Pirates of the Reik

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satakuua
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I have lamented the lack of bigger bodies of water in the past. And while this is not about the same thing, it is still watery.

So, Reik is, at the most, about 200 meters wide. I do not have any experience comes to pirating and raiding, but am finding it odd there’d be a lot of criminal activity given the scale. Where do the pirates come from? Where do they escape to?

Reik is a big, sure, yet with the riverwardens and locks (this based on Death on the Reik companion), it must be quite difficult for a crew to terrorize the river.

The horizon would be around five kilometers away. If takes a good while for someone to escape beyond that under sail or rowing.

Or should I assume pirates just intercept barges in rowing boats, when possible, grab as much as they can, get back to the bank, and carry their boat somewhere safe and/or hidden?
Zisse
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Well, this may quickly run into a discussion about the size of the empire and such, but I think you can at least rule for Yourhammer that the reik is wider.
If you look at the image in the "off to Bögenhafen" chapter in EiS you even have the first prove that the reik must be quite wide at least below Altdorf.
You will certainly find other lore telling you that it's wider.
Finally if you compare the reik to our world's Rhine you will notice that the Rhine is much wider than 200 yards.
satakuua
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I know I can make the world my own, make Reik as wide as I want. But it is still a river with locks. So yeah, can’t really see how it can be riddled with pirate activity.

Not sure why this irks me so much, but I guess I have to find ways to make myself question and whine!
dry_erase
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satakuua wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 10:51 am I know I can make the world my own, make Reik as wide as I want. But it is still a river with locks. So yeah, can’t really see how it can be riddled with pirate activity.
Does the Reik have locks? I don’t have DOTR with me at the moment, but I thought it was the canals rather than the river that has locks - in fact, I don’t think rivers can have locks as they have a current.
dry_erase
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I could be very wrong on this, of course. If so, pirates could be limited to the wider and more remote stretches of the river. The River Patrol are probably no more effective than the Road Wardens on the roads I.e. not very.
satakuua
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dry_erase wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 1:27 pm Does the Reik have locks? I don’t have DOTR with me at the moment, but I thought it was the canals rather than the river that has locks - in fact, I don’t think rivers can have locks as they have a current.
You are correct: locks are at narrows, and canals. I did not register that for some reason.

Okay, starts to look better for piracy!
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Gideon
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satakuua wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 3:46 amSo, Reik is, at the most, about 200 meters wide.
I doubt sources have been consistent on this, but WFRP1 (p283) says the Reik is up to 200 yards wide between Altdorf and Nuln. It is much wider downstream of Altdorf. WFRP4 (p269) is vaguer: between Altdorf and Nuln the Reik is "so wide it frequently appears more lake than river, leaving it impossible to bridge using standard engineering methods"; west of Altdorf "it is so wide the opposite bank sometimes slips into mist, and is so deep that even the largest sea-faring vessel can navigate without fear".
satakuua wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 3:46 am Reik is a big, sure, yet with the riverwardens and locks (this based on Death on the Reik companion), it must be quite difficult for a crew to terrorize the river.
I am not aware of any locks on the Reik. Perhaps you are thinking of the locks on the Weissbruck canal or at Twin Falls.
Zisse
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Just to clarify, Rivers can have locks. I don't know about when the different locks were installed in our world's history, but you have locks on the Rhine. The lowest is roughly south of the city Karlsruhe, on the border between Germany and France. Also the Maas/Rhine delta in the Netherlands may have locks. All these are likely rather young, about 100-150 years old.
Another example is the river Mosel in Germany. This one has many locks, but I have no idea how old they are. I guess the smaller the river, the easier is building locks. But also smaller rivers likely have more need for them.
dry_erase
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Zisse wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 4:18 am Just to clarify, Rivers can have locks. I don't know about when the different locks were installed in our world's history, but you have locks on the Rhine. The lowest is roughly south of the city Karlsruhe, on the border between Germany and France. Also the Maas/Rhine delta in the Netherlands may have locks. All these are likely rather young, about 100-150 years old.
Another example is the river Mosel in Germany. This one has many locks, but I have no idea how old they are. I guess the smaller the river, the easier is building locks. But also smaller rivers likely have more need for them.
Thanks for that. I've spent a lot of time walking up and down canals in the UK, so I couldn't imagine how locks would translate to rivers - but now I know better!

