[Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

“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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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Icarus » Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:49 am

ripvanwormer wrote:That's actually a me-zu oni. ...
Dang it! My hopes and dreams have been crushed! :P Kidding, obviously. But, that is *twice* in this thread that I have misidentified a creature as an equiceph. I guess I'm just eternally hopeful.
Although, that does bum me out a tiny bit, because I'd have loved for there to be a creature like that somewhere else in gaming ... but, it's good to know that it's at least an identifiable creature rather than my "unknown horsey-thingie". :P But, now that I think about it, I kind of like the fact that it's unique to not only Greyhawk, but to the Sundered Empire specifically.

And since we're on that topic - the equicephs are unique, then. We know that they are tribal in social structure, we know that it seems likely they have use of high level teleportation magic, and we know that they once had burial sites in temperate forested hills near/in the mountains (which is not to say that they couldn't also be somewhere else). We also know that they were a peaceful nation, and that they exiled criminals rather than killing them. They wore distinctive armor (which was brigandine in style) and other "heavy armor", and had weapons that were also distinctive in design, which implies that they likely had their own culture, and weren't just part of another larger culture that accepted other races. They are enormously strong, and very hale, as well as having a great deal of insight and wisdom, and have very forceful personalities and can be largely intimidating, and not just because of their size (11 feet tall).

Can we add to this list of known details?
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:56 am

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I say this because if they did not have seafaring culture, how would they be able to banish criminals over the sea?
Planar gates are a possibility. Spelljammers? I'd assume they used mundane boats from an Occam's razor perspective, though.
I generally prefer the most simple approach too. It requires less suspension of disbelief.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:So, if we assume this (at least for a moment) we can then ask if there is an area where equicephs could get from the Ahmut's Horde region of the Chainmail map to the sea?
Drazen's Horde is landlocked, but I think you have to assume that, since they're said to have dominated Western Oerik (along with other Old Races, perhaps, which might have included giants, lizardfolk, perhaps minotaurs and gnolls, perhaps yuan-ti or other serpent folk, maybe centaurs) the equiceph territory was much larger than what is now Drazen's Horde. Since their time was over 1,000 years ago, much of Western Oerik is a blank slate. Most of the modern nations wouldn't have existed then, except the elven empire of Ravilla (the "Le Cronicahe della Luna Nera" PDF indicates that the Empire of Lynn was extant in this era, as well as a human empire in what is now the southern deserts, the Empire of the Phoenix). The equicephs might have preceded elven or human civilization, though; perhaps the time they dominated Western Oerik was before the rise of either human or elf.

Basically I'd assume they could once be found anywhere on the Chainmail map.
Ooh! So a big tribal culture that slowly got squeezed into a smaller area and then got wiped out by demons.

I like that! :cool:
ripvanwormer wrote:Here's the Chainmail continental map, by the way:

Image

And here's the Dragon Annual #1 map:

Image
Thanks for that. I do have both those maps, but I've been so busy at work that I've had a lot less time to check my facts recently. And my Chainmail-fu is still pretty weak. :oops:

However, the good news is that the actual Chainmail canon is so small that, if I can get everything on this list of Chainmail products, I should find it easier to raise myself to the level of "Chainmail expert" than I will find it to raise myself to the level of "Greyhawk expert".
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:The other alternative, would be to get an entire shipload of criminals, give them their own ship, and allow them to sail away themselves. But, if they did things that way, Have you had any further thoughts on your "equiceph Australia" concept? Would you actually go for a penal colony, with lawful equicephs using banished criminals to try to build a new colony? Or would you go for ones and twos that are dropped off on beaches and left to fend for themselves?

And where would you put this colony? Is there a place for this sort of thing in the Flanaess, or would you put it somewhere like Hepmonoland? :?
It'd be tempting to put it in what is now the Scarlet Brotherhood; then the lawful evil equicephs can be Scarlet Brotherhood slavers and soldiers, helping to capture slaves in Hepmonaland, the Amedio, and wherever the Scarlet Brotherhood empire extends. Some might work for the Great Kingdom as slavers, too, and as commanders of hobgoblin troops.
Wherever the equicephs go, I was figuring that they need to be put somewhere where they have little to no impact on the core regions of Greyhawk.
ripvanwormer wrote:However, your mention of Australia reminds me that Oerth has an unnamed, undetailed Australia-like continent that might be a good place to drop some of the weirder Miniatures Handbook creatures. The maps make it look like a relatively short hop by ship from the Tharquish Empire or Ishtarland to this continent.
I feel an Australian Miniatures Handbook topic coming on! :twisted:
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:11 pm

Icarus wrote:
Big Mac wrote:But sure, an old city might be almost totally gone (especially if the demons attacked it). It could just be a few small fragments that remain (like the Roman stuff that gets dug up under London). I figure that if equiceph bones are left then anything that lasts as long as bones might turn up. That might not be scientifically accurate, but the "rule of cool" dictates that you don't want all the equicephs to be running around without heads and hands and not wearing any pants, because their pants rotted away.
There might be enough of an excuse to have a few equiceph liches (who are not working for Ahmut's Legion) or some sort of deathless equicephs (archliches, perhaps) who can interact with the PCs and work with them to free the equiceph undead from domination by Ahmut's clerics.
Huh. I hadn't thought of that - actually RPing the ancient culture, and having NPCs from the old culture. I should think that if one were wanting to do that, liches, or some sort of non-evil deathless being, would certainly be a way to have them in the present and able to convey the sense of culture, or something.
One of my favourite Spelljammer characters, is an archilich, called Sharanger Szeltune, that Ed Greenwood created for SJR1 Lost Ships. (Archliches are a special type of "good lich" invented for that product.) Anyhoo Sharanger Szeltune is a woman that lived hundreds of years ago and who came from Blackmoor in a spelljamming ship. Ed Greenwood doesn't make it clear if she is from Dave Arneson's Blackmoor or Gary Gygax's Blackmoor, but if she was from ancient Greyhawk's Blackmoor, she would know a ton of old stuff.

