So as I contemplate the look of Tarshite cities, it is clear we need to think about general Pelorian architecture.
So first building materials – Peloria is a land of bricks. Air-dried mud bricks are common for the rural masses, but fired bricks are most common building materials for cities. This combines two things that Peloria has a lot of – clay (it is an alluvial valley) and Fire cults. Lodril and the Lowfires are naturally the brick gods. Fired bricks are made in kilns, so one more thing sacred to Gustbran. Just imagine loads of kilns burning in every Pelorian city – for bricks, for bronze, for pottery, etc. No wonder the Lowfires are so important!
This is expensive of course, so temples, palaces, and other important buildings get built out of fired brick, but many residential buildings are made of mud-brick. Same thing with roofing material – the rich get terracotta tiles, the poor make do with wood, reeds, or even sod. Carry this over to Saird in the Second Age. Mudbrick buildings, whitewashed, with wood or reed roofs, are the norm with walls, palaces, and temples made out of fired brick.
So let’s now get to the settlement of Tarsh in the 1350s. We don’t have many kilns, so bricks need to be air-dried mud or clay. That works in Dunstop, but Alda-Chur and Bagnot are not in alluvial valleys. So we have to make greater use of wood and stone, and at first this is all pretty crude. The original temple to Orlanth Rex in Bagnot was timber-framed with mud-brick walls and a thatched roof. In the 1400s, the Tarshite kings had access to Pelorian brickmakers, and no doubt many important buildings were remade with fired bricks.
When Furthest is laid out and built in 1492, the Lunars brought in thousands of skilled crafters (especially brickmakers) and settled them there. Construction was mobilized for rapid building – something the Lunars (and especially Hon-eel) got very expert at in the preceding generation. Furthest was built quickly, and by 1500 the city walls were complete and work progressed on the markets and temples.
By the time Phoronestes died in 1535, the city was largely complete. Of course, three years later it fell to Palashee Longaxe and his Sartarite allies, and for the next twenty years, Furthest was Palashee’s winter capital. Meanwhile in Sartar, the Sartar Dynasty developed high quality stonemasonry. Roads, temples, walls, and other important buildings were made out of finely dressed stone. Palashee hired Sartarite stonemasons for some of his buildings, like the Orlanth Rex temple in Furthest, and numerous buildings in Bagnot.
In 1555, the Lunars returned to Furthest. Phargentes was no builder, but his son Moirades was. The temple to Orlanth Rex was destroyed and great temples to the Seven Mothers and Hon-eel. A grand palace and fortified citadel was built outside of the city walls. Ironically I think Sartarite masons were hired to finish the exterior of these buildings with stone.
King Pharandros has been an even bigger builder than his father, building the great arena known as the Moirasseum (completed in 1621 in times for many gladiatorial contests to be held in celebration of the fall of Whitewall), expanding the royal palace, and building many monuments. Sartarite crafters are hired for stoneworking, as they are far cheaper than dwarves!
Meanwhile back in Saird, Mirin’s Cross is still a city of fired brick and mud-brick, like the rest of Saird and most of Dara Happa. But Glamour – well we can talk about that in the comments!
Workfires are everywhere, with kilns for pots, bricks, and bronze makers, Hearthfires in every home, and sacred Enverinus fires fed by by oak. Smelly and smoky!
Do the Pelorians know how to glaze bricks? I am sure the Pelorians know how to do it, but it is very expensive and reserved for particularly rich people and institutions (like the Yelm, Red Goddess, or Seven Mothers cults).
Fired brick is plenty durable as long as it is maintained. The Etemenanki and other mud-brick buildings in Babylon were regularly restored and rebuilt. I am certain there are temples in the Tripolis that were built in the First Age and have been continuously maintained (sometimes expanded or even rebuilt) since then.
Until the Sartar Dynasty came around, the Quivini had neither the wealth nor the specialists to build much long lasting stuff – that’s why they tended to build inside the ruins of EWF forts (like Clearwine Fort).
I’d say the pecking order goes something like:
- Stuff built by dwarfs. That stuff is built to last and includes much of the Big Rubble.
- Stuff built by people taught by the dwarfs or who stole their secrets. That includes the Sartarites and a few others.
- Civilised folk who use fired bricks and the like. That’s the Pelorians, Teshnites, and Kralori.
- Folk stuck using mostly mud-bricks and wood. That’s most Orlanthi, Ralians, Seshnelans, Fronelans, and so on.
So if we think about Elz Ast, Joranit, Yuthuppa, Raibanth, and Alkoth, we are going to get mostly brick building. Fired bricks for anything important, air-dried bricks for whatever is not important.
But Glamour can be different. Sure most buildings are made of fired brick, but we also have access to the stone of the Crater itself. Which might also get used for important Lunar temples throughout the Silver Shadow.
My hope is that this helps us visualise not just the cities in Tarsh, but also Saird and Peloria. Furthest is the culmination of a city building project that no doubt included many earlier efforts most likely including Dendeno, Graclodont, Hair Zaal, Hariij, Hylokoth, Irayal, Katchari, Red Fish, Yelm’s New Foot, and likely many others. By the time Furthest was founded, Hon-eel had gotten really good at doing this.
What about the weather? Mud brick is good for dry climates, but doesn’t hold up to rain very well. Is Peloria dry?
Peloria is pretty dry – it is basically a typical grassland steppe.
- Alkoth gets 61 cm (Kiev – the area of the Pripet Marshes). Alkoth is in a convergence zone that gets precipitation both in Fire Season and in Storm Season.
- Glamour is 41 cm (Spokane). The presence of the Crater moderates the Northerly winds, but also means Glamour is in a rain shadow.
- Raibanth is 36 cm. The presence of the Yelm cult definitely increases the number of cloudless days. Almost all of the precipitation falls in Fire Season, when the Pelorians worship Entekos the Rain Goddess and Dendara the Good Wife.
- Yuthuppa is 46 cm. Almost all of the precipitation falls in Fire Season.