The Empire of Night maintains a substantial network of high quality roads. Most of these roads are intended to speed military movement or enhance long distance trade. The Liberation has inherited these roads but will have to make its own decision on how to maintain them.
Highways and ThoroughfaresEdit
Imperial highways are laid out on carefully surveyed lines and constructed at great expense to facilitate movement and minimize long term maintenance. They were mostly built along pre-Imperial trade routes and augmented to suit the needs of the Empire. They connect cities and Orc Legion citadels to each other almost exclusively. There are some short extensions to link up especially prominent fortresses, though the presence of these links is inconsistent and many prominent fortresses are not connected to the highways.
Imperial highways are always at least 20' wide but never more than 30' wide. They are built on bed of packed earth, covered with gravel and topped with fitted stones. A low curb defines each edge of the road, and there are regular drainage outlets. The road grade is limited to 1:12 on the plains and forests, and extensive use of switchbacks keeps it below 1:6 in hills and 1:4 in the mountains.
Imperial highways are signposted when they meet other highways or military roads. Distance markers are rare and irregularly spaced between 5 and 10 miles apart.
Imperial highways are always bridged when crossing rivers. The most famous example is the Magnipont over the Silver Sound, but lesser rivers also have similar bridges. Bridges are made from a series of concrete arches standing on concrete piers. Bridges are gently sloped with a 1:6 grade and rise 30' to 50' over the water to allow river traffic to pass beneath.
Peasant traffic is allowed on imperial highways, but the Imperial military has right of way, as do military supply convoys. Most highways have packed dirt byroads, worn down by generations of peasants scrambling out of the way of Orcs. These byways often run through the drainage for the highways, and are nearly impassable in any kind of weather.
- Game Mechanics
Imperial highways are always good roads, regardless of rain or storms, but they become arctic off-road terrain when it snows. Increase the march speed of forces marching with No Security and/or Forced Marches by another 25%. March speed through mountains is reduced to 2/3rds instead of 1/2 and speed through hills and forests is not impeded. Individual hikers get the usual +25% bonus.
Military roads are well constructed and maintained roads that the Empire uses to link up orc fortresses and strongholds with the major towns of each region. They are not as well built as the highways and are not as carefully maintained. In the open plains of Venrike and Menkgu they are sometimes absent, leaving fortresses and strongholds connected by only peasant paths or by riding overland.
Military roads are usually 12' to 15' wide. They are built on a bed of packed earth topped with a scree of gravel, packed between hard earth curbs. Most military roads have drainage ditches, but they are not always well maintained. Military roads are usually graded to no more than 1:6 and use switchbacks to maintain a gentle slop in mountains.
Military roads have stone or wood bridges across narrow rivers. Wider rivers are crossed by fords, ferries, or private boats.
Signposts and mileposts are rare on military roads. Generations of orc patrols have created bare ground and sometimes hard earth fortifications at their regular overnight campsites, but these sites are irregularly spaced every ten to thirty miles depending on the path, discipline, and composition of the orc patrol.
- Game Mechanics
Military roads are always good roads, regardless of rain or storms, but they become arctic off-road terrain when it snows. March speed through mountains is reduced to 2/3rds instead of 1/2 and speed through hills and forests is not impeded. They give no other bonuses and individual hikers get no speed bonus.
The worst roads in the Empire are the hard dirt paths created by peasants to move between their fields and villages. They wind throughout the Empire, in a bewildering maze of loops, junctions, and sudden dead ends. Most Imperial maps don't even bother recording their existence and navigating them requires a native guide. A fair number of pre-Imperial trade roads, never maintained by the Empire, are still used as peasant paths but they are little better than the common dirt paths.
Peasant paths are usually no wider than a cart and are sometimes not much wider than a single person. They are indifferently graded at best, but tend to follow the contour of the land with few steep hills. Extensive switchbacks are common in hills and mountains, but grades as high as 1:2 are routine and some areas can only be reached by climbing.
Bridges are uncommon along peasant paths, unless there is a nearby village that depends on crossing the river. Ferries are likewise infrequent. Most rivers are crossed by fords or not at all. The bridges very greatly in quality, from pre-Imperial arched concrete affairs that nearly as good as the ones on the Imperial Highways (though in much worse shape) to simple wood planks over logs that barely rise over the water.
Signposts are common on peasant paths, as villages are rarely more than a few miles apart and most villages will have signposts for any paths that pass through them. However, signposts are often inaccurate or the villages obscurely named, so their utility is limited and it is a lucky traveler that can navigate a day's journey using signposts alone.
- Game Mechanics
Peasant paths only count as roads when they go through rural or plains terrain in summer (May through September). Any inclement weather washes them out for up to a week after it passes and they are treated as off-road. Navigating peasant paths requires an Area Knowledge (City level for local 50 mile hex). Failure in rural or plains terrain makes the travel count as off-road; failure in any other terrain means getting lost and making no progress. Individual hikers treat peasant paths as bad terrain unless they are marching through rural or plains terrain in summer in which case they treat them as average.
The Empire uses enslaved Minotaurs as its primary road crews, assisted by Kobolds acting as stone masons. Several hundred minotaurs and smaller number of kobolds worked on each crew, guarded by a company of the local orc garrison and overseen by masked members of the aristocracy. Highways are expanded at the rate of a mile per month, and military roads five miles per month, though the roads are rarely expanded outside of the warzones near the Dwarven Safeholds. Maintenance is ten times as fast. Obviously, only imperial highways and military roads are maintained by the Empire.
Due to the speed of maintenance and the longevity inherent in the roads' design, there are only a few road crews in each nation at any time. At least one of the ones in Hanist was taken with the Legions when they left and The Liberation has rescued the others.