Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

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Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Big Mac »

Does anyone know if there is a list of source material for the region in the centre of Oerik which has been called Shaofeng, Sufang and Celestial Imperium?

I know that Ripvanwormer said this in the Oriental Adventures forum:
ripvanwormer wrote:Greyhawk's "Oriental" lands are known as Sufang in the Gord series (Night Arrant) and as Shaofeng in Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk. The map in the Dragon Annual #1 refers to the Celestial Imperium. The names are some degree of canon, but we know little else about them, except that there are "lung" dragons found there.
But how much is the "little else"?

And has anyone made any fanon for this area yet?
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Eric Anondson »

I could see an interesting history evolving the ogre magi out of the cultures there. The AD&D version of the creature, I recall, had a bit of an oriental look.
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by ripvanwormer »

The ogre magi is explicitly a subspecies of the oni from Oriental Adventures. I assume all Oriental Adventures creatures - lung dragons, korobokuru, oni, kappa, etc. - have a place in Occidental Oerik.

There really isn't anything else known, except what you might glean from Night Arrant. There's a "Beyond the Flanaess" fan-project in the works right now, though.

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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Dread Delgath »

Big Mac wrote:Does anyone know if there is a list of source material for the region in the centre of Oerik which has been called Shaofeng, Sufang and Celestial Imperium?

I know that Ripvanwormer said this in the Oriental Adventures forum:
ripvanwormer wrote:Greyhawk's "Oriental" lands are known as Sufang in the Gord series (Night Arrant) and as Shaofeng in Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk. The map in the Dragon Annual #1 refers to the Celestial Imperium. The names are some degree of canon, but we know little else about them, except that there are "lung" dragons found there.
But how much is the "little else"?

And has anyone made any fanon for this area yet?
Yes, I have maps created (although not finished) and some area detail about the political systems, culture and societal information just barely outlined for the lands to the west of the Sea of Dust and the Hellfurnaces. I've been working on this for the past 24 years, but its been in storage for over 15, largely in part due to Dragon Annual #1.

I wanted a peninsular area of land to develop a "Nipponesque" campaign for use with the 1e Oriental Adventures. It still needs a lot of work. In fact, I haven't even settled on a name for it yet, although I have it narrowed to two names. I might use both names; a regional name for the people who live there and what outsiders call it. :?
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Big Mac »

Eric Anondson wrote:I could see an interesting history evolving the ogre magi out of the cultures there. The AD&D version of the creature, I recall, had a bit of an oriental look.
I bet that a lot of critters from the core books fit into the "use these monsters from the core products" category.
ripvanwormer wrote:The ogre magi is explicitly a subspecies of the oni from Oriental Adventures.
Is the ogre magi a bridge between the oni and regular ogres?
ripvanwormer wrote:I assume all Oriental Adventures creatures - lung dragons, korobokuru, oni, kappa, etc. - have a place in Occidental Oerik.
Occidental Oerik? Is that another term for the central region?

I think I would assume that all the pre-FR Oriental Adventures references had some sort of Oerth version. With Kara-Tur being "hijacked" and flown to Forgotten Realms, I don't think I would enjoy having the central region of that continent as a clone of Kara-Tur, but I think it would be good if you could run all the pre-FR adventures with a few minor name changes.
ripvanwormer wrote:There really isn't anything else known, except what you might glean from Night Arrant.
Sounds like it would be good to scour that book for factoids and get them put up onto The Great Library of Greyhawk (if factoids from Gary Gygax's novels are within its scope).
ripvanwormer wrote:There's a "Beyond the Flanaess" fan-project in the works right now, though.
Great!
Dread Delgath wrote:And has anyone made any fanon for this area yet?
Yes, I have maps created (although not finished) and some area detail about the political systems, culture and societal information just barely outlined for the lands to the west of the Sea of Dust and the Hellfurnaces. I've been working on this for the past 24 years, but its been in storage for over 15, largely in part due to Dragon Annual #1.[/quote]

Great. I think that Eric is working on the Sea of Dust right now. Perhaps you could share notes on the border region.

