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  1. - Top - End - #271
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Mith
    So I am now more and more against a formal [quilombeiros] state, so how about a middle form where there are village states, but they are all connected out of need for security. I suggest this since division can work when you are all too small to hit, but when you are collectively a big target, some unity is required. Maybe not a formal government, but maybe a central meeting point for all the people of the area.
    This could certainly be an option if a large force came their way, but I'd say it would be rarely used except in emergencies, real Toruk Makto situations.

    They would, however, certainly be in contact with each other, although I'd expect small-scale intervillage conflict from time to time, people being people.

    Originally Posted by Mith
    Do we want to develop a name for these people besides Ex-slaves?
    Meaning, a name they use for themselves?

    I came across the name Bakari some years ago, although I don't recall the exact derivation; apparently it's an African term which means "promising." Could be adapted to mean "people of hope" or something along those lines.

  2. - Top - End - #272
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    [quilombeiros]
    I can never spell this right. Add to Dictionary!

    This could certainly be an option if a large force came their way, but I'd say it would be rarely used except in emergencies, real Toruk Makto situations.

    They would, however, certainly be in contact with each other, although I'd expect small-scale intervillage conflict from time to time, people being people.
    Fair enough. I was thinking similar to Greek sity states, but since these are going to be relatively new, and they were all part of the revolt together, a few generations won't kill the sense of unity, even if there is no formal government.

  3. - Top - End - #273
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Mith
    I was thinking similar to Greek [c]ity states....
    Keep in mind that these people--I'll call them Bakari for now--have no personal experience with anything as large and organized as a Greek city-state. In the time of Themistocles, Athens was able to build one hundred triremes in barely two years, a genuine feat that required a substantial population of specialized craftsmen, set in motion by money and politics and all in the context of an established urban polity.

    The Bakari, formerly quilombeiros and slaves before that, never knew anything as large and complex as Athens. As slaves, they would have mainly worked on fazendas (which were directly descended from the Roman latifundia) and when they escaped to create the first quilombos in the Amazon, they recreated their small-scale villages which they remembered from Africa. Once they're relocated by the Amazonians to the coastal zone, they'll simply recreate the quilombos again. They wouldn't have any personal or living memory of anything more complex--and to the present generation, the quilombos mean home.

    Originally Posted by Mith
    ...a few generations won't kill the sense of unity, even if there is no formal government.
    Probably many of them would never have seen each other until the Amazonians forced them out to the coastal zone, since the original quilombos were widely scattered and hidden throughout a vast area--and there may well be a tiny handful the Amazonians missed, unless they devote themselves entirely to a fanatical purge.

    But once the former quilombeiros, now Bakari, found themselves in the coastal zone--then yes, I could see them coming to a broader sense of "us" as former slaves and former quilombeiros, slowly developing an overall identity while still living in their re-established quilombos. In a sense, they've been through three separate relocations--harshly and involuntarily from Africa, then escaping into the Amazon whenever they could, and finally being obliged to relocate to the coast by the Amazonians.

    At this point they're survivors and pragmatists, well aware the wider world is full of powers far stronger than they are. They'll be caught between the ocean ahead and the Amazonians behind, and they'll want to live as quietly as they can.

  4. - Top - End - #274
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    I can't agree with this logic; states develop for complex reasons, and their origins are rarely owing to "necessity" alone. Just because you're pushed off a cliff doesn't mean you suddenly grow wings.

    And as Lord of the Flies demonstrates, simply having an origin in a sophisticated state is no guarantee you'll be able to recreate anything like it in a new environment.
    Yes, states develop for complex reasons. But in the end most of those reasons boil down to necessity. If population grows, they'll need to find ways to regulate themselves, regulate food growth and distribution, regulate just about everything that is important for those people in that specific situation. It may even be a stupid reason like the necessity to keep the leader in power, but that's how nations form.
    I doubt there exists or has ever existed any nation that developed because they thought it was fun or because all the coold kids are doing it

    Lord of the Flies isn't really a good example for this. It's a group of (pre?)puberescent boys that get stranded on an Island and are only there for a short span of time. They're a small group of walking bags of hormones, not thousands of men and women of various age categories with the experience and knowledge that adults have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    I'm not an expert on this aspect of the history, and I'll defer to solid historical reference, but I remain doubtful as to how much Muslim influence there would be. Everything I've read about candomblé, umbanda, and similar traditions has always emphasized the admixture of indigenous African religions with European colonial beliefs. I've never seen any mention of Islam as a factor. I'm open to the possibility, but not yet convinced.
    I've been doing some more research on this and i think you're right.
    While most sources seem to agree that Brazil received the highest amount of Muslim slaves, i can't seem to find reliable numbers on this. Estimates range from 5-20%. Mostly somewhere around 10% or less.
    So no Islamic Brazil state.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Again, I would say a lot of these complications are coming into play because you're assuming this has to be a new nation with an established economy and all the trappings. As I've mentioned, I think it makes a lot more sense for these coastal quilombos to exist as a constellation of settlements in a general cultural zone--loosely affiliated, cooperating among themselves with the coastwatchers, but not formally bound into a single economic or administrative unit.
    Yes, i think this has to be an established state.
    First of all let's be honest: if these people don't band together completely they're screwed. Loosely affiliated city states just wont do to keep out the Europeans. If there is no single administrative unit, then these city states are just going to get annexed one by one.
    A nation can decide to make a strategic retreat on one city/battle so they can win the war. A loose affiliation of city states can't, they'll start squabbling among each other.

    Besides, external pressure has historically been a tool used by various states to increase internal stability and cohesion.
    A few examples from recent history:
    The Falklands War started because the Argentinian government wanted to divert attention away from internal problems by declaring war for the Falklands.
    NATO was created to contain the USSR. The Warsawpact was created to counter that.
    Otto Von Bismarck used external threats like France, Denmark and Austria to unite the Germans under Prussian rule.

    There are a few other reasons for a true nation:
    - We've already done the city-state thing with the Hisatsinom.
    - These people have experience with Genghixander's empire and can build on that experience once the empire fractures.
    - Several of these former slaves also have experience with the large empires of West Africa. Or with the Kingdom of Kongo.
    -

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    I'm not sure if pumice is really the best option for a buoyant material. I have a feeling this would be a lot of work for minimal added flotation.

    Also, where are they getting the pumice from? Are they skimming it off the ocean somehow? That would end up being way too much hassle.
    Pumice is common around volcanoes. Chile is a nation that exports pumice. So there's more than enough pumice to be found in that area. It's nothing native to the ocean.

    I don't know how buoyant pumice is, i just know it has a porosity of 90%. Meaning 90% of it is air and it can float on water.
    After a while water starts filling the gaps and the stone sinks. This can take a really long time (those pumice rafts sometimes last for decades). If Tawantinsuyu has magic that can keep the water out of the pumice, they can use it to increase the buoyance of those islands so they can carry cannons.

  5. - Top - End - #275
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    We've already done the city-state thing with the Hisatsinom.
    Note my comments to Mith a little earlier: the coastal quilombos won't be city-states, but much smaller units. As I've mentioned before, it's more realistic to consider the coastal quilombos as a cultural zone rather than a single entity.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    These people have experience with Genghixander's empire and can build on that experience once the empire fractures.
    My understanding was that the escaped slaves created quilombos in the Amazon, and were later driven out or "encouraged" to relocate by the Amazonians.

    Simply being driven out by the military arm of an empire gives the refugees absolutely no "experience" in creating an empire of their own. Being prodded with spears hardly gives you any insights into the structure of an imperial bureaucracy.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    Several of these former slaves also have experience with the large empires of West Africa. Or with the Kingdom of Kongo.
    Not unless the timeline is a lot more compressed than I'd been thinking. My impression was that the original quilombos were a going concern for several generations, until the Amazonians finally pushed them out. You might have one or two freshly-escaped slaves who were caught up in the relocation just as they arrived, but one or two people fresh from West Africa aren't likely to change the quilombo-based social structure.

    Also, again, simply having contact with an empire, or a paramount chiefdom, or other layered polities, will not give someone a magical ability to recreate that polity, and that holds just as true for someone fresh from Africa.

