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    Canonfire :: View topic - Baklunish Won the War
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    Baklunish Won the War
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    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Wed Feb 21, 2007 6:08 am  

    Thanks, I didn't want to go and dig up the info. I didn't recall that the Mages of Power used some sort of evil divine magic to produce the Invoked Devastation though. Does EGG identify this "vilest of deities"? Seems to fly in the face of the Mages of Power not really being all that respectful of divine magic of any kind to have deity involved in the Invoked Devastation, but perhaps the knowledge was revealed to the Mages of Power in such a way that it didn't seem of that origin. At the least it is very odd.

    Now, there really only are two deities that are thought of as being the vilest. One would be Tharizdun, but I imagine that he was chained long before the Twin Cataclysms. Tharizdun isn't really known for being all that vile though, just EVIL. When somebody tells me to think of the vilest of deities, my mind invariably wanders to only one name- Incabulos.
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Feb 21, 2007 12:06 pm  

    Nice catch Cebrion Confused

    Incabulos fits nicely; personally Nerull is to obvious, not to mention his Oeridian origin. Although it could simply be a nameless demon lord.

    I have a concern trying to de-Islamify the Baklunish, they have always appeared culturally middle-eastern and the religion/political system of the mix is obviously Islamic circa Ottoman Empire. Even the organized structure and emphasis on fate recalls the Ottoman philosophy.

    However GH was created as a mix of various cultures and archetypes;
    I know Islam is a sensitive issue especially now but let us hope that political correctness or anger at the current crisis does not causes some to advocate the removal of this rich gaming opportunity presented with the Baklunish states.

    What next Viking culture seen as too violent so the Thorillian Penisula has to be "reworked"?
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Feb 21, 2007 12:33 pm  

    Crag wrote:
    I have a concern trying to de-Islamify the Baklunish, they have always appeared culturally middle-eastern and the religion/political system of the mix is obviously Islamic circa Ottoman Empire. Even the organized structure and emphasis on fate recalls the Ottoman philosophy.

    However GH was created as a mix of various cultures and archetypes;
    I know Islam is a sensitive issue especially now but let us hope that political correctness or anger at the current crisis does not causes some to advocate the removal of this rich gaming opportunity presented with the Baklunish states.

    What next Viking culture seen as too violent so the Thorillian Penisula has to be "reworked"?


    It's not a question of PC, although there are certain issues of cultural sensitivity that should be acknowledged.
    It is an issue of excessive real-world cultural linkage, combined with the potential for incomplete understanding of those cultures. In such a case you don't get a role-playing opportunity, you just get a stereotyping opportunity.
    GreySage

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    Wed Feb 21, 2007 12:47 pm  

    I'd much rather that the Invoked Devastation was a purely arcane spell, personally. That would fit my view of the Suel better than turning the Twin Cataclysms into an exchange between the gods, rather than mortals.

    The idea that the Suel had become largely apostate and the Baklunish were very religious is a useful distinction between the two cultures. Granted, one could argue that any pact between Incabulos and the Suel was merely one of mutual advantage rather than worship, but that still reduces the role of mortal hubris which I think is integral to the story. It becomes a mere extraplanar invasion, rather than a story of human overreach. Even among the Baklunish, it should be emphasized that this was a spell, not direct divine intervention.

    In both cases, they were collective spells, channeled by the abilities of spellcasters of great power, not simply divine fury hurled upon the Oerth at mortals' request. The distinction is important, the difference between casting divine hammer and simply praying that Fortubo show up in person.
    Master Greytalker

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    Wed Feb 21, 2007 6:41 pm  

    Yeah, the problem with the Baklunish (and worse, the Olman) for me is that they all but pastiches of real world cultures. Inspired by is cool. Heck, its unavoidable. But I'd prefer it folks didn't just say "These guys are the Turks of Greyhawk" or the like. I'd love it if they had a distinctive culture that had middle eastern cultures as a basis. But since no such culture was ever developed, its sort of defaulted to outright cloning.

    Of course, lots of folks like cloning. Living Geoff, for instance, has all but remade Geoff into Wales and done a pretty interesting job about it. Its just that's not what I want to see in my fantasy worlds. I can play in Mythic Europe for that.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:07 am  

    Crag wrote:
    I know Islam is a sensitive issue especially now but let us hope that political correctness or anger at the current crisis does not causes some to advocate the removal of this rich gaming opportunity presented with the Baklunish states.