I kind of had her in mind, when I thought about having some sort of equiceph lich/archlich/deathless/whatever.
Icarus wrote:
Big Mac wrote:The brigdadine article says that italian people wore that sort of armour. So if they also have ties with the Roman empire, you get the tribes connection and an armour conection from one real-world race. Perhaps that means that Italian culture would be a good baseline to build equiceph culture from.
That's kind of the reason that I referred to Central Asian brigadine. On the page I linked, there's a photograph near the bottom that looks much, much more like what the equiceph is wearing in the illustrations. Most especially like the Miniatures Handbook illustration. specifically, there's an illustration of an equiceph (or a very, very similar creature) in The Horde Volume 1, page 48, that shows it dressed in a type of brigadine.
[Edit to include illustration]
Image
There's various schools of thought here ... some say that dwarevs, elves, and other such beings would typically dress in garb of their own culture, or similar to it, and another than says they'd likely incorporate to whatever culture they were near or a part of. The illustration happens to show an equiceph in brigadine - but, there's a whole lot of armor appearing in various styles that would fit into "brigadine", so I wouldn't say that it should be pinned down to Italian=Rome=Ancianet Rome=Tharque=Equiceph.
I suppose that, logically, if the equicephs were around for thousands of years, they would go through the sort of "arms race" people have in various parts of the real-world, and slowly move from primative armour and weapons to more advanced armour and weapons.

The brigadine armour is possibly a reflection of the "clock stopping" at the point where their race was destroyed. Assuming they were not instantly wiped out, I can imagine a situation where the equiceph armoursmiths were given as much metal as possible and told to equip the entire race for the ultimate battle...that they sadly ended up loosing.

So, Ahmut would be able to dig up a ton of equicephs, perhaps in mass graves, wearing brigadine armour. But if you sent in an archologist to dig up older sites in the equiceph tribal lands, you might well dig up a farmer surrounded by non-warlike grave goods.
Icarus wrote:
Big Mac wrote:OK. So if we are looking at banishment, in a similar way to the British deportation of criminals to Australia, then that does tell us one thing, that is there, but not directly stated: The equicephs had some sort of seafaring culture that was strong enough to allow them to travel across the seas. I say this because if they did not have seafaring culture, how would they be able to banish criminals over the sea?[...]
There's a *lot* of good ideas in here ... I really like this. I was kind of taken with some of the ideas, especially the different ways of effectiing the banishment with or without criminals and a crew. Although, it's difficult, for me, to imagine a seafaring race being one with hooves. It seems it would be like an uneasy thing for them to be on a rolling, wet surface. ... although, if they were bound and determined to do so, there's no reason that they wouldn't invent something to get around their hooves onboard. ... but, that seems terribly unlikely the more I think about it. ... although, I *do* like the idea of equicephs using boats that have seated positions, like smaller rowboats, and canoes and such.
Given what Ripvanwormer said about the equiceph lands being land-locked, I suppose it is less likely that they would be a seafaring race*. And you are right about the horse-footed seafarer thing being a potential issue.

* = Maybe D&D has sea-horses somewhere. :-P

The one thing that bugs me is the thing about banishing criminals across the sea. It does demonstrate the fact that these equicephs know enough about the world to know there is land across the sea.

I suppose a giant portal (perhaps even one that got purverted to turn it into a gateway the demons came out of) would be another way to cross the sea. But, if that is what they meant when they said "across the sea", why wouldn't they talk about "crossing the world via the portal" instead.
Icarus wrote:
Big Mac wrote:* = A side benefit of a seafaring equiceph culture, is that I can give the long dead race a number of spelljamming helms and have some of them create an equiceph colony on one or more of the celestial bodies of Greyspace. :twisted:
It wasn't 'til I read this part that I realized that no matter what I thought about this aspect, and it finally hit me ... as far as they are from any coastline, in an entirely land-locked area ... it's far more likely that the equicephs must've had some other method of travel other than boats, magical or otherwise. They could've easily used magic to effect the banishment. They could've used a method of teleporting others (a Gate, a Teleportation circle, a Banishment spell, or somesuch). Which, in a way, tells us just as much about the equidephs. ... they really hadn't any method of travel "across the sea" from where they are. They could travel by river theoretically, but, the nearest ocean or sea is at least a couple of Empires away, geographically - therefore, they must've had some kind of magical means, of doing so. And if they are able to effect that kind of spellcasting, there were obviously high-level enough casters to use the magic. It's difficult for me to pin down precisely what kind of magic they'd use - despite the fact that "peaceful" implies more like druids, shamans, or certain priests, there's nothing that would seem to indicate that wizardry, sorcery, psionics, or anything else should be precluded.
I suppose the other option, is to give the equicephs some sort of flying boat. That way they can cross the sea in the air.

I wasn't really thinking of turning the entire race into a spelljamming race (just hoping to be able to have some living equicephs in other parts of Greyspace that have a Chainmail tie-in) but if there were some equicephs with some sort of flying ship, air ship, baloon, or whatever, they could sail west on the trade winds and drop off their banished people.

If you cast a feather fall spell onto an equiceph criminal, you could literally throw them overboard (without killing them). :twisted:
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:33 pm

Icarus wrote:
ripvanwormer wrote:I was quoting you, above. There are two ways of interpreting that quote ("the equicephs were one of the Old Races that used to dominate Western Oerik").
You're absolutely right, Rip. I hadn't thought to read it that way. Yes, since there's not a comma to make it clear, it could be read in either context.
The more I think on your point of them being anywhere ... I realize that 4,000 years ago in our own history, mankind was pretty much spread across the entire planet, so it's not unfair to assume that the equicephs would've necessarily been limited in any different way.
I like this direction that the two of you are going in.

That brings me back to my previous comment about the sort of terrain that would be most friendly towards equicephs. I'm guessing that they might not like the idea of climbing mountains. (But then again, there are mountain goats.)

Presumably, if they have technology and magic, they might be making horse-shoes for each other to wear.

