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    The Old Races
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:19 pm  
    The Old Races

    I've been paying some thought to who might have lived in the Flanaess before the arrival / development of humans and even before the arrival of the demi-humans.

    Which would you class as the 'old races'? I'm also particularly interested in any canon references to pre-human and pre-demihuman civilisations in the Flanaess if there are any. Did any of these share their culture or ways with the emerging 'younger races'?

    In my mind possible contenders are;

    Dragons
    Giants
    Kua-toa
    Troglodytes
    Lizardfolk
    Fey

    but I'm sure there are others!
    GreySage

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    Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:08 pm  

    Interesting notion, young lupine. I've never pondered this before to the extent you are presenting before us. I normally talk about the 'pre-human' history from the elvish and dwarvish perspective, but never before about the 'pre-demifolk' notion.

    In my mind, dragons are definitely one of the true ancient sentient beings. Perhaps they are the ones who 'created' anthropoid reptiles you've mentioned: troglodytes, lizard men, etc.

    I've never thought about the giants much, but I could see how such mortal behemoths could predate humans and the other demifolk.

    This whole thread bespeaks of Rasgon, who, I am sure, has likely already discussed such things in one of his extensive explanations about the origins of various creatures and beings.

    I am interested to read what the honorable Greysage, and others, have to say about this.

    -Lanthorn
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    Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:28 pm  

    I've thought about this as well. Dragons are without a doubt one of the ancient races. There seem to be hints here and there. Kuo-Toa certainly are a candidate, especially when you consider they lived above ground at one time. Also, troglodytes or at least some troglodyte-like race existed in Hepmonaland (or was it the Amedio?, my memory is fuzzy at the moment) that worshipped demons at least a few thousand years ago when they died out. This makes me think they had been around much longer than that and this was the end of their known existence.

    You know who would know but never tell us? The hierophant druids, the highest ranking druid that is for all Oerth I bet knows.

    City of the Gods? Although that's probably just aliens...



    And we haven't even started on Western Oerik...
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    Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:11 pm  

    Some others to consider, drawn primarily from the 1e DMG artifacts and relics content (although some of these may simply be earlier races of humans, perhaps):

    - the race who build their strange tombs in the Cairn Hills
    - the Wind Dukes of Aaqa
    - builders of the Machine of Lum the Mad and the Mighty Servant of Luek-O
    - builders of the City of the Gods (perhaps the same who built the above two artifacts, and perhaps the Machine Level in Castle Greyhawk?)
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    GreySage

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    Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:32 pm  

    Other ancient races include the following:

    Sahaugin
    Kopru
    Morkoth
    Kraken
    Leviathan
    Troglodyte

    and...

    Obyrith Razz

    To the above races, even the elves are young.

    SirXaris
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    Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:24 am  

    Also spider folk and snake folk.
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    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:34 am  

    grodog wrote:
    Some others to consider, drawn primarily from the 1e DMG artifacts and relics content (although some of these may simply be earlier races of humans, perhaps):

    - the race who build their strange tombs in the Cairn Hills
    - the Wind Dukes of Aaqa
    - builders of the Machine of Lum the Mad and the Mighty Servant of Luek-O
    - builders of the City of the Gods (perhaps the same who built the above two artifacts, and perhaps the Machine Level in Castle Greyhawk?)


    Good call Grodog - all of these allude to early civilisations. I've wondered before how extensive the Wind Dukes' influence was in the Flanaess prior to the conflict with the Queen of Chaos. Did they only settle in their secluded vale after the Battle of Pesh, a remnant of their once great plane-spanning domain? Or perhaps at that stage in history they already had a presence in the Flanaess?

    Is there any canon reference to how big the original cairns in the Cairn Hills are? I mean - are they giant-sized or just regular human sized?


    Are the obyriths a later development (publication wise) to the history of Chaos and the Abyss or have there always been references to them?


    Another old race I overlooked are the aboleths - I'm sure I read somewhere they consider themselves repsonsible for creating the 'newer' races - or maybe I imagned that!

    One of the reasons I'm interested in these older races and civilisations is I wonder to what extent they influenced the younger / newer races - what lore did they teach or gods did they pass on if at all?
    GreySage

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    Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 am  

    I started a similar thread a while back.
    GreySage

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    Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:26 am  

    Wolfling wrote:
    Good call Grodog - all of these allude to early civilisations. I've wondered before how extensive the Wind Dukes' influence was in the Flanaess prior to the conflict with the Queen of Chaos. Did they only settle in their secluded vale after the Battle of Pesh, a remnant of their once great plane-spanning domain? Or perhaps at that stage in history they already had a presence in the Flanaess?