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    First of all let's be honest: if these people don't band together completely they're screwed. Loosely affiliated city states just wont do to keep out the Europeans. If there is no single administrative unit, then these city states are just going to get annexed one by one.
    Creating a single administrative unit won't change the equation, it'll just make them an easier target. It doesn't matter if they're ruled by a single paramount chief or a single headman for each quilombo--there will still be a profound imbalance between the coastal quilombeiros and the greater forces surrounding them.

    They can band together, yes--but by maintaining the coastwatchers and vanishing whenever a squadron heaves into sight. They're not going to be fighting off imperial powers; they don't have the strength for it. Their best hope for survival is to be inconspicuous.

    Also keep in mind that much of the African slave trade is fed by other Africans, who kidnap people from rival tribes or clans and sell them into slavery, either within Africa or to Europeans at trading posts along the West African coast. It's far, far easier for Europeans to purchase slaves from a reliable source than it is to go chasing after them in the hinterlands of an unknown and very menacing continent. And in fact, there's no reason to imagine that too many people even know the coastal quilombos are there at all.



    As I understand it, the original concept was that the biomancers would have closed off all of South Vespuccia to the Europeans. This idea has changed substantially in the past few weeks, but we still have a scenario in which an extremely powerful, extremely supernatural empire in the heart of the Amazon has driven out Europeans from its territory, definitively if not savagely--and that will leave a deep and painful impression for a very long time. Apart from the Portuguese colonial holdings in the far southeast, Europeans should be extremely wary, if not downright terrified, of making landfall anywhere on South Vespuccia that isn't a fortified port or established town--which I believe includes the Portuguese colonial holdings and not much else.

    So look at it from the perspective of Captain John Fonseca, a half-British/half-Portuguese ship's master who makes trading runs across the Atlantic. He's part-owner of his vessel, he has a financial stake in the cargo and insurance agents in London and Lisbon with a keen interest in his profit margin.

    He knows his history: some of his father's distant relatives were driven out of the green hell by some thoroughly unearthly power, which still holds sway over much of that immense and threatening coastline. Stories are told, from Kingston to Charleston to Bristol and back, of the hateful and destructive force which yet remains, watchful and waiting, and which sometimes sends fierce storms to drive intruding vessels away from the coast, or raises new shoals and reefs to destroy them if they venture too close.

    Now, Captain Fonseca is a practical, pious man, and he knows what he knows, which is seafaring and port trade. Why, for the love of all the saints, will he risk his ship, his cargo, and his life to put in somewhere on that unknown coast? In search of what, exactly? He's heard of slaves escaping into the depths of the green hell, but as far as he or anyone else knows, they're swallowed up and never seen again. For his part, he'll keep to ports he knows, Recife and Bahia, and he will leave the rest of that unwelcoming land well and truly alone.



    Originally Posted by Steckie
    If Tawantinsuyu has magic that can keep the water out of the pumice, they can use it to increase the buoyance of those islands so they can carry cannons.
    If Tawantinsuyu has that kind of magic, why not just apply it directly to the reeds, rather than adding more steps and more complication with the pumice?

  6. - Top - End - #276
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    I apologize for how long this has taken, I've been working pretty hard on the touched and a few side-projects, and just haven't gotten around to finishing the post.

    Freeman State

    Trade
    I don't see why they would need to get involved in trade outside Amazonia.
    Running a state doesn't necessarily require European money, they could just as easily trade internally for anything they needed. After all, the Amazonians had been running themselves pretty effectively without an external trade network. And with magic, well, it just gets easier. They would have access to all the technology that currently existed in the colonies at the time of the rebellion, so they probably wouldn't need all that much more. And even if the freemen are on slightly better terms with the Europeans than the Amazonians, they would still be VERY cautious about dealing with them in any significant fashion to avoid being recaptured.

    I do, however, think the pirates would be able to supply the freeman state with the smuggled goods they need. They would pay well from the coffers of their former masters to get the supplies they needed, and once the tech is in the state, it's easy enough to learn to replicate.

    The idea of trading with the ottomans/barbary pirates is possible, but unlikely. They wouldn't have the ships to go make contact with them for another 50-75 years, and the empire likely wouldn't be getting too much news about it, either. I imagine Portugal would desperately try to downplay the seriousness of the rebellion, at least at first, and the since only Portugal was in the area, they would more or less control the news of it. Certainly, it would leak out eventually, but if it doesn't spread to the empire in the first few years, they would have to be self-supporting by the time the reached out anyways. Maybe the freeman state could make contact later down the line, about 1700-ish.

    Culture
    I do agree, I think the arabic alphabet would likely spread at least through the freeman state, though it might face some hurdles to reach acceptance in Amazonia. I don't know what they would do for paper, though. Or ink for that matter. The could just carve it into solid materials, like the tuniit do with Norsq. It's a little bit too flowing for that, though... Parchment apparently turns back into rawhide if you get it wet, so that's no good. I could easily imagine some kind of ink made from brazilin dye. Bright red, very permanent. But without something to write on, it seems pointless. Maybe some sort of wool sheet that you don't so much write on as paint on?

    Searching for 'Bantu' doesn't really help me narrow the details down very much, unfortunately, so I can't comment on their specific systems, but in all likelihood, they would convert to Islam over time by the virtue of the ones who can read and write being the ones doing all the teaching.
    I don't know about Arabic becoming the common language. Maybe they would adopt an amazonian language? Did we end up deciding if Ghengixander set up an official language?

    Pirates
    did some more research. The golden age of piracy was like 1650-1690, then another one in 1715-1725. The 1650-1690 one would definitely be perfectly placed to work as we described. I don't know how useful having brazilian safe harbors would be in the early parts, due to that aforementioned current that makes it difficult to get back into the Caribbean. But the pirate round would definitely benefit from these safe bases of operation, as the round took them around the horn of Africa. The freemen could be more involved in the round, working alongside pirates at this point, to steal supplies for their homeland. The second one, 1715-1725 ish, was largely due to a lot of unemployed soldiers after the Spanish war of succession, but I'm not sure how that's changed.
    I don't know how much it would extend the age, but it certainly would add more pirates, which is always a great thing to have.

    Quote Originally Posted by AtlanteanTroll View Post
    One Piece in this setting.
    You know... At first I just smirked, but then it occurred to me... If you have floramancers, what better way would there be to boost your fighting force than to make fruits that grant super-powers? Probably nothing quite so impressive as devil fruit, but maybe trees that grow potion-equivalent fruits? These fruits would be very valuable to pirates, both for their nutritional/anti-scurvy value, and for the benefits they could grant during boarding operations.

    Cool pirate fact: The biggest robbery in history was committed by Henry Every in 1695. He stole 600,000 pounds of goods from a Mughal ship. According to a pound inflation calculator I found, that's approximately equivalent to 21,000,000,000. Imagine, if you will, making 21 BILLION in a single attack. Best part is, Henry Every was never caught, he disappeared in 1696.

    Quilombos
    I think people may be focusing in on the jungle communities, the quilombos, rather than the freed slaves, which are going to make up the VAST majority of the population. Hence why I changed the supertitle. The quilombos are going to be important, as they are how the amazonians made contact with the slaves in the first place, but they aren't even going to be a significant demography in the affairs of the freemen state post-rebellion.
    Quilombos are composed of imported slaves who escape and know their way around a jungle, recreating their former way of life in a new environment. The slaves, in contrast, are going to have a significant population of imported slaves, but the majority of them are going to be born and raised in slavery, not knowing how to survive in a jungle. The slaves are going to take a lot of memetic imports from the quilombos, but overall they're not going to be living in isolated villages of traditional styles.
    The ex-slaves will have a strong sense of unity, I believe, firstly because they all suffered together under the Portuguese, and then further reinforced by joining together during the revolt. As a veteran, I can tell you, nothing builds a sense of unity like suffering together, and fighting together makes it that much stronger. While they may have been descended from many different cultures, a great many slaves were born and raised in captivity, and would have a much more coherent cultural identity. Even if the imported slaves spoke multiple distinct languages, it's likely they would have been able to pick up enough of the other slave's or the owner's languages to be able to communicate relatively freely among each other. Overall, you have all the building blocks of a state, there. Common language, sense of unity, common enemy, and even pre-existing infrastructure and resources, leftovers from the Portuguese that could be easily re-purposed, if not destroyed during the rebellion.

