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Found 22 results

  1. Astrapi, Ile de Zeus, July 622 At the border between the Terraversa Sea and the Sea of Thieves, Ile the Zeus is one of the Jewels of Oleon Empire. Before the imperial adventure on Terraversa and the colonisation of Blueton, Astrapi was the first Oleander settlement beyond the Line, and the only one a ship could reach with a direct journey from Breshaun. Thanks to its geographic position and to the presence of strategic resources (wood, silver and gunpowder industry), the settlement of Astrapi has become a rich and important settlement. To defend Astrapi from the enemies of the Empire, and to protect the silver extracted in the inland, a new company of chasseurs was raised in the settlement. The Astrapi Wolves, formally the 2eme compagnie chasseurs coloniaux de Astrapi, are trained and equipped for the thick woods of Ile de Zeus. These soldiers wear a simple beret instead of the elegant but bulky shako hat, and are equipped with tomahawk and machetes: for sure they don’t look like the King’s Guards back in Granoleon, but they are what the Empire needs in this far corner of the map. Due to a weird combination of warm winds and cold currents, Ile the Zeus is often shrouded by a thick fog. Therefore, the chasseurs are often accompanied in their patrols by large hounds, particularly useful to track brigands or runaway criminals. This is more a little vignette with some story than a proper build. I will use it to raise a company of light infantry in Astrapi.
  2. Gunpowder made its appearance in Madrician wars centuries ago, at least since the War that Forgot to End. With time, cannons replaced the loud but ineffective bombards, muskets and rifles took the place of hand-cannons and arquebuses. Firearms became finally more dangerous for the enemy than for the user, and started deciding the result of battles and wars: while in the Forty-Nine Years War pikemen still had a place on the battlefield, in the Juniper War, only a decade later, they had completely disappeared. The obvious consequence of this evolution is that, year after year, armies and navies are requiring more and more gunpowder and, accordingly, more and more raw materials are needed to cope with the demand. As you probably know, the gunpowder in a powder horn, or in the ammunition store of a ship, is a finely ground mixture of saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal. What you probably don’t know, however, is how difficult can be finding or producing the three ingredients: charcoal can be easily obtained burning wood in a buried pit, but sulfur can only be found in a few volcanic areas, such as Astrapi, Charlatan Bay and, as recently discovered, El Oleonda. About saltpeter, well, here you are! For centuries, this white salt was scratched off the walls of caves, cellars, wineries, stables and even latrines, obtaining only little quantities of material, usually of barely acceptable quality. The few mines scattered in Madrician Peninsula, in the Mokolei Empire and in the New World represent the main source of this precious mineral, but their yield is still quite low. However, saltpeter (or potassium nitrate, in modern terms) can also be produced with a complex and quite unpleasant process, probably one of the most disgusting things in the civilized world. Everything begins with carts full of “organic materials”, meaning vegetable waste, garbage, manure, dirty straw from the stables, residues from tanneries or slaughterhouses and so on. The disgusting blend is thrown in a pit lined with stone tiles and mixed thoroughly with earth and ashes. After several days, enough material has accumulated in the pit, and the next step of the process can begin: the material is piled in a fresh and shady place and is kept constantly moist with water and urine. Each nitrary (that is a saltpeter factory) employs a different method for the piling: in general, experience showed that better airflow results in a higher yield. Here, the workers mold the material in small bricks and pile it in a sort of wall, protected from rain and direct sunlight. What happens next remained a mystery for centuries: in their comfortable and warm homes, billions and billions of bacteria live and proliferate, fuelling their tiny lives by slowly turning ammonia and amino acids into valuable nitrates. After a year or two, the transformation process is complete: the workers can so recover the disgusting “bricks”, now simple clods of earth, and begin the extraction process. The material is washed several times with the same water, obtaining a concentrated solution rich in salts. Wood ashes are usually poured inside the solution since this seems to “improve saltpeter quality”, even if the workers don’t know why: actually the potassium carbonate contained converts most of the nitrates in potassium nitrate (the best saltpeter) while removing the useless calcium and magnesium. In the last step, the solution is further refined with a long boiling, that removes other unwanted salts, and then is dried with the aid of the tropical sun. For sure this is not a job for sensitive stomachs since a nitrary can be smelled from miles away… however, at the only cost of some water and some wood, disgusting garbage is converted into a strategic resource, ready to feed the ever-hungry gunpowder mills. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is my first process-build since a loooong time... I hope you enjoy it! I tried to depict all the essential phases (probably I should have chosen a simpler thing... or a bigger base ). With a gunpowder mill and a brimstone quarry, I think that Astrapi is the best location for this little, smelly step towards "fireworks". To be licensed as a small factory (34x22 longer side, 34x18 shorter side)
