The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

For the world is hollow, and I have touched the sky.
The Book-House: Find Hollow World products.

Moderators: Seer of Yhog, Havard, Thorf

Post Reply
User avatar
sbwilson
Orc
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 5:23 am
Gender: male
Location: Lewiston, ID, USA

The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by sbwilson » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:28 am

Stuck in bed for the past few days due to an injury. What better way to pass the time than doing some cultural research and whipping out a Hollow World mini-gazetteer. :lol:

There are still some tweaking that needs to be done. It's not quite bare bones...more of a semi-fleshy zombie.

The Dravish Drylands

Technology: Iron Age
Life-style: Agricultural city-dwellers and geoglyph makers
Location: Izcikmir Highlands (south of the Krugel Hordes)
Population: 200,000 (99% human, 1% tortle) divided among several independent towns and villages
Language: Dravish
Government Type: Theocratic-militaristic
Outer-World Origin: Great Northway/Yazak Steppes (Brun) ca BC 1750
Further Reading: Dungeon Magazine #6 & #7, “Tortles of the Purple Sage” by Merle and Jackie Rasmussen, and “The Dravish Civilization” by LoZompatore

Description

The Dravish lands are hot, dry hills are covered with sparse thickets of shrubs. It is one of the most arid regions in the hollow world with an average annual precipitation of 4 millimeters (0.16 inches). Temperatures range from 10 to 32 °C (50 to 90 °F) with an average daily high of 21 °C (70 °F).

The People

The Dravish society is divided into three main social classes. Power is concentrated in the sorcerer-priests and the military leaders who in general are the landowners. This elite has the capacity to organize community work and direct ceremonial activities, they live in truncated pyramidal buildings, in special sectors whose rooms are made with adobe walls covered with a layer of gypsum or lime to fill the cracks.

At the service of this leadership are the artisans (ceramists, architects, weavers, astrologists, musicians, soldiers) who live in small cities and ceremonial centers. At the base of the society are the farmers and fishers. The farmers live in thatched-roof huts situated outside of the cultivated surface, and grouped together in villages around an adobe pyramid which acts as a religious temple.

The Dravish society does not have a unified government, rather it is a group of individual manors. These manors have their own authority who is generally a priest, the rest of the territory is dedicated solely to agriculture.

Due to the arid region they lived in on the surface and currently in the hollow world, the Dravi have built extensive underground aqueducts (sometimes up to 30 feet deep) that direct water from the mountains to their fields. The underground passages are constructed (by tortles) to take advantage of underground water sources are the basis of agricultural irrigation for the Dravish inhabitants. Their hydraulic intervention by means of aqueducts, canals, and wells served to provide all the water needed to grow their crops.

At various points are pits with spiral ramps leading down to the aqueducts for the purpose of maintenance and repair. It is the tortle slaves who build and maintain these vital resources.

The Dravish economy is based on agriculture, its principal crops being corn, beans, pumpkin, squash, yucca, guava, peanuts, peppers and cotton (textiles being one of their most valuable trade goods). Fishing in the sea and shellfishing are of great importance for the inhabitants of the coast who through barter exchanged their products in order to complement their diet. Hunting is another activity which helps the Dravish economy.

However, the Dravi are not just peaceful farmers. The lack of resources has developed in them the will and the means to protect their farms and homes – with enough aggression to occasionally add to their coffers. Defenders who have proven capable in skirmishes and battles against the nearby Krugel Hordes often decapitate their foes, keeping skulls as trophies and status symbols. Their military leaders are held in such high esteem that many of them are immortalized in statues of stone and iron that surround their temples.

They also work gold and silver to make masks, ear flaps, nose rings, and other ritual objects. These metals, however, are exclusively for ceremonial or religious uses and not allowed to be owned by the lower classes.