Why did Dragon Annual 1 make you put your project into storage? Is there any chance you might revisit it sometime soon?
Dread Delgath wrote:I wanted a peninsular area of land to develop a "Nipponesque" campaign for use with the 1e Oriental Adventures. It still needs a lot of work. In fact, I haven't even settled on a name for it yet, although I have it narrowed to two names. I might use both names; a regional name for the people who live there and what outsiders call it. :?
Do you see any problem with incorporating the existing names (Shaofeng, Sufang, Celestial Imperium and Occidental Oerik) as internal (and external) names for the region? How about Night Below? Do you have a copy? I wonder if we could skim through it, pull out as many names as possible and get you to shoehorn them all into your map somewhere.
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by night_druid »

Big Mac wrote:Occidental Oerik? Is that another term for the central region?
Occidental means "West". Just like Oriental means "East". I want to say both are Latin.
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Big Mac »

night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Occidental Oerik? Is that another term for the central region?
Occidental means "West". Just like Oriental means "East". I want to say both are Latin.
Doh! :oops:

I never did any Latin at school, but it does sound familiar.
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by night_druid »

Big Mac wrote:Doh! :oops:

I never did any Latin at school, but it does sound familiar.
Neither did I, but that's one thing that I remembered after seeing the term Occidental. ;)

And interestingly enough, in Greyhawk, "Oriental Adventures" would be the Flanaess! ;)
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Eric Anondson »

Big Mac wrote:Great. I think that Eric is working on the Sea of Dust right now. Perhaps you could share notes on the border region.
Only as far as it lets me map out the southern coast of the Sea Princes region! When Sheldomar Valley is done I intend to polish off the Sea of Dust and Jeklea Bay corner . . . :)
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Big Mac »

night_druid wrote:And interestingly enough, in Greyhawk, "Oriental Adventures" would be the Flanaess! ;)
Unless, perhaps, you were a PC from the Chainmail campaign setting. ;)
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by ripvanwormer »

Big Mac wrote:Is the ogre magi a bridge between the oni and regular ogres?
No, ogre magi are just oni with blue skin.

From 1st edition Oriental Adventures:

"Common oni stand seven to eight feet tall, have one to three eyes, and one or two horns on their head. Their arms and legs are covered with coarse hair. Their hands end in dirty, thick talons. Their skin is normally red, but others including green, black, orange, and purple have been seen. There are also blue-skinned oni, although these are more commonly known as ogre magi."
Sounds like it would be good to scour that book for factoids and get them put up onto The Great Library of Greyhawk (if factoids from Gary Gygax's novels are within its scope).
They are, but they'd probably have to be labeled as apocrypha.

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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by night_druid »

Big Mac wrote:
night_druid wrote:And interestingly enough, in Greyhawk, "Oriental Adventures" would be the Flanaess! ;)
Unless, perhaps, you were a PC from the Chainmail campaign setting. ;)
Chainmail would be the Occidental setting, the Flanaess would be the Oriental setting, and Shaofeng would be truly the Middle Kingdom.
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Big Mac »

night_druid wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
night_druid wrote:And interestingly enough, in Greyhawk, "Oriental Adventures" would be the Flanaess! ;)
Unless, perhaps, you were a PC from the Chainmail campaign setting. ;)
Chainmail would be the Occidental setting, the Flanaess would be the Oriental setting, and Shaofeng would be truly the Middle Kingdom.
You can prove anything with facts! :P :lol: :D
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by night_druid »

Big Mac wrote:You can prove anything with facts! :P :lol: :D
I wonder if I can prove I'm Bill Gates with my facts? :?
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Dread Delgath »

Big Mac wrote:
Dread Delgath wrote:
And has anyone made any fanon for this area yet?
Yes, I have maps created (although not finished) and some area detail about the political systems, culture and societal information just barely outlined for the lands to the west of the Sea of Dust and the Hellfurnaces. I've been working on this for the past 24 years, but its been in storage for over 15, largely in part due to Dragon Annual #1.
Great. I think that Eric is working on the Sea of Dust right now. Perhaps you could share notes on the border region.
The notes themselves are very broad in stroke and go in a completely different direction than anyone else has taken (assuming everyone else is following Dragon Annual#1 as 'canon') but the maps are finished, but I am having problems scanning them into a digital format. :oops:
Why did Dragon Annual 1 make you put your project into storage? Is there any chance you might revisit it sometime soon?
I already had a lot of ideas in place for this area of the map that was "unmapped" until Dragon Annual #1 came out with their version, which, for nearly every other Greyhawk DM out there - became "canon" instantly. I am not willing to sacrifice my home campaign to this version. If I accept DA#1 as canon, I have to throw away most, if not all of my work. :facepalm:
Dread Delgath wrote:I wanted a peninsular area of land to develop a "Nipponesque" campaign for use with the 1e Oriental Adventures. It still needs a lot of work. In fact, I haven't even settled on a name for it yet, although I have it narrowed to two names. I might use both names; a regional name for the people who live there and what outsiders call it. :?
Do you see any problem with incorporating the existing names (Shaofeng, Sufang, Celestial Imperium and Occidental Oerik) as internal (and external) names for the region? How about Night Below? Do you have a copy? I wonder if we could skim through it, pull out as many names as possible and get you to shoehorn them all into your map somewhere.[/quote]

