[New Koratia] Provincial Prior Cause

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[New Koratia] Provincial Prior Cause

Post by Big Mac » Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:32 pm

According to this post on the Canonfire! forums, there is an adventure called, Provincial Prior Cause, which is supposed to lead into the T.H. Lain novel The Bloody Eye:
Robbastard at the Canonfire! forums wrote:Johnny Wilson had an adventure call "Provincial Prior Cause" in Dungeon #96, which was presented as a lead-in to the events of "TH Lain"'s novel, The Bloody Eye. IIRC, King Ingemar of the Schnai & Ratik are mentioned, but the background is totally out of character for GH. Ingemar is presented as analogous to one of the French kings during the Crusades (Philip, I think), & the organization in the module, the Soldiers of the Sun, is very Knights Templarish. Wilson could've picked far better locations in GH to make his analogies than the Barbarian North, IMO.
Does anyone have this adventure? If so, does it provide any new details about the New Koratia setting?

What are the details about King Ingemar of the Schnai & Ratik? Do they imply a land-relationship between New Koratia and Ratik? Or could there be a sea lane from the port of New Kortia to one or more places in the Flanaess?
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Re: [New Koratia] Provincial Prior Cause

Post by ripvanwormer » Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:20 am

It's not set in the New Koratia setting. It's set in Ratik, in the World of Greyhawk setting.

It's a strange interpretation of Greyhawk, though, in which the king of the Snow Barbarians exiled a knighthood based on the Knights Templar from his land. Why would the Snow Barbarians have a Templar-like order dedicated to Pelor? Who knows? I guess they don't anymore, since King Ingemar kicked them out. Maybe they were only there for a brief time, having fled the Great Kingdom for the patronage of a previous Snow Barbarian king. In a letter from the Master General of the Soldiers of the Sun, though, the reference isn't to the Snow Barbarians but to Aquitaine in France. It seems, then, that the adventure (and novel?) was originally about an order of Templar-like knights exiled from France and taking refuge in Scotland, but at some point in the process it was imperfectly transferred to Oerth.

The other two locations mentioned in the adventure are Whitefang Bay, the site of another sanctum of the exiled order, and Scaun, a holy site of the old gods. Neither are known Greyhawk locations, though Whitefang Bay later became a location on Golarion. Given the heavily Celtic/Scottish themes in the adventure, Scaun might be a reference to the Stone of Scone.

Johnny L. Wilson seemed to be trying to make a parallel with certain historical Earth elements—the Knights Templar, the ancient Celtic gods—and used core Greyhawk equivalents as analogies, and the result was deeply strange. There's all sorts of references in "Provincial Prior Cause" to "the Old Gods" and "the ancient, rural religion of Caledon." Caledonia is the Roman name for Scotland, which is obviously not part of Oerth. The intention is an ancient pagan faith replaced by the modern (pseudo-Christian) faith of Pelor. Greyhawk sort of has that in the form of the druidic Old Faith (which Pelor is part of), but instead of using Flan deities, Gruumsh is listed as one of the "Old Gods." "Provincial Prior Cause" compares Gruumsh to Balor, the king of the Fomorians in Irish mythology. I can see Gruumsh as a Balor-like figure to the ancient Flan, though the fomorians had their own god in 2nd edition, Karontor.

The whole thing comes across as a really awkward attempt to shoehorn ideas into Greyhawk that maybe could have fit into Greyhawk if Johnny L. Wilson or the editor Chris Thomasson had known enough about Greyhawk to pull it off. This was really early 3e, when they were perhaps taking the "Greyhawk is the default world" too seriously, and the magazine didn't yet have hardcore Greyhawk fans like Erik Mona and James Jacobs running it.

Anyway, no, it doesn't provide any details about the New Koratia setting, new or otherwise. It's not set there. It doesn't imply any connection between New Koratia and Greyhawk lands like the Snow Barbarians and Ratik. New Koratia isn't mentioned at all. Given the Earthly/European place names, I don't think it was ever meant to connect to New Koratia.

Some of the novels (maybe just Death Ray, where Jozan doesn't appear) evidently do take place in New Koratia, but as I haven't read them I can't tell you if there's any implied connection to the Land of the Snow Barbarians or Ratik. Was Jozan exiled from the Land of the Snow Barbarians to wherever New Koratia is? All I can say is that there isn't any connection in "Provincial Prior Cause" or "Prying Eyes."