    The Wind Dukes left some traces in the Cairn Hills (they might have been the original cairn builders) and in the Eternal Storm of the Wind Dukes in the Abbor-Alz, which I suppose to be an eternal remnant of some catastrophic battle they once fought in the region (not the Battle of Pesh, though, which was fought "in the shadow of White Plume Mountain" - presumably Rift Canyon was the scar left by that battle).

    There's little evidence that they had a lot of territory on Oerth at the time, but it's likely they had at least one important settlement on the planet that they felt needed to be defended. I like to think the place where the City of Greyhawk now stands (close to the Abbor-Alz) was one of them.

    The Vale of Aaqa may be the same as Lake Aqal, or perhaps not.

    Quote:
    Are the obyriths a later development (publication wise) to the history of Chaos and the Abyss or have there always been references to them?


    The Gord books described Cabiri and Pazuzu as "proto-demons," which is where the idea came from. Erik Mona first named "proto-demons" as the "qlippoth" (a kabbalistic term for the shells of evil that once surrounded the sephiroth) in the demon book he did for Green Ronin, Armies of the Abyss. They were renamed obyriths in Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (by Mona and Jacobs) from WotC. The Queen of Chaos was also retconned to be an obyrith in that book along with Dagon, Obox-Ob, and others. In the current Pathfinder line they've gone back to using the word qlippoth.

    So in a way the concept is as old as characters like Pazuzu and the Queen of Chaos, but in another way the concept is very new. The Planescape line implied the tanar'ri were the first demons to inhabit the Abyss (and were probably created by the baernaloths), and the Rod of Seven Parts boxed set had the Queen of Chaos originating in Limbo (though living in the Abyss in the present day).

    Quote:
    Another old race I overlooked are the aboleths - I'm sure I read somewhere they consider themselves repsonsible for creating the 'newer' races - or maybe I imagned that!


    3rd edition's Lords of Madness has it that the aboleths believe themselves to be (and they have photo-perfect racial memories, so they're certain of this) the very first sentient race. They used their powers to shape other forms of life, including oozes, constructs, elementals, and finally humanoids. I wouldn't necessarily take that to mean they created all these things, just that they shaped them to their liking. A popular theory (here the text becomes more uncertain) is that some of the aboleths' humanoid servants developed faith, which eventually created the first gods, who destroyed the first aboleth empire. The gods may have created still younger races - elves, dwarves, halflings, humans, orcs, and so forth. You can obviously take that with whatever grain of salt you please if you prefer the gods to be the creators of the world rather than constructs of mortal belief.

    Carl Sargent mentioned in Monster Mythology an ancient race he described as a "slime-slug cross" that worshiped the Elder Elemental God long, long ago.

    I also think there's room in Greyhawk for Lovecraft's Great Old Ones, or something like them (I'd make them older than the aboleths).

    A good resource for Oerth's ancient history is Erik Mona's Ancient History articles, available on Canonfire!

    Erik Mona's Ancient History articles
    Myths of the Cairn Builders
    Reflections in Silica
    The Great Embarkation
    The Mystery of Exag
    Vecna's Realm

    In his article "The Great Embarkation," he presents the Flanaess at the time of the arrival of the elves as dominated by kuo-toans, quaggoths, grung, grippli, bullywugs, firenewts, and I believe troglodytes and lizard men, with aboleths resting all sinister-like in the oceans. Neanderthals (Rujari) were around in that period as well.

    The Vasharan, from 3e's Book of Vile Darkness, are a wicked human race that predate the creation of standard humans. I associate them with the Ur-Flan, and follow Robbastard's suggestion that their plateau was the Tilva Plateau in what is now the Scarlet Brotherhood. At some point the Vasharan and/or the elder elves colonized what is now the Sinking Isle (which may have been called Olefin).

    GVDammerung's Scrying the Ancient Races of Oerth was also interesting.

