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Old Jan 13 2008, 01:12 AM   #1
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Default Relative size of major holds.

How would you rank the relative size of the 15 major holds? And what size would you ascribe to each? If you were to ascribe four to be larger than the other 11, which four and why?

Fort
Southern Boll
Ruatha
Benden
Bitra
Lemos
High Reaches
Tillek
Nabol
Keroon
Ista
Igen
Nerat
Telgar
Crom
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Old Aug 6 2016, 04:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

I think that the major holds are the equivalent of pre-industrial cities, their size depends upon the surrounding countryside needed to support them. However, each major hold has control of strategic holds in their area of influence (the boundaries shown on most maps).

These smaller towns give the Lord Holder 'control' and influence over the many smaller, independent holds. Since these strategic holds are usually on trade routes, they are easy to access for the Lord Holder for trade, movement of supplies, and, of course, troops.

Each of the Major Hold areas would resemble a map of Germany during the era of the HRE. One Major Hold with several minor holds and many small holds spread and intermixed throughout the region. Loyalties would be on clan/tribe basis.

The Pernese version of the UN, Conclave, would meet every ten years. As many Holders as practical would attend, because this was where they could air grievances against the Lord Holders and have support. Council (the Lord Holders and craft Masters) would meet more often, like the Security Council, and their decisions could be challenged at Conclave, but were most likely upheld.
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Old Aug 7 2016, 02:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

That's fortuitous timing! I've been spending the last couple days making a map for a Pern mod. (Modding a game called Crusader Kings II.) I've been thinking about this sort of thing a lot.

I think Kennet's got the right idea; the Holds are set up like middle ages feudal kingdoms, with minor holds as their vassals. For the mod I'm working on, they're split into empire>kingdom>duchy>county tiers. (Obviously it's not perfectly suited to Pern once you throw Weyrs and Crafthalls into the mix, but it's a close approximation.)

The Weyrs each have two or three Major Holds ("kingdom") under their protection, whose Lord Holders tithe to the Weyr. In addition to the main "city" population center, each Lord Holder will have several minor holds ("duchy") who tithe to them in turn, and each of those minor holds have smaller holds/cotholds ("county") underneath them.

But back to the original question. I assume you're talking about population size, not land size. From what I know of geography and population demographics, I'd bet on Telgar Hold being one of the largest Holds. It's got a giant river and delta in the middle of its territory, which means fertile farmland and rich trade routes. Strong seafaring Holds (Tillek or Nerat, I think) are a reasonable guess for similar reasons, since I'm sure a huge chunk of Pern's trade goods are transported by ship.

The other possibility is Fort, though I'm less certain. Fort's the oldest Hold, (I think one of the largest in terms of living space, too) and has both the Harper Hall and Healer Hall to draw people in.

The smallest Holds would be Ista (smallest land mass, being an island), Igen (largely desert), and far northern places like High Reaches and Bitra, who'd probably have large but sparsely populated stretches of mountains and snow.
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Old Aug 7 2016, 07:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

Have you looked here?

http://www.agriphoto.nl/pma/Maps%20a...rritories.html

PS - that's what happens when you have several pages open at once and don't check that you're on the right page - I posted this on the thread about new Pern books!
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Old Aug 7 2016, 07:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

The Atlas has also some fairly good information on the Holds, especially the major ones and their layouts.
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Old Aug 7 2016, 08:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vyon View Post
Have you looked here?

http://www.agriphoto.nl/pma/Maps%20a...rritories.html

PS - that's what happens when you have several pages open at once and don't check that you're on the right page - I posted this on the thread about new Pern books!
Well I've had that happen I ask over there WTF = What the flame in other What in blue blaze is going on?
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Old Aug 8 2016, 07:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

In medieval terms I see the major holds as virtually city-states with a nominal fiefdom to the nearest Weyr. There is a conclave of the Lord Holders, but it seems to be mainly concerned with matters of succession because when Fax is doing his marauding anybody who raises concerns about it is firmly reminded that the Holds are autonomous. Each Lord Holder is responsible for the infrastructure in his own area - we don't hear of Lady Lord Holders. So they would be responsible for maintaining roads, bridges, etc. and justice within their own area. It's to their advantage to keep the roading up if they want to trade with anybody.
Most of the commoners, when mentioned at all by Anne, seem to be tenant farmers or similar if they're not the staff of the Hold or craftspeople.

