Colima and the Stonecarvers

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LoZompatore
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Colima and the Stonecarvers

Post by LoZompatore »

I'm posting here a collection of info about the Stonecarver culture of Colima from HWA2 and HWA3 modules.

The Colimans are a group of exiled people from the Stonecarvers, a nomadic culture whose prominent activity is the carving of giant human shaped-monuments on (coastal?) mountain slopes. They seems to be a semi-nomadic seafaring culture, as they move oversea every few generations, once the monument is completed. They are of Neathar stock (see below).
In my opinion a real world comparison for this culture might be found in the ancient Cycladic people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Cyclades) but actually there are a lot of ancient cultures who built giant statues (the Khmer, some Native American populations, teh Kyrgizi, the Chinese, not to mention the Easter Island people).

Here you are the most interesting info:

Physical appearance:

We have the description of Dael, a Coliman:

"Tall and almost as thin as the shepherd’s crook he carries, Dael looks younger than his 24 years. It may be his disarrayed blond hair, or his thin blond beard that makes him look, not bearded, but simply unshaven...
Though the workmanship is good, most of the figures remain unfinished. “No folks around to help me polish them up,” says Dael. (He belongs to the Stonecarver culture that settled Colima)"


The Colimans consider the Sahajahpuri as being darker then them:

"Traders from these "Cheerful brown folks" (Sahajahpuri) visited Colima over a decade ago."

I'd say that the Colimans are definitely of Neathar origin.

Seafaring culture:

Some examples:

"People in Colima measure the passage of years by tide levels, which the Immortals have adjusted so that they vary regularly through the year."

"In the Stonecarver village near Coresco a chieftain of notable ruthlesness seized power. His tyranny drove many of the village’s finest artisans to flee, with their families, in a leaky longboat. They headed north, and then that decade’s hurricane rose with the suddenness of a curse."

"Colima was founded by shipwrecked refugees of the Stonecarver culture, a small, semi nomadic tribe that settles in one place for a few generations to carve a huge sculpture, then moves on...."

"About 200 merchants and shoppers are haggling at the tops of their lungs, trading... fish, fishhooks, fishnets..."

"The PCs ship must set out from Colima (on a Coliman one masted ship), sail out the mouth of the bay, then travel some 3000 miles across the Merry Pirate Seas and the Anathy Archipelago to Shahjapur. In the Known World, a comparable journey would stretch from the Minrothad Guilds to the eastern coast of Alphatia!"


By the way, notice that we know both the original starting place of the Stonecarvers - a settlement near Coresco - and the location of Colima - in a bay along the coast between the Traldar Kingdoms and the Azcan Empire, west of the Merry Pirates; IIRC the HWA2-3 give further details leading to place this town in the mushroom-shaped bay of the coast.
Taking into account these locations (and even if in the meantime the original group of Stonecarvers moved elsewhere), I think that the Stonecarvers inhabits warm temperate and subtropical regions. This may be an hint about placing their monuments in the outer world.

Religion:

We don't explicitly know which Immortals are revered by the Colimans. Here is all the information I gathered:

"The travellers were refugees from the Stonecarver culture, a small and primitive group in the southern Gulf near Coresco, transplanted by an unknown Immortal from the outer world to the Hollow World in the distant past and soon forgotten... Once every few generations they built and occupied a whole village, living there just long enough to carve one or more awesome stone monoliths, tributes to their unnamed patron entity."

"If Dael is along, he can explain the half-finished monument. - That's from an old Stonecarver legend, - he says, - The Old Mountain Giant. In the stories we tell little ones, he follows good folk around and punishes those who harm them.- "

"About a dozen statues around the marketplace. They're big, looming stone figures, carved like people but with the eyes large and bulging.
In every deal, the seller displays the purchase and and the item offered in trade to one of these statues. Nothing happens that you can tell, but then they conclude the deal.
The statues, an old Coliman custom, are called "observers". Though they are not magical, superstition claims they ensure fairness in all transactions. The custom of presenting the trade to the staues lets each bargainer mull over the deal. In practice, a trader who has made an unfavorable bargain can use the observers as an excuse to back out of the deal."

"Colima rouling council may have deduced that Kaze has something to do with the apparent departure of the Immortals."


Society:

The Colimans are peaceful people, with a semi-nomaic lifestyle, whose main industries are stonecarving and trade. About trade, they seem quite a trickster people: Dael was exiled by the community because he was cursed to always tell the truth, becoming unfit for most of the activities performed by the townspeople.
The city is loosely ruled by a city council led by an elder. The council seldom meet to discuss some particularly important issue.
The Colimans do no use coins, their trades being led with barter. They have some smiths who are able to forge iron, so their civilization should not be so primitive (possibly similar to the real world Phoenician of 1000-500 BCE).

"These people alternated periods of nomadic wandering with more sedentary habits.

"The townspeople are peaceful by nature, and they display curiosity about strangers who don't look like Azca and Merry Pirates...

"Government: Occasional town meetings in marketplace, otherwise none. Rashan Twinchisel, oldest citizen, exercises informal authority.