    So it isn't hard to imagine that first the aboleths, then the slimes and jellies and piscine races, then the amphibious races, then the reptilian races, then the mammalian races, then the demihumans and humans came. How to work the dragons, giants, and fey into that timeline is more difficult, because then you're splicing a more mythic understanding of history into what had previously been a more sci-fi approach. Mythologically, giants are as old or older as the world; dragons are even older, assuming you're going by Babylonian myth (they may be much younger in some mythological systems, like the Norse and Greek). The fey are descendants of the gods and spirits who personify nature. My solution has been to associate the Age of the Giants with the Ice Age, when the dire animals dominated and glaciers reshaped the earth. The dragons date back to at least the age of the dinosaurs, and I'm actually comfortable with them being older than the world (I have a long-gestating article on dragons that discusses this; I'll finish it eventually, I imagine). The fey are descendants of the great spirits of nature that helped shape the world.
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    Wed Dec 05, 2012 3:50 pm  

    Elliva wrote:
    Also, troglodytes or at least some troglodyte-like race existed in Hepmonaland (or was it the Amedio?, my memory is fuzzy at the moment) that worshipped demons at least a few thousand years ago when they died out. This makes me think they had been around much longer than that and this was the end of their known existence.


    Right you are. It was the Amedio. From Scarlet Brotherhood there's a reference to fragmentary record from Tamoachan and other sites indicating that the demon worshiping reptilian humanoids "... almost identical to modern-day trogolodytes" were the first intelligent race to inhabit the Amedio. Their empire fell about -1700 CY. So, they probably didn't pre-date the Flan kingdom of Caerdiralor. Maybe not super ancient, but still pretty old.
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    Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:22 am  

    ....and Dinosaurs before them? Happy
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    Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:41 am  

    Thanks Rasgon! I should have thought to check the threads for this topic already.

    The Eric Mona articles are really interesting.

    Are his descriptions on three different styles of carin based on source material he has looked at or has it been created for the purpose of the article? I got the impression that it was the former but I'm not sure. Certainly the third group of ebon-skinned white eyed builders sound like the Wind Dukes no? Or is that the whole point and I@m just being dense not taking that as obivous?!

    Is there any material pointing to how long ago the Battle of Pesh was?


    Quote:
    the Rod of Seven Parts boxed set had the Queen of Chaos originating in Limbo (though living in the Abyss in the present day).


    I like the idea that these proto-demons began life in Limbo. It feels in keeping with the primordial soup of chaos style of origin and I like the idea that this chaos-soup was originally unaligned - from it concepts of good and evil later developed resulting in the demons. Limbo is also described as being comprised in places of all four elements and seems to tie in with the idea of ancient Elder Elemental Gods.

    On the flip side to the demons and devils - their celestial counterparts seem to get a raw deal in their coverage in the older material. Where were the CG celestial beings when the Queen of Chaos was running rampant? I supposee that during that war Good and Evil didn't really come into it - it was simply Law vs Chaos so maybe CG creatures joined the Queen of Chaos for a time - or abstained from the fight. I'm digressing though!

    Quote:
    How to work the dragons, giants, and fey into that timeline is more difficult, because then you're splicing a more mythic understanding of history into what had previously been a more sci-fi approach.


    Since first thinking about this topic and then reading your thread Rasgon that you posted a link to (which was really interesting by the way!) I've been veering along a line of thought as follows;

    I like the idea that scientific / natural evolution has still played a part in the development of Oerth but magic undoubtedly exists and plays a part. Perhaps the natural evolution of Oerth has followed a very similar pattern to our own Earth BUT at varying times magic has touched upon or through the Oerth (either through forced manipulation as in the case of the aboleths, through the influence of the other planes or simply through a natural ebb and flow) impacting the process. This would account for dragons evolving from reptiles, giants, elves, gnomes evolving from mammals, bullywugs from amphibians. Magic has caused new branches to grow forth from the evolutionary tree and accounts for why such creatures exist in Oerth but not Earth (although judging by some of my neighbours I'm sure bullywugs really do exist Smile )

    I also like the idea that humans have developed without any magical intervention - they are a result of purely natural evolution. This ties in well with an idea I've always liked that magic is cyclical and is currently ebbing. This accounts for why the past is always considered to have the most powerful heroes, the most dynamic events and why there is a feeling that many of these non-human races are slowly diminishing yet humans, unaffected by the ebbing of magic continue to flourish.

    I've been toying with some ideas about Beory and Boccob being siblings and forces of evolution in Oerth but it's still in its early chaotic stages!