Trade, not only among themselves but with their dwarven neighbors, has vital importance to the Dravi. In this way they satisfy the necessities of the population often affected by long droughts. They maintain a continuous exchange within their borders through the construction of magical teleportation gates that lay in the center of the major Dravish cities. Interestingly enough, these gates can only be activated by those wearing a fragment of a tortle eggshell. The reason for this is kept a closely guarded secret by the Dravi and their tortle slaves refuse talk about it.

Between these magical gates, through the deserts and hills of the region, are amazingly straight lines in the ground that continue their lines through hills and ravines without straying from their direction. These are not roads in the normal sense of the word as you would never see a Dravi walk along them. They are created by removing the top layer of reddish-brown pebbles to reveal a yellow-gray subsoil. The widths of the lines vary, but most are around one foot wide.

Customs

The Dravish culture has a morbid fascination with skulls and heads of both the living and the dead.

Many Dravi, especially among the ruling class, have elongated skulls, as a result of skull manipulation. This effect is achieved by binding a cushion to an infant's forehead and a board to the back of the head. Skull manipulation creates an ethnic identity, forms the individual into a social being, and defines social status.

The typical Dravish burial is a style of mummification. The social status of the deceased could be established by the complexity of the lining of the chamber and the number of objects which accompanied it (vessels, blankets, plumes, hats, bouquets, etc.). The body is placed in a fetal position, wrapped in layers of blankets until it forms a bundle. Some bundles include a so-called “false head,” a small bulge in the upper part, which simulates a head. The tombs of commoners are not luxurious, this is a distinct fortune of the nobility.

The mummification of heads is a custom among the Dravish, generally those of defeated warriors. The greater number of heads a warrior possesses, the greater prestige, power and authority he has. To make a trophy head, they take out the brain from the base of the skull, then sew the mouth shut and make a small hole in the forehead, where they placed a cord to hang them by. In some unique cases, these heads have been used to purposely create undead sacrols.

In addition to the teleportation paths that cross the dry lands of the Dravi, the people have also taken to using the same technique to create designs of enormous dimensions out in the desert. They faithfully represent animals, plants, and geometric figures. The size of these figures prevents individuals from seeing them at ground level. Only from the air or from nearby hills can they be seen for what they are. It is unsure if this is a practice that started on the surface world as none of these geoglyphs have be discovered…yet.

The Dravish civilization carried out rituals to their unnamed immortals of the sea (Protius), the sky (Ixion), the earth (Kagyar), and fire (Ixion again). They create these gigantic works of art (inspired by Kagyar) for their immortals, and they are of a magical/elemental nature. Rituals revolve around avoiding droughts and providing battle magic support against their enemies. Their religion also has much to do with the Dravi Lines, which are vital to their teleportation trade routes.

History on the Outer World

Existing between the years of approximately BC 2000 and BC 1200, the Dravish culture was established in the Great Northway Lands of Brun. Its capital, Dravya, was on the banks of the Great Northway River (later along the sluggish waters of the Empty Valley), and from there its influence radiated as far as Khuzud in the north, and to Risilvar in the south. They also expanded towards the east, reaching the high zones of the Bylot Hills.

(All dates are approximate.)
  • BC 3000 The Great Rain of Fire destroys Blackmoor
  • BC 2300 Humans (mostly Oltec) begin arriving in the Yalu Bay area. In either a new practice or as an ancient tradition passed down by Oltecs, the passive tortles are dominated and enslaved.
  • BC 2000 The first distinctly Dravish communities which developed in the basin of the Great Northway appear, constructed by tortle slaves. Aranea begin to disguise their race in the face of the increasing human population.
  • BC 1500 A proper Dravish culture takes shape; the ceremonial center of Dravya is built. Dravi teleportation lines are built to connect the major population centers.
  • BC 1750 Dravya is abandoned due to an earthquake (possibly initiated by the tortles in a kind of genetic memory-response to the great earthquakes in the Sea of Dread region?) altering the path of the Great Northway River. The culture begins its decline.
  • BC 1200 The last remnants of Dravish society ends due to humanoid migrations and raiding.
  • BC 700 Fleeing their ancestral homeland, tortles (who outlived, culturally, their former masters) resettle the ancient Dravish city of Zul (renamed the Monoliths of Zul).
History in the Hollow World

After the earthquake of BC 1750, the Immortals recreated the city of Dravya along the Great Mud River just north of the World Spine mountains in Iciria, and transplanted a large population of humans and their tortle slaves. From there they spread out (slowly) from the Gomukudar Plateau in the north to the Izcikmir Highlands in the south. The Dravi began to painstakingly recreate their teleportation “roads” and also began to create new geoglyphs to honor the Immortals of the new red sun.

