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Old Feb 2 2008, 09:30 AM   #1
Shalyn
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Default Travel on Pern - BD (Before Dragon)

Well, not exactly 'before dragons', but before the dragonriders became amenable to ferrying people back and forth.

I'm talking about during Dragonflight. Remember the chapter where Larad and Meron, and the other Lords decided to storm the Weyr and give the dragonriders what-for?

Well...once again the logistics of that are unobtainable to my puny little brain.

I looked at the Atlas, I checked the lines for the time zones, and I have given a rough estimate that Fort Weyr and Benden Weyr are approximately seven time zones apart. So, again roughly, Benden is in New York, and Fort is in Hawaii. (Yeah, I'm converting to an American's EST thinking.)

So Meron and Larad, and who knows who else (well, I can look it up but those are the most prominent), bring armies to show Benden Weyr who's boss.

Meron is from Nabol. Larad is from Telgar. Nabol is about six timezones away, and Larad five or six timezones.

These guys don't have instantaneous access to long distance travel. Look how long it took people to travel across America before Henry Ford decided to pollute our skies in the name of progress. Before Wilbur and Orville decided to become more successful than Icarus.

And Lytol - having Ruatha tithe to Benden. Ruatha is at the other end of the continent. It had to take months to get there! Which also means - Ruatha couldn't have tithed fresh vegetables and fruit, since that would have rotted by the time it got to Benden.

I guess the logistics of this bother me. It just doesn't compute!
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Old Feb 2 2008, 01:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: Travel on Pern - BD (Before Dragon)

And this is why they didn't get to Benden until two Turns after the Search! Although I think the raiding Lessa had K'net doing was more of an incitement than the Search was - that just started the grievances.
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Old Feb 2 2008, 03:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Travel on Pern - BD (Before Dragon)

Shalyn, you've discovered yet another Anne-consistency... I think she simply hadn't decided how far apart the locations were or something. Either that or someone went to pick up Ruatha's tithe. :;shrug;:
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Old Feb 3 2008, 04:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Travel on Pern - BD (Before Dragon)

I think applying Terran time zones and thus Terran distances to Pern is incorrect.

Isn't there a detailed timeine for DF in the Atlas ad on Sariel's Guide to Pern site?
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Old Feb 3 2008, 08:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: Travel on Pern - BD (Before Dragon)

LOL

Hans, I asked earlier about the timezones between all the Weyrs and someone (I believe it was possibly you) told me to look at the Atlas then.

So I did. The Atlas has a globe of Pern, and is divided into 24 different sections denoting the time zones. That is what I used.

Since the sections for Benden and Fort are 7 sections apart, then that would be a seven hour difference. Which gives them seven different timezones. Which brought up the question.

Since Pern has a 24 hour day, and Earth has a 24 hour day, then it only seems logical to use Earth timezones as a comparison, since we are more familiar with them.
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Old Feb 3 2008, 08:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: Travel on Pern - BD (Before Dragon)

You can't just use the time zones for distance, because they vary depending on what latitude you're at. At the equator the distance between time zones is at a maximum, and at the poles it's non-existant.

I'd never thought about this issue before, but you're right, it's pretty ridiculous to think of the Lords marching across most of the Northern Continent to storm Benden. Logistically, it probably really wouldn't work at all.

But you still might be able to come up with an estimate, if DF itself didn't say how long they'd been travelling. Somewhere in the series are some time estimates for traders between major points, I think -- Renegades is a likely place, but not the only possibility. The Lords would march a bit faster than traders, as they're not staying places to sell goods, but it should otherwise be similar.
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Old Feb 3 2008, 10:22 AM   #7
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Default Re: Travel on Pern - BD (Before Dragon)

Shalyn,

As has been said many times in uniform: "Amateurs study tactics; professionals study logistics." Good on you for wondering about this.

