Help with Neathar

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Cthulhudrew
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Help with Neathar

Post by Cthulhudrew »

Been doing some work on the Neathar tribes of the Hollow World lately, and I've run into some areas of interest that I wanted to get some community feedback on, to help stimulate my own thought processes, and hopefully develop things in a way that seems more in the general line of thought of the community.

The main issues I'd like some feeback on are these:

1) What sorts of monsters would likely have been around in the times of the Neathar? This is a fantasy world, so I'd like to do something more with that than just have the stereotypical dinosaurs/megafauna sort of thing. I assume we'd have primitive versions of existing D&D monsters (presuming the current versions would be evolved versions of them). Offhand, I could see some creatures like the Manticores, Garls (as pre-evolved versions of giants), Elemental Beings, Spirits/Fey. Anything else come to mind offhand, or thoughts on how to treat such creatures?

2) Religion of the Neathar: There is surprisingly little information given on Neathar religion in the HW sourcebooks (even the Brute-Men are noted to worship certain Immortals). I'd kind of prefer to go with a more generic Animistic sort of religion than a strict named and hierarchical Immortal worship, but I'm not quite sure how to fit that in with the aforementioned Brute-Men Immortal worship. Any thoughts?

And the big one:

3) The human race in prehistoric Mystaran times is broken down into Neathar, Oltec, and Tanagoro. The modern groups of humans are mentioned to have developed from breeding between the various groups, however, which seems to indicate that all three groups existed and developed simultaneously in different regions of the planet. However, Oltec and Tanagoro people in the HW are taken from a later time than the Neathar (both bronze age cultures). It seems to me, then, that there should be Stone-Age versions of both Oltec and Tanagoro peoples within the Hollow World as well (otherwise, it looks really weird that the Immortals decided to only preserve- effectively- the "white" Stone Age people.)

I've been in the process of creating some different Neathar tribal groups along the lines of the ones in the Hollow World (Valgrai, Balarai, etc.), and so am thinking of adding in some Oltec and Tanagoro tribal groups in the same region (Oltec groups living on the fringes of the Oltec (effectively between the Balarai and Oltec), and Tanagoro somewhere else (possibly even in Tanagoro territory south of the World Spine, much as the Makai are in the island archipelago far from "Neathar" territory proper).

What do you all think of this?

May have some other ideas for further feedback as I progress.
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cab
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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by cab »

In evolutionary terms, the Neathar people aren't from long ago at all. So things like sabre tooth cats, cave bears, mammoths, giant elk etc. are appropriate creatures. But its also the Hollow World with its insane flora and fauna, a broken imbalance of creatures that are separated by millions of years, so I'd not be TOO concerned about that.

Regarding the Tanogoro and Oltecs... Well, I don't believe that the immortals move to protect races that are changing through their own development, which is what happened to the other ancient peoples. The Neathar were (I believe) dying out, hence they were saved. Cultures can be changed on the outer world due to normal progression.

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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by cab »

Oh, and regarding religion, its a mystery, isn't it? I've been pondering having at least one race being 'lost', havng no remaining native religion of their own because their immortal patron was killed. Neathar could fit the bill; what you'd get as a result would be a most confused hodge podge of outside influences on religion.

I was considering a hollow world culture somewhere with a 'cargo cult' based on things lost from over the side of floating continents. Not quite right for Neathar, though.

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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by Marco Fossati »

In the entry of Mystaran almanac 1019 AC is reported

"As a predominantly jungle region, the Neathar lands see an abundance of conventional native plant and animal life. Without a consolidated government to provide security, hostile creatures are also in abundance. Cave bears, giant insects, boars, great cats, giant lizards, dinosaurs, crocodiles, leopards, tigers, smilodons, giant leeches, lizard men, snakes, giant spiders, troglodytes, wolves, and humanoids can be readily found. "

from PWA 1010


"Giant ants, cave bears, giants beetles, boars, caecilias, carrion crawlers, tigers, panthers,
sabre-tooth tigers, giant centipedes, crocodiles, dinosaurs, insect swarms, giant leeches, giant lizards, lizard-men, pterosaurus, snakes, giant spiders, troglodytes, wolves"

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Marco Fossati
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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by Marco Fossati »

fro monsters I'll add

were-wolves, were-jaguars, were-boars, Jungle Giants, Fire Giants and maybe Black or Green dragons.

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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by Khuzd »

I think Neathar are druidical oriented and they probably worship Terra...

Some stealthy tribes can be fond of Korotiku... But I think all Inmortals they worship must be ancient.

