an unearthly city of gardens and canals

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9ofSwords
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an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#1 Post by 9ofSwords » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:10 am

Tashal — If you had it all to do over from scratch, and you wanted to found a city that would become the trading center for East Central Harn, wouldn't you have have chosen the confluence of the Nephen and Kald rivers as the spot? Trade with Azadmere existed long before the other routes. With a trade center at the mouth of the Nephen, goods from Azadmere could have been boated all the way from Naniom Bridge. History and politics chose Tashal as Kaldor's trading hub, not its location . . . which is still very good, just not optimal if given a clean slate and perfect foresight.

The site on which Tashal now stands has been inhabited since the Sindarin founded Meyvinel there around 4300 BT. They would already have been trading with Azadmere. That trade was likely already traveling down the Nephen, to the Kald, and on into the Shava Forest. So why did the elves choose to found Meyvinel where they did? Options include availability of natural resources to support a craft (glassworking perhaps?), or maybe presence of a barasai point!

Aside from figuring out why it was founded there, I am also trying to envision the shape, size and look of Meyvinel. According to Tashal 1, "Meyvinel was an unearthly city of gardens and canals surrounded by a ring of giant beech trees." At some point, the Khuzdul built an extensive network of sewers beneath the city. Given their extent (Tashal 70), Meyvinel must have been close to the size of present-day Tashal. Even if it wasn't initially founded to be a trading hub, with the arrival of the Jarin, it would have become one.

What of these canals? What was the shape of the canal network? What purpose did it serve? Did the canal system act as a sewer, and the Khuzan sewers replaced them? Or did both canals and sewers exist at the same time? Canals are frequently used for flood control. Was the level of Kald higher then, and the area originally a network of small islands or marshland? Were they built solely for aesthetic or esoteric purposes? Why is there no trace of them in Tashal today? . . . or is there?
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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#2 Post by Krazma » Sun Jun 18, 2017 5:30 am

Perhaps the gardens of Meyvinel required canals for irrigation? Honestly, I don't expect the purpose was flood control, given the involvement of the Sindarin. I expect they were primarily aesthetic. In all likelihood, the city was laid out somewhat like a wheel, with ring canals connecting a series of small ponds and reflecting pools at the heart of various gardens.

As to why there's no trace of them today, that's simple: erosion. They weren't that deep to begin with, and were probably filled in by later occupants who didn't have the time or inclination to maintain them or the gardens. Lots of very scenic locations are now subdivisions and parking lots.

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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#3 Post by MDMann » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:03 am

As to why choose that site, it was one of several Sindarin cities, many of which no longer exist so there may have been one at the confluence of the Kald and Nephen. Tashal (Elkul Anuz/Meyvinel) was also a way point between Azadmere and Kiraz whilst linking with the Jarin of the north. River transport was no doubt more practical even then but the Khuzdul have never liked the water (unlike the Sindarin) and the roads were likely much better so overland transport was more viable (with the dislike of water travel).

On an aside, the ruins of Elkul Anuz are likely still beneath the sewers of Tashal and the ruins of Meyvinel below that, at least in part. Both strike me as viable expansions for Tashal either as Fanon or Canon, possibly with how the cities existed in their day.
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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#4 Post by horus » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:23 am

MDMann wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:03 am
As to why choose that site, it was one of several Sindarin cities, many of which no longer exist so there may have been one at the confluence of the Kald and Nephen. Tashal (Elkul Anuz/Meyvinel) was also a way point between Azadmere and Kiraz whilst linking with the Jarin of the north. River transport was no doubt more practical even then but the Khuzdul have never liked the water (unlike the Sindarin) and the roads were likely much better so overland transport was more viable (with the dislike of water travel).

On an aside, the ruins of Elkul Anuz are likely still beneath the sewers of Tashal and the ruins of Meyvinel below that, at least in part. Both strike me as viable expansions for Tashal either as Fanon or Canon, possibly with how the cities existed in their day.
You likely meant Kelapyn-Anuz, as Elkall Anuz is on the plain of towers, north-east of lake Heras and Trobridge.

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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#5 Post by Derfman » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:40 am

My take on meyvinel/ancient Tashal is that the location was chosen because the sindarin liked it.

