Ah yes, I remember that article - I was looking for it before but couldn't find it. Thanks!
Sturm wrote:He treats Carnifex and Serpentine as two separate things.
It also seem Mishler's timeline treated Serpentines (inspired mostly by the Serpent men of Conan) as the progenitors of Yuan-ti.
In Threshold issue #5 I followed more or less these guidelines, with the Serpentines being an ancient reptilian race as the Carnifex, but subjected to them during the period of Y'hog.
I'll have to go back and re-read your Threshold article.
In Geoff's article above it looks like the intent is to keep as much material from each of the two authors as possible (which is fine), but I think here I'm proposing something a little more radical. In my mind the "Serpentine Empire" could just be a term for an empire ruled over by reptilian beings. I know that James' original intent was that the Serpentines were Yuan-ti (he also called them the successors of the Carnifex), but rather than having them be a race that is contemporary with the Carnifex, I'd prefer to give them a more recent origin story (which I'll detail further below).
There are a couple of reasons why I want to do it this way.
1) We already have a BBEG from the prehistorical era - the carnifex. While I'm not suggesting they were the only race/empire around during that time I do believe that they were the most powerful race/empire of that time. Since the carnifex (or some remnant of them) do survive to the pre-Blackmoorian age, I prefer to have them still holding the strings of any reptilian empire still operating at that time. Of course they would have many servitor races - lizardmen (and any variant thereof), troglodytes, sis'thik, etc... but not yaun-ti (because I have other plans for them).
2) The yuan-ti seem very human-like (at least the lesser, more numerous of their breeds - the purebloods). I like the idea that this is because they started out human. Otherwise the question in my mind is why do they look the way they do? I could come up with alternate ideas, for example, perhaps the purebloods are only the most recent incarnation of the yuan-ti - created only after the appearance of humans. While that is a valid explanation, it's not the one I'm going to run with.
3) Both Geoff's and James' timelines extend so far back into the past that I don't feel too bad about mucking with them and then blaming the discrepancies on poor historical records
Sturm wrote:I also arbitrarly decided Arypt was the original name of the Serpentine empire and it is now resurfacing in Davania. I ditched any connection to elves as I do not like it either. For the same reason, I'm not sure about making Yuan-ti heir of the Lhomarrian, I would prefer them as an ancient race.
Also I would be more inclined to have tritons as heirs to the Lhomarrians, as in classic Atlantis mythology..
However I do not see how Serpentine would be different from Yuan-ti, maybe only James knows his original idea. Serpentine could just be the Mystaran name of Yuan-ti
I don't think we have to lump the Lhomarrian survivors into one basket. We already know that some of them were whisked away to the Hollow World, where they formed the nation of Selhomarr. Others survived on the outer world and their descendants integrated with other peoples becoming the Millenians, Yaniffey, and the Varellyans (just to name a few). It is quite possible that some of the Lhomarrians were transformed into tritons when their nation fell into the sea. Perhaps one of their immortals took pity on them (or saw an opportunity of his own) and granted a portion of the population the ability to breath underwater.
What I'm suggesting for the yuan-ti is a similar transformation, albeit one with a more sinister background.
Legends of Y'hog wrote:BC 7024: Despite their bravest efforts, the Lhomarrians cannot hold the peninsula, and are forced back to Lhomarr. This is not before a Carnifex artifact, given to them by their gods long ago, is destroyed by the surviving crusaders. This artifact helped channel the Outer Beings' mental energies, so that they could influence the thoughts of those who possessed it. In their wrath over this loss, and at the consistent failures of their minions to destroy Lhomarr, they decide to take matters into their own hands.
BC 7022: The Outer Beings pool their energy to create a breach in their prisons, one which lasts long enough to direct their powers unhindered towards Lhomarr, the perpetual thorn in their sides. The waves rise up and smash the small continent, earthquakes destroy its cities, and, within one day and one night, Lhomarr vanishes beneath the sea. Before the entire civilisation is destroyed, Ka the Preserver gathers several villages' worth of people, from all walks of life, and sends them to the Hollow World, to the continent of Suridal. There, they begin the process of rebuilding their realm.
I'm proposing that in this final event, the Outer Beings did not act alone. They had followers other than the carnifex, followers among the Lhomarrians themselves who practiced dark arts in hidden corners of their nation. These cultists helped the Outer Beings gain a foothold on Lhomarr which eventually enabled them to destroy the once great continent by sinking it beneath the sea.
Because those cultists (or at least the ones who managed to survive the catastrophe) managed to succeed where the carnifex before them had not, they were granted a boon by the Outer Beings and given a touch of serpentine blood in their veins. This is what created the first yuan-ti. In the beginning there were only the purebloods. They struggled to survive and to find any of their lost brethren (cultist descended or not) so that they could integrate into their society. Later, as their populations became stronger, the yuan-ti began breeding experiments designed to remove their human bloodlines and create a purely reptilian race. These experiments led to the other (more snake-like) breeds.
Now... all those change might mean very little for a modern era campaign... but for campaigns set in the Blackmoorian era (or even perhaps shortly thereafter) I believe it is a nice way to introduce the history of Lhomarr into the world. If you add that to Sturm's idea of tritons as Lhomarrians you have another vector to inject that history. Imagine discovering that the triton of the Sunlit Sea are in some way related to the serpent men deep in the jungles of Davania. That's the idea I'd like to explore!