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Thread: Bestiary notes

  1. #1

    Bestiary notes

    Here are some more notes to get the Bestiary Snowball rolling:

    1) if the Goblins were once a great empire, what would the Ancient Goblins be like?

    2) Shadow world Aberrations:
    Halflings = Derro?
    Sprites,pixies, etc. = Jermaleine?
    Ogres = Ogre Magi?
    Elves = Dark Stalkers?

    3) Meghbail using creatures?
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  2. #2
    Pieter Sleijpen

    Bestiary notes

    Mark A Vandermeulen wrote:
    > On Thu, 12 Aug 1999, Grimwell, Cerilian wrote:
    > > The most important thing I have tried to keep in mind is that the Goblins
    > > were once a thriving and strong culture and people. Only the combined might
    > > of humans and elves could beat them down into barbarism. They still remember
    > > this greatness in their stories, and are, by no means, moronic and idiotic.
    > > Just short on resources and organization.
    > >
    > > I also have a number of goblin ruins in my cerilia, to parallel the elven
    > > ones. Same goes for long lost magic items. Goblin wizards used to be a power
    > > IMC.
    > So, you believe that the goblins were capable of casting wizardly magic
    > before the Battle of Deismaar just like the elves did? Interesting. Anyone
    > else think this way?
    > I would probably explain it more this way. The goblins, like humans, were
    > limited to Magician-level magic, but heavily explored the ritual end of
    > it--i.e. using increased casting time and material components to cast what
    > we think of as "higher level effects" at first or second level. After all,
    > when you have a high birth rate, you can afford to have numerous
    > priest-magicians spending three days in ritual fasting, chanting, singing
    > etc, just to cast a fifth-level spell. Probably, long-term use items like
    > amulets and magical weapons would be most useful to produce through
    > cooperative teams of dedicated and trained preist-magicians. Or perhaps
    > they employed witches and warlocks who gained their power through a
    > connection with a Shadow World spirit. This later is an interesting
    > option, because it implies that one reason for the fall of the Goblin
    > Culture may have been the Corruption of the Shadow World by Azrai--he
    > corrupted the spirits that served the goblin witches, which in turn
    > corrupted the witches, whose struggles for power with the traditional
    > heirarchy toppled the system and led to the Goblin Dark Ages.
    > Discussion?

    Wow, it are things like this that makes it really worthwhile to be a
    member of this list. Not the discussion on rules, but the ones on
    cultures, religions and the Shadow World.

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  3. #3
    Pieter Sleijpen

    Bestiary notes

    Soviet wrote:
    > Here are some more notes to get the Bestiary Snowball rolling:
    > 1) if the Goblins were once a great empire, what would the Ancient
    > Goblins be like?

    The short history notes in published materials suggest that the goblins
    once were slaves of the elves, who rebelled and gained their freedom at
    the price of eternal war. Of coarse, this is most likely the elven
    version, since there would be little left of the goblin history version
    except myths. Maybe there used to be strict Empires, that were conquered
    and destroyed by the elves. A culture like Japanese/Chines sounds good,
    because it is easy to "corrupt". The trilogy "Daughter of an Empire",
    "Servant of an Empire" and "Mistress of an Empire" (sorry forgot the
    names of the two writers and don't have the books at hand) clearly show
    how. They began to intrude on the elves, who retaliated and won because
    not only had they access to more powerful magic but also were less
    strict and conservative. The goblins were conquered and enslaved,
    returning to barbarism. Maybe the Maze was actually build by these

    I do think the goblins were able to use magic in similar way's as elves.
    The book "Greatheart" makes it very clear that the goblins have just as
    good a connection with the trees as elves (which would translate into
    Meghbail in game terms), just that they are less trained in it. So, I
    think they once possesed the knowledge to use true magic without a
    bloodline, though not realm magic and the idea of a more ritualistic
    practice and spirits does fit with the Oriental idea (Wu-jens). By now
    they have lost it, though an elf might actually be able to train a
    goblin with a lot of patience and if it was a rare goblin with the

    > 2) Shadow world Aberrations:
    > Halflings = Derro?
    > Sprites,pixies, etc. = Jermaleine?
    > Ogres = Ogre Magi?
    > Elves = Dark Stalkers?

    What exactly do you mean? Creatures corrupted by the Shadow World's
    spirits, somewhat similar to the Fomori of White Wolves Darkworld? Or
    copies of each race, but then living in the Shadow World?

