Charybdian Gazetteer

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Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  Admin on Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:45 pm

I open this thread so that interested parties can discuss the development of Charybdia (or "Charybdis", depending at which map of Mythika you look) for a forthcoming Gazetteer in the Minotaur.

So, what is Charybdia anyway ?

Charybdia is, broadly speaking, Mythika's equivalent of Africa. It has more to do with what we might call "pulp Africa" than with the real Africa of the ancient world - so yes, this means lush jungles, ferocious beasts and, of course, lost cities and forgotten ruins.

Here are the basic facts (ie the few things we already know about Charybdia) as well as very broad directions which, I think, we should explore.

1) Our main sources of inspiration should include R.E. Howard's Conan stories set in Kush, the Black Kingdoms etc (but without the blatantly racist elements so common in 1930s pulp tales), and Charles R. Saunders' Imaro novel (for those who don't know http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imaro), with myriads of other works which can provide all sorts of "junglesque" ideas, such as Philip José Farmer's "Opar" novels or, of course, E.R. Burroughs' Tarzan stories. Of course, many of these sources are somewhat cliché-heavy but remember that M&M relies heavily on clichés (if only to twist them a bit).

2) We already know a few things about Charybdia. Here is what the Maze Masters Guide has to say about it :

"East of Midia lies the savage land of Charybdis with its lush jungles, strange beasts and tribes of ebony-skinned warriors."

Note that there is a glaring error here : it should be WEST of Midia, as shown on ALL maps of Mythika (how come nobody ever noticed this ? . Aside from this (deliberately) vague information, issue 3 of the Minotaur also mentions a city of Black Amazons somewhere in the Charybdian Jungles.

3) I'd really like our Charybdian Gazetteer to offer a two-fold perspective - detailing Charybdis as a "land of adventure" (ie from the Minean perspective)... but also as a possible homeland of player-characters as well. I have already given a few thoughts to the subject of Charybdian characters in terms of classes - see below.

4) The Creature Compendium already details many creatures which are from Charybdis (or would fit nicely in it), including : Apemen, Catoplebas, Cynocephals (just have a look at Emmanuel Roudier's wonderful illo), Elephants, Giant Lions, Giant Snakes, Hellephaunts, Hyenakins, Klaatakaa'rr, Leonids, Lions, Leucrotas (?), Pterodactyls, Rhinoceros, Rhinotaurs, Tetrax... This does not mean that there isn't room for a few new critters (including a few "normal" Beasts) - but that we already have a fairly comprehensive Charybdian bestiary.

Charybdian Characters

Let's start with warriors.

IMO, Charybdian warriors qualify as Barbarians : even if they often fight with spear and shield, the primary attributes and special abilities of the Barbarian class fit the "jungle warrior" stereotype far better than those of the Spearman class. Charybdian Amazons also exist, as mentioned above. I think Nobles and Spearmen should be left out of the picture, since these classes reflect Greek (or, in M&M parlance, "Minean") stereotypes - and, as such, are also non-existent in (for instance) Hyperborean or Amazonian cultures.

So this would leave us with only two warrior classes (Barbarians for men and Amazons for women), since Centaurs are probably not very common in the Charybdian jungles. In other words, all male Charybdian warriors would be Barbarians - just like all Hyperborean warriors are Barbarians.

While writing this, I had an idea about Nobles. We have mentioned "lost cities" and "forgotten civilizations"... perhaps we could include the Noble class in our Charybdian repertoire to reflect the ruling warrior elite of such "lost cities" - and in case you're wondering, I DON'T mean white-skinned "noble rulers"', as in so many (too many ?) "lost cities" of pulp Africa. Perhaps we could make these Nobles the last remnants of a once powerful empire, which fell before the might of the savage jungle tribes centuries and centuries ago... but which culture still exists in isolated city-states lost in the deep jungles. I must say I quite like this idea. Perhaps we could call this lost, fallen empire the "Kushite Empire" ("Kush" was not invented by RE Howard - it is also one of the names of ancient Ethiopia) or, if we find this a bit too obvious / derivative, the "Keshan empire" ("Kesh" being a mix of "Kush" and "Klesh" - which is the equivalent of Africa in Fritz Leiber's world of Nehwon). What do you think ?



What about magicians ? I think that the M&M Sorcerer class can be transferred "as is" in Charybdian culture. Lyrists and Elementalists should, I think, be left out of the picture for the same cultural reasons as we left out the Spearmen and Nobles... At first, I had thought of devising some sort of tribal equivalent of Priests called Animists but on second thoughts, I feel the "standard" M&M Sorcerer will fit the "witch doctor" niche perfectly - remember our goal here is not to emulate "real" traditional African magic, but fantasy clichés and old school stereotypes. And if we really want a "typically Charybdian" magician class, there is the excellent Beastmaster class created by Erik Sieurin and recently (re)published in the Minotaur webzine, which is obviously at home here.

And then there are Nymphs. If Nymphs ARE physically embodied nature spirits, they should logically exist everywhere, regardless of the specific aspects of the surrounding human culture... so yes, I think we could actually have Jungle Nymphs in Charybdis... and perhaps River Nymphs too - as local variants of Dryads and Naiads, perhaps with slightly different powers.

Lastly, there are specialists - well, Hunters are an obvious choice here... and probably much more common than Thieves.

Ideas and comments welcome !

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Re:Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  welshargonaut on Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:27 pm

Of course, other sources of inspiration might include the works of H Rider Haggard (such as King Solomon's Mines and She), as well as Burrough's The Land that Time Forgot and Conan Doyle's The Lost World. And let's not forget Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, if you want something really brooding and psychologically-dark.

As already noted, one of the problems with many of these source texts is the blatant racial stereotypes. Nevertheless, with a little bit of imagination, these can be readily corrected - after all, it's the stories themselves, with their fantastical and larger-than-life elements, that really matter.

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aka "essdbe"

Post  Imaro on Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:23 pm

I've based a lot of what you see below on the existing material and classesin M&M and the Chinese expansion. Also the Priests of Africa and Ecology of the Dakon from Dragon magazine. As well as Charles R. Saunders Imaro and Dossouye fantasy world setting Nyumbani. The Seven Golden Cities of Entopan are a mostly benevolent feudal Theocracy ruled by the seven Holy Negus', with divisions similar in some ways to Italy during the warring states period.

PLAYABLE RACES
Human
Standard African humans from the Seven Golden Cities of Entopan. The Entopanoi have survived by absorbing the language, science, gods, of other cultures. They speak a Charybdian influenced Greek patois. The Entopanoi use Indian armor, Spartan tactics, Arab and Greek science, Babylonian laws, Sumerian city building techniques The state religion of Entopan is the Pantheon of Seven, which includes several human faced animal gods co-opted from other pantheons. The noble, scholar and merchant classes worship the Pantheon of Seven, but 75% of the population are animists.

Amazon
The Amazons of Charybdia hail from the hidden city of Neqara and have culture similar to that of the later Carthaginians. Most worship the Carthaginian moon goddess Tanith. Smaller factions maintain shrines to Anath the goddess of love, Kathirat the goddess of marriage and pregnancy, and Shapash the sun goddess. These Neqaran Amazons are ruled by Queen Zenobia. The Amazon Swanswords of Neqara frequently sell their services to the seven cities. They are easily identified by their swan-head hilted tulwars.

Cymbee
The Cymbee (also known as Simbi) are the African equivalent of Nymphs, they are natural spirits, elemental beings who always appear wearing large painted masks, sometimes riding conjur-horses. They possess much the same powers as nymphs but are summoned and bound by contract to protect specific geographical locations, ancestral bloodlines, or material objects, by Charybdian Animists, sometimes for generations. Cymbees operating without contracts are automatically considered hostile, and subject to summary exorcisms back to the elemental plane.

Misogorgon
A demigorgon or half gorgon. Misogorgons are the descendants of Nanas the only male gorgon in Greek history (bodyguard of Zeus) and the Skiritae who are snake women from India. Misogorgon bodyguards are a traditional sight alongside nobles of the seven cities. The Misogorgons worship Glykon the human faced serpent god. Misogorgons cannot transform their targets into stone, but they can cause targeted paralysis.

Hippopode
The Hippopodes are humans with the feet of horses, and the manes and ears of horses. These Hippoppodes have zebra like coloring on their manes. They are the descendants of humans who mated with the kentaurides (female centaurs). Hippopodes are nomadic horse traders who frequently deal with the seven cities. Hippopode smiths trade for Khromandai ore and use it to make fine tools and weapons for sale to the seven cities.

Khromandai
The Khromandai are dwarven ape men from a very rigid and law abiding culture in the Treetop Kingdoms. At this time very little is known about Khromandai culture aside from their animist beliefs. The Khromandai operate copper, iron and salt mines which supple the seven golden cities.

Terasauroi
The Terasauroi are a barbaric race of "troodon sapiens" who actively use elemental magic. The Terasauroi use various tamed dinosauroid species as steeds, beasts of labor, and watchdogs. Terasauroi are rarely literate, Terasauroi trappers trade skins and horn with smaller outposts of the seven cities and the Khromandai but rarely venture near the seven capital cities. despite this fact many indentured Terasauroi can be found in the seven kingdoms, and many Makairae (gladiators) fight for money and freedom in the Lanistadions (greek gladiatorial arenas). The average Terasauroi is seven feet tall.

Pygmaioi
Little is known of the Pygmaioi except for their reputation as unparalleled poisoners, assassins, doctors and wrestlers. According to legend The Pygmaioi live in isolated villages in the Great Grass Jungle where the clans train their young in the arts of herbology, poisoning, medicine, and close combat. Many a Entopanoi Noble House has hired one of the Grass Clans to wipe out a competitor.

CHARACTER CLASSES
Warriors
Amazon
Makairae (Barbarian Kit)
Noble
Spearman
Hippopode (Centaur)

Priests
Elementalist
Beastmaster
Griot
Animist
Cymbee (Nymph)

Specialists
Bandit (Hunter Kit)
Thief

NEW & REDEFINED CLASSES
Charybdians look upon sorcerers and similar magicians as evil, the same goes for uncontracted Cymbee. Anyone not from the seven cities is a barbarian this includes Northerners. All magic users in Charybdia are priests, and almost all priests are either related to the nobility or weild political power.

