Illyriad’s 5th birthday introduces sweeping changes

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ILLYRIAD!

It’s a bit of a shocker, but it’s Illyriad‘s five year anniversary.

While the server booted up for the first time on the 21st of February 2010, players didn’t get access until the 22nd; so that’s the official start date for this grand journey.

In that time we’ve seen many, many changes to the game.

For those who weren’t around at the beginning, here’s a sample of what you missed from the early days! We started off with a “world tree” theme around the borders, with all the content placed inside large scrolls.

The town map was a very different beast:


The world map was randomly generated (rather than hand-drawn) in those days, so there were no rivers, no seas or lakes, no sprawling forests or mountain ranges and no regions; just a mish-mash of different squares. The world map, with Chat version 1 visible is seen below. Note the awesome way the arctic area blends with the rest of the map. Subtle, huh?


POP-QUIZ FACTOIDS:

During these five years, you have:

  • Undertaken some 62 million trade missions and traded 4 trillion Gold (4 thousand billion)!
  • Performed 21 million harvesting missions and nearly 12 million quests
  • Gone on 125 million military missions and nearly 40 thousand sieges for a total of 1.6 billion casualties
  • Sent 104 million ingame mails and spoken 334 million words in chat. That’s the equivalent of the entire works of Shakespeare 377 times over, or the equivalent of 425 Bibles – in chat alone. I won’t speak to the relative quality of the text ūüėČ
  • 287,000 players have been through the gates, settling 350,000 towns across 1,300 alliances
  • You have collectively played 22,364,898.12 hours of Illyriad
  • That’s 931,870.75 days or 2,553 years!

During this 5-year period we have had just under 6 hours of unscheduled downtime, and 15 hours of downtime in total (including patches and server moves).

We’ve often stated that we are applying lessons learned from our work on Age of Ascent to Illyriad. Some things you’ve seen, some you’ve not – a lot of have been slightly abstract and based around infrastructure and capabilities. They have all made the game better and helped it to run smoother.

However, today we’d like to share something even more concrete; and hopefully a little more exciting than the existing benefits that AoA development has provided to Illyriad, such as progression graphs and private chat (even if TC thinks graphs are exciting).

Please bear in mind this is early days and there is a lot more to come and improvements to be made. We are not yet at an beta stage and taking bug reports, but…

Illyriad needs a lick of paint:

More interactivity:

1425321038townmenu
Different perspectives, showing where units are travelling to:


A grand strategic view of the whole world:


[See larger version]

Where the tactical map, strategic map and regional map are the same thing, and all full screen:


[See larger version]

Where coastline and rivers look more realistic, and where the map can be viewed from different rotational angles to better see the lay of the land:


[See larger version]

And where moving around the map is fast, and touch enabled, pinch to zoom ready, and where the data is pulled from across the entire world – all visible at once.

Exciting times ahead, for sure, but let’s look at all of the massive changes we put in for this anniversary:

Infantry and crafting: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/22feb15-7-day-warning-infantry-crafting_topic6166.html

Smoothing out research times: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/22feb15-trade-hides-research-exodus_topic6167.html

Building changes 1: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/22feb15-changes-to-building-effects_topic6169.html

Build changes 2: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/22feb15-build-time-changes_topic6170.html

Council meeting lore story: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/the-meeting_topic6173.html

UIv4 Preview: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/22feb15-uiv4-preview_topic6174.html

More than 10 cities!: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/23feb15-beyond-10-cities_topic6175.html

API and XML: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/23feb15-api-xml-notifications_topic6176.html

New medal options: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/23feb15-new-medals-options_topic6178_post85155.html

Google Wallet dies: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/24feb15-google-wallet-retirement_topic6181.html

Referral and tutorial changes: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/24feb15-tutorial-referral-programme-changes_topic6183.html

In-game mail XML feed: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/24feb15-xml-feed-for-ingame-mail_topic6182.html

Account sitter limit changes: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/24feb15-account-sitting-90day-limit_topic6184.html

Faction units!: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/25feb15-faction-unit-release_topic6186.html

Notifications tweaks: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/25feb15-more-detail-in-notifications_topic6188.html

Removing SOV: https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/03mar15-removing-sovereignty_topic6207.html

 

Stay tuned, and thanks for joining us on this journey!

