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    The REAL Olman homeland!
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:02 am  
    The REAL Olman homeland!

    Reposted from my Olman/Amedio blog:

    The Olman homeland is a much debated topic among scholars of Greyhawk lore, with the "canon" material stating that the Olman started out as a minor, evil and barbaric tribe within the Hepmonland continent that were later driven out by war with the Touv and founded a vast empire within the Amedio jungle, from which they continued to wage their wars with the Touv until the mysterious fall of their civilization roughly 500 years ago.

    I dislike this treatment, so here is my alternative.

    Kaxkichan (cakes-key-chan, The Beautiful Land)

    Southwest of the Amedio Jungle, and south of the spot where the Hellfurnace, or Tukuchbinuk (Took-ooch-bin-ook, Burning Old Men) mountains end, lies a wide grassy flatland. It is here that the society that spawned the Olman people existed, and still exists in a much diminished state to day.

    The Olman claim that they are refugees from the doomed kingdom of Kaxkichan, which filled these grassy plains roughly 5000 years ago. Kaxkichan was a fairly peaceful, civilized nation of farmers, hunters and fishermen, respectful of the gods and relatively isolated from the other great empires of ancient Oerik. The people of Kaxkichan were unique among the humans of Oerik in that they were possessing of an impressive stature, averaging 8 to 9 feet in height and often bearing a comely appearance.

    For many years, the kings of Kaxkichan quietly ruled their people from the now lost and forgotten city of Tinquinkatl (Teen-kin-cot-all, House of the Nobles Fathers), but as with all things in Oerik's history, this era of prosperity came to an end. The main reason for this decline was a lack of ability to feed the growing population with the rudimentary farming techniques known to the people, as well as warring with the Makinpal (Mah-keen-pall, Dark Nomads), an aggressive, blue-black skinned race of humans then being driven south by the expanding Suloise society to the northwest.

    As food became scarce and fighting with the Makinpal grew more intense, it is believed the people of Kaxkichan turned their faith to darker entities and wicked gods, and for this, the Olman deities grew angry and destroyed the society of Kaxkichan with a withering blight that caused the fish to swim deep beyond the reach of their nets, the animals to grow quick and elusive, and the fields to yield little edible crop.

    Faced with certain doom in the dying kingdom, many of the people began migrating northeast, away from their Makinpal rivals, into the Amedio jungle, where they built cities and towns centered around grand temple complexes intended to win the forgiveness of their gods. That forgiveness did eventually come, and the Olman "empire", actually a collection of loosely allied city states, flourished centuries later despite the coming contact with the Touv and the ocean spanning wars that resulted. Life in the jungle over the millenia changed the people of Kaxkichan, however, leading them to evolve into a shorter, more resilient folk well suited to living on the fruits of the jungle, as well as the limited amount of crops such as maize that can be grown in the patches of vegetation that are cleared for such purposes.

    Not all the people of Kaxkichan left the plains though, and to this day, small, reclusive groups of humans of giant stature roam those realms, reverted to a hunter/gatherer society with little faith or patience for gods and faith. The modern Olman call these folk Quinametin (key-nah-me-ten, Beautiful Giants).

    Climate/Terrain: Tropical and Subtropical Plains and Hills
    Frequency: Uncommon
    Organization: Tribal
    Activity Cycle: Day
    Diet: Omnivore
    Intelligence: Average (8-10)
    Treasure: K, L, M, Q or V
    Alignment: Chaotic Nuetral
    Number Appearing: 2-12
    Armor Class: 7
    Movement: 16
    Hit Dice: 2+1
    THAC0: 18
    Number of Attacks: 1
    Damage/Attack: 1d4 unarmed or by weapon
    Special Attacks: +1 to hit with spear
    Special Defenses: None
    Magic Resistance: Special, see text
    Size: Large (8 to 10 feet)
    Morale: Elite (14)
    XP Value: 300

    Quinametin are a large, attractive race of humans distantly related to the Olman of the Amedio jungle. Due to the extreme heat of their habitat, these folk wear little in the way of armor or clothing, usually limiting themselves to simple garments made from the skins of animals they hunt. There is a 25% chance upon encountering any band of Quinametin that they are on a hunt, in which case they will be naked and lack any possessions except their weapons.

    Quinametin fight like normal humans, relying on their mastery of the spear, both in melee and missile combat. This familiarity with the spear grants them a +1 bonus to all attacks made with it, but the primitive, stone headed spears employed limit damage to 1d6/1d6.

