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    Canonfire :: View topic - Olman Origins and Metalworking?
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    Olman Origins and Metalworking?
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 05, 2005 2:40 pm  
    Olman Origins and Metalworking?

    Based on the long-running thread that concerns the origins of the Olman, I wanted to try and propose an alternate solution...and one that dovetails with my own GH ideas quite nicely, I must admit. ;)

    Perhaps the Olman did not originate in Hepmonaland or the Amedio Jungle, but spread there from the southernmost regions of Oerik? The region I'm talking about can be found on this map:

    http://www.greyhawkonline.com/canonfire/oerthlat1.jpg

    in the region between around 45 degrees west longitude and both north and south of the equator. Perhaps the Olman came north and east, eventually migrating into the Amedio, the Pomarj and Hepmonaland? The Olman could have set up an empire spreading across all three regions, meeting the Flan and the Touv of Hepmonaland.

    After this empire collapsed, the worst elements of Olman society remained at the fringes of the jungle, meeting the evil Sueloise who fled the Imperium after the Rain of Colorless Fire destroyed it. The better-natured Olman would have retreated deeper into the jungles, creating new states and cities doing so. Whether they are good or evil, and how they get along with the Suel, the Touv, and the demihumans and humanoids, is anyone's guess.

    As for the Touv, they are the first human inhabitants of Hepmonaland, which was originally part of "Anakeris", the continent to the south-east of the Flanaess. This continent, as I envision it, is a lot like an upside-down version of Dark Ages-Europe and Northern Africa. Since the continent is in the southern Hemisphere, the European-based civilizations are further south (closer to the South Pole, IOW) and the African-type civilizations are further north, closer to the equator.

    A great magical catastrophe cut Hepmonaland off from "Anakeris", and it drifted north-west, eventually linking up with the Amedio Jungle. The land bridge that resulted was used by the Olman to cross over, before it crumbled away, for some reason. The black-skinned folk of the Hellfurnaces and SW Flanaess are Touv who crossed the land-bridge to the west, exploring on the way. After the land bridge collapsed, they were stuck there.

    For the record, all these cultures know metalworking and the use of steel weapons, taught to them by the dwarves and gnomes of the jungles. Demihumans and humanoids are spread around the world IMC, just like the humans. For all intents and purposes, every human civilization has access to metal tools and weapons, courtesy of demihuman or humanoid contact. It's just that a lot of them don't wear metal armor due to encumbrance (nomadic peoples find it a burden in transport) or practicality (the Olman rarely wear metal armor, because they'd be boiled alive in it).

    And since gunpowder and firearms don't function on Oerth, and the planet will never industrialize, it stands to reason whether colonial empires the likes of which we see in real life history will ever be possible on the same scale.
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 05, 2005 5:10 pm  
    Not quite on topic, but related...

    Its interesting that this region called "Anakeris" keeps popping up for a southern continent. In my own maps for the rest of Oerth (which is very different from what I've seen from others) I named a southern continent "Antaras", which I came up with through a random generator using the names of real world and fantasy continents and lands. On the continent of Antaras I did have a number of American Indian-like cultures, but little detail...
    Adept Greytalker

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    Mon Sep 05, 2005 7:15 pm  
    Re: Not quite on topic, but related...

    gargoyle wrote:
    Its interesting that this region called "Anakeris" keeps popping up for a southern continent. In my own maps for the rest of Oerth (which is very different from what I've seen from others) I named a southern continent "Antaras", which I came up with through a random generator using the names of real world and fantasy continents and lands. On the continent of Antaras I did have a number of American Indian-like cultures, but little detail...


    How interesting. This makes one wonder whether Oerth is a skewed, D&D-mirror image of our real world. For me, the North American Aboriginal (I never use the "I" word, for various reasons) cultures were all based in Orannia, the land where myth and reality are intertwined. It fits in oddly well there, given that some aboriginal nations insist that their 'myths' are not myths at all, and what actually happened...
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    Tue Sep 06, 2005 12:47 am  
    Anakeris, Aquaria and other ramblings

    As I mentioned in my rambling climate post on another thread, it's certainly possible that people migrated from Anakeris to Hepmonaland, assuming there's something similar to Earth-like trade winds - which would carry shailing ships north west from Anakeris right to the Touv lands of Hepmonaland. However, I think I also mentioned that if that holds - the northern-most regions of Anakeris are likely to be desert. I saw this as being just the Touv, rather than the Olman though. But horses for courses.

    Anakeris (a name I appropriated from another parital full Oerth map somewhere on the Web and which appeared about the same time as Aquaria I think) seems to be Oerth's Australia, but more extreme - deserts in the north, ice in the south (as the southern portions lie well within Oerth's Antarctic circle at 60 degrees south).

    Just thinking about Aquaria - a concept I never really liked because of its insistance on cheesily naming all the kings John. It's possible it exists as a legend in Aerdy and the lands along the Solnor Main - a sort of Flanaessi version of Prestor John and Atlantis rolled into one. Given that Johydee told the Oerid hetmen to seek the birthplace of the sun, perhaps there's always been a yen to take that to its logical extreme and sail east into the Solnor. Obviously few if any early Aerdi sailors returned (at least none that are recorded) - but the myth might have grown of a paradisical Aerdi kingdom over the waves - Aquaria. Perhaps that's partially what the explorers of the Sea Barons were looking for when they set off across the Solnor? The funny thing is, as the only thing that's on the other side of the Solnor is the far west of Oerik, they might actually stand a chance of running into Oerids over there.

    As for Oerth never industrialising - that's not a given. Gunpowder doesn't work, but that doesn't mean water wheels, spinning jennys, steam engines or blast furnaces won't. And after the Fading of Magic, all bets are off. :)

    If you're thinking of fleshing out the Oerth or voyages of exploration - take a look at "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond, which explores the infleunces of geography, climate and environment on the development of human civilisation and culture. Less factual, but equally interesting and on a similarish theme is "The Years of Rice and Salt" by Kim Stanley Robinson, which charts the development of civilisation in a what if world where Europe's population is wiped out by the Black Death in the 14th century.
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    Tue Sep 06, 2005 8:22 am  
    Re: Anakeris, Aquaria and other ramblings

    A couple thoughts -

    If one accepts standard evolutionary theory, everyone originally came from the same place and migrated to wherever they eventually have been or are found. Nothing says this holds true in a fantasy world with multiple, unique sentient species. It seems, however, that the idea of a "genesis" site holds great appeal for many are the suggestions that everyone on Oerth seems to have come from somewhere else initially. That the Suel and Oeridians migrated, I suggest, does not mean everyone on Oerth has done so.

    Woesinger wrote:
    . . . As for Oerth never industrialising - that's not a given. Gunpowder doesn't work, but that doesn't mean water wheels, spinning jennys, steam engines or blast furnaces won't. And after the Fading of Magic, all bets are off. :)


    True and "smokepowder" or some gunpowder equivalent may very well work on Oerth, as well. Gygax, despite changes of mind, holds open this possibility in "Faceless Men and Clockwork Monsters." The clerics of Muryland also seem able to distill a working equivalent as discussed in a Palidins of Greyhawk article in Dungeon or Dragon by one G. Holian. It is terribly unpopular to say but the fate of "gunpowder" on Oerth is not at all a settled issue within canon.
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    Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:05 pm  

    As I've said before, my version of WoG is different, not so tied to canon. So what I'm about to say is not a challenge to that, just how I've developed things.

    When working on additional "lost" gods for the various peoples of Oerth, I noticed that the Oeridians had a major god of the sea. This seemed odd for an originally landlocked people. So, I had them migrate from a different direction - from accross the Solnor, from a distant land that suffered a mighty cataclysm. When I later heard about Aquaria, I adapted that to the story and simply reversed the Oeridian travel.

    As far as gunpowder, I never went with gunpowder doesn't work. I just didn't allow the technology for guns and gunpowder to be available until I was comfortable with it. Eventually, I released it via the dwarves, and it was played around with a little. Since most of my players found it more interesting to wield a sword or spell, gunpowder is now present on my WoG, but little used.

    I don't like the world map as presented in its "official" form. My WoG world map is based solely off the old '83 boxed set, with additions of my own. Oerik ends up being one vast continent, Aquaria and Antaras (as I mentioned above) a pair of joined continents (much like North and South America), and High Boros to the north. I also switched the place of both Hepmonaland and the Amedio Jungle. The Scarlet Brotherhood is a group that operates in many nations, but not the name of a nation unto itself. In fact, the Tilvanot Pennisula actually holds a Flan-Olman nation named Tehncahahue, and the Duchy of Tehn is replaced by the Suel Kingdom of Llywerdd.

    Again, this is just how I run things, and is not a challenge to canon. I thought I'd share and see how while different, my WoG still holds many similar elements to what I'm seeing here.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 06, 2005 7:02 pm  
    Re: Anakeris, Aquaria and other ramblings

    Woesinger wrote:
    As I mentioned in my rambling climate post on another thread, it's certainly possible that people migrated from Anakeris to Hepmonaland, assuming there's something similar to Earth-like trade winds - which would carry shailing ships north west from Anakeris right to the Touv lands of Hepmonaland. However, I think I also mentioned that if that holds - the northern-most regions of Anakeris are likely to be desert. I saw this as being just the Touv, rather than the Olman though. But horses for courses.

    Anakeris (a name I appropriated from another parital full Oerth map somewhere on the Web and which appeared about the same time as Aquaria I think) seems to be Oerth's Australia, but more extreme - deserts in the north, ice in the south (as the southern portions lie well within Oerth's Antarctic circle at 60 degrees south).

    Just thinking about Aquaria - a concept I never really liked because of its insistance on cheesily naming all the kings John. It's possible it exists as a legend in Aerdy and the lands along the Solnor Main - a sort of Flanaessi version of Prestor John and Atlantis rolled into one. Given that Johydee told the Oerid hetmen to seek the birthplace of the sun, perhaps there's always been a yen to take that to its logical extreme and sail east into the Solnor. Obviously few if any early Aerdi sailors returned (at least none that are recorded) - but the myth might have grown of a paradisical Aerdi kingdom over the waves - Aquaria. Perhaps that's partially what the explorers of the Sea Barons were looking for when they set off across the Solnor? The funny thing is, as the only thing that's on the other side of the Solnor is the far west of Oerik, they might actually stand a chance of running into Oerids over there.

    As for Oerth never industrialising - that's not a given. Gunpowder doesn't work, but that doesn't mean water wheels, spinning jennys, steam engines or blast furnaces won't. And after the Fading of Magic, all bets are off. :)


    Sorry, but magic isn't fading. Only the KNOWLEDGE of magic is fading, thankyouvery much. The same magic is still there, always has been, and always will be. And Oerth won't industrialize for two practical reasons:

    1) The supply of fossil fuels is much rarer on Oerth than on Earth.

    2) The oil that does exist is needed for burning trolls and black puddings, and can't afford to be wasted on some gnome's crackpot experiment with a self-propelled wagon!

    As for Murlynd, everyone knows that nutcase had a worm in his brain. Something had to be wrong with that lunatic for his magical spells to come out the way they did, and to account for his ludicrous attire. I mean, who wears a star made of gold on a vest? It was sorcery, not science, that drove Murlynd's powers, and more than likely drove him mad. His "priests" (read: mountebanks and charlatans), try as they might, have just never been able to get the powder formula he gave them to work properly.

    But I think we're drifting away a bit from the main topic of this thread, which is mainly to discuss the origins of the Olman and metalwork being the great "cultural equalizer". I see no reason why demihumans can't be spread all over the world as humans, and have spread some of their same crafts to all the human races-namely, magic and metalworking.

    It's interesting that you describe Anakeris the way you do, given that I always thought of it as being an upside-down Dark Age Europe. The African-type cultures (the Touv) lived in the northern part of the continent, which had deserts and jungle as its major terrains. The southern part of the continent went into temperate and mixed broadleaf forests, then extending into boreal forests and taiga at the southernmost ends, a lot like Europe and Africa, only upside-down.* The southern parts of Anakeris would be inhabited by Germanic/Celtic/Slavic peoples based off the Goths, Burgundians, Vandals, Franks, Celts, Bulgars, Saxons, and other tribes of that era, as opposed to the organized kingdoms of the Middle Ages, which are more like the states we know in the Flanaess.

    * I'm not an expert on biomes or anything like that; I just got this info off wkipedia.org after a brief glance.
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Sep 06, 2005 8:50 pm  

    True, back on topic, I agree with having the Olman (and the Touv, for that matter) as having migrated from other lands toward the Flanaess. As far as metalworking and the advance of technology, that depends on the DM, but generally it would move slower than in our Earth simply due to the more fantasy factors of the world; magic, the Gods, the struggles of the people against the Old One, and so on.
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    Wed Sep 07, 2005 2:08 am  
    Re: Anakeris, Aquaria and other ramblings

    CruelSummerLord wrote:
    Sorry, but magic isn't fading. Only the KNOWLEDGE of magic is fading, thankyouvery much. The same magic is still there, always has been, and always will be. And Oerth won't industrialize for two practical reasons:

    1) The supply of fossil fuels is much rarer on Oerth than on Earth.

    2) The oil that does exist is needed for burning trolls and black puddings, and can't afford to be wasted on some gnome's crackpot experiment with a self-propelled wagon!


