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    Canonfire :: View topic - Dungeons and Demographics
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    Dungeons and Demographics
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    CF Admin

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    Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:29 pm  
    Dungeons and Demographics

    When your article produces 22 comments, it's safe to call it popular and interesting! See Samwise's Dungeons and Demographics, at http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=751&mode=&order=0&thold=0.

    Accepting arguendo all the figures presented, I disagree with the idea of using banal diseases to destroy almost 90% of the Flannae--both because of my suspicions about the "mythology" of disease killing the vast majority of indigenous people in the American continents and because of the inadequate barriers discussed briefly by Samwise and Woesinger.

    Regarding the former point, I was shocked and saddened to read a history that unearthed the fact that the state of California reimbursed the ammunition expenditures of U.S. citizens who claimed to have killed indigenous Americans. In the past three years I also learned that the founder of Amherst College reportedly directed his subordinates to "gift" the indigenous people with blankets previously used to cover victims of smallpox. Therefore, I've come to distrust accounts that attribute "disease" as a force of nature for the genocide of Native Americans. Instead I think far more people were murdered than we've been taught.

    Regarding the latter point, in addition to the Fals Gap, we must account for the Kendeen "Harsh" Pass, which reportedly led into the southwestern part of the Javan-Sheldomar river valleys. While Paul's idea of lethality so great that it stopped the disease's spread could work, I think we need to account for the influence (glee) of Incabulous and perhaps an escalation in the Invisible War, when we consider the destruction of the Flannae.

    Additionally, as suggested by my points about Earth's history, I think we must not discount how many Flan the Firstcomer Suel may have murdered--either initially or shortly after their conquest and enslavement.

    D&D fantasy worlds are highly violent places--much more so than Earth. It may be that the Flan resisted so strongly that the Suel were "forced" to kill them--much moreso than may have happened(?) on Earth.
    If you know absolutely that afterlives and reincarnation exist, death may be reasonably superior to enslavement...
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Dec 09, 2005 2:02 am  

    I think you underestimate the power of disease, particularly among a population with no resistance in a pre-industrial, never mind pre-modern medical, setting. Remember, the Black Plague did for a third of Europe with little difficulty.

    The Kendeen Pass would not transmit disease as "freely" as the Fals Gap. Only when Suloise settlers first came through in reasonable numbers, about 300 years before the Twin Cataclysms, would their diseases have started racing through the Sheldomar and beyond.

    And I would note, that deliberately spread disease is still disease. Competing Flan (Ur-Flan) dictators may have deliberately infected their neighbors, not to mention the Suloise doing it when they realized the locals were vulnerable.

    A lot does depend on the Bramblewood/Fals Gap though. I'm really hard pressed as to why the Oeridians didn't at least explore into and beyond it thousands of years earlier, never mind not migrating, or their horses at least moseying on through. I think that is going to wind up having to be tossed to "its magic" to explain, as I don't see any other explanation.

    As for the scope of how much the Suloise murdered rather than enslaved, that is theoretically possible. Just remember, the Suel were in even less numbers than the Oeridians. If they killed, they likely used plague more than weapons and spells.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:53 am  

    Not wanting to get into any controveries about mythologies around the decline in Native American populations, I will cite this neat summary of disease epidemics in North and Central America post-Contact:

    http://college.hmco.com/history/readerscomp/naind/html/na_010300_diseases.htm

    This is not, of course, to say that other factors, like aggressive colonisation, famine and associated factors (like disruption of native societies, displacement etc) didn't contribute to the precipitious decline in Amerindian populations (for example, an average of averages for the population decline in Mexico comes out at 64% between 1519 and 1595: from http://www.hist.umn.edu/~rmccaa/mxpoprev/cambridg3.htm; this provides a short discussion on the various theories on the scale of the decline in Mexican populations, btw).

    Anyway - dragging this back to the Flanaess...if we go with the assumption that (a) significant Flannae populations existed before the migrations - especially in developed Flan states like Ehlissa and the lands of the Tyrants of the Trask and (b) that, if the current recorded populations in the Flanaess are too low, but can be explained by a more or less constant rate of population increase from a relatively small pool of migrant settlers - then we have to explain an apparent population crash in the indiginous Flan (also why, if the Flan were widespread - why they make such a small contribution to the present day population mix except in places like Geoff, Tenh and northern Aerdy).

    There's a number of explanations (presented here in no particular order):

    1: The canon population figures are inaccurate. This is an easy out, if a little unsatisfying. It also doesn't explain where the Flan went - that is - why more states in the Flanaess aren't Of or Sf or Osf.

    2: The assumption that populations increased steadily since the Great Migrations is flawed. If you look at long term population estimates for Medieval Europe or pre-Colombian MesoAmerica - while you see a generally rising trend, it often goes in cycles of rise and fall. In the 1,000 or so years since the Migrations and the settlement of the Flanaess by the Suel and Oerids, it's possible that one of these cycles occured, leaving the current population of the Flanaess in a state of recovery (and so below what you'd predict if you assume a linear rate of increase).
    Now, from Canon, we have no real mention or evidence of pandemic on the scale of the Black Death (the Red Death of 581 CY seems to have had a relatively minor, if not negligable, impact on the population of Aerdy for example). That's not to say that there weren't smaller epidemics - not to mention the other Horsemen of the Apocalypse - famine and war.

    A good candidate for a period where population growth might have stalled or declined is the Age of Great Sorrow, where the Great Kingdom began to come apart. The calving-off of Ferrond, the slow decay of the Bandit Lands and then the loss of Nyrond (all within a century) would have brought war, famine and disease to the lands of the central Flanaess (it wasn't called the Age of Great Sorrow for nothing). Add to that the impact of nomad raids from the west (possibly introducing new strains of pestilence - albeit on an epidemic, rather than a pandemic scale) and there's scope for a downturn in population - a kind of mini-dark age. The central Flanaess' "bad century" was followed by 80 years of slow, but steadily increasing decay in Aerdy itself, culminating in nearly 20 years of internecine bloodletting in the Turmoil between the Crowns. Again, you can see scope for famine and pestilance to follow in the wake of war and thus a downturn in the population figures.

    Of course, as Samwise is bound to point out, the Age of Great Sorrow is largely an Aerdi problem. At the same time, Keoland was enjoying its Imperial age, which didn't really start to come apart until the 400's CY (IIRC). Even then, with the exception of the Keoish attempt to take Gorna in or about 450 CY, the Sheldomar was relatively untroubled by war. So, barring some historical plague we haven't heard about, we can't really use the Horsemen of the Apocalypse here to give a downturn in populations in the Sheldomar.

