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Thread: Sasserine & Cauldron in Greyhawk
Wednesday, 1st July, 2009, 08:00 AM #1
Guide (Lvl 11)
Sasserine & Cauldron in Greyhawk
So, how do Sasserine & Cauldron fit into the history Greyhawk? Reading the intro to Shackled City, I don't get it. It doesn't deeply matter to my Greyhawk campaign, but I want to introduce the concept of their existence as "secret" cities, since a player is doing research on that region, and my players know the traditional Greyhawk maps, which don't show them.
I'm thinking ancient Suel outcasts founded them, from the migration map.
And I'm thinking the Hold of Sea Princes either conquered or "influenced" them, and kept them a secret. Why, I'm not quite sure.
Do other folks have a take on this?
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Wednesday, 1st July, 2009, 08:27 AM #2
Scout (Lvl 6)
They're in Amedio. There's a fair bit of background to Sasserine, at least, in the Dragon/Dungeon magazines around about the start of the savage tide. Lots of history - as far as I can remember, the Sea Princes are fairly heavily involved.
Disclaimer: I am not by any stretch of the imagination an expert on Greyhawk!
Wednesday, 1st July, 2009, 08:45 AM #3
Defender (Lvl 8)
There's a lot on Sasserine and very few on Cualdron's history inthe GHwiki:
Sasserine - Ghwiki
Cauldron - Ghwiki
Here's a lengthy discussion of Savage tide on Canonfire: Canonfire! Forums-viewtopic-The Savage Tide premieres at Paizo
Thursday, 2nd July, 2009, 12:25 AM #4
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
It would be neat to treat Cauldron as a secret city, but Sasserine would probably need to be known a little. One of the underlying assumptions is that Cauldron does a lot of trade with a remote city, so it can definitely be isolated. You could probably build up the difficulty of getting there through the mountains.
Thursday, 2nd July, 2009, 06:21 PM #5
Guide (Lvl 11)
Thanks guys. Great links Thanael.
This is just what I was looking for, from GHWiki:
"In 480, Orren Teraknian, the last of the lord mayors, began a reign of terror, and launched a persecution of the church of Wee Jas in the city. Orren was deposed soon after after the city was conquered by the Sea Princes. The Princes kept the existence of Sasserine a secret from the rest of the Flanaess to prevent the city from being taken from them. The subjugation would last for a century, until the Sea Princes were forced to let go of Sasserine due to internal turmoil in their own lands as a result of the Greyhawk Wars. The city is still recovering from its century-long domination and isolation."
That fits perfectly for my campaign. The guy who is doing the research is from the Hold of the Sea Princes, but in 480 CY, he was exploring the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and was turned to stone, only to rescued by the rest of the party a century later (who used a Stone to Flesh scroll on him).
So, he has no reason to know about Sasserine's conquest just after he was "stoned", and the other PC's (from Bissel and Furyondy, mostly) don't hav a reason to know about it either.
For Cauldron, being more isolated and "in back of" Sasserine means its secretness needs little explanation once Sasserine's is explained, I think.
I was thinking about the economy of Cauldron, though. It says in the hard cover that it's based on mining diamonds and obsidian, and plantations for coffee and sugar. I've been thinking about tropical economies . . . I don't have much opinion on mining from active volcanic areas -- obsidian makes sense geologically, but it seems unlikely that it would have much value. Perhaps volcanic glass has magical properties, or some other reason why it's valuable enough to put a city in such an isolated area?
I'm also thinking about the crops. Coffee makes sense for mountainous tropics . . . but in my campaign, it comes from the volcanically tropical Baklunish islands in the Dramidj Ocean, which makes sense to me, since coffee fits the Middle Eastern flavor of Baklunish culture.
The other idea I have, thinking of Thailand and the Andes, is opium or coca or some similar fantasy crop, which again might explain why there's a city in such an isolated place, and why the source of these high value "spices" might be kept a secret.
For the river valley, with rich volcanic soil, I think Indonesia and wet rice cultivation. In colonial South Carolina (just went on vacation to Charleston), they grew rice as a plantation export crop, in flooded fields by the rivers, but it doesn't seem like the sort of thing that would be a secret, since it's a bulk export and not a luxury good. So I'm thinking about where else, if anywhere in Greyhawk, rice would be grown in large quantities. Maybe rice makes sense, and is only used for rice pudding or something in other lands?
Another colonial tropical crop I'm thinking of is indigo, which was grown in colonial South Carolina and in the Caribbean (just played the card game about that). Dyes or spices do make sense as "protected" monopoly products.
Maybe sugarcane (as written) does make sense though -- it was the primary crop of the colonial Caribbean, and it could have a city built around rum distilleries, but it requires a ton of labor. Sugarcane makes more sense to me for the slaveocracy of the Hold of Sea Princes, which I think of as cotton and sugarcane growers, since those crops were historically associated with slavery.
Thinking of other tropical regions, namely Hawaii and Southeast Asia, I'm thinking of exotic fruit, like pineapples or durian. They could be transported long distances as luxury goods from unknown far away. Bananas, mangoes, etc. could also make sense. Taro and tapioca are also tropical crops, but they seem more subsistance than luxury export . . . perhaps tapioca and rice both are exported as luxury goods for puddings, and Cauldron is the land of secret pudding exports?
I'm still liking the "unique" crop idea though. As in, introduce PC's to the idea of "lotus root"/pineapples/durian/bananas/rice/tapioca being available as a rare luxury product, which they are unlikely to even notice doesn't really belong in a temperate quasi-European setting. Then when they encounter Cauldron spring the "everywhere you look they are durians" and "Maavus explains, yeah, they all come from here". To me, that sort of thing adds realism, and makes players think about connections between places.
Anybody else have an opinion, or am I alone in speculating on 'Hawkenomics?
Last edited by haakon1; Thursday, 2nd July, 2009 at 06:44 PM.
Friday, 3rd July, 2009, 01:50 PM #6
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Obsidian certainly can have value and like Diamonds could help found a city in an isolated area.
Obsidian is commonly used as a gemstone. It has a different appearance according to the way in which it is cut. When cut in one direction it is jet black and when cut across another direction it is gray. As I recall the jet black is the common cut and it is a popular gemstone for insertion in jewelry.
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