    Well - of course, your cmapaign milage may vary. From canon though, I always got the impression from the Glossography that magic itself was fading in 988 CY (along with all the fantastical races).
    As for fossil fuels - again your milage. I'd see no reasons in canon why industrialisation is impossible. If you don't want an industrial Oerth though, then that's a good way to do it. :)

    As for Murlynd - totally agree with you. Never liked him. :)

    CruelSummerLord wrote:

    It's interesting that you describe Anakeris the way you do, given that I always thought of it as being an upside-down Dark Age Europe.


    Well when I say like Australia, I mean roughly geographically. It's possible that the cultures you describe are there. 60 degree south latitude does cut across the southern part though, so you'll have taiga and tundra there for certain. Perhaps even some ice cap. The polar tree lines are infleunced by winds and sea currents. From what I can see, the far southernmost Anakeris is likely to be very cold. That said, the western most end of the continent should be well-watered and temperate (with prevailing north westerlies coming in off the sea and a warm current lapping the coast) as should parts of the eastern side (ditto in winds and currents).
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:19 pm  
    Re: Anakeris, Aquaria and other ramblings

    Well - of course, your cmapaign milage may vary. From canon though, I always got the impression from the Glossography that magic itself was fading in 988 CY (along with all the fantastical races).
    As for fossil fuels - again your milage. I'd see no reasons in canon why industrialisation is impossible. If you don't want an industrial Oerth though, then that's a good way to do it. :)

    As for Murlynd - totally agree with you. Never liked him. :)[/quote]

    I'm sorry-this is just something that really sticks in my throat, seeing a perfectly good fantasy world, with all its fantastical inhabitants, vanish and disappear, being replaced by our boring, dull and drab real world. I've never really gotten over how great fantasy authors such as Tolkien, Moorcock and Robert Howard multilated their own settings in order to turn them into the "real world". The loss of magic, elves, and dragons is, on one level, really depressing for me.
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    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Sep 07, 2005 12:47 pm  

    Quote:
    But I think we're drifting away a bit from the main topic of this thread, which is mainly to discuss the origins of the Olman and metalwork being the great "cultural equalizer". I see no reason why demihumans can't be spread all over the world as humans, and have spread some of their same crafts to all the human races-namely, magic and metalworking.


    You are missing the point about the Olman and metalworking.
    (Or at least the Meso-Americans and metalworking.)
    They don't lack the ability because they never developed it or learned it.
    They lack the ability because they don't have a supply of metals so they can learn it.

    Copper, silver, and gold, sure. But those don't make very good weapons, or lead to more advanced technologies.
    There was no substantial, accessible, source of tin to mix with copper to make bronze in Meso-America, and no accessible sources of iron to that level of technology in most of the Americas either.
    No bronze and iron, no bronze and iron ages, no advanced metalworking.

    Having demi-humans show up would be irrelevant unless they also hauled several hundred tons of iron ore along with them.

    Now if you want to take that out, and allow the Olman access to sufficient metal deposits to support a bronze and eventually iron age civilization, as well as the other required elements - primarily a high yield cereal grain, large draft animals, animal-source plagues to immunize the population, and a fully developed written language, then the entire situation changes dramatically. (And of course, the real world models of the Olman had a written language, so that one could be taken as a given.)
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    Wed Sep 07, 2005 3:10 pm  

    To me just depends on what you want.

    Other cultures, demi-humans, gods, Olman ingenuity, you can pick what you like for the source of the metal technology. On another thread I suggested that the metal crook in C1 supported iron technology, but there is no real reason to require it. A super- or magilithic culture would work fine.

    IMO, the real issues are whether you want a robust Oman culture(s) and whether you are willing to disregard canon or are capable of bending it to your will. From there it is just filling in the details.

    I am in favor of robustness because it will work well IMC as a foil to that of the Flanaess. I would prefer to bend canon, but am not adamantly (pun intended) opposed to breaking it.

    To me real-world mechanics are not the issue, although I am very much in favor of considering them to add realism to GH. They should be addressed, but not create a barrier to what you want.

    Iron in the Hellfurnaces, that should not be a stretch of the imagination. High yield cereal grains in the jungle might be, but we’ve got cities existing underground on mushrooms and who knows what else … so if you do not like jungle corn then you can come up with other options such as a southern grain basket or breadfruit plantations with magical preservation. Large draft animals, same thing … if you want it, you can have it … giant draft rodents or shorthaired jungle llamas. Animal source plagues … that is the result of civilization domesticating the right mix/type of animals (yes and traveling longitudinally) and living in close quarters with them, not a problem unless you want it to be. IMO disease spreading is at a level that should not impact fantasy realism. Fully developed written language … alphabets can arise from adaptation of pictographs. All the above can be addressed with low-fantasy, but if you toss in enough magic the sky is the limits and GH is somewhere in the middle.

    Lastly, I am in favor of limiting the use of metal for the Olman whether or not they have the resources or technoloy. Shell swords and jade axes are part of the flavor. That is part of my starting point.
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    Wed Sep 07, 2005 5:43 pm  

    Wolfsire:

    Well yes, their robustness is rather the issue. I'm not addressing that at the moment. I'm simply saying that, in regards to metal-tech, what you need is metal, not a teacher.

    Iron in the southern Hellfurnaces isn't an issue. So it might actually be more difficult to justify a lithic Olman culture than an iron Olman culture. I'll leave that to Mar when she does the Olman her way, but I wouldn't object to that.

    Food is an issue. Cereal grains other than rice don't do well in that climate band. Even breadfruit isn't enough, otherwise the Polynesians would have gone back and conquered Indochina.

    Animal based disease affects rate of social development and population growth. It doesn't have a direct effect on a fantasy setting unless playing a "conquistador" game, but it does on background creation.

    I believe Mar had pack lizards in mind. Don't say giant rodents though, it gets Chatdemon overly excited. Llamas would not do it though. They aren't strong enough. Otherwise the Inca would have done a better job on Pizarro.

    The Meso-American pictographs are a full language. A difficult one, and an alphabet would be better, but it is a full written language. Which is a remarkably rare thing.

    But yes, making an iron working Olman culture is relatively easy. The elements required aren't that onerous, just rather specific.
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    Wed Sep 07, 2005 6:48 pm  

    Hmm, many things to relate. Not enough time...

    First, I want to ask if others recall the discussion of the three "races" of Anakeris, a.k.a. Terra Anakeri (was that on the old Dragon Anuual map?). Jared, I thought it was you, among others, who agreed that we might make the Touv be one of the two groups that emigrated from Anakeris--with the other group being the "blue-black" folk mentioned as residing in the southern Sea of Dust. Did this discussion occur when Tal Meta first began posting his Sunelan Coast posts? See http://www.canonfire.com/cf//modules.php?name=Your_Account&op=userinfo&username=TalMeta.

    Second, I feel mixed about iron-working Olman. I agree that the Hellfurnaces likely hold substantial veins of tin and iron, thus creating good conditions for bronze- or iron-working Olman, especially given the emerging consensus about the "original" Olman homeland (around the southern tip of the Hellfurnaces and in its southeastern foothills).

    However, the Olman may not have been able to sustain these materials as their city-states expanded east. Once they crossed the Olman Isles, they may have lacked the resources to make iron or bronze weapons and tools common. In contrast (incorporating the Touv), when the Olman first penetrated the northern border of the then-kingdom of Kundanol, the Touv may have commonly had iron or steel weapons--evidently due to deposits of the right kinds of ore in the south of Hepmonaland / Cemanahuac.

    As for flint and obsidian tools and weapons, I imagine these to be predominantly holy or sacred objects--likely gathered from the foothills of the Hellfurnaces. The later "savage" tribes of Olman and Suel people may typically suffice with other stones, wood, bone, horn, teeth, etc.--with copper, bronze, iron, or steel weapons / tools being relatively rare treasures.

    Third, as I'm trying to suggest, I prefer to integrate the several sources of canon with the great ideas we've been sharing (and those from earlier discussions on GreyTalk, such as with Adrian "Frostie," Robert Bauer, and Rich and Mar).

    Since reading C1 and the UK 1 & 2, I've imagined that the Olman and Suel Amedian in the Hook tended to be the "savages" noted on Darlene's old map. However, I think that this "savagery" evolved over the century-plus of Seolder (Hold of the Sea Princes) influences. (Note that the Toli Suel may have exacerbated / created the savagery by ruining what relatively advanced jungle states were created.)

    I'm unwilling to scrap all the mid-Amedio Jungle cities that Sean "created"--even if most of them were ruined in tSB--literally. While, some of these might be "rehabilitated," e.g., the one that is the home of were-jaguars, others may benefit simply from detailing "jungle tribes," which need not be mere "savages." (I'm thinking of stereotypes of Amazonian indigenous tribespeople with their advanced medicine and use of poisons.)

    Fourth (why do I keep numbering things?), I really enjoy the idea of bringing in the influence of Changar et al., or Tal Meta's Sunelan Coast (reportedly being revised currently), or Zahind. Where is Nellisir's Mhajapour Archipelago in relation to Xamaclan?

    Finally, C1 suggests to me that the Olman of the Hook (and perhaps the Suel Amedi too) began a major resistance to the Seolder and Scarlet Brotherhood operations. While many Olman and Amedi Suel may have initially cooperated in the slave trade, even tSB notes there were individual resistance leaders (a certain high level fighter). C1 suggests that one of those two monks in stasis, along with that coutl, may be responsible for a resurgence of organized Olman cultura.

    Indeed, my version of the situation in the old Duchy of Berghof and the followers of Utavo the Wise involves exactly these forces.
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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:51 am  

    A thought occurs if you want to start making the Amedio the Olman homeland.

    Well, if they can spread to Hepmonland, then why didn't they spread west into Zahind? What if Zahind was (and perhaps still is) Olman? The bits in the Amedio and Hepmonaland are only the parts known to the Flanaessi. Perhaps in Zahind the empire survives. Or alternatively it was crushed in an ancient war with the Suel Imperium (who would no doubt have appreciated an outlet to the ocean)? Or perhaps there was a three way tussle with the blue-black "Anakeris" (who might be the native people of Zahind and perhaps the isles of Kallaraj*/"Nippon" and the lands marked on the Dragon Annual map as "Nippon dominons"), the Olman and the Suel for control of Zahind?

    This invasion scenario might mirror the tussles between the Aryans and the Dravidans in ancient India (if we want some Indian flavour in Zahind) and the subcontinent's habit of getting peroddic invasions sweeping in from Central Asia. Also - it might mean that the "Anakeri"'s could be loosely modeled on Hindu/Dravidan cultures.

    As a general comment, in redeveloping the Olman, it would be good, IMO, to find a clever way to make any new development gel with published canon, if needs be using "cultural bias" by Flanaessi explorers to paper over any remaining cracks.

    P.

    * I took the name Kallaraj from the Hindi - "black king" - which would serendipidously fit if the natives of the isles were same stock as the blue-black folk from the Sea of Dust who might have wandered (or been pushed) north into the fringes of the old Suel lands.
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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 5:32 am  

    Woesinger wrote:
    A thought occurs if you want to start making the Amedio the Olman homeland.

    Well, if they can spread to Hepmonland, then why didn't they spread west into Zahind? What if Zahind was (and perhaps still is) Olman? . . . Perhaps in Zahind the empire survives. Or alternatively it was crushed in an ancient war with the Suel Imperium (who would no doubt have appreciated an outlet to the ocean)? . . .This invasion scenario might mirror the tussles between the Aryans and the Dravidans in ancient India (if we want some Indian flavour in Zahind) and the subcontinent's habit of getting peroddic invasions sweeping in from Central Asia. Also - it might mean that the "Anakeri"'s could be loosely modeled on Hindu/Dravidan cultures.


    Hmmmmm. Mezo-Americans and India. Idea TECUMEL Exclamation The Empire of the Petal Throne! A very cool setting, IMO.
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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:18 am  

    woesinger: "As a general comment, in redeveloping the Olman, it would be good, IMO, to find a clever way to make any new development gel with published canon, if needs be using "cultural bias" by Flanaessi explorers to paper over any remaining cracks."

    I agree, and although I have not yet read the SB, which I now intend to do, I think/hope it can be done. I would also note that not only the Flanaessi can be culturally biased. For the Hepmonaland Olman history, I am thinking that the racial concepts of Touv (T) and Olman (A for Amedians) in the SB need to re-worked along the nationality lines I addressed in another post, perhaps even switching their roles. Thus, you could end up with a darker skinned At nation being called "Touv" by adjacent A or AS nations and a lighter skinned Ta nation being called "Olman" by a T or OS nation. (I remember Richard Pryor saying he went to Africa and they thought he was Italian).

    I do not think the fall of the Olman and their subsequent savagery should be disregarded. There are several good ideas kicking around to deal with this, including various isolated pockets of civilization. I like the idea of revival. (Take that GH Wars!) To work through that I am researching a goddess to personify it. The Aztec Chalchihuitlicue appears in Legends and Lore. I saw a few web sites wherein she was listed as an Olman goddess, so I guess she is canon. I have heard SB addresses gods, but have no idea how. She has many similarities to the Mayan Ix Chel who could be described roughly as a battered woman who turned things around and who has myths to substantiate a portifolio that could provide the essentials for reviving the Olman. Hopefully I will work that into an article using the name Ix Chel, pronounced ee'shell, meaning "Lady Rainbow", or a varient to make her more accessable (perhaps just Ee'shell).

