Moongates and the means of production.

Been going through my gog games and this got me thinking.

There were these old games called ultima.

They had moongates that allowed instant transportation based on the moon cycles, but only at night.

As a result how does this make trade different then in your traditional fantasy and affect the means of production? :p

Do peasants only transport stuff at night?

Is there logs?

Whom acts as gatekeepers?

Does it act like a ferry line?

Those that know Britannia, what are the trade system from places like?

Does this hamper or hinder technological innovation?

How does this affect adventurers?

log in or register to remove this ad

aramis erak

I would expect local trade to be relatively unaffected.

Long distance will be affected, but how much depends upon gate features I don't recall... Can one move animals through? Carts? Full on connestogas/vardos? Same destination every time when open? Or rotating on a schedule? How long are they open? Same physical origina each time open? or rotating around a central point?

If it's high capacity, stable open point and endpoint, it will be guarded and taxed to the point just shy of sail or overland being cost equivalent
If the openings move around a km or so, taxation becomes harder; if the pattern is long and seemingly random, it makes reliability much lower, and taxation harder, so displacing mundane trade less.

If the gates rotate a sequence, expect taxation on both ends..


As I recall from playing Ultima IV back on my Amiga, the moongates were out in the wilderness, but not too far away from various towns. They cycle with the two moons: one moon determines which entrance is open, and the other which exit. The second moon changes three times as fast as the first, so from each gate there are three possible destinations. I don't know if capacity was specified, but enough to go through with an 8-member adventuring party on horseback. There was also a spell you could cast which would summon the entrance.

In retrospect, the only way I can see a resource like that not being mercilessly exploited is if the resource itself resists the attempts. That is, the reason the gate is in the wilderness is that if you try to build roads and walls and set up toll stations and the like, it moves.

Another thing to consider is that the moongates are one way. There's only ever one entrance, and one exit. If we assume that the second moon stays in each phase one day, the first moon is in each phase three days. So if you go from Moonglow to Britain, and you want to return to Moonglow, you have to wait first four nights to go to Trinsic, and then another 11 days from Trinsic to Moonglow. You can't ever go from Britain directly to Moonglow, because the phases don't work like that. If the second moon's cycle is longer than 1 night per phase, multiply these times accordingly.


Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
I can't remember if you needed moonstone to travel or if it was wide open, that was a looong time ago... Supposing it's wide open, there is no reason you couldn't fit a line of horsewagon through. Staffan is right on how it worked, in rotation according to the phases of the moons, but it changed at some point in the series. In U7, I think they were linked in a circle?

Lord British's amulet could create gate from anywhere to any moongate AFAIR, so instead of hanging around his neck it would certainly act as a public service device to ensure gates are open for traffic from the capital to far off places, organizing a rotation of open gates. Potentially taxed, as well.

Anyway, traders wouldn't look at the world as a map in this context, but as an itinerary. If you're in city X, and want to get to city Y, then the best way is to time your travel so you can do the distance to your closest gate (x), hop off at the gate nearest to your destination, and walk the remaining distance (y) to city Y. Unless (x+y) is more than the distance X-Y (physically), it's the best itinerary to use the stones.

In a huge world, it would change commerce hugely and speed of information dissemination... But in U7 you could walk from Trinsic to Britain in a day, so... maybe not.

An Advertisement