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    Canonfire :: View topic - Dirty Olman Savages? Postfest?
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    Dirty Olman Savages? Postfest?
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    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon May 02, 2005 6:05 pm  
    Dirty Olman Savages? Postfest?

    This is kinda a rant, kinda a crazy idea.

    Chatdemon's recent Olman topical submission and the comments appended thereto got me to go and do a quick reread of the Olman entry in the LGG (which is pretty good) and the discussion of the Olman in the Scarlet Brotherhood accessory (which is far more problematic). I come away from this material feeling entirely dissatisfied with the present status of the Olman in Greyhawk.

    I have read a variety of criticisms and diatribes aimed at the Scarlet Brotherhood (tSB) and more generally its author SKR. On reread of the canon, I find all that I can remember of these are, IMO, fundamentally off-base in their criticism. tSB deserves to be criticized but not for the reasons it usually is criticized, as I remember such.

    The problems with tSB, IMO, are two -

    (1) SKR commits the novice (which he is not) designer's most fundamental error - he leaves himself no way out. While stopping short of having the Olman "dirty savages," he stops just short. So short, it almost makes no difference. The Olman are so reduced to a primitive state and a total savagery that there is no way to easily bring them back to some other state if you happen to have a use for them in that guise. SKR so commits to his vision that he forecloses any other use. He leaves himself and the Olman no way out. They are so near "dirty savages" that that is almost their sole utility to a DM. A DM wanting to do something more and work within canon has a huge, steep, uphill climb to make the Olman anything more than primitives. This might be okay, but still poor design, were it not for problem No. 2.

    (2) SKR squanders the obvious and rich potential the Olman present as a divergent (read non-European) culture that is located close to the main cultural (read pseudo-European) play area - in this case the Flanaess. The Olman are reduced to such a primitive state that they are only good for sword-bait, slaving, or servants to some one-shot exotic (probably death or evil) cult. If they had power, they could be juxtaposed to the societies of the Flanaess. In their present state, any such juxtaposition is laughable and the joke is on the Olman. This a terrible squandering of resources. The Olman as pseudo-MesoAmericans offer a host of possibilities none of which are capable of being realized when the people are reduced to near or actual savagery. The Olman could have been another Baklunish caliber culture to contrast with the main body of the Flanaess on sufficiently equal terms to demand more than a passing thought. But no. SKR gives us "dirty Olman savages," with only a single, isolated exception - the city-state of Xamaclan (sp).

    SKR thus wasted the Olman's potential and did such a thorough job that there is no easy way to recover them as other than "dirty savages" without massively ignoring canon. Sad

    Enough rant. I generally like SKR's work but he screwed the pooch wih tSB. Confused

    Okay. How to rehabilitate the Olman within the bounds of canon as something more useful to the rich tapestry of the World of Greyhawk? As noted, it is a steep, uphill climb from the depths of tSB. How about an Olman Postfest? Put CF's "brain-trust" to work on the problem. Happy All entries would focus on "restoring/establishing the Olman to a greater position of importance in the World of Greyhawk."

    Its a narrow topic but challenging and the "canon" is limitede, chiefly the LGG, tSB and Tamoachan. Why not a "cultural postfest" and one with a very useful goal - getting the Olman out of the mud they have been driven into in tSB?

    Thoughts?

    SAVE THE OLMAN Exclamation

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    GVD
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    Tue May 03, 2005 1:05 pm  

    the 'dirty savages' are your words not his.

    most of the olman once had a great civilization that deteriorated. the contrast between the forgotten city and tamoachan on the one hand and the present day status of the bulk of the olman seems like rich imagery rather than a 'design flaw' to me. think Heart of Darkness.

    if you desire civilized olman, note that one civilized olman city (the southernmost) remains in the Amedio so send your PCs there. in addition, the forgotten city module has a further adventure suggestion in the back of the module that suggests having the PCs inadvertently travel back through time in search of someone at the height of the city and olman civilization. either option is available if you want to contrast present day olman status to that of the old empire.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Tue May 03, 2005 5:02 pm  
    Module I1?

    Wouldn't the Dwellers of the Forbidden City be Tuov?

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    Tue May 03, 2005 6:13 pm  

    trollwad wrote:
    the 'dirty savages' are your words not his.


    That would be true.

    I figured that "unvarnished" description would cut to the heart of the matter. Smile

    With the lone exception of Xamaclan (sp?), my description accurately captures the state of the Olman as described in tSB by SKR. Sad I don't like it but there it is. And a very thorough job it is. There are little or no hooks available to see the Olman as anything other any time soon. SKR did a fine hatchet job on the Olman. Mad

    My suggestion is to use a postfest as a vehicle to see how people might develop the Olman as something (more interesting) than what is described in tSB. Happy If CF has demonstrated anything to me it is that there is a great diversity of thought here united by an equally great creativity. I'd like to see what the CF community could and would do with the Olman to make them a more vital and interesting part of the setting.

    The Olman are not "dirty savages;" they just appear that way in tSB. They need a makeover. I suggest CF to the rescue. Grey-Eye for those Olman guys? Wink
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    Wed May 04, 2005 1:29 am  

    trollwad wrote:
    the 'dirty savages' are your words not his.

    most of the olman once had a great civilization that deteriorated. the contrast between the forgotten city and tamoachan on the one hand and the present day status of the bulk of the olman seems like rich imagery rather than a 'design flaw' to me. think Heart of Darkness.


    Evil, primitive idiots running around half naked in the jungle, getting promptly conquered by a force that has no logical reason to easily do so is "rich imagery"? Tell Sean we said hello at his next fanboy roundup.
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    Wed May 04, 2005 1:38 am  
    Re: Dirty Olman Savages? Postfest?

    GVDammerung wrote:

    SKR thus wasted the Olman's potential and did such a thorough job that there is no easy way to recover them as other than "dirty savages" without massively ignoring canon. Sad


    The problem is, if you do massively ignore canon, or even try and reinterpret canon with lengthy documentation and reasoned arguments, you are met only with arguments about the botany of corn and citations of how you deviated from canon, even though your stated purpose was to deviate from canon.

    The bulk of people, with very few exceptions, that I've seen here that even care to comment on Olman lore are either content with the Canon, or are married to it (through use of it in articles they've written in the past) and unwilling to try and change it.

    Rehashing the stereotypical nonsense that SKR has perpetuated regarding the Olman isn't something I care to participate in. See the user comments on my recent article for more.
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    Wed May 04, 2005 12:49 pm  

    I'd love to help work on a project like this. While a postfest is also a good idea, I like the idea of a group project, similar to what Nellisir suggested for UnderOerth. But either way, count me in.

    Personally, I'd like to concentrate on the Olman at the height of their culture, develop some flavor and strengths for them historically, then carry those ideas through to modern events. I've always thought that the Olman as presented were the "unwashed masses" of the race, and the only portion encountered by any SB or Sea Price slavers. These are the bandits, serfs, whathaveyou, living in the unwanted portion of the Amedio that the jungle has reclaimed. I hadn't yet explored where the REAL Olman civilization is (just to the south, with the slavers not travelling that far yet, just to the west, with the slavers not nearing the Hellfurnaces yet, or whatever). These ideas haven't gone beyond embryonic.

    Another tie-in that I haven't developed at all was the ancient civilizations of the Dakon and the trog-lizard dudes. Were these pre-Olman, or were one or both still active as the Olman civilization grew? Either way there's a great opportunity to give some alien influence, ancient magic, etc. Whether the Olman wiped them out or they were long gone by the time the Olmans developed/arrived, I think there's great opportunity to introduce some strange forces, exotic influences, whatever. I'd love to give the Olman of today a very strange, unique feel while still elevating them to a real presence if western Oerik.
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    Wed May 04, 2005 1:48 pm  

    Now, now chatdemon.
    If you are going to talk about ignoring canon then do it. Don't take half steps and expect the flaws you leave to be ignored.
    The Olman growing corn and wheat like that is silly. Rather than leaping through hoops to explain it, you should have just changed the crops depicted in that first fresco, explaining that original text reflected the impressions of outsiders as to what the Olman were cultivating.

    Now I happen to like what John Baker did with the Olman for the modules he proposed and is working on for LG Keoland. Of course he is working with the Olman refugees in Keoland, so he has more leeway with the society they have built. But it definitely shows them in another light.
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    Thu May 05, 2005 9:25 am  

    The Olman civilization may be decaying but that is far from boring, I view the exploitation of the Jungles akin to the slave trade rather than a walk over, given the wealth of the jungles, expeditions have been scarce indeed with most being raids or using tribal rivalry too supply slaves and goods.

    The unique enviroment of the jungle actually favors "the dirty savages" rather than the metal clad knight, the olman warrior should have the same problems moving onto the temperate grasslands that the knight has in the jungle.

    Which doesn't mean the olman warrior can't adapt, during the slave revolts of the Hold of the Sea Princes the "olman slaves" are holding their own, is their a Toussaint L'Ouverture, the African who won the Independence for Haiti leader among them.

    The lone intact city, I won't even try to spell it, shows the level of sophistication a jungle culture can reach, which can be used as a shock for the PCs who take GVD view of the olman as "dirty savages" try that phrase in the city state court and see where you end up...

    Not even going mention the quietly expanding yuan-ti but they are only "filthy animals" right GVD. Wink

    As any other people and enviroment, the jungle and the olman are only as interesting and vibrant as you and your players choose to make them.
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    Thu May 05, 2005 10:58 am  

    eh, that's rather the point of this thread, Crag. THe canon material doesn't do any of that stuff, making no attempt to create an interesting culture for the Olman beyond "jungle savages". GVD is asking if we can do a postfest on the subject so that folks will think about how to save them from that published fate. Frankly, I've never done much with the Olman because the source material is all jungle primitives with a dash of lazy cloning of a watered down mesoamerican culture.
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    Thu May 05, 2005 12:16 pm  

    Samwise wrote:

    The Olman growing corn and wheat like that is silly. Rather than leaping through hoops to explain it, you should have just changed the crops depicted in that first fresco, explaining that original text reflected the impressions of outsiders as to what the Olman were cultivating.


    Ah yes, I can see it now:

    The diorama actually depicts the harvesting of Xamcla and Ictam, two notable Olman crops, often mistaken by explorers for corn and wheat.

    Wait, that's wrong! The module says it's corn and wheat! You can't change that, that's not canon! I'm gonna tell Gygax on you!

    I know what the module said, as I stated in introducing this material, I'm reinterpretting the material.

    but, but, but... That's not canon! You can't do that!