    Tawantinsuyu

    Divination
    You do raise a very good point... Perhaps they can't predict exactly where the battle will take place, but they can usually get a vision of the aftermath and work backwards. This would make it so they can't predict EXACTLY where the battle will be, but they can use the visions as a guide to place troops near to where an incursion will occur, allowing them to move to respond much faster.
    As to divination= victory, that may be a bit too simplistic. The divinations aren't always accurate. I imagine it to work somewhat off of familiarity, focus, and the stars. Like, to divine the future of an individual, you would need a focus from that individual, like hair or a treasured item. Then you would cast the divination, and get a scene, like a 5-second snippet of time, and an image of the night sky. You would then have to interpret that scene, what's happening, who's involved, and how it happened. and then you'd have to figure out when it happened, consulting star-charts and such to determine when the stars would align with the vision. To get a vision of a place, you would have to be intimately familiar with the place, and then look toward a certain time via a mental image of the stars at that time, possibly even winding it back and forth as necessary by adjusting your mental star-map.
    So, you wouldn't be able to go 'when are the Spanish next going to attack', you would have to divine the future of a soldier getting sent to the front lines, or the future of a particular pass or landing site. Once you catch a glimpse, you can focus in more intently to try to figure out where exactly they came from, and where the troops need to be.

    Reclamation
    I really like your timeline for this one, steckie.
    I do wonder how the spanish-occupied areas would respond to the tawantinsuyu reclaiming lands that have, for their entire lives, been Spanish.

    Tech
    Guns: the lack of wood does indeed make them a bit more challenging. Though, I suppose they weren't ENTIRELY without it, as there are mentions of wood being used in the cloth armor, and if they expand south I think there's a forest on the pacific slope in the distant south.
    They were using bronze at the time of conquest, so, and with an example to work from and captured knowledge, it's entirely possible they could develop into steel production relatively quickly. Gunpowder's probably easier to justify, just takes a little experimentation, and they were very good with minerals.

    Telescopes: Mostly, I ask because if the divination works off stars as indicated above, then telescopes would allow them to dramatically increase the accuracy and potential scope of their divination. But you also make a good point, lookouts with telescopes would be extremely valuable in an area like the Andes.

    Llamas: Well, it's entirely possible to breed horses to do those things. The added advantage of being able to ride at high speed seems like it would be too good to pass up. Though, how they get enough horses to breed these desired traits is a challenging question.

    Reed Motherships
    This is a pretty awesome idea, I must admit.

    Concerns:
    The reeds must be grown in large numbers, and as far as I'm aware, they only grow on fresh water, making it more challenging to get them to the sea. This is complicated by the fact the reeds must be constantly replaced as they rot.
    Pumice does, as mentioned, eventually absorb water and sink, which would cause serious problems if the stones were still part of the structure when they became heavier than water.
    The reeds might well be suitable for small-scale combat by arming the crewmen with firearms, but I just don't think they would have the structural support necessary to mount cannons and do serious damage to the ships. Each blast would exert tremendous stress on the relatively fragile reed structures, and overuse could jar the whole weave apart.

    I think I have a non-magical, but still fantastical, solution to the first two problems. Alchemy. I propose a sort of alchemical water-proof permanent sealant, a sort of resin. Pumice blocks get dipped in it, the resin absorbs into the stone at the edges then hardens, creating a thorough seal that keeps water from absorbing into the pumice. Similarly, the reeds can be painted over with such a resin, or coated individually if necessary. If not a perfect solution to the problem, such a resin would definitely dramatically extend the practical life of a reed-island or a reed ship.

    The third problem's trickier, but I think it too can be handled non-magically, by using grenades. Ceramic or even reed shells (kinda like Japanese fireworks) could be used to reduce the weight of them, allowing them to be thrown by hand, or launched from some manner of slingshot/catapult thing. These devices could be timed explosives, fired by wicks, or we could add a little alchemy here too, and put a tiny dose of alchemist's fire in each, to make them pressure-sensitive, exploding when they hit something with sufficient force. The general idea being that they hit something, the force breaks the tiny vial, and when the alchemist's fire hits air, boom. The Chinese were using such explosives at the time, perhaps they learned the design from Fusang traders?
    And if grenades are too much, we could still use alchemist's fire fired via slingshot. I bet a couple dozen very small, swift ships pelting a ship of the line with fire would be really, really hard to beat.

    Specific Treants/Dryads
    Yeah, that's definitely another thing I'm going to have to do now. Thanks a lot.
    Though, I must admit, I don't actually find much mythology regarding tree-people, beyond dryads and hamadryads, at least. I think Tolkien might have just made up treants...

    Selkies
    I nearly missed this one! Welcome to the thread, rg9000, hope you stick around!
    I definitely like the idea of selkies moving into tuniitaq. I'm actually considering making some kind of template that describes animals that can take of their skin and transform into humans, it seems a common thread. Selkies would have to come over on ships, though, I think it would probably be much too far to swim.
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  7. - Top - End - #277
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Are the Europeans really trying to establish colonies in Bakari territory? I got the impression that anytime they tried the Biomancers would drive them out.

    that said, I could see the Bakari operating as a loosely affiliated cultural group. Small villages mostly. Their main fear is slavers, so when coastwatchers spot them, the villages evacuate and scatter. If the europeans make any attempt to set up a more permanent presence, then the Bakari band together and wage guerilla warfare to drive them out.

    Bakari territory is too close to the Amazon for any large scale expeditions. The expeditions that do arrive are small enough that Bakari warbands can cause enough trouble for them to leave.

    In addition, the Bakari have excellent relations with a variety of pirates, who seek shelter with the Bakari. Pirates frequently seek shelter among the Bakari, sometimes entrusting them with treasure for safekeeping, or recruiting from among the ranks of the Bakari. Many new arrivals to the Bakari were slaves who escaped the plantations of Cuba and Haiti, found passage onboard a pirate vessel, and then disembarked when the vessel fled south.

    The Pirates provide the Bakari with manufactured goods they would otherwise be unable to get. In exchange, the Bakari provide the pirates with shelter, supplies, and magical healing for wounded and sick crewmembers.

    The Knights have difficulty finding the pirates who seek shelter in Bakari territory. The coastline is vast, and unlike in the Caribbean, the Knights cannot rely on the assistance of the local governments to help find where the pirates are hiding. The Knights don't have nearly enough manpower to keep an eye on the coast, and they're not used to operating in areas with hostile populations.

    The Bakari/Freedmen may be aware of the Knight's mission, but for the most part they don't care. They see the Knights as defenders of the same system that enslaved them.

    The Knights may occasionally launch expeditions to hunt down especially dangerous pirates who have sought shelter among the Bakari, but this would be rare.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    ...in all likelihood, they would convert to Islam over time by the virtue of the ones who can read and write being the ones doing all the teaching.
    Please note Steckie's comment from above:

    Originally Posted by Steckie
    I've been doing some more research on this.... So no Islamic Brazil state.
    I've been looking for my textbook on colonial Brazil, and can't find it now, but in that entire course on Brazilian history I don't recall Islam or Muslim influence being mentioned a single time.

    Originally Posted by Admiral Squish
    I think people may be focusing in on the jungle communities, the quilombos, rather than the freed slaves, which are going to make up the VAST majority of the population. Hence why I changed the supertitle. The quilombos are going to be important, as they are how the amazonians made contact with the slaves in the first place, but they aren't even going to be a significant demography in the affairs of the freemen state post-rebellion.
    Clearly there's another aspect of this scenario that I didn't pick up on. I'm not sure where the influx of freed slaves come from, since I thought things were business as usual in the Portuguese colonial holdings in the southeast?

    Also...

    Originally Posted by BRC
    ...I could see the Bakari operating as a loosely affiliated cultural group. Small villages mostly. Their main fear is slavers, so when coastwatchers spot them, the villages evacuate and scatter. If the europeans make any attempt to set up a more permanent presence, then the Bakari band together and wage guerilla warfare to drive them out.
    Agreed completely.

    Originally Posted by BRC
    In addition, the Bakari have excellent relations with a variety of pirates, who seek shelter with the Bakari. Pirates frequently seek shelter among the Bakari, sometimes entrusting them with treasure for safekeeping, or recruiting from among the ranks of the Bakari.
    The Bakari cooperating with pirates isn't something I was initially in favor of, but I'm warming to the idea. The fact is, the Bakari need someone as allies, and after what they've been through they certainly won't object to helping pirates visit a little retribution on European naval powers.

