[Naresh] Where is the forest minotaurs were defeated in?

“You think your people will be free? You think you have escaped me? You mortals will have nothing but war, not a moment of peace until a new God of War rises to replace me.” Discuss the Sundered Empire featured in the Chainmail campaign setting, as it relates to pen & paper RPGs, here.

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[Naresh] Where is the forest minotaurs were defeated in?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:39 am

I just found a topic on Canonfire called The Sundered Empire where GreyhawkGrognard was saying that there is a problem with the Naresh backstory and the map:
GreyhawkGrognard on Canonfire! wrote:I'm just baffled by the explanation of Naresh in Dragon 289. The description just doesn't seem to fit the geography. First we're told the gnolls "crossed...beyond the mountains" where they found "a lawless region well away from civilization" and claimed "a section of the forest", and they were said to lure the minotaurs "deep into the forest" to defeat them.

The problem is that there is no forest on the far side of those mountains! The gnolls started on the western side of the mountains, where the Abyssal Gateways were. Crossing the mountains would put them on the east side on the north end, where even the map in the main rulebook shows nary a forest anywhere near the place. There is, however, a section of forest contained within the boundaries of Naresh on the western side. That can't be it, though, because later on it says they "emerged from the mountains" to attack the elves (westward). So what gives?
There are forests to the south east of the mountain range separating the main Sundered Empire region with the lands the gnolls migrated to.

Does anyone think that the gnolls previously had more land to the south?

Does anyone think that the cartographer left a forest off of the map?

Did Chris Pramas make a sketch map that shows more forest than the official map?

Has anyone spoken to Chris Pramas about this?
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Re: [Naresh] Where is the forest minotaurs were defeated in?

Post by ripvanwormer » Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:18 pm

It's a very, very large scale map. Even a large forest wouldn't be visible on it.

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Re: [Naresh] Where is the forest minotaurs were defeated in?

Post by willpell » Sun Mar 25, 2018 4:10 am

Does anyone think that maybe gnolls don't know how to use a compass? :P

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Re: [Naresh] Where is the forest minotaurs were defeated in?

Post by Icarus » Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:23 pm

I think that I am gonna have to go with Rip VanWormer. The scale that we see isn't necessarily inclusive of every single thing.
It really only includes continental-level detail. This isnt' exactly sattelite imagry that we're talking about here.
  • In the same way that it doesn't show hills, at all, either.
  • Or the difference between plains and priarie.
  • Or the difference between forest and jungle. (Or no jungle, at all.)
  • Or any swamps or marshland on the whole subcontinent.
  • Or no ice or arctic formations.
  • Or water formations of anykind. No rivers, no lakes. Nothing.
  • And, absolutely no indication for civilization like cities or forts, or anything.
It's essentially just enough to mostly give each faction a terrain-type, and little else.
That doesn't make it a bad map ... I love the map. Adore it. It's just not intended to meet all the needs we have found years later.
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Re: [Naresh] Where is the forest minotaurs were defeated in?

Post by Big Mac » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:29 am

ripvanwormer wrote:
Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:18 pm
It's a very, very large scale map. Even a large forest wouldn't be visible on it.
Yes, I guess you are right (although I think it's a small scale map).
Icarus wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:23 pm
I think that I am gonna have to go with Rip VanWormer. The scale that we see isn't necessarily inclusive of every single thing.
It really only includes continental-level detail. This isnt' exactly sattelite imagry that we're talking about here.
  • In the same way that it doesn't show hills, at all, either.
  • Or the difference between plains and priarie.
  • Or the difference between forest and jungle. (Or no jungle, at all.)
  • Or any swamps or marshland on the whole subcontinent.
  • Or no ice or arctic formations.
  • Or water formations of anykind. No rivers, no lakes. Nothing.
  • And, absolutely no indication for civilization like cities or forts, or anything.
I guess so. I suppose that, even if you put a scale bar on maps, regular people don't necessarily realise what will or will not be on the map. :)
Icarus wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:23 pm
It's essentially just enough to mostly give each faction a terrain-type, and little else.
That doesn't make it a bad map ... I love the map. Adore it. It's just not intended to meet all the needs we have found years later.
The irony is that we do have zoomed in "large scale" maps for Chainmail...

