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    Canonfire :: View topic - Beyond the Flanaess - Oerth Expands South (Canon?)
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    Beyond the Flanaess - Oerth Expands South (Canon?)
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed May 24, 2006 8:47 am  
    Beyond the Flanaess - Oerth Expands South (Canon?)

    In some quarters, there is and has been more than a little and longish standing desire to see The World of Greyhawk (Oerth in other words) move beyond the well traveled length and breadth of the Flanaess. By slow degrees, this seems to be coming to pass and the move is south.

    The Scarlet Brotherhood accessory first moved strongly in this direction by providing a look at the entirety of Hepmonaland and the Amedio Jungle. (Let's not get into the merits or demerits of SKRs work in this thread.)

    With 20/20 hindsight, (1) the uncertain placement of the Isle of Dread in the southern reaches of the Pearl Sea south of the Densac Gulf in an issue of Dungeon (forget the issue) and (2) the development of Cauldron and Sasserine in the Shackled City Adventure Path, along with their placement on the new GH Dungeon maps, further focused development south.

    Now, comes word that Dungeon Issue 141 will have a poster map of the entire Pearl Sea area, placing Sasserine/Cauldron and the Isle of Dread precisely in a southern ocean bordered in the north and middle regions by the Amedio and Hepmonaland Coasts. Within this area will also be placed the pirate haven of Scuttlecove (the "mature" setting for the adventure supporting the Book of Vile Darkness accessory). Presumably, this map will expand on the previously published Dungeon Magazine GH maps.

    With this new poster map plus supporting materials in the "Savage Tide" Dungeon Magazine adventure path, set in the Pearl Sea region of Oerth, and the aforementioned Shackled City and Isle of Dread material, I think it safe to say that this southern region of Oerth will be fully opened, as opposed to being merely explored in brief.

    The price, however, is not inconsiderable in both time and money:

    One may purchase the entire Shackled City Adventure Path in a hardbound book for $60 or collect the individual issues.

    One must locate the Isle of Dread Dungeon Issue.

    One must either collect (beginning this October) the 12 issues of the Savage Tide Adventure Path or hope for a compilation like that for Shackled City (recognizing that the second Adventure Path - Age of Worms - has not yet been compiled) (not to mention that 4E may debut while Savage Tide is in progress and that it might never be compiled as it would need conversion to the hypothetical 4E).

    And, of course, how Savage Tide relates to The Scarlet Brotherhood accessory remains to be seen.

    There then remains as well the open question of whether any of the Dungeon material is "canon," given that Wotc forbids Paizo to utter the word "Greyhawk."

    No real conclusions, just the observation.
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    Wed May 24, 2006 9:17 am  

    Unless you want to run the SCAP you can pretty much ignore the book for Greyhawk canon purposes. The majority of adventures are contained in dungeons or are contained in Cauldron and the outer planes.

    Sasserine is barely touched upon and the timeline and history of the region needs work to be nicely fitted into Greyhawk 'canon'.

    I have already done quite a bit of work on the SCAP to fit it into my Greyhawk campaign, using Samwise's pre-Wars write up of the Hold and my own ideas of who Surabar is with relation to Sasserine and the Flanaess. I am actually interested to see how well James Jacobs' Sasserine fits in with what I already have.

    For those not interested in running Savage Tide I would just pick up the backdrop article for Sasserine and the issue that contains the poster map for the Pearl Sea.

    Getting a hold of the Dungeon issue that has a backdrop article for the Isle of Dread is pretty easy as well.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Wed May 24, 2006 9:24 am  

    Yeppers, its a good thing. Western Oerik got messed up by the 3E version of Chainmail. The North is bogged down ice. Fireland is not much talked about. Time to go South!

    Well, as far as how canon it can be (as opposed to how canon one may consider it), I think that with Iquander as editor, he will do as best a job as legally possible. Without his direction over with Dragon and Dungeon magazines, there might not nearly be as much, if any, GH material published. Even if they cannot use the word Greyhawk. Borrowning elements from the Known World is not a bad thing either for those who loved Mystarra either.

    Hey, Erik how about regional feats for the "Savage Tide" setting?
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed May 24, 2006 10:25 am  

    I am very interested to see what happens, at least in the first few issues. I could care less about the whole AP as I am not interested in demons or 3.5+E, but I want to see how the south is filled in.

    What bothers me is the idea of Sasserine being a city. From UK6 there should be a colony there called Port Elizabeth. I have no problem with a name change, or urban growth, but a city on the coast would have regional impact that cannot be easily brushed off like Cauldron, being smaller and isolated. Unless it was very recently expanded into a city, Sasserine would change the history of the Hold, Keoland, the Amedio and many others states. I hope what they do with it is something that will be consistant and not a more southerly, heretofor unmentioned Gradsul.
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed May 24, 2006 10:51 am  

    Well, It looks to me like a trend that could become a plan. Paizo has ventured into hard backs a few times now. With a little more work and a few more adventures, I could see a not timid editor asking to issue a GH source book for this new area. Though there might screams of pain at WOTC, that can be stiffled by one simple thing. The arguments for and against fall into place nicely, might go as follows:

    1) But Sir, almost all of the material is done, all we have to is compile it, illustrate it and bind it... next to no cost...

