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    Canonfire :: View topic - A Flan Culture of the Rakers
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    A Flan Culture of the Rakers
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:16 am  
    A Flan Culture of the Rakers

    Long time since I've posted, wanted some input to help me flesh out an idea. From various posts and articles, it s seems there isn't a consistent view on the culture of the Flan. My take on them is they represent the North American Indian cultures. There were over 500 distinct nations falling into multiple broad culture patters (forest culture, plains culture, mountain culture, etc) in North America alone. So taking this analogy over to the GH world Flan, that makes sense as to why we have inconsistent takes on their culture. All that said, here is an idea I was toying with:

    There was originally a Flan Empire in the Rakers, essentially the Flannaes version Inca Empire. They terrace farmed, built cities and temples, and were ruled by a Priest-King (Inca). Their armies protected the empire from the humanoids and monsters of the Rakers, and allied with the Dwarf clans. At some point in the past, the society collapsed, haven't thought of a good reason yet. Their descendants are the Flan remnants in Bone March and Ratik, with some also in Stonehold. Additionally, there are still pockets of the original empire in the Rakers, much reduced, but battling to hold on to their culture. This still leaves plenty of ruins, lost temples and lost artifacts of a lost people to be discovered by adventurers, and I think the whole thing could be pretty fun to try.

    All that said, any ideas to help develop this? What might have caused the original collapse? If the original was an Ur-Flan empire, would the common people have been an oppressed group? Or maybe the Ur-Flan brought it down as a threat to themselves? The introduction of a culture like this also means that farming in the mountains becomes more possible, possibly helping the taming of the high country. I can see a lot of directions to take it. I'm open to ideas/constructive criticism. Thanks.
    GreySage

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    Sat Apr 26, 2014 7:36 am  

    Argon, I also think of the Flan as a sort of native peoples akin to our First Nations tribes, although other sources and writers have different opinions. I tend to represent most of my true Flan characters as one depicts native society and give them names as such (I recently role-played a Wilderness Warrior named Running Deer).

    As to your inquiry, I have heard or read mention that it was the elves who taught the humans the art of sorcery. One of these (Ur-Flan?) was Vecna, I thought, who rose to such magical power that it was he who destroyed one of the ancient elven kingdoms in the north. Perhaps Vecna, in his vile corruption and quest for power, also annihilated some of his own people (whether before, during, or after conquering the elves is up to you).

    just a thought,

    -Lanthorn
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    Sat Apr 26, 2014 8:18 am  

    Gman75 wrote:
    ...From various posts and articles, it s seems there isn't a consistent view on the culture of the Flan. My take on them is they represent the North American Indian cultures... There was originally a Flan Empire in the Rakers, essentially the Flannaes version Inca Empire. They terrace farmed, built cities and temples, and were ruled by a Priest-King (Inca)...


    ...and...

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Argon, I also think of the Flan as a sort of native peoples akin to our First Nations tribes...


    -It depends.

    They LOOK like East African Hamites.

    Culturally, I too get the pseudo-Inka vibe from Tenh (maybe it's the running messengers). Almost everyone agrees that the Rovers come off as northern Great Plains Indians (still transitioning to the horse). The Coltens too. But the Geoffites are definitely Welsh, and only so much of that could have been Suel or Oerid influence. The "Old Faith" is sort of a mix of what we imagine the pre-Indo European religion to be, mixed what we imagine the Celtic druids were like, mixed with the pre-occupations of the modern "Green" movement.

    So, the Flan are similar to a variety of real world groups who, in the real world, have bloody little to do with each other, other than that they tend to be history's losers.

    So, to sum up, different branches of the Flan may make good analogues for certain real world cultures, but the Flan as a group are a hodgepodge, just as the Suel, the Oerid, and the Bakluni are.