Most of the trading seems to be overland by the Lilcamp trains, or at horse fairs and Hold gathers, with minimal amounts of sea-trading. But Anne is a little inconsistent with that, because she scarcely mentions boats or sea-trading except in passing until the Southern continent is discovered. Then there seem to be plenty of boats to get blown offshore and finish up in Southern.
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Old Aug 8 2016, 03:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

The lack of mention of shipping is what I refer to as NITTS (Not Important To The Story). They merit mention when they become important.

Hold structure falls into this category as well. There is an occasional reference to independent holds when it suits the story, such as in MHOP when Robinton becomes aware of small holds that don't like Harpers.

For Kit: here is a map of Germany to illustrate my idea https://www.google.ca/url?sa=i&rct=j...70769808526408
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Old Aug 9 2016, 05:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

The huge number of NITTS and other assorted fuzzy edges is what makes Pern such an interesting setting to write fanfiction in. If you go into the part of the map that says "here be dragons" (figuratively in this case) then there's plenty of scope to use your imagination within the broad strokes of worldbuilding that Anne has left us.
That's why my own fanfiction was set in an ordinary cot, in Nabol, just prior to Fax's takeover of Ruatha.
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Old Aug 9 2016, 05:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

The huge number of NITTS and other assorted fuzzy edges is what makes Pern such an interesting setting to write fanfiction in. If you go into the part of the map that says "here be dragons" (figuratively in this case) then there's plenty of scope to use your imagination within the broad strokes of worldbuilding that Anne has left us.
That's why my own fanfiction was set in an ordinary cot, in Nabol, just prior to Fax's takeover of Ruatha.
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Old Aug 10 2016, 03:00 PM   #11
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

vyon, I got a 'what if' for ye: What if Nabol, which had lost several holds to Ruatha in the past, had a strong faction who wanted revenge? They would use Fax's troops to protect their holds while they struck against Ruatha, regain the troops from some of the ex-Nabolese holds, and then drive Fax out of Nabol. MHOP has Nip stating that half the garrisons left in the night, and the remaining ones had no idea what had happened.

Three (or more) Holders take all of their troops and levies into Ruatha. One of the ex-nabolese holds in Ruatha has men in Ruatha Hold to let the attackers in. The family and others of the Blood are slaughtered. Meanwhile, the strategic holds between Nabol and Ruatha Hold are seized. Reinforced by Ruthann traitors, they turn north.

However, Fax defeats them. In the process, Fax has to fight the Ruathans (who think that Fax had invaded due to Nabolese wearing his colours) in his cleaning up of the traitors. He takes over Ruatha and tries to find an heir, unsuccessfully.

He is not about to turn Ruatha over to Fort or Tillek or Telgar, as he suspects that they will just take over and not try to find a Ruathan heir. Also, he needs to crush the traitors in all four of the major Holds. If Ruatha is held by someone else, it would become a haven for the traitors.
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Old Aug 11 2016, 08:45 AM   #12
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

Firstly, I think you'd need some kind of standing army for that one to work and Anne's Pern seems to be much more medieval than that. The "garrison" would be little more than the local Lord Holder's personal bodyguard.
Anne has also made Pern without war as well as without religion. That makes problems in terms of making enough conflict to make the stories interesting. The norm before Fax seems to have been "One holder, One hold" and autonomy within the Holder's lands, which would suggest that the kind of tit for tat you suggest wouldn't have happened on Pern. That's why the other Conclave Holders won't act against Fax when Ruatha is threatened, they, and particularly Lord Kale of Ruatha, Lessa's father, simply don't believe there is such a thing as someone who wants more holds than their due. They have no history of one Lord Holder taking over more than one other hold by force, so there's no history of retaliation to free them either. Nor is there a history of the Holders working effectively together.
However, I think, under those medieval conditions, it could be very easy to find a traitor. You only need someone who thinks that one of the Lord Holder's judgements against him was unfair, or a cousin who thinks they should have inherited instead of the current Lord Holder, or some scrap over who gets to marry a heiress or an underage heir.
There is enormous scope for a particularly devious and manipulative female villain too - Anne tried it with Thella, but I'm thinking more of the scheming matriach type who rules through marrying off her family to heirs and controlling inter-hold business through them - much like Queen Victoria but in a more absolute monarch way.
Fax inherited his first minor hold, took over High Reaches in a duel, married Gemma to get Nabol, I don't remember how he got Crom, but there's mention somewhere of the wife and children escaping, and took Ruatha by stealth at night. It wouldn't actually have taken all that many men to scale the cliffs and murder the Lord Holder of a virtually unguarded Hold. It was defended from the front, not the back.
Having said all that, it seems to be assumed that the great holds have walls, gates, a watch-wher and a garrison of some sort. All of that won't keep out thread, but it will keep out other people, and why have them if there's never been any war?
Another reason why the scenario you suggest wouldn't work in Anne's Pern is that Red Hanrihan's Ford - Ruatha - is her hero hold all the way through. Bitra and Nabol are more likely protagonists, they're both painted as villains by Anne and you'd have the advantage that neither are described in too much detail in Anne's books, so you wouldn't be treading on toes.
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Old Aug 11 2016, 02:48 PM   #13
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