...but they are miniature-scale floorplans, that are built on the fly by players.

I love the small scale map too. It's awesome, but I think that the various scenarios of Chainmail are pretty much designed to be non-localised combats. So, we don't get zoomed in mid scale maps of countries in the Sundered Empire, to go along with the various books. It would have been great if books like Blood & Darkness, Fire & Ice and Shadow of the Drow had come with mid scale maps showing specific regions of the Sundered Empire. And The Ghostwind Campaign would have been a fantastic opportunity to include a large scale map showing part or all of the Ghostwind Plateau.

I just listened to the interview that Anna Meyer did with Roll for Initiative podcast recently. She was saying how she always trusts the text of words in RPG products, over the maps. The Sundered Empire map had the job of selling us on a world (or part of a world, in this case) where a number of different canon factions were up against each other.

We have a lot of clues about specific locations, like the Ghostwind Plateau. And a lot of clues about generic places, like the forest of the minotaurs and various Ravillan cities, that are built around Abyssal Gateways.

I think that making a list of these unmapped locations and then trying to infer where they might be, would be a good way to make sure they can appear on any fanon maps.

You and Ripvanwormer are both right about the scale thing. I'm thinking that if we had a hypothetical Sundered Empire map, from Anna Meyer, that there would be symbols showing things like cities, towns and roads. I don't think that villages and forts would fit on the small scale map, but if Western Oerik was zoomed into, to the same extent that Anna Meyer's map of the Flanaess is zoomed into, it would be possible to have smaller features show up.

If we assume that the canon Greyhawk Grognard wrote about Dragon 289 is correct and we also assume that the forest also has to be small enough to not show up on the canon map, then I wonder how small a forest can be and still be large enough that the gnolls could claim just a section of that forest and then lure the minotaurs "deep into the forest".
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Re: [Naresh] Where is the forest minotaurs were defeated in?

Post by Big Mac » Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:43 pm

I've had some more thoughts about this, after looking at the map and rereading the article.
Big Mac wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:29 am
If we assume that the canon Greyhawk Grognard wrote about Dragon 289 is correct and we also assume that the forest also has to be small enough to not show up on the canon map, then I wonder how small a forest can be and still be large enough that the gnolls could claim just a section of that forest and then lure the minotaurs "deep into the forest".
I've made a close up cut up of the Naresh region. It's super-blurry, as the map was not meant to be blown up:
Image

This is a thumbnail. (It took me ages to work out how to get a thumbnail image from Facebook again. :twisted: ) You can click on the thumbnail for a bigger (more blurry) version.

Looking at the bigger map, I see three chains of mountains close together going from the sea to the north to through the southern end of Naresh;'s territory.

The east set of mountains seems to fork and another chain of mountains moves off to the south-east. There is a valley with a river between the main mountain chain and the fork. There is also a peninsula and some coastline to the east of the mountain range, as well as a small set of islands (which may not be part of Naresh's territory).

One thing I'm thinking now, is that the peninsula to the east of the mountains is almost lined up exactly with the forested area to the west of the mountains. It is also a dead end, so if the gnolls wanted to construct a large trap where they could tempt in a minotaur army, that might be a good place for them to do the job.

Another thing, that Greyhawk Grognard might not have taken into account, is that the entire general area to the east of the mountains, including areas outside of the area marked as Naresh territory, could be forested area.

If that was the case, then the "section of the forest" that the gnolls initially claimed would be a section of a bigger forest where they went onto steal the territory of humanoid warbands. And when they lured the attacking minotaurs "deep into the forest" to start ambushing them, that could just be an area where they had taken the time to build a ton of traps and set up a ton of ambush points.

