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Some Ideas Concerning the Development of Melinir as a Town

by Chris Seabrook

Just to keep my (imaginary) timeline straight, I always figured that Klien has to be the oldest human settlement in the Rift, even if it didn't always go by that name. It was probably first inhabited by more primordial beings when they first came down the falls (carnifex?, fey and giants?), and then by the elves, gnomes and dwarves, and the halflings each in turn, when they first came. It was definitely inhabited by humans at the time of the king.

Torlynn might not have yet been founded, but there where sure to be other villages on the edge of the Gauntlin (maybe even on that exact site) that supplied the Rift with lumber, furs, bone, forest game meats, fruit, nuts, herbs, and other forest-supplied resources.

According to both the Thunder Rift source book, and the Warriors of the Eternal Sun, the Goblin wars may have pushed the demi-human races to near extinction.

“they at least prevented the outright slaughter of the good races, one by one.” (Thunder Rift: pg 11)

This the end, my beautiful friend, this is the end.

The plague might have come close to doing that again. After two world changing events like that, I doubt that any original settlements would have remained untouched (read as: demolished and mostly uninhabited).

The Site of Melinir Before The Arrival of Humans

The history of the town of Melinir probably begins with its geology. We know that the Rift must get iron, coal, copper, lead, chrome, gold, and silver form within, because it is so isolated. If it didn't, there would be constant fighting for coal and iron (it is difficult to make steel with wood fires). We also know that most of these minerals must be present in the Melinir mines (or the dwarves would have absolute economic, military and political domination over the entire Rift. Because of the Rift's shape, the bottom of the Rift is accumulated soil, sedimentary rock, or erosion exposed igneous rock (because everything settles at the bottom). I think that that the hills around Melinir must be mineral bearing igneous rock slabs that have pushed there way through to the surface of the plain of sediments (probably pushed up by whatever forces made the lake).

Keep in mind that Zanzer's mine appears to full of salt, and that he may have been mining for diamonds; this means his mine must be in sedimentary rock (I think).

The buildings of Melinir tend to be stone, because it already has both good quarries and mines, but wood has to floated down a eastern branch of the Drake river, and then over Lake Ganif, from the Gauntlin.

The site of Melinir was probably inhabited by all the different demi-humans, at different times, before the humans arrived in the Rift. The elves might have set up camps there, but other than the lake, there wouldn't be much to keep them there, other than surface mineral deposits. Since elves don't like deep mining, if there where surface deposits in those hills close to the forests, then that would have been a inhabited, and maybe defended site. Some of the older trees and rocks around the area may bear elvish inscriptions, and maybe enchantments.

After the elves used up the surface deposits, and got pushed back into the forests, the dwarves may have mined the hills. The entrenches, and lost deeper sections, may be full of dwarven architecture, and writing. They would have begun the precedent of building with stone in the area. Some of the oldest buildings may have partially dwarven foundations.

After the dwarves where forced back into the hills during the Rift Wars, without anyone else in the area, the halflings may have farmed the hills and meadows, fished the lake, and worked the mines a little bit.

Early Human Occupation of the Melinir Site

During the early human occupation of the Rift, perhaps, it was proabably a single farm or fief, occupied by a reeve, or other person named “Melinir”, or “Melini” (we have an entire are of my city named “Billingsbridge”, after the Billings family that built a bridge across a river on their land, and later allowed it's use as a public road), that a gave some land to the Traladarian or Thyatian church, a druidic order, or another monastic order, so they could build a chapel/ temple close to the lake. It was selected for the site of the temple because it was far away from any know humanoid encampments, but was on the shore of a lake that had rivers connecting most of the Rift. This may have been a single building.
Read All About What Peasants Lived In
Read All About Longhouses

The Site of Melinir During and After the Goblin Wars

The Melinir Temple
Temple Basement

After the Goblin War, and the remaining peasants fled the area of Barrik Castle, many people began migrating toward the known remaining settlements, like Klien, and a few to the shores of Lake Ganif.

With an influx of refugees, “Melini's Ruin” might have evolved into a small fishing and farming burg (smaller than a village) that was re-built upon the older site (of the original farm). This new villa or manor on “Melini's Ruin” may have originally been a collection of peasant longhouses, boat houses, stables, barns, and grain silos, for the slaves, surfs, villeins, cottars, bordars, and the few “free peasants” there. There was probably a separate reeve's house, that was where either 25 or 24 is on the Melinir map (close to the water and the temple), or maybe even the house of the local (if still living) lord or lady (read as: baron or baroness). This may have been the founding of the modern town.
Map of Melinir

The Developing Town of Melinir During and After the Plague

Ironically, poverty may have helped protect the peasants during the plague. Whatever the means of transmission, those who could travel, import distant goods, or have visitors would be the first to be stricken. That probably finished cleaning up the local nobility.

Melinir's isolation and clerics would explain it's surviving the plague. It might have been the Melinir temple that cured the plague.

During and after the plague, both the human and demi-human populations would have migrated toward any place that still had fresh water, food, and the chance of a cure. If the Melinir clerics cured the plague, it would have been the most common destination. Melinir would have had a lot of pilgrims and refugees. They may have started pilgrim/ homeless and penniless plague survivor communes. Shortly after, the village would have elected the first mayor that laid out the divisions of the town.
Read All About Choosing a Site For a Town
Read All About Chartered Cities
Read All About the Kind of Town Charter Melinir May Have Gotten
Read All About (Lack of) Engineering in Medieval Towns
Read All About Life in Medieval Towns
Read Some in Depth Descriptions of Medieval Towns
Read All About Medieval Communes

The Town, The Quadrial, the First Mayor, the Theive's Guild, the Walls, and the new Temple Grounds

We know that the base of the Quadrial was built in place called Melinir shortly after the plague. The local theive's guild may claim to have been founded by Grey Raven.

The Thunder Rift source book indicates that “generations” passed between the first mayor, the division of the town, and the erection of the city walls. We know that the current temple complex was only built after the bourgeois district, and just before the city walls and a gnoll attack.

The guard towers, and the garrison have “magical speaking tubes”. They must have been made by wizards after the founding of the Wizardspire magic school, and before the Sword vs. Wand civil war, or by the clerics, but I can't think of what spells they would have used to make them (other than Wish, of course).