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    Canonfire :: View topic - The Antipodes of Oerth or Designing Anakeri
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Tue Jun 27, 2006 1:23 pm  
    The Antipodes of Oerth or Designing Anakeri

    For convenience, take as given that the unnamed and undescribed in canon, exteme southernmost continent of Oerth is called Anakeri (the name given it in Steve "Tamerlain" Wilson's OJ1 timeline). What would a visitor find there? Doesn't the answer depend on how Anakeri would be designed, given we have no canon name or description of the place? I think so.

    So, better, non-rhetroical question - how should Anakeri be designed?

    We know how the Flanaess was designed. It is pseudo-earth in the pseudo-middle ages in a pseudo-Europe. We have knights. We have guilds. We have nobles and peasants and feudalism. We have dragons. We have orcs and elves at the fringes of human societies. Should we simply make Anakeri the same - only different?

    We know something about the regions beyond the Flanaess. The Baklunish region is an analog of Persia/Arabia. The Amedio Jungle is an analog of Central America. Hepmonaland is a rougher analog of Africa. It seems that once one steps immediately outside the Flanaess, one enters an Oerth analog, more or less, just depending. So is the design of Anakeri as simple as a fantasy version Australia or Malasia or Polynesia or Indonesia?

    I would like to suggest the answer to both of the above questions is "no." Anakeri should neither be the Flanaess with different names, nor should it be some portion of earth made suitably fantastic.

    While it is all well and good to speak of originality in design, true originality is very, very rare as there is little new under the sun. Our experience is with earth cultures and mythoi. That our fantasies resembles such should neither be a surprise nor unwelcome. While originality is great, so is familiarity for such is a large part of verisimiltude and then suspension of belief - believable fantasy.

    So saying, I think any idea that Anakeri must be something "completely different" rings false and I take such to mean, in fact, that the desire is that Anakeri not be "just another Flanaess." With the latter, I wholeheartedly agree. In any event, there would be no criteria by which to judge something "completely different" as that very statement is a negation of the existing but does not offer anything in its place. Something completely different has no guidelines and is a mere jump into the void, as Greyhawk as not Greyhawk and more the latter in all likelihood.

    But how then to design Anakeri, if it is not to be another Flanaess, if it is not to be some corner of earth transplanted to Oerth and if it is not to attempt to be "something completely different?"

    I think the answer is suitably Greyhawk - recognize a balance.

    We know we have the Flanaess in the northern hemisphere and that outside the Flanaess we wander into pseudo-earth cultures of the Middle/Near East, Central America and Africa. So I suggest that once we leave the pseudo-earth zone and enter Anakeri we find the antipode of the Flanaess.

    An antipode is, of course, an opposite or inverse. I suggest Anakeri should be an inverse Flanaess. By this I mean inverting what we know of the Flanaess. Examples -

    1) In the Flanaess, humans dominate with demi-humans and humans relegated to fringe societies. In antipode, Anakeri would see humans relegated to fringe societies, while elves and dwarves would have the dominate
    nations. Humans would get the equivalent of Celene, the Ulek States and the Pomarj. Elves and dwarves would split most of the rest.

    2) In the Flanaess, there is only one matriarchy, Hardby, and it is compromised, Hardby having been added to the Domain of Greyhawk. In antipode, Anakeri might see among the human states more and more robust matriarchies, even "amazonian" societies.

    3) In the Flanaess, demons have played the role of extra-planar aggressor more than devils. In antipode, Anakeri would see the devils playing the more prominent role.

    4) In the Flanaess, referring to arcane magic, necromancy is a big bad - witness Nerull. In antipode, Anakeri might see necromancy not as a black art but as an outgrowth or expression of ancestor worship.

    5) In the Flanaess, gods and religions are numerous (and necessarily human in the main). In antipode, Anakeri might not see much in the way of gods but more "pure" druidism, non-personified philosophies and ancestor worship etc. The exceptions would be the elven and dwarven pantheons being dominate in their areas, and maybe even worshipped by the fringe human societies.

    I'm not saying the above are "musts" but I am suggesting the idea of an antipode "balancing" the Flanaess, in between which we find the pseudo-earthly cultures.

    Who knows? If done well, an antipode Anakeri might well seem "something completely different."

    Thoughts?
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    Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:00 pm  

    I think this is a very good angle to attack the issue of designing cultures for Oerth. Very rarely in D&D does an extremely alien setting work, Dark Sun comes to mind. Having said that, I suppose psionics would be an antipode of the flanaess. Nine out of ten GH fans probably hold a dim view of psionics in their campaign. Here in Anakeri it could be more prevalent. Not Dark Sun prevalent mind you but more so than we've seen in GH so far.

    Not a cultural aspect per se, but another reversal might be in notable organizations. Typically in GH or any fantasy world the utmost behind the scenes groups are wizards. Why not a 'Circle of Eight' for Priests or Rogues or Bards, etc.

    That's all I got so far, I'm sure there's more ideas to be had.
    GreySage

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    Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:47 pm  

    I placed the Momboddo Empire there, as described in Erik Mona's The Bounds of the Oerth.

    I also decided that the Kersi (from Steve Wilson's timeline) fled AnaKeri across the ocean to Hepmonaland when the alien Momboddo began to colonize their land. So it all ties together, so to speak.

    Coincidently, this fits very well with what GV was saying - matriarchy, nonhumans dominating humans.

    Quote:
    South of these hills, the once-great Momboddo Empire is still a site to behold. Its structures are different from any known on Oerth. Some represent a perfect blending of living organic matter and strangely-cut wood, while others have been constructed from an almost impossible amount of metal. Domes are said to be integral to Momboddo architecture, and there is little land not utilized for some sort of farming. The people of the empire have managed even to tame the tropical mountains that act as the empire's western border, and their ocean vessels that ply the eastern and southern waters are said to be second to none.

    Strangest of all (at least to our own pretensions) is the fact that Momboddo is a complete matriarchy. Somewhat like our own free-city of Hardby, but on a tremendous scale, women control almost every aspect of Momboddo society. It is to the oldest female child that all property is passed, and it is women who are deferred to in all matters of politics.

    This is not to say that the Momboddo do not value men, only that their society is inherently slanted against them. It has not always been so, however, as stories tell of a time in which the male of the empire were nothing more than slaves used for the sole purpose of creation. In almost every way, their culture was, and still is, to a degree, alien to our own. And, as far as I can tell, there is good reason for this.

    The Momboddo are, in fact, aliens themselves. Unlike the dark-skinned folk native to the south, they are olive-skinned, have sharply chiseled features, and smoldering, red eyes. There are many tales told in the north about how the people of the empire came to exist on our world. These stories are complicated by the fact that by the time the Hitaxian's ancestors began recording their history, the Momboddo were already in decline. In fact, it is said that Vanian explorers during the reign of Gargus Rex discovered ancient ruins of Momboddo design as far north as the Isle of Night.

    The most commonly believed tale of the origin of the empire holds that the Momboddo simply appeared from great gates located on the Isles of Dreams, just south of Rarzuul off Momboddo's eastern seacoast. Those ancient travelers (or outcasts, according to Momboddo's enemies) knew they could not return, and eventually spread to the mainland, where they began constructing what would be the hub of a great empire.

    The Momboddo brought with them the secrets of metallurgy long before its discovery to the north. Though the women warriors encountered little organized resistance from the inhabitants of the northern jungles, they soon dominated most of the land. Their rule was strange, for they merely asserted their control over the tribes and moved on, seldom building structures of their own, leaving the dense growth to itself in all save government.

    The more or less barren plains that would once become Fex and Tanzula are a different case, and even today several structures stand in good repair in those lands. South of Tanzula, the Momboddo encountered the people of Gyptic and Nuxes, and taught these men and women their culture and technology.

    Then, suddenly, the Momboddo Empire withdrew into itself, abandoning the empire at large and returning to the natural borders that acted as the hub of the empire. Without the guidance of the Momboddo, Gyptic and Nuxes abandoned matriarchy, but exploited the technology and artifice taught to them by their alien neighbors to the east.

    Using the naval designs of the empire, the two nations began courting northern trade routes and eventually came into conflict with each other. After centuries of warfare, Gyptic lay in ruins, and sold its entire navy to its neighbor for a pittance (many suggest that this was not their own idea). Now, it is a poor nation, though a return to the religion and traditions of the time before the coming of the Momboddo has given it a rich cultural heritage.

    The only thing rich about Nuxes is its merchants. Over the years, the renown of Nuxes craft work has spread as far as the Suhfeng, and their merchants eventually dominated the government of this land. For their part, the Momboddo seem unconcerned about the bastardization of their lessons, a feeling that is much appreciated by the men and women of Nuxes. The nation's capitol, Gavvard, rests on the south-westernmost outcropping of land in the Oerik continent, and has a splendid view of Tukotan, some thirty miles across the Gavvardian Channel (which connects the Sea of Rage to the western, Agitoric Ocean--also known as the Sea of Eternity).


    Last edited by rasgon on Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Tue Jun 27, 2006 2:49 pm  

    My initial thought is a simple one...

    Why?

    Not, "Why develope an area different?" I think the idea has merit. But why, with like you said Oerth developing much like a fantasy earth, would this particular area break consistancy. What happened there?

    That is a question that would have to be answered.

    Also, the biggest challenge would be to create something "different" that still fit with the overall Greyhawk setting, in theme and mood. Otherwise it would just look like a poorly done transplant.

    So, I think the biggest challenge of a project like that would not be to come up with something original, but making it fit within the Greyhawk mythos.
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    Tue Jun 27, 2006 3:06 pm  

    Agree totally with the sentiment about making Anakeris Australia with weird bits. Let it be itself. Equally though - I wouldn't prescribe what's on there by setting out to make it everything the Flanaess isn't. I think a better route would be to look at what kind of place Anakeris is likely to be and adapt the cultures to that (you know, like in the real world?). Wink

    If you look at Anakeris in terms of latitudes, it ranges from roughly 10 S to well nigh 70-80 S. With those latitudes, the prevailing winds over the northern part of the continent are likely to be tropical south-easterlies. This will bring hot dry air out of the centre of the continent across the northern most parts. I'd suspect then, that large parts of the north and centre of the continent are desert. South of the subtropical highs around 30 S the prevailing winds are north westerlies. In the centre of the continent, this will send hot dry air out towards the south, spreading the desert south until it gives way to a broad U of semiarid steppe and grasslands around the desert fringes.

    About 60 S you get the subpolar low where the north westerlies meet the polar south easterlies head on. On the extreme western end of Anakeris and on the eastern coast (opposite south-western Oerik) this will give rise to regions of temperate climate. As you move south though, the temperate lands and colder steppe gives away to a band of subpolar tiaga forest and eventually a broad strip of tundra along the southern coast (with perhaps even a spot of ice cap on the very southern most cape).

    On the physical map I've developed, I've stuck two mountain ranges. one runs diagonally from north of the large indented bay on the south-west coast to just south of the large intented bay on the southern coast. The other is longer and runs diagonally south-east from close to the centre of the continent to the south-eastern most point of Anakeris, with a spur striking out south/SSE out about 2/3 of the way down.

    So Anakeris potentially has everything from desert to steppe (both hot and cold), to temperate lands (on the extreme ends of the land mass) to tagia and tundra. Though you could argue for jungle in the NNE coasts (not unlike Queensland in Oz), I think the Oerth has enough jungle environments already (and we're avoiding the Oz analogy anyhoo).

    So what sort of cultures/races would live in a place like that?

    We know that the Anakeri are darkskinned peoples who migrated north from Anakeris (possibly from the eastern temperate regions?). What led them to do that? Some disaster, war or conquest? Do the Anakeri and the Touv share common ancestors (ie did the Touv reach Hepmonaland from Anakeris?)

    The eastern end of the continent is close enough to have regular contact by sea with the peoples and realms of south-western Oerik. What influences might that have had?


    Last edited by Woesinger on Tue Jun 27, 2006 3:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

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    Tue Jun 27, 2006 3:14 pm  

    There's something to be said for the Australia parallel, however. Not in specific cultural or biological detail, but the general idea of a continent that's been zoologically isolated from the other parts of Oerth for hundreds of millions of years, so that its native species have taken divergent paths.

    With the incredible variety of life found in the D&D Monster Manuals, surely we can find some little-used family of the fantastic animal kingdom that has become dominant in AnaKeri, filling the ecological niches filled by other sorts of creatures.

    For example, both rust monsters and aurumvoraxes are metal-eating creatures. Maybe AnaKeri is a place where most of the dominant animal species feed on metals? So there are metal-eating dogs, aurochs, hippos, centaurs, dragons, and so on.

    To give another example, disenchanters and hakeashar (from FR) are magic-eating creatures. Maybe the ecology is based on the synthesis of ambient magic, from plants on up.

    AnaKeri might also be a good place to put some of the weirder 3e creatures, like destrachans and yrthaks. Both creatures were invented to showcase the sonic energy type - maybe sound is the dominant paradigm of AnaKeri's ecosystem, with most creatures using it to see and hunt. Anything with tremorsense would also fit in a sonic ecology, and like Australia it could have many large breeds of bats. There could be a complex system of blind, echolocating carnivores, herd animals, and small burrowers (I'll spare you the joke about sonic hedgehogs. No I won't.).

    Actually, I'm really liking the idea of making it sonic-land.
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    Tue Jun 27, 2006 3:23 pm  

    The thing with having a sonic ecology - at least using sound as a sense (echolocation/tremoursense) - is that critters with eyes sensative to daylight or darkvision will do just as well and probably better in a regular daylight cycle. Echolocation is really only useful where there's no light or in water.

    Creatures with sonic attacks though - that works.

    Of course, you'd also get critters adapting to defend themselves against that - critters with innate magical silence fields.

    I like the idea of Anakeris being a continent of strange ecologies...
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    Tue Jun 27, 2006 4:07 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    There's something to be said for the Australia parallel, however. Not in specific cultural or biological detail, but the general idea of a continent that's been zoologically isolated from the other parts of Oerth for hundreds of millions of years, so that its native species have taken divergent paths.


    And

    Woesinger wrote:
    I like the idea of Anakeris being a continent of strange ecologies...



    Yeah, I can definately get on board with that.

    Anakeris...home of the Chupacabra
    Wink
    GreySage

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    Tue Jun 27, 2006 4:25 pm  

    Woesinger wrote:
    The thing with having a sonic ecology - at least using sound as a sense (echolocation/tremoursense) - is that critters with eyes sensative to daylight or darkvision will do just as well and probably better in a regular daylight cycle. Echolocation is really only useful where there's no light or in water.


    That's certainly true, but other kinds of mammals generally (but not, of course, always) outcompete marsupials when they interact, too - the point is that echolocating creatures are the only creatures around. It's not always about what's useful, but what's available. I wouldn't say eyes are an evolutionary inevitability.

    Quote:
    Of course, you'd also get critters adapting to defend themselves against that - critters with innate magical silence fields.


    Nice.
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    Tue Jun 27, 2006 5:25 pm  
    Re: The Antipodes of Oerth or Designing Anakeri

    GVDammerung wrote:


    We know how the Flanaess was designed. It is pseudo-earth in the pseudo-middle ages in a pseudo-Europe. We have knights. We have guilds. We have nobles and peasants and feudalism. We have dragons. We have orcs and elves at the fringes of human societies. Should we simply make Anakeri the same - only different?

    I would like to suggest the answer to both of the above questions is "no." Anakeri should neither be the Flanaess with different names, nor should it be some portion of earth made suitably fantastic.

    While it is all well and good to speak of originality in design, true originality is very, very rare as there is little new under the sun. Our experience is with earth cultures and mythoi. That our fantasies resembles such should neither be a surprise nor unwelcome. While originality is great, so is familiarity for such is a large part of verisimiltude and then suspension of belief - believable fantasy.

    So saying, I think any idea that Anakeri must be something "completely different" rings false and I take such to mean, in fact, that the desire is that Anakeri not be "just another Flanaess." With the latter, I wholeheartedly agree. In any event, there would be no criteria by which to judge something "completely different" as that very statement is a negation of the existing but does not offer anything in its place. Something completely different has no guidelines and is a mere jump into the void, as Greyhawk as not Greyhawk and more the latter in all likelihood.