They eventually came into contact with the Kogolor dwarves, who had only arrived in the Hollow World approximately fifty years prior to the Dravi. The Kogolor were friendly and willing to trade and Dravi tended to alternate between trading and raiding. Nothing escalated to full out war as the Dravish heroes realized the futility of an all-out assault on the mountain strongholds.

Things pretty much remained that way for over a thousand years, until around BC 500 a new threat arrived: The Krugel Hordes. Having been placed between the Dravi and the far-off Neathar (with whom the Dravi never had much contact to begin with), the newly arrived horde swept over the Dravi lands again, and again, and again. Many Dravish cities were burned to ruins causing the borders of their land to greatly shrink.

However, instead of complete eradication, the Krugel Hordes settled into a pattern of raiding with the intent of taking food and what little treasure the people had, then retreating for a year or two to allow the village to recover so they can hit it again when there is more to take.

Although the Dravi have never fully reclaimed all of their previous territory, they have recovered enough to give the hordes as good as they take – raiding and plundering when their own harvests are poor. This is a rather dangerous proposition as the Dravi don’t have any kind of effective cavalry. They instead rely on ambushes, traps, and terrain to reduce or negate the Krugel advantages on horseback.

Relations with Other Races

One side effect of the arrival of the Krugel Hordes, is that the Dravi no longer bother raiding the Kogolor dwarves. They are content to trade with the dwarves and raid the orcs.

Outside of those two groups, the Dravi have very little contact. Antalian seafarers occasionally sail to the mouth of the Great Mud River for trading/raiding. The Dravi know about the Neathar, but it has never been worth going through the Krugel lands to maintain any kind of relations with them. There has been rare contact with the Oltecs, a people who the Dravi have mixed feelings for. They seem familiar, but at the same time very, very different. The Dravi would probably feel the same way about the Azcans if they ever met them.

Monsters

Chimera
Living Statues (Rock and Iron)
Pterosaur
Sacrol
Tortles
Last edited by sbwilson on Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Sturm
Blue Dragon
Posts: 5344
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:26 pm
Gender: male
Location: Genoa, Italy
Contact:

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by Sturm » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:52 am

Great work, indeed the Dravish civilization deserved a place in the Hollow World and no one tried to do it before! I think your take follows very well what little canon we have. I'd love to use it in play, thanks!
Editor of Threshold, the Mystara Magazine: http://pandius.com/thrs_mag.html

User avatar
sbwilson
Orc
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 5:23 am
Gender: male
Location: Lewiston, ID, USA

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by sbwilson » Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:37 pm

There are still a few things I want to develop. First is the whole tortle mystery - a mystery that completely fascinates me for some reason. Second is the underground aqueducts...which is a real world thing. Check out Puquios on wikipedia for a starter (there are also some awesome pictures and videos of them out there that spark the imagination). The thought of groups of tortle working underground to build these things has some potential. What else are the tortles doing under there out of sight of their masters?

Finally, I imagine that the Dravish geoglyphs hold some kind of magical power that benefits the culture as a whole. I have vague memories of some kind of "realm magic" (was that from Birthright?) that worked for nations but not necessarily for individuals. I'll have to go looking for that and see what can be developed.

(As a side note: if you're an anthropological geek like me, here is a great resource for pottery design of the people the Dravish are based on. With some work and imagination, you could build quite the mythology for them that fits well in Mystara/Hollow World). Due to my self-imposed timeline for getting this mini-gazetteer out, I haven't delved into this as much as I want. A project for a future day...or if someone else wants to tackle it...