Anne made Pern and put people on it. Regrettably, where there are people, there will be fighting. Not that the 'wars' would be big ones, however. Mostly feuds and herd beast raids.
Armsmen act as police as well as soldiers, so every Hold would have some. They would probably be small in number. A company of men would be 25-30 men, and a Major Hold would have one acting as garrison and police. There are several references to border guards, Nerilka's Story has one, IIRC.

The history of Nabol says that it was a larger Hold, with a western seaport. It lost that to Ruatha with some other territory, but gained Keogh Hold from Crom. That alone suggests that there was fighting in that area.

Also the Holders Revolt has several Lord Holders leading forces against the Weyr. If each brought only one hundred men, that would be a 'large' army by Pernese standards.
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Old Aug 11 2016, 05:22 PM   #14
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

The change of hold allegiance might be due to dowries. If a lord holder's daughter is married off, the title to some property will go with her. If she's the only surviving offspring the change in ownership will be correspondingly large.
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Old Aug 12 2016, 04:38 PM   #15
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

I will grant you that changes of allegiance can have many causes. That does not guarantee that the 'loser' will graciously accept it. (^_^).

Considering the references to duelling, combat training for Harpers (mostly unarmed, admittedly), armsmen, and archers, Pern is a rough place. Almost two thousand years of human interaction without fighting is unlikely, and I am not suggesting that it was constant warfare, BTW.

F'lar describes Fax as having his hand cocked like a professional swordsman. While I doubt that F'lar had actually ever met a professional swordsman, it points out that Fax met him at High Reaches with a sword buckled on. Hardly something which would happen in a peaceful society.
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Old Aug 13 2016, 08:18 AM   #16
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

Interesting - yet more medieval ways for a Lord Holder to improperly obtain other holds - I'm still unpacking about 25 boxes of books and trying to fit them into three bookcases. Today one of them fell open at this quote - for King read Lord Holder.
"... when one of the tenants died without leaving a son of full age. If there were young children the King (Lord Holder) had their wardship. That meant that provided he educated the children according to their station in life he enjoyed all the profits of their father's land until they came of age. ... if the children were girls he would sell them in marriage to the highest bidder ... every lord reckoned to make a handsome profit when one of his tenants died, and if, by any chance, the tenant was the last of his line and had no heirs at all the land would revert to the lord in its entirety. - R H C Davis "A History of Medieval Europe."
And I'm thinking that a lot of children in that situation would disappear - the Princes in the Tower come to mind.
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Old Aug 14 2016, 02:28 PM   #17
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

In my 'Nabolese Treachery' scenario, it would be Fort, probably, who suggest one of his sons to Ward Ruatha until a suitable Ruthan heir could be found. It would probably take well over three generations of careful screening by the Warders (^_^) before they reluctantly took full possession as Holder.

ETA: The unwritten rule is 'one man, one Hold' not 'one family, one Hold'.
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Old Aug 15 2016, 08:45 AM   #18
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

When it comes to that, Felessan is actually heir to Ruatha and Jaxom's claim is rather dubious. What if Felessan hadn't ever impressed?

Anne does seem to have each hold have its own holder family, with a senior male from that extended family as Lord Holder - no democracy or committees or enfranchisement of women - but surely by the time we get to present pass, those families are so intermarried and intertangled that they are all related to each other?

I'm used to a culture where when you are welcomed at a new village, you always quote your location, the mountain that inspires you and the sea or river that feeds you, then your extended family, sept, tribe, and a prominent ancestor - but if you can, you often choose the prominent ancestor that is related to your hosts to prove a common relationship. And that's after only 700 years of settlement - Pern has a longer history for its Holder families to get their geneologies inextricably intertwined.

It figures then, that if there was no suitable heir to a hold, one could be found from a related family in another hold - isn't that one of the reasons why they practice fostering? The other being to stop all the brothers and half-brothers killing each other in duels.
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Old Aug 15 2016, 04:22 PM   #19
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

However, no one was willing to take over Nabol when Meron was on his deathbed. Robinson and the MasterHealer had to 'trick' him into naming a successor.