    2) Our other compilations sold well...

    3) It is not really in competition with the FR material; we are reaching an audiance the doesnt really buy anything, think of them as an untapped market....

    4) It is not in competition with Living Greyhawk, as this is outside of any region....

    5) It has to be Greyhawk, as it caters to all those who dont otherwise buy...

    While I am sure it would be a little more complicated, making money is making money. If there is little cost, it is going to be hard to argue.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed May 24, 2006 1:01 pm  

    Besides the postermap, what I am most looking forward to is the background article on Sasserine, which will appear in the October issue.

    Along with the Wild Coast, the Hold of the Sea Princes was one of the great "adventure incubators" of Pre-Wars GH. The GH Wars trashed both areas by having them captured and to a large degree dominated by their conquerors/invaders. The Sasserine background article has the potential to fix this in at least one of two (or more, certainly) ways.

    First, the Scarlet Brotherhood's conquests and control might be further rolled back.

    Second, perhaps Sasserine will be its own "adventure incubator," having somehow remained free of the Brotherhood.

    I guess a bit of both would be ideal.

    Certainly, I would look for Scuttlecove and points south of the Olman Islands to be nearly free of Brotherhood influence and thus "adventure incubators."

    At the same time and by the same token, I would almost entirely limit the influence of any Flanaess nation within the Pearl Sea. Some exploration or one off ventures? Sure. Regular contact? No. Colonies. Heck no.

    When opening up a new area of Oerth, I think one of the biggest potential disasters is to try to force too strong a connection with the existing Flanaess. Fascilitate it? Sure. Force it into the "family" of the Flanaess? No!

    YMMV
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    Wed May 24, 2006 1:04 pm  

    Wolfsire wrote:
    What bothers me is the idea of Sasserine being a city. From UK6 there should be a colony there called Port Elizabeth.


    Sounds like instant history/backstory to me, with but a name change or alternate name to work. Sounds like a potential CF topical submission at that! Start planning now, Wolfsire! Happy
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    Wed May 24, 2006 1:13 pm  

    Good thread.

    The South will certainly explode with development once we have new adventures set in either the Amedio or Hepmonaland's mainland jungles. This would force more development on the Olman, Touv and more. As for the IoD's continuity with the Flanaess, it should go smoothly (heh) since Holian is part of the project this time.
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    Wed May 24, 2006 2:39 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Sounds like instant history/backstory to me, with but a name change or alternate name to work. Sounds like a potential CF topical submission at that! Start planning now, Wolfsire! Happy


    I was already thinking that Laughing but it is way too premature. It all depends on what new comes out. And for that, I will just have to wait.

    Maybe we will get some bits on Xamaclan too!
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed May 24, 2006 4:53 pm  

    I will take a few flies in the ointment... just some new GH please!
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed May 24, 2006 6:44 pm  

    As piracy figures, I am lead to believe, somewhat strongly in the Savage Tide adventure path, I hope the Paizo Patrol has considered a few inviolate rules concerning piracy:

    (1) For piracy to exist to any significant degree, there must be sufficient cargo ship traffic for the pirates to regularly prey upon;

    (2) For cargo ship traffic sufficient to support piracy, there must be economies in the flag nations sufficiently developed to warrant such a high volume of ship traffic; and

    (3) The pirates must have a means to fence or sell their booty, in other words yet another developed economy to accept the goods.

    Piracy does not flourish in a vacume, nor in a completely undeveloped (or nearly so) area.

    The two greatest real world arenas demonstrate this.

    Caribbean piracy flourished on the Spanish treasure fleets and secondarily on colonial ship traffic with England and the early American cities as places where the pirates could fence or sell their ill gotten gains.

    Indian Ocean piracy flourished on trade between the Moghul and Persian Empires and the Arabian Peninsula and the East Afrian Coast, with Madagascar as a place for the pirates to fence their booty, if they did not make the trip around the Horn to Europe.

    So in Oerth's southern Seas:

    (1) Which nations or states are shipping cargoes to and from in sufficient quantity that the pirates are preying upon those ships?

    (2) What exactly are these cargoes that generate such regular ship traffic?

    (3) Where do the pirates fence or sell their prizes?

    I hope the Paizo Patrol has given some consideration to such matters other than - Arrrh! Here Thar Be Pirates!

    Because of the distances involved, it would seem there would be a need to develop some significant local economies rather than just rely upon the existing states of the Flanaess. Either that or we are in for a revisionist history that sees Keolandish, Nyrondese, Ahlissan and Iron League traffic having "always" been present in such profusion, thousands of miles from home, that significant piracy can be supported. Yeah. Right. Who knew?
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    Wed May 24, 2006 7:25 pm  

    Wolfsire wrote:
    What bothers me is the idea of Sasserine being a city. From UK6 there should be a colony there called Port Elizabeth. I have no problem with a name change, or urban growth, but a city on the coast would have regional impact that cannot be easily brushed off like Cauldron, being smaller and isolated. Unless it was very recently expanded into a city, Sasserine would change the history of the Hold, Keoland, the Amedio and many others states. I hope what they do with it is something that will be consistant and not a more southerly, heretofor unmentioned Gradsul.