Would equicephs like the same sort of roads that people with humanoid feet like? Would they create buggies with wheels, to carry their luggage?
Icarus wrote:
ripvanwormer wrote:That was my impression, and I noticed the references to Isengard and Lonely Mountain. Also, Wendar is a nation in Mystara. That said, it's the reference I have, and it's not like the Chronicles of the Black Moon are Greyhawk canon either.
Interestingly, I learned today that there's a back-reference from the Black Moon Chronicles to Greyhawk, in a similar way to the fact that the Dragon Annual map refers to the places of the BMC. There's a map of the City of Lhynn in one of the BMC books that has the "Great Sea" rather than the "Oceanum Titanicum", and an arrow pointing across it to "Greyhawk". Interestingly, it's pointing to the West, and from Lhynn, across the Ocean would be the shortest, fastest way to get to Greyhawk from there.
Although, I would like to point out, I don't use the BMC verbatim out of the graphic novel series. Only in the context that some of the nations are also in Greyhawk as canon, by and large. Some places I assume to be the same, such as the two names for a large forest, "Elvanian" and "Feydrin" because they mean similar things. Others I presume aren't there at all, because the Chainmail factions have displaced them.

Not to cause digression away from the Equiceph topic, but here's a clip of the map that I mentioned; it's originally about a 2 to 2 1/2 inch square:
Image
I suppose that if you had an old BMC culture, that crossed the sea between Western Oerik and the Flanaess and an old equiceph culture that crossed the sea between Western Oerik and the Flanaess, that they might have several things in common. :)
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:47 pm

Icarus wrote:
ripvanwormer wrote:That's actually a me-zu oni. ...
Dang it! My hopes and dreams have been crushed! :P Kidding, obviously. But, that is *twice* in this thread that I have misidentified a creature as an equiceph. I guess I'm just eternally hopeful.
Although, that does bum me out a tiny bit, because I'd have loved for there to be a creature like that somewhere else in gaming ... but, it's good to know that it's at least an identifiable creature rather than my "unknown horsey-thingie". :P But, now that I think about it, I kind of like the fact that it's unique to not only Greyhawk, but to the Sundered Empire specifically.

And since we're on that topic - the equicephs are unique, then. We know that they are tribal in social structure, we know that it seems likely they have use of high level teleportation magic, and we know that they once had burial sites in temperate forested hills near/in the mountains (which is not to say that they couldn't also be somewhere else). We also know that they were a peaceful nation, and that they exiled criminals rather than killing them. They wore distinctive armor (which was brigandine in style) and other "heavy armor", and had weapons that were also distinctive in design, which implies that they likely had their own culture, and weren't just part of another larger culture that accepted other races. They are enormously strong, and very hale, as well as having a great deal of insight and wisdom, and have very forceful personalities and can be largely intimidating, and not just because of their size (11 feet tall).

Can we add to this list of known details?
Have either of you considered the possibility that equicephs and me-zo oni might be related in some way. :)

If the elves of Ravilla use weapons from Oriental Adventures and the equicephs resemble a type of oni from Oriental Adventures, could there be a connection between the two things?
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Icarus » Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:58 am

Big Mac wrote:I suppose that, logically, if the equicephs were around for thousands of years, they would go through the sort of "arms race" people have in various parts of the real-world, and slowly move from primative armour and weapons to more advanced armour and weapons.
The brigadine armour is possibly a reflection of the "clock stopping" at the point where their race was destroyed...
So, Ahmut would be able to dig up a ton of equicephs, perhaps in mass graves, wearing brigadine armour. But if you sent in an archologist to dig up older sites in the equiceph tribal lands, you might well dig up a farmer surrounded by non-warlike grave goods.
I definitely agree, as far as logic goes, with your point here. But, the thing is, it's like saying "English Platemail Armour". Just because the English wore platemail, that doesn't mean that they always wore it, or that they didn't wear anything else. The writeup on them specifically mentions heavy armor, without specifying a type. I think that's telling, because if they were only known for wearing one type of armour, I am fairly certain that would be mentioned. Like, any culture, I would presume that they used a variety of armour ... and that fixating on brigandine as more than a facet of their military capability is likely to give a skewed perception of the equicephs.
Big Mac wrote:Given what Ripvanwormer said about the equiceph lands being land-locked, I suppose it is less likely that they would be a seafaring race*. And you are right about the horse-footed seafarer thing being a potential issue.
The one thing that bugs me is the thing about banishing criminals across the sea. It does demonstrate the fact that these equicephs know enough about the world to know there is land across the sea.
I suppose a giant portal ... would be another way to cross the sea. But, if that is what they meant when they said "across the sea", why wouldn't they talk about "crossing the world via the portal" instead?
... for the same reason that they didn't talk about crossing the world via flying ship. It's extraneous to the point. It's not focusing on the fact that they had to get across the sea, it's focusing on the geographical location of the banishment ... making a point that it's enormously difficult for them to get back once they're banished, and thus continuing living across the sea and had a divergent or splintered culture.
Big Mac wrote:I suppose the other option, is to give the equicephs some sort of flying boat. That way they can cross the sea in the air.... if there were some equicephs with some sort of flying ship, air ship, balloon, or whatever, they could sail west on the trade winds and drop off their banished people.
Yep ... I'm pretty sure that you just want to put the entire planet on a flying ship - spelljammer or otherwise. :lol:
Big Mac wrote:Have either of you considered the possibility that equicephs and me-zo oni might be related in some way?
I considered that they have common anatomy, at least. But, all "oni" are demons, by definition. And that just doesn't really fit. So, <shrug> it's an interesting correlation, but, I wouldn't associate the two.
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Icarus » Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:22 am

