Re: Desert Trackers

From: Neil Smith (neil@wimp.freeuk.com)
Date: Tue 01 Aug 2000 - 23:01:15 EEST


Ian asked:

> I'm hoping someone can give me some ideas of what [the Desert
>Trackers] get up to.
>
> I've read of them in a few places, but what do they do?
> Is it as simple as that they operate as guides and explorers around Prax
> and the Wastes?
>
I've been mulling this over as I try to explore how Kralorela and all
things Kralorelan fit into Praxian life. These ideas haven't been
worked out fully, and I'd appreciate any and all comments.

Kralorela and the central Gloranthan states (Holy Country and Lunar
Empire) are separated by a big chunk of desert. This strikes me a
similar to the relationship between Europe and Asia in the RW, and I
think the same things happened in Glorantha: trading routes were
established between the two. Silk, object d'art, and technical
innovations come from Kralorela; metal, mounts, and mercenaries go the
other way. During the Closing, all this trade had to happen overland.
The north route, through Pent, was controlled by the Lunars and had
well-organised caravans crossing the plains. Unfortunately, they ended
up near Bliss in Ignorance. Not so good for trading.

The southern route, more useful to the Holy Country and potentially more
lucrative, was through the Wastelands to the Iron Forts. However, the
more fertile lands, the many populated oases, and the more fragmented
nature of Praxian politics meant that large, non-stop caravans were not
as feasible. Instead, staged caravans were the norm. A caravan would
set out from the Marches and travel some distance into the Wastes. It
would then arrive at an oasis, buy and sell various goods, and return.
The HC goods would then be taken to another oasis further into the
Wastes, and so on, until the items eventually reached the Iron Forts.
Stuff from Kralorela would then make a similar, staged, journey back.

This is not to say that this trade was in any way high-volume. I would
expect most staging points to see only a handful of caravans of a few
dozen pack-beasts a year. I'm sure life would be grim for the
caravaners as they waited for the next caravan from the opposite
direction to arrive, so they could make a profit. Not a job for the
faint-hearted, but profitable enough to entice some to do it.

Of course, since the Opening, most of the trade on this southern route
now goes by sea. The caravanserai are desolate and little visited, and
are now falling into neglect. The oases there are becomming more like
those in the rest of the Wastes and those in Prax: a small community of
farmers eking out a living between praxian raids.

So, back to the original question: who are the Desert Trackers? The
people who guide the caravans, of course. I would imagine there would
be quite a menagerie of them scattered across the Greatlands:
Sartarites, Heortlanders, Oasis folk, Kralorelans and more. Of course,
these guys are well travelled, and have to know their way around all
sorts of place. This makes them odd, and I'm sure that someone in
Glorantha has found Something Important for these folks to do.

> Are they all zebra folk?
> (Since the zebra tribe seems to have a connection to Issaries)
>
IMHO, this is a very Pavis-centric view. I would doubt if most
Pavis-based DTs would often go further east than the line between
Krjalki Bog and Zebra Graze. Other DTs would pick it up from there. If
fact, I doubt if zebras are often seen further east than this at all.

Neil.

PS: Ian, excellent work in TBoT 3! I'm still working through it, but
good stuff. Everyone else, if you haven't seen YBoT3 yet, but have the
slightest interest in Pavis and the Rubble, rush out and buy it now.

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