Saturday 13 May 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #132: Traffic Along the Shi-Ar

Seven hexes north, one northeast of Alakran.


What is a road, a path, a trail for?

One answer: to make the way easier. So, plane, pack, pave, bridge the way. Root out trees and stones in the way. But still, you are missing the other big answer: to lead you from one place to another without getting lost. A string on the ground will do; or a series of cairns, a goat-track, a river to follow.

This section of the Shi-Ar is not obviously improved, yet it is a road, just as any watercourse that leads from one settlement to another, from one land to the next. As a road, it is a small environment, an extension of the settlements on either end and by extension all the settlements they connect to. 

On a wasteland stretch between two small isolated areas with little commerce -- Shasari has recently started to trade with Gheenatru again -- additional daytime "road" encounters might come up as seldom as 1 hour in 12. On a busy stretch between two major cities, you might meet d4-1 fellow voyagers an hour. As in a city, most of these encounters will be with people who would like to be left alone and will return the favor, so there is no need to describe them in depth other than to add context and local color. 

One in four will be going the same way as you, just slower paced or stopped for a rest; the others will be met going the opposite way. A general structure for these encounters might be rolled on a d12, with examples for this hex in italics:

1-3: Trade

Mostly trade caravans from Gheenatru laden with fruit and bringing back grain

4-6: Trade in a peaceful area, security in a dangerous area

7-8: Security (military, civil watch)

If closer to Gheenatru, a squad of scimitar oryx chariots. If closer to Shasari, chariots of the 3rd Company.

9-10: Common citizens of the originating settlement with some business in the other area (possibly including robbers).

Such as Hebat and her nephew.

11: Important figures of the originating settlement (government, nobles, oligarchs, clergy, wizardry)

Probably a Setite cleric delegation going from Shasari to Gheenatru, or a delegation of necromancers going from Gheenatru to Shasari.

12: Travellers from beyond the settlement

Wild card! For example, a wandering musician, or some disguised serpent people on a nefarious mission.

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