    There are two problems with this scenario, though: first, there's no easy way for the coastwatchers to tell the difference between pirates, slave-catchers, and naval warships, since by definition pirates steal ships from other people. There might be some special signal the pirates could use, but that would need to be worked out very carefully, and I'd say the Bakari would still be extremely wary.

    In fact, the Bakari might go so far as to designate particular bays as reserved for pirate use only (Pirate Parking, as it were) and maintain a small support presence while keeping their quilombos well away from those sites. The pirates wouldn't need to go inland--and they wouldn't be encouraged to do so--and for the most part they wouldn't have any real idea of where the quilombos are located.

    The other problem, though, is that pirates by definition don't always play by the rules, and it wouldn't take more than a handful of disgruntled former employees to lead a British raiding party right to the Pirate Parking spots. In this situation, the Bakari would have to rely on their coastwatchers, and keep their relations with the pirates at arm's length.

    There's also the issue of whether a pirate crew down on their luck might decide to do a little ad hoc slaving and never mind the consequences. More than a few pirates were fairly clueless thugs who didn't really plan ahead, and there's nothing to prevent a crew from a spontaneous entry into the slave trade. The only defense here, I think, is for the Bakari to make a strong show of force at the Pirate Parking whenever a ship comes in. I wouldn't expect a full-scale Pirates of the Caribbean town, but rather a few shacks along the beach, maybe a basic storehouse or two for trade goods...and many, many Bakari warriors.

    Originally Posted by BRC
    The Bakari/Freedmen may be aware of the Knight's mission, but for the most part they don't care. They see the Knights as defenders of the same system that enslaved them.
    This makes perfect sense to me.

    The question is, though, how do the Knights view the Bakari? Are the Knights fine and dandy with the institution of slavery? Do they see the Bakari as accomplices to countless acts of piracy, or as escaped property that should be returned to their former owners whenever possible? Or do the Knights have a more humanitarian, or at least more tolerant, view of the freedmen?

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    Maybe the reason we're having so much difficulty with the Freemans state is because it's historically untenable; maybe there's no way to make it work.

    I feel like the real strength of this setting is the fact that it's an alt-history campaign. We stick pretty closely to the actual history of North America, so why do it differently in South America? maybe we should be trying to imitate history as it actually occurred instead of making up a different one. I mean, we're not freeing the slaves in North America, and there are no Native American revolutions to drive out the colonists in Columbia, so why have it happen in South Vespuccia? I'm sure that we can find a way to keep the Inka and the Amazonians around, whole still following the broad strokes of Brazilian colonization. I'll admit I don't know anything about south american colonization, but I'm sure itsw just as exciting and fascinating as that of North america.
    Last edited by SuperDave; 2014-06-19 at 08:42 PM.

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    Originally Posted by SuperDave
    We stick pretty closely to the actual history of North America, so why do it differently in South America?
    You mean, the South America with people named Genghixander? Doing that thing he does?



    Originally Posted by SuperDave
    Maybe the reason we're having so much difficulty with the Freemans state is because it's historically untenable; maybe there's no way to make it work.
    I think many of the complications arise from trying to make it a state, rather than a wild region that's avoided by most, and inhabited by the Bakari because they have nowhere else to go.

    The Bakari will need protectors--of some sort, whether overt or otherwise; and it might be as simple as saying, for now, that there is some hidden power, of the land but not always so, which helps keep them safe.

    I do think we're probably spending too much time going back and forth about what they should or shouldn't be. As I suggested a couple of weeks ago, it might be best to avoid the temptation of hyperdetailing each group and region, and instead let this be sketched in broad, simple strokes for now.



    I've also been meaning to mention, for quite some time now, that together with the temptation of detailing each culture and people, each nook and cranny of history, we run the risk of filling in the map so thoroughly that it will look completely occupied, with no space for explorers to roam--and nowhere for an inventive DM to squeeze in his own carefully designed region or culture.

    One of the most frequent criticisms of the Forgotten Realms setting (apart from the high-powered NPCs) is that there are no blank spaces for DMs to stretch out and help make the world their own. Every inch of Faerûn is smothered in history and lore, and you can't trip over a rock without some dwarven relic of lost empires right there in that spot smiling up at you.

    I've run into this issue myself, looking for somewhere south of the Silver Marches or east of the Old Forest where I could slip in a few little kingdoms of my own, that would suit the storyline I wanted to develop for my campaign. We should be sure to leave some blank spaces here and there, sometimes small pockets and sometimes larger areas, in order to let the world breathe a little more freely, and not feel too neatly laced up.

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    Re: Knights and Bakari
    The Knights are kind of divided on the Bakari.

    You see, the Knights like to think of themselves as Good Guys. Everywhere they go they're either loved and respected, or tolerated. They're very big on being inoffensive.
    Therefore, anytime the Knights operate somewhere with a hostile local population, their morale takes a pretty hefty hit.

    You see, the Knights tolerate slavery, because it's kind of the cornerstone of the Caribbean economy, and many of the Knights come from slaveholding backgrounds.

    However, the practice makes a decent chunk of the order somewhat uneasy. plenty of Slaves are converts of one form or another, and failing to convert the rest goes against the Knight's sensibilities. Officially, the Order is okay with slavery, but unofficially it makes a lot of them uneasy. it seems too much like allowing Christians to harm other Christians en masse.

    As a result, for morale issues, the higher ups try to keep the Knights to unquestionably Righteous endeavors.

    So, sending in armed Knights into Bakari territory is asking for the sort of morale issues the Knights are not really equipped to handle. Knight ships will occasionally patrol the coast looking for pirate ships in hidden harbors, but there is a LOT of coast to patrol, and the Knights rarely go ashore.


    Edit: perhaps there is an unofficial policy, among the more abolitionist-minded Knights (The type that would stir up trouble within the Order if they started sending armed raiding parties into Bakari territories) to recruit runaway slaves as Sworn Men, then let them off on the coast when they're hunting for Pirates.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperDave View Post
    Maybe the reason we're having so much difficulty with the Freemans state is because it's historically untenable; maybe there's no way to make it work.

    I feel like the real strength of this setting is the fact that it's an alt-history campaign. We stick pretty closely to the actual history of North America, so why do it differently in South America? maybe we should be trying to imitate history as it actually occurred instead of making up a different one. I mean, we're not freeing the slaves in North America, and there are no Native American revolutions to drive out the colonists in Columbia, so why have it happen in South Vespuccia? I'm sure that we can find a way to keep the Inka and the Amazonians around, whole still following the broad strokes of Brazilian colonization. I'll admit I don't know anything about south american colonization, but I'm sure itsw just as exciting and fascinating as that of North america.
    I agree with you completely.
    Maybe it's better to just say that we've kinda been wasting our time by not sticking to our broad strokes plan. And that we might need to remove part of what we were planning for Brazil.

    So, broad strokes for the continent:
    - Tawantinsuyu in the Andes, was conquered for 4 years by Pizarro but then kicked the Spanish out of their lands. The Spanish held on to the north, but Tawantinsuyu is now waging war to reconquer those lands.
    - Spain on the northern coast, fighting to hold Tawantinsuyu out of Panama and the Carribean coast.
    - The Dutch in Guyana and Suriname.
    - France in French Guiana.
    - Portugal in Brazil.
    - Fractured Amazonian empire in the rainforest.
    - Bakari on the rainforest coast.

    Things to determine:
    - The Cerrado
    - Patagonia
    - Tierra Del Fuego
    - Pampas
    - Chaco

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    Freeman State/Bakari

    Islam
    I dunno, this book seems to indicate otherwise. All the reviews seem very positive, it's made a second edition, and it apparently even won an award, so the chances of it being poorly-researched are reasonably low.
    I'm starting to notice textbooks have an unpleasant habit of simply not discussing uncomfortable truths.

    I think even a relatively small percentage of strongly-Muslim slaves would be able to eventually spread the word into a sizable following. It's a proselytizing religion, emphasizes equality, it doesn't require too much to join, it promotes learning and education, and perhaps most importantly, it's NOT what the white guys were following. The version practiced in the freeman state would likely be a much more relaxed form than the traditional ones, as the slaves wouldn't be particularly receptive to taking strict orders from anyone at this point.