    A possible out for this is that perhaps the Sheldomar is different to "Greater Aerdy" in terms of population growth. It's possible that the Flan of the Sheldomar were devestated (by the depredations of Vecna and the collapse of his empire, and then the arrival of the Suel and the Oerids, who brought disease, war, famine and displacement) and that, untroubled by the Age of Great Sorrow, the small settler population grew steadily in a linear way to the point we see it at in 591 CY. On the other hand, in "Greater Aerdy", we see larger surviving Flannae populations, larger influxes of settlers (Suel and Oerid alike), a population boom during the rise of Aerdy, but then a bust during the Age of Great Sorrow - bringing populations down from where you'd predict with a linear rate of growth across the Central and Eastern Flanaess.

    This still doesn't address where the Flan went though...

    So where did the Flan go?

    1: Were there many Flan to decimate in the first place?

    Let's look at the figures for population density that Samwise quoted in one of his replies to the original article:

    Nomadic Hunter-Gatherers 1/10 square miles
    Pastoralists 1/square mile
    Horticulturalists (slash/burn types) 12/square mile*
    Agriculturalists (using crop rotation, irrigation, and the like) 25-100 square mile

    Now - we know that many of the Flan were nomads, but they also managed to achieve the dizzy heights of agriculturalist civilisation (Tostenhca, Sulm, Itar, Veralos, Ehlissa, the Trasklands, the Empire of Vecna)
    So, let's take Keoland (173,000 square miles) as an example and look at what each type of land use would give us:

    Nomadic Hunter-Gatherers 1/10 square miles: pop: 17,300.
    Pastoralists 1/square mile: pop: 173,000.
    Horticulturalists (slash/burn types) 12/square mile*; pop: 207,600.
    Agriculturalists (using crop rotation, irrigation, and the like) 25-100 square mile: 435,000 - 1,730,000 (let's assume though that their agriculture wasn't as advanced as modern Keoish methods and go for the lower end of the scale - 425,000).

    So - as Sam pointed out in his original article - to get the kind of small Flan populations you need to have them vanish under the Migrant juggernaut, you'd have to assume they were all hunter gatherers or pastoralists. However, Flan states in existance at the time of the Migrations like Ehlissa, the Empire of Vecna and the Tyrents of the Trask suggest that at least some of the the Flan were settled agriculturalists and so existed in fairly large numbers, at least in these locations. It is possible that, given the absence of (surviving) evidence of large settled Flan states in Ferrond and Nyrond at the time of the Migrations that some Flan areas were less civilised, relying on horticulturalism or pastoralism as a lifestyle and thus giving more managable populations for the Oerids and Suel to deal with.

    (As an aside, the Empire of Vecna might have consisted of a settled, high population core in the Sheldomar with a wide low population hinterland of horticulturalists or pastoralists who bent the knee to Vecna (and thus were considered under his sway), reaching over the Lortmils as far as the Nyr Dyv; this might explain the apparently huge extent of Vecna's realm).

    So, we can't easily say that there weren't that many Flan around when the Migrations began. It's clear they existed in large numbers that were subsequently decimated.

    2: They were decimated by a pandemic just like the native Americans.
    Well - this is a tempting theory, as it could neatly dispose of a significant percentage of the Flannae population (in the region of 60-70%, if we use post-Contact America as a model).

    However, as pointed out elsewhere, there's a few arguments against it. The main one is that there just isn't enough of a cordon sanitaire between the lands of the Suel and Bakluni/Oerids and the Flanaess to set up the kind of "virgin soil" epidemic that decimated the native Americans. In other words, epidemics that would have affected the Suel or the Oerids in the west would have crept east with trade or wanderers and infected the Flan too. It's just not reasonable to assume there was zero contact between the Flanaess and the lands to the west.

    This is not to say that the migrants didn't bring new strains of existing diseases with them that might have hit the Flannae harder than the Oerids or Suel, but it would not have been on the scale of the pandemics that decimated the Native Americans.

    3: They were wiped out by genocidal Suel and or Oerids.
    This assumes that the invading Oerids and Suel didn't come as peaceful migrants and settlers, but instead the migrants systematically slaughtered or displaced native Flannae populations. This is certainly possible, and has some backing in Canon references to the Great Migrations. The Suel and Oerids came as conquerers and they settled and expanded aggressively (the Aerdi and other Oerids perhaps more so than the consensus seeking founders of Keoland). Displacement of tribes/settled clans from their homelands would have brought famine and disease in their wake.
    Chiming on what MTG and Sam mentioned before, it's very possible that some of the Suel Firstcomers might have employed a fantasy version of the smallpox blankets and invoked Incabulos to depopulate the Flan, spreading plague among their enemies, while remaining relatively untouched themselves.

    However, it doesn't seem likely that wholesale slaughter and displacement alone would have accounted for the apparent decimation of the Flan populations (to the point where they're practically non existant in the central Flanaess).

    4: A combination of factors.
    While a devestating series of pandemics (a la post contact America) or a systematic genocide are both unlikely on their own to have produced the collapse in Flannae populations, a combination of these factors could have produced the kill-off.

    Let's look at the Sheldomar. We have the Empire of Vecna ruling the northern parts of the Basin as the Suel begin to arrive and settle the southern reaches and the Oerids begin to nudge through the Fals Gap. Let's assume the newcomers bring new strains of existing diseases with them, setting off limited epidemics among the Flan populace - perhaps only producing 20% mortality rates at the very most (and probably hitting the young and old). Not enough to bring the Flannae down.

    While Vecna rules, the Oerids and the Suel don't have the strength to seriously take him on. However, with Kas' betrayal, Vecna's fall brings about a sudden collapse of authority. On its own, this would have a negative impact on the Flannae population (uprisings against Vacna's mionions and overseers; infighting among the Flan to claim positions of power etc), already under strain from the new epidemics.

    But now rampaging Oerids and (slightly less rampaging) Suel enter the picture, invading the Flan territory, perhaps disrupting harvests and trade, raiding towns, displacing populations. Add to this the fact that the Oerids and the Suel, though perhaps fewer in numbers, are more agressive and have better magical and technological resources. Though the acutal numbers of Flan who die in direct combat or massacre might be small, the knock on effect of famine and attendant disease would be large (especially in a population already weakened by the eariler epidemics and the reverberations of the collapse of the ruling authority).

    Add to this the relatively fewer Suel Firstcomers using disease as a weapon (a good way to get a reputation as being evil and cruel) and you can see the already teetering Flannae society collapsing, which will in turn have a further knock-one effect on the population.

    So, though no one of the factors could have produced the decimation of the Flan, their combination produces a synergistic effect the could have done for them.

