Mystaran Yuan-ti = Cursed Lhomarrians

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Mystaran Yuan-ti = Cursed Lhomarrians

Postby Chimpman » Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:43 pm

I started thinking about the Yuan-ti the other day, mostly in conjunction with James Mishler's old Age of Blackmoor timeline and the Serpentine Empire, and had a couple of ideas. First some background. James wrote a great historical article on The Age of Blackmoor where he detailed some of the cultures and nations contemporaneous to Blackmoor before the Great Rain of Fire. One of those nations was the Serpentine Empire (a successor to the Carnifex that ruled on Mystara in ages past). James also ties the Serpentines to the creation of the elves (something I'm not necessarily keen on), but then I started to remember some of the things that Geoff Gander wrote about the Carnifex and Lhomarrians, and wondered how those two ideas might fit together.

Geoff wrote an article called Of the Lore and Legends of Y'hog, City of the Unclean Ones, and of that Race, where he tells of the struggle between the Lhomarrians and the inheritors of the Greater Carnifex legacy.

There are some incompatibilities between these two articles. First off, James' history I think, assumes a much longer passage of time between the end of the Greater Carnifex, and the beginning of the Blackmoor age, while Geoff (and other timelines such as Sharon Dornhoff's Hollom Moon timeline) bring those events much closer to the present era (setting them around BC 10,000 or so). I know some prefer the more epic/geological/evolutionary time frames, but I'm personally in the latter camp that prefers shorter/closer time periods.

Geoff's timeline obviously focuses more on the activities of the Carnifex and their neighbors (the Lhomarrians) where James' timeline is Blackmoor-centric, but I think if one is willing to inject some flexibility into these two timelines, there are a few ideas that we can tease out. Here are my thoughts (focused mainly around the BC 8000 to BC 6000 time frame):

  • In Geoff's timeline from BC 7900 to BC 7020, the Lhomarrians and Carnifex are locked into deadly battles that ultimately end up destroying both cultures. The Carnifex destroy the Lhomarrians first, and then are themselves destroyed by the Immortals. Retconning into Jame's timeline, I would replace any mention of the Serpentine empire before BC 7000 with the Carnifex of Y'hog.
  • By BC 5000 both the Lhomarrians and Y'hog have vanished from the memory of current cultures, however I would posit that neither have been fully destroyed.
  • What if the Yuan-ti emerge around this time? I'm thinking that some poor remnants of Lhomarr could have been corrupted by the Carnifex and their Outer Beings. After Y'hog sinks, these people are slowly transformed by the ancient Carnifex spells into the Yuan-ti. This could be similar to the spell used later that transforms Varellyans into nagpa.
  • It is these transformed humans who then become the Serpentine Empire, which survives from circa BC 7000 to the Blackmoorian era (and perhaps a bit beyond).

I'm mostly looking for ways to inject this lore into the BC 2300 campaign setting, but I thought I'd share since it may give us a nice way to incorporate what is typically a non-Mystara monster into our favorite setting, and at the same time justify it with some fairly well developed fanon.

What do folks think?
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Re: Mystaran Yuan-ti = Cursed Lhomarrians

Postby Sturm » Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:28 am

Geoff already syncronized the two timeline in this article:
http://pandius.com/anc_hist.html
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 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
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Re: Mystaran Yuan-ti = Cursed Lhomarrians

Postby Chimpman » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:54 pm

Sturm wrote:Geoff already syncronized the two timeline in this article:
http://pandius.com/anc_hist.html

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!
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Re: Mystaran Yuan-ti = Cursed Lhomarrians

Postby Sturm » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:33 am

Interesting indeed, that's a good way to go too.
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Re: Mystaran Yuan-ti = Cursed Lhomarrians

Postby Seer of Yhog » Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:13 pm

Chimpman wrote:
[*]What if the Yuan-ti emerge around this time? I'm thinking that some poor remnants of Lhomarr could have been corrupted by the Carnifex and their Outer Beings. After Y'hog sinks, these people are slowly transformed by the ancient Carnifex spells into the Yuan-ti. This could be similar to the spell used later that transforms Varellyans into nagpa.

[*]It is these transformed humans who then become the Serpentine Empire, which survives from circa BC 7000 to the Blackmoorian era (and perhaps a bit beyond).[/list]

I'm mostly looking for ways to inject this lore into the BC 2300 campaign setting, but I thought I'd share since it may give us a nice way to incorporate what is typically a non-Mystara monster into our favorite setting, and at the same time justify it with some fairly well developed fanon.

What do folks think?


I think this idea is cool!
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Re: Mystaran Yuan-ti = Cursed Lhomarrians

Postby Seer of Yhog » Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:17 pm

Chimpman wrote: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!


I *like* this. A lot. And I totally agree discrepancies can be explained away as being the product of spotty record-keeping over the centuries. ;)
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