    Despite the fact that my recent article EXPLICITLY states that it is reworking the canon, there were mulitple comments on it pointing out my error in ignoring canon. No thanks. Trying to find a new meaning for canon that SKR and Holian have endorsed is futile in this community of fans.

    Not worth my time...
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    Thu May 05, 2005 2:13 pm  

    chatdemon wrote:
    Despite the fact that my recent article EXPLICITLY states that it is reworking the canon, there were mulitple comments on it pointing out my error in ignoring canon. No thanks. Trying to find a new meaning for canon that SKR and Holian have endorsed is futile in this community of fans.

    Not worth my time...


    On the "corn front," I like Kirt's "gift of the gods" way out. I'm going to guess that another option would be to move the crop further up a mountainside - terraced farming at an appropriate altitude (assuming proper irrigation etc.). Point being that there should be ways to "finesse" the issue.

    On the "canon front," I personally try to anticipate "canon" arguments and, rather than just ignore or contradict canon, look to "creatively read" the canon. And if someone is dead set on "canon" no matter what, that's okay as you can never please everybody anyway. "Thanks for taking the time to provide feedback!"

    As for SKR, he's not in the picture anymore. As for Holian, I don't know that anyone has ever seen him, let alone gotten a picture. Wink I wouldn't let either of them break your stride.

    I think an Olman postfest would be cool but your participation would definitely be a huge plus as you have obviously put a lot of thought into the Olman. I don't know if "The Powers That Be" would have any interest in an Olman postfest but if they should, I hope you would (re)consider participating.

    Say it loud, "I'm an Olman fan and I'm proud!" Happy
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    Thu May 05, 2005 2:18 pm  

    I've seen Gary. He's about 5' 2" 260ish lbs.

    Wears flannels, khakis, adidas tennies, and a hot bink hair clip.

    Runs around sayin "washup homey!?," alot.

    lolz Wink

    edit: I have a picture too, but he doesn't like it when I post it in public bcuz all the ladies fill his inbox with PMs.
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    Last edited by abysslin on Thu May 05, 2005 2:19 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Thu May 05, 2005 2:18 pm  

    basiliv wrote:
    I've always thought that the Olman as presented were the "unwashed masses" of the race, and the only portion encountered by any SB or Sea Price slavers. These are the bandits, serfs, whathaveyou, living in the unwanted portion of the Amedio that the jungle has reclaimed. I hadn't yet explored where the REAL Olman civilization is (just to the south, with the slavers not travelling that far yet, just to the west, with the slavers not nearing the Hellfurnaces yet, or whatever). These ideas haven't gone beyond embryonic.


    I never thought of this! COOL idea! And a way of "rereading" canon without contradicting it - only the fringes of the Olman have been encountered and thus described, while the "real" Olman are deeper in the interior etc. Neat idea! Happy

    Postfest! Postfest! Postfest! Wink
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    Thu May 05, 2005 7:04 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    Now, now chatdemon.
    If you are going to talk about ignoring canon then do it. Don't take half steps and expect the flaws you leave to be ignored.


    You need to reread the article, which I factchecked. In no place does Rich say corn originated in the Pomarj. By your own admission, corn could grow on a limited basis there, much more easily than in the jungle. Your sole criticism of the article is flawed and based on a statement that was never made.
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    Thu May 05, 2005 7:06 pm  

    abysslin wrote:
    Snipping the off topic nonsense.


    Does this somehow add something to the conversation that I'm missing?
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    Thu May 05, 2005 7:37 pm  

    Thanks GVD!! I'm not against breaking with canon at all, but my own preference is to skirt it. ;-) I try to explore things that weren't touched on in canon, or were only hinted at, or were left kinda vague. The idea is that it's not outright rejected by either the canon-bound or the heretics. But I digress.

    I've got another idea, but it's only loosely Olman-related. I'd much rather work with somebody who's got more Olman-ideas to tie it in better.

    *wink-wink* *nudge-nudge*

    My idea is to take UK6, All That Glitters, which was obviously originally written to be placed under the Hellfurnaces, between the Amedio and the Sea of Dust, and expand on it. If this tunnel was constructed during the heyday of the Imperium, why? That's a lotta work, even using magic. This is one aspect I haven't answered fully yet. Slaves and exotic woods, herbs, meats, fruits, etc., sure, but what else? Just a tropical vacation spot?

    Also, I figured that, to construct a tunnel as user-friendly as this thing is, it probably connected with something that the common man would visit. So my thought was that a Suloise city was constructed in the western Amedio (possibly just a stronghold or something, but again, why build this complex tunnel for a smallish outpost?).

    Again, embryonic ideas, but this is where I imagined the ancient dakon and trog-dude civilization(s) to come into play (keep in mind that when I said "trogs" below, it's shorthand for whatever these pre-trog ancient reptilians were). What I'm leaning toward is that the trog folks were already gone by the time the Suel arrived, but their ruins and magic remnants were evil, powerful, and often unstable. The Suloise city was constructed rather quickly using magic (hey, if they built the tunnel using magic...). Once the peaceful dakon became aware of the newcomers, they tried to drive them out. The battles that followed largely decimated the dakon population, which is why they're more secretive today.

    Why did the dakon attack? Because the Suel had unwittingly built over ancient trog ruins. After several peaceful years, the tunnels beneath the new city were discovered, and they discovered That Which Must Not Be Disturbed. The Suel were wiped out in some fashion (picture the prologue to a film where only the silhouettes give a hint of what's occurred). Kidding. Seriously, this is still in the air.

    Enter our heroes. They stumble upon (are directed to, etc.) this ancient city. The tunnels leading to the dangerous stuff are largely sealed off, but they get a good scary taste of the evil below. Then they discover the entrance to the tunnel from UK6, and they make their way to the west...

    Again, I'd welcome help, input, critiques, expansions...I could do this as a postfest writeup, but i'd much rather collaborate with one or more folks on it.
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    Thu May 05, 2005 9:07 pm  

    Despotrix wrote:

    You need to reread the article, which I factchecked. In no place does Rich say corn originated in the Pomarj. By your own admission, corn could grow on a limited basis there, much more easily than in the jungle. Your sole criticism of the article is flawed and based on a statement that was never made.


    If you call the Pomarj the homeland of the Olman, then their crops are almost certainly native to their homeland. That means the corn would be native. If not, then where would it come from? And how would it get there? So in fact my criticism is reasonable, and based on an implied element of the article.
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    Thu May 05, 2005 10:26 pm  

    Eh, how does that follow? Crops sure do spread from community to community. The olman picking up wheat and corn from another tribe is certainly feasible.

    Its not like humans originated in the Pomarj. Just that's where the Olman first developed into a distinct cultural unit that is recognizably Olman.
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    Fri May 06, 2005 6:01 am  

    Despotrix wrote:
    abysslin wrote:
    Snipping the off topic nonsense.


    Does this somehow add something to the conversation that I'm missing?


    About as much as you replying. Oh...

    But I did at least add something meaningful earlier on, which you have not. Unless joining arguements is "adding something."
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    Fri May 06, 2005 7:26 am  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    Eh, how does that follow? Crops sure do spread from community to community. The olman picking up wheat and corn from another tribe is certainly feasible.

    Its not like humans originated in the Pomarj. Just that's where the Olman first developed into a distinct cultural unit that is recognizably Olman.


    OK. But from what humans where? They still need to be in the proper environment to develop those crops. And they need to be viable to transmit to the new environment.
    There really isn't any good place for corn to develop in the Flanaess. And doing so, there really isn't any good way for that corn to get from there to the Pomarj, as we don't have the tribes able to move it.
    Even more, given wheat and medieval agricultural technology, why bother with corn? Especially earlier types of corn like maize. Wheat is overwhelmingly superior.
    Yes, crops do spread. It took hundreds of years for corn to spread from Mexico to the US because of the differences in environment. And that was in the absence of wheat, or any other cereal grass.
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    Fri May 06, 2005 9:35 am  

    Well, that's not particularly relevant and well beyond the scope of the article. Which is, after all, about explaining Tomoachan and the Olman, not corn.

    They had corn and wheat. Both could be grown in the pomarj. And since we don't know if corn developed on Oerth, was brought by plane travellers, shipped by spelljammers, or dropped by a bored god, or what, getting fixated on its origin is kind of pointless.
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    Fri May 06, 2005 12:08 pm  

    Another thing I forgot to mention that I'd love help with is figuring out how the Olman interacted with this Suel city, what they think of the ruins today (haunted? Olman dwelling within them? unknown even to them? (lost in myth and the city was UTTERLY destroyed or something), etc.).

    Also, how did the Olman interact with the dakon at the height of their civilization? How long ago was the decline of the trog-dudes...did the Olman interact with them?
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    Fri May 06, 2005 12:16 pm  

    abysslin wrote:
    Despotrix wrote:
    abysslin wrote:
    Snipping the off topic nonsense.


    Does this somehow add something to the conversation that I'm missing?


    About as much as you replying. Oh...

    But I did at least add something meaningful earlier on, which you have not. Unless joining arguements is "adding something."


    Whoa! The topic is about Olman and not about personal attacks. Lets not derail this thread so quickly. Consider the topic before going any further with this please.
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    Fri May 06, 2005 2:56 pm  

    abysslin wrote:

    But I did at least add something meaningful earlier on


    You did?
    Can you point out that post please? Maybe the threads too long and I missed it.
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    Fri May 06, 2005 5:09 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    Well, that's not particularly relevant and well beyond the scope of the article. Which is, after all, about explaining Tomoachan and the Olman, not corn.

    They had corn and wheat. Both could be grown in the pomarj. And since we don't know if corn developed on Oerth, was brought by plane travellers, shipped by spelljammers, or dropped by a bored god, or what, getting fixated on its origin is kind of pointless.


    It is quite relevant to me.
    "Just because" explanations are the reason revisions like this are needed. Throwing more at something questionable just adds another layer to the problem. Better a complete revision than just a slapped on patch.
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    Fri May 06, 2005 8:53 pm  

    Well, see that's a different issue. Frankly, I'm not sure how you can claim anything other than "just because" for your scientific arguments, though. We don't have nearly enough information. We don't know what the vast majority of Oerth is like. We don't know anything about what is native, what is immigrant (lots of "animal" species in GH lore are not native), where humans developed from (or even if it was on Oerth), or anything else necessary to trace such things.

