Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Weird red metals, dominions, immortals, hollow planets, invisible moons, and a lot of glorified magic zeppelins. It's all here.
The Book-House: Find Mystara products, Find Known World products.

Moderators: Seer of Yhog, Gawain_VIII, Havard, Cthulhudrew

User avatar
pawsplay
Stone Giant
Posts: 741
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:58 am

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by pawsplay »

I think the lack of valuable items in the upper levels made them effectively unguarded. Why else would the statues of the immortals persist even after the long-time dominance of the Zargonites?

User avatar
stanles
Stone Giant
Posts: 627
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:22 am
Gender: prefer not to say
Contact:

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by stanles »

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:10 am
EDIT: On the topic of the trapped statues vs. non-trapped, and egress routes to the surface- could their egress be tied to some kind of mutually respected rituals among the factions? IE, the Magi of Usamigaras use the safe exit during certain days/nights of the month in order to perform their age old rituals in respect of their Immortal patron, and are granted unimpeded access by the other two factions; in return, they also grant the same access to the other factions during their respective religious rites.

A comparison that comes to mind is how different groups on Easter Island had to negotiate with one another in order to be able to access resources that were outside of their group's recognized territory (for religious or other reasons), even when those groups might at other times be at odds through war or other conflict.
good idea Andrew. Also I didn't know that about Easter Islanders, that is an interesting thought
Visit the Vaults of Pandius http://pandius.com, the official website for the Dungeons and Dragons setting of Mystara.

Submissions to the Vaults can be made directly to webmaster@pandius.com

User avatar
stanles
Stone Giant
Posts: 627
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:22 am
Gender: prefer not to say
Contact:

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by stanles »

pawsplay wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:32 am
I think the lack of valuable items in the upper levels made them effectively unguarded. Why else would the statues of the immortals persist even after the long-time dominance of the Zargonites?
very true pawsplay - after years left to ravages of the desert winds - but still there, and, by all accounts, still working.
Visit the Vaults of Pandius http://pandius.com, the official website for the Dungeons and Dragons setting of Mystara.

Submissions to the Vaults can be made directly to webmaster@pandius.com

KtA
Bugbear
Posts: 154
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:09 am
Gender: male
Location: Orc's Head Peninsula, Savage Coast

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by KtA »

agathokles wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 5:50 am
Note that Cynidicea is not totally isolated. Gnomes reach it through underground passages. Probably the Cynidiceans buy foodstuff from them in return for something valuable -- drugs, maybe? Or perhaps they slowly sell away their accumulated wealth?
pawsplay wrote:
Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:44 am
The goblins serve Zargon; whatever the goblins have access to, the priests of Zargon have access to. And thence any Cynidiceans.
Yeah. Their primary connections (at least Cynidicea as a whole, not necessarily the three sane factions) are with other subterranean beings, not the surface humans of Ylaruam.

It's possible that the Cynidiceans are continuing to evolve away from the rest of humanity - especially if Zargon's influence isn't defeated. Unless PCs change things so that the three 'sane' factions win out over the Zargonites, in a thousand years the Cynidiceans might be just another underground, "dungeon-dwelling monster" humanoid type.
Cthulhudrew wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:10 am
IE, the Magi of Usamigaras use the safe exit during certain days/nights of the month in order to perform their age old rituals in respect of their Immortal patron, and are granted unimpeded access by the other two factions; in return, they also grant the same access to the other factions during their respective religious rites.

A comparison that comes to mind is how different groups on Easter Island had to negotiate with one another in order to be able to access resources that were outside of their group's recognized territory (for religious or other reasons), even when those groups might at other times be at odds through war or other conflict.
Makes sense. I like that idea. The uppermost level/access to the surface might be a sort of 'sacred ground' shared by all three factions but claimed by none of them.

User avatar
Robin
White Dragon
Posts: 2401
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:33 pm
Gender: female
Location: Netherland Groningen
Contact:

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by Robin »

What I actually meant these adventures are made as a turning point in the local society. The 'heroes' save the 'primitives' from the great evil, and with that they willingly AND unwillingly like all the other creatures entering the area will affect the location (with their presence alone they change the location, let alone their actions, and other creatures do the same), which can't stay as it was. It will change, and with that may bring even more adventure, yet will change the location proportionally in its new reference frame.
Similar to the Traldar and Hutaakan in B10...They will be free to roam around, and others will be fre to do the same (limited in the beginning, yet they will become full members of Karaman society with all its consequences.
As the same to Cynidicea, the upper factions will very soon leave the pyramid when becoming exposed to the influx of external influences. They are already affected in such a way that they (according to the adventure itself) are very willing to accept new membersinto their flock.
I would be curious how this would happen. A druid/dervish might be able summon water from below and create a permanent surface source of water to enable the Cynidiceans to live close to their origin while still on the surface. When the ground is wet, growth of Plants and fertility spells will be able to create a more or less shaded oasis which can be the base for a=surface adaptation of the Gorem, Usamigaris, Maduarua factions, while the zargon faction will surely be more reclusive and prone to their current state, yet with or without zargon, even they will change, maybe even exchanged by the already available humanoids under Zargon as the adventure explains.