If the elves of Ravilla use weapons from Oriental Adventures and the equicephs resemble a type of oni from Oriental Adventures, could there be a connection between the two things?
In the Northwind Duelists thread, you brought up the fact that the Lajatang is listed in the Oriental Adventures handbook. We also discussed it in messages on Facebook. Personally, I think that you are putting too much emphasis on the oriental aspect of that weapon. Yes, in our real world history, a stave with a crescent blade on either end is a Chinese weapon, but that doesn't mean that D&D doesn't use equivalent weapons for other races or cultures.
I think that it's likely that there's a certain amount of equivalency in weapons. Just about every race, for example, has something like a short sword. Humans didn't "invent" it, and there's orcs, elves, and everyone else that has some type of weapon that is statistically a short sword. So, it may just be that there's an elven double ended polearm that has crescent blades, that is essentially not any different than an oriental lajatang. For example, here's an image that has a Gythka, and a Lajatang side-by-side, both of which appear culturally to be from Athas. Image
The Oriental Adventures handbook says, in the Introduction, " ... you may simply want to add new options to a standard D&D campaign." There's nothing that mandates that a weapon of any particular design has to be oriental, by necessity. Just as the cestus is not an oriental weapon, but a monk uses it anyway, and the monk itself is seperated from it's specifically oriental background.
...
I want to be careful, though, to not diverge this thread into a topic about oriental weapons ... if you'd like to move this post to a new thread that's not about the equicephs to avoid topic confusion, I wouldn't be opposed. [Edit: Although, I just realized that this comment that I transcribed from my own personal notes, I also posted in the Northwind Duelist thread, without the image.]
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:43 am

Icarus wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I suppose that, logically, if the equicephs were around for thousands of years, they would go through the sort of "arms race" people have in various parts of the real-world, and slowly move from primative armour and weapons to more advanced armour and weapons.
The brigadine armour is possibly a reflection of the "clock stopping" at the point where their race was destroyed...
So, Ahmut would be able to dig up a ton of equicephs, perhaps in mass graves, wearing brigadine armour. But if you sent in an archologist to dig up older sites in the equiceph tribal lands, you might well dig up a farmer surrounded by non-warlike grave goods.
I definitely agree, as far as logic goes, with your point here. But, the thing is, it's like saying "English Platemail Armour". Just because the English wore platemail, that doesn't mean that they always wore it, or that they didn't wear anything else. The writeup on them specifically mentions heavy armor, without specifying a type. I think that's telling, because if they were only known for wearing one type of armour, I am fairly certain that would be mentioned. Like, any culture, I would presume that they used a variety of armour ... and that fixating on brigandine as more than a facet of their military capability is likely to give a skewed perception of the equicephs.
I suppose it could be possible that the equicephs that have brigadine armour are the tribe's answer of knights or samurai. Maybe they get an elite burial in their armour (as a mark of respect) while an equiceph peltist or archer has a lower social standing, and their weapons and armour (which would probably rot away anyway) are passed onto their descendants. Some sort of process like that (plus Ahmut's Legion digging up the elite tombs) could explain why we get heavily armoured equiceph.
Icarus wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Given what Ripvanwormer said about the equiceph lands being land-locked, I suppose it is less likely that they would be a seafaring race*. And you are right about the horse-footed seafarer thing being a potential issue.
The one thing that bugs me is the thing about banishing criminals across the sea. It does demonstrate the fact that these equicephs know enough about the world to know there is land across the sea.
I suppose a giant portal ... would be another way to cross the sea. But, if that is what they meant when they said "across the sea", why wouldn't they talk about "crossing the world via the portal" instead?
... for the same reason that they didn't talk about crossing the world via flying ship. It's extraneous to the point. It's not focusing on the fact that they had to get across the sea, it's focusing on the geographical location of the banishment ... making a point that it's enormously difficult for them to get back once they're banished, and thus continuing living across the sea and had a divergent or splintered culture.
I guess you are right. It could just be a term of expression. But there surely must have been a few equiceph explorers, to give them the knowledge that this other land was on the other side of an ocean, even if there were not organised trade ships on regular routes.
Icarus wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I suppose the other option, is to give the equicephs some sort of flying boat. That way they can cross the sea in the air.... if there were some equicephs with some sort of flying ship, air ship, balloon, or whatever, they could sail west on the trade winds and drop off their banished people.
Yep ... I'm pretty sure that you just want to put the entire planet on a flying ship - spelljammer or otherwise. :lol:
Actually, I'm going for a "write between the lines" approach, so I'd be going for equicephs in Greyspace havng a tiny presence. It's more an excuse to allow the Miniatures Handbook to be used as a Spelljammer resource. (And I'd rather tie it in to existing Chainmail stuff than just randomly throw it out.) But, yes, I am trying to improve me Greyhawk-fu and Chainmail-fu so that I can make Greyspace feel more like "the Greyhawk crystal sphere". :)

I figure that, when I have a good guess at what the equiceph tribal society was like, and work out roughly how few of them might have explored Oerth, I could go for a much smaller percentage and throw them off-world.

If the equicephs used a portal to travel between pre-Ravilla Western Oerik and "the land over the sea" it wouldn't be too hard to add one or more other portals to different places.

Didn't the demon invasion (or maybe the attack on the wood elves, that the high elves helped with) have something to do with portals? Suppose that Western Oerik had a network of portals that got subverted. Would that fit in with the banishment thing?
Icarus wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Have either of you considered the possibility that equicephs and me-zo oni might be related in some way?
I considered that they have common anatomy, at least. But, all "oni" are demons, by definition. And that just doesn't really fit. So, <shrug> it's an interesting correlation, but, I wouldn't associate the two.
How about the malenti? They are sahuagin that look like sea-elves. If sahuagin can change their form to resemble their enemy, perhaps the oni took on equiceph form*, in order to be able to invade equiceph lands unnoticed. :twisted:

* = This post may contain tenuous plot hooks. :lol:
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Thu Aug 04, 2016 8:51 am

Icarus wrote:I want to be careful, though, to not diverge this thread into a topic about oriental weapons ... if you'd like to move this post to a new thread that's not about the equicephs to avoid topic confusion, I wouldn't be opposed. [Edit: Although, I just realized that this comment that I transcribed from my own personal notes, I also posted in the Northwind Duelist thread, without the image.]
Oh sure. I think you may be right and that there may be no intention on Chris Pramas's part to imply an Asian-style culture in the Sundered Empire races.