    FWIW, on your Rakers culture theory, I agree.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:52 am  

    I just blundered onto this:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=207#207
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 26, 2014 10:11 am  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    As to your inquiry, I have heard or read mention that it was the elves who taught the humans the art of sorcery. One of these (Ur-Flan?) was Vecna, I thought, who rose to such magical power that it was he who destroyed one of the ancient elven kingdoms in the north. Perhaps Vecna, in his vile corruption and quest for power, also annihilated some of his own people (whether before, during, or after conquering the elves is up to you).


    I think the source for this is Steve Wilson's "The History of Oerth" in Oerth Journal #1.

    Other points aside, I agree pretty much with jamesdglick and that's how I play it.

    I'm working on a campaign set in Ratik with the only Flan-influenced culture group being woodsmen in the Loftwood and a couple of other isolated areas in the Rakers foothills, so this discussion is of interest to me, since I also imagine the Flan in Ratik being from the same cultural group as this thread proposes. One thing I would say about the Incan idea and canon sources that talk about there being a pyramid-building culture (Tostenhca), is that this could be due to influence from the Crafters, since we see the same thing in Exag.
    GreySage

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    Sat Apr 26, 2014 2:20 pm  

    From what we now know since Steve Wilson wrote his OJ #1 timeline, Keraptis seems a better candidate than Vecna as the one who brought down the Rakers civilization. Vecna is usually associated with the Sheldomar (in Vecna Lives!, where most Vecna canon originated, the PCs time travel to various points in the Sheldomar's history and see Vecna's ancient empire). The OJ #1 history of Vecna is based on a poor reading of of Vecna Lives! which took all the "rumors" as literal truth and paid poor attention to the non-rumor parts of the adventure.

    Keraptis's history in White Plume Mountain and Return to White Plume Mountain, on the other hand, absolutely places him as ruler of Tostenhca 2,000 years ago, and possibly other parts of the region as well. Dragon #241 suggests he might even have ruled the Bone March region at some point in the ancient past. It's not at all beyond the realm of possibility that he was the leader of the Tyrants of the Trask who warred against the City of Summer Stars.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:39 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Argon, I also think of the Flan as a sort of native peoples akin to our First Nations tribes, although other sources and writers have different opinions. I tend to represent most of my true Flan characters as one depicts native society and give them names as such (I recently role-played a Wilderness Warrior named Running Deer).

    As to your inquiry, I have heard or read mention that it was the elves who taught the humans the art of sorcery. One of these (Ur-Flan?) was Vecna, I thought, who rose to such magical power that it was he who destroyed one of the ancient elven kingdoms in the north. Perhaps Vecna, in his vile corruption and quest for power, also annihilated some of his own people (whether before, during, or after conquering the elves is up to you).

    just a thought,

    -Lanthorn


    Lanthorn, I'm not Gman he just looks like me.
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    Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:12 pm  

    Quote:
    Lanthorn, I'm not Gman he just looks like me.


    Argon, I'm just a Conan fan, liked the avatar. Happy

    Thanks for the ideas, I've got a one or two I'll try and flesh out, and then post on CF.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:43 pm  

    Gman75 wrote:
    Quote:
    Lanthorn, I'm not Gman he just looks like me.


    Argon, I'm just a Conan fan, liked the avatar. Happy

    Thanks for the ideas, I've got a one or two I'll try and flesh out, and then post on CF.


    No problem we barbarians need to stick together.
    GreySage

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    Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:54 pm  

    Argon wrote:


    Lanthorn, I'm not Gman he just looks like me.


    Embarassed

    You'd think a high school teacher would read the Avatar names first before answering. Shocked

    Sorry about that.

    -Lanthorn
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    Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:08 pm  

    jamesdglick wrote:
    I just blundered onto this:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=207#207


    Ah, I hope someone is finding my take helpful!

