[Master Rules] Hsiao Origins

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[Master Rules] Hsiao Origins

Post by Havard » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:04 pm


Here's a facebook discussion I feel worthy of preserving. It was taken from the BECMI group:
Giovanni P wrote:I want to ask about hsiao. Where do they come from in the real world?
I know centaurs come from Greek mythology, so I love to give them ancient classical names and use them in Thyatis or in Milenia.
I know goblin and kobolds come from Northern Europe folklore and dragons from England and far orient. Unicorns was supposed to live in Asia by Europeans in the middle ages.
But where do hsiaos came from? What kind of name am I supposed to use for them?
GP: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiao_(mythology)
Frank Mentzer wrote: In creating the Hsaio (D&D Master Set DM31), I wanted a race to work with druids. The name does refer tangentially to the mythologies of the Xiao, but they tend toward higher forms (monkey/ape) than owl.
It is interesting that I never got an Asian vibe off this creature that appeared as a PC option in PC1 Tall Tales of the Wee Folk. I suppose the druidic feel that Frank was aiming for really came off quite strong and PC1's Celtic/Fey theme probably helped emphasize that too.


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Re: [Master Rules] Hsiao Origins

Post by agathokles » Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:26 pm

Well, the name is pretty much oriental. PC1 does have a strong Celtic theme, but not only, as many creatures come from the Greek-Roman mythology (Dryad, Centaur, Faun).


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Re: [Master Rules] Hsiao Origins

Post by barrataria » Sun Mar 04, 2018 1:50 pm

The name always threw me too, it's a fairly-common Chinese last name (at least written as "hsiao" with arabic letters; I imagine the characters for writing the legendary "xiao" are written and maybe pronounced differently). I liked the race in general but always intended to re-name it if I used it in a campaign. "Gufo" is Italian for owl so I'd probably riff on that.
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Re: [Master Rules] Hsiao Origins

Post by Mike » Sun Mar 04, 2018 11:28 pm

I believe there were giant talking owls in one of the Narnia books... The Silver Chair maybe? It was near the start of the book and they were allies of the children and I think carried then on a quest.

"Hsaiou" is also the translation of "Isaiah" into Greek. Since it is a greek word, then the name could be Milenian.

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