    Free Slaves
    The free slaves aren't coming from anywhere external. They're the slaves of the Portuguese colonists who the amazonians kicked out, the ones who dramatically outnumbered their former masters in the area.
    Not sure of free ex-slaves would cooperate on not...

    In the beginning, one of Ghengixander's generals made contact with a leader in one of the quilombos. This leader (let's call him Needsaname for clarity), agrees that his people will stand with the Amazonians. Needsaname also says that the other Africans, the slaves being kept by the Portuguese could be turned against their owners, and make the strike that much more devastating to the settlers. The General works with Needsaname to set this up, members of the quilombos infiltrating the plantations and spreading the word about what was going to happen and encouraging slaves to rise up as the attacks came, that they would be unharmed and free if they cooperated. the green wave comes, the slaves cooperate, they remain free citizens under Ghengixander, and are given, essentially, free reign over all the land the Portuguese once had. Needsaname is appointed to be in charge of the area, a sort of governor-like position. When Ghengixander dies, the freeman state under Needsaname (or successor) becomes independent, with strong alliances with the nearby amazonian states, by leveraging their position on the coast and at the mouth of the river, establishing themselves as a defensive buffer zone against sea-based incursion by the Portuguese.

    Pirates
    I'm not certain if the pirates would transport escaped slaves from elsewhere, who, by virtue of being slaves, probably can't pay well. It seems like it would lack profitability, and they're not usually in the business of favors.
    Regarding telling the difference between pirates and other ships, it could be that each harbor only allows a certain number of pirate ships, ones with flags that could be recognized by the lookouts. Tie this with the aforementioned pirate parking idea and it would be easy enough to ensure the presence of the pirates doesn't cause problems for the villages/settlements themselves. They would probably, as mentioned, have a security force about in these areas, probably a number of warriors, but possibly as much as a floramancer with a number of plant troops on hand in larger ones.

    Villlages v. State
    I think the idea that a collection of scattered villages would be able to survive for long is somewhat silly. The Portuguese would be coming hard for the rebellious slaves immediately after the rebellion, they lost a huge area of land and many, many landowners. Not only would it be a massive financial loss, but a huge embarrassment, and it would likely be intolerable to the local church, too. If they weren't unified and well-equipped to defend their new holdings, they wouldn't have survived five years, let alone the next 100. A scattering of independant villages would not be able to muster the numbers to combat a coordinated Portuguese effort to reclaim the land, even if they went with guerrilla warfare and called on all the villages they could for help.

    A STATE, however, could manage such a defense. With the support of the floramancer forces and the leadership of Needsaname, I beleive they could pull it off. All the former slaves would be extremely concerned about the possible return of the Portuguese. Common Enemy. They all share a certain value of culture (their time as slaves). Shared Culture. They all endured the hardships of slavery and then fought side-by-side to be free. Feeling of Unity. They all cooperated under the guidance of a leader. Shared Leadership. And while they don't speak the same languages, they would at least know enough of each other's languages to be able to communicate. All these things would make it much easier to form a proper state, and there's no momentum to fight against here, either, as post-rebellion, the slaves would be looking for a new order to form.

    If ghengixander can unite the rain forest into a unified state (at least during his lifetime), I think that making a state out of the ex-slaves would be child's play.

    Coastwatchers/Evacuations
    I don't think a system of lookouts and evacuations would be a very functional one. Fleeing would only delay being recaptured until the portuguese manage to muster some trackers and horses to chase them down, and a number of small villages wouldn't be able to muster the kind of forces necessary to drive out a fortified position. Plus, it would be a massive disruption of the way of life, havung to drop everything and run, leaving the invaders to loot or destroy everything they left behind. If the villages were at all dependent on agriculture, the Portuguese could just torch the fields of the villages and wait for the people to starve.

    Plausibility
    I think there's two extremes we want to avoid: Changing everything, and keeping everything.
    On one, the world is extremely different, but it lacks the realism that makes the setting so intiguing.
    On the other, it's exactly how it happened IRL, and while that can be kind of interesting, it's not a realistic outcome for a world with dramatically different rules.

    I think the reason we're having so much trouble deciding it is because it is a novel idea, but that doesn't neccessarily mean that it's not historically sustainable. Just look at the Haitian revolution, they rebelled and made a new state, even managed to keep the island from being re-captured.

    I think if the people agree they want to drop the freemen state idea, then I would be willing to listen to it, but 'it's complicated' shouldn't be an excuse to stop working on it.

    As to broad strokes, I think we do need to know what happened on south america, if only for it's effect on the rest of the setting. I understand wanting to leave areas of the map blank, and I don't think we're going to run into that problem, there's just SO MUCH history, and so much land, for that matter, there's no way we could completely cover both continents with material. Even if all the area is covered by groups, we're going to be leaving plenty of 'vague' areas, where, while it might be a Cahokian League area, we never really go into detail of who lives there and what they live like.
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    For the record, it wouldn't be Pirates giving passage to escaped slaves, it would be escaped slaves joining Pirate crews, sailing around for a bit, and then disembarking to join the Bakar when the ship puts in at one of the hidden ports.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRC View Post
    For the record, it wouldn't be Pirates giving passage to escaped slaves, it would be escaped slaves joining Pirate crews, sailing around for a bit, and then disembarking to join the Bakar when the ship puts in at one of the hidden ports.
    That does make a good bit more sense.
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    Bakari

    Islam
    Been looking at the reviews of that book and it seems like it is indeed a pretty reliant source. There is also the Malê Revolt, this was in 1835 but it's still something to think about.
    Oh, and i found this article or whatever it is. The guy who wrote it seems legit and there's interesting stuff in there. But again mostly about the late 1700's and later.
    But to be honest i kind of wanted it to be reliant since i really like the idea of a Muslim state somewhere in the New World

    Conversion could work kinda like it did in history where a lot of former slaves would 'revert' to Islam as they call it (rather than convert) after they were freed.

    Villages or State
    I've been in favor of a state ever since my deportatation-idea was rejected and i doubt i'll change my mind on this, so i'm obviously with Squish on this.
    These former slaves have had experience with nations before they got enslaved. And there were new slaves imported into the country yearly so there's Always a fresh batch of people with knowledge from their motherland.
    And Genghixander (who really needs a name....) formed an empire himself that they can use as a mold to build their own nation on.

    Plausibility
    I agree with you on making a strongish Islam Bakari state on the Brazilian coast and i'm not in favor of dropping them from the setting.

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    If they're a State, they have to be a powerful enough state to prevent being reconquered. But I don't think we want to introduce yet another faction into the Caribbean.

    Maybe some sort of distributed state or a federation. A bunch of small towns, each of which has both a local leader, and a representative from the government. Somewhere (Perhaps one of the old Portguese colonies?) there is a capitol, with either a council of some sort, or a monarch.

    If a village comes under attack the villagers evacuate and begin a campaign of Guerilla warfare. If the attackers stick around to try to get anything worthwhile (Tracking down villagers to take as slaves for example), the rest of the Federation mobilizes it's forces, and the attackers are overwhelmed.

    You could try brief raids, going in and getting out before the armies mobilize, but even in those cases you'll be in trouble. Word travels fast, and the entire coastline will be hostile. Plus, the Bakari will find out who you are, and offer a reward to Pirates who bring you in.

    ...oh, Idea. The Bakari state has built up a considerable spy network throughout the Caribbean, largely for the purpose of figuring out if anybody is planning to move against them. They've made strategic alliances with a large number of lesser spirits. Their agents carry pouches of herbs harvested from the amazon. These herbs can be used to enter a trance-state which attracts the spirits and allows communication with them. The spirits then serve as messengers between the Bakari state and their network of agents.

    Bakari Agents sail on pirate ships and as merchantmen, run taverns in, and work as shipwrights in ports from St. Croix to Nouveu Orleans. Some of them are freedmen themselves, but others are simply bribed locals (The Bakari dosn't have very much money, but it's not too expensive to get somebody to report on any rumors they hear.)

    This network is largely funded by trade with pirates (or other merchants. The Bakari don't have very much, but anywhere there is a sizable population there will be commerce).