    Further, the world changes far faster than the real world. If you look at North America a thousand years ago, it pretty much looks the way it does now, save for the heavy deforestation. You don't have a big chunk mysteriously transformed into the bright desert. You don't have an ENORMOUS area turned into the Sea of Dust and the Dry Steppes. Nor the magically induced vulcanism of the Hellfurnaces. And there is plenty of other such things, albeit on smaller scales.

    You want to try to fill in all those blanks for yourself, that's cool. Might even be interesting to read. But it is by no means a basis for making statements like this:

    Quote:
    So while those scenes are definitely not from anywhere in Hepmonaland, you need to keep looking for your Olman homeland.


    You may wish to keep looking. There is no inherent reason why others need to.

    There are many, many reasons why the Olman could have had corn in the pomarj. Its far from uncommon for cultures to preserve customs, foodstuffs, and other such things long after "better" alternatives became available. If corn had cultural or religious significance, it could well have been preserved even with "superior" crops like wheat. If he was attempting an ethnography, he'd have to address that sort of issue. He wasn't.

    The Pomarj isn't the 'ultimate source' of the Olman, unless they were created on the spot by the gods. No humans, not even the Flan, are 'native" to the Flanaess. Its not even clear they are native to the Oerth. It is perfectly reasonable to have the Pomarj be the place where the Olman differentiated themselves from whatever proto culture they arose from, though. Why they have corn and wheat as crops is certainly a question. But it is not an invalidating one.
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    Sat May 07, 2005 2:03 pm  

    Ok enough already...

    The "sacred seed" corn idea is interesting, and I prefer too build on canon rather than throw it out, so I thought a northern pomarj olman outpost rather than the olman origin was a viable compromise for chatdemons ideas but it hardly merits the bitterness being shown.

    Since the Olman are raising such interest, let's get back on topic...interesting ideas within canon context for the olman.

    The suel ruins are an obvious tie in, we know the suel established trade posts beyond the mountains to the east before the cataclysm so why not to the south to exploit the jungle resources as well.

    I see it as an imperial trade station like what happened in North America or Africa before colonies appeared...remained on the edge and established trading relations with the natives for scarce manufactured goods, this relationship invariably causes competition and conflict among the native cultures as the suel merchants seek to manipulate the tribes to their benefit.

    It could also explain why some suel headed south instead of east after the cataclysm, the either saw opportunity for a "new empire" easier among the jungle tribes, had assets within the jungle or were merchants stranded within the jungle when the catacylism happened.

    Just a thought....
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    Sat May 07, 2005 4:46 pm  

    Thanks for the input, Crag. I guess my concern is still that the tunnel would have been a major undertaking, and I can't see it being worth the resources for just a trade post. Not sure if you're familiar with UK6 or not, so I apologize if I explain things you already know.

    *************SPOILERS******************

    The tunnels in question use powerful magics, including devils forced to play the role of tunnel guardians, earth elementals that use distance distortion to transport the "patrons", a gaseous form type of effect that allows the users to be blown along on air currents, etc. Add to this the 90(ish) miles of tunnel excavated from beneath a mountain range, and you get the idea of the resources I'm mentioning.

    *************END OF SPOLIERS***********


    So, maybe I'm missing something obvious, and I apologize if that's the case. I think the volume of travel between the Imperium and the Amedio would need to be significant in order to justify the construction of this tunnel system. You could gather whatever resources we'd like to use to justify the presence of the Suel in the jungle. I have no problems there. It's the serious advantage (or need) to develop a tunnel system of this complexity for travel back and forth that's my concern.

    So I agree with all of your points. I'm just looking for more input. Wink

    While MY motivation for this is "hey, this is really cool, it's feasible for the society in question, and fits really well into the geography", I think the setup begs the question of why the SUEL would want to go to the trouble of creating this. I also don't want players to get the idea that there's no other reason for this to exist. It should at least have the appearance of function=form, even if that's not how the idea began for the DM(s).

    For the record, IMHO "because it's cool" happened in the Empire on a smaller scale. Happy
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    Sat May 07, 2005 5:37 pm  

    basiliv wrote:
    I think the volume of travel between the Imperium and the Amedio would need to be significant in order to justify the construction of this tunnel system.


    It's not the volume of traffic; it's the volume of profit. Never underestimate the desire of the people for shiny things from far away. Spices, silk, ivory, and salt are a few real-world examples that pop into my head right away.

    Also, the tunnel may not have been built/completed all at once. Things like that tend to evolve over time, as different people add different effects to their taste.

    Cheers
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    Sat May 07, 2005 6:28 pm  

    Hey Nell, how's that cloaker kingdom coming along? Wink

    I suppose you're right. If the demand for the items was great enough, politics could have played a big role in getting the tunnel underway. Exotic new spell components, strange magic from the trog-dudes...

    Okay, thanks all, it's finally making sense to me.

    So, to tie this in more with GVD's original intent, how long ago do we think the Olman civilization peaked? How long did the decline take? I think Nellisir's idea of the tunnel taking some time to complete is great, and the same could also be true of the outpost. I like the idea of a century or so from initial outpost to the whole thing going to pot. There's lots of opportunity for storylines that way. Maybe the Olman were at their peak when the Suel arrived, and declined from there. Maybe they learned from the Suel (stolen magic, tortured Suel captives forced to teach magic, metallurgy, etc.) and peaked decades after they were encountered. Maybe the Olman society was already in decline when they arrived...I can see military conflicts, commando operations through the jungle....I think dragging out the timeline provides lots of potential.
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    Sat May 07, 2005 6:37 pm  

    Oh, keep in mind, when I say "in decline"...I still like the idea of the Olman civilization being alive and well and just deep within the Amedio today. Maybe I should have said "at the peak of their expansion", or something similar to differentiate.
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    Sat May 07, 2005 10:28 pm  

    Well, you are going to have to ditch some canon material no matter what you do. There really isn't any good way to explain intensive agriculture and jungle origin (aka the Hepmonaland theory).

    Its pretty clear that the easiest way to explain the Hepmonaland conundrum is to say they meant "Hepmonaland, the continent" and that the Olman originally lived somewhere south and off map, in a more arid corn and wheat friendly region. The savage fringe is a good approach to salvaging them from the horrible treatment they've gotten so far on the culture/civilization front.

    For me, though, the direct cloning of the Mesoamerican deities is a fatal flaw. I really can't stand that sort of thing. If you are going to make a unique fantasy culture, at least have the integrity to customize the religion even when it is based off a real world one. So I won't be touching the Olman without ripping up canon and heaving it into the incinerator, because there is no freaking way Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, et al are gonna be in my Greyhawk campaign.
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    Sun May 08, 2005 2:53 pm  

    Crag wrote:
    The "sacred seed" corn idea is interesting, and I prefer too build on canon rather than throw it out, so I thought a northern pomarj olman outpost rather than the olman origin was a viable compromise for chatdemons ideas . . .

    Just a thought....


    I like both ideas.

    "Sacred corn" finesses the whole issue well enough - its magic! I think this works particularly well because the Olman gods are "alien." So, if not magic - science! You pick.

    IMO, the Olman pushed north into the Pomarj. Rather than coming from the Flanaess south. Canon, I believe, supports this in the following manor -

    The Olman have a distinctive architectural style that is common in their lands in the Amedio and their former lands in Hepmonaland. In the north, this type of architecture is almost wholly absent, even in a ruined state. However, in the north there are a very few remnants of this style, notably in the Abbor-Alz. See Glacial Inferno, Dungeon 103 (specifically the temple in The Halls of Huhueteotl). Based on the frequency of cultural artifacts, I surmise that the Olman developed as a civilization in the south (we can argue whether this was Hepmonaland, the Amedio, the Islands or, my theory, on a now sunken land bridge between Hepmonaland and the Amedio, of which the only thing left are the Olman Islands - the name itself identifying it as the homeland (what's left of it) of the Olman people). They then pushed north into what is now southern Keoland, the Pomarj and eventually the Bright Desert region of the Abbor-Alz. My further surmise is that the Olman were forced to retreat back to the south because of a) political infighting/civil war within the Olman Empire and b) the rise of Sulm and other advanced Flan nations which opposed the Olman. If the Olman were from the north, I would expect to see their influence more prominently in the ruins of Sulm, as the Olman were in the Abbor-Alz. Instead, Sulm appears much different and its ruins dominate the area with the Olman ruins being the exception.

    I thus conclde that the Olman started in the south, pushed north as far as the Abbor-Alz and were pushed back south again, their empire expanding and then contracting.

    Vormaerin wrote:
    For me, though, the direct cloning of the Mesoamerican deities is a fatal flaw. I really can't stand that sort of thing. If you are going to make a unique fantasy culture, at least have the integrity to customize the religion even when it is based off a real world one. So I won't be touching the Olman without ripping up canon and heaving it into the incinerator, because there is no freaking way Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, et al are gonna be in my Greyhawk campaign.


    I agree it wasn't the best idea going in but I am cool with the end result. The use of "alien" gods is, to me, very cool and opens lots of interesting possibilities. That these "alien" gods happen to bear more than a passing resemblance or are identical in some cases to the deities of Meso-America also works for me. The connections between Oerth, Aerth, Earth etc. are well known and documented. This is just another example. I personally like the whole "sky-gods" idea. Makes solving the "corn problem" easy - its an "alien" hybrid that grows where other corn would and should not - a gift from the "alien" gods.


    basiliv wrote:
    . . .how long ago do we think the Olman civilization peaked? How long did the decline take? I think Nellisir's idea of the tunnel taking some time to complete is great, and the same could also be true of the outpost. I like the idea of a century or so from initial outpost to the whole thing going to pot. There's lots of opportunity for storylines that way. Maybe the Olman were at their peak when the Suel arrived, and declined from there. Maybe they learned from the Suel (stolen magic, tortured Suel captives forced to teach magic, metallurgy, etc.) and peaked decades after they were encountered. Maybe the Olman society was already in decline when they arrived...I can see military conflicts, commando operations through the jungle....I think dragging out the timeline provides lots of potential.


    I see the history of the Olman Empire in three phases:

    Phase I - The Reign of the God Kings - This period takes place in pre-history on the land bridge of which only the Olman Islands remain. This first great period, when the empire encompassed northern Hepmonaland, the Olman Islands and the Amedio ended with the sinking of the land bridge.

    Phase II - The Reign of the Mountain Kings - This period takes place at about the time of the rise of the Suel Imperium and is named for the rulers who came from Olman lving on the slopes of the Hellfurnaces. Trade between the Suel and the Olman flourished in this period. This period was brough to an end when the lowland Olman rebelled against their mountain dwelling cousins.

