stormwall called the Frozen Sea, and the waters east past the Darkwater called the Eurusi Sea. Southeast of the Lyceum and far south of the Darkwater is the Saffron Chain, and the Saffron Sea around it.
The Gray River forks, with the western fork towards Pridehall and Stonewood called the Crown Fork, and the north fork towards the Bastion called the Gray Fork, but both are just commonly called the Gray River unless someone needs to distinguish between the two forks.
To the south, the entire sea around the Lyceum is called the Lycene sea, and convention holds that for a week sail south from the Cyrto Arch it is the Lycene Sea, before becoming the Suthyrn Sea as one nears the Wastes. The three pronged river in the Lyceum that forms a barrier with the Oathlands is known as the Lycene split, with the west most river fork called 'the Shield', the central fork called 'the Lie' (with disputed claims from both the Lyceum and the Oathlands about it's meaning, with the Oathlands arguing it is a reference to House Lyonesse which sits along it, and is short for Lyon), and the right most fork called 'the Silken Wine', so named because of silk shipments from Setarco and wine from Lenosia sailing up to then transport over land to central holdings in the Compact, and it being a bastardization of 'silk and wine'.
Between Pridehall and Sanctum is Sugan's Course, and then to the North from Sanctum is the Red Run, running past Farhaven, with the Goldglitter River running as a fork towards Stonedeep.
And finally to the west is the Eventide Vast, which goes on endlessly, and is unmapped, with little certainty as to where one finds the edge of the world if one sails far enough.
Question: Q: I should have paid more attention when I was out surfing the waves at Stormwall! But I would like to know - what are the sea names that surround Arvum - The Northern Sea, Southern Sea? Western Sea? Eastern Sea? Do they have other names other than <Directional> Sea/Ocean?
A: Quite a few. The most common and popularly sailed is the Mourning Sea (the large sea off the eastern board of the Compact) that has all the Mourning Isles. This includes the Bay of Thrax (the large bay reaching out from Arx), though within sight of land is properly considered the waters of that domain, meaning anything within sight of Arx is considered the domain of the Crown. The Mourning Sea stretches to the east and southeast, where it meets some of the darkwater, and beyond that to the east would be the Eurusi Sea, to the south would be the Saffron Straits around the Saffron Chain, and to the north would be the Frozen Sea.
To the southwest and south is the Lycene Sea, is properly considered to stretch as far as a couple weeks at sea to the south, and then that becomes the Suthyrn Sea, which goes to the Wastes and presumably eventually Cardia.
To the west is the Eventide Vast, which includes all coastal areas of the Oathlands and there is a lack of knowledge of what lies to the west, aside from whispers and what was reported by Cerdic the Sunset Wanderer.