    That question was touched upon in this thread, although none of the posters considered the material from UK6:

    http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/dungeon/savageTide/questionAboutTheGreyhawkVersionOfSavageTide

    Do any of the more knowledgeable folks on these boards have thoughts on the comments in that thread?
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    Wed May 24, 2006 7:38 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:

    So in Oerth's southern Seas:

    (1) Which nations or states are shipping cargoes to and from in sufficient quantity that the pirates are preying upon those ships?

    (2) What exactly are these cargoes that generate such regular ship traffic?

    (3) Where do the pirates fence or sell their prizes?

    I hope the Paizo Patrol has given some consideration to such matters other than - Arrrh! Here Thar Be Pirates!

    Because of the distances involved, it would seem there would be a need to develop some significant local economies rather than just rely upon the existing states of the Flanaess. Either that or we are in for a revisionist history that sees Keolandish, Nyrondese, Ahlissan and Iron League traffic having "always" been present in such profusion, thousands of miles from home, that significant piracy can be supported. Yeah. Right. Who knew?


    My concerns exactly. While I normally prefer to see new material focus on the nations of the Flanaess, given the context of Savage Tide, I agree that it would make much more sense to develop strong economies/nations/empires in the south rather than create established shipping routes linking the Isle of Dread with the Flanaess (as you indicated GVD, this would seem "forced"). This might also be the path of least resistance, where obtaining approval from WotC is concerned. But what do I know...
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu May 25, 2006 5:20 am  

    Finding trade for Pearl Sea pirates to shiver their timbers upon is easy: the spice routes to Zahind and the Hydranian Isles from the cities of the Vanian confederation, Vulzar and the sprawling markets of Suhfang and Hitaxa (and other points west - dammit, must finish that spice trade article!).

    I'm of the opinion that the nations of the west have been happily trading away for centuries - leaving the Flanaess out on its limb. When the Flanaessi arrive in the southern oceans they should find thriving trade routes (and all the pirates attendant there to) and wealthy kingdoms and empires well able of holding their own against the new interlopers (the SB book for all its flaws mentions rumours that the SB's been at war with a naval power in the Pearl Sea).

    I don't agree that the SB killed off the Hold as an adventure incubator at all. The state of civil war there means that it's quite the opposite (factional war fare; the secret war between the BB and the SB in the Hold, the situation in Berghof etcetcetc).

    Though I'm sure that the Shackled City didn't mention it, it seems beyond the bounds of credibility that the SB doesn't have a significant, if not controlling, presence in both Cauldron and Sasserine. It might not be overt (probably isn't), but it's there. If the SC or Isle of Dread AP's don't mention it, then I'd feel free to add it in, as it makes no sense for it not to be there.

    P.

    PS: There's been some discussions on this forum and at Wizards about fitting Cauldron and Sasserine into GH canon. Something along the lines of outpost of the Imperium, took a bit of a dive after the RoCF, revived fortunes perhaps with the suppression of the Toli and thereafter with trade with Keoland/Hold. Sasserine shouldn't be a Gradsul (which is a metropolis) - it should be a grubby little freeport of a few thousand souls dealing in trade between Cauldron/Olman/Amedi tribes and the Hold/Keoland.
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    Thu May 25, 2006 7:24 am  

    Thanks for the Paizo link TwiceBorn, there are some very good ideas there.

    Woesinger: “PS: There's been some discussions on this forum and at Wizards about fitting Cauldron and Sasserine into GH canon. Something along the lines of outpost of the Imperium, took a bit of a dive after the RoCF, revived fortunes perhaps with the suppression of the Toli and thereafter with trade with Keoland/Hold. Sasserine shouldn't be a Gradsul (which is a metropolis) - it should be a grubby little freeport of a few thousand souls dealing in trade between Cauldron/Olman/Amedi tribes and the Hold/Keoland.”

    Now that is what I am talking about! That seem consistent with canon, even with what I grubbed from UK6 in “The Olman Invasion of the Suloise Imperium: Cause of the Twin Cataclysms?” http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=776&mode=thread&order=2&thold=0

    “Grubby little freeport” sounds best to me, but the Paizo discussion goes a long way to justifying a city post war, although the idea of it being mostly Suel does not sound right to me. Hopefully they wont put stone walls all the way around it on the map. ;-)
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    Thu May 25, 2006 7:51 am  

    Woesinger wrote:

    PS: There's been some discussions on this forum and at Wizards about fitting Cauldron and Sasserine into GH canon. Something along the lines of outpost of the Imperium, took a bit of a dive after the RoCF, revived fortunes perhaps with the suppression of the Toli and thereafter with trade with Keoland/Hold. Sasserine shouldn't be a Gradsul (which is a metropolis) - it should be a grubby little freeport of a few thousand souls dealing in trade between Cauldron/Olman/Amedi tribes and the Hold/Keoland.


    Yeah I have a whole bunch of notes on this stuff that I was thinking about submitting to Canonfire. Where Surabar comes from, how Sasserine is established (the comments by subscriber Craig Clark at that Paizo link are mine), how Cauldron was founded after the great Suel Imperium-Fiery Kings wars, how the spellweavers fit more firmly with Kyuss and the Amedio, etc... But now I think I will wait and see what we get from James and company about the area first.
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    Thu May 25, 2006 12:06 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    As piracy figures, I am lead to believe, somewhat strongly in the Savage Tide adventure path, I hope the Paizo Patrol has considered a few inviolate rules concerning piracy:

    Please do not forget to add the following about piracy:
    The level and profitability of piracy has to be high enough to make the venture lucrative, and low enough that it does not warrant a stronger response from the wronged parties or make the wronged parties go elsewhere.