But he definitely was using Oriental Adventures as a source to raid ideas from.

I know that some of the weapons of Japan evolved because of the quality of the local metals. Perhaps "oriental weapons" could be the result of specific advancements in the local "arms race".

The elves didn't get their weapons from the local area. The dueling socieities were described as specialising in "exotic weapons". Maybe they even learned to fight from a small number of surviving...

...equiceph monks! :twisted:
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by ripvanwormer » Thu Aug 04, 2016 4:22 pm

Big Mac wrote:Have either of you considered the possibility that equicephs and me-zo oni might be related in some way. :)
That would work if you treated oni the way they're defined in the Pathfinder RPG, as spirits who manifest bodies based on the bodies of various humanoids. The status of oni in D&D has been somewhat ambiguous because ogre magi are supposed to be a type of oni, yet they're also supposed to be related somehow to ogres, and how can that be if an oni is also a kind of spirit? Pathfinder resolves that by saying that an ogre mage is what you get when an oni manifests a body similar to that of an ogre. There are other types of oni: a kuwa oni is clothed in human flesh, a spirit oni has no body at all, an atamahuta has a body based on an ettin, a ja noi is based on a hobgoblin, a nogitsune is based on a kitsune, a fire yai is based on a fire giant, an ice yai on a frost giant, a water yai on a storm giant, and a wind yai is based on a cloud giant. It's not a stretch, then, to imagine an oni that clothes itself in the flesh of an equiceph.

The thing, though, is that Pathfinder oni are specifically evil spirits, usually some kind of kami before being punished for failing their duties of guardianship. The go-zu oni and me-zu oni, however, are lawful neutral. They make up the spirit armies of the Celestial Bureaucracy and are apparently in good standing with the gods. They're based on Ox-Head and Horse-Face from Chinese mythology, where they are guardians of the underworld. The Planescape boxed set mentions go-zu oni as among the factotums assigned to visitors to Yen-Wang-Yeh's Palace of Judgment, where the souls of the worshipers of the Chinese pantheon are assigned their rewards and punishments.

Also, in context, if me-zu oni are based on equicephs, you need an ox-headed humanoid for go-zu oni to be based on. Maybe a minotaur?

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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:41 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Have either of you considered the possibility that equicephs and me-zo oni might be related in some way. :)
That would work if you treated oni the way they're defined in the Pathfinder RPG, as spirits who manifest bodies based on the bodies of various humanoids. The status of oni in D&D has been somewhat ambiguous because ogre magi are supposed to be a type of oni, yet they're also supposed to be related somehow to ogres, and how can that be if an oni is also a kind of spirit? Pathfinder resolves that by saying that an ogre mage is what you get when an oni manifests a body similar to that of an ogre. There are other types of oni: a kuwa oni is clothed in human flesh, a spirit oni has no body at all, an atamahuta has a body based on an ettin, a ja noi is based on a hobgoblin, a nogitsune is based on a kitsune, a fire yai is based on a fire giant, an ice yai on a frost giant, a water yai on a storm giant, and a wind yai is based on a cloud giant. It's not a stretch, then, to imagine an oni that clothes itself in the flesh of an equiceph.

The thing, though, is that Pathfinder oni are specifically evil spirits, usually some kind of kami before being punished for failing their duties of guardianship. The go-zu oni and me-zu oni, however, are lawful neutral. They make up the spirit armies of the Celestial Bureaucracy and are apparently in good standing with the gods. They're based on Ox-Head and Horse-Face from Chinese mythology, where they are guardians of the underworld. The Planescape boxed set mentions go-zu oni as among the factotums assigned to visitors to Yen-Wang-Yeh's Palace of Judgment, where the souls of the worshipers of the Chinese pantheon are assigned their rewards and punishments.

Also, in context, if me-zu oni are based on equicephs, you need an ox-headed humanoid for go-zu oni to be based on. Maybe a minotaur?
The Wikipedia article does confirm the names used in Oriental Adventures, but there are no citations - so it might not be totaly accurate (and might also get pulled down).

Let's take a look at the 1e OA and 3e OA versions, for fun:
Oriental Adventures (1e) pages 126-127 wrote:Th oni are fearson spirits who dwell in desolate and forbidding places.

<snip>

Me-zu oni are the most important oni. They are ogre sized with the heads of horses. Like the go-zu oni, they are the servants of the Celestialthey Emperor, although they generally hold positions of higher rank within his army. In addition to the weapons used by go-zu oni, the me-zu oni are also known to use whips and lassos to deal with their victims. <snip>
...and...
Oriental Adventures (3e) page 180 wrote:Me-Zu Oni

Mu-zu oni are the commanders of the spirit armies, leaders of the go-zu-oni

Me-zu-oni are even larger than go-zu oni (about 10 feet tall or more, weighing nearly 1,000 pounds), and have the heads of shaggy horses. Their armor is always of masterwork quality.

Me-zu oni speak Giant, Tengu, Goblin, Common and the Spirit Tongue.
I know that Oriental Adventures was originally supposed to be set in Greyhawk and the Celestial Imperium is just to the east of Naresh, but I was just thinking they could possibly stand in as part of the Abyssal armies that Icarus mentioned.

So, I'm not sure that I'd want to import and reboot go-zu oni too, unless we had an indication that there were minotaurs (dead or alive) in the Chainmail miniatures range.
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:55 pm

I just found another horse-headed creature. It's called Hayagriva or Hayagreeva and it's an avatar of Lord Vishnu, from Hinduism.

