In Adylheim there are many different ways to travel, these often depend on the wealth of those travelling but are just as often dependant on what is available. The flat plains of the southern fiefdoms are easier to traverse than the rugged northern fiefdoms, creating a divide between what is used in the south and what is in use in the north. On the whole, the most popular and most widespread way of getting around is to use one's own feet. It's free and available to most of the inhabitants of Adylheim. However, for those who choose an alternate mode of transportation, there are quite a few options available.
As already mentioned, the principal method of travel in Adylheim is walking. For those who need to move merchandise or people though, carriages and carts are the principal method of travel. Carts are often drawn by oxen though those rich enough to afford carriages usually prefers horses. Some cities, of course, have sedan chairs for transporting those with excess money through the city streets, but these are rarely a suitable alternative for long distance travel.
Horses are in widespread use for transportation, with riders often being used to deliver fast messages. For those who do not have the advantage of depots where they can change horses though, horses are not much faster than walking over long distances. There are many breeds of horses throughout Adylheim, Teslan is home to miniature horses, Arameia is known for its warhorses, with Andragoria and to a lesser extent Nerin known for their fast breeds which are prized among nobility.
There are, of course, several alternatives to horses. Oxen, as already mentioned, are often used to pull carts but are rarely ridden. Mules and donkeys are usually ridden by those who cannot afford to get horses, but can also be used as a way of showing humility by some clerical orders.
In the southern fiefdoms there is an alternative to the horse which is used on a regular basis, the large Draspises are often used to carry large loads, both passengers and cargo. They are large creatures, looking something like a giant turtle, with the shell on their back carved into seats and cargo holds for passengers. A single Draspis has been known to carry as many as 20 passengers. Going by Draspis is substantially slower than travelling by horse, but the ability to move large loads makes up for this.
The Principality of Nevros also train a specific breed of bears into the much feared Warbears which are ridden into battle as crack cavalry. These are very rare however and are rarely seen outside Nevros.
In parts of Arameia and Nerin there is also the fierce Gamu, a large, flightless bird with black and purple feathers. It is known for its lethal kicks, the claws on its feet easily disembowelling its victims, though it will not generally attack humans. Gamu tire easily, unfortunately, and while they are good for quick sprints, they cannot carry riders over long distances. They are occasionally used for military purposes, but their tendency to spook easily means their use in melee situations is limited.
There are three primary theatres for sea travel in Adylheim, the northern seas and the Arameian sea, comprising one, with the Andragorian sea making up the second and finally the Maradin and Teslan making up the third. There is, of course, overlap between these three theatres, but each are characterised by producing their own type of ships.
The most prevalent ships in the northern theatre are the Cogs, they are the workhorses of the northern fleets. Various versions of the Cogs do everything from fishing to transporting goods to working as naval vessels. They are typically outfitted with a single mast and usually do not have a crew of more than a few sailors, sometimes needing no more than one. Cogs of War are generally fitted with fore and aft castles to aid in warfare.
If the Cog is the workhorse of the northern theatre, the Holk is the beast of burden. Holks are based on the Cogs, but are generally larger and much more unstable. The Holk's lack of a proper keel requires the use of substantial reinforcements which in turn allows it to surpass the Cog in size. Their primary purpose is hauling large amounts of cargo from one port to another. Some have been outfitted for war in similar fashion to the Lou Chuan's found in the southern theatre, though they remain fairly ineffectual for this purpose due to their general lack of speed when sailing. Holks are rarely found far from a shore and are primarily used along the coast and rivers of Arameia and Starkwater.
The galley was the premier warship of the Arameian Empire, and once the supreme ruler of the seas. Though they may look frail compared to the gargantuan Andragonian floating fortress, a galley’s oars gives it enough speed to make it capable of ramming into a broadside a ship with enough force to easily break lesser vessels in twain. At its zenith, the Imperial Navy reportedly numbered a thousand galleys, the greatest boasting oarsmen and marines numbering well into the hundreds. The decline of the galley came as the result of changing times. As trade with faraway lands increased, more seaworthy ships such as the cog and the junk became more prevalent. And with the collapse of the Arameian Empire, there existed no power capable of providing the huge numbers of oarsmen needed to upkeep a navy comprised solely of galleys.
