Operation Bootstrap: Borderwood



Hi all,

Basically the aim of this effort is to take lots of ideas and build them into some options. The resulting social system/history should:

  1. Work realistically and
  2. Be supportive of good gameplay
Hope this is helpful!



I. A Bootstrapping Operation

1. Of Fact and Fiction

I've based this paper on examples of the development of settlements. Example range from a new town in the colonies to a new world. These examples are both historical and fictional (from RPGs).

1.1 Southwood, Queensland

Southwood is in southern Queensland. It lies just north of the Moonie River, about halfway between Dalby and St. George.

It was established in the 19th century, as a stopping place for the Mail Service and for bullock wagons travelling between Dalby and St. George. The township, surveyed in 1886, had two pubs, a police station, and several houses. It soon became the centre for the surrounding properties. With the closure of the police station in 1911, the town ceased to exist.

The working trade route was actually two roads: the main road, Old Moonie Road, just north of the river, and a wet weather road, Bullockhead Road, fifteen miles north on the Bullockhead Ridge (the watershed between the Moonie and Condamine-Balonne Rivers). The main flow of freight was from St. George and points west to the coast and export via Dalby.

The coming of the railways killed other overland freight routes. Railways were laid both north and south, circa 1910. Almost thirty miles to the north, a line was laid first to Meandarra, then to Glenmorgan, with a siding at Hannaford. Hannaford is the local public hall and one teacher state primary school. This pulled local freight to the north, away from Southwood.

St George was serviced by a railway running some fifty miles south of Southwood, from Goondiwindi and the coast via Talwood and Dirranbandi. This pulled freight to the south, again away from Southwood.

I feel Talwood (pop. 200) and Meandarra (pop. 200) are the towns most similar to what Southwood could have become with a railway. If Southwood had become a "railway town", it could even have been the size of modern Tara (pop. 1000).

The road south of the Moonie River and parallel to the Old Moonie Road became the main road, Moonie Highway, between Dalby and St. George.

Today, there is only a six foot by six foot Telephone Exchange (with a microwave tower), the road and properties that still bear the name (Southwood Rd, "Old Southwood," and "Southwood") and the National Park. At the town site itself, only rusting iron and shards of pottery and glass remain.

I 'bags'[1] using the name Southwood on an overland trade route!

[1] Bags, aussie slang for 'reserve for own usage'.

1.2 Tavonni (Vilis/Spinward Marches 1520)

"It is not as though the Star Vikings invented anything new. They simply refined old techniques under the direction of their Hiver puppet masters. Tavonni, for example, was a bootstrap operation long before the Reformation Coalition knew what the term meant."

Jeffery Zirzurka, A Staple Diet: The Collected RICE Papers, U of R Publishing 1140.

Tavonni is the world my main Traveller character uses as a base. U of R is the University of Regina and RICE is the Regency Institute of Culture and Education.

1.2.1 The Buffer Zone and Border Strategy

Tavonni is almost a Terrian Normal (T-Norm) world, so why did it remain undeveloped for so long? To understand this you must first understand the centuries-old Imperium/Sword Worlds conflict. The Imperium left a Buffer Zone of undeveloped worlds that includes Tavonni. Why? So an invading fleet of Jump 2 ships (long range for the most advanced ships of the time) could not jump from a Sword World to a developed Imperial World, without first jumping to a Buffer Zone world. These undeveloped worlds denied the invaders easy re-feuling and re-supply, leaving the Imperium free to develop a "defence-in-depth".

Tavonni and the other Buffer Zone worlds were manned only by Scout surveillance bases (IISS, Imperial Interstellar Scout Service). Their job was to operate an array of sensitive detection equipment and to station a scout ship at Tavonni's jump-point. If the ground base detected hostiles, the information was transmitted by tight-beam to the scout ship, which then jumped to Lanth.

1.2.2 The Tavonni Purchase

In 1117, retired Fleet Admiral Count Leto Khaanraarshuimki personally travelled to Regina to petition Archduke Norris for the Tavonni system. At a function, he met Heidi, where she realized the potential of the concept and offered to build a starport. Together they approached Norris with a detailed proposal which included the establishment of a scout base, an xboat link between Vilis and Lanth (think Pony Express, and remember that we are in a universe where travel is faster than light, but communication is limited to light speed), a starport and a small planetary defence fleet. Norris approved the Tavonni Purchase on 261-1177 (day 261 of the year 1117).

An extensive system survey began and Leto's Aslan 'Ftai' company evacuated its holdings in the Outrim Void.

Caradoc LIC is a company half owned by Leto, and Menelvagor Ltd. is Heidi's company (established by her father).

Caradoc immediately constructed a basic D-class starport, while Menelvagor, Ltd. raised a MCr 2,000 loan and began building the "real" starport of Beowulf Down. Caradoc also recruited refugees from the Ihatei invasions as colonists. By the completion of Beowulf Down on 100-1121, Tavonni's population had reached 117,200. Later that year, there was a lanthanum strike in the Peanuts belt which brought miners flocking to the system.