I don't hold to the view that the sindarin ignore economic efficiency in city planning, but it is absolutely NOT at the top of the priority list.

In my pHarn, the city was at least partly maintained in its old form by the Jarin (suggested by the remodeling Lothrim did).

But the 'remodeling' and 600 ish years have erased the old city.

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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#6 Post by Targan » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:06 am

Derfman wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:40 am
My take on meyvinel/ancient Tashal is that the location was chosen because the sindarin liked it.

I don't hold to the view that the sindarin ignore economic efficiency in city planning, but it is absolutely NOT at the top of the priority list.
I agree very much with this. The reasons for the Sindarin founding a city in any given place in no way need to align with what humans might regard as sensible.

Also, in terms of canals and similar earthworks, even if major floods only occur once or twice a century, that's still many floods since the city was abandoned by the elves. No human intervention is required, the repeated deposits of alluvial soil would long ago have erased most signs of the previous city.
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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#7 Post by Rothesay » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:36 am

Location-wise, a Barasi point or Taur-im-aina would be more than enough reason for the site. If so though, they have been lost/forgotten or ... destroyed? 8O

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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#8 Post by Leitchy » Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:18 pm

Rothesay wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:36 am
Location-wise, a Barasi point or Taur-im-aina would be more than enough reason for the site. If so though, they have been lost/forgotten or ... destroyed? 8O
Reading down through the topic, this is exactly the conclusion my mind came to, just before I read Rothesay's post. :mrgreen: There may even have been a Godstone, but a Barasi Point or Taur-im-aina is more probable.

What an intriguing thing to introduce; the heroes meet an elf who remembers Kelapyn-Anuz in its heyday and laments the terrible destruction humans wrought over such a short time (600 years to an immortal is probably like a couple of decades...or maybe months...is to us). He also remembers why it was built and drops hints...
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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#9 Post by Rothesay » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:19 pm

Indeed, the notion of such a thing below Tashal, dormant, waiting to be rediscovered is thrilling.

A godstone? Ach du Lieber! More likely a Barasi point. Either way, such an adventure, oy vey. 8)

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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#10 Post by Derfman » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:21 pm

Speaking of things buried in Tashal, an interesting individual or two under the effects of a "Tovel's Rest'" spell can be fun for an exotic NPC, or interesting history PC. They could have been frozen by Lothrim (so he could properly dispose of them later...but later never came...), or even before that.

The Tovel's Rest spell is almost as good as a Mirror of Soul Stealing for such plot shenanigans by GMs....

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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#11 Post by 9ofSwords » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:49 am

Derfman wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:21 pm
Speaking of things buried in Tashal, an interesting individual or two under the effects of a "Tovel's Rest'" spell can be fun for an exotic NPC, or interesting history PC. They could have been frozen by Lothrim (so he could properly dispose of them later...but later never came...), or even before that.

The Tovel's Rest spell is almost as good as a Mirror of Soul Stealing for such plot shenanigans by GMs....
Splendid! I never thought of that. Almost too good/easy . . . I'd be in serious danger of abusing it!
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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#12 Post by 9ofSwords » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:51 am

Honestly, I'm glad everyone has gone the route of barasi points and canals mostly for their aesthetic value. If the canals are shallow and mostly aesthetic, then there'd be no sign of them left in 720.

I've tried to cook up scenarios with canals that are more heavily engineered — done up with locks, as sluice-ways to power water wheels, etc. — but the how's and why's aren't convincing. I don't know that the site is appropriate for any of those things, and I don't see elves wanting or needing such things. I'm also not sure that elves would have required canals for irrigation. As far as I know, rainfall is sufficient for most agriculture on Harn, so unless the elves were growing something exotic . . .
Derfman wrote:
Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:40 am
My take on meyvinel/ancient Tashal is that the location was chosen because the sindarin liked it.
I don't hold to the view that the sindarin ignore economic efficiency in city planning, but it is absolutely NOT at the top of the priority list.
I agree entirely. Part of the reason efficiency and planning are not priorities for elves is that they did not need to be. The Sindarin pretty much had the run of Harn. There was no reason for them to engineer a site to suit their needs, because they could just go find one that already met those needs. So, that the elves just liked the site on which they founded Meyvinel is completely believable to me — But putting a barasi point or Taur-im-aina there is definitely to my liking.