As to Agathokles. ...That is precisely what I meant. The adventure clearly speaks of a culture/society already changing (to the best or worst depends on the adventurers' actions).
My Deviantart page; http://6inchnails.deviantart.com/ For Mystara hexmaps and Fantasy art
(to see all fantasy art; log inn and declare you are an adult...frigging exposure rules)

My personal Mystara Blog;http://breathofmystara.blogspot.nl/ with lots of information, soon active again.

All my collected works on The Piazza

User avatar
Robin
White Dragon
Posts: 2401
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:33 pm
Gender: female
Location: Netherland Groningen
Contact:

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by Robin »

Btw
this (excellent) Cover of the Cynidicea PDF by Geoff Gander
Image
has Zargon on the cover, ...OUTSIDE the pyramid....where PC's are battling it.
That alone would be a reason for the Ylari army to help defeating such a monster....if it can walk/crawl outside and become a menace
and that gives some serious credence of the social/cultural effects inside, yet also outside Cynidicea of mutual social/cultural infections into the local Ylari culture
My Deviantart page; http://6inchnails.deviantart.com/ For Mystara hexmaps and Fantasy art
(to see all fantasy art; log inn and declare you are an adult...frigging exposure rules)

My personal Mystara Blog;http://breathofmystara.blogspot.nl/ with lots of information, soon active again.

All my collected works on The Piazza

User avatar
Mike
Troll
Posts: 349
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:49 pm
Gender: male
Location: The Sylvan Realm (Beaverton, OR)
Contact:

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by Mike »

The text is explicit that the cults are Cynidiceans. I read the "nearly normal" as behavioral not racial.

Last time I ran this adventure the cults were secret societies, and the Zargonite elites were in firm control of the city. The average Cynidicean was not always drugged, sometimes they were semi-lucid and went half-heartedly about chores like growing food. I feel this is a necessary thing otherwise everyone would get permanently high and starve within days. So in the city market sometimes the mushroom seller is there, sometimes missing, sometimes lying in a stupor or dancing with others in a strange hallucinogenic dream. The mushroom orchards were overgrown and poorly tended, but sometimes you'd find someone out there working or harvesting, but just as likely they are high af or the place is deserted. Everything was dilapidated and half-abandoned, but not fully abandoned.

The Zargonites provide the drugs everyone is addicted to and control them that way, and also serve as the religion. The Zargonites were aware of the cults and sometimes catch members, but had been unable to discover their hiding place or find them all. (The cults also had safe houses in the subterranean city; the pyramid only contains their shrines and headquarters.) Citizens inform on each other and are rewarded with extra drugs, so the cults have to stay secret. They wear masks and pretend to be high in the city to escape detection, while working to cut off the drug supply (or find an antidote) and topple the Zargonites. But as the adventure starts they are bickering and not united. IMC they were compassionate and protective of the drugged Cynidiceans, whom they hope to rescue. Drugs are presented as a sacred gift of Zargon, and Zargon portrayed as a benefactor and god.

Since the cults are off the drugs they'll be aware of the city's history since its literally written on the walls, but other Cynidiceans have forgotten and would not care if you told them. So the cults preserve the cultural heritage. They might occasionally take trips up to visit the ruins, but there is nothing there. No food, no water, there is no way to survive and nothing to explore, just endless sand. The hobgoblin had been dead for several weeks so obviously if they go, they don't go often. Are they even aware the some parts of the world are not desolate? Maybe they think the desert is part of the curse of Zargon, and when he is overthrown the world will become livable again. That could explain keeping the nature traditions alive, sort of like a rain dance to bring back the rain. The Usamagari might go out on certain nights to study the stars, but perhaps only four times a year. Then again maybe this is all book knowledge of how it was before, and how it shall someday be again. The statues might be tended as "sacred artifacts" and the traps reset by tradition... it seems plausible that each cult traps its own cylinder to keep the other cults out. They might not even go into the statues (too sacred?), but just visit them as shrines and reset the traps, like a cargo cult or the people who worshiped the missile (without understanding what it was) in Planet of the Apes.

IMC the Zargonites employed goblins as mercenary troops and hobgoblins as taskmasters, so the hobgoblin in the entrance probably just wandered up there. I would assume the Zargonites know what is above, but they might not know how to get there. The pyramid is difficult to navigate with secret passages, perhaps the Zargonites have not discovered the upper levels (1-4) and that's why the cults are hidden there. Levels 1-4 could even be a cult secret dating from the days before Zargon. There might be other ways to get to the surface, other than the pyramid. Even if they go out another way and find the pyramid, the door is secret so they might not know there is anything inside.

