Society Name: Taltheran
I. The Merchant Council
The Merchant's Council is happy about the success of the trade center at Hadrair, and looks forward to using this new base for further expansion. However, questions hang in the air regarding the expedition sent north-west around the desert. Are the explorers alive? They did not return before winter: are they pursuing success, or have they failed? With this in mind, none feel strongly about launching any exploration this year. However, last year's concerns about issues abroad receive a lot of discussion, and the consensus of the Merchant Council is that Taltheran's image abroad is in need of a polish. Accordingly, members of the Council agree to make special efforts to renew and build on existing trade relationships, and seek out new ones. "It's lean times for now if we're to build for the future," remarks one grizzled old patriarch, echoing the general sentiment. Much discussion ensues about which Families are strong in what geographic areas, and which goods and wares are needed/surplus around and beyond Midsea. Slowly, but with increasing momentum, the various Families dispense (albeit temporarily) with traditional wariness and indirection, and share concrete trade and economic information. In the end, the Council starts the spring with a solid plan for consolidating and improving Taltheran's image and trading prowess over the next couple years or so. Members are committed to austerity, and representatives from different Families set out for various destinations to ensure Taltheran's good name is redeemed. Margins are to be narrowed, deals generously made, and good will extended.
Action 1: Improve trade relations
Nature: External Strategic (Trade) (first of THREE years)
Determinant: Trade (Good, +1)
Difficulty: Hard (-1)
Qualifiers: + Although tough traders, the Taltherani are generally regarded as fair dealers
+ The Merchant's Council is ready to cut deals
- There's been a lot of negative sentiment and uncertainty floating around
Reaction: Risky (bad failure could harm relations & trade)
Result so far = 1 1 +1 +1 1 + (-1 1 +1 0 ) ( ) ( )
Although the the members pursue various avenues enthusiastically, a lack of specific focus results in mixed results. The merchant council resolves to be more organized in its approach next year.
Meanwhile, the fate of the expedition to the north is still to be decided. When we last saw them, they were approaching the city of Myr-Kun (though they do not yet know the city's identity) following a very successful trek across the continent. In essence, their goal has changed little from the mission they started with last year: head north, and try to discover trade opportunities. They take a few sample wares, but their mission is primarily to explore and to establish positive contacts. The duration of the trip continues to be open-ended. Barring major setbacks, the explorers hope to continue until they have something worthwhile to return with. This may result in a three, or even more, year action if results this year are neither compellingly positive nor negative.
Action 2: Explore to the North
Nature: External Tactical [open ended] (Exploration/Diplomatic)
Determinant: Trade (Good, +1)
Difficulty: Very Hard (-2)
Qualifiers: + Hand-picked top-notch group
+ Well prepared and organized, magical support
- Unknown territory
+ Well-coordinated, with high morale, due to superb success last year
Secrecy: Not publicized outside Taltheran, but not secret.
Result: +1 2 +1 +1 1 +1 + (+1 0 1 1) = 0 Mixed results this year.
The explorers are welcomed into Myr Kun. They are told to keep to the public areas and are enthusiastic as to trade opportunities. Myr Kun already trades with societies on the Maripai Sea (of which the locals are loathe to divulge) but none from Midsea. The Taltherani spend much time evaluating and buying samples of various goods and artifacts for transport back to Taltheran, but they are unable to make many specific contacts other with Myr Kun middlemen. Nonetheless, they perceive abundant trade possibilities. The explorers note curious similarities between the locals and the customs of Mir and the widespread use of sorcery is evident throughout the settlement, though the reasons and sources are well hidden.
During their stay, they spy a strange ship entering the harbour but, restrained in the public area, can only watch as a curious dark-skinned people unload their wares before departing.
The expedition is asked to leave three months after their arrival, the locals citing political problems. On the night after they leave the settlement, the Taltherani watch an eerie fireworks display from the direction of Myr Kun.
After that, burdened by their wares but excited about the trade opportunities discovered, they head home. Unfortunately, their return home is not as expeditious as they might have hoped. After a quick start, a mysterious, debilitating illness afflicts the taigan,resulting in a delay lasting much of the late summer/early fall. Fortunately, this delay occurs not far from the ruined city of Sarunar, allowing the party to explore this area in a bit more detail, and make preparations for establishing an supply base here. Then, when the trip resumes, early unseasonable rains turn the route into a muddy mess. Plagued by poor roads and harrassed by the Olozog Hillmen, they return to Sarunar to recoup. Ultimately, their triumphant return to Taltheran will not be achieved until well into late spring of 1407.
II. The Wizards Guild
Well, you wouldn't know it unless you were a member, but behind those unrevealing walls the Wizards Guild is in a right tizzy! The expedition sent last year to investigate Wyr's magic screen resulted in the deaths of two mages and the unthinkable magic-burnout of the third. [Kenny has generously adapted the results from last year's action into a story which will be forthcoming soon. It diverges somewhat from the description posted previously.] The wizards are beside themselves. However, after much angry, vituperative discussion, the wizards calm down a bit and realize they need more information before acting. Moreover, the rest of Taltheran has showed no further interest in Wyr, so the Guild feels they have time to act deliberately. Therefore, they spend this year researching the phenomenon encountered in Wyr. They want to determine the source, power, motivations of these "angels" which defend the city against magic.