    The general purpose of these spies is to keep an eye out for anybody planning raids against the Bakari, but they pick up a wide variety of secrets along the way. Their alliance with the wind spirits gives them unmatched communication and coordination.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Maybe some sort of distributed state or a federation. A bunch of small towns, each of which has both a local leader, and a representative from the government. Somewhere (Perhaps one of the old Portguese colonies?) there is a capitol, with either a council of some sort, or a monarch.
    That is more or less what I was thinking I guess, though I lean more towards a council rather than one leader.


    Their agents carry pouches of herbs harvested from the amazon. These herbs can be used to enter a trance-state which attracts the spirits and allows communication with them. The spirits then serve as messengers between the Bakari state and their network of agents.
    What is the speed of these messengers? 1.5 times the speed of a carrier pigeon, with no chance of being disrupted by weather or animals? And will these spirits only travel towards the Amazon? Are there any potential side effects from these herbs?

    The reason for the load of questions is more to do with the fact that since Sendings do not exist in Crossroads due to being historically game breaking, how would these spirit messengers act to provide a balance to the setting?

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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Bakari

    Islam
    Now, I'm not saying that it would be a universal religion in the freeman state, by any means. Just that it's rather likely that there will be a sizable following of the religion there, just as there was back in Africa. It would make sense for there to be a mixture of faiths there, just as there are in most other countries. I'm not sure if amazonian religions would catch on, as I honestly haven't done any research there, but I think we could have a mixture of islam, traditional african beliefs, and amazonian faiths. I don't think the state would be formed in a Islamic-dictated fashion, as Needsaname was from a quilombo, likely with a more traditional african belief system, shaped somewhat by the amazonian faiths.

    I wonder if belief in traditional African faiths would grow stronger with the distance from home, or weaker...

    Statehood
    I could see some sort of federation-state being used. Perhaps multiple city-states under a common central leadership? The central government would need to be strong, and have sizable military might to swat down footholds. But I think the freemen would place a premium on freedom and would probably not be entirely cooperative with an authoritative single ruler. So, a bunch of scattered city-states under a central government. The city-states would have a degree of autonomy, with their own guerrilla militias and some control over policy, but the central government controls the main fighting force and has the power to set certain national policies, like setting the national language and creating floramancy training programs.
    I do think, however, the system would be set up with a single main leader, at least at first. It was founded as part of ghengixander's empire after all, a single governor position would have morphed into the freeman state leader as the system fell apart.

    Spy-Spirits
    Hmmm... Interesting idea. I like the idea of the state having a spy/messaging network, their knowledge being a large portion of their defense against such things. However, I'm not sold on the spirit messenger thing. Seems like it would be expensive to send or receive messages, since you'd need something that let you interact with spirits each time you wanted to do either. What about using little air elementals? They would work much the same as animal messengers, but they're much sneakier and less likely to get lost/eaten/distracted (then again, these are air elementals, being flighty would make sense...). They would still be traveling on the material plane, though, so agents wouldn't need continual resupplies from the amazon to continue their task. Some sort of bind would be needed though, to keep the elementals on the plane. Perhaps they're like familiars to the spymasters at home? Or there's some sort of binding stones, maybe?
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    Hrmm, if the Bakari have a spy network designed to tell them if anybody was sailing towards their territory, they would have a good idea where just about any ship is going due to their sources in various ports. Maybe they sell that information to pirates?

    Consider, they have agents in every port. Their purpose is to keep an eye on ships coming and going, so that if anybody plans to attack the relatively weak Bakari state, the Bakari can be waiting there in force.

    In the process, they're also going to hear about lots of ships NOT going to attack the Bakari.

    So, if they know that a ship loaded with rum is sailing from Cuba to Nuevo Orleans, they could sell that information to their pirate buddies.

    At the same time, the Bakari spread rumors that they possess powerful fortune-tellers who predict attacks (Thus explaining why a small army of Bakari warriors is ready to greet just about every attempted raid), thus diverting attention away from their agents.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Bakari

    Islam
    I agree, it's unlikely the whole population would convert.
    If the (literate) Needsaname and his entourage end up ruling the Bakari part of Genghixander's empire, they are in a perfect position to start converting people. If people want to rise in the ranks, they are likely to convert to the same religion of the leader.
    Besides, the Bakari could use the same system as many Muslim nations did in the past: there is religious freedom, but non-Muslims (Dhimmi?) pay an extra tax (the Jizyah). Other than that they're equals.

    Statehood
    They used to be part of Genghixander's empire, and if Needsaname was a Muslim he or she would probably set up the Bakari lands like an Emirate.
    Emir comes from the Arab word for commander, general, or prince. And an emirate was a term often used for a province of a larger nation where part of the ruling dynasty ruled. So that fits pretty well for the Bakari under Genghixander.

    Once the empire fractures they would probably change to a sultanate with a Sultan as the leader. The provinces/cities/districts/whatever would then become the emirates of the sultanate.
    Under this system their name would be the Bakari Sultanate.

    Needsaname
    Weird idea: how about we make Genghixander and Needsaname women?
    So far we don't have many powerfull women in the setting. Mostly men taken from history, but throuhout history there are a lot of examples of matriarchal society's and powerfull female rulers.
    If Genghixander the powerfull druid is a woman and she recruits Needsaname who is also a women they could create a matriarchal state. And the first matriarchal sultanate in the world.
    Would be interesting to see bare breasted women wearing a Hijab ruling a nation of freed slaves.

    Tawantinsuyu

    Horses/Llama's
    If i remember my books correctly a large part of why the Spanish had so much trouble in the Inca empire was because their horses were terrible in the mountains. They had problems using the Inca roads, horses don't like going down stairs or slopes and their hooves suffered under using those roads.
    So i think horses wouldn't really be used in Tawantinsuyu.

    Pumice motherships
    Alchemically treated pieces of pumice to create a huge Island sound great.
    The motherships would mostly hold supplies though, with maybe a few slingshots/catapults/trebuchets/whatever. They're the ones transporting the grenades, the food, the common weapons,...
    The fast moving reed ships are the real danger. Small fast ships armed with grenades that have alchemist's fire will probably be deadly to a large wooden ship.

    I do think the motherships should be unsuitable for ocean voyages far away from the coast.
    That way Tawantinsuyu can project naval power over their own coasts, preventing anybody from making a naval invasion, but they can't project that naval power further outwards. Naval routes across the pacific or around South Vespuccia would still be safe, as long as they don't come too close to the shore.
    And building a mothership is probably very labour intensive, every single piece of pumice has to be made waterproof seperatly. And then they need to be attached to each other in such a way that they don't let water flow through. Tawantinsuyu would be good at that, historically the Incas built solid walls without cement where a needle barely fits between the stones.

  22. - Top - End - #292
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    I'm not sold on the Bakari as islamic, but I do like the idea of it being a Matriarchy.


    That said, if they were Islamic, that could mean trade with the Ottoman Empire, which could be providing them with cannons, thus giving them a little more firepower against incursions.

    Okay, a thought: I kind of wandered away from the thread for most of the talk of the Floramancers, but how does this sound.

    The Floramancers were able to beat back the Portugese by setting the rainforest itself against them, but it wasn't exactly a clean victory. Before long, the Portugese got desperate and started setting fires.

    The Biomancers therefore see the Bakari as a useful buffer state, since they stop the Europeans from rebuilding a presence on the coast. With this in mind, the Bakari are allowed to gather rare and powerful magical plants from the jungle (in limited numbers obviously). These plants, some of which are the creations of the Biomancers, are sold at a high price, funding the Bakari state.

    Of course, everybody knows this, and the Bakari themselves are not really recognized as a state, especially by the Europeans. They don't have any ability to pressure other nations, or project force outwards, so transport is an issue.

    An interesting plot could involve a group of Bakari carrying some magic seeds, trying to get them to Cahokia to sell without attracting attention.
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  23. - Top - End - #293
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    Bakari

    Spies
    Oooh, now there's a source of income for you. And it would really help to encourage the pirates to play nice.
    I do like this idea altogether.. It's sort of a weaponized grapevine. Now, we have to question how these guys have set up such a network if they have relatively little in the way of ocean transportation.

    Islam
    I don't know if Needsaname would be muslim, though. Needsaname was from a quilombo, which would have been formed by the residents of more isolated african jungle villages. After all, if you come from a larger african empire, why would you know how to survive out in the jungle? I really don't know just how well the religion spread through these different isolated villages, but I suppose it's something of a toss-up, as we could easily justify either outcome.

