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    Canonfire :: View topic - Settlement Patterns in the Yeomanry?
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    Settlement Patterns in the Yeomanry?
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 09, 2007 6:08 pm  
    Settlement Patterns in the Yeomanry?

    Take a look at the Yeomanry on the four part map of the Flanaess from Dragon Magazine. Look at where all the towns are located - the foothills of the mountains surrounding the Yeomanry. Look at that great fertile plain that is the center of the Yeomanry - not a settlement. What gives?

    I can see the foothill cities as close to the resources of the mountains, while still close to the plains, and as bulwarks against giantish invasions from those same mountains. But the rest of the central Yeomanry is HUGE! Those foothill cities are extremely distant from some points. Why are there no cities of note in the central plains of the Yeomanry?

    What caused this settlement pattern? It strikes me as very odd.
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    GVD
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    Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:04 pm  

    Most of those who settled the Yeomanry did so with an eye toward defense. Since for the most part they were small groups and (relatively) widely scattered, they opted for hidden, highly defensible settlements rather than exposed, out-in-the-open ones. Doing so required much less manpower both in the construction of defenses and in the actual defense of the towns.

    Not only that, but Yeomen tend to be rugged individualists. The first settlers (and many others since then) weren't interested in building large cities or exploiting natural resources in the most efficient way. They wanted only to have a home to themselves where they could live free.

    In the real world, many western settlers had the same mindset. Towns on the open plains weren't really all that common until the cavalry was able to establish a presence.
    GreySage

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    Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:27 am  

    If you use the map from the Living Greyhawk: Yeomanry site, there are a lot of towns in the heartlands. I wouldn't assume the towns on the Dungeon map are the only ones by any means.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 10, 2007 1:09 pm  

    ... or, taking a cue from the Darlene maps, there are no settlements of 1000 or more in the central Yeomanry, but numerous villages, hamlets, and thorps.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:29 pm  

    DMPrata wrote:
    ... or, taking a cue from the Darlene maps, there are no settlements of 1000 or more in the central Yeomanry, but numerous villages, hamlets, and thorps.


    Exactly, this strikes me as more than odd.

    bubbagump wrote:
    Most of those who settled the Yeomanry did so with an eye toward defense. Since for the most part they were small groups and (relatively) widely scattered, they opted for hidden, highly defensible settlements rather than exposed, out-in-the-open ones. . . .
    Not only that, but Yeomen tend to be rugged individualists. The first settlers (and many others since then) weren't interested in building large cities or exploiting natural resources in the most efficient way. They wanted only to have a home to themselves where they could live free.


    I don't see this. I get the defense in the foothills as there are giants nearby. The heartland, however, is not so threatened. It is not immediately threatened by anything that would need defense to be a priority. Defense would not have been that big an issue in the central Yeomanry it seems to me.

    The rugged individualsts idea comes acropper IMO as the Yeomanry's population aligns LN and LG. If the population was that individualistic, I'd think alignments would tend more to the chaotic, or at least the non-lawful.

    rasgon wrote:
    If you use the map from the Living Greyhawk: Yeomanry site, there are a lot of towns in the heartlands. I wouldn't assume the towns on the Dungeon map are the only ones by any means.


    Right. However, Living Greyhawk is not "canon" beyond its own Living campaign or beyond the LGG. That same map also alters the geography adding lots of forests. Living Greyhawk is its own thing, I think, more than being Greyhawk Greyhawk. YMMV.
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    GVD
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    Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:36 pm  

    An example of a similar settlement pattern can be found in the colonial Carolinas. The land was of the modern fertility and little risk (i.e. few Indian raids), resulting in a steady settlement pattern with few significant towns. Even today is one drives through it you see nearly endless progression of small hamlets.

    This is a very different settlement patterns and one finds in other states, even Georgia which is similar geographically. In Georgia you will see a town drive 10 miles see another town. I'm not sure I understand why these different settlement pattern occur, but the difference is clear and distinct.
    GreySage

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    Tue Jul 10, 2007 7:11 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Right. However, Living Greyhawk is not "canon" beyond its own Living campaign or beyond the LGG. That same map also alters the geography adding lots of forests. Living Greyhawk is its own thing, I think, more than being Greyhawk Greyhawk. YMMV.