Now I'm working on placing that ring of beech trees, the canals roughly as concentric circles within that ring, and a barasi point potentially at the center of it all. Barasi points could be anywhere, yes? Example: several stories above ground, such that you'd have to build a tower/platform to access it?
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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#13 Post by Derfman » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:28 am

Another idea for something lost in the Tashal sewers....

Ancient Tashal/Meyvinel is implied by canon to originally have been mainly an elvish 'city' (or large permanent camp/garden), but it had enough of a dwarvish presence that dwarf made sewers were installed.
(and while it is not spelled out in canon, ancient Tashal almost certainly had some Jarin for at least half a thousand years before the Battle of Sorrows.....)

If the dwarves built and maintained the sewers, a 'storage/utility room' or three could be EASY to justify, one might even have an attached office where sewer plans are kept. In my mind, Meyvinel would have had a small minority of dwarves, and the sewer maintenance crews would actually travel in from Azadmere about once every few decades, and use tools stored on site.

The tools and plans would be made of materials meant to be stored in a (relatively dry part of) a sewer for decades at a time, its been a LONG time, so a GM can justify anything from excellent condition to useless, depending on details (such as just how well the store rooms have held up, how well they are sealed, and exact materials used).
In my mind the tools would be in poor shape, but the plans would be in good shape (written on a non-corroding metal, perhaps lead which would allow the writing to updated as needed....). My reasoning is that a broken tool could usually be replaced on site with minimal fuss, but ruined plans would be harder to replace.....)

And of course, almost anything could have been left when the dwarves retreated to their two cities, perhaps the dwarves leaving the item(s) meaning to come back for them later....




Edit:
It would also be easy to justify an abandoned dwarvish 'Inn', a mini-Kyg of sorts,......

More edit:
The abandoned inn need not be under Tashal proper, so long as it is within reasonable walking distance.

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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#14 Post by Leitchy » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:31 pm

9ofSwords wrote:
Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:51 am
Barasi points could be anywhere, yes? Example: several stories above ground, such that you'd have to build a tower/platform to access it?
The definitions of Taur-im-aina that I can find strongly imply they are "fairy circles", meaning ground level. So not up in the air then. In fact, there's an implication that the user often doesn't know they've passed through a barasi point because they are all so similar. So a being with a high Aura that suddenly falls out of thin air (and maybe goes "splat!") might kinda be something they notice...even if only for a couple of seconds before they hit the ground!

Of course, your pHarn can do barasi points any way you see fit. I certainly don't have a problem with it myself; in fact, I can see some cool adventure ideas with aerial barasi points.

And it's not like you're going to see a bird disappear when they fly through one....birds don't have much in the way of Aura, I'd say...

:mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: an unearthly city of gardens and canals

#15 Post by Krazma » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:48 pm

A few bits about Taur-im-Aina and Barasi Points.
Taur-im-Aina
One of the “natural mysteries” recognized by the religion of Siem, Taur-im-Aina are holy groves used for meditation and worship. These forest glades are scattered around the worlds, linked in some esoteric way to the deity and to nature in general. The term means “Holy place in the woods” in the language of the Sindarin. Among humans, they are more commonly known as “faerie circles” or “world wells.”
There are many other special points in Yashain and Kethira that have special relationships with each other, but no one has completed an exhaustive survey of them or provided a comprehensive theory to explain them. These points are called “soft gates,” “world wells,” or “Barasi points,” after a mage who did a partial survey of them. They are difficult to detect; those approaching sometimes get a spine-tingling sensation or feeling of disquiet. They are detectable by psionics, magic, or divine revelation, which leaves most people out.
Barasi Points are natural portals between worlds. Dozens exist throughout Kethira, although the Shava Forest on Hârn has a particularly high concentration. The environment at each end of a Barasi Point is always very similar. Unskilled users may not realize for some time they have changed locations, and may never discover they have actually changed worlds.
So, while some or all Taur-im-Aina may also be Barasi points, not all Barasi points are Taur-im-Aina. There could be Barasi points in different types of environs. For example, the points linking Kethira to Ssanimar (see Ilme 7) are mostly underwater.

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