    Phase III - The Reign of City States - This period takes place at the height of the Suel Empire. The lowland Olman build an empire composed of a loose confederation of allied city states, each ruler by a semi-autonomous "prince." The Olman Empire reaches its greatest heights as the city states peacefully compete to out do each other raising the empire to heights equal to the Suel and expanding into the Flanaess. The empire falls just before the Twin Cataclysms as the competition between city states becomes violent and the empire collapses in on itself. Only Xamaclan survives largely unscathed.

    IMC - Today, the Olman are again on the rise. Xamaclan is gradually reclaiming more and more of the jungle lands but the revived city states all owe firm allegience to Xamaclan, they are not semi-autonomous. In the mountains, the Olman mountain kingdoms have recovered and a similar consolidation of power is underway. In 25 to 50 years, there will be two Olman powers, one in the mountains and one in the lowlands, who will likely come into conflict. The mountain kingdoms are unknown to the Flanaess. Xamaclan also remain virtually unknown. The intrusion of the SB, Sea Princes and the Keolanders has yet to make much of an impact on the actual inheritors of the legacy of the Olman Empire of old. These outsiders are a wild card and they may tip the balance of power between the two Olman groups. At the same time, there is a prophecy of the return of the Olman gods. Small groups of Olman also continue the tradition of the old empire within the Flanaess. The group in the Abbor-Alz is one such. Another operates within the Hold of the Sea Princes.

    If I was designing Greyhawk - The Next Reincarnation, the Olman would be one of the "new" power groups to show themselves.
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    Sun May 08, 2005 3:39 pm  

    Granted it is disappointing how obvious the late racial cultures: Olman and Touv were without a strong GH foundation but they are part of GH for good or ill.

    On a brighter note, the SB Accessory does dovetail rather nicely with what has been expressed here: (full map of Hepmonaland included in SB Accessory)

    Hepmonaland (No Dates)
    Southern Hepmonaland is well watered and grassland, the Touv are sedintary (cities) and practise agriculture (no crop specific so corn is possible?) and herding.
    Northern Hepmonaland is Jungle, Olman hunters
    Olman acquire agriculture and herding from Touv begin burning away jungle for agriculture.
    Olman cities remain divided and mutually hostile
    Touv create Kingdom of Kunda, produces iron weapons begins expanding
    War between Touv and Olman cities commence, Olman pushed to the exterme northern jungle, many olman exit Hepmonaland, cross pennisula and settle Olman Isles and southern Amedio.
    Touv internal rivalry and Yuan-ti attacks shatters Kunda but lasts 1200 years.

    Amedio Jungle
    -1000 CY : Olman refugees arrive in Amedio construct seven cities largest being Xamaclan built near a river delta and surrounded by the polahecu grasslands.
    -800 CY : Amedio cities declare independence from Hepmonaland
    -425 CY : Civil wars begin
    -350 CY : Suel house "discovers" Olman, Suel reinhabit a ruin on matreyus lake, over time seek to oppress olman.
    -170 CY : Suel settlement falls, however many new Suel arrivals fleeing Colorless Fire enter the northern amedio, where they immediately come into conflict with the olman. The two races have been fighting each other since the Twin Cataclysms.
    Little change for 700 years
    530 CY : Sea Princes arrive begin to establish forts and settlements for slave raids and use the Olman / Suel warfare to acquire slaves and resources.
    584 CY : SB occupy the Sea princes and enlist the amedio suel and provide support to increase olman slave raids.
    589 CY : Hold uprising has worried SB, slowed slave raids and focusing instead on the other lucrative resources, woods, fruits, spices and metals.

    Given the framework above: the various ideas expressed in this thread can be worked in fairly easily.
    1) The Corn came from the Touv who are an agricultural people, acquired by the olman and brought to the amedio by the olman exodus from Hepmonaland it could be seen as sacred (perhaps the Gods either Touv or Olman or both altered it) since this agricultural exchange ensured peace between the Touv and Olman people until Kingdom of Kunda began expanding.
    2) Chat Demons northern pomarj outpost could be an olman refugee group lost during the exodus or a later colony sent from the established amedio olman cities eager to colonize a new land similar to the land of the agricultural Touv before olman amedio civil wars began.
    3) Suel trade and contact can be seen as more gradual and the conflict slowly building between -350 CY and -170 CY (180 year period).

    Hope all this helps someone?
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    Sun May 08, 2005 4:41 pm  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    Well, see that's a different issue. Frankly, I'm not sure how you can claim anything other than "just because" for your scientific arguments, though. We don't have nearly enough information. We don't know what the vast majority of Oerth is like. We don't know anything about what is native, what is immigrant (lots of "animal" species in GH lore are not native), where humans developed from (or even if it was on Oerth), or anything else necessary to trace such things.


    But what we do know a lot of what Earth is like. And past a certain point, elements, even of a fantasy game, that deny visible evidence, or personal experience or knowlege, detracts from the immersion into the fantasy setting.
    If you wish to use things like "corn" and "wheat", then they should be presented in a way that it is in context with the experiences of the audience.
    Does that mean extra work and research?
    Yes, of course. But the results are well worth it.
    And indeed, that is the essence of the theme of the complaint. Had Lost Shrine of Tamoachan or the Scarlet Brotherhood addressed the issues of the Olman on Oerth rather than tried getting by with a reiteration of the experience of the Mesoamericans on Earth (and a very weak one at that in SB), there wouldn't be so many people eager to revise and reform their presentation.
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    Sun May 08, 2005 7:05 pm  

    basiliv wrote:
    Hey Nell, how's that cloaker kingdom coming along? Wink


    I'm waiting on GLH for a yeah or nay on a new concept here at CF!. I'll give him a few more weeks (I'm setting up to run a new campaign), then rattle his cage again.

    If it works, it'll be a kicker of a new way to work a project like this.

    Cheers
    Nell.

    PS - On topic, it's been floated that the Suel are also "alien" deities. I like the idea, and previously floated the notion that the Suel powers are actually the last survivors of the City of Glass over the Spindrifts, where the Suel inhabitants took refuge and ended up transported back to a pre-Imperium age. Seemed nicely cyclical and Lendor (the god)-ish to me.
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    Mon May 09, 2005 5:58 pm  

    Quote:
    PS - On topic, it's been floated that the Suel are also "alien" deities. I like the idea, and previously floated the notion that the Suel powers are actually the last survivors of the City of Glass over the Spindrifts, where the Suel inhabitants took refuge and ended up transported back to a pre-Imperium age. Seemed nicely cyclical and Lendor (the god)-ish to me.


    Hmmmm. I've always thought of all (or very nearly all) the intelligent races of Oerth as immigrants. Some may not be aware, some may have known at some point in their history but forgot, some may know but keep the knowledge hidden...

    I view Oerth as a nexus for power, and this is why the gods, fiends, divas, etc. take such a strong interest in our little berg. What races existed here originally? *shrug* This was a world ruled by the Lovecraftian powers like the EEG, Laogzed, Panzuriel, etc. I'd initially say these were worshipped by creatures such as the insectoids hinted at in various places, possibly the trog-dudes of the Amedio, the grung and bullywugs, possibly the kuo-toans, but even those ancients might have been immigrants. I've always thought of Oerth as much more important than any races living on it today will ever know. Magic like the Throne of the Gods, the Manual of Infinite Planes...I like Maldin's concept of Elder-Artifacts, and I picture the time that these were created as before even the history of the elves, dragons, or other long-lived races. I also picture their creation on a much younger Oerth, due to the vast powers ripe for the tapping on this world.

    Another view I've heard expressed (that I also like quite a bit), is that, due to this power which Oerth can tap, whichever powers control it will strongly tip the Multiversal balance in their favor -- possibly with disastrous results. This is why there's such a powerful faction for Balance on Oerik.

    So, after my rant...yes, I agree that the Suel gods are alien. Happy

    This is another reason that I have no problem with the Olman gods depicted as imports from Earth. If everyone else immigrated from elsewhere, why not some of Earth's gods? *shrug* It's not like there aren't many other ties between Oerth and Earth...embrace the chaos, folks. Then temper it with an equal portion of Law. Wink
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    Mon May 09, 2005 6:11 pm  
    Basiliv

    Hello All,

    I have not spent a lot of time on this thread, but one post made me laugh a little...

    Quote:
    So, maybe I'm missing something obvious, and I apologize if that's the case. I think the volume of travel between the Imperium and the Amedio would need to be significant in order to justify the construction of this tunnel system. You could gather whatever resources we'd like to use to justify the presence of the Suel in the jungle. I have no problems there. It's the serious advantage (or need) to develop a tunnel system of this complexity for travel back and forth that's my concern.


    Bas.. never ever underestimate the absurdity of politics and bureaucrats. This could have been an invasion route that was completed years after all plans for the invasion were scraped. Or the Wizards of the West could have been trying to prove their worth to the society at large, or maybe the province from whence the tunnel origniates needed a little pork. Or maybe they were actually trying to build a tunnell to Nyrond, and the imperial engineers took a wrong turn.

    If ever there was a true case of truth being stranger than fiction, this would be the one. Someone thought the Maginot Line was a good idea. I wouldnt worry about the reasons. It could be "the folly of one of the ancient rulers of the Suel Imperium, completed by his bureacrats nearly 30 years after his untimley disappearance at the hands of his guards and family."
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    Mon May 09, 2005 7:51 pm  

    LOL!! Great idea, Anced. I like Nellisir's reasoning, but I'll have to add the flavor of your suggestion to my campaign in other places. Wonderful!

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    Tue May 10, 2005 8:57 pm  

    basiliv wrote:


    Hmmmm. I've always thought of all (or very nearly all) the intelligent races of Oerth as immigrants. Some may not be aware, some may have known at some point in their history but forgot, some may know but keep the knowledge hidden...




    That's certainly reasonable. I'd be rather less annoyed if the Olman were, in fact, Mayans who followed the gods off to Nevernever land to escape the future evil of the conquistadors or something. Not the way I'd prefer GH to be developed, but certainly some interesting campaigns have been done that way.

    To be more precise, what I can't stand (perhaps because of my academic background in anthropology) is lifting the gods' names without using the rest of the cultural environment those gods exemplified. The Olman are largely bland jungle savages with a mishmash of traits who happen to worship mesoamerican dieties in some vague way. Ugh.

    crag wrote:
    Granted it is disappointing how obvious the late racial cultures: Olman and Touv were without a strong GH foundation but they are part of GH for good or ill.


