Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

“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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Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by Big Mac » Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:11 pm

The Gnolls of Naresh article that Chris Pramas wrote for Dragon Magazine issue 289 says this about the area to the east of the mountains that the gnolls fled to after the Demon War:
Chris Pramas in Dragon Magazine Issue 289 wrote:The gnolls arrived in a lawless region well away from civilisation. Yet, even with reduced numbers, the veteran gnoll warriors were able to claim a section of the forest as a new base. Once established, they sent out rangers to survey the area. They discovered that several humanoid warlords were operating in the wild and that a strong nation rumored to be ruled by dragons dominated the south. The gnoll tribes having little to offer anyone but their battle experience, began to hire themselves out as mercenaries to the various warlords. They quickly established a reputation for bloodthirstiness and ruthless efficiency.

Once a warlord became completely dependent on the gnoll troops, he would be overthrown and his lands added to that of the tribes. Every year, gnoll numbers and territory grew, and they dubbed their new land Naresh, meaning "far home" in their native tongue. The gnolls showed little interest in Western Oerik, and it is unlikely that they would have turned their attention this way if not for the minotaurs.
The article then goes onto explain how the minotaurs attacked the gnolls...and were then defeated by the gnolls, but there are a couple of interesting facts in the above two paragraphs, that have not stood out to me before:
  • "The gnolls showed little interest in Western Oerik..." - This implies to me that "Western Oerik" might officially end at the mountain range that the gnolls crossed at the end of the Demon war,
  • "...a strong nation rumored to be ruled by dragons dominated the south" - This implies there is a nation just east of Western Oerik that is not involved in the conflict that Chainmail is based around and
  • "...several humanoid warlords were operating in the wild... " - This implies that the area that was eventually taken over by the gnolls was not part of the southern dragon-controlled nation.
Here is a crop from the Chainmail map, so you can see the region of that dragon-controlled nation:
Image

Looking at the map, there are a couple of rivers that feed into a large delta area that feeds into the sea. There are forests all along the coasts west and east of that river. The forests even extend beyond a mountain range to another delta that is fed by a river that runs down from yet another mountain range.

That could be a pretty large size for a nation that was possibly controlled by dragons.

There is not too much to go on there, but this could be a way to add another nation for a tabletop game to explore.

Is there anything in Greyhawk canon about that region?
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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by Icarus » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:08 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:11 pm
there are a couple of interesting facts in the above two paragraphs, that have not stood out to me before:
  • "The gnolls showed little interest in Western Oerik..." - This implies to me that "Western Oerik" might officially end at the mountain range that the gnolls crossed at the end of the Demon war,
  • "...a strong nation rumored to be ruled by dragons dominated the south" - This implies there is a nation just east of Western Oerik that is not involved in the conflict that Chainmail is based around and
  • "...several humanoid warlords were operating in the wild... " - This implies that the area that was eventually taken over by the gnolls was not part of the southern dragon-controlled nation.
I certainly agree.
  • This is certainly Central Oerik. ... we're referring to a "Middle Kingdom" here, and I don't think that's accidental.
  • There's absolutely nations here that aren't in the war across the mountains.
  • And, yes, the tribal warlords are separate from the southern kingdom.
Big Mac wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:11 pm
That could be a pretty large size for a nation that was possibly controlled by dragons.
There is not too much to go on there, but this could be a way to add another nation for a tabletop game to explore.
Is there anything in Greyhawk canon about that region?
In fact, there *is* stuff about this area in canon!!
They are called the High Khanate, Low Khanate, Celestial Imperium, Orcreich, and Dragons Island.
I'll include their descriptions in following posts, so that we can reply to them individually, if needed.
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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by Icarus » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:09 pm

Dragon Magazine Annual #1, 1996, p72 wrote:Celestial Imperium:
A vast nation peopled with a hard-working peasantry ruled by a complex bureaucracy.
Because of the IRL name for China (the "Celestial Empire"), and use of "bureaucracy" referring to it (since Chinese mythology includes a "celestial bureaucracy") it is assumed that the Celestial Imperium is likely oriental in theme.
Much like "Nippon" and "Erypt" are Japanese and Egyptian themed, presumably.
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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by Icarus » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:11 pm

Dragon Magazine Annual #1, 1996, p72 wrote:High Khanate:
An arid land peopled by two tribes of sturdy nomads. The inlanders resemble the horsemen of the Balkanish Basin, but on the coast they take to boats.
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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by Icarus » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:13 pm

