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

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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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    GVD
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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

    MTG
    Master Greytalker

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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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    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. :)
    Master Greytalker

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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...

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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.


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    GreySage

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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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