The Horde

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The Horde

Postby waylander39 » Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:49 pm

I'm going to pop this in here as it's probably closer to kara-tur in terms of setting than the more western Faerun, even though it's a bit of a crossover between the two. The question is this. Has anyone actually used this setting and if so was it successful?
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Re: The Horde

Postby Big Mac » Fri Apr 10, 2009 12:03 am

waylander39 wrote:I'm going to pop this in here as it's probably closer to kara-tur in terms of setting than the more western Faerun, even though it's a bit of a crossover between the two. The question is this. Has anyone actually used this setting and if so was it successful?


I got The Horde, but never got around to using it. I remember reading it and it was full of "you need to buy Kara-Tur and add this stuff" and "you need to buy the FRCS and add this stuff" comments.

I remember thinking at the time: "why can't TSR make products that don't force you to buy a ton of other products". :roll:

But aside from that, it looks like a fairly interesting part of Toril. So I'd love to see what others have done with it, myself.

Maybe we can even ask Ashtagon for a new subsection if we get enough threads.
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Re: The Horde

Postby waylander39 » Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:28 am

I always remember thinking when it came out, great I've got a way of linking Kara-Tur and Faerun at long last, and then never finding a good way of using it. I had a look at the trilogy of adventures and they weren't bad but were very much Hordelands based. Perhaps another method would be introduce stuff from the Ethengar Khanates GAZ and transplant bits across.

Nice idea about the subsection BTW, of course we'll need to drum up a few more posts/threads on this...
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Re: The Horde

Postby Big Mac » Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:45 pm

waylander39 wrote:I always remember thinking when it came out, great I've got a way of linking Kara-Tur and Faerun at long last, and then never finding a good way of using it. I had a look at the trilogy of adventures and they weren't bad but were very much Hordelands based. Perhaps another method would be introduce stuff from the Ethengar Khanates GAZ and transplant bits across.


I got very excited about The Horde when it first came out.

I even even created a page for links to The Horde, while collecting D&D links. I didn't find many useful resources back then. I mainy added the folder as a place to list the freebie download from TSR.

I've not done much link research recently, and now WoW is sucessful, they dominate the phrase "the horde".

I'd have loved for this to have been brought back as a hardback in the 3rd edition FR product line.

waylander39 wrote:Nice idea about the subsection BTW, of course we'll need to drum up a few more posts/threads on this...


If I had some more links, I'd set up a thread to be the links sticky. Actually, if Ashtagon gave us a The Horde subforum, I'd be able to have some more links to put onto my Yahoo links. It is a chicken and egg problem. :?

Of course this section of the forum is badly in need of some love for the Kara-Tur campaign setting, so a few more threads for that would be as useful as threads that are going to get moved to a new subforum.
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Re: The Horde

Postby waylander39 » Sun Apr 12, 2009 9:35 pm

Yeah i got really quite excited about The Horde at first as well but I felt the support from TSR was at best lacklustre, to be fair their support for Kara-Tur wasn't huge either. It's a pity that Wizards decided that the Realms sub settings weren't worthy of further development/work and left them to fester.

I've been considering doing something allong the lines of the Mystara Khanates and have humanoid tribes (goblins, orcs, ogres et al) developed into a clan/tribe system similar to that used by the Mongols of history. an adventure might easily be set in a group trying to stop the tribes uniting under one leader, or provoking outright war between them to keep them from attacking the players' own homes.

I've also considered using them as an adjunct to an OA campaign set in Kara Tur but as always it's getting the time to get it to work. A bunch of the guys at our club would be well up for an Oriental campaign and I would love to put something together. But first I've got a classic Realms campaign set pre Time of Troubles to finish writing and start running in a couple of months... :shock:

I really need to find a way to finance me running games as a full time lifestyle, it's the only way I'll get all this done!
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Re: The Horde

Postby Cthulhudrew » Sun Apr 12, 2009 10:26 pm

Anyone interested in the Horde setting should check out Dragon magazine #349. It contains updated 3E information on the setting, and makes it a little bit less "generic Mongols in D&D" and actually tries to make them more tied into the FR setting than I think was done formerly.