    I think the answer is suitably Greyhawk - recognize a balance.

    We know we have the Flanaess in the northern hemisphere and that outside the Flanaess we wander into pseudo-earth cultures of the Middle/Near East, Central America and Africa. So I suggest that once we leave the pseudo-earth zone and enter Anakeri we find the antipode of the Flanaess.

    An antipode is, of course, an opposite or inverse. I suggest Anakeri should be an inverse Flanaess. By this I mean inverting what we know of the Flanaess. Examples -

    I'm not saying the above are "musts" but I am suggesting the idea of an antipode "balancing" the Flanaess, in between which we find the pseudo-earthly cultures.

    Who knows? If done well, an antipode Anakeri might well seem "something completely different."

    Thoughts?


    Oh, it is, GVD. It is. And thank you for posting this wonderful thread.

    My view of "Anakeris" is, in a way, an upside-down Flanaess. The northernmost part of the continent is jungle, before going into desert and finally temperate, taiga and eventually subpolar climes.

    Before I say anything else, let me just say that I am in no way trying to simply replicate real-life cultures on Oerth. Some people might say that's a lack of creativity. I agree to an extent. But no one can deny that we recognize the ancient Arab/Persian/Moorish cultures among the Baklunish, Nordic-types among the Suel, Mesoamericans among the Olman, Germanic/Anglo-Celtic types among the Oeridians, North American First Nations for the Flan, etc.

    We use appropriate titles-king, sultan, whatever-and appropriate architecture-the palace of the Zeifan sultan, the temples of the Forbidden City and the Shrine of Tamoachan, the castles of the kings of Furyondy and Keoland-and these inevitably cause us to associate certain ethnic groups with certain Flanaess human races. It is inevitable, and canon is littered with it, whether we like it or not. There is plenty of room for innovation and development, but the fact still remains.

    Now, with that preamble out of the way, I will say that Hepmonaland is too small for just the Touv, considering that the Olman have spread there too. I believe instead that Hepmonaland drifted north with some of the Touv after a tremendous magical catastrophe millennia ago. The Touv are SIMILAR BUT NOT DIRECTLY EQUAL TO the ancient African societies and kingdoms-the Zulus, the Mali empire, and other realms. Dark-skinned people, appropriate architecture, etc. No direct analogies, of course, but the similarity is there.

    Relations with demihumans and humanoids obviously vary, as do the cultures of the races themselves-influencing and being influenced by their human neighbours. And no, demihumans are not "humans in funny suits". I'm sure we can all agree that there's something called "human nature", even though we have a hell of a time defining it. Same thing with dwarven nature, goblin nature, halfling nature, etc. Doesn't dictate alignment, political structure or anything like that necessarily, but some traits-like dwarves being better with their own particular racial magic, and preferring to live in mountains or hills and being skilled miners and smiths, or gnomes being technological innovators, or orcs having rigid societies that are also constantly in flux because of challenges to their leadership.

    Needless to say, because of dwarven and gnomish contact, these humans have full access to steel weapons, although they don't usually wear heavy armor because of the climate. There, they're distinct from real-life medieval Africans already!

    Now, go further south, into the temperate and subpolar regions, and you get paler-skinned people, who resemble Europeans. But there's a major difference from the pale-skinned people of the Flanaess. While the Flanaess is mostly made up of organized states, these people are more akin to the Dark Ages than anything else, although they too wield two-handed swords, can craft and wear plate mail (doesn't mean they always do, though), and are otherwise as armed and armored as the rest of the world, again owing to dwarf and gnome contact.

    By "the Dark Ages", I mean the age of the Huns, the Goths, the Vandals, the Gauls, the Celts, the Franks, the Burgundians, the Bulgars, the Britons, the Picts, the Lombards, and other "barbaric" peoples that were either nomadic, or controlled their own territories, but did not have centralized states like the Middle Ages or the Flanaess. The closest that there might be would be a Roman-type culture that grew to control an empire.

    Kingdoms come and go all the time; law codes are oral rather than written; the only bureaucrats might be clerics; religious conversion is a political tool; peoples are always on the move. Why is this? Simple: the elves themselves are nomadic, having had bad experiences with their own kingdom from centuries ago, and they've passed the trait onto humans.

    Also, the dwarves and a few permanent cities are fabulously wealthy, owing to the fact that they can craft the arms and armor that other people lack the industry to make for themselves, but that they all need. The dwarves and gnomes are one of the real powers in this part of the world. Broke your sword? Be ready to pay through the nose for a dwarf to fix it. Your wagon's axle is cracked? Getting that gnome to fix it will cost an arm and a leg. The customers have to come to them, and pay extortionate prices for basic services. Some human kingdoms exist, but like the historic Kingdom of the Goths in what would become Spain, they aren't necessarily the most stable of institutions.

    Huge treasures and plunder exist, but they disappear much more easily because of the lack of a centralized, organized economy like in the Flanaess.

    Oh, and a last twist; most of the religions here are monotheistic. Yes, that's right: just one god. Different religions, who all worship under different names, but there's still one god still granting all the spells. It would be like (and I'm using this analogy strictly for the sake of example) if the being known as God to Christians and Allah to Muslims were granting the same cleric spells to different holy men, who might oppose one another, according to their own codes of behavior. What might cause a cleric of one religion to suffer a loss of spells might be perfectly acceptable to a cleric of another religion. In a sense, the humans and demihumans form out their own belief systems, pray to the god, and then the god responds according to the belief systems they've set out to worshipping him. Kind of the same thing with all the churches of Pholtus, for example-someone following the Blinding Light might perform actions that are perfectly acceptable to him, and not cause Pholtus to react, but if he were a follower of the One True Path, he would be in for a most royal smiting from Pholtus.
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    Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:24 pm  

    In the years I've been playing or DM'ing Greyhawk I've never really developed any of the areas outside of the Flanaess aside from a few isolated adventures in Isle of Dread type locations.

    If I did, I probably wouldn't have done much different for Anakeris than what CSL outlined to be perfectly honest.

    The more I think of an antipode or whatever to the Flanaess, the more I dislike the idea. If I really wanted an opposite to the Flanaess I'd be playing in the Eberron setting as one of those robot guys.

    Conversely, rasgon's mention of him placing the Momboddo Empire there, that's kinda nifty. I wouldn't mind hearing more about that.
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    Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:29 pm  

    The antipode you describe for Anekeri has already been done, and the only problem is that is was done badly, so it kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    That antipode was the the grand design of the what would be called the Chainmail miniature game, which was set in the western portion of the continent of Oerik. The differnet power groups/nations consisted of the following:

    Elves: most powerful kingdom(ancient race card), held all other races as vassals until a loss of power due to rebellion. Believe themselves to be the master race basically.

    Dwarves: after the rebellions, the dwarves developed The Peoples' Front of Judea..er...of the dwarves. Think Stalinist Red Army and you have them pretty much pegged. Commi Dwarves.

    Gnolls: Yeenoghu demon worshippers; summoners of minor demons introduced in the course of the Chainmial game, which have subsequently been published in later monster manuals. Love to sacrifice things to their patron, particularly elves.

    Orcs and other humanoids: savage warrior society. Roll all the humanoids together(except gnolls) and you have a hodge-podge nation of warmongering warlords.

    Humans(and gnomes): Island kingdom. Their faction is about as big as any of the others individually. So, about 20% humans in the land.

    Undead: lots of thing that should be dead, but aren't. Also allied to them are some of the most traitorus scum from the other races who fill the role of commanders, specialists, necromancers, and death priests.

    I'm probably forgetting some things, but that is the gist of it. Very little of the material was interesting to me. The Oerth lore was, to put it nicely, not so good. Some of the miniatures were nice though.

    I think the idea has merit, though I'm not sure I'd want to see a whole land where what is viewed as being fantastical(that being dwarves, elves, etc.) is something common place. Sort of takes the fantasy out of things to a degree. This actually reminds me of the alternate world in the Demon Web ruled by CN elves, with dwarven servants and fantastical creatures as their hunting animals/mounts. An interesting place to visit to be sure, but its not Greyhawk to me.

    I rather like Woesinger's idea of a sort of Oerthed out version of Australia. Australia(I'll include New Zealand in there too) is a unique place among the lands of the real world, and there is no place quite like it represented in Oerth either. I think some of the weirder critters would fit well in such a place, and it might make for an interesting adventure to go on safari to Anakeri on a critter hunt for some managerie owner in the Flanaess as a way of introducing this almost unknown land. One could really set up some great pulp adventures in such a place, making use of all the standard conventions of the genre such as lost civiliztions, strange and ancient magic, etc.

    I'd rather have a real world Oz for Anakeri rather than the Land of Oz, with yellow brick roads, flying monkeys, and lollipop-kins. Wink I think it is more in keeping with what type of world Greyhawk is.
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    Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:51 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    I think some of the weirder critters would fit well in such a place, and it might make for an interesting adventure to go on safari to Anakeri on a critter hunt for some managerie owner in the Flanaess as a way of introducing this almost unknown land. One could really set up some great pulp adventures in such a place, making use of all the standard conventions of the genre such as lost civiliztions, strange and ancient magic, etc.

    I'd rather have a real world Oz for Anakeri rather than the Land of Oz, with yellow brick roads, flying monkeys, and lollipop-kins. Wink I think it is more in keeping with what type of world Greyhawk is.


    Agreed.

    A place where a DM can plop in, for example, the Caverns of Thracia module and just have fun.
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 2:15 am  

    Given they're thought to have evolved independently several times in the real world, eyes kind of are an evolutionary inevitability where there's light. Even blue-green algae have light sensative structures.

    Once you have at least one critter with light sensativity in a system, they're going to have a big selective advantage over the echolocators. Echolocation is active, while seeing is passive. That is, echolocation depends on the echolocating critter sending out signals to percieve its surroundings. That immediately puts range restrictions on perception and gives your position away to any other echolocators. Sight on the other hand is passive - eyes gather ambient light bouncing off stuff. Light propagates through air further and faster than sound and so eyed-critters will be able to percieve further and faster than your echolocators or even tremoursensors. As seeing is passive, you can also see something without giving your position away.

    Equally, though Anakeris is isolated from the other continents, it's not completely so. All you need is for a few seeing critters to wander over from South-western Oerik and that's the end of your echolocation ecology. An echolocation based ecology would work in the Underdark or deep seas, but unless Anakeris has perpetual night, I don't see it working there on a large scale.
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:15 am  

    Its Oerth not H’trae. IMO, it is and should be like Earth, but somewhat different, not the opposite. That being said, I think the antipode concept is a useful creative tool, something like a Hegelian dialect. Some wonderful ideas have been tossed in the hat. Including the divergent ecologies.

    I would not give up on the ecolocation creatures because it would not work in the real world. This is fantasy. Tone it down and rationalize it to your comfort level. Have them dominate the underdark, but keep popping out to the surface. Set them in a state of decline from the new arrivals. Add variants that make them tougher than on Earth, silence powers, sonic weapons, and don't forget electrolocation and weapons.

    Just a though.
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:02 am  

    Underdark echolocators that venture onto the surface at night?

    Now that could work - esp. in the deserts of north/central Anakeris, where staying in the cool underground makes a lot of sense...

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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:10 am  

    I would like to first note what I think is the cardinal rule of designing anything, anywhere - Will it be fun to play in as more than a one off adventure. “Natural” development is secondary. “Interesting” or “innovative” development from a theoretical standpoint is tertiary. If you can’t sustain a fun campaign there, “there” was probably not the best design, however “natural” to thesetting it might be or however “innovative” or “intertesting.”

    mortellan wrote:
    . . . I suppose psionics would be an antipode of the flanaess. Nine out of ten GH fans probably hold a dim view of psionics in their campaign. Here in Anakeri it could be more prevalent. Not Dark Sun prevalent mind you but more so than we've seen in GH so far.

    Not a cultural aspect per se, but another reversal might be in notable organizations. Typically in GH or any fantasy world the utmost behind the scenes groups are wizards. Why not a 'Circle of Eight' for Priests or Rogues or Bards, etc.


    Psionics would indeed by a possible antipode for magic. My one hesitancy is that the “kitchen sink” model is inevitably not a good one. Knowing what to leave out is as important as what to include in. Hence, Eberron’s chief drawback, IMO. If psionics were dominant, that would dictate a lot of other things, at least flavor wise, IMO. Still, if that is okay, psionics would work.

    The antipode Circle is an interesting idea. Wizards are so often the behind the scenes movers that imagining another class in that role is somewhat difficult, for me. Still, a very interesting idea. Thinking of the 3x Tome of Magic, perhaps it is a variant kind of arcane magic, rather than something non-magical?

    DangerDwarf wrote:
    But why, with like you said Oerth developing much like a fantasy earth, would this particular area break consistancy. What happened there?

    That is a question that would have to be answered.

    Also, the biggest challenge would be to create something "different" that still fit with the overall Greyhawk setting, in theme and mood.


    Good point. I will take the initial example I gave of an elven dominant continent, rather than a human dominated one. Elves predate humanity as a race. If we allow for a single “Gondwana” continent at one point in Oerthly prehistory or even close islands as Gondwana broke up, the elves would all have started out with fair similarities. The elves of Anakeri might then be very similar to those of Celene. Indeed, they might have been still in regular contact prior to the Migrations. What differentiates Anakeri then is the Migrations. They happened in the Flanaess but not in Anakeri. Anakeri is thus like a throwback or “what if” Flanaess - “What if the elves of the Flanaess had not been displaced by migrating humans and had, instead, allowed smaller groups to settle here and there (or indigenously, like the Flan)?

    Consistency is not, in such case, broken. Rather, we are consistent with settlement patters but alter one event - no Migrations to break the elven dominance of the area. (Recognizing that “elven dominance” is not the same as human “dominance.”)

    rasgon wrote:
    There's something to be said for the Australia parallel, however. Not in specific cultural or biological detail, but the general idea of a continent that's been zoologically isolated from the other parts of Oerth for hundreds of millions of years, so that its native species have taken divergent paths.


    I would be against a close Australian parallel. I think it violates Design Rule One - it could not easily sustain a fun campaign beyond a one shot. No offense but I see only so much one can do with marsupials and aborginal society in a fantasy setting. I know you are not suggesting this.

    I like what you are suggesting in terms of a zoologically isolated continent where there has been divergent evolution.

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    My view of "Anakeris" is, in a way, an upside-down Flanaess. . . .

    While the Flanaess is mostly made up of organized states, these people are more akin to the Dark Ages than anything else, although they too wield two-handed swords, can craft and wear plate mail (doesn't mean they always do, though), and are otherwise as armed and armored as the rest of the world, again owing to dwarf and gnome contact.

    By "the Dark Ages", I mean the age of the Huns, the Goths, the Vandals, the Gauls, the Celts, the Franks, the Burgundians, the Bulgars, the Britons, the Picts, the Lombards, and other "barbaric" peoples that were either nomadic, or controlled their own territories, but did not have centralized states like the Middle Ages or the Flanaess. The closest that there might be would be a Roman-type culture that grew to control an empire. . . .

    Oh, and a last twist; most of the religions here are monotheistic. . . .


    I am in substantial agreement here.

    I would just add to your list Hellenistic Greece, pre-Alexander the Great, more Athens and Sparta. Otherwise, this is very similar to my thought in general outline.

    With respect to monothesism, I can definitely see that among the human populations. Among the elves and dwarves, I would be inclined to want to preserve the traditional pantheons, giving them time to shine as the elves predominante over the human societies.

    DangerDwarf wrote:
    The more I think of an antipode or whatever to the Flanaess, the more I dislike the idea. If I really wanted an opposite to the Flanaess I'd be playing in the Eberron setting as one of those robot guys.


    Eberron is not the antipode of Greyhawk, let alone the Flanaess. An antipode is like a mirror image. It is familiar but reversed. For example - humans form most states here and elves are relegated to the fringe, in antipode, elves would form most states there and humans would be relegated to the fringe. It has nothing to do with the likes of Warforged, Lightning Rails, or “magic as technology.”