More likely, Meron refused to put a death sentence on any successor in the fractious politics of Nabol until he was certain that he was about to die. I say death sentence because the heir would be a target for every faction seeking to gain power in order to weaken Meron while he was alive.

I have a feeling that Nabol had a Terran equivalent in Corsica. The Corsicans taught the Sicilians what a vendetta really was like.

Any outsider trying to take over Nabol would certainly have his hands full.
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Old Aug 18 2016, 09:48 AM   #20
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

And probably, so would any insider. What's the betting that Nabol was also neglected, run down and virtually bankrupt as well as all the infighting and political argy bargy that was going on.
Robinton included. He just wanted to get someone into that position who was amenable to his own political agendas.
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Old Jun 6 2017, 05:31 PM   #21
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

If Nabol was the main source of firestone for the Weyrs, it would have had a really bad time after the five Weyrs jumped forward. A once lucrative trade (firestone for goods) would dry up and Holders would be put into hardship.

The mines would be mostly shut down, and those miners who didn't move away to more productive mines would be the older ones. These would maintain the mine, but would spend most of their time farming and gardening. This would mean that the Minecrafter holds, which previously purchased a good portion of their food, are now becoming self-sufficient and buying less. This results in less wealth for the neighbouring holds. The Holders have to tighten their belts (not an easy thing to do) and the effect of this economic downturn spreads across Nabol.

The western port goes to Ruatha because Ruatha is where most of their traffic now comes from. This does not occur overnight, but the slowly growing pressure from the merchants and others in the town would encourage the Holder to favour ties in that direction over the decreasing connections to Nabol.
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Old Jun 7 2017, 09:01 AM   #22
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

You just described the position in the half-abandoned mine in my fanfiction. According to the maps that I've got the western port is either High Reaches or Tillek, which are in different locations on different maps. Both Ruatha and Nabol are on major rivers, so could have their own ports.
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Old Jun 7 2017, 09:20 AM   #23
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kennet View Post
If Nabol was the main source of firestone for the Weyrs, it would have had a really bad time after the five Weyrs jumped forward. A once lucrative trade (firestone for goods) would dry up and Holders would be put into hardship.

The mines would be mostly shut down, and those miners who didn't move away to more productive mines would be the older ones. These would maintain the mine, but would spend most of their time farming and gardening. This would mean that the Minecrafter holds, which previously purchased a good portion of their food, are now becoming self-sufficient and buying less. This results in less wealth for the neighbouring holds. The Holders have to tighten their belts (not an easy thing to do) and the effect of this economic downturn spreads across Nabol.

The western port goes to Ruatha because Ruatha is where most of their traffic now comes from. This does not occur overnight, but the slowly growing pressure from the merchants and others in the town would encourage the Holder to favour ties in that direction over the decreasing connections to Nabol.
They jumped forward after the pass, so there wasn't much Firestone needed anyway.
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Old Jun 7 2017, 03:56 PM   #24
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

The impact of the timing forward of 5 weyrs would not be that much worse than the fluctuations in firestone trade in the intervals anyway; they would have to scale back even if the weyrs were starting to rebuild stockpiles of the stuff.
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Old Jul 10 2017, 04:27 PM   #25
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

At the end of a Pass, the use of firestone would decline, but the tithe amount would not. Firestone will still be needed for training and practice, and any excess would be stockpiled. These stockpiles would have been reduced during the Pass even if mining had been increased during the Pass, and would have to be replenished for the next Pass.

The biggest hit to the Nabolese economy would be that the demand plummeted from six Weyrs to one. None of the Holds which normally tithed firestone (and had to purchase it from Nabolese sources) would need any firestone, so they stop buying. It would have been similar to the latest 'bust' in oil prices: there is a glut of supply and the price plunges. Mines close down, miners move out, food sales drop and the entire economy suffers.

Last edited by Kennet; Jul 10 2017 at 04:30 PM. Reason: clarity and afterthoughts
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Old Jul 11 2017, 09:12 AM   #26
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Default Re: Relative size of major holds.

If a tithe was a percentage of production rather than a fixed amount, i.e. "one tenth of annual produce or earnings, formerly taken as a tax for the support of the Church and clergy." as per the dictionary meaning of the word, then yes, the tithe amount would drop at the end of the pass.

Local commoners, farmers, fishermen etc who gained their living from supporting the jumped-forward weyrs would simply up sticks and migrate to wherever they did have a market, leading to something similar to the current refugee problems faced by Europe - the actual effect of the sudden loss of such a huge percentage of Pern's population would have been devastating to the remainder.
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