There's also a free .pdf web enhancement available at Paizo for the Horde.
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Re: The Horde

Postby waylander39 » Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:02 pm

Thanks Cthulhudrew, that's really useful, and may be a good starting point in revitalizing the setting.
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Re: The Horde

Postby Big Mac » Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:25 pm

Cthulhudrew wrote:There's also a free .pdf web enhancement available at Paizo for the Horde.


Got that. That is one of my two links related to The Horde. (The other is the free campaign setting download from the WotC website.)
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Re: The Horde

Postby Big Mac » Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:29 pm

waylander39 wrote:Yeah i got really quite excited about The Horde at first as well but I felt the support from TSR was at best lacklustre, to be fair their support for Kara-Tur wasn't huge either. It's a pity that Wizards decided that the Realms sub settings weren't worthy of further development/work and left them to fester.


Someone in the Spelljammer forum mentioned Malatra recently (the raised hidden land close to Kara-Tur that was used as the campaign setting for Living Jungle). I was totally blown away by the fact that there was another Forgotten Realms subsetting out there.

They really could have given each of these things a 3e hardback that took the FRCS concept and gave it a new twist.
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Re: The Horde

Postby Seethyr » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:14 pm

Are there any products out there for any game setting, or by any third party publisher that also has a Horde-like Mongolian feel to it?
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Re: The Horde

Postby Cthulhudrew » Sun Nov 14, 2010 9:34 pm

Seethyr wrote:Are there any products out there for any game setting, or by any third party publisher that also has a Horde-like Mongolian feel to it?


There's Marauders of the Wolf: Dwarves for the Sovereign Stone setting, which cast its dwarves as Mongol-like nomads.

I'm not too sure of anything else, offhand.
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Re: The Horde

Postby Seethyr » Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:28 am

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Seethyr wrote:Are there any products out there for any game setting, or by any third party publisher that also has a Horde-like Mongolian feel to it?


There's Marauders of the Wolf: Dwarves for the Sovereign Stone setting, which cast its dwarves as Mongol-like nomads.

I'm not too sure of anything else, offhand.


That's very cool, thank you much. I may check it out.

I love it when a product combines a non-European culture with LotR/D&D races like this seems to.
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Re: The Horde

Postby ghendar » Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:48 pm

Never cared for either The Horde or Kara-Tur. I always thought The Horde was just a Mongol type ripoff and that was something I never wanted in my realms.
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Re: The Horde

Postby Jorkens » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:08 pm

If you ignore the cultures and human information there are some things that can be used for adventures. The stuck-on areas of the Realms never worked that well (Zakhara is great, but it didn't border on the detailed Realms and the connection was easily ignored from both sides), but with that said the Horde box has some good ideas and encounters in the geographical section.
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Re: The Horde

Postby ghendar » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:20 pm

Jorkens wrote: but with that said the Horde box has some good ideas and encounters in the geographical section.


I have a copy that I picked up a few years ago because it was cheap. I'll take a look at it.
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Re: The Horde

Postby Cthulhudrew » Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:10 am

At the time, I loved the Horde because I had first gotten interested in the Mongols a few years before its release, when I was in middle school. In retrospect, especially having gotten to know Mongolian history as well as I have since, I think it was a lot of missed opportunity, both a) because it so closely parallels Genghis Khan's history, and b) because it was symptomatic of Kara-Tur being tacked onto the Realms as an afterthought.

I think a lot more freedom and creativity should/could have been taken with placing a version of Genghis Khan into a fantasy setting; using centaurs in place of actual nomadic human horsemen, for instance. Better working fantastic creatures and magic into the backstory, etc.