    Too little piracy and there is no profit. Too much piracy and the merchants will take other routes and navies will do more to hunt down pirates more strongly.
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    Thu May 25, 2006 12:16 pm  

    A "pirate haven" should have some or all of the following, else a seafaring power would shut them down:

    Communication Distance: the further the avenging navy is from its home base, the longer the response from the government or finding out that a pirate raid even occurred. Even in a fantasy world, magic only goes so far.

    Logistical Distance: Hard to keep sailing and fighting if you are too far from home base. Same deal with magic.

    Local Protection: If the pirate haven is a part of or is in fact a nation of power in its own right, that leads to the whole worm can of politics and war.
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    Thu May 25, 2006 5:16 pm  

    Woesinger - I wish! I doubt we get that kind of detail but it would be great.

    Nathan Brazil - Excellent points, all.

    On the nature of Sasserine - I'm not sure it needs to be either small or grubby. While certainly not Gradsul, I think it could be more developed than small and grubby. I'm thinking about Cauldron's size and sophistication. Sasserine, IMO, _could_ be at least to that level. There would be inland trade with Cauldron, at least, and then sea trade to support some development.

    I don't think the SB has to necessarily dominate or substantially influence Sasserine. Doubtless there is a presence there but perhaps there are forces at work in Sasserine that counterbalance a SB move or block it. Certainly, the Cagewrights of Cauldron would have been up to the task at one point.
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    Fri May 26, 2006 3:36 pm  

    I doubt that the AP will do more than mention what trade the pirates prey upon in passing (if even that).

    That doesn't stop Canonfire from doing some extra detailing though... :)

    The SB in Sasserine - I don;t see them running the place overtly as they do/did in the Hold, but I do see them exerting a powerful riptide on political affairs there.
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    Sun May 28, 2006 10:59 am  

    I am not so worried about how they handle the pirates, sure that the brain trust here can find some plausible scenario. Smile

    I am rather concerned about the "nations" are we simply going to get a thinly veiled rehash of are own world, as earth's far east nations simply get a fantasy make-over.

    I don't even mind that on a small scale, I don't want to see a flanaess imperalism retread and hopefully they take the time to provide the nations with unique atmosphere and culture, unlike the olman before them.
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    Sun May 28, 2006 1:55 pm  

    Crag wrote:
    I am not so worried about how they handle the pirates, sure that the brain trust here can find some plausible scenario. Smile

    I am rather concerned about the "nations" are we simply going to get a thinly veiled rehash of are own world, as earth's far east nations simply get a fantasy make-over.

    I don't even mind that on a small scale, I don't want to see a flanaess imperalism retread and hopefully they take the time to provide the nations with unique atmosphere and culture, unlike the olman before them.


    Yeah, that's something important, especially the lack of imperialism. We have enough of that business in real life, and with the Flan already.

    But when it comes to these southern nations, what are the dwarves, elves and orcs among them like? I take it as a given that demihumans and humanoids exist all around the world just as do humans, and that they have their own different cultures and views on life. I think that, for it to be Greyhawk and D&D, there have to be dwarves and elves, even if the nations have Mesoamerica, Africa, or the Far East as their creative bases (the same way Europe is for much of the Flanaess). Otherwise...it's just not Greyhawk.

    So, what would they be like?
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    Sun May 28, 2006 3:56 pm  

    I very much hope they won't do the usual hackjob of forcing every "standard" D&D race into every possible cultural niche. That detracts from the unique nature of every location, and makes them nothing but the Flanaess in different clothes.
    Why bother going to the Pearl Islands? All you will get are the same old orcs, and goblins, and dwarves, and elves. Yeah, sure, so they wear different clothes. Big whoop. It is still the exact same thing you will find in the Flanaess. I see nothing at all interesting in that.
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    Tue May 30, 2006 7:27 am  

    It is virtually traditional to create a new sub-race of the elves or dwarves as needed. It might be appropriate for this path to just put in some detail into the aquatic elves.
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    Tue May 30, 2006 7:40 am  

    I hope that they will deal with the environment appropriately, perhaps using environmental rules from Sandstorm and Stormwrack. Things like or heat exhaustion, sunburn or even ordinary items in the tropics rusting/getting moldy faster Since magic items generally remain intact despite the environment, this would place a greater importance on anyone having holding them and on to them.

    On the standard races, for me at least, nothing wrong having them or not. But I want to see cultural adaptation for the natives based on the environment. Examples:

    Dwarves in Full Plate Armor in the tropics? Uh, no. Even dwarves will be hard put but the heat. Dwarves as stone weapon extraordinaires? Sure, they don't rust at least.

    Elves with racial proficiency with longsword, rapier, and bows? Not with rusting metal and thick jungle foliage to spoil shots. Perhaps other weapons are more suitable.