Why are Cynidiceans and hobgoblins up there? Cynidiceans roam everywhere and get into everything and nobody pays them any attention. When they get in, the cults gently lead them back to the city, and the upper pyramid was just part of the dream. I played the hobgoblins as sneering and disdainful of the Zargonites, an alliance of convenience and greed. Hobs were crafty foreign mob bosses supplying them with goblins but not trusting them, not sharing their secrets, speaking their own language, and considering them even more degenerate than goblinkind. Clever players could (but did not) ally with hobs against the Zargonites.

The Zargonites and everyone else inhabit the city willingly, not because they are trapped. The Cynidiceans stay because they are addicted to the yummy drugs. The Zargonites stay to serve Zargon and hold on to power. The cults stay to rescue their countrymen and get revenge on the Zargonites. (They all stay willingly, but of course the desert discourages travel above, and the Shadowdeep is hostile to travel beneath. Here there is food and water and people to party with.)

At one point I assumed the city and pyramid had been completely buried until recently, but I don't see that in the text. It could be a plausible detail though.

User avatar
Mike
Troll
Posts: 349
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:49 pm
Gender: male
Location: The Sylvan Realm (Beaverton, OR)
Contact:

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by Mike »

It was mentioned that hobgoblins are rare in Ylaruam, but this module predated the Ylaruam gazetteer by 5-6 years. At the time it was published all we had was one paragraph in X1, and no detail about inhabitants.

Gnomes: tier 1-2
Goblins: tier 1-2, and underground area O
Hobgoblins: tier 3-4, and underground area O
Cynidicean: tiers 1-5
Thoul: tier 5

Probably not too much should be read into the wandering monster tables, as these are standard level-based dungeon encounters. Goblins would never be encountered on level 2, nor hobgoblins on level 1, and neither on level 3 even if it made sense... because that's not how D&D was designed. Hobgoblins were not so much a separate species as simply "level 2 goblins" and thouls could be considered "level 3 goblins." D&D is level-based and "monster race" is mostly flavor text, while Mystara is race-based and level is almost irrelevant. So for use in Mystara the specific dungeon design and specific races should be taken with a grain of salt.

KtA
Bugbear
Posts: 154
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:09 am
Gender: male
Location: Orc's Head Peninsula, Savage Coast

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by KtA »

Mike wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:40 pm
The mushroom orchards were overgrown and poorly tended, but sometimes you'd find someone out there working or harvesting, but just as likely they are high af or the place is deserted. Everything was dilapidated and half-abandoned, but not fully abandoned.
Yeah, I think this is how it's meant to work from the B4 description.

I think some of the mushroom farms being overgrown & livestock roaming wild might also be because the population has diminished from what it once was, so they don't need as extensive farming as they once did.
(The cults also had safe houses in the subterranean city; the pyramid only contains their shrines and headquarters.)
I agree. Their headquarters are in the pyramid - probably both to be as far from Zargon as possible and to retain a link to the surface world (now largely symbolic as they can't endure the desert sun).

Just because the worshipers of Gorm use lightning as a symbol doesn't necessarily mean that they regularly experience lightning storms. The symbol could have survived as a tradition even if it's not really understood. Same for the seasonal cycles of Madarua worship.

I think only the Magi actually go to the surface on anything like a regular basis, and their astronomy will all be at night anyway.

They might occasionally take trips up to visit the ruins, but there is nothing there. No food, no water, there is no way to survive and nothing to explore, just endless sand. The hobgoblin had been dead for several weeks so obviously if they go, they don't go often.
Yeah, I agree. The Magi will go out occasionally to observe the stars, but not that often; other factions much less so, if at all. And the Cynidiceans are surrounded by barren desert so they have no reason to do anything else on the surface.
Mike wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:08 am
Probably not too much should be read into the wandering monster tables, as these are standard level-based dungeon encounters. Goblins would never be encountered on level 2, nor hobgoblins on level 1, and neither on level 3 even if it made sense... because that's not how D&D was designed. Hobgoblins were not so much a separate species as simply "level 2 goblins" and thouls could be considered "level 3 goblins."
I agree.

User avatar
pawsplay
Stone Giant
Posts: 741
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:58 am

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by pawsplay »

B4 describes the goblin communities surrounding the underground city.

User avatar
stanles
Stone Giant
Posts: 627
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:22 am
Gender: prefer not to say
Contact:

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by stanles »

KtA wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:11 am
Mike wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:40 pm
(The cults also had safe houses in the subterranean city; the pyramid only contains their shrines and headquarters.)
I agree. Their headquarters are in the pyramid - probably both to be as far from Zargon as possible and to retain a link to the surface world (now largely symbolic as they can't endure the desert sun).

