Robrenn

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Havard
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Robrenn

Post by Havard » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:29 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:Robrenn is very Gaulish, but also seems to take some inspiration from pagan Ireland. I don't think it's mutually exclusive, anyway, since there are other examples of cultural duplication in Mystara. Hinterlanders often have blond or red hair and they believe things like "to fight alone is to be a hero; to fight in in formation is to be an ant." They don't seem very Roman to me, but they're a good analogue for the still-barbaric Celtic tribes who were influenced by Latin culture. Robrenn, on the other hand, represent a kingdom of Celts who were never conquered or influenced by outside forces, but instead became a civilized nation on their own terms.

I think it'd be reasonable to assume that Robrenn and the Hinterlands have common ancestors.
The above comment by Ripvanwormer (from this thread) made me think about Robrenn again. Would Robrenn be an interesting place to base a campaign around or would it simply be a place to visit? I believe Bruce Heard confirmed the inspiration from the Gauls and specifically the Asterix comics for the country, though I really like Ripvanwormer's description here of a 'Celtic people never conquered by outside forces". The sort of weird thing about Robrenn is perhaps that it is found on the Savage Coast, surrounded by cultures that feel very different from it. In this thread, we talked about connections between all the M-Celt cultures of Mystara, even if they are scattered all across the planet. But I suppose that is not that different from the situation in Europe where Celtic influences have survived in pockets long after the majority of the continent became dominated by Latin and Germanic peoples. I could see the M-Celts (Carnuil, if you like) being a culture that dominated much of Brun along with more primitive Neathar and Oltec Tribes before the rise of Nithia. It was in fact Nithia that divided the M-Celts and destroyed much of the contact between the eastern (Isle of Dawn) and western (Robrenn) branch of this culture. It is interesting that the cult of Orisis has surivived as a druidic cult on Ierendi, even if they are of Nithian descent. This suggests a deeper connection between the M-Celts and the Nithians, even if the Nithians ultimately became dominated by darker elements. Could the Nithian tendency to build Pyramids somehow be connected to the Robrenn and Menhirs and Druidic Stone Circles? Another thought: Are M-Celts simply a result of humans living under the influence of Fey? With the Fey being the connecting factor?

Back to Robrenn, what sources would be good additional reading material for a Robrenn campaign? I can think of:
  • The Savage Coast Boxed Set
  • Dragon #177: VOYAGE OF THE PRINCESS ARK 24: "Lords of forest." 2000: Burymir 14-18, 20
  • PC1 Tall Tales of the Wee Folk
  • AD&D HR3 Celts
  • AD&D The Complete Druid's Handbook
How would you use Robrenn in a campaign?

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Re: Robrenn

Post by agathokles » Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:31 pm

I agree on Asterix being the primary reference for Robrenn. I don't see much Irish background in it, and as far as "Celtic people never conquered by outside forces", it all depends at what time you are observing them... "never" only refers to the past. Besides, it is quite the description of Asterix's village...

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Re: Robrenn

Post by Havard » Thu Jul 28, 2016 12:08 am

agathokles wrote:I agree on Asterix being the primary reference for Robrenn. I don't see much Irish background in it, and as far as "Celtic people never conquered by outside forces", it all depends at what time you are observing them... "never" only refers to the past. Besides, it is quite the description of Asterix's village...
Yes. Although I an a fan of the Asterix comics, I would probably draw from anything Celtic simply because I don't know enough about these cultures to properly distinguish them from one another. The whole druidic knight concept reminded me of the old computer game Moonstone: a Hard Day's Knight for some reason.

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Re: Robrenn

Post by NPCDave » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:12 pm

There are Celtic adventures in Dungeon Magazine issues #21 and #56. There are a few more scattered throughout the published issues, but I can't find any collected listing of them.

There is also a Celtic adventure in Imagine Magazine issue #12., [EDIT]issues #5 and #17.

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Re: Robrenn

Post by paleologos » Fri Oct 28, 2016 4:03 am

I've been going through the classic AD&D 1e modules, lately, and was struck by how Bob Blake's C4 "To Find a King" and C5 "Bane of Llywelyn" would work particularly well in Robrenn. The adventures are set in a generic campaign world with Celtic overtones, something that Blake had first toyed with in the setting for his Gen Con IX dungeons (published by Judges Guild in 1978).

The two form the "Prophecy of Brie" series, and were originally published as RPGA modules 5, 6, 7, and 8, in Polyhedron newsletters 16, 17, 18, and 19, respectively. The multi-part adventure is for 6-10 characters, levels 4-7, and was originally run as a tournament at Gen Con XVI in 1983.