The main starport also has an orbital component, Tavonni High. Both parts of the starport are administered by the Imperial Starport Authority (SPA).

1.2.3 Tavonni

Seen from orbit, Tavonni appears untouched by civilization. A deliberately low-key approach to development has left much of the planet undeveloped. The main starport is on Bjornoya Island and only when you near The Plateau do the artificial features begin to emerge from the jungle.

The capital, Tamoachan City, is located moments away from the starport via monorail. Tavonni has taken many migrants over the year. It has become a culturally diverse world where you can sample many off-world cuisines — in fact, most of the cuisines of three sectors, five species and four major races!

Tavonni Safari Park (TASP) is located on the next island west from Bjornoya. It has been set aside for the exclusive use of safaris, both camera shoots and big-game hunting expeditions. The Tavonni Beach Resort is the only permanent construction on the island.

The primary Aslan settlements are located on the eastern continent mainly for historical reasons. Caradoc's base is also located here and operates out of the original starport (now C-class). It was on this continent that Count Leto first granted land to members of the Ftai Company.

One other spaceport is known to exist on the planet, but its location is classified — as are the locations of Tavonni's deep-site meson guns.

The only large population centre is Tamoachan City with most of the population living in medium-sized communities separated from their nearest neighbours by up to 600 km. Most of these mid-sized communities are supported by smaller communities. They generally are based on primary industry. This settlement pattern means that there are few long distance ground transport links. Most land transportation is via grav vehicles, air/raft taxi for short distances or GCoach for longer distances. An example is the Vargr-owned long-haul bus company, G-Hound.





1.3 King Alfred's Burhs

After Alfred, King of Wessex, drove the Danes out of Wessex, he realised that his military successes as an individual leader were not a long term defence against growing Danish power.

Alfred resolved that no place in Wessex would be more than twenty miles from a fortified town. He set about developing a system of fortified burhs by grants of land in the burhs in return for military service.

He developed towns on the sites of Roman towns which were choicen for a number of reasons. They were on the old Roman roads, the communications channels of their time. Examples include Chester and Gloucester. They had basic fortifications in place already and were areas where the Roman Church was the strongest. Places where the common interests between Church and State could be used in the kingdom's defence.

Some burhs were built on new sites like Wallingford, Wareham and Wilton. Others, like Lewes, Lyng and Lydfird, were built on promontories of land, where natural defences added to the strength of the burh.

The burhs were also encouraged to become centres of commerce and local government.

Alfred's son Edward the Elder (Wessex) and daughter Æthelflead (Mercia) continued these policies. They built a new double row of burhs along the old Roman road of Watling Street (the border with the Danelaw), creating a defensive line from Essex to the mouth of the Mersey.

In Winchester, Cricklade, Chichester and Wallingford the modern streets follow the Saxon street plan. Remnants of the defensive ditches and banks can be seen at Wallingford, Wareham, Maaldon, Witham and Cricklade.

Along with the burhs, Alfred created the fyrd, which was the first regular army designed to protect the kingdom. He also create the first navy and had ships constructed in the Danish style so that he could engage them at sea.

II. Of Swords and Ploughshears

Here I will try to collect a variety of reasons, patterns and facilities involved in settling a new land.

2. The Lay of the Kingdom

There are four main factors that shape a human society: Geography, Climate, Biology and Technology. In Dural we have fixed the Technology factor and in any given place we can choose any social system that is not excluded by Geography, Climate or Biology.

Settlement Sizes

  1. Major centres should be placed at points of major advantage or large intersive resources
  2. Medium centres should be placed at a point of minor advantage or smaller intensive resources
  3. Small centres should be placed a days farmers cart drive apart, in areas of extensive resources
  4. Wildernesss are area yet untapped or too sparse with resource to support settlement
Potential Major Advantages

Potential Minor Advantages

Resource Types

In a feudal system the king grants land to a vassel, an individual who swears a personal oath of fealty to the King.

In a less constrained system, there are looser power structures. You can just move if the local power becomes too intrusive. In this situation a yeoman farmer can survive independently and he may only be called upon by the local lord for defence. The local lord may only own 10% of the land, with the remainder as smallholdings.

Companies are a Renaissance idea. The only things close during this time were religious orders, but they still had strict hierarchies that paralleled the nobility.

3. Of Villages and Vicus

Any settlement, as it grows, will require new buildings as the needs of its people expand in type and volume.

3.1 Selecting a Location

So what is the local history? Why is the settlement where it is? Why did it come into existence? Possible reasons for a settlement's existence include trade route, resource extraction and defence.