About monsters: you can develope:

- troglodite tribes, with a lizard riding culture;
- wood imps associated to lizards and small dinosaurs
- aracnoid and insectoid cultures adapted to jungle and forest

There are many strange monsters in "Monster Geographica: Forest", with paper counters.
http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtm ... ionid=9682

Here there are the counters:
http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php? ... =2778&it=1

And here there are some inspiring counters depicting forest creatures, which could be neighbours of the Neathar
http://watermark.rpgnow.com/pdf_preview ... sample.pdf
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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by Andaire »

Isn't it possible that the Tanagoro and the Oltecs contain tribes from other (earlier) time periods, and possibly also that the Neather tribes are not all stone age but there are also some later ones? There is a lot of space, and many tribes, so that would seem possible to me. A bit like the Merry Pirates represent different eras, except not so extreme. What do you think?
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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by Havard »

Interesting topic!
Cthulhudrew wrote:1) What sorts of monsters would likely have been around in the times of the Neathar? This is a fantasy world, so I'd like to do something more with that than just have the stereotypical dinosaurs/megafauna sort of thing. I assume we'd have primitive versions of existing D&D monsters (presuming the current versions would be evolved versions of them). Offhand, I could see some creatures like the Manticores, Garls (as pre-evolved versions of giants), Elemental Beings, Spirits/Fey. Anything else come to mind offhand, or thoughts on how to treat such creatures?.
The old stone age of Mystara occurs between 6000 and 5000 BC. This would have been the glory days of the Neathar. From what I gather, the Neathar lived on Brun, northern Davania (jungle coast) and northern Skothar.

It might be useful to take a look at James Mishler's Blackmoor timeline covering this period. We know that Davania in this period is dominated by various lizardkin races. On Brun, the Neathar would have had contact with many different Giantish races, not just the Garl. According to James, Dragons arrive fairly late in this Age, but could certainly be present in the Hollow World. I might also include demonic races such as the Ostegos which may have had a much stronger presence in ancient times. Nightmare races might also be found in dark places. Gakkaraks and other forrest-like beings are certainly around as are Rock-Men and similar creatures.

Megafauna is already mentioned. Not just the real prehistoric creatures, but also animals of the Giant variant will be common. Lycanthropes should also exist at this time (?), perhaps in a more totemic form rather than as a disease? Undead and other spirits will be common threats.

Much of Frank Frazetta's art would be perfect for illustrating the world of the Neatahar IMO.
2) Religion of the Neathar: There is surprisingly little information given on Neathar religion in the HW sourcebooks (even the Brute-Men are noted to worship certain Immortals). I'd kind of prefer to go with a more generic Animistic sort of religion than a strict named and hierarchical Immortal worship, but I'm not quite sure how to fit that in with the aforementioned Brute-Men Immortal worship. Any thoughts?
Terra, Kotoriku, Ixion, Odin, all of those are likely to be around. I agree about animism and perhaps linking much of it to worship of elementals would be interesting. Perhaps the Blackmoor Sourcebook could also be purged for ideas here since some of the Immortals now lost, but active in that age would have been around when the Neathar roamed the Outer World. The Ethengar and Athruagin Gazetteers might be used for ideas on Shamans and Spirits from those times too.


3) The human race in prehistoric Mystaran times is broken down into Neathar, Oltec, and Tanagoro. The modern groups of humans are mentioned to have developed from breeding between the various groups, however, which seems to indicate that all three groups existed and developed simultaneously in different regions of the planet. However, Oltec and Tanagoro people in the HW are taken from a later time than the Neathar (both bronze age cultures). It seems to me, then, that there should be Stone-Age versions of both Oltec and Tanagoro peoples within the Hollow World as well (otherwise, it looks really weird that the Immortals decided to only preserve- effectively- the "white" Stone Age people.)


Makes sense to me that they would also have been preserved! Ofcourse, Stone Age Oltecs still exist on the Outer World as Athruaginers and on the Savage Coast...
I've been in the process of creating some different Neathar tribal groups along the lines of the ones in the Hollow World (Valgrai, Balarai, etc.), and so am thinking of adding in some Oltec and Tanagoro tribal groups in the same region (Oltec groups living on the fringes of the Oltec (effectively between the Balarai and Oltec), and Tanagoro somewhere else (possibly even in Tanagoro territory south of the World Spine, much as the Makai are in the island archipelago far from "Neathar" territory proper).
Sounds interesting! Would any of them show signs of being in the process of developing into post-Neathar peoples? Like Proto-Antalians etc?

