[Chainmail] What happened to the gith?

“You think your people will be free? You think you have escaped me? You mortals will have nothing but war, not a moment of peace until a new God of War rises to replace me.” Discuss the Sundered Empire featured in the Chainmail campaign setting, as it relates to pen & paper RPGs, here.

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Big Mac
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[Chainmail] What happened to the gith?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:14 am

Page 8 of the Chainmail Core Rulebook says that the drow live in an abandoned gith city:
Chainmail Core Rulebook wrote:Venrit led House Kilsek and the inhabitants of its slave pens into exile. They wandered the Underdark until an illithid ally showed them the way to an ancient, abandoned gith city beneath the Sundered Empire.
The only gith I can find a mention of is a miniature called a Gith Revenant from Ahmut's Legion, which was designed for Chainmail Set 4.

Like the equicephs, these guys seem to all have died off. But what I am wondering is what killed them?

And did they only have one city in the Sundered Empire area or are there any Chainmail scenarios set in other gith locations?
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the gith?

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:47 am

This is all detailed in "Exiles From the Vault" in Dragon #298 and there's a bit more in "Underground Scenarios" in Dragon #294.

It's summarized in the canonfire wiki:
The background material of the Chainmail game places the gith forerunners in a subterranean empire called Zarum in Western Oerik, where they dominated many other races from their capital city of Anithor. These gith seem to have been divided into a rigid caste system, their lives ruled by ancient ritual. The ruins of Zarum overflow with sacred spaces and temples, though the names of the ancient gith gods are unknown today. The period of Zarum's height is not entirely clear, but grey elf sages speculate it was approximately 2,000 years before the Demon Wars that ravaged Western Oerik, or 3,000 years before the present.

At some point, the illithids invaded Zarum from a neighboring plane of existence. Though the gith fought fiercely, they were no match for the psionic might of the mind flayers, and soon they were enslaved. The River of Angry Souls is a remnant of one of the terrible battles between the illithids and the soon-to-be enslaved gith. Many were brought to the Outer Planes and elsewhere to serve as illithid slaves. Other cities in Zarum were transformed into work pits where illithid overseers forced their slaves to toil for countless generations.

After Gith's rebellion, she led her people to the Astral Plane. While a few subject races and surviving illithids remained on Oerth, the gith forerunners have departed the world, seemingly for good. If they retain any interest in the ruins of Zarum, it is well concealed. A portion of the ruins of Anithor were eventually colonized by the drow of House Kilsek, who named their new settlement Kalan-G'eld.
Zarum is supposed to be the gith homeland according to this source. Other sources dispute this; Dungeon #100 names the gith homeworld as Pharagos, for example (and Pharagos is described in a way that makes it clear that this isn't Oerth). Bruce Cordell's module Dawn of the Overmind places the ancestors of the gith on the artificial illithid world Penumbra, though they must have originally been abducted from elsewhere.

The dating (2000 years before the Demon Wars) is from Chainmail Miniatures Game: Blood and Darkness - Set 2 Guidebook, though this doesn't fit with other things we know about gith history. The Lich-Queen Vlaakith CLVII has already ruled her people for 1,000 years, and there were 156 other queens before her since her people's rebellion. Her immediate predecessor ruled for over 500 years (according to Dragon #355).

But anyway, to answer your questions:

1. They were enslaved by illithids. After they rebelled, they retreated to the Astral Plane and Limbo and abandoned Oerth.
2. They had a whole empire; Anithor was only their capital. Another Chainmail location associated with them is the River of Angry Souls, which is a river filled with thousands of gith ghosts.
Last edited by ripvanwormer on Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the gith?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:00 am

ripvanwormer wrote:This is all detailed in "Exiles From the Vault" in Dragon #298 and there's a bit more in "Underground Scenarios" in Dragon #294.
Thanks. I really have to check those out.
ripvanwormer wrote:It's summarized in the canonfire wiki:
The background material of the Chainmail game places the gith forerunners in a subterranean empire called Zarum in Western Oerik, where they dominated many other races from their capital city of Anithor. These gith seem to have been divided into a rigid caste system, their lives ruled by ancient ritual. The ruins of Zarum overflow with sacred spaces and temples, though the names of the ancient gith gods are unknown today. The period of Zarum's height is not entirely clear, but grey elf sages speculate it was approximately 2,000 years before the Demon Wars that ravaged Western Oerik, or 3,000 years before the present.

At some point, the illithids invaded Zarum from a neighboring plane of existence. Though the gith fought fiercely, they were no match for the psionic might of the mind flayers, and soon they were enslaved. The River of Angry Souls is a remnant of one of the terrible battles between the illithids and the soon-to-be enslaved gith. Many were brought to the Outer Planes and elsewhere to serve as illithid slaves. Other cities in Zarum were transformed into work pits where illithid overseers forced their slaves to toil for countless generations.