Hayagriva has four arms, so it's probably less easy to import it than me-zo oni, and it would probably be hard to find miniatures, but there might be some art out there that could be cropped and used as equiceph art.
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by ripvanwormer » Mon Aug 08, 2016 3:20 am

Big Mac wrote: I was just thinking they could possibly stand in as part of the Abyssal armies that Icarus mentioned.
The Abyssal armies were led by Yeenoghu and Baphomet. They seem unlikely to command lawful neutral servitors of the Chinese pantheon.
So, I'm not sure that I'd want to import and reboot go-zu oni too, unless we had an indication that there were minotaurs (dead or alive) in the Chainmail miniatures range.
I don't know if they made miniatures, but minotaurs were canonically part of the aforementioned Abyssal armies. Dragon #289, "The Gnolls of Neresh": "As discussed in issue #285, the defining event of Western Oerik was a conflict known as the Demon War. The architects of this invasion were the aforementioned Yeenoghu and his then ally, Baphomet, demon lord of minotaurs. Their armies were comprised of demons, gnolls, and minotaurs—all straight from the Abyss."

The article went on to describe how Yeenoghu and Baphomet blamed each other after the failure of their invasion, and their respective followers began warring with each other, ending in the gnolls pushing the minotaurs into the mountains.

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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Icarus » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:00 am

RipVanWormer wrote:I don't know if they made miniatures, but minotaurs were canonically part of the aforementioned Abyssal armies. ...
Minotaurs are undeniably part of Naresh. They did, in fact, have minotaur minis!! There were Crazed Minotaur Cultists and Young Minotaurs, and Ahmut's Legion even raised them when they died as Zombie Minotaurs!!
RipVanWormer wrote:Their armies were comprised of demons, gnolls, and minotaurs—all straight from the Abyss."
I've always been fascinated by this line ... it seems to imply fiendish minotaurs!
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Icarus » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:02 am

Big Mac wrote: I was just thinking they could possibly stand in as part of the Abyssal armies that Icarus mentioned.
Now that you mention it this way, it makes a little more sense to me. I thought at first that you were saying that equicephs should have an oriental culture. I s'pose that any demons are as likely as any other, if not for the Lawful Nuetral alignment that Rip pointed out. The equicephs certainly were overrun and destroyed by demons.
Otherwise, it could've been an interesting idea. <shrug> Ah well, still, it was a neat thought.

Another of the things about the equicephs ... we discussed the slavers that were "across the sea". I can't help but wonder, since we don't really know the method by which they were banished, if they could've come back for raiding and such, and just have been seen. There's plenty of stuff that slavers do to remain unseen. The quote from the books says "no living equiceph has been seen". What if the slavers just happen to have managed to not have been seen? Certainly rare in the extreme, I wonder how it would go if an NPC boss was an equiceph - but, was really good at his job, and perhaps even occasionally raided back to his homeland, as a sort of misguided vengeance.

Of course, then we go right back into the part of the discussion about their location now, and the method of banishment. I have a difficult time imagining that 1,500 YBP, a tribal culture would do big, powerful spells every time someone committed a crime that was serious. But, then ... perhaps there was a much lower crime rate, since they were a peaceful culture.
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:05 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote: I was just thinking they could possibly stand in as part of the Abyssal armies that Icarus mentioned.
The Abyssal armies were led by Yeenoghu and Baphomet. They seem unlikely to command lawful neutral servitors of the Chinese pantheon.
That's why I was wondering if non-Chinese rebooted oni would work.

But I guess I'm just clutching at straws because of the cool picture that Icarus dropped in the topic.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:So, I'm not sure that I'd want to import and reboot go-zu oni too, unless we had an indication that there were minotaurs (dead or alive) in the Chainmail miniatures range.
I don't know if they made miniatures, but minotaurs were canonically part of the aforementioned Abyssal armies. Dragon #289, "The Gnolls of Neresh": "As discussed in issue #285, the defining event of Western Oerik was a conflict known as the Demon War. The architects of this invasion were the aforementioned Yeenoghu and his then ally, Baphomet, demon lord of minotaurs. Their armies were comprised of demons, gnolls, and minotaurs—all straight from the Abyss."

The article went on to describe how Yeenoghu and Baphomet blamed each other after the failure of their invasion, and their respective followers began warring with each other, ending in the gnolls pushing the minotaurs into the mountains.
I remember something about that, now that you mention this. I must find more time to read up on this. :)
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:09 pm

Icarus wrote:
RipVanWormer wrote:I don't know if they made miniatures, but minotaurs were canonically part of the aforementioned Abyssal armies. ...
Minotaurs are undeniably part of Naresh. They did, in fact, have minotaur minis!! There were Crazed Minotaur Cultists and Young Minotaurs, and Ahmut's Legion even raised them when they died as Zombie Minotaurs!!
I suppose you can infer, from this, the sort of territory that the minotaurs might have held, at the height of their power.
Icarus wrote:
RipVanWormer wrote:Their armies were comprised of demons, gnolls, and minotaurs—all straight from the Abyss."
I've always been fascinated by this line ... it seems to imply fiendish minotaurs!
Fiendish versions of a lot of Chainmail races could make sense. (If not in large numbers, they could exist in tiny numbers, that would have no large impact on the setting.)
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Aug 09, 2016 2:16 pm

Icarus wrote:
Big Mac wrote: I was just thinking they could possibly stand in as part of the Abyssal armies that Icarus mentioned.
Now that you mention it this way, it makes a little more sense to me. I thought at first that you were saying that equicephs should have an oriental culture. I s'pose that any demons are as likely as any other, if not for the Lawful Nuetral alignment that Rip pointed out. The equicephs certainly were overrun and destroyed by demons.
Otherwise, it could've been an interesting idea. <shrug> Ah well, still, it was a neat thought.
Sorry for any confusion. I was actually thinking that Chris Pramas was using Oriental Adventures as a book to raid ideas from to give the Sundered Empire some elements that felt radically different - not a book to base the Chainmail setting on.

I just figured it was worth fishing around for stuff like that. If there had been a campaign setting for 2nd Edition AD&D's Battlesystem, I would probably be looking at that too.

I guess it doesn't matter too much what the demons look like, unless someone wants to run a game set in the past, and deal with the living equiceph empire.
Icarus wrote:Another of the things about the equicephs ... we discussed the slavers that were "across the sea". I can't help but wonder, since we don't really know the method by which they were banished, if they could've come back for raiding and such, and just have been seen. There's plenty of stuff that slavers do to remain unseen. The quote from the books says "no living equiceph has been seen". What if the slavers just happen to have managed to not have been seen? Certainly rare in the extreme, I wonder how it would go if an NPC boss was an equiceph - but, was really good at his job, and perhaps even occasionally raided back to his homeland, as a sort of misguided vengeance.