The Reik is the widest river in the Old World, IIRC. I doubt there are any locks downstream of e.g. Agbeiten
Whymme
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You would have locks to overcome a difference in height. If that difference is too large, you would have a series of locks. These don’t have to be close to each other, but they are part of the same system. For instance, the Julianakanaal in the Netherlands runs parallel to the river Meuse (‘Maas’ in Dutch). It was built to enable shipping, because parts of the river itself can be unnavigable in the dry summer months.
Anyway, the water levels at the begin and at the end of the canal differ about 23 meters. So along its length four locks are built, to bridge that difference.
Locks in the river itself would have been possible too; these make sure that the water level upstream of the locks remains deep enough to make shipping possible. For that reason, the Maas has a lock at Grave.

The Zuid-Willemsvaart runs for 123 kilometers, has a height difference of 40 meters between the beginning and the end, and has twenty-one locks to bridge that height.

The canals and locks were built in the nineteenth century - much later than WFRP’s equivalent period in real history. But then, dwarven engineering knowledge in the WFRP world could be up to the standards of this world’s nineteenth century, if you want.


TL:DR: You would find locks in canals where there is a difference in the water level at the beginning and at the end of the canal, or in rivers to ensure that the river remains navigable and doesn’t fall dry upstream of the lock.

But while there are some locks in rivers, you wouldn’t find too many of them. The Rhine has a length of more than 1200 km (more than 750 miles), and has fourteen locks in all that length - most of them being in the upstream part. So there is room enough between those locks for pirates.
Whymme
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Anyway, back to piracy:
satakuua wrote: Sat Aug 06, 2022 3:46 am Or should I assume pirates just intercept barges in rowing boats, when possible, grab as much as they can, get back to the bank, and carry their boat somewhere safe and/or hidden?
I think that that would be the most likely form of river piracy. A bit like modern day piracy on the open seas: the pirates come in fast motorboats, enter the ships, and rob what they can.
Particularly bloodthirsty river pirates in WFRP could steal a ship by killing its crew and taking over. But then they would have to disguise the ship, as most ships on the river tend to be known and recognised at harbours and the like.
satakuua
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Sounds about right.
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Hyarion
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In my Old World, River Pirates use canoes and grappling hooks. They dart out, do the looting, then scoot off back to land. River Wardens are only really useful for rescuing wrecks, rendering aid, imposing/collecting taxes, and keeping the river depth clear for merchant ships to pass safely. Unless they are setting a sting operation they simply won't get there in time and their work will be done on land not on water.

River Wardens therefore are simply Road Wardens who are knowledgeable about boats.
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Knight of the Lady
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When my group ran this part we didn't have much problem with pirates, true, the problem was with corrupt River Wardens who wanted to "inspect" and either steal stuff off the ship or get a fat bribe to not harass, arrest or something else on us. I think that I personally have grown to hate River Wardens more than generic Chaos Cults by this point.

The bastards even cold blooded murdered a priest of Sigmar, my character, for speaking back to them when they did one of their "inspections".
Wolf
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River wardens and locals will probably be either behind the piracy or paid off by those responsible. Local nobility might even want a part of it, if more formally obtained ‘taxes’ and ‘fees’ don’t seem quite enough.

But yes, I suggest small boats rather than large ships roaming the rivers would be the way it worked. That said, I think that piracy all round the coast of the Old World would rely on fast moving oar driven galleys too - that’s the way it was generally in Europe in the Middle Ages and through the renaissance- our view of pirate galleons comes from a later age of sail.
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