    Habitat & Society
    Quinametin society has declined strikingly from their roots as the inhabitants of Kaxkichan, leaving a primitive, nomadic tribal structure which ranges across the grassy plains southwest of the Amedio Jungle. Despite somewhat friendly relations with the Olman people of the jungle, the Quinametin tend to keep to themselves, avoiding contact with strangers unless confronted or in dire need.

    Quinametin tribes follow a loose organization, with the eldest male generally deferred to as the leader. The culture of these people is extremely agnostic, and there are no shamans or priests found among them.

    Though they are the only noteworthy humanoid group in the grasslands, the Quinametin are uncommon enough to have little impact on the ecosystem of the region. They survive by hunting the plentiful animals of the plains, as well as spearfishing in the rivers and coastal waters and gathering berries and grains.
    Quinametin reproduce as is usual for all humans, with females carrying their children for 9 months before delivery, and the average woman bearing 2 to 3 children in her lifetime. The intense heat and pestilent insects of their homeland leads to a high rate of child mortality, however, and only 40-50% of children grow to adulthood.
    Salud, Maria
    Olmanifesto, my Amedio blog:
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:04 am  

    I will follow this up in the next couple days with an examination of how to reconcile the information in C1: The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan with my theory, until then, feedback on the basic premise is hoped for!
    Salud, Maria
    Olmanifesto, my Amedio blog:
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 5:44 am  

    Interesting. Of the proposed Olman homelands (Amedio proper, Hellfurnace foothills, Pomarj, Hepmonaland), I find the Kaxkichan hypothesis second only to my own pet theory (Hellfurnace foothills) in its appeal, and having some greater appeal in that it begins a move into the undocumented areas beyond the strict confines of the Flanaess, a nice bonus. I look forward to further entries. You should consider submitting this as a topical submission if you have not already done so. Thank you for sharing. Smile
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 6:10 am  

    chibirias wrote:
    Visit Olmanifesto, my Olman/Amedio blog:

    Just a side note, this is a VERY cool "personal GH" site.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 1:23 pm  

    Now I began the lengthy task of reconciling my theory with the material from C1. I will simply go through the module, addressing the points as they appear, referencing the encounter area numbers given in the book.

    Area 1: The Vault of Chicomoztoc (The Place of Seven Caves)

    The display appears to be a diorama depicting a hunting party of Olman warriors, in feathers and deerhide garments, in a mountainside scene. Some have successfully pulled down a stag with the aid of a dog, another group is cleaning a small mule deer and the last party has cornered a puma with their spears. A scout watches the the puma hunt from an outcropping above. He holds a metal staff with a loop in its end. It looks like a shepherd's crook.

    This scene is documenting early Olman wanderings into the Flanaess. The key to realizing this is the presence of stags and dogs, neither of which are
    found in any appreciable numbers in the Jungle. The fact that the hunters are wearing deerskin garments reveals that this is not a unique event, but that these Olman subsisted at least partially on hunting deer.

    The truly peculiar item in this scene is the crook weilding "scout". At first glance, all is as it seems, until the presence of a puma, which is a Jungle animal not likely to be found further north where deer are commonly hunted. The puma, in actuality, is symbolic here. Apocatequil, the Olman god of the sun, is often represented with pumas and jaguars, and over time, these animals came to represent divinity in general, so the presence of a puma in the scene suggests that the Olman hunters there are in the presence of a god, in this case, obviously Rao. Due to his close similarity in dogma and outlook to the Olman god Kukulcan/Quetzalcoatl, the priests and shamans of those two gods among the Flan and Olman were able to find common ground and communicate enough for the Olman to realize that this was not Tamoachan, but the realm of some unnamed Flan group, causing them to peacefully abandon further large scale forays into the
    Flanaess, fearing the wrath of of the Flan gods, who they came to understand and respect, through the faithful of Rao, in a way they never did with the gods of the Touv.

    The description of Rao as a scout can be attributed, in the trend of treating canon as the point of view of some in character narrator recently started by Tzelios and GVD, as the misinformed explanation given by Rhialle, who is established plainly as a sort of narrative voice in this same encounter area when he idly informs the party that the air in the temple complex is poisoned and dangerous.

    A. The first alcove contains a river scene. Olman women and children are busy gathering rushes, fishing with nets and carving a dugout.

    This scene is actually depicting the exodus from Kaxkichan at the climax of that nation's war with the Makinpal people. The noted lack of males in the scene is representative of this, suggesting that while the males were off fighting the war, the women and children were left to build rafts and canoes to cross the great river that flows south from the Hellfurnaces into the Pearl Sea, as well as gathering supplies to ready them for that journey.

    This recess portrays native farming. They are planting maize and harvesting wheat. There are several warriors standing guard and a priest in a bird costume is blessing the fields.