Yes, those areas sound as if they are developed much more than my setting currently is - as well as being in a completely different place on the map than where I set my "OA" setting. :shock:

I have "Night Below", but I am nowhere close to determining where this fits in with my Western Greyhawk Campaign. :P
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Eric Anondson »

Dread Delgath wrote:The notes themselves are very broad in stroke and go in a completely different direction than anyone else has taken (assuming everyone else is following Dragon Annual#1 as 'canon') but the maps are finished, but I am having problems scanning them into a digital format. :oops:
Can't wait to get a glimpse of those scans!
Dread Delgath wrote:I already had a lot of ideas in place for this area of the map that was "unmapped" until Dragon Annual #1 came out with their version, which, for nearly every other Greyhawk DM out there - became "canon" instantly. I am not willing to sacrifice my home campaign to this version. If I accept DA#1 as canon, I have to throw away most, if not all of my work. :facepalm:
Are you sure you couldn't sacrifice a little bit of purity of concept to your home campaign development of the region to be able to present some of the material?

In any case, posting fanon that violates assumed canon is worthwhile anyway, IMO! Someone could surely poach ideas and maybe even adopt some of your ideas instead. Just sayin'
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Dread Delgath »

Eric Anondson wrote:
Dread Delgath wrote:The notes themselves are very broad in stroke and go in a completely different direction than anyone else has taken (assuming everyone else is following Dragon Annual#1 as 'canon') but the maps are finished, but I am having problems scanning them into a digital format. :oops:
Can't wait to get a glimpse of those scans!
Dread Delgath wrote:I already had a lot of ideas in place for this area of the map that was "unmapped" until Dragon Annual #1 came out with their version, which, for nearly every other Greyhawk DM out there - became "canon" instantly. I am not willing to sacrifice my home campaign to this version. If I accept DA#1 as canon, I have to throw away most, if not all of my work. :facepalm:
Are you sure you couldn't sacrifice a little bit of purity of concept to your home campaign development of the region to be able to present some of the material?

In any case, posting fanon that violates assumed canon is worthwhile anyway, IMO! Someone could surely poach ideas and maybe even adopt some of your ideas instead. Just sayin'
Well, in that case, I could. ;) I work at a snail's pace, however, so these past 15 years is just a blip on my creative radar. Expect to wait a few more years before I release these into the wild! :o

(Seriously, I am having scanner issues that I cannot reconcile by my little ol' self. I'll need to call in an expert or (GASP!) spend more money...) :facepalm:
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Big Mac »

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Is the ogre magi a bridge between the oni and regular ogres?
No, ogre magi are just oni with blue skin.

From 1st edition Oriental Adventures:

"Common oni stand seven to eight feet tall, have one to three eyes, and one or two horns on their head. Their arms and legs are covered with coarse hair. Their hands end in dirty, thick talons. Their skin is normally red, but others including green, black, orange, and purple have been seen. There are also blue-skinned oni, although these are more commonly known as ogre magi."
This sounds very similar to the colouration of the High Ogres of Dragonlance. Do the non-blue Oni each have a name for their race/subrace?
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Sounds like it would be good to scour that book for factoids and get them put up onto The Great Library of Greyhawk (if factoids from Gary Gygax's novels are within its scope).
They are, but they'd probably have to be labeled as apocrypha.
I figured it would be something like that. If I add anything to The Great Library of Greyhawk, I'll find a similar article first.
Eric Anondson wrote:
Dread Delgath wrote:The notes themselves are very broad in stroke and go in a completely different direction than anyone else has taken (assuming everyone else is following Dragon Annual#1 as 'canon') but the maps are finished, but I am having problems scanning them into a digital format. :oops:
Can't wait to get a glimpse of those scans!
I think a lot of people would like to see them.
Eric Anondson wrote:
Dread Delgath wrote:I already had a lot of ideas in place for this area of the map that was "unmapped" until Dragon Annual #1 came out with their version, which, for nearly every other Greyhawk DM out there - became "canon" instantly. I am not willing to sacrifice my home campaign to this version. If I accept DA#1 as canon, I have to throw away most, if not all of my work. :facepalm:
Are you sure you couldn't sacrifice a little bit of purity of concept to your home campaign development of the region to be able to present some of the material?

In any case, posting fanon that violates assumed canon is worthwhile anyway, IMO! Someone could surely poach ideas and maybe even adopt some of your ideas instead. Just sayin'
One of the big "risks" of working on an undeveloped area of a setting is that some professional is going to come along and do something different.