    P.
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    Fri Dec 09, 2005 9:12 am  

    Thanks for the citations. I'll try to review them this weekend. Samwise's idea of Flan using disease against themselves, and Woesinger's agreement that the Suel Firstcomers might have used disease as a weapon suggest to me that Vecna may well have invoked Incabulous to instill terror in surrounding lands--thereby significantly reducing the populations of the ancient Flan kingdoms in the Sheldomar, down the Velverdvya, and into what became Old Ferrond--thus "paving the way" for the Great Migrations.

    Another point regarding the lack of adequate natural barriers is that I disagree with the idea that horses were introduced by the Oeridians. Is this a canon detail? Early in my introduction to GreyTalk I engaged a poster's questions about the natural animals of the Flanaess and Oerik. I reviewed encylcopedia entries that discussed the several regions of different animals on Earth. I've now forgotten the language, but you may know it--the terms used to distinguish the flora and fauna of the Americas from that of Eurasia. I realized quickly that Oerik lacks that giant ocean and therefore doesn't map neatly onto Earthly notions about the division of animals (and plants) that one might think to use, e.g., while there need be no marsupials, there be elephants on Oerik and in Hepmonaland. So that was a long way to say I think that wild horses likely roamed into and beyond the Fals Gap prior to the Oeridians' historic journey.

    I forgot the other point.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Dec 09, 2005 12:01 pm  

    A lot to reply to . . .

    Quote:
    1: The canon population figures are inaccurate. This is an easy out, if a little unsatisfying. It also doesn't explain where the Flan went - that is - why more states in the Flanaess aren't Of or Sf or Osf.


    First, I'd prefer this. Especially in context with the statement that the rulers of the Great Kingdom are proud of their pale skin. Unless those rulers are actually Suel, the last I checked, Flan are darker than Oeridians, who are darker than the Suloise. So for the Overkings to have paler skin than their subjects, said subjects must have significant Flan heritage, and not significant Suel heritage.
    So to me, the whole supra-GK empire should have a base population type of OFs, with the upper classes being Ofs.

    Quote:
    2: The assumption that populations increased steadily since the Great Migrations is flawed.


    Yes and no.
    You are correct, the population should fluctuate like that. And there is plenty of evidence that events that would cause such fluctuation have occurred, like the Age of Great Sorrow.
    The problem is, that just makes the problem worse in terms of the given racial mix. We now have to have an even higher rate of growth to offset those die offs, or somehow get even more Suel and Oeridian migrants. Example:
    No Die-Backs
    Migration Start Pop: 200,000
    +350 Years (1 CY) Pop: 600,000
    +300 Years (300 CY) Pop: 1,800,000
    +300 Years (Current CY) Pop: 5,400,000
    Die-Backs:
    Migration Start Pop: 200,000 (initial die-back)
    +350 Years (1 CY) Pop: 600,000 (settlement boost)
    +100 Years (100 CY) Pop: 400,000 (first settled die-back)
    +300 Years (400 CY) Pop: 1,200,000 (first recovery)
    +100 Years (500 CY) Pop: 800,000 (second settled die-back)
    +100 Years (Current CY) Pop: 1,000.000 (1/3 into second recovery)
    That's over 4 million less people, with the pop at the end of the second recovery maxing at 2,400,000 in another 200 years, still 3 million short of the current level.
    If you don't pretend the die-backs don't happen, the population discrepancy becomes even more atrocious.

    Quote:
    However, as pointed out elsewhere, there's a few arguments against it. The main one is that there just isn't enough of a cordon sanitaire between the lands of the Suel and Bakluni/Oerids and the Flanaess to set up the kind of "virgin soil" epidemic that decimated the native Americans. In other words, epidemics that would have affected the Suel or the Oerids in the west would have crept east with trade or wanderers and infected the Flan too. It's just not reasonable to assume there was zero contact between the Flanaess and the lands to the west.


    Just to clarify:
    There is such a barrier between the Suel and Flan.
    There isn't between the Bakluni/Oerids and Flan.
    The Crystalmists range should keep Suel and Flan germs from mixing until 300 years before the Twin Cataclysms when the Suel began colonizing the Yeomanry area. That is a decent amount of time for pandemics to rip through the Flanaess.
    The problem is we know there was no real barrier between the Suel and Bakluni, and thus the Oerid, so all their germs should be thoroughly mixed. And the Bramblewood and Fals Gap should not be a block.
    The only weak explanation I can come up with for that is the Yatils and Crystalmists did at one time meet in the middle of Ket, and that something leveled them shortly before the migrations began. (And that is really, really weak.)
    Only slightly better is overt divine action, saying Beory just didn't let anyone (or any critter) go through.

    Quote:
    However, it doesn't seem likely that wholesale slaughter and displacement alone would have accounted for the apparent decimation of the Flan populations (to the point where they're practically non existant in the central Flanaess).


    I agree. Even with rabid followers of Erythnul and Hextor among the Oeridians, and general genocidal lunatics among the Suel, that's way too much killing without some other advantage, particularly since the Flan would have outnumbered the migrants by 10-1 or more.

    Quote:
    4: A combination of factors.
    . . .
    Let's look at the Sheldomar.


    To add a few things:
    First, Vecna's reign wasn't a mellow one. He was in a near-constant state of war with "Celene" (the Olven cultural region that covered the Sheldomar area, and the trans-Lortmils area as far as the Wooly Bay-Selintan-Nyr-Dyv-Velverdyva line), as well as the Old Faith and remnant free Flan nations.
    So there should be a locally caused population decline of around 10% right there.
    Second, as I noted, the Suel crossed the Kendeen about 300 years before the migrations. At least minor epidemics should have accounted for another 10% during that period, as well as preventing any recovery.
    Third, as noted, the Firstcomers began expanding across the Javan. This was about 100 years before the Twin Cataclysms. Regular war should account for a 10% population drop (again), and expanded disease another 10%.
    Fourth, the Flan in the Gran March area were nearly exterminated in deliberate actions by the Knights of the March during the latter half of the 2nd century Keoish. (From -161 CY on after the Gran March was 'founded'.) I am sure other former Vecna following Flan were put down by Old Faith Flan before that time, so that should account for another part.
    Fifth, the Insurrection of the Yaheetes right before that would account for another portion of the Flan population. (And way too much of the Rhola population, but we need to ignore that for the time being.)
    Sixth, we have the reign of Asberdies in the Yeomanry.
    Seventh we have losses as Flan move too close to the Dim Forest in their retreat in Geoff.