    This scene is intended to symbolize the importance of the gods in relation to the prosperity of the Olman people. The bird priest represents Kukulcan/Quetzalcoatl, the lord of the Olman gods, and with his presence, the fields of Kaxkichan yield a bountiful crop. The soldiers are intended to potray the stability and security of that ancient kingdom.

    I propose that wheat, not a likely crop in the climate of Kaxkichan, was brought to the region by traders from Kaxkichan who ventured north to trade with the early Suel and Makinpal people, before the expansion of the former caused the early Olman tocome into conflict with the latter. Wheat is a hardy grain, and though not native to Kaxkichan, could reasonably be grown there by skilled farmers, but maize should be considered the staple crop, with wheat filling a secondary role.

    The third niche portrays a temple upon a tiered pyramid. Natives are bringing small offerings of gold and jade. Before the temple stands a priest handling a constrictor snake. Around him stand three costumed warriors - one dressed as a winged serpent holds a spear; another is dressed as a bear with razor sharp claws; the third represents a coyote holding a torch. There are also several stone statues of the gods.

    Again, the snake wielding priest is a servant of Kukulcan/Quetzalcoatl, and represents the authority of that priesthood over the thriving city state of
    Tamoachan. The kings of Tamoachan were chosen from
    faithful of K/Q of noble bloodline, and the other figures are meant to represent the other tribes and city states of the Olman "Empire" coming to pay homage to the lords of Tamoachan at its height of power.

    The winged serpent warrior represents the people of the Amedio Jungle.

    The bear warrior represents the scattered tribes then living in the southwestern Flanaess.

    The coyote warrior represents the Olman then living in the southerly, dryer areas of Hepmonaland.

    The statues of the other gods are included as is typical in Olman myth. Even when revering one god in particular, the Olman believe it is important to acknowledge all the gods, to prevent them from becoming jealous and punishing the trangression

    The fourth niche holds a scene of tribal warfare. All the figures depict warriors carrying spears, clubs, handaxes or daggers. The warriors of one side are painted black, while the other side is done in red.

    In Olman art, black skinned figures of humans represent evil, or those tainted with the darkness of the underworld. In a broader sense, they represent the enemies of the Olman people, who are depicted as red to reflect their goodness and wholesome as symbolized by their skin being colored by the heat and light of the sun.

    It is probable that this scene depicts war with the Touv, who were stereotyped by the Olman as wicked and godless, though it could also be interpreted to show the war with the Makinpal.

    The fifth display is that of the creation of the world. All the of the statuettes are stylized and obviously non-human. A god, adorned in green
    quetzal feathers is mixing ashes with blood to form sculptures of a man and woman. Four towering figures painted red, black, blue and white are standing about a fire committing suicide with their daggers. Two smaller figures are ringed by the four - the modest "Pimply One" is being consumed by the fire, while the braggart "Lord of Snails" cowers in fear

    More accurately, this shows the creation of the Olman "Empire" from the ruin of kaxkichan. K-Q is combining the symbolic "ashes" of Kaxkichan with the blood of the four Quinametin heroes to create Olman man and woman.

    The four heroes are as follows:

    Red - Lumpaal (Loom-pay-all, Son of the Earth), who travelled to the ends of the Oerth to defeat the wicked gods who dwelled there.

    Black - Aktunpaal (Ok-toon-pay-all, Son of the Underworld) who travelled to the depths of the underworld to defeat the wicked gods who dwelled there.

    Blue - Baabchupaal (Bay-obb-shoe-pay-all, Daughter of the Sea) who travelled to the ends of the pearl sea to defeat Chunkantik (shoon-can-teek, Eater of Boats).

    White - Kaanalchupaal (Cane-al-shoe-pay-all, Daughter of the Sky) who rode a feathered serpent into the sky to slay the red dragon Taatukaana (Tay-ah-too-cane-ah, Father of the Skies Fire).

    Olman legends hold the deeds of these four heroes as the redeeming quests set forth by the gods to give men a chance to atone for the sins of Kaxkichan's final days.

    Once all the heroes returned, their quests completed, they committed ritual suicide in order to provide the sacred blood needed by K-Q to complete the reshaping of men. During this sacred ceremony, the other gods brought the Lord of Snails and the Pimply One, mischevious instigators who stirred the wicked gods and beasts of the sea and sky into the furor which lured the men of Kaxkichan to their sins, forth and cast them into the pyre of sacred maize husks.

    The sixth hollow shows native men and women engaged in different crafts - weaving rugs and baskets, carving totems, making pots, grinding stones for weapons and making clothes

    This scene is rather mundane, but highlights two points that are worth considering. First is the fact that in Olman society, all work, except warcraft, is shared by both sexes and all ages. Little sexism or bias exists in this regard.