    If the last then I would say:
    Humans - Halflings
    Elves - goblins
    Dwarves - orogs or gnomes?
    Fairies of the Seelie court - Fairies of the Unseelie court

    Of coarse if the goblins and orogs originally came from the Shadow World
    they have long lost that knowledge. While Fairies actually are all from
    the Shadow World, but those of the Unseelie Court were just corrupted by

    > 3) Meghbail using creatures?

    Any supernatural creature? In my campaign supernatural creatures are
    either a result of 'corruption' by the Shadow World or Meghbail. The
    first are unnatural and by this time evil and dangerous to the natural
    world. For example, my favorites are the giant spiders -my players seem
    to be very impressed by them and when in jungle take the most rediculous
    precautions to avoid them since they have been pestered by them once and
    who am I not to listen to them?-, stirges, perytons (summoned by
    unjustly murdered persons with strong souls to take revange) and of
    coarse undead. Meghbail creatures would be the more natural and
    beautiful ones, like those described at the end of the Book of
    Magecraft, the pegasus, the dragons, the giants, the elves and so on.
    They do feed of the meghbail, giving a very good explanation for why
    they are so rare in civilized area's, but not to all exclution. Of
    coarse, this also give an explanation why elves don't need farms: they
    eat very little, they get most from the energy natural to a forest.

    Of coarse, this is the first time I put these thoughts under words and
    they have been largly influenced by recent discussion in private and
    through this mailing list and they will most definatly change in the
    future. For instance I never even concidered meghbail as a source of
    energy until it was suggested here.

    Pieter Sleijpen

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  4. #4
    Mark A Vandermeulen

    Bestiary notes

    OK folks, the University's computer system was down all weekend, and I
    dealt with my cat most of Monday (time for the yearly shots), so I have a
    pretty big backlog of mail to respond to, some from pretty long ago. Bear
    with me--it's your just deserts for being so interesting and prolific. :)

    On Fri, 13 Aug 1999, Narek wrote:

    > I don't think they're actually form changes, its just variations in size.
    > Cerilian goblins all look the same, aside from the height, the comparisons to
    > normal goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears are just stat wise. I think its much
    > like human variations on height taken to an extreme degree...

    That's certainly possible, although I personally like the idea of
    inventing a culture for a species that has an inherent "caste"
    structure--call it an interesting sociological challenge if you will. My
    personal favorite line of thought right now is that all the varieties are
    interfertile, but the hobgoblin and bugbear forms are caused by mutations
    of large effect (sorry, I'm starting to lapse into bio-talk here). There
    may be two, or possibly more of these mutations in the population, and
    having a single mutation makes one develop into the larger Hobgoblin form,
    and having two (or more!) makes one into the Bugbear form. As an
    interesting trade-off, I think the "mutations" might have a metabolic
    cost--the larger forms get bigger and stronger, but tend to live "faster"
    and don't live as long as the goblinoid forms. If you consider this, you
    have the 3 forms start falling into more natural roles. The goblinoid
    caste, being the weakest, are the natural workers, but they also live the
    longest, and so might also be held to be the wisest. Thus, they may play
    an important role in the goblin priesthoods. The hobgoblin form may be
    stronger, and smarter, and make a natural "nobility" class for the
    culture. I can easily see a "clan" structure having sprung up from the
    initial families to develop the mutations. The bugbear form I am imagining
    to be even bigger and stronger, but less intelligent (I have no idea if
    this follows the MM, don't have it handy). They are the rarest form
    (produced mainly by reproductions across "clan" lines) and are seen as
    sort of "favored by the gods," i.e. having a special, but separate, place
    in the culture, and while not allowed to rule over the ruling Hobgoblin
    caste, are grouped into pampered cadres of "elite warriors" by each of the
    clans. In fact, when one goblin clan wars with another, one of their main
    goals may be to aquire female hobgoblins of the other tribe to be kept as
    breeding stock, so the clan can increase their number of elite warriors.

