Why is Roger So Jolly Today?
Do you dream of the ocean?
More specifically, do you dream of sailing upon the high seas? The feel of the wind in your hair, the bracing salt air, the captain lashing at you for not scrubbing the deck well enough? Well nobody said life at sea is ideal. And yet despite the challenges of ocean travel, Vodeo wouldn't exist without it. Over 420 years ago a group of Rhysiog settlers set sail and made for a new home in Tarephia; about twenty years later, the Ingerish arrived and told them to bugger off. They sent their colonists until Cambria and St Austell declared independence, and... well the point is, sailing is part of Vodeo's heritage. After all, it's how Brynderwyn came to be.
Ah, Brynderwyn. I mentioned it in my last Bliki entry, but today we shall examine it in more detail. Brynderwyn is basically where Vodeo's permanent colonial history begins (I say permanent because the Castellanese didn't do a good job of it in the 1500s), since it is where the Rhysiog settlers arrived in 1594 and the Ingerish made their base of operations once they took New Cambria in June 1616. A few years later, the colony's administration moved to Holme, and after a bit of tussling between the two for supremacy, Holme triumphed and Brynderwyn settled into its new role as a fishing settlement at the mouth of the River Rabe.
Something was missing, though. Brynderwyn sits on the western shores of the lovely Port Adelaide, and it seemed a shame to let the town do nothing after 1619. What could be done with Brynderwyn? Well, I've been in a bit of a piracy mood as of late, be it swashbuckling (and dying) on the high seas in Blackwake (good game) or building a pirate empire in Tropico 2 (also a good game). The idea soon began to form in my mind: where are the pirates of OpenGeofiction?
Here they are
Looking at the geography of the Sea of Uthyra, it seemed a good double for the Caribbean: a ring of islands, lush tropical mainland, and in the case of at least Vodeo, rich from sugar, coffee, tea, and cotton plantations. In Vodean history, it made the most sense to set the pirates loose roughly between 1650 and 1760 - not only did this align with the real world, but it also aligned with Cambria and St Austell's rise from Ingerish colonies to independent nations. Perhaps piracy between the main powers was already very active by the time of the Ingerish Civil War, and in the uncertain period of about 1715-30 the twin colonies opted to recruit pirates and privateers to defend them. It's still quite bare-bones (or skull-and-bones as the case may be) at the moment, but I'd love to hear from anyone that has a good idea for the Pirates of the Vodean (still working on the title, filming will commence soon).
But while a pirate's life is at sea, even he must venture upon land sometimes. Repairs, provisions, and... ahem companionship are necessities from time to time, and a pirate port would be an excellent feather in a town's history cap. As colonial (and later, national) capitals, Holme and Saviso wouldn't work, but Brynderwyn looked pretty good. It has a relatively sheltered port (even more so now with the appearance of Welcome Island, but that can wait for
the next another entry), it looked like a Caribbean port akin to that of Nassau or Port Royal, and it was large enough to be able to sustain pirate visits at the time. I'd been wondering what Brynderwyn would look like for a while, but now it's obvious - a 17th or 18th century Caribbean port town. Hence the narrow streets of Brynderwyn and Neville Bay (and when I get around to it, Port Adelaide and Caerau) and the presence of Fort Brynderwyn at Caerau, although it's going to need some redesigning work.
These days, Brynderwyn is a quiet city mainly concerning itself with the tourist trade. Pirate flags are more common than Cambrian and New Cambrian ones, a number of hotels and taverns offer that authentic tourist pirate feel, and kids pose for pictures with the pirates that entertain the tourists and top up the parking meters. If Surfers Paradise can be famous for women in bikinis putting coins in the meters, why can't Brynderwyn have scurvy swashbucklers armed with pieces of eight?
But I can't claim all the credit for Brynderwyn's (or indeed New Cambria/Cambria's) success. Our good friend Pawl helped with constructing a background for Cambria when the point was raised that the province's name was very close to that of Tircambry. We settled on the idea of a group of Rhysiogans leaving their home forever in 1593 to establish a new colony free of religious strife; to explain why Ingerish is now spoken there, it turned out that an Ingerish annexation slotted in quite nicely in the history of both our nations. Pawl is rewarded with a 5% discount to entry to the Museum of Piracy so he may look at bits of old rope and dirty old coins as a token of my esteem (don't forget to visit the gift shop).
As a side note, Brynderwyn itself gets its name from the small town of the same name in Northland, New Zealand. I say town, but I really mean locality, since all that's there is a couple of houses, a cafe, and a long-closed petrol station; there is a standing joke that the town's name is longer than the town itself. Brynderwyn is one of only a very small number of Welsh place names in New Zealand, and the only one I knew of until doing a little research. Plus, having a city that has played a major role in Vodeo's colonial and early independent history named after a place with a dozen people at most appealed to my sense of humour.
Also, does anyone have any idea why the map seems to be stuck at zoom level 16 when it's set to 14? I can't zoom in or out, and I had this problem with my last entry. How can I show off Brynderwyn if the map refuses to play ball?
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