Why is Laketown needed?

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guang
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Why is Laketown needed?

Post by guang » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:26 am

I'm reading through the Erebor supplement, and loving the Dale description. With the rise of King Bard and the Bardings, including the dream of uniting the North and being a major trade hub, how can Laketown survive as yet another trade hub so close by? What keeps it relevant? How is living there desirable/better, other than inertia preventing a move upriver?

Pls disregard canon - I know (and appreciate!) that the major reason for its existence is because the books say so. I love the books, have read through them more than a dozen times, including some of the more obscure ones (although its been a few years). TOR rpg is helping me see middle-earth from a completely different perspective and I'm happily exploring that.

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Re: Why is Laketown needed?

Post by Otaku-sempai » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:00 am

Well, the Running River doesn't seem to become navigable until it is about mid-way between Dale and Esgaroth, so Lake-town is where river-traffic bound for and from Dale and Erebor begins and ends, It is also a free-port where illicit smuggling could take place that might be shut down more easily in Dale. Lake-town also maintains a friendly relationship to the Woodland Realm and is key to trade with the Wood-elves.

Basically, Lake-town can be the Mos Eisley of the North: A wretched hive of scum and villainy (albeit newly rebuilt in the wake of the destruction caused by Smaug, so not-so-much on the 'wretched'. Its actually more of a thriving frontier town where 'the law' hasn't fully caught up with it).
Last edited by Otaku-sempai on Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:35 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Stormcrow
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Re: Why is Laketown needed?

Post by Stormcrow » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:06 am

The Running River is the main trade route in the region, and it goes through the Long Lake. Lake-town and Dale obviously serve different markets—Lake-town probably deals in lumber and fishing, while Dale deals in stonework, precious metals and gems, and dwarf-labor. Lake-town also has an established presence going back probably two hundred years, while the markets in Dale are young and not well-established. Men who remained in Lake-town after the dragon's fall would continue to do the business they've always done.

Don't look too closely at the economics in Middle-earth—they are notoriously nonsensical. Tolkien didn't have much knowledge in this area, and didn't care too much about it. (Imagine the economic devastation that would have occurred once Smaug's treasure was won and it began to flood the new Lake-town and Dale. But Tolkien was interested in presenting a new golden age, not in writing about the effects of hyperinflation.)

guang
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Re: Why is Laketown needed?

Post by guang » Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:08 am

Thanks both of you for your replies - they gave me enough info to be able to search out what I was looking for.

Laketown is a shipyard, boating, and trading center. Dale/Erebor is a destination in and of itself, as well as one of the destinations for the river sailors of Laketown. It's not redundant after all.

Re:economics: yeah, I kinda favor the whole golden age approach myself. ACKs is fun and all, but then if I'm not careful it ends up feeling like I'm just doing my taxes :D

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Terisonen
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Re: Why is Laketown needed?

Post by Terisonen » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:24 am

Laketown is a hub trade for wine, wood, food and all the relation with elves. It also the center of mariner speciality, where you have to hire boat up and down the river and lake. It position will ensure his persistance through the year.
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Re: Why is Laketown needed?

Post by Glorelendil » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:46 pm

I would imagine that there's also an intense rivalry, both friendly and not, between the two. Lots of working-class folk of either town would sooner cut off their left arm than have to live in the other. Or claim to, anyway.
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DaviSalles
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Re: Why is Laketown needed?

Post by DaviSalles » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:08 pm

The way I see it Lake Town is a trade town, and Dale is a manufacturing town. Ofcourse, there are traders in Dale and production in Lake-Town, but each is more speciallized in each aspect.

If you are looking for some goods, you will probably headout to lake-town, however, if you want something made, you will have to go to Dale. But it is just they way I feel they should work.

atgxtg
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Re: Why is Laketown needed?

Post by atgxtg » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:44 pm

I think part of the reason is that Laketown already existed and is a (the?) major trade center is the region. So even after Dale is resettled most of the traders would still head towards Laketown.

For those who want the need good from Erebor and Dale, Laketown saved them the trip, since good can be sent down. And for locals who are looking for goods from outside the local area, Laketown is still the place to go.

Additionally the people of Laketown are used to having lots of outsiders walking around. The Dwarves of Erebor are not. So wile the dwarves might be excellent craftsmen, the people of Laketown probably give better customer service.

I think that Dale would probably have to improve as a trading center before it could supplant Laketown.

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Re: Why is Laketown needed?

Post by jamesrbrown » Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:58 pm

Let me add that 12-15 miles apart is quite substantial in Middle-earth. Also, Lake-town would be the first stop for most travellers and traders, and it is rather scenic, being literally built over water.
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Otaku-sempai
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Re: Why is Laketown needed?

Post by Otaku-sempai » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:49 pm

jamesrbrown wrote:
Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:58 pm
Let me add that 12-15 miles apart is quite substantial in Middle-earth. Also, Lake-town would be the first stop for most travellers and traders, and it is rather scenic, being literally built over water.
Esgaroth and Dale are at least 15 miles apart. Looking at some maps outside of TOR, I would even estimate more like 20 miles between them across some hard terrain. The road might be improved since Thorin's time when it took his company 4 days to cover the distance, much of that by water (though the old Lake-town was a bit farther south of the new one).
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