Timber in the world of Blades in the Dark

The other day I was thinking about resource extraction in the Blades in the Dark world and I came across the use of wood. I guess timber would be a very valuable resource since most of the trees were petrified with the cataclysm. Still, there must be some places from where the Empire is able to extract this kind of resources. I think one of the places this resource could be extracted from is the Dagger Isles, where the book refers to the existence of dense jungles. If you look at the Dagger Isles it is a very small territory so probably it could be deforested quite quickly in normal conditions. One of the things that could make sense is that maybe the cataclysm created certain arcane conditions in this area and it is able to regenerate itself quite quickly. This would make the lumberjack job a dangerous one, more akin to the endeavours of leviathan hunters. Who knows which kind of creatures could populate those dense jungles and what kind of secrets are hidden there.

Did the issue of timber came up in any of your games? If so, how did you address the issue? It would be nice to get more ideas about this.

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There’s a couple of possibilities for new wood.

  • Pressed ‘wood’ boards made from mushroom stems from the underground gardens. Good for the slums.
  • Radiant wood trees, grown in the gardens and fields. If you want exotic furniture, wood that still has a residual glow could be cool.
  • One of the other islands is mentioned as being covered in jungle, so wood is likely an import good from them, leading to smuggling opportunities.
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Never thought about mushrooms but it completely goes with the setting! Also the radiant trees is a nice idea for furniture the nobility could have in their houses as a symbol of status and power. Thanks, that was really useful!

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One source for wood in a post-cataclysm world would be “drowned” lumber: trees sunk during log drives or still standing underwater in flooded areas. These would be challenging to harvest, as it would involve breathing apparatus and lifting gear, but their value would compel some to go after these trees. In our world, these recovered trees are of a quality seldom seen in the modern day.
Here’s an article on sunken logs as a resource.

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What an awesome idea! I really like that.

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One resource that isn’t scarce at all is people…

Maybe the spirit wardens don’t actually have a furnace in their crematorium? Perhaps their devices only incinerate the ghost, leaving the rest of the remains to be pulped, pressed, and petrified into Duskwall’s newly patented MDF (Medium Density Fleshboard)?

“Waste not, want not,” says the Ministry of Preservation.

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Everyone else’s answers are much darker and more in-theme than my idea, but what the heck… in case it can inspire something…

Maybe the sun mostly radiates in the infrared now, meaning that photosynthesis can still proceed in the rare places where trees and other plans adapted to work with light in that wavelength range. The trees and plants would be VERY odd compared to our own.

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I like that, that “scientific” approach would add a new layer and there could be magic/scientific explanation in a very similar way to how the ghost field is treated in the game.

I think a faction called the Lumberjacks could be an interesting one to add to explore this topic. I imagine them as some sort of expeditions with some muscle, whispers and some scientific staff (cartographers, botanists, biologists…).

Even in terms of having a group of Lumberjacks on your table could be cool and fit very well in the score structure. They could be trying to chart new areas to get resources, locating some other lost expedition, or maybe looking for some sort of ancient temple that could be key to some sort of power (or maybe awakening an old god).

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