In the Atlas, the dissident Hold are given as:

Major:
Fort
Nabol
Telgar
Igen
Keroon

Minor:
Hold Gar (S. Boll's port, although S. Boll is shown as "neutral")
Balan (SW of Telgar)

Routes:
Fort takes ship from Fort Sea Hold to Bayhead.
Hold Gar takes ship to Bayhead.
Nabol marches overland to the major river immediately east of Nabol and either boats or marches to the sea, there taking ship to Bayhead.
Balan marches or boats down the eastern sources of the Great Dunto River, thence down the Great Dunto to the sea, taking ship to Bayhead.
Telgar marches or boats down the Telgar river to the Great Dunto River to the sea, taking ship to Bayhead.
Igen marches north around the Igen River Delta, thence overland to the Benden Valley, and thence the Weyr.

All the forces landing at Bayhead march north over the plateau north of Bayhead to pick up the incomplete road coming south from Benden Hold, thence up the Benden Valley to the Weyr.

This is not a small undertaking.

The best size given for Pern is about 6500 miles in diameter (Earth's about 8000) and this comes from the DLG. The distances given in the Atlas are completely wrong. Pern would be the size of Ceres using the Atlas's distances and Ceres is barely large enough to hold itself together by gravitation, much less hold an atmosphere and provide 0.9 G of gravity (for comparison, Pern is smaller than Venus, but has Venus's gravity).

So we can't use the Atlas's distances, but we can use it's lat/long coordinates. So I plugged them into a 3D Atlas of Earth on a computer and did the math for the difference in diameter.

To give some perspective, if you take the lat/longs for Pern and put them on Earth, Tillek is in Sicily. Nerat is in Guam. Benden's near Vladivostok. S. Boll is off the Horn of Africa (Somalia). Ista is near the Andaman Islands. Southern is near Cocos/Keeling Islands. Fort is in Iran. Crom is in the northern Urals. High Reaches is near Moscow.

Most of the ships the Pernese have probably aren't good for more than about 10 knots laden, or about 240 miles per day. Marching distance is probably 10 miles a day overland due to these being predominantly tenderfoot Holders and not hardened legionaries.

From Hold Gar to a rendezvous at Sea Cliff on north Ista is 1600 Pernese miles (these will all be Pernese miles), or about 7 days. From Fort Sea Hold to the rendezvous is 1400 sea miles or 6 days. From Nabol (and assuming 10 miles a day marching--typical for an army, especially of tenderfoot Holders) is about 300 land and 1200 sea miles, or 36 days. From Telgar or Balan is about 700 land and 700 sea miles or 73 days.

The force then has about 950 sea miles or 4 days at sea to Big Bay Hold, followed by another 1050 sea miles 5 days at sea to Keroon, where they pick up that contingent and then take about another 900 sea miles to Bay Head in 4 days. From Bay head, it's about 850 miles overland to Benden Weyr, so about 85 days march.

The poor folks from Igen have to go 1640 miles overland, for about 164 days of marching.

I'd love to say "they all rode horses" ashore, but that doesn't help. The supplies still have to be hauled and that oxen probably aren't good for more than 10 miles per day. I'd also love to say "they navigated the rivers" inland, but river navigation with laden craft isn't exactly swift--especially upstream, and any time saved by Nabol, Telgar and Balan going downstream will be lost going upstream in the Benden Valley.

In all of this we're assuming no fords are washed out by storms, no disease sweep the camps, there are no contrary winds that leave the fleet stalled at one port or another or becalmed at sea, etc...

But we'll be generous and double the land travel time by saying it's mostly just professional armsmen and they're traveling light; after all they have had 2500 years to develop some of these routes and professionals should be able to do without extensive baggage trains, especially if supplies are staged en route.

Telgar and Balan face a 35 day march, 16 days at sea and another 42 day march. Total 93 days.
Igen faces an 84 day march.
Nabol faces a 15 day march, 19 days at sea and another 42 day march. Total 76 days.
Hold Gar faces 20 days at sea and a 42 day march. Total 62 days.
Fort faces a 19 days at sea and a 42 day march. Total 61 days.
Keroon faces 4 days at sea and a 42 day march. Total 46 days.

This all makes the march on Benden Weyr a fantastic fiasco, especially after F'lar demonstrates a rather devastating application of air power and special operations. The losses to the poor holders roped into this "army" from being unable to work their lands had to be serious, and the blow to the prestige of the men that organized this had to be severe.