    Let me point out that I'm not saying that bugbears are the ONLY warrior
    caste, and the goblinoids are ONLY the workers or priests. I think any
    goblin venture will use a combination of all the castes. A hobgoblin king
    or Clan Warlord may well have goblins as trusted advisors, valued for
    their long knowledge and wisdom. And most goblin temples are probably
    ruled by a hobgoblin, but he pays much more attention to and respects the
    wisdom of his goblinoid underlings much more than he would if he were a
    secular ruler. If a goblinoid were to be blooded, he would be most
    accepted by his society if he chose to exert his power as the ruler of a
    temple. And there are probably bugbear Temple Guards to protect the
    temple (perhaps given as gifts from one of the noble clans to gain favor
    from the temple).

    > I don't know about the goblins having an eastern philosiphy, except mabey for
    > those in Khinasi. In the atlas to cerilla I think it said somehwat emulate the
    > human societies around them in their own way. The Anuirean goblins have
    > nobility and much power in their kings, Vos goblins are very harsh and brutal,
    > etc. Mabey the ancient goblin empire was eastern in thought, but I doubt the
    > current ones are.

    I certainly don't mean to say that the goblins have a very highly
    organized culture now. I think the goblins once had a fairly distinct
    culture, but for the most part it has been lost in the chaos and
    corruption that the goblins suffered at the hand of Azrai. I think the
    mark of that suffering is still very much felt in goblin culture. There
    may still be a few places, like Thurazor, where some of that culture is
    still remembered, and some of the legacy of that culture, like old
    palaces, the remnants of advanced skills (like crossbow construction) are
    still maintained, but in many areas, the individual clans have become laws
    onto themselves, and are free to be as barbaric as they want to be. A
    bushido-like code of honor, which said that a warrior must do what he is
    commaded to by his lord, and that loyalty to his sworn lord is more
    important than his own life and religion, and that his honor and hope for
    the afterlife is tied up in serving his lord and never betraying him, can
    easily be turned to barbaric ends by evil and corrupt lords. And if
    virtually ALL of the goblin clan lords are evil, urged on by tribal
    witch-priests, it comes to be the normal behavior for goblin warriors, and
    is expected of them. The old ideals may still be kept by some of the
    clans, but as it says in the Thurazor section of the RoE book: those who
    don't like it are free to leave and set up their own tiny kingdom in the
    Five Peaks or start their own mercenary group to fight in the human wars.
    Thus, the most barbaric of the goblins--those most concerned with gaining
    as much power as they can at the expense of anyone who gets in their way,
    are also the ones most likely to be encountered by humans. Thus the
    goblins certainly do have reputations of being bloodthursty, evil
    barbarians, because most of them, and particularly those most adventurers
    are likely to be, will be exactly that. But it also leaves room open for
    the rare adventurer to come across the find that will astonish her and
    shake her view of the world: a lonely monastery, hidded high in the
    mountains, where a last remnant of goblins pursue the old ways, pursueing
    knowledge and mysticism, creating articles of magical power through
    rigourous and lengthy cooperative magic rituals, and seeking for a way to
    redeem their fellow goblins from the chaos and corruption that has been
    visited upon them.

    > Actually truthfully in our culture the word minotaur came from one specific
    > myth, that of Theseus and the Minotaur, I don't see why the Cerilians didn't
    > come up with the names for these awnsheighlien when they heard them described.

    True, that's where the STORY comes from, but the word itself, Minotaur,
    comes from the Greek for bull (taur: as in the constellation and zodiac
    sign Taurus), and from the King of Crete, Minos, who was the cuckolded
    husband of the woman whom Zeus had sex with to produce the beast (if I'm
    remembering my Bullfinch's correctly). Thus, the word means essentially
    "the Bull of Minos." If we were to try and do the same sort of thing in
    Cerilia, we would need another "Minos" to have the things named after.
    Perhaps a sea captain of the Masetians? Perhaps he made up the story about
    them--or perhaps he really did see them on one of his voyages, because I
    noticed yesterday that the RB mentions in the section on gods that the
    minotaurs of Cerilia worship Baphomet (sp?). So perhaps minotaurs do exist
    on Cerilia (or on Aduria, or some island, etc. etc.).

    Mark VanderMeulen
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  5. #5

    Bestiary notes

    No wonder I couldn't send the Monster Template...
    I'll try again tonight...
    Mark A Vandermeulen wrote:

    > OK folks, the University's computer system was down all weekend, and I
    > dealt with my cat most of Monday (time for the yearly shots), so I have a
    > pretty big backlog of mail to respond to, some from pretty long ago. Bear
    > with me--it's your just deserts for being so interesting and prolific. :)
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