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Dark Ages Transportation - Pimp My Wagon!

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  • Dark Ages Transportation - Pimp My Wagon!

    In the Dark Ages setting, travel was problematic. Some have Protean, but for most including especially the High Clans travel is hard and harder when you have to look good. I'm thinking with a coterie of 4 cainites a wagon is a good idea. We should assume horses and 2 ghouls or Bound mortals for drivers and general dogsbodies. In this particular case I have selected an enclosed wagon of superior construction, fitted with an excellent lock and generously equipped with spare tires, tools and sundries. The wagon has any number of what appear to be stout crates, which are lightproof, and open from the inside for the convenience of waking cainites.

    How might this wagon be improved to provide better service? Any practices that help?

  • #2
    If you're packing heavy, it wouldn't hurt to ghoul the horses, as well, for a start. You might have already thought to do that and just didn't say so, but it's worth mentioning. A ghouled horse is more physically capable and easier to handle for its regnant. A dot of Potence (with some gentle prodding with Ride, Animal Ken or Animalism) can get your wagon smoothly through some terrain that might be more troublesome otherwise.

    Onto the wagon itself: Aside from armor plating the thing, it sounds rather solid, structurally and as a concept. You could add some little practical bells and whistles, like including a naturally flame resistant layer or five of densely knitted wool somewhere in the lining of the crates or as a lining/covering for the wagon (unlike mortals using wool for that purpose, vampires don't have a real issue with breathability or overheating). If you've got access to Protean 3, or are just really squirelly when it comes to getaways, a hidden door in the wagon floor could be a good last ditch safety measure or a way to fool someone having an unwanted peek in.

    With Tremere help, or direct knowledge of blood magic, having Ward versus Lupines cast on the functional parts of the wagon exterior (and some interior, to hamper them with extra damage in case they start ripping through), wheels, "crates", etc would be a nice idea. . Ward's in general might be a good idea, if possible, but considering the time period and traveling, Ward versus Lupines would probably be most useful. Dealing with the Tzimisce Koldun of the High Clans instead of lowly Tremere Usurpers? No problem! Warding is still an option, and there's more than one way to supernaturally pimp a wagon! Using the level 1 Koldunic ritual Hospitality (as long as your ST is cool with calling a vehicle a temporary Haven. As someone who likes their Sabbat nomad packs tooling around in RVs, Near Dark style, I've always been cool with that) one could make the spirit (lelek) of the wagon act as its own security system, informing its master of what surrounds or attempts to make physical contact with it. The level three version, Sentinels of the Haven, can even allow the wagon to screw with your enemies directly by giving it some independent mobility as well as the loyalty and awareness granted by the level one version. I've assured my own DA character's safety on a journey before by traveling with Tzimisce who did exactly that. Their "crates" were actual crates, though, because damned if they weren't going to drag a few hundred pounds of Moldavian soil across an entire continent.
    Last edited by AzraelFirestorm; 08-26-2017, 01:31 PM.


    (They/Them/Their) https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/borderland

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    • #3
      Another thing to consider is the roads themselves. Unless you are on one of the old roman roads, you are pretty much stuck with dirt paths. This means that you need to balance heavy construction with the possibility of rain. Even a light amount of rain can make an armored wagon or even just a heavy wagon get stuck in the mud.

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      • #4
        Well, if you're going to mention Tremere specifically, and blood sorcerers in general, Transitus Velociter and Weather Control are your end-all, be-all, paths for transportation of any sort in the dark medieval. And, others have said, ghoul your horses; always ghoul your horses. Retinues are also important; a well-equipped company isn't just a deterrent, it's a symbol of status and wealth. Oneiromancy, Animalism, and specifically Astral Projection are equally invaluable for scouting ahead and gathering info about the next few days' and nights' travel, when to push forward, when to hold back, which roads and passes to avoid, and the like.

        Werewolves and bandits are "everywhere" to be sure, but as always avoidance through knowledge, and deterrence through force projection, are and always will be vampires' true strengths.

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        • #5
          After a fashion the Tremere would be the go to clan for transportation.

          ​A Tremere Wagon crew with ghoul horses and mortal retainers should be fairly resistant to raiding. Pretty much all the perks that apply to a wagon also apply to most kinds of water craft, be it boats on river systems or a larger vessel on the open sea. The various paths and rites are equally useful in that regard.

          ​On the other hand if the emergency is truly dire and the weather is clear, a loyalist gargoyle could carry a single vampire quite a distance in a single night of flying. During the dark ages, almost nothing would be up in the sky at night to bother you.

          ​And this is skipping rites like Escape to a True Friend, which more or less negate travel issue entirely if you know some one near where you want to go.

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          • #6
            To be sure, a boat serves the same purpose as a wagon. It's better really in terms of durability capacity, but limited in where you can go with it. Absolutely a good addition

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            • #7
              A boat with a wagon loaded on it. There, solved it.

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              • #8
                Actually, that is a damned good idea. Or darned, if damned is going to get me into trouble. I like the notion of bringing a wagon on a ship. The wheels can come on an off easily enough, which would make it easier to put on board.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AzraelFirestorm View Post
                  If you're packing heavy, it wouldn't hurt to ghoul the horses, as well, for a start. You might have already thought to do that and just didn't say so, but it's worth mentioning. A ghouled horse is more physically capable and easier to handle for its regnant. A dot of Potence (with some gentle prodding with Ride, Animal Ken or Animalism) can get your wagon smoothly through some terrain that might be more troublesome otherwise.

                  Onto the wagon itself: Aside from armor plating the thing, it sounds rather solid, structurally and as a concept. You could add some little practical bells and whistles, like including a naturally flame resistant layer or five of densely knitted wool somewhere in the lining of the crates or as a lining/covering for the wagon (unlike mortals using wool for that purpose, vampires don't have a real issue with breathability or overheating). If you've got access to Protean 3, or are just really squirelly when it comes to getaways, a hidden door in the wagon floor could be a good last ditch safety measure or a way to fool someone having an unwanted peek in.
                  an 8x16 wagon covered would have about 250lb of 30-gauge iron plate. Too light to be called armored, but it's fireproof.

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                  • #10
                    To be honest if you build the wagon out of hard woods and use thicker construction, it pretty much is fire proof. Contrary to what is shown in movies and tv, wood can be very difficult to burn. It would take an accelerant and maybe an hour to burn through a heavy duty carriage/wagon wall or ceiling, more than enough time to have a servitor extinguish the flames or for the vampire occupants to jump out.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by g3taso View Post
                      Actually, that is a damned good idea. Or darned, if damned is going to get me into trouble. I like the notion of bringing a wagon on a ship. The wheels can come on an off easily enough, which would make it easier to put on board.
                      Think of your boat as your mothership and the wagon as a shuttle.

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