    Well, that's sort of my point: the touv are not part of my campaign at all and the Olman are rather different. So a postfest about massaging the GH canon about the Olman is not something I'd be involved in.
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    Wed May 11, 2005 6:52 pm  

    Nellisir wrote:
    basiliv wrote:
    Hey Nell, how's that cloaker kingdom coming along? Wink


    I'm waiting on GLH for a yeah or nay on a new concept here at CF!. I'll give him a few more weeks (I'm setting up to run a new campaign), then rattle his cage again.


    What could a wiki accomplish that a forum can't though?
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    Wed May 11, 2005 6:59 pm  

    Crag wrote:

    On a brighter note, the SB Accessory does dovetail rather nicely with what has been expressed here: (full map of Hepmonaland included in SB Accessory)


    It does?

    Since you refer to "my theory", I assume "what has been expressed here" is still derivative of my article.

    If thats' the case, will everyone please go reread the introduction to that article? In it, I explain, quite clearly that fitting the CRAP that moron wrote for SB was not part of the intent or scope of my article.
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    Wed May 11, 2005 7:03 pm  

    Crag wrote:

    -170 CY : Suel settlement falls, however many new Suel arrivals fleeing Colorless Fire enter the northern amedio, where they immediately come into conflict with the olman. The two races have been fighting each other since the Twin Cataclysms.


    At the risk of contradicting Sean "Canon" Reynolds, the Suel fled the RoCF around -400 CY, not -170 CY. 1000 years ago, not 800.
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    Thu May 12, 2005 3:58 am  

    chatdemon wrote:
    What could a wiki accomplish that a forum can't though?


    I'm hoping/curious to see if it'll increase people's participation in a contributive rather than, or in addition to, a commentative way, and it simultaneously creates an organized resource.

    I LIKE forums, but they're better for development, feedback, and discussion than presentation, plus they're prone to being sidetracked (ie, these posts right here).

    It's an experiment. It might fail. But that doesn't mean it's not worth trying.

    I've got a game Thursday nights now, so no chat for me, but I'll discuss it down in Meta if you want to revive that thread.

    Cheers
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    Thu May 12, 2005 6:37 am  
    Uh-huh...

    >To be more precise, what I can't stand (perhaps because of my academic background in anthropology) is lifting the gods' names without using the rest of the cultural environment those gods exemplified. <

    Yeah, that could never happen in Greyhawk. Except, that Robilar used to call on Odin...

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    Thu May 12, 2005 7:16 am  

    Plz let it go already chatdemon, I have Smile

    I simply meant "dovetail" with the general concensus and direction of the thread not as another criticism of you article.

    If you read my entire response, #2 suggestion : I believe incorporates your pomarj olman colony into canon not your way but is viable with canon to salvage your interesting ideas as a viable compromise not a critique.

    Suel 200 year gap, during the flight of the RCF, perhaps the suel who entered the amedio fled the war before the diaster, major colonisation efforts, ancient history dates are hardly exact, printing error...who knows?

    Let us finally bury this dispute, I refuse too be drawn into quote debates or author name calling, so you don't like Sean Reynolds fine, that's your right fair enough.

    Extending the olive branch...life is too short, chatdemon let it go.
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    Thu May 12, 2005 9:15 am  

    Yes, I am well aware that Gary's home campaign is not one I'd have enjoyed. I do not have his tolerance for tongue in cheek gaming, nor am I as interested in cross genre stuff, and I don't have much interest in playing in groups of 15-20 at a time.

    But Gary's original campaign is not the one he published, nor is the published one identical to the one I DM. And both those things *are* exactly what Gary intended.
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    Thu May 12, 2005 2:38 pm  

    Crag wrote:
    Plz let it go already chatdemon, I have Smile

    I simply meant "dovetail" with the general concensus and direction of the thread not as another criticism of you article.

    If you read my entire response, #2 suggestion : I believe incorporates your pomarj olman colony into canon not your way but is viable with canon to salvage your interesting ideas as a viable compromise not a critique.

    Suel 200 year gap, during the flight of the RCF, perhaps the suel who entered the amedio fled the war before the diaster, major colonisation efforts, ancient history dates are hardly exact, printing error...who knows?

    Let us finally bury this dispute, I refuse too be drawn into quote debates or author name calling, so you don't like Sean Reynolds fine, that's your right fair enough.

    Extending the olive branch...life is too short, chatdemon let it go.


    My dislike of Sean has nothing to do with my pointing out that the dates you quoted from his book are bad.

    It doesn't take 230 years to flee the suel basin and arrive in the Amedio, even under the worst conditions, especially considering that the Suel had already been there and established some outposts, if not full fledged colonies.
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    Thu May 12, 2005 3:32 pm  

    As discussed briefly with GVD in last week's chat, here's my proposed fix to the corn problem:


    Lady Rhalta, esteemed clergy of Labelas Enorath, fellow students of history,

    Compiling what little evidence is left of the history of the region we now call Calegdoern, and the men of the Kingdom of Keoland call the Poor March, was a daunting task, but with the aid of my esteemed colleagues From the Temple of Father Labelas, and the honorable sage Ilbrysis, of distant Cryllor, I present today the first of our findings.

    Long before our ancestors came to these lands, even before the first encampment was made here in Enstad, the lands to the south of us were home to a strange society of men, now evidenced to have migrated across the great Azure Sea, making a new homeland in the Jungles of the far south. Their culture was quite simplistic, compared to those of modern men, being a relatively peaceful folk, tending small farms across the fertile plains and keeping flocks of those animals that men usually find agreeable.

    Now, I see the startled expressions upon some of your faces. How can I possibly refer to the wasteland that is Calegdoern as a fertile plain? That is an interesting facet of the history of that realm.

    In the days when those men settled the area, driven out of the Sheldomar Valley by the growing nations of the Flan men, Calegdoern was a bountiful realm of rolling hills and fertile soil. No hills or mountains marked the landscape east of where the foothills of the Lortmil chain tumble into the sea, and the Olmanfolk successfully raised all manner of crops, most notably wheat and Eol, which men call Maize and Hobniz call corn.

    To understand what caused the radical change in terrain in Calegdoern, we must briefly reopen a painful chapter of our own history, the Olman wars. Predating our calendar by a handful of centuries, these wars established the boundaries of our exalted realm of Celene, but in the process, drove the Olman men out of their homes and across the seas. As we understand the events now, it is not fair to lay the blame for these conflicts solely at the feet of either faction, mistakes and misunderstandings were made by both parties, and a decades long conflict began.

    Eventually, as the Sons of Correlon AllFather led our people to victory in those wars, and the Olman people prepared to follow their prophet Samilikuk across the sea, the holy seers of our people began to feel the evil presence in Calegdoern that can still be felt today. Diviners have placed the name Mettraeden, "Earth Dragon" upon that presence, but our reasearch has suggested that this is slightly erroneous. The Olman people of ancient Calegdoern revered a minor deity known as Luumcoa, or "The Earth Serpent", and it is believed that Luumcoa was somehow left behind, or chosen to stay behind, when the Olman followed the prophet south. Luumcoa is said to have cursed the land forsaken by his peers and the men who revered them, damning any society of men who might ever try and settle the realm again.

    In the summer of the 500th year before the crowning of the first King of Celene, and the beginning of our calendar, a great cataclysm occured to the south, forever turning Calegdoern into the broken, rocky wasteland that it is today. It is theorized that some of the Flan men of the young nations of the Sheldomar realized the new absence of the Olmanfolk, and attempted to claim the realm for themselves, eventually coming across of the abandoned city at the heart of Calegdoern, that same city which men and Oroz now call Stoneheim. Upon their attempt at reestablishing a nation of men based around Stoneheim, these doomed Flanfolk awakened the wrath of Luumcoa, which was manifested as a serious of earthquakes of horrific intensity. Felt as far north as Dyvers and as far east as Rel Astra, these events ripped and tore the landscape of Calegdoern, rising a broken chain of mountains at its center, and tearing the fertility from it's soil.

    Now that that is established, let us return to the nature of the Olmanfolk of ancient Calegdoern...

    From a speech by the Elven Sage Qurvalon to the Clergy of Labelath, Olven god of Time and History, in the fall of 589 CY, in Enstad
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    Thu May 12, 2005 9:43 pm  

    Nicely done guys Smile

    Not only does it fix the corn issue but also the olman migration pattern issue....since it mentions Azure Sea and the Amedio Jungle.

    Now if only the suel RCF timeline / olman contact problem could be solved...can't have everything.

    Congrats, you two on an inventive way to reconcile the topic.
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    Thu May 12, 2005 10:23 pm  

    err, I'll probably regret this, but...

    The post doesn't change anything about chatdemon's original submission. It just explains why the current pomarj is not suitable for the kind of agrarian activities the olman engaged in.

    Its still a matter of the Olman moving from the Flanaess *to* the jungles and southwards or the canon vision of them moving from off map areas northwards.
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    Thu May 12, 2005 11:14 pm  

    Your right, it's late... Embarassed

    When I first read the post, I assumed he meant, across the Azure to the jungle...logically then to the pomarj but after reading it again...you are right still north / south migration.

    I wonder why Chatdemon is so determined to make the Olman origin, the Pomarj and throw "canon" out the window, when his ideas, which are very good, can easily be placed in the context of canon simply by making his pomarj olman "colony city" a northern expansion after amedio settlement.

    He loses none of his ideas but seems dead set against the suggestion Question
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    Thu May 12, 2005 11:23 pm  

    Well, I can't really speak for him. But I assume he doesn't like the tSB treatment of Hepmonaland and the Touv, either. I know I don't.

    THere is nothing wrong with you using his article in that fashion. But I won't use any of that canon material in my campaign and it sure looks like he doesn't either.
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    Fri May 13, 2005 12:01 am  

    Vormaerin wrote:
    Well, I can't really speak for him. But I assume he doesn't like the tSB treatment of Hepmonaland and the Touv, either. I know I don't.


    Exactly. I truly despise the treatment of the Touv and Olman in SB. The degenerate Amedi Suel I can live with, as well as the depiction of the SB itself, since Sean was rather bound by Wars, FTA and TAB in their regard.

    But I refuse to use any of the material on the Olman or Touv, and wrote my article, and posts in this thread, from that standpoint.
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    Fri May 13, 2005 1:58 pm  

    Something Chatdemon and I were discussing at the Greychat last night was David Howry's Hepmonaland/pseudo-Africa article in Dragon 189, complete with full color map.