Broken Lands Faction: Mellorisians

From the daily reports of Commander Cirian Danorian, deep reconnaissance mission.

Day 7, evening: We have camped by a huge rock, with a crude carving chiselled into it. The figure is vaguely humanoid, but has no eyes. Our scribe tells us that it is meant to be a spirit called Melloris. Allegedly the spirit has manifested to the leader of a local community, who described it as being made of gold, supremely beautiful, but blind. The lack of eyes might indicated blindness, but the strange shape of this figure does not suggest beauty, just a very poor stone carver.

Day 8, afternoon: We have spotted a stronghold high on a cliff. Its stone walls look ancient, but are partly ruined and have been recently and crudely patched with wood. Still, its position makes it seem impregnable. As we approached we found human farmers working small fields in the valley beneath, but they fled at our approach. We have made camp, and sent scouts up the cliff path to investigate.

Day 8, evening: Our scouts have not returned. We have also had visitors. A group of armed men, armoured, carrying bows. They said that they were a search party from the stronghold. They said they were looking for ‚ÄúHeretics who have fallen from truth and fled from the light of Melloris‚ÄĚ, who they wanted to find in order to ‚Äúsave‚ÄĚ them by taking them back to the community. They were very well armed for a friendly search party.

Day 9, noon: Our scouts have returned. They say that they were worried about climbing back down the cliff path in the dark. They also mentioned good food and warm beds in the settlement above. They report the community being confused by their visit, but there was no hostility. We will all trek up the cliff this afternoon, as a safe and comfortable place to stay would be welcome.

Day 9, evening: We have found passable food, warm beds, and solid fortifications. It is a welcome change from sleeping in a camp in the wilds. The locals are little inclined to talk to us, however.

Day 10, noon: The inhabited settlement is small. Just a couple of thousand people, but the location is so secure that no army could assault them. The people still avoid us, and lots of doors are locked. The old ruined parts of the stronghold are extensive, however, and merit more investigation. We are not the only visitors, as there is a small market. We found a small band of ragged elves trading here, and they say that the locals are as unfriendly to them as they are to us.

Day 10, afternoon: I was summoned to appear before the community’s leader. He sat on a large but crude throne, wearing the vestments of a priest and a large silver crown. I vaguely remember him. In Virten when I was young he was called Jerrian, and he was considered a possible future King of Virten. He was renowned as a virtuous man but the College of Silence suspected that he was mentally unstable. Now he leads this self-exiled community, and I was told to address him as Blessed Prophet of the Golden Spirit, not by his ‚Äúformer‚ÄĚ name. He had summoned me to complain about one of our expedition. Apparently our scribe had been ‚Äúspreading lies, infecting the minds of the true believers, promoting falsehood and immorality‚ÄĚ. I doubt it. None of us have spoken much to the locals. But he clearly wants us to go, so I said that we would leave early tomorrow. I have no idea why he is hostile to us, but there was no point arguing.

Day 10, evening: Organised a search of the ruined areas, without alerting the locals. We found several rooms that looked like ritual areas, abandoned for centuries. Most interesting was a grand mural, dusty and cracked, from before the Sundering. It seemed to show a wizard or arch mage, depicted with a great staff, one eye covered with a patch, and one of his hands shown as being gold.

Day 11, morning: We set guards last night, and they woke us before dawn. They had seen movement where our horses were stabled, and they intervened, uncovering a partially dressed local woman and one of our animal handlers. He said that she had seduced him and asked him to stay and marry her. She said that he had tricked her into spending the night with him. I believe him, not her. He doesn’t have that much guile, and I don’t trust these people. We are leaving now. I would rather be out in the wilds than have to contend with the lies and paranoia that confound us here.

 

Broken Lands Faction: Guul-Hai

From the daily reports of Commander Cirian Danorian, deep reconnaissance mission.

