Friday, June 29, 2012

The Great Gunpowder-Exodus Timeline Controversy

The one real question I have asked on this blog of all twelve of you, whether you are a contributor to the blog or not, is the two part question of - How late in time are we going to continue the Exodus of Celts from Earth to Garnia World, because they are the only ones on earth that figured out how to operate the portals on their own; and does gunpowder work on Garnia World?

This is mainly a concern for me regarding certain areas of the world that are going to be heavily Gaelic, populated by peoples from Ireland and Scotland and the Isle of Man. Their cultures become heavily Christianized fairly early on, but gunpowder comes to Europe in the middle ages. Scotland had a medieval King, James II at the siege of Roxburgh, killed by an exploding cannon; actually it probably served him right for breaking the tradition of being crowned at Scone. Granted he was an early 15th century King, but gunpowder had been used in European sieges for a couple centuries by then.

I guess part of me wants to save Highland Clansmen from their brutal fates after Culloden, and maybe some old parish priest has an ancient book explaining the ritual to activate the portal and some of the Highlanders can get away; or it could be a Clan chief's bard, or an old wise-woman. It doesn't matter who does it, but that's post 1746.

Now, I understand that this is all dependent on HOW MUCH MAGIC is left on Earth. Like Oil or Uranium, it's a finite resource on Earth and we've pretty much used it all up in the past, which is why miraculous things rarely happen anymore. But given my druthers, I'd also like to save a bunch of Gaelic speaking Irishmen from the Potato Famine, more than a million deaths and most of them the poor Gaelic speakers. I'd like to save a few of them if I could but that's 1845-52, post-Napoleonic wars, making the gunpowder question even more of an issue.

I guess if we save some Highlanders after the '45 they could look like this if gunpowder doesn't work.

But I'd like a reasonable explanation as to why gunpowder doesn't work, because otherwise the guys from after the '45 should also look like this-

Really all of these guys are from Wargames Foundry's English Civil War line, which really makes them mid-17th century rather than mid-18th century, but not a lot had changed in the Highlands in the interim, except, of course for the worsening of conditions under Hanoverian rule.

I haven't found any miniatures for the 1848 Irish rebellion, so I can't show you what they should look like.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I said I'd do a post about Celtic religion

I will get around to doing a much more in depth thing eventually, but for those of you who need a list of gods and goddesses right now, this one is pretty good and has a few nice pictures too. It gives a brief description of the overall religion, a list of gods and their primary functions, the  places where and the people who worshiped them.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

OK, I Found Some More.

Having my back out is really, really boring, in addition of course to the pain, for which I have drugs; but it has given me a lot of time to consider all things Garnian. Since I am not an artist myself, I hunted down more miniatures from the cultures and time periods, all painted this time, for a few more examples of what I am going for culturally and technologically with the Mistlanders.

These are from EBOB Miniatures "Rebellion" line, it's a miniature battle game about half inspired by the movie "Braveheart" and half by actual history of the period. These guys are from the Scottish line, obviously, and are either inspired by the Braveheart fantasy, which is fine for the Mistlands, or are actual late 13th-early 14th century Scottish Highlanders.

Now the same company made these next guys who make pretty good stand ins for "contemporary" Garnians-

Ironically, they are also from the Scottish line, except for the Welsh Archers, just a tad on the more historically accurate side.

I spent a bunch of time today researching China for the Empire of Ming Liang and decided that they must have come over from Earth probably during the "Three Kingdoms" period of civil war where there were at least three legitimate claimants to the Han dynasty. The period officially* lasted from 220 to 280 AD, and the Chinese population dropped from 50 million to 16 million. Anytime more than half of a population turns up missing, that's a good opportunity for us to transport people, and I always said these weer Han Chinese, I assumed I was speaking ethnically, but it may just be an ACTUAL Han dynasty ruling here, just under the new name. The Chinese like to give every new dynasty a new name to distinguish it from an unlucky old one, maybe these guys are following that tradition?

Anyway, their technology level should have advanced to roughly the level of the Song dynasty, which I could not find any pictures for in a brief search today, but when I am completely ready for my 20 Questions about Ming Liang, or if someone else wants to do it, I should be ready or ready to help. Which of course means we still have to answer the chemistry and physics question, does gunpowder work here on Garnia World? I have deliberately held the world's "core" areas back in tech level to avoid the gunpowder question, but the Song Chinese certainly had it, primitive as it was in it's uses.

