We’ve made much of the more incredible and costly ways of travel and shipping, but there are also the more common and regular forms as well.
Containers themselves are able to be set up to be drawn by a team, linked together to form Convoys that were likely the inspiration for the Train. Many merchants will transport their goods through this, but the size of the containers makes it somewhat challenging for long journeys across rough terrain.
They also don’t do much for the average person, who may not be able to afford a personal riding horse. Most people have a pair of draft animals, used to pulling carts or plows, or perhaps oxen or related beasts of burden. What they have for those are a few different types of Wains.
A wain is a type of horse- or oxen-drawn, load-carrying vehicle, used primarily for agricultural purposes but sometimes for transporting people. Wains can have two or four or even six wheels.
One of the most unusual forms of land transport, and a major mercantile partner, is The Train.
Owned and operated by the Posse of Rails, the Doradan Train is the wonder of the world, and has changed all manner of things while also creating a host of unforeseen problems.
Starting in Dorado, doing a circuit that touches on several Towns and Cities, the Trains of Dorado are wholly owned by the Posse of Rails, one member of whom is the Duke of Dorado. The Posse employs Eld gunslingers to defend the Train, but there are also the Greymen who are known to pursue thieves and vagabonds to the end of the earth, and are often former adventurers themselves, often armed with magical and even legendary gear.
There are no tracks. The Train snakes through the world often by following roads, and hovers about 24 inches above the ground on average through some sort of effort that only the Posse of Rails knows, much like only the Skye know how to make the skyships and the Durangan Syndicates know how to make their moveable coaches.
There are two Trains running throughout the world, and each Train carries at least one Dynamo and as many as three dozen carriages. The Dynamo is the part that pulls the train along and is one of the largest things built on land – rivaled only by the Sandships. Most of those carriages are filled with trade goods, but at least one carriage always has passengers, typically the wealthiest.
Once a Train is moving, it only stops in the Waystations and Cities along its route – some of which have sprung up entirely around it being there. There is always a stop coming, always a schedule to keep. The Train is made of wood and stone imbued and ingrained with a hundred different spells – including anti-magic ones. The most controversial locations are the two large Depots, complete with non-guild Inns, like villages unto themselves, a piece of Dorado far from home.
The Waystations of Wyrlde are: Dorado, Dream Depot (located along the River of Dreams), Fortton, Chenmar, Qivira, Sedimar, Lyonese, Halnes, Mount Depot (located about 200 miles south of Shadowdale in the Blue Valley), Shadowdale, Durango, Daleovia, and just shy of Sibola. There is a spur being built, the first of them, that will head southwest to Aztlan and expected to be completed in about four more years.
Depots are fortified structures, usually self-sufficient, with Posse members stationed there for entire cycles of the train. Both are seen as challenging different kingdoms, but no one has taken action yet, as they are almost exclusively concerned by the Train – though each is said to have a garrison of up to 250.
Still, that much potential wealth, no matter how fast it is moving, tends to attract those who want a piece of it for themselves. Even more so since one of the reasons for it being so favored is that it is described as safer than a caravan, and able to carry much more.
Each Dynamo on a Train, the lead carriage, has a Paladin who follows the Order of Eld, a Master Wizard or similar, and 10 men-at-arms called Greymen for the long grey coats they wear. They are outfitted with ballistae and the front is equipped with an adamant wedge.
A single Carriage interior is typically twelve feet wide by thirty-six feet long and twelve feet high. The walls of a given carriage are usually around four inches thick. They can carry a lot of cargo.
Being able to move much faster than a single person on a mount, the Train is often a way to travel across large chunks of the planet, but it is not the only way. Of all the forms of Travel, there is none faster: the train can travel up to 75 miles an hour, 600 miles a day, though it usually travels about half that (40 miles an hour) in order to avoid derailing during many of the curves and turns. The trains stop every 8 hours to allow the engine to cool, regardless of speed.