    Howry was/is an ardent Greyhawker who published a number of Dragon/Dungeon articles wherein he noted that the material in the articles was drawn from his GH campaign. The articles are uniformly top notch, the best being among the best articles ever to be published in Dragon/Dungeon, IMO.

    The question is - is it "canon?"

    I answer "yes."

    Anything, IMO, (whether or not it contradicts something published before or after) published by the IP holder or designated licensee that identifies itself as having application to a published setting is "canon" for that setting. One can argue about how much weight to give such canon but it remains canon, however strongly or weekly, IMO.

    Thus, we have TWO "canon" sources for Hepmonaland - The Scarlet Brotherhood by SKR and Howry's Dragon 189 Hepmonaland. I believe one can choose either and still be able to assert a claim of "canon." Since the two offter divergent views of Hepmonaland, one need not go with SKR if they prefer Howry's vision.

    I suggested to Chatdemon that this might be an option for him as he dislikes the Olman originating in Hepmonaland per SKR.

    Myself, I like the idea of the Olman in the Pomarj. As I previously posted, I believe a case can be made in canon for the Olman in the Abbor-Alz. However, I see the Olman originating in the south, The Olman Islands to be precise, and advancing in all directions, including to the north. Cool

    To anyone who has not read Howry's stuff in Dragon/Dungeon, I highly recommend it!
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    Wed Jun 08, 2005 5:39 am  

    Crag wrote:

    I wonder why Chatdemon is so determined to make the Olman origin, the Pomarj and throw "canon" out the window, when his ideas, which are very good, can easily be placed in the context of canon simply by making his pomarj olman "colony city" a northern expansion after amedio settlement.


    Because the canon on the amedio and the Olman, as explained in Scarlet Brotherhood is stereotypical, even racist, garbage.
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    Wed Jun 08, 2005 5:41 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Something Chatdemon and I were discussing at the Greychat last night was David Howry's Hepmonaland/pseudo-Africa article in Dragon 189, complete with full color map.


    I've never been all that interested in an African based setting within Greyhawk, but I do agree that Howry's article and the accompanying adventures were pretty nice. Well researched and respectfully presented, IMO.
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    Wed Jun 08, 2005 5:52 am  

    So now that the hooplah over Rich's ideas has died down, let me correct all of you and explain where the Olman really came from. Happy

    There is a pretty nice patch of grasslands just south of the Amedio Jungle, between the jungles end and the region the Dragon Annual map calls Zindia. Grasslands. Corn's a grass. There ya go.

    There are also black skinned humans --black, not dark brown-- in the southern Sea of Dust in Greyhawk Adventures. These can easily be explained as the inhabitants of the realm of Zindia, who have ventured north to explore Suel ruins in the desert. They can also be the black skinned warriors depicted fighting the red skinned Olman warriors in the Olman artwork found in the ruins of Tamoachan. Rather than traipse armies across vast grasslands or through jungles, the Olman and --Zindians--, for lack of a canon name for those guys, raided each other from the water, explaining the appearance of boats in the aforementioned artwork.

    It's that simple. No shoehorning the Olman in the Flanaess, no arguing over the origins of corn, no catering to the poorly written material in Scarlet Brotherhood.

    I'm open for discussion, but pretty set in my version of this, since I have two solid canon solutions for the questions posed by Tamoachan's artwork.
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    Wed Jun 08, 2005 9:23 am  

    *cough*

    Corn is an arid hill grass.

    Cool

    However, south of the Amedio would be a proper temperature zone, and I suspect there are some arid hills in the area, so . . .

    Happy
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    Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:14 am  

    I am an advocate of giving the Olman more than they have been given in strictest "canon." I am not wild about their "canon" origins. I think, however, it a preferred course, at least from my perspective, to acknowledge canon and then look for "alternative explainations or interpretations or modifications" rather than saying "canon is wrong and should be ignored."

    A more southern origin for the Olman is not a problem in my book. You even have Sam(The Corn King)'s, approval. Wink Why not offer up a "reading" of canon that holds otherwise that would explain the difference? Perhaps, there were divergent branches of Olman? Perhaps, there was an expansion of the Olman from the south, then a "depopulation" of the central area that was "repopulated" from Hepmonaland? Etc.

    Much as you have finessed the "corn issue," you would "finesse" SKR. I'm fairly certain you would agree that SKR's work with respect to the Olman could have used more "finesse." Wink

    A suggestion.
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    Wed Jun 08, 2005 4:39 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    However, south of the Amedio would be a proper temperature zone, and I suspect there are some arid hills in the area, so . . .

    Happy


    Foothills of the unnamed mountains between the SoD and the plains makes the most sense to me.

    Actually (and this is only half-formed, so please forgive), that could ultimately link/root the Olmans with the "Zindians".... I think I need to chase this around a little further.

    Cheers
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    Wed Jun 08, 2005 9:15 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:

    A more southern origin for the Olman is not a problem in my book. You even have Sam(The Corn King)'s, approval. Wink Why not offer up a "reading" of canon that holds otherwise that would explain the difference? Perhaps, there were divergent branches of Olman? Perhaps, there was an expansion of the Olman from the south, then a "depopulation" of the central area that was "repopulated" from Hepmonaland? Etc.


    The closest I would come to an aknowledgement of the SB material is to say that ages ago, as the Olman Empire in the Amedio Jungle grew, some of the subgroups, or tribes if you will, ventured off to colonize other areas. The western coasts of Hepmonland, the Olman and "Pirate" island chains, and even some of the southern fringes of the Flanaess. Some of these colonies succeeded and were eventually recognized as part of the whole of Olman society, such as in the Olman Isles. In other places, like the Hepmona coasts and Flanaess, the colonies were victims of warfare with Touv and Flan, or suffered fates similar to the real world models for the culture, in other words, areas were overfarmed or overpopulated and eventually abandoned as the local resources became inadequate for sustaining the population. This could very well be the reason the Olman migrated into the Amedio Jungle in the first place, if they had limited understanding of long term farming methods like crop rotation and irrigation even their grassland home would eventually fail to support them.

    If as I suggested and Nell was musing on, there is some ancient conflict with the -Zindians- (we need to come up with a better term for those black skinned humans guys Happy ) migrating west into the fertile Zindia plains was difficult, the Jungle would be the only realistic option, since the Olman lacked any advanced naval technology to uproot their entire civilization and move.

    Sages and explorers from the Flanaess's -civilized nations- later find old Olman ruins along Hepmonaland and fall victim to a lack of understanding of the history of both the Olman and Touv, and a fair bit of racist ignorance of the oral and writtten traditions of those two groups of -savages-, assuming that the Olman ruins in Hepmonaland must mean that the Olman originated there. Historians and textbooks are not always correct, and the data established in SB can be assumed incorrect. Again with a real world analogy, even to this day, kids in American schools are taught that Columbus was the first European to land in America, when evidence that the Vikings beat him here by hundreds of years exists and is well known.

    And, um, Mr. -Corn King- Happy
    As Nell points out, the grasslands I referred to give way to the foothills of the southern spur of the Hellfurnace mountains, and if that doesn't qualify as arid land, I don't know what does. Laughing
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    Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:14 pm  

    ARID hill grass? I have miles of corn growing around me annually and its flat as a pancake out here, maybe rolling hills but no more than that. When I think arid I think Arizona or Nevada, not the midwest, but I guess the point is its not sub/tropical. Carry on, ignore me :P
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    Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:24 pm  

    Well, you'd be wrong :) The Midwest is an arid environment. It gets the light brown prairie symbol on the map, not the green grasslands one.

    Its not a desert, which is what the southwest is, but its definitely dry country by world standards.

    Anyway, where modern corn is grown today is not the same thing as where early maize varieties developed, which is what Samwise likes to harp about.
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    Wed Jun 08, 2005 11:42 pm  

    Aha...-that's- why farmers around here pray for rain all the time. *slaps forehead*
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    Thu Jun 09, 2005 7:28 am  

    Mrs. Despotrix,

    I don't have that map readily available. I figured, based on the general area, as well as knowing you know the origin issues I mentioned, that such were nearby, but I didn't have the map to check.
    Smile

    Mortellan:
    Yes, arid hill grass. It was created by the native Mexicans up around the Lake of Mexico. That it grows so well in the midwest is a triumph of human ingenuity in horticultural experimentation and breeding.
    However, the time it took to go from an arid semi-tropical hill grass to a dry temperate plains grass suitable as a mass staple shows just how difficult a task it was. It took a significantly longer time to move north than wheat took to move east and west across Eurasia. And I don't mean a hundred years more, I mean several thousand years more. Corn has become a major grain only in the last 200 years or so. Wheat has been around from before the time of Caesar. That's a pretty significant difference.
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    Thu Jun 09, 2005 8:32 am  

    Vormaerin: “Well, you'd be wrong :) The Midwest is an arid environment. It gets the light brown prairie symbol on the map, not the green grasslands one.”

    That might be a matter of perspective. I live in Las Vegas, but lived in Denver (not really Midwest, but it is on the plains) while going to school. The former gets about 3-4 inches of rain on average, the latter about ten times that much. Many people coming to Denver from the East complained about how dry it was, which to me was crazy. I would consider the Midwest, being east of Denver and the dry/wet line of the 40th parallel at most to be semi-arid.
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    Thu Jun 09, 2005 9:17 am  

    The average rainfall in the prairie does vary regionally, with the central great plains being the most arid. However, prairie terrain is most definitely considered part of the Type B Dry climate group in the Koppen classification system. Type B-steppe is less arid than type B-desert. But its still a dry climatic region regardless

    I'm not positive, but I think Denver is actually in a Type D climate, which is the next step up on the rainfall side of things.
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    Thu Jun 09, 2005 8:24 pm  

    I don't give a whit about the specific argument - if you guys can afford to spend that much time detailing the crops of a given region, you've got a lot more time to spend on D&D than I do these days :)

    However, being born and raised in Wisconsin, and having the benefit of many summers there, I can tell you the Midwest is pretty humid, not "dry and barren" as Webster's describes the word arid. That's not science or a map, just reality. I'd say St. Louis is squarely in the Midwest as well - anybody been to the Arch in July that thinks it's arid? For that matter, even North Dakota gets pretty nasty mosquitos in the summer. Whatever, niggling detail standing in the way of interesting hypotheses.

