Highways, dropways, noways
There are five different roads that lead to Rinenmaa. We may have to travel by sea.
Yahts Proisen, Torholmaan trader, 1640 AoE
he rain forest, jungle, and muddwood environments over much of Excilior make travel a challenging prospect for nearly all casterways. In many regions, the landscape is littered with roads. But the state of those roads can make them extremely difficult to traverse. Depending upon the season and the number of people using the road, it can even be difficult to find the road. If any particular natural disaster forces a road into disuse for even a season or two, it's not uncommon for the ever-growing flora of Excilior to completely consume the passage.
Excilior's bountiful network of rivers also complicates land-based travel. A perfectly-good road can be rendered nearly useless if a key river crossing is washed out or destroyed. Flash floods make short work of many civil engineering projects. Ferries are popular, but they can be expensive in urban areas - and they can be dangerous in isolated rural regions. Those boarding a ferry in the wilderness had best be prepared to either fight their way off it or shell out more coin if the ferryman decides to change his price in the middle of the stream.
Even when standing firmly on dry land, roads can present significant risks. Journeys are long and arduous. Travelers are often ill-acquainted with their surroundings. And bandits proliferate. It was this set of realities that gave rise millennia ago to the Sylvan Guard. Unfortunately, the Guard also spawned a rival group of opportunists who impersonate the Sylvans - merely for the purpose of making it easier to rob unsuspecting travelers.
I'm not entirely certain just how many people in Abdelos even remember how to walk on solid ground anymore. It wouldn't surprise me if their young aren't even aware that a thing called "ground level" exists.
Izmail Karatof, Prielian diplomat, 3121 AoG
In regions dominated by the great arbyrs, dropways are a common conduit for foot traffic. A dropway is a suspended road, hung between the trees, that allows someone to move from one arbyr to another without ever touching the ground. These are not merely makeshift rope bridges slung between a couple of branches in close proximity. Casterway expertise in building such walkways is impressive. Some of them span many hundreds of meters. And by chaining them together, to one arbyr, then the next, then the next (etc.) vast networks have been constructed that keep travelers from ever having to step on land. Dropways have proven to be especially effective in spanning the ever-shifting tendrils of the world's river systems. Whereas traditional bridges take significant time and investment and are susceptible to flooding and other natural disasters, dropways can be erected much faster, defended more easily, and are immune to many ground-based stressors. Although dropways are usually designed for foot traffic, with travelers only walking one- or two-abreast, in large cities these skyways have been designed to withstand the heavy loads of carts and pack animals. When travelers are lucky enough to have solid roads under their feet, they can sometimes journey as far as 50 kilometers in a day (with massive caveats for weather and wildlife). But when the destination requires traveling over smaller side paths, or even when traveling the "main" path (but far from a major outpost), that rate can fall swiftly. When traversing the smaller and lightly-used trails that wind their way through deep forest gorges and dense undergrowth, even sticking to the road may result in no more than 10-15 kilometers covered per day.
The chaotic nature of Excilior's roads should not be taken to imply that they have no high quality thoroughfares. While it varies from city-to-city, country-to-country, and region-to-region, the quality of casterway roads is typically determined by the distance between the current point in the road and the nearest large city. Roads immediately surrounding major urban centers can often be wide, well-maintained, and sometimes even paved with brick or stone. This pristine condition often deteriorates once the traveler is a significant distance from town. Small villages usually offer nothing more than trails of dirt or clay. Large cities lose their prestigious roads anywhere from 2-10 kilometers from the city limits.
I've spent my entire life on these roads. And I've seen many things that no one should ever have to witness. On any road. At any time.
Powl Marzon, Catrian Sylvan Guard, 1880 AoE
Although shifting weather and drainage patterns can make significant changes to roads on all continents, there are some critical arteries that have managed to survive - in one form or another - for centuries, or even for millennia. Of course, the existence of these extended highways in no way implies that they are always clear-and-available for travel across their entire length. Natural disasters, political conflicts, and other tragedies can cause long stretches of these roads to be inaccessible for extended periods of time. Some of these critical arteries are: Isleprimoton
From Yueshan in Siukingia to Nganping in Tseun
From western Charia to Torhola in Torholmaa
From Pier in Dinaisia to Nganping in Tseun
From Courdes in Lancia to Loulethinet in Charia
From Akalaarabo in Hetmaa to Nilasla in Nilaslia