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The Rivers of Lake Klintestby Mike Harvey
Lake Klintest has THREE outflows:
1. The Hrap River to the Krandai River of Ethengar and ultimately to the Streel and Malpheggi
2. The Kur River to the Vestfjord River of Vestland
3. The Klintest River to the Landersfjord River of Vestland
Some maps show all three rivers as outflows to the sea. Some show either the Kur or the Klintest as inflows, not crossing the mountains to Vestland. All maps agree that the Hrap river flows out to Ethengar.
Realistically, there should be only one river flowing out. This is a common but annoying world-building mistake. Water will choose the lowest course, that course will have the strongest flow and the fastest erosion, and eventually capture the entire outflow. The only way multiple rivers could drain the same lake is either (1) temporarily to drain excessive lake volume, or (2) some mechanism that prevents erosion. Also, three outflows are excessive for a lake with only two inflows; it could be draining faster than it is filling.
Has anyone dealt with this by altering the maps, or else explained it in some way?
- One river is connected by a canal with locks. It is not a natural watercourse. That would establish a major trade route through the mountains. I know some have suggested this for the Kur/Vestfjord river, and it also parallels a highway; but if the dwarves went to so much trouble to build a canal to Vestland, why not also build a canal from Evemur to Smaggeft? Such a canal would connect the two great lakes and benefit internal transport, and it also seems less work than a canal to Vestland.
- Maybe the dwarves dammed the Hrap to raise the lake level, causing it to overflow through natural gaps to Vestland. Chaning water levels seems a bad idea in a kingdom riddied with tunnels that could easily flood.
- One river (either the Kur or Klintest) originates in the mountains, from a gate to the plane of water located atop a ridge. Water flows two directions, into Rockhome and into Vestland. These rivers need not be level, and would flow down both sides of the ridge.
- Klintest was once an icecap, and at least three glaciers flowed out where the rivers are now, creating deep valleys.
- Klintest is fed by a water elemental gate. The dwarves maintain three stable outflows to prevent the eastern half of the kingdom from flooding.
- Instead of an elemental gate, maybe Klintest is fed by stray water magic conjured by the elves, a side effect of the greening of Alfheim?
- Maybe the Klintest Monster likes to dig?
Klintest was once a simple mountain lake that drained through the Klintest River. The Kur flowed in, and there was nothing where the Hrap is now. The Klintest flows through a narrow and deep gorge with many cataracts. (The gorge was formed by a glacier, earthquake, or whatever.) There is a natural gap in the mountains at Evekarr and the road takes advantage of it, since the Klintest is impassable and prone to rockfalls.
At some point a water gate opened in the lake and it began to fill. The Klintest river swelled, but could not expand in the narrow gorge, so got deeper and more violent. Heavy erosion in the Klintest Gorge caused a landslide, partially blocking it and causing further backup. As a result the lake rose until Kurdal and Smaggeft were threatened with flooding. To prevent this, an overflow channel was created north into Ethengar to protect the cities. It was successful, and since it is cut in bedrock there is no serious erosion. It was expected that the Hrap would dry up in summer, but there proved to be sufficient flow to create a navigable river year-round.
Wanting to export heavy ore to Vestland, and import bulk foodstuffs, the dwarves built a canal with locks through the Evekarr Gap. Additional locks on the Hrap allow riverboats to travel by an inland route from Vestland to Ethengar. Were it not for the broken lands, riverboats could make it all the way to Athenos and Akesoli. The king of Rockhome would love to capture and tax the inland trade route.
Just batting around ideas. My inclination is to block the Klintest and the Kur, so that the only outflow is the Hrap.
Here are some of my thoughts on individual rivers:
Hrap - The one and only outflow of Lake Klintest. The text on GAZ6 p.46 refers to it as a "small river" and one that forms "in the mountains." Both of these statements are at odds with the map, unless we consider it as bifurcating in the mountains, which seems unlikely. Pretty much every other map shows this river as flowing from the lake, eventually ending up as a tributary of the Streel.
Klintest - flows into the lake. Earlier maps show this to be the case, and it is not connected with the rivers flowing east into Vestland.
Kur - I believe some early X1 maps as well as the map in X3 p.3 show that the river that flows past Rhoona on the north does not originate in Lake Klintest, but in the mountains. GAZ6 in fact contradicts itself in the text about this river. On p. 46, "This mountain stream forms in Lake Klintest," and then on the very next page in the entry on Evekarr Pass, "the mountain ridge where the Kur River has its headwaters." The second interpretation seems correct. P. 58 refers to Fort Evekarr as being at the pass between Rockhome and Vestland. This implies that it is a high point with the land sloping down on either side of it. The GAZ6 map shows what seems to be a mistaken gap in the river at the point of Fort Evekarr, but I would argue this gap is real, showing that there are two separate rivers here. The source of the Kur is near the Fort and flows west into the lake, while the source of the Vestfjord is on the other side of the fort and flows east.
Nithia - this is clearly a tributary of the Larodar.
In short, I generally agree with what Thorf has written here:I realise that this is supposed to be the River Nithia, diverted underground by the Immortals to starve the Great Alasiyan Basin of water. But the same "diverting the headwaters" can be achieved simply by having the River Nithia flow north into the Larodar and then Lake Stahl, without any rivers splitting or other weirdness.
Back to Lake Klintest... I'd argue that, if possible, we should avoid lake bifurcation — even if it means overriding GAZ6's text in places. So we only want one outflow from the lake. That being the case, the Hrap seems like the best candidate, with its source north of the lake instead becoming a tributary.
The Klintest River clearly flows into the lake, not out of it.
The question then becomes what to do with the Kur. The simplest solution would be to cut the river either before or after its source, turning it into two rivers, with one flowing west into the lake, and the other flowing east into the Northern Reaches.
The other consideration is the relative elevations of the surrounding terrain. We don't have much data about this, but we already know from the fact that Lake Stahl drains into Ethengar that the Hrap is a possible outflow, with just one hex of mountains barring its way north (and there could conceivably be a valley there). The Kur, on the other hand, has at least four hexes of mountains to flow through. Yes, there could be a valley, but the general rule for these things is "path of least resistance".
`Not that I don't find magical portals, dams, and locks interesting.