    I like the Living Greyhawk: Yeomanry map a lot. I'm not concerned with its canonical status; it's more interesting than the rather dull canonical appearance, and that's what's important. I have no interest in rationalizing or even thinking about boring canon when I have access to exciting alternatives.
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 11, 2007 2:58 am  

    Perhaps because the heartlands are (a) safe - therefore there's no need for the population to huddle together in numbers for security and (b) primarily agrarian - therefore little in the way of industry or commerce to concentrate population.

    Add to that the factors driving clustering in the foothills - security and mines. Security is obvious - scattered settlements get picked off, so there's safety in numbers and more safety in well fortified locations. Mines are labour intensive. They also are a drive for commerce and industry, which both tend cluster people into urban areas.

    It's not as though the heartlands are empty - it's just that the population isn't clumped into large settlements. I'd be willing to bet there's more people in the heartlands of the Yeomanry than in the foothills. However, the foot hills aren't a good place for a dispersed population, so they clump into secure towns.

    Of course, that's the canon fudge. The actual reason is that no designers thought to place a settlement in the heartland. I'm pretty sure that there'd be one or more rivers training that basin and that there'd be decent sized towns along them at strategic points (fords, bridges etc). But if you want a non-meta reason, the above is it.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 11, 2007 10:02 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    I like the Living Greyhawk: Yeomanry map a lot. I'm not concerned with its canonical status; it's more interesting than the rather dull canonical appearance, and that's what's important. I have no interest in rationalizing or even thinking about boring canon when I have access to exciting alternatives.


    Sort of my point only sideways. Yes. The Yeomanry settlement pattern in canon looks boring. So what might explain it in a non-boring way? Simply defaulting to the LG Yeomanry is a way around the issue, and fine as far as it goes, but that course avoids the question as much or more than trying to address it. IMO.

    Woesinger wrote:
    Perhaps because the heartlands are (a) safe - therefore there's no need for the population to huddle together in numbers for security and (b) primarily agrarian - therefore little in the way of industry or commerce to concentrate population. . . .

    Of course, that's the canon fudge. The actual reason is that no designers thought to place a settlement in the heartland. I'm pretty sure that there'd be one or more rivers training that basin and that there'd be decent sized towns along them at strategic points (fords, bridges etc). But if you want a non-meta reason, the above is it.


    Agreed. To explain the canonical settlement pattern, it seems that either the area is very, very safe or there are just very, very few people there. Or maybe both, I suppose.

    That is a canon fudge and, IMO, susceptible to Rasgon's categorization as "boring." I don't have an immediate non-boring rationale to offer but remain curious about the possibilities beyond the fudge.
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    GreySage

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    Thu Jul 12, 2007 12:31 pm  

    I'm not trying to attack or criticize you or your thread, GVD; I'm just saying that I, personally, am not interested in rationalizing why there would be no rivers, forests, or significant heartlands settlements in the Yeomanry when it's just as easy for me to point to a map that places them there. Good luck in finding someone with a fascinating justification, though; I hope it happens.
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 12, 2007 3:50 pm  

    I suppose one could imagine a place where there is a ring of strong defensive settlements that prevent most monsters living in the foothills from entering the heartland. Water is not present as surface water due to the geologic nature of the soil. Rather, it shows up subsurface and in relatively small quantities. There fore each farm has a small well, one sufficient to water several acres. This could be natural or man made. If too much water is drawn from the well, it goes dry, if only seasonally.

    This strange availablity of water results in a broadly distributed population. They are able to support a large population, just not in one place.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 13, 2007 6:08 am  

    Anced_Math wrote:
    Water is not present as surface water due to the geologic nature of the soil.


    No lakes or rivers on the Darlene map doesn't mean no lakes or rivers at all, it means no major rivers or lakes on the scale of the ones shown elsewhere.

    There could be thousands of small lakes and streams in the Yeomanry, but none of them of a size worth including on the Darlene map. Same with small forests, marshes or small stands of hills or drumlins. A green hex does not automatically mean dead level, featureless grassland.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Jul 15, 2007 9:03 pm  

    I don't have a horse in this race, but if GVD is fishing for explanations, I can toss out a few that come to mind...