Noble
Charybdian Nobles, especially those of the Entopanoi are trained in martial matters starting at the age of two. Both men and women are expected to master the short spear by age ten and the long spear by age twelve. All Nobles obey rigid societal codes which prohibit anyone outside the nobility from carrying the double war spears, hunting javelins and bows are allowed for village use, but the art of two spear combat is only taught to the nobility. Any Noble who loses one or both of his or her spears due to cowardice on the battlefield, is forever forbidden to carry a long spear, and must henceforth wear and use a short spear and sword. This is a mark of shame among Charybdian society and also results in reduced rank.

Spearman
All Spearmen are Nobles or the descendants of Nobles who lost one of their war spears in battle. They are reduced to using short spears and swords and their families carry permanent disgrace, if they were to lose their remaining spear they would have no choice but to take their own lives in order to expiate the shame from their family names.

Makairae
The Makairae (Gladiators) are basically a Barbarian kit with a few tweaks here and there. Barbarians forced to compete in the Lanistadions (gladiatorial arenas) who eventually earned their freedom.

Bandit
Basically a Hunter kit based on the one being developed for the Chinese spinoff. Bandits are charismatic rogues who harass the trade routes linking the seven golden cities. Since every tribe/village already has a hunter caste dedicated to providing for their villages it made more sense to go with Bandits.

Elementalist
Elementalists are exactly as outlined in the M&M lore except that they are basically legbas, African priests. Elementalists in Charybdia must specialize in a single element, in return they gain the ability to master a single animal form tied to that element into which they can shapeshift. They gain a new form every three levels. Fire Elementalist get desert animals, earth gets burrowing animals, water gets sea creatures, and air get birds.

Beastmaster
The Beastmasters have the same powers outlined in M&M lore, they are able to control animals, but instead of their powers being inherent like the Nymphs and Cymbee. They do benefit from the fact that they all possess Noble bloodlines supposedly linked to the. gods themselves. Their powers come from worshipping the Pantheon of Seven. Beastmaster powers can affect shapeshifted Elementalists.

Griot
The Griot is the Lyrist, an African Holy Bard who uses music to petition ancestor spirits and the dead. Griot are specially trained to fight the undead. Spells like "confuse undead". "enchant undead", "charm undead". The aptly named "chorus of the dead" is their most powerful spell.

Animist
Animists are spirit priests capable of summoning and subjugating the Cymbee. They utilize the powers of the four quarters: Cymbee (elemental spirits), Orishas (guardian spirits), Jengu (blood spirits), Shetani (shadow spirits).

PANTHEON OF SEVEN
Anansi - trickster spider god of wisdom, with the face of a man
Onkalammuz - elephant god of strength, with the face of a man
Phixmihos - androsphinx, god of enigmas, with the face of a man
Glykon - snake god of magic, with the face of a man
Shedu-Zagan - winged bull god of justice, with the face of a man
Tallaois Aetos - great sun eagle god of vengeance, with the face of a man
Soukos - crocodile god of war, with the face of a man

KLAATAAKAA'RR
The revised Klaatakaa'rr all have batlike faces and are blood drinkers. They turn to stone during the day and are only active after sunset. Hopefully they will fill the vampire niche.


Last edited by Imaro on Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:03 am; edited 5 times in total
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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  seneschal on Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:50 pm

If we're indeed going to flesh out a M&M fantasy Africa setting based on our favorite fantasy, pulp, and adventure stories we're going to have to get over political correctness and stop apologizing for our source material. Were the cannibals in She brutish? Was the aged female shaman in King Solomon's Mines crazy as a bedbug? Were the Black Pirates of Barsoom from Gods of Mars vicious conquerors? So what? They're the bad guys. They're supposed to be scary, mean and nasty. If we have to give our jungle natives Eton accents, Continental manners, and college degrees (or worse, slide over into that other racist stereotype, the Dances With Wolves style noble savage) we might as well pack it in and go home now. We'll have tossed out the elements that make jungle adventures fun. Conan the Barbarian isn't politically correct, either. In real life, he'd be at best a jerk, at worst a mass murderer. But no one would want to read stories about Conan the Grammarian. And no one complains that he paints a negative stereotype of Welshman (or Russians, or whoever the Hyperborean barbarians were based on).

So, what DO we like about pulp Africa? It's exotic, mysterious and dangerous. That includes not only the terrain and the critters but the people, too. They're unpredictable, with languages and customs we don't understand. They don't play by our rules. They can be friendly one moment, then try to kill us with unfamiliar weapons the next because we inadvertently broke ancient laws we didn't know existed. Their ferocity scares us, but we're forced to admire their athleticism and their bravery in the face of peril. We don't know whom to trust because it's hard for us to figure out their web of venerable rivalries and alliances. And they've got stuff we want: precious metals, gems, ivory, strange drugs, weird animals, fine woods. To get their stuff, we've got to figure out what they want in return and persuade them to trade with us. Or we've got to beat them in battle. We're used to bargaining or raiding back home, but this isn't home.

Of course, the typical real African native these days is probably a Baptist or Pentecostal with a marketing degree, speaks English or French perfectly well, and would greatly prefer browsing the latest best-selling novel to fighting time-lost saber-toothed tigers with a spear. But then, that wouldn't be nearly as much fun, would it?

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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  Imaro on Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:59 pm

I'm not being politically correct, I am black, so I deliberately avoided those things that made me uncomfortable. If you think I have left out anything pertinent please add it. If this wasn't "black enough" or "africa enough" for you please correct me. Just because an unenlightened author in the 1930's had a close minded idea of an adventurers Africa doesn't mean it has to be perpetuated.

Charles R. Saunders a black writer was somehow able to set the Imaro novels about a black barbarian, in a pseudo-Africa without giving them Eton accents. Have you seen any Etonizing in something I put down here? What exactly is it that you think the Africans were doing when Greece was at its height?

See the thing is, I was told that this Africa did not have to follow Haggard's Africa, or any of the stereotypes. And so I focused on one particular area the Seven Golden Cities which border on Mythika's Greece. The rest of Charybdia is wide open.
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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  seneschal on Fri Dec 19, 2008 6:35 pm

Imaro, I wasn't at all criticizing your ideas for the Seven Golden Cities. I was responding in general terms to concerns earlier in the discussion about the content of material that could potentially supply inspiration for the supplement. In our eagerness not to offend anyone, it would be easy to strip out the sense of constant peril and "otherness" that makes such tales enjoyable. Were Saunders' hero Imaro to be suddenly dumped into mythic Greece, he'd face the same challenges of unfamiliar customs, languages, creatures, and potentially unfriendly people. My point was a plea not to throw out the baby with the bath water as we develop our ideas.

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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  Admin on Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:56 am

Hello everybody and welcome to the thread ! Very Happy

For the record, I totally agree with all Imaro's remarks.

We are not into "political correctness" here but I don't think this is really the point.

Personally I'm a huge Robert E. Howard fan but I'll be the first to admit that the man was a racist (please let's not turn this into a PC rant !). Yet I prefer to read his stories in their original forms (as they have been recently re-published by Wandering Star), even if it implies reading a few racist clichés that make me cringe as a person, rather than "politically corrected" or "slightly rewritten" versions of them (as was the case with most of REH's works before the 1990s) because this amounts to revisionism pure and simple - not to mention a very weird form of hypocrisy.

We can't change the past - but we are in no way obliged to repeat it.

This should apply to society... but this also apply to small things like Mazes & Minotaurs. Since we are in total control of what the M&M world is, then we have the power to make a difference : M&M is a reconstructed game, with a reconstructed imaginary setting. It does embrace some of the old school FRP clichés... but you might have noticed that it also took a stance of its own on some of the most famous (or infamous ?) hobby controversies - such as, for instance, the role of women and the question of warriors-women. Such issues have produced tons of letters and articles in magazines such as the british White Dwarf, back in the 80s, and let's face it : there were (still are ?) severely chauvinistic gamers - people who DID think that female characters should not be able to reach the same maximum level of Strength as male warriors etc. In M&M, we have a distinctive warrior-woman class, the Amazon - its original version did have (deliberately faux) sexist overtones but a recent issue of the Minotaur webzine did tackle this issue, with a variant "liberated" version of the class. In (Revised) M&M, Amazons are not just "an option" - they are a major element of the game. I did devise the whole "Amazon evolution" thing (they were a barely-described subclass in the 1972 M&M rules, then they became a fully-acknowledged class in the 1987 rules and then the Minotaur webzine presents a "liberated" version of the class, emphasizing Will over Grace etc) as a sincere tribute to all the female gamers who had to bear the sexist crap of their chauvinistic fellow gamers, back in the "days" (nobody behaves like this anymore, of course, Rolling Eyes).

But let's get back to the matter at hand : Black people.

M&M would have two choices here.

First choice : Simply emulate the "mild", implicit racism found in many early RPGs, for the sake of "old schoolness". I'll take a single, simple example here : the "Aesheba : Greek Africa" campaign supplement by New Infinities Productions (and "presented" by the late Gary Gygax) back in the real 1987. Aside from the fact that the whole book seems to be build on the assumption that players will NECESSARILY want to play Greek (ie white) colonists or "adventuring visitors" to this alternate Africa, the section on "Native people" opens with the following sentence that, in my opinion, pretty much sums up the whole problem here :

"This section details two races of people unique to Aesheba : the Bushmen and the Pygmies. The negroid people who inhabit most of the continent are not described; consult your local library for information."


And that's it. What does this mean ? That "standard" "negroid people" are not interesting enough to deserve a single paragraph of description. So we'll learn nothing about their culture (even though this is supposed to be an imaginary world), probably because there is "nothing to be learned"... but then we can still consult our "local library" if we really want to learn about such obviously uninteresting things. The only "interesting" black people described in this section are the Bushmen and the Pygmies - and why are they described ? Mainly because their small size might gave them special benefits in game terms. And they use special weapons too.

So, is this racism ? Well, not really - but this is emblematic of a very common attitude of RPG games toward the "black people" - they are not worth describing.

Second choice : Make a difference by integrating the clichés but going beyond them - because from its first days, M&M has been defined as "a game that never was"... but also as "a game that should have been".

So yes, I will definitely select the second choice. And writing a Charybdian Gazetteer will definitely give us a wonderful opportunity to "make this difference".

Last word : Imaro, I will read all your ideas today and try to post a detailed reply ASAP. I noticed that you mentioned terms like "Greek" or "African" - in the imaginary context of Mythika, such terms will of course have to be altered.

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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  Admin on Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:16 am

So, here are my first comments / remarks / questions about your Charybdian ideas.