    Samwise, if you were going to devise the functional equivalent of cerial grains to sustain an emperial Olman jungle society, without necessarily being bound to earth flora (ie magical corn is a possiblity), how would you do it? Although they were not a jungle society, didn't the Incas sustain their populations on potatos? Supertuber? ;-)
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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:00 am  

    Sustaining a population is different from building a population base to create an empire.
    Primarily you need to be able to adapt to new areas you move to. If you can't, it doesn't matter how good a breed of corn they have if it only grows to half the size 60 miles to the north or south. If you can't overcome that by ecology you have to do it by variety.
    In general, tubers won't do it. You could likely replace it with kara fruit, which is mentioned as a staple crop, but that would require overcoming the limits of citrus farming. (Primarily the long time to grow a tree to maturity.)
    As I've said, the real problem is just addressing the issue directly instead of creating "magic" crops that suddenly produce mega-tons of yield per acre in any environment.
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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:08 pm  

    Wolfsire wrote:
    Hopefully I will work that into an article using the name Ix Chel, pronounced ee'shell, meaning "Lady Rainbow", or a varient to make her more accessable (perhaps just Ee'shell).


    Just to nitpick Laughing

    Ix Chel would be pronounced EEsh CHel Smile
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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 2:45 pm  

    In regard to the staple vegetables and grains used by the Olman, let's look first at the canon plantlife of the "southern tropical" regions of the setting.

    From page 6 of the "Guide to the World of Greyhawk"

    Banyan The Banyan tree is not viable as a food source, but elements of it can be harvested for medicinal purposes. However, consider the real world origins of the Banyan tree, Southeast Asia, another plant is common there that is very viable as a food source. Back to that in a moment, but keep in mind that if one plant native to the region is also common in the tropical regions of the Greyhawk setting, it is not that far fetched to claim that another is as well.

    Baobab The Baobab tree, native to real world Africa, is bare for 9 months of the year, but during its brief producing season, it yields a fairly large, meaty fruit sometimes called "Monkey Bread". Not a viable major staple, but definitely worth considering as a contributor to the Olman, and other Jungle native creatures, diets.

    Deklo The Deklo tree is unique to Oerth, and based on its description, has no value as a food source.

    Mahogany Again, no value as a food source.

    Palm The mundane Palm tree has little value as a food source, but two variants which could easily fit into the Jungle climate are the Date and Coconut, both of which yield highly nutritious fruit. I'd lump these in with the Baobab as secondary food sources.

    Teak The leaves and flowers of the Teak tree can be harvested for medicinal value, but Teak has little food value.

    Now that we've detailed the canon plantlife (I erred on the side of safety and did not include the "southern" region plants, like Kara, which could exist in the Jungles, but are not specifically said to) we'll look at 3 other worthy plants.

    Maize/Corn Obviously a part of the Olman diet from its depiction in C1, the problem is that corn is difficult to grow on a large scale in the jungle. Relegate this to a secondary role in modern Olman society.

    Wheat is also mentioned in C1, but it is even less likely to be a major source of food in the modern Olman landscape.

    Now, finally, remember the Banyan plant from southeast Asia? Well, take a wild guess what other crop thrives in that environment. That's right! Rice! I firmly believe, using this logical extension of canon, that rice can solidly fulfill the role of the primary staple grain in Olman communities.
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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:49 pm  

    Chibirias: "Just to nitpick. Ix Chel would be pronounced EEsh CHel".

    Not a problem. In fact, I think discussing such things is a good as it goes to exactly the point I was making about having the Olman be comfortably familiar to the most people in order to maximize interest. I am not trying to be completely faithful to either Mayan or Aztec culture. I am trying to capture parts of their sprits.

    I do not doubt you are right about the pronunciation, but I hold out the possibility that you might not be 100% right, aside from what would be best for GH. I know nothing about variation among Mayan dialects or if there are acceptable alternative as there are for Od(th)en/Wotan.

    I came across at least 3 different pronounciations and the "sh Ch" was the least frequent. I guessed that there might be some inaccuracy in the variation but decided to put them on equal footing initially as the reason for any mispronuncation would go to the heart of the comfort issue. One of the reasons people mispronounce names because it is difficult to say them right. I do not want the Olmen names to be difficult just for the sake of being true to a culture I am not planning on perfectly duplicating. (BTW, being a native to NV I hate it when I hear people give it the "correct" Spanish pronunciation because that is not what I grew up on.)

    I narrowed Ix Chel down to either EE'shell or e'shell because they were the easiest for me to pronounce. My bad for typing "ee" rather than "EE". I picked the latter because it sounded the more exotic of the two, hoping that would be the approriate compromise. I am still toying with the idea of varient spellings and pronounciations. For my purposes, I ruled out Michelle. Wink

    Please pm me if you have any ideas about essentially fusing Chalchihuitlicue and Ix Chel for the Olman. And please forgive me if any of this strikes home. IMO, C1 should not have used real world names, but as it did and as others have run with it, I think we should force the square pegs into the round hole.
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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 3:56 pm  

    I forgot to ask, chibirias, what are the elements of your avatar and their meaning?
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    Fri Sep 09, 2005 6:17 am  

    Yeah - I'd go with rice.

    Gawd bless Wikipedia (all the below is taken from there)!

    "Rice (Oryza sativa) is a species of grass in the genus Oryza, native to tropical and subtropical southeastern Asia, where it grows in wetlands....Rice cultivation is well suited to countries with low labor costs and high rainfall, as it is very labor-intensive to cultivate and requires plenty of water for irrigation. However, it can be grown practically anywhere, even on steep hillsides...Rice is often grown in paddies — shallow puddles carefully controlled to ensure the appropriate water depth (typically 15 cm). Rice paddies sometimes serve a dual agricultural purpose by also producing edible fish or frogs, a useful source of protein. The farmers take advantage of the rice plant's tolerance to water: the water in the paddies prevents weeds from outgrowing the crop. Once the rice has established dominance of the field, the water can be drained in preparation for harvest.... in nations that have a periodical rain season and typhoons, rice paddies serve to keep the water supply steady and prevent floods from reaching a dangerous level... O. sativa appears to have originated around the foothills of the Himalayas."

    And perhaps an explanation for the collapse of the Olmans:

    "Rice blast, caused by the fungus Magnaporthe grisea is the most significant disease affecting rice cultivation."

    If the Olman were dependent on rice for food, then a devestating fungal infestation could bring the whole ediface of the empire crashing down.


    Add in sweet potatoes too:

    "Sweet potatoes are native to the tropical Americas and were domesticated there at least 5000 years ago. They spread very early throughout the region, including the Caribbean. They were also known in pre-Columbian times in Polynesia...Sweet potatoes are now cultivated throughout tropical and warm temperate regions wherever there is sufficient water to support their growth...The plant does not tolerate frost. It grows best at an average temperature of 24°C. Depending on the cultivar and conditions, tuberous roots mature in 2–9 months...Under optimal conditions of 85–90% relative humidity at 13–16°C (55–61°F), sweet potatoes can keep for six months."

    Regular potatoes grow better in cooler, wetter conditions - mountains in the tropics or the mid-high latitudes - so unless the Olman have mountain cities, they're unlikly to use these.

    Let's look at the Olmec Maya, Aztec and Khmer agriculture for hints:

    "The name "Olmec" means "rubber people" in the Aztec's language: Nahuatl...Ancient Mesoamericans, spanning from ancient Olmecs to Aztecs, extracted latex from Castilla elastica, a type of rubber tree in the area. The juice of a local vine, Ipomoea alba, was then mixed with this latex to create rubber as early as 1600 BC...The Olmec homeland is characterized by swampy lowlands punctuated by low hill ridges and volcanoes*. The Olmec response to this environment was the construction of permanent city-temple complexes...Olmec culture originated at its base in San Lorenzo Tenochtitlán...The rise of civilization here was probably assisted by the local ecology of well watered rich alluvial soil, encouraging high maize production."

    *sound familar? :)

    "The ancient Maya had diverse and sophisticated methods of food production...permanent raised fields, terraccing, forest gardens, managed fallows, and wild harvesting were also crucial to supporting the large populations of the Classic period in some areas. Indeed, evidence of these different systems persist today: raised fields connected by canals can be seen on aerial photographs, contemporary rainforest species composition has significantly higher abundance of species of economic value to ancient Maya, and pollen records in lake sediments suggest that corn, manioc, sunflower seeds, cotton, and other crops have been cultivated in association with deforestation in Mesoamerica since at least 2500 BCE."

    "The Aztec created artificial islands or chinampas on Lake Texcoco, on which they cultivated crops. The Aztec' staple foods included maize, beans and squash. Chinampas were a very eficient system and could provide up to seven crops a year, on the basis of current chinampa yields, it has been estimated that 1 hectare of chinampa would feed 20 individuals, with about 9,000 hectares of chinampa, there was food for 180,000 people...The Aztecs had a great diversity of maize strains, with a wide range of amino acid content; also, they cultivated amaranth for its seeds, which have a high protein content...They harvested acocils, a small and abundant shrimp of Lake Texcoco, also spirulina algae, which was made into a sort of cake that was rich in flavonoids, and they ate insects, such as crickets (chapulines), maguey worms, ants, larvae, etc...Aztec also had domestic animals, like turkey and some breed of dogs, that provide meat, although usually this was reserved for special ocasions. Hunting was also another source of meat, deers, wild hogs, ducks etc...Aztec also used maguey extensively; from it they obtained food, sugar (aguamiel), drink (pulque), and fibers for ropes and clothing."


    From http://www.angkorwat.org/html/L3208.html, a site on Angkor Wat:

    "The [Angkor] region was naturally irrigated to some extent by the great lake near the city. In June when the rainy season was at its height, water flowed down the Mekong River to its tributaries in the south...This lake conserved water which irrigated the land during the dry season... Indravarman I, who ruled Cambodia from around AD877 to around AD889, was the first to set up this irrigation system. It enabled the Khmers to have a densely populated capital in a small area from which they ruled their empire. He built reservoirs, called barays, and from these a system of canals was developed which ran through the city to the farms in the surrounding areas. Through this irrigation system, up to three rice crops could be grown each year to feed the population of Angkor."


    Last edited by Woesinger on Fri Sep 09, 2005 6:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Fri Sep 09, 2005 6:24 am  

    Just as an addendum to my information dump above:

    Given that the Amedio is part of the great continent of Oerik, it's going to have all the grains and crops that everyone else has. The only thing that'll limit crops is the climate (tropical rain forest). So it's completely possible that the Olman cities would have used rice as a staple, as well as the traditional Mesoamerican crops.

    Zahind and the Celestial Empire are on similar latitudes to the Amedio and parts of Hepmonaland, so if they have rice based agriculture, the Olmens have to have it too.

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    Fri Sep 09, 2005 7:03 am  

    woesinger: "The name "Olmec" means "rubber people" in the Aztec's language: Nahuatl...Ancient Mesoamericans, spanning from ancient Olmecs to Aztecs, extracted latex from Castilla elastica, a type of rubber tree in the area. The juice of a local vine, Ipomoea alba, was then mixed with this latex to create rubber as early as 1600 BC..."

    That makes for some interesting possibilities. Aside from basketballs Exclamation , what other cultural artifacts can be established for the Olman with rubber? I would guess that it could be incorporated into armor as padding. I do not know of any reference to anything like rubber in canon, so I would guess that should be accounted for if rubber it utilized. It could be that their isolation was the cause and there is a whole industry waiting to explode.
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    Fri Sep 09, 2005 7:54 am  

    Again from the ever useful Wikipedia:

    "In its native Central America and South America, rubber has been collected for a long time. The Mesoamerican civilizations used rubber mostly from Castilla elastica. The Ancient Mesoamericans had a ball game using rubber balls (see: Mesoamerican ballgame), and a few Pre-Columbian rubber balls have been found (always in sites that were flooded under fresh water), the earliest dating to about 1600 BC. According to Bernal Díaz del Castillo, the Spanish Conquistadores were so astounded by the vigorous bouncing of the rubber balls of the Aztecs that they wondered if the balls were enchanted by evil spirits. The Maya also made a type of temporary rubber shoe by dipping their feet into a latex mixture. Rubber was used in various other contexts, such as strips to hold stone and metal tools to wooden handles, and padding for the tool handles. While the ancient Mesoamericans did not have vulcanization, they developed organic methods of processing the rubber with similar results, mixing the raw latex with various saps and juices of other vines, particularly Ipomoea alba, a species of Morning glory.
    In Brazil the natives understood the use of rubber to make water-resistant cloth. A story says that the first European to return to Portugal from Brazil with samples of such water-repellent rubberized cloth so shocked people that he was brought to court on the charge of witchcraft."

    So balls, shoes and water resistant cloth, as well as padding and binding for tools. Presumably if you can stick your foot into latex to make a shoe, you might also be able to mould a shoulder pad, vambrace or greaves or some such. I'm not sure how practical rubber armour might be though - especially in a hot humid climate.

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    Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:09 pm  

    Woesinger wrote:
    Just as an addendum to my information dump above:

    Given that the Amedio is part of the great continent of Oerik, it's going to have all the grains and crops that everyone else has. The only thing that'll limit crops is the climate (tropical rain forest). So it's completely possible that the Olman cities would have used rice as a staple, as well as the traditional Mesoamerican crops.

