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    River traffic and fords along the Selintan
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 12, 2019 3:26 pm  
    River traffic and fords along the Selintan

    This is something that's bothered me for awhile, but I don't recall anyone bringing it up in recent memory.

    A number of sources indicate that the Selintan is navigable by most deep-draft vessels from Woolley Bay to Greyhawk (and by "cogs and galleys its entire length"), and that most goods are transported to the city via river traffic, as the River Road is generally only used by farmers to take their goods to market over short distances (FtAC.14).

    The problem is the presence of 3 fords along the river's length (at One Ford, Two Ford, and Fordkeep). Exactly how deep does a ford need to be to allow the amount of ship traffic indicated along the Selintan?

    Even the Living Greyhawk article on Fordkeep (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=lg/lgmp/20070626a ) seems to indicate that six feet is still not enough, as laden cogs have to be unloaded or dragged across the shallows. That's a ton of work, especially if you're doing it x3.

    Anyone care to hypothesize why ships wouldn't just unload at Hardby and send their goods via wagons on the River Road?


    Last edited by Robbastard on Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:32 pm  
    What's upriver from Greyhawk makes the difference.

    Probably because if you continue up the Selintan past Greyhawk, you reach the Nyr Dyv. From there you have access to the Artonsamay, Franz, Ritensa, and Velverdyva rivers, all of which are navigable to one extent or another. That means you have access to a huge market.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 12, 2019 5:57 pm  

    Ummm, ummmm....

    Good point. A quick internet search shows that most medieval galleys had a draft of 2 m, and cogs drew about 3 m (Wikipedia for the galley, https://www-labs.iro.umontreal.ca/~vaucher/History/Ships_Discovery/#cog for the cog).

    An effective ford must be crossable by either a man afoot or a horse. This would mean that a water depth of just over a meter would be possible, but at the outer edge of practicable. Also, I get the idea that the Selintan is a rather fast-moving river, so even this depth would be problematic due ot the pressure of water involved. Further, if you are transporting goods to market in a wagon, even 1 m of depth is probably too much, as the grain and other products that get wet will begin to rot. Lets assume all carts in the Domain of Greyhawk are 1.5 meters tall.. unlikely but possible.

    This still renders the Selintan impassable to cogs and galleys. While it was possible to drag galleys overland historically at the Isthmus of Corinth, that was with rollers over dry ground. The cog would be even harder, as it would be 1.5 meters too deep. Outside of the sort of magical contrivance that is more at home in a certain other campaign world. Heck, I'm not even sure the Rhenee could navigate above FordKeep... so much for Greyhawk the river town.

    I think Robbastard has hit upon a lacuna in Greyhawk continuity. Awesome work and keen eye for detail. My proffered solution... make them all into ferries. Thus One Ferry, Two Ferry, Ferry Keep. This retains the crossing points, allows commerce up and down the river, and allows you to introduce colorful ferrymen...
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    Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:43 pm  

    tarelton wrote:
    My proffered solution... make them all into ferries. Thus One Ferry, Two Ferry, Ferry Keep. This retains the crossing points, allows commerce up and down the river, and allows you to introduce colorful ferrymen...


    I was going to go with the ferries, but keep the names. The explanation being that the fords are no longer usable due to Lord Mayor Zagig magically widening/deepening the Selintan to maximize trade from the Sea of Gearnat.
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    Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:47 pm  

    tarelton wrote:
    Further, if you are transporting goods to market in a wagon, even 1 m of depth is probably too much, as the grain and other products that get wet will begin to rot. Lets assume all carts in the Domain of Greyhawk are 1.5 meters tall.. unlikely but possible.


    IIRC, the River Road is on the east bank of the river, so wagons to and from Hardby wouldn't have to be that tall, but those from Narwell, Safeton, and Dyvers would.
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    Thu Sep 12, 2019 9:18 pm  
    City of Greyhawk Boxed Set maps

    The map of the Domain of Greyhawk included in the City of Greyhawk boxed set shows a ford in the Selintan at the future sight of Fordkeep, a pair of ferries (but no ford) at Two Ford, and a ford at One Ford.
    There is a ford at Two Ford, but it is in the Ery River, not the Selintan.
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:47 pm  

    The passage could be seasonal and depend on water level, with the fords in use in the fall and winter and the river passage in use in the spring and summer.

    or

    At the sight of the fords the river could be mostly shallow enough for crossing on foot or in wagon, but have a narrow channel deep enough for river traffic in a specific section. Thus the dominant character of the river is still that of a ford.