    And an antipode need not be an exact opposite in every respect. There is much room for picking and choosing. The point is to be both familiar but interestingly different. How to do that is wide open.

    Cebrion wrote:
    The antipode you describe for Anekeri has already been done, and the only problem is that is was done badly, so it kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    That antipode was the the grand design of the what would be called the Chainmail miniature game, which was set in the western portion of the continent of Oerik.


    You are right. Excellent point. I had not even considered that. With consideration, I agree with your evaluation - it was not done well. Personally, I’d be for giving it another shot with the addition of the Australia-isolationist model tossed into mix.

    So can we have an antipodal, dark ages melieu that takes place on a continent where isolation has seen the flora and fauna uniquely develop?

    Establishing a Greyhawk/Flanaess feel/continuity via elves/dwarves physically and culturally co-sanguinous more or less? Or if not, what would suffice to get the desired feel/continuity?
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:50 am  

    Well, it was in the news and related to this thread:

    Poisonous chameleon snake discovered in Indonesia http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/06/28/chameleon.snake.ap/index.html
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:05 am  

    Wolfsire wrote:
    Well, it was in the news and related to this thread:

    Poisonous chameleon snake discovered in Indonesia http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/06/28/chameleon.snake.ap/index.html


    Cool! I had not seen this before. Smile
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:54 am  

    You need not populate such a place with the usual suspects either. I am not to keen of desert dwarves, desert elves, bush gnomes and such. I would propose that other humanoid races be placed on the marquee instead. At the top of that list I'd put the Thri-kreen, as the environment is imminently suitable for them. I would next look at some other under-used critters suitable to the environment. I'd have to look through some monster books to broaden the list, but dune stalkers might also fit (beware those solitary wanderers).

    With regards to what would be called the standard human and demi-human races, I'd leave them to a minimum. If dwarves and gnomes weren’t there to begin with, how did they get there? None of these races are known for their seafaring ability. Same with halflings. I could see Elven and human settlements there, but very minimal; somewhat along the lines of the Flanaess nations' presence in the Amedio and Hepmonaland. I'd lump the regular humanoids into this group as well. Those most likely to have made landfall there would be humanoid pirates and/or those who serve the Slave Lords.

    It would also be a good idea to come up with some raw trade goods of some value that are unique to Anakeri, so that there is a real reason or outworlder interest in the place. Greed is always a realistic motivator, and nobody would make the long trip there unless there was a pay-off or they were fleeing there. Such things might include rare medicinal substances, rare critters, rare magical components; all this being in addition to the regular things such as precious metals, gems, and others.
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:48 am  

    GVD wrote:
    Eberron is not the antipode of Greyhawk, let alone the Flanaess. An antipode is like a mirror image. It is familiar but reversed. For example - humans form most states here and elves are relegated to the fringe, in antipode, elves would form most states there and humans would be relegated to the fringe. It has nothing to do with the likes of Warforged, Lightning Rails, or “magic as technology.”


    Actually, the robots, lightning rails, and magic technology didn't spur my initial reflex on the statement. It was:

    Quote:
    1) In the Flanaess, humans dominate with demi-humans and humans relegated to fringe societies. In antipode, Anakeri would see humans relegated to fringe societies, while elves and dwarves would have the dominate
    nations.


    and...

    Quote:
    4) In the Flanaess, referring to arcane magic, necromancy is a big bad - witness Nerull. In antipode, Anakeri might see necromancy not as a black art but as an outgrowth or expression of ancestor worship.


    The first thing that popped into my head was, "aint that the continent that elves live on in Eberron?"

    I know that wasn't the intent, but it still planted the seed in my mind anyways. Confused

    Cebrion wrote:
    I could see Elven and human settlements there, but very minimal; somewhat along the lines of the Flanaess nations' presence in the Amedio and Hepmonaland. I'd lump the regular humanoids into this group as well. Those most likely to have made landfall there would be humanoid pirates and/or those who serve the Slave Lords.


    That is something I really like and I agree that the thri-kreen would be well suited to the region.

    Cebrion wrote:
    so that there is a real reason or outworlder interest in the place. Greed is always a realistic motivator, and nobody would make the long trip there unless there was a pay-off or they were fleeing there.


    Along with your previous comment on lost civilizations, ancient magic, etc. If you make the plunder of those civilizations lucrative enough, that'd garner interest. I'm sure it'd raise some hackles but make it the ruins of the Mombaddo empire (or something similiar) mentioned by rasgon.

    C'mon, those spaceships that have a penchant for crashing into Oerth gotta be looking for something, right?

    Wink


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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 11:50 am  

    Hi folks. Great thread.

    I've imagined Anakeris as the source of the several black-skinned races of humanity that we've learned about. The blue-black folks mentioned in the southern Sea of Dust (named Kersi, iirc), the Touv, and one other group (have forgotten their name and reference source). This idea grew from past years' discussions, and I favor it because I think it helps explain the complete absence of African-esque ("Black") people in the Central Flanaess while also providing a fine rationale for the Kersi and the Touv.

    Hearing Woesinger's suggestions regarding climate, I like the idea of having the two temperate areas so far from each other that the society's of each likely lack any regular contact. The people may (or not) relate back to a common ancestor, but any human alive today doesn't know it--even in myth. In other words, I prefer the proto-Touv and proto-Kersi to have different pantheons.

    Note that Maldin's GUT--his Grand Unified Theory--long ago convinced me to eschew certain Earthly presumtions, e.g., plate tectonics. As his GUT explains (available at his website, www.melkot.com), theorizing an Oerthly cosmology enables one to circumvent the extraordinary age of our physical universe.

    With that in mind, I'd prefer not to presume that Oerth ever featured a singular Gondwana-like supercontinent. Similarly, recognizing that the myths, legends and fairy tales from which many (but not all) D&D monsters derive, I prefer not to presume that Anakeris is home to olves, dwur, and other demi-humans or humanoids. While the familiar "races" may be present, I'd prefer to devise a backstory for each one--likely just vaguely sketched.

    Related to this preference, I'd take the opportunity posed by designing an Anakeris campaign to investigate the mythos of human cultures of which I am relatively ignorant, i.e., African ones. I'd also be tempted to adapt what little I know about aboriginal Australia's Dreamtime because of the way that SKR designed the Touv pantheon (quasi-West African) and WotC's "spirit shaman" class.

    Indeed, druidism allegedly already crosses all of Oerth. Therefore, I'd want not only to imagine the pantheons of the people of Anakeris but also account for druidism.

    A few thoughts and responses.
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 12:32 pm  

    Well, as Hepmonaland/Africa keeps popping up, we should mention the Torhoon, who existed there before the Touv. I do not know if they were mentioned anywhere but Dungeon 77, "Ex Keraptis Cum Amore". The only thing I seem to recall about them right now, aside from their demon god, was that they were very tall.
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 1:33 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:


    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    My view of "Anakeris" is, in a way, an upside-down Flanaess. . . .

    While the Flanaess is mostly made up of organized states, these people are more akin to the Dark Ages than anything else, although they too wield two-handed swords, can craft and wear plate mail (doesn't mean they always do, though), and are otherwise as armed and armored as the rest of the world, again owing to dwarf and gnome contact.

    By "the Dark Ages", I mean the age of the Huns, the Goths, the Vandals, the Gauls, the Celts, the Franks, the Burgundians, the Bulgars, the Britons, the Picts, the Lombards, and other "barbaric" peoples that were either nomadic, or controlled their own territories, but did not have centralized states like the Middle Ages or the Flanaess. The closest that there might be would be a Roman-type culture that grew to control an empire. . . .

    Oh, and a last twist; most of the religions here are monotheistic. . . .


    I am in substantial agreement here.

    I would just add to your list Hellenistic Greece, pre-Alexander the Great, more Athens and Sparta. Otherwise, this is very similar to my thought in general outline.

    With respect to monothesism, I can definitely see that among the human populations. Among the elves and dwarves, I would be inclined to want to preserve the traditional pantheons, giving them time to shine as the elves predominante over the human societies.

    So can we have an antipodal, dark ages melieu that takes place on a continent where isolation has seen the flora and fauna uniquely develop?

    Establishing a Greyhawk/Flanaess feel/continuity via elves/dwarves physically and culturally co-sanguinous more or less? Or if not, what would suffice to get the desired feel/continuity?


    Heh, and here I thought I was the master of finding common ground. All your suggestions work great for me-I had also thought of incorporating a few bits from the Greco-Roman mythos and imagination.

    And I'd be quite happy to maintain the regular demihuman pantheons. Doesn't mean they won't be worshipped or even imagined in the same way as by the demihumans of the Flanaess, though.

    mtg wrote:
    Hi folks. Great thread.

    Note that Maldin's GUT--his Grand Unified Theory--long ago convinced me to eschew certain Earthly presumtions, e.g., plate tectonics. As his GUT explains (available at his website, www.melkot.com), theorizing an Oerthly cosmology enables one to circumvent the extraordinary age of our physical universe.

    With that in mind, I'd prefer not to presume that Oerth ever featured a singular Gondwana-like supercontinent. Similarly, recognizing that the myths, legends and fairy tales from which many (but not all) D&D monsters derive, I prefer not to presume that Anakeris is home to olves, dwur, and other demi-humans or humanoids. While the familiar "races" may be present, I'd prefer to devise a backstory for each one--likely just vaguely sketched.

    Related to this preference, I'd take the opportunity posed by designing an Anakeris campaign to investigate the mythos of human cultures of which I am relatively ignorant, i.e., African ones. I'd also be tempted to adapt what little I know about aboriginal Australia's Dreamtime because of the way that SKR designed the Touv pantheon (quasi-West African) and WotC's "spirit shaman" class.

    Indeed, druidism allegedly already crosses all of Oerth. Therefore, I'd want not only to imagine the pantheons of the people of Anakeris but also account for druidism.

    A few thoughts and responses.


    Damn mtg, are you a mind reader? j/k

    Seriously though, these are some great points. In patterning the Flan after the First Nations of North America (I won't use the "I" word, for various reasons), I'm trying to see how these mythos will fit into a D&D framework. As I've said several times already, I'm fascinated with how non-European historical cultures would interact with dwarves, elves, and goblins. We've seen how European-based cultures do it, so why not the rest?

    I'm very interested in expanding the D&D mythos beyond the usual European suspects. It's not a question of transplanting those cultures into the campaign world. Like I said before, any human fantasy culture will inevitably bring about associations and relations, even if the author didn't intend them. The Flanaess is largely based off Europe and North America, and its cultural models were used as a base for the Flanaess. It's as simple as that.

    Keep in mind, too, that in the days of old, when gods walked the Oerth and people often did the impossible (could even the son of a god literally hold the sky up on his shoulders?), all sorts of interesting myths could explain why demihumans and humanoids are all over the world, just as are humans.

    After all, there is no concrete explanation as to how and why humans managed to spread all over the world. Sure, they may have some different physical traits, but they all have some things in common ("human nature", whatever it is), and they can all breed with one another. Why can't the same thing go for other races? Dwarves being naturally good smiths? Gnomes having naturally long noses? Orcs naturally looking like crosses between men and warthogs? Elves being naturally talented with magic? Different races can have common traits that show up, and they can all breed with one another. Humans are the dominant race, but that doesn't mean they are the only ones capable of spreading and being diverse while sharing a number of common traits.

    And, like mtg said, those races all have their own myths and backstories. Those can add background and flavor to a campaign, and also help explain some human traits. Why are the human tribes I mentioned in my vision still semi-nomadic, not having organized into full states? Because of elven influence; the wandering, nomadic elves had some very bad experiences running their own kingdom/empire thousands of years ago, and they've passed on that disdain for fully organized kingdoms to the humans.

    Humans still have cities, kings, and some trade, but they don't have the fully organized economies that the Flanaess kingdoms do, nor the central bureaucracies. It's a lot more like the Kingdom of the Visigoths, or any of the petty British kingdoms like Northumberland, Sussex, or East Anglia, than anything resembling medieval England, France or Sweden.
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 1:44 pm  

    Looking at the DA 1 world map there is another undetailed culture to keep in mind when discussing how to develop AnaKeri. That would be the SW Oerik realm called the Tharquish Empire (An island nation of seafarers who have ambitions that extend to the neighboring continents). Note that is plural. These folk will undoubtedly have a strong impression on modern day AnaKeri and not to mention a head start on any Flanaess efforts to loot the continent of any 'aboriginal' cultures. At any rate, there is your adversary.
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:36 pm  

    With respect to the idea of using unusual races or monstrous ones to populate Anakeri, I have nothing per se against that (though I lean in CSL's and MTG's direction, see above, with thoughts of an antipodel Flanaess dancing in my head) but I have one major question/concern -

    How would we lend the "feel of the Flanaess" to an Australian Anakeri populated with unusual races and monstrous ones dominant? How would it be made to feel like Greyhawk?

    My thought with elves and a Gondwana-like continent that broke up is that, with their long lives and a culture encompassing such, elves is elves to a degree and thus could lend something of Celene to Anakeri, for example. Or more matriarchies echoing Hardby. Etc. Familiarities, even if not exact similarities.

    How are the usual, aboriginal or monstrous in Anakeri made familiar so that one can say "Yes. This is different but it is recognizably Greyhawk?"

    I see that as a vital question if one considers Anakeri as aboriginal, unusual or monstrous as above.

    Thoughts?
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:00 pm  

    To answer that, you'd have to know what it is that makes Greyhawk feel the way it does. If you think it feels the way it does because it has the standard D&D fantasy races in pretty much the standard arrangements? Plenty of other fantasy settings have that.

    I think the factors that would make it Greyhawk are 1) it is, within the context of a fantasy realm, 'realistic'. In other words, the shades of gray stuff mentioned in other threads. Actual cultural differentiation, nations that have checkered pasts, magic common but not dominating everything, no giant transnational conspiracies of good and evil, etc. 2) It is painted in intriguing broad strokes, but minute details are left to the DM. 3) The world structure encourages the PCs to be the heroes, not overshadowing NPCs. 4) It doesn't *directly* clone the real world societies. (The Baklunish are 'arabesque' but they aren't Al Quadim type clones, for instance. Most of the rest is even less obvious).

    Granted, there are breaches of all of that in GH, which certainly has a very checkered publishing past. But those are the things that attracted me back in the early 80s and kept GH at the top of my list (if I'm not doing homebrew) despite all the subsequent material published (ie other campaign settings).

    Creating an antipode with alternative racial choices for the non humans should be feasible.


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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:00 pm  

    If the people of Anakeri have exactly the same resources as everyone else, why would anyone want to go there?
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:21 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    With respect to the idea of using unusual races or monstrous ones to populate Anakeri, I have nothing per se against that (though I lean in CSL's and MTG's direction, see above, with thoughts of an antipodel Flanaess dancing in my head) but I have one major question/concern -

    How would we lend the "feel of the Flanaess" to an Australian Anakeri populated with unusual races and monstrous ones dominant? How would it be made to feel like Greyhawk?

    How are the usual, aboriginal or monstrous in Anakeri made familiar so that one can say "Yes. This is different but it is recognizably Greyhawk?"

    Thoughts?


    I think that we need the demihumans and humanoids, whether we like it or not. Flipping through the 1E Oriental Adventures book, the lack of humanoids and demihumans meant it just didn't feel like Greyhawk, much less D&D. And keep in mind; Kara-Tur was supposed to be set on Oerth. But how could it possibly replicate the Greyhawk experience without the demihumans and humanoids?

    Some might accuse me of being narrow-minded or unimaginative by needing the non-human races to make it D&D or Greyhawk. I would reply that these give both a certain flavor, and does not necessarily preclude a lack of creativity. I think it's a fun challenge to see how demihumans and humanoids can affect and be affected by different human cultures, and what little differences can be made between them and their Flanaess kin, while still making them recognizable.

    Definite continuity with the need for spellbooks and material components can help the "feel" of the world. Every human culture can produce wizards, they all have steel weapons (not necessarily armor-some cultures don't wear it for a variety of reasons, from the need for stealth while hunting to a nomadic lifestyle to living in a murderously hot climate), and besides, wizards can serve all kinds of different roles in different societies, to say nothing of how shields and armor could be decorated differently!