    PC has nothing to do with my opinion.

    SIDETREK: My dislike of the Olman has nothing to do with not liking the Olmec/Aztec civilization. I actually chose to study the Olmec/Aztec due to an interest in them, particularly the development of their architecture and religion. For Greyhawk however, the name Olman could have been entirely different. I see the main problem being Tamoachan, which should have just been avoided altogether or altered rather than latched onto with a death grip. The use of real world names makes things significantly worse.

    BACK ON TOPIC: Likewise, my dislike of the pseudo-Islamic presentation of the Baklunish has nothing to do with not liking Islam. Al' Akbar is probably the worst thing that has been used, but the schism in the Faith is a close second. With all of this lack of creativity, don't be surprised if the Mahdi's name turns out to be "Hudumnam". Yes, there is a wry joke there in the name. Wink What should we expect next? An Ullian khan cultist of Incabulos who is creating pestilences of various types to unleash upon his "great enemy" Veluna? Oy vay! [insert rolleyes emoticon here]

    The reason I do not care for either of these treatments is that they are, quite simply, lacking in imagination. The Olman could have been a completely original "lost world" people/civilization. Somebody with a moderately creative brainstem might instead have come up with something like Al-Quadim for the Baklunish. Alí Quadim is obviously Middle Eastern in its influence but, perhaps oddly to those who Islamified the Baklunish, it plays up the fantastical and mythological aspects associated with Middle East. WTF???!!! Using fantastical mythology for a fantasy RPG???!!! That's just INSANE!!! Happy

    So, THAT is why I loathe the current treatment of the Baklunish(as well as the Olman- I just had to add them in this post too Happy ). Maybe somebody had visions of a Baklunish djinn-culture filled with big blue djinn who sound like Robin Williams. Who knows. In any event, I smack my lips in derision at what has been done to the Baklunish(and to the Olman as well).

    Now that there are the Baklunish/Islamic religious overtones that many people are oversensitive about, that is just yet another reason to acknowledge the Islamification of the Baklunish as a bad idea. Perhaps when Vampire Thrommel returns and preaches of his miraculous vampiric ressurection and he gets nailed(with blessed silver nails of course) to a giant Cuthbertine symbol for the crime of heresy by the Furyondian authorities(who were of course goaded by the Velunese clergy- they've got a system! Wink), then perhaps it will have gone far enough. In all fairness, one must work the Baklunish angle in there somewhere, just so that everyone can be offended in a single go. Wink

    I'm sure there are some Muslims who play D&D, but I doubt that any Muslim wrote the Baklunish as they currently are. I wonder what would happen if some Judaeo-Christian "tweeks" such as those above were added to the story of Greyhawk...

    For one thing, I wouldn't like it, just because it shows a lack of imagination, irregardless of finding it offensive or not. Itís always easier to rip something off rather than make something mostly unique. Perhaps I am just more appreciative of things that people come up with on their own, because it is much more difficult.

    Not meaning to offend anyone, just swinging my baseball bat with the word "Subtlety" engraved on it. Wink
    Forum Moderator

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    Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:01 am  

    LOL the topic has certainly took a turn!

    *clear throat*

    The Baklunish still won.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:07 am  

    mortellan wrote:
    LOL the topic has certainly took a turn!

    *clear throat*

    The Baklunish still won.


    So did the Olman.

    By CY -490, the Suloise interests in the Amedio, through Terabar and Westgate, and represented by enclaves throughout the jungle cities, had grown significantly over the couple of hundred years of trans-Hellfurnace contact. Indeed, it undoubtedly was, at least in part, Suloise machination that resulted in the assassination of the Emperor Tloqasikukuatl.

    While the Suel and the Olman were not openly at war, the Suel orientation for domination of other races could not but result in their attempts to take advantage of the Olman orientation for internal conflict. It just took the Suel a while to get used to the native diseases, climate, local culture, etc. If it had not been for the Rain of Colorless Fire, the Imperium would have eventually included the Amedio. As it was, Tloques-Popolocas Yohualli-Ehecatl, whose assumption of power in Tamoachan is directly attributable to the RoCF, was eventually able to stop the progression of Suel power in the Amedio in CY -170.