After Gith's rebellion, she led her people to the Astral Plane. While a few subject races and surviving illithids remained on Oerth, the gith forerunners have departed the world, seemingly for good. If they retain any interest in the ruins of Zarum, it is well concealed. A portion of the ruins of Anithor were eventually colonized by the drow of House Kilsek, who named their new settlement Kalan-G'eld.
I didn't think to look in the illihid article. When it says: "portion of the ruins of Anithor" that does suggest there is more down there. Has anyone tried to estimate the size of old Anithor?
ripvanwormer wrote:Zarum is supposed to be the gith homeland according to this source. Other sources dispute this; Dungeon #100 names the gith homeworld as Pharagos, for example (and Pharagos is described in a way that makes it clear that this isn't Oerth). Bruce Cordell's module Dawn of the Overmind places the ancestors of the gith on the artificial illithid world Penumbra, though they must have originally been abducted from elsewhere.
There has to be a way to retain the spirit of Zarum, Phargos and Penumbra. :?
ripvanwormer wrote:The dating (2000 years before the Demon Wars) is from Chainmail Miniatures Game: Blood and Darkness - Set 2 Guidebook, though this doesn't fit with other things we know about gith history. The Lich-Queen Vlaakith CLVII has already ruled her people for 1,000 years, and there were 156 other queens before her since her people's rebellion. Her immediate predecessor ruled for over 500 years (according to Dragon #155).
Maybe D&D Next willl provide more information on the origin of the gith and try to sort this out.
ripvanwormer wrote:But anyway, to answer your questions:

1. They were enslaved by illithids. After they rebelled, they retreated to the Astral Plane and Limbo and abandoned Oerth.
2. They had a whole empire; Anithor was only their capital. Another Chainmail location associated with them is the River of Angry Souls, which is a river filled with thousands of gith ghosts.
That is an interesting river. Is the exact path known? Does it cut across The Southlands and create a border?
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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the gith?

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:17 pm

Big Mac wrote:There has to be a way to retain the spirit of Zarum, Phargos and Penumbra. :?
Well, Zarum could be a colony of gith forerunners left over from the original rebellion. Perhaps they were freed from illithid slavery by Gith 11,000 years ago and then re-enslaved 4,000 years ago, only to break free again and join their distant githyanki cousins 3,000 years ago.
Maybe D&D Next willl provide more information on the origin of the gith and try to sort this out.
I'm sure they'll mention the gith, since they're a popular monster. 4th edition's Underdark placed the gith rebellion shortly after the Descent of the Drow, which was -10,000 DR in the Forgotten Realms setting, though fans have suggested -11,000 DR (when large numbers of illithids fled Glyth to found Oryndoll) as a more likely date. Vhostym is over ten thousand years old, and he is nearly as old as the gith rebellion.

It might be somewhat interesting to see what D&D Next does with this, though I wouldn't consider it to be more definitive than what previous authors have done.
That is an interesting river. Is the exact path known? Does it cut across The Southlands and create a border?
It's underground, so any border it might create is only recognized by subterranean races.

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Re: [Chainmail] What happened to the gith?

Post by Big Mac » Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:14 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:There has to be a way to retain the spirit of Zarum, Phargos and Penumbra. :?
Well, Zarum could be a colony of gith forerunners left over from the original rebellion. Perhaps they were freed from illithid slavery by Gith 11,000 years ago and then re-enslaved 4,000 years ago, only to break free again and join their distant githyanki cousins 3,000 years ago.
Something like that might work. :D

There is also the concept of illithids as time travellers out there. If gith forunners were part of the crews on illithid ships that flew to the Far Realm and back, they might actually return to the Material Plane thousands of years before they left. You could have two colonies that were both the "first" from a different point of view. (When they introduced that book: the Astromundi Chronicles, I got the feeling they were going to have the illithids take the Varan back in time from Clusterspace to give them the thrall race that would eventually turn into the gith.)
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Maybe D&D Next willl provide more information on the origin of the gith and try to sort this out.
I'm sure they'll mention the gith, since they're a popular monster. 4th edition's Underdark placed the gith rebellion shortly after the Descent of the Drow, which was -10,000 DR in the Forgotten Realms setting, though fans have suggested -11,000 DR (when large numbers of illithids fled Glyth to found Oryndoll) as a more likely date. Vhostym is over ten thousand years old, and he is nearly as old as the gith rebellion.

It might be somewhat interesting to see what D&D Next does with this, though I wouldn't consider it to be more definitive than what previous authors have done.
I'm sure they will mention them too. I'm just wondering if WotC are going to try to appeal to fans of older versions of D&D more than fans of 4e D&D. If there are clashes in the continuity, the way that WotC choose to handle it could reveal if they are going to try to make products that are more compatible with the original canon or adjusted canon.

Canon is just something that a GM can choose to use. And no book is definitive if you are in a group where the GM refuses to use it. :) But from an academic point of view, I find it interesting to see how much of the "backstory" of D&D is included in various eras.

I will also find it interesting to see how much Greyhawk WotC chooses to insert into D&D Next. 4e has had very little Greyhawk support, but if WotC put out a D&D Next "Greyhawk Campaign Setting" hardback that was a bit like 3e's Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting, it could go beyond the scope of the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer and include a "Beyond the Flanaess" section, in its Geography chapter that has a few paragraphs on the Sundered Empire.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:That is an interesting river. Is the exact path known? Does it cut across The Southlands and create a border?
It's underground, so any border it might create is only recognized by subterranean races.
Sure. That is true. But if Chainmail has the surface factions of the Godwar restricted to the area north of The Southlands but House Kilsek were able to travel far to the south (or far to the east) of that region, it would be able to gain access to parts of the surface that the other factions were unable to get to. I was kind of wondering if Chris Pramas and Rob Heinsoo were trying to use the River of Angry Souls as an control mechanism to explain why the Underdark below the Sundered Empire was as restricted as the surface.
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