    Sorry if I'm going a bit off topic here but I think having an idea of the sequential order of things like this really helps to define what races may have had their own pre-human civilisations and hearing all your thoughts and input on this sort of stuff is great.
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    Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:51 pm  

    smillan_31 wrote:
    Elliva wrote:
    Also, troglodytes or at least some troglodyte-like race existed in Hepmonaland (or was it the Amedio?, my memory is fuzzy at the moment) that worshipped demons at least a few thousand years ago when they died out. This makes me think they had been around much longer than that and this was the end of their known existence.


    Right you are. It was the Amedio. From Scarlet Brotherhood there's a reference to fragmentary record from Tamoachan and other sites indicating that the demon worshiping reptilian humanoids "... almost identical to modern-day trogolodytes" were the first intelligent race to inhabit the Amedio. Their empire fell about -1700 CY. So, they probably didn't pre-date the Flan kingdom of Caerdiralor. Maybe not super ancient, but still pretty old.


    Right! maybe not that old but then again what does that mean when their empire fell? Was it at its peak? How long did it take to peak? Or maybe it was well into decline and this was really the final breath before disappearing into pre-history (or the Underdark maybe?)

    some get a time machine!
    GreySage

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    Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:51 pm  

    Wolfling wrote:
    Are his descriptions on three different styles of carin based on source material he has looked at or has it been created for the purpose of the article? I got the impression that it was the former but I'm not sure. Certainly the third group of ebon-skinned white eyed builders sound like the Wind Dukes no? Or is that the whole point


    Yeah, that's the point. I think most of his Cairn Hills stuff comes from From the Ashes, but putting the Wind Dukes there was his idea. Dungeon #124 includes an adventure by Erik Mona set in a Wind Duke tomb in the Cairn Hills.

    Quote:
    Is there any material pointing to how long ago the Battle of Pesh was?


    Well, 4th edition's Demonomicon has the Battle of Pesh as the final battle of the Dawn War, which ended around -35,000 DR in the Forgotten Realms setting, which corresponds to about -35,903 CY in the Common Year timeline of the Greyhawk setting, more or less, assuming the war ended at about the same time on both worlds (which we don't actually know for sure).

    There's a thread on it here, where I go into detail about how the date is calculated, and I didn't figure out how to mesh the 4th edition references in until late in the thread, but that seems like the best date to me.

    Erik Mona's "The Mystery of Exag" just says "more than 15,000 years ago," but I think most later sources imply a much earlier date.

    Quote:
    Where were the CG celestial beings when the Queen of Chaos was running rampant? I supposee that during that war Good and Evil didn't really come into it - it was simply Law vs Chaos so maybe CG creatures joined the Queen of Chaos for a time - or abstained from the fight.


    That's my assumption; that some joined her and some abstained. There's no canon evidence that they joined her, however, so it may be that they all abstained, or just concentrated their efforts on killing lawful evil beings (proto-devils) rather than the lawful neutral Wind Dukes. After the defeat of Chaos at the Battle of Pesh, though, the eladrins turned against her and sent a crusade into the Abyss to slaughter the obyriths once and for all. Unfortunately, the result was that the servants of the obyriths, the tanar'ri (under the leadership of Demogorgon, some say), were able to overthrow their weakened masters and become masters of the Abyss. The obyriths retreated to deeper layers of the plane, and in the end all the eladrins accomplished was to change the face of chaotic evil, not eliminate it (sources: Armies of the Abyss, Hordes of the Abyss).
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 08, 2012 6:04 am  

    Thanks again Rasgon, that thread on the planewalker boards was a fascinating read - really got my grey matter over-working!

    I've started compiling my own chronology of Oerth's prehistory - it's not exactly canon but I'm trying to use any 2nd edition and earlier material as benchmarks.

    I had a thought about the City of the Gods - I noticed that it was supposed to have had it's hey-day prior to the Battle of Pesh (I think). Would it work for it to have been an outpost / settlement of the Wind Dukes on Oerth? I read that they created the Inevitables and so the mechanical constructs of the Lost City might fit in with that? Is there anything canon that makes that an impossiblity?
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    Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:43 am  

    Wolfling wrote:
    I had a thought about the City of the Gods - I noticed that it was supposed to have had it's hey-day prior to the Battle of Pesh (I think). Would it work for it to have been an outpost / settlement of the Wind Dukes on Oerth? I read that they created the Inevitables and so the mechanical constructs of the Lost City might fit in with that? Is there anything canon that makes that an impossiblity?