Day 34, evening: This is as far from the ship as I want to go. Legends say this is the land of the Guul-Hai. Nobody from Virten has ever seen one. Stories say they move without a sound and can melt into the dark. They are supposed to be Orcs, but some tales say that they were changed by the mages long before the Sundering, and they’re now something else. We have lost good men already, and now people are nervous. So this will be our last search. Even the Kartur-Hhakrall are restless. We’ll try to make contact. Then, we’ll head home.

Day 35, morning: Have worked out a search pattern, and today we will start criss-crossing the area looking for tracks or settlements.

Day 35, evening: Nothing. No sign of habitation at all. The scouts noted an unusual number of wolf tracks, so we secured our camp perimeter carefully.

Day 36, evening: Another fruitless day. Men exhausted from searching, and all scouting parties returned to camp having found no sign of Orcs. Plenty of animal tracks, though, and we ate well on a deer that we felled. Disturbed by the disappearance of a bearer, sent to fetch water from the spring at dusk.

Day 37, morning: Scouts searched the spring. Snow fell yesterday, and ground around the spring is muddy, so tracking should have been easy. Our man’s tracks just stopped a few paces from the water. Lots of other tracks in the area, all wolves, but no sign of a struggle, no sign of him being chased, felled or dragged. Someone suggested the Gull-Hai might be riding wolves, but from the paw size and short gait these wolves are too small to ride.

Day 37, evening: Another useless day. Long discussion around the campfire, working out a new plan. Someone asked why there are so many wolf tracks, when we haven’t seen wolves. This suggested a new direction. Can’t solve the mystery of where the Guul-Hai are. So we’ll look into mystery of the wolves. Maybe there’s a link.

Day 38, morning: Awoken by screaming. Found our missing bearer. His body was hanging from a tree in the middle of camp. He had been stripped, and guts, heart and brain removed. No sign of clothes or innards. Our surgeon says he had been dead for a day. Much shouting at the guards who had been on watch. No idea how someone got past them with a corpse. No tracks on the ground. Guessed someone had climbed the tree to string him up, but no tracks by the tree. Someone suggested that his killers must fly. I dismissed the idea. No rumours of flying creatures here, and Orcs certainly can’t fly. But I have no theory of my own.

Day 38, evening: Better day. Two scouting parties found big groups of wolves. The groups were much bigger than normal wolf packs, and they wandered aimlessly. Someone suggested they were more like a flock of sheep than a pack of predators.

Day 39, morning. Bad morning. One of our human scouts has vanished, from the middle of the camp. Nobody saw him leave, no tracks, no sign of a struggle. Then I had my first argument with the Kartur-Hhakrall. They’ve been absolutely loyal until now. But they think it’s stupid to keep searching. They look nervous. It isn’t like them to be scared of anything. I asked them if they didn’t want to find fellow Orcs. The Gull-Hai have been separate from our Orc retainers for five centuries. I assumed they’d be curious. They said no. They said the Gull-Hai are unnatural, tainted. They said that a good leader would turn back. I understand what that means. I told them we’d search for one more day, and then I’d decide what to do.

Day 39, evening: Spent the day looking for and watching wolf packs, or herds. This may be a good line of enquiry. One scout reports seeing an Orc moving amongst a group of wolves, though later investigation showed only wolf tracks there, no Orc tracks. Another scout found a cooking pit, buried to conceal it. I asked him how he found it and he said he just searched in an area where there were no tracks, in the middle of an area with lots of wolf tracks. He estimated that half a dozen people might have eaten from the food cooked there, and suggested that we search for similar trackless areas amidst areas with lots of wolf activity. It is a good suggestion, but I am starting to agree with the Kartur-Hhakrall, that we should not be here.

Day 40, morning: Our missing scout was found by the camp fire, where he had been sleeping. As before, clothes, heart, guts and brain were missing, and our surgeon says he has been dead for a day. I have given the order to strike camp and head back.

Day 40, evening: Two hundred paces from camp a Kartur-Hhakrall scout smelled something, so went to look. He came back with gnawed animal bones. He said the tooth marks showed that Orcs had been eating them, last night. There were other bones, from previous nights. The place where they were had a clear view down into our camp site. We had spent five days failing to find the the Gull-Hai, and they had been watching us all along. We marched more swiftly after that, and covered a good distance, glad to be leaving these lands.