    Zahind and the Celestial Empire are on similar latitudes to the Amedio and parts of Hepmonaland, so if they have rice based agriculture, the Olmens have to have it too.

    P.


    Not necessarily.
    It is going to depend a lot on where the crops first developed, and how easy it is to get from where they developed to a new location.
    If those places are separated from the homeland of the Olman and/or the Amedio by significant barriers (oceans, massive mountain ranges, different climate and ecology zones), then the rice won't get there very easily. (Wheat didn't come to the American plains for around 12,700 years after it was first domesticated.)
    With evolution that isn't utterly overwhelming. With full blown creation it is an absolute limit, unless said creation comes with rice.
    And of course parallel evolution is always possible.

    I favor a general model of the areas south of the Azure Sea having a generally southeast Asian ecology, the Flanaess being generally north American, and the Suel Basin and further west being generally southwest to central Asian. A bit convoluted, but it gets most of the "standard" species into play in areas reasonably resembling their real world latitudes and climate zones. (Sort of. Smile )
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    Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:16 am  

    Samwise wrote:
    [
    Not necessarily.
    It is going to depend a lot on where the crops first developed, and how easy it is to get from where they developed to a new location.
    If those places are separated from the homeland of the Olman and/or the Amedio by significant barriers (oceans, massive mountain ranges, different climate and ecology zones), then the rice won't get there very easily. (Wheat didn't come to the American plains for around 12,700 years after it was first domesticated.)


    Well - my assumption is that if there is an entity apparently large enough to be called the Celestial Empire in Western Oerik and it lies in Oerths Tropics, then it is likely to have a food grain such as rice as the basis for its development.

    If you accept that - then it's not too great a leap, given that Zahind and the Amedio lie in a similar latitude and (likely) the same climate zone, that rice cultivation could have travelled east along (assumed) trade routes, even if the plant wasn't native to the Amedio from the get go.

    This is, of course, not taking magic or anything fanastical into account of course.

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    Tue Sep 13, 2005 5:44 pm  

    Right. But if you recall G, G, & S, such diffusion can take millenia without a certain tech base. If those proto-Olman got it from others, then they'd be several thousand years behind on the development.
    Of course I'd solve that just by giving them their own species of rice. Given the environment, if a local species existed, it would be just too good in that environment not to cultivate.
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    Wed Sep 14, 2005 5:18 am  

    A delayed diffusion works. As does a native variety. There was a native Afircan variety of rice that was cultivated in and around the Niger delta until it was supplanted by the more productive Asian variety, brought west by Arab traders presumably.

    Seems like a very neat parallel.

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    Mon Sep 19, 2005 12:30 pm  

    I though I would post a link to Samwise’s “The Rhola and the Toli: the Battle for Jeklea Bay”, http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=731&mode=thread&order=2&thold=0, here as it is very relevant to the general discussion on the Olman.

    Sorting out it, tSB and the various theories on the orgins of the Olman to get to a position where they are now and where they are heading would be quite a task.

    If I have it right, there has been almost 1000 years of slave raiding into the Amedo. "1000 years, and its the saaaame ...", cannot, IMO, tell this story. Setting aside the Amedi Suel influence, the Toli/Keoish influence (insofar as the Rhola drew on others) would have had a substantial impact on parts of the Olman society. I would think there might be fairly large populations of something like ASTof "peasant/savages" around the coastal forts.
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    Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:36 am  

    The "coastal forts" of the Hook were one of the very interesting parts of tSB. As I reviewed the map, I imagined that a number of them, e.g., those at the mouths of rivers, were likely more like small towns or large villages than mere military forts (although each may well be based on a donjon or larger castle-like structure).

    Prior to the GH Wars, theses places likely sited societies that contained the violent clashing of cultures--Seolder overlords and gentry, some random freemen, and Amedi and Olman slaves. During the GH Wars, I prefer to reject Sean's contention that all the forts fell to the SB and instead to elaborate ideas of resistance--likely short-lived, definitely violent, but ultimately more interesting (and ready for PC intervention).

    Regarding the allegedly old colonization of the Hook, one way to resolve the apparent discrepancy between the reputed age of the colonies and the situation presented in most canon GH texts is to underscore the notion that the colonies often failed. Some were destroyed by Olman or Amedi, some by monsters. Others faultered because their supply ships stopped coming--likely due to heightened Rhola-Toli conflict.

    In light of our general consensus to eschew Earth's history and to imagine a vibrant Olman culture with many (often violent) societies, it makes better sense to think of the colonies of the Flanaess as relatively temporary affairs although the people colonizing them never understood them that way. Maybe a generation or two would settle an area until the march of decades undid their works.

    The Amedi has never been settled. The Toli, Rhola, and Sea Princes may have wrested some wealth from it, but only at a high cost in human lives, much squalor, and great suffering.

    Somewhere, Incabulous grins, even as Demogorgon grimaces.
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    Wed Sep 21, 2005 12:48 pm  

    Wolfsire wrote:
    If I have it right, there has been almost 1000 years of slave raiding into the Amedo. "1000 years, and its the saaaame ...", cannot, IMO, tell this story. Setting aside the Amedi Suel influence, the Toli/Keoish influence (insofar as the Rhola drew on others) would have had a substantial impact on parts of the Olman society. I would think there might be fairly large populations of something like ASTof "peasant/savages" around the coastal forts.


    Actually it has been about 1,200 years of slave raiding.
    And upon close analysis, it is very much likely to be the same.
    First, we need to consider the factors that drive slavery and the slave trade. These are:
    1. Conquest of a foreign people
    2. A use to which said conquered foreign people can be put, typically due to a significant lack of local population to do such tasks

    In the real world, we had this in Ancient Europe, where people could be conquered and brought home to run massive ranches, or mines. When Europe transitioned into the Middle Ages, there was a labor glut, so slaves were no longer needed. By the time of the Black Death and the population loss, there were no longer people conveniently available to enslave.

    Then there are the factors that end slavery, primarily:
    1. A strong lower class that refuses to sanction the "competition"
    2. Evolving moral standards

    By the time Europe was able to start raiding Africa, bringing massive numbers of slaves into Europe would have led to massive economic dislocation, and contintent-wide rebellion. In the newly settled Americas however, there was virtually no such lower class to object, nor did they have the power to object if they desired to. Once that established slavery, it took the evolution of one or both of these to abolish slavery, long after the Europeans countries that planted those colonies had given it up.

    How does this relate to the Amedio?
    1. No large scale conquests
    Simply put, the Amedio has not been conquered and depopulated, through plague or enslavement and shipping the slaves elsewhere. Read some ancient history. Whole cities were destroyed this way. Nobody left alive at all.
    2. No large scale market
    Despite claims by some, there is simply no market for the thousands of slaves per year that were imported to the Americas. The closest place, the Sheldomar, doesn't allow slavery in it's lands, and they have controlled 90% of that market for about 3/4 of that time. The Monmurg lands (Hold of the Sea Princes) simply isn't a market for more than a few thousand a year for about 50 years or so, and then the market would drop to a few hundred per year at most.
    Across the Azure Sea is the Great Kingdom. They have not been a market until the last 600 years at most. Even then, they had little need for slaves from the Amedio. Why? They were conquering, and enslaving everyone living in the South Province, North Province, Nehron, Ferrond, and the northern prairies.
    Only until they were all gone would they need another source of slaves from a third party. That cuts their duration as a market down to about 300 years or so. However, this is also when Keoland was at its height, and the Amedio slave trade was reduced to random pirates.
    Only after the death of Tavish III and Luschan the Sea Prince and the coming of peace could the slave trade be restarted big time. That cuts down the time as a market to 130 years. Unfortunately, this is when the Great Kingdom collapsed, and now the Iron League is in the way with no reason to allow Great Kingdom slavers easy passage.
    Then after all of this, when they are a viable market, they have Hepmonaland to raid directly before dealing with those Toli merchants. Now granted, that doesn't bode particularly well for Hepmonaland, but it does make it a bit easier on the Amedio.

    Taken altogether, it makes 1,200 years of being a "free range slave reserve" well within the range of possibility. Depending on when you mark the start and end of the African slave trade, it was such for about the same period of time.
    Since nobody has conquered them, they just keep dying off from malaria when they try settling in, the Olman just weather the repeated northern plagues, repopulate, and are ready for another century of being preyed upon. This also limits technology diffusion, above and beyond the environmental limitations.
    Also, since there is no major market for them, there is no need to destroy whole city-states on a slaving run. If possible they do it the way the African slave trade worked, buying Olman from other Olman, and just sailing away with them.
    With access to those markets too often limited by people who actively despise slavery (the Keoish), or have no reason to allow it to pass unmolested (the Iron League), you get a further impediment to the trade.

    Now I've phrased that rather crudely so as to focus on the slave trade from the side of the slavers and outside opponents. Obviously the Olman are less than pleased with the whole thing, and have little desire to be said "free range slave reserve." Being able to do something about is different. In the real world, once you are on the down-side of such an equation you don't get the option to change it. The massive African slave trade stopped because Europe ended slavery, the US fought a civil war to end slavery, and Europe carved up Africa. It did not end because all the Africans got together filed a formal complaint with someone, or because they formed their own large nations strong enough to prevent it. The same is going to be the biggest barrier to the Olman doing the same. There is simply no basis for it. That doesn't make it impossible, particularly with the more open-ended access to alternative sources of food, beasts of burden, and technological and social advances available in a fantasy setting. It just means such has to be created from the ground up to explain why the Olman don't remain a whipping boy until someone in the Flanaess develops quinine, and the death rate of settlers drops enough to allow the extermination or assimilation of the Olman.
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    Wed Sep 21, 2005 1:21 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    The closest place, the Sheldomar, doesn't allow slavery in it's lands, and they have controlled 90% of that market for about 3/4 of that time.


    Not disputing this claim, I just honestly do not know - where is this set out in canon? Specifically with reference to Keoland.
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    Wed Sep 21, 2005 4:39 pm  

    Samwise: “such has to be created from the ground up ….” I don’t think it “has to be,” but I think that is a good and fun way to do it as long as it leads you where you want to go. A top down approach gets you where you want to go, if you can tolerate some possible strange results like jungle corn.

    For clarification, by ‘fairly large population of something like ASTof “peasant/savages” around the coastal forts’ I meant people of mixed racial stock, primarily Olman (A) living as peasants servicing the needs of the forts, as MGT alluded to, rather than full nations adopting northern technology.

    That is a concept different from the one I was suggesting that there would be Olman “nations” of mixed racial stock As, AT, etc., but related. Your statement about “Africans … formed their own large nations” invites interesting comparisons. Indeed, the idea I was thinking about is that the problem for the Olman “nations” is that they do not have a super-Inca like Olman ruling class to keep them together in an empire strong enough to mount an opposition.

    I imagined such fort “peasant/savages” would look like northern “peasants” to the Olman, and function the same to the Toli/Keoish, but to the latter appear as “savages” and retain some utility in that regard as guides, slave gatherers, etc.

    Aside from diseases, I would think the relevant inquiry would be how do the forts function as economic units as the costs/per slave would drive demand? I would think disease would go the way they want it to depending on how you view Olman or Olman half-breed immunity.

    I do not know how much play there is in the trade numbers you have given, but they seems reasonable. You could throw into the analysis a decrease in demand resulting from slaves born in the Hold as well as an increase in the demand for slaves given mortality resulting from the cruelty of the Toli. Although it is not an overly long trip, there would be an in transit death rate to consider.

    Have the forts been there long? Have they been occupied long, or for long stretches of time off and on? Are they occupied by large numbers of people? Are they inexpensive palisades or did they require a substantial investment? Do they cost much to maintain? Is the slave trade or opposition thereto justified by something substantially more important than economics? The Rhola hatred is certainly a factor, but throwing money down the drain is something else. Perhaps other questions are relevant. Perhaps given the “need” for slaves, if small, it needs to be subsidized by other economic activity centering around and supporting the forts.

    The point I was getting at is that for every man/year of Toli/Keoish presence along the coast there should be breading with the Olman and a demand for the services of the resulting population. I do not know the answers, but 1200 years is a long time.

    Based upon your analysis, I can see the potential that there could be no such people, but I can also see the possibility of barony size colonies with villages, rather than towns, expect maybe one or two, around the forts.

    Samwise: “… to explain why the Olman don’t remain a whipping boy …” For me, it is a very simple explanation: it is fun making the transition.
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    Wed Sep 21, 2005 5:03 pm  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    Not disputing this claim, I just honestly do not know - where is this set out in canon? Specifically with reference to Keoland.


    Which part? Keoland controlling 90% of the Sheldomar market? Or Keoland opposing slavery?
    If you check the dates of Keoish expansion and contraction you can get the first.
    If you read the appropriate entries, such as the note that the neighbors of the Hold of the Sea Princes oppose their practice of slavery, you can get the second. It is also strongly suggested by the other references to the Rhola and Neheli being different from the other Suel.
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    Wed Sep 21, 2005 5:36 pm  

    Wolfsire wrote:
    I don’t think it “has to be,” but I think that is a good and fun way to do it as long as it leads you where you want to go. A top down approach gets you where you want to go, if you can tolerate some possible strange results like jungle corn..


    That is creating it from the ground up.

    Quote:
    That is a concept different from the one I was suggesting that there would be Olman “nations” of mixed racial stock As, AT, etc., but related. Your statement about “Africans … formed their own large nations” invites interesting comparisons. Indeed, the idea I was thinking about is that the problem for the Olman “nations” is that they do not have a super-Inca like Olman ruling class to keep them together in an empire strong enough to mount an opposition.