First of all, there's really a vision developing here - and one that really has its place in the wider tapestry of Mythika. But before we go into a detailed, topic-by-topic analysis, I'd like to clarify a few things about what we might call focus and scope.

Some of your ideas would be perfectly at home in an African alternate world for M&M - in the style of our thinly outlined "Chinese spinoff" world or in the style of my own version of the world of Midgard which will be the setting of the forthcoming "Vikings & Valkyries" supplement... but Charybdis, as a part of Mythika, needs a tighter, narrower focus - one that stays within the framework and "faux retro Bronze Age" paradigm of Mazes & Minotaurs. Many of my remarks below are based on my wish to preserve this "Mythikan paradigm", which is a more difficult balancing act than it may first appear.

One of our fellow Minotaurians, Andy Pearce, is currently doing some wonderful work on the forthcoming "Desert Kingdom" issue - and this involved a bit of "fine-tuning" at the beginning, because the Desert Kingdom is not an alternate, Egyptian-style world for M&M (which would call for a full "out of Mythika" supplement) but "only" a part of Mythika : it is heavily based on ancient Egypt but also incorporates many variant, typically M&M-esque elements - some of these things were discussed at an early stage on the M&M newsgroup. And for self-consistency's sake, I think that our version of Charybdis (and the "southern lands beyond") should try to preserve and convey the same mood - which will, I hope, explain some of the more nitpicking elements of my comments below - especially about playable nonhuman races.

Secondly, as I've written above, we'll have to "Mythikize" all the references to real-world cultures... and I also feel we should refrain from using too many scholarly-sounding or Greek-derived terms (like, for instance, "Makairae" for Gladiators or "Pygmaioi" for Pygmies) to keep things consistent with the M&M spirit - remember, this is a game where "Hoplites" are called "Spearmen" and where the neologism "Lyrist" supplanted the perfectly adequate greek word "Aede".

Since your initial post is quite long and contains many ideas, I will not cover them all here - I will start with generalities and the "playable races", which should already keep us busy for a few posts.

So, let's roll !

Imaro wrote:I've based a lot of what you see below on the existing material and classesin M&M and the Chinese expansion. Also the Priests of Africa and Ecology of the Dakon from Dragon magazine.

Would you happen to know the specific numbers of these Dragon issues ?

Imaro wrote:The Seven Golden Cities of Entopan are a mostly benevolent feudal Theocracy ruled by the seven Holy Negus', with divisions similar in some ways to Italy during the warring states period.

So, Entopan would be (more or less) Mythika's Ethiopia / Kush (but probably having more to do with Aksumite or even pre-Aksumite Ethiopia than with its later medieval, christian culture)... I love the "Seven Golden Cities" and the idea of a great civilization - but if we do integrate such a land in Mythika, it must be located south of Charybdis (or south of what the existing maps show as being "Charybdis") and would be a "Terra Incognita" for our M&M Mineans (but this is precisely what would make it interesting). On Emmanuel Roudier's big map of Mythika http://mazesandminotaurs.free.fr/MYTHIKA2.pdf, it would be located south-west of the Stygian Empire, just below the lower border of the map. Making it a western country (whereas Ethiopia is located east of Africa) is really not a problem : the Entopa / Ethiopia analogy is just a starting point and should not become a restriction (you'll notice that the same logic applies to all of Mythika's geography). That being said, this geographical location does lead us in a very interesting direction : if our Entopan cities are the neighbors of the evil, necromantic Stygian Empire, the very real threat represented by the Stygians will be a very strong factor in maintaining poltiical unity between the rival Entopan factions - and this would also make the borderlands between the two empires a fantastic setting for adventuring, mercenary employment etc ! Perhaps the Entopans are fighting an endless war against the Stygians, which could also explain why they are not trying to expand north - since their military forces are always busy defending their eastern border. Perhaps we could even give this Stygian borderland some sort of fortified wall in the style of Hadrian's Wall or, to keep in with fantasy references, the Wall which seems to separate human lands from dark, haunted territories in George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series... or the Wall defended by the warriors of the Crab clan against Shadowland incursions in L5R's Rokugan !

I think we could also inject my "lost Keshan empire" idea here : this Keshan empire would have been a major enemy of Entopans in the past and its few remaining "lost cities" in the Charybdian jungles would still make things very dangerous for would-be Entopan travelers - indeed, keeping the Entopans at bay could be a (more or less delusional) obsession of the surviving Keshan lords.

Imaro wrote:
PLAYABLE RACES

In M&M, as in original D&D, "races" are treated as "classes". This must be taken into consideration, along with the "focus & scope" thing mentioned above. Some of the "playable races" you describe strike me as very interesting Folks (ie NPC creatures) but would not, I think, work well as player-character options in M&M (for the same reasons that M&M does not offer you to play, say, Satyrs or Beastmen).

Imaro wrote:Human
Standard African humans from the Seven Golden Cities of Entopan. The Entopanoi have survived by absorbing the language, science, gods, of other cultures. They speak a Charybdian influenced Greek patois. The Entopanoi use Indian armor, Spartan tactics, Arab and Greek science, Babylonian laws, Sumerian city building techniques

As I've said before, we'll have to explain this without resorting to real-world cultural references (Greek, Spartan, Babylonian etc). Simply put, it means that the Entopans (I would prefer this simpler form to the "Entopanoi") are as civilized as the Mineans.


Imaro wrote:The state religion of Entopan is the Pantheon of Seven, which includes several human faced animal gods co-opted from other pantheons.

So this would logically take us in the direction of the Desert Kingdom and its pseudo-Egyptian pantheon (and I insist on the "pseudo" here, Andrew Pearce having done a wonderful job of designing an Egyptian-flavored pantheon for the Desert Kingdom without doing a simple "cut-paste" job). I will send you Andrew's description of these gods if needed - even though I notice you've already described the Seven, it could be a nice touch to "harmonize" things a bit here (if only to allow our readers to draw parallels and analogies).

As mentioned above, Entopan would be a "land beyond" - outside of Charybdis proper. We'll have to keep this in mind : it will definitely have a place in a Charybdian Gazetteer but is not part of Charybdis "per se" (ie as it exists on the maps). This is not a problem at all and, indeed, it could allow us to offer a very interesting alternative to Minean adventurers : Charybdis could be a land of adventure for our classic M&M heroes as well as for characters from the Entopan cities. For this reason, I think Entopan culture and the possibility (and associated variant rules, if needed etc) of playing Entopan adventurers should be treated in a separate article (preferrably published in the same issue, of course !). We'd have a short summary of Entopan cities as a semi-legendary land existing south of the Charybdian jungles in the Gazetteer... and then, in a "companion article", we'd explore the possibilities of "shifting perspective" by playing Entopan adventurers : this approach, I think, would allow us to use most of your ideas and develop Entopan as a fascinating, alternate "home civilization" for Mythikan M&M, while keeping the Gazetteer focused on Charybdis "proper"...

What do you think ?

Imaro wrote:
Amazon
The Amazons of Charybdia hail from the hidden city of Neqara and have culture similar to that of the later Carthaginians. Most worship the Carthaginian moon goddess Tanith. Smaller factions maintain shrines to Anath the goddess of love, Kathirat the goddess of marriage and pregnancy, and Shapash the sun goddess.
I'm not too keen on the "marriage and pregnancy" stuff - I think our Black Amazons' attitudes toward marriage should be very similar to those of the Amazonian Amazons (duh), described in the Amazonia Gazetteer.

Imaro wrote:The Amazon Swanswords of Neqara frequently sell their services to the seven cities. They are easily identified by their swan-head hilted tulwars.

Swanswords ? I love this term (and the "mercenary Amazon" idea too).

Imaro wrote:Cymbee
The Cymbee (also known as Simbi) are the African equivalent of Nymphs, they are natural spirits, elemental beings who always appear wearing large painted masks, sometimes riding conjur-horses.

African Nymphs ? I know I was right ! What exactly do you mean by "conjur-horse" ?

Imaro wrote:They possess much the same powers as nymphs but are summoned and bound by contract to protect specific geographical locations, ancestral bloodlines, or material objects, by Charybdian Animists, sometimes for generations. Cymbees operating without contracts are automatically considered hostile, and subject to summary exorcisms back to the elemental plane.

For simplicity's sake, I think we should make Simbi (or Cymbee ? what would be the better term) as close as possible to Nymphs in game terms - so while the "contract" stuff is very interesting (and would work well as an important background element, especially since it makes the whole "animist" thing very real in the setting) I think that all player-character Simbi should be "contract-free", because only they could actually lead something akin to a life of adventure. There is a rationale in M&M about adventuring Nymphs - the playable ones are supposed to be young Nymphs, while the older ones tend to settle down in a specific location. So I think the "contract" thing could be the exact equivalent of the "age" thing here... and this would also give Simbi PCs a very interesting "social stigma" (which would probably impact on their Reputation bonus but we'll have time to explore such finer details when the essentials have been defined). And I don't think they should really risk being banished back to some sort of "elemental plane" - just like regular M&M Nymphs, they can be killed, period.

Imaro wrote:Misogorgon
A demigorgon or half gorgon. Misogorgons are the descendants of Nanas the only male gorgon in Greek history (bodyguard of Zeus) and the Skiritae who are snake women from India. Misogorgon bodyguards are a traditional sight alongside nobles of the seven cities. The Misogorgons worship Glykon the human faced serpent god. Misogorgons cannot transform their targets into stone, but they can cause targeted paralysis.

Very intriguing and interesting idea... but I don't think it would work for a playable race. Not only because of game balance stuff about paralyzing glances but also because this creature is too "monstrous" or "alien" for being an acceptable player race. Great creature idea, though.


[quote="Imaro"]Hippopode/quote]

I don't think this name would work very well in play - even though it does mean "horse feet" or "horse footed", most gamers will, I think, tend to visualize Hippopotamus-men when hearing this. Smile

Imaro wrote:The Hippopodes are humans with the feet of horses, and the manes and ears of horses. These Hippoppodes have zebra like coloring on their manes. They are the descendants of humans who mated with the kentaurides (female centaurs).

I'm not really sure : are they four-legged Centaurs or two-legged humanoids ? I'll wait for the clarification before discussing the creature proper.

Imaro wrote:Khromandai
The Khromandai are dwarven ape men from a very rigid and law abiding culture in the Treetop Kingdoms. At this time very little is known about Khromandai culture aside from their animist beliefs. The Khromandai operate copper, iron and salt mines which supple the seven golden cities.

