Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gates

So I’m torn. I’ve been working on Brinston, the biggest trade city in Fletnern. While trade is important and there is likely enough food - Why do 800,000 people live there? What is there for them to do? So most of that is honestly working itself out, but I turn to gates. The city is about 7 miles by 4 miles and has 9 gates. Still - this seems way too few. Historic Paris only had six gates, so I guess nine sort of makes sense. If you want to pretend that the city wall has any defensive use, you can’t make it into Swiss cheese by adding dozens of gates. So is 9 the right number? I think I’m going to have to live with it for a little while to figure that out.
I admit that Rhum’s gate situation was partially accidental and partially intentional. There are only two gates (north and south), but there are only 40K people in the town. The gates are also small - only about 12’ wide when both halves of the gate are opened. There was supposed to be something about rival breweries (from other towns) using wider beer wagons, and the gates were intended to stop the competition. (If you think major industries don’t control public policy in this fashion, then you aren’t watching your government. That goes for just about every current world government.) Anyway, once I started mapping the city, it became pretty clear that a third gate was going to be needed and I had accidently left the perfect spot for it. (The west gate is due to be built in 657.)
I like that there is a problem in the city. You need to wait in order to pass through the gate. They try various things to get around this. If the city ran too smoothly, I don’t think it would be realistic. Ever try to get a driver’s license? But in the Brinston issue, a major wagon could have to travel an extra 10 miles to get from the northwest side of town to the main gate on the eastern wall. (The gates on the NW side of town are either pedestrian gates or for military or noble use only.) That’s almost a full day’s travel for a huge wagon. That seems excessive. Also - what does it mean within the city? If the city is seven miles across, do the people who live on the west side stay at inns outside the eastern wall before they travel onward? So it’s more than the gates - it’s the size too. Groceries on the west side of town would have to be more expensive than on the SE side of town, because they have had to travel further. I’m still working out the bugs. I think I’m on the right track, even if I’m doubting. Then again, I’ve only been working on Brinston for, oh, let me see, 31 years. Yeah - Rhum too. I use to have Brinston’s rough map painted on my gaming table. Good thing I never did that with Rhum; I’ve changed that map at least five times.

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