    And, of course, historical connections to the rest of the world are a major plus. Just because there are the same mechanics and many of the same races in other parts of the world doesn't mean that they are exact copiese of the Flanaess. Used correctly, they can help tie the various parts of the setting together.

    And it's funny that Cebrion should mention Oz...the continent to the west of Oerik (on the eastern edge of the Solnor Ocean) I consider to be a land that more closely matches some of the more fantastical elements of myth. Stories of Greek, First Nation, Norse, Celtic, Japanese, Chinese, Teutonic, Russian, Arabic, African or Persian myths could blend with those of writers like the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, or L. Frank Baum.

    Players could hunt grendels, battle wendigos who prey on the innocent, protect villagers from rampaging kelidas, travel through realms dominated by magic-users who each control a point of the compass, engage in their own "labours" set on them as part of a punishment or a duty, help goodly dragons bring water to people, visit cities constructed of emeralds, rubies or crystals, be forced to help a captive princess spin a thousand and one tales to survive, deal with snow queens, and whatever else.

    All this takes place within a D&D framework; those grendels are looked up to as leaders and semi-divine beings by hobgoblins, just as goblins look to barghests to lead them. Wendigos could be monsters who prey on gray elves in revenge for some slight committed years ago. One of each of those magic-users controlling a realm could be LG, LE, CG and CE, each alignment ruling over a point of the compass. Labors might be set upon players by a geas or quest spell. The goodly dragons might be the oriental types described in the Fiend Folio. The city made of emeralds could be a sacred home for dwarves, one of the holiest places on Oerth for the bearded race. The princess the players help might be held captive by dao or efreet. Kelidas might be useful beasts of war for orcs or ogres. The snow queen could be served by frost giants.

    (PS: If anyone gets nervous about me wanting to incorporate Baum, let me just say that the book is much darker than the movie. The Tin Man used to be human...until the Wicked Witch of the East put a curse on his axe that caused him to amputate his body parts one after another, getting them replaced with tin in the process. Killer wolves and crows were beheaded, giant spiders and killer crows could have their necks snapped. If you can find a copy, read it. You'll be surprised how much the movie left out, or simply changed.)
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:29 pm  

    Well, it is true that non traditional worlds like Tekumel are more likely to boggle the mind of the average consumer than interest them. Most players are not as invested in the setting as the DM and having to read tons of material to understand their PC's culture and outlook is a turn off. I rather assumed that Anakeris would be presented as a place to explore, not as the place everyone was born. Thus the traditional races could be provided by homelands of the traders/explorers without needing to be native to the places visited.
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:34 pm  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    I think that we need the demihumans and humanoids, whether we like it or not. Flipping through the 1E Oriental Adventures book, the lack of humanoids and demihumans meant it just didn't feel like Greyhawk, much less D&D. And keep in mind; Kara-Tur was supposed to be set on Oerth. But how could it possibly replicate the Greyhawk experience without the demihumans and humanoids?


    How?
    Easily.
    And if you find the same creatures, with the same abilities, where is the distinction? The whole point of it being Kara-Tur is that it isn't the Flanaess. Toss the same creatures there and you may as well use the same map of the Flanaess, just turn it upside down, and rename everything.
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 8:45 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    The whole point of it being Kara-Tur is that it isn't the Flanaess. Toss the same creatures there and you may as well use the same map of the Flanaess, just turn it upside down, and rename everything.


    I like it.

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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 9:13 pm  

    Laughing

    Awesome map, so that's where all those Urr-wizards were coming from!
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    Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:31 pm  

    The mention of Kara-Tur and the idea that the demi-human races not having much of an emphasis there makes such an area un-Greyhawk is not necessarily true.

    Look at humans for a bit. We currently have Suloise, Baklunish, Flannae, Oeridian, Touv, and Olman. All of them seem very different and unique, but in game terms they are all the same. What makes them interesting is their appearance, culture, and history.

    You could also have Orcs, Orcs, Orcs, Orcs, Orcs, and Orcs. Of course those Orcs are all different breeds, similar to those of humans, and may not look anything alike in their coloring, facial characteristics, hair, stature, build or skin coloring; not to mention their history and culture. They are all Orcs, but differ in appearance from locale to locale. The same could be said of any of the other non-human races.

    Elves have sub-classes with varying appearances, and even varying abilities depending on the rules you use. You might have the Elves of the Anakeri Steppes follow the rules for high elves, but have dusky skin, amber eyes, and blonde to brown hair coloring. This simple change in appearance could be accompanied by cultural practices unique to the Anakeri Steppes, which would further enhance this unique Elven breed. You might also change the weapons they favor, and perhaps some minor abilities to better suit their environment.

    Kara-Tur might have all the familiar races, but they might look just a little bit different. Same with Anakeri.

    Done well, "everything old is new again" is a possibility for portions of Anakeri. That being said, I'd still put the main emphasis on entirely new ideas.
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    Thu Jun 29, 2006 1:15 am  

    Yeah, it can be done. Elves like those of the Darksun campaign or whatever. But it seems kind of a shame to go that route. The primary trait of humanity is versatility, whereas the other races are more static in their natures (though not entirely so, obviously). And there are a great many more races in the various materials that could be used and showcased in a situation like Anakersi.
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    Thu Jun 29, 2006 1:37 am  

    Another thing to consider with migrations etc is magic divine and arcnae - esp. for those magic steeped Olve. It's not unreasonable for the Olve to at least have knowledge of Anakeris, since they seem to have little difficulty in crossing the Solnor from Lendore to (presumably) Ravilla (I'm assuming that the Oerth of Chainmail and the Flanaess are the same and contemperaneous).

    To engage in a touch of environmental determinism - the two temperate regions are the ones most likely to have advanced agricultural civilisations (that's assuming that Anakeris isn't an old hunk of rock the way Australia is with poor leeched out soils, of course*). What those civilisations are/were is up to debate. The eastern temperate enclave is likely to have had contacts with Oerik - the Tharquish, the Ishtari, the Seameast or whoever you have in that corner of Oerik. This might be friendly trade or hostile raids/invasion/colonisation, depending on what sort of civilisation you choose to put on the Anakeris side. Raids don't have to be one way - the peoples of SW Oerik might regard Anakeris with fear and dread and watch the western horizon for sign of the sails that bring fire and pillage to their coasts...(I kind of like the idea of Anakeris being a strange terra incognita to the people of Oerik).

    The central deserts and steppes are likely to support more nomadic lifestyles. Ditto the taiga and tundra. The deserts in particular seem like the place to base weird monsterous ecologies. We've already mentioned the possibility of an extensive underdark (perhaps associated with a heavily eroded badlands type landscape - deserts don't have to be sand seas) with an echolocating ecology that might venture onto the surface at night.

    The taiga belt could have a thriving population of Quaggoth (? - the spindly creatures featured in one of the LGJs, which the olve are supposed to have almost wiped out in the northern Flanaess). Siberia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siberia) and the extreme southern parts of South America and New Zealand might be interesting models to base this part of the world from (though it's probably not appropriate - I keep seeing the armoured bears from Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials roaming about down here).

    MTG's mentioned that the two poles of temperate climate mean that contacts between the civilisations there are likely to be tenuous at best. So even if the Tharquish have plantations in the east (for example), you could have something completely different in the west, with wild, untamed steppes, desert and taiga in between. Anakeris is likely to be a diverse and unique place.



    *Note to Samwise - finally got around to reading Collapse!
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    Thu Jun 29, 2006 7:15 am  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    I rather assumed that Anakeris would be presented as a place to explore, not as the place everyone was born.


    This is pretty much just the opposite of my thought.

    I would see Anakeri as a place to explore but also most definitely where someone might be from and where an Anakeri "home" campaign could be contained.

    You are right, I think, that if it is only a place to explore, it is easier to design.
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    Thu Jun 29, 2006 7:27 am  

    Woesinger wrote:
    *Note to Samwise - finally got around to reading Collapse!


    About time.
    Now to inflict some ecosystem failure on the Flanaess!
    Laughing
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    Thu Jun 29, 2006 7:46 am  

    Slightly tangential thought...The write up on the Jungle of Lost Ships mentions that there's ships of many strange designs, including one made entirely of metal (IIRC). Now does this imply that there's a higher tech civilisation somewhere around the Solnor (not looking at any island continent in particular...) or is this an opportunity for a crossover with another world (like Earth), whereby the ship came through a portal and is the Cotapaxi or the Cyclops or some other such ship that supposedly vanished in the Bermuda Triangle?
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    Thu Jun 29, 2006 10:40 am  

    Definite Bermuda Triangle implication.
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    Thu Jun 29, 2006 12:14 pm  

    WS you remember correctly, I was just looking at that a few days ago. I think SW is right. I was wondering whether it was era it was from, ironclad? tanker?
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    Thu Jun 29, 2006 2:35 pm  

    I always thought the metal ship slipped through a temporary gate from Earth or another (prime material) plane.

    Regarding the olves, I didn't mean to suggest they not inhabit Anakeris but only to explain why I don't prefer them being "native" in an evolution-esque Gondawanaland way.

    The LGG has made fairly clear that the olves of the Lendore Isles have significant naval skills. While Sargent's take-over of the isles seemed overly Tolkien to me, I'm content with the naval prowess of the Lendore olves. Incorporating Ravila (or something like it), it seems that the Lendore olve traffic with them, and if one accepts this idea, then it's easy to imagine the Lendore olve also have visited (colonized) parts of Anakeris.

    The presence of olves makes me wonder whether there are drow beneath Anakeris, and I think I'd prefer to feature other Underdark races to the ones with which we're familiar under Oerik.

    As to GVD's question reqarding how to make Anakeris familiar to Greyhawk roleplayers, I prefer two ways. First, I'd likely use characters based in the Flanaess. They could be explorers, they might have tripped a teleport trap, they might arrive on Anakeris after trying to return to Oerth from another plane.

    Second, following CSL's suggestion, I'd tie the parts of Anakeris that the PCs visit vaguely to Oerik's ancient history. For example, the eastern coasts of Anakeris might feature Oeridian-esque looking humans who've settled amongst the indigenous people (or were taken as slaves?). PCs might encounter religious symbols of Stern Alia amongst these people.

    In an obscure tomb or other dungeon, the PCs might find strange artifacts depicting Suloise people--perhaps a far flung fort of an ancient order of the Suel Imperium.

    The particulars to feature would likely depend on my players' knowledge of Greyhawk and their PCs' adventures.

    For example, in my current campaign, "Shadows on the March," I can imagine sending the PCs (currently adventuring in Sterich after its liberation) magically traveling to Anakeris in some mishap related to the Malgoth. Perhaps they'd end up deep beneath the western desert--eventually fighting their way free to the surface and then having to deal with the rigors of the badlands and then the steppe nomads. Eventually they might encounter an olven outpost, which if handled correctly could send them back to the Flanaess--all presuming the PCs lacked access to the spell teleport, of course.

    I imagine these adventures would be a significant departure from or change in the ongoing campaign--practically a new campaign. Likely it'd take about a year's worth of play (at our "bi-weekly at best" rate of play).
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    Thu Jun 29, 2006 3:44 pm  

    mtg wrote:
    I always thought the metal ship slipped through a temporary gate from Earth or another (prime material) plane.


    That is the essence of the Bermuda Triangle. The seaweed that covers the place is a hyped up version of the Sargasso Sea which roughly equates with the Triangle.
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    Thu Jun 29, 2006 8:43 pm  

    Woesinger wrote:
    ...(I'm assuming that the Oerth of Chainmail and the Flanaess are the same and contemperaneous).


    BLASPHEMER!!!



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    Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:24 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Woesinger wrote:
    ...(I'm assuming that the Oerth of Chainmail and the Flanaess are the same and contemperaneous).


    BLASPHEMER!!!


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    I try to get my blaspheming done before noon. Leave the rest of the day free for less damnable activities. Laughing
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    Fri Jun 30, 2006 3:17 am  

    mtg wrote:

    The LGG has made fairly clear that the olves of the Lendore Isles have significant naval skills. While Sargent's take-over of the isles seemed overly Tolkien to me, I'm content with the naval prowess of the Lendore olves. Incorporating Ravila (or something like it), it seems that the Lendore olve traffic with them, and if one accepts this idea, then it's easy to imagine the Lendore olve also have visited (colonized) parts of Anakeris.


    Doesn't the LGG also state that in the 580's that some elven ships were seen striking out across the Solnor, perhaps to trade with some remote elven colonies?

    That could prove an interesting scenario, the elven colonization of Anakeris. Resistance from the natives against the pointy eared invaders. Are the elves building a retreat, making use of resources, founding a headquarters for a global elven conspiracy, participating in time shares?

    Depending on their motivations, what would their reaction be to others from the Flanaess "discovering" this continent.
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    Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:27 pm  

    I imagine the olves not colonizing Anakeris in a militaristic way (anymore) but instead having achieved an equilibrium with the indigenous humans (Kersi, proto-Touv, and whatever else).

    We already have olves that have fallen from greatness in the Flanaess, and olves who remain eager imperialists (if we accept Ravilla).

    While I've already noted my distaste for Sargent's apparent Tolkien-ization of the Lendore Isles (which also came across as Realmsian because of Evermeet), I've always favored Tolkien's Teleri. His Sea Elves (and those featured in Warhammer Fantasy) seem very interesting and under-utilized in most fantasy campaign settings.

    Therefore, IMC, the cult of Sehanine is doing what Sargent and now Mona, et al., have indicated, but the olves overall are also remembering their overseas brethren and sistern, and the wise among them are weaving a new net to preserve and protect their race.

    Although not perfect, the olves on Anakeris have achieved a predominant peace with the continent's humans. Though sometimes broken over the centuries, they are usually allies against the horrors of and under the central desert and the raiders of the steppes.

    What do you think?
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    Sun Jul 02, 2006 7:11 pm  

    I see the elves and dwarves VASTLY predating human populations and in the millenia they alone walked Oerth, they explored it and colonized it. They will then be found virtually everywhere and anywhere they have not been wiped out etc.
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    Sun Jul 02, 2006 8:34 pm  

    And they had some big disaster that cut them off from contact with each other or something? Or do you feel the elves and dwarves have contact with the rest of the Oerth and just haven't mentioned it to anyone?

    That also puts a pretty nasty history between men and everyone else, considering that men dominate the population of Oerth as best as can be told.
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    Sun Jul 02, 2006 9:14 pm  

    One thing that strikes me about the LGG entry for Lendore I previously mentioned is the usage of the term "elf colonies" as opposed to kingdoms, settlements, etc.

    Lets say that these colonies that are mentioned are in fact on Anakeris. The general meaning of the word colony is a settled land under the political jurisdiction of their native land. Thus it implies that the elves of Anakeris are Lendorian elves.
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    Mon Jul 03, 2006 10:41 am  

    I've not thought that olves and dwur "VASTLY" predate humans on Oerth because I've been moving away from analogizing Earthly evolution. Rather I've tended to think that mortal humanoids were created (or visited Oerth) in the same epoch but that the demi-humans developed civilizations before humans.

    IMC, an Age of Reptiles might have predated the Age of Humanoids, itself predated by an Age of Giants, corresponding roughly to a dinosaur-Ice Age-current era model, but I'm unsure if I like this idea enough to want to detail it unless I have too.

    On my own and in communication with GreyTalkers, I once dreamed that the giants ruled the Oerth, having supplanted the dragons, and that the dwur were originally the giants' slaves, who broke to freedom when they finally allied with the olves, noniz, and hobniz.

    However, it's unclear to me whether humans were not in the region (Flanaess) because they had yet to migrate into it, or if the Flan were "always already" present but so marginal so as not to be noteworthy.

    I might make the central Anakeris desert cover the ruins of a cthonic giant kingdom. Perhaps in the Anakeris Underdark, the duergar (the descendants of ancient slaves) are the predominant humanoid (not reptilian) race?

    Finally, regarding the Lendorian olves, perhaps the great dream imparted by Sehanine to the People of the Testing involved memories of the long-forgotten colonies in Anakeris and Ravila? In this way, the Lendorian olves are not fading away but instead establishing a stronghold from which to reconnect with their distant cousins?
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    Mon Jul 03, 2006 11:56 am  

    I like the idea of an age of reptiles and that is the direction I'm looking at taking for my campaignin regards to Anakeris.