  3. île de Zeus, Astrapi Hotel de Ville, January 620 "For the will of our blessed King, under the eyes of the Almighty Gods and of our whole Nation; for your service to the Homeland in peace and in war and for the ancient name of your family; for your bravery, virtue and devotion; you, Tristan of the House of Rimbaud, are awarded the title of Count of Astrapi. You receive all the honours and the duties of your new rank alongside, with all the presents as witnesses. May you bring glory to our Nation, and may the Gods enlighten your path!" Tristan remained unmoved and impassive, as required by the protocol. Anyways, he could almost see the faces of the few noblemen attending the ceremony. He had received the title months before, via letter, for his actions during the dark happenings on Fatu Hiva… a little, but scorching victory against the members of the old aristocracy who always despised him for his low social standing: men with more titles than merits, useless cowards with brave ancestors, who never moved an inch in their life. Tristan knew that many of those men wanted him to be hanged as a traitor for his long permanence in Charlatan Bay: those idiots would have preferred the complete massacre of the Oleander contingent to a victory of a man coming from the ranks of low nobility. Now they would have been forced to greet him with respect, a bitter pill to swallow… Tristan wouldn't have let them forget about that too easily! Fortunately, however, most of Oleander noblemen, and almost all the ones in a relevant position, were different from the inflated balloons behind him. So, instead of facing a firing squad, Tristan was receiving a high decoration in front of the garrison and of a couple of people consumed by rage. "Moreover, for your acts of valour in our colonies and in foreign land, you are awarded the Medal of the Two Swords of class 1 for bravery on the fields of battle and you are promoted to the rank of Regiment General of Oleander army. Bring glory to our Nation, and lead our soldiers to victory!" In foreign land… nobody openly admitted that Tristan had fought for almost two years in a pirate settlement, to restore a pirate government on a pirate island! Tristan sometimes had doubts about his campaign in Charlatan Bay, but he was quite sure that any alternative would have been worse. At least, Acropolis and Astrapi were still standing, and his friend firmly ruled Infero Pordejon. After the ceremony, Tristan was approached by a man in a black uniform, who had remained on the sidelines up to that moment. "Monsieur Rimbaud, strongly felt congratulations for your promotion. Titles, however, are just a mere facade… the real congratulations are for the way you ran a military campaign in hostile territory, against superior forces and with very little support. You could turn foes into friends, destroy the support of the population for the rebels, take the strategic points… my superiors want to talk you about this. We foresee winds of war in the East, with the increased hostility between Corlanders and Lotii. We fear that things will be dirty and irregular, and we think that you and your men could be useful." Tristan followed the man towards the garrison headquarters. So soon… he had arrived in Astrapi only two weeks before, and he already had to leave. It was time to unsheathe the sword again. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- My character had received the promotion to Count months ago, but I could never build a proper response. With this build, I want to make that (and the new promotion to Regiment General) official.
  4. Fort in Astrapi, Île de Zeus This is my entry for Challenge II - Defending Yer Claims, category A. On Île de Zeus, which has recently been incorporated into the empire of Oleon, Oleander military engineers have been busy erecting defensive structures. They are designed to be suitable both against any hostile natives and to defend the island from other nations if the political tensions should turn into open war. This small fort is built using resources which can be found in great abundance on the island, namely wood and sand. The slope of the walls increase their effective cross-section to provide additional protection of the rooms inside and the sand provides excellent ballistic protection (compare with modern-day sand bags). The fort is of course not built to withstand a prolonged siege, but it’s heavy cannons and high elevation should be able to put up a good resistance against any of the smaller vessels still predominant in the waters of New Terra. The three cannons can be directed in all directions from the fort, and a soldier in the high lookout tower can spot approaching ships better than lookouts on higher ground on the island, since the peaks are most often shrouded in clouds while the land closer to the beaches is more likely to have good sight of the seas. A lot of weird angles in this build and quite a few iterations to get things the way I wanted, but I'm fairly happy with the end result. The gate is on the other side if someone wonders, but in the rush to complete this it didn’t turn out well enough to merit a picture... I tried a new black background for this photo session, which I think worked ok except for that the contrast to the black roof wasn't very good... I also tried some different lighting with another flash from above, to simulate sunlight. What do you think of that?