    Statehood
    As mentioned before, Needsaname wouldn't be from an emirate or a sultanate. The quilombos were formed by residents of jungle villages who were looking to recreate their old world way of life in the new world, and Needsaname would have no experience with such a form of government. Maybe some adviser could propose such an arrangement, though.

    What you propose would be essentially the same as what I'm thinking of, though the terminology wouldn't be the same. The bakari/freeman state would be initially formed as part of the larger empire, then when that collapsed, they just moved up a step in authority, with the governor becoming the leader, and his subordinates becoming governors.

    Matriarchy
    You know, I really like this idea. I wouldn't agree that we don't have powerful females, a great many mound lords are females, and many native societies had female leaders. But I think this would be a very cool place to put some powerful ladies in charge. Though, it might send an odd message that one of the most powerful female leaders in the setting orchestrated a massive anti-european genocide... Oh, and it would further encourage the Europeans not to recognize these states. Definitely an interesting change though. I guess we can hall her Ghenghixandra now?
    I'm reasonably certain hijabs don't work like that.

    Tawantinsuyu

    Horses/llamas
    True, true... Plus, without a sizable supply, and friendly contact with europeans, it's unlikely that they would be all that great at horse-breeding.
    What about ride-able dire llamas? Perhaps a more wild cousin, nowhere near as domesticated, but they realized their potential after the Europeans came through and have made an effort to tame them since then.

    Island Motherships
    To clarify a bit, the motherships wouldn't be all pumice. Without some sort of binding, they would all just float apart, and continued wear would cause serious problems with the resin seal on some blocks breaking. I'm thinking the pumice blocks would just be extra flotation included into the weave of the reeds.

    Here's an idea: The islands themselves don't have any sails or propulsion. They move through the coordinated efforts of the smaller reed-ships towing them around.
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  24. - Top - End - #294
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    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral Squish View Post
    I'm reasonably certain hijabs don't work like that.
    From my understanding of the reasons behind their use, they definitely don't. But that's Real World Religion.

    As for setting up the Spy network. Just because they don't have a navy, dosn't mean they don't have boats. Even if the Biomancers wrecked most of them, they could repair some.
    And, once you've gotten to a major Caribbean port with a little gold in your pocket, it's not exactly difficult to get from place-to-place by catching rides on other ships going wherever you need to go.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    So I just finished re-watching Firefly the other day, and I've decided that Fusang needs to be more Firefly (it's basically "Chinese culture meets the Wild West, starring Han Solo and his ragtag crew of thieves"), 'cause that would be awesome. I think that we had already talked about Fusang being China's Wild West (East?), so consciously taking design-cues from Firefly makes sense. As a matter-of-fact, I had a few ideas on the subject.

    Idea: Fusangese separatists and pirates often disguise themselves as Natives, like American Revolutionaries did in our own timeline. Sometimes they do this out of respect for Natives, and a conscious rejection of the Empress' heavy-handed control over their own lives. Sometimes the do it because Native dress is eminently practical. Most of the time, though, they do it to make themselves harder to recognize, and to shift blame away from themselves and their communities. Unfortunately for the Natives they're imitating, this often means that Fusangese officials often crack down on them for stuff they didn't even do, which does much harm to Fusang-Native relations. This also means that the dreaded "Haida Fleet" appears to be much larger and mobile than it actually is.

    Second, Firefly has often been called "Han Solo with his own TV show", and that got me thinking about how to incorporate both Firefly and Star Wars into Fusang, and I've got some ideas about that, too:
    • Mao Ren, captain of the good smuggler ship Serene Falcon
    • Chui ("Mace"): a Sasquatch named after his weapon of choice, the first mate,
    • Lady Peony-Blossom: their patroness, a noblewoman from Foggy Hills, squandering the last of her family's fortune on a hopeless quest to find her husband who was lost at sea ten years ago,
    • Abbot Wong: a disgraced Buddhist monk, who violated his vows of celibacy with a prominent nobleman's son,
    • Hou-ji Wong: an itinerant wizard, recently out of retirement, and
    • Liu Tsaihua: his apprentice


    Whaddaya think?
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Bakari

    Statehood
    If Needsaname is from one of the Bantu people from Angola (a lot of Portuguese slaves came from that region), he or she would probably just be a king.

    Islam
    If the leadership of the Bakari isn't Muslim, chances are becoming smaller that a lot of them would convert.
    There's a lot of different non-muslim african religions, and a lot of them are going to show up in Brazil. So Islam is going to have an equally difficult time as all those other religions.
    I do seem to remember that a lot of muslim slaves shipped to the New World from Spain and Portugal were force converted to christianity before they were allowed to be shipped out. Something to do with not encouraging Islam to spread on the New World. And i think a lot of non-muslim African slaves were converted as well.
    Once these people have their revolution, i can see them 'revolting' against the religion imposed on them as well and reverting to Islam. And the former slaves with no history in Islam that have been (force-)converted to christianity would probably do the same. Islam and Christianity are both Abrahamic religions with their similarities but they're also very different. So this could work.

    Matriarchy
    Found out something interesting: in Palmares (biggest and longest lasting Quilombo) there was a shortage of women because most slaves shipped to Brazil were males. The people living in quilombos even raided the surrounding area to find women.
    And, more importantly for the setting: there was polyandry, meaning a woman marrying two or more men at the same time. This made women very important, and means historical support for the matriarchy idea.

    So let's see how this could work:
    Bakari women used to be a minority, but between marrying native women, capturing european women and a high birth rate the numbers are now about equal, just like in any other nation. But the effect of women being a minority and Needsaname and Genghixandra being powerfull women leading the nation would be that women are in control of the whole area.
    Powerfull noble women marry multiple men to show the world their strength. A woman will marry a warrior to fight for her and a merchant to bring in money. This will bring her prestige, allowing her to rise up the social ladder. If she gains enough prestige she might get another woman to serve her. Women will only serve more powerfull women. A woman serving a man is unheard of.

    Question: are berdaches a north american thing only or do they have a south american equivalent? Would be interesting to see something like that in Bakari society.

    Tawantinsuyu

    Motherships
    Ah, i actually imagined Tawantinsuyu to create some sort of hollow spheres or half speres out of pumice stone with that alchemical glue. (Maybe they even use natural rubber? Need to research this first.)
    Then they connect those spheres into larger parts and fill the gaps with more pumice glued to it. Then they go bigger. And bigger. And bigger.
    It's very labour intensive and these islands are very expensive to make.
    The reed is just the boats, they're easier and cheaper to make.

    I love your idea of the boats dragging the islands. Makes a lot more sense then giving them sails. And makes them dependant on the boats. Great idea.

    Llama's
    I don't think llama's are big enough to ride, and i doubt there's a wild equivalent available. If you want to add rideable llama's, they'll have to be fictional.
    I almost wanted to suggest a llama war chariot, but that would just be silly on those mountain roads...

    Women in the setting
    I agree that there are strong women among the Mound Lords. And i think that the governer of Nouveau Orléans was going to be a woman as well?
    And yes, there are examples of strong women in native societies.
    But beyond that there is a bit of a shortage of strong women.

    Let's sum up the societies dominated by men: Tawantinsuyu, Mayas, Triple Alliance, Fusang, European Colonies, many Cahokian client tribes.

    All the other societies we haven't really stated who dominates or if things are equal.
    So i think we could use more strong women.

    And i wanted to say some more stuff but the baby is crying so that's going to be for another time.
    Plus, Belgium needs to beat South Korea on the world cup football in about an hour, so i don't have much time anyway

  27. - Top - End - #297
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Bakari:

    Spies:
    True enough.

    So, we have a network of agents in many ports around the Caribbean. Some from Bakari lands, others just locals who are paid for their cooperation. They communicate with each other and with the bakari spymasters via air elemental messengers.
    Is this a formal thing? Is there some sort of sign or mark or code-phrase that allows agents to recognize each other?

    Related: I may have to redo the base elementals, now that I think about it...

    Statehood:
    King it is, then. Or queen.
    You know, I remember one story that featured a female leader from a fictional land demanding to be referred to as king, as 'queen' in her language had a context of being a consort or a wife of the actual leader. Perhaps something like that?