If we have to have a forest that we can't see, and if gnoll rangers were a key to the expansion of gnoll territory, I think that the "everything is forest" (or "almost everything is forest") theory is the best way to fit Chris Pramas's The Gnolls of Naresh article into Chainmail canon.
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Re: [Naresh] Where is the forest minotaurs were defeated in?

Post by Icarus » Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:01 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:43 pm
Another thing, that Greyhawk Grognard might not have taken into account, is that the entire general area to the east of the mountains, including areas outside of the area marked as Naresh territory, could be forested area.
...
If we have to have a forest that we can't see, and if gnoll rangers were a key to the expansion of gnoll territory, I think that the "everything is forest" (or "almost everything is forest") theory is the best way to fit Chris Pramas's The Gnolls of Naresh article into Chainmail canon.
I think there's nothing really wrong with this concept, at all!
At the altitude of mountainous regions, it's fair to assume that there's forests stop the mountains. But, **very*[ few maps of this sort distinguish between mountains, and forested mountains.
But, also, as Rasgon and I said above, there could easily be forests that we simply cannot see at this scale.

Let us assume, for sake of example, that the High and Low Khanates across the mountains (which are simply a flat shade of light green) are mongol-esque. I think this is a fair assumption, since it's ruled by khans, Ahmut is "Baklien", he's described using tactics known for practice by Genghis Khan, and he came from the southeast of Ravilla. So, let us look at Inner and Outer Mongolia for examples. If one were to look at Mongolia on Google Maps, one sees an area with the Gobi Desert. But, if one zooms in just one click, they find this ...
Image
We can see that there are forests in Mongolia, even though it doesn't look like there would be. In fact, the forest directly by the "M" of Mongolia is about 150mi (241km) across. So, I think that one could reasonably say that 75 miles is "deep within the forest". So, that can easily give an answer to how large or small a forest might be and not show up on the canon map, but could still be large enough that the gnolls could claim a section of it.

I can see the gnolls working with (and eventually overthrowing) Mongolian-esque tribal warlods (khans), which would represent the expansion of their territory west across the mountains. The area of Naresh now isn't necessarily the area of Naresh before the war with the minotaurs when they reclaimed their land. Rather, it is likely that the area now shown on the map includes the area that they took from the Baklien warlords, and the minotaurs.
So, I would say that if we were to place this unseen forest, it's likely within the borders of what we known today as the lands of Naresh. The smaller peninsula within the northern reaches of Naresh (not the one east outside the border), or the river valley, might both be good places for an ambush, and both could be forested. Not everything[/] has to be forested, but, there could easily be forests there.
Last edited by Icarus on Sat Apr 14, 2018 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Naresh] Where is the forest minotaurs were defeated in?

Post by Icarus » Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:21 pm

Also, just for sake of saying ... I think that it's weird that there's not one, but two major rivers shown at a continental-scale in Central Oerik, but there's none shown in Western Oerik.

Bastards! LOL!
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Re: [Naresh] Where is the forest minotaurs were defeated in?

Post by Icarus » Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:35 pm

Also: interesting note ... the minotaurs contemporarily are in Ahmut's Legion.
Not just Zombie Minotaurs, presumably raised up from the aftermath of the Minotaur-Gnoll war, since it's old battlegrounds were likely not too far away ... but, Crazed Minotaur Cultists.
Now, it says, "Minotaurs live on the fringes of the Sundered Empire." So, that places them sort of in the right place for this discussion, but, it's also interesting that they're not cultists of Baphomet, but, rather cultists of the death-god Nerull.
I'm sure that there's still plenty of other minotaurs who've remained unembroiled by the God War, and are still in their mountain holds. But, these, at least, seem eager to punish Naresh (and other races/fatcions) so much that they'd fight alongside another God.
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