Trading between Dorwinion and Gondor

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Southron
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Trading between Dorwinion and Gondor

Post by Southron » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:46 pm

I am curious as to what route would the goods of Dorwinion would travel to Gondor. In the Erebor sourcebooks it mentions such trade happens and in the appendices of ROTK it mentions that trade between Harad and Gondor never completely ceased. With Mordor and Dol Goldur it seems traveling between Southern Mirkwood and Mordor would be dangerous.

Would a longer route through Khand, Harad, and Harondor be any less safe that traveling through the Brown Lands?

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Robin Smallburrow
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Re: Trading between Dorwinion and Gondor

Post by Robin Smallburrow » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:24 pm

In fact travel would more likely go upriver to Lake-town, as in most cases the majority of trade would use rivers where possible (as far safer than going through the lands populated by the Easterling tribes, stiff with raiders - both orcish and human!). From Lake-town the merchant would have a difficult choice about how to get to the Great River with their goods, and in most cases they wouldn't bother - they would instead sell to a merchant such as Baldor in Lake-town and let them deal with these issues!

options from Lake-town for merchants such as Baldor:
1) go north through the Gap b/w Grey Mtns & Mirkwood (not an option before the Battle of Five Armies due to the orcs)
2) go through Mirkwood (which is the premise of Don't Leave the Path - the Old Forest Road is too dangerous)
3) go through the Brown Lands to the Undeeps (the preferred option, although still dangerous but less so than others)
4) go overland direct southwest from Dorwinion (too expensive in most cases not to mention the Easterling raiders and then orcish ones in the Ash Mtns)

Hope this helps!
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Otaku-sempai
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Re: Trading between Dorwinion and Gondor

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:44 pm

The maps that we have (through Journeys & Maps) suggest a trade route from Gondor to Dorwinion that takes the Harad Road north to the Noman-lands, and either: a) north again through Dagorlad to cross the Brown Lands to Dorwinion; or, b) east along the Rhûn Road to turn north again about halfway past the Ash Mountains. In fact, 'b' was exactly the route posited in the Middle-earth Campaign Guide for MERP.

I would favor route 'a' as there is no sign of a path branching off of the Rhûn Road east of Dagorlad. True, there are no good roads shown leading from Dorwinion; there might be a "well-trodden track" that serves as a caravan route and that is not marked on the maps.
Last edited by Otaku-sempai on Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Southron
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Re: Trading between Dorwinion and Gondor

Post by Southron » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:13 am

Thanks for the replies. I had forgotten about Maps and Journeys.

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Terisonen
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Re: Trading between Dorwinion and Gondor

Post by Terisonen » Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:25 pm

Personally, land between south Mirkwood and north of Mordor seems fraught with danger and cannot be no longer a route of trade between Dorwinion and Gondor. Some wine very valuable might take the route from Dorwinion to Lake-Town, Dale, Grey Mountain Narrow , down to the mouth of Anduin to Gondor. In my mind, not worth the cost.

An alternative path would be through the Elf-Path, it would be no-nonsense for Thranduil to re-open the path for merchant and allies alike by 2945, as it would serve the purpose of king Thranduil.

In either case, it would be a long trip.
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Re: Trading between Dorwinion and Gondor

Post by Otaku-sempai » Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:44 pm

Terisonen wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 2:25 pm
Personally, land between south Mirkwood and north of Mordor seems fraught with danger and cannot be no longer a route of trade between Dorwinion and Gondor. Some wine very valuable might take the route from Dorwinion to Lake-Town, Dale, Grey Mountain Narrow , down to the mouth of Anduin to Gondor. In my mind, not worth the cost.
That's never stopped merchants before; it's why caravan masters hire guards. I don't see a route through the Brown Lands as being especially perilous in the late Third Age until Sauron starts gearing up again in 2951 for the War of the Ring. If during his occupation of Dol Guldur Sauron had any strategy involving the Easterlings then there is no evidence of it.
An alternative path would be through the Elf-Path, it would be no-nonsense for Thranduil to re-open the path for merchant and allies alike by 2945, as it would serve the purpose of king Thranduil.

In either case, it would be a long trip.
I don't see traders being willing to travel up to three times the actual distance to their destination when a much more direct route is available. And I'm not sure there would be enough demand in Gondor for goods from Rhovanion (even taking into account the famous Toy Market of Dale) to be worth the extended journey. Such wares would probably just trickle in from trade with Dorwinion. Of course, a more specialized trader might be after a specific product such as exotic woods from the Elves.
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Glorelendil
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Re: Trading between Dorwinion and Gondor

Post by Glorelendil » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:58 pm

As always, I would advise using the "rule of cool". What sorts of merchants or caravans would you like the heroes to encounter? Where? How frequently? Carrying what?

Start with that, then work backwards to justify it.
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Tolwen
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Re: Trading between Dorwinion and Gondor

Post by Tolwen » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:12 pm

Otaku-sempai wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 3:44 pm
If during his occupation of Dol Guldur Sauron had any strategy involving the Easterlings then there is no evidence of it.
Though strictly speaking, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence (argumentum ad ignorantiam). Sorry , I couldn't resist ;)
I don't see traders being willing to travel up to three times the actual distance to their destination when a much more direct route is available. And I'm not sure there would be enough demand in Gondor for goods from Rhovanion (even taking into account the famous Toy Market of Dale) to be worth the extended journey. Such wares would probably just trickle in from trade with Dorwinion. Of course, a more specialized trader might be after a specific product such as exotic woods from the Elves.
This is good reasoning for your position of very limited trade in the era prior to Sauron's fall. I agree with your positive arguments about such severely limited trade between Gondor and the North. :)

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Re: Trading between Dorwinion and Gondor

Post by Otaku-sempai » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:18 pm

It does make a difference if Dorwinion is not the main destination but just one stop in a longer caravan route. In that case, I could see merchants making their way along the Anduin first to trade with the Beornings and the Woodmen, traveling north around Mirkwood (or through if the Forest Road is passable) to Lake-town and Dale, and then to Dorwinion using the Crossing of Celduin, returning to Rohan and Gondor along a caravan trail through the Brown Lands.

If there is no need or desire to trade directly with the Woodmen or Beornings, such a caravan might travel north along the eastern eaves of Mirkwood and use the Crossing of Celduin to reach Esgaroth and Dale. The traders would return to the Crossing to reach Dorwinion, again crossing the Brown Lands to return home.

What I do not see as reasonable is a merchant caravan making the long trek through or around Mirkwood both from and returning to Gondor if Dorwinion is a destination or especially the primary destination. If the region became too dangerous to be worth the risk then direct trade with Dorwinion would dry up altogether.
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Re: Trading between Dorwinion and Gondor

Post by Enevhar Aldarion » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:43 pm

If there is profit to be made, enough that it makes risk of life worth it, then merchants and traders will do it. Just look at the history of the Silk Road and how long it was and how dangerous parts of it were and how desolate some of the terrain was that it traversed.

Which brings up a side thought that has probably been discussed many times before since Tolkien wrote his books, but which trade route/road in Middle Earth do you think he might have made as a parallel to the Silk Road?

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