 

The Broken Lands Map

Here’s the Broken Lands map for your delectation.

There will be approximately 300 squares of open ocean between the southern tip of Stormstone on Elgea, and the Northern-most tip of the Broken Lands.

This map does not currently show shallow/tidal/ocean waters; I’ll put this on a later version.

The large Western landmass with the border round it is the PvP-free protected zone.

Regards,

SC

Broken Lands Map

Click the map for the large version

Broken Lands Faction: The Lost Clans

From the daily reports of Commander Cirian Danorian, deep reconnaissance mission.

Day 29, evening: We have made camp in some sort of ancient Dwarven ruin. It will be an uncomfortable night. There is scattered rubble on the hillside, but nothing that provides cover. So we have come in through the main entrance, to passages cut into the rock. The floors slope downwards, away from the opening. Our engineer says that the passages might once have continued back for miles, but the whole structure has slipped into the ground, swallowed up in the Sundering. We checked all the passages, and they all end in collapse.

Day 30, early morning: The guards we posted at the entrance raised the alarm. They say they saw a figure, skulking. A quick search found nobody. We will look again in the morning.

Day 30, morning: Started to pack up camp, but then the scouts reported in. They found our visitor’s tracks. Dwarf footprints. There shouldn’t be Dwarves this far east. So we will stay today, and investigate.

Day 30, evening: Scouting parties fanned out, looking for our visitor, or any other evidence of Dwarves living near here. They found nothing, but the guards back at camp saw him again, watching them.

Day 30, midnight: I set everyone to work this evening. It seems our visitor wants to get into these ruins. Maybe he has hidden something here. Maybe there’s a secret passage, some Dwarf deception here. So we searched. After five hours, nothing has been discovered. We need some sleep now.

Day 31, morning: The guards think our visitor is still lurking. So, the plan today is that we set out again, with search parties going in all directions. But after an hour they will fan out to form a single long line, and return. They will act like a net, trapping our visitor. I want to talk to him.

Day 31, afternoon: We have lost our opportunity. The Dwarf fell for the ruse, but we lost him. We went past him, fanned out, came back, trapped him. He ran, we chased. We hailed him, he kept running. We chased him to the edge of a cliff. He looked wretched. His hair was greasy and lank, his skin was sickly grey. In his left eye socket some sort of metal contraption whirred and moved around. We encircled him, and I tried to question him. Did he live in the ruins? No answer. Were there any other Dwarves living nearby? No answer. Could he please tell us his name? No answer. I told the Kartur-Hhakrall to grab him. They stepped forward, he stepped back and plunged fifty paces down the cliff. He killed himself rather than let us take him. I have now set the Kartur-Hhakrall to scale the cliff and check the body.

Day 31, evening: I should have been clearer with the Kartur-Hhakrall. I said check the body. I should have said retrieve the body. They checked it. They say it was not a real Dwarf. They say he did not have blood in his veins, but some black oil. I would have liked our surgeon to examine it. But our Orcs had checked it, and then they burned it. I can see the smoke rising in the distance. I asked why they built such a big bonfire for him. They said that they weren’t taking any chances.

Broken Lands Faction: Free Orcs

From the daily reports of Commander Cirian Danorian, deep reconnaissance mission.

Day 1, morning: Yesterday we made contact with an Orc warband on the shore. We asked them to fetch their leader, or someone who could speak on their leader’s behalf. He appeared, surrounded by retainers, big Orcs, with many scars. We asked for his permission to travel through his lands. We offered gifts, and veiled threats. Our own Kartur-Hhakrall guards took the lead on this, and spoke to him Orc to Orc. It worked. He took the gifts and gave permission. So this morning we make landfall, and start east.

Day 1, evening: There is good hunting in these lands, and we brought down plenty of game, so that we will eat well tonight. We saw Orc scouts behind, ahead and to the sides, but they left us alone. Presumably they have got the message that we have permission to be here.