I would also like to see your fanon version. I think that Eric is right. Perhaps fans could reboot your work to make a modified Dread Delgath version that dovetails with canon.
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by ripvanwormer »

Big Mac wrote:This sounds very similar to the colouration of the High Ogres of Dragonlance. Do the non-blue Oni each have a name for their race/subrace?
Not in Oriental Adventures. There, common oni are all just called common oni. I don't know if ogre magi with different colored skin are truly separate races, or if an ogre mage female can give birth to children of any color. Dragon #349 claims, "Occasionally, mutations occur among ogre mage bloodlines, producing variants of different coloration and with subtly different powers."

In Dragon #349, two other ogre mage subspecies were introduced: the ogre umbramage (which has black skin) and the cereborg (which has light blue skin).

In 4th edition, the ogre mage is renamed the oni mage, and there are a bunch of subtypes, including the oni night haunter, oni devourer, oni overlord, oni mage, and oni thunderer. They don't seem to be distinguished by skin color.

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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by ripvanwormer »

One thing about the Shaofeng region: it's very possible that it has approximately the same mixture of races as the Flanaess.

According to Living Greyhawk Journal #3, the Baklunish Empire was founded when the royal family in the Baklunish homeland, "across the western mountains," fled during the Hegira 3,000 years ago. Therefore, the defiled homeland of the Baklunish should still be there on the other side of the great Tyurzi (as it's called in Against the Giants: The Liberation of Geoff) mountain range. Probably there are still people of the same racial type as the Baklunish living there, possibly still under the grip of the powers of Darkness that the royal family fled three millennia ago. Because the "Mongol" parallels on Oerth (the Paynims, and the Wolf and Tiger Nomads) are of Baklunish heritage, I think the Baklunish must be the "Asians" of Oerth, and Shaofeng is probably primarily Baklunish, racially, though very different culturally from those of the Baklunish basin, where Zeif, Ekbir, Tusmit, Ull, and Ket are today.

According to the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (page 22), the Oeridian people wandered "the vast central plains of Oerik beyond the Flanaess in the far West" about 1,200 years ago. While they were mostly driven into Ull, and then into the Flanaess, it's very possible that some still remain in the region, which would presumably be the Shaofeng area (though I've heard some suggest that the Oeridian homeland was the "Orcreich" region to the north of the Celestial Imperium's great wall).

Many Suel fled east into the Flanaess during their wars with the Baklunish, but it seems reasonable to think that those who lived in the western parts of the empire would have fled west instead.

Therefore, I think it's likely that Shaofeng is primarily Baklunish in heritage (a golden-skinned, green-eyed, dark-haired people), worshiping a mixture of Baklunish deities and more exotic (possibly evil) gods that their eastern cousins abandoned, with strong Oeridian and Suloise admixture. As such, it may be very different from Kara-Tur.

The region is also possibly the origin of not just the ogre mage, but the orc, hobgoblin, and goblin races. There's no firm canon that includes orcs or goblins in the Flanaess prior to the Great Migrations. We only know that the Suel and Baklunish both began employing orc and goblinoid mercenaries during their wars, and these mercenaries helped drive the Oeridians into the Flanaess before entering the Flanaess themselves. Now, it's possible some were already in the Flanaess at the time, but many of them definitely arrived only after the Oeridians did. There's an evidently orcish nation today to the north of the Celestial Imperium, labeled "Orcreich" on the Dragon Annual #1 map. This may be the orc homeland, or it may be a place the orcs occupied after the Oeridians were driven out. Regardless, orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins may very much be a part of the Shaofeng culture today, perhaps ruled in some areas by oni, dragons, nagas, and wang-liang.

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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Eric Anondson »

I love that speculative brainstorm! Maybe toss in a few regionally unique racial groups like the Flan, rhennee, Olman, and Touv and you still get a nice blend of familiar and different.
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by night_druid »

ripvanwormer wrote:The region is also possibly the origin of not just the ogre mage, but the orc, hobgoblin, and goblin races. There's no firm canon that includes orcs or goblins in the Flanaess prior to the Great Migrations. We only know that the Suel and Baklunish both began employing orc and goblinoid mercenaries during their wars, and these mercenaries helped drive the Oeridians into the Flanaess before entering the Flanaess themselves. Now, it's possible some were already in the Flanaess at the time, but many of them definitely arrived only after the Oeridians did. There's an evidently orcish nation today to the north of the Celestial Imperium, labeled "Orcreich" on the Dragon Annual #1 map. This may be the orc homeland, or it may be a place the orcs occupied after the Oeridians were driven out. Regardless, orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins may very much be a part of the Shaofeng culture today, perhaps ruled in some areas by oni, dragons, nagas, and wang-liang.
I think the humanoid races probably predated the Great Migrations, as the Flan had terms for all of those races, and I assumed those names were pretty old. <shrug>