    I wish I could say I am going to take an original approach to it, but I'm not. I'm looking at using the history presented in the Judge's Guild Caverns of Thracia module (the d20 one) and make changes to it where needed to set it upon Anakeris.

    Basically it has a race of lizardmen know as the reptillions who once had a proud kingdom. Their King, to hold on to his power turned to lichdom and also slaughtered others of noble blood to eliminate rivals. His rule lasted for over 2000 years and his people bagan to decline (partially his fault, partially due to the rise of humans). They retreated underground and a human civilization began to grow in their place.
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    Mon Jul 03, 2006 4:09 pm  

    mtg wrote:
    I've not thought that olves and dwur "VASTLY" predate humans on Oerth because I've been moving away from analogizing Earthly evolution. Rather I've tended to think that mortal humanoids were created (or visited Oerth) in the same epoch but that the demi-humans developed civilizations before humans.

    On my own and in communication with GreyTalkers, I once dreamed that the giants ruled the Oerth, having supplanted the dragons, and that the dwur were originally the giants' slaves, who broke to freedom when they finally allied with the olves, noniz, and hobniz.

    However, it's unclear to me whether humans were not in the region (Flanaess) because they had yet to migrate into it, or if the Flan were "always already" present but so marginal so as not to be noteworthy.

    Finally, regarding the Lendorian olves, perhaps the great dream imparted by Sehanine to the People of the Testing involved memories of the long-forgotten colonies in Anakeris and Ravila? In this way, the Lendorian olves are not fading away but instead establishing a stronghold from which to reconnect with their distant cousins?


    IMC, the olves spread across the Oerth after Sehanine's pride and stupidity (yes, the elven gods are fallible) divided them. Some went over the Solnor to Orannia, my name for the continent west of western Oerik and on the eastern shores of the Solnor. Some of those elves split off and went to the southern lands, where they founded their own kingdom, which eventually collapsed. Now, they wander as semi-nomadic peoples, establishing only a few permanent cities which serve to hold their libraries and magical schools, traits which they have passed on to the humans of the southlands.

    I think that the elves spread all over the world on their own, developing various sub-races along the way. The dwarves are slightly different; their greatest kingdoms lie in the DeepOerth beneath the Solnor, accessible from the surface only by the Ocean Tor, a single mountain spire that leads into the depths of the Oerth. They spread all over the world through those underground tunnels leading to the surface all over the world. It's like in the 1E Underground Exploration (I think?) guide, that has several theories on how the underground is shaped.

    In my case, it was the "wide open" theory that allowed for easy passage, until some kind of cataclysm (possibly related to the one that broke Hepmonaland away from the rest of Anakeris, and sent it drifting north), leading instead to the Partial Connection theory, which means that while access is possible, it's no longer as easy as it used to be.

    As for the intitally wandering halflings, their mythology claims that Yondalla (or whatever other name they give their creator) wandered the world on her own, nurturing life and helping the Oerth reestablish itself after the Dark Lord was sealed away and defeated. The life she sowed grew into the halflings, wandering as their creator did, some to different parts of the world, others taking root and setting up where they were born. This explains both the halflings' connection to the land and their alternate propensities for wandering or settling in one place.

    Gnomes, being as curious and inquisitive as their patron gods, were themselves wanderers and travelers, always questing after new ideas while desiring to find a place to call home (another example of gnomish contradictions). Some preferred the hills, some preferred the forests, some preferred the DeepOerth, as was the case with their gods. Some were smiths, some were farmers, some were miners, both following the paths laid out for them by their gods and at the same time following their own paths in life. Gnomish ingenuity and adaptability allowed them to travel across the land, as their lifespans gave them the patience to persevere.

    Humanoids are a different case. Just like humans, different types of humanoids may have appeared at different times and different periods, even though they're the same species: different human tribes could have been corrupted by Vaprak at different times to become ogres, certain men might have been cursed by the Celestial Emperor (or whatever god/divine entity you want to substitute) to become gnolls even as Yeenoghu and the Ghoul King corrupted others to become gnolls; orcs and goblins might have been born as enemies to the dwarves and elves, and spread along the same routes as their enemy races. Kurtulmak may have scattered kobolds around the world just to spite other deities, to show that he could do whatever they could.

    As for humans themselves, chances are that different human races initially appeared in different places, before spreading around the world. I view the Flan as being modelled on the First Nations of North America, so it's quite possible they originated in the Flanaess, before some of them emigrated to Orannia on the back of a dragon turtle or a giant roc or something (based on the belief of some nations that "Turtle Island" rests on a giant turtle, for instance). The pale-skinned ancestors of the Oerids and Sueloise may have originated in Orannia or the lands that would become the Suel Imperium, before dispersing and migrating to other parts of the world (either fleeing the tyranny of their own empire, or simply seeking to conquer other lands, before being cut off from the initial empire), or by simple, natural migration.

    This explains why lands based on European and Chinese myths might be on the same continent as First Nation or Persian ones in Orannia, or why there are pale-skinned European-types south of peoples based on African-types.

    In short, then, I view all the races as having migrated and crisscrossed the Oerth for any number of reasons. Elves and dwarves migrate on their own, halflings rise by fiat of the gods, gnomes are a bit of both, humans travel and migrate for their own reasons, as do humanoids. There are obviously major enclaves of races in various parts of the world (just like in real life) but, especially in the case of the non-humans, migration has occurred, and may well occur again.
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    Mon Jul 03, 2006 6:21 pm  

    mtg wrote:
    I've not thought that olves and dwur "VASTLY" predate humans on Oerth because I've been moving away from analogizing Earthly evolution. Rather I've tended to think that mortal humanoids were created (or visited Oerth) in the same epoch but that the demi-humans developed civilizations before humans.


    Given the long life spans of both elves and dwarves, if each has as many generations to date as humans (especially the longest lived elves that live (depending on edition) thousands of years (rounding) to humans 100 years (rounding)), elves have been on Oerth 10 to 20 times longer than humans. I call that vast without consideration of evolution or what not.
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    Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:00 pm  

    Sure, that is vast. But there is no reason to believe that elves and dwarves have had as many generations as humans. In fact, that's a pretty peculiar idea, imho. Does it also apply to gnomes, halflings, orcs, goblins, sahuagin, and so on?
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    Mon Jul 03, 2006 7:26 pm  

    I see no reason why dwarves and elves need to be on Oerth for centuries or millenia longer than humans, or why they need to have a civilization more ancient than humans. Particularly given the calls for cultural diffusion, that would mean technology should be at an outrageous level of development or stagnation.
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    Tue Jul 04, 2006 8:27 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    I see no reason why dwarves and elves need to be on Oerth for centuries or millenia longer than humans, or why they need to have a civilization more ancient than humans. Particularly given the calls for cultural diffusion, that would mean technology should be at an outrageous level of development or stagnation.


    No.

    For purposes of illustration (rounding an elven lifespan at 2000 years max and a human one at 100 years max) -

    1) If elves existed on Earth, which has 5,000 years of recorded history
    2) And if elves had existed only as long as humankind,
    3) Then an elf alive in 2006 could have a grandfather who saw the beginning of both elven and human recorded history,
    4) As compared to a human, who cannot trace his history back only 600 years or so if they are very lucky.

    This makes no sense. Translated to Oerth, the idea that elves and elven civilization do not vastly predate humans and human civilization leads to a similarly absurd result. Even if elven lifespans are fixed at much less than 2,000 years, the problem only diminishes, it does not go away.

    It is far easier to imagine elves as an ancient race as compared to humans than to imagine elves and humans as essentially having appeared at nearly the same time on Oerth.

    This does not mean that elven civilization has been stagnant. Rather -

    1) The long elven lifespan may spawn a very conservative, no need to hurry, development,
    2) Or elven civilizations may have risen and fallen several times or more,
    3) Or elven civilization may be much more advanced than human civilization, such advances might be technological, cultural, philosophical etc. depending on how one conceives of the elves
    4) Or it could be a combination of these and/or other developments.

    Making elven civilization the chronological equal of human civilization makes no metagame sense either, as elves have a cachet as variously “special.” Reducing elven civilization to the same age as human civilization substantially removes this cachet. Unless the intent is to diminish the elves, there is no metagame reason to give up the elven cachet by making them merely the contemporaries of human civilization.
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    Tue Jul 04, 2006 8:40 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    Sure, that is vast. But there is no reason to believe that elves and dwarves have had as many generations as humans. In fact, that's a pretty peculiar idea, imho. Does it also apply to gnomes, halflings, orcs, goblins, sahuagin, and so on?


    It is not peculiar at all if one if familiar with the fantasy tropes associated with elves, most notably JRR Tolkien. Elves are routinely an "elder race." It is part of their specialness or cachet.

    Gnomes very likely. Halflings etc. likely less so, as their lifespans are not of nearly the same magnitude.

    The problem with extremely long lives races with civilizations only three or four such lifespans long is obvious in the mere statement of the proposition - it strikes one as odd if not absurd.

    It is as if a Chinese person alive today had a grandfaher who was alive when China's first emperor was alive. Or as if Queen Elizabeth II' mother was a contemporary of Queen Elizabeth I or was Queen Elizabeth I! If human history is the benchmark, which it is in humanocentric fantasy, then long lived nonhumans with civilizations no older than human ones makes no sense or is at least at extreme odds with the fantasy tropes concerning elves etc.

    It is then the proponent of truncated elven civilizations only a few individual lifespans long who must show how this is "normal" or beneficial. The opposite view is the norm.
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    Tue Jul 04, 2006 9:17 pm  

    See my two immediately preceeding posts. See also:

    1) Complete Book of Elves at p. 30, "Elves saw the rise of other races - the crawl of humanity from the primordial ooze. They are older than many trees and will live to see generations of trees and humans alike." Given their lifespans, to have witnessed the rise of humanity, elves must have had as many generations as humans or nearly so.

    2) Races of the Wild at p. 25, "The elves claim to be the first mortal race in the world, and they are probably right. They certainly had complex civilizations long before humankind walked the earth . . ." Again, even given the long elven lifespans, to have the elven race have seen the rise of humanity, elves would need as many generations as humans, or nearly so.

    Certainly, elves have been around far far longer than humanity. To claim otherwise is nonsense.

    Elven civilization is not contemporaneous with the origins of human civilization nor elves with humans. Elves and elven civilization are VASTLY older than humans and human civilization. To include Oerth, specifically - see The Complete Book of Elves at p. 26, noting that Oerth's elves are "purer" than those of other worlds, that is they conform more closely to the norms ( "the AD&D standard) decribed above at 1 and 2.

    But of course you can do as you will in your home game. Just don't confuse your home game with canon. Like some people have a pronounced tendency to want to do. Wink Per canon, on Oerth, elves and elven civilization are vastly older than the oldest human civilizations.
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    Tue Jul 04, 2006 9:58 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Given their lifespans, to have witnessed the rise of humanity, elves must have had as many generations as humans or nearly so.


    Eh?

    A mere handful of elven generations, given their long lifespans, could have easily bore witness to the rise of humanity.

    Even assuming they predate humanity (which is the direction I lean) there is no reason to believe that the number of generations they possess is equal to that of humans ESPECIALLY considering their long life-spans.
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    Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:18 pm  

    Math is most definately not my strong point so I may be off here, if so forgive me.

    Using your example of earth's recorded history of 5000 years, human lifespan of 100 and elven lifespan of 2000.

    Okay, assume a human generation is roughly 20 years, or 1/5th of it's total lifespan. That would place an elven generation at 400 years.

    During the course of a 5000 year history that would make 250 human generations.

    Give elves the same 250 generations with the average generation equating to 400 years and that would place the elves at 100,000 years, or predating humanity by 95,000 years. Shocked

    This would mean that only the past 12 or so elven generations (out of 250 ) having any contact with humanity.

    I think that's a bit excessive.
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    Tue Jul 04, 2006 10:50 pm  

    Even if we use the 1e lifepspans of the DMG, your 2000 year old gray elf is the game equivalent of a 120 year old humn. The number of which pretty damn small. Assuminga more usual 70 year lifespan equivalent, even the gray elves live about 1200 years. Most other levels less than 1000. A human generation is roughly 25-30 years. That's about 250-350 years for an elf using the DMG 1e charts.

    Its *possible* (according to the D&D lifespan charts), that I personally have a grandfather who was born in the 1890s. As it happens (and is much more common) my grandparents were born in the 1930s. Its possible that my gray elven friend has a grandfather who was born during the reign of Tiberius Caesar. Its more likely his grandfather was born in the reign of Alfred the Great.

    In Greyhawk, there are a rare few gray elves who remember the Twin Cataclysms, perhaps even having seen them from one of the now destroyed elf cities of the Crystalmists/Hellfurnaces. There are plentiful elves (of all subraces) who are older than the Great Kingdom and a fair few that are older than Keoland. That's just the way it is.

    Modern man developed on Earth about 250,000 years ago. So that's about a thousand elf generations. I hardly see that as a ridiculously low number that is destructive of some hypothetical "elven cachet".

    On the other hand, if Oerth is a creationist world (hardly unlikely, though not defined one way or the other), then there is even less reason to believe that the elves were created "a long time" before men. Just because Tolkein did it that way doesn't mean the gods of Oerth did. In fact, there are a number of published myths (the story of Gruumsh claiming the waste spaces for the orcs, say) that imply it was pretty simultaneous.

    A further possibility is the spelljammer or extraplanar origin of the inhabitants of oerth. In which case, the elves could have had as little or a much 'pre history' prior to arriving on Oerth as desired.

    Again, there is no reason why the elves need to have to predate humans on Oerth, much less have "as many generations as they do."
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    Tue Jul 04, 2006 11:05 pm  

    Btw, Tolkein is a terrible analogy for GH elves. Tolkein's elves were civilized from year 1 (born that way, essentially, and then hand tutored by the angels). Cirdan the Shipwright was born in the elvish Eden, quite likely in the very first generation of elves ever. So citing Tolkein as an excuse for elves predating humans, then objecting to elves having only a few generations back to 'pre history' is pretty silly.

    The entire family tree of Arwen Undomiel is only seven generations from the birth of the elvish race (Finwe to Fingolfin to Turgon to Idril to Earendil to Elrond to Arwen).


    Not to mention EGG didn't like Tolkein much and deliberately tried to make his elves as different as possible without losing the sales of those interested in fantasy RPGs because of LotR. ;)
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:14 am  

    Complete aside: My grandfather (now deceased) was born in the 1890's and his grandfather was born in the 1770's (he died at the age of 102!).

    We don't have pointy ears though. Laughing

    Dragging this back on topic, the olve are old. When exactly they arrived on the Oerth is hazy, but the LGG apocropha suggests it was a long time ago. Before the olve, other races dominated the Oerth - reptiles, dragons etcetc. The olve brought an end to the dominance of the Kua-toa and the Aboleths IIRC.

    As Anakeris is relatively isolated, it'd be interesting to see traces of one of these ages lingering there. Given the extent of the central/northern deserts, reptiles are plausable: desert-adapted lizard men, kobolds occupying the niche that halflings or gnomes occupy in the Flanaess, dinosaurs(!). No stinkin' yuan-ti though - there's enough of them elsewhere. Smile

    It's possible that Anakeris was a last bastion against the Olve, that though thrown down, cost the Olve so dearly that they couldn't wipe out the reptile peoples completely. Hate for the Olve lives on in the repile folk of Anakeris, while the Olve shun the island continent as a cursed, forbidden land haunted by the spirits of their slain.

    Competing with the reptiles, of course, might be tri-kreen hives (don't know enough about the ecology of tri-kreen, but I like the idea of vast, towering termite mound-like cities in the heart of Anakeris).

    In general feel, I agree that Anakeris, given it's isolation, should be less humanocentric and more of a strange lost world. Humans inhabit the fringes (Tharqish colonists in the east, Kersi/Anakeri in the west and perhaps on the steppes in competition with appropriate non-human species). Other familiar demi-human races are rare, if present at all. Hobniz, dwur and noniz may be completely absent beyond Oeriki colonies, since none of these are noted seafarers (and we have the rest of Western Oerik to explore cultural variations in the standard races).