Day 2, morning: Violently awoken. Camp attacked. One of our cooks was killed, a scribe injured. One of the Kartur-Hhakrall also dead, two others slightly battered. So much for promises of safe passage. The scribe can walk, and the Kartur-Hhakrall want to pursue our attackers. They want revenge. I want to know why we were attacked. So, we will follow our attackers’ trail.

Day 2, evening: Caught up with our attackers. I held the Kartur-Hhakrall back, not wanting to lose more people. They contented themselves hunting down one of the stragglers, then withdrew. We have camped in an easily defensible position, atop a steep scarp.

Day 3, morning: Little rest last night. Three separate incursions from the local Orcs against us. They seemed designed to test us, not hurt us. No deaths on either side, though we lost a pack mule, felled by a javelin. I have allowed our Kartur-Hhakrall to attempt negotiations. As I write they are bellowing insults and goading the Orcs to attack us.

Day 3, noon: My Kartur-Hhakrall seem to have decided that attacking is a form of negotiating. Half of them disappeared earlier, and have just returned. They carry the severed heads of two young Orcs. We are now fortifying the camp.

Day 3, evening. The Kartur-Hhakrall notion of negotiating works well with these local Orcs. A messenger has just shouted from the woods that their leader will speak to us tomorrow morning. We expect attacks in the night, of course.

Day 4, morning: Quiet night. No attacks. The Orc leader arrived at dawn. She wasn’t someone we’d seen before, not the same leader we bargained with from the ship. I asked why she had not stood by his promise, and she spat and cursed, saying that she would not bow to him. She bowed to nobody, she said, for she was a free Orc, not a slave. Discussions followed. It seems that these Free Orcs have a thousand leaders, none acknowledging the others. I asked of stories of great Orc strongholds here, held by mighty chieftains. She said that she could be such a chieftain if she wanted. Asked why she didn’t want to, she said they never survived more than a year, and she had many years of fighting to do. I asked if she would ever follow one of these chiefs, and she said that she had, and might again, but only if she felt like it. I am bemused by this, and have left further negotiations to my Kartur-Hhakrall.

Day 4, noon: We will move off again soon. The Kartur-Hhakrall decided not to do a deal with the local warleader. They decided that she would see it as a sign of weakness if they sought peace. Instead the told her what route we would take, and invited her to attack us if she wished. I’m not convinced by this. Inviting attack seems foolish, but it is too late now. We will march as far as we can today.

Day 5 evening: After one and a half days of peaceful march, we are leaving Orc territory. We noted scouts watching us, but none have attacked. I have thanked my Kartur-Hhakrall for their work ensuring our safe passage, but will be happy if we do not have to deal with the Free Orcs again.

 

Broken Lands Faction: Kapikami

From the History of Loss and Hope, by Llanawi Puresoul of the Halls of Care, Chief Physician of the Office For Cleansing.

In the days before the Sundering, human villages dotted the many islands of the eastern seas. Fishermen and skilled navigators, these Kapikami were amongst the most loyal subjects of the Order of Silver Light.

Far from the mages’ great towers, local chiefs were left largely alone, to rule their islands, worship their sea gods, and follow their own laws and customs. All that was required was that they supply navigators, sailors and boat-builders to serve the mages. For their services they were well rewarded, and their people, in these long centuries of peace, were not put in any great peril by their service. And so as servants to the mages, they knew peace, purpose and prosperity.

But when the uprisings against the the Order of Silver Light began, the Kapikami came to be seen as collaborators. Their craftsmen and sailors in distant lands were victims of attacks by the mobs, and their chiefs were insulted by the rebel leaders. The mages were compelled by circumstance to make ever increasing demands upon them, pressing into service many unwilling young men to be sailors, to die in the wars. Chiefs who objected had to be removed, of course.

So, the treachery of the rebels forced the mages of the Order to act more firmly with their servants, and here we see how rebellion and chaos causes misery to even the loyal. Yet the great tragedy of the Kapikami was yet to come.

At length the Order of Silver Light realised that they could not control the chaos of the rebellions, and were obliged, in order to cleanse the land, to unleash the Sundering. All know the legends. The hills rolled, mountains fell, stone turned to liquid fire, flaming bolts fell from skies. This is how we remember those days. It is not how they remember them.

