Minotaurs and the Maze Spell

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Havard
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Minotaurs and the Maze Spell

Post by Havard » Sun May 27, 2018 12:08 pm

Are Minotaurs immune to the Maze spell in BECMI or is that just in AD&D? I couldn't find the reference in the RC.

If not, should they be?

I realize that the rule from AD&D is just a wink to the original Minotaur legend, but is there any other reason why this spell won't work on Minotaurs? The RC description does say that they make homes in underground caves and mazes. Are there enough mazes around for all Minotaurs to find a place to live? Or do the Minotaurs themselves turn their homes into mazes?

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Re: Minotaurs and the Maze Spell

Post by Cthulhudrew » Mon May 28, 2018 2:19 am

Havard wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 12:08 pm
Are Minotaurs immune to the Maze spell in BECMI or is that just in AD&D? I couldn't find the reference in the RC.
I believe that is only in AD&D. I don't recall any BECMI references to it. That said, the minotaur in the Caves of Chaos (module B2: Keep on the Borderlands) is immune to the spell of direction confusion that affects those entering that portion of the caves.
If not, should they be?
I don't see how it would be unbalancing to allow it. If a high-level wizard has nothing better to attack a 4 HD creature with than a 8th(?) level spell, then he kind of has it coming. :lol:
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Re: Minotaurs and the Maze Spell

Post by Havard » Mon May 28, 2018 6:12 pm

Good input!

This has also lead me to think some more about the nature of Labyrinths and Mazes. Are they simply ingenious works of architecture, or is there some cosmic phenomenon behind them?

The Maze spell is said to be linked to an Outer Plane, but could it be that that plane too is simply a reflection of some deeper manifestation of Law and Chaos?

Wikipedia offers the following:
Prehistoric labyrinths may have served as traps for malevolent spirits or as paths for ritual dances.[citation needed] Many Roman and Christian labyrinths appear at the entrances of buildings, suggesting that they may have served a similar apotropaic purpose.[44] In their cross-cultural study of signs and symbols, Patterns that Connect, Carl Schuster and Edmund Carpenter present various forms of the labyrinth and suggest various possible meanings, including not only a sacred path to the home of a sacred ancestor, but also, perhaps, a representation of the ancestor him/herself: ."..many [New World] Indians who make the labyrinth regard it as a sacred symbol, a beneficial ancestor, a deity. In this they may be preserving its original meaning: the ultimate ancestor, here evoked by two continuous lines joining its twelve primary joints."[45] Schuster also observes the common theme of the labyrinth being a refuge for a trickster; in India, the demon Ravana has dominion over labyrinths, the trickster Djonaha lives in a labyrinth according to Sumatran Bataks, and Europeans say it is the home of a rogue.[45]

One can think of labyrinths as symbolic of pilgrimage; people can walk the path, ascending toward salvation or enlightenment. Author Ben Radford conducted an investigation into some of the claims of spiritual and healing effects of labyrinths, reporting on his findings in his book Mysterious New Mexico.[46]

Many labyrinths have been constructed recently in churches, hospitals, and parks. These are often used for contemplation; walking among the turnings, one loses track of direction and of the outside world, and thus quiets the mind. The Labyrinth Society[47] provides a locator for modern labyrinths all over the world.

In addition, the labyrinth can serve as a metaphor for situations that are difficult to be extricated from, as an image that suggests getting lost in a subterranean dungeon-like world. Octavio Paz titled his book on Mexican identity The Labyrinth of Solitude, describing the Mexican condition as orphaned and lost.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labyrinth

Other associations are the movie Labyrinth which links the Labyrinth to Fey (I assume the Goblins are Fey in D&D terms), and the Pattern from The Amber Series which is closely linked to the core nature of reality itself. The Amber novels also make use of the concept of walking the Pattern (or even copies of it, as a way to unlocking knowledge and power.

Could Labyrinths somehow be linked to the Spheres of Power? Do Druids construct Hedge Mazes for magical purposes?

If so, what does this tell us about Minotaurs?

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Re: Minotaurs and the Maze Spell

Post by brassdragon » Mon May 28, 2018 6:37 pm

I looked up the description of the Maze spell in the Companion set, and it doesn't say anything about minotaurs specifically (in either Player's or DM's book). That version "creates a maze in the Astral plane and places one victim into the maze", but I love the idea of there being an Outer Plane of Mazes. If mazes in the cosmic sense are a front line in the struggle between Law and Chaos, maybe minotaurs are Chaos' specialized troops for that environment?

And, yeah, the spell of direction confusion in B2. It could be a magical effect that was already there and attracted the minotaur. Maybe it's connected to the Temple of Evil Chaos? Or maybe the minotaur created it somehow -- it's not a spell that ever got written up so far as I know, but BECMI minotaurs can have some spellcasting ability.

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Re: Minotaurs and the Maze Spell

Post by Havard » Mon May 28, 2018 9:20 pm

brassdragon wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 6:37 pm
I looked up the description of the Maze spell in the Companion set, and it doesn't say anything about minotaurs specifically (in either Player's or DM's book). That version "creates a maze in the Astral plane and places one victim into the maze", but I love the idea of there being an Outer Plane of Mazes.


Ah yes. I guess I was thinking about a fan idea I thought about using for my map of the Outer Planes, but its not really its own plane. I always thought the idea of a wizard creating something on another plane would be a truth with some modifications. I also liked the idea of the maze being a single, specific place, though the maze would be different each time.
If mazes in the cosmic sense are a front line in the struggle between Law and Chaos, maybe minotaurs are Chaos' specialized troops for that environment?
That is a possibility. Or if we want to tie in the origin story from Voyage of the Princess Ark, where Mystaran Minotaurs are descendants of Enduks, perhaps Enduks were the true masters of Labyrinths, but Minotaurs also retain that ability?
And, yeah, the spell of direction confusion in B2. It could be a magical effect that was already there and attracted the minotaur. Maybe it's connected to the Temple of Evil Chaos? Or maybe the minotaur created it somehow -- it's not a spell that ever got written up so far as I know, but BECMI minotaurs can have some spellcasting ability.
I think this connection to B2 is worth exploring further. Are the Caves of Chaos somehow connected to the same place as the Maze Spell is? Are the Caves of Chaos really manifestations of the Ur-Labyrinth? If so, what could that tell us about the Ur-Labyrinth? Confirming a connection to Chaos for sure. Perhaps the construction of the Caves of Chaos is a way to use Labyrinth Magic in order to open a gate to a place of pure Chaos? Perhaps a reversal of the Labyrinth could similarly invoke Law?

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Re: Minotaurs and the Maze Spell

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue May 29, 2018 12:27 am

On the topic of labyrinths and Mystara, don't forget the Mesmers of AC9: Creature Catalog. Those creatures live in a deep sea labyrinth that causes mind-altering confusion on those who observe it. (The Mesmers are basically just renamed undead Morkoths from other versions of D&D, so those entries could be mined for more info.)

Additionally, it seems to me that the Immortals Noumena and Grammaton (if they are not one and the same) might have a particular association with labyrinths. There is also Kiranjo the Minotaur (referred to in MSOLO: Maze of the Riddling Minotaur).
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