    The channel could be spanned by a bridge that did not pass from bank to bank, but instead from island/outcrop to island/outcrop flanking the channel.
    The channel could even be purposefully engineered and built as part of the bridge-building process.

    The passable channel could be narrow enough to be spanned not by a raised bridge but by a floating pontoon bridge with sections that could be removed to allow ships to pass.
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    Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:41 pm  
    Re: City of Greyhawk Boxed Set maps

    crash72ndst wrote:
    The map of the Domain of Greyhawk included in the City of Greyhawk boxed set shows a ford in the Selintan at the future sight of Fordkeep, a pair of ferries (but no ford) at Two Ford, and a ford at One Ford.
    There is a ford at Two Ford, but it is in the Ery River, not the Selintan.


    IIRC, FTA states that the name of the village come from the ford in the Ery and another seldom-used ford in the Selintan.
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    Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:31 pm  
    One Ford

    One Ford is located about 20 to 25 miles upriver from Wooly Bay, and is probably located well below the head of tide for the Selintan River (see the Head of Tide entry in Wikipedia).
    The normal water level at One Ford is probably around 1 to 2 meters above sea level. Lets say the depth of the water at the ford (without tide effects) is 1 m.
    I used the Greyhawk Tides table at Nirgal.com to figure out what the high tides are at the mouth of the Selintan. Even if the normal water level is 2 m above sea level, high tides would always raise the water level at One Ford. There would be only about 5 days per year when the high tide wouldn't increase the water depth to over 2 m (enough for a galley). There are around 175 days when the high tide would increase the water depth at the ford to over 3 meters (enough for a cog).
    If you go with this concept, One Ford has a ford that is usable at low tide, but is often navigable by cogs and galleys at high tide.
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    Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:40 am  
    Is the Selintan a "tidal river"?

    Well, I don't know that there's anything either for, or against, this idea But
    Not all rivers are at the same level all day long.

    There's a possibility that it could be a "tidal river" that becomes a ford more than once per day. (Or even for hours and hours once per day.) Some rivers, especially with a coastal opening, change drastically from high tide to low tide. Some are even so drastic they become entirely dry each day and then become navigable again each day.
    In fact, they're all over northern Europe and Britain.

    It could be, similar to waiting on a ferry or movable bridge, that ford traffic tends to be in the mornings, and boat traffic tends to be in the afternoon. or whatever other configuration suits one's campaign.

    [Edit: Ugh and now, I just realized I didn't get to the end of the thread before replying, and Crash72ndSt and I are saying about the same thing. <facepalm>]
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    Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:25 pm  

    Spelljamming ships capable of water landing can also move along the Selintan and dock at Greyhawk as mentioned in several products. I don't remember the specifics drafts being detailed for Spelljammer ships, but from the look of them I'd say most have a draft of more than 2-3 ft.
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    Sun Nov 17, 2019 11:02 pm  
    Re: River traffic and fords along the Selintan

    Robbastard wrote:
    This is something that's bothered me for awhile, but I don't recall anyone bringing it up in recent memory.

    A number of sources indicate that the Selintan is navigable by most deep-draft vessels from Woolley Bay to Greyhawk (and by "cogs and galleys its entire length"), and that most goods are transported to the city via river traffic, as the River Road is generally only used by farmers to take their goods to market over short distances (FtAC.14).

    The problem is the presence of 3 fords along the river's length (at One Ford, Two Ford, and Fordkeep). Exactly how deep does a ford need to be to allow the amount of ship traffic indicated along the Selintan?

    Even the Living Greyhawk article on Fordkeep (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=lg/lgmp/20070626a ) seems to indicate that six feet is still not enough, as laden cogs have to be unloaded or dragged across the shallows. That's a ton of work, especially if you're doing it x3.

    Anyone care to hypothesize why ships wouldn't just unload at Hardby and send their goods via wagons on the River Road?


    As this is just post-Gygax Sargent material and beyond it is just a cockup and a DM needs to adjudicate its meaning for their own campaign. Personally I prefer the Selintan without fords so, bang, no fords.
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    Mon Nov 18, 2019 6:52 pm  

    There was some good discussion about this in Anna's Flanaess Geographical Society on FB @ https://www.facebook.com/groups/ghmaps/permalink/2667748993288484/ which may prove helpful.

    Allan.
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