Of course, then we go right back into the part of the discussion about their location now, and the method of banishment. I have a difficult time imagining that 1,500 YBP, a tribal culture would do big, powerful spells every time someone committed a crime that was serious. But, then ... perhaps there was a much lower crime rate, since they were a peaceful culture.
Did the demons invade via portals? If they did, then I'd say the equicephs should use portals, that the demons can then corrupt (if there is not Chainmail canon or BMC canon that says otherwise).
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:06 pm

The demons did invade via portals. After the war, elves built cities around the portals to guard them. It seems possible that the equicephs were the guardians of the portals before the elves took over.

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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Icarus » Tue Aug 09, 2016 4:55 pm

Big Mac wrote:Did the demons invade via portals? If they did, then I'd say the equicephs should use portals, that the demons can then corrupt (if there is not Chainmail canon or BMC canon that says otherwise).
... <awkward pause> ...
Um, so, I think that your life has gotten very busy of late. I know some of it has been quite some time since you've written it, but, you've actually made posts in threads that refer to the Demon Wars. You may remember the cities of Ventia and Xanos as examples of topics.
Here's a clipped quote to jog your memory:
Dragon Magazine, #285, [i]The Empire of Ravilla[/i] wrote:Before the Demon War, the elves were split into two main groups. The wood elves, as their name suggests, lived in the primeval forests of the interior, while the grey elves lived in remote mountain cities. There was little communication between these branches of the elven race, but, the Demon War changed everything.
Without warning, enormous portals opened up in the depths of the forest. Armies of demons direct from the Abyss poured into Western Oerik. The wood elves were caught by surprise, and thousands died. Wildfires raged out of control, destroying the heart of the forest and the wood elf homesteads with it. Aid was slow in coming, and the wood elves were on the brink of annihilation.
At this hour, the wood elf hero Peramil mounted his giant eagle and flew through the blackened sky to reach the mountain homes of the grey elves. He fought off winged demons and vicious harpies along the way, but, no evil could slow him. Peramil reached the grey elf city of Ventia and told his kin of the holocaust consuming the wood elf homeland.
The grey elves acted quickly. Within the hour, powerful wizards were flying above the battlefields, reconnoitering the enemy positions. Elite strike teams were dispatched to distract the demons while the grey elves mustered their army for war. Soon a hundred thousand elves were marching from the mountains to engage the demonic armies. Bahamut the platinum dragon led his metallic dragons into the fray, and together they allies saved the wood elves from destruction. To show their gratitude, the wood elves swore a great oath, binding them to their kin for the duration of the conflict. ...

After the Demon War, Corellon Larethian tasked the grey elves with guarding the Abyssal Gateways. The elves sealed up their mountain cities and hid them from the world with magic spells and wards. They built new cities around the portals. Should they ever prove lax in their duties, the grey elves will pay a heavy price. ...

In the year 499, the Abyssal Gateway in the city of Xanos opened, and demons flooded out once again. The attack was contained quickly and bloodily, but the complacency of the previous centuries had been shattered.
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:46 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:The demons did invade via portals. After the war, elves built cities around the portals to guard them. It seems possible that the equicephs were the guardians of the portals before the elves took over.
Maybe. But what if the portals were not a "threat" during the time of the equicephs. What if they started off as portals used to get to the other side of Oerth, instead of portals to the realms of the demons.

Would that fit into Icarus's idea that the equicephs could banish "bad people" across the sea, without needing to be seafarers?

Or would you need two different sets of portals, for that to work?
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:52 pm

Icarus wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Did the demons invade via portals? If they did, then I'd say the equicephs should use portals, that the demons can then corrupt (if there is not Chainmail canon or BMC canon that says otherwise).
... <awkward pause> ...
Um, so, I think that your life has gotten very busy of late. I know some of it has been quite some time since you've written it, but, you've actually made posts in threads that refer to the Demon Wars. You may remember the cities of Ventia and Xanos as examples of topics.
I've got stupidly busy recently. :(

What I'm thinking of is that the portals I've heard about before are "bad" to the point of the elves wanting to block them up. And then you are talking about the equicephs using portals.
Icarus wrote:Here's a clipped quote to jog your memory:
Dragon Magazine, #285, [i]The Empire of Ravilla[/i] wrote:Before the Demon War, the elves were split into two main groups. The wood elves, as their name suggests, lived in the primeval forests of the interior, while the grey elves lived in remote mountain cities. There was little communication between these branches of the elven race, but, the Demon War changed everything.
Without warning, enormous portals opened up in the depths of the forest. Armies of demons direct from the Abyss poured into Western Oerik. The wood elves were caught by surprise, and thousands died. Wildfires raged out of control, destroying the heart of the forest and the wood elf homesteads with it. Aid was slow in coming, and the wood elves were on the brink of annihilation.
At this hour, the wood elf hero Peramil mounted his giant eagle and flew through the blackened sky to reach the mountain homes of the grey elves. He fought off winged demons and vicious harpies along the way, but, no evil could slow him. Peramil reached the grey elf city of Ventia and told his kin of the holocaust consuming the wood elf homeland.
The grey elves acted quickly. Within the hour, powerful wizards were flying above the battlefields, reconnoitering the enemy positions. Elite strike teams were dispatched to distract the demons while the grey elves mustered their army for war. Soon a hundred thousand elves were marching from the mountains to engage the demonic armies. Bahamut the platinum dragon led his metallic dragons into the fray, and together they allies saved the wood elves from destruction. To show their gratitude, the wood elves swore a great oath, binding them to their kin for the duration of the conflict. ...

After the Demon War, Corellon Larethian tasked the grey elves with guarding the Abyssal Gateways. The elves sealed up their mountain cities and hid them from the world with magic spells and wards. They built new cities around the portals. Should they ever prove lax in their duties, the grey elves will pay a heavy price. ...