    So there are plenty of opportunities to kill people, but they need to be defined. And of course, they need to be defined outside the Sheldomar by someone who has micro-analyzed the histories of those areas.
    GreySage

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    Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:13 am  

    Samwise wrote:
    A lot does depend on the Bramblewood/Fals Gap though. I'm really hard pressed as to why the Oeridians didn't at least explore into and beyond it thousands of years earlier, never mind not migrating, or their horses at least moseying on through.


    I don't think the Oeridians were anywhere near the vicinity of the Bramblewood until the Great Migrations began. Ivid the Undying implies they were thousands of miles away in Central Oerik.

    They may well have spent a generation or two in Ket and Ull, but that wouldn't have been an issue until shortly before or during the Suel-Baklunish wars.
    GreySage

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    Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:16 am  

    Samwise wrote:
    Only slightly better is overt divine action, saying Beory just didn't let anyone (or any critter) go through.


    I'd think Pelor would be a more likely influence, and it doesn't have to be overt. Just say that clerics of Pelor were able to handle the diseases up to the point when there were so many germ-infested foreigners for them to handle.

    There's also the possibility that germ theory in D&D is incorrect, and all disease is magical (though still infectious) in nature.
    GreySage

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    Sat Dec 10, 2005 11:30 am  

    Samwise wrote:
    Especially in context with the statement that the rulers of the Great Kingdom are proud of their pale skin. Unless those rulers are actually Suel, the last I checked, Flan are darker than Oeridians, who are darker than the Suloise. So for the Overkings to have paler skin than their subjects, said subjects must have significant Flan heritage, and not significant Suel heritage.


    The Great Kingdom is listed as OS in general. This mixture retained the darker hair and eyes of the Oeridians and the pale skin of the Suloise (unlike the typical Suel/Oerid mixture in Keoland, where the opposite combination of light hair and olive skin predominates - yeah, I made that up).

    It seems very possible that Flan admixture - which mostly happened in the north - was more frequent among the commonfolk than the noble houses, as the Flan kingdoms were mostly destroyed before the Oeridians arrived, while the Suloise migrants who arrived slightly before the Aerdi had a certain amount of wealth and prestige and could thus arrange better matches. It's also possible that the book simply meant that Aerdi nobles are more proud of their characteristics in general, the common people not being able to afford arrogance even when their physical traits are more or less the same.

    It's interesting that the boxed set also said that the Aerdi tend to think of themselves as more "pure" Oeridian than elsewhere, though it tells us their claims are incorrect. Perhaps they're in denial about their Suel heritage.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:11 pm  

    Ack! A triple Rasgonning! Wink

    As for proximity to the Bramblewood:

    From Ull to the Bramblewood in 20-100 years is close. At least in terms of a migration. That is practically around the corner. Simple pastoral migration should have brought at least one group to the Fals Gap in less than a decade, and escaped horses should have gotten there in a year. They didn't.

    As for what deity prevented the migrations:

    Beory, Pelor, maybe even your sheep-herding Rao keeping competitors away for a few centuries.
    Something or some deity did it.

    As for their Aerdi and their delusions of genetic purity:

    That's what I mean. If the nobles are of purer blood, they should be darker. They aren't. So either they have a weird form of color blindness, their capacity for self-delusion makes Wastri jealous, or the racial mix needs to be reconsidered.
    Note of course that going way the other way, and making the GK and other areas FOS and variants would let the nobility be lighter skinned and potentially arrogant about it, as well as solving lots of starting population issues. Of course then we'd be back to the current population being too low, but everyone seems to prefer that. Laughing
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    Sat Dec 10, 2005 5:26 pm  

    Hey folks. I guess I missed the part about horses not being in the Flanaess prior to the Great Migrations. Can someone remind / inform me from where that fact derives?

    The only other thing I have right now is that I really like Samwise's clarification regarding the Suel, disease, and the Flan. Diseases spread from the Flan can "help" us with the Sheldomar Valley, the Central Flanaess, and the Flanmi Basin and provide a great factor in the Suloise reputation for vileness!

    PS - I bought GGS yesterday, thanks to the rave reviews here. I look forward to reading it over the holidays.
    GreySage

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    Sat Dec 10, 2005 8:33 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    From Ull to the Bramblewood in 20-100 years is close.


    Indeed, but are they natives of Ull? There is some dispute. Once they got to Ull, that's when the Flan started to die off. But I think they were only there relatively briefly.

    Quote:
    So either they have a weird form of color blindness, their capacity for self-delusion makes Wastri jealous


    The latter, I think.

    "Unmixed Oeridians, despite claims of the Great Kingdom, are most common in Furyondy, Perrenland, the Shield Lands..." - AGttWoGFG, p. 13.

    They're deluded.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Dec 11, 2005 6:10 pm  

    Even if the Oeridians aren't from Ull, they had been there for a few generations before the B-S Wars pushed them out. (I had to quote the references to the netbot the other night since he was being uppity.)

    I'm not sure when it was decided, but apparently there seems to be some concept that horses came to the Flanaess with the Oeridians.
    GreySage

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    Sun Dec 11, 2005 10:33 pm  

    Samwise wrote:
    Even if the Oeridians aren't from Ull, they had been there for a few generations before the B-S Wars pushed them out.


    Is that a problem? It seems like the Flan could have begun dying off a few generations in advance of the migrations without affecting continuity.
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Dec 12, 2005 3:15 am  

    I have to say, I'm not a fan of:

    (A) The Oerids being in Ull for only a few generations. As I've said elsewhere - I favour an earlier Oerid diaspora from the Central Flanaess that was then overrun by the expansion of the Bakluni out of the West (at or before the time of the Bakunish Hegira). The lands that are now the Plains of the Paynims and the Dry Steppes were the heartlands of the Baklunish Empire - I just can't imagine the Padishahs would allow the Oerids to come tramping across the heart of their empire like that to settle Ull (which would already have been settled by Bakluni, surely?).

    (B) The idea of a divine cordon sanitaire around the Flanaess. It seems a little deus ex for me (if you'll excuse the pun).

    I also don't think that the Crystalmists constitute enough of a barrier to travel (or microbes). All you need is one Suel wanderer with smallpox, filth fever or whatever and your cordon sanitaire is gone. I think it's unreasonable to think that that never happened in 5,000 years of Imperium.

    Another problem with a cordon sanitaire around the Flanaess is that, unless we assume that the Flan had very few domesticated animals (and so very few endemic diseases), then the Oerids and Suel will suffer as much from Flannae illnesses as the Flan will suffer from their's (and the migrants have less people to lose).

    There's also a problem with the idea that if the Oerids were latecomers out of the west, that they might have brought new diseases with them (as the Mongols helped convey the Black Death across Central Asia to Europe). If they did, would the presumably heavily populated Bakluni and and Suel empires not have suffered even more than the less urbanised Flan?