    This is an interesting idea, definitely worth more expansion. Where was the ref to the City of the Gods being that ancient though? I've never seen that. Are you thinking of the City of Brass? Even if that's the case, I still really like the idea that the City of the Gods may have been founded by the Wind Dukes.
    GreySage

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    Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:52 pm  

    Wolfling wrote:
    I had a thought about the City of the Gods - I noticed that it was supposed to have had it's hey-day prior to the Battle of Pesh (I think). Would it work for it to have been an outpost / settlement of the Wind Dukes on Oerth?


    Even if it doesn't, the present-day City of the Gods could have been built on the ruins of a Wind Duke settlement, so you could have your cake and eat it too on a lower level of the dungeon.

    But while there might well be Wind Duke ruins beneath the city, there are some problems in canon with such an early date for the City of the Gods itself. For example, Eldritch Wizardry quotes the journal of Tzunk in the Codex of the Infinite Planes entry: ""... and thereupon the voice belled forth in tones of hollow iron and spoke of the Coming of the City of the Gods. Such future events interested me not..." which evidently places the City of Gods after Tzunk chronologically.

    I compiled a bunch of other quotes from various sources referencing the City of the Gods in this thread. I think the gestalt of all sources implies that the realm was a largely Flan state ruled for a time by the Baklunish Empire before it broke away during the Baklunish-Suloise Wars and became an independent state allied with the Suel. The magical clockwork technology of the city seems to have been given to the Baklunish by the efreet, and then perfected by local craftsmen influenced by trade with their Baklunish masters. Though the city itself might have been founded by colonists from a land called Blackmoor on another world...
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    Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:36 am  

    Quote:
    Even if it doesn't, the present-day City of the Gods could have been built on the ruins of a Wind Duke settlement, so you could have your cake and eat it too on a lower level of the dungeon.


    Great idea Rasgon. Historically you often see many chronological layers to settlements and I like the idea that a few remaining vestiges from the time of the Battle of Pesh may have survived and later been built over or utilised.

    I spent a large portion of yesterday puring over old threads about the pre-history of Oerth. I never ceased to be impressed with the knowledge and deductive powers of some of the contributors on here! I may have to dredge up a couple of ancient threads though with some queries!

    In my searches I found some references in The Scarlet Brotherhood to a race of bat-like humanoids dwelling in Hepmonaland. 2500 years ago ruins of their civilisation were opportunistically destroyed by Olman living in the northern jungles of that continent. These bat-people were said to have left or been exterminated several hundred years before that. I'm aware of the desmodu race but I'm not sure that they were created when SB was published? My favourite choice for these bat-like humanoids are the berbalang from the Fiend Folio who once built great buildings to house their physical bodies whilst they projected themselves in the Astral Plane?
    GreySage

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    Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:33 am  

    "The Lost Temple of Demogorgon" by Sean K. Reynolds in Dungeon #120 established a civilization of advanced troglodytes in what is now Ahlissa, driven into hibernation by the ancient Flan.

    There are like five different kinds of bat-people in D&D.
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    Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:31 pm  
    Equicephs as an Old Race

    Well, I haven't much spare time to read much in the forums for the past week or two (approaching finals), so I'm just catching up on reading a little, but ...
    Elliva wrote:
    And we haven't even started on Western Oerik...

    Speaking of Western Oerik ... one of the "Chainmail" miniatures game sourcebooks had this to say:
    Fire and Ice, Chapter 5: Warriors of the Sundered Empire, p15 wrote:
    The equicephs were one of the Old Races that used to dominate Western Oerik. Large, horse-headed humanoids, they were a peaceful people.

    The majority of them were wiped out in the Demon War about 1,500 years ago, but the criminals of their society who'd been banished to other lands survived. the few that remain are often encountered as slavers.
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    GreySage

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    Sat Dec 15, 2012 9:23 am  

    Wolfling wrote:
    In my searches I found some references in The Scarlet Brotherhood to a race of bat-like humanoids dwelling in Hepmonaland. 2500 years ago ruins of their civilisation were opportunistically destroyed by Olman living in the northern jungles of that continent. These bat-people were said to have left or been exterminated several hundred years before that. I'm aware of the desmodu race but I'm not sure that they were created when SB was published? My favourite choice for these bat-like humanoids are the berbalang from the Fiend Folio who once built great buildings to house their physical bodies whilst they projected themselves in the Astral Plane?