  5. Start point: Astrapi, Île Zeus Adventure Purpose: To find the weapon of the gods! Troops: 10 from @Phred, 10 from @Keymonus Coffers: 100 Dbs Characters: Padre François Monsieur Gallo "Juggernaught" Jones (@blackdeathgr) (This is a solo effort rather than a collab build, I'm just borrowing some resources from my countrymen). First meeting of the Astrapi Collective Diocesan Council by Ross Fisher, on Flickr Minutes, first meeting of the Astrapi Collective Diocesan Council, taken by Monsieur Gallo, a notary. Meeting held in the function room of the Astrapi Inn. In attendance: Padre François, priest of Hades, Renè Duchamp , on behalf of Tristan Ribaud, "Juggernaut" Jones, on behalf of Hugo d'Offren , Sergeant Carel, of the Astrapi guard, Brother Aquila, a monk of the Temple of Zeus, and agent of the Padre. Items of business: 1. Pact of Secrecy - queried by Monsieur Jones, but confirmed by Brother Aquila. If he is correct, the Temple of Zeus would be keen to thwart this venture. All parties agreed to the pact, ratified by signature, witnessed by Monsieur Gallo. 2. Main item. Padre François proposed to lead an expedition to recover the weapon of Zeus that is believed to have landed on the island. Brother Aquila confirmed fears about the Temple of Zeus. All other parties expressed interest. 3. Padre François invited all parties to join the venture on behalf of their masters, promising significant rewards both financial and spiritual. 4. Monsieur Jones volunteered his services as a pioneer and soldier of fortune. Monsieur Duchamp demurred, but volunteered a platoon of d'Offren troops to support the expedition. Sergeant Carel volunteered his own platoon of Astrapi guards. This was queried by Monsieur Duchamp - it would leave one fort unguarded. However, it was agreed that Padre François' personal bodyguard would remain at the fort to provide a semblance of a presence. Brother Aquila also demurred on the basis that his absence from the Temple would likely be noticed, and could not easily be explained. 5. In light of this, Monsieur Jones was appointed the military commander of the expedition, while Padre François would be it's spiritual guide and overall leader. Monsieur Duchamp would be the point-of-liaison in Astrapi, while Brother Aquila would keep an eye on events in the Temple, and pass any notable information on. Other responsibilities were divided up, and a start date was agreed. 6. The venture was launched with a toast. 7. Further oaths of secrecy were given before the meeting was adjourned. Aaaaand here's a video to get you in the mood:
  6. Keymonus

    The foundry

    Astrapi, August 618, halfway between the city and the mine "Good morning monsieur Duchamp, I am honored by your presence here. As you can see, the foundry is now fully operative, and we estimate the costs will be completely refunded in a couple of months". "The honor is mine, director, you've done an admirable work!" Replied Renè Duchamp. Director's prediction was a bit too optimistic, but how to blame his enthusiasm? They had been just a step before complete failure, the investors were discouraged and only his own reassurance to creditors, Tristan's perseverance and the director's skills saved House Rimbaud's investment on Astrapi silver. Everything about that damned silver has resulted harder than expected, with the ore in an impervious area, water infiltrations in the tunnels, the employment of an half of the labour force in the construction of the Arsenal and, last but not least, copper in the silver veins, just enough to make conventional smelting process almost useless. "As you can see, we are receiving in this very moment some partially refined silver from the mine... it is smelted there, but that doesn't remove copper. The cargos are delivered to the pier using small boats or bigger barges" "What are those men doing?" Asked Duchamp, curious. "They are numbering and date-stamping the barrels. Since their content comes from the same area of the mine, we will assay only some of them for copper amount, and mixing them up wouldbe a problem" "And here you can see the beast -continued the director- the heart of the foundry. This is our cupellation furnace, eating coal and pooping fine silver... I am sorry sir, forgive my rudeness." "No problem, Director, it is no trouble at all. Please, go on: how does your famous furnace work?" "How I was saying, sir, it is a cupellation furnace, not a great innovation, but the first one in the New Worl; as the name suggests, it contains one or more "cups", bowls of calcareus sand. The smelted silver from the mine is loaded in the furnace together with a calculated amount of lead. When the metal melts, we open the hatch, and the strong air flow oxidise lead to litharge, that sinks through silver and is absorbed by the sand, dragging copper away. Copper oxidises too, but without the lead movement it would remain mixed with silver." "Lead... that's why you need so much lead! It's not easy bring it to the foundry!" "I know, monsieur, and for this reason we have a good stock of both lead and coal. My men are bringing lead ingots inside the warehouse, a hard job, I do not envy them at all" "There we also store the barrels of raw silver, ready for refination" "Please, monsieur, come with me in the building behind us. As you can see there are a little furnace, used to assay raw silver, and what's needed to verify weight and size of silver ingots and to mark them." "Good morning guys. Thank you for the tour, Director. I only have a question: what is that yellow powderon the table?" "An easy question, monsieur. It is solid litharge, that is lead oxide. We usually sell some of it to local painters, who use it as yellow pigment." The facade of the building An overall view
  7. The increase of maritime commerce in the area and the development of minerary activities on île de Zeus are transforming the once marginal city of Astrapi in a higly populated and lively colony. One of the most evident sign of this change is the growth of the market, held twice a week by arisans, farmers and merchants: where a year ago you would have found only a couple of rough stalls, fresh fruit and some fish, now you can see, all around the main square, a number of well refined stalls, covered with colorful cloths and selling almost any good cultivated, crafted or woven in the archipelago. Here you can see a man selling wines and liquors produced in Breshaun... ...a greengrocer showing a pineapple, a quite expensive delicacy since there is only one large-scale plantation of this tropical fruit in the area... ...a local fisherman... ...a cart with fresh bread and sacks of hardtacks from a near bakery... ...a foreign food seller, with his embers-heated rotating meat (inspired to @Legostone's one), typical of Southern Oleon... ...and a strange man selling strange maps, showing (as he says) "the routes towards the golden kingdoms of the South". An overall view:
  8. After a long interruption due to technical problems and to the employement of many Astrapians in the building of the Royal Arsenal, rhe silver mine was finally completed. As expected, silver nuggets were just a minimal part of the lore: silver was mainly conteined in galena veins, foremd by a mix of lead, sulfur, silver, copper, zinc and pyrite, and required additional refining steps. A series of meandering tunnels was excavated, following the richest veins: the rocks were slowly crumbled with hammers and pickaxes, metre after metre, digging deeper and deeper into the bowels of the island. The rock fragments were then brought with panniers to a mine cart and then pushed outside, ready for the refining furnaces. Mining is surely one of the hardest and most dangerous jobs in the New World, but the pay is accettable and the ones who leave, for example to take to the sea, are easily replaced by someone desperate enough. Sometimes the miners daydream about finding the legendary Zeus' artifact hidden, according to the legends on (or maybe below) the island, soon after the fall of the Empire... They dream about finding, beyond one last rock wall, a long forgotten tunnel, maybe a walled door... ...and, overcome this last obstacle, finally finding an underground temple. According to the legends, the ancient artifact, the Bolt, was hidden centuries ago on an island beyond the sea, considered, until the discovery of the New World, a mere myth; it was walled in a small temple, almost impossible to find, together with a sentinel, large food and water supply for him and (for many the most interesting part) a fabolous treasure. Unfortunately this is nothing but a nice legend, and probably the artifact does not exist at all, but who knows... dreaming costs nothing!