    Now it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that some sort of plague out of the west might have swept through the empires (perhaps spreading to the Bakluni first and then into the Imperium (leading the more xenophoblic of the Suel to blame the Bakluni for it). The resulting political and social fallout might even have been what nudged the empires into their fatal war. However, any such plague could not have killed up to 70% of the Suel and Baklunish populace (the Black Death killed only about a third of the European population), as we're suggesting might have happened to the Flan.

    Overall though, I'm no fan of the one big plague idea for the decimation of the Flan. I think the Horsemen of the Apocalypse theory (a combination of war, famine, plague) is a better explanation.

    P.
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Dec 12, 2005 9:48 am  

    Overall, I'm not a fan of the Oeridians having been in Ull such a short time, or having wandered on over from somewhere a few thousand miles to the west either, but that is what is being insisted on.
    I agree, I don't see how they wandered on through the Baklunish Empire like that, but then I'm also assured by Gary Holian that the Baklunish Empire did not extend to the Dramidj Ocean, and thus they just wandered around the edge. Why they would do then turn south to Ull seems a tad peculiar to me, but there you have it.

    As for a divine block, I'm not thrilled with it either. As I've said, I prefer simple, realistic explanations over defaulting to "its magic!" I just can't see one in this case, for either disease or horses.

    I disagree about Flan diseases being as devastating on the invaders. First, I suggest that versions of their domestic animals were used by the invaders, negating that vector. Second, I suggest that the general environment did not contain other potentially lethal vectors, unlike when Europeans went into Africa and SE Asian tropics. (Although they can still get syphilis from the Flan if people want some payback. :-P)

    As for why Oeridian plagues didn't decimate ("third") the Baklunish and Suel and vice versa, I would say that with the "migration of centuries" concept, the plagues had run their course during the 2-300 years before the Twin Cataclysms. However, I think you might have a point about that being a catalyst for the wars, and suggest a reason for the adoption of humanoid mercenaries.
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    Mon Dec 12, 2005 12:24 pm  

    Reading back on the 83 Guide's history, I find that I don't know what the Suel-Baklunish Wars were fought over if not just on a basis of race. What's interesting to me is both sides used humanoid mercenaries. The most logical conclusion to that would be there was an overabundance of Euroz lets say and one side started them against the other then the defender doubled their offer and sent them against their original employer and so forth until you get orcs fighting orcs in some engagements, or mainly orcs at the vanguard of both armies. The humanoids also are quoting as pillaging, driving Oerids before them. Clearly humanoid mercenaries cannot be trusted nor is simple payment enough for them, or was there more to it?

    After the Twin Cats there was still sufficient humanoids present to cause concern as the Guide says the Baklunish held the plains and maintained their small states against all comers-Euroz, High Jebline, Jebli, Celbit, etc. Such practices and resistance or flight from these humanoids suggests to me in a slight way that the Baklunish and Suel perhaps were affected by the same Oerid disease carrying suggested in this thread.

    It could be argued that both side's populations were debilitated enough that they didn't have the levies to raise armies to fight for such a long protracted war. An epidemic could have even been a factor in the war. A blame game. The humanoids on the other hand seemed unaffected and were in greater numbers than ever would be seen in the Flanaess. As such the Padishah and the Emperor both continued the war and kept down humanoid population at the same time by luring them into the war. We can see then once the war is brought to a swift end, the humanoids then press to conquer the leftovers as might have happened if they had not been employed as mercenaries to begin with. Another thought to consider is the Bakluns and Suel both employed humanoids as mercs but the Bakluns couldn't convince the supposedly migrating 'fierce oeridians'with their fabled horseriding skill to work as mercs as well? What kept the race that worships Hextor and Heironeous from getting involved in at least one side of the conflict? Maybe they were allowed to settle in Ull as a quarantine by the Baklunish. And if their humanoid mercenaries decided to pillage northward and chase the Oerids away, no big deal to them right? Yup it's all starting to make sense to me. ;)
    GreySage

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    Mon Dec 12, 2005 5:05 pm  

    Woesinger wrote:
    (A) The Oerids being in Ull for only a few generations. As I've said elsewhere - I favour an earlier Oerid diaspora from the Central Flanaess that was then overrun by the expansion of the Bakluni out of the West (at or before the time of the Bakunish Hegira).


    My problem with that is that this gives us a period of 3000 years in which the Oeridians and Baklunish lived side by side without substantially intermixing, while the Oeridians and Suel mix almost right away in the Flanaess. We could argue, conceivably, that the Baklunish religion was such that intermarrying with infidels was forbidden, but the Oeridians don't seem to have had any similar compunction against adopting the faiths of outsiders (note how quickly they embraced Rao, for example). It seems odd that no Baklunish customs or mores seem to have been integrated into Oeridian culture (except all that Baklunish grammar).

    A late migration better explains their existence as seperate peoples.

    Quote:
    I just can't imagine the Padishahs would allow the Oerids to come tramping across the heart of their empire like that to settle Ull (which would already have been settled by Bakluni, surely?).


    My idea was that Ull was inhabited by Graz'zt-worshipping lamiae (perhaps with some nagas and possibly allied wemic tribes), and the Padishah granted the migrating Oerids the territory in exchange for neutralizing that menace.

    I think it would be still better to assume they spent no time in Ull at all, but migrated into the Flanaess immediately. If the humanoid invasions were mainly in the Baklunish Empire itself, why did the Oeridians migrate but the Baklunish all stay home? Rather, the primary incursion was from the Central Flanaess, further south and west than the original Oeridian homeland.

    The divine cordon I'm not thrilled with, either.
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    Tue Dec 13, 2005 3:03 am  

    Cool ideas, guys.

    I'll address Rasgon's thoughts first:

    Quote:
    My problem with that is that this gives us a period of 3000 years in which the Oeridians and Baklunish lived side by side without substantially intermixing, while the Oeridians and Suel mix almost right away in the Flanaess. We could argue, conceivably, that the Baklunish religion was such that intermarrying with infidels was forbidden, but the Oeridians don't seem to have had any similar compunction against adopting the faiths of outsiders (note how quickly they embraced Rao, for example). It seems odd that no Baklunish customs or mores seem to have been integrated into Oeridian culture (except all that Baklunish grammar).

    A late migration better explains their existence as seperate peoples.


    Well - an early migration does explain the otherwise odd mix of Old Oeridian and Baklunish in the Common tongue.

