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Ice, probably the weirdest good ever traded after the discovery of the New World: worthless for the ones who own it, but impossible to buy, no matter how rich they are, for the ones who don't have it. Nevertheless, frozen water is a quite useful commodity: ice and snow, stored in dedicated cellars during winter, have been used for centuries by the Halosians for the most different purposes, from preserving perishable foods to preparing slush and ice creams, from providing relief to the feverish people to cooling the drinks of the wealthiest nobles. Storing clean snow in a ice house. This is a common winter activity in the Old World, especially in Northern regions. All the ones who moved in the New World, however, had to reconcile themselves with a simple fact: the temperate weather of their motherlands is one thousand miles away, and here in the archipelago you can't collect snow and keep it for the summer, since there is no snow to collect. And, in the scorching summer of Breshaun, under the sun of Mesabi Landing or in the sultriness of Pontelli, you have no way to keep fish or meat eatable for more than a couple of days, unless you cover them with salt, or to drink something cold, unless you have the stomach to add some saltpetre to your grog. Starting from this problem, Charles Lautrec, an Oleander merchant, decided to start a new business, something never seen before: collect ice in Altonia, during winter, store it in insulated warehouses and then ship it to the archipelago. Charles Lautrec, the Ice King The first voyage was a complete failure, the cargo melted and monsieur Lautrec almost bankrupted. His enterprise, considered by most a complete insanity, was noticed by the René Duchamp, the financial administrator of Rimbaud family, who decided to finance the ambitious project: delivering ice to tropical islands. Huge profits are ahead for Charles Lautrec (the Ice King as people nickname him), for his supporters, and for anyone crazy enough to follow their business. (placeholder => ice cutting in Altonia) --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Category A: Icehouses and warehouses Before ice can be delivered to a settlement, a dedicated infrastructure must be built: otherwise, ice would melt in less than a day. If you want to see ice in your settlement and keep it for more than a few hours, a storing place, owned by Rimbaud Family, must be present. Aim: build an icehouse, an insulated warehouse or something similar in your settlement. Requirements: it must be licensable as a small or medium build. Rimbaud Family (me) will buy it for twice its licensing cost and license the property. Gain for the participants: Twice the licensing cost of the build you submit. Opening a settlement for Cat B builds. Deadline: TBD, according to the participation. Prize for the winners: 1st 50Db+ 25% of the revenues for Cat A properties (for 4 MRCA turns); 2nd 25Db+ 15% of revenues (4 MRCA turns); 3rd 20Db+ 10% of revenues (4 MRCA turns). Winners decided with public voting; I will build something in Cat A but I will not enter the challenge (my builds will open settlements to Cat B, but will not enter the competition). Category B: Fresh fish and cold wine Now your settlement receives its monthly supply of ice. What to do with it, is completely up to you: build a super expensive ice statue to impress your guests, drink something cold, sell ice cream or slush (in Italy it was done since the Middle Age, using snow from Alps and Mount Etna), preserve fish or even try to send tropical fruit back to the motherland. Aim: use your fantasy and build something (more or less historically accurate/possible). It can be a commercial activity, a private use of ice or something different. Requirements: you don't have necessarily to build something in category A, but you can build only in settlements hosting a category A build or in Eltina (see later). The property can be licensed or not; if you don't want to license it, Rimbaud family will gladly buy it at 1.5 the licensing cost. EDIT: You can also build something not licensable in EGS terms. EDIT: You can also participate building in Altonia, provided that you build appropriate steps of the trade (ice cutting, the loading in ships, the transport to the port… or something similar) Gain for the participants: in this case, nothing but the possibility to build something unusual. Your faction or individual players, however, may decide to offer incentives for builds in specific settlements. Deadline: TBD, according to the participation. Prize for the winners: 1st 100Db; 2nd 50Db; 3rd 40Db. Winners decided with public voting; I will build something in Cat A but I will not enter the challenge (my builds will open settlements to Cat B, but will not enter the competition). Category C: Eltina Royal Project While ice trade is moving its first steps in the archipelago, the aristocrats and merchants of Eltina decided to finance something bigger, both for prestige and for economical reason. Eltina Ice House will provide all the ice needed by the elites, but will also allow the storage and preservation of valuable goods, in particular tropical fruit, imported cheese and fresh meat. Ice will also allow a more efficient brewing process for beverages usually requiring cold winter months for their production. Aim: building a Royal Commercial Property in Eltina, starting from the unloading and the transport of the ice, continuing with its storage, and ending with its uses, in particular to preserve goods. Requirements: The quality needed for Royal Builds, and some coordination with the others to reduce overlapping (for example, two ice houses would be useful, but showing storage of fruit in all the builds would be a little boring) Gain for the participants: Honor and glory: you are contributing to the glory of Oleon, our homeland won't forget your dedication. Each participant, moreover, will receive a flat of 50Db for each entry exceeding 1000 square studs (consider about 32x32 as reference, but also 950 studs will be fine; the cut-off is only to have an easier calculation of the overall size). Deadline: The completion of the project Prize for the winners: No winners for this category. If the build is completed and approved, each participant will receive an extra prize of 25Db. EDIT: Post your entries directly in this thread. Please specify the settlement and the EGS class. This mini-challenge is funded and organized by the Rimbaud family (that means with my personal funds), so I can't offer super high prizes, but I hope you will enjoy it anyways. If you have any question, feel free to PM me. Multiple entries are allowed (and encouraged), but you can win only 1 prize in Cat A and 1 in Cat B (your builds take the first and third places => you get the first prize, the third prize goes to the fourth classified). If you need inspiration you can look at wikipedia pages about ice trade and Frederic Tudor, the real Ice King. Voting will be opened at the end of the challenge.
