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Subsistence, Economy, and Technology of the Razanians

Excerpts from a lecture entitled "A Practical Overview of the Razanian Coast," given at the University in Sout, winter 1408.

Agriculture - ...Everyone has seen Gurders in the field, assisting a farmer in tilling, planting, and harvesting crops. Yoked and harnessed, the Gurder pulls a wooden plow that allows one farmer to work far more land than would otherwise be possible. But you all know that. What you may not know is how the Gurder was first domesticated... ...what they think of the Asagmari! [laughter] Back to business. In the last two hundred years, the use of new smithing techniques has helped our farmers immensely. Decent quality tool heads can now be purchased relatively inexpensively, and the widespread use of metal tool heads is a great step forward in agricultural development. Wooden implements still have some advantages, being far lighter for those slight of build, cheaper for those slight of pocket, and more handy for those...

Communications - ...on land, distant communications are achieved by foot messenger or Sil (if any of you would like to study the Sil further, I suggest reading the book Razanian Coast Environment Notes). By sea, messengers will either travel by merchant ship or hire out a one-masted sailing boat... ...Our peoples' skill in languages gives us great advantages when travelling or trying to establish diplomatic or trade relations with other nations. Imagine what it's like for those raised in an environment with only one language...

Economy - ...We must change our entire economic system. It is well known that what we have now is scarcely above children trading toys. Our greatest difficulty in moving forward is the lack of a guarantor. If I tried to buy something from you and said my coins were guaranteed by the king of Karan, would you accept them? However, this ancient barter system does make it easy to establish trade with other states... ...I propose that this new organization of kings, the Century Council, may make a single currency possible in the foreseeable future...

Engineering - ...the architecture in Sout is by far the finest and most developed, regardless of the crass wealth displayed in Saragor's House of Gold... ...wood and stone aqueducts run to a number of towns all along the mountain range, their only fault being an inability to withstand the occasional Orif. Most likely, we will move to an entirely stone base for any construction done outside of the towns, so that it is more likely to withstand the Orifs' wanderings... ...canals allow for excellent irrigation of the farmlands... ...I've seen some amazing ships running up the coast, and am sorry to say that none of them have been Razanian. Not that our shipbuilders are deficient in some way, just, hm, somehow lacking. [one or two laughs] Glad to see your language studies aren't going to waste. We build mostly one- and two-masted ships, low in the water, and sturdy--but nowhere near as fast and as fleet as some of the ships of other lands that come into harbor...

Magic - ...outlawed in Q. 13 and still officially illegal, though the law is no longer enforced. Magic tends to be found only in small societies in the larger towns, though I know of a number of practitioners around the University... ...these societies typically work with very low-power or small-scale concepts. But make sure you don't make the wrong person angry--he or she might not be able to cause a plague, but could definitely make your food taste terrible for weeks... ...the most fascinating thing about magic on the Razanian Coast is the incredible variety that can be found in the different magical societies. Some have developed a magic that seems focussed on religion; some a magic that is based on mathematical principles; some on natural materials and mixtures; some on the philosophies of physical crafts; some less clear than any of these. Each society is working from a clean slate...

Medicine - ...Humans become ill because they eat something that creates a violent struggle within their bodies. We now know that if you become ill, the surest route to ridding yourself of the illness is not to eat anything at all. Fasting seems to be a cure-all. There are a few who argue that you should eat everything you can get your hands on, so as to counteract whatever it was that you ate in the first place, but they are widely regarded as quacks... ...the struggle seems to be caused by that food that your body cannot stomach. It is almost as if your body is a town, and the food is an invader: it tries to burn the town down, it tries to drive out all the citizens, it tries to spread disease in the town; in short, it acts like the Asagmari. The main difference between illnesses and the Asagmari is that illnesses (unfortunately) will often defeat the Razanian...

Science - ...the practical sciences are heavily pursued, while the theoretical sciences are neglected. How long will it be until our sponsors realize that every theoretical advance allows a leap forward in practical developments? What is architecture without the mathematical perfection of the right angle? Navigation without an understanding of the stars? Think what it was like for the first scientists... ...consider almost everything a science. I do. What cannot be studied in its pure form? One can study the trees, the ocean, the body. One can study what a material is made of; or what can be made of a material. The stars; day; night; light; darkness. Beauty; how to find beauty; how to create beauty. Numbers, lines, and shapes. The passing of time; the angle of a shadow; the fall of a shoe. [drops shoe. laughter] The fall of the Asagmari. Most don't consider science nearly as all-inclusive as I do...

Transportation - ...mostly by foot or on small boats or ships. Self-propelled boats or boats pulled by a Gurder on each shore can travel up the Razanian Coast rivers almost to the mountains, and transport a good deal of cargo to the coast. From the coast, one- and two-masted trade ships carry the cargo to lands more distant... ...Carts are occasionally harnessed to Gurders, but they travel about the same speed as a person on foot. Their one advantage is the amount of material, weight they can transport. A hundred years ago, Gurders were mostly used by small farmers to take goods into town, the goods which then travelled in Gurder caravans from towns to the nearest river (and downriver to the coast, where they could ship out anywhere). Of course, Gurders have become more heavily relied upon since the Asagmari Occupation, as the Razan, Karan, Nostan, and Haran rivers run through Aryisa...