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Re: Robrenn

Post by Sturm » Fri Oct 28, 2016 11:45 am

Nice idea about a connection between Nithians and M-Celts.
I more or less have the idea they are a Neathar culture which was influenced by the fey, as you said, starting from the Valemen in Blackmoor (which has itself much arthurian elements). M-celts were then forced to migrate to the Isle of Dawn and Brun by Blackmoorian expansion, and the GroF further divided them. Taymorans and Nithian probably contributed too as they absorbed or chased away celtic-like people in the Known World.
I also imagined in Threshold issue #2 that Mishler's Neathar confederation in the Age of Blackmoor history was guided by the mortal identity of Djaea, as canonically she founded druidism and ascended to immortality.
The fact that druids are still widespread in the KW IMO is a sign that remnants of the old Neathar/M-celtic culture are still alive in the KW. I would also reconnect a part of the Klantyrian culture to it, rather than exclusively from Laterre.
In modern Mystara, I would probably use Galatians inspirations for the Hinterlanders and Bretons for Robrenn, thus making them quite different. M-Irish could be the Northern Isle of Dawn.
M-Galicians should also be very appropriate in the region between Robrenn and the Savage Baronies.
Internal Brun should and could also have more of these populations..

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Re: Robrenn

Post by Cthulhudrew » Sat Oct 29, 2016 12:21 am

Nice idea about modules C4 and C5; I'm only passing familiar with them, but I agree based on what I know that this would be a good area to stage them!

As to Robrenn's culture, I think they should definitely be Gaulish, rather than Celtic, if only because they follow the progression with their succeeding cultures along the coast which are by and large French. Something that Bruce did that was different in regards to using RW cultures as inspiration that was different with the Savage Coast than with the KW nations is to have cultures representative of RW cultures, but rather than different geographic areas, instead one geographic area in different time frames. Thus we have some of the Savage Baronies represent Spain and Portugal in different (though relatively close) historical time periods, and we have Robrenn, Eusdria, Renardy, representing France in its Antiquity, Middle Age, and early Modern/Late Middle Age period.

On that latter point, although Bellayne currently feels more British in feel (though a Britain contemporaneous with the era represented by Renardy), I almost wonder if making it more like Normandy would be a better fit for it.
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Re: Robrenn

Post by ripvanwormer » Sun Oct 30, 2016 2:49 am

Dragon #102 has a Celtic-themed adventure called "Valley of the Earth Mother." The titular Earth Mother in the adventure is the goddess Danann (specifically as she was detailed in Dragon #65's version of the Celtic pantheon), but in Robrenn she would be Breig (Ordana), Robrenn's patron Immortal. The cult of Arawn is also important in the adventure—in Robrenn this is Nyt, an alias of Hel. I should note that Danann is Irish and Arawn is Welsh, so this adventure has a decidedly mixed cultural inspiration, but it's perfect for Robrenn's canonical pantheon.

The adventure begins in a small fortified village (called Dungaelen in the adventure) on the outskirts of human habitation, south of a mountain range from which hordes of orcs are an increasing problem. This is perfect for Robrenn, which is south of plateaus teaming with orcs, and problems with orc raids are part of the storyline in the Voyage of the Princess Ark installment in Dragon #177. Any of the northern forts in Robrenn would work well for Dungaelen—perhaps Raurax.

The NPC names in the adventure, including Lord Vortimax and the druid Avanthus, are perfect for Robrennish characters.

The adventurers are sent two days upstream a nearby river to a ruined religious stronghold built under a hill in honor of the Earth Mother. Once a druidic stronghold, it is now under the control of the cult of the lord of death. Looking at the map of Robrenn I see a virtually perfect place, the ruins labeled "Mounds of Ligona."

So the adventure begins in Raurax, which is threatened by the Carnax orcs.
Lately, it has been unceasingly raided and harassed by hordes of orcs. At first the raids were infrequent and the raiders few in number, but the orcs are beginning to realize how much they outnumber the fighting population of Raurax. Soon the fort will be under an all-out attack. Brave though their warriors are, the people of Raurax do not believe they can long defend their log ramparts against the enemy.
Lord Vortimax instructs the PCs to travel 30 miles upstream along the New Hope River (an apt name; it's the Daan River in the adventure) to the Mounds of Ligona. The druids who once ruled there possessed a relic called the Torc of the Immortals (the Torc of the Gods in the adventure), which is said to have magical powers that could assist the people of Raurax in driving off the orcish hordes.

The map shows a smaller river flowing into the New Hope from the Mounds. This is the Blood River, created by the evil priests of Nyt to replace the pure magical stream water that used to flow from the mounds. It's literally a river of blood created from a magic item similar to a decanter of endless water, except it's a decanter of endless blood instead. If this is stoppered by the PCs, the Water of Life will once again flow untainted from beneath the mound, and it can be used to magically transform the corrupted statue of Nyt into a statue of Breig, who has the Torc of the Immortals ringed around her neck.

With a successful completion of the adventure, the swamps of the valley, which are foul and tainted with the River of Blood, will become green and fertile again, the power of the Torc will defeat the orcish invasion, and the druids will return to the Mounds of Ligona to reestablish it as a shrine of Breig. The climactic battle between the Carnax orcs and the defenders of Raurax takes place in the hex marked "Battle of Nicabriva" on the Robrenn map.

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Re: Robrenn

Post by Havard » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:38 am

That's a nice adaptation! :)

The location does sound perfect!

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