    And now for the wish list:
    3.5e Olman deities (I can dream can't I?)
    Disciplined orcs (know as Scro in another setting...), They actually calm down in hot weather?
    Feral ritually canibalistic Halflings!
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    Tue May 30, 2006 6:11 pm  

    Some more information gleaned here and there.

    The distance from Sasserine to Scuttlecove is said to be approximately 1200 miles. The distance from Scuttlecove to the Isle of Dread is said to be approximately 1400 miles. So we are speaking of a huge area, even allowing for slant distance.

    As well, the pirates of Scuttlecove, The Crimson Fleet, are alleged to have _no_ connection to the Flanaess at all in terms of their origin. So by that score, we are dealing with new peoples/races/nations to some degree, unless the pirates are all unhumans. The distance as well suggests we are opening up terra incognita all the way around.

    While I certainly don't expect a gazeteer of the areas surrounding the Pearl Sea. Mention, mere mention, of the nations whose shipping the pirates are preying upon would seem a reasonable thought.

    I'm really hoping Savage Tide turns out to be a (stealthy) GH goldmine. Maybe I'm missing something but it would seem so easy to make it so.
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    Tue May 30, 2006 6:37 pm  

    NathanBrazil wrote:
    I hope that they will deal with the environment appropriately, perhaps using environmental rules from Sandstorm and Stormwrack. Things like or heat exhaustion, sunburn or even ordinary items in the tropics rusting/getting moldy faster Since magic items generally remain intact despite the environment, this would place a greater importance on anyone having holding them and on to them.

    On the standard races, for me at least, nothing wrong having them or not. But I want to see cultural adaptation for the natives based on the environment. Examples:

    Dwarves in Full Plate Armor in the tropics? Uh, no. Even dwarves will be hard put but the heat. Dwarves as stone weapon extraordinaires? Sure, they don't rust at least.

    Elves with racial proficiency with longsword, rapier, and bows? Not with rusting metal and thick jungle foliage to spoil shots. Perhaps other weapons are more suitable.

    And now for the wish list:
    3.5e Olman deities (I can dream can't I?)
    Disciplined orcs (know as Scro in another setting...), They actually calm down in hot weather?
    Feral ritually canibalistic Halflings!


    I never said that demihumans would be exactly the same as their Flanaess counterparts. What I am saying is that they'll have their own unique cultural divergences in other parts of the world, just as do the humans-elves in the Baklunish West might be very lawful and hierarchical, dwarven clans might be bonded to human ones in Oriental-type lands, halflings have close relationships with Native-type humans who protect them in exchange for the halflings harvesting their cornfields, sharing many of the same animist/shamanic traditions, things like that.
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    Wed May 31, 2006 5:55 am  

    I hope they do not make it a simple "You spend an uneventful month at sea, travelling to the Isle of Dread. It may be a big sea, but it takes a while to get anywhere.

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Some more information gleaned here and there.

    The distance from Sasserine to Scuttlecove is said to be approximately 1200 miles. So we are speaking of a huge area, even allowing for slant distance.


    Sasserine to Scuttlecove
    Map Distance - about 40 Darlene's
    (1 Darlene = 1 classic GH map hex or approx 30 mi.)
    3.5e Ship Rates miles per day (mpd)
    Sailing ship 48 mpd - 25 days
    Warship 60 mpd - 20 days
    Longship 72 mpd - 17 days
    Galley 96 mpd - 12.5 days

    GVDammerung wrote:
    The distance from Scuttlecove to the Isle of Dread is said to be approximately 1400 miles.


    Scuttlecove to the Isle of Dread
    Map Distance - about 47 Darlene's
    3.5e Ship Rates - miles per day (mpd)
    Sailing ship 48 mpd - 29 days
    Warship 60 mpd - 23 days
    Longship 72 mpd - 19 days
    Galley 96 mpd - 14.5 days

    That is assuming that the ship is capable of travelling deeper sea (I think galleys cannot, but I included them for comparison purposes) and you know where you are going.
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    Wed May 31, 2006 6:34 am  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    I never said that demihumans would be exactly the same as their Flanaess counterparts. What I am saying is that they'll have their own unique cultural divergences in other parts of the world, just as do the humans-elves in the Baklunish West might be very lawful and hierarchical, dwarven clans might be bonded to human ones in Oriental-type lands, halflings have close relationships with Native-type humans who protect them in exchange for the halflings harvesting their cornfields, sharing many of the same animist/shamanic traditions, things like that.


    And that would be worse.
    Why even bother using them if you are going to strip every standard element of the race away?
    One of the core aspects of the demi-human and humanoid races is that they have a much more standard culture than any humans do. By removing that, they become nothing more than humans in rubber suits, the strange new Star Trek race of the week, with nothing to distinguish them from ordinary humans other than their character generation traits.
    At most, you get silly DM/Moralizing tricks out of that. Along the lines of, "Oh no, you see orcs here are all Lawful Good, and have a pacifistic, eco-friendly culture."
    It is bad enough that most people are afraid of creating truly divergent, racially mandated, cultural identities for demi-humans and humanoids now. Adding even more real world cultural hacks would just make that worse.
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    Wed May 31, 2006 10:45 am  

    Samwise wrote:

    And that would be worse.
    Why even bother using them if you are going to strip every standard element of the race away?