    Carry on, I like the Olman from the deep southern Flanaess angle, it's in line w/ what I would have used, had I introduced the Olman into my campaign.
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    Thu Jun 09, 2005 10:01 pm  

    You are mistaking the meaning of the use in climatology. A place doesn't need to be bone dry to be a dry class climate. Its relative to the reast of the world. THe moisture level of steppe/prairie is higher than true desert. Its still in the lowest tier of the world. Humidity, rainfaill, and a variety of other factors are considered.
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    Tue Jun 14, 2005 6:55 am  

    Coming in from a completely different angle, DMGII presents an advanced writeup of the town of Saltmarsh in remote southern Keoland, complete with nifty map. The town is intended as a jumping off point for adventurers. So where you gonna jump? Dreadwood? The Hool Marshes? Over the water to the Amedio? All three, I'd think, but the last is what is relevant to this thread.

    In Saltmarsh, DMGII style, adventurers just got pulled a heck of a lot closer to the Olman. Unfortunately, as they exist in "canon," the Olman are hardly prepared to receive visitors. It seems discussion of the possibilities inherent in the Olman as other than "dirty savages" is suddenly more than merely personal preference, one way or the other.

    Since one Canonfiree has a platinum "Club Mona" card, that offers admittance into the pages of Dungeon without the usual background check, drug test and body cavity search, I'd suggest a Dungeon article "updating" the Olman to something remotely playable and not SKR's "dirty Olman savages." Perhaps, Chatdemon, or even Canonfire more generally, could "co-author." Just a thought. Cool
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    Wed Jun 15, 2005 4:25 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:

    Since one Canonfiree has a platinum "Club Mona" card, that offers admittance into the pages of Dungeon without the usual background check, drug test and body cavity search, I'd suggest a Dungeon article "updating" the Olman to something remotely playable and not SKR's "dirty Olman savages." Perhaps, Chatdemon, or even Canonfire more generally, could "co-author." Just a thought. Cool


    Problem is, the person you're slyly referring to has shown to be content with canon on the Olman and has no apparent desire to rewrite the material.
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    Wed Jun 15, 2005 4:30 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Coming in from a completely different angle, DMGII presents an advanced writeup of the town of Saltmarsh in remote southern Keoland, complete with nifty map. The town is intended as a jumping off point for adventurers. So where you gonna jump? Dreadwood? The Hool Marshes? Over the water to the Amedio? All three, I'd think, but the last is what is relevant to this thread.

    In Saltmarsh, DMGII style, adventurers just got pulled a heck of a lot closer to the Olman. Unfortunately, as they exist in "canon," the Olman are hardly prepared to receive visitors. It seems discussion of the possibilities inherent in the Olman as other than "dirty savages" is suddenly more than merely personal preference, one way or the other.


    That treatment of the Amedio as simply somewhere for explorers and conquerors from the Flanaess to go play is the real reason the region and its people haven't been done justice. Greyhawk, so far, has treated the Amedio as one jolly green dungeon, chock full of monsters and waiting for heroes to come clean things up.

    To really develop the area and its inhabitants, it needs to be treated as a new campaign setting in and of itself, a place PCs can call home.
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    Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:40 am  

    Despotrix wrote:
    Problem is, the person you're slyly referring to has shown to be content with canon on the Olman and has no apparent desire to rewrite the material.


    Well, if He Who Prefers Not to Be Named, won't or can't help, Chatdemon should turn on the charm and pitch something directly to Mr. Mona. The 3E nicities can be worked around, either Rich handles it, someone else does, or the articles avoids mechanics.

    Despotrix wrote:
    Greyhawk, so far, has treated the Amedio as one jolly green dungeon, chock full of monsters and waiting for heroes to come clean things up.


    ROFLMAO! That is the best description of the problem I have ever heard! Laughing Very well said. Happy

    Despotrix wrote:
    To really develop the area and its inhabitants, it needs to be treated as a new campaign setting in and of itself, a place PCs can call home.


    I'm not so sure of this. I think, if was just treated like other areas, not denegrated to "dirty Olman savages," that would do wonders. Certainly, a new campaign setting would be beyond any Dungeon article. That is more a Gran March-like undertaking. Not a bad idea that.
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    Thu Jun 16, 2005 12:56 pm  

    Perhaps not as a completely distinct campaign setting, but I agree that the Amedio, to do its flora, fauna and people justice, needs to be viewed as a region of Oerik (not sure if that piece of land is considered part of the flanaess or not) on par with any other nation, not just, as Mar put it, a vast adventure locale.

    I honestly don't have the interest in fully developing the region, and the accompanying adventure that would be required to get it into dungeon. Mar has a strong interest in Olman lore that sometimes rubs off on me, but I generally prefer more psuedo-european middle-ages and dark-ages fantasy.
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    Fri Jun 17, 2005 5:42 am  

    chatdemon wrote:
    Perhaps not as a completely distinct campaign setting, but I agree that the Amedio, to do its flora, fauna and people justice, needs to be viewed as a region of Oerik (not sure if that piece of land is considered part of the flanaess or not) on par with any other nation . . .


    This is the heart of it, I think - "on a par with any other nation." It doesn't necessarily have to be an "empire" in the grandest sense of the term (although, maybe because I'm an MAR Barker fan, I find that an inutterably cool idea Smile ). But is does need to have an "equal dignity." That, however, can be variously expressed.

    If the Keolanders et seq can just "walk in" and "whip" or "conquer" whatever Olman they encounter, there is no "equal dignity." The Olman are then reduced to a second class status and less interesting because of that.

    In the real world, europeans encountered few non-european nations/peoples that they could not immediately (or in short order) conquer. The idea then of a non-european modelled empire encountering the pseudo-europeans of the Flanaess on equal terms presents then a fascinating "what if" kind of scenario. That the Olman are a pseudo-MezoAmerican culture makes this all the more fascinating as MezoAmerican culture stood in stark contrast to european models but was all too shortly done away with by the Conquistidors. I find the "what if" of a more "equal footing" encounter fascinating. With no gunpowder in GH to speak of and magic being equally available to all - it is not hard to imagine such an "equal footing." Again the heart of the matter that you have identified - "on a par with any other nation."

    chatdemon wrote:
    I honestly don't have the interest in fully developing the region, and the accompanying adventure that would be required to get it into dungeon. Mar has a strong interest in Olman lore that sometimes rubs off on me, but I generally prefer more psuedo-european middle-ages and dark-ages fantasy.


    Fair enough.

    This is kind of drifting off topic but while I enjoy the pseudo-european Flanaess fantasy, I find (maybe because I've been playing for awhile) the Flanaess a "small" area, confining to the degree that I must occasionally "dig" for ways to make it interesting.

    For example -

    (1) Involve the planes;

    (2) Involve Oerth's "other dimensions" or chronomacy;

    (3) Tell "smaller" stories in a campaign that are more localized and finely detailed (but which then might arguably be set anywhere with some effort because of that);

    (4) Steal from Eberron (my latest thought I'm toying with - a more "fantastically 'advanced'" Flanaess)

    But more often, the Flanaess is interesting to me if juxtaposed with the non-Flanaess. While the Suel are interesting, they have nearly been done to death. The Baklunish suffer something of a related fate - although a "crusade" by the Madhi of the Plains (credit to Woesinger) offers new hope for the Baklunish.

    In much this way, I find Nellisir's UnderOerth a very appealing idea. Its not the Flanaess.

    The Olman and to a lesser extent the civilizations in Hepmonaland offer the same opportunity for juxtaposition with the Flanaess.

    I like the Flanaess just fine but I like the Flanaess even better when there is a wider world within which the Flanaess is set and especially when the peoples, nations and cultures of that wider world are not push-overs for the pseudo-europeans of the Flanaess.

    End rambling. Smile
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    Mon Sep 05, 2005 10:36 am  

    Hi, I'm connecting two threads of an interesting 2005 discussion of the Olman and several good articles about them.

    See http://www.canonfire.com/cf//modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=1523&sid=d5cc3ec1f01bb1d39efb506f77ca42ce

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    Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:48 am  
    Beyond the Flanaess - thoughts and ramblings

    Just on the subject of Europeans meeting other civilisations and devestating them in short order - yes that did happen - but mainly in the New World. However, if you look at European involvment in India and China, which were at least as advanced technologically as Europe in 1600 - the story is very different. The early European traders in India and the East Indies existed very much at the whim of the local rulers. The Portugese might have had the advantage in naval tech over the Arab traders that previously dominated trade between West Asia and India, but on land the Portugese had their territorial ambitions very much checked by the Mughals and Hindu kingdoms like Vijayanagar (the Portugese also lacked the numbers and the economy for significant land conquests in India). Ditto the Dutch, French, Danish and English that followed. The British lost several ill-advised confrontations with the Mughal empire, until the decay of the Mughal system, combined with the onset of industrialisation in Europe allowed them to get substantial footholds in the subcontinent. Even then, they faced fierce resistance from post-Mughal powers like Tipu Sultan in the south, the Marathas in central India and the Afghans and the Sikh kingdom in the north before they could finally declare their Empire in India

    The pattern is very similar in other organised East Asian states - Siam, China and Japan. Europeans had only a very tenuous and precarious toehold in many of these states for long periods of time.

    Bringing this back to the Oerth - I'd see many of the great states of western Oerik being at least as advanced as any state in the Flanaess. Zahind, Kallaraj/Nippon, the Celestial Empire etc. It certinaly would not be the case that Ahlissan, Keoish or Shari conquestadors would go trampling their way into the capitals of any of these with a score of men and a few wands of magic missiles and do a Cortez or Pizarro job on them.

    Equally - the Olman would not be the "pushover" that the Incas or the Aztec would have been. According to the excellent "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond - the New World civilisations were undone by their isolation. Firstly, they lacked the domesticatable animals of Eurasia to aid intensive agriculture, which in turn limited their populations and hindered the development of certain technologies that were developed in Eurasia. The Isolation of the Americas and it's north south orientation furthermore made it difficult for technologies to spread in the way that, say silk weaving or gunpowder spread from east to west in Eurasia. Also - given the lack of domestic animals, the New Worlders were not exposed to diseases such as smallpox, which extensive evidence suggests developed in the Old World by jumping from domesticated animals to humans. Thus, without immunity, the New Worlder populations were devestated by epidemics.