    The Scarlet Brotherhood (1999), page 36: "In the deeper jungles to the north, similarly uncivilized tribes of Olman warred with each other and built shrines to their gods, occasionally discovering or destroying a ruin their legends said had been built by a bat-like humanoid race that had left or been exterminated several hundred years before."

    rasgon wrote:
    There are like five different kinds of bat-people in D&D.


    Avari (Dragon #101 (1985) "Creature Catalog III" by Scott Bennie). "Avari are batlike humanoids native to the Middle Lower Planes, where they are the unfortunate rivals of daemonkind for territory. There they dwell in dank caverns filled with bats, and are usually encountered in similar surroundings on the Prime Material Plane."

    Cryion (D&D Creature Catalogue (1986)). "Cryions live in cold icy climates. They are covered in white fur and resemble large, bipedal bats."

    Lycanthrope, Werebat (Monstrous Compendium Ravenloft Appendix (1991); Monstrous Manual (1993)). "...two varieties of werebat exist - natural (or true) and infected..."

    Bainligor (Dragon #227 (1996) "Dragon's Bestiary: Monsters of the Underdark" by Wolfgang Baur; Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Four (1998)). "Bainligors are small, flightless bat-people. Their primitive tribal culture is found in the upper reaches of the Underdark..."

    Desmodu (Deep Horizon (2001); Monster Manual II (2002)). "Desmodus are massive, batlike humanoids who live in caverns deep underground."

    Those are the five D&D creatures that I think of as literally bat-people. All of them except for the desmodu existed when Sean K. Reynolds wrote The Scarlet Brotherhood, but I think it's perfectly valid to associate the reference with desmodus after the fact if one were so inclined.

    Probably the bainligor (described in Dragon #227 and the Monstrous Compendium Annual Volume Four) fits the reference best of the creatures that appeared in print before 1999; cryions are arctic creatures, not tropical creatures, though I can imagine a tropical variant; werebats are a possibility, and there are many dwelling in the Amedio nation of Telaneteculi today, though these are the result of a separate, relatively recent curse. The avari are interesting; they're lower planar creatures created by Scott Bennie, who also created Saint Kargoth and other Greyhawk saints and contributed to WG7. Their description places some of them on the Prime Material Plane, perhaps having fled the daemons who compete with them for territory in Tarterus, Hades, and Gehenna. Maybe daemons were the ones who pursued them to the mortal world and exterminated them centuries before the arrival of the Olman?

    I hadn't considered berbalangs, since I had thought of them as more gargoyle-like than batlike, but opening the field of candidates to bat-winged creatures we could also consider gremlins, gargoyles, nabassu, abishai, harpies in some editions, imps, nycadaemons, horned devils, spined devils, pit fiends, balors, demodands, varrangoins, vargouilles, succubi, shadow demons, and mephits.

    That said, I think an ancient civilization of berbalangs is a fascinating idea, though I'm not entirely sure how it would work. Why did they once construct such elaborate homes for their material forms, and how did they find the time when they only spend three days a month with their spirits on the Material Plane? Did they spend more time on the Prime in the distant past? Did they have slaves to do the work for them, possibly bainligors or the ancestors of the Olman? What happened to reduce their homes to ruins? Perhaps in their wanderings in the Astral Plane they encountered some hostile force wrathful enough to follow them back home and attempt to exterminate them once and for all; this could have been anything from astral devas to demons and devils (or avari, for that matter) to astral searchers, astral stalkers, psurlons, thendars (also from Dragon #101), mind flayers, foo creatures, or githyanki. Berbalangs are from Filipino legend, so perhaps they originated further south or west, wherever the equivalent of the Philippines is on Oerth. They might have once had an empire that extended all the way from the Shaofeng lands.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:20 am  

    I like the idea of avari 'refugees' finding a new domain for themselves in the Amedio. The description I found of them says that they favour keeping slaves to do everything for them. Perhaps these avari replaced their normal natural caverns with constructed ones, made by their slaves. The description also said they have a habit of eating their slaves which is ripe for an eventual slave revolt! The fact that the early Olman destroyed the ruins they found implies they associated them with something negative. Perhaps an early ancestral memory of being enslaved by the original occupants.