"The PCs can purchase basic supplies at this marketplace, such as food and clothing , but no one sells armor, weapons, or magical items... Colimans use no money...

"About 200 merchants and shoppers are haggling at the tops of their lungs, trading eggs, fish, fishhooks, fishnets, woven mats, wooden drums, wooden stools, fruits and vegetables, bone flutes, skin drums, and saddle blankets. They don't use money, just barter."


Notice that Colima is a settlement with about 1000 inhabitants (there is also another small village with another 100 people). If we keep a proportion 5:1 between townspeople and countryside people we may estimate some 6000 stonecarvers in the Coliman region. If the town of Colima has 200 merchants and shoppers (some 3% of the total population, or 20% of the urban population) maybe the stonecarvers keep some strong trading traditons.

Names:

A collection of Stonecarvers names from HWA2-3. I don't think they follow any recognizable rule:

Dael, Mati, Clerias, Mikalman, Barki, Oleg, Malda, Tuvy top-net, Ratim, Tomor, Pratey, Amar Hetixo, Tealain, Junn Sillkin, Golbun.

Remarks:

If the Stonecarvers lived before the Great Rain of Fire they might have populated the present northern Davanian coast. If they lived after the Great Rain of Fire they might have inhabited the northern Davanian coast, the Arm of the Immortal, the Trident Bay or the Addakian Sound (I find this placement particularly cool: ships sailing along the Sound may find many giant stone sculptures acting as landmarks for the sailors).

Any thoughts?
Last edited by LoZompatore on Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Cthulhudrew
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Re: Colima and the Stonecarvers

Post by Cthulhudrew »

Offhand, one idea comes to mind (I, too, thought of the Easter Islanders when thinking of the Stonecarvers, as you will be able to tell):

Module X8: Drums on Fire Mountain takes place on an Easter Island sort of island, where the aboriginal inhabitants (the kara-kara orcs; who as an aside might possibly be found in the Merry Pirate seas as well?) live among some ruins that are the remnants- seemingly- of some sort of Moai/alienlike culture, complete with statuary (IIRC- I'd have to double check).

Geoff Gander expanded on these people somewhat with his development of the Isles of Steam and the M'Kar. I got to thinking, though- what if the M'Kar used slave/hired labor to carve the statues of themselves, employing the Stonecarvers?

I also have some other thoughts regarding their Outer World origins and their unknown patron Immortal (at the moment I'm thinking Kagyar, as it would very definitely fit in with some thoughts I've had pertaining to Kagyar's own mortal life and quest for Immortality.) I'll post a little more later in the day.
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Chimpman
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Re: Colima and the Stonecarvers

Post by Chimpman »

LoZompatore wrote:The Colimans do no use coins, their trades being led with barter. They have some smiths who are able to forge iron, so their civilization should not be so primitive (possibly similar to the real world Phoenician of 1000-500 BCE).
Just stumbled upon this thread while doing some other research. One clue as to the time period of their outer world existence is the line above. If they have iron level technology they could have been contemporaries to Thonian or Blackmoorian cultures. There is a line in the HW timeline that mentions "a few human tribes were placed in the HW" in BC 4000. The tribes aren't mentioned by name (as far as I know) but one of them could have been the Stonecarver civilization.

On the other hand if we go for a post Rain of Fire era, this actually narrows our time range quite a bit. We know that Nithia and it's contemporaries were bronze age civilizations, so the Stonecarvers could not have existed from BC 3000 to BC 2000 (when Nithia is first established). I get the impression that even Nithia at its height (BC 1500) was still using bronze weapons. I do find it likely though, that towards the end of the civilization (circa BC 700 to BC 500) they were probably using iron weapons. So if we go with a post-GRoF period, that means the Stonecarvers probably didn't exist until sometime after BC 700.
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yellowdingo
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Re: Colima and the Stonecarvers

Post by yellowdingo »

Actually I'm fairly certain that X1 Isle of Dread also mentions carved stone statues in the wilderness on the small peninsula where the Natives dwell...

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Re: Colima and the Stonecarvers

Post by Cthulhudrew »

Spitballing some ideas I had recently regarding the Oltecs and Stonecarvers and possible origins.

The Oltecs are based predominantly on the Incas, who are well known for their stonework. The Incas, in turn, actually largely derived their techniques with stone from an earlier culture, the Tiahuanaco. There are also myths in Andean cultures about the Pururaucas- legendary warriors made out of stone that helped the Incas in their war against the Chancas.

I got to thinking- perhaps the Mystaran version of the Pururaucas might have been stone giants (most likely from Gandhar), who were perhaps the tutors or at least inspiration for the Oltec stonecraft. The Stonecarvers might have either been descended from a Tiahunaco like culture that was assimilated into the Oltec Empire (and thus gave them their stonecraft) or else might have been descended from a non-related culture who similarly benefited from Stone Giant handiwork at some unspecified point in history. The giant-stonecarver connection might also explain their penchant for crafting giant stone statues, perhaps out of some barely remembered homage to their benefactors.
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