    Since then, the Amedi Suel, while still hostile to Olman, have become little different from them. And such hostility is little different than that which arises between Olman tribes. Overall, in the face of Suel aggression, the Olman Empire did better than the Imperium.

    History will show that the Scarlet Brotherhood's impact as little more than a footnote. The Amedio has not been tamed and the SB has only drained the Amedio of Suel blood, less hardy Olman, and contributed to Olman cohesion and the cry "We forward in this generation, triumpantly!"

    Wink
    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:35 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    <rant>


    Ayup. I didn't want to elaborate that much, but there you have it.
    GreySage

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    Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:44 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Perhaps when Vampire Thrommel returns and preaches of his miraculous vampiric ressurection and he gets nailed(with blessed silver nails of course) to a giant Cuthbertine symbol


    He gets nailed to a giant chapeaux. With a giant silver hatpin.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:11 pm  

    I wish I had time to read through this thread and give a proper reply, but I don't have enough online time right now. Perhaps when I get settled (yeah right) I will be able to. In the meantime, here's my notes on the BS Wars:

    - - - - -

    "The start of the Great War surprised no one. For longer than a year, raiders from both nations stormed across the Haut Range, pillaging and burning homes and farms on either side of the great mountains. In the spring of 5031 SD Emperor Ad-Zol sent nine thousand troops across the mountains to punish the black-haired northerners. They were met on the Fields of Padyr by a comparable force sent by the Bakluni Padishah Ramif; after a pitched battle that lasted almost three days, the armies had annihilated one another. The handful of surviving warriors from the Emperor's army retreated to their homeland and reported imminent invasion by the foul Bakluni, and the very air that my people breathed became charged with the fervor of war."

    - from The Journal of Kevelli Mauk [TSB 2]

    TIMELINE OF THE BAKLUNISH-SULOISE WARS [WOGA 9]
    SD BH OR
    5031 2175 160 The Wars Begin
    5050 2194 179 First Humanoid Mercenaries Used
    5058 2202 187 Peak of Oerid Migrations East
    5069 2213 198 Suloise Migrations Begin
    5091 2235 220 Scarlet Brotherhood Founded [TSB]
    5094 2238 223 Twin Cataclysms

    WHAT WERE THE CAUSES OF THE WARS?
    While unclear, it is apparent that some elements of Suloise society felt that their "virtues" were being eroded by outside influences. It is also apparent that the Baklunish Empire was a direct threat to Suloise superiority. Given the manifestos of groups like the Scarlet Brotherhood, which was founded during the Wars, it is likely that the Baklunish culture was slowly making inrodes into that of the Suloise. References to keeping Suel blood pure indicates a rise in inter-racial marriages, which some in the Imperium resented. [WG8 105] What documentation we have points to a stagnant Suloise society, unable to withstand the more vibrant Baklunish to the north, lashing out in an attempt to maintain their cultural identity.

    WHAT CAUSED THE OERIDIAN MIGRATIONS?
    While both sides used mercenaries, bandits, and humanoids to swell their armies [FTA 3], it was deserters in the Baklunish north that uprooted the Oeridians. Euroz, in particular, pillaged north and east out of the Baklunish Empire, driving the Oeridians before them. [WGG 5, TAB] The orcs became so powerful, in fact, that they established maliks within the Satrapy of Ghayar, the most powerful of which was ruled from Mukhazin (present-day Dar-Zaribad). [LGJ5 20]

    WHAT CAUSED THE SULOISE MIGRATIONS?
    It is apparent that the Suel Imperium was falling apart - weakened by interncine strife, it could not withstand the pressure of war with the Baklunish Empire. [WGG 5, FTA 3, GPG 9] With different elements of Suloise society vying for control of the government, the military unable to stop the Baklunish advance, and the civil authorities unable to control rampaging goblin mercenaries [LGG 13] - disaffected Houses would have to chose between living in a crumbling empire or fleeing to greener pastures. [WG8 25]

    WHAT SETTLEMENTS SURVIVED THE TWIN CATACLYSMS?
    Certain settlements in Ekbir, Zeif and Tusmit antedate the Invoked Devastation [WG8 25]. Some present-day villages and trade routes in Bissel were established before the Baklunish-Suloise Wars. [LGG 32] The Satrapy og Ghayar appears to have weathered the ID in good form, as well.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:25 pm  

    ignore this post
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Fri Feb 23, 2007 4:50 pm  

    Damn the rip-fu! You probably have a source to quote for this too! Happy

    Nice summary there ephealy.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Feb 24, 2007 3:40 am  

    Cebrion wrote:
    Damn the rip-fu! You probably have a source to quote for this too! Happy

    Nice summary there ephealy.


