|CRAFT CORNER: RUNNERS|
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About Dragonriders Runner Stations
Runner Stations are officially referred to by their number, but with people being people, they end up with names or nicknames. These names are not related to the Weyr or the Hold they're near to, as some of them may not be anywhere near a large enough holding. They may be named after prominent landmarks near the station, after the Station Master's name, or may be something completely random.
For posting purposes, the name of the station will be written in the "Subject:" line of the email header, followed by their location suffix:
T - TEH, TEW, TEHH area
B - (for Black Rock River) SDH, SWH, DH
G - GRH
I - anywhere on Ierne Island (IIW, North Tip Fishing Hold...)
As an example, a post set at Peninsula Runner Station 642 would have the following email Subject line:
DRML: PRS-T: Post Title
The following general guidelines have been gleaned from "Runner of Pern" in Legends and The Skies of Pern, both by Anne McCaffrey. For a more detailed summary, please click here.
Only Apprentices or Journeymen rank personas in DragonRiders Runners are bred to the Craft (exceptions will be rare, as they are in Pern). All Runners live in the dorms in Runner Stations (no exceptions). Runners are responsible for making and maintaining their own equipment. The Stationmaster is an NPC/free, non-adoptable persona who decides who makes what run, how much the charge for a message is if different than the normal cost, and if there's no charge for a public information message.
For the most part, Runners are the offspring of other Runners and the Bloodlines of a Runner are as noted within the Craft as the Bloodlines of a Lord Holder are in that arena. It is possible, however, for an outsider to become a Runner if they have the physical skills and training needed. These exceptions are rare.
To become an Apprentice to the RunnerCraft, the individual (Blood or Outsider) is tested by an older Runner who is not family. This test is a mid-length run that should be able to be completed, round trip, within one day; but before the pair leaves, the Applicant must bring their gear for approval. This includes their message belt, short trunks (shorts), a shirt that comes well below the waist to avoid a kidney chill and the running shoes they made themselves. The tester, however, does not have to do the return part of the run but can record their decision with the Stationmaster at the destination Station.
A runner's shoes are lightweight, much more so than the typical holder boots, and have spikes whose length depends on the running conditions. The shoes with medium length spikes are used in dry conditions while shorter spiked shoes are used on harder ground. The message belt should be big enough to hold several messages and be a snug enough fit that it doesn't rub against the small of the back when running. In addition to the function feature, the belt is where the Stitches are found. While the exact requirements for a Stitch was not clearly defined, it was stated that the more Stitches on a Runner's belt, the more runs they had completed.
If both equipment and Applicant passed the test, the Apprentice Runner would do the shorter runs around the Station and youngsters of the family running the Station are used on the short runs to keep up with demand. These are, in essence, training runs. Once the Stationmaster feels they are ready, they will be used on longer runs. One milestone that the Runner looks forward to reaching is to get their first Cross (a cross-continental run) under the belt. For our club, until something more definitive is written by Anne McCaffrey, this milestone will mark the increase in rank from Apprentice to Journeyman.
Runners live in same-sex dorms at the stations. All messages originate at a Station, where they are logged and any fees assessed and paid. Runners can be waylaid on the journey to carry additional messages, but they log those as soon as they come into a station. They have unassailable ethics, according to SoP, and so they wouldn't read messages or not deliver them. Stationmasters decide which messages are to be carried free of charge--important news, etc.
The following information is a small excerpt from "Runner of Pern", a short story by Anne McCaffrey in Legends for the exclusive purpose to provide some information and history on the RunnerCraft. Please note that this story is set before the return of Thread in the Ninth Pass.
"Of course, the legendary 'lopers' -- the ones who had been able to do a hundred miles in a day -- had perished ages ago, but their memory was kept alive. Their endurance and dedication were an example to everyone who ran the races of Pern. There hadn't been many of them, according to the legend, but they had started the runner stations when the need for rapid delivery of messages arose, during the First Fall of Thread. Lopers had been able to put themselves in some sort of trance which not only allowed them to run extended distances but kept them warm during snowstorms and in freezing temperatures. They had also planted the original traces, which now were a network crisscrossing the entire continent.
"While only Lord Holders and Craftmasters could afford to keep runnerbeasts for their couriers, the average person, wanting to contact crafthalls, relatives, or friends across Pern, could easily afford to express a letter across the continent in runner pouches, carried from station to station. Others might call them 'holds,' but runners had always had 'stations,' and station agents, as part of their craft history. Drum messages were great for short messages, if the weather was right and the winds didn't interrupt the beat, but as long as folks wanted to send written messages, there'd be runners to take them."
Last updated 29-May-04.
Dragonriders of Pern: A Fantasy-Fiction Writing Club - www.dragonridersclub.com
The Dragonriders of PernŽ is registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, by Anne McCaffrey, used here with permission. Use or reproduction without a license is strictly prohibited.