  9. Astrapi,an evening at the beginning of March 618. Immediately before the changing of the guard, an allarm was sound: the hour was perfect for a raid into the military port, with the tired gunners blinded by the low sun... or at least it's what an invader usually thinks. The Oleanders moved quickly, lead by their Gunnery Officer: the 36 pounder cannons were loaded and fired aganist their targets. Meanwhile, volleys Congreve Rockets were shot from the towers of the fort, laying down a heavy barrage fire. This modern weapon, extensively tested by Corrington and Oleon, can easily set ablaze sails and riggings... a terrible danger for a wooden ship! A Hades of fire and iron was falling on the raiding fleet, the fearsome squadron... ...led by Admiral Jimmy, as the puppet on the first target boat was called by the gunners. "Bob and Billy are burning, Sir, and James has just been hit by a cannonball!" Exclaimed the officer "Only Jimmy would have survived to the first volley, and we are not even using wall muskets". "Well done, Lieutenant! Your men are perfectly operative even if we made them exercise at the end of their shift." Replied Captain Rimbaud "And what we have seen right now is only a part of the defensive system... What about the chain?" "As you can see, Sir, it has already been laid down. It is raised and lowered twice a day, according to the tide, and obvioulsy whenever our ships enter or leave the bay. To avoid accidents in case of low visibility the chain was marked with yellow bouys, but in case of fog we will also use longboats and light signals. In case of attack, the defensive chain would probably block the enemy ships under our fire, but with a bit of luck it could also cut like a blade the hull of smaller ships: only a large battleship at full speed could break the barrier, but not without being severly damaged." An inspection of the armory A soldier wrapping gunpouder cartouches for the cannons Additional pictures: An overall view:
  10. Entering the port of the Royal Arsenal of Astrapi, it's hard to believe that only few months ago it was only a secluded bay, a safe place to shelter fishing boats from storms but not deep enough to host anything bigger than a corvette: the new military port, in fact, was built by the hard work of Oleander diggers and engeneers. The first challenge was the laying of a double palisade across the entrance of the bay, about 400 metres wide; the barrier was strengthened with earth, sand and rocks coming from the foundation works of the Arsenal itself. The poles forming the dam were deeply plunged into the sea bottom using a pile driver mounted on a boat: an heavy block of rock is lifted using a crane and then violently dropped on the pole, hammering it in the sand; a ballast of stones, on the back, prevents the boat from capsizing. Meanwile, a group of "volounteers" is digging along the coastline in order to expose the solid rock below: soon a little fort will be built there that, with his twin on the other side of the bay, will welcome any unexpecte visitor with 36-pounder greetings. The "volounteers" are actually former pirates nicely host by Astrapi jail, who were given a chance to shorten their conviction or avoid the gallows; their work is hard, but they receive decent food, fresh water and can see the sunlight. A group of Astrapi inhabitants is removing some bush: a temporary road will be cut across the thicket in order to allow an easy arrival from Astrapi for the hundred of men that will be employed soon and for the building materials. An overall view The pile driver again A coplue of volounteers Some other pics of the building site This is the first of a series of three builds. I tried to depict the same area at the beginning (here), at about an half and at the end of the works. No pirate was badly hurt during the process.