Again, great creature idea but IMO not suitable for a playable race - at least not in the context of a game like M&M, which is focused on heroic adventuring.

Imaro wrote:Terasauroi
The Terasauroi are a barbaric race of "troodon sapiens" who actively use elemental magic.

Troodon ? You mean dinosaur-men ? Well, frankly this feels too much like a Jorune / Earthdawn drift ; for self-consistency reasons, I'd like to keep "nonhuman PCs" to a minimum level - M&M only has two regular nonhuman classes : one for warriors (Centaurs) and one for magicians (Nymphs). If we start developing various "exotic" nonhuman playable races, then we'll soon have requests for playable Scorpion Folk or Minotaurs - NOT a way I want M&M to go.

Imaro wrote:Pygmaioi
Little is known of the Pygmaioi except for their reputation as unparalleled poisoners, assassins, doctors and wrestlers. According to legend The Pygmaioi live in isolated villages in the Great Grass Jungle where the clans train their young in the arts of herbology, poisoning, medicine, and close combat. Many a Entopanoi Noble House has hired one of the Grass Clans to wipe out a competitor.

Again, a good idea for Folks rather than for a playable race (Assassin PCs were never really part of the official M&M ethos, anyway)... especially since the whole "midget assassin" concept perfectly matches a creature which is already part of the M&M Creature Compendium : the Zorbas - so, in M&M terms, these Pygmies would really be "Black Zorbas" (mmh nice cheesy name, eh ?).

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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  seneschal on Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:57 am

Hmmm. If the Entopans (Entopians?) have an ongoing border feud with Stygia, maybe those pygmy assassins have steady contract work (like ninja in feudal Japan). When the short guys show up, Minean visitors may be scratching their heads but Golden Cities folks are either running or grabbing their spears. Or, worse, if they glimpse a pygmy slipping away into a crowd, PCs know either something bad has just happened or is about to happen (but can they figure out what in time to stop it?).

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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  Imaro on Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:11 am

Admin wrote:So, here are my first comments / remarks / questions about your Charybdian ideas.

Thank you for your comments above I also read those early D&D Africa ideas, including the Chult supplement. Ecology of the Dakon is from Dragon #187 (Nov 1992). Priests of Africa is from Dragon #209 (Sept 1994). I completely agree on the relocation near Stygia, i'd like to integrate the Desert Kingdom gods as much as possible so data on their pantheon would be very welcome. Entopans or Entopanese both work for me. I'd also be interested in reading more about the Lost Keshan Empire. For the Amazons of Neqara I added the extra goddesses as flavor but we only need Tanith the Phoenician moon goddess.

The Hippopodes, Khromandai, and Skiritai are actual creatures from Greek myth.

I wanted to keep as much of the original M&M flavor as possible by making the Hippopodes, Zebra styled variants. I can do detailed sketches showing what they would all look like in the setting. I agree that the Khromandai, Misogorgons, Terasauroi and Pygmaioi would all probably work better as Folks you encounter during the course of a module. And Terasauroi work better with no magical aptitude whatsoever. Or the Terasauroi could be replaced with the Troglodytes/Trogladytoi. As for the Cymbee you can ignore the conjur-horse bit, water based Cymbee were sometimes seen riding ghostly mistlike horses. The rogue Cymbee being the youngest and uncontracted works for, especially as a source of conflict in the cities.

Nanas was a surprise to me as well, I never understood why Zeus would need a bodyguard, but the idea of Gorgon bodyguards stuck with me. I also think the paralyzing gaze thing for Misogorgons could be changed to blinding or paralyzing venom from the spit or bites of the snakes in their hair.

The Pygmaioi as black Zorbas makes sense to me, and as seneschal writes ,the sight of a Pygmy in a crowd is not a good thing. I have an idea for a small module about intrigue and political infighting among the priests, but no real structure yet.

The Theoi website has a few other interesting entries like the Aegipanes (African centaurs), Cynocephali (dog headed men), Panotioi (elephant eared men), and the Gegenees (six armed men).

I also have an interesting bit of source material for you and the guy working on the Desert Kingdom from the Theoi website.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TYPHOEUS & THE FLIGHT OF THE GODS TO EGYPT
http://www.theoi.com/Gigante/Typhoeus.html

Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 28 (trans. Celoria) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Typhon was the son of Ge (Earth), a deity monstrous because of his strength, and of outlandish appearance. There grew out of him numerous heads and hands and wings, while from his thighs came huge coils of snakes. He emitted all kinds of roars and nothing could resist his might.
He felt an urge to usurp the rule of Zeus and not one of the gods could withstand him as he attacked. In panic they fled to Aigyptos (Egypt), all except Athena and Zeus, who alone were left. Typhon hunted after them, on their track. When they fled they had changed themselves in anticipation into animal forms.
Apollon became a hawk [Horus], Hermes an ibis [Thoth], Ares became a fish, the lepidotus [Lepidotus or Onuris], Artemis a cat [Neith or Bastet], Dionysos took the shape of a goat [Osiris or Arsaphes], Herakles a fawn, Hephaistos an ox [Ptah], and Leto a shrew mouse [Wadjet]. The rest of the gods each took on what transformations they could. When Zeus struck Typhon with a thunderbolt, Typhon, aflame hid himself and quenched the blaze in the sea.
Zeus did not desist but piled the highest mountain, Aitna, on Typon and set Hephaistos on the peak as a guard. Having set up his anvils, he works his red hot blooms on Typhon’s neck."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 196 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When the god in Egypt feared the monster Typhon, Pan bade them transform themselves into wild beasts the more easily to deceive him. Jove [Zeus] later killed him with a thunderbolt. By the will of the gods, since by his warning they had avoided Typhon’s violence."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 28 :
"Egyptian priests and some poets say that once when many gods had assembled in Egypt, suddenly Typhon, an exceedingly fierce monster and deadly enemy of the gods, came to that place. Terrified by him, they changed their shapes into other forms: Mercurius [Hermes] became an ibis, Apollo [Apollon], the bird that is called Thracian, Diana [Artemis], a cat. For this reason they say the Egyptians do not permit these creatures to be injured, because they are called representations of gods. At this same time, they say, Pan cast himself into the river, making the lower part of his body a fish, and the rest a goat, and thus escaped from Typhon."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 30 :

"Pisces. Diognetus Erythraeus says that once Venus [Aphrodite] and her son Cupid [Eros] came in Syria to the river Euphrates. There Typhon, of whom we have already spoken, suddenly appeared. Venus and her son threw themselves into the river and there changed their forms to fishes, and by so doing this escaped danger."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 5. 139 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Typhoeus, issuing from earth’s lowest depths, struck terror in those heavenly hearts, and they all turned their backs and fled, until they found refuge in Aegyptus and the seven-mouthed Nilus . . . Typhoeus Terrigena (Earthborn) even there pursued them and the gods concealed themselves in spurious shapes; `And Juppiter [Zeus] became a ram’, she said, `lord of the herd, and so today great Ammon Libys’ [Zeus-Ammon] shown with curling horns. Delius [Apollon] hid as a raven, Semeleia [Dionysos] as a goat, Phoebe [Artemis] a cat, Saturnia [Hera] a snow-white cow, Venus [Aphrodite] a fish and Cyllenius [Hermes] an ibis.'"

Ovid, Fasti 2. 458 ff (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Once Dione [Aphrodite], in flight from terrible Typhon (when Jupiter [Zeus] armed in heaven’s defence), reached the Euphrates with tiny Cupidos [Eros] in tow and sat by the hem of Palestine’s stream . . . She pales with fear, and believes a hostile band approaches. As she clutched son to breast, she cries : `To the rescue, Nymphae, and bring help to two divinities.’ No delay; she leapt. Twin fish went underneath them."

TYPHOEUS IDENTIFIED WITH THE EGYPTIAN GOD SET

Herodotus, Histories 2. 156. 1 (trans. Godley) (Greek historian C5th B.C.) :
[Leto, Egyptian Buto] taking charge of Apollo [Horus] from Isis, hid him for safety in this island [Khemmis] which is now said to float, when Typhon [Set] came hunting through the world, keen to find the son of Osiris. Apollon [Horus] and Artemis [Bastet] were (they say) children of Dionysus [Osiris] and Isis, and Leto [Buto] was made their nurse and preserver; in Egyptian, Apollon is Horus, Demeter Isis, Artemis Bubastis."

Herodotus, Histories 2. 144. 1 :
"Before men, they said, the rulers of Egypt were gods, but none had been contemporary with the human priests. Of these gods one or another had in succession been supreme; the last of them to rule the country was Osiris' son Horus, whom the Greeks call Apollon; he deposed Typhon [Set], and was the last divine king of Egypt. Osiris is, in the Greek language, Dionysos."

Herodotus, Histories 3. 5. 1 :
"Now the only apparent way of entry into Egypt is this. The road runs from Phoinikia as far as the borders of the city of Kadytis . . . from Ienysus as far as the Serbonian marsh, beside which the promontory Kasios stretches seawards; from this Serbonian marsh, where Typho is supposed to have been hidden, the country is Egypt. Now between Ienysus and the Kasian mountain and the Serbonian marsh there lies a wide territory for as much as three days' journey, terribly arid."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2. 1206 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"Typhaon struck by his thunder-bolt, dropped warm blood from his head, and so made his way to the mountains and plain of Nysa [in Phoenicia], where he lies to this day, engulfed in the waters of the Serbonian Marsh [in Egypt]."

Suidas s.v. Osiris (trans. Suda On Line) (Byzantine Greek lexicon C10th A.D.) :
"Osiris : Some say he was Dionysos, others say another; who was dismembered by the daimon Typhon [here identified with Egyptian Set] and became a great sorrow for the Egyptians, and they kept the memory of his dismemberment for all time."
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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  Admin on Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:13 am

Imaro wrote:
I completely agree on the relocation near Stygia, i'd like to integrate the Desert Kingdom gods as much as possible so data on their pantheon would be very welcome.

Write me an e-mail and I'll send you the material by Andrew Pearce on the Desert Kingdom deities - and indeed, Andrew's pantheon does tackle some of the points you've raised about Egyptian mythology.

Great minds etc etc.Wink

Imaro wrote:
Entopans or Entopanese both work for me. I'd also be interested in reading more about the Lost Keshan Empire.