    Actually, that should be "sufficiently strong" nations, as both the real world Meso-Americans and Africans did build some rather large nations. They simply weren't strong enough (for the Meso-Americans) or generally large enough (for the Africans) to resist being targets. And they definitely never had the technology.

    Quote:
    Aside from diseases, I would think the relevant inquiry would be how do the forts function as economic units as the costs/per slave would drive demand? I would think disease would go the way they want it to depending on how you view Olman or Olman half-breed immunity.


    Well there you have it. If they rely on slavery, they don't function. Therefore they rely on something else, primarily exports of plant products or precious metals and stones. They couldn't function as just slave pens without a significant flow, and they don't have the market for that.

    Quote:
    I do not know how much play there is in the trade numbers you have given, but they seems reasonable. You could throw into the analysis a decrease in demand resulting from slaves born in the Hold as well as an increase in the demand for slaves given mortality resulting from the cruelty of the Toli. Although it is not an overly long trip, there would be an in transit death rate to consider.


    Right. Which gets you enough to keep the posts open for the Toli, but not enough to keep them open to support a non-existent Flanaess-wide slave trade.

    Quote:
    The point I was getting at is that for every man/year of Toli/Keoish presence along the coast there should be breading with the Olman and a demand for the services of the resulting population. I do not know the answers, but 1200 years is a long time.


    Only to a certain point. Remember, slaves do breed in captivity. That is part of their economics. That also decreases the need to constantly import new ones.

    Quote:
    Based upon your analysis, I can see the potential that there could be no such people, but I can also see the possibility of barony size colonies with villages, rather than towns, expect maybe one or two, around the forts.


    That still doesn't equate to a massive external trade often suggested, or the massive drain to destroy the Olman as a people, which is what you seem to think would be inevitable. Such forts weren't enough to put a dent into the population of Africa, let alone depopulate it, or force a change in the pattern of behavior and economics. (The raiding and slave taking.)

    Quote:
    For me, it is a very simple explanation: it is fun making the transition.


    Well obviously that is why try to do it. Explaining it in a reasonable and internally consistent manner is different.
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    Thu Sep 22, 2005 4:08 am  

    Just to toss an odd point into the discussion.

    On jungle corn - from the (admitedly very limitied) stuff I've read on corn and mesoamerica - jungle corn doesn't seem to be too outlandish an idea. The Olmecs and Maya based their civilizations on corn. Now I've never been to Central America - are the regions where those cultures were based covered in jungle? Not equitorial jungle, obviously - but moist warm rain forest - kinda like the Amedio. I think the key factor is soil fertility. Equitorial rainforest soils are surprisingly low in minerals and the like (leaching of nutrients is apperenly a problem), but the references I've read suggest that the Olmecs were based on fertile alluvial and volcanic soils (also they weren't in an equitorial rainforest).

    So the answer might be that the Olman cities that we see are on rivers with flood basins enriched in volcanic soils washed out of the Hellfurnaces?

    As a general question - what question are we trying address here?
    Why the Olmans haven't picked themselves up from their collapse yet?
    Or the basis for them doing so in the future (as in "now" in game time)?
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    Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:04 am  

    Woesinger: “As a general question - what question are we trying address here?”

    I cannot speak for “we”. I am trying to work out a vision and a method for a rejuvenating the Olman by exploring many different ideas. Protagonist Olman in the process of reviving is what I am looking for. That is pretty vague and preliminary. From my perspective, the interesting and relevant historical and factual information and analysis, that Samwise and others are providing have to date kept me from seeing clearly a vision and method. Right now it is a moving target and I am fine with that.

    It seems that Samwise and I have both a disagreement and a misunderstanding as it relates to the “question”.

    As to the disagreement, I think it goes to method. It looks to me like Samwise requires deductive and inductive reasoning to approach the vision, where I prefer abductive reasoning.

    I think abduction, or reaching the unknown facts from what we know about the vision, is superior logical reasoning for fantasy as factual premises are malleable, often trivial, and the big picture setting is the most important element of gaming. Don’t get me wrong, as DM I love filling in the details and striving for fantasy realism, but most players don’t care about the type of food supply of a society (except when in an inn) and such details. I only love filling in the details of the setting I want to game in.

    Abduction is a tricky thing to do, look at the recent history of the Scarlet Botherhood. I can only assume that Reynolds or someone else took the few given facts about them and decided they should and could take over the world all at once. To me the vision was bad and after reading tSB, the execution of that vision is not believable either. Conflicting with fantasy reality is a danger. So is conflicting with canon. But to me the greater danger is saying the vision cannot be realized because of this that or the other thing, if it that thing is something that I just don’t care about.

    IMO, when there is a conflict, generally consistency should yield to the vision. If Samwise differs, that is great as diverse perspectives tend to make for more creative products. I do not know that he actually disagrees, or if it is a matter of degree and inclination. In any event, it is a dialectic that is very interesting. So, I guess I have to disagree with him that: “Explaining it in a reasonable and internally consistent manner is different” from having “fun making the transition.” It is all part of the same process to me. It would only not be fun for me if it turned into a flame, and I do not think that is going to happen, or if it got stuck on something I think is trivial. But then, no one has to talk about things they do not want to. Have fun corn-dogging it!

    As to the misunderstanding, I think it relates to the impact of the slave trade on the Olman and/or the racial purity of the Olman in general. Samwise: “or the massive drain to destroy the Olman as a people, which is what you seem to think would be inevitable.” What I think is inevitable is not that the Olman would be destroyed by slaving, but that their racial and cultural purity would be changed by their interaction with other people. The degree of that interaction and source of that interaction are separate matters which should be explored to identify just exactly who are the Olman nations and those they interact with.

    Woesinger: “Why the Olmans haven't picked themselves up from their collapse yet? Or the basis for them doing so in the future (as in "now" in game time)?”

    I would say that these issues are fairly well started in the tSB. Despite many criticisms of that book, most valid I think, now that I have read it, to me it looks like a workable set-up for an Olman revival. The SB has overreached, they are the bad guys, and it has been proved that they can be defeated. That is what should happen, IMO.

    The Olman have a bunch of strange gods that are off and on not only about their alignments but about their interactions with Oerth, even their relative status, even while the priests are central to Olman society. A renewal of interest by the gods is expressly stated in tSB, and the various quirks of the pantheon could allow that to be developed in almost any way we wanted. I prefer non-evil, but like the “grey”.

    The Olman are also split between brutal savages in the north and the civilized Xamaclan with a long history in Hepmonaland. As this relates to the Olman homeland, which is relevant to the preliminary vision I have, I did not read tSB as saying that the homeland was in Hepmonaland. Rather it said the origins of the people there are unknown, an Olman civilization developed in Hepmonaland and those people, who consistently fought with each other, moved to the Amedio Jungle and set up city states that eventually formed into an empire.

    IMO, it would be consistent to say that the Olman racial stock originated in the seas to the southwest (for a consistent Asian-Native American link) and as a primitive littoral people they migrated and settled along the coasts (not interior) of the Amedio up into the Hepmonaland and its jungles. When they returned to the Amedio the finally entered the jungles there.

    Also it would be consistent to say, the savanna and foothills nearby developed a different Olman civilization whose positive influence would explain why the Olman of the Amedio Jungle were able to unite and why to this day Xamacan is different. Yes Xamacan was build by the Hepmonaland Olman, but that does not exclude what has been suggested. The invaders could have been subsumed there.

    So, the questions for me now are how did the prior imperial unification take place and how now does that affect how the peaceful Xamacan regain the Olman empire? As a starting point, I think the gods should be explored and suggest that Chalchihuitlicue/Ix chel might be the intermediary for controlling the antagonism between Quetzalcoatl and Tezacatlipoca so that the werejaguars of Hucanuea can be brought into the fold. The articles related to the true homeland of the Olman can be used to support the benign influence of the Olman who never made it to Hepmonaland.

    While the Olman did get the short end of the stick in tSB, it is not without hope, IMO. It looks to me like reconciling the various sources of canon and a vision of a reviving Olman civilization is very workable, even realistic.

    “We forward in this generation, triumphantly.” – Redemption Song
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    Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:50 am  

    Quote:
    As to the disagreement, I think it goes to method. It looks to me like Samwise requires deductive and inductive reasoning to approach the vision, where I prefer abductive reasoning.


    Ummm . . . well, no.

    I use abductive reasoning constantly to reconcile the confusion of canon history. That is how I developed the path of the Hand and the Eye, created the House Wars, developed the rule of Mandros, established the expansion across the Javan and Sheldomar, derived the creation of the Gran March, and much more.
    What I don't do is use it to create new material, then try and force the old to fit it. That would be completely backwards.
    Instead, once I have understood the background, I switch to deductive reasoning to develop it and advance the setting timeline. That way I can avoid excessive reliance on "its magic" to explain things.
    Use what you have to produce results. Don't change the setting then demand everyone reinterpret the prior material to conform to your conclusions.
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    Thu Sep 22, 2005 1:22 pm  

    I cannot argue with your results in the Sheldomar.

    “Don't change the setting then demand everyone reinterpret the prior material to conform to your conclusions.” I will not make any demands, Wink , and I do not think I have. Fortunately, I do not see the need to sacrifice canon.

    Care to share any thoughts on my response to Woesinger’s: “Why the Olmans haven't picked themselves up from their collapse yet? Or the basis for them doing so in the future (as in "now" in game time)?”
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    Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:01 pm  

    I find the SB treatment to be exceptionally poor, particularly given a recovery design and development paradigm.

    IF we take it as a given that they possess the elements that the Meso-Americans (the Mayans in particular) were missing, particularly the alternate food sources and the large animals, but also a return to a more favorable environmental situation, then I think I would have to conclude that the 1,000 year continued collapse is in fact absurd. Without an actual conquest, even with the presence of intermittent adversaries, I think it would be significantly more likely that the Olman would not merely have completely recovered, but also have developed additional social refinements to the point that their "empire" is a real one, and not merely a term used to define their settled zone which is instead occupied by near-autonomous city-states.

    As I've said, explaining a recovery is easy once you understand the collapse. It can become difficult to explain a sustained collapse once you apply the elements needed for a recovery.
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    Fri Sep 23, 2005 2:34 am  

    Ah-ha - now I see the problem clearly (sorry if I'm a little slow - but I like to try to distill things down to simple questions):

    Why, if they had the resources to build an empire in the first place, have the Olman been down for so long and what would suddenly change to trigger a recovery?

    Hmmm...will have to have a think about that, but the first thing that comes to mind is that in the absence of an environmental or external cause - perhaps it's the Olman's devotion to mad, bad and dangerous gods that caused their society to collapse and has kept them fragmented since. The sudden change would be a social and religious change - perhaps new gods/philosophies diffusing from the west via Xamaclan. Or thinking more fantastically - perhaps there is some bigger religious cause. When the empire fell, perhaps some god of progress or social cohesion figure along the lines of Kukulcan in Aztec myth was imprisoned by the bad gods and now, with the turning of some kind of Olman Long Count, he's returned and his priests are spreading out from Xamaclan to do war on the evil gods and revive the empire?

    Just an opening bid - do with it as you will. :)

    P.
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    Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:18 am  

    Woesinger, the religious angle is exactly what I was thinking with Chalchihuitlicue/Ix chel and I fully, agree that Samwise has distilled the problem very clearly.

    Samwise, would reliance on divine intervention in all cases be too much of “excessive reliance on ‘its magic’,” if it is supported by the unoerthly description of the Olman gods given in tSB? Would that explain the missing/returned elements for a sustained collapse?

    The meso-American myths are pretty strongly cyclical about the rise and fall of civilization over and over again.

    Here is something I found very quickly on Kukulcan at http://www.pantheon.org/articles/k/kukulcan.html.

    Kukulcan
    by Micha F. Lindemans

    “The Maya supreme god, to whom the Maya attributed many functions. Not only was he a god of the four elements, he was also a creator god and the god of resurrection and reincarnation. He originated from Toltec myth, where he was a divine hero who taught the Toltecs laws, fishing, healing, the calendar, and agriculture. He emerged from the ocean, and disappeared in it afterwards.

    “His name means "the feathered serpent", and the Aztec merged him with their Quetzalcoatl. His attributes, each representing one element, are a maize-ear (earth), a fish (water), lizard (fire), and vulture (air). He is the so-called 'God B'.

    “Quetzalcoatl, as given in tSB is the prime god of Xamaclan. Tezacatlipoca will not cooperate with him. He is an evil jaguar god. I do not recall that it was specifically stated that he was the god of Hucanuea. I may have just assumed that that city of werejaguars worshiped him, which I think would be valid.”

    Ix chel, in her myths did get around between lovers sometime running, sometimes walking away from them, and she too is a dead and resurrected goddess. Myths generally are not consistent, but at least one, http://inanna.virtualave.net/southamerican.html, provides : “Chalchiuhtlicue is the goddess of running and fertility water. She is the consort of Tlaloc, the god of the sky. He was drven away by Quetzalcoatl and was replaced by Chalchiuhtlicue. She was so furious that she created violent floods, and only those who were turned into fish.” Both Ix chel and Chalchiuhtlicue have their violent and benign aspects and tSB describing them as not being consistent with their alignment reflects that.