This is not to say that the galley has become extinct. The galley, not needing to rely on wind for the sake of propulsion, is the preferred vessel in the calm Arameian Sea. Convoys of galleys still exist, though they are no longer as common a sight as they once were. Some old nobles even retain relics of the old navy for the sake of war. There are three types of galleys common today. The fusta is a sleek ship with a shallow draft, sails and perhaps 20-50 rowers; it is favored by corsairs for its high mobility and ability to operate in shallow waters. The common galley, with perhaps a hundred rowers each, are the chosen ships of merchants of the Arameian Sea. However, they are falling out of fashion as the sailing technology advances. The galleass is an intermediate between the galley and a sailing ship. With masts and a forecastle and an aftcastle in addition to its oars, a galleass is capable of operating in the open seas while maintaining the mobility and spontaneous speed of a galley. The galleass is most common in Teslan, as they are straddle the border between the calm Arameian Sea and the fickle Northern Ocean.
In the southern theatre, the shipwrights of Andragoria are the primary builders. It is their Junk which is the primary workhorse. Junks are generally larger than the northern Cogs and often have more than one mast. The hulls of these ships have also been built so that they consist of a series of separate compartments which reinforce the structure of the ship. These are also well suited to the wares which are sold here, as the emphasis is not on bulk goods, but rather on small, luxury items for which small amounts will easily cost as much as the contents of any Cog or Holk. Nerin also produces a few Junks, but these are intended for use on Heaven's Mirror, the lake between Nerin and Andragoria, though these are generally smaller than those made for sea travel.
While the Junk comes in many sizes, the only other type of ship to be built in Andragoria are the massive Lou Chuans. These huge ships are floating fortresses built for no other purpose than war. They are equipped both for boarding and attacking other ships, as well as siege engines for ranged combat. While they are large and impressive ships, they see little use outside Andragoria and Nerin, and are occasionally used in settling disputes on Heaven's Mirror. The major failing of the Lou Chuan is that it lacks stability and is prone to getting out of human control during heavy wind or rough sea. It also has a turn of speed which can best be described as abysmal.
The Hai Hu, also known as the Sea Hawk, is an occasionally seen ship which is built in Nerin, the secrets of its construction a carefully guarded secret. It is primarily used on Heaven's Mirror as a fast fighting vessel. It is characterised by a low, a high stern and wings which stretch out beneath the waterline to keep it from tipping over. They are not well suited to the rougher open seas though.
The final theatre of Adylheim consists primarily of the small Maradin island kingdoms and the Grand Barony of Teslan. Their primary vessels is the small Dhow and the larger Shuwai'i. While Dhows are primarily used for fishing and passage between islands, whereas the Shuwai'i are larger vessels built for longer passages across the open seas. There are many variations of these vessels, though the main variation is just in size.
Many rumours surround the Maradin ships, of secret tricks and shipbuilding techniques. The lanteen sails their ships use have been proven to be less effective on the open seas than the square sails or the junk sails used elsewhere, but despite this Maradin ships are generally faster and safer than any other ship in use. This has generally been credited to the superior skill of Maradin sailors.
Alternate Modes of TransportEdit
One of the few benefits of living in Longmoor is the presence of the Aeshnida farms. Aeshnidae are rarely seen elsewhere, resembling giant dragonflies, these creatures are capable of carrying small riders long distances through the air. They come in several colours. While they are occasionally used for warfare, the necessity of keeping the weight down has meant that their primary use is in scouting and delivering messages. Aeshnida are especially prized for their ability to perform difficult manoeuvres, such as hovering and loops, with ease.
Travelling Spheres and other magical spells are occasionally used for travelling, these remain an oddity though and only the truly wealthy and magi have been known to use this.