In the year 499, the Abyssal Gateway in the city of Xanos opened, and demons flooded out once again. The attack was contained quickly and bloodily, but the complacency of the previous centuries had been shattered.
Yep. These portals are all pretty much death zones. And yet the elves built cities around them (to contain them and stop anyone getting to them).

If we have equicephs using portals (assuming they don't use ships) to send equiceph criminals to another part of Oerth, is it possible that some sort of evil equiceph cult opened up one of the sorts of portals written about in the Demon War stuff, causing the entire race to be attacked long before the Demon War even happend?

Or could it be possible that the equicephs were living among the wood elves and got slaughtered at the same time?
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Icarus » Thu Aug 18, 2016 10:55 am

Big Mac wrote:What I'm thinking of is that the portals I've heard about before are "bad" to the point of the elves wanting to block them up. And then you are talking about the equicephs using portals.
Yep. These portals are all pretty much death zones. And yet the elves built cities around them (to contain them and stop anyone getting to them).

If we have equicephs using portals (assuming they don't use ships) to send equiceph criminals to another part of Oerth, is it possible that some sort of evil equiceph cult opened up one of the sorts of portals written about in the Demon War stuff, causing the entire race to be attacked long before the Demon War even happened?
Or could it be possible that the equicephs were living among the wood elves and got slaughtered at the same time?
It's fairly clear that once the portals opened, they were physically present (that is, they could be seen). One could speculate whether they continued to be physically present, or even visible, after they were sealed behind the fleeing remnants of the demon armies. It's possible that it was the *site* that was being guarded when the elven cities were built around them, rather than a visible gateway. Perhaps it was speculated that the portal could open again at that particular location due to a thin spot in the fabric of the plane, or magic ley lines, or whatever.

At any rate, I can see the equicephs using permanent structural portals that had an archway or frame of some kind. (I can't help but think of the "NyangoDa" (Stargate) in the Nyambe setting.) I just don't think those portals might've had to do with the portals opened by/for the demons.
However, the portals used by the demons were not physically present before they opened during the Demon Wars. I don't see them as a physical gateway or permanent magical item created with Craft Portal or something like that. I imagine it more like Gate, Plane Shift, Teleportation Circle or some such. While there's nothing that specifically says how the portals were opened, and it's theoretically possible that an "evil equiceph" conspired with the forces of the Abyss to open the portals ... I just can't bring myself to go against the grain of the equiceph culture being good. There's *always* evil people, even in a goodly culture. But, I would think that if an equiceph were responsible for something like that, it'd cast a little dispersion on them.

One thing that I would like to note is that for me, portals and seafaring aren't mutually exclusive. While I don't necessarily see the equicephs being particularly suited to the kind of ships that would be required for transoceanic voyages, I can imagine them in coasters or barges, or the like.
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Sep 06, 2016 12:48 pm

Icarus wrote:
Big Mac wrote:What I'm thinking of is that the portals I've heard about before are "bad" to the point of the elves wanting to block them up. And then you are talking about the equicephs using portals.
Yep. These portals are all pretty much death zones. And yet the elves built cities around them (to contain them and stop anyone getting to them).

If we have equicephs using portals (assuming they don't use ships) to send equiceph criminals to another part of Oerth, is it possible that some sort of evil equiceph cult opened up one of the sorts of portals written about in the Demon War stuff, causing the entire race to be attacked long before the Demon War even happened?
Or could it be possible that the equicephs were living among the wood elves and got slaughtered at the same time?
It's fairly clear that once the portals opened, they were physically present (that is, they could be seen). One could speculate whether they continued to be physically present, or even visible, after they were sealed behind the fleeing remnants of the demon armies. It's possible that it was the *site* that was being guarded when the elven cities were built around them, rather than a visible gateway. Perhaps it was speculated that the portal could open again at that particular location due to a thin spot in the fabric of the plane, or magic ley lines, or whatever.

At any rate, I can see the equicephs using permanent structural portals that had an archway or frame of some kind. (I can't help but think of the "NyangoDa" (Stargate) in the Nyambe setting.) I just don't think those portals might've had to do with the portals opened by/for the demons.
However, the portals used by the demons were not physically present before they opened during the Demon Wars. I don't see them as a physical gateway or permanent magical item created with Craft Portal or something like that. I imagine it more like Gate, Plane Shift, Teleportation Circle or some such. While there's nothing that specifically says how the portals were opened, and it's theoretically possible that an "evil equiceph" conspired with the forces of the Abyss to open the portals ... I just can't bring myself to go against the grain of the equiceph culture being good. There's *always* evil people, even in a goodly culture. But, I would think that if an equiceph were responsible for something like that, it'd cast a little dispersion on them.
I suppose that portals from one part of the Material Plane are different to portals to the Outer Planes.
Icarus wrote:One thing that I would like to note is that for me, portals and seafaring aren't mutually exclusive. While I don't necessarily see the equicephs being particularly suited to the kind of ships that would be required for transoceanic voyages, I can imagine them in coasters or barges, or the like.
Looks like my dreams of spacefaring equicphs have been saved. ;)
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the equicephs?

Post by Icarus » Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:54 pm

Big Mac wrote:Looks like my dreams of spacefaring equicphs have been saved. ;)
I take my cue from Dragonlance in general, but, specifically from "Taladas: The Minotaurs, a Dragonlance supplement. On page 22, under "The Fleet" ...
Taladas: The Minotaurs wrote:The As one of the oldest sea-faring races of Krynn, the minotaurs are probably the best sailors on the entire planet.
I figure, if minotaurs can do it, so can equicephs. Granted, equicephs are quadrupeds, and minotaurs aren't. But still, it's about the hooves, IMO. ... that's the hard part.
Now that I think of it, the Monstrous Compendium: Vol. 1, I think, has an image of Minotaurs of Krynn working the lines on a ship.
But, just for reference: if you look closely here, you'll see an example of a seafaring minotaur in a small coaster.

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