Signup
Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Features
Postcards from the Flanaess
Adventures
in Greyhawk
Cities of
Oerth
Deadly
Denizens
Jason Zavoda Presents
The Gord Novels
Greyhawk Wiki
#greytalk
JOIN THE CHAT
ON DISCORD
    Canonfire :: View topic - Mail carriers and carrage service in the Flanaess?
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    Mail carriers and carrage service in the Flanaess?
    Author Message
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 03, 2006
    Posts: 18


    Send private message
    Fri Oct 13, 2006 7:10 pm  
    Mail carriers and carrage service in the Flanaess?

    I believe I saw it mentioned in Carl Sargent's Marklands, the mail was beginning to be delivered again in Nyrond. Is this listed anywhere else? I imagine mail service is only available within the country.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 11, 2001
    Posts: 635


    Send private message
    Sat Oct 14, 2006 10:04 am  

    Marklands mentioned that the mail service was breaking down IIRC. I think that the LGG mentioned that it was back in operation.

    Nyrondese mail riders would probably only operate within the borders of the realm. External mail would likely be handled either by local couriers at the borders (for example from Curtullen into the County Urnst; from Hammensend into the Duchy; from Midmeadow up into The Pale) or by specialist couriers in the major cities like Rel Mord (possibly assisted by magic).

    Beyond that - I can't remember if there's mention of mail riders in other realms. I assume that any realm with reasonably organised central authority would have some sort of courier service to distribute ruler's decrees (and gather intelligence about the goings on on the frontiers and in the courts of regional magnates).

    Wikipedia has an interesting article on early postal systems

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mail#Early_postal_systems
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Apr 26, 2002
    Posts: 541
    From: Canada

    Send private message
    Sun Oct 15, 2006 1:57 pm  

    In a time when illiteracy is still fairly widespread even among nobility (as noted in "The Adventure Begins", I imagine that most people don't use the mail service that often. Typically, the only people who would use such things are churches, merchant houses, government agents, very wealthy nobles, and of course government bureaucrats and agents.

    Governments will obviously have their own corps of heralds and messengers to spread news of decrees, raising of the militia, decisions on certain matters that the government is asked by the citizens of a given city or region, supplies, the amount of taxes due, and the million and other one details that bureaucrats deal with, but are of little interest to players and adventurers, unless they're being summoned to see the duke, get wind of the king seeking noble adventureres, etc.

    These messengers probably go around in uniform, and travel in heavily guarded caravans along with the tax revenue collected from every settlement in a given realm. Such heralds would travel only every three or four months, unless some sudden, urgent business is given. Bandits are unlikely to attack such heavily guarded caravans, protected by trained soldiers and knights that are well used to facing raiding orcs and goblins.

    Merchant houses probably also have their own agents and couriers, who are well-paid to keep their mouths shut. Such messengers would not be likely to travel anywhere but on the major roads of a given state, and would stick to patrolled areas. If they must travel somewhere wild (to reach, say, a gem mine) they'd probably hire reputable adventurers as guards. Upstanding adventurers might even be hired as couriers themselves, since they can deal with any hazards that might come up.

    Wealthy nobles and churches are also likely to have reputable guards who can carry messages and other business. Such guards would have to be able to stand up to the million and one hazards out there, since unlike couriers in the real world, couriers in Greyhawk have many more hazards than simple highwaymen.

    There might be mercenaries and guards, or even down-on-their-luck adventurers, who will do such things for a price, although the government is not likely to do this themselves, as there isn't enough demand for it. Only people in high positions are likely to use the mail, as your average peasant can't read and doesn't know many people in far-off cities.