When the land churned and rolled, the seabed, too, did the same. Huge storms destroyed their fleets, drowning all who were at sea. Many of their islands were swallowed by the sea floor, plunging under the waves, drowning whole populations. And the upheavals on the coast unleashed towering waves, high walls of water, which swept towards the islands and crashed over their western coasts.

The geography of the seas was changed, with the small islands vanishing in a single day. But the way these people think, too, was changed.

They had worshipped the sea, loved and adored her, honouring the gods of the waters. And they had submitted to the authority of the Order. Now, they say The Wizards Turned The Gods. By this they mean that the mages turned the gods against them. This was not, for them, a mere cataclysm. It was also the most profound double betrayal. They think that their temporal overlords forced their watery gods to destroy them, unjustly.

The wise may question the logic of their view. Those of us who are astute and educated realise that the Order acted only in response to the reckless, ignorant violence of the rebels. And we understand that the Sundering was a perfectly natural magical event, if of unprecedented scale and ferocity. But for these people, they were betrayed by their lords and their gods.

Of this, there are three consequences.

First, as our leaders have lamented, these people, natural servants to their betters, with centuries of loyal service through the Second Age, are now most stiff-necked and obstinate, insistent upon their petty privileges, and jealously guarding their independence.

Second, as is well know, they have a fear and hatred of magic. I have never heard of another people who consider the study of magic a criminal act and forbid their people from its practice. As they believe that The Wizards Turned The Gods against them, they hate magicians, understandably.

What is less obvious is that they also, I believe, hate their gods. They still worship the deities of the sea, and they still ply the waves with great skill, though no longer from an island archipelago. But their reverence is tainted by bitterness, and their worship no longer a source of happiness.

Broken Lands Faction: Yuraquncha

From Phaeloses of Newharbour, regarding the establishment of the first trade posts of the South Oceans Company of Larn.

Good my lord,

May your storehouses be full, the king wise in his love of you, your children bringing honour to your house, your wife be a beacon of virtue, and so on and so forth.

We have heard excellent news since my last letter to you.

Events have taken a very bad turn for the Tallian colonists.

The priestesses of the local savages have bathed themselves in the blood of sacrificed beats, chewed upon their secret herbs, inhaled the smoke of sacred fires, and spoken in the language of the dead to deliver oracles as to the nature of the Tallian settlers. And their holy insights are, by all accounts, that the men of Tal are not, in fact, the gods returning.

That’s hardly a surprise to us. But it has caused chaos amongst these peoples, who are now fiercely divided. Some have sided with the Tallians. Most have stayed loyal to the war-chiefs and priestesses.

Even better, the oracles have pronounced that those who serve the False Gods are traitors and blasphemers whose crimes can never be forgiven. That means that we have a war on our doorstep, from which I expect that we can profit greatly.

In a way this is all predictable enough. These local savages, whose full name is, translated from the local tongue, something like the Ten Pure Tribes Who Follow in the Footsteps of the Fire Gods Who Graciously Sheltered the Revered Ancestors Behind the Divine Wall (more conveniently delivered in a shortened form, Yuraquncha) are held together by their reverence for the priestesses. The savages have many proud war-chiefs, each competing with one and other, but it is the priestesses who guide them, and ensure their unity.

The war-chiefs are prone to grandiose boasts, temper tantrums, and, especially if their pride is pricked, roaring threats. But they cannot shed blood unless the oracles of the priestesses permit it. Unsurprisingly these oracles usually forbid bloodshed, and chiefs who want oracles to favour them have to listen closely to the guidance of these priestesses. So, we can expect that the priestesses would not be impressed by the arrival of foreigners whom their people have started to revere as divine. The colonists are a threat to their authority. These recent oracles, denouncing the colonists and all who follow them, seem an inevitable defence of their authority.

Of course we have received desperate entreaties from the Tal colonists, who are terrified that the locals now wish to slaughter them as blasphemers. And we have made sympathetic replies, without committing ourselves to any action to help them.