Frankly, the Telgar, Igen and Nabol Lord Holders are damned lucky that impeachment demands a unanimous verdict of Lord Holders! Fort and Keroon would also take major hits to their credibility. Perhaps the only thing that saves them is that their "army" is a fairly small proportion of the population of Pern, which has grown seven-fold over the second Long Interval. Still and all, these guys were lucky not to get tarred, feathered and run out of the Hold for this, and they should all be happy the only chickens left are in S. Boll.

Of course, that seven-fold increase in population really shows up how petty the Lord Holders are toward the end of the second Long Interval. They're tithing for only one Weyr, not six, and they have seven times the capacity to do so. Hence the reason we as readers have no sympathy for the ungrateful wretches.

IIRC, the author allowed about two months of travel for the Telgar contingent as having the farthest to come. (Someone who has read it more recently, please correct me if I'm wrong.) Is it logistically possible? Yes. Likely, no. I'd allow more like three months as outlined above, and that's assuming it's all the professional armsmen from those Holds. Still, given that the author probably hadn't nailed down the distances (or maybe even the geography entirely) at that point, it's an understandable error. And, it's not impossible. It would represent a significant organizational accomplishment, however, and maybe that's what keeps the holders from turfing these Lords.

Last edited by ElectricDragon; Feb 3 2008 at 10:24 AM. Reason: Correction.
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Old Feb 3 2008, 10:34 AM   #8
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You can't just use the time zones for distance, because they vary depending on what latitude you're at. At the equator the distance between time zones is at a maximum, and at the poles it's non-existant.

I'd never thought about this issue before, but you're right, it's pretty ridiculous to think of the Lords marching across most of the Northern Continent to storm Benden. Logistically, it probably really wouldn't work at all.

But you still might be able to come up with an estimate, if DF itself didn't say how long they'd been travelling. Somewhere in the series are some time estimates for traders between major points, I think -- Renegades is a likely place, but not the only possibility. The Lords would march a bit faster than traders, as they're not staying places to sell goods, but it should otherwise be similar.
No, Shalyn's on the right track, you just have to pick a size for the planet's diameter and do the calculations.

So this is logistically possible, but you have to assume a few things:

1) The routes along the river valleys are well-developed and in 2500 years, they probably would be;
2) The army consists of the the professional armsmen of the holds; they would be more used to prolonged marching, carrying their own equipment and supplies, and traveling light to minimize the number of drays that must accompany the army;
3) Supplies are stockpiled in advance at certain locations long the route, such as Big Bay Sea Hold, which is under Igen's cognizance anyway, and Igen is one of the dissidents. So too is Keroon, which is also on the route.

What rationalizing Pern's geography really throws into the hazard is the north-south distances (latitude) more than the east-west distances (longitude). For instance, Fort and Ruatha aren't two or three days apart. They're more like a month apart on a well-travelled route (about 580 Pernese miles).
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Old Feb 3 2008, 03:45 PM   #9
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Wow, that works for me. I'm not sure I could work all that out. If I could, I'd try to use it to talk someone at one of my Weyrs out of having her Lady Holder travel by runner to the Weyr, even if her Hold is the closest and over a plain.
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Old Feb 3 2008, 04:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
2) The army consists of the the professional armsmen of the holds; they would be more used to prolonged marching, carrying their own equipment and supplies, and traveling light to minimize the number of drays that must accompany the army;
I was just going to say this - that because of Fax, all the Holds would have had somewhat of an army - they wouldn't be JUST recruiting.

And again, it didn't happen all at once. First there was the Search - and with the dragonriders staying isolated, it was far more of a shock to the Holders to have them come in and steal the pretty girls.

Then Lessa has K'net and probably some others start making systematic raids on all the Holds. Adding fuel to the fire pretty quickly.

I do wonder how long it would take for the various Lords to meet beforehand - because I doubt one would be happy to find an army preparing to march through en route... But there would be fast boats and horses...
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Old Feb 4 2008, 01:05 AM   #11
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I was just going to say this - that because of Fax, all the Holds would have had somewhat of an army - they wouldn't be JUST recruiting.