*There was some internal strife and Warlordism starting in 184 AD, as the Han started to weaken and lose territory to rivals.  

So Remember When...

...I said we needed to set an end time zone to the migrations of Humans from Earth to Garnia World otherwise the Mistlanders would end up looking something like this-

When really it was my intention for them to be more like these guys-

Lower in Tech level than the contemporary Garnians, Frodians and Ming Liang, but not substantially lower, just poorer and less developed.

These richer guys have better equipment, and are obviously the leaders and their immediate retainers-

Some of them have horses too-

These pictures show the cultural diversity of the Mistlands, both mounted and on foot-

These pictures show professional warriors, some mounted-

But your hard-core, old school warrior goes to battle in a chariot, like his ancestors did-

Check out his grisly old school Celtic collection-

Then the poor guys get to show up with the same stuff they'd use to go hunting, because every able bodied man of the Clan gets to come out and play.

So, how do you like my visual representation of what the Mistlanders look like? I got all of the pictures from the Gripping Beast website, they Dark Ages Picts, Caledonians and Scots-Irish from their new SAGA line.

For what it's worth, this is about where the Garnians are military technology-wise-

And they are the preeminent military power in their part of the world. Sorry that one's in an unpainted state, I couldn't find a copy of them painted.

Friday, June 22, 2012

20 Questions- The Mistlands

What's the deal with my Cleric's religion?

A slight majority of Mistlanders are Celtic Christians, the rest are Celtic Pagans. The Christians are centered around monasteries, the Pagans have temples, shrines and holy wells & springs. Your Cleric's religion is probably based on what Clan he comes from, although there are some Pagan hold outs in Christian Clans and the occasional Pagan in a Christian Clan. The two religions get along better here than they ever did on Earth, probably due to the need to be allied against a common Evil foe. That doesn't necessarily mean they like each other, but there isn't any real hate either. It probably doesn't hurt that Celtic Christianity has a lot of Celtic Paganism left in it.

Where can I go to buy standard equipment?

That's tougher, this is a rough country, with no real cities to be found. If you find yourself in the Mistlands and you are not a native, you are probably screwed. If you are a native most stuff can only be gotten at your own Clan's villages or strongholds, or at those of allied Clans. Additionally, all of the weapons not made of wood are made of "Mistlander Steel" and cost twice as much as standard weapons. The mists "rot" normal steel in anything from a few days to a few weeks.

Where can I get custom platemail fitted for this monster I just befriended?

That's not going to happen. Mistlander steel is too hard to work and too expensive, it is mainly used for weapons, occasionally for armor for Clan Chiefs and War Chiefs or Heroes; but most Mistlanders fight wearing either no armor or just leather, everyone uses wooden shields, usually with a bronze boss, but, if they can afford them, with a Mistlander Steel boss as the most expensive part.

Who is the mightiest Wizard in the land?

Fíorcheann fiothnais nan clanna mac Mathghamhain, his studies into the arcane are legendary and he has protected the Mistlands from all manner of threats, from Giants to Humanoids to invasion from Garnia and Ming Liang. It is said he is over two hundred years old.

Who is the mightiest Warrior in the land?

Baothghalach Ó Dochartaigh, his personal prowess is impressive, but he is also a great leader of men; as a young warrior of the Ó Dochartaigh he took it upon himself to lead the other young men of his Clan in a cattle raid against the neighboring Mag Aonghusa Clan. Not only was the raid an astounding success, but in the battle that followed, he fought a rear guard action against the warriors of the Mag Aonghusa and slew both their War Chief and their Clan Chief's eldest son. He was fourteen years old and had only just begun weapons training. He is also a natural tactician. The war that followed had him leading his "Boys Troop" to victories in skirmish after skirmish, with few or no casualties. The Mag Aonghusa were utterly defeated and became tributary to the Ó Dochartaigh. Baothghalach has since traveled the Mistlands seeking out the best weapons masters and mastered their techniques; furthermore he has gathered followers from many Clans and has accepted broken men (Clanless) into his personal service. Furthermore, he seems to understand long term strategy. He has made great raids into both Garnia and Ming Liang successfully, and some say he is trying to become High King of the Mistlands, a position rarely held in it's history and rarely for very long or very successfully. Probably his greatest single achievement though, was destroying the nest of Baobhan Sidhe at Réimse na Ríthe.

