I got quoted ... by ripvanwormer!!! <fanboy squeal>
Alright, now that my life is complete, I can act like an adult again.
Ripvanwormer is awesome (something I don't think is said enough) so getting namechecked or quoted by him is pretty cool.
I happen to think that the equicephs are a pretty cool concept. Love the thread, Big Mac.
I really like the fact that it only says they haven't "been seen" since the Demon Wars. There's nothing that really says that they couldn't be reclusive little pandas hiding out in the bamboo forests somewhere.
And that it says that the matter is up for debate, and refers to what would be Western Oerik (in our vesion of the story) as something nearly mythical.
Something that kept coming up in my search results was not just "skeletal equiceph", but "skeletial equiceph" and the word underdark (or to be more exact "Under Dark" as two words)!
These guys were made for both the Chainmail game and the D&D Miniatures game (and the miniatures are actually different, but dressed in almost identical armour). Here is just one page that mentions "Under Dark" in the title:D & D Minis: Skeletal Equiceph # 39 - Under Dark
So I'm wondering if this "one tribe of equicephs" that got turned into undead was living in the Underoerth. Or maybe some of the living equicephs could be in the Underoerth.
Another thing that I mentioned later in the thread that Ripvanwormer linked above, is the actual flavor-text for the equiceph:
Miniatures Handbook wrote:
This humanlike creature stands almost 11 feet tall and has a head and legs like those of a horse. It wears heavy armor and wields a mighty axe of curious design.
I love those mysteriously designed axes. Quite clearly the design of them (and the armour) is a reflection of the culture of the pre-Demon War era. If these guys were "one of the Old Races that used to dominate Western Oerik" there could be relics of their culture all across the Western Oerik area. And the undead equicephs could have been dug up from a destroyed city (or a long forgotten battleground).
What is both exciting and frustrating in equal measure is that the canon gives you a view of something great through a tiny keyhole, you can only see a fraction of something that is much larger and very interesting, but with the Chainmail line being abandoned (and the equiceph not being picked up by a later product - as far as I know they are not in 4e yet) we can't get that door unlocked and open to see what the greater thing is.
Perhaps if we can work out where Ahmut’s Legion have been, we can estimate the areas where they may have discovered long-dead equicephs. It would still be a guess, but an educated one.
Oviously, it goes without saying that these guys are in the Large catagory. But ... well, hey, I don't know if you use 3rd Ed. stats or not, but this may help:
Large Monstrous Humanoid
Hit Dice: 4d8+4 (22 hp)
Speed: 30 ft. in splint mail (6 squares); base speed 40 ft.
Armor Class: 20 (–1 size, +5 natural, +6 splint mail), touch 9, flat-footed 20
Base Attack/Grapple: +4/+12
Attack: Greataxe +8 melee (3d6+6/×3) or javelin +3 ranged (1d8+4)
Full Attack: Greataxe +8 melee (3d6+6/×3) or javelin +3 ranged (1d8+4)
Space/Reach: 10 ft./10 ft.
Special Attacks: —
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +7
Abilities: Str 18, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 11, Wis 13, Cha 12
Skills: Intimidate +8, Survival +8
Feats: Endurance, Iron Will, Weapon Focus (greataxe)
Environment: Temperate forests
Organization: Solitary, slave band (1 plus 2–8 hobgoblin warriors [slaves]), or gang (2–6)
Challenge Rating: 3
Alignment: Often lawful evil
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +2
I use 3e, but think it would be great for these guys (and more Chainmail monsters) to get retro-converted, so that people that play with older rules can use them too.
One thing that is a bit strange is that the Battle Sheet for the Skeletal Equiceph
has different stats:
Battle Sheet - Skeletal Equiceph wrote:
Model from CHAINMAIL Set 3
Hit Dice: 4d12 (26 hp)
Speed: 30 ft. (splint mail); base 40 ft
AC: 18 (–1 size, +1 Dex, +2 natural, +6 splint mail)
Attacks: Huge axe +5 melee
Damage: Huge axe 2d8+6
Face/Reach: 5 ft. by 5 ft./10 ft.
Half damage from piercing and slashing weapons
Saves: Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +4
Abilities: Str 20, Dex 12, Con —, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 1
Feats: Improved Initiative
Obviously the Chainmail one is undead, so things like the d12 HD are to be expected, but the Miniatures Handbook version has darkvision (not just low-light vision, like an elf, but darkvision like a drow). That would seem
to fit in with the idea of the living equicephs being found in the under dark!