I also think that in retrospect, Kara-Tur doesn't fit very well with the original Realms; neither do Mulhorand or Unther, IMO. Zakhara is a little different, in that it took a more fantasy approach to Middle Eastern/Arabian cultures/themes, and so it fits better. I think some efforts have been made to make the Realms and Kara-Tur a better mesh, but they haven't been quite enough to hide the seams.
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Re: The Horde

Postby cyric » Fri Feb 25, 2011 11:31 am

Cthulhudrew wrote:I also think that in retrospect, Kara-Tur doesn't fit very well with the original Realms; neither do Mulhorand or Unther, IMO.


Thay was some missed chance here. This should be a meshup of mulhorandi culture and western culture, rivaling sects and social canons, etc.

The whole horde concept sucked. To throw a threat like this against the realms so short after the times of trouble just let it appear minor in impact. And to let Azoun lead the troops like some crusade general didn't fit into the whole concept of the northern sea of fallen stars region. And like Maztica it was just a poor copy of earthern history - just like you said.
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Re: The Horde

Postby Big Mac » Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:05 am

Seethyr wrote:
Cthulhudrew wrote:
Seethyr wrote:Are there any products out there for any game setting, or by any third party publisher that also has a Horde-like Mongolian feel to it?


There's Marauders of the Wolf: Dwarves for the Sovereign Stone setting, which cast its dwarves as Mongol-like nomads.

I'm not too sure of anything else, offhand.


That's very cool, thank you much. I may check it out.

I love it when a product combines a non-European culture with LotR/D&D races like this seems to.


I've got that (and it only cost me £2.99 at Leisure Games :cool: ). I just had a flick and it does seem pretty good. I'm not sure how easy it would be to integrate it into The Horde, but I do think that product should really have included an iconic place for all the demi-human races as well as the humans.

ghendar wrote:Never cared for either The Horde or Kara-Tur. I always thought The Horde was just a Mongol type ripoff and that was something I never wanted in my realms.


Luckily all of these add-ons are optional. You can take 'em or leave 'em.

I think that, to an extent, Faerun is also a rip of of Europe (or at least European fantasy and mythology). But I think the difference between the two is that Faerun has been worked on to alter it (hence it being different from Greyhawk, Dragonlance and Mystara). The problem with The Horde is not that it is a rip off of Mongol culture, but that it is a lazy one. I actually think that if you put in the same sort of effort that JRR Tolkein put into Lord of the Realms, you could make a really interesting horse-riding nomad setting based in part on Mongol culture, but also in part on Mongol mythology and in part on fantasy elements. If Marauders of the Wolf: Dwarves can put a dwarven spin on the concept, it should be possible to put enough other spins on the concept that you get something that can seem as vivid as Faerun.

Maybe this is something that might have been fixed if they had revisited the setting for 3rd Edition. Perhaps 4th or 5th Edition will give it another shot.

Jorkens wrote:If you ignore the cultures and human information there are some things that can be used for adventures. The stuck-on areas of the Realms never worked that well (Zakhara is great, but it didn't border on the detailed Realms and the connection was easily ignored from both sides), but with that said the Horde box has some good ideas and encounters in the geographical section.


I think you can get something useful out of most D&D products.

Cthulhudrew wrote:At the time, I loved the Horde because I had first gotten interested in the Mongols a few years before its release, when I was in middle school. In retrospect, especially having gotten to know Mongolian history as well as I have since, I think it was a lot of missed opportunity, both a) because it so closely parallels Genghis Khan's history, and b) because it was symptomatic of Kara-Tur being tacked onto the Realms as an afterthought.


I think The Horde is twice as bad as Kara-Tur as it expects you to have both vanilla FR and Kara-Tur before you buy it. There are some brilliant things in 2e, but it was an era when I got really hacked off at buying things and then finding out I needed another four or five products to get them to work.

The big afterthought here is that someone has asked the question: "What goes between Faerun and Kara-Tur?" and The Horde is a fairly obvious answer. But it could have been really awesome if it was done a little differently.