    Woesinger, I guess what you have said does have a potential conflicts with canon:

    “When the empire fell, perhaps some god of progress or social cohesion figure along the lines of Kukulcan in Aztec myth was imprisoned by the bad gods and now, with the turning of some kind of Olman Long Count, he's returned and his priests are spreading out from Xamaclan to do war on the evil gods and revive the empire?”

    The potential conflicts would be too narrowly describing the gods as “bad” or “evil” or and fixing their motivations and actions on that. They just about all are evil, but then they are not consistent. I think their alignments were selected arbitrary. I have see Huraken described in the game by some as good, and as evil by others. Also “imprisoned” to me seems inconsistent with the survival of Xamaclan. Maybe not.

    Here is possibility, other things could be going on with the other gods. And this is very rough:

    Tlaloc is supplanted by Quetzalcoatl/Kukulcan which causes the transition to empire from warring states. However, Chalchiuhtlicue/Ixchel gets enraged, turns evil, doesn’t support the empire which causes it to fall. With Tlaloc she had the proper balance between good/evil etc. which was destroyed when Q/K moved in. Eventually she then gets together with Quetzalcoatl/Kukulcan and peace reins in Xamaclan. They get along good together, but it is lopsided. Not enough evil, self-interest to expand their prosperity. The rest of the Olman suffer and Quetzalcoatl/Kukulcan doesn’t doing anything to help her children so she walks out on him and into the arms of Tezacatlipoca. Quetzalcoatl/Kukulcan then goes out to get her back and engages Tez, the dynamic in the process causing the rebirth of the empire. Two gods Q/K and Tez racing to sit on the divine throne of a united Olman people to take the hand of C/I. The other gods join in. I am not saying that Q/K needs to kill Tez or the C/I needs to commit to Tez, but rather the gods get up and start doing things consistant with their portfolios/myths which have an impact on Oerth. C/I could hook up with Camazotz. Who know, but civilization spreads under the march of Q/K and the lazy werejaguars of
    Hucanuea are suddenly devine warriors reining in the brutal savage of the northern Amedio. Maybe Tez is painted into a corner much as Q/K was when he hooks up with Tlazolteotl. Osprem help the Brotherhood when the battle reaches the coasts. (hopefully not)
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    Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:39 am  

    Makes me think about the spread of Islam. I would not doubt that there was something else, but I have never heard that it was anything but the introduction of the new faith that caused them march across north Africa and to the east.

    The love triangle between C/I, Q/K and Tez could very well be reflected on Oerth as the consort and King priest of Xamaclan and a dashing princely werejaguar.
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    Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:58 am  

    I will toss this into the mix to address the Amidi Suel.

    Ix Chel is described as having been killed by her jealous grandfather when she is having an affair with the sun. She has been correlated with Ix Tab, the goddess of suicide, and it is reasonable to attribute to Ix Chel her own death at the hands of her grandfather. I throw that in because there are images from the Dresen Codex that I have been working on and intent to post. Ix Chel is show as a middle aged woman dumping a pot (water) and a clawed venerable woman weaving. Ix Tab is hanging herself but she is much more attractive, and so I think younger. The Virgin-Mother-Crone archetype.

    Maybe, maybe not, lycanthropy of her oerthly representative could be symbolic of her death. In any event, in the myth she comes back to life after being hovered over by numerous (13 or 183) dragonflies.

    I do not recall if Bralm is listed as one of the gods of the Amidi Suel, but given a prevalence of insects in jungles, it would be reasonable to conclude that she could have a cult following that, under the right conditions, could at least somewhat rein them in and make them susceptible to a truce with the Olman.

    As far as the right conditions go, in relation to the SB, with their recent loss of power and conscription of the Amidi Suel, many of their warriors would be serving in the north. Perhaps that would not lead to much instability as long as the northern Olman are divided into hundreds of bickering tribes, but if they become unified there might be a big problem for the Amidi Suel. Toss into the mix the boxed set canon of inevitable cross-racial breeding, there could be a whole spectrum of S, Sa, SA, AS, As, A tribes to play politics with. Actually, there should be at least some “t”s in there as Olman (A) would have brought that back with them when they returned from Hepmonaland. Both S and T blood help would explain the variation in color of the Olman.
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    Fri Sep 23, 2005 4:53 pm  

    Quote:
    Samwise, would reliance on divine intervention in all cases be too much of “excessive reliance on ‘its magic’,” if it is supported by the unoerthly description of the Olman gods given in tSB? Would that explain the missing/returned elements for a sustained collapse?


    Yes it would.
    And the use of such "unoerthly" deities would be a particularly poor mechanism for such.
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    Mon Sep 26, 2005 9:05 am  

    Samwise: "Yes it would. And the use of such "unoerthly" deities would be a particularly poor mechanism for such."

    Why?

    I agree having canon be that the Olman gods are not from Oerth was a bad idea. For mechanics, having them be inconsistant in alignment was a bad idea. Having them wax and wain in their interest in the Olman probably was too. But there it is in tSB. I would rather not disregard or contradict the canon if possible. If I were inclined to, it might be easier to start from scratch.

    Those things in tSB seem to be calling for a rejuvinated Olman back by evil gods acting good originating out Xamaclan. Not gods running around the Amedio, but something. Maybe as little as few activist priests and an inspired population.
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    Tue Sep 27, 2005 6:01 am  

    I guess another question is whether the rise of the "bad" gods was a cause or a result of the fraying of the empire?

    IIRC - there's a theory the collapse of the Maya was brought about by their overexploitation of their environment - partially driven by their building of enormous religious monuments (If Sam's read Collapse - he'll probably be able to elaborate more on this). This was also the cause of the collapse of the civilisation on Easter Island (too much monument building lead to complete deforestation and the collapse of the civilisation there).

    Thing is, as we've identified - the collapse isn't the hard bit to explain - it's the sustained nature of the collapse. If there's no environmental reason why the empire shouldn't have recovered or been reborn, then it's got to be something social (and/or religious). Perhaps there's been some sort of taboo in Xamaclan against returning to the old cities, lest the "contagion" that consumed the empire spread to Xamaclan. If the society in Xamaclan has been very conservative and traditional - perhaps ideas of restoring the empire have been stymied (though I'll admit, a thousand years is a long time) by the ruling and religious classes. All a revival needs is the overthrow of those conservative forces?


    P.
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    Tue Sep 27, 2005 12:23 pm  

    The Maya collapse was caused mostly by an environmental shift combined with ecosystem damage caused by efforts to compensate for it.
    There was a climate shift that caused a prolonged drought. To produce enough food, they began farming the hillsides. Cutting down the trees up there for fields caused massive soil depletion and erosion, eventually leaving them in the same place they started - too many people, too little food.

    The Easter Island collapse was more directly related to monument building. The people there are (were) Polynesians. When they showed up, in stone age outriggers across a third of the Pacific Ocean, a feat somewhere along the lines of using an H. G. Wells super-cannon to launch a moon capsule, they discovered that their crops were not suitable for the climate, and it didn't have enough alternative foodstuffs to support them. Trying to compensate for that caused ecosystem damage. Combined with that, their monuments required a significant amount of wood to build. That led to the eventual complete deforestation of the island, and a subsequent ecosystem collapse, and the loss of a significant portion of their population.

    That's a really limited summary, without reviewing the chapters. People should pick up the book for more specific details.
    (And indeed should pick up both Guns, Germs, and Steel and Collapse if they really want to get information on society building and destroying.)
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    Tue Sep 27, 2005 2:13 pm  

    Interesting ideas.

    Explicit canon with respect to their inability to renew their civilization in the tSB says: “Although most of their cities were destroyed, the Olman might still have regained their former glory and built new cities if it hadn’t been for the rivalry of the Suel.”

    Well, that rivalry has gone on for a long time. Also, tSB says that the Northern Olman fight each other. However, with the mixing of the bloodlines (an event recognized even with the nation of tSB) the racial rivalry should have diminished, to become more of tribal rivalries. The legacy would still be there. Some Suel bloodlines would run truer. And the constant fighting would prevent civilization. However, the situation would be different in that there would not be a large united Suel nation to prevent Olman reunification. At what point did they become sufficiently divided to conquer? Who knows, but it could be said that the opportunity is now available.

    Implicit canon with respect to their inability to renew their civilization relates to the Gods and incorporates real world economics. What I think is consistent with canon and Mesoamerican mythology is that there is a cycle of the rise and fall of civilization, which is symbolized by different gods as the leader of the pantheon, and explained by the duality in the nature of the gods as both good and evil. They give then they take away.

    Civilization rose and fell in Hepmonaland characterized by warring city states. It did not fall until some Olman morphed into Yuan-Ti and the Touv drove many of the rest away. Civilization rose and fell in the Amedio. This civilization was founded by the migrants of the last and was not characterized by warring city states, until its fall, when economic and religious differences took over.

    Although very little is said about the Olman gods in the Amedio section of tSB, more is said about them in the Hempmonaland section. “The leaders of the pantheon on Oerth changes with the beliefs of its worshipers, having been Quetzalcoatl, Camazotz and Tezcatlipoca at different times.”

    I would guess that this is an order of leadership going back in time. Quetzalcoatl, the “least warlike of the gods” might be the most recent leader, and does still hold sway in the only civilized area Xamaclan. Before that was Camazotz. It could have been under his leadership that the Amedio civilization was formed. The bat god could represent the taming and understanding of the new jungle. Tezcatlipoca, with his emphasis on scheming and betrayal would be about right for the Hepmonaland civilization.

    Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca are social gods, for different reasons, but Camazotz does not appear to be. It does not seem right that a civilization would exist without the heavy influence of gods interested in such things. Perhaps Camazotz was closely associated with Tlaloc and Chalchihuitlicue, with them becoming increasingly more important when things settled in the Amedio to the point that he was the nominal head. That would set things up for the usurpation by Quetzalcoatl, according to Aztec myths, of Tlaloc, but also of Camazotz who could have increasingly fell into the background. The reign of Quetzalcoatl would have been followed later by the destruction of the empire by the rages of Chalchihuitlicue at the disempowerment of her husband. She is a goddess, and gets to take her time.

    This would reflect the religious and economic differences that grew and caused the fall. While Chalchihuitlicue’s mythological rage is embodied by world ending floods, that could be tied in. Economic strains increased, as rivers increasingly flooded, storms became more frequent, top soil was depleted and washed away, etc. That the turning points was some mine or some such was just the tip of the iceberg. The empire fell apart for environmental economic reasons that pitted the cities against each other.

    In addition to the rivalry with the Suel, perhaps we could say that the Amedio civilization did not revive because the interest of the gods waned and there was no real leader of the pantheon, except in Xamaclan where civilization still held on. But in Xamaclan, “the beliefs of its worshipers”, as embodied in Quetzalcoatl, the “least warlike of the gods”, could not muster the will to regain the empire. The various reasons given by Woesinger could relate to that.

    With the interest of the gods being renewed, a god would eventually be the leader of the pantheon to represent their renewed driving beliefs. The Suel are still a major problem, but not more so or really any different from the northern Olman. Environmental conditions could be much better. Both of these things would have taken time to improve. Now there is just a need for the motivation to go out an conquer. Quetzalcoatl might not be up to the task but he is still a major player, maybe a motivator or obstructionist. Probably both. Who ends up being the leader of the pantheon for the new era? I do not know. I probably should depend on how the new empire gets put together.
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    Sat Oct 01, 2005 6:34 pm  

    Although I appreciate greatly the idea of incorporating some of the "female" Meso-American deities (and tSB mentions at least one), I agree with Samwise, Chatdemon, Chiribiras and others that we should eschew the gods of Earth and instead elaborate Olman's Oerthly gods--even given my enjoyment of GVD's elegant solution of the problem of "alien gods."

    Rather than look to the Olman gods, I see the millennial lack of a resurgent Olman empire as the product of a continuous, if low-level war, that has raged throughout the tribes of the Amedio Jungle. While the jungle tribes do have taboos about the various ruined cities (and monstrous threats exist in the semi-ruined ones), remember that the inhabitants of the Amedio Jungle have also contended with centuries of slave raids and other assaults from the Toli and Rhola Suel.

    I think that Xamaclan may well have expanded to its current border relatively quickly and not gone further because of wise rulership. Hundreds of warring tribes in the jungle are not favorable opponents. Instead, Xamaclan likely ventured west and northwest along the coasts. Xamaclan may have settled some of the islands of the Vohoun Ocean and traded with the nations emblematized by Changar.

    Beyond these conditions, I also refer to the "Invisible War"--coined by Nellisir. In short, demonic influences have worked ceaselessly and with burning hatred of humanity throughout the Amedio Jungle. People are pitted against each other because of the urging and machinations of numerous demonalotrists (perhaps usefully represented by Green Ronin's Thamaturge character class).

    This has only changed in the last decade--when Flanaess explorers inadvertently freed a certain coatl, an ancient vampire, a pair of monks, and gods-know what else by the Matreyus expedition...
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    Sat Oct 01, 2005 6:49 pm  

    Wolfsire wrote:
    In addition to the rivalry with the Suel, perhaps we could say that the Amedio civilization did not revive because the interest of the gods waned and there was no real leader of the pantheon, except in Xamaclan where civilization still held on. But in Xamaclan, “the beliefs of its worshipers”, as embodied in Quetzalcoatl, the “least warlike of the gods”, could not muster the will to regain the empire. The various reasons given by Woesinger could relate to that.