By 3rd Ed. process, deliniated in Savage Species
I believe, the Equiceph's stats would be: +8 Str, +2 Con, +2 Wis, +2 Cha
As far as art in the Miniature's Handbook goes, this one is one that always baffled me:
I'm not entirely certain what the guy in the middle is supposed to be. Is it a Hound Archon? It looks more like a horse-face than a dog-face. It's a poorly illustrated whatever-it-is. At first I thought it was an Equiceph, but that may be wishful thinking.
It is hard to say. Sometimes the angle of an illustration makes it hard to work out how tall a critter is (I know I can slouch and "loose" about one or two feet in height, as I've done that in the past to be more on an eye-to-eye basis with some of my shorter friends…and they have not believed I've done it until I've stood up properly. LOL)
Logic actually suggests to me that if you are going to have animal-headed humanoids, or centaur-like critters or other animal/human hybrids, that there could be some that fit the ecological niche of dwarves or giants, as well as human-height ones. (I know, for example that long extinct relatives of horses were known to be as small as dogs are today.) Maybe that guy could be a short "cousin" of an equiceph - or maybe he could be an equiceph child.
However, I'll have to remind me that fantasy is not always logical.
I wonder what the peaceful culture of the Equicephs would've been like. Would they be omnivorous? Herbivores? ... what would their attire look like? would there be special clothing or jewelry they'd wear that related to their equine appearance? ... how about deity? They'd likely serve an existing god, or (I'd like to believe) there'd be some reference to a new deity. Perhaps they weren't overly religious, and didn't invovle themselves with gods much. Or perhaps, they valued wisdom and understanding more than anything, like the ancient Greeks.
Given the armour worn by the equiceph looks very skirt-like, I would suggest that they would probably wear something similar to kilts. But that is just a random guess.
I think they would be herbivores, but if in doubt, the larger pool of information about minotaurs could be checked to see what they like to eat. Being a herbivore would not stop a critter from learning to kill. And perhaps the peaceful culture could have laws that only allow equicephs to kill (or fight) in self-defence. That would allow the military stuff we see in the undead to exist (as part of the peaceful culture), without being used aggressively.
Everyone else seems to have at least one god (especially in 3e, where monsters need to have domains for their clerics). But there is no reason why they would need to be aggressively religious. The greek-like thing could be interesting, as it could fit them in with the culture that gave us minotaurs. And if they were greek, you could lift things from the Minoan civilisation
. They had a trading civilisation that travelled widely
(and that would seem to be a good fit). Better still, there is a theory (pax Minoica
) that the Minoans had a peaceful civilisation! (This theory is now being disputed, but is a good fit for the equiceph culture.)
Now that I think about it, I kind of like your idea of the "across the sea". The Miniatures Handbook didn't ever have any place that it "fit in". Sadly, once the game converted to "D&D Miniatures" rather than "Chainmail", they started including things from other settings like Thay, from the Forgotten Realms. Still, the "default" setting in Third Edition was WoG, or GH-Lite, or whatever one wants to call it. But, nevertheless, I guess they could really be found anywhere that is across a vast expanse of water; sea, ocean, what have you. I kind of like the idea of a "prison colony" somewhere, and a continuing evolution of the race's location. That would also explain why they aren't commonly found in the Flanaess, but, are found as raiders and slavers.
Anyway ... just a bit of thinking out loud.
The Miniatures Handbook does include a spell called Mordenkainen’s Buzzing Bee
so it is definately a GH-lite book. Mind you, there is also mention of a Purple Dragon Knight. So that would need to be removed or rebooted (with a new name)…
…we copied the Wild Elves thing that took drow from Forgotten Realms to Dragonlance and imported a small amount of Purple Dragon Knights from FR to GH.
I would say that if we make the Miniatures Handbook equicephs into the "exiles" from the "peaceful civilisation" and that peaceful civilisation is the "long lost" one from Chainmail, then that would suggest that the Miniatures Handbook "campaign setting" should be the setting that is away from Western Oerik (and over the sea).
I think that would make the two miniatures games provide two campaign settings that fit into different regions of Oerth.