User avatar
Boneguard
Deep One Priest
Posts: 1046
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:00 pm
Gender: male
Location: Gatineau (Quebec) Canada

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by Boneguard » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:39 pm

sbwilson wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:28 am
Stuck bed for the past few days due to an injury. What better way to pass the time than doing some cultural research and whipping out a Hollow World mini-gazetteer. :lol:

There are still some tweaking that needs to be done. It's not quite bare bones...more of a semi-fleshy zombie.

The Dravish Drylands

Technology: Iron Age
Life-style: Agricultural city-dwellers and geoglyph makers
Location: Izcikmir Highlands (south of the Krugel Hordes)
Population: 200,000 (99% human, 1% tortle) divided among several independent towns and villages
Language: Dravish
Government Type: Theocratic-militaristic
Outer-World Origin: Great Northway/Yazak Steppes (Brun) ca BC 1750
Further Reading: Dragon Magazine #6 & 7, “Tortles of the Purple Sage” by Merle and Jackie Rasmussen, and “The Dravish Civilization” by LoZompatore
Great work.

Minor nitpicking, it Dungeon Magazine #6 and #7.
Roleplaying is not a Hobby...it's a Way of Life.

Consolidated projet thread

User avatar
sbwilson
Orc
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 5:23 am
Gender: male
Location: Lewiston, ID, USA

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by sbwilson » Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:14 pm

Whoops...thanks. I blame the pain meds. :oops: It's fixed now.

User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
Posts: 20040
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Gender: male
Location: Norway
Contact:

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by Havard » Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:45 pm

Very cool writeup Steven! It makes sense that this culture was transported into the Hollow World. What RW culture resembles the Dravish the most in your opinion, if any?

I agree with you that the mysteries of the Tortles and the mysteries of the Dravi are incredibly fascinating.

-Havard

Aliases: Håvard Frosta, Havard Blackmoor, Blackmoorian, Dragon Turtle etc
Where to find me on the Web
The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
THRESHOLD Magazine - The Mystara Fanzine
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.

User avatar
sbwilson
Orc
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 5:23 am
Gender: male
Location: Lewiston, ID, USA

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by sbwilson » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:39 am

Havard wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:45 pm
What RW culture resembles the Dravish the most in your opinion, if any?
Without a doubt it is the Nazca of pre-Inca Peru. I think LoZompatore made a passing comment about them in his Dravish Civilization write up, and the more I looked into it, the more it seemed to fit. Not only are the Nazca lines of the real world a good fit, but the Nazca also had this thing with skulls and mummified heads. Even looking at their pottery designs, there are some reoccurring motifs like the "feline man" which could be some kind of connection with rakasta or kzinti (no idea off the top of my head if the timeline would match up with either of those races though...). The Nazca were also very warlike, which fits with the warrior statues found all over Dravish ruins. They were also fantastic textile workers, which gives a fun little kick to the thought of the Krugel Orcs having the Dravi as a source of their tabarko cloaks. There is also the fact that the Nazca elite lived in cut-off pyramid like buildings...very Dravish-ish.

All in all, lots of cool little connections and plenty of real-world material to sift through and expand the Dravish culture with.

User avatar
Sturm
Blue Dragon
Posts: 5344
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:26 pm
Gender: male
Location: Genoa, Italy
Contact:

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by Sturm » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:23 pm

I've been to Peru and I agree that Nazca culture could be a great inspiration.
Still I'm also pondering the idea of using a bit of Dravidian inspiration from the Indus Valley civilization because probably the name was taken from there and I'd also like to connect Sind and the fan created Yezchamenid Empire with the Dravish.
Editor of Threshold, the Mystara Magazine: http://pandius.com/thrs_mag.html

User avatar
sbwilson
Orc
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 5:23 am
Gender: male
Location: Lewiston, ID, USA

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by sbwilson » Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:38 pm

I think that would make a very cool blending of cultures. I’m not as familiar with those (especially the Yezchamenid) as I could be. Any ideas anyone has would be welcome. I’m not emotionally attached to any one interpretation. Time to go wander and research new (to me) parts of Mystara! (I love this setting and this community!)