Well, I've written everything that I've come up with so far - but I'm sure we can organize things so that our respective ideas combine in a single, self-consistent (and quite rich) background encompassing the savage jungles of Charybdis, the lost empire of Keshan and your own southern Entopan Seven Cities.

Imaro wrote:For the Amazons of Neqara I added the extra goddesses as flavor but we only need Tanith the Phoenician moon goddess.

Yeah and we can always "rationalize" her as a weird avatar of the "real" Artemis.

Imaro wrote:
The Hippopodes, Khromandai, and Skiritai are actual creatures from Greek myth.

Mmmh... but from these descriptions, they could also be seen as more-or-less mangled accounts of creatures which already exist in M&M and I don't think they'd really bring extra flavor to the game.

Imaro wrote:I wanted to keep as much of the original M&M flavor as possible by making the Hippopodes, Zebra styled variants.

Well, how about Zebra Centaurs ? (I'm not kidding).

Imaro wrote:Or the Terasauroi could be replaced with the Troglodytes/Trogladytoi.

Well this is a typical example of what I was referring to above - and while there's always room for new creatures in M&M, I'd like to avoid "redundancy" as much as possible.

Imaro wrote:As for the Cymbee you can ignore the conjur-horse bit, water based Cymbee were sometimes seen riding ghostly mistlike horses. The rogue Cymbee being the youngest and uncontracted works for, especially as a source of conflict in the cities.

So we could "translate" Cymbee in game terms as regular M&M Nymphs ?

Imaro wrote:was a surprise to me as well, I never understood why Zeus would need a bodyguard, but the idea of Gorgon bodyguards stuck with me. I also think the paralyzing gaze thing for Misogorgons could be changed to blinding or paralyzing venom from the spit or bites of the snakes in their hair.

But perhaps we can simply interpret this as a more-or-less deformed tale of (normal) Gorgons guarding ruins and other mysterious locations. The problem of using Gorgon-like creatures (with Petrifying gazes) as bodyguards is that they risk petrifying the wrong people everytime they are in a crowd or social situation. Sure, this wouldn't be the case with your venom re-interpretation but I don't think this re-interpretation would work so well in a world where true Gorgons (with real petrifying gazes) do exist.


Imaro wrote:
The Theoi website has a few other interesting entries like the Aegipanes (African centaurs), Cynocephali (dog headed men), Panotioi (elephant eared men), and the Gegenees (six armed men).

Aegipanes are also sometimes described as Satyrs or Fauns. Cynocephali have already found their way in M&M as Cynocephals (and do have a very African look to them - see the illustration in the M&M Creature Compendium). The Gegenees could simply be Tetrax described by an over-enthusiastic storyteller Wink... but the elephant-men really strike me as a necessity ! Incidentally, the old Dragon Roar british RPG did include such creatures... but instead of making them yet another brand of spear-totting Beastmen, perhaps we could make them very ancient and wise beings, in the style of Yag-Kosha, the entity Conan encounters in "The Tower of the Elephant".

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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  Admin on Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:00 am

Here are the second part of my comments, questions, suggestions etc about Imaro's ideas & notes.

So - character classes.

First of all, for clarity's and consistency's sake, I think we should really treat and discuss Charybdians and Entopans as two distinct cultures / topics. In game terms, all Charybdian warrior PCs would be Barbarians (or Amazons from Negara) - but the civilized Entopans from your Seven Cities obviously have room for Nobles, Spearmen etc.

Imaro wrote:Charybdians look upon sorcerers and similar magicians as evil, the same goes for uncontracted Cymbee.

Note that Sorcerers are not THAT well-liked in Minean culture (as shown by their Reputation bonus, which only works with Minor NPCs, reflecting the fear and unease they may create in ordinary people... as well as, to a lesser extent, the wariness shown by most heroes (and other powerful characters) when dealing with Sorcerers.

Since "uncontracted Cymbee" would (following our previous discussion) be synonymous with "Cymbee player-character', this would, on the other hand, change the picture quite a little bit for our Charybdian Nymphs - but it's an interesting twis !

Imaro wrote:
Noble
Charybdian Nobles, especially those of the Entopanoi are trained in martial matters starting at the age of two. Both men and women are expected to master the short spear by age ten and the long spear by age twelve. All Nobles obey rigid societal codes which prohibit anyone outside the nobility from carrying the double war spears, hunting javelins and bows are allowed for village use, but the art of two spear combat is only taught to the nobility. Any Noble who loses one or both of his or her spears due to cowardice on the battlefield, is forever forbidden to carry a long spear, and must henceforth wear and use a short spear and sword. This is a mark of shame among Charybdian society and also results in reduced rank.

So "Charybdian Nobles, especially those of the Entopanoi" would now mean "Entopan Nobles and Nobles from the lost Keshan empire", since there would be no "Charybdian Nobles" per se (for the same reason that there are NO "Hyperborean Nobles" or "Amazonian Nobles" - and remember we are talking class & game terms here). Aside from its cultural significance, this "two spears" stuff is quite fascinating in the context of a game like M&M... In game terms, it would have been simpler if this pertained to Spearmen (ie non-Noble elite soldiers) rather than to Nobles, but this would obviously be nonsense from a cultural / social point of view. I don't think we have to change the Nobles' special abilities. Wielding two spears in combat would actually fall under the rules of fighting with two-weapons (see the Players Manual) and would thus only be possible for Nobles with a Skill of 13+ (but we'll have plenty of time to discuss this rule-stuff later on).

Imaro wrote:
Spearman
All Spearmen are Nobles or the descendants of Nobles who lost one of their war spears in battle. They are reduced to using short spears and swords and their families carry permanent disgrace, if they were to lose their remaining spear they would have no choice but to take their own lives in order to expiate the shame from their family names.

Mmmh... I don't think we can justify a whole class for disgraced Nobles... and what class would a civilized elite soldier from Entopan would be anyway ? So the simplest way to handle this would be IMO to make Entopan Spearmen the same as regular Spearmen (ie heroic non-Noble elite soldiers, fighting with spear and shield) and to add the extra option of playing a Spearman who actually comes from a disgraced Noble family (rather than restricting the Spearman class to such individuals only).

Imaro wrote:Makairae
The Makairae (Gladiators) are basically a Barbarian kit with a few tweaks here and there. Barbarians forced to compete in the Lanistadions (gladiatorial arenas) who eventually earned their freedom.

So they are simply Barbarians who happen to work as pit-fighters - no need to devise a variant class here.

Imaro wrote:Bandit

I do think that there is room for real, regular Hunters in this setting - at least in the Charybdian (ie non-Entopan) side of things, without having to develop a special variant Bandit class - remember that the Chinese spin-off would be just that - a spin-off, set in an alternate world and as such has more room (I think) for variant or re-designed class - but Charybdia et al are part of the classic M&M world of Mythika and so the "standard classes" should always take precedence - they do not represent strictly Minean (or "white") character kits but pretty universal classes which may potentially exist in all the known world of Mythika (but of course there's always room for a few tweaks here and there, especially as magicians are concerned).

Imaro wrote:Elementalist
Elementalists are exactly as outlined in the M&M lore except that they are basically legbas, African priests. Elementalists in Charybdia must specialize in a single element, in return they gain the ability to master a single animal form tied to that element into which they can shapeshift. They gain a new form every three levels. Fire Elementalist get desert animals, earth gets burrowing animals, water gets sea creatures, and air get birds.

I'm afraid Shapshifting Elementalists would be completely over-the-top, über-powerful characters. Plus I'd like to avoid anything reminiscent of "dual class" characters in M&M... You might also have noticed that some of the Elementalists' powers (such as Fist of the Sea or Hands of Bronze) should probably be re-interpreted in such a setting. I really think we should keep the Shapeshifter as is and the Elementalist as is - with a few cultural tweaks for those of the Elements - but refrain from "hazardous mixes" (character classes are like magical potions in this respect). The fact that elementalists/Shapeshifters exist in a culture does not necessarily justify them in game terms in a game like M&M, which has more to do with "pop culture fantasy" than anything - the magician classes from M&M were not devised to mimic existing magician characters from Greek myth (Circe, for instance, would be a Beastmaster / Sorceress) but to offer playable (and more-or-less balanced) character classes.

Imaro wrote:Griot
The Griot is the Lyrist, an African Holy Bard who uses music to petition ancestor spirits and the dead. Griot are specially trained to fight the undead. Spells like "confuse undead". "enchant undead", "charm undead". The aptly named "chorus of the dead" is their most powerful spell.
Griots as Lyrists - how could I NOT have thought about this ? It's a briliant idea. And the "anti-undead" powers are a perfect example of the "cultural tweaks" I mentioned above - we'd just have to see which "classic" powers these would replace.

Imaro wrote:
Animist
Animists are spirit priests capable of summoning and subjugating the Cymbee. They utilize the powers of the four quarters: Cymbee (elemental spirits), Orishas (guardian spirits), Jengu (blood spirits), Shetani (shadow spirits).

Note that this role does not necessarily require a new class per se : Sorcerers, with their mental powers, are perfectly capable of handling Spirits (in fact this is one of their often underestimated talents) and could fill this role in game terms... that being said, there could be room for a specific Animist class, especially if it replaces Priests. But here again, we'll have IMO to keep in mind the Charybdian/Entopan split mentioned above.

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Entopan & Kesh

Post  Imaro on Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:41 pm

All suggested changes have been put into play, thanks for your vinput its really helped me shape the region. I still have to email for info on those Desert Kingdom gods.


ENTOPAN & KESH
The rumored Seven Golden Cities of Entopan and the Kingdom of Kesh were discovered by Gerrhon of Tritonis while seeking the "Lost Mines of Midas", the mythical source of Stygian gold. Gerrhon negotiated his own southern trade route with the Goldlords (Hrisokyriakons) of Entopan. The Entopanoi are basically ancient Ethiopians.

KINGDOM OF KESH
The Keshan Nobility which has taken root in Entopan and Kesh are the last remnants of the noble bloodlines of once powerful Kesh Empire, which fell one thousand years ago as a direct result of the war with the Egregoroi. The last official act of Shafat, the Last Keshan Emperor was ordering the Neqaran and Xanthian Amazons to protect the Egregor Gate. The language of the Empire was High Keshi, modern Keshans speak Middle or Low Keshi. The current King of Kesh is Syphaxle the Third, ruler of seventy Hatya (governors), and seventy Seks (filial dominions). The ancient Keshan Empire up until Shafat, ruled 700 Hatya governors, and had 700 Seks. Keshan men wear their long and tied up in a topknot, they also have have short groomed beards. Keshans wear modified togas of their own design. The Kingdom of Kesh was preceded 1,000 years ago by the of powerful Empire of Kesh, and empire which united seven hundred warring kingdoms. The ancient Keshans specialized in combat magic, much of which has been lost. The Keshans are basically ancient Berbers similar to those of Numidia.