And again, it didn't happen all at once. First there was the Search - and with the dragonriders staying isolated, it was far more of a shock to the Holders to have them come in and steal the pretty girls.

Then Lessa has K'net and probably some others start making systematic raids on all the Holds. Adding fuel to the fire pretty quickly.

I do wonder how long it would take for the various Lords to meet beforehand - because I doubt one would be happy to find an army preparing to march through en route... But there would be fast boats and horses...
There are always faster boats, fast runners and express riders who will make better time than an army on the march, a caravan on route or settlers moving somewhere new.

Certainly the "irritation" with the dragon-riders built over time and from multiple causes, but no matter how you cut it the Lord Holders involved made an anthill into Olympus Mons.

I don't remember what season the march on the Weyr was supposed to take place. I'd imagine the Lord Holders probably put the scheme together over the winter, then marched after crops were sown in the spring in hopes of carrying everything off in time to return to harvest in autumn. This would be typical of such campaigns on Earth. All of the holds involved are easy to communicate with, being accessible by sea, river or well-traveled road. More remote areas such as High Reaches, Tillek, S. Boll, and Nerat are not involved. It is interesting that Ista was not involved, but one can't help but be suspicious that the masters of High Reaches, Tillek and Istan ships moved the army for pay.

Of course one problem with the march would be the journey from Bay Head to the Weyr through the territory of Holds loyal to Benden and almost certainly unwilling to lend any logistic help. So even if the troops marched light and met supplies on the way as far as Bay Head, from there on they'll need drays and not make such good progress.

Fax did bring about the militarization of other Holds and probably the rise of professional armsmen. Without the drain of resources that would normally go to supporting the Weyrs, those resources could instead support standing armies. Exactly how large these "armies" would be is open to question, however, and very much dependent upon the size of the population.

Using the Domesday Book model on-line for a barren world of about 133,000 km2 land area for the Northern Continent, you get a population of about 1.3 million. Some other experimentation I did with growth rates and time came to 1.3 million as well, but some tweaks could easily alter that number either way. A lot depends on the assumptions you make. So we'll set the assumptions aside for a moment and go with 1.3 million for argument sake.

According to the model, you'd have 4 cities and 17 towns, with the former running to about 10,000 and the latter to about 5,000. This isn't that far off 15 major Holds with populations between those numbers in their immediate environs. So say the average major hold has about 8,000 people. The model provides 100 armsmen at 5,000 and 200 at 10,000, under a "tyrannical" regime. We can stretch that definition to include the "siege" conditions of Pern. So 15 major Holds could support about 160 armsmen each for a total of about 2400. Six Weyrs with about 360 dragon-riders each comes to 2160.

So in normal times on Pern, the typical hold probably didn't have the resources for more than about 15 armsmen. Remove five of six dragon-riders, and suddenly a Lord Holder can mount an "army" of 100-200 men, just from his main Hold. Of course, he can also draw from the smaller holds ("villages" in the model) which could produce 10-15 armsmen each out of a population averaging 700 in its environs, and there are about 150-200 such smaller holds peripheral to each major Hold.

So the typical Lord Holder has a probable maximum mobilization potential of ~2800 men, making an "army" equivalent to about a regiment in modern terms. Of course, in the medieval period, armies were often so small. It has been long since I read DF, but IIRC, Fax's forces weren't described as large, and he took other Holds with under 100 men. This would not be surprising against unprepared facilities that were not mobilized and probably had no more than 30 men under arms. It is an old military maxim that attacking a prepared position requires a ratio of 3:1 to succeed.

Now, band five major and two minor Holds together and just from their main facilities (without draining every minor hold), you could easily mount a force of 1050 men. Go all out, and you could get 15,000 men (a modern division) marching on the Weyr. I don't recall how many were supposed to be in that force.