    As for the lack of intermixing - there could be religious or other cultural reasons as you say. As the gods are demonstrably real, prosletising is less likely to win over converts (it does come down to a case of my god is bigger than your god and few of the Bakluni gods seem to be of the prosletysing sort). If you look at the real world, you find that cultures (especially conquered cultures - where shared cultural identity is a form of resistance against the invader) are pretty resistant to absorption - look at the Armenians, who lived under various Roman, Greek, Persian, Arab and Turkish rulers for over two millennia and retain their cultural identity to this day. Given that, I don't really have a problem with the intermixing question.

    There's also a difference between absorbing the faiths of a culture that might be seen as being dominent over your own (which might be why the Oerids didn't absorb the Bakluni faiths wholesale - see the resistance comment above) and then absorbing the faiths of conquered societies (which might explain why the Oerids cherrypicked Flannae gods). Given the presence of temples of Istus in odd places like Nyrond (Mithat or Oldred in The Marklands IIRC), it's possible that the Oerids did pick up some Baklunish faiths along the way.

    Quote:
    If the humanoid invasions were mainly in the Baklunish Empire itself, why did the Oeridians migrate but the Baklunish all stay home?


    I rationalise this in a couple of ways:
    1: From our eariler discussions, we kinda figured out that the original Oeridian homelands in or about the place marked Orcreich in the DA1 map . The silly name aside, let's assume that area was overrun with orcs. That's what drove the Oerids out of their ancient homelands originally (they'd already spread east and west, but they lost their heartlands at this point). It might also have displaced or at least broke up the continuity of the Baklunish diaspora (remember we have the Khanates to the west of Orcreich - which I posit as the original Bakluni homelands).
    So the loose order of events is:
    1: The Oerids spread out from their original homelands
    2: The Bakluni spread out about the same time from their homelands slightly farther west. This gives us a patchwork of wandering Baklunish and Oerid bands streching across the northern steppe lands from the Celestial Mountains(and perhaps west of there - given the Bakluns and Oeridian Thalosi in Chainmail) to the Barrier Peaks. (We discussed the possibility that the Oerids and Bakluni might be two branches of an original steppe nomad root stock).
    (Aside: these two diasporas might be triggered by wars or imperial consolidations in Sufhang to the south)
    3: Orcs are driven north out of Sufhang (perhaps by the final consolidation of the Seven Sufhang kingdoms into the Celestial Empire) and overrun the Oeridian heartlands. Perhaps the same invasion sends the original Bakunish Padishah fleeing east over the mountains into what will become the Baklunish basin.
    4: The Padishah forms a focus for the Bakluni tribes in the east and forges them into an empire, displacing or overrunning the wandering Oerids eastwards, eventually leaving them with Ull, which is left as a buffer state under Baklunish suzereinity.
    5: It's possible that orcs come east in waves into the western satrapies of the Baklunish Empire, raiding intitially, but perhaps later being bought as mercs by the Padishahs - especially after the war against the Suel begins (perhaps to offset losses due to disease, warfare or just to deal with the burgeoning orc population). To support this, we see that orcs are still used in Zeif as a kind of Janissary (LGJ #5). This might be an ancient custom that carried over from the days of the Padishahs. As Mortellan points out, once one side starts it, the other is bound to follow.
    6: The reason why the Oerids went east and Bakluni didn't was because Johydee appeared to the Oerids around 180 OR and prophisised their Manifest Destiny in the east. That (and the encroachment of war, and orc mercs in the pay of the Bakluni into Ull) led most of the Oerids to migrate east (leaving the Yorodhi behind).

    Following up on Mortellan's point that there might have been more to orc and humanoid encroachment on the Oerids land - it's possible that the Padishahs promised orc chieftains the lands of Ull in return for their service. After all, if the Oerids weren't going to fight on the side of the Empire, then they might be conspiring with the Sueloise (if you're not with us, you're against us). The Bakluni definately didn't want Oeridian horsemen pouring into their flank - so if they could be driven out or tied up with proxies (like the orcs - who similarly had to be kept busy), then all to the good. So the Bakluni might have settled orcs on the frontiers of Ull, knowing that they'd raid east and so tie themselves and the Oerids up and keep them both from making mischief in the Bakluni heartlands.

    Onto Sam's mention that Holian claims that the Bakluni didn't reach as far north as the ocean. That seems odd. The land there is fertile. What was stopping them? Also, isn't there mention that some of the older Zeifi cities actually date back to the days of the Padishahs in LGJ#5? There is mention that the survivors moved north after the Invoked Devestation - but I assumed that meant a relocation of populations from the newly created Dry Steppes to what had been frontier satrapies like Ekbir and Tusmit.
    All in all, I don't really buy Holian's theory there.

    Quote:
    I disagree about Flan diseases being as devastating on the invaders. First, I suggest that versions of their domestic animals were used by the invaders, negating that vector.


    As do I, but if the Flan had the same animals, then there's no "virgin soil" epidemic. Basically, I don't think it's credible for their to be a natural cause for a post-Columbian style epidemic to wipe out the Flan. Now, as MTG and Sam suggested, there might be an unnatural cause - Firstcomer Suel invoking Incabulos to decimate the larger Flan populations in the wide clear lands of the Flanaess, for example. But I don't see that as a good single cause. In short, I think the Flan decimation was down to a combination of factors.

    P.
    [/quote]
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 13, 2005 9:19 am  

    Let me see . . .

    The problem with the migrating Oeridians is, as noted, why didn't they mix more. Past a certain point, it might be more reasonable if Oeridians were a Baklunish sub-race, like the difference between the groups that use Arabic and Turkic titles already. Of course that would really freak everybody out, and totally disrupt the concept of the Baklunish being so different, especially in terms of a pantheon.

    Also, I do support the Flan collapse being from multiple causes. What I oppose is having it be from one super-magical disaster like the Twin Cataclysms. As I said originally, the Flan have more than enough disasters with Sulm, the Isles of Woe, the reign of Vecna, the assault on the City of Summer Stars, and Keraptis cursing Tostenhca, to have to go creating some other disaster just for the heck of it. I just want to throw disease out there to get people off of trying to make a third cataclysm up just for the heck of it.
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    Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:50 am  

    Samwise wrote:
    The problem with the migrating Oeridians is, as noted, why didn't they mix more. Past a certain point, it might be more reasonable if Oeridians were a Baklunish sub-race, like the difference between the groups that use Arabic and Turkic titles already.


    Well there's a big difference between Arabic and Turkic peoples, points of origin for a start (Arabs - Middle East; Turks - Central Asia). It's possible that the Bakluni and Oerids did have a common ancestor culture on the steppes of Central Oerik. They then developed seperately, acquiring distinct cultures and faiths (effectively finding different gods). You could argue that the Bakluni might have had more influence from the Sufhang (hence their more oriental feel).
    Equally they could have started off as seperate peoples occupying a similar landscape (steppes) and developing similar, but distinct cultures.

