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Old 08-06-2022, 06:21 PM   #11
Dalillama
 
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Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

If there's no pre-existing infrastructure at all, and assuming that the coastline provides a deep-water harbor (if it doesn't the place won't ever be more than a village) with a river feeding into it, a rough sketch:

First month: The ships will be beached and provide shelter, along with tents made from sails and spars. The smallest vessel or the gigs/jolly boats if present will be used for fishing. Cooking is over open driftwood fires.

First year: the ships have been dismantled and used to build 5-6 fishing boats and several small huts. More housing has been bult from fieldstone and/or deadfall timber and/or mud brick depending on local resources and customs. Most houses have a garden out back hrowing tubers and herbs. There may be grain fields. Someone has started brewing an alcoholic beverage from whatever ferments and will provide it in exchange for food, currency, or services.

Three years in: Everyone has some kind of permanent housing. A few hundred acres are under cultivation, the older children are reaching adulthood, and some dozens of new ones have been born. There's an established alehouse, a small but reasonably well-built temple/church, netmakers and/or a chandlery supplying the fishing fleet, a pier or wharf that larger vessels can dock at, possibly a full-time (more or less) herbwife or cunning man. Local government will consist of whoever the king put in charge or a semiformal village council that settles disputes and allocates timber and other resources.
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Old 08-06-2022, 06:56 PM   #12
SydneyFreedberg
 
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Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

I second the tent city: basic shelter is the very first thing you set up — unless you’re a positively paradisiacal climate. After that, find a source of drinkable water.

If the site is halfway decent, there’s quite possibly a fishing village already there, where the wharves & other harbor structures will go up later. Hopefully these people can help your refugees find food and shelter.

One silver lining is that your thousand kids aren’t dead weight: In any pre-modern society, kids start helping out early. You can set them to fetching water and firewood, for instance.
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Old 08-06-2022, 07:40 PM   #13
Anthony
 
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Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

A basic problem is that any location that isn't already occupied is probably unoccupied for a reason, and sending a group of a thousand children and four hundred adults to a location too hostile to already be inhabited is a great way to wind up with lots of dead children.
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Old 08-06-2022, 09:31 PM   #14
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
A basic problem is that any location that isn't already occupied is probably unoccupied for a reason, and sending a group of a thousand children and four hundred adults to a location too hostile to already be inhabited is a great way to wind up with lots of dead children.
If the "Thay" that was mentioned as being the probable caravan destination is the Thay in the Forgotten Realms they're in awful territory. Likely as not the first "caravan" is one that comes _from_ Thay and makes slaves of everybody. Thay makes a rotten neighbor.

They need a fortified wall to keep out bottom-feeders like slavers. Trade probably ahs to go the other way tot he kingdom that deeded them the land. If the "King" bit was literal that'd be Rashemen or Mulhorand. Aglarond is geographically possible but usually has a Queen.

Yes, I had a character who was from Rashemen and spent a lot of time in Mulhorand. I looked at the maps a lot. :)

At ay rate, first comes subsistence. Trade comes after there's enough surplus to trade instead of consume locally.
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:01 PM   #15
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

The first thing they should actually build after plopping their tents down is a basic stockade. After that comes fishing docks and some fishing boats. A wooden hill fort should be built early on. Building a stone citadel is a longer term project. After the fort comes some long houses useful for both housing and as warehouses.
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Old 08-06-2022, 10:56 PM   #16
RGTraynor
 
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Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

While several posters have gone over timeframes and other difficulties, here are a few other thoughts:

* What kind of logistical support do they have? Are we talking a shipload or two of stuff, or some ongoing logistics train? (And is that logistical support also TL2, ugh?) To what degree are we not worrying about food? Is the king lending them a hundred masons/lumberjacks for four months to help them get started?

* What kind of resources/coin did they bring with them? What kind of resources are *there*? Adequate timber? Adequate building stone? Adequate clay for pottery? Limestone? Coal?

* What kind of climate are we talking about? Subtropical? New England?

* What percentage of the refugees are unproductive population? Softhanded scholars? A priesthood whose job is to sit around and chant? The soldiers who need to keep watch, because this "frontier march" is right next door to some unpleasant types?

* Followed by: do they have leaders who know what they're doing? Mages, priests with healing powers?

See, I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who grew up in the Plymouth MA area, very much aware of what happens when you dump a cramped cog-load of cityfolk into the middle of a howling frozen wilderness in December. To wit, a whopping lot of them croak, and most of them are unfitted to be pioneers. Which wound up being a trope often repeated on the American coast between the earliest settlements and when a critical mass accrued.