Of course, 400 Turns before, when Pern's population was one seventh as large, such an expedition could not have been mounted, and there were probably next to no professional armsmen as just keeping the dragon-riders functioning would have consumed 50% of the planet's military potential, and the remaining "force" would have been spread so thin that a major Hold probably wouldn't have more than a dozen men under arms in any way, and smaller Holds might not have more than a handful. At the beginning of the Second Long Interval, Pern's military potential was probably about 4,300 men; by the end of that Interval, it was 42,000. The six Weyrs consume 2160 men. By the 9th Pass, Benden boasted a whopping 172 men, and these Lord Holders considered them to be a burden. I've no sympathy for the greedy mongrels.
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Old Feb 4 2008, 04:07 PM   #12
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Off topic - ED, have you read Elizabeth Moon's Deed of Paksenarrion? All this figuring out the logistics of the situation is really making me want to reread it! (It's a fantasy book involving mercenary companies, orcs, elves, and gods. It's one of the Best Books I Have Ever Read.)
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Old Feb 4 2008, 06:16 PM   #13
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I thought there were some travel times given in "Runner"
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Old Feb 4 2008, 07:00 PM   #14
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Off topic - ED, have you read Elizabeth Moon's Deed of Paksenarrion? All this figuring out the logistics of the situation is really making me want to reread it! (It's a fantasy book involving mercenary companies, orcs, elves, and gods. It's one of the Best Books I Have Ever Read.)
Yes, I have. I've also read Hambly's Sunhawk trilogy, which is similar. Enjoyed both, but did not keep either. I believe my wife also read Paks; I'm not sure she read the Hambly books.

Moon is an outstanding author and a Marine, so she knows her stuff. I believe I am an entire Moon space opera series behind my wife in reading her. My wife reads pretty much 95-99% fantasy, science fiction and historical novels outside work study.

I read overwhelmingly military, political, social and technical design histories (yes, I'm the guy you don't want to cite a comfortable military urban myth or piece of "common knowledge" around) leavened with a bit of astronomy, and archeology, and have a hard time wedging in science fiction, fantasy and historical fiction any more. I make time only for Alan Dean Foster, David Weber, Steve White, Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon and I'm many volumes behind with both at the moment. I've begun re-reading Pern to catch up on what I've missed and enjoy Todd McCaffrey's contributions.

As an aside, I'd love to read Patrick O'Brien (I'm sure I'd enjoy the work) but I'll never have the time.
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Old Nov 13 2010, 01:51 AM   #15
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This is geting good, I don't know if this is any good, MHoP a sevenday Telgar to Ruatha on runner back, Big Black come to mind, after the fight between Fax and F'lar, with Robinton gets hurt.

Also there is six time zones between Benden and Fort
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Old Nov 13 2010, 11:53 AM   #16
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Ginny, please don't unnecessarily resurrect topics that died about three years ago.
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Old Nov 13 2010, 03:06 PM   #17
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Ginny, please don't unnecessarily resurrect topics that died about three years ago.
I'm not, I'm looking for some information, on this type of travel, and posting the note about travel from the books, taken with a grain of salt is, just my way of trying to unravel an idea in translate how to one end of Pern to another.
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Old Nov 13 2010, 04:23 PM   #18
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If it's just for your own use and is not adding something new to the discussion, maybe you could just bookmark the page for your own use.
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Old Nov 14 2010, 02:30 PM   #19
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I'm not, I'm looking for some information, on this type of travel, and posting the note about travel from the books, taken with a grain of salt is, just my way of trying to unravel an idea in translate how to one end of Pern to another.
Then you best start a new thread on the topic, so people can start reacting and contributing. Please do not resurrect a thread from January 2008 with a nonsense reply.
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Old Nov 14 2010, 05:42 PM   #20
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Then you best start a new thread on the topic, so people can start reacting and contributing. Please do not resurrect a thread from January 2008 with a nonsense reply.
More like a half recall bit.
But I am going to do so.
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Dragoncave GinnyStar2
Jellied Dragons
Lair of Dragons
http://dragcave.net/user/GinnyStar2
Thanks! Others: None at this time
WIP http://archiveofourown.org/works/252259
http://www.daisy.org/learning-difficulties
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