SEVEN GOLDEN CITIES
The Seven Golden Cities of Entopan are a mostly benevolent feudal Theocracy ruled by the seven Holy Negus', with divisions similar in some ways to Italy during the warring states period. The Goldlords (Hrisokyriakons) and the Minelords (Troglokyriakons) hold almost as much power as the Negus'.
Abdihest - Abdihest is the holy city of priests, scholars and diplomats, it is the home of the Great Library which holds preserved papyrus scrolls and clay tablets dating back to the Keshan Empire, very few living people can read High Keshi or Panotic, so much of the knowledge contained in the library is inaccessible. Considered neutral in all feuds, wars and negotiations. Worshippers of six armed Tanihestia (Tanith, Iusasset, Hestia). Abdihest mines stone, and chalk, manges a vast timber range.
Bodashtar - Bodashtar sits on the left bank of the Medas river, it is famous for the Hanging Gardens of Bodashtar. The Bodashtari Priests are herbalists and gardeners they have preserved plants long though lost in the city's gardens. Bodashtar provides 90% of the region's produce, it is also the poorest of the seven cities. Bodashtar has several small mines that provide alchemical reagents such as sulphur.
Hascarmus - The thirty or so feuding Hascari Minelord families that rules city only unite against external enemies. The Hascari are hated by their subjects as the Minelords care nothing for human life. Hascarmus controls three small gold mines, and the largest salt mines in the seven cities area.
Naumedas - A city of shipbuilders, fishermen, cargo movers, merchants, jewellers, smiths and river traders. Naumedas is the third wealthiest of the seven cities due to its strengths in manufacturing and trade, but the least culturally advanced. Naumedas sits squarely on the river Medas which passes right through the city.
Philosirna - The city of Philosirna is prominent in textile manufacturing, weaving and dyeing. The Philosirnans tend for dye producing insects, and plants like henna, madder, woad, tormentil, and orchella weed. They also process and refine alkalai metal salts, plant based tannic acids, insect based carminic acids, and sea snail mucous (tyrian purple) used in dying. They maintain small salt and sulphur mines. Their most lauded contribution is to the art of brewing, the Philosirnans make the best beer in the seven cities, and are said to have the most discerning palate. Philosirnan food tasters are sought after commodity as they are truthfully said to be able to brew cures for most Toxar poisons.
Toxar - Home of the Black Tongue, an infamous guild of pygmy poisoners. Toxar is known as the "city of thieves", it is a known haven for gamblers, sellswords, bandits and river pirates. The Toxar Mines provide a steady stream of gold for the Seven Cities. Toxar conducts a dark trade in poisoner's minerals gleaned from its arsenic, antimony, lead and copper mines. Toxar natives have been known to grow "poisoner's gardens" which include aconite, belladonna, henbane, and mandrake. All Toxars are said to have built up a natural immunity to at least one type of poison. The public poison distilleries of Toxar are the only ones of their kind in the seven cities. The people of Toxar also have a habit of keeping poisonous insects and serpents as pets. Foreign diplomats usually hire local Misogorgon bodyguards, and bring Philosirnan food tasters with them when visiting the city. The Misogorgons with their natural immunity to poison and flexible morality, are at home in the city.
Yoppa - Yoppa is the richest and most powerful of the seven cities, with the largest most disciplined military. The mines of Yoppa are the richest and most dieverse in the seven cities, Yoppans mine gold, silver, diamond, copper, iron, tin and cinnabar. All trade in the seven cities must come to Yoppa. "More food drops from a fat Yoppan Minelord's fingers in one night, than is seen by a Bodashtari child in a single year".

RELIGION OF ENTOPAN
The Entopanoi are polytheists, and the state religion of Entopan is the Pantheon of Seven, which includes several human faced animal gods co-opted from other pantheons. The noble, scholar and merchant classes worship the Pantheon of Seven, but 75% of the population are animists. They are also said to be the seven children of Typhaon, who have taken it upon themselves to guard mankind against his return.

Pantheon of Seven
Anansi - trickster spider god of wisdom, with the face of a man
Onkalammuz - elephant god of strength, with the face of a man
Phixmihos - androsphinx, god of enigmas, with the face of a man
Glykon - snake god of magic, with the face of a man
Shedu-Zagan - winged bull god of justice, with the face of a man
Horaetos - great sun eagle god of vengeance, with the face of a man
Soukos - crocodile god of war, with the face of a man

RELIGION OF KESH
Keshans are monotheist. As such, they worship six-armed, three-faced Tanihestia (Tanith, Iusaaset, Hestia) in one of her three forms: balancer (tanith), creator (iusaaset), destroyer (hestia). The three known forms of the triple faced goddess are Zawarith (balance), Rudaba (creation), Akatash (destruction). Ancient Keshan warriors would adorn their armor with symbols of Tanihest, the male aspect of Tanihestia who had a single face with six eyes. Tanihest was depicted as riiding the back of Karkadann his War Rhino, holding a weapon in every one of his six hands. Worship of Tanihestia's male aspect slowly died out after the fall of the Keshan Empire.
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ENTOPAN & KESH PLAYABLE RACES
Human
Standard African humans from the Seven Golden Cities of Entopan. The Entopanoi have survived by absorbing the language, science, gods, of other cultures. They speak a Charybdian influenced Greek patois. The Entopanoi use Indian armor, Spartan tactics, Arab and Greek science, Babylonian laws, Sumerian city building techniques.

Amazon
The Xanthian Amazons are ruled by Queen Dione, and worship the Phoenician sun goddess Shapash, they live in the city of Xanthus. The Amazons of Xanthus originally hailed from the city of n'Eqara in Charybdia, but the Xanthian Amazons abandoned their responsibility to protect the Egregor Gate after Queen Dione's ancestor had a falling out with Queen Zenobia's ancestor and walked away from the charge left to them by Shafat, the Last Keshan Emperor. The n'Eqaran Amazons took up their responsibility and remained in Charybdia. The deserter Amazons of Xanthus have culture similar to that of the later Carthaginians.They are easily identified by their swan-head hilted tulwars. The swan-heads of Xanthian swanswords are black, those of the n'Eqaran Amazons are white. The Amazon Swanswords of Xanthus frequently sell their services to the Seven Cties and Kesh.

Cymbee
The Cymbee (also known as Simbi) are the Keshan and Entopanoi equivalent of Nymphs. They are natural spirits, elemental beings who always appear wearing large painted masks, sometimes riding conjur-horses. They possess much the same powers as nymphs but are summoned and bound by contract to protect specific geographical locations, ancestral bloodlines, or material objects, by Keshan and Entopanoi Animists, sometimes for generations. Cymbees operating without contracts are automatically considered hostile, and subject to summary exorcisms back to the elemental plane.

Ixionid
The Ixionids (Ixionidae) of Ixia are cousins of the Centaurs by a separate origin. While the Centaurs are children of Centaurus and the Magnesian Mares of Thessaly. The Ixionids are descended from King Ixion of the Lapiths and a Cymbee named Nephosia. The Ixionids have an appearance similar to that of the Centaurs but are part zebra instead of part horse. They have an uneasy relationship with their Centaur cousins due to their Lapith heritage. The Lapiths were responsible for the Centaurmachia. The "Plains of Ixia" are ruled by King Hipponidas, they are located south east of Entopan.

ENTOPAN & KESH FOLK RACES
Jungle Troglodytoi
The dark purple skinned Jungle Troglodytoi rarely leave the cool dark embrace of the Deep Jungle due to their light sensitive eyes. Troglodytoi are illiterate, but Troglodytoi trappers trade skins and horn with ta-Tambur. Because of the k'Usuheli slavers many Troglodytoi slaves can be found in the seven kingdoms, and many Troglodytoi Makairae (gladiators) fight for money and freedom in the Lanistadions (greek gladiatorial arenas). The average Troglodytoi is seven feet tall. They wear special eye protectors created by Hellaios of Solus, these are make of thick black lava glass, and held in place by copper wire, and four leather straps.

Misogorgon
A race of female demigorgons or half gorgons, Misogorgons are the descendants of Nanas the only male gorgon in Minean history, and the Skiritae (snake people) of Panotind (India). Misogorgon bodyguards are a traditional sight alongside nobles of the seven cities. The Misogorgons worship Glykon the human faced serpent god. Misogorgons are immune to all toxins and poisons but possess no toxins of their own. Misogorgons have a very flexible set of moraes, they will always do what is best for the survival of their bloodline, except when involved with protecting a client or contracted companion. Misogorgons usually can be found working as bodyguards or courtesans in Toxar depending on their mating cycle. Outside the yearly mating cycle they serve as bodyguards, during their cycle they serve as courtesans in order to be impregnated. Misogorgons only give birth to female children, and their children inherit all the traits of the mother, the average Misogorgon female secretes one to seven eggs which must be kept secure, warm and wet for three months.

Panotioi
The Panotioi are ancient friends of humanity who sided with ancient Kesh in the war against the Egregoroi. Every Keshan Noble worth his salt had a Panotioi Recorder by his side. The act of threatening or slaying a Panotioi Recorder was punishable by death. The Panotioi as a race remember anything a member of their species has seen or heard and their ancestral memory reaches back over three milleniums. They hail from the pseudo Indian countries of Panotind and Sarpat. Currently the Sarpatian Rajas and Ranees of Sarpat use the services of the Panotioi Recorders. Knowledge recorded by the Panotioi helped humanity to fight the Egregoroi. Panotioi have no nead of physical historical records, but at the insistance of various Keshan Emperors they recorded their knowledge in Panotic scrolls held by the Great Libray of Abdihest in the Seven Cities. The Panotioi have gray skin and thick elephantine feet and hands. They have stocky, powerful bodies and short stubby tusks. They decorate their tusks, ears, and fingers with gold rings. The language of the Panotioi is Panotic, it is one of the oldest recorded languages. Yuxh-Kalon is a Panotide hero who befriended the barbarian Entopanoi hero Kalkaspian.

