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Twelve Constellations Mentioned by Gygax

 
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Raymond
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:45 pm    Post subject: Twelve Constellations Mentioned by Gygax Reply with quote

I was thinking about Mentzer's placement of Oerth as Tau Ceti 4. Gygax referenced at some point that there are twelve constellations in the Oerth sky but he didn't say what those twelve are. If Oerth started as a version of Earth like Gygax started with, it seems reasonable to assume the sky was the same on Oerth as Earth (before he changed things for publication when Greyhawk was in North America). If we use Mentzer's version of Oerth, then it should be really similar to the Earth sky as Tau Ceti should be close to Earth (assuming Tau Ceti is the same as Ceti Tau). I was thinking that with the distances being so "astronomical" that one might, from the Google Earth Pro app, on the View menu, click Explore > Sky and then assume Sol/the Sun is opposite of the Ceti Tau designation.

Then I stumbled on this:

https://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/barnards-star-closest-stars-famous-stars

and this (though I don't have my 3-D glasses with me):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_stars_and_brown_dwarfs

Yes, this would be ignoring SpellJammer stuff. But some of you probably are OK with that.

Assuming all those things, would we have enough information to name the twelve constellations?
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NorkerMedic
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think White Dwarf published a GH horoscope.
EDIT
No, it was Imagine Magzine.

# 2.

The months have pictures alongside them which must presumably be the constellations for the horoscope.

I think it's okay to describe them here if I don't reproduce the text of the article.

FIRESEEK a dragon/firedrake
READYING a shark
COLDEVEN looks like an owl or eagle with a ram's head?
PLANTING a tree with what look like coins in place of fruit
FLOCKTIME two-headed Bunnicula! Or two-headed dire hare?
WEALSUN soleil/sun-face
REAPING falchion crossed with shortsword
GOODMONTH two serpents knotted--like an infinity symbol but with one head lifted from the crux and one head descending
HARVETESTER hooded reaper skeleton (Nerull?)
PATCHWALL burning torch carried aloft by a man's hand
READY'REAT a round fruit of some sort
SUNSEBB thin crescent moon to the left of a five pointed, smaller, star

The article does not refer to Oerth, but the calendar is from GH materials and Imagine was published by TSR UK.

Apocrypha?
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NorkerMedic
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Players Guide to Greyhawk (AD&D2E) doesn't describe constellations but it does give Baklunish taboos, exactly twelve, based on birth months. The Baklunish are specified as casting horoscopes.
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rasgon
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Oerth Journal #22, Andy Miller simply used the "Nomads" names for months (A Guide to the World of Greyhawk, page 5) as Oerth's zodiac, which makes a lot of sense.

To recap, Gygax gave different names of the months in the Common, Olven, and Nomad tongues.

Fireseek = Tiger
Readying = Bear
Coldeven = Lion
Planting = Frog
Flocktime = Turtle
Wealsun = Fox
Reaping = Snake
Goodmonth = Boar
Harvester = Squirrel
Patchwall = Hare
Ready'reat = Hawk
Sunsebb = Wolf

Granted other cultures might have different names for these, but it makes a lot of sense to me that the Nomad names for the months are the same as the constellations the sun passes through during those months.

Andy Miller also invented stars between the constellations that the sun passes through during the four festival weeks, which keeps the months and constellations aligned.

Also note that this makes for 16 different divisions in the sky that the sun passes through each year, the same as the number of Outer Planes around Concordant Opposition. Also the number of inner planes, not counting the Positive and Negative energy planes. Coincidence? I had the idea that the different planes might become easier to access, or gates linked to them might open, depending on which constellation or festival star the sun was in.
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NorkerMedic
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like that planar idea.

THE STARS ARE RIGHT!
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Kirt
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
In Oerth Journal #22, Andy Miller simply used the "Nomads" names for months (A Guide to the World of Greyhawk, page 5) as Oerth's zodiac, which makes a lot of sense.

To recap, Gygax gave different names of the months in the Common, Olven, and Nomad tongues.

Fireseek = Tiger
Readying = Bear
Coldeven = Lion
Planting = Frog
Flocktime = Turtle
Wealsun = Fox
Reaping = Snake
Goodmonth = Boar
Harvester = Squirrel
Patchwall = Hare
Ready'reat = Hawk
Sunsebb = Wolf


In the 90's, Gary Holian and I collaborated on an astrology of Oerth. I described what the different eclipses would look like and from where on Oerth they would be visible (Sol by Celene, Sol by Luna, Luna by Celene). I came up with astrological meanings for the various planets and constellations, modifications for ability scores depending on when a PC was born and their zodiacal sign, and what it meant when the planets were in the different constellations. I then used the chronology of the Greyhawk Wars time period to demonstrate how the different astrological influences affected the events of the wars, and made some predictions about the future.
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Raymond
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 2:18 pm    Post subject: Imagine Magazine # 2, May 1983 Reply with quote

I did a search and found a copy of it. That was very interesting to see the bottom of the first page mention "star signs" which I interpret to be zodiac signs. I wasn't aware of this UK publication.
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NorkerMedic
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2019 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kirt--

That astrological material sounds pretty sweet! Have you guys published it anyplace? Fanzine? DMsGuild product?

THE STARS DISPOSE...


Raymond--

I barely knew Imagine existed until a couple of years back. It was out of print before my time and not distributed in America. I started gaming in the early 90s.
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Kirt
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NorkerMedic wrote:
That astrological material sounds pretty sweet! Have you guys published it anyplace? Fanzine? DMsGuild product?

I think the idea was that we were preparing it for Oerth Journal. I'm not sure why we never finished it. I have it on paper somewhere, and maybe on 3.5" floppies that I currently can't read.
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edmundscott
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’m curious—what other Greyhawk material appeared in Imagine magazine?
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NorkerMedic
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

edmundscott wrote:
I’m curious—what other Greyhawk material appeared in Imagine magazine?


Very little, I think. .

The magazine developed its own campaign setting, Pellinore. That's a flat world with a weird world axis at the center. The material largely concentrates on the City-League, a very large city with a lot of guilds , gods, and interesting customs, and characters. It's worth a look. If you like the illustrative map style used in Warhammer Fantasy and the art from the UK AD&D modules, you will like Imagine. Some of it must be the same guys.

The City-League could be adapted to the World of Greyhawk easily enough, though.
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Icarus
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rasgon wrote:
In Oerth Journal #22, Andy Miller simply used the "Nomads" names for months (A Guide to the World of Greyhawk, page 5) as Oerth's zodiac, which makes a lot of sense. […]

Granted other cultures might have different names for these, but it makes a lot of sense to me that the Nomad names for the months are the same as the constellations the sun passes through during those months.

Andy Miller also invented stars between the constellations that the sun passes through during the four festival weeks, which keeps the months and constellations aligned.

As sort of an aside, Andy Miller has recently started a series with GreyhawkOnline/Oerth Journal, continuing to add more details to his constellations articles.
The first of the series was about Vecna and Kas (the "mage" and "warrior" constellations), in Oerth Journal #30, and there's more scheduled as articles online.
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