Joined: Nov 07, 2004 Posts: 1817 Location: Mt. Smolderac
Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 9:56 am Post subject: The Egg of Coot - Long Post
Who or what is the mysterious Egg of Coot (EoC)? Is he/it related to the City of the Gods, which lies on the edge of the Land of Black Ice?
You can approach this from the Dave Arneson's Blackmoor view which seems to relate the EoC to a crashed spaceship which is the City of the Gods. Although it is never explicitly (that I saw) said that there is some relation between the two, in DA 3 "City of the Gods" many of the technological wonders are egg-shaped, from transports (Flying Eggs) to grenades (Eggs of Death). The LGG says the EoC created the "nonhuman automata that populate the land immediately around his home." Going from this it could be concluded that the EoC is an alien from the crashed ship/City of the Gods who only appears from inside one of the "flying eggs." As an alternative to this he could be an oerthling who has figured out how to use the alien technology from the City of the Gods and uses one of the "flying eggs." He could be a malfunctioning "flying egg" whose onboard computer has assumed the personality known as the Egg of Coot. Any of these could have easily cowed the local orcs and qullan into serving it.
Another view can be derived from Wolfgang Baur's adventure "The Clockwork Fortress" in Dungeon # 126, **SPOILERS** which goes into a good amount of detail on the inhabitants of the City of the Gods, relating them to magical constructs called Nimblewrights, who inhabited the City and surrounding lands before the Black Ice encroached "ages ago." The Clockwork Fortress and city of Kolbenborg, an outpost of the City of the Gods fell about 1000 years ago, when the Nimblewrights and other constructs were infected by chaos introduced by Slaadi. No origin of the Nimblewrights is given although some ties are shown to Mechanus. Again, given what the LGG says about the EoC, we can easily assume he is related to the City of the Gods. He could be a mad-nimblewright infected by chaos, or some sorcerer or wizard using the "clockwork magic" to his advantage, or a rogue monodrone (Not really egg-shaped but...) who has become a powerful arcanist. None of these really explains the whole "Egg" description but the possibilities are fairly large. Anyone?
And what to make of the mysterious Qullan, who the Egg uses as shock troops? The barbaric descendants of the giant humanoids who founded the City of the Gods before they were driven from it by the Black Ice, leaving what remained to their Nimblewright servants? Could they have been somehow infected by the same chaos that brought down the last remnant of the Nimblewright civilization?
For history sake, I want to share with you what Gary Gygax knew about Dave Arneson's Egg of Coot :
Dave told Gary "he created the name as a corruption of Gregg Scott, at that time the prorritor of a micro armor company who thought fantasy gaming was not manly, but playing with toy soldiers was ;-}>".
Joined: Aug 17, 2004 Posts: 893 Location: Computer Desk
Posted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 12:37 pm Post subject:
>The Egg of Coot, what is it?
>Why, it's E. Gary Gygax, oldest Coot of rpgs!! >I don't remember where I heard this, but I think it's true, actually.
For all the readers of rec.games.frp.misc that weren't around in the early 80's (or at least, weren't interested in RPGs then), and to allow all concerned to make up their minds from the only data we have available, I present to the net an unauthorized reproduction of Dave Arneson's original description of the Egg of Coot, straight from the "First Fantasy Campaign" supplement from Judges Guild (alas, sadly out of business and gone).
[note: the following is quite long. Also, the poster's comments within are enclosed in these nifty square brackets. What will they think of next?]
Egg of Coot
This all consuming personality lives off the egos of others to support his own ego. At one time (millennia ago) of humanoid characteristics, today, his exact physical description is unknown. In fact it is not even known for sure if he (it) has a physical appearance.
Theories say that he is now a huge mass of jointly operating cells, a huge mass of Jelly, a giant thickly hided egg, pure energy, a man, a mass of living rock, etc. It is generally acknowledged that the physique of this creature is too horrible for any mortal to behold and that it carries out its activities through the use of surrogates which it controls or has programmed.
All communications with this beast are through direct mental contact or via his throne-room which is dominated by a huge old world artifact said to be an ancient war machine, through which it communicates directly via voice transmission from some other area of its City-Palace.
1) Enjoys little jokes like scrawling obscene words and phrases on the walls of latrines and garbage cans (to show it's "power"), sky writing, pulling the wings off of flies, etc. General level of jokes indicates a Level II Intelligence with a mature age of 3 or 6, never having been denied anything!) [No, the text never said what Level II intelligence was]
2) Has a huge Laboratory that turns out spells, for selling, which are (of course) perfection itself (30% chance of failure per level of spell, i.e. III = 50%, II = 40%, etc.). Of historical interest is when the Ran of Ah Foo served in the factory as a Spell Maker but was kicked out when he "surpassed" the Egg's standard of excellence, which, since the perfect standard is impossible to surpass, meant that he (the Ran) had committed the ultimate wrong and was forced to flee rather than become the newest human victim to be experimented on.
3) All close servants of the Egg, undergo mental conditioning that is aimed at crushing all their mental initiative. This is then replaced by the over-whelming desire to serve the Egg and do _exactly_ as it wished. Part of the standard conditioning has them believing that all the Egg does and communicates is good and right with all unbelievers being those jealous of the Egg's perfection and should be treated accordingly.
4) The Egg is known to hold an unshakable grudge against anything that has ever in any way caused it difficulty that was not immediately overcome. It will direct its efforts exclusively towards the demise of this force even to the extent of ignoring past offenders in order to go after the newest threat. This is the result of the Egg's tremendous self-esteem which admits _no_ failings.
