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Month Index: November, 1994


From:     Michael Sandy <mehawk@?????.?????.com>
Date:     Wed, 9 Nov 94 00:18 PST
Subject:  Re: Groundlings and Spelljammers
I thought of some more methods of making initial contact safer:

Carry a conventional ship on board, and shuttle cargo to a rendevous point.

Mostly, have the transfer of cargo to and from the Spelljammer at a point
completely under you control, until you have a firm enough treaty to do
otherwise.  A Royal charter from the ports you visit would be nice.

Landing at night in unfamiliar territory should be avoided.  Trying to
protect your secrecy and protect your ship from capture only to have it
crack a keel two thousand miles from a friendly repair facility is stupid.
Dropping Continual Light beacons just prior to landing would help a bit,
especially if you can get some cues as to distance from them, a notorious
problem in night landings.  Dragging Continual light beacons on a rope
might help the perspective situation.  But they might also defeat the
purpose.  Seeing lights in the sky at night is a report that might take
longer to move up the chain of command than a sighting of a flying ship,
but that is no guarantee.

I think attempting to conduct _trade_ in secret is a bad idea, impractical,
unreliable and unlikely to lead to long term good relations.  However,
scouting, getting samples, opening negociations, getting landing and loading
rights can and should be done in relative secrecy.  You can correct for
mistakes in private that you can't correct for errors you make in public.

Trade is almost certain to be a _losing_ proposition early on between
new customers because of the cost of opening new markets;  free samples,
entertaining prospective partners, securing everything needed to load, unload,
acquire, disburse cargo and the like.

The question of competition is vaccous.  You have no competition.  The local
luxury traders sell to you instead of the local rulers, who buy from you i
instead of the locals.  The local merchant power bases can be made your
friend, _if_ you have good intelligence.  The question arises, who is
threatened by you, and is powerful enough to harm you, and is willing to
do so _even if_ you have the support and authorization of their ruler.

1)  The Kingmakers.  The nobles, clergy, merchant families, legions,
bureaucrats and guilds could all be powerful enough to seat or unseat
a king.  Find out who they are before you commit yourself irrevocably.

2)  The king unmakers.  Peasant revolts, breakdown of law and order,
riots, looting, barbarian raiders, pirate, corruptions and thieves.  You
could become a symbol of a king who is beholden to mages, (and demons if you
are of a different race) and foreigners.  A peasant religious revolt is
different from a clergy lead coup.

3)  The loonies.  Some rulers are unpopular.  Some people hate all rulers.
Sometimes they get together in secret commitees dedicated to overthrowing
the kingdom, said commitees being organized by the unpopular ruler himself.
Periodicly they strike at some ally to the king, none so close as to
warrant a root and branch crackdown on their group.  The ruler expresses his
sorrow that some of his undisciplined subjects burnt your ship and linched
your mage, but he is cracking down on the rebels and can insure it will
never happen again.  When your _next_ spelljammer arrives he will ensure
it will get a much better reception.  You understand that all these
crackdowns have their cost.  I would need some gift to show the people that
trade is beneficial to them as well as to the Crown.

And you can't even accuse the Crown of being behind the rebels, because that
would eliminate any chance of trade.

Michael Sandy


Previous Message: Re: new world
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Month Index: November, 1994

SubjectFromDate (UTC)
Groundlings and Spelljammers    RJPugh@???.com    07 Nov 1994 19:06:52
Re: Groundlings and Spelljammers    Michael Sandy    07 Nov 1994 21:10:00
Groundlings and Spelljammers    RJPugh@???.com    08 Nov 1994 01:16:08
Re: Groundlings and Spelljammers    Michael Bauser    08 Nov 1994 05:31:36
Re: Groundlings and Spelljammers    Michael Sandy    08 Nov 1994 07:02:00
Re: Groundlings and Spelljammers    Michael Sandy    09 Nov 1994 08:18:00

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