    Cities, that is the clustering of people, high-density urban environments come from defensive and economic factors.

    As discussed above, there isn't much need to defend in the plains.

    Economic factors are exchange and markets, and industry. Industry is easy...power sources. The foothills have fast-flowing streams that lend themselves to water power, that means milling, fullering, etc. The settlement of the US piedmont is similar - you have coastal port cities, and then you have cities at the base of the mountains so they have access to water power.

    In terms of exchange, that is less believeable. One would have to map out the trade routes in the Yeomanry. Where any two major routes cross, there ought to be trade fairs and cities. The Living Yeomanry makes a big deal about some escarpment that runs through the plains but it has been years since I read about it. That might be preventing the internal trade routes that would foster cities.

    Finally, I think it is worth noting that the Yeomanry is one of the most southern, tropical of the nations in the traditional Flaneass, and I actually picture it as being similar to my native Costa Rica. The coastal lowlands are nice for weekend trips to the beach, but I wouldn't want to live there - it is simply too hot, humid, and uncomfortable. The cool mountains have a much more pleasant climate. And if we are talking a no-electricity, basic sanitation city, I'd say that applies even more.

    Add on top of that the preferences of the colonizers - the Suel and Oerid that became the Yeoman came from much cooler climates - they would find it more comfortable in the cool foothills than on the muggy, fetid plains. Here in Costa Rica, in general, the mountains are home to the Hispanic/Europeans, while the Atlantic lowlands have far more Afrocarribians and the Pacific lowlands of Guanacaste is traditionally Nicaraguan (people with much more indigineous ancestry). Now, much of this is not from choice, it reflects a history of racist social policy, but it also reflects what were tolerable climates for the ancestors of modern Costa Ricans.

    Add on top of that disease. Malaria and Dengue and any other mosquito-bourne nasty tropical disease could be endemic in the lowlands, making city-building difficult. If you go up to high enough elevation the lack of mosquitos equates to lack of disease which means cities become possible. (And as the Global Warming folks point out, many of the cities in the tropical world are built at elevations just about the mosquito zone, which sets us up for malerial epidemics when those zones creep up the mountains with increases in temperature).

    All these things put together give Costa Rica the urban distribution it has today. The only lowland cities of note (Limon, Puntarenas) are coastal trade ports - one on the Atlantic, one on the Pacific. All other cities of any size (San Jose, Heredia, Alejuela, Cartago...) are in the Central Valley at elevation.

    If the Yeomanry is tropical or even sub-tropical that seems like a plausable set of explanations.
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    Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:54 pm  

    Baking hot summers on the central Yeoman plain, retreat to the cool hill stations the only recourse - I like it.

    It's exactly what happened in India during the British Raj. To avoid the unbearable heat of the summer, the entire government administration would move en masse to the hill stations of Simla, Dalhousie and Dharmasala in the foothills of the Himalayas.
    GreySage

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    Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:56 pm  

    That is a good explanation.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:19 pm  

    Kirt wrote:
    . . . I think it is worth noting that the Yeomanry is one of the most southern, tropical of the nations in the traditional Flaneass, and I actually picture it as being similar to my native Costa Rica. The coastal lowlands are nice for weekend trips to the beach, but I wouldn't want to live there - it is simply too hot, humid, and uncomfortable. The cool mountains have a much more pleasant climate. And if we are talking a no-electricity, basic sanitation city, I'd say that applies even more.

    Add on top of that the preferences of the colonizers - the Suel and Oerid that became the Yeoman came from much cooler climates - they would find it more comfortable in the cool foothills than on the muggy, fetid plains. Here in Costa Rica, in general, the mountains are home to the Hispanic/Europeans, while the Atlantic lowlands have far more Afrocarribians and the Pacific lowlands of Guanacaste is traditionally Nicaraguan (people with much more indigineous ancestry). Now, much of this is not from choice, it reflects a history of racist social policy, but it also reflects what were tolerable climates for the ancestors of modern Costa Ricans.

    Add on top of that disease. Malaria and Dengue and any other mosquito-bourne nasty tropical disease could be endemic in the lowlands, making city-building difficult. If you go up to high enough elevation the lack of mosquitos equates to lack of disease which means cities become possible. (And as the Global Warming folks point out, many of the cities in the tropical world are built at elevations just about the mosquito zone, which sets us up for malerial epidemics when those zones creep up the mountains with increases in temperature).

