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    Re: Legacy of the Olman Empire 1: Tamoachan and the Origin of the Olman People (Score: 1)
    by chatdemon on Thu, April 21, 2005
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    The timeline I have in mind has the Olman people leaving the Pomarj area long before Vecna's rise, and I'd rather leave the Elves as the antagonists. Published D&D material often paints elves in a flawless light, and I like to try and give them a dark secret or two when possible.

    As I envision it, the Elf/Olman conflict started over hunting rights. The Olman had been in the Pomarj and Wild Coast for some time before the Elves came along, and the influx of Elven settlers caused shortages of food for a while. Although the Olman people were fairly advanced agriculturally, they still relied heavily on hunting in the villages and towns where livestock were not raised. This was usually due to limited useful land locally that could be cultivated, and in these places, the farmable land was used for crops like Maize and Wheat, not grazing grasses for animals. The rather sudden appearance of Elven hunters competing for the same game caused hostilities.

    This went on for a while, and gradually subsided as hunting areas were agreed upon, but as the two cultures got to know each other better, overall relations worsened. Elves could not understand, or tolerate the rather bloody religious pratices of the Olman tribes. Even then, before the trend toward demon worship and the rise of truly evil Olman gods, blood sacrifice and raids on neighboring Flan and Elven settlements to engage in ritual slaughter of enemies was common.

    On the other hand, the Olman had their own ideas about worshipping nature, usually through the spirits believed to inhabit every plant, tree, rock, etc. The viewed the Elven practice of worshipping gods that had dominion over nature as heretical ignorance of the spirits, and in their fear of losing crops and local woodlands when the spirits became angry, reacted violently whenever the Elves were found engaging in nature oriented religious ceremonies.

    Although the Olman society in the region was focused around the Drachensgrabs, and the Elven one centralized in the valley around Enstad, territorial battles became common as time went on, as disputes over the woodlands and streches of coastal lands along the Wild Coast couldn't be resolved peacefully. Add to this the fact that both groups were inadvertantly driving the local humanoids into each others lands and you have a pretty volatile situation after a while.

    So the first of the Olve/Olman wars began. unlike other humans, who tended to wage war en masse in ways the Elves found predictable, the Olman were (and still are) masters of the same kinds of guerilla warfare the Elves use. The Olman forces also engaged in heinous atrocities, including the ritual slaughter of entire villages of Elves, down to the last woman and child. For a while, the Elves tried taking taking a higher moral road and avoided retaliating in kind, but this proved ineffective, and by the time the Olman people were giving up and preparing to make their exodus, the Elves were engaged in acts equally as apalling.

    As for the Flan, IMO they just weren't present in the Pomarj/Wild Coast region at that time. The presence of the Olman and Humanoid tribes, and the later appearance of the Elves in Celene prevented any real Flan settlement of the area.

    Also, I simply dislike overusing guys like Vecna, Iuz and Tharizdun, so I'm inclined to pass on tying Vecna to the story anyway. IMO, the presence of the Earth Dragon in the latter part of the story is a worthy enough link to an existing "evil" in the Flanaess to justify not invoking one of the overused big bad guys.

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    Re: Legacy of the Olman Empire 1: Tamoachan and the Origin of the Olman People (Score: 1)
    by chatdemon on Thu, April 21, 2005
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    "C The third niche portrays a temple upon a tiered pyramid. Natives are bringing small offerings of gold and jade. Before the temple stands a priest handling a constrictor snake. Around him stand three costumed warriors - one dressed as a winged serpent holds a spear; another is dressed as a bear with razor claws; the third represents a coyote holding a torch. There are also several stone statues of the gods."

    Well, it is nice for you to try to rehabilitate this passage, but I think its original intent is rather silly. It is trying to tie the Olman into stereotypes of as many real world native american populations as possible. The feathered serpent would be the natives of meso-america, the bear the natives of the pacific northwest, and the coyote the natives of the desert southwest. Many native american had stories of the fire-theft, a common mythological motif known from around the world. In regions that honored Coyote as the trickster god, usually he was involved in the fire-theft.

    I agree that the passage in C1 was kind of lame, and that piece of material took me the longest to try and explain in the context of my theory. I suspected something similar to your statement about wrapping all the precolumbian native american cultures into one race, but decided to go with an idea that in the pre-exodus and early amedio jungle eras, the Olman tribes were strongly totemic in their beliefs. Each tribe paid special homage to the spirits of whatever animal was dominant in their home region.

    In the Mayan tradition, there is some concept, although possibly minor, that ties fire to nobility, though I don't recall the specifics or where I found that information at the moment. I much preferred this to the discovery/theft of fire myths, since by the time Tamoachan and the pyramid in question were constructed, the Olman were well beyond their creation myth era/

    As far as metal working in Olman culture, and the meaning of the metal staff, these are issues I plan to address as I delve further into the culture of the Olman as derived from C1 in a followup article. This article was intended only to address the prehistory of their culture.

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