User avatar
Sturm
Blue Dragon
Posts: 5344
Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 6:26 pm
Gender: male
Location: Genoa, Italy
Contact:

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by Sturm » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:19 pm

Very little is known of the ancient societies of Nazca and the Indus Valley. From the scarce informations, it could be fair to assume female immortals connected to agriculture were very important in both cultures, as well as water and canalization, and it could be possible sexual morals were way more relaxed than in later Peruvian and Indian cultures.
I'd like to also give them some remnants of Blackmoorian tech, as flying devices appears both in Peruvian and ancient Indian myths, and in the latter also magical weapons of various kinds. Also it is well known the Nazca lines can be seen well only from the sky.
Editor of Threshold, the Mystara Magazine: http://pandius.com/thrs_mag.html

User avatar
Cthulhudrew
Green Dragon
Posts: 4350
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:13 pm
Gender: male
Location: Long Beach, CA

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by Cthulhudrew » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:59 pm

This is a very interesting take. I hadn't thought of tying the OW Dravish transportation network with the Nazca lines before. I had toyed with doing something similar using Nazca lines with an Oltec gazetteer/expansion, however (more the aerial roadway/map that Sturm alludes to above). Given that you connect the Dravish with the Oltecs, maybe there could be a connection there between the various uses or inspirations for the Nazca-style lines. (Maybe the Dravish were assimilated by the Oltecs at some point?)

Also, your discussion of the Dravish lines that connect the gates reminds me a lot of the roads of the ancient Pueblo peoples of Chaco Canyon. They managed to create miles of almost entirely straight roadways in spite of not having sophisticated measurement or cartographic technologies like other civilizations might have had. The purpose of them still is not entirely known, but is widely believed to have economic or religious reasons (or both). (The Incas, too, had a much greater understanding of astrology than was once thought, as evidenced by the way that sites such as Machu Picchu are aligned with the rising sun).
Moderator of the Mystara and Greyhawk forums. My moderator voice is gray-green.
Image

User avatar
sbwilson
Orc
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 5:23 am
Gender: male
Location: Lewiston, ID, USA

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by sbwilson » Mon Mar 04, 2019 6:07 pm

And I’m embarrassed that I completely missed the connection of the name “Dravish” with the Dravidian language group. That gives a lot more sources to cobble together a unique Mystaran culture.

User avatar
Chimpman
Hadozee
Posts: 7914
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 6:52 pm
Gender: male
Location: USA, California

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by Chimpman » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:35 pm

I'm late to the game but I love this write up. You've taught me some things about the Nazca that I never even realized existed (the underground aqueducts - very cool).

I'm not as familiar with the Dravish references in Mysara canon as I'd like to be. Are there any descendants of the Dravish currently on Mystara (in the modern era)? Were the chameleon men associated with the Dravish in any way?
THRESHOLD Magazine - The Mystara Fanzine
Visit the Exiles Campaign Setting (a Mystara / Spelljammer crossover)
Visit Mystara 2300 BC

Moderator of The Tabard Inn and Blackmoor. My moderator voice is purple.

agathokles
Red Dragon
Posts: 7655
Joined: Sat May 24, 2008 6:42 pm
Gender: male
Location: Milan, Italy
Contact:

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by agathokles » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:37 pm

Somehow I'd also missed this one! Very cool.
GP

User avatar
Seer of Yhog
Outer Being
Posts: 3226
Joined: Fri May 23, 2008 1:29 am
Gender: male
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Re: The Dravish Drylands - Mini Gazetteer

Post by Seer of Yhog » Thu Aug 22, 2019 5:10 pm

Very interesting - I'm surprised I missed this one as well!
Moderator for Mystara. My moderator voice is heliotrope.

My Blog is here!

Post Reply

Return to “Hollow World”