  11. After a hard work the dam was completed, but this was only the first step towards the new military port: dozens of unusual cranes (usually called "giraffes") were built along the barrier and, manouvred day and night by hundreds of labourers started emptying the bay. At a conceptual level, transferring a single bucket of water from the bay to the open sea or repeat the operation ten or five thousand times is not different: it's only a matter of resources, logistics and manpower; continuously working for a couple of months, the groups of workers (convicts, Astrapians and laborers from all the New World) emptied the bay, reaching the muddy seabed. The dam was then reinforced with beams from inside, to prevent it collapsing due to the terrible pressure from outside. Even if the giraffes egregiously did their job, a significant was given by a series of endless screws, simple (and quite fragile) machines capable of lifting huge volumes of water with a minimum effort; they were useful in particular when the bay was almost dry, to complete the job and control infiltrations along the dam. Here you can see how the port was actually realised: hundreds of tons of mud, sand and rocks, accumulated by tides and rivers during the last centuries, were gradually removed with showels and cases by convicts (with red clothes) and salaried labourers. When full, the cases were lifted to the top of the cliff using winches and wooden rails: the resulting materials were then carried away with wagons along a temporary road and used to pave streets or build new piers in different areas of the island. A little ceremony was held at the top of the cliff: celebrating a tradition older than the Faith itself the Master Builder made a short propitiatory speech near to the cornerstone of the future fort. This stone, influencing the direction, precision and stability of the foundation, has always had a strong symbolical value: the future of the new building relies on it's stability and, since the cornerstone can only be exposed by the complete distruction of the overlying building, an offer to the gods of the Underword (Hades in particular) is usually made. As usual, the cornerstone of the fort contained a little space for the ritual offers: a golden figurine of Hades, a doubloon minted during the year, sometimes a message for the future Oleanders; the cover was then sealed forever with mortar and, since that very moment the new fort became something more than a mere project. Tristan Rimbaud, one of the promoters (and financers) of the Royal Arsenal congratulated with the Master Builder: the build was perfectly on time, and the bright, glorious future for Astrapi was a little nearer. An overall view: Other pictures: The men manouvring one of the winches
  12. This topic serves as the master index for L'Arsenal Royal d'Astrapi - The Royal Arsenal of Astrapi. All relevant builds are listed below. Please direct comments on individual builds to their respective topics. Bodi Military Academy Gun Carriage Workshop Keymonus: The entrance of the harbor Emptying the sea with a bucket The beginning of the works merc Eastern gatehouse Gun range Hospital of Asclepius at Astrapi Blackdeathgr: Parade Ground Dukesc Barracks robinnilsson403 Cannonball foundry Here is the original request for builders. L'Arsenal Royal d'Astrapi - The Royal Arsenal of Astrapi His Majesty is concerned that the speed as which Oleon's colonies in New Terra develop does not reflect their rapidly growing importance for the realm. Especially Astrapi is turning into a port of great value with growing convoy traffic each month. However, infrastructure and economic capacities are not keeping up, limiting not only our merchants profits but even more importantly our military presence in the region as well. To correct this situation, His Majesty has ordered the Royal Office of the Colonies to issue a development plan for Oleon's overseas possessions. The first project to be realized is the establishment of a Royal Arsenal in Astrapi. Details: this is a building collab aiming at the creation of a royal sized factory to be owned by Oleon (see the Royal Mint and Château Richemont for previous Oleon collabs) the collab is to be completed by the end of the year the build itself will encompass a number of MOCs to match the necessary footprint of 10.000 studs this program is open to all Oleanders builders can take inspiration from suggested parts below, or - after consultation with OL leadership - build what they seem fits best suggested parts: (cannon/anchor) foundry, carriage factory, barracks, officer academy, storage, barracks, ammunition factory, armory, powder mill, parade ground, (entrance) gate house the arsenal will be expanded in the future, naval installations will follow for more background on a real life arsenal, see for example the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, GB as a reward for participation in this building program, all participants will be paid twice the value of what their contribution would be worth as a license (small, medium, large properties) in addition, all participants that take part in two royal building programs will be dubbed Knight of the Royal Order of Saint Arltrees. Past participation (Royal Mint, Château Richemont) does count. it should go without notice that contributing to Oleon's growth and fame is every of His Majesty's loyal subjects' duty! Note that royal properties are held to high standards. As such, if you plan on joining this collab, be prepared to put forth your best effort. Building advice will of course be provided in the process. Berart Mazan Duc de Boussac, Secrétaire d’État des Colonies, Grand Officier de l’Ordre Royal de Saint-Arltrees Granoleon, Nov. 11th, 617AE Vive le Roi!
  13. The recent construction of Royal Arsenal of Astrapi has attracted more people from the old world to move to New Terra. The new-comers are full of spirit, for example, this young couple has opened a candy shop in the vicinity of the Arsenal, their patisserie is a great recomfort to the young cadets and soldiers who are thousands of miles away from their homeland. C&C are welcome!