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Re: [New Koratia] Provincial Prior Cause

Post by Big Mac » Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:59 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:It's not set in the New Koratia setting. It's set in Ratik, in the World of Greyhawk setting.
This stuff just doesn't make any sense. People are telling me the T.H. Lain novels are not set on Greyhawk, but how can you have an adventure that "leads into a novel" set on a different world to the novel itself. :?

I have been reading the T.H. Lain novels (I'm part way through Return of the Damned at the moment) and there isn't anything to suggest that any of the Iconics have planewalked to or from another world. :?

Surely, if Dungeon Magazine 96 puts Provincial Prior Cause into a "poor quality Greyhawk", that would also put New Koratia into a "poor quality Greyhawk".
ripvanwormer wrote:It's a strange interpretation of Greyhawk, though, in which the king of the Snow Barbarians exiled a knighthood based on the Knights Templar from his land. Why would the Snow Barbarians have a Templar-like order dedicated to Pelor? Who knows? I guess they don't anymore, since King Ingemar kicked them out. Maybe they were only there for a brief time, having fled the Great Kingdom for the patronage of a previous Snow Barbarian king. In a letter from the Master General of the Soldiers of the Sun, though, the reference isn't to the Snow Barbarians but to Aquitaine in France. It seems, then, that the adventure (and novel?) was originally about an order of Templar-like knights exiled from France and taking refuge in Scotland, but at some point in the process it was imperfectly transferred to Oerth.
If you can have a Blackmoor in Mystara and another similar, but not identical Blackmoor in Greyhawk, then perhaps there could be a location called "Ratik" in New Koratia, that is similar, but different to the one in Greyhawk. :?
ripvanwormer wrote:The other two locations mentioned in the adventure are Whitefang Bay, the site of another sanctum of the exiled order, and Scaun, a holy site of the old gods. Neither are known Greyhawk locations, though Whitefang Bay later became a location on Golarion. Given the heavily Celtic/Scottish themes in the adventure, Scaun might be a reference to the Stone of Scone.
I do not recall Whitefang Bay or Scaun in the New Koratia novels, I have read. There is an area separate to New Koratia in at least on of the novels. New Koratia seems to be on the southern coast of some land, while the other area seems to be on the western coast of some other land. And I'm not sure of the distance between the two areas.
ripvanwormer wrote:Johnny L. Wilson seemed to be trying to make a parallel with certain historical Earth elements—the Knights Templar, the ancient Celtic gods—and used core Greyhawk equivalents as analogies, and the result was deeply strange. There's all sorts of references in "Provincial Prior Cause" to "the Old Gods" and "the ancient, rural religion of Caledon." Caledonia is the Roman name for Scotland, which is obviously not part of Oerth. The intention is an ancient pagan faith replaced by the modern (pseudo-Christian) faith of Pelor. Greyhawk sort of has that in the form of the druidic Old Faith (which Pelor is part of), but instead of using Flan deities, Gruumsh is listed as one of the "Old Gods." "Provincial Prior Cause" compares Gruumsh to Balor, the king of the Fomorians in Irish mythology. I can see Gruumsh as a Balor-like figure to the ancient Flan, though the fomorians had their own god in 2nd edition, Karontor.

The whole thing comes across as a really awkward attempt to shoehorn ideas into Greyhawk that maybe could have fit into Greyhawk if Johnny L. Wilson or the editor Chris Thomasson had known enough about Greyhawk to pull it off. This was really early 3e, when they were perhaps taking the "Greyhawk is the default world" too seriously, and the magazine didn't yet have hardcore Greyhawk fans like Erik Mona and James Jacobs running it.
Is Caledon supposed to be a pagan-like god?

Perhaps some worshippers of Pelor could have somehow travelled (either via spelljamming, planewalking or a portal or gate) from Oerth to another world and displaced a local religion when they arrived.
ripvanwormer wrote:Anyway, no, it doesn't provide any details about the New Koratia setting, new or otherwise. It's not set there. It doesn't imply any connection between New Koratia and Greyhawk lands like the Snow Barbarians and Ratik. New Koratia isn't mentioned at all. Given the Earthly/European place names, I don't think it was ever meant to connect to New Koratia.