    All these things put together give Costa Rica the urban distribution it has today. The only lowland cities of note (Limon, Puntarenas) are coastal trade ports - one on the Atlantic, one on the Pacific. All other cities of any size (San Jose, Heredia, Alejuela, Cartago...) are in the Central Valley at elevation.

    If the Yeomanry is tropical or even sub-tropical that seems like a plausable set of explanations.


    Woesinger wrote:
    Baking hot summers on the central Yeoman plain, retreat to the cool hill stations the only recourse - I like it.

    It's exactly what happened in India during the British Raj. To avoid the unbearable heat of the summer, the entire government administration would move en masse to the hill stations of Simla, Dalhousie and Dharmasala in the foothills of the Himalayas.


    Kirt, I really like this idea! Thank you. Although it makes me ask the next question - what are those extensive tropical lowlands of the Yeomanry like, given that we don't see substantial forests? And what goes on there?

    Woesinger, I really like this analogy as well! Permanent hill stations. Again, the next question is what are the tropical lowlandsof the Yeomanry like and what goes on there?
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    Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:04 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Kirt, I really like this idea! Thank you. Although it makes me ask the next question - what are those extensive tropical lowlands of the Yeomanry like, given that we don't see substantial forests? And what goes on there?


    That largely depends on local rainfall and local fauna.
    It could be that the Yeomanry is enough in the rain shadow of the Hellfurnaces that it simply lacks the precipitation to support trees.
    Humid, but no rain year round...yuck!

    In that case there would be little productive activity for the Yeoman here, besides fishing and hunting in the rivers and swamps. Maybe alligator ranching!

    Or, it could be that the lowlands have a strong wet season / dry season dynamic, with storms or monsoons bringing in most of the precipitation off of the ocean for a few months when the winds reverse locally. In this case the "natural" vegetation would be tropical dry forest, but the presense of wild or domestic ungulates (gazelle etc. or cows) could maintain it in an open savannah. In this case, the Yeoman of the plains would likely be cattle ranchers or migratory herdsmen, displacing the native fauna with their domesticated animals (similar to the Masai).

    Given that cattle are one of the principle reservoirs of human malaria, the lot of these herdsmen on the plains would not be a pleasant one - hot all year, with drought conditions half the year and malaria-bearing torrential rains the other half, and likely looked down on by the hillmen who wield the political influence and power at the national level.

    My guess would be that such herdsmen would have a strong "Flan underclass" componant while the hillmen would be the descendents of the conquering Suel and Oerid. And again, I would suggest comparisons with the darker-skinned "cowboy culture" people of Guanacaste compared with the "peninsular" agricultural hispanics of Costa Rica's Central valley.
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    Wed Jul 18, 2007 5:16 pm  

    Kirt wrote:
    . . . Or, it could be that the lowlands have a strong wet season / dry season dynamic, with storms or monsoons bringing in most of the precipitation off of the ocean for a few months when the winds reverse locally. In this case the "natural" vegetation would be tropical dry forest, but the presense of wild or domestic ungulates (gazelle etc. or cows) could maintain it in an open savannah. In this case, the Yeoman of the plains would likely be cattle ranchers or migratory herdsmen, displacing the native fauna with their domesticated animals (similar to the Masai).

    . . . And again, I would suggest comparisons with the darker-skinned "cowboy culture" people of Guanacaste compared with the "peninsular" agricultural hispanics of Costa Rica's Central valley.


    Not being familiar with Costa Rica, I'm going to reach here for the Argentine pampas. From the LGG p.134 "The weather is hot nearly year round in the central valley. . ." A hotter sort of pampas? So we could have Yeoman gauchos? I'm kinda liking this idea.
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    Wed Jul 18, 2007 6:42 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:


    Not being familiar with Costa Rica, I'm going to reach here for the Argentine pampas. From the LGG p.134 "The weather is hot nearly year round in the central valley. . ." A hotter sort of pampas? So we could have Yeoman gauchos? I'm kinda liking this idea.


    I am comfortable with that example, although I don't know much about the pampas, besides having downed my share of yerba mate.
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