    /me is very confident that ONE DAY he will catch rvw making a mistake.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 07, 2009 2:45 pm  

    Cebrion wrote:
    ...Likewise, my dislike of the pseudo-Islamic presentation of the Baklunish has nothing to do with not liking Islam...
    Now that there are the Baklunish/Islamic religious overtones that many people are oversensitive about, that is just yet another reason to acknowledge the Islamification of the Baklunish as a bad idea...


    -I always assumed (25+ years) that the Southern Bakluni = settled Arab-Islamic, that the Wolf & Tiger Nomads were Mongol/Turk/Uzbek, and that the Paynims were Beduoin, Berber, Mongol, Turk, etc., with modidfications. No big deal.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:15 pm  

    That is the general assumption. Overall the Baklunish are not specifically Arabic though- they are "Eastern". Take the Middle East and combine it with Asia in a giant melting pot and you have the Baklunish. Their religion evidences as much, but unfortunately the Baklunish never did get any expansion on their culture to reflect that. The obvious has been missed by many later authors who wrote to the topic of the real world rather than to the topic of the World of Greyhawk. Greyhawk is not the real world. You can base various groups of the Baklunish on certain real world Middle Eastern/Eastern examples, but none of them are literally the same as their real world counterparts. Take the Wolf Nomads for instance. I generally loathe the Rose Estes Mika Oba books, but I like the artistic representation of the main character on the book covers(though I'd tweak that a bit too), plus some of the tribal descriptions Estes gives are okay. As presented, the Wolf Nomads are decidedly non-Middle Eastern/Eastern-ish, even though their physical appearance may be Middle Eastern/Eastern. Gotta include that "-ish" bit, as it implies at least some similarity to a real world parallel so that you can identify with it in even some minor way, but it is *NOT* exactly the same by any means. Wink

    The main point I like to make is that, even though you can see obvious parallels between Greyhawk lands/peoples and real word historical lands/peoples, nothing was literally plucked from the real world, had a new name pasted onto it, and then stuck into Greyhawk. Most of the real world cut-n-pasting was done by later authors in the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer(Thilronnians, Baklunish) and The Scarlet Brotherhood(Olman) supplements. You simply don't see this done so blatantly anywhere else in the basic Greyhawk material. Greyhawk is its own fantasy world, not a version of "mythic earth".
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    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 07, 2009 6:31 pm  

    However the value of these real world "touchstones" for the player and DM are important. No one needs to present the cultures as an exact replica but as an explaination for those that aren't steeped in GH lore the comparison is invaluable.
    Forum Moderator

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    Wed Jul 08, 2009 8:27 pm  

    Ah this is still one of my personal favorite threads. Nothing new to add however, but it has been fun re-reading.

    Bakluns for the win!
    GreySage

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    Fri Jul 10, 2009 1:55 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    The other possibility, not necessarily exclusive to Mortellan's theory, is a civil war in the Suel Imperium coinciding with the war against the Baklunish . . . Ancient rivalries flared, and the Suel nobles became determined to wipe out their rivals while the empire slid into anarchy . . . This, I think, is the real reason that entire noble houses fled into the Flanaess - they were defeated by other Suel houses one by one . . . However, much of the way the Suel houses are presented suggests a civil war to me.


    I concur. To think that this scenario was not possible is to deny human nature. I give you Rome. Evil Grin

    Roman Generals continued to wage, what amounted to, Civil War with each other -- albeit minor ones -- in an effort to claim the throne for themselves and this despite threats and attacks from outside forces; the Goths and Parthians for example.

    The Suel were/are every bit as arrogant as the Romans were and more; easily. Power and position within the Empire itself was far more important than something as "trivial" as a war against a bunch of "unwashed barbarians." Razz

    The prevailing attitude would have been: "The only reason the war has lasted this long is because we're not serious about it. Just imagine it, uncouth barbarians defeating our glorious Empire." Laughing

    The reality of the situation would have set in only after it was too late to reverse the situation, thus, the Invoked Devastation; A futile effort to stem the tide. Cool
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