    Here's the final version:

    Part I: http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=374

    Part II: http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=375
    Adept Greytalker

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    Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:02 pm  
    Re: A Flan Culture of the Rakers

    Gman, here's an excerpt covering the areas you mentioned from my unpublished Vecna article that I had planned to submit to the OJ. I consulted several sources (most of them canon), and attempted to weave them together into a digestible whole. I included the footnotes (this section alone has about 30), but the numbers didn't carry over, so you'll have to look up the passages in question if you're that interested.

    Tostenhca
    Located in the Griff Mountains, the northern Flan civilization of Tostenhca fell centuries ago, and today remains little more than a kobold-haunted ruin named “Skrellingshald” by the northern barbarians. What little knowledge we have of Tostenhca relates to the role played by the legendary wizard Keraptis in its history.
    Tostenhca was already “a grand mountainside city of wide streets and towering ziggurats” when Keraptis established himself as its “protector” circa -1410 CY. None today know for certain from whence Keraptis came, but many (including Iquander, Finnobhar Aodhin, and Alsi Svenits, high priestess of the Chapel of Olidammara in Greyhawk) believe him to have been of Ur-Flan origin. The scholar Sertorn Limbu, an expert in ancient magical texts, argues that Keraptis first “rose to power in the lands abutting the southern Rakers,” in the region encompassing the Bone March, making it likely he was a member of the one of the Ur-Flan tribes of that region, known for their conflicts with the elves of the Adri, and later, the Aerdi people.
    Keraptis, using magical means to extend his lifespan, ruled Tostenhca for four centuries before being ousted by a rebellion led by a powerful cleric of Pelor named Gethrun Shoiraine. Tostenhca thrived for nearly three centuries thereafter, until Keraptis used a powerful artifact (discovered in his new home of White Plume Mountain) to lay waste to the city via an insidious curse circa -730 CY.

    The Tyrants of the Trask
    The “Tyrants of the Trask” (sometimes called the Necromancers of Trask) is a name used to refer to the ancient Flan state (or perhaps collection of states) which ruled those lands near the Trask River. The exact parameters of this realm are unknown, but it possibly stretched west as far as the Adri Forest, south to the Gull Cliffs, and north to the Rakers.
    Early in this realm’s history, the Tyrants of the Trask came into conflict with the elves of the Adri Forest, a conflict which seems to have ended in a stalemate. Some time prior to the late fifteenth century before the Common Year, it is suspected that the Tyrants were visited by the arch-lich Vecna, who ruled a growing empire far to the west. Vecna is said to have brought his Ur-Flan brethren long-lost knowledge, which would become the basis for that fell work known as the Nethertome of Trask. Vecna is thought to have given the Tyrants of Trask knowledge of the Serpent, long forgotten by the Ur-Flan people. This is supported by the similarities between personal symbols used by Keraptis and Acererak, which feature the first letter of their names, capitalized, entwined with serpents.
    The Tyrants of the Trask were eventually brought low by the Aerdi. One notable conflict occurred in -171 at the Battle of Chokestone. Though the Flan lost, a magical curse transformed the area into a wasteland of choking dust. Since that time, once every seventeen years, “a huge black smoky serpentine shape” is spotted stalking the nearby lands, slaying all who come near the site. It is possible that this beast is a manifestation of the Serpent. The reign of the Tyrants of the Trask finally ended at the hands of the Great Kingdom at the Battle of Arrowstrand in 11 CY.

    Footnotes
    [Greyhawk Adventures, 92.]

    [Bruce R. Cordell, Return to White Plume Mountain (1999), 3.]

    [Erik Mona, “Return to White Plume Mountain Backstory Synopsis,” Canonfire! (2004). “Alsi Svenits” (a near anagram of Greyhawk developer “Lisa Stevens”) appears in The Adventure Begins (p. 118). See also: Eric Menge, “Power Groups: Druids of the Old Faith,” Wizards of the Coast (2008).]

    [Robert S. Mullin, “Arcane Lore: Greyhawk Grimoires II,” Dragon #241 (1997), 77. While Mullin’s article conflicts with Return to White Plume Mountain in regard to dates and many of Keraptis’s activities prior to discovering White Plume Mountain, I have attempted to preserve certain elements of it.]