    Second, the illustration of shaping stone into weapons (such as, one can assume from the tribal warfare diorama, axes, spears, daggers and arrows) is the foundation of my claim that the Olman people are a primarily stone age culture. This does not mean that they are any less advanced than their peers in Oerik, they simply have very limited metalworking technology.
    Salud, Maria
    Olmanifesto, my Amedio blog:
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    Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:37 pm  

    Looks pretty good to me.
    As we discussed, I'm still tending to Rao and K/Q being the same deity, but as presented it still works.
    And I definitely like the other symbolism you use, and the background stories you have to go with it.
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    Sat Sep 10, 2005 11:24 am  

    Corresponding Rao with Kulkulcan / Quetzalcoatl can be further supported by referring to Jazirian--the god of coatls--whom Carl Sargent featured in 2e's Monster Mythology.

    Imagining such suggests to me that Incabulous may also play a role. In a few posts of related threads, disease or plague has been mentioned, e.g., by Woesinger in his "info-dump" post. Wherever there is disease, I suggest including Incabulous. Also, this malign god's presence may have contributed to the limits of Olman exploration of the Flanaess.

    Highlighting Rhialle's narrative point of view is excellent. Pumas seems likely to be the translation for artworks that actually depicted that small jaguar-like animal--the ocelot (perhaps the spots had faded?).

    I like the introduction of the four Quinametin heroes. Regarding the depictions of the animal-identified warriors, I suggest specifying that the scattered bear-identified tribes traveled in the current-day Hold of the Sea Princes, the Yeomanry, and southern Keoland--the marshes of Eor, et al., the Dreadwood, and the now-Rhola owned coastlands of the Sheldomar Valley. (If desired, rice cultivation might have been learned from, taught to, or shared with the hobniz of this pre-Migrations region.)

    As for the coyote warrior, I feel less uncertain about having him represent Olman in southern Hepmonaland. How about Olman in the Tilvanot, Drakon (current-day Onnwal), and Trakon (current-day Pomarj)Peninsulae? These may well have been ancient regions of mixed Olman-Flan civilizations.
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    Sat Sep 10, 2005 2:32 pm  

    mtg wrote:
    Corresponding Rao with Kulkulcan / Quetzalcoatl can be further supported by referring to Jazirian--the god of coatls--whom Carl Sargent featured in 2e's Monster Mythology.

    Imagining such suggests to me that Incabulous may also play a role. In a few posts of related threads, disease or plague has been mentioned, e.g., by Woesinger in his "info-dump" post. Wherever there is disease, I suggest including Incabulous. Also, this malign god's presence may have contributed to the limits of Olman exploration of the Flanaess.

    For Rao, that is exactly what I said when discussing it with Chiribias.

    As for Incabulos, that features in my general theory, and relates to Kyuss having been an Olman who went north to wreak havoc.
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    Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:13 pm  
    A little off topic, sorry...

    Interesting... The Age of Worms camaign in Dungeon has been dealing with some of these very issues. Kyuss, it turns out, had his original HQ down in Hepmonaland (I think) and the Ebon Triad is a cult trying to meld Hextor, Vecna and Incabulos into one Overgod of Evil...

    Unfortunately, no real mention of Olman (or Touv, for that matter)...

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    Mon Oct 10, 2005 2:32 pm  

    One thing to consider is that the Olman were not originally a single culture: they worship both Aztec and Maya gods. Presumedly, before their migrations into the Amedio and Hepmonaland, they were two seperate peoples.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Mon Oct 10, 2005 3:18 pm  

    rasgon: "One thing to consider is that the Olman were not originally a single culture: they worship both Aztec and Maya gods. Presumedly, before their migrations into the Amedio and Hepmonaland, they were two seperate peoples."

    That is an interesting take, one that I had not considered before. I know that the module C1 says that they are based on Aztec and Mayan cultures, which I took to mean a conglomeration of ideas, rather than two cultures. I think there would be cultural and racial influence from the Amedi Suel and the Touv. Also, based on the the different "real olman" ideas, I was thinking that the some Olman, particularly from the southern hills of the Helfurnances, those left behind on the way the Hepmonaland, would have contributed to the Olman culture in an Inca way, and in a way that was different from those that came from Hepmonaland.

    But the idea that they were two peoples before they went to Hepmonaland is interesting. That could be just a littoral/highland split, but it could be more.

    I like the idea of basing significant diversity on the references to Olman "nations" in C1 and tSB. Having that be a very early part of their history is worth exploring.
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