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    Canonfire :: View topic - Alternate History
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    Alternate History
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    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 14, 2005
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    Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:51 am  
    Alternate History

    This has likely been brought up before, but I'm curious about it, and want to spark some conversation

    If the Bakluni could somehow turn back the clock and prevent the invoked devastation, what would be the effect on Greyhawk in 576? What would the political landscape look like? How would the Baklunish Empire interact with the Celestial Empire? This came up because I was reading an old Steal This Hook article on WOTC.

    So game on! Lets hold no cow sacred here, and actually recreate history from that point on. After all, this is a what if. Happy
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 24, 2005
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    Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:14 pm  

    If they were somehow able to avert the Twin Cataclysms then I definitely see a cold war situation with both sides fortifying the border between their nations. Tensions would be very high, both the Suel and Baklunish knowing how close they came to mutual destruction, but not wanting to back down or show weakness (sort of like the feeling of a post Cuban Missile crisis situation).

    With the Oerids moving eastward into the Flaeness, flaring up conflicts there, I can definitely see both the Baklunish and the Suel making alliances in this region, 'sponsoring' one side or another and fighting one another by proxy and trying to grab as many resources as they can - after all the ongoing war effort (even if it is a cold one) would be draining the coffers and granaries of both nations.

    On the home-front the Baklunish religion is dominated by the faith of Al-Akbar (who in this reality is deified for his faith and for brokering the uneasy peace between the two nations), which has undergone a schism between the exalted faith and the true faith, destabilizing the union of the nomadic tribesmen and the urban power centers of the Baklunish nation.

    The Suel Imperium is in no better shape, with scheming houses taking advantage of the tense military situation, poor economy and disgruntled public in bids for power that verge on civil war.

    ...just some thoughts. Cool idea! I'm sure there are people here who know a great deal more than I do who could come up with something better. I'm actually not sure who the Celestial Empire is, for example. I'm assuming they are some kind of Asian flavored country to the west?
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 25, 2008 5:20 am  

    Don't forget that several Suel houses had already been in the Flanaess for several years by the time of the Twin Cataclysms - the one that became the Scarlet Brotherhood, and three more (the Houses of Pursuit) that became the Frost, Snow, and Ice Barbarians.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:14 pm  

    That's true, I forgot the Barbarians and the SB were already there. I wonder what the Brotherhood's grand plan would be if the Imperium still existed? Maybe they would see the Imperium as corrupt and full of impurtiy - after all why would they cease hostilities against the hated Bakluni? The SB could be trying to create a new imperium in the Flaeness, free from the impurities that are eating away at the Suel to the West.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:32 am  

    Actually I was sayign what if the Bakluni got the upper hand and won? managed to avert their disaster, but the Suel still got wiped out?\

    Although, this is a cool discussion too :) So on this thread, what happens to the Suel houses in the Sheldomar, or are they even there? What happens with the remanents of Vecna's empire and the Suel as the expand up into the Sheldomar? Who ends up in the Veluna area, and why? Does the Temple of Elemental Evil get established, and by who? What about the City of Greyhawk?
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
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    Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:23 pm  

    The Suel-Baklune War was one of attrition over many decades. It appears the Baklunes were slowly winning. Suel houses were fleeing the basin before the Twin Cataclysms. Some Suel houses were in near open warfare against each other. Cults like the Scarlet Brotherhood were popping up for the desperate to flock toward. The emperor's own son flees the basin. The militaries of both sides were heavily based upon the use of humanoid mercenaries. The most likely source would be Orc Reich - which would be far more accessible to the Baklunes for exploitation than the Suel. The Oeridian migrations were likely precipitated because the Baklune military was strong enough to chase them out.

    The Invoked Devastation appears to be a desparate move by the Suel - who knows what dark pacts they must have made with the Demon Princes in order to effectuate it. Had the Suel not called down the Invoked Devastation, the Baklunes would likely have never resorted to the Rain of Colorless Fire. And so, the war of attrition would continue.

    Chaos among the Suel houses sparks into civil war, further spurring the Suel migrations into the Flanneass. The Baklunes march into the Suel imperial capital in conquest, deposing the emperor and ending 5,000 years of empire. The Baklunes become embroiled in the civil war raging among the Suel houses.

    Oeridians and Suel spread across the Flanneass as normal to result in the dominance of the Great Kingdom and Keoland. As the Great Kingdom reaches its height around 100 CY, the Baklunish Empire has finally quelled the Suel basin and stands as the grandest empire Oerth had yet known.