Who is the richest person in the land?
Baothghalach Ó Dochartaigh although Mistlanders measure wealth a little differently than most countries do, they measure it in Cattle and Fighting Men and he is well ahead of most Clan Chiefs in either one or both. He also has the love of the people, because he shares the wealth of his raids rather than hoarding it, whether it's cattle, coin or jewels or other valuables, everyone, whether they're under his protection or not, as long as they're not an enemy, gets something from him when he passes by, and he has a great, and honest, network of distributors working under him. People under his protection receive coins and exotic goods from foreign lands and no on goes hungry.

Where can we go for some magical healing?

In this, you are lucky. The Mistlands has a plethora of magical springs, many of which have healing properties. Otherwise, every village has a Priest, either Pagan or Christian that might be able to help, depending on your status vis-a-vis their Clan. Monasteries will certainly have someone that can help, but are often reluctant to heal non-Christians, at least not without either a great contribution of some form of wealth or favor to the monastery or a conversion to Christianity. Most Clan Strongholds will have a Priest, again either Christian or Pagan, that will be able to heal you, but then you need to have the favor of the Clan. There are no Druidic colleges present in the Mistlands, the Pagan Priesthood either learn from their predecessor or leave to study elsewhere, usually at Dun Math on the Steppes, the oldest "Druidic" college in Garnia world.

Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: Poison, Disease, Curse, Level Drain, Lycanthropy, Polymorph, Alignment Change, Death, Undeath?

Pretty much the same answer as above, with a few exceptions. With Poison there might be an anti-venom that a local herbalist might know, and since Poison is a cowards way to kill a foe, it really doesn't matter what your status with the clan is, anyone will try and help, even an enemy; because he doesn't want to be blamed for the foul act. Alignment Change, no one is going to help you turn back to Evil if that's where you started. The only cure for Undeath is the True Death, may you rest in peace.

Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?

No, nothing so organized here. If a child is recognized as having the potential, he or she will be taken on as an apprentice to a Master Wizard in the Clan.

Where can I find an Alchemist, Sage or other Expert NPC?

There are not a lot of them in the Mistlands, but the Monasteries keep good records and have some trained historians. Every Clan Stronghold will have at least one Seanchai. These are a largely non-literate people, so they remember everything through songs and poetry; it's also how they entertain themselves most nights. So, Sages, of a sort, kind of common, in a Bardic way, less common at the monasteries. Not many Alchemists to speak of, maybe among the great Wizards, but alchemy is really for richer, more developed lands. They don't have too many roads here. Other experts? Depends on what you're looking for. Plenty of herbalists and brewers and leather workers, not so many siege engineers.

Where can I hire Mercenaries?

That really depends, you can pick up broken men lurking about and form your own company, but if you are a foreigner, or not seen as strong enough, you'll probably face a mutiny eventually and discipline may be tough since some of these guys might have come from Clans that were feuding. What's worse with broken men is that they might have been cast out of their Clan for a reason, and not be broken because they have no kin. The other route to take is to boldly "Make an Alliance" with a Clan Chief, and use his army. This can backfire too, because they might not like following the orders of a foreigner, or the Chief might decide that too many of his men have been lost in your cause and just leave. Both the Garnians and the Ming Liang have used this tactic to keep the Mistlanders fighting amongst themselves for centuries, it cuts down on the raiding.

Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?

In the Mistlands every Clan is it's own Kingdom and so is every Monastery, so the rules vary from place to place, but in general it's considered poor manners to keep anything bigger than an eating knife on your person when you enter a private house. Hospitality means a lot here, if they let you in, you'll make it out alive. For centuries the Christians argued about the use of Magic, their own spells were clearly miracles from God, but Wizard's spells might be an Evil thing. Ultimately it was decided to follow the old Roman law and just condemn Maleficium (Magic used for Evil purpose), although some more conservative Priests and Monks still are uncertain about this decision.

Which way to the nearest Tavern?

This is a good news/bad news situation. Mostly, there aren't any taverns in the entire Mistlands, but pretty much every single village has an alehouse. This is literally someone's house where you can come in for some ale and it's usually cheap. Quality and welcome vary. The other thing about the Mistlands is that they are alone in all the lands of the Celts for having discovered distilling, so sometimes you can get Uisge Beatha (Whisky) which is usually expensive and mostly only available in Clan Strongholds. It is a key trade item for the Mistlands at their border trading posts, along with Cattle, Copper, Tin, Tartan Plaid Fabric and Wool. They also produce significant amounts of Silver, but prefer to keep it, and never trade Mistlander Steel.