(Conversely, the early history of Plymouth Colony changes a LOT with just one priest capable of healing and one wizard with six or seven spells each in Plant, Earth and Weather.)
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Old 08-07-2022, 12:30 AM   #17
Pursuivant
 
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Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

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Historically 90+% of Coastal Cities get founded where a river empties into the ocean. Benefits of Ocean/Coastal trade and trade from the watershed of the river. River also a source of fresh water and has other benefits.
Often, the town is founded as far inland as ocean-going ships can reasonably travel upriver. That allows better access to inland resources and limited harbor facilities in areas where there isn't a naturally protected bay.

If there are hostile sea rovers in the area, siting the city a ways inland also makes it less obvious to hostile ships and makes it easier to defend from sea-borne raiders.

In really hostile territory, it makes sense to build a compact hill fort with a palisade and ditch, with a watchtower to look out for hostiles. Trails would extend from the hill fort's gate down to the river. Other trails extend towards fields, sources of timber, and other resources. Once a well gets dug, trails will lead to it, assuming that it's not within the hill fort's walls.

Gradually, those trails will get turned into streets and people will build structures outside the fort's wall. Buildings will usually be sited along the river or along either side of the main trails, but close enough to the fort that it provides protection.

The first things an early settlement will have are shelters for the colonists and storage buildings for livestock and food production equipment. These could easily be tents or communal dwellings like longhouses.

People start by build simple shelters for themselves, their animals, and important equipment and supplies, then get to work ensuring a steady food and water supply.

If there are threats in the area, defenses go up - palisades, ditches, or both - and possibly watch towers. In high-threat areas, defenses might come first, with colonists living in tents or sleeping aboard anchored supply ships.

After that, there are communal structures, depending on what the community values most. Churches or temples, barracks, government buildings, marketplaces, warehouses and docks, schools, public baths, aqueducts.

Unless you've got a very wealthy person with access to a lot of excess labor, you won't have large private buildings for at least a generation. Any big or fancy building implies lots of labor and capital to build, so they'll be at least a generation away unless there is a huge influx of immigrants.

The main impression that visitors get will be "sparse and scruffy." There will be lots of rather shabby temporary shelters thrown together quickly, and just a few simple small buildings made using local resources.

You could do worse than look at archeological maps of historical cities like London, Paris, or New York City, or illustrations based on those maps. A map of Jamestown, VA might also be helpful, since it was abandoned less than a century after it was founded.
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Old 08-07-2022, 02:19 AM   #18
Prince Charon
 
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Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

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Originally Posted by RGTraynor View Post
(Conversely, the early history of Plymouth Colony changes a LOT with just one priest capable of healing and one wizard with six or seven spells each in Plant, Earth and Weather.)
How much Plymouth's history changes depends on how well the Puritans accept them, but otherwise I agree, and for purposes of a fantasy settlement, 'how much magic, and of what type or types' is a question that needs to be answered.

'Plymouth Colony with magic' does sound like an interesting idea for another thread, though.
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Old 08-07-2022, 03:41 AM   #19
Willy
 
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Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

Since your city is founded in the marshes, and hopefully near a river for fresh water and a better option for trade and fishing, you need something to keep the city dry.

I wouldn´t build a city without a access to trade either a river and a seaport or near a trade route by land preferably all of it.

The city should placed a good deal over tidal range, just in case of a strom from the sea or spring tide.

This means a low city dealing with ships, fishing and all the needs of this folk, possible near the mouth of the river to spare building 2 ports. And on higher ground main living, trading and production area.

Depending on the spot being above tidal range is vital ( some coasts have 12 m usual tidal range daily ), or to be neglectable ( the some parts of the baltic sea have less than 20 cm tidal range )

Because it are marshes high area may be scarce, high area near a navigatable river mouth really rare.

As for keeping the city dry, in marshes you normaly need to drain the water to keep fiedls and settlement dry enough, also a wet pasture is unhealthy for most farming animals, I would expect at least some drainage ditches.

Because you will have a port you need to visitors comfortable I would say at least a tavern with a few rooms is necessary.

A lookout tower for pirates and outher scum is a nice addition and depending on the setting necessary.
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Old 08-07-2022, 04:01 AM   #20
Balor Patch
 
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Default Re: what does a recently founded fantasy city look like?

The most fundamental need is food. Are there already surrounding farms producing a surplus who need a market? Otherwise the profession of the most of the colonists will be farmer with most of the rest being fisher. (And it's fantasy so I guess marsh doesn't rule out herding giant frogs.)
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