Cthulhudrew wrote:I think a lot more freedom and creativity should/could have been taken with placing a version of Genghis Khan into a fantasy setting; using centaurs in place of actual nomadic human horsemen, for instance. Better working fantastic creatures and magic into the backstory, etc.


That centaur idea is brilliant!

If someone went through all the other standard races and monsters and gave them a nomadic makeover you could get some really interesting non-settled cultures going. Shamanistic magic is probably the way to go, although druids and rangers work too.

I think there has been a tendancy, in the past, to describe nomadic cultures in negative ways (calling them barbaric or uncivilised) and, while that might work OK if you are trying to set up a monster culture that lives in the hills and attacks the towns that "civilised" PCs hail from, it isn't so useful if you want the PCs to identify with the nomadic culture. I think you need to make the culture a lot more three-dimensional and maybe even have different nomadic cultures that each have a different level of "civilisation" or a different access to "technology".

I think you would also need to map out the seasons of the year, to help players (who are mostly going to be non-nomadic people) understand why the people are migrating around and exactly what they gain from each place that they travel to. If a tribe has six places it stops off at during the year, that is in some ways like having a town that teleports to six different places.

Cthulhudrew wrote:I also think that in retrospect, Kara-Tur doesn't fit very well with the original Realms; neither do Mulhorand or Unther, IMO. Zakhara is a little different, in that it took a more fantasy approach to Middle Eastern/Arabian cultures/themes, and so it fits better. I think some efforts have been made to make the Realms and Kara-Tur a better mesh, but they haven't been quite enough to hide the seams.


It has already come out that Oriental Adventures was originally supposed to be part of the World of Greyhawk. I believe that some of the other elements of Forgotten Realms were also tacked on from elsewhere. I'm not sure if that was an attempt to make FR fans buy more stuff or an attempt to get half finished concepts to appear to be part of a fully developed world. But it would have been interesting to have seen TSR put out The Horde as a standalone campaign world. Maybe it might have been a bit like Jakandor on horseback. :?

cyric wrote:
Cthulhudrew wrote:I also think that in retrospect, Kara-Tur doesn't fit very well with the original Realms; neither do Mulhorand or Unther, IMO.


Thay was some missed chance here. This should be a meshup of mulhorandi culture and western culture, rivaling sects and social canons, etc.

The whole horde concept sucked. To throw a threat like this against the realms so short after the times of trouble just let it appear minor in impact. And to let Azoun lead the troops like some crusade general didn't fit into the whole concept of the northern sea of fallen stars region. And like Maztica it was just a poor copy of earthern history - just like you said.


I think they wanted the entire "Gengis Khan threatening the civilised world thing" and made something that was too two dimensional. But perhaps it would be possible to write between the gaps and create small nomadic tribes that are not part of The Horde. Maybe you could do your Mulhorandi stuff and also do Drew's centaur stuff and throw in a lot of other small ideas that fit around what the boxed set did and add more variety.
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Re: The Horde

Postby Seethyr » Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:49 pm

Like many of the "cultural" 2e settings, I just don't think Horde got enough of a chance. Yeah, the novels were hokey but I think the trilogy of adventures (particularly Black Courser) were quite fun. If more had come out, I think it would be easy to get over the initial RW copy and get to fantasy like the centaur material.

Btw, the horses of the steppes are quite a bit different from the horses used in Europe and in many other parts of the world. I think Horde-like centaurs would make a nice subrace.
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Re: The Horde

Postby Bouv » Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:42 pm

waylander39 wrote:Yeah i got really quite excited about The Horde at first as well but I felt the support from TSR was at best lacklustre, to be fair their support for Kara-Tur wasn't huge either. It's a pity that Wizards decided that the Realms sub settings weren't worthy of further development/work and left them to fester.

