Nomads, Farmers and Carnivores.The continent of Ulaya is, as we have already seen, a diverse place. Just as technology is varied depending on location, so is the main economic activity. However, the acquisition of food is still the primary activity of most of the people of The Drowned Earth.
In the years immediately following The Event agriculture was impossible. Rising sea levels and a climate in turmoil were enough of a problem, but legends state that this was a time of dark violence and nomadic existence. That is all way out of living memory now, and only shadowy rememberings of that time remain.
Eventually though, the climate did settle down, but as nature regained a new sense of balance a very different kind of land emerged. The world was now ruled by carnivorous predators- all but the strongest and leanest of the herbivorous species having survived. The nomadic survivors of The Event continued to wander, wary and honed by the dangers of their world. But it didn’t take long for the benefits of settled agriculture to be remembered.
The new settlers had a problem though- and it is a problem that persists in many parts of Ulaya to this day. How best to avoid becoming food, while growing your own? Settlements are patrolled by militias set up to defend both the living space and the farmland around them. In some areas the Militias have thinned out predators somewhat. ut wandering beasts can still be a problem. The only truly effective method has been physical defences such as large ditches, palisade walls and traps. These methods are effective, but very costly to build. The best defence of course, is to ensure your settlement is on an island small enough that you can wipe out the population of dangerous predators. But in both cases the limitation is that the defended farming space is small.
The growth of the City
These practical considerations have limited population growth and ensured high levels of competition between communities for as long as anyone can remember. As time moves forward though, farming methods have improved, land has been reclaimed, defences have been strengthened, and the population is growing at a healthy, if not break neck pace.
For a little over a hundred years the level of cultivation has grown to support cities such as Tartouf and Hijack. The economy has diversified, and this division of labour has begun an earnest improvement in scientific discovery. After several generations of survivors who’s day to day concern was finding enough to eat while not being eaten by something (or someone!) else, the vast majority of the knowledge of the Pre-Fall civilisation was lost. It is only in the last few hundred years that more than an eccentric few have realised the potential lying in the ruins.
This advancement is now led by the cities, where university like Esoterica’s have been established for the study of knowledge itself, and in particular, the sifting of the remnants of the Pre-Fall civilisation for scraps of information which might be useful in reclaiming some of their glory.
An Industrial World?
If one was asked to sum up the economy of Ulaya, one might observe that the knowledge of what was possible was usually in advance of the physical ability to render that knowledge useful. Therefore there is industrial activity, but the supply of raw materials is sporadic. People know of, and desire electricity, but many of the materials required to create even the most simple wind or water powered generator are in short supply.
Usually the supply of such material goes to the cities, where the knowledge and desire to experiment is greatest. Many argue that technology should instead be employed in the countryside, where everyone’s food is grown, but in a chaotic world full of uncertainties there is little in the way of central direction.
The most obvious observation would be to say that the economy of Ulaya is unstable, and growing in an unpredictable but very exciting way. The result of all this discovery and non-agrarian economic activity is the phenomenon known as Artefacting- searching the dangerous ruins of Ulaya for hidden troves, and long forgotten relics…
Next time on Fluff! The Drowned Earth Cribnotes: The Races of Ulaya.