Pygmy
Little is known of the Keshan Pygmies except for their reputation as unparalleled poisoners, assassins, doctors and wrestlers. According to legend The Pygmies live in isolated villages in the "Great Grass Jungle" in the Iron Hills, where the clans train their young in the arts of herbology, poisoning, medicine, and close combat. Many a Keshan Noble House has hired one of the Pygmy Grass Clans to wipe out a competitor. It is said that the Order of Poisoners was established by the long lost Keshan Emperors, indeed many of the terms of rank used by the Pygmies have their root in the High Keshi tongue.

ENTOPAN & KESH MONSTERS
Skiritae
The Skiritae are a race of violent man-eating snake folk native to Panotind. They worship Akatash a dark aspect of Tanihestia (Tanith, Iusaaset, Hestia), Akatash is a six armed dark skinned goddess of destruction. The Skiritae are currently at war with the Panotioi of Panotind and the Sarpatians of Sarpat.


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Charybdia

Post  Imaro on Tue Dec 23, 2008 7:42 pm

CHARYBDIA
To the people of the region, Charybdia is known as k'Arybdia. There are many small and large kingdoms, nations, jungle freeholds, curral tribes (zulu kraal) and desert nomads (tuaregs) in Charybdia, here is a partial list of the peoples discovered by Appollyonatos of Heraklia, captain of the Oikumenos, and his Oikumenauts.

k'Usu - The k'Usuheli tribesmen are nomadic slavers who prey on the river and lake tribes, and sell their victims to the Deathweb Slavers out of Toxar in the Seven Golden Cities. They are also worshippers of Typhaon and seek to open the Egregor Gate, in order to let him return.
m'Ahak - The peaceful m'Ahaka fishermen of "Lake m'Ahak" live in clusters of currals ringed around central stone huts. Lake m'Ahak is fed by the Kongos River. They are frequent victims of k'Usu slavers.
n'Eqara - The lost city of Amazons is n'Eqara, they are the guardians of the Egregor Gate.
n'Shabe - The n'Shabeans are nomads, and notorious sorcerers. They are outcasts who are unwelcome among the curral tribes. They are worshippers of Typhaon and seek to open the Egregor Gate, in order to let him return.
n'Zan - Home of the n'Zanti a race of giant carniverous intelligent ants.
q'Udan - The q'Udani are gem and opal miners, and stonecutters. They are a cold, calculating people who live in terraced cliffside cave communities. They are worshippers of Typhaon and seek to open the Egregor Gate, in order to let him return.
ta-Tambur - The strongest kingdoms in Charybdia is ta'Tambur (stone city), their kingdom is known as the the ta'Tamburore and it is ruled by the Alaafin (king). The ta-Tamburu are famous for their well trained rhino and bison cavalry. All members of ta'Tamburore nobility own at least one family elephant.
t'Zanj - Lost city of the Khromandai, a cursed race of cannibal apemen.
u'Phar - The u'Phari nomads of the u'Phar Plains raise and trade quaggas (zebralike horses), and also provide trained blacksmiths. They also manage Quagga races in the larger Charybdian hippodromos' (horse stadiums), Keshan and Entopanoi cities. The u'Phari also trade and smith as far as the Seven Cities and Kesh. The u'Phari are ruled by patriarchs called Oranguns.

RELIGIONS OF CHARYBDIA
The Charybdians have numerous conflicting religions, philosophies and animist systems, but all their belief structures make special mention of the great evil represented by the Egregoroi and their servants. While some of the tribes worship the Egregoroi and their servants, others take fear at the mention of their names. Many of the twisted animates, monsters and folk of Charybdia were created by the Egregoroi as soldiers, or tools of fear and oppression. Chief among the Egregoroi pantheon was Typhaon the tentacle legged god. Even today he is a symbol of evil in Charybdia.

Demonic Pantheon
While Charybdians worship different deities, they share a common demonic pantheon.
Azrail-Luanda - the shifting stone, a giant of living stone the size ofa hill who could cause earthquakes, basically the five Vaeyen
Humbabaal - the shapeless one, a protoplasmic mess, basically Ghadamon
Lahmu-Dagun - the great sea serpent, a dragon like creature that breated out poison mist, basically Yig
n'Qudskra - the moving flame, a creature of living phlogiston (burning gas), basically Cthugha
Shez-Bettu - the crawling eye, giant tentacled mass of eyes, basically Othuyeg
Typhaon - the destroyer, chief deity, he is a winged giant with tentacles for legs, basically Cthulhu
Udrangra - winged shadow, a shadowy winged humanoid with hundreds of antennae and tentacles where a mouth should be, basically Nyogtha
Uhlangalunkulu - the mouth that crawls, a giant black earthworm with soil and grass growing on its back, basically Rlim Shaikorth
Yod-Tammuz - father of slugs, giant sea slug, basically Ghluun
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CHARYBDIA PLAYABLE RACES
Human
The humans of Charybdia are a disparate jumble of feuding kingdoms, small nations, nomadic tribes, and jungle freeholds. Charybdians speak an barely decipherable tumble of languages and dialects linked by a common sign language which has been used by local traders for over three thousand years, the Tritonians refer to it as "Cheiroglot".

Amazon
The Amazons of the Charybdian city of Neqara (locally n'Eqara), they worship the Phoenician moon goddess Tanith, and are ruled by Queen Zenobia. When the Xanthian Amazons of Xanthus abandoned their responsibility to protect the Egregor Gate, the Neqaran Amazons took up their charge. Both tribes of Amazons originated in the Keshan Empire, and both tribes accepted guardianship of the gate from Shafat, the Last Keshan Emperor. The Neqarans are currently at war with the nomadic Charybdian tribes of n'Shabe, q'Udan and k'Usu all of whom worship the things beyond the Egregor Gate. The Amazon Swanswords of Neqara have swan-head hilted tulwars with white swan-heads, those of the Xanthian Amazon are black. They have a culture similar to that of the later Carthaginians.

Cymbee
The Cymbee (also known as Simbi) are the Charybdian equivalent of Nymphs, they are natural spirits, elemental beings who always appear wearing large painted masks, sometimes riding conjur-horses. Unlike Kesh and Entopan, the Charybdian Cymbee possess much the same powers as nymphs and are not bound by contract.

Ixionid
The nomadic Ixionids (Ixionidae) of the Ibhahari veldt are related to the Ixionids of Ixia, they are Charybdian Centaurs. The Ixionids habitually kill any humans that wander into the unmarked area of the veldt designated as a graveyard for the honored dead. Some of the nomadic Ixionids have been known to leave the veldt and travel with humans.

CHARYBDIA FOLK
Hyainacephal
A local hyena headed Cynocephal variant.

Jungle Troglodytoi
The dark purple skinned Jungle Troglodytoi rarely leave the cool dark embrace of the Deep Jungle due to their light sensitive eyes. Troglodytoi are illiterate, but Troglodytoi trappers trade skins and horn with ta-Tambur. Because of the k'Usuheli slavers many Troglodytoi slaves can be found in the seven kingdoms, and many Troglodytoi Makairae (gladiators) fight for money and freedom in the Lanistadions (greek gladiatorial arenas). The average Troglodytoi is seven feet tall. They wear special eye protectors created by Hellaios of Solus, these are make of thick black lava glass, and held in place by copper wire, and four leather straps.

Khromandai
The Khromandai (khr'Omandai) are white furred carniverous cro-magnons who use batlike stone clubs as weapons. They Khromandai live in the "Lost City of t'Zanj" where they worship a deity known only as the "Forgotten One". They are descendants of Satyrus the Accursed captain of the Khromandaios, his crew, and several unlucky q'Udani women, Khromandaios was a sailor from Tritonis who offended the forgotten god of the lost city.

Pygmy
Little is known of the Charybdian Pygmies except for their reputation as unparalleled poisoners, assassins, doctors and wrestlers. According to legend The Pygmies live in isolated villages in the Black Hills of the ta'Tamburore. The clans train their young in the arts of herbology, poisoning, medicine, and close combat. Many a ta'Tamburu Mogul has hired one of the Pygmy Grass Clans to track down and eliminate a hidden sect of n'Shabean shadow cultists.

Quaggapode
The Quaggapodes are humans with the feet of horses, and the manes and ears of horses. They have quagga/zebra like coloring in their manes. They are the descendants of humans who were raped by the Ixionids. Quaggapodes are a warlike people, Quaggapode bandits demand tolls on all trade passing through the northen section of the Great Keshan Road that runs up the center of Charybdia, alongside the Kongoro River.

CHARYBDIA BEASTS
Emela-ntouka
The Emela-ntouka is a triceratops like water dweller known for killing elephants and hippopotami.

Nillekma
The Nillekma is an African unicorn, sports two interwoven horns capable of curing poison. The Nillekma resembles a horned Okapi instead of a horse.

CHARYBDIA MONSTERS
Egregoroi]
Beyond the Egregor Gate lies the black void known as "Skotosaulaia" (shadow curtain), an endless hellish emptiness populated by shapeless horrors. These "shadows that watch" are the ancient gods known as the Egregoroi. The forgotten thing that the Khromandai worship is all that remains of the Hydorpenthos (griefwater hydra), ancient servants of the Egregoroi.
The Egregoroi and their leader Typhaon were banished from Charybdia 1,000 years by the Impi Tagati (War Wizards) of the Keshan Empire, the Panotioi, the Ixionids, the Cymbee, the armies of Charybdia, Stygia, Kesh, and their assorted Gods. The final battle was fought in the region where lower Kesh touches on Charybdis, the area now known as the the Sribonian Bog.

Kakodyle
The Kakodyle is a stone skinned crocodile headed humanoid with poisonous sulphur smelling breath. Its skin appears to be cracked with magma substitutied for blood caked or streaming from the cracks. The average Kakodyle is ten feet tall.

Sasabonsam
The Sasabonsam is related to the Klaatakaa'rr. All Sasabonsam have batlike faces and are blood drinkers. They turn to stone during the day and are only active after sunset.

Tokoloshe
The Tokoloshe are pain driven behemoths of flesh and living wood. Witch Doctors use Hili seeds to infect the still living bodies of those who have offended them. The Hili seeds slowly transform the victims body into wood, causing great pain and eventually driving them insane. They are mostly immune to pain, their only known weakness is fire.


Last edited by Imaro on Wed Dec 24, 2008 9:44 am; edited 10 times in total (Reason for editing : page split)
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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  Admin on Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:41 am

Imaro wrote:All suggested changes have been put into play, thanks for your vinput its really helped me shape the region. I still have to email for info on those Desert Kingdom gods.