Dragon Magazine Annual #1, 1996, p72 wrote:Low Khanate:
A companion realm to he High Khanate; named more for its location in a deep vale below the mountains than for any inferior status. A hidden valley reputedly contains the tombs of khans from both realms.
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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by Icarus » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:16 pm

Dragon Magazine Annual #1, 1996, p72 wrote:Orcreich:
A nation of orcs ruled by a tyrannical king. The orcs seem to thrive under the brutal regime.
Let's not get stuck on the name of this place. I know that a lot of people don't like it.
Personally, I don't think that the native inhabitants of this place actually call it "Orcreich". I think that's a general name that the map-maker labelled it as.
Let's go with a translation of it from German, meaning "orcs realm", and just say that Orcreich means something like "Orcs Rule Here", or "Here There Be Orcs", and leave it at that.
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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by Icarus » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:25 pm

Dragon Magazine Annual #1, 1996, p72 wrote:Dragons Island:
Tales from the Celestial Imperium speak of a land ruled by a dragon prince. If such a place exists, it probably lies here.
Since it refers to a land spoken of in the Celestial Imperium, it seems to imply that said land isn't the Imperium itself.
So, the dragons aren't likely the ruling class or even a prince of the Imperium, etc. It's likely the "Unnamed Nation" is likely Dragon Island, here.
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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by ripvanwormer » Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:29 pm

Can I just point out that the "strong nation rumored to be ruled by dragons" is almost certainly Dragons Island.

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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by Havard » Fri Apr 13, 2018 6:25 pm

Interesting. I wonder if any of this could have been inspired by Dave Arneson's Island of Father Dragon scenario.

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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by Greyhawk Grognard » Fri Apr 13, 2018 9:21 pm

I think Icarus is correct. It's undoubtedly a reference to the Celestial Imperium and Dragons Island, perhaps either a conflation of the two, or an indication that the Celestial Imperium is literally ruled by dragons (I think that's unlikely), or "dragons" is a euphemism for ruling dynasty or emperor or something (most likely, I think).
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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by Icarus » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:20 pm

I agree with GreyhawkGrognard, on that one.
I think that it's possible that the Celestial Imperium is inspired by a fantasy China (not necessarily a historical one) and the Emperors themselves may be viewed as having the favor of, or actually being dragons, as they were in folklore of our world.
Also, we don't really know whether Dragons Island is actually part of the Imperium and is the seat of power of the nation, or anything else.
There's a lot of possibilities for this.
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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by vestcoat » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:28 am

I'm hardly a Chainmail aficionado, but here's a few more thoughts:

1) Ravilla was formally known as The Dragon Empire. Obviously, these are elves and not the dragons Pramas is talking about in Dr298, BUT...

2) Chris also mentions an "Empire of Dragons" (his caps) in Set 4 Shadow of the Drow, beneath which lie subterranean realms that "seethe" with magic (3). This could be Ravilla, or it could be the land the gnolls found in Dr298.

3) One of the coolest easter eggs in FFE's sleeper, Rings of Power is a "City of Dragonkind" oft mentioned by James Ward. Drawmij has a citadel there, Lidabmob and Ren are inhabitants, and there's a temple to a god of luck. WotC put the hammer down on FFE for mentioning Drawmij and various GH gods, so let's not let Ward's sacrifice go in vain! Wherever we put this unnamed dragon empire, let's incorporate the City of Dragonkind :)

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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by Icarus » Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:51 pm

Well, even though the "Empire of Dragons" mentioned in Set 4: Shadow of the Drow could be other things, it's definitely neither Ravilla or the unnamed kingdom of dragons mentioned in Dr398 ... the passages mentioning it are related to the Drow deciding whether they should get involved in the Godwar.
But, "the magic-rich grounds that still seethe beneath the Empire of Dragons", are referring to the caverns of the former Gith empire from ca3,000YBP (at the time of the Godwar) that "had been abandoned since the fall of the Illithid empire .... and [were] completely unknown to the surface world".