    With the interest of the gods being renewed, a god would eventually be the leader of the pantheon to represent their renewed driving beliefs. The Suel are still a major problem, but not more so or really any different from the northern Olman. Environmental conditions could be much better. Both of these things would have taken time to improve. Now there is just a need for the motivation to go out an conquer. Quetzalcoatl might not be up to the task but he is still a major player, maybe a motivator or obstructionist. Probably both. Who ends up being the leader of the pantheon for the new era? I do not know. I probably should depend on how the new empire gets put together.


    A theme of "the return of the gods" would work well with the Olman for the reasons Wolfsire earlier set out and the ideas of "cyclic time" and a literal belief in a "return" among various MezoAmerican cultures.

    The immediate objection would be that the gods of Oerth do not interfere in Oerthly affairs. The ready answer to this challenge is that the Olman deities are unlike any others (that we know about) on Oerth, in that they are definable "alien." They then stand outside the divine compact of the Suel, Oeridian, Baklunish and Flan deities which, with few exceptions (e.g., St. Cuthbert), are native to Oerth.

    This is not to say a "return of the gods" is the only viable course, but it strongly lends itself to the material, IMO. The real fun along this line, IMO, would be defining the "alien" nature of the Olman deities, not that it has to be fully defined.
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    Sat Oct 01, 2005 7:01 pm  

    mtg wrote:
    Rather than look to the Olman gods, I see the millennial lack of a resurgent Olman empire as the product of a continuous, if low-level war, that has raged throughout the tribes of the Amedio Jungle. . . .

    I think that Xamaclan may well have expanded to its current border relatively quickly and not gone further because of wise rulership. Hundreds of warring tribes in the jungle are not favorable opponents. Instead, Xamaclan likely ventured west and northwest along the coasts. Xamaclan may have settled some of the islands of the Vohoun Ocean and traded with the nations emblematized by Changar.

    Beyond these conditions, I also refer to the "Invisible War"--coined by Nellisir. In short, demonic influences have worked ceaselessly and with burning hatred of humanity throughout the Amedio Jungle. . . .

    This has only changed in the last decade--when Flanaess explorers inadvertently freed a certain coatl, an ancient vampire, a pair of monks, and gods-know what else by the Matreyus expedition...


    I find none of this mutually exclusive. So we have these factors -

    (1) Return of deific influence;
    (2) Internecine warface;
    (3) Xamaclan expands south
    (4) Invisible (demonic) War rages in Amedio
    (5) Explorers "release" long dormant forces

    Sounds like together they could make for one very interesting setting not at all amendable to a quick "conquest" from the Flanaess. Doubtless the Scarlet Brotherhood would be the first to discover the Amedio is easier to enter than to leave alive, let along as conquerors. The Keoland bravos in their coastal forts would have much the same experience. I am reminded of the Howard stories The Treasure of Tranicos and Wolves Across the Border - "civilized" Hyborians get a taste of Pictish "barbarism."

    The "dirty Olman savages" factor must still be contended with, however, and I continue to advocate for a Hellfurnace enclave, much like Xamaclan, preserving "the old ways" of empire In the alternative, if the Olman are MezoAmerican analogs, could not their be an Andean (Incan) analog in the Hellfurnaces?
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    Sat Oct 01, 2005 7:06 pm  

    With respect to either the Xamaclan or Hellfurnace enclave theory (see posts above), nothing says that the Olman would be limited to MezoAmerican or Andean technology.

    The Amedio is not isolated to the same degree as Central or South America. Technology, crops and animals from Hepmonaland, the Utter South or any of the areas bordering the dividing range of which the Hellfurnaces are apart (the most unlikely perhaps) could have filtered into the Amedio, assuming the Olman themselves did not independently derive the technology, crop or domestic animal.

    The MezoAmerican analogy enriches the Olman but it does not have to entirely define them, IMO.
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    Mon Oct 03, 2005 3:28 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:
    With respect to either the Xamaclan or Hellfurnace enclave theory.


    Just thinking out loud...

    If you take the Out of Hepmonaland view from tSB, then the Olman reached the Amedio when the Suel Imperium was in its late phase, just before the RoCF. So any Olmans spreading into the mountains, might have encountered Suel outposts there (for good or bad). After the RoCF, Olman tribes might even have occupied some of them (as well as establishing some of their own).

    It's possible that there might be enclaves up there - hidden to escape the chaos and warfare consuming the jungle cities. Perhaps they have peaceful contacts with the Dakon?

    However, they'd have to contend with the hostile environment up there - earthquakes, vulcanism and the monsters and other fauna and flora that lend the Hellfurnaces their name. It's also possible that when the ancestors of the Amedi Suel entered the Ameio, they'd have used passes in the Hellfurnaces, drilling right through any Olman settlements up there.

    Considering that - I'd see small enclaves, rather than a fully fledged hidden empire. However - from small acorns do mighty oaks grow...

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    Tue Oct 04, 2005 12:04 pm  

    Mgt: “Beyond these conditions, I also refer to the "Invisible War"--coined by Nellisir. In short, demonic influences have worked ceaselessly and with burning hatred of humanity throughout the Amedio Jungle.”

    tSB suggests that as a possibility, though not as a fact, stating that Demogorgon, upset at the loss of the Trog civilization, might have had a hand in the lack of Olman revival.

    GVD: “The immediate objection would be that the gods of Oerth do not interfere in Oerthly affairs.”

    Just in case I was not clear, and consistent with what you have said, the return of the gods theme is directly out of tSB:

    “The Olman gods are not native to Oerth … around 3000 years ago, these gods discovered Oerth and the Olman … and revealed themselves as supernatural beings …These gods were lax in attending the Olman in the past thousand years, but recently are showing a greater interest in their Oerthly worshipers.”

    GVD: “The real fun along this line, IMO, would be defining the "alien" nature of the Olman deities, not that it has to be fully defined.”

    For comparison:

    Samwise: "the use of such "unoerthly" deities would be a particularly poor mechanism for such."

    Stargate Olman as a backdrop?

    Maybe S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks should be reviewed. I did not like I11, Needle, but perhaps it too should be reconsidered. IIRC the “Needle” oblique is a gate to a civilized spider moon and it has been accepted by Living Greyhawk.

    GVD: “If you take the Out of Hepmonaland view from tSB, then the Olman reached the Amedio when the Suel Imperium was in its late phase, just before the RoCF. So any Olmans spreading into the mountains, might have encountered Suel outposts there (for good or bad).”

    Although it did not mention it, and perhaps implicitly denied it, tSB did not preclude Olman who were never from Hepmonaland, particularly in the non-jungle (coastal, savanna and mountain) areas, where other civilization did not exists. The closest things there is to an explicitly Hepmonaland only homeland is “The Olman that arrived from Hepmonaland did so around -1000, long after the d’kana vanish.” That is not the same as “The Olman, which arrived from Hepmonaland ….”

    Xamaclan is different.
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    Wed Oct 05, 2005 3:47 am  
    Thinky bits

    Wolfsire wrote:

    GVD: “The immediate objection would be that the gods of Oerth do not interfere in Oerthly affairs.”

    Just in case I was not clear, and consistent with what you have said, the return of the gods theme is directly out of tSB:

    “The Olman gods are not native to Oerth … around 3000 years ago, these gods discovered Oerth and the Olman … and revealed themselves as supernatural beings …These gods were lax in attending the Olman in the past thousand years, but recently are showing a greater interest in their Oerthly worshipers.”


    As I mentioned before, I'd be inclined to tie this into some sort of divine cycle, related to something like the Long Count.

    Given that a lot of the Flanaessi gods aren't "native" to the Oerth (in the way, for example, Iuz or Vecna are), singling the Olman gods out as "Unoerthly" seems strange. Perhaps what SKR meant was that they were different in attitude/aspect to the Flanaessi gods? Even if he didn't acutally mean that, can we use that interpretation?

    As for the gods 2discovering" the Olman 3,000 years ago - perhaps that means that the Olman became relgiously and cuturally distinct at that time, developing or finding these gods at that time? (Depends on whether gods come from people or vice versa).

    So let's set where they're from aside, and perhaps look at some sort of cyclical waxing and waning of their power/interest/attributes. Wolfsire's spoken a bit about some of the gods having characteristics of creator and destroyer, encouraging the growth of civilisation at one point in the cycle and actively working for its destruction at other points.

    If we can't find a natural cause for Olman civilisation spending 1,000 on the canvas - then this might be the supernatural cause. If you're reluctant to invoke higher powers - then perhaps the actual attitude of the gods doesn't matter that much, if their mortal cultists believe fervently in the cycle of rise and fall. They'll work actively to manipulate the culture upwards in the up phase and then destroy it (and perhaps keep it down) until the time for the next rise is at hand. It becomes less of a supernatural phenomoenon as a social/cultural/religious one.

    Wolfsire wrote:

    GVD: “If you take the Out of Hepmonaland view from tSB, then the Olman reached the Amedio when the Suel Imperium was in its late phase, just before the RoCF. So any Olmans spreading into the mountains, might have encountered Suel outposts there (for good or bad).”


    Actually, I said that. :)

    Wolfsire wrote:

    Although it did not mention it, and perhaps implicitly denied it, tSB did not preclude Olman who were never from Hepmonaland, particularly in the non-jungle (coastal, savanna and mountain) areas, where other civilization did not exists. The closest things there is to an explicitly Hepmonaland only homeland is “The Olman that arrived from Hepmonaland did so around -1000, long after the d’kana vanish.” That is not the same as “The Olman, which arrived from Hepmonaland ….”


    That's a fair distinction and I didn't scan tSB too closely. I did get the implication in the Hepmonaland section that the Olman were from Hepmonaland, but I know that's not explicitly stated (AFAIK).

    The question then is - if they spread to Hepmonaland from the Amedio - why did Hepmonaland civilise first? Does it have resources that the Amedio doesn't? If so - what changed in the Amedio to facilitate civilisation there (aside from civilised Olman from Hepmonaland filtering back with their new tech and social systems)?

    Civilisation seems to depend, ultimately, on size of population. Factors like domesticatable animals and crops help civilisations rise because they provide more food to support larger populations. Larger populations allow for urbanisation and the development of specialists - craftsmen, administrators, thinkers etc. At the end of the day, provided you have the natural resources, technological progress becomes a numbers game - the more people you have, the more likely you are to have a Gilgamesh, a Pythagoras or an Archimedes.

    So - if the Olman spread from the Amedio, presumably in a relatively uncivilised state (at least not to the point that they had extensive city states), to Hepmonaland and civilised there - there must be some factor in Hepmonaland that allowed the Olman there to support greater populations than was possible in the Amedio (a strain of jungle corn, or rice indiginous to Hepmonaland perhaps). That then allowed them to found cities and spread back to the Amedio, perhaps bringing factor X with them.

    On the other hand, the Olman might have began in Hepmonaland, used factor x to civilise and then spread to the Amedio. The question then becomes - where did the Olman come from originally? Were they always in Hepmonaland? Were they put there by the gods when they scattered humanity across the face of the Oerth? Or did they come there from Anakeris or from Oerik? If Oerik - then that's just the Amedio First theory above.

    Given a choice of options - I'd favour the Amedio First - making Oerik the common point of origin of humanity back in the dim and distant age of myth and legend*. I'd see the Touv as being invaders from Anakeris, and Hepmonaland being the point of contact/conflict with the Olman spreading south from Oerik.

    *That would also imply that Anakeris was populated from western Oerik in the dim and distant past, btw.
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    Wed Oct 05, 2005 8:21 am  

    Woesinger: “Actually, I said that. :)”

    I apologize. I should be more careful when I cut and paste.

    On the gods, I looks like there are three very different views in relation to civilization. Please correct me if I am wrong:

    GVD favors that they are from another world and can impact civilization. Woesinger favors that they are from Oerth, just different in kind, and will cyclically impact civilization. Samwise thinks it is a terrible idea to have them impact civilization.

    Those are major differences.

    How about this to sort of harmonize them:

    The Olman gods were originally mortals from another world, but not Earth, although they visited Earth and picked up ideas, and names from Mesoamerican myths. Then they arrived on Oerth by spacecraft/jammership. With their advanced technology and class/level ability, they ascended as actual gods when they created the Hepmonaland civilizations. That would have taken a while according the Greychrondex, 500 to 1000 years. They check up on the Olman every now and then (perhaps the Long Count is a result of time/longevity issue across the worlds), but with their ascension they act more like Oerthly gods and do not get involved as much as in the past. Recently, as happens every now and again, one or more is taking a more active interest and getting involved. But in doing so he/she/they run into conflict with the non-intervention status quo, which could pit them against other divine/demonic/ect. players, forcing them to go about involvement very indirectly. Of course, that would not necessarily prevent one or more of them from having a spaceship base somewhere out of the way in the southern Hellfurnaces, just not as the main ziggurat in Xamaclan. Perhaps, they feel that involvement is necessary now to preserve their divinity. If circumstances are right and Olman cultural revival will take place with or without them- the tribal wars less polarized, weather less stormy, soil recharged, etc.- they may feel the need to make their mark again, so as not to lose followers to other Oerthly gods. They can claim credit for the revival, their followers will believe it, and they can help as little or as much as you want, but in truth, they are along for the ride.