    There's also Rip's Moboddo and the references to Batmos in Erik's Bounds of the Oerth (which, IIRC, Rip attributed to Anakeris(?)).
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:47 am  

    Elves are certainly old, but the assertion that they have to have as many generations (or anything like it) as humans is absurd.

    I believe the earliest references to Celene and the City of Summer Stars indicate they are about 5000 years old. The elves are certainly one of the oldest of the modern PC races. But all that Complete Book of Elves quote stuff is BS. Its manifestly not true. The builders of the Doomgrinder, the city on the Sinking Isle, some of the cairns in the Cairn hills, and assorted ruins scattered around the north are all older than the elves in the Flanaess. Many of those builders weren't human, but Greyhawk Adventures suggests that the builders of the Sinking Isle were.

    I do like the idea of Anakeris as a lost world and refuge for the survivors of the elven invasion. An extensive 'underdark' on Anakeris would go well with the Kuo Toans and with rasgon's sonic predators and prey. And the Thri keen are always cool.
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 2:32 am  

    Vormaerin wrote:

    In Greyhawk, there are a rare few gray elves who remember the Twin Cataclysms, perhaps even having seen them from one of the now destroyed elf cities of the Crystalmists/Hellfurnaces. There are plentiful elves (of all subraces) who are older than the Great Kingdom and a fair few that are older than Keoland. That's just the way it is.


    Yes, indeed. From Ivid the Undying (of the Spectre, the ancient elf who lives (if that is the right word) in Shroudgate:

    Quote:
    His age is unknown, but it must pass beyond the thousand-year mark. While his voice is normally even, with a slight hint of sardonic irony here and there, if he chooses to describe the Invoked Devastation his words sound as if his own eyes saw the full horror of it.


    Now, the Spectre is undoubtedly an unusual case. He is presented as very old, and the rest of his description indicates that he and his residence seem to have some sort of mutual non-aggression treaty with the passage of time. However, the description of the Sentinels of the Coldwood elsewhere in the book explicitly notes that some of them are "gray elves from the old city [sc. the City of the Summer Stars] itself, which brings them close to the limit of their years".
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:46 am  

    According to the GreyChrondex, the valley elves have lived in their Vale for circa 14,400 years. So, if you believe the Vale of the Mage module (which is of course much beloved by one and all) it would seem that elves have been in the Flanaess a long time, even compared to the Doomgrinder civilization.

    I wouldn't assume that an elven generation is proportional to a human one, though. Elves are sexually mature as early as 25. Races of the Wild suggests most elves have their children between the ages of 100 and 200, so we might assume an elven generation is about 150 years. If there have been about 100 human generations since the birth of Christ, 100 elven generations puts us 15,000 years ago.
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 7:37 am  

    For all:

    1.I think that you should all speak which version of olve (elf) age you subscribe to. 1st ed elves potentially live much, much longer than 3e elves. Without that the discussion has been confusing.

    2.Current elven civilization has not been around too long. The SD calendar predates the current OC one by around 1000 years.

    -5515 CY First year of Suloise Dating system (1 SD)
    -4462 CY First year of Olven Calender system (1 OC)

    On the other hand do elves change their calendar willy nilly ("Now that great King Lettuce has been enthroned, we shall change the calandar in his honor!") or was there something IMPORTANT that happened to mark the year?
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 10:52 am  

    Yeah, if you use the 3e lifespan for elves, its a totally different story. Elves are nowhere near as long lived in the current rules as they were in previous editions. Adulthood for a 3e elf is 110, while venerable starts at 350. "Young adulthood" for a gray elf in 1e starts at 150 (the human equivalent is 14 years old) and venerable starts at 1500.


    I had forgotten about the VoM figure for the valley elves. Though its strange how the elves apparently never interacted with any of these other cultures or formed any communities worthy of note in any other material during all that time. ;) Of course, as you say, VoM is well beloved, probably just as much as tSB is.

    Greyhawk Adventures doesn't date The Sinking Isle inhabitants, merely saying they are ancient enough to be legendary even to the elves and were "likely" to have been human.

    How odd, GH canon not being clear and consistent.....
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:33 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    I wouldn't assume that an elven generation is proportional to a human one, though. Elves are sexually mature as early as 25. Races of the Wild suggests most elves have their children between the ages of 100 and 200, so we might assume an elven generation is about 150 years. If there have been about 100 human generations since the birth of Christ, 100 elven generations puts us 15,000 years ago.


    Thank you. Smile This illustrates my point. Given how much older the elven race is than the human race, and allowing for the disparity in lifespan, while elven generations are longer than human ones, elves will to date likely have as many generations as humans or nearly so - or using Rip's example, they may have many more - humanities "primordial ooze" having been a long, long time ago and all.

    A) Humans, as such (Cro-Magnon), have been around for 250,000 years or so. How old is "Lucy?" 3 million years or so? And that isn't even "primordial ooze." Humanities earliest ancestors date to around 7 million years. If we arbitrarily say that corresponds to "primordial ooze" at which point elves already had "complex civilization," there are 6 million plus years of elven generations (however counted) before the first human generation that is not a pre- or sub- human ancestor.

    The elves are sufficiently old that, despite having longer generations, they have been around for so long that their generations are on a par lets say with human generations.

    B) Taking a more balanced approach that echews imaginging how long it took elves to develop the "complex civilization" that existed when humanity arose from the "primordial ooze" -

    A human generation is approximately 25 years. It is estimated that since the earliest identifiable human ancestor some 7 million years ago there have been 300,000 human generations. (7,000,000/300,000=23.333) Source - Walking With Cavemen (DK Pub c2003) p. 9.

    If elves have as many generations (300,000) but each generation is 150 years (Rip's figure), elves have existed since their presumptive earliest ancestor for 45 million years.

    Of course, in the 7 million years human or human - like creatures have existed, modern man (Cro-Magnon) has existed for only 250,000 (roughly) or 10,000 generations. Imagining equal evolution, elves would then have existed in a near present form for 1.5 million years (150 years per generation x 10,000 generations).

    Of the 250,000 years modern man has existed, human civilization in recorded form has existed for only 5,000 years or 50 times less than the total span or 200 generations (5,000 years of recorded history / 25 years in a human generation). If we, again imagining equal evolution and apply a similar calculation to elven civilization, elven civilization in recorded form has existed for 30,000 years (200 generations x 150 years in an elven generation).

    Is this outlandish or absurd? It does not seem so to me. In fact, it is conservative compared to A above and thoughts of an elven "complex civilization" at the time humanity emerged from the "primordial ooze."

    If elves have an equal number of generations as humanity or just about, they have existed approximately 6 times longer than humanity. If they have fewer generations (by increasing the number of years in an elven generation), that number will shrink but elves will still have had a civilization on Oerth for far longer than humanity. And any of this is being charitable compared to A above which looks more literally at the source material.

    Humans are wet behind the ears pups compared to the elves. Any way youwould care to slice it, unless you ignore the "canon" of the matter. See Complete Book of Elves (with specific reference made to Oerth) and Races of the Wild.

    Thus, elves could well have had time to spread across Oerth, to include Anakeri. That they do not dominate the landscape as humans do is attributable to them being elves, not humans with pointy ears. That elves are seen as variously "in retreat" is a human appraisal of elves that uses human terms of reference. Humans have "dominated" Oerth for only a fraction of the time elves have had complex civilizations. Humans have yet to prove they are more than a passing fad on elven terms.

    NB - If one wishes to speculate on the literal meaning of the "primordial ooze" quote, it is interesting to compare Complete Book of Elves at p.12 ("No matter where they came from, they [elves] have spread to nearly every other world on the Prime Material Plane. . . .[T]hey have often been residents of these worlds longer than humans have existed . . .") with the Epic Level Handbook at pp202-203 (Leshay) ("As elves are to humans, so are leShay to elves (but more so): a race immortal, enigmatic, and exceptionally powerful. . . . LeShay are the mere remnant of a once-great race whose origins are lost to history. They claim to predate the current multiverse . . ."). The elven leShay would have literally seen that "primordial ooze."

    Further speculating and looking to reconcile elven myth-cycles with the leShay, as the leShay are "mere remnants" perhaps Corellian Larethian and the Seldarine are the real deal, the leShay then marking a "missing link" between the Seldarine and the olve. This would fit with the elven history chart on p. 10 of the Complete Elven Handbook, giving the Seldarine worshippers/adherants/minons prior to the creation of the elven race. Or are the Seldarine ascended leShay?

    Anyway, one could go on about the elves. Point is an elven presence or predominace on Anakeri is entirely possible, even probable by turns. And Celene becomes more and more interesting by turns. And we haven't even mentioned faerie! Happy

    Humanity exists in the long shadow of the elves.
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 1:33 pm  

    Yeah, elves have existed in the multiverse longer than humans have, but that says nothing about when they arrived on Oerth. Or where. Or how.

    Further, nothing you've said justifies your claim of equal generations. You've just arbitrarily decided that as the definition of "been around longer."

    There are a good number of civilizations mentioned in canon that are considered 'ancient and forgotten' that aren't as old as your elf civiilzations would be. Nor does there seem to be any reference to the elves in relation to them. I suppose you could argue that the elves were just super secretive and isolationist this whole time and these ancient cultures are, in fact, pretty well known to them and they just haven't told anyone.

    But that doesn't seem to fit with Oerth specific material, regardless of what generic supplements say.

    If humans exist in the long shadow of the elves, its a pretty pallid and thin one to have had so little impact on anything.
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 2:08 pm  

    I see no reason to assume that elves have been around any longer than humans.
    I find the concept of humans "exist(ing) in the long shadow of the elves" to be absolutely anti-Greyhawk. If you want that, go for FR, or do yet another Tolkien rehash. I'd much rather see Greyhawk find a different way to go.
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 2:32 pm  

    Further . . .

    If we more reasonably assume that elves and humans have been around the same amount of time, then elves have had significantly less generations than humans.
    This would in fact result in a massive stagnation of elven cultural development. Indeed, it could be suggested that elven cultural development is back where human cultural development was at the dawn of human recorded history.
    That explains why elves keep winding up behind the curve. They not only want to be organizing their first empires and other social groups, they still think that is where everyone else is. On a fundamental psychological level, they are incapable of acknowledging that the world has moved on without them, and they aren't the rulers of everything they claim.
    It is why their magic remains behind the curve. Going 1st ed, they just started being 11th level and using 6th level spells, that should be enough for everyone.
    Their entire culture, from top to bottom, simply can't adapt fast enough. This is reflected and enhanced by their Chaotic natures. So like Celene, if something goes wrong, they don't merely ignore it, they simply can't comprehend it, and their response is to pretend it isn't there.

    Humans living in the shadow of the elves?
    Elves are lucky they can latch on to the coattails of humanity in the form of half-elves!

    Oh, and for a more reasonable overview of the Flanaess:
    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=761
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:19 pm  

    The LGG apocrypha says this:

    "Elven legends tell that, prior to the coming of theor race, the lands of the Flanaess were overrun by the scaly races and their amphibious brethren. The elves viewed this creatures as abominations, leftovers of an ancient era in which the aboleth created foul spawn to take their evils from the seas and the underdark to the realm above. Whether fittingly or not, the elves saw many of the world's oldest beings as servitors of the aboleth, and marked them for extermination...The olve...recruited many to their cause. Unable to rouse the dwarves from their underground lairs, they nonetheless enlisted many gnomes, as well as extremely early Flan and the dying race of the Rujari, primitive antecedents of human beings."

    The war that followed drove the koa-toa into the underdark, saw the slaughter of the quaggoth of the northern forests and the creation of the sea olves.

    So - if anything, this seems to suggest that the olve, if they predated the Flan at all, didn't do it by much.

    Erik Mona's blog gives a good outline of the prehistoric races of the Oerth:
    http://www.superunicorn.com/erik/2005/02/ancient-cultures-of-eastern-oerik.html#comments

    From that evidence, elves don't appear to kick in in the Flanaess until about -5,000 CY.
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 3:39 pm  

    Actually, that primordial ooze stuff could apply to the so called "elder elves" that vaporized themselves, if you use that bit of backstory. So modern elves on Oerth could be a much younger race without contradicting the generic sourcebooks.
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 5:55 pm  

    Please allow me to be clear, although I hope I was. It is my opinion that elves have been around far longer than humanity (ranges noted earlier), have not stagnated (possibilities noted earlier) and in this way earn their cachet. While I believe what objective "evidence" there is supports this read, it remains my opinion not canon.

    Neither is the opposite view, of elves marginalized to humanities shadow, canon (and I contend there is much less to support that position).

    Given the vagaries of different opinions and allowing an equality of "evidence" for such (even if I do not believe such is actually the case, as noted), the question then boils down to metagame thinking. Which is a better result for the game as a game?

    "Novel" elves, whose civilization is scarecely older, if even that, than humanities and who have now been forced to the brink?

    "Robust" elves, whose civilization is an extension of an elven civilization many times older than humanities, perhaps now retiring, but still the inheritors of a vastly ancient civilization?

    I think there can be no comparison from a metagame standpoint. "Novel" elves are a novelty. They are window dressing but ultimately able to be dismissed with little or no preamble because they are enfeebled as compared to humanity. "Robust" elves must be considered, even when retiring, and must be dealt with affirmatively for their "robustness" makes them still players who cannot be simply dismissed when inconvenient.

    GH was the first (A)D&D fantasy setting published and is archetypical, being first. "Novel" elves do not fit in Greyhawk. They are jarringly out of place.

    Moreover, gamers have, for good or ill, taken to elves. And but for excess surrounding "good" drow, and even then, gamers show no sign of loosing their infatuation. "Novel" elves defeat these expectations. This is not to say that GH elves cannot be different by degrees; it is only to say they cannot be made enfeebled and still meet widespread player expectations - again a metagame consideration.

    If we can gracefully allow that the "evidence" in favor of one opinion or another is in equipoise, the metagame considerations decide the matter in favor of elves that matter - ones possessed of or inheritors of a civilization vastly older than humanities.

    "Novel" elves, enfeebled as compared to humanity, inheritors of no vastly ancient civilization, are but another way to ensure that GH never gains any traction ampong gamers as other than an old setting, now not even nostalgic for the "novelty" of its "unique" elven "stylings." The notion of "novel" elves, inheritors of no vastly ancient civilization as compared to humans, is right up there with Eberron's undead obssessed elves. Oh so au currant but with no cachet, no staying power, because they have been suborned to the most generic of fantasy races - humanity.

    "Great idea - kill one more aspect of Greyhawk that could have been interesting. Let's make elves completely subordinate to humans, not just in the present from the beginning! Elves aren't just "fading," they were never anything but a sideshow to humanity to begin with! Great idea! Different idea!" No. Lousy idea.

    GH is not Kingmaker the RPG. It is the quintessential FRPG setting and that means vastly ancient elves to open. The trick is then in the deatils to make the GH elves stand out, and indeed the groundwork for such is already laid in canon. The trick is not to make the elves of GH irrelevant or sideshows to humanity.
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 6:18 pm  

    Greyhawk Elves that are Greyhawk Elves, not cheap knockoffs of every other Elf in every other setting and every other book.

    Hackneyed Cliche Elves straight out of Forgotten Realms, Tolkien, and every other setting and book in existence.

    Unique Elves with a culture and history applicable exclusively to Greyhawk, not dependant on any other presentation of Elves.

    Hackneyed Cliche Elves with no character or distinguishing traits to separate them from any other presentation of Elves.

    Distinct Elves with motives and psychology clearly distinct from Humans, or indeed any other race.

    Hackneyed Cliche Elves that might as well be actors in rubber alien suits speaking fluent English straight out of an Star Trek the Original Series episode.
    No wait, they won't even have that much motivation.
    Hackneyed Cliche Elves in cheap makeup speaking colloquial English straight out of an Ed Wood Jr. classic.

    "Great idea - abandon any attempt at creativity, and just use the same, tired old, expected rehash, without even the unrestrained violence of the Gheallie Sidhe of Birthright to give them some character." No. Worse than lousy idea.