    Peter The Peasant is unlikely to write a letter to his cousin or parents 200 kilometers away, as he probably can't write, can't afford to buy the costs of the parchment or ink, can't afford the cost of mailing the letter, and anyway has enough trouble putting food on the table without worrying about writing to other people. If he wants to socialize, he'll go down to the local tavern and have a round of drinks with his fellow men of the soil.
    _________________
    <div align="left">Going to war without Keoland is like going to war without a pipe organ.&nbsp; They both make a lot of noise and they're both a lot of dead weight, so what's the point in taking them along?&nbsp;</div>
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 11, 2001
    Posts: 635


    Send private message
    Sun Oct 15, 2006 3:18 pm  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:

    Peter The Peasant is unlikely to write a letter to his cousin or parents 200 kilometers away, as he probably can't write, can't afford to buy the costs of the parchment or ink, can't afford the cost of mailing the letter, and anyway has enough trouble putting food on the table without worrying about writing to other people. If he wants to socialize, he'll go down to the local tavern and have a round of drinks with his fellow men of the soil.


    More to the point, Petrann the Peasant probably will never be more than about 20 miles from where he was born - and then only to go to the nearest market town. If he's summoned into a levy he may go further, but he'll probably wish he hadn't. Smile
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 29, 2001
    Posts: 487
    From: Cooke City, MT, USA

    Send private message
    Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:16 am  

    Despite being canon, IMO the postal service is extremely anachronistic and out of place. Delivery of small aprcels and letters is what hired messengers, wandering bards and Shocked Shocked Shocked gasp.... PCs are for!
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Mon Oct 16, 2006 11:21 am  

    Depends on what you mean by "postal service". If you mean door to door delivery of missives for the general public, then yeah, its anachronistic. Butif you mean a formal network of State controlled couriers, who may well deliver missives beyond those of the government then you can't claim "anachronistic". Such things existed in the classical era and in the medieval era in some places. Medieval Novgorod (and Kievan Rus in general) had much better literacy rates than western Europe. Archeological digs in Novgorod have turned up over 20,000 documents (they wrote on birchbark, which has proved pretty durable). They ranged from shopping lists to personal letters
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 17, 2004
    Posts: 924
    From: Computer Desk

    Send private message
    Mon Oct 16, 2006 3:15 pm  

    I read the "service" as a official courier service to show how far the social system had degraded and its restoration as a sign of recovery.

    Not as a universal door to door service; anything is possible but I can't see it in my understanding of GH.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 13, 2002
    Posts: 1077
    From: Orlane, Gran March

    Send private message
    Mon Oct 16, 2006 6:58 pm  

    It seems to me that the "official service," or a similar merchant's equivalent would deliver from any door.... for a price. The modern postal is not uniqie in history, it is unique in the fact that anyone can send a letter near anywhere for a consistent and miniscule price. So, I think a postal system is a fine addition, just understand that it will not look anyting like the USPS droping off junk mail at your house.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jan 05, 2004
    Posts: 666


    Send private message
    Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:37 pm  

    No, I think one would need to go to a courier stop to send or recieve the mail. "Addresses" aren't really extant, for one thing. For another, there would have to be some way to notify the courier you needed something picked up. And that doesn't exist except by physically going there, in which case you might as well have the letter or package with you.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 11, 2001
    Posts: 635


    Send private message
    Tue Oct 17, 2006 5:42 am  

    It depends on who's door. If it's the Count of Mowbrenn, then you can bet they'll deliver door to door. Ditto wealthy merchants. Jozan Q Peasent - not so much (which is fine, since Jozan Q Peasent can't read or write and doesn't have any relations who live any farther than a days ride away anyway).
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 13, 2002
    Posts: 1077
    From: Orlane, Gran March

    Send private message
    Tue Oct 17, 2006 8:03 pm  

    Both the last observatios are valid... but either way, for a price you can have the service. If you pay an urchin or a courtier to deliver the letter, it gets there. History shows that heralds served this function for most nobility, and for merchants. It was essential, even unto the pony express. The only question is the cost... what would it cost to have your PCs deliver a message that a powerful enemy did not want delivered?
    Display posts from previous:   
       Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion All times are GMT - 8 Hours
    Page 1 of 1

    Jump to:  

    You cannot post new topics in this forum
    You cannot reply to topics in this forum
    You cannot edit your posts in this forum
    You cannot delete your posts in this forum
    You cannot vote in polls in this forum




    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!


    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.32 Seconds