    The ancient and unyielding Baklunish Empire invades the young and vibrant Great Kingdom and Keoland. The campaign begins with the PCs manning a border fort in Bissel under the standard of the Viceroy.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
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    Sat Sep 27, 2008 10:34 am  

    OleOneEye wrote:
    The most likely source would be Orc Reich - which would be far more accessible to the Baklunes for exploitation than the Suel.


    Although note that there had been orcs in the southern Crystalmists for millennia (the Suel fought them in 3114 SD, according to Dragon #230). The Oeridians may well have gotten their orcs and goblins from the west, but the Suel had their own, much closer supply. As a side note, I think for the sake of variation, it'd be better if the Baklunish used only hobgoblins and goblins (note the "Oriental" armor the hobgoblins wear in the original MM illustration) and ogre magi, while the Suel have a monopoly on orcs, orogs, ogrillions, losel and suchlike. Just so their respective armies are more distinctive.

    Personally, I think it's likely that absent the Cataclysms, the Baklunish would have ultimately triumphed and added the Suel to their empire, only to inevitably have them break free again no more than a few centuries later. Few regimes last so long regardless, and occupations of hostile native populations with effectively the same technological level aren't going to last even that long. Give the Suel a few decades for a new generation to rise, more united and angry than the last, and the wars will begin again, with no end in sight.

    More likely still, there would have been an armistice, a treaty forcing the Suel to pay significant reparations, and a resumption of hostilities a decade later without even the inconvenience of a prolonged occupation. Eventually the Baklunish and Suel would learn to tolerate one another or wipe each other out, or the wars would never end. For all that the Baklunish had an advantage (I think this advantage was a matter of unity, not of humanoid troops), their relative power levels were too close for prolonged occupation to be practical.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Sep 27, 2008 12:14 pm  

    Hate to disagree rasgon Sad

    rasgon wrote:
    As a side note, I think for the sake of variation, it'd be better if the Baklunish used only hobgoblins and goblins


    But the Baklinish tribes primary humanoid troops were orcish - Zeifan Uruzary Orc Corps are made up of their descendants. The obvious source is Darak Urtag (Orc Reich). According to the tSb; SB troops are more goblin then orcish. Is their a southern source of hobgoblins and goblins for the suel to recruit.

    Quote:
    More likely still, there would have been an armistice, a treaty forcing the Suel to pay significant reparations, and a resumption of hostilities a decade later without even the inconvenience of a prolonged occupation.


    Personally I don't see a suloise "Peace Solution" - I hate the reference but it is apt; Nazi Germany - For the suel this war was ideological - Eastern Front. Except for criminals who would fight for no one all the houses that fled were expelled and pursued for the suggestion the war was being lost. The impression is any discussion of the loss of the war with the hated northern enemy - let alone peace discussions was seen as treason.

    Quote:
    Eventually the Baklunish and Suel would learn to tolerate one another... For all that the Baklunish had an advantage (I think this advantage was a matter of unity, not of humanoid troops)...


    The Bakluni were hardly unified their situation was similar to the suel - mass refugees; entire bakluni tribes were going north to avoid the conflict and military service. With the vast bulk of the Padishah forces in the south. Bakluni warlords appeared in the north and he could not spare the forces to quell the chaos.

    Pre-Twin Cataclysms
    From what little I could find about the surrounding nations; one can create a plausible scenario. Over time the Celestial Kingdom of Saofeng (Celestial Imperium) built and strengthened the northern border thus driving the majority of humanoid and oeridians raiders east while the Bakluni Padishah needed mercenaries.

    Enclosed by mountains and the increasingly powerful northern Celestial Imperium defenses Darak Urtag (Orc Reich) becomes a pressure cooker of hostile humanoids and feuding oeridian tribes on the plains. The eastern mountain pass into Komal becomes the pressure valve for both groups as tribes seek escape from their increasingly violent homeland.

    Rather then confront these tribes (oeridian and humanoid) diverting already stretched military resources the Padishah seeks to recruit them. As the mercenaries are sent further south - word of new opportunities and eastern lands accelerate the exodus from Darak Urtag.

