Small Systems Design Associates

Home page for Design and Prototype Testing for the Empire Panel in the Walkabout series.

Panel 3 - Empire

Panel 3 - Empire

Traders move in caravans over seasonal routes; northerly in spring; southerly in fall. They build trading relationships with merchants, farmers, and tradesmen along the routes. Traders and merchants cooperate in extending the trade routes into new territories in the quest for new, better, more plentiful, more diverse, and more high-valued trade goods. As trading activity grows, conflicts can arise as traders compete for access to those areas and communities with the most plentiful, most desirable, and most valuable of trade goods.

The caravans often cross territories, and trade routes claimed by traders from other communities. When the common language of trading cannot resolve conflicts arising out of competition among the caravans for the best trade goods, trade in weaponry increases. Trade goods carried by the caravans become more precious, conflicts become more intense, and resolutions, when possible, must become more formalized in order to defuse conflict and avoid a turn to weapons.

Trading communities develop insignia, and regalia to identify their trading representatives in the caravans as they travel the trade routes. Trading communities most successful at using their armies to build empires also build monuments to celebrate their most heroic acts, their acquisitions of new territories, and the obeisance of peoples in those territories. Absorbed peoples hope for a beneficent conqueror who will protect their old, their very young, their crippled and sick, and their pregnant mothers. Youth who are fit and adventuresome hope to earn acceptance among the conquerors, and thus to glory.