    Another point is that given we don't have an original Oerid culture to compare the Migration-era Oerids against, it's possible that the Bakluni did have cultural influences that aren't obvious. Another thing to consider is that we know very little about the first generations of Oerids that arrived in the Flanaess and hw different they are to the Oerids of 591 CY. We dont know how much influence the Suel might have had on them for example.

    For my part, I imagine the migrating Oerids as being not unlike the Magyars. Then within a few generations of settling, the Aerdi (at least) began to become more Byzantine/Norman - with good organisation and martial tech and prowess (and plenty of younger sons to go and conquer new lands). From being solely dependent on cavalry, they (unlike the Nehron who retained more of their traditional cavalry dependant culture) developed the combination of medium-heavy cavalry and heavy infantry, and learned how to use them effectively in combination (as they demonstrated at the Battle of a Fortnight's Length). From that point they develop on towards being more like a comination of Byzantine and High Medieval Frank to where they are now (Gothic/cusp of Renaissance France/Italy/Byzantium if it had thrived into the Late Middle Ages instead of decaying and collapsing).

    Samwise wrote:
    I just want to throw disease out there to get people off of trying to make a third cataclysm up just for the heck of it.


    Agreed - the cataclysm they suffered wasn't something flash-bang and magical - it was the mundane chaos of the Great Migrations.

    p.
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    Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:29 pm  

    Quote:
    Well there's a big difference between Arabic and Turkic peoples, points of origin for a start (Arabs - Middle East; Turks - Central Asia).


    Yes there is, but that is apparently the difference between the two groups of Baklunish based on their titles.

    Quote:
    For my part, I imagine the migrating Oerids as being not unlike the Magyars. . . .


    That actually sounds a lot like the Goths to me. Especially since the Ostrogoths left an impact in Italy and southern France, even after being taken down by the Byzantines and Franks.
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:10 pm  
    Ok

    Ok, I am catching up late here. I liked the article Sam, thanks. I have to say though, that I find this whole thread fascinating in that it does not (IMHO) have to occur.

    In my concept of Oerth the population is, in a broad sense, lower than that of Medieval Europe. This is due to a simple fact... Europe did not have orc, goblins, gnolls, giant, dragons, lizardmen, etc., etc., etc. The simple mass of these creatures (again, IMHO) requires a lower human population.

    As I concieve all of this, the human population is fairly comperable to Europe in the areas where there are humans. Humans are resourceful, and often grab the best land, but they dont have the power to clean the world up, as it were. In our Gran March project, where we are carefully detailing each province we have a population denisty map. On this, the population is very high per square mile in the area just north of the Rushflow/West of the Lort. The areas around Hookhill have almost no one in them. http://www.greyhawkonline.com/granmarch/public_lib/pages/cartography.htm (sorry for the low resolution).

    Having plotted this out using nearly every appropriate monster/creature in the Monster Manual and Fiend Folio, the number/diversity of large races/creatures made the numbers in the LGG very workable. The small size of the cities remains problematic, but not impossible.

    Also, the sheer number of persons escaping from Twin Cataclysim would be low. Only a fraction of the Suel/Oerdians/Baklunish would survive to escape, and these were reduced by the trip.

    So, oddly, I dont see the populations as a problem.

    One point, where is it that horses are not present in the Flaness? Is it Canon?
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:54 am  

    Wow - pretty maps!!!

    Are those Bryce (and/or Photoshop)?
    And when do we get to see the high res versions? :)

    P.
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    Thu Dec 15, 2005 4:08 am  

    Samwise wrote:
    Quote:
    Well there's a big difference between Arabic and Turkic peoples, points of origin for a start (Arabs - Middle East; Turks - Central Asia).


    Yes there is, but that is apparently the difference between the two groups of Baklunish based on their titles.


    Yeah - I noticed that. I work on the assumption that the more Turkic titles are "western Bakluni" - those who came late from the west and possibly, therefore, had more Sufhang influences (we see the High and Low Khanates in the west after all, and the Brazen Horde, who brought the Turkic titles to the Paynims came out of the west). The more Arab/Persian titles are a feature of the "eastern Bakluni" - and perhaps more specifically, the Persian titles (Shah and Padishah) seem pre-ID and the more Arabic (Caliph, Emir etc) are post-ID. Of course then you have Sultan, Bey and Pasha to bugger this neat theory up, so I guess you can't apply it to rigorously and it's probably very much a loose generalisation.

    Samwise wrote:

    Quote:
    For my part, I imagine the migrating Oerids as being not unlike the Magyars. . . .


    That actually sounds a lot like the Goths to me. Especially since the Ostrogoths left an impact in Italy and southern France, even after being taken down by the Byzantines and Franks.


    Yeah - that works too.O riginally the Oerids were plains nomads and like the nomads that poured into Europe and settled to form the peoples and states of the Middle Ages, the Oerids poured into the Flanaess, settled and civilised. It's an nice model to follow.

    The Magyars kind of interest me because some of the obscure Oerid titles are Hungarian and/or Polish (Szek, Hetman etc). That said, the Oerids have a hodgepodge of titles - (Graf, Herzog and Altmeister being obviously German).

    Do you know where you can find good info on the Goths/Huns/Magyars?

    P.
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 15, 2005 9:52 am  

    Quote:
    Yeah - I noticed that. I work on the assumption that the more . . .


    Indeed. That's why I was half serious when I suggested the Oeridians being just another sub-group of Bakluni. Just merge all the Turkic and Mongolian groups into them, which would include the Magyars, and toss them onto the Arabic title backdrop.
    Maybe there is some "real" Oeridian or Baklunish race that the other mostly bred into, just as the Turkic and Mongolian types acquired racial traits from the Chinese while maintaining their own language and culture before migrating west.

    Quote:
    Do you know where you can find good info on the Goths/Huns/Magyars?


    I started by just playtesting Imperium Romanum II. Al Nofi gives a really good overview of their migrations through the course of the scenarios for the various wars. :)
    After that I went to the History of Civilization by Durant and Durant.
    For a quick summary Wikipedia has decent articles.
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    Thu Dec 15, 2005 4:43 pm  
    Pretty Maps

    Woesinger,

    The maps are part of a Gran March Gazateer that was to be released in January for peer review. To get into the members section, you have to agree to take on a portion of the project. We are woefully short of bodies at this moment as several of our major contributors have been deployed to sandy parts of the world.

    We hope to get this back ontrack sometime soon, but we will have to see. We have a HUGE amount of work already complete and awaiting editing, as well as much to be done.

    By the way, did anyone either a canon reference to the Flaness lacking horses, or was there a plausible explination for how they would not have come through the Fals Gap?

