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Local Color and Inspirations for Interpretation of Realms

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Apprentice Greytalker

Joined: Jul 30, 2017
Posts: 44

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:17 pm    Post subject: Local Color and Inspirations for Interpretation of Realms Reply with quote

This is not quite a " real world historical parallels" thread. What I'm looking for are ideas and feedback about all sorts of inspirations, analogies, and elements for GH drawn from history, popular literature, cartoons, movies, etc.


I like to color the Thillonrian Peninsula with some imagery and a few cultural bits taken from Medieval Russia (Kievan Rus, Novgorod Republic, early Muscovites, etc).
But Rhizia isn't fantasy analog Russia. I use the Suel gods, not Christianity and Slavic pagan traditions.

Many gamers have picked up on a vaguely Nazi vibe of the Scarlet Brotherood, and I certainly see how that could fit the ideal of Suloise domination of other cultures and the humanoid species. Master races and all that jazz.
But the SB has always struck me as carrying quite a strong "Red Menace" , Cold War vibe. Even the SB's monasticism fits a communist system, and the scads of spies and assassins fits a sinister "Red Empire" scenario perfectly.
I therefore like to play up a sort of religious communism in the SB and I add elements of a modern bureaucratic state. Not too modern, though.

Necropolis Litharge, from the Sandman comic series, is sort of how I see Wintershiven in the Theocracy of the Pale. But my Palites worship Wee Jas as their principal deity, not Pholtus.
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Adept Greytalker

Joined: Apr 11, 2009
Posts: 286
Location: Southern Keofornia

PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2017 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keoland: Gondor. Specifically late Third Age Gondor, when the place is in decline. River valley civilization founded by people fleeing a cataclysm... needst I say more? Also like Spain in the 18th to early 19th centuries... a place past its prime.

The Velverdyva River Valley: I just keep thinking about Tom Sawyer... maybe the great Flanaess canoe trip is just sticking with me.

Greyhawk: Mos Eisly from Star Wars

Dyvers: A seedier Greyhawk

Celene: Lorien.

The Vesve: Mirkwood.

Furyondy: King Arthur and all that.

Nyrond: Howard's Aquilonia

Stonefist/Suel Barbarians: Howard's Cimmeria

The Scarlett Brotherhood: Howard's Stygia
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Joined: Aug 03, 2001
Posts: 2827
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dullstrand: Sanctuary, Five Fingers, Camorr

Duxchan: Freeport

Sulward: Tal Verrar

Scarlet Brotherhood: Indiana Jones's Nazis, Torquemada's Spain, the DŻnyain

Innspa: Zobeck

Stoneheim: Skarr
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Black Hand of Oblivion
Black Hand of Oblivion

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 3604
Location: So. Cal

PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Though I have written some material in the vein of the current Baklunish real-world Arabian pastiche, I hugely prefer the Al-Qadim material (I think the variant magic is particularly cool), which I use most of. I prefer to emphasize mythical creatures and elemental magic for the Baklunish, tha latter of which makes for a nice representation of the mage-priest tradition. I am a HUGE fan of Ray Harryhaussen movies, and perhaps my favorite is The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, which one might as well call a D&D movie (made in 1973, perhaps many an idea was taken from it for D&D). The good king in the movie is a burned ruin because he was basically fireballed by an evil wizard (played by Tom Baker...yes...the Dr. Who Tom Baker), the evil wizard literally creates and makes use of a homunculus in the movie, and there are other things besides, not to mention the mythical creatures/constructs. Take all of that material together and you have something a lot more interesting (in my opinion) than what was done with the Baklunish.

I likewise put a bit of a Rus/Varangian spin on the Thilonrian Pennisula barbarians. Stoneholders are basically Cimmerians in my mind.
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Adept Greytalker

Joined: Apr 26, 2002
Posts: 326
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bissel: The Balkans, at least to the extent of the deep-rooted hostility between different ethnic groups. The tension accounts for Bissel's deep-rooted social rot and sense of self-defeatism, given that the nation was coming apart at the seams long before the Greyhawk Wars. The Bisselites lost faith in their leaders, their armies, their gods and themselves long ago, and so it's no wonder that Ket kicked its **** during the Greyhawk Wars and the Bisselites have converted en masse to the Baklunish faiths.

Furyondy: Medieval England, with the rights of the aristocracy enshrined in the Furyond answer to the Magna Carta. Furyondy is more decentralized than Nyrond or the Aerdi lands, and it's taken a considerable amount of effort for King Belvor to coordinate the nation's battles against the Horned Empire.

The Great Kingdom: Much like the Holy Roman Empire, with a dash of Renaissance-Italy/Byzantine backstabbing politics, best exemplified by the Borgias, thrown in for spice. The Overking's prestige and power depends on his ability to cajole his dependencies into obedience, while the dependencies themselves are involved in endless power games and backstabbing.

Greyhawk: A lot like a medieval New York or Chicago, with rampant corruption that nonetheless gives quite a bit of leeway for personal gain and efficiency. There's also a more general sense of decency among many Greyhawkers, which makes them much more open-minded towards nonhumans even as their community is a hub of the Flanaess slave trade.

The Lordship Of The Isles: Think of the Golden Age of Piracy in Barbados and the Caribbean, albeit with a more firmly-established aristocracy and government. This stems from the stronger family ties (and links to the Scarlet Brotherhood!) in the Lordship.

Northern Aerdy: The Soviet Union and the Russian Empire, in the sense of Northern Aerdy being a distinct 'police state'. There's also an element of Borgia-era Renaissance Italy, with the close relationship between debauched aristocrats and the clergy.

Nyrond: Medieval France, which was considerably more centralized than England or Germany. The same applies to Nyrond, which is considerably more centralized than any of the other full-fledged kingdoms of the Flanaess.

The Sea Barons: Again, the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean, but without as much of the organized state structure present in the Lordship. The Sea Barons are more what you'd get if you had a bunch of pirate gangs feuding for control, with less familial ties to link them together the way the Lordship does. The old social order established during the Great Kingdom's glory days broke down much more quickly here.

The Sea Princes: A combination of the Antebellum South and Saint-Domingue (the French colony that is today modern Haiti). There's also an element of the Golden Age of Piracy as well, for obvious reasons.

Stonefist: Think of all the worst stereotypes you've ever heard about people ranging from the First Nations of the Americas to the medieval Vikings. Forget that in real life they were all BS, but apply them as if they were real to Stonehold.

Tenh: The Iroquois Confederacy. Note that, due to influence from such a wide variety of Flan communities, the Tenha think nothing of employing wigwams, pueblos, longhouses and other traditional dwellings all at once in different parts of the country, along with combinng syllabics from different traditions (so the modern Flan alphabet might have both Cree- and Cherokee-inspired syllabics).

The Urnst states: The stereotypical differences between Canada and the U.S. are similar to the differences between the County and the Duchy. The County is generally much more polite and restrained, while the Duchy is more outgoing and boisterous. This even applies to the Duchy of Urnst's halflings, who are as outgoing and determined as any human you can name.

The Wild Coast: Think of all the worst stereotypes applied to the Deep South and the Wild West, and apply them in a medieval way. The Wild Coast is popularly known as the garbage dump of the Flanaess (not helped by the fact that Narwell is a literal garbage dump!) where the failures, the incompetents and the second-raters of the Flanaess gather. Neither the land nor its people have much in the way of value, and are known for threatening each other as much as any of their neighbors. They frequently waste their energies on stupid, pointless feuds, drunken brawls, and harebrained schemes rather than anything productive. Anyone who does possess actual talent and ability (such as Zagig Yragerne) quickly leaves for more fertile pastures.
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