Some of the novels (maybe just Death Ray, where Jozan doesn't appear) evidently do take place in New Koratia, but as I haven't read them I can't tell you if there's any implied connection to the Land of the Snow Barbarians or Ratik. Was Jozan exiled from the Land of the Snow Barbarians to wherever New Koratia is? All I can say is that there isn't any connection in "Provincial Prior Cause" or "Prying Eyes."
Jozan does not appear in several of the novels. Instead of being a single story, of one character or several characters, there are a number of characters that seem to be randomly combined in different novels. But all of the Iconics have met at least one of the other Iconics. So they are definately on the same planet. And the different maps are definitely on the same world.

When I finish Return of the Damned and read The Death Ray, I will have gone through all the novels and will not (personally) be worried about spoilers. I might write about some of the setting elements in the novels after that.
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Re: [New Koratia] Provincial Prior Cause

Post by ripvanwormer » Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:06 pm

Big Mac wrote:People are telling me the T.H. Lain novels are not set on Greyhawk
I said that in this thread, but as I haven't read the novels, I'm not the most reliable source.

What I said exactly was: "I'm pretty sure novels that take place in something called the Kingdom of Soes have nothing to do with Greyhawk. I don't think it would fit in Western Oerik either, without some serious revision."

I'll stand by the fact that I've never seen a canon map of Oerth with places called "Kingdom of Soes" or "New Koratia" on it. I understand that Oath of Nerull includes a city called Shantara (the accompanying article in Dragon #299 did, anyway), and that isn't a known Greyhawk reference either. That's not to say you couldn't squeeze those places somewhere on the planet (and I made a number of suggestions in the other thread), but they aren't on the official maps that I've seen. As for the authors' and publisher's intentions, I can't speak for them, but my suspicion is that they weren't originally written with Greyhawk in mind, but some Greyhawk proper nouns ended up being added to The Bloody Eye late in the process.

"Provincial Prior Cause" seems to have been originally set in Scotland or something like it (it even has a loch), with some (but not all) of the Earthly proper nouns replaced with Oerthly proper nouns.
but how can you have an adventure that "leads into a novel" set on a different world to the novel itself. :?
If you don't care about continuity, you can do pretty much whatever you want. To be fair, the adventure would most likely star the player characters of the individual home games of the readers of Dungeon Magazine, not Jozan, so they can't possibly exist in the exact same continuity anyway. It's more like it potentially leads into adventures inspired by the novel.
Surely, if Dungeon Magazine 96 puts Provincial Prior Cause into a "poor quality Greyhawk", that would also put New Koratia into a "poor quality Greyhawk".
If you prefer that label, sure. In the absence of any official statement of authorial intent, the categories you assign these stories (and RPG adventure) are as valid as the categories I assign them. I called it a "strange interpretation of Greyhawk," but I didn't mean to assign a value judgment. I just meant it was divergent, not necessarily good or bad.

You may be more scrupulous about continuity than the creators of the TH Lain books were, though. It's possible that none of the other authors even knew that Johnny L Wilson mentioned the Schnai in his novel.
There is an area separate to New Koratia in at least on of the novels. New Koratia seems to be on the southern coast of some land, while the other area seems to be on the western coast of some other land.
Which is an issue in itself, since Ratik is on the eastern coast of the Flanaess.
Is Caledon supposed to be a pagan-like god?
It's supposed to be Scotland. Or, at least, a fantasy version of Scotland. The story seems to be Johnny L Wilson's take on the legendary origin of the Freemasons. At some point in the publishing process, most of the references to "Caledon" became "Ratik."
Perhaps some worshippers of Pelor could have somehow travelled (either via spelljamming, planewalking or a portal or gate) from Oerth to another world and displaced a local religion when they arrived.
Canonically, Pelor is worshiped on multiple worlds. Even before he was introduced as part of the Nentir Vale setting or the TH Lain books, the demigoddess Mayaheine in From the Ashes was supposed to be a paladin of Pelor from another world on the Prime Material Plane (Atlas of the Flanaess, 94: "Mayaheine rose from mortal ranks as an epic hero, a paladin of Pelor. She does not originate from Oerth and has traveled, with Pelor’s aid, from some unknown alternate world in the Prime Material.")

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