Edit: Let me also note: originally, weren't hogbolins usually depicted in oriental-inspired armors? It certainly would imply hobs originated somewhere with an Asian-inspired culture. So the idea that they might have migrated from Shaofeng is not far-fetched in the least. :)
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by ripvanwormer »

night_druid wrote:I think the humanoid races probably predated the Great Migrations, as the Flan had terms for all of those races, and I assumed those names were pretty old. <shrug>
That's a good point. Of course, the Flan could have come up with those names during the Great Migrations, when they first encountered the species, and the migrating Oeridians and Suel could have learned the words from the Flan during the same period. You could also ignore the canon (originally from Roger E. Moore) that those words (euroz, jebli, etc.) are Flan words, since Gygax has said that wasn't his intention (he intended them to just be an archaic form of Common). It seems strange that anyone would use Flan words for anything today anyway, since the Flan are such a minority in the Flanaess. Perhaps the fact that words like euroz, jebli, olve, dwur, hobniz, and noniz seem to still be in common circulation indicates that the Flan named orcs, goblins, elves, dwarves, halflings, and gnomes first. On the other hand, the Common names for those races seem to be in pretty common use too, depending on your campaign (I personally prefer the Common names). Maybe it doesn't mean anything, and it's just an accident of linguistics.

I personally do prefer to think there were orcs and goblins in the Flanaess millennia before the Great Migrations, if only so that they can have an ancient history of rivalry with the dwarves and elves of the region. I was just pointing out that there isn't any firm canon (that I'm aware of) that proves they were there. There's canon placing orcs and goblins in the Suel Empire thousands of years ago, but I'm not aware of any placing them east of the Crystalmists. Of course, there's very little canon speaking of the ancient Flanaess at all.
Edit: Let me also note: originally, weren't hogbolins usually depicted in oriental-inspired armors? It certainly would imply hobs originated somewhere with an Asian-inspired culture. So the idea that they might have migrated from Shaofeng is not far-fetched in the least. :)
Their illustration in the 1st edition Monster Manual made their armor look very Japanese-inspired, yes, and I've used that before to argue that hobgoblins are probably originally from the same regions as ogre magi. Or perhaps only some of them are, and there are both Shaofeng hobgoblins and Flan hobgoblins.

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night_druid
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by night_druid »

ripvanwormer wrote:I personally do prefer to think there were orcs and goblins in the Flanaess millennia before the Great Migrations, if only so that they can have an ancient history of rivalry with the dwarves and elves of the region. I was just pointing out that there isn't any firm canon (that I'm aware of) that proves they were there. There's canon placing orcs and goblins in the Suel Empire thousands of years ago, but I'm not aware of any placing them east of the Crystalmists. Of course, there's very little canon speaking of the ancient Flanaess at all.
True enough; you would think it'd take a fairly long time for long-lived races (dwarves, elves) to develop the racial hatreds they hold. Too bad there isn't more detail to Flanaess' history.
Their illustration in the 1st edition Monster Manual made their armor look very Japanese-inspired, yes, and I've used that before to argue that hobgoblins are probably originally from the same regions as ogre magi. Or perhaps only some of them are, and there are both Shaofeng hobgoblins and Flan hobgoblins.
I'd imagine that after generations in a "foreign" culture, they would start to adapt foreign weapons & armors due to cultural contamination. It likely becomes increasingly easier to simply take a broadsword off that fallen human than to forge a new katana. :geek:
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Dread Delgath
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Re: Shaofeng/Sufang/Celestial Imperium

Post by Dread Delgath »

Great points, RVW! These basic tenets are the same ones I came to after reading the chronological history of the Great Migrations after the Twin Cataclysms in the first Greyhawk Folio. It was these texts that I based my Western Oerik (WO) on. In fact, I have an area of WO called "The Euroz Plains"; a desolate barren plain filled with twisted, evil forests and stagnant pools of filth and waste, and ranges of hills teeming with evil tribes of humanoids - ready to converge on and devour innocent travelers on the long disused paths and trails that have been allowed to be buried and overgrown by time and twisted, evil vegetation. Along the borders, any "good" countries have built vast walls of nearly any materials at hand, and along them a chain of keeps to guard against any invasive forces that may one day be harnessed and levied against the good folks of the realms.
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