Tarcan Roadway Building / Landmark in Ulskandar | World Anvil

Tarcan Roadway

Running for over 400 miles, the Tarcan Roadway cuts the Deytet Savannah in two as it shoots its way between the Union of Mishtoon and the Sultanate of Fashaddon. Seeing that other nations, such as the Republic of Castar and the Kingdom of Dazscor & Aramore were growing their trading empires through the sea routes, the Union of Mishtoon and the Sultanate of Fashaddon came to the joint agreement that the monopoly of international trade via the sea had to be curbed. This resulted in the construction of the largest and longest international building project ever undertaken in Turoza, as the two nations had a paved road painstakingly commissioned, designed and constructed under the auspices of the famous Fashaddonite architect Melis Tarcan , after whom it is named.   The Tarcan Roadway is now one of the busiest roadways on the continent and it facilitates an enormous flow of trade between the north and south of Turoza, rivalling the sea routes for the amount of cargo moved and transacted along its length. Even for the tribal peoples that inhabit the area of The ‘Free States’ that it passes through, the roadway has been largely accepted. Although the project was originally seen as a divisive attempt by the two kingdoms to subjugate their tribal lands by the people of the ‘Free States’, the Roadway is now viewed as a key location for both trading with and raiding the caravans that pass along its length.   In order to transport trade goods and commodities along the Tarcan Roadway, a toll of 2GP per transport vehicle is charged, with the fee going towards the maintenance of the roadway, and paying off the Guild of Coiners & Moneyers who bankrolled the project. Those simply travelling along the Tarcan Roadway can do so for free.

Purpose / Function

The Tarcan Roadway was specifically commissioned to provide a stable road surface through the untamed lands of the ‘Free States’ that would increase the speed with which trading caravans were able to pass through the Deytet Savannah, and allow for the movement of larger wagons and heavier cargos through the area. The purpose and function of the Tarcan Roadway has remained primarily to facilitate trade, though it is also used as a highway for travellers in general who have little or nothing to do with trade who wish to move to either the north or south of the continent by land.


The core structure of the Tarcan Roadway has not been altered since its initial construction, save for necessary maintenance work that needs to be carried out. An additional branch of the roadway has been constructed into the south of the The Republic of Castar, but other than that its length has not been significantly extended. Many of the small garrison towers that are placed every five miles along the Tarcan Roadway’s length have been augmented by the addition of fortified inns and taverns, which cater to travellers and traders wishing to spend a more secure night in the Deytet Savannah, rather than risk being ambushed by one of the numerous tribes in the region.


The Tarcan Roadway was designed to be a large, stable, hardwearing road surface that would be able to accommodate two streams of traffic in opposite directions, with the expectation that traffic passing along the road would be heavily laden with trade goods and commodities. The road was built using the following layers of construction:
  • First, the earth along its course was tamped down to make a firm and consistent foundation. This occasionally required the use of stone so that the foundations could traverse boggy or soft ground.
  • A secondary layer of sand and gravel was then laid down on top of the foundations. This middle layer is constructed from several smaller layers of sand and gravel that were applied and then tamped down to ensure strength and stability.
  • Thirdly, a layer of small stones and broken waste ceramic was applied and topped with a layer of concrete-like material made of sand and lime that was poured in layers and then rolled to compact it. This third layer was constructed so that the surface of the road became arched, to allow for drainage from the road surface.
  • Finally, a top layer of stone slabs was placed into the still damp sand and lime mixture to provide a durable road surface.  
  • On either side of the road itself, which is raised between 3-5ft from ground level an earthen embankment was created to provide additional support and a good drainage base.
The roadway is 23ft wide, a width that is consistent along its entire length and is designed to allow two loaded trade wagons to pass comfortably by one another. On the whole the Tarcan Roadway is built in straight line sections that avoid the worst obstacles, or obstacles that the builders were not able to construct the road over or through.   Every five miles along its length, squat guard towers have been constructed to provide barracks for the small garrisons of Fashaddonite and Mishtoonian troops that guard and maintain the roadway.


With trading in the 4th century S.E. becoming increasingly dominated and monopolised by nations such as the Republic of Castar and the Kingdom of Dazscor & Aramore, who had invested heavily in sea-based trading fleets, other nations in Turoza began to find that they were losing out to large tariffs on imports and exports, especially where goods had been moved between the north and south of the continent. In order to level the playing field, the Union of Mishtoon and the Sultanate of Fashaddon, neither of whom had a significant trading fleet at the beginning of the 4th Century, devised a plan to increase the flow of trade by land between the north and south of Turoza.   The main barrier to land based trade was the area of the ‘Free States’, a large area of savannah land still populated by nomadic and oftentimes warlike tribes. Not only was this area dangerous to travel through, especially when laden with trade goods, but the terrain of the Deytet Savannah was not suitable for the movement of heavy wagons, primarily for the reason that there were no roads to speak of in the region. Both the Sultanate and the Union had attempted to make incursions into this territory in the past, but such was the resistance to colonisation that they met was so strong that any ideas of subjugating the area were quickly dissipated. Instead, the two nations jointly agreed to build, maintain and defend a permanent roadway through the savannah, which would be reasonably easy to defend and break the trade monopoly of the seafaring nations. Such were the economic implications of the project that the Guild of Coiners & Moneyers agreed to bankroll the project, in return for a cut of the tolls charged for commercial use of the roadway.   As a result, the renowned Fashaddonite architect, Melis Tarcan, who had already made a name for herself through her designing and masterminding of the Tarcan Aqueduct, was brought in to design the roadway and oversee the work. Construction began in the year 309S.E. It was not until 331S.E. that the roadway was finally complete, and its construction was dogged by almost constant attacks from the various tribes of the ‘Free States’. Despite the huge cost and loss of both Fashaddonite and Mishtoonian troops and workers, the roadway was completed and has become a vital artery for trade moving north and south in Turoza.   The Tarcan Roadway continues to be protected and maintained through the joint efforts of the Union of Mishtoon and the Sultanate of Fashaddon, and has become a strong diplomatic bond between the two nations.
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Cover image: by Chris Pyrah


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