    On Olman orgins, as I said in previous posts, because the Olman are patterned after Mesoamericans, they as Mesoamericans should come from an Asiatic land. That would mean the far west and the Amedio sits right between there and Hepmonaland.

    Woesinger on "that" v. "which": "That's a fair distinction". Thanks. It is also a micro fine distinction. I think SKR meant that the Olman for practial purposes originated in Hepmonaland, but would not rule out other possibilities. He also said: "Some consider the Olman to be dististantly related to the Flan, but there is as of yet little evidence to corroborate this" and "As in most places on Oerth, the first human occupants [of Hepmonaland] are lost to the mists of time."
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    Thu Oct 06, 2005 6:34 am  

    Wolfsire wrote:

    GVD favors that they are from another world and can impact civilization. Woesinger favors that they are from Oerth, just different in kind, and will cyclically impact civilization. Samwise thinks it is a terrible idea to have them impact civilization.


    Well - they're from where ever Pelor and the other gods who aren't specifically ascended from the Oerth are from.
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    Thu Oct 06, 2005 6:41 am  

    Have to say that I'm not madly enamoured of the space-alien god thang.

    I took "Alien gods" to mean strange, weird, odd as opposed to creatures in vac-suits or jammerships. Cthulhu rather than Chewbacca. :)

    Barrier peaks aside - my preference is to keep spelljamming stuff to a minimum, but to each his own.

    Besides - what happened to the Olman's original gods? If every other people had them - why not the Olman?

    The space alient thing aside - I do like the idea of some religious wax and wane in the fortunes of Olman civilisation - either though the changing aspects of the mad, bad, weird gods or the beliefs of their followers in same.
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    Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:42 pm  

    IMC, I have never fully quantified what "alien" means. Spacemen? Cthulthu-esque beings? Alternate dimensional divinities? I think I've toyed or teased all three but have never really settled. Not that those three exhaust all the possibilities.

    The one constant IMC has been that the Olman gods are _terrifying_ in a way even Nerull and his ilk are not. Even the Olman fear most of their gods as much as venerate them and that veneration is necessary to appease the Olman gods, who demand such. Yet, the Olman are devoted to their gods and their kings and chieftans are also priests of one deity or another.

    I see Olman worship as very different from any other in the Flanaess - blood sacrifice, human sacrifice, yet, the sacrificers are not "evil" nor necessarily the gods accepting and demanding such sacrifice.

    I like the Olman very much as different.
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    Fri Oct 07, 2005 5:54 am  

    GVDammerung wrote:

    The one constant IMC has been that the Olman gods are _terrifying_ in a way even Nerull and his ilk are not. Even the Olman fear most of their gods as much as venerate them and that veneration is necessary to appease the Olman gods, who demand such. Yet, the Olman are devoted to their gods and their kings and chieftans are also priests of one deity or another.

    I see Olman worship as very different from any other in the Flanaess - blood sacrifice, human sacrifice, yet, the sacrificers are not "evil" nor necessarily the gods accepting and demanding such sacrifice.

    I like the Olman very much as different.


    Yeah - I like that take, GVD.

    And it fits with a religious/social explanation for the protracted fall of high Olman civilisation. If they're social structure is set up so that the gods and their servents run everything and cannot be challenged and those gods are bent on destruction, chaos and fragmentation, then your society'd going to be pretty destructuve, chaotic and fragmented.

    Now if there is a change in the aspect of the gods - either in their own behaviour (as Wolfsire suggested) or in the rising power of "constructuve" gods or in a social/religious revolution - then you can see scope for recovery. Which is why everyone looks to Xamaclan as the seed of the new Olman empire.

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    Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:11 pm  

    Boy, this has gone way beyond what I expected. This is all very, very interesting, and I think it fits in well with most versions of Oerth, including my own. However, I think the discussion has gone a long way from what I started the thread for, namely to explain how the Olman might have acquired metalwork, and what interactions they'd have with the demihumans of the southlands.

    To repeat briefly, I see no reason why the dwarves, orcs, elves and other major demihuman and humanoid races can't be spread all over the Oerth like humans; various cultural changes and permutations, appearing much more subtle to humans, can vary these peoples. It also explains how human nations based on real-world cultures have access to steel weapons when their real-life counterparts did not.

    So, how would the Olman get along with dwarves, elves, gnomes or halflings of the southern jungles? How would these people differ culturally? How much metalworking knowledge would they teach the Olman? Would they teach them how to forge steel, or just trade it to them? Would the Olman have the greatest affinity with dwarves? Halflings? Goblins? Orcs?

    Your thoughts?
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    Fri Oct 07, 2005 12:48 pm  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:

    To repeat briefly, I see no reason why the dwarves, orcs, elves and other major demihuman and humanoid races can't be spread all over the Oerth like humans; various cultural changes and permutations, appearing much more subtle to humans, can vary these peoples. It also explains how human nations based on real-world cultures have access to steel weapons when their real-life counterparts did not.


    Because if can be done very poorly if not watched carefully, and because it diminish the relevance of different cultures if they are racially ubiquitous.

    If we have Olman, do we also have Meso-American dwarves, orcs, etc.?
    Will every culture and pseudo-culture be represented in and by every race?

    Now hopefully nobody will go off on a rant about me being overbearing, but you said you "see no reason", and what I have provided is a reason. Whether it applies here or not is something I leave open to be discussed and considered, but there is a reason why NOT to do that, just as there are reasons TO do it. Both must be considered.
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    Fri Oct 07, 2005 1:27 pm  

    I think you are right, Samwise. tSB lists the Beastmen, Dakon and Kech as present. I would like to see them developed and the standard demihumans generally not part of the big picture. Maybe some isolated gurgach in the jungle, maybe some dwarves in the Hellfurnaces. Maybe they don't like the climate. I also agreed with your prior statement, with respect to metal, that the issue is not whether the dwarves could teach it, but whether the metal was present at all. What did the Dakon teach? I believe there was little contact, but there probably would have been some.
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    Fri Oct 07, 2005 6:54 pm  

    Samwise wrote:


    Because if can be done very poorly if not watched carefully, and because it diminish the relevance of different cultures if they are racially ubiquitous.

    If we have Olman, do we also have Meso-American dwarves, orcs, etc.?
    Will every culture and pseudo-culture be represented in and by every race?

    Now hopefully nobody will go off on a rant about me being overbearing, but you said you "see no reason", and what I have provided is a reason. Whether it applies here or not is something I leave open to be discussed and considered, but there is a reason why NOT to do that, just as there are reasons TO do it. Both must be considered.


    That's true, but I should perhaps make myself clearer. I never said that the dwarves. elves etc. would have to mimic every aspect of every single human culture they would be interacting with, just that they would have different cultural variations depending on which culture they interacted with. Dwarves might engage in a fur trade with North American First Nations, halflings might be either vicious yakuza-types or be overlords of the Chinese-style peasant classes for their agricultural skills, etc.

    And does iron ore exist everywhere on the Oerth? I say, yes it does. The Mesoamerican peoples, for one, clearly had to have done some sort of mining to acquire all the fabulous mineral wealth that the conquistadors went berserk over. If the Olman mined gold, they probably also mined iron, or at least traded to the dwarves and gnomes for it.

    As for why the demihumans need to be spread all over the world, that's just one of my own personal criteria for what makes Greyhawk...well, Greyhawk. Along with an exorcism of any and all aberrant technology, political incorrectness, a permanent technological freeze, and so forth, having demihuman and humanoid races spread around the world is, in my mind, one of Greyhawk's defining characteristics. I still remember how annoyed I was that the 1E Oriental Adventures book presumed that demihumans didn't exist in the Oriental cultures...
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Oct 07, 2005 8:02 pm  

    CruelSummerLord wrote:

    That's true, but I should perhaps make myself clearer. I never said that the dwarves. elves etc. would have to mimic every aspect of every single human culture they would be interacting with, just that they would have different cultural variations depending on which culture they interacted with. Dwarves might engage in a fur trade with North American First Nations, halflings might be either vicious yakuza-types or be overlords of the Chinese-style peasant classes for their agricultural skills, etc.


    Right. Iwas just pointing out why it could be bad.

    Quote:
    And does iron ore exist everywhere on the Oerth? I say, yes it does. The Mesoamerican peoples, for one, clearly had to have done some sort of mining to acquire all the fabulous mineral wealth that the conquistadors went berserk over. If the Olman mined gold, they probably also mined iron, or at least traded to the dwarves and gnomes for it.


    Mining and working gold, silver, and copper, is significantly easier than mining and working iron because of the temperatures required. You need reasonably good charcoal or coal to be able to do more than cold-forge iron, and that is only suitable for extremely small items, and on a very limited scale.

    Quote:
    As for why the demihumans need to be spread all over the world, that's just one of my own personal criteria for what makes Greyhawk...well, Greyhawk. Along with an exorcism of any and all aberrant technology, political incorrectness, a permanent technological freeze, and so forth, having demihuman and humanoid races spread around the world is, in my mind, one of Greyhawk's defining characteristics. I still remember how annoyed I was that the 1E Oriental Adventures book presumed that demihumans didn't exist in the Oriental cultures...


    Ah, OK.
    I can see where you are coming, but I recall the rather forced way demi-humans were adapted to Al-Gadim, and so have no objections to leaving them with their own distinct cultures. Indeed for me, I dislike the constant downgrading of demi-humans that turns them into little more than humans in rubber suits. That is a concept from Traveller, a reminded to make non-humans actually non-humans, and not just a different set of stat modifiers to use. So for me, even if demi-humans are spread all over Oerth, there should not be as thoroughly ubiquitous as in the Flanaess, or be subsumed into the local human cultures.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Oct 08, 2005 11:21 am  

    What a great thread Smile

    Iron Ore
    As for iron ore avalibility, personally I think iron ore isn't as common as CSL would suggest within the Flanaess, if iron ore does exist in the hellfurnaces foothills, it isn't easily mined for numerous geological, technical or competive reasons. The mundane and geological difficulties aside, what is generally overlooked is the numerous competitors striving to acquire any mineral resources, demi-humans, humanoids, underdark races even several intelligent "monsters" such as Dragons or Liches would see even iron ore as a valuable resource to manipulate the "lesser races" to extend their influence.

    Demi-Humans
    I have to throw my support to samwise, I have seen the various demi-human races as viable and vibrant cultures in their own right. That's not to say racial tendencies have to be totally inflexible but IMO the demi-humans should be proudly seen as unique separate cultures. Personally I don't want to see asian halflings or Baklunish dwarves.

    Olman Gods
    I also saw the reference to "alien" as meaning not native to Oerth and not as spelljamming space men. I am firmly in the dislike the whole space aspect of GH but I can live with it. I like how the Olman Gods are "alien to Oerth" which seems to place them outside the pact made between native Oerth gods. This fact and the cycle of civilization proposed adds to the uniqueness of the olman although the Druidic Old Faith also proposes this ideology. As to the renaissance of the olman, perhaps this cycle of civilization can be seen as philosophically natural and beneficial, as the society decays and becomes too dependent upon them, the gods help the collapse along which ultimately allows intellectual and creative vitality to come to the forefront again even if it is centuries later but the Olman gods are waiting for the olman themselves to show some initiative to earn their gods support again before the gods can begin the cycle of rebirth to commence. Perhaps the length of this latest collapse is because the olman rather then relying on themselves and their gods they have isolated themselves like Xamaclan or turned to demonic agents. However the TSB does hint that the olman are slowly coming together as much as the olman can be unified to hopefully retaliate against the amedio suel and SB.

    Just a thought...
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Oct 10, 2005 8:47 am  

    Crag: “I also saw the reference to "alien" as meaning not native to Oerth and not as spelljamming space men. I am firmly in the dislike the whole space aspect of GH but I can live with it.”

    I was looking through C1 this weekend and sure enough as GVD pointed out, there is a little spaceship in one of the rooms, “II nedraW.”

    I think the way I will address this aspect of the Olman gods is to keep it as a backdrop that is not necessary to understand or accept. So, for example, a spacesuit can be described in terms of magical armor and a helm of underwater action, or something along those lines. Anyway, that is what I am trying to do for the alien quipu. Sure it will have flashing lights, and sci-fi allusions, but it will be described in terms of known magic and known magical devices.
    GreySage

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    Mon Oct 10, 2005 3:02 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    Despite claims by some, there is simply no market for the thousands of slaves per year that were imported to the Americas. The closest place, the Sheldomar, doesn't allow slavery in it's lands, and they have controlled 90% of that market for about 3/4 of that time. The Monmurg lands (Hold of the Sea Princes) simply isn't a market for more than a few thousand a year for about 50 years or so, and then the market would drop to a few hundred per year at most.


    As I mentioned in chat, I can think of one possible market - the Underdark beneath the Hellfurnaces. Duergar, drow, aboleths, true ghouls, and especially illithids might find uses for regular shipments of Olman slaves by the Sea Princes.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Oct 10, 2005 4:30 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    As I mentioned in chat, I can think of one possible market - the Underdark beneath the Hellfurnaces. Duergar, drow, aboleths, true ghouls, and especially illithids might find uses for regular shipments of Olman slaves by the Sea Princes.


    Absolutely. In the Flanaess proper, on the surface, there are few slave holding states outside the Baklunish West. Below the surface are known to be numerous, vicious races for whom slaves are labor, entertainment and food. Large scale slaving operations are, then, entirely reasonable but given a fantastic twist.

    Good point, Rasgon! Happy
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