I've been considering doing something allong the lines of the Mystara Khanates and have humanoid tribes (goblins, orcs, ogres et al) developed into a clan/tribe system similar to that used by the Mongols of history. an adventure might easily be set in a group trying to stop the tribes uniting under one leader, or provoking outright war between them to keep them from attacking the players' own homes.

I've also considered using them as an adjunct to an OA campaign set in Kara Tur but as always it's getting the time to get it to work. A bunch of the guys at our club would be well up for an Oriental campaign and I would love to put something together. But first I've got a classic Realms campaign set pre Time of Troubles to finish writing and start running in a couple of months... :shock:

I really need to find a way to finance me running games as a full time lifestyle, it's the only way I'll get all this done!


I felt that The Horde and Maztica were short-changed in the support department. They were given boxed-sets, and a few adventures and that was it. Maztica in 4E is now gone! Kara-Tur wasn't too much better (though it did have a lot of OA stuff behind, just not a lot of specific Forgotten Realms Kara-Tur material).
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Re: The Horde

Postby Big Mac » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:03 pm

I think that The Horde was slightly more short-changed than Maztica was.

I think it is slightly easier for someone to make Maztica stand up on its own two feet. I think it would be possible for The Horde too, but I think that it needs someone to champion the setting.

Maybe if we had more discussion about The Horde here, we would build up enough threads to justify it having its own forum. That might be a place for fans to rally around.
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Re: The Horde

Postby Giant Space Hamster » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:11 pm

MODERATOR NOTE (by Big Mac): Moving thread from Kara-Tur forum to the main Forgotten Realms forum, to raise the profile of the thread.
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Re: The Horde

Postby BlackBat242 » Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:09 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Cthulhudrew wrote:I think a lot more freedom and creativity should/could have been taken with placing a version of Genghis Khan into a fantasy setting; using centaurs in place of actual nomadic human horsemen, for instance. Better working fantastic creatures and magic into the backstory, etc.


That centaur idea is brilliant!

If someone went through all the other standard races and monsters and gave them a nomadic makeover you could get some really interesting non-settled cultures going. Shamanistic magic is probably the way to go, although druids and rangers work too.

I think there has been a tendancy, in the past, to describe nomadic cultures in negative ways (calling them barbaric or uncivilised) and, while that might work OK if you are trying to set up a monster culture that lives in the hills and attacks the towns that "civilised" PCs hail from, it isn't so useful if you want the PCs to identify with the nomadic culture. I think you need to make the culture a lot more three-dimensional and maybe even have different nomadic cultures that each have a different level of "civilisation" or a different access to "technology".


I like the idea of having multiple races in the area of "The Horde"... human Mongol-types, centaurs, wemics (fewer than the centaurs, of course), etc.


And I have always felt that many aspects of the so-called "barbarian" peoples have always been more "civil" than those of citified industrial societies.
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Re: The Horde

Postby Big Mac » Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:46 pm

BlackBat242 wrote:And I have always felt that many aspects of the so-called "barbarian" peoples have always been more "civil" than those of citified industrial societies.


I agree with that totally. I think this is a case of "history being written by the winners" (at least in the real-world).

Nomads get called barbarians by people living in cities, but cities are pretty much always riddled with thieves guilds, cram people into slums, generally have poor quality sewers (or no sewers) and cause a lot of environmental impact.

But D&D did name a character class "Barbarian" and the tagline of The Horde boxed set is "Barbarian Campaign Setting".
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Re: The Horde

Postby Jorkens » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:19 pm

Big Mac wrote:
But D&D did name a character class "Barbarian" and the tagline of The Horde boxed set is "Barbarian Campaign Setting".


Which was a bit funny as they had just removed the class with the 2nd edition.

One more thing that works against the Horde is that the southern Realms has the plains of the Shaar (idiotically shrunk in 3ed.) which has its own nomad cultures that in many ways are more interesting as they are not so heavily tied to earthly culture.
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