Although, I wish it were possible to know what Rings of Power said about a "City of Dragonkind". I looked it up, and, apparently, all unsold copies of the book had to be destroyed upon declaration of the court ruling. It would be fascinating to compare the two to see if there were possibilities that could be sourced from it.
Do you have it, by any chance, Vestcoat?
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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by vestcoat » Tue May 08, 2018 2:32 am

Don't worry, fortunately (unfortunately for FFE), Rings of Power and the entire FFE product line remains common, cheap, and unwanted, even the volumes whose warehouse stock was destroyed. Some books were chintzy, but there are hidden gems and the company didn't deserve its bad reputation.
https://www.ebay.com/sch/Role-Playing-G ... er&_sop=15

My review is here:
http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php ... tent&id=89

In hindsight, I'd give RoP closer to 3 stars. It's really fine for what it is. Details on the City of Dragonkind and Drawmij are scattered throughout the book in the descriptions Jim Ward wrote. Click the "related link" to see the web enhancement. Its "Ring of Many Escapes" also mentions the City of Dragonkind and Ren.

Keeping with Chainmail's theme of divine meddling and warfare, deities are active in the City of Dragonkind, unlike the hands-off policy in the Flanaess.

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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:35 pm

Icarus wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:08 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:11 pm
there are a couple of interesting facts in the above two paragraphs, that have not stood out to me before:
  • "The gnolls showed little interest in Western Oerik..." - This implies to me that "Western Oerik" might officially end at the mountain range that the gnolls crossed at the end of the Demon war,
  • "...a strong nation rumored to be ruled by dragons dominated the south" - This implies there is a nation just east of Western Oerik that is not involved in the conflict that Chainmail is based around and
  • "...several humanoid warlords were operating in the wild... " - This implies that the area that was eventually taken over by the gnolls was not part of the southern dragon-controlled nation.
I certainly agree.
  • This is certainly Central Oerik. ... we're referring to a "Middle Kingdom" here, and I don't think that's accidental.
  • There's absolutely nations here that aren't in the war across the mountains.
  • And, yes, the tribal warlords are separate from the southern kingdom.
Great! It's nice to have confirmation that I'm on the right track.
Icarus wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:08 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 2:11 pm
That could be a pretty large size for a nation that was possibly controlled by dragons.
There is not too much to go on there, but this could be a way to add another nation for a tabletop game to explore.
Is there anything in Greyhawk canon about that region?
In fact, there *is* stuff about this area in canon!!
They are called the High Khanate, Low Khanate, Celestial Imperium, Orcreich, and Dragons Island.
I'll include their descriptions in following posts, so that we can reply to them individually, if needed.
Image
I've looked at that map before, but seeing the cropped area against the Chainmail cropped area makes things a lot clearer.

You also have Gigantea to the western side of the mountain range that we both seem to think is the border between Western Oerik and Central Oerik. I'm guessing that's a nation that the gnolls took over. But Gigantea would also appear to be the original territory held by the high elves that moved out of the mountains to merge forces with the wood elves that were fighting against outsiders coming through portals.

If there is any history on Gigantea, perhaps it could be built into the local history of that specific part of the Sundered Empire. Maybe the high elves use to live above Gigantea, in the mountains, and then passed through it to get to the lands of the wood elves.

I'll reply to your other posts, with my thoughts on what you posted.
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Re: Unnamed nation ruled by dragons

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:47 pm

Icarus wrote:
Fri Apr 13, 2018 5:09 pm
Dragon Magazine Annual #1, 1996, p72 wrote:Celestial Imperium:
A vast nation peopled with a hard-working peasantry ruled by a complex bureaucracy.
Because of the IRL name for China (the "Celestial Empire"), and use of "bureaucracy" referring to it (since Chinese mythology includes a "celestial bureaucracy") it is assumed that the Celestial Imperium is likely oriental in theme.
Much like "Nippon" and "Erypt" are Japanese and Egyptian themed, presumably.
The dueling societies of Ravilla do have some weapons that look Chinese (or at least Asian).

I think that having an Asian-like nation that close to the elves would make that work better. There could have been weapons traded between the elves and the Celestial Imperium.

The name Celestial Sea kind of implies that the Celestial Imperium controls that sea (or at least tries to).

With Ahmut's Legion to the west of the mountains that border the Celestial Sea, it would be good to have Celestial Imperium ships (and maybe dragons from Dragon Island) stopping the armies from heading east.

If we ever extrapolated a more detailed map from the canon of both old and new Greyhawk materials, it would be nice to be using the Oriental Adventures rules, but with Rokugan, from Legend of the Five Rings removed and replaced.

What do you think of the idea of the Celestial Imperium being an empire where the lords claim to be descended from dragons? I know that dragon-blood is used as one of the background themes for sorcery.

Perhaps there are a few 3rd Edition Feats that could tie the Celestial Imperium to Dragon Island. :)
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