3.1.1 Trade Route

Routes - water and overland

  1. The river route (if the river is navigable).
    • The river is the main, most common travel route. There may be tow-ways
    • Minor road system, allowing the farmers to get to the closest river landings/settlements
  2. Trading roads, usually a two road system (if no navigable river is present)
    • A low, fast, even road has minor settlement a days slow (think farmer's wagon) travel apart. The <insert river name here> Road.
    • A high, longer, slower hilly road, but passable in all weather. A "ridgeway" kind of thing, like the Bullockhead Road

3.1.2 Resources

Resources come in two broad types: intensive and extensive.

Intensive Resources – concentrated at particular sites

Extensive Resource – dispersed over wide spread regions

An intensive example is a gold mine, similiar to the gold fields of Victorian era. Places like Bendigo and Ballarat in Victoria and Dunedin in New Zealand.

An extensive example is a forestry resource, with maybe some farming. I am reminded of Prince George in British Columbia.

3.1.3 Defence - The Frontiers

Here we are dealing with border and coastal settlements that have been strengthened and fortified. For example:

3.2 Setting a Scenario

A settlement must become self-supporting (even defensive sites are no exception, as security is a product). Sponsors cannot supply goods indefinitely and lingering problems will doom a settlement.

With a settlement sponsored maybe by nobles, merchants or by the group as a whole, the sponsors would:

  1. Develop a plan for development. These plans would be refined as limitation & resources indicate
  2. Fund initial resources, arrange the freighting of materials (including "The Pavillion"), employ, call favour and do whatever is necessary to get the labour needed to start this enterprise

3.2.1 Scenario: en route

Borderwood may be a stopping over place for barge crews and wagon teams, where the crew/team waits for another ship/train to work their way back home. Borderwood might also be a base for crews or teams. Some supplies would be dropped off for local consumption and local produce would be freighted out.

A new/young noble might be in change of running the docks or marshalling yards and patrolling the trade route as a reward, favour or just because the job needs doing!

A merchant might set up a ferry and an inn (like Bucklands in The Shire).

3.2.2 Scenario: ta mill[2]

A new/young noble "purchases" land from the King or Duke for gold or silver to develop the area.

A merchant might buy a timber concession from the King or he may just go squat on the land.

[2] the mill, with a yorkshire accent

3.2.3 Scenario: the King's burh

The young noble has been given the charge of developing a burh for the King. This would involve some fortification works and maybe fostering development.

3.3 Infrastructure

3.3.1 Official Buildings

Fort/Barracks A fort would include a headquarters building, hospital, commander's house, granaries and barracks all within a walled compound. A simple garrison would be a barrack with with kitchen and stables and would be a place to patrol from. The granaries would need an area next to them for unloading and turning carts and wagons
Town Hall  

3.3.2 Public Buildings

Markets The central square of the settlement maybe with the pavillion on one side. Here the sellers would set their stalls up on market day

3.3.3 Commercial Buildings

Saw Mill  
Flour Mill Sarehole Mill in Hall Green, Birmingham. This is a 18th century watermill which was active into the early 20th century. This is the mill of Tolkien's childhood, the inspiration of the old mill in the Shire
Pump Mill Used to raise water, usually wind powered but can be water powered. Think of Dutch windmills in the dykes and polders. Go, Don Quixote, go!

3.3.4 Private Buildings

The Manor House Big house and compound with three zones of land use: inner, middle and outer, corresponding to horticulture, agriculture and forestry
Merchant House A wide range of abodes, from a large town house with a garden to a shop with a room above and maybe a warehouse or yards behind
Labourer's Cottage A small cottage. Could be anything from a one room hut to a small house of 3 or 4 rooms with a yard and working garden

3.3.5 Other

Walls and Gates  
Docks and Landings The docks are the heart of a river town. They need to be planned and built well so they can handle floods
Marshalling Yards  

III. The Axe and the Tree

Development models and plans for Borderwood.

4. Selecting a Location for Borderwood

So what is the history of Borderwood?

4.1 The River Trade Route

The river is the main travel route. A minor road system could be developed for moving logs down to the river landing at Borderwood. The loggers just dump the logs into the river and float the logs down to the next mill town.

5. The Borderwood Scenario

The sponsor would:

Borderwood could be a stopping over place for barge crews where a crew would wait for another ship or barge to work there way back home. Borderwood might also be a base for some crews or teams. Some supplies could be dropped of for local consumption and timber produced to be freighted out.

A new/young noble might be in charge of running the docks or marshalling yards and patrolling the trade route as a reward or favour or just because the job needs doing! This may even involve building some fortifications and/or fostering development which would mean more money for his budget and taxes for the Duke and King!

Maybe a merchant has been granted a timber concession in return for supplying timber to the Royal Navy for building ships.

6. Borderwood Infrastructure

Once a scenario has been chosen, the sponsor would start thinking about what the settlement will need as it grows. What will it need with 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 or 1000 people?

Building 10 20 50 100 200 500 1000
Saw Mill