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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by Khuzd »

The Ethengar and Athruagin Gazetteers might be used for ideas on Shamans and Spirits from those times
The Spell of Preservation does not allow invocation of spirits in any way. Most spirit-related magic from Ethengar Shamans in HW does not work in HW.

[In my campaign, our Ethengarian shaman in the HW Trilogy had no serious problems, because most oh his spells were not related to Spirit invocation, but to fighting and speaking to animals... But more spirit-oriented shaman would have suffered. In fact, as in HW Trilogy there is not clerical magic, the Shaman was very useful to the group as a non-clerical cleric].
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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by Havard »

Khuzd wrote:
The Ethengar and Athruagin Gazetteers might be used for ideas on Shamans and Spirits from those times
The Spell of Preservation does not allow invocation of spirits in any way. Most spirit-related magic from Ethengar Shamans in HW does not work in HW.
Interesting. this is problematic because the HW is home to a number of more ancient cultures where spirit worship would likely have been more common. Am I right that this restriction on spirits is linked to the prevention of access to planes in the HW? If so, how about having certain spirits be native to the Neathar lands? They cannot be summoned, but if you can find the tree or lake where one lives, you can perhaps persuade him to do you a favour?

[In my campaign, our Ethengarian shaman in the HW Trilogy had no serious problems, because most oh his spells were not related to Spirit invocation, but to fighting and speaking to animals... But more spirit-oriented shaman would have suffered. In fact, as in HW Trilogy there is not clerical magic, the Shaman was very useful to the group as a non-clerical cleric].

So maybe the spell list could be modified? Druidic magic is also an option I suppose.

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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by Cthulhudrew »

Andaire wrote:Isn't it possible that the Tanagoro and the Oltecs contain tribes from other (earlier) time periods, and possibly also that the Neather tribes are not all stone age but there are also some later ones? There is a lot of space, and many tribes, so that would seem possible to me. A bit like the Merry Pirates represent different eras, except not so extreme. What do you think?
That was something I was actually going to consider getting some feedback on as well- including some Neathar of earlier technology levels than those presented in the HW sourcebook, but decided not to tackle that issue quite yet. Now that you've brought it up, though, what does everyone else think?
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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by Cthulhudrew »

Havard wrote:Megafauna is already mentioned. Not just the real prehistoric creatures, but also animals of the Giant variant will be common. Lycanthropes should also exist at this time (?), perhaps in a more totemic form rather than as a disease? Undead and other spirits will be common threats.
Some real good suggestions here. As I noted, I'm not really interested in the just "natural" or "dire" creatures, but more of the magical monster variety that don't really get taken into consideration much (IMO) in "Prehistoric" fantasy campaigns.

I'm not sure about the issue of lycanthropy, though. For now, I think I'd prefer to just err on the side of caution and assume that PC4 is correct when it ties lycanthropy to the Alphatians. Anyone else is more than welcome to come up with some prehistoric takes on lycanthropy themselves, though. I'm just going to veer clear for the moment.
Much of Frank Frazetta's art would be perfect for illustrating the world of the Neatahar IMO.
Perfect- I was having trouble finding fantasy stone age artwork! Thanks!
Terra, Kotoriku, Ixion, Odin, all of those are likely to be around. I agree about animism and perhaps linking much of it to worship of elementals would be interesting. Perhaps the Blackmoor Sourcebook could also be purged for ideas here since some of the Immortals now lost, but active in that age would have been around when the Neathar roamed the Outer World. The Ethengar and Athruagin Gazetteers might be used for ideas on Shamans and Spirits from those times too.
Good ideas, all. I'll give those sources a once over to see if I can plumb their depths for inspiration.
Sounds interesting! Would any of them show signs of being in the process of developing into post-Neathar peoples? Like Proto-Antalians etc?
Both you and Andaire have touched on this now, so I'll give it some more consideration. My own thoughts on the matter were more along the lines of having some earlier stone age tribes rather than later (ie, I consider the Neathar as presented in the HW sourcebook to be Upper Pleistocene tribes, and was considering adding some Middle and Early Pleistocene. Given that the Neathar are pulled from around the time of the rise of Blackmoor, though, there might be some elements of fringe-bronze age culture in there somewhere.)
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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by Cthulhudrew »

Khuzd wrote:The Spell of Preservation does not allow invocation of spirits in any way. Most spirit-related magic from Ethengar Shamans in HW does not work in HW.
Good point. On the other hand, I'd been considering adding some types of primitive nature spirits (like early versions of the Fey from PC1), so the Neathar might have modified their shamanism/animism to a more direct type of contact. If such fey creatures physically existed in the HW alongside the Neathar, then the SoP prohibition on Outer Planar contact wouldn't apply.

