Nova Primus is nearly 2,700 miles long from corner to corner, and separated by two great mountain ranges with a maximum altitude of nearly 20,000 feet. Nevertheless, Novans can travel surprising distances during their lives, and the seven great Houses are sufficiently connected that the behavior of one affects the behavior of others even on the other side of the continent.

Travel as a Social Phenomenon

Common Reasons to Travel

Most Novans spend the majority of their lives within a few miles of home, and are essentially parochial in outlook. However, longer trips are a regular part of Novan life. The most common “long distance” trip most Novans take is from their farm to their local market town once, twice, or sometimes even three times a year. Market trips may involve distances of up to 40 or 50 miles, and are momentous events even if they follow familiar routes. Other important trips that many Novans undertake at least once in their lives include trips to town to purchase needed supplies, trips to their local castle for high court days, and trips to a cathedral or other significant religious site for pilgrimage.

Novan nobles travel more frequently than their tenants, for several reasons. The first is that most nobles are not tied down by the need to tend their farms or run a business, and thus can afford to leave their homes more frequently. The second is that travel is less a hardship for the wealthy, who tend to possess more comforts that they can bring with them on the road (figuratively speaking; most travel is done cross-country). The third is that nobles’ families tend to be spread out over a wider geographic area than usual, as men are given castles to hold and women marry into other noble families for political advantage; thus, even simple family visits tend to involve longer distances.

Uncommon Reasons to Travel

A few Novans spend the majority of their time traveling. The most common of these are Ecclesiarchy confessors and professional mercenaries.

Of the two of these, confessors are by far the more welcome sight. The arrival of a confessor signifies religious services with a fiery “revival” feeling, often a special welcome ceremony, and the promise of a few good moral scandals. Lives may be ruined by a confessor’s witch hunt for heretics (or literal witches), but most Novans feel that confessors are on their side – they are fearful figures, but still welcome.

Mercenaries, by contrast, are almost never welcome. Men (and women) who fight for pay rather than feudal obligation are seen to be on nobody’s side but their own. Moreover, the very act of hiring a mercenary suggests that the hirer cannot protect himself, so the fear is always present that a mercenary will turn on his employer. It is not uncommon for a mercenary band that has completed its contract to be hurried on its way by its fearful employers.

Confessors tend to confine their travels within a relatively small geographic area. Confessors are free to preach only within the district of the pontifex who promoted them, usually an area of a few hundred square miles or less. A few confessors have received promotion directly from the hand of the cardinal, and these are free to wander throughout Nova, but for practical reasons most of them pick an area of several districts to call “home” and carry out their work there.

Mercenary companies are usually somewhat better traveled, if only because they must seek out conflict wherever it exists to earn their pay. Successful mercenary bands can travel over large regions, sometimes spanning the entire territory of a great House, or even two.

Rates of Travel

As Nova receives significant amounts of rain for most of the year, travelers rarely have the luxury of a dry, level road to speed them on their way. Indeed, with a few notable exceptions such as the Pilgrim’s Road from Penitence to The Spire and the Merchants’ Road from Twin Lakes to Duty, roads on Nova are either local or nonexistent. Travel is thus slowed not only by the need to travel cross-country for significant portions of most journeys, but also by the fact that it is quite easy to lose one’s way. Most Novans know the few square miles around their residence very well, but only experienced travelers can reliably find their way on unfamiliar routes.

Assuming a journey is not unduly slowed by mud or other adverse terrain and the travelers know their way, the following table may be helpful in calculating various rates of travel across Nova:

Travel Method Approximate Distance Covered Per Day
By land
Small party afoot 20 miles
Small party afoot, pushing hard 30 miles
Small party ahorse 30 miles
Small party ahorse, pushing hard 45 miles
Small party on fast horses 75 miles
Small party on fast horses, pushing hard 100 miles
Large party afoot 15 miles
Large party afoot, pushing hard 20 miles
Large party burdened by wagons or other baggage 10 miles
Large party ahorse 30 miles
Large party ahorse, pushing hard 45 miles
Large party on fast horses 60 miles
Large party on fast horses, pushing hard 75 miles
By water
River barge 25 miles
River sailboat 40 miles
Sailing ship, single party 40 miles
Sailing ship, continuous watches 120 miles
War galley, pushing hard 160 miles

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