There are two trains, and they make a circuit so that when one is in Dorado, the other is in Sibola. It takes about 6 weeks to travel the full circuit one way, so everything is organized in 3 month sets for round trips. Compare this to the one third as fast ships, or the half as fast skyships.
The Sand Sea of Dorado is an immense, mostly hostile place which is loved for the many rare minerals and other things of value found within it. However, it is a brutal place, hot and dry; water is rare and precious, and food is scarce. The sand is like a sharp-edged powder, finer than beach sand or sea sand, clingy and gritty. Travel in it is often compared to travel in the snow. Except snow doesn’t have giant worms or glass like octopi roaming around in it.
Take a Cutter. Modify the two hulls to be akin to broad skis in a strange “v” shape that can flex flat, with thick struts supporting them the length of the ship. Add sails in a half circle around the whole, rectangular instead of triangle or squares, supported by thinner, flexible masts that can be folded up into a large column midship. Give them bright colors, contrasting with the terrain. Now let it travel as fast as 20 miles an hour over that sand. That is a Sandship.
A bullock is a large, four wheeled wain typically pulled by oxen.
It conventionally includes a sturdy wooden tongue between the wheels, a yoke connecting the pair of oxen, a wooden platform for passengers or cargo, and large steel rimmed wooden wheels. The storage area is a v shaped space with high sides.
A wagon is a largish four or six wheeled vehicle, featuring a hauling area and heavy-duty wheels covered by a set of suspension ribs over which a canvas cover it tightly wrapped to protect cargo and such from weather. Deep and tall sided, they are the primary way most farmers haul the fruits of their labors to market, and often will have an attached awning or a supportive cart.
A buckboard is a is a four-wheeled wagon meant to be drawn by a horse or other large animal. A utility vehicle, the buckboard has no springs between the body and the axles. The suspension is provided by the flexible floorboards of the body and a leaf spring under the seat. The buckboard has no sideboards on the body, leaving the floor quite mobile, or has ones that can be attached and are low and meant to flex. In rough terrain, the floor can flex and “buck”, lending the vehicle its name.
A carriage is an open or fabric frame topped, four wheeled vehicle pulled by one or two animals (usually horses). Carriages can be a bit bumpy and can be tricky to maneuver in tight spaces but are the most used for transport of people.
A coach is a team drawn (four to six animals) covered vehicle with four wheels and sometimes a complex suspension. They have large, widely spaced wheels that operate with a limited degree of independent movement affected by the size of the compartment. Coaches have a driver mounted high, above the team, and often a trunk in which packages or gear can be stored. They will have a door on each side, and two to six windows. Coaches carry people, not cargo.
A Buggy is a one or two seat, single horse drawn, two wheeled vehicle with an open front and shade cover, often with a window in the back. Some Buggies have a small area for luggage or perhaps a single bay of Hay behind the buggy cover. Buggies are affordable and popular.
Durango has strange contraptions that are clockwork based. They are set on four wheels, rectangular with a squarer top. They have windows that can be lowered, and the top is permanent for protection from weather. They can seat four comfortably.
In the front is a hood that can be raised where a large, typically black, sealed box sits, with a hole in the center of it. A large key is inserted into this and turned to wind the clockworkings and enable the carriage to move without the use of something to pull or push it beyond the black box.
A single winding is good for up to 50 miles, and they can achieve speeds as fast as a galloping horse on cobbled streets.
A cart is a two wheeled, pushed or pulled standing vehicle often hauled around by a single person that can be of many different designs depending on the needs of the cart owner. Many are used for preparing street food, or hawking wares at markets, or even by peddlers making their way through small Hamlets or Villages
Korfs are specific to the Exilian and their nomadic style of living. Part tent, part wagon, and part coach, a Corf will carry all the belongings of a family or individual and the tools and means by which they make their living. An Exilian made coach is often considered among the best, as they have learned over the decades living in these small, cramped, tight little wains how to maximize space, reduce jarring and bumping, and handle rough weather.
There are three other common ways of traveling not mentioned: Brooms, Cauldrons, and Carpets.