  14. Keymonus

    Minerary Office

    Even if Astrapi silver lore promises to be incredibly rich, the excavation of the mine is taking longer than expected due to continuous water damages: usual mining techniques seem to be uneffective and traditional water pumps are completely powerless aganist the flow of water and mud invading new tunnels. For this reason Tristan Ribaud, the owner of the mining area, decided to organise in the offices in the future mine a meeting with representatives of several foreign nations, in order to promote technological exchange in minerary field, but also to extabilish new routes to unusual commercial partners. Samples of raw minerals and refined silver from the lore are displayed as partial guarantee of Astrapi underground riches, but the most valuable "goods" exchanged in this meeting are engeering solutions in mining business: infrastructures like Ribaud Canal, water pumps in Varcoastan mines, Maharajah's Foundry in Northern Mokolei Empire, or innovative techniques, like the "oculate use" of explosives in Argentia prospects, in fact, could be adapted to different conditions, terrains and enviroments in order tosolve problems, increase productivity and reduce material, but also human costs. The meeting was friendly, and a treaty for future technological cooperation was signed: with a bit of luck, Astrapi silver mine, but also different projects in foreign countries will soon be completed, overcoming obstacles that seemed insurmontable before. Political issues and reciprocal mistrust, however, will make everything harder, since a richer nation (and a nation with better mines is obviously richer) can afford a stronger army and could eventually invade its same helper! From left to right: Salleekan ambassador, a WTC representative, Tristan Rimbaud (from Oleon), a Mololei vassal and a Varcoastan officer. Vincent Leroy, designer of Rimbaud Canal, talking to a Mokolei vassal (with his bodyguard). Tristan Rimbaud with the Varcoastan and WTC representatives. A WTC marine and a Varcoastan pandur near to a cabinet of fine liquors... probably something dangerous! A cartographer presenting his job about Ribaud Canal. A miner receiving his salary. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- @Mesabi, I just realised that a treaty signed is probably more official than what we had agreed about, even if it won't have any real implication... actually I needed a reason to justify the presence of so many foreigners and why I'm so late building my mine; feel free to ask me to modify/delete something. I think there are no problems with the other nations involved, since most of them are not "in use" and, as I said, the treaty doesn't have any practical purpose; if it's a problem for somebody or for the rules, I'll modify that immediately.
  15. Keymonus

    Rimbaud Canal

    After the discovery of a rich silver lore in Astrapi countryside, the House of Rimbaud decided to invest in mining activities on the island. The lack of infrastructures, however, represented a huge obstacle, since building materials, equipment and supplies had to be transported on mules along a difficult path in the jungle; moreover, River of the True Faith flows near to the minerary area, but a series of rapids makes the area virtually unreachable by boat. To solve the problem and allow a faster development of the extractive activities, a small tributary of the River was diverted and channeled in a system of locks: in this way a boat (with its valuable load) can litteraly climb the great difference in height, reaching the calm flow upstream. When a boat enters the lower basin, the rear lock is closed and the water level rises, reaching the level of the upper basin... ...the front lock is then opened, and the boat can move forward to the next couple of locks. A road was built along the river: even if it's too narrow for carts and wagons, it is useful for workhorses when the load (for example machinery or building materials) is too heavy for oars. Inns and livery stables were also built at a regular distance along the canal, allowing an efficent messanger service and providing a place to rest for travelers and for the men operating the locks. This ingenious infrastructure, allowing a fast flow of goods and news (even in the opposite direction, progressively lowering the water level), represents a vital artery connecting the (still unexisting, but be faithful ) minerary district with Astrapi urban area and will probably be crucial in further development of the island. An overview of the building (two basins, the road, a tavern and a stable) A couple of soldiers checking a boatman's licence to use the locks The tavern Another view of the tavern; the man on the right is a cartographer drawing Rimbaud Canal layout A messanger changing his horse at the livery A view of the locks; an hydrometer can be seen on the left. Another view of the locks
  16. Keymonus

    Old memories

    "As I told you few hours ago, I have something interesting to recount about the letter I received. It contains nothing more than a date and a location, both written in a Varcoastan military code; the lack of any further detail confirms for me that my old comrade, as is defines himself, is in serious troubles and feared that his message could have been intercepted. For this reason, since Le Phénix is already ready for the voyage, I'll leave Astrapi with the morning tide and get to Eltina as soon as possible. For this reason, Renè, you have to manage my estate here in Astrapi for a while." "Is there such a rush, monsieur Rimbaud?" "My honour depends on it" replied Tristan seriosly "But you will shortly understand. As you know, I started my career on the Western Border, fighting bandits and marauders coming from Pontilla. Ten years ago, when I was a young lieutenant,I received my first serious task: the armies of the Great Raider got close to Pontillan border during their continuous war aganist The Great Alliance States and for this reason an Oleander and Varcoastan joint force was formed, and I was in charge of our battalion; it was more a symbolic gesture than a real help, since at the time incursions towards East were quite common and Pontilla had never been really endangered, but that time was different..." "The Great Raider declared war on Pontilla, Captain?" "Yes, Sergeant Dubois... in a sense, the Great Raider was already at war with Pontilla, since his kingdom is always at war with his neighbours. I'll be clearer: their society is basically divided in three classes. The first is composed by the