Pshoo Settlement in Challaria | World Anvil

Pshoo

Describe an isolated or frontier settlement and how it survives in your world.

A short lived quarrying colony in the Tambok Plateaus which produced excellent fleshtoned Bok Marble used, amongst of the things for the Merichon the Younger's masterpiece Abran Triumphant. Though it achieved fame for the quality of the marble quarried there, it achieved notoriety from the disappearance of the entire workforce.  

Subsistence

Although self sufficient for water the settlement was entirely dependent on the spring and autumn convoys. These allowed for the comings and goings of workers, brought food and other supplies in and took the stone away. With the quarry some 8 day’s trek from the nearest landing this was a slow and protracted exchange made easier by some of the local tribes hiring out their dromemels for haulage. Two journeys each way typically completed the exchange, with the largest blocks hauled by wagon on the first coast ward journey.
Diet in Pshoo was never going to be exciting in these circumstances - the convoys brought ship’s biscuit, dried meat and dried fruit and this provided reasonable nutrition but no excitement. The shortage of fuel made cooking a rarity though the careful use of herbs and spices could reduce its monotony to survivable levels.

Demographics

During a typical season Pshoo housed around 100 people, around 80 of whom would be there for a single half year; 10 for a year or two and the remainder intending to stay longer. The majority were men of the mountain areas, with few women every venturing to the settlement for the culture of the mountain miners saw mines as an unlucky place for women and this view was transferred to the quarries.

Government

There was very little in the way of organised government; the closest to a governing faction was the group of permanent (or at least longest present) who were entrusted with the strategic decision making and who had acquired most of what could pass for property rights.

Defences

Although there were no formal defences ten or more leagues of arid and impenetrable badlands was probably a more effective defence than any pallisaide could be. Were it a gold mining operation some of the desert dwelling tribes might have been a threat but the low intrinsic value and portability of the marble doubtless helped protect the colony.

Industry & Trade

Pshoo’s sole reason for existence was for the extraction of Bok Marble of a particularly fine grade and flesh like tones. The quarrying and dressing of the stone tor transport was the business of most of the settlement with a dozen or so others providing catering, infrastructure and other services to the largely seasonal workforce.

Infrastructure

What made Pshoo viable as a long term settlement was the presence of a large spring about a mile from the quarry site. This therefore formed the logical point for the settlement to arise and the natural cleft in which the spring rose has been expanded into a large cistern, the level of which is carefully monitored.

Guilds and Factions

Though not a formal demarcation the clearest division in the settlement was between the handful who lived there year round and the larger number who came for a half year - arriving and leaving with the spring and summer ships. This was far more significant than the divide between the stone workers and the support staff although it never manifested as open conflict.
Insert logo of the mining firm (crossed picks) and picture of a mining camp.

The Desertion of Pshoo

The settlement had been established for some 30 years when the spring convoy arrived to collect the quarried stone and to resupply it with food, workers and a few luxuries. They were met by the dromemel caravan of one of the local tribes that had developed a sideline as a haulage contractor for the Pshoo and completed the trek to the quarry as normal but found the settlement and the quarry deserted.
All was in good order; food supplies in the stores, water in the cistern, stone readied for transport back to the ships, but no people.
As the situation became apparent, the caravan became increasingly insistent that they leave the place immediately and would brook no delay, speaking of the “Devils of the Plateaus” and such. All but three of the caravan and re-inforcements left that afternoon. The three who remained were experienced quarrymen who had worked Pshoo before and wanted to understand what had happened.
On the morning prof the third day as the caravan was continuing its journey back to the ships, one of the three staggered into camp and collapsed. His last words were to point to the leader of the caravan saying “He was right.”

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