Meanwhile, we have made embassies to the priestesses, and convinced them that the arrivals from Larn are quite distinct from the False Gods from Tal. We have shown them the shrines the we ourselves are building, and explained how important reverence and ritual are to us. Naturally we have sympathized with their outrage, and complimented them on their readiness to stand up for what is holy. They seem impressed.

This war seems set to become a permanent feature of the region, and, as we will remain uninvolved, this is much to our profit.

Broken Lands Faction: Tallian Colonies

From Phaeloses of Newharbour, regarding the establishment of the first trade posts of the South Oceans Company of Larn.

Good my lord,

As ever I pray that you are in fine health, in good favour at court, and such. As usual, parchment is in short supply, so please take the usual formalities as read.

I write to inform you that we are not, as we had hoped, the first to cross the ocean and establish a presence here. We were aware that the Illyria Trade Council have sent delegations and intend to establish fortified trade posts. But both they and we were chasing another. It seems that colonists have arrived from Port Tal.

They have made made camp on ancient temple ruins. The locals, being superstitious savages, believed that the temples were haunted, and so think that these exotic men who have sailed the endless ocean and driven the spirits from these temples must be the gods returning to claim their homes. They have therefore taken to revering the Tallian colonists. So, these warlike savages have submitted meekly, joyfully, to the instructions of their supposed deities.

I wish we had managed to pull off something like that.

Still, I cannot but fear that this might all end badly for the people of Tal. There are few of them, hugely outnumbered by their adoring subjects. What would happen if their followers lost faith in them, or became too demanding?

The savages believe that some centuries ago their gods raised a wall of stone and fire to protect them from horrendous magics unleashed in the far south, that their gods saved the whole jungle land from destruction. They may have high hopes for the might of returning divinities. And what might a horde of pious savages do to gods who fail them?

Broken Lands Faction: South Oceans Company of Larn

From Phaeloses of Newharbour, regarding the establishment of the first trade posts of the South Oceans Company of Larn.

Good my lord,

I pray that you are in fine health, standing in good regard with our blessed king, and so on and so forth. I am short of parchment, so please assume that the usual greetings are intended, even if I omit them here.

I thank you for the copy of the Charter which you have supplied. It is well that the king has blessed our venture. No doubt there will be criticisms. But with royal patronage these will be muted.

First, allow me to clarify the situation with regarding rare woods and herbs. There is no shortage of resources in this new land. But there is also no shortage of danger as the locals feud constantly with one and other in this lawless place, while there is a shortage in expertise for gathering such resources. So such goods are present, but hard to gather.

By contrast, life is cheap here, and so people are cheap. Slaves can be had at a low price. Either we can use these to work plantations here, or we can send them back to Larn. No doubt the royal court will benefit from the cheap labour, and mine owners are always happy for cheap and expendable workers.

I have noted that the royal Charter allows us only to buy slaves who are convicted felons. I have no doubt that when we buy slaves the seller will vouch that their captives have been convicted of something or other.

I was unsure what we could do about the youngest child slaves. We can say that we are saving them from penury and civilising them, but then what do we do when they are grown? But I have a solution to this.

The Charter stipulates that we must mourn for the loss of freedom of our slaves. The usual mourning rituals take some time, of course, and frankly I have a great deal to do. So, I intend that we should establish temples here which can adopt young child slaves. We can use them for these rituals, and to maintain the temples, so that they will become useful servants to us here. It is not ideal, but it will do until we can persuade our wise King to accept that we can trade in slaves beyond criminals; no doubt this change will come when the advantages become evident, as doctrine habitually follows the pragmatic course, just as rivers follow valleys, but this may take some time.

Beyond slaving, I am not certain what we will be able to secure here. Territorial conquest for the Kingdom of Larn seems unlikely, given the violent nature of these lands. But there may be more trade to do when we are better established.

To this end we now have two trade posts, unassailable due to their locations, and with further ancient fortifications which we can rebuild. Beyond these locations I do not advise that we expand. We will set up markets in both locations, and will see if those can grow, as the locals currently lack secure trade centres amidst the jungles. The tax revenue may allow us to become self-sustaining, and in time might allow us to impose our will upon the region if we so desire.