Well, thanks for your ideas & dedication ! Very Happy I will read your two last posts ASAP, make notes etc but don't expect a thorough reply before the end of the week (Xmas truce and all that).

Merry Winter Solstice to you all !

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Entopan & Kesh Classes

Post  Imaro on Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:07 am

Sorry I had to split the entries, need more space. Happy Holidays to you!

CHARACTER CLASSES
Warriors
Amazon (Xanthus)
Makairae (Barbarian)
Noble
Spearman
Ixionid (Centaur)

Priests
Elementalist
Beastmaster
Griot (Lyrist)
Animist (Sorceror)
Cymbee (Nymph)

Specialists
Bandit (Hunter)
Thief

NEW & REDEFINED CLASSES
The Entopanoi and Keshans look upon sorcerers and similar magicians as evil, the same goes for uncontracted Cymbee. Anyone not from Stygia, the Seven Cities or the Keshan Empire is a considered to be a barbarian, this includes the Ixionids and Xanthian Amazons. All magic users in Charybdia are priests, and almost all priests are either related to the nobility or wield political power.

Amazon
The deserter Amazons of Xanthus are ruled by Queen Dione. Amazon Swanswords of Xanthus frequently sell their services to the Seven Cities and Kesh.

Cymbee
The Cymbee (also known as Simbi) are the Keshan equivalent of Nymphs.

Ixionid
The nomadic Ixionids (Ixionidae) of the Ibhahari veldt are related to the Ixionids of Ixia, they are Keshan Centaurs.

Noble
The Keshan Nobility of Entopan and Kesh are trained in martial matters starting at the age of two. Both men and women are expected to master the short spear by age ten and the long spear by age twelve. All Keshan Nobles from the Seven Cities and Kesh obey rigid societal codes which prohibit anyone outside the nobility from carrying the double war spears, hunting javelins and bows are allowed for village use, but the art of two spear combat is only taught to the nobility. Any Noble who loses one or both of his or her spears due to cowardice in battle, is forever forbidden to carry a long spear. They must henceforth wear and use a short spear and sword. This is a mark of shame among Charybdian society and also results in reduced rank. (The Zulus summarily executed anyone who lost a spear).

Spearman
Spearmen are trained soldiers, expert in the use of spear and shield. Some Entopanoi Spearmen are Keshan Nobles or the descendants of Keshan Nobles who lost one of their war spears in battle. These men and women are reduced to using short spears and swords and their families carry permanent disgrace, if they were to lose their remaining spear they would have no choice but to take their own lives in order to expiate the shame from their family names.

Makairae
The Makairae (Gladiators) are basically Barbarian pit-fighters with a few tweaks here and there. Barbarian tribesmens forced to compete in the Lanistadions (gladiatorial arenas) who eventually earned their freedom.

Bandit
Basically a hunter or mine slave who abandoned his tribe for a life of crime, robbing the rich Minelords, giving to the poor, and living rough in the hills. Bandits are charismatic rogues who harass the trade routes linking the seven golden cities. The Gold Mines of Entopan grind up the poor and spit out corpses, there is a lot of resentment aimed at the Minelords.

Elementalist
Elementalists are exactly as outlined in the M&M lore except that they are basically legbas, African priests, and as such they serve a different role in society.

Beastmaster
The Beastmasters have the same powers outlined in M&M lore, they are able to control animals, but instead of their powers being inherent like the Nymphs and Cymbee. They do benefit from the fact that they all possess Noble bloodlines supposedly linked to the. gods themselves. Their powers come from worshipping the Pantheon of Seven.

Griot
The Griot is the Lyrist, an African Holy Bard who uses music to petition ancestor spirits and the dead. Griot are specially trained to fight the undead. Spells like "confuse undead". "enchant undead", "charm undead". The aptly named "chorus of the dead" is their most powerful spell.

Animist
Animists (Tagati)) are almost exactly the same of the M&M Sorcerer, except their powers are considered to be a divine gift. Animists are spirit priests capable of summoning and subjugating the Cymbee. They utilize the powers of the four quarters: Cymbee (elemental spirits), Orishas (guardian spirits), Jengu (blood spirits), Shetani (shadow spirits). The Keshans have formalized Colleges of magic were the Tagati are trained in combat magic. One thousand years ago in ancient Kesh they were called Impi Tagati (War Wizards).


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Charybdian classes

Post  Imaro on Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:08 am

CHARACTER CLASSES
Warriors
Amazon (Neqara)
Barbarian
Archer
Spearman
Ixionid (Centaur)

Priests
Elementalist
Beastmaster
Griot
Witch Doctor (Sorcerer)
Cymbee (Nymph)

Specialists
Hunter
Thief

NEW & REDEFINED CLASSES
Charybdians are not structured enough to police witch doctors. Charybdian priests do not hold as much power as the land and property holders.

Amazon
The Neqaran Amazons are ruled by Queen Zenobia, and are currently at war with the nomadic Charybdian tribes of n'Shabe, q'Udan and k'Usu all of whom worship the things beyond the Egregor Gate.

Cymbee
The Cymbee (also known as Simbi) are the Charybdian equivalent of Nymphs.

Ixionid
The nomadic Ixionids (Ixionidae) of the Ibhahari veldt are related to the Ixionids of Ixia, they are Charybdian Centaurs.

Archer
Archers (Thanvabar) are Spearmaen with a focus on bows, and a single Noble perk tossed in. The art of archery was introduced to Charybdia by the Keshan Empire over 1,000 years ago. As such, archery is a skill practiced only by wealthy landowners. Archers hail from the currals, freeholds, larger civilized cities and nomadic families of Charybdia. Status among the Charybdians comes from ownership, the more bison, quagga, rhino or elephants you own the more wealthy you are. Rich Charybdian patricians have at least one family elephant as the elephant is a revered creature. The Quagga is a domesticated zebra like horse used by the peoples of the "Kongoro Delta".

Spearman
The Spearmen are the traditional M&M class, blooded veteran fighters, expert in the use of spear and shield.

Elementalist
Elementalists are exactly as outlined in the M&M lore except that they are basically legbas, African priests, and as such they serve a different role in society.

Beastmaster
The Beastmasters have the same powers outlined in M&M lore, the yare able to control animals, but instead of their powers being inherent like the Nymphs and Cymbee. They do benefit from the fact that they all possess Noble bloodlines supposedly linked to the. gods themselves. Their powers come from worshipping the Pantheon of Seven.

Witch Doctor
The Witch Doctor (Umthakathi) is almost exactly the same of the M&M Sorcerer. They are considered outcasts. Also known as "vulgar animists".
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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  seneschal on Thu Dec 25, 2008 7:28 am

Maybe I missed it in earlier posts, but where are the Golden Cities and Kesh placed on our Mythika map? As we fill in the blanks with these Gazeteers, we'll have to update our geography.

Also, if the Entopans were first contacted by the Tritonians, and if Tritonis is eager to expand its power base in the region, we could have the beginnings of a southern political axis here. One more thing for the Three Cities to worry about ...

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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  Admin on Thu Dec 25, 2008 12:35 pm

seneschal wrote:Maybe I missed it in earlier posts, but where are the Golden Cities and Kesh placed on our Mythika map? As we fill in the blanks with these Gazeteers, we'll have to update our geography.

The idea is that the Entopan Golden Cities are located... just south of the southern map border, outside the "known world" of Mythika.

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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  seneschal on Thu Dec 25, 2008 6:39 pm

Admin wrote:
seneschal wrote:Maybe I missed it in earlier posts, but where are the Golden Cities and Kesh placed on our Mythika map? As we fill in the blanks with these Gazeteers, we'll have to update our geography.

The idea is that the Entopan Golden Cities are located... just south of the southern map border, outside the "known world" of Mythika.

You mean ... they're not included in my copy of Baedekestres' Mythika On Four Drachmas A Day? Shocked

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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  Peter Larsson on Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:56 am

To me, Charybdis should be a southern juxtaposition to Hyperborea, defined by more monsters, steaming jungles and lost civilisations, lost valleys and lost temples.

Sure, the “Primeval Continent” gag is a stereotype, but to be honest, so are the “noble barbarians” of Hyperborea. I don’t think you can do pulp without stereotype, but as long as they aren’t mailicious and as long as there is an awareness and some attempts at balancing them I fail to see the harm. It’s all in good fun, after all.

To me, the “Golden African Civilisation” is best represented partly by Midia, which I suppose is partly Carthage. This north african style opulence could tie in with Zimbabwe style lost civilisation and jungleclad stone cities in part of Charybdia. Rather than balancing the hellenocentric universe of Mythika, I think it’s better to accept the particular focus of this campaign world, and focus on creating exciting game settings rather than accurate descriptions of independent cultures.

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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

Post  Admin on Fri Jan 09, 2009 12:43 pm

Peter Larsson wrote:To me, Charybdis should be a southern juxtaposition to Hyperborea, defined by more monsters, steaming jungles and lost civilisations, lost valleys and lost temples.

Sure, the “Primeval Continent” gag is a stereotype, but to be honest, so are the “noble barbarians” of Hyperborea. I don’t think you can do pulp without stereotype, but as long as they aren’t mailicious and as long as there is an awareness and some attempts at balancing them I fail to see the harm. It’s all in good fun, after all.

To me, the “Golden African Civilisation” is best represented partly by Midia, which I suppose is partly Carthage. This north african style opulence could tie in with Zimbabwe style lost civilisation and jungleclad stone cities in part of Charybdia. Rather than balancing the hellenocentric universe of Mythika, I think it’s better to accept the particular focus of this campaign world, and focus on creating exciting game settings rather than accurate descriptions of independent cultures.

Yes, Charybdis will be a classic, pulpy savage land of monsters, lost cities and festering clichés - that being said, we do not have to embrace every cliché of "pulp Africa" - especially since, in a world like Mythika, various tribes of Beastmen, such as Hyenakins etc, will actually fill the niche normally occupied by black people in the old Tarzan movies. Midia is indeed a pseudo-Carthage (and I emphasize the "pseudo")... while the basic idea behind the emerging "Entopan" concept would indeed be to offer a "focus shift" for those players and Maze Masters interested in exploring a "change of perspective" - and since Entopan would be a "terra incognita", located south of all known map borders, it would be an entirely optional element of the setting. That's one of the reasons why IMO Charybdis and Entopan should be treated as separate, distinct entities (and Gazetteers).

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Re: Charybdian Gazetteer

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