    GH is a unique setting. Turning humans into cheap cultural parasites on the "glorious" Elven tradition of the past turns it into a lame cliche worthy of the scrap heap. The trick is to make Elves unique unto themselves without requiring them to have once ruled the world to be relevant. A surprisingly easy task for someone with the most average creativity.
    Of course, if one does want to appeal to the past, one should simply look in the DMG 1, where it is clearly noted that the world of AD&D is humanocentric by design, thus clearly demonstrating that indeed the groundwork is laid - for Elves and others to be supporting cast.
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 8:03 pm  

    There is no evidence that the elves are "unbelievably ancient", that they ruled the world, or anything else. There is evidence that things other than elves are both those things.

    It is not necessary to make the elves into an ancient civilization that has apparently withered into a few scattered settlements in order to make them "robust". Neither is the only alternative to that to make the elves into a sideshow to humanity.

    It seems to be a recurring theme of your arguments that if some group isn't a big bad **** they are automatically a patsy. That's just not true.

    Elves are NOT humans with long lifespans. They are not interested in the same sorts of things that humans are. Empires and the domination of land are not things that necessarily matter to elves. They are involved in the Faerie Mysteries and in the growth of their culture and people. In humans, that often translates to a need to conquer. Why should it do the same amongst elves, however?

    The key to making the elves 'robust' is to give them an interesting, unique, and cool culture. Not to make them a failed bad **** who is now marginalized like every other fallen empire, having been trampled under the weight of humanity. Not only is that boring and unoriginal, its not even especially supported by existing materials. There are a few instances of humans fighting elves, but no where near enough to justify the idea that the elves "had an empire" or anything of the sort.

    Frankly, I'm bored with the idea that domineering force is the only way to measure the value of cultural groups.
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    Wed Jul 05, 2006 8:52 pm  

    The idea that the elves had some ancient empire and are now in decline seems cliche to me.

    In my campaign I prefer a different approach. The elves possess unearthly beauty and grace, a conection with the fey and incredible lifespans. By virtue of the "gifts" they have been given by the gods, the world should be theirs but it is not.

    Instead of building world spanning empires or unrivaled kingdoms they were instead upstaged by a shorter lived, more ambitious humans as a competing species.

    The sorrow in an elf's eyes is not the lamenting of a civilization lost, it is the sadness of unfulfilled potential. Angst at what will never be. Unrealized dreams that will never be due to their ponderous delays without taking direct action as the human tides grew ever larger.

    To me, that is the beauty of the elven situation. They are to blame for their less prominent part in the world, its just easier to blame the humans than to accept the guilt themselves.
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    Thu Jul 06, 2006 6:48 am  

    While I have my own take on the Elves, as far as what Vormaerin and Danger Dwarf said -

    EXACTLY!

    There is just so many more options for the elves than the false dichotomy of Fallen Empires vs. Races of Nodwick.

    For me, the Elves are a constant contradiction.
    Chaotic, they are drawn to the rule of the Grey Elves.
    Flighty, they take up multi-millenia tasks again and again.
    Distinct, they find themselves merging with humans through Half-Elves.
    What they aren't is human, or the source of all magic, culture, technology, or anything else. They are Elves, and that is more than enough.
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    Thu Jul 06, 2006 8:09 am  

    Hey folks.

    Samwise, I enjoyed your "The Pre-Cataclysm Era in the Sheldomar" article, especially the relationship of the Old Faith and Vecna.

    Regarding the olve, I'm interested in reconciling the notion of anciently powerful uber-elves with the relatively short time period (10,000 years) on which most of us focus when imagining the Flanaess and the apparent reality of present-day olven marginality.

    I think that the Elder Elves / leShay, the Eladrin, and the Fey suggest ways to imagine the contradiction of legendarily powerful elves and the apparent reality of the Flanaess. Basically I'm thinking about resonances between cosmic and historical events.

    Before GreyTalking, I presumed that the olve and other demi-humans predated the Flan in Eastern Oerik. After GreyTalking, I encountered substantially different ideas, including ones that featured the Flan as the original inhabitants of the Flanaess and ones that held that even they were merely migrants.

    While my campaigns don't require me to fix such things, for many years I've been content to believe that the Flan were relatively less civilized than the olve (and other demi-humans) and may have been kept that way by the machinations of the demi-humans, who remembered past events of previous centuries when humanity organized warfare. Another way to say this is that the relatively few pre-Migrations human civilizations convinced the demi-humans to limit such when they could. So they failed in Sulm and perhaps in Ehlissa but seemingly succeeded in the great plains north of the Nyr Dyv and in the Sheldomar Valley until the rise of Vecna.

    Another way to fabricate evidence for the relative superiority of the demi-humans over the Flan is to use the fact that demi-human civilizations survived the Great Migrations whereas the civilizations of the Flan apparently did not.
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    Thu Jul 06, 2006 12:44 pm  

    I take a couple of things away from The Great Embarktion apocropha.

    1: The Olve waged a very effective genocides against the scaly and amphibious races (not to mention to quaggoth).

    2: The motivations for these genocide are not entirely compatible with the goody two shoes image of the Olve.

    3: The Olve when roused are genocidal fanatics.

    4: The Olve, when they'd newly come to the Flanaess, were of sufficent power and sophistication to form an alliance against the scalys and amphibys and wage the aforementioned genocides very effectively.

    There's also the point that the Olve may have come to the Oerth and the Flanaess from another plane where they did all their cultural development OR that they were created as they were by the Seldarine - no evolution, no primitive proto-olve - poof! instant olve (just add water).
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    Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:01 pm  

    DangerDwarf wrote:
    The idea that the elves had some ancient empire and are now in decline seems cliche to me.


    No one said anything about "decline." That's part of my whole point - no decline, except from a humanocentric viewpoint.

    Vormaerin wrote:
    There is no evidence that the elves are "unbelievably ancient", that they ruled the world, or anything else. There is evidence that things other than elves are both those things.


    See "primordial ooze" and associated quotes above. And your contra evidence is what exactly? I cited my sources. Cite yours.

    Samwise wrote:
    Hackneyed Cliche Elves straight out of Forgotten Realms, Tolkien, and every other setting and book in existence.


    Not cliche. Classic. For THE classic (A)D&D setting Greyhawk. Where elves got their start.

    Greyhawk is classic fantasy. If you can't appreciate that you've got the wrong setting. Don't go scribbling on a Da Vinci or Rembrant and call what you do anything other than vandalism. Take your new age elven stylings and . . . go play D&D with the Blue Man Group. Or I suggest you give Eberron a try.
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    Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:07 pm  

    I prefer to take the stereotype of the elves as being in decline from a previous "golden age" and completely turn it on its head. The elves started out broken and separated, disunited and never living up to their vast potential. That explains both the contradictions outlined by Samwise, incorporates the great ideas offered by DangerDwarf (which I also came up with in my own articles on the People of the Testing and the elves in general), and avoids the question of their former "uber-empire" altogether.

    Instead, I think it'd be cool to see the elven "golden age" happening in the FUTURE, or arguably even the PRESENT, as the elves finally experience a cultural renaissance and come into their own as a race. Players can directly interact with this Golden Age, instead of just reading about it in the annals of history.

    The problems outlined above, of their contradictions and living in humanity's shadow, of potential lost and dreams unrealized, are a result of the elves' initial fracturing because of the stupidity of the elven gods. (Yes, elven gods are fallible). We still have identity crises and political hangups related to events that happened centuries ago. How much more painful will these problems be for elves whose memories are so much longer, and can have so much more happen to them in their lifetimes?

    Even the rise of the "golden age" will not be without its controversies among the elves themselves. Humans and dwarves may react negatively, striking at the elves, who then feel aggrieved and want to defend themselves, sowing the seeds for all sorts of conflict; elves will be divided over how to deal with humans and other races, with some of them being labelled as traitors and sellouts for being 'too friendly' to the humans who didn't do them any favors in the past; extremists may root out those elves who oppose them, as the People of the Testing did with Yolande's consort; elven tyranny may arise, or it may not, as power-hungry individuals distort the elven dream and strain their relations with other races; distorted images on both sides of a debate, whether between elves and other races, or the elves themselves.

    Both in Greyhawk and the real world, what happens in history can have sweeping effects on the future. What would be truer to the spirit of GH than to let DMs and players play a direct role in these oerth-shaking events, instead of simply having canon dictate them?

    coughFromTheAshescoughJeffGrubbcough

    I do hope people notice the pains I'm going to try and put a fresh spin on things. Breaking with the old cliches of the elven gods being all-wise and always right, and the elven "golden age" being in the past, both seem pretty damn original to me.
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    Thu Jul 06, 2006 7:06 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Not cliche. Classic. For THE classic (A)D&D setting Greyhawk. Where elves got their start.

    Greyhawk is classic fantasy. If you can't appreciate that you've got the wrong setting. Don't go scribbling on a Da Vinci or Rembrant and call what you do anything other than vandalism. Take your new age elven stylings and . . . go play D&D with the Blue Man Group. Or I suggest you give Eberron a try.


    For THE classic AD&D setting, I refer you again to THE classic DMG 1, where it clearly states that the game is humanocentric.

    If you want to appeal to the classic nature of the setting, accept the classic rules. Don't go scribbling on them. Take your vandalism and trite elven stylings, and . . go play MERP. Or give some collectible card game a try.
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    Thu Jul 06, 2006 9:04 pm  

    GVD, if you want to cut my comments out of context then fine, feel free to waste time. I already agreed that your NON GREYHAWK sources indicate that the elves are older than humans in the multiverse. That does not make any assertions about the specifics of Oerth. The 'purer' quote clearly refers to morphology. Greyhawk's elves are divided into the classic subdivisions, unlike FR and Athas elves for instance.

    If you read this thread, many sources are given to show that races and cultures other than the elves dominated in the past and that when the elves did show up and overthrow those groups, the Flan were already around and helped. The Sinking Isles people were said to be human and they are so old that their story is just legend to the elves. Etc, etc. If the elves were "unbelieveably ancient" ON OERTH, then what the heck were they doing that no one at all seems to have noticed them until 6000 years ago, when humans were already around?

    Tolkein style super elves of antiquity are the fantasy classic, sure. But that isn't the model of elves that is supported by GH material, particularly early GH material. There is nothing to show that ON OERTH the elves "Cast a long shadow" over humanity. There is nothing really to show that elves give a rats' behind about humanity at all, except perhaps the prevalence of half elves.

    Maybe the elves are "unbelievably ancient" somewhere else on Oerth, but they didn't do much with it if they did. They don't seem to have had any contact with the Olman or Touv or the Torhoon.. They didn't beat the Flan to the Flanaess. Its other non humans that seem to figure in the apocryphal "rest of Oerth" stuff.

    Regardless of all that, the fact remains that the assertion of yours that I've called foul on is the "same generations" one. The elves can be older than humans or merely have reached a spiffy level of civilization before humans and your assertion still be completely false and unjustified.

    As an aside, do we even have a reason to believe there was a primordial ooze on Oerth and not divine creation? Or that anyone on Oerth is actually native and not an immigrant from other primes?

    As multiple posters have mentioned, its quite possible to build a cool elvish culture/history/future within the context of what is actually supported by GH and not copying Tolkeinesque cliches, which EGG has repeatedly said he didn't like. Middle Earth is where *that* elf archetype belongs, not GH.
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    Fri Jul 07, 2006 3:22 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:

    No one said anything about "decline."


    Uh...you did?

    GVD wrote:
    "Robust" elves, whose civilization is an extension of an elven civilization many times older than humanities, perhaps now retiring , but still the inheritors of a vastly ancient civilization?


    That is what you were implying there correct? Not them getting a condo in Florida we could assume?

    GVD wrote:
    See "primordial ooze" and associated quotes above. And your contra evidence is what exactly? I cited my sources. Cite yours.


    Doesn't the complete book of elves also state that they came from some unknown elven "homeworld". This is a genuine question as I've not read it in years.

    GVD wrote:
    Take your new age elven stylings and . . . go play D&D with the Blue Man Group. Or I suggest you give Eberron a try.


    Dude. Chill.

    All thats missing from that quote is "If you don't play MY way Mad " inserted at the beginning.
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    Fri Jul 07, 2006 3:25 am  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    Instead, I think it'd be cool to see the elven "golden age" happening in the FUTURE, or arguably even the PRESENT, as the elves finally experience a cultural renaissance and come into their own as a race. Players can directly interact with this Golden Age, instead of just reading about it in the annals of history.


    That is pretty sweet. The elven ascension...

    I like it.
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    Fri Jul 07, 2006 5:08 am  

    Let's hit the halon before this thread catches aflame. :)

    1: Elves are described in generic D&D products as being ancient (as in primordial slime ancient)

    2: However, the evidence from GH sources is that they arrived in the Flanaess relative recently (about 6000 years before present), that before them the Oerth had been ruled by other races and that the early Flan were already inhabiting the Flanaess at this time.

    3: It's entirely possible given it's a fantasy world that the olve either (a) were created whole by the Seldarine without need for evolution and cultural development to that point or (b) that the olve evOLVEd (ba-dum!) on another plane and came to the Oerth relatively recently.

    4: CSL's idea that the Olve might be trying to create their golden age is an interesting one that has some backing from events in GH - such as, the take-over of Lendore, (if you accept Chainmail and the Flanaess are on the same world/continent) the militancy of Ravilla and the possible contacts between the two across the Solnor.

    It could be that there's a faction within the olve that are coming to the opinion that most of these hoo-mans are no better than the gogglers and the quaggoth and that a new war of extermination is needed. Or at least that the olve must fight to preserve their way of life etcetc.
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    Fri Jul 07, 2006 7:02 am  
    What to do with all those elves? Make supper?

    Hi all,

    Paul wrote:
    >2: However, the evidence from GH sources is that they arrived in the Flanaess relative recently (about 6000 years before present), that before them the Oerth had been ruled by other races and that the early Flan were already inhabiting the Flanaess at this time. <

    The idea that Minaria (from Divine Right) is the opposite end of Oerik was floated on Greytalk and written up by me, but never seemed to catch on. If it had, it would show a definite westward migration of elves just like humans, as the elven "homeworld"/plane is linked to the northwest corner of Minaria.

    I can remember a time when I would have written something much harsher about elves here. I've certainly mellowed towards them in the last nine years...

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    Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:51 pm  

    I was in error about the number of elven generations exceeding the human ones as I have found citations that run exactly contrary.

    However, this same reading confims my underlying point - Elves vastly predate human habitation of the Flanaess and indeed of Oerth.

    “Elves saw the rise of other races - the crawl of humanity from the primordial ooze.” Complete Book of Elves at p. 30. “The elves claim to be the first mortal race in the world, and they are probably right. They certainly had complex civilizations long before humankind walked the earth . . . a few of their cities have reportedly existed almost since the dawn of time - and on one can prove otherwise.” Races of the Wild at p. 25.

    “Some contend that Oerth is the elven homeland, the place from which all others sprang.” Complete Book of Elves at p. 26. “Elves were present in the lands east of the Crystalmist Mountains for uncounted centuries prior to the rise of the first human kingdoms there.” Living Greyhawk Gazateer at p. 8. However, “by the time of the Migrations, their rule had diminished to isolated pockets such as Celene.” Id. at p. 39.

    It is worthwhile noting that, while the Complete Book of Elves was a generic AD&D 2nd Edition product, it had sections devoted to specific campaign settings, including the World of Greyhawk. These discussions are then campaign specific and more than arguably “canon.” Thus, in this wise, when the Complete Book of Elves notes that the elves of Oerth are “typical,” the more general or generic comments in the Complete Book of Elves, typical to all elves, will apply to the elves of Oerth unless otherwise noted - as is the case with the Grugach and Valley elves, for example.

    Similarly, Races of the Wild is a generic 3rd Edition sourcebook that has a substantial section devoted to elves. However, the World of Greyhawk is designated the “default” world for all 3rd Edition products not explicitly set elsewhere. Thus, the general commentary on elves in Races of the Wild applies to the elves of the World of Greyhawk by this “default,” if nothing else.