    No Twin Cataclysms
    Without the TC and the eventual triumph of the Bakluni would a united Baklunish people been able to retain the service of the Humanoids and Oeridians perhaps using them to subdue and enforce their will over the Suel. Granted some minor migrations lured by the new eastern lands would occur but without the chaos of the TC; it could be argued that the mass of Humanoid and Oeridian migrations would not take place at all.
    GreySage

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    Sat Sep 27, 2008 12:37 pm  

    Crag wrote:
    But the Baklinish tribes primary humanoid troops were orcish - Zeifan Uruzary Orc Corps are made up of their descendants.


    Oh, damn. I forgot about them!

    Well, they ought to be hobgoblins.

    Quote:
    Is their a southern source of hobgoblins and goblins for the suel to recruit.


    Yes. The Fiery Kings (red dragons) of the Southern Crystalmists included orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins in their armies in the 3114 SD wars.

    My objection was more aesthetic than canon-based. I guess it bothers me that the various kinds of humanoids are so often lumped together as if they were all the same race. Why do goblins always hang out with orcs? I'd rather mix it up a little.

    Quote:
    The Bakluni were hardly unified their situation was similar to the suel - mass refugees; entire bakluni tribes were going north to avoid the conflict and military service. With the vast bulk of the Padishah forces in the south. Bakluni warlords appeared in the north and he could not spare the forces to quell the chaos.


    Hm, you think so? If the Baklunish were fleeing in numbers as great as the Suel were, perhaps the conclusion of the war was still a toss-up. I was under the impression that the internecine fighting among the Suel was substantially greater. There was a mention in Dragon #241 that the su-dopplegangers were more likely created as a weapon against other Suel houses than against the Baklunish, for example.

    Quote:
    No Twin Cataclysms
    Without the TC and the eventual triumph of the Bakluni would a united Baklunish people been able to retain the service of the Humanoids and Oeridians perhaps using them to subdue and enforce their will over the Suel. Granted some minor migrations lured by the new eastern lands would occur but without the chaos of the TC; it could be argued that the mass of Humanoid and Oeridian migrations would not take place at all.


    But the Oeridian migrations peaked in 457 BCY, 36 years (nearly two generations) before the Catacylysms. By the time of the Devastation, I think the "mass" of Oerid migrations had well passed. They migrated because of the chaos of the wars, not the Cataclysms. Don't forget that they were also following a prophecy left to them by Johydee over a hundred years prior; they were religiously compelled to migrate eventually, and the wicked humanoids were just the sign that provoked them. I think there is no chance the Baklunish would have been able to "retain the service" of the Oeridians, assuming they ever had it. I'm unconvinced the Oeridians ever fought in the war on either side, though I admit it's possible.

    As for the humanoids, they were mercenaries and would have switched sides as soon as they had a better offer.

    Even so, I have no doubt that a unified Baklunish empire would have eventually prevailed; I just can't believe they would have been able to enforce a permanent peace without genocide.

    Probably the houses led by Slerotin would never have migrated into the Sheldomar if not for the Cataclysms, since they left afterwards, but the Suel migrations began 25 years before the Rain of Colorless Fire. The Sheldomar would certainly be different without the Rhola and Neheli, but there would still be a lot of Suel in it.

    Quite possibly, a defeated house of Ad-Zol would have fallen from power (and to assassins, most likely). I can imagine one of the other royal houses, such as the Rhola, taking control of the empire in the aftermath of defeat by the Baklunish. Imagine twenty years later an Emperor Slerotin challenging the Baklunish to a rematch.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Sep 27, 2008 7:07 pm  

    I agree especially when it was going poorly; the Suel were more divided but the the conflict lasted a long time. During that time the bakluni bickered and tired of war but no doubt since the baklunish felt they were generally winning it helped sustain morale.

    Btw: I believe Darak Urtag was the original homeland of the oeridian tribes with the humanoids among the edges of the plains. If so; what humanoid make-up would you give the region.

    Remember Zeif; it must have Orcs. Wink
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:36 am  

    Crag wrote:
    . . . For the suel this war was ideological . . .

    What makes you think the Suel were being ideological rather than real politick? The Scarlet Brotherhood were hardly an important factor during the Suel-Baklune War.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:12 pm  

    Good Point Wink

    Granted at the outset the real reason may well have been "real politick" and the propaganda that was created to stir up support for the conflict. However by the end of the conflict the war for the majority of the Suel leadership and populace had become personal.

    Suel propaganda had turned the Baklunish into inferior muderous vermin. Whether this attitude developed over time or was prevalent from the beginning doesn't really matter by the end of the conflict - The Suel were prepared to use any means at its disposal to defeat the baklunish rather then open peaceful negotiations.
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