    If the SCAP is anything to go by there will be a town paragraph with race percentages and NPC's will be created with a mix of different races with no background or reasoning for how that race might be different from the standard race in the Flanaess.

    Which is what I would expect from a magazine that produces a vast majority of its work for subscribers that DON'T play in Greyhawk.

    I know Greyhawk fans love to squabble but sometimes I really have to scratch my head. If anyone else was in charge over at Paizo and we would have a huge Xendrik adventure path to look forward to. Makes my bile rise thinking about it.
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    Wed May 31, 2006 3:20 pm  

    Samwise wrote:


    And that would be worse.
    Why even bother using them if you are going to strip every standard element of the race away?
    One of the core aspects of the demi-human and humanoid races is that they have a much more standard culture than any humans do. By removing that, they become nothing more than humans in rubber suits, the strange new Star Trek race of the week, with nothing to distinguish them from ordinary humans other than their character generation traits.
    At most, you get silly DM/Moralizing tricks out of that. Along the lines of, "Oh no, you see orcs here are all Lawful Good, and have a pacifistic, eco-friendly culture."
    It is bad enough that most people are afraid of creating truly divergent, racially mandated, cultural identities for demi-humans and humanoids now. Adding even more real world cultural hacks would just make that worse.


    Actually, that's exactly what I'd be creating for demihumans and humanoids. What if a dwarf's clannishness led his clan to be bound to a human clan, sharing in its feuds and conflicts, even to the point of fighting other dwarves? What if elves became wandering mystical nomads, still using their connections to nature and magic to survive even as they traveled, refusing to settle down in one particular area or land, even bonding with the land itself and becoming connected to the trees and rivers of whatever region they pass through? What if a gnome's knowledge of both the illusions of the mind and the physical arts of technology, and the love of both nature and mining to create an ancient, multi-layered society that rivals the Roman, Ottoman and Byzantine empires for its knowledge, history and power, becoming quasi-despotical philosophers who seek to both understand and dominate the world? What if the connection to the land and the gentle capacity to live in harmony with it led halflings to become animists revered by humans and dwarves for their supposed wisdom and connection to other living things?

    What about a goblin's capacity for cunning and deception led his race to win its battles through clever alliance and manipulation of its neighbors, using midnight raids and deception to strike? What if ogres developed a culture devoted to pure pride and weapon skills, that exists for no greater reason that to kill, murder and pillage, viewing life as one unending struggle that only ceases when the ogre is slain in combat? What if an orc's connection to the gods led him to re-organize his entire society along theocratic lines, viewing everything in quasi-religious terms?

    I think the fears are unfounded. It's only natural that in real life, human cultures influence one another with their interactions. It could be argued that in magic, war, metalwork, architecture, religion, cuisine, or any of a thousand other spheres, humans, demihumans and humanoids have been blending with one another for centuries, even as they maintain some of their own traditional core traits, or what are seen as core traits in the public mind. I see no reason why this wouldn't be the same case in other parts of the world; the demihumans influence the humans in other parts of the world, and vice versa, which can make for all sorts of interesting shadings and explanations (humans remain organized along tribal lines the likes of which existed in the Goths, the Franks, the Huns and the Gauls IRL because of elven influence which has caused them to disdain the development of centralized states, because of bad experiences those elves have had with kingdoms elsewhere in the world and the elves they were allied with.)
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    Wed May 31, 2006 8:04 pm  

    Right:

    What if race meant nothing except different stat adjustments?

    Even more min-maxing weaselness than usual.

    Bleah.
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    Thu Jun 01, 2006 1:22 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    Right:

    What if race meant nothing except different stat adjustments?


    You misunderstand. I mean taking some of the familiar racial traits (halflings being retiring folk connected with the land in subtle but important ways, elves having loose organization and being intimately bound to nature and the mysteries of magic, dwarven clannishness and orcish connection to the gods, all of which have groundings in canon) and putting new spins, as I tried to describe above.
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    Thu Jun 01, 2006 2:01 pm  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    You misunderstand. I mean taking some of the familiar racial traits (halflings being retiring folk connected with the land in subtle but important ways, elves having loose organization and being intimately bound to nature and the mysteries of magic, dwarven clannishness and orcish connection to the gods, all of which have groundings in canon) and putting new spins, as I tried to describe above.


    No, I understand. I simply don't want to see it.
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    Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:52 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Besides the postermap, what I am most looking forward to is the background article on Sasserine, which will appear in the October issue.

    Along with the Wild Coast, the Hold of the Sea Princes was one of the great "adventure incubators" of Pre-Wars GH. The GH Wars trashed both areas by having them captured and to a large degree dominated by their conquerors/invaders. The Sasserine background article has the potential to fix this in at least one of two (or more, certainly) ways.

    First, the Scarlet Brotherhood's conquests and control might be further rolled back.

    Second, perhaps Sasserine will be its own "adventure incubator," having somehow remained free of the Brotherhood.

    I guess a bit of both would be ideal.

    Certainly, I would look for Scuttlecove and points south of the Olman Islands to be nearly free of Brotherhood influence and thus "adventure incubators."

    At the same time and by the same token, I would almost entirely limit the influence of any Flanaess nation within the Pearl Sea. Some exploration or one off ventures? Sure. Regular contact? No. Colonies. Heck no.

