How do we actually travel the Empire?
The only way that points in the right direction is the existence of trods.
But that does not speed up the travel itself by much. It may reduce the breaks needed, but the distance covered will still be not more than 50 miles a day. The Empire seems to be some 900 miles tall and wide, with Anvil in the middle, so even walking in a straight line, always on trods, only minimal breaks, it takes you two weeks to get to Anvil from the corners of the Empire.
So what is the unmentioned way through which most travel happens? I assume it’s abstracted away, and I would imagine it to be connected to Operate Portal and similarly consistent but unpredictable as the Sentinel gate, and limited to travels of a handful of individuals with only their personal belongings.
Travel is basically by foot or boat. There is no teleport network, nothing faster than roads.
However, trods make people seriously quick. Even in the real world, ultra runners can do 100 miles in 12 hours. The Art of War records a general marching his army (one hundred thousand strong) 100 miles in 24 hours, and that’s with full baggage train and so on. Now imagine they don’t get tired from doing so.
The big problem with going a long way by foot very quickly is basically endurance. Trods solve that problem, and make it feasible for a PC to basically do the Empire edge to edge in a week or two.
Only world record holders. Your average club runner could generally aspire to 100 miles in 24 hours if they put the training in, had a good day, and didn’t pick up any injuries. That’s without stopping for things like sleep and proper meals. After that you would generally have difficulty with such things as standing up and climbing stairs for a few days.
I’d generally handwave it that Isca is one of the faster people in the Empire, being physrepped by an OC distance runner, and can probably do about 100 miles a day consistently on the Trods, given decent conditions and a lack of such annoyances as barbarians and Vallorn, and a reason to want to go fast rather than stop off and do interesting things on the way. About two weeks to get from one side of the Empire to another, given mountains, weather, and so on. Ox cart would probably take about twice as long. There’s also some river transport.
Generally though, it’s possible for places to be somewhat geographically isolated, especially if they are off the main Trod networks (which have lots of passing Navarr Stridings), afflicted by barbarians or geography, or just small and not so interesting to passers-by.
Messages can be delivered near-instantaneously and securely to anywhere via a ritual called Winged Messenger, but this is expensive, and likely to be used in a similar way to telegrams. For everyday messages or larger items, the cheapest way to send them is to hand them to a Navarr Striding who happen to be heading in approximately the right direction, and will pass them around until they arrive sooner or later, quite possibly having read them first.
Note: downtime is wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff, due to OC time and IC time working differently. It is probably safe to assume that things happen in the same order before and after each other, but questioning how a PC pops up in Semersuaq then Spiral on consecutive weekends is best handwaved.
Hmmm. There is the Sentinel Gate, which has some of the features.
I had assumed that you could essentially use it to explain some long-range travel, because
[ul]]The sentinel gate in Anvil opens to “interesting” places, in a manner that can be found out, but not predicted./:m] ]You can travel back through the Sentinel Gate while it is open, even if you did not travel through, as long as you are an imperial citizen./:m] ]Every magickian, even from the most remote backwaters, knows how to Operate Portals, even though the use for it is (as far as I can see) not as high for a backwater landskeeper as some other basic spells might be./:m][/ul]
It felt like hijacking the Sentinel Gate to explain long-range travel might solve some of the problems a full-blown teleportation network would have, while still explaining how messages and travellers get to places as fast as it looks like OOC. (This would be partly due to the genius OOC design of the sentinel gate!)
I believe (official answers only come by email) that we explicitly don’t support this explanation, in order to keep the quantity of high-fantasy elements in the game down to a reasonable level - it’s fine to just not think too hard about how you got from point A to point B so quickly, but if you want to pay attention to it, then you did it by some variety of foot travel / river and sea travel, not via magical portals.