Complicating the questions surrounding the Wyr issue is the fate of Anethar, the sole survivor of the expedition. His presence creates a dilemma for the Silver Table, the preeminent wizards of the Guild. With his magic burned out of him, he is no longer fit to be a Guild member. However, he is too deep into Guild secrets to be simply cast aside, and too public within the Guild to be otherwise disposed of. For the time being, he is sent to aid the research effort; his fate remains to be determined.
Action 3: Research Wyr's Magic Guardians
Nature: Internal Tactical
Determinant: Magic Sophistication[?] (Great, +2)
Difficulty: Hard? (-1)
Qualifiers: + Last year's action provides much information
+ Very motivated, lots of time & resources
Secrecy: Very Secret
Result: +2 -3 +1 +1 + (0 +1 0 +1) = +3 Superior success.
Anethar drove the research effort. Pushing himself unrelentingly, he inspired his companions. In the end, the answers only led to more questions. The 'angels' are clearly creatures of the dreaming, summoned by some strange confluence of intense magical activity and momentus magic-hostile events. Their purpose -- indeed, their only motivation -- seems to be the suppression of magic in the 'hard world'. Fortunately, they are constrained in this reality, stuck where they've been summoned. Unfortunately, within their scope their power to combat magic appears almost unlimited. More research is required to determine whether they can be combatted, and if so, how.
III. The King
King Agrigax now has a more appropriately sized Royal Guard. They are housed in expanded and renovated barracks, with nice new training facilities and parade grounds. Given the success of his recruiting efforts, and the strong esprit d'corps which has been retained -- even enhanced -- Agrigax feels confident his Guard is ready for forseeable challenges. However, Agrigax's other significant initiative, building a shipyard, is continuing apace. It hit some rough spots when the Merchant's Council attempted to subvert the effort, but Agrigax was prepared, and worked through the challenge. Moreover, the project got a significant boost when, part way through 1405, a delegation of Ka'Shari visited Taltheran, landing first in Saltrim (the shipyard site). The Ka'Shari took time to visit the construction works, and offered many excellent suggestions, most of which are being adopted. This year, the King is not so worried about keeping the project going, having survived the challenges of 1405. However, he continues to try to mask his intention to maintain Crown control over the fleet after construction, and he still spends a fair amount of energy in the Merchant's Council keeping everything moving fluidly. And, of course, he still has the support of the Wizards Guild.
Action 4: Royal Shipyard Construction: design and construction
Nature: Internal Strategic (third of FOUR years)
Determinant: Royal Influence; Wealth (Fair, 0)
Difficulty: Hard (-1)
Qualifiers: + Promises good jobs and increased trading prowess.
+ Support by Wizards Guild (limited magical aid)
- Taltheran has Poor regard for Crafts and craftsmen
- Resistance from Merchant Council
+ After two years, project has its own momentum
+ Excellent advice from Ka'Shari
Reaction: Risky (if this flops, it's an expensive waste)
Result so far: +1 -1 +1 +1 -1 -1 + (1 0 1 -1) -1 +1 + (-1 +1 +1 0) + 1 +1 + (0 0 0 1) + ()
Still going well. The KaShari suggestions have increased efficiency.
Finally, the King is grateful for the good relations established with the Ka'Shari. To keep these moving, early in the year he sends a return delegation to visit the Ka'Shari fleet and follow up on last year's offer of assistance by Taltheran. Taking in to account the various interactions the Ka'Shari had while in Taltheran, Agrigax selects a seasoned diplomat who got on well with the Ka'Shari during their visit. This ambassador is accompanied by a number of representatives of Great Families. Agrigax sends various additional gifts, especially Taltheran wine, olives, dried grapes and other early-season or preserved produce. The embassy's goals are to consolidate good relations with the Ka'Shari and to organize any assistance or cooperative ventures which may be appropriate.
[Due to my recent vacation, Stephane and I have not completed our discussion of the Ka'Shari visit to Taltheran in 1405, and to a certain extent I'm presuming a bit in this description. We may need to adjust this somewhat later -- relations may be more or less advanced than I've depicted them (though we've at least determined that they are positive). But I did not want to delay my action submission further, being already late.]
Action EXTRA #1: Embassy to the Ka'Shari
Nature: External Tactical (diplomacy)
Determinant: Ka'Shari Relations (Good? +1)
Qualifiers: + Last year's visit by the Ka'Shari went well
+ The Ka'Shari have need of aid which Taltheran can provide?
- Extra action
Result: =1 +1 +1 + (+1 0 +1 0) = +5 Extraordinary success.
With no feedback from Stephane for the time being, I'll assume that relations between the two peoples are at Superb(+3).