    When opening up a new area of Oerth, I think one of the biggest potential disasters is to try to force too strong a connection with the existing Flanaess. Fascilitate it? Sure. Force it into the "family" of the Flanaess? No!

    YMMV


    I agree 100% with this post.

    --Erik
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    Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:59 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:


    So in Oerth's southern Seas:

    (1) Which nations or states are shipping cargoes to and from in sufficient quantity that the pirates are preying upon those ships?

    (2) What exactly are these cargoes that generate such regular ship traffic?

    (3) Where do the pirates fence or sell their prizes?

    I hope the Paizo Patrol has given some consideration to such matters other than - Arrrh! Here Thar Be Pirates!

    Because of the distances involved, it would seem there would be a need to develop some significant local economies rather than just rely upon the existing states of the Flanaess. Either that or we are in for a revisionist history that sees Keolandish, Nyrondese, Ahlissan and Iron League traffic having "always" been present in such profusion, thousands of miles from home, that significant piracy can be supported. Yeah. Right. Who knew?


    If a ship from Nyrond or Keoland goes far south of the Olman Isles (and lives to tell about it), they are most likely lost, headed off to some godforsaken failing colony, or are exploring. The sea traffic raided by the pirates of the Crimson Fleet (stationed in part in Scuttlecove) do not, in large part, raid the northern Flanaess seas, but rather prey on the sea traffic of a polyglot culture including ships from Xamaclan, Zahind, "Nippon," Hepmonaland, and elsewhere.

    This is largely new territory, and the development is going to cleave pretty tightly to the Savage Tide storyline, but this is meant to be new territory with relatively few ties to "home" and with hints at a larger world wholly outside the scape of the Adventure Path.

    If some of the hooks and throw-away references from Savage Tide get expanded by DMs (or future authors) looking to add meat to Greyhawk, great.

    --Erik


    Last edited by iquander on Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:15 am  

    Woesinger wrote:

    Though I'm sure that the Shackled City didn't mention it, it seems beyond the bounds of credibility that the SB doesn't have a significant, if not controlling, presence in both Cauldron and Sasserine. It might not be overt (probably isn't), but it's there. If the SC or Isle of Dread AP's don't mention it, then I'd feel free to add it in, as it makes no sense for it not to be there.


    Cauldron and the Shackled City were admittedly kind of tacked on to Greyhawk at the last minute, after I took over the magazine about mid-way through. Since all of the previous adventures used the "core" Greyhawk pantheon, and since it was set in a remote jungle, I decided it would fit reasonably well (with some tweaking) in the Amedio, and the deed was done.

    It wasn't a perfect fit. The AP provided very little "Greyhawk" context, and as you say, Paul, a lot of stuff that should have been in there simply wasn't, because the editors and authors of the early segments weren't really trying to make it Greyhawk at all. They were focusing almost exclusively on making it a cool series of adventures (and they succeeded).

    By the time I made this decision, incidentally, the lame idea of a cult dedicated to merging Vecna, Hextor, and Erythnul was already entrenched into the continuity of the series. I made the whole cult a fraud in Age of Worms because I otherwise thought the Ebon Triad threatened the Greyhawk setting to some degree. Why those three gods? Why Vecna, especially? It just seemed so random and out of left field.

    Age of Worms, I hope, fits more seamlessly into Greyhawk campaigns, and while Savage Tide set off into undiscovered country, we certainly intend for Sasserine and the early part of the AP to fit within the generally understood continuity of Greyhawk (while working perfectly for folks who care nothing about the setting).

    The Scarlet Brotherhood has a role in Sasserine, but they do not control the city in any meaninful sense. In fact, the Scarlet Brotherhood will be a PHII-style affiliation that characters will be able to join from the outset of the campaign. Such players will learn more and more about the core beliefs of their organization as the campaign progresses, which may or may not be a good thing.

    We're probably not going to focus a lot on human race politics in the Adventure Path, so using the Scarlet Brotherhood is a bit of a challenge. If we delve overmuch into the "racial purity" angle it requires us to spend a lot of ink explaining the different human subraces of Greyhawk and why the Suel are special and so on. This would make for excellent Greyhawk campaign fodder, but is likely to put a lot of readers to sleep. We've minimized that aspect of the Sasserine-based Brotherhood cell (with an in-campaign reason), but how far we go with it is still an open question, honestly.

    Not using them is foolish given the geography of the campaign. Getting too deep into their beliefs and motivations pulls the campaign into deep continuity matters, which is a card you get to play only a few times before the thing becomes legitimately impossible to run in another campaign setting, and that's not good for the readership at large.

    It's a poser.

    --Erik
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    Fri Jun 02, 2006 6:27 am  

    iquander wrote:

    The Scarlet Brotherhood has a role in Sasserine, but they do not control the city in any meaninful sense. In fact, the Scarlet Brotherhood will be a PHII-style affiliation that characters will be able to join from the outset of the campaign. Such players will learn more and more about the core beliefs of their organization as the campaign progresses, which may or may not be a good thing.


    Very cool. I am glad these tidbits will be in there. If I remember correctly from the Isle of Dread backdrop there was an SB outpost near the island as well.