    Islam:
    That's certainly true, but I think that they have a pretty good chance of converting a significant portion of the population anyways.
    Overall, I would imagine the religions breaking down to something like 30-40% Muslim, 20-30% mixed traditional African beliefs, 5-10% Christian (it'd probably stick on some of them, at least, and pirates might bring it with 'em.), and, say, 30-40% amazonian religion(s?) (absorbed through native ladies marrying into the mostly-male slave population).

    Matriarchy:
    Ooh, I hadn't thought of that, you're right, it certainly does lend some more factual support to the whole idea of females having significantly more power in this situation.
    If Genghixandra and Needsaname are both ladies, then that would likely turn the public view of women from property to be traded, raided for, and shared, to a position of power and authority. I would also imagine they would enact laws to protect women from being treated as second-class citizens and enforce punishments on those who abuse or enslave women (perhaps even a... 'southern decapitation', for particularly egregious offenses). This might cause some friction with the Muslim community, but I think they would likely agree to such things, considering their minority status at the start of the nation and the punishments offered if they continue.
    I definitely like the idea of women being allowed to have multiple husbands. It's probably more rarely practiced now, as the populations become more even, but I definitely like the idea that having multiple husbands is a status symbol. It's not so much that having multiple husbands makes you more powerful (though it has obvious advantages), it's more that it indicates that you're powerful enough to attract many suitors away from other women.

    Two-Spirits:
    Berdache is actually considered somewhat offensive, it seems, as the word descends from a word for slave or servant.
    Wikipedia seems to indicate it was a north american thing, I don't see any mentions of south american or caribbean groups that had such practices.

    Fusang

    Native-dressed rebels
    This definitely makes sense. It's got historical precedent, and it seems like it would work rather well as a symbol of their discontent.
    I would point out I don't think 'disguised' is the right word. A chinese individual in native garb would be just as obviously chinese as a european individual in native garb would be obviously european. So, while there might be some misplaced retaliation, it's probably much less of a factor than you indicate. Maybe if they took it a few steps further, using native ships and weaponry, possibly even makeup, to really sell the illusion.

    Firefly
    This idea is pretty awesome, I must admit. It may be a little too specific for general NPCs, though. Maybe just make Mao Ren and mention his crew and ship in his description.
    I have this mental image of Chui using a thick, Kanabo-style iron club thing, only to take a cap off the top, tuck it under an arm, and fire off a miniature cannonball.

    Wild East
    This is definitely something we should pay some attention to when we get back into fusang for finishing. I think the 'wild east' would mostly refer to the plateau and great basin areas, being not really settled yet, but part of their empire in their minds.

    Tawantinsuyu

    Motherships
    I don't think that would work very well, honestly, a fully rigid ship rarely does in any kind of turbulence. There's gotta be a little bit of bend to it. Besides, walking around on an uneven surface of raw pumice all day, you would be walking on stumps by the end of it, even if you started the day with shoes.

    I think our best bet is a structure combining pumice blocks or spheres and reeds. They start with chunks of treated pumice and connect them together with water-resistant ropes, leaving some appreciable space between them. Then they pack the gaps with reeds, to keep the blocks from smashing into each other and cracking in uneven surf. Then they add a surface layer of reeds on top, to walk on, and then put any structures on top of that.

    Interesting fact: Pumice ranges from 1/2 to 1/4th the density of water. A cubic foot of it would weigh about 7 pounds.

    Llama
    Llamas are too small to ride, they have a carrying capacity of like 75-120 pounds. The dire llama would indeed be a fictional creature. I mostly suggest it because I find the idea of an armored war-llama to be somewhat hilarious and if treated properly, it could be quite intimidating. A great, towering, long-necked creature, covered in cloth-and-bronze armor, which attacks with hooves and acidic spit on the battlefield.

    Women in the Setting:
    Co-governor, yes. I would also like to point out Her Radiant Majesty, the empress of Fusang as an example of a powerful woman in the setting. Granted, her society outside the court is more male-dominated, but she's certainly a good example herself. And while many cahokian league tribes are male-dominated, a great many were matrilineal, as well.

    But yes, I agree, more strong women is almost always a good thing (unless the work specifically requires a lack thereof), and I do think we should try to put a bit more focus on the equality of the genders and women leaders in non-colonial societies.
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  28. - Top - End - #298
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    Bakari

    Statehood
    If Needsaname is of Bantu descent, there's a good chance she's from somewhere around the Angola area. If she is, it is likely she would have been sold to the Portuguese by the Lunda Empire
    The Lunda Empire was ruled by a Mwaat Yaav (king), but there was also another imporant position that was held by a woman. That woman was named 'Lukoneshia' or 'Lukonesha'. From what i can find about this woman (wich isn't much) she had a large say in foreign affairs and a bit in internal affairs.
    It means something like 'mother of the nation' and she was most likely the queen mother.

    I think this would be a good title for the ruler of the Bakari.

    Two-spirits
    Just going to leave these links here for you:
    One
    Two
    Three

    Tawantinsuyu

    Motherships
    Sounds like a good build for them.

    Plot hook idea: Tawantinsuyu is currently trying to harness giant squids or sea serpents or whatever to tow the islands for them.
    First they need to find a way to call them to the surface, then attach powerfull ropes, then search for a way to make it swim in the direction they want.
    (Idea shamelessly stolen from 'The Scar' by China Miéville)

    Llama's
    Fictional llama would work, but that means inventing a new species of animals.
    Maybe it's better to find an extinct species of animal that we can add to the setting? I have the Macrauchenia in mind, but their habitat doesn't seem to be in the mountains. And i don't think we'll find any indication as to how they might fare in that difficult terrain.
    Another option is a ground sloth, but that might be a bit much....

    Women in the setting
    Forgot the empress. But still, she is the exception in a male dominated nation.
    Maybe we should roughly determine the equality in some of the nations we've already worked on?
    For example i have no idea who is the dominant sex (if any) in Tuniitaq. Or the Hisatsinom. Or some of the non-human races.

  29. - Top - End - #299
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Bakari

    Title
    I don't think she'd take a title from the empire that captured and sold her, though...
    We could use an amazonian title, like whatever genghizandra calls herself.
    Oooh, odd thought, what if Genghixandra's name becomes the title, like 'ceaser' did for the roman emperor?

    Two-spirits
    In my defense, I didn't say they didn't exist, just that they weren't mentioned in the two-spirit article. Beyond a little blurb about the natives of mexico/peru possibly having laws against them (which is unreliable due to the spanish conquerers being prudish).
    Those are definitely helpful links. I'm not sure if it's the same concept as two-spirit, though, it just seems to indicate that homosexual behavior was considered normal or at least acceptable, rather than the whole 'male and female in one' deal.

    Tawantinsuyu

    Motherships
    awesome as that sounds, domesticating large water creatures is really, really impractical, since all they have to do to get away from you is dive. It could be done with magic, certainly, but requiring a spellcaster on-board just makes the ships that much harder to work practically.
    Beside... if you want a swimming island, a giant turtle is obviously the way to go.

    Llamas
    Yeah, ground sloth wouldn't be very useful, they wouldn't be fast enough and they'd be too heavy for bridges in all likelihood. And I do like that critter, but it does seem to require a lowland browsing environment.
    We could make it happen with magic, that's always an option, but seems kinda cheap. I just think an acid-spitting riding llama would be pretty awesome.

    Women in the Setting
    Well, in tuniitaq, we're mostly going off the inuit cultures. In them, the males and females were both considered vital to the survival of a household, with the man going out hunting, building igloos, boats, and weapons, and the woman making clothes, raising children, cooking, and crafting other things. Sources seem to indicate there was a strong sense of equality between the two, and in largely-inuit areas of canada, male and female political leadership is pretty evenly split. So, I wouldn't say there's one specific gender 'in charge' in tuniitaq.
    I don't know about the hisatsinom off the top of my head, though I think that women would have an important place in the spider-silk process.

    I must admit, I never noticed until now, but I have a tendency to picture all the NPCs as male. I'm gonna have to work on that.
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    Default Re: Crossroads II: I'm on a Mammoth.

    Man, it's quiet in here...

    Just wanted to poke in and drop a link to the Hokhoku, giant brain-eating evil ravens of the pacific northwest and northern canada.
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