Breshaun, Le Bellan, August 622 Imagine you are an Oleander nobleman in Breshaun or a rich Eslandolan merchant in Weelond. You are having breakfast, and you would like a croissant or some butter on a slice of bread... but cows don't fare well in the tropical weather of the colonies, and the little imported butter is often almost rancid. You have lunch, and your servants couldn't find anywhere the seafood you wanted; still better than a few weeks before, when the Count's buffet ended up in a massive food poisoning. Soon it will be dinner time, but drinking anything colder than the temperature of your wine cellar is out of the question. Life in the colonies can be so unfair! But now, thanks to Rimbaud Shipping Enterprises, things are going to change! Fresh butter every time you want it, fish as good as in the moment it was caught, cold drinks in front of the tropical Sea of Storms are just a few doubloons far! Initially, the idea was considered halfway between clever, and absolutely foolish. Ice in Altonia is almost worthless, especially in winter; instead, there is no ice in the New World, so a seller could set any price. On paper, it would make sense, apart from the thousands of miles between Altonia and Breshaun. However, if you are brave enough to fill a ship with blocks of Altonian ice, pack them with sawdust, and sail South as fast as you can, you would arrive in Breshaun with almost two-thirds of the initial cargo. A ship used to transport ice requires more maintenance, and sailing during winter in the rough Altonian sea can be extremely dangerous, but the reward of a successful voyage is high. What in Altonia is worth a few silver guldens -the pay of the cutters and the cost of the transport- in Breshaun can easily be converted into a little chest of golden doubloons! The captains of the winter ships soon discovered that they could also make a fine extra profit by transporting perishable goods in the hold: deer meat, barrels of butter, or cheese would, in fact, arrive in Breashaun almost as they left the port of Ulrich. A little amount of ice is not unloaded from the ship: it will keep the hold cold enough to deliver some fresh products- mainly tropical fruit- to the motherland. Pineapples and bananas started to appear more often on the tables of Oleander nobles, even if they are still considered expensive luxury foods. The Ice Queen has just arrived in the port of Breshaun. With several tons of ice and a dozen barrels of butter, her voyage could be considered a success… provided that the goods didn’t melt in a few hours! The precious ice cargo melting on the piers would be a terrible sight for the captain! A few icehouses were therefore built in Breshaun harbor. These warehouses are built below the ground level and allow safe storage of ice and imported goods. At the same time, they offer the opportunity to preserve fresh fish, meat, and seafood for a longer time. —————————————————— The ice trade from Ulrich to Breshaun is organized and controlled by the Rimbaud Shipping Enterprises. The Rimbauds, as several minor families of the little Oleander nobility, invested their money in the New World, while the most important families remained more focused on their crops and estates in the motherland. The flow of gold and silver arriving from the colonies is now shifting the balance of power among the Oleander noblemen, with the most conservative families remaining behind. On the ground floor of Breshaun offices, the representatives of Rimbaud Shipping Company organize all the steps of the ice trade, from the cutting on Altonian lakes to the maintenance of the icehouses. Ice, however, is only one of the activities of the Company: gunpowder and silver on Ile de Zeus, gold on El Oleonda, and soon copper on Ile Dionysus... all these activities require supplies, workers, armed guards, transport ships, and even the building of infrastructures. Stacks of letters and accounting books are therefore required to organize the net of activities and trade routes. Here, a captain and a representative of the Company have just concluded a transport agreement for the next cargo of ice, that would be harvested in Altonia in a few months. This deserves a toast! On the upper floor, the director's office is far more comfortable. The most important agreements are discussed there, and the most important letters are written there. The destiny of whole fleets, and of hundreds of doubloons, is decided in this office. However, at this very moment, the director is relaxing for a while, enjoying a cold dessert prepared with fruit, sugar, and, obviously ice... one of the advantages of his position! --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The other building dominating that area of the port is one of Breshaun commodity markets. Sometimes cargoes are delivered on commission but, more often, they are simply transported to the settlement and sold to the highest bidder. This process practically defines the price of any commodity in Breshaun and, as a consequence, in the whole Empire: wood and copper, silver and wine, fruit and spices... any good can be bought or sold in the largest settlement of the New World! The cargoes are sold with an auction system. The merchants should theoretically sit on the planks and place their bids with calm and order, but this is rarely the case. More often the buyers stand immediately in front of the auctioneer -where some of the goods are exposed- and yell their offers. Dozens of pieces of paper, where the merchants scribble numbers and calculations, must be collected every day from the mosaic floor! Upstairs, additional agreements are signed between merchants and captains. Not all of them are completely legal... in some cases, they involve trading with Lotii merchants, smuggling in Terraversan settlements, or delivering goods to pirate settlements. However, as an ancient proverb says, gold never stinks! Additional pictures: A fortune teller, reading cards in an alley. Overall view: Without the ship: The Ice Queen: -------------------------------------------- Writing the story took longer than expected, but I didn't want to lose the selected pictures. I had planned something similar years ago when I launched a (completely unsuccessful) minichallenge on the ice trade (The Ice King). I'm very happy with the result, even if some parts of the ship are still a little too blocky; I wanted to add sails too, but the masts are not stable enough. I tried to depict Breshaun as more "civilized" than other settlements I built into, with people wearing modern clothes (including servants wearing a livery), elegant musketeers instead of the usual bluecoats, and decorated buildings. About ice trade: I introduced it in a rich and important settlement, but I don't want to expand it too much. I think that ice as an expensive commodity for the richest, some expensive tropical fruit for the motherland, and similar things are perfectly fine in our time frame, while an era of refrigerated food and massive transoceanic trade of fresh goods is not. I hope you like the result!