Also, another random thought occurred to me: for some time now, I've been considering where some of the primitive rakasta might exist in the HW (much as I initially suggested adding Lupins to the Valley of the Dogs when working on the Hutaaka gazetteer with Mischa Gelman way back when). Perhaps Rakasta could share the forest with the Neathar? I may also drop primitive Minotaurs in Toralai territory (early Aurochs-sort of Minotaurs that are remnants of an unfinished Minotaur project that I was working on a year or so back).
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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by Marco Fossati »

Rakastas and Minotaurs are fine for Neathar Jungle

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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by Cthulhudrew »

Okay, so some more solicitations for suggestions. I've decided to add in both Oltec and Tanagoro Stone Age groups as part of the "Neathar" tribes. I'm going to place the Oltecs in the lands between the Oltecs proper (the Bronze age group) and the Balarai Neathar. I'll probably just place the Tanagoro somewhere in Tanagoro territory (much as the Makai and Hiakrai are in their own areas away from "Neathar Territory").

Right now, I'm looking for suggestions for the "main" Oltec and Tanagoro tribes. Something similar to the current Neathar naming conventions (presuming all stone age groups were using the same/similar Proto-Common language). The names could be slightly different (I'm thinking something along the lines of Ultekai for Oltecs; Tanagorai for Tanagoro)- owing to divergences in languages that would become more apparent as their cultures developed more distinctly from one another.

Alternately, if someone has any strong objections to all stone-age peoples sharing the same/similar language, and can make a case for why the Oltec and Tanagoro stone age groups would have different languages and naming traditions than the Neathar, I'd be interested in hearing those ideas as well.

I've got a couple of other more "mainstream" Neathar tribal groups that I'm working on developing as well, and would love to hear suggestions for names for them. Right now, they are pretty generic ideas: Amazonian Neathar (matriarchy, likely tracing its origins to Pelatan/Davania on the Outer World), Arctic Neathar (who may either be placed near the Icevale Elves, or up further, west of the Beastmen), and Cave-dwelling Neathar.

I am also trying to think of some other, perhaps more fantastic Neathar tribal groups (like the Hiakrai). Possibly even a more "EEEEVILLL" one or two.

(Offhand, the Nogai and Tolai rivers seem like they might lend their names to tribes- or vice versa, actually. Will have to give some thought to who/what those tribes might be.)
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Re: Help with Neathar

Post by Havard »

Cthulhudrew wrote:I've got a couple of other more "mainstream" Neathar tribal groups that I'm working on developing as well, and would love to hear suggestions for names for them. Right now, they are pretty generic ideas: Amazonian Neathar (matriarchy, likely tracing its origins to Pelatan/Davania on the Outer World), Arctic Neathar (who may either be placed near the Icevale Elves, or up further, west of the Beastmen), and Cave-dwelling Neathar.

I am also trying to think of some other, perhaps more fantastic Neathar tribal groups (like the Hiakrai). Possibly even a more "EEEEVILLL" one or two.

(Offhand, the Nogai and Tolai rivers seem like they might lend their names to tribes- or vice versa, actually. Will have to give some thought to who/what those tribes might be.)
*Bump*

Looks like you and Aaron Allston had the same idea regarding the Nogai Cthulhudrew! I think the idea of a Tolai Tribe makes even more sense now.

LIST OF OFFICIAL TRIBES
Balarai (Forest Tribe)
Hiakarai (Eagle Riders)
Makai (Pearl Divers)
Valgrai (Wolf Tribe)
Toralai (Bison Hunters)
Nogai (Lizard Hunters?)

TRIBES PROPOSED BY CTHULHUDREW
Amazonian Neathar <<<--maybe these could be the Tolai?
Arctic Neathar
Cave-dwelling Neathar.
More fantastic Neathar tribal groups
"EEEEVILLL" one or two.


For more tribes, it might also be a good idea to borrow some ideas from my thread on Aaron Allston's Savage Empire Game. The Barako (Bear Tribe), Pindiro (Horse Tribe), Jukaro (Lava Tribe), Urali (Degenerate Swamp Tribe) and others could work well as new Neathar tribes.

Then there is also the question of the Neathar Tribes of Southern Iciria.

There's lots more to explore! :)

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