What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?

There is always some odd hellish beast crawling up out of the great rift. Giants and their kin are all over the Northlands along with tribes of Humanoids that serve them. The mists themselves seem to call to all manner of Unseelie Sidhe, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes they set up to stay.

Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?

Always. Mistlanders are a quarrelsome lot, and hold grudges for centuries.

How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?

Not so much Gladiatorial games, but Sword Fighting with Wooden Wasters, Bare-Knuckle Boxing, Wrestling, many different types of feats of strength, Archery and other martial contests take place at Clan gatherings where Glory and prizes can be won. Of course you can also win for song and poetry, or dancing if that's your thing. Drinking contests are popular too.

Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?

It wouldn't be much of a secret if I went and told everyone on an open blog post, now would it? Seriously, this the kind of answer that I prefer to develop in actual play, rather than plan ahead and then maybe never use. That said, the only possible option I could think of would be smugglers moving Mistlander Steel out of the country.

What is there to eat around here?

That really depends on where you are and who you are, but beef, mutton, pork, chicken and all manner of wild game are on the menu, as are fresh water fish. Dairy products, they are a milk drinking, butter loving, cheese eating people. Oats, barley, rye, apples, plums, cabbages, onions, carrots, turnips, (potatoes), various herbs and seasonal greens. Think snout to tail, nothing wasted, cooking, mostly boiled in a pot or fried in a pan. Spit roasted food is an extravagance for the wealthy. Beef or game are the preferred foods of the warrior aristocracy.

Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?

The Cave of Céadach Ó Baoighill is said to be full of gold and ancient Sidhe treasures. Céadach Ó Baoighill led his band of men to the nest of Unseelie Sidhe and destroyed them all, but the dying curse of the last one made them all forget the location of the cave, which had taken them the better part of a year to find when there were active Unseelie Sidhe operating out of it. Now, centuries later, it's a legend, just "Someplace in the eastern Mistlands".

Where is the nearest Dragon or other Monster with Type H treasure?

Sleeping in the Great Rift, waking the Dragon would be a fool's quest.

Bonus descriptor- these guys wear kilts made of Tartan Plaid although there is no universal Clan tartan for any Clan, it's pretty much whatever your wife or mother or grandmother weaves for you.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

So I got to thinking about Dwarves.

Dwarves as they pertain to Garnia World anyway. Their enormous mountain kingdom is slowly being eaten away by various species of humanoids and other foul creatures, so they have inevitably found their way into the service of the young human kingdoms that have sprouted up around them, party because they were refugees and partly because they are still holding a grudge against the Sidhe for sealing off their home plane from them forever.

I kind of ranted a bit the other day on my other blog about how all Dwarves have become Scottish and it annoyed me, but then I thought it over and, hey, the Mistlands are a mountainous region full of Gaelic speaking Clansmen, essentially they are Scottish Highlanders. Dwarves are naturals for mountainous regions, and refugees from their own kingdoms that are willing to adopt the customs of the humans they live amongst, for the most part. So why shouldn't I add these guys to the growing forces of Highlander miniatures that I have? They'd pretty much fit right in, am I right?

Then I got to thinking about the Dwaves that would have been early joiners of the Celts, maybe even when they were still building Crannogs and Brochs out on the Steppe, mostly because I have a lot of Ancient Celt miniatures, and I saw them on the West Wind Dwarf Wars site along with the Highlanders, so what the hell, these guys can join too right? Plus I like to play early period Garnia sometimes.

Then I remembered that the other side of Khazarak is Roman, some of them must have gone that way, Dwarf Wars to the rescue again, and Black Tree Designs.Considering the Black Orc Games Simians, the Romans are going to have some AWESOME legions.

Here are the Simians- I already have a couple and can say they are quality pieces.

Now this is what the "modern" Garnian Dwarven Guard looks like in my head, because despite it being 2012 there like it is here, they have a roughly 12-13th century level of technology in Garnia, magic will do that I suppose.

This is about what Khazarak usually fields in it's endless wars against the forces of Darkness-

And a couple of Hero/Leader types for Khazarak-

Potentially members of the Altan Ordu?

I'll have to think on this one a bit, but the presence of appropriate miniatures for a fantasy campaign certainly makes it a more viable option.