    Now - if we look at the Olmans - a few of these factors do not apply. Firstly, the Amedio and Hepmonaland aren't as isolated from the Flanaess as the New World is from the Old. The interchange between the two would be more like that between equitorial Africa and Europe. More so perhaps - since there isn't a Sahara desert in between. The jungles and the north-south axis might impede movement of domesticated species, but tech and trade should have been more prominent than suggested in canon. The Olman then wouldn't have suffered such a serious epidemic effect as the New Worlders. Even the influx of Suel refugees after the Rain of Colourless Fire wouldn't have had a serious effect, since it's likely that the Olman cities in the Amedio had long standing contacts with the Suel Imperium and thus their germs, which would have certainly have been spread along the Olman trade networks. If anything, the environmetal and immunological advantage seems to be with the Olman, since the pale Flanaessi (like the Europeans) seem to sicken and die in the tropical climes of the Amedio and Hepmonaland, to the point where any serious efforts to settle in the past (if any) must have failed.

    The one thing that the Olmans did suffer was a collapse of their civilisation. This happens. It happened to the Maya. It happened to the Mound Builders of North America (at a very inopportune time - pehaps due to early contacts with Europeans and their lethal germs). It happened to the Khmer (and countless others). For that reason the Olman seem to be weak and degenerate. However, if the conditions for a civilisation existed before, and haven't been completely destroyed by the collapse, then the civilisation can rise again. Perhaps it's time for the Olman to undergo a renaissance, starting with that one surviving city in the Amedio. It almost certainly has trade contacts with Zahind and so with the lands to the west. It'd be a great turn around to have so-called civilised and advanced Flanaessi adventurers arriving there, to find that their tech is outstripped by the tech that the locals have acquired from the west.

    Acutally, the one problem I have with the Flanaess as it stands is the lack of contact with the nations of western Oerik - especially by sea. In the real world, intrepid Roman and Greek traders travelled to India to buy pepper (one of the most surprising things to find in Indian museums is caches of Roman coins unearthed locally - evidence of the contacts between Rome and India - direct and indirect). Medieval Europeans knew of Cathay, Siam, India and Jipango. Yet in the Flanaess, few if anyone knows what lies beyond the Amedio or the Bakluni lands and no giant treasure fleets from the Celestial Empire, or even wandering trading ships from Zahind or Kalaraj/Nippon have appeared in the ports of the Azure Sea. Though we know that the Aerdi were indifferent sailors, it seems very unlikely that the Aerdi in their noontide or the Lords of the Isles didn't/haven't extensively explored the eastern coasts of Hepmonaland and made contacts with the Olman and Touv settlments and cities there.

    That said - it's possible that the Scarlet Brotherhood or the Olmans have had contacts by sea with the lands of the west. Indeed, the Scarlet Brotherhood sourcebook floats a rumour that the SB are engaged in a naval war with someone in the Pearl Sea (my money is on Kalaraj/Nippon). Given their secretive nature, the SB aren't exactly going to be broadcasting the fact that they know of other cultures beyond the Flanaess. There's also the fact that your interpid Flanaessi explorer actually has to fight off the kind of sea serpants that only haunted the minds of their European counterparts. On the other hand, the Flanaessi have magic.

    Another possible explanation for the lack of contact comes from climate. If you apply real world climatology on the Oerth, the seas from the Celestial Empire around the sickle shaped cape of the Kalaraj/Nippon dominions and into the Pearl Sea would have prevailing south-easterly trade winds. That is any ship trying to beat around the cape from the Celestial Empire to Kalaraj would face headwinds the entire way. Similarly any ship heading south from the Azure Sea (they'd be deflected along the coast to Zahind though...). Western maritime powers wanting to trade into the Flanaess would have to perfect sailing into the wind (through technology or magic).

    In short - I think it's about time that the Flanaess was exposed to the rest of Oerik - via the Pearl Sea and the maritime states along the continent's southern seaboard. The adventure (and world building) possibilities it opens up are just enormous.
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 06, 2005 7:39 am  

    Objection!
    I wish to file a formal protest.
    I am the official Jared Diamond groupie here. Woesinger is trespassing on my turf.
    Objection!

    (And have you read Collapse yet?)
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    Tue Sep 06, 2005 8:07 am  
    Re: Beyond the Flanaess - thoughts and ramblings

    Woesinger wrote:
    . . . I'd see many of the great states of western Oerik being at least as advanced as any state in the Flanaess. . . . It certinaly would not be the case that Ahlissan, Keoish or Shari conquestadors would go trampling their way into the capitals of any of these with a score of men and a few wands of magic missiles and do a Cortez or Pizarro job on them.

    Equally - the Olman would not be the "pushover" that the Incas or the Aztec would have been. . . .

    The one thing that the Olmans did suffer was a collapse of their civilisation. . . . Perhaps it's time for the Olman to undergo a renaissance, starting with that one surviving city in the Amedio. . . . It'd be a great turn around to have so-called civilised and advanced Flanaessi adventurers arriving there, to find that their tech is outstripped by the tech that the locals have acquired from the west.

    Acutally, the one problem I have with the Flanaess as it stands is the lack of contact with the nations of western Oerik - especially by sea. . . .

    In short - I think it's about time that the Flanaess was exposed to the rest of Oerik - via the Pearl Sea and the maritime states along the continent's southern seaboard. The adventure (and world building) possibilities it opens up are just enormous.


    I very much agree with the final thought - the isolation of the Flanaess from the rest of Oerik is unrealistic and things need to be "opened up" in canon. (A GH version of the Princess Ark of old Mystara immediately leaps to mind but alas . . . that requires a capacity and willingness to do other than retread the tried and true.)

    I agree with the initial thought, as well. The Olman, and other "borderland" civilizations should be as advanced as the populations of the Flanaess. Oerth is not Earth and the residents of the Flanaess are not/should not be destined to conquer the globe in a trite paen to European colonialism.

    The Olman "renaissance" idea has great possibilities, and is certainly better than SKR's "dirty Olman savages." I, however, continue to imagine an Olman "empire" within the interior that has not "fallen" and thus has no need of a renaissance, but I would dearly love to see such a "renaissance" if it were determined that it was the way around the "dirty Olman savage" problem in SKR's "canon."
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    GVD
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    Wed Sep 07, 2005 2:11 am  

    Samwise wrote:
    Objection!
    (And have you read Collapse yet?)


    Nope - waiting for paperback (which should be out soon) because I'm cheap. :)
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    Wed Sep 07, 2005 2:23 am  
    Re: Beyond the Flanaess - thoughts and ramblings

    GVDammerung wrote:

    The Olman "renaissance" idea has great possibilities, and is certainly better than SKR's "dirty Olman savages." I, however, continue to imagine an Olman "empire" within the interior that has not "fallen" and thus has no need of a renaissance, but I would dearly love to see such a "renaissance" if it were determined that it was the way around the "dirty Olman savage" problem in SKR's "canon."


    Well, there is a lot of jungle out there. There could be more hidden cities. I kinda like a resurgance idea - it gives the Olman some goals and direction that they seem to lack at the moment. Obviously since worship of various icky gods was the downfall of a lot of the Olman cities (or seemed to be), then some sort of reforming movement spreading out from that intact city in the Amedio might be the thing. Olman holy warriors (paladins) of the Feathered Serpant, purging the evil gods and the servents from the ancient Olman birthright and sticking it to these pale, gold haired invaders from the north.

    Alternatively, the Olman of that city might have adopted new gods from Zahind - ones less prone to blood sacrifice and the like or new magic or tech? All you need is a sufficently ambitous king/high priest/prophet type to arise in that city. Perhaps an Olman visionary who wandered the west (like Guru Nanek of the Sikhs in the RW), returns with a headful of new ideas (mixing new gods with the old as Nanek mixed precepts of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism) and a manifesto for the recovery of the old Olman dominions. Perhaps it's already happened and the first reclaimers are already fanning out to the lost cities in the Amedio. What if one of his disciples turned up in the Hold of the Sea Princes, preaching the new teaching?
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    Wed Sep 07, 2005 8:56 am  

    The olman and lands further west do provide an enormous amount of new possibilities within GH. Like many on this board, I hope that the new lands don't follow the familar but trite path of european conquest and colonial dominace.

    Since the posts have turned to the far western lands, I found it distressing to see no clear map of these lands on the site, has anyone thought about creating a clear complete map of Oerth?

    I know their are several fine cartographers, any willing to take on the challenge?
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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:59 am  

    There are some maps out there. Holien's outline map of the world, the Dragon Annual map and a pretty player map based on it. There's also the partial Oerik map from the Glossography, and the adpatation with weather zones that one of the French 'Hawkers (Patrice Forno?) did (though I'm not sure I agree with all the biomes and climate zones on that).

    It'd be cool to get these consolidated into one single map. Even better if some enterprising soul (Bueller? Anyone...anyone...?) could try to put the Chainmail realms onto it, to see if they can be reconciled with the rest of Oerik.

    Oh to have a decent cartography package...

    P.
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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 5:34 am  

    Woesinger wrote:
    There are some maps out there. Holien's outline map of the world, the Dragon Annual map and a pretty player map based on it. There's also the partial Oerik map from the Glossography, and the adpatation with weather zones that one of the French 'Hawkers (Patrice Forno?) did (though I'm not sure I agree with all the biomes and climate zones on that).

    It'd be cool to get these consolidated into one single map. Even better if some enterprising soul (Bueller? Anyone...anyone...?) could try to put the Chainmail realms onto it, to see if they can be reconciled with the rest of Oerik.

    Oh to have a decent cartography package...

    P.


    Seconded. I'd settle for having all of these maps in one place and failing that a URL list. Anyone have a list of URLs handy?
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    Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:32 am  

    Black and white player's map, based on the Dragon Annual:
    http://www.peldor.com/world/oerthlarge.gif

    East and Central Oerik with physcial features (don't agree with those deserts - they;re in the wrong place):
    http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/5878/gridgeo.gif

    I think Holien's map might be on here somewhere...

    As for the Dragon Annual map - the only one I can find on Google is a broken link - though you can save a teeny tiny version from the search results page.


    P.
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    Mon Oct 10, 2005 1:11 pm  
    Re: Beyond the Flanaess - thoughts and ramblings

    Woesinger wrote:
    If anything, the environmetal and immunological advantage seems to be with the Olman, since the pale Flanaessi (like the Europeans) seem to sicken and die in the tropical climes of the Amedio and Hepmonaland, to the point where any serious efforts to settle in the past (if any) must have failed.


    "The dark Flan complexion shows up quite often in most nations." - A Guide to the World of Greyhawk Fantasy Setting, page 14.

    Remember that most of the southern Flanaess is at a subtropical latitude. They should be quite comfortable down there.
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