    The Living Greyhawk Gazateer is in esse “canon” to the World of Greyhawk. Its references to the elves support the conception of the elves as a vastly ancient race as set out in the Complete Book of the Elves and the Races of the Wild sourcebooks. Elves populated the Flanaess, “for uncounted centuries prior to the rise of the first human kingdoms there.” Living Greyhawk Gazateer at p. 8. The key phrase is “uncounted centuries” and the key word is “prior.” However far back one can place a Flan kingdom, the elves predated that kingdom by “uncounted centuries.” While “uncounted centuries” is imprecise, its more general meaning seems to me clear - elves in the Flanaess vastly predate the rise of human civilizations.

    I have endeavored to cite my sources and put them together such that my thinking is revealed. I would ask the same courtesy. Please do not assume I understand or know of the materials that underly your thinking. Cite me your references that run counter to what I have put forward or that otherwise support a different view you hold. If you are unwilling or unable to do so, I cannot accept your position as other than lacking in foundation and there is really little to discuss - in such case, I hold an opinion and can cite to references that underly that opinion; you have an opinion that you can't or won't quantify.

    I am more than willing to acknowledge when I have made an error but I require documentation that reveals the error. Please don't ask me to "trust you" or to scry or divine the basis for your thought . If the citations that run contra are out there, please cite them. If you wish to refer to a prior post that provides such references, please quote it. If you cannot provide citations or quotes that include such citations, please say so and identify your opinion as your opinion.

    Thank you.
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    Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:53 pm  

    Hi. Thanks for the quotes and pincites to the LGG, GVD.

    I'll offer another interpretation of the following quote, “Elves were present in the lands east of the Crystalmist Mountains for uncounted centuries prior to the rise of the first human kingdoms there.” Living Greyhawk Gazetteer at p. 8.

    The centuries were not recorded (and their duration is unknown) by people alive today, the end of the 6th century CY. I don't dispute that the sentence connotes a long time span. However, it's unclear how long is long. It might be a "vast" period of time, or not.

    Because of recent threads, I've returned to imagining the prehistory of Oerth, and it seems to me increasingly that the prehistory should not be counted even in hundreds of thousands of years. Tens of thousands should do the trick. Again, I refer interested readers to Maldin's essay, his GUT. We likely don't need to imagine in geologic time.

    If one accepts this proposition, then it seems to me that Erik Mona has produced the best compilations of GH references that might be used to fashion a canon on this point. See http://www.superunicorn.com/erik/2005/02/ancient-cultures-of-eastern-oerik.html. See also http://www.superunicorn.com/erik/2005/03/another-ancient-culture-of-oerth.html.

    Note that Erik is far from the first of us to elaborate such ideas. For example, the GreyTalk Archives retain some great ideas about the people of the Isles of Woe and other ancient empires.
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    Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:59 pm  

    That's some good detective work there, GVD!

    Putting on my thinking cap - I'd say that there's not toooo much inconsitancy between the p8 quote from the LGG and the account in the LGG apocropha (in a dispute between the two - I'd lean towards the stuff actually between the LGG covers).

    P8 LGG mentions human kingdoms. The apocropha mentions the very early Flan and proto-human predecessors.

    That suggests to me that the olve arrived in the Flanaess, countless centuries ago - when the Flan were still hunter-gatherer types, well off achieving any sort of civilisation (probably due to the domination of the scalys). The olve have their little genocidal war, clearing the way for the Flan to begin their long slow march to civilisation "uncounted centuries" later.

    As for the really ancient origins of the Olve on Oerth - very possible - though perhaps not in the Flanaess. It's possible that Ravilla or somewhere else might be the ancient Olven point of origin on Oerth (sailing aside, that puts it conveniently far away from the Flanaess too...).
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    Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:47 pm  

    GVD,

    You've backed off the point I was objecting to anyway. Otherwise, I agree with Woesinger's synopsis. No one has denied the elves are around a long damn time. Even if 'only' 6000 years, its still a damn long time from the POV of human historians.

    But the elves don't seem to have done much in the way of influencing human cultural development. Certainly not like they did in Middle Earth, which is the origin of your "long shadow as fantasy staple" idea.

    I don't want to get into the whole "everything in print is canon for every D&D world unless otherwise specified" argument. Its a waste of time. We can't even get the explicitly GH material to agree with itself, much less the wider body of D&D books. Its are argument bound to resolve nothing and just annoy people.
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    Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:58 pm  

    Quote:
    As multiple posters have mentioned, its quite possible to build a cool elvish culture/history/future within the context of what is actually supported by GH and not copying Tolkeinesque cliches, which EGG has repeatedly said he didn't like. Middle Earth is where *that* elf archetype belongs, not GH.


    A quick thought...Tolkein's elves were taller than humans. The elves of Greyhawk, by and large, are not. In that sense, they are closer to the elves of British folklore, who have shrunk in stature as they've retreated from public view. The early "fairy folk" were very human-like in their actions and interactions; they become increasingly fey as they retreat to their fairy mounds. This suggested several permutations to the possibilities suggested here: a) perhaps elves were once much more "human", and have become more fey over the centuries...including a much lengthier lifespan! Alternately, perhaps elves are becoming less fey and more "human", and any "empire" in the distant past would be so nonhuman as to be nearly unrecognizable (this also explains why elven lifespans in 3E are shorter than in previous years...).

    Much hinges on whether elves are considered innately connected to nature, ala fey. I tend to, but that's my personal taste. Mundane explanations bore me.
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    Wed Jul 12, 2006 11:08 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    Actually, that primordial ooze stuff could apply to the so called "elder elves" that vaporized themselves, if you use that bit of backstory. So modern elves on Oerth could be a much younger race without contradicting the generic sourcebooks.


    For reference, we discussed the "elder elves" in this thread. Because The Sea Devils linked them to the origins of the sahuagin, there's an argument that they were the people of the Sinking Isle. You could also argue that the Greyhawk Adventures entry establishes that Greyhawk sahuagin are human-descended, although that book was shrouded enough in myths and vagueness that I wouldn't call it a certainty. GA could be interpreted to mean that the Sinking Isle was an earlier elven civilization, rather than a human civilization earlier than the Flan. The appearance of the malenti - mutant sahuagin who resemble sea elves - suggests an elven connection of some kind, and also implies that the elder elves were true elves, not leShay.

    Perhaps the elder elves were elves who had been corrupted by aboleth culture and technology somehow.
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    Wed Jul 12, 2006 11:09 pm  

    From the Ashes, Atlas of the Flanaess, page 8:
    "The original inhabitants of the Flanaess were the Flan tribesmen, hardy and tough nomads whose small, scattered groups made no major civilizing efforts."

    Right there, the Flan predate the Elves.

    But let us consider the sum total of all the various statements:
    "The Flan were the first known humans to live in eastern Oerik, and it is from them that the Flanaess gets its name. Although evidence exists that they once had settled nations, those vanished long ago. The Flan had been a nomadic people for many centuries when they were displaced by Suloise and Oeridian invaders."
    - LGG page 5.

    "Elves were present in the lands east of the Crystalmist Mountains for uncounted centuries prior to the rise of the first human kingdoms there. Slowly driven from open country to more secluded and better defended strongholds by the growing strength of both human and nonhuman folk, elves still held a number of forest and upland realms at the time of the Twin Cataclysms."
    - LGG page 8.

    Rather simple statements. But . . .

    What growing strength of human and nonhuman folk?
    If the Flan had kingdoms that were gone, who drove the elves away before the Twin Cataclysms? Were the Flanaess under the total domination of nonhumans?
    I rather doubt that.
    So obviously, something is wrong with the thought that the elves were around centuries before the Flan.
    One might expect it was simply a poor bit of revisionism from Roger Moore. Perhaps that revisionism began in FtA and the later 2nd ed era which featured the heavy Tolkienization of the elves in D&D.

    But let us also consider this:

    "Tales of the era before the migrations are fragmentary and poorly understood. Did monstrous creatures rule Oerik before the advent of humanity? Did the great races of humans, elves, dwarves, and the like arise by fiat of the gods or journey here from elsewhere? Did the elves raise humanity to civilization, or did humans achieve this on their own? Did the Flan once have their own empires and civilizations? Who built the oldest tombs in the Cairn Hills, the half-buried ruins in the Bright Desert, or the deserted stone cities in the Griff Mountains? Where were the fabled realms ruled by Johydee, the Wind Dukes of Aaqa, Vecna the Whispered One, the High Kings of the dwarves, or the elven King of Summer Stars? What became of the mysterious Isles of Woe, and who dwelled there? No one knows with any certainty."
    - LGG page 13

    Well, I guess it isn't so clear cut. Maybe those elves weren't around for all that long. And indeed, given the non-civilized Flan and the later revelations of Tostenhca, not to mention the creation of the Ur-Flan, it is obvious that, indeed, a lot of the history is pretty subjective.
    How can we resolve this seeming mess?

    The key is in what mtg noted:
    "The centuries were not recorded (and their duration is unknown) by people alive today, the end of the 6th century CY. I don't dispute that the sentence connotes a long time span. However, it's unclear how long is long. It might be a "vast" period of time, or not. "

    Well, if we discount the Flan, or Ur-Flan if you prefer, kingdoms, and we count back from the establishment of kingdoms by the Oeridians and Suloise, specifically Keoland in -342 CY and Aerdy in -217 CY, the elven calendar was at just over 4,000 years at the time of the Twin Cataclysms.
    Lo and Behold! 40 pretty much uncounted centuries. (Well, uncounted except by us.)
    But wait, theres more!
    Let's say we do count the Flan (or Ur-Flan) kingdoms. The Flan calendar doesn't start for 2,300 years after the elven calendar.
    Lo and Behond again! We still have 23 centuries, completely uncounted by the Flan, of elves roaming about the Flanaess before any human kingdoms were built.
    And let us note that does not contradict the Flan being in the Flanaess first. It just means the elves were there, counting centuries, for a really long time before the Flan established any Kingdoms, and even longer before the Oeridians and Suloise established Kingdoms in the Flanaess.
    So we don't really seem to have any problems at all.

    As for the Complete Book of Elves and Races of the Wild, they simply are not Greyhawk, no matter how much you try.

    Yes, the Complete Book of Elves referenced Greyhawk, suggesting that it might in fact be the original world of the Elves. Of course it also suggested that was false because of the presence of the Grugach and Valley Elf subraces there, which it is suggested shouldn't be on the homeworld of the elven race. And of course, Grugach, Wild Elves, are no longer unique to Greyhawk, so that concept is no longer completely valid. (It also demonstrates the mutability of such concepts.) Further, on such a basis, one might point to the "infamous" PS quip "Chant is, Oerth is dying." and insist that be taken as an absolute.

    For Races of the Wild, it is long since obvious that while Greyhawk is the Core setting, the Core products are not using Greyhawk. Were this true, one might begin by asking where the following appear in Greyhawk:
    Deities
    Hanseah, Mya, Rokna, Tharmekhul, Thauram, Valkauna, Gelf Darkhearth, the Glutton, Rill Cleverthrush, Sheyanna Flaxenstrand, Kavaki, Kuliak, Manethak, Naki-Uthai, Theleya, Vanua, Urbanis, Zarus, Tarmuid, Aulasha, Glaurtru, Soorinek, Syeret, Wathaku, Alobal Lorfiril, Elebrin Liothiel, Vandria Gilmadrith, Dallah Thaun, Tuliviel Glithien, Duthila, Kithin, Lliendil, Nilthina, Ventila, Aengrist, Hleid, Iborighu, Ulutiu, Al-Ishtus, Aurifar, Azul, Haku, Kikanuti, Set, Solanil, Tem-Et-Nu, Zoser, Aventernus, Valkur, Whale Mother, Yeathan, Altua, Syreth, Valkar, Halmyr, Lyris, Konkresh, Typhos, Sulerain, Nadirech, Afflux, Doresain, Evening Glory, the Patient One, Mak Thuum Ngatha, (Ghaundaur as the Elder Eye in Faerun versus Tharizdun as the Elder Eye in Greyhawk), and Cas;
    Races:
    Goliaths, Illumians, Raptorans, Neaderthals, Uldras, Asheratis, Bhukas, Aventis, Darfellans, Hadozees, Dromites, Elans, Half-Giants, Maenads, Xephs, Dragonborn of Bahamut, Spellscales, Aasimars, Bariaurs, Buommans, Mephlings, Neraphs, Shadowswyfts, Spikers, Tieflings, and Wildren;
    Base Classes:
    Ninjas, Wu Jens, Shugenjas, Spirit Shamans, Samurais, Archivists, Dread Necromancers, all Psionics, Knights, Beguilers, Dragon Shamans, Duskblades, Warlocks, Spelltheives, Hexblades, Warmages, Favored Souls, Marshalls, Scouts, and Swashbucklers;
    plus a bunch of other stuff.
    Are all these absolutely mandatory in the Flanaess, simply because they have appeared in one Core rule book or other?
    Indeed, two things I didn't list above are Warforged and Shifters, races that were included in MM III. Are they now mandatory, official, canon races for Greyhawk because they appeared in a Core book? If we are going to talk about cherry-picking canon, how can we draw a line with them not firmly included in Greyhawk?

    Further, one should note:
    "The dwarves believe themselves to be the oldest civilized people in the world, and they might be right. Certainly, few would dispute it. Buried as they have been in remote mountain ranges and deep underground cities, the dwarves could have existed unrecognized by the outer world for millennia. Their largest cities have seen use for countless centuries; their capital stretch back through recorded time to the first dwarf settlements."
    - Races of Stone, page 21

    "Many outsiders believe that halflings are the youngest mortal race in the world, and the halflings do not dispute that claim. They have no interest in participating in the "who is older" controversies in which elves and dwarves often engage; to them, it is better to be young and have a fresh viewpoint."
    - Races of the Wild, page 53

    "The Broken Mold: Every myth agrees that humanity was the last major reace created- every myth but one, that is."
    - Races of Destiny, page 21

    So elven priority is not as cut and dried as you wish to pronounce it from just one sourcebook.

    So there are your quotes for errors in Greyhawk canon.
    And there are citations refuting your attempt to establish anything released in a Core product by WotC as automatically applying to Greyhawk, as well as rebutting your citation of a single entry for a single race in a single sourcebook.
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 13, 2006 12:28 am  

    rasgon wrote:


    Perhaps the elder elves were elves who had been corrupted by aboleth culture and technology somehow.


    That's an interesting theory. As is the spindrifts/Sinking Isle as once being a larger chain in the far distant past.

    THough we are starting to get crowded with destructively plane manipulating super science races what with Spellweavers and Elder Elves and whatever else going around nowadays. :)
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:56 am  

    Samwise wrote:
    What growing strength of human and nonhuman folk?
    If the Flan had kingdoms that were gone, who drove the elves away before the Twin Cataclysms?


    I think the book was speaking specifically of the empires of Vecna and Keraptis, and the Necromancers of Trask (who specifically razed an elven land, the City of Summer Stars). Ahlissa was still extant, too, although it's unknown how good their relationship with the elves were, if they had any. While many Flan kingdoms vanished centuries before the Cataclysms (Sulm and Itar, for example, and Krovis' land, and possibly the Isles of Woe and Exag), we know some were still ongoing. Of course, those ruled in part by undead qualify as human and nonhuman.
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 13, 2006 8:04 am  

    rasgon wrote:
    I think the book was speaking specifically of the empires of Vecna and Keraptis, and the Necromancers of Trask (who specifically razed an elven land, the City of Summer Stars). Ahlissa was still extant, too, although it's unknown how good their relationship with the elves were, if they had any. While many Flan kingdoms vanished centuries before the Cataclysms (Sulm and Itar, for example, and Krovis' land, and possibly the Isles of Woe and Exag), we know some were still ongoing. Of course, those ruled in part by undead qualify as human and nonhuman.


    Except it then contradicts the statements about the Flan never having made any civilizing effort.
    And the implication that all the Flan kingdoms were long past.
    If we take everything absolutely literally, with no allowance for flavor, or in character presentations, we wind up with a mass of contradictions that collapse on themselves. We have to look beyond any simple absolutes to get a full picture of the history.
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