knights, who own nothing but their weapons and their horses, but are allowed to take whatever they want whenever they want." "The second class is formed by plunderers and mercenaries, whose fate depends on the warlord they serve and follow during forays." "The third class is made up of farmers, artisans, peasants and so on... they spend their whole life working and wishing not to starve after their village has been plundered by their lords." "You can imagine that this kind of society completely ignores borders and is based upon perennial war." Captain Rimbaud continued: "As I was saying, when we arrived in Pontilla the disaster had just happened: after a couple of little skirmishes, the army of our allies had been directly engaged and totally destroyed by those barbarians... Western Pontilla was already on fire, and the undefended towns of the East would soon have been devastated. Alexander Braun -the commander of Varcoastan forces- and I had to act quickly, without waiting for orders: we decided to move as west as we could and we entrenched ourselves in the ruins of an ancient castle." "But you only had few hundred soldiers..." "Four hundred, to be exact. It was quite a suicidal move, but we had to allow the evacuation of civilians towards Oleander border: every day we had gained would have reduced the massacre; we knew, however, that there was no way out for us." "It was a terrible battle... there were twelve enemies for each of us, but many of them didn't use firearms and their strong cavalry was useless aganist our barricades; our brave soldiers suffered severe losses, but didn't withdraw of a footstep. The enemy commanders were furious: behind us they could almost see the rich Pontillan countyside, but simply could not pass without overwhelming us... and we resisted with nails and teeth for five days, using flintlocks and swords." "And how did you survive, monsieur Rimbaud?" "We were very lucky: on the sixth day we had almost finished our gunpowder and we were waiting for the decisive assault, but it simply didn't come... an army coming from The States of the Great Alleance wedged itself between our enemies and their territories, the oppressed peasants rose up and the front moved hundred miles west. Not to be locked out, the raiders withdrew with haste, abandoning their camp with prisoners and most of the loot... What a great day!" With a half smile, Tristan continued: "After five days of uninterrupted fight, Alexander and I had become brothers rather than simple comrades. We both promised to come without hesitation to assist the other in case of need, but also not to be too proud to forget asking for help. You can understand, my friends, that I have to hurry up... the letter I received is a serious call for help and is at least two weeks old."
  17. "This is the biggest nugget we have found till now!" uttered the silver seeker "And we will find bigger ones! We are all rich!" A group of adventurers left Astrapi two weeks ago and decided to get up River of True Faith, looking for valuable minerals. Along the bank of the lesser tributary, they saw "silver nuggets" (they believe) shining among the rocks... elated, they decided to build a little hut for tools and supplies and to collect as many nuggets as they could before returning in town, where they will squander all their earnings in rhum and (utterly drunk ) look for a financier to start a real mine. Unfortunately for the seekers, some silver nuggets (even if they are really silver) don't actually mean that the surrounding hills contain a huge silver lode... but who knows what an accurate geological survey will find! PS This is my MOC of a mine prospect on île de Zeus... does somebody know which form I have to fill now to pay the 25 DBs and discover what my men found? Thank you!!!
  18. In Astrapi was recently opened the new Commercial Bureau. This little building, situated in the port quarter of the town, represents the heart of all the trades from and to the island. Here, in fact, goods are weighed by an impartial functionary and honest prices are defined for what will be distributed in stores or exported on other islands; the functionary is also responsible for the sample of Imperial Pound kept in the Bureau as guarantee of absolute accuracy. This building, moreover, represents a fundamental meetig point for merchants looking for or trying to sell something (in this case, barrels of spices), asking for information about the most lucrative trades or needing armed escort for their ships. Without minifigures The pieces of furniture
  19. "All right René, I owe you a bottle of Corlander Brandy... Now you can tell me how you "guessed" that our soldiers would have landed this afternoon?" "Ahaha, you are quite philosophical about your defeat in our honest bet! This morning Le Phénix, the ship carrying the men you recruited, was spotted by the fishing vessel Trident, fifty miles north of the island: considering the different speed of the ships I could easily talk with the capitain of the latter and then arrange our little gamble right before our ship could be seen from the harbour. Knowledge is power, and sometimes also ensures a bottle of fine brandy!" Renè Duchamp, quite amused, continued "Coming back to important issues, I already estabilished provisioning and accomodation for our soldier. The upkeep costs, considering wage, food, clothes and weapons, will surely reduce our monthly balance, but honestly an additional platoon in Astrapi definitely reassures me... Maybe our investment won't end with a great fire and sharp blades among our ribs." "Your optimism moves me, can I borrow your handkerchief?" Joked Tristan Rimbaud "This time, however, you are right. Mardier is defeated but not broke, and soon they could begin a guerrilla-like campaign aganist Eslandola; a considerable number of privateers and mercenaries, however, will soon be fired and, together with deserters and adventurers, will begin to sail under a black flag. The Greens and the Corries were ready to bite each other's throat for a bunch of ruins and, on a good pretext, they would really do it... only Zeus knows what could happen then! Difficult times are certainly ahead, my friend, and ten good rifles will discourage unwelcome visitors." "Finally we will also receive fresh news from the West. I don't miss gossip about the court at all, but it's always nice to hear something from our old, civilised world, not to mention trends and rumors about colonial goods. The new Commercial Bureau here in the port will improve direct trades between Astrapi and