    [Ivid the Undying, 50, 53, 74; Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 73.]

    [Return to White Plume Mountain, 3.]

    [White Plume Mountain, 15.]

    [“Return to White Plume Mountain Backstory Synopsis.”]

    [“Arcane Lore: Greyhawk Grimoires II,” Dragon #241, 77.]

    [Return to White Plume Mountain, 3-4, 9. This date is figured “1300 years” (White Plume Mountain, 2, 15) from 571 CY, the date given for the events of White Plume Mountain in Return to White Plume Mountain (pp. 4,9).]

    [“Places of Mystery: Spinecastle and Veralos,” Dragon #293, 90; Living Greyhawk Gazetteer, 73. Author Gary Holian has confirmed in the June 3, 2010 GreyTalk chat that the Tyrants of the Trask are meant to be the same Flan fought by Aerdy at Chokestone in -171 CY and Arrowstrand in 11 CY, and “the Necromancers of Trask are the same Flan who used the Isle of Lost Souls and the Causeway of Fiends” (see Ivid the Undying, 50, 53).]

    [The Tyrants of the Trask are likely the same Ur-Flan who laid siege to the City of Summer Stars (see Ivid the Undying, 74), a view supported in non-official sources (see Rick Miller’s “Until the Starbreak” in Oerth Journal #22, p. 46).]

    [Ur-Flan burial chambers are said to be located in the Gull Cliffs. See Ivid the Undying, 100.]

    [This is assuming that Keraptis’s early home in the modern-day Bone March was inhabited by Ur-Flan. See “Arcane Lore: Greyhawk Grimoires II,” Dragon #241, 77.]

    [Ivid the Undying, 74.]

    [This date was chosen to precede Keraptis’s time in Tostenhca.]

    [Vecna’s visit to the Tyrants of the Trask is my own speculation, based on his association with the Nethertome of Trask, the serpent imagery of Keraptis’s and Acererak’s symbols, and the “smoky serpentine shape” of Chokestone.]

    [Mike Mearls, “The Three Faces of Evil,” Dungeon #125 (2005), 18.]

    [Vecna: Hand of the Revenant, 16.]

    Sertorn Limbu notes that this “suggests the two mages may have been acquainted,” and that it “seems to imply that they were influenced by a mutual experience, as the symbols are too similar to be dismissed as coincidence. Perhaps they were part of a forgotten wizard society whose members all used the same serpentine configuration in their personal symbols, or maybe both wizards received magical instruction from the same teacher” [“Arcane Lore: Greyhawk Grimoires II,” Dragon #241, 79]. Given Vecna’s apparent fondness for serpent motifs (as observed by visitors to his palace on the Demiplane of Dread) [see Die Vecna Die!, 48, 94, 95, 96, 98, 109, 111, 112, 113, 118], the fact that Acererak is said to have once served the Whispered One [see Vecna: Hand of the Revenant, 40-43, 61; Bart Carroll and Steve Winter, “Open Grave,” Dragon #271 (2009), 64; and Ari Marmell and Scott Fitzgerald Gray, Tomb of Horrors (2010), 4], and the fact that all three seemed have been extant circa -1410 CY, it is easy to conceive of a common connection between Keraptis, Acererak, and Vecna.

    [Ivid the Undying, 53.]

    [Ivid the Undying, 50. It is my own speculation that the “major battle against the Flan tribes” mentioned here was against the Tyrants of the Trask, given the fact that Arrowstrand is less than fifty miles south of the Trask.]
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu May 01, 2014 7:59 am  

    Nice work, Rob!
    GreySage

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    Thu May 01, 2014 9:39 am  

    Excellent Rob! Thank you! Happy

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    Fri May 02, 2014 4:36 pm  

    GMan, that's a great idea, and I may need to steal it (with credit, of course) for my own upcoming History of the Flan article.
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