    I suppose this means we won't see any significant presence of Olman or Touv though...perhaps that will show up in the ordered NPC art? If not in the NPC backgrounds. I had a devil of a time coming up with decent racial backgrounds for the Cauldron NPCs based on their 'headshots'.
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    Fri Jun 02, 2006 8:28 am  

    iquander wrote:
    If a ship from Nyrond or Keoland goes far south of the Olman Isles (and lives to tell about it), they are most likely lost, headed off to some godforsaken failing colony, or are exploring. The sea traffic raided by the pirates of the Crimson Fleet (stationed in part in Scuttlecove) do not, in large part, raid the northern Flanaess seas, but rather prey on the sea traffic of a polyglot culture including ships from Xamaclan, Zahind, "Nippon," Hepmonaland, and elsewhere.

    This is largely new territory, and the development is going to cleave pretty tightly to the Savage Tide storyline, but this is meant to be new territory with relatively few ties to "home" and with hints at a larger world wholly outside the scape of the Adventure Path.

    If some of the hooks and throw-away references from Savage Tide get expanded by DMs (or future authors) looking to add meat to Greyhawk, great.

    --Erik


    Wow. Shocked

    Well, I'll be . . . Laughing

    With this post, taken in the context of the others by Iquander, I can actually muster a genuine "Go Mona!" without having to add a caveat or feeling somehow compromised. I'll look forward to those "hints" and "throw-away references" to a "larger world." Happy I'll hope for a "Wormfood" type article that might collect and expand them just a tad but I won't "demand" such.

    And I have to take back those nasty thoughts occasioned by the Ebon Triad, as I did not know that was not Erik's doing. Given the actual backstory, I have to voice another "Go Mona!" for the Ebon Triad having been made to turn out a fraud. (We won't speak of Dragotha and Kyuss' "relationship" . . . )

    And I really have to take back those nasty thoughts occasioned by the manner of the Shackled City's introduction to GH, especially as that event now serves as a launching pad for Savage Tide. Embarassed

    I am delighted that Savage Tide will, finally it now appears, present an "ERIK MONA PRODUCTION" from front to back, rather than having have to have Erik pick it up in medias rea. I have been waiting for this. Impatiently. With often enough ill humor or rancor.

    I am now genuinely looking forward to Savage Tide. And can say without reservation -

    "Go Mona!" Happy
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    Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:14 pm  

    I never though I would get a subscription to Dungeon but for this, I did, and ordered 114 to boot, even though I have X1.
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    Sat Jun 03, 2006 3:56 am  

    iquander wrote:
    Not using them [the SB] is foolish given the geography of the campaign. Getting too deep into their beliefs and motivations pulls the campaign into deep continuity matters, which is a card you get to play only a few times before the thing becomes legitimately impossible to run in another campaign setting, and that's not good for the readership at large.

    It's a poser.


    Certainly is. One idea that strikes me is to depict the cell as a group of influential citizens who seem to have a lot of behind-the-scenes pull. They can act as patrons for the "right" PCs and do them favours (in the Godfather sense of the word). That they seem to be members of a larger secret society can be hinted at but never really discussed in depth. The exact nature of the society can be campaign world specific (the SB in GH, the Zhentarim in FR and an appropriate analog in Eberron).

    This is actually an opportunity to show the SB as they should be - shadowy pullers of strings whose motives and affiliations are largely unknown and unclear. So in a way - you can turn your poser into a plot strength.

    P.
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    Sat Jun 03, 2006 9:18 pm  

    iquander wrote:


    ... a polyglot culture including ships from Xamaclan, Zahind, "Nippon," Hepmonaland, and elsewhere.



    I hope Nippon being in quotes means Erik et al are going to do something about that name. No offense to the real Nippon but in Greyhawk it's almost as bad as Orc-reich.
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    Sun Jun 04, 2006 4:34 am  

    I'm sure that's what the quotes mean. An alternate name that's already featured in Erik's Bounds of the Oerth article was the Hydranian Isles. As the isles are equitorial, if any mentions are made of the culture, hopefully it won't be too overtly (real world) Nipponese (Sri Lanka or Indonesia would be better analogs).

    For example, you can still have strange oriental style martial arts - but instead of being modeled on bushido or karate, it might take inspiration from Kalarippayattu, the martial art of Kerala - which has such weird and wonderful weapons as the chuttuval or flexible sword.

    See more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuttuval

    If there were ever a candidate for an exotic weapon proficiency, then there's one right there. ;)

    P.
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    Mon Jun 05, 2006 6:35 am  

    Woesinger wrote:

    This is actually an opportunity to show the SB as they should be - shadowy pullers of strings whose motives and affiliations are largely unknown and unclear. So in a way - you can turn your poser into a plot strength.

    P.


    By the time we get to CY 600 and AP 8 perhaps Greyhawk will finally be back to the good ole days of 576... who would have thought it would take 25 years for the SB to ebb back from munchkin world beaters?
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    Mon Jun 05, 2006 6:42 am  

    Woesinger wrote:
    This is actually an opportunity to show the SB as they should be - shadowy pullers of strings whose motives and affiliations are largely unknown and unclear.


    Agreed. And if the reason the SB is not open or in control of Sasserine is particularly well done, it could herald a way to roll back the SB more generally in the Hold of the Sea Princes.
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