Granoleon, but we have to invest into the right wares to ensure prosperty to our town." "Exactly, Renè. For this reason I asked Sergeant Dubois, the officer in charge, to collect as much information as possible about price changes, shortage of goods and willingness of bankers and aristocrats to invest in different businesses. If we make a bad move now, Île de Zeus will remain a minor and forgotten colony; if we make the right one, it will become the centre of the commercial routes in the archipelago." "Welcome in Astrapi, Sergeant. Did you have a smooth journey?" "Thank you, Sir. Our journey was quite smooth, we only met a couple of pirate sambuke near to Southern Oleon but they vaniquished when they saw our cannons; moreover, we picked up tailwind most of the time and didn't encounter any storm. Le Phénix is an excellent ship, and proved it during the crossing." "And what about the information I asked?" "I talked with merchants and factory owners in Granoleon and wrote a detailed report. My opinion is that, excluding a little group of old conservatives, most wealthy people in Oleon are still interested in colonial investments, in particular the ones concerning spices and sugar cane. Furthermore, Sir, I was given a letter for you: it comes from "your old comrade", the man who delivered it said so, and told that you would have understood; he seemed very circumspect and had a strong Varcoastan accent, but I couldn't guess anything more." "As the messanger told you, I understood, and it concerns a promise I made years ago... It is quite an interesting story, what about discussing it in front of a bottle of Corlander Brandy? I know someone who has just won one of that and is eager to share it with his friends..." "It seems fair, even if eager is not the best word" "Agreed, Sir! And, incidentally, this is one of the reasons why I missed you, Captain. Oh, I almost forgot: an army surgeon, Doctor Marcel Laurent, joined us. He has already been in the New World and is considered a specialist in tropical diseases. In a couple of week he will be reached by his assistant carrying surgical insruments and other stuff. He asked for a building to start a little clinic." Credit Captain Braunsfeld for the bridge
  20. "As you required in your letter, Monsieur Rimbaud, I invested the sum you sent in this powder mill. The property of your brimstone quarry outside the town provides us a regular flow of the most expensive raw material and, even if we still have to import saltpeter and coal, the profit margin is extremely good. Moreover, to avoid dangerous sabotages, I required a continuous watch." "You have been prudent as usual, Renè. We produce gunpowder in the New World, without additional import cost... that means more and cheaper gunpowder for our navy, and someone will probably be disappointed. Nevertheless, I think that our enemies will not dare directly attack us here... we should provide a small escort to the shipments of raw materials too. And what about water?" "The water we need comes from River of the True Faith so, except during severe droughts, the mill will keep working. But..." "But?" "Monsieur Rimbaud, I've been loyal to your family since before you were born, so I'll take the liberty of being completely frank: are you sure that investing in Astrapi, a relatively insignificant colony hundreds of miles far from our motherland, is a good idea?" "I understand your doubts, old friend of mine: you fear I will waste all my holdings on a godsforsaken island... but don't worry, I'm not looking forward to going broke: Astrapi is in a strategic position and, if the settlement grows, will become a fundamental resupply place for Oleander fleets east of Breshau, so I'm sure that my bet will soon be rewarded. Now, what about visiting the interior?" Here is were gunpowder is produced: sulphur, saltpeter and coal are grinded together by the heavy millstone; the powder obtained is then sifted and stored in barrels, wet with alchool to minimize the risk of explosion. Proportion of the three components and dimension of powder grains define the explosive power of the powder (the smaller, the stronger); the back wall seems so unstable because actually it is: in case of explosion it would direct the explosion towards an uninhabited area (in this case the river).
  21. Sulfur has been used for centuries in several sectors: while alchemists consider it (together with mercury and salt) one of the "primordial essences" constituing matter, physicians use sulfur in skin treatment and to prevent the spreading of contagious diseases (i.e. disinfecting a room by fumigation); modern science, additionally, is discovering more and more possible uses of this element in industrial processes. What makes brimstone extraction a real paramount, however, is gunpowder production; coal and saltpeter can be produced (even if the latter requires long and complex procedures), but sulfur can be obtained only digging it in volcanic areas: for this reason large deposits represent one of the most precious and fiercely disputed mineral resources; up until now, in the New World, no real brimstone lore has already been discovered and most of the gunpowder is still imported from the motherland. In the uninhabited interior of Île de Zeus, in a rocky area near to Astrapi, an explorative expedition recently found a volcanic cliff with deep cracks and fumaroles: some of them developed wide sulfur encrustations that can be exploited (even if on a limited scale). Hammering sulfur concrections on a rickety footbridge, clinging to the rocks among suffocating fumes, is probably one of the most dangerous occupations, significantly more than working in the mines but, since the pay is relatively good, it's not hard to find someone mad enough to take this job. Rock scraps are later lifted (using a rudimental crane) to the top of the cliff, where they are put in barrels ready to be sent to Astrapi: there sulfur will be grinded, refined and converted into "the finest gunpowder of the New World", as the manufacturers say. The largest and purest sulfur crystals are accurately selected and packed directly in the extraction site: bought at a high price by chemists and alchemists, they ensure an additional (and considerable) profit margin. To be licensed as a small factory; this building is freely based on Cortes expedition to Popocatepetl crater (conquistadores needed gunpowder for their cannons). C&C are obviously welcome
  22. Astrapi continues to grow in size. This small warehouse includes the wares of recent trade vessels. Thanks for looking.