5) The best insight into the Egg's ambitions is in its creed which is daily intoned by hundreds of conditioned followers, around his capital city: Might is Right. Might is Right. Don't Give a Sucker an even break. Winning _is_ everything. Get what you want by Hook or by Crook, but get it. The Ends always justify the means used to achieve it. The meek may inherit the Earth but that means the strongest will rule everything.
I fear the rest of the Creed is a bit too strong for our gentile readers and deal with certain "Breeding privileges and customs". Let it suffice that when an area is captured by the Egg, it shortly undergoes a dramatic population decline and acquires a new unnatural and very inhumane population composition.
Joined: Aug 03, 2001 Posts: 2803 Location: Michigan
Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:29 pm Post subject:
For what it's worth, I think it's clear that Arneson never intended a connection between the Egg of Coot and the City of the Gods. The City of Gods only crashed recently in Blackmoor's history, while the Egg of Coot had been around for millennia.
The repeating egg motif in DA3 seems to be a coincidence.
That said, Greyhawk's Blackmoor isn't Arneson's Blackmoor, and it may make more sense to connect the two sites in a Greyhawk campaign, especially if they're of equal antiquity.
There's some speculation on the identity of the Egg of Coot in this thread on the Piazza forums. Too many of the ideas rely on time travel for my tastes, though, and many are Mystara-specific.
Oh, and on the subject of nimblewrights, the same magical clockwork technology mentioned in relation to Kolbenborg in Baur's Dungeon Adventure was also mentioned in relation to the clockwork eunuchs in an article Wolfgang Baur wrote about monsters of Arabian legend. From this, and from College of Wizardry's assertion that the City of the Gods was once part of the Baklunish Empire, I conclude that the fundamentals of the City of the Gods technology came from the Baklunish, who learned it from the efreet.
'Mathghamhna was somewhere in the Baklunish Empire (for example, the northwesternmost spur of the Yatmil [sic] Mountains or the "City of the Gods" in Blackmoor).' - College of Wizardry, page 9.
'The secret of creating brass men is said to have been given to humans by the efreet, who hoped that in time the brass men could take control of the humans and help the efreet rule the human lands from their City of Brass.' - Dungeon #126, page 60.
'...oddities such as "memory gears," "animating spirit-gems," "everwound springs..."' - Dungeon #126, page 45.
'Clockwork eunuchs balance the skills of clockwork artisans, clerics, and genie-binding sorcerers. They depend on carefully set everwound springs, memory gears, and magical rune-powered animating gemstones that pulse with elemental power.' - Dragon #334, page 39.
I can't read that Piazza thread you linked to (gives a 403 error) but I've been mulling over a possible connection between Mystara's Blackmoor and Greyhawk's. I fully realize connecting the two is unnecessary, but I like to run campaigns that connect the various D&D worlds so the similarities they share usually end up requiring some sort of explanation.
I tried to keep any connections between the two as simple as possible. I'm not sure if this was already mentioned in that Piazza thread, but here's what I came up with:
Mystara's Blackmoor existed in the distant past. Approximately three- to four-thousand years prior to Mystara's present day, if I remember correctly. According to Wrath of the Immortals, prior to the realm's destruction (the result of mixing magic with the alien high-technology of the F.S.S. Beagle), a powerful wizard who would one day become the Immortal Khoronous invented a time machine and traveled into the future, only to witness the devastation of this cataclysm. He then traveled back in time and convinced many of his descendents to travel with him to a far-off world in the Prime Plane, insuring Blackmoor's culture would survive after the original culture was annihilated. The wizard who would become Khoronous dubbed the new land on the new world Blackmoor as well and even designed their capital city, and then returned to Mystara and eventually became an Immortal.
The "new" Blackmoor, as far as I can tell, was never described anywhere, although there was apparently a plan to put out a line of products under the Mystara AD&D 2nd edition era that would describe it. The way I see it, this "new" Blackmoor could very well be Oerth's. Over time, the inhabitants from Old Blackmoor intermixed with the Flan, Oeridian, Baklunish, Suloise, etc. to the point that their original ethnic makeup more or less faded away.
As for the Egg of Coot, I figure it's the same entity as the one that plagued the "old" Blackmoor in Mystara's ancient past. It probably planeshifted away as the cataclysm occurred, and dwelled in some plane like the Ethereal, Astral, or Shadow Plane for quite some time before eventually detecting the magic Khoronous used to travel to Oerth. Finding a new Blackmoor that was distantly related to the old one, the Egg of Coot set itself up much as it did in Old Blackmoor and began rebuilding its empire.
The two Cities of the Gods are not the same, nor are they related. They just share the same name due to legends from the remnants of the Old Blackmoor culture.
If you want to go setting-wild, consider king Ovar (!!!) from the world of Kalibruhn as the human predecessor to the Egg. (The FFC/Dave Arneson say that the Egg had been human, once.)
That's how I handle it in the Last Fantasy Campaign.
EDIT: What I mean, is this - Kalibruhn was Robert J. Kuntz's camapign,
which allegedly served as a predecessor and model to the Aerdy Kingdom in the C&C Society Campaign, that eventually lead to Greyhawk.
So, what about making this King Ovar (from the Maze of Zayene series) a leader of the Ur-Flam, or something alike?
Basically, my story is that Ovar screwed around with an item too powerful for his own good (one of the radiators from "Wrath of the Immortals"), and thus became the Egg.
The other link shows how the body is made I can see a brass version of this easily. He even needed to be rewound and his body was filled with sand. Since the Egg of coot is rumored to have been human at one time maybe he's a clockwork version of modok.
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