    The same kind of thing could be applied to the berbalang. I think what appeals to me about them in this context is the idea of a race that need to keep their physical bodies on the Material Plane but who at one point didn't hide their bodies away - they instead had servants or slaves to build them a kind of fortified sanctuary in which to keep their bodies safe whilst they projected in the Astral. For a race to whom the protection of the body is important it almost makes sense for a period of hubris where status was in part judged by how elabaorate and fortified their sanctuary could be. I'm imagining isolated step-pyramid like structures where the primitive locals guard the place and provide human offerings out of fear of the creatures, perhaps preferring some control over who gets devoured rather than random killings, until eventually, like you say, perhaps the berbalang stir up trouble on the Astral plane or the slaves revolt resulting in the surviving berbalang to hide their bodies in caves and grottos.

    I'm not that familiar with the details of Oerth beyond the Flanaess but I'm sure we could find somewhere appropriate for the berbalang to have originated from. It's possible they originated somewhere other than the Prime Material?
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    Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:02 pm  

    There's also the Cthulhu-esque faranth from Dungeon #83, "Deep Freeze."

    Quote:
    Thousands of years before the network of kingdoms and empires the cover the land were anything more than groups of petty tribes, a considerable portion of the Flanaess belonged to a grand and powerful race of grotesque, tentacled creatures known as the faranth. Whether they emigrated here from another plane or crash landed on Oerth in a spelljamming ship is unknown. Their empire stretched across the entire northern continent and south as far as the Nyr Dyv, an area which at that time consisted of mostly hot, steamy swamp land. Their cities were wondrous to behold, filled with gargantuan ziggurats with curiously shaped towers. Great roads of black basalt ran for hundreds of miles connecting the cities, and the sky-ships of the faranth emperors roamed the heavens.

    After thousands of years of enlightened rule, however, calamity struck. A great star fell from the sky and landed in the sea. Huge clouds of vapor and dust filled the sky, throwing a dark pall across the landscape. The sun was hidden for three turns of the year, and no light reached the land. When the world grew cold and the great mountains of ice began their crawl across the land, even the tremendous powers and wisdom of the faranth were as naught compared to the impersonal and unstoppable forces of nature. With no crops to feed the people and their resources nearly depleted from trying to stave off the encroaching ice, the empire of the faranth disintegrated into anarchy and chaos. The once proud civilization decayed into roving bands and tribes, each one stealing what it could from the others. War and deprivation were the rule as the bands were forced into ever smaller areas by the growing mountains of ice.

    Not all of the faranth were subject to the famines and wars brought on by the disintegration of their empire. A member of the ruling class of the faranth, a powerful sorcerer-priest, went into hiding with his followers. Hoping to stave off the total decay of his civilization, this creature created a powerful magical item: the Slave Stone. Any who touched it became immutably loyal to the sorcerer-priest and the faranth state. While the Slave Stone saved a small pocket of the faranth society from anarchy, nothing could stop the physical destruction of their empire. The last emperor developed a ritual that would send his entire population into a magical hibernation, thus sleeping away the eons while the great mountains of ice strode across the landscape. The faranth found a secluded, closed valley wherein they constructed a huge and beautiful city and filled it with all of the lore and art of their race. When the last stones were set and the final preparations made, the sorcerer-priest called down the power of his nameless god and invoked his magic.

    Now, thousands of years later, all knowledge of the faranth has faded, and their works have been scraped from the face of the earth. Deep under the glacier at the center of the Raker Mountains, however, the last city of the faranth has sat for untold millennia, cold and silent beneath its crust of ice. At the bottom of a deep crevasse where a few buildings have recently melted free of the ice, life and movement have once again returned to the city.


    The plot of the adventure is that there is a mental asylum near this lost city, and the inmates have been forced by the faranth to free the city from the ice so that their race by awaken and re-conquer the Flanaess.

    The faranth are depicted as large, gray toad-like things with a mass of tentacles in place of a head. They are Lawful Evil aberrations.
    GreySage

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    Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:29 pm  

    There are also the Torhoon from Dungeon #77, and whatever civilization created the Doomgrinder around the same time (8,000 years ago is given as both the time of the Torhoon empire in Hepmonaland and, in Steve Miller's The Doomgrinder, the war between the creators of the Doomgrinder and their unknown enemy in the Flanaess - in theory, this could have been a war between the Torhoon and the Faranth, though I'm not sure which side would have been more likely to have created the Doomgrinder. Maybe it was a Faranthi civil war).
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