I did some quick internet searching on medieval mining for gold. It appears "panning" for gold (placer mining) was the most common method for finding gold in the middle ages. The technology was well known since roman times and was never really lost.http://www.minelinks.com/alluvial/goldMedieval.html
During the Middle Ages gold placers were worked in much the same way as in Roman times, but considerable improvements in the methods of booming, hydraulicking and sluicing were introduced, especially the use of "long toms" and rockers. Similarly in bedrock gold mining numerous innovations and improvements of methods and machines utilized by the Romans for centuries were introduced, particularly in underground drainage by employing better Archimedean screws, waterwheels, and force pumps and in ore crushing and grinding by the introduction of waterwheels and windmills. Improvements were also made in the miner's tools and in the techniques of open-cut mining, shaft sinking, drifting, stoping, timbering, ventilation, lighting, mine surveying and so on. Hoisting up shafts and inclines was made less onerous by improved versions of the windlass, often employing horses rather than men. However, rock and ore were still mainly broken by hand by chipping, wedging, or grubbing, generally after fire-setting.
Ilkka Leskela wrote:
So, there are no gold mines, but a rumour of gold found at the shores of the Tontury Lake? That's good for me. But why put mines on the maps, then?
I don't know. That was Tom Dalgliesh's decision.
One thing is that there is no symbol for just gold. There is also no criteria for how big an operation has to be to be worthy of the mine symbol. One miner, ten, twenty, one hundred? I think you will find that the mine symbols on all the maps are pretty vague.
For example, using the old EH Kaldor articles, the mine of Tonsia in Lynnfana Hundred (the nearest mine to the gold mines in question) has 12 rural households. Sitvelen in Navintas has only 8 households. The average seems to be around 15 - 17 households. Does that imply 15 - 17 miners? The places named are usually small vilages near a mine. If there is no village, then there could be more or less miners and their families live elsewhere.
I think it is believeable that there could be 10 miners in each spot. Would that qualify for a mine symbol? Placer mining is not like hard rock mining, all you need is a shallow metal (or even wooden) pan. Such a group could be quite mobile. Perhaps that is how they evade the gargun?
In any event, I think it is safe to say that if you want mines there then you can have them, if you don't then they can simply be considered sites where gold COULD be mined.
Ilkka Leskela wrote:
Thanks for taking on the gargun gold mine idea. It was a total joke.
Actually, I thought it was kind of a cool idea that has all sorts of possible applications.
In one campaign I was in, we actually traded with gargu-kyani. They traded gold for silver (at par!). Trust me, if we could have worked up a regular trading agreement, we would have!
Just imagine, a group of gargun discover that humans will trade them all sorts of valuable stuff (food, tools, animals) for some useless soft yellow rock you can pick up out of the river, I can see how they would be willing to do it. The question is how did they arrange the first trade?
There is precedent for this sort of trade at Hlejis (see the Shorkyne module), a gargu-kyani (white orc) complex in the Harbalese Alps, where gargun and humans trade regularly.
Ilkka Leskela wrote:
European sources of precious metals have been pretty well known already before medieval times. Rather than rushing for new sources, the medieval mining history is one of retooling for deeper mining. Mostly.
Given the very low population density of Harn, I would not be surprised if there were still major mineral deposits to be discovered. The fact that this placer gold is found in a river that comes out of a cave raises the possibility that the gold is actually coming from an old Khuzan mine. This makes sense and would explain how a know source was "forgotten".
Is there enough freemen around to really support such a rush?
Ilkka Leskela wrote:
On Hârn? Depends on the size of the mine. Medieval mines could be run by a couple of freeman part-time farmers. On Hârn, runaway serfs could count too, because serving in the mines is a way away from serfdom. What you need is one (journeyman) Miner, and a writ from the king.
One of the most important rights of a free man is the right of departure. Even in a low population circumstance as in Kaldor, I can imagine something in the order of a hundred to a few hundred freemen leaving poor paying jobs to seek their fortune in the gold fields. Especially younger sons with little prospect of inheriting the farm. There are 604 manors in Kaldor. Even if only one free man from each manor came to the gold rush, that is still a large number (almost equal to the population of Minarsas (650 people)).
I am inclining to think efforts to tap such a resource would be more of a top-down effort as the earl/sheriff/king scrambles to improve their own finances.
Ideally yes. However, my faith in the nobility's ability to organize, finance and execute such a project is considerably less than my faith in shear human greed to "get rich quick". I think that hundreds of would-be miners with a pan and hope would get their first (and probably most of them would die trying). A well organized project financed and led by the nobility has a greater chance of succeeding, mind you.
This is no Far West/Eldorado/Gold Mountain to drain immigrants from all over a post-industrial revolution world. So even the terms "Gold Rush" strike me as fairly out of place/out of time.
Term it what you like. I still think that if a new source of gold was discovered relatively near a Harnic kingdom there would be some ambitious people who would be willing to risk their lives to "get rich quick". It seems to be human nature.
Actually, the sort of people I think would be most likely to head off into the unknown in search of great wealth are those most commonly referred to as "adventurers". A thoroughly detestable lot known for killing, raping, pillaging and generally causing mayhem...actually it sounds like the perfect mission for a few player groups I have run!
While I like the idea, I would think that the extensive network of roads would have provided better commuting between Azadmere and Kald-basin.
If you read my Silver Way article, you will see that I have shown that there used to be a quite good road (suitable for carts but too steep for wagons) between Azadmere and the Kald basin, however it crossed a bridge at the Guthe River gorge. When the Khuzdul withdrew into Azadmere after the Battle of Sorrows, they collapsed the bridge on purpose to limit contact with humans. Now all traffic must take a long detour (following the original route) to the lowest fordable point on the Guthe River (above the gorge).
- Kerry Mould