Just because the worshipers of Gorm use lightning as a symbol doesn't necessarily mean that they regularly experience lightning storms. The symbol could have survived as a tradition even if it's not really understood. Same for the seasonal cycles of Madarua worship.

I think only the Magi actually go to the surface on anything like a regular basis, and their astronomy will all be at night anyway.

They might occasionally take trips up to visit the ruins, but there is nothing there. No food, no water, there is no way to survive and nothing to explore, just endless sand. The hobgoblin had been dead for several weeks so obviously if they go, they don't go often.
Yeah, I agree. The Magi will go out occasionally to observe the stars, but not that often; other factions much less so, if at all. And the Cynidiceans are surrounded by barren desert so they have no reason to do anything else on the surface.
Yeah, I agree with respect to the hobgoblin. That's part of the reason why I brought it up - if we assume that one or more of the factions goes outside occasionally then the hobgoblin gives an indication of how often they would do it. Namely - not that often.

Interesting view about Gorm and Madarua, that could be the case, but yes I agree that the Magi are the most likely to need to go outside the most often. Though it is interesting that out of the three statues that the statue of Usamigaras is the only one whose trap is not set. Yeah, I'm undoubtedly reading too much into that.
Visit the Vaults of Pandius http://pandius.com, the official website for the Dungeons and Dragons setting of Mystara.

Submissions to the Vaults can be made directly to webmaster@pandius.com

User avatar
stanles
Stone Giant
Posts: 627
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:22 am
Gender: prefer not to say
Contact:

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by stanles »

Mike wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:08 am
It was mentioned that hobgoblins are rare in Ylaruam, but this module predated the Ylaruam gazetteer by 5-6 years. At the time it was published all we had was one paragraph in X1, and no detail about inhabitants.

Gnomes: tier 1-2
Goblins: tier 1-2, and underground area O
Hobgoblins: tier 3-4, and underground area O
Cynidicean: tiers 1-5
Thoul: tier 5

Probably not too much should be read into the wandering monster tables, as these are standard level-based dungeon encounters. Goblins would never be encountered on level 2, nor hobgoblins on level 1, and neither on level 3 even if it made sense... because that's not how D&D was designed. Hobgoblins were not so much a separate species as simply "level 2 goblins" and thouls could be considered "level 3 goblins." D&D is level-based and "monster race" is mostly flavor text, while Mystara is race-based and level is almost irrelevant. So for use in Mystara the specific dungeon design and specific races should be taken with a grain of salt.
Agree, we should read too much to monster placement in early modules - showing a large variety of creatures in a dungeon must have been deemed more important than worrying about why you might have 2 white apes lairing in a 40 x 40' room four levels down in a pyramid, for example. ;)
Visit the Vaults of Pandius http://pandius.com, the official website for the Dungeons and Dragons setting of Mystara.

Submissions to the Vaults can be made directly to webmaster@pandius.com

User avatar
pawsplay
Stone Giant
Posts: 741
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:58 am

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by pawsplay »

But we shouldn't read too little into it, either. The module describes where the gnomes come from and what they are doing, and goblins and hobgoblins are mentioned in the description of the lower levels and how they serve Zargon.

User avatar
stanles
Stone Giant
Posts: 627
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:22 am
Gender: prefer not to say
Contact:

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by stanles »

pawsplay wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:40 pm
But we shouldn't read too little into it, either. The module describes where the gnomes come from and what they are doing, and goblins and hobgoblins are mentioned in the description of the lower levels and how they serve Zargon.
Good point pawsplay, yeah all I'm trying to do starting this topic was to try and read a possible reading of certain things in the adventure - not to proscribe other readings.
Visit the Vaults of Pandius http://pandius.com, the official website for the Dungeons and Dragons setting of Mystara.

Submissions to the Vaults can be made directly to webmaster@pandius.com

KtA
Bugbear
Posts: 154
Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:09 am
Gender: male
Location: Orc's Head Peninsula, Savage Coast

Re: Are the three 'good' factions of Cynidicea Cynidiceans?

Post by KtA »

Oh I definitely agree the gnomes and goblins/hobgoblins are probably major factors.

In fact, Cynidicea may be not so much totally isolated, as just isolated from the surface world and other humans. The goblins/hobgoblins and gnomes are most likely the primary "outside" contacts of the Cynidiceans. They are more tied to the subterranean world than the surface.

If the goblins serve Zargon, maybe the gnomes are allies of the "good" factions?

But some of the other creatures are probably just Wandering Monsters and not really intended to be part of an ecological/social structure.

Post Reply

Return to “Mystara”