    One simple explination btw is that the early flan tribes never learned to ride because they hunted them to extinction. Even when new waves came in, they were hunted out. Of course, once the first elf maid rode by on a unicorn, this would have been over.
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    Fri Dec 16, 2005 7:04 am  
    Re: Pretty Maps

    Anced_Math wrote:

    By the way, did anyone either a canon reference to the Flaness lacking horses, or was there a plausible explination for how they would not have come through the Fals Gap?

    One simple explination btw is that the early flan tribes never learned to ride because they hunted them to extinction. Even when new waves came in, they were hunted out. Of course, once the first elf maid rode by on a unicorn, this would have been over.


    I'm not convinced by the no horses in the Flanaess pre Migrations. It makes no sense. What I can beleive is that the Flan mightn't have perfected horseriding (and especially the use of cavalry) to the degree that the westerners (esp the Oerids) might. For example, the Oerids might have introduced the stirrup, which would have made them far more proficient horsemen than the Flan. I can see the Flan with chariots and light cavalry, but nothing able to stand up to the devestating power of Oeridian light and medium cavalry.

    P.
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:02 am  

    One thing to note on cavalry:

    A major factor is the stirrup. Without it, you don't get lance charges, or even big, shock charges. People just can't stay seated otherwise.
    If they Oeridians have stirrups, they will have a massive advantage. Otherwise they will need to rely on horse archers.
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    Thu Dec 22, 2005 8:09 pm  

    I like the idea of a shared ancient connection between the people who became the Oeridians, Baklunish and Suhfang. Very nice.

    Ever since I saw some Imperial Chinese artifacts and viewed some classic Japanese cinema, I've come to imagine the Aerdy armies as similarly styled--not quite baroque but distinctively stylized (aesthetic) in their panoply of war and their bureaucracy.

    Have folks viewed Hero (with Jet Li)? It features a lot of the imagery that has inspired me on this point.
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    Thu Jan 12, 2006 8:49 pm  

    I agree with you it's a canon error (There are products like the Marklands which state you can find settlements at intervals of 5-8 miles along primary roads and every 10-12 miles along secondary roads there will be a hamlet or coaching inn (thorp).

    I'm glad you used the LGG demographics for your original article which still seem low although generall 3 - 5 times greater than the really low A Guide to the World of Greyhawk statistics.

    This way every hex rates at least a single village demographically along with a few hamlets and thorps.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Feb 04, 2006 10:36 pm  

    People doing large-scale non-human population figuring (Sam, Anced Math), take note: one of your assumptions may be off.

    Take Sam's quote from one of the replies to his article:
    "A typical (MM 3.5) hill giant lair is 25 hill giants, 9 noncombatant types, 21 dire wolves, 3 ogres, 17 orcs. At 8 times the mass of a human for a hill giant, and 3 times for an ogre, that accounts for the equivalent of 265 people right there, not counting the dire wolves.
    A typical goblin lair is 220 goblins, 220 noncombatants, 13 leads, and a bunch of worgs and dire wolves. That is 453 people for each of those."

    (This is from http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=News&file=comments&op=showreply&tid=2348&sid=751&pid=2347&mode=&order=0&thold=0#2348)

    Sam assumes that food consumption scales directly with mass. If a hill giant has 8 times the mass of a human, it will need 8 times as much food. That is a good first approximation, but not biologically accurate, at least in our world.

    In fact, metabolic rate (and thus food consumption) increases at the three-quarter power to body mass. For example, double the mass, and metabolic rate increases, but does not double. In fact, it should be about(2)^0.75 = 1.68.

    Thus, larger animals are more efficient users of food. If you have one cow vs. one rabbit, the cow will eat more than the rabbit. But if you have 1000 kg of cow vs. 1000 kg of rabbits, the rabbits will collectively eat more than the cow. The smallest mammals (shrews) have to be preditory - they simply can't get enough energy to suvive being herbivores. In fact, they have to eat several times their own body weight in a day or they will starve to death. Larger predators like lions can survive a week or more on a small fraction of their own body weight.

    In terms of hill giants, if they are 8 times the mass of a human, a single hill giant should only eat the food needed by 4.76 humans, not 8. Thus the humanoids larger than humans will have less of an effect on the carrying capacity of the land, while the humanoids smaller than humans (goblins etc) will have more of an effect.

    Biologically, the fascinating thing is that this relationship holds up over all scales of life, from bacteria to whales. It is one of the few things biology has that is a mathematical law. IIRC, there are three separate intercepts. for unicellular, poikilothermic (cold-blooded), and endothermic (warm blooded) life, but all three have the same (log) slope of 0.75.

    Cold-blooded creatures have much lower metabolic rates. If you assume that kobolds are reptilian, there should be LOTS of them. And a dragon, if both cold-blooded and bloody huge, should actually have a negligable affect on carrying capacity (which is perhaps why they can survive on just princesses or virgins).

    A quick search online turned up
    http://biology.unm.edu/jhbrown/Published/Life'sUniversalScalingLaws.pdf

    Go to page 2 and turn the magnification up to 200% to see a nice graph.
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    Sun Feb 05, 2006 10:52 pm  

    Fascinating post Kirt. I guess in a sense, larger body mass creatures who go without food just feed off themselves? Sort of like hibernating animals would? Must be why I'm always snacking.
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    Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:01 pm  

    mortellan wrote:
    Fascinating post Kirt. I guess in a sense, larger body mass creatures who go without food just feed off themselves? Sort of like hibernating animals would? Must be why I'm always snacking.


    While a larger creature could survive longer without food, eventually it WOULD starve, so that is not why larger creatures need less food as a baseline. It has something to do with efficiency - a larger creature is more efficient at turning food eaten into body mass. Less food is "wasted" in maintanance so more is available for growth and reproduction. That has something to do with surface area to volume relationships. As an object increases in size, its volume increases faster than its surface area. That makes it easier to stay warm, retain water, and other things associated with maintaining life. However, if this were the only reason we would expect the exponent to be 0.66, not 0.75. So other, more obscure, stuff is also involved.
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    Wed Feb 08, 2006 8:35 am  

    Quote:
    Sam assumes that food consumption scales directly with mass. If a hill giant has 8 times the mass of a human, it will need 8 times as much food. That is a good first approximation, but not biologically accurate, at least in our world.


    Actually Sam blames the core rules for that. Cool

    If the numbers are different, that is OK. We have some more hill giants roaming about, and we can even toss a dragon or three around without having to depopulate an entire nation.
    The giant is thus equal to what, 6 humans instead of 8? So just bump the numbers by a third and we are set. Smile
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