Signup
Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Features
Postcards from the Flanaess
Adventures
in Greyhawk
Cities of
Oerth
Deadly
Denizens
Jason Zavoda Presents
The Gord Novels
Greyhawk Wiki
#greytalk
JOIN THE CHAT
ON DISCORD
    Canonfire :: View topic - Fate of Istus vs. The Scarlet Brotherhood
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    Fate of Istus vs. The Scarlet Brotherhood
    Author Message
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2004
    Posts: 563
    From: British Isles

    Send private message
    Sun Apr 03, 2022 11:19 am  
    Fate of Istus vs. The Scarlet Brotherhood

    I was wondering if there was any specific reason why there is so much variance between the history of the Scarlet Brotherhood described in Chapter 10 of Fate of Istus compared to S.K. Reynolds version in The Scarlet Brotherhood? Even the city maps for Hesuel Ilshar are totally different.

    I get the feeling that Fate of Istus has mixed reactions within the Greyhawk community and that it represented the shift between 1ED and 2ED but is there aother reason like copyright or something?

    Which version of events do people generally go with? I'm trying to see if I can combine both versions in a way that makes sense.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 16, 2003
    Posts: 190
    From: Calgary, AB, Canada

    Send private message
    Sun Apr 03, 2022 9:56 pm  

    I can't speak with any authority on why Sean K Reynolds made the creative choices he did, but either he had forgotten there was a relevant chapter/scenario pertaining to the Scarlet Brotherhood in WG8, or he thought the timeline provided there was absurd.

    Some problems associated with the WG8 version of the Scarlet Brotherhood include:

    a) it essentially served as a dubious in-game vehicle for the elimination of the AD&D 1e non-oriental monk and assassin classes (WG8 was a 'transition' module between AD&D 1e and 2e);

    b) the secret alliance between upper echelons of the racist Suloise SB and some 300 Asiatic (Kara-Turan) monks secretly living in the heart of Hesuel Ilshar (their ancestors having reached the Tilvanot by stepping through a portal in 489 CY) seemed wildly out of character for the SB;

    c) Hesuel Ilshar is likely destroyed and the Scarlet Brotherhood thrown into disarray by the end of WG8... which is completely at odds given the role they would play in the Greyhawk Wars a few short years later.

    There may be more to it than that, but that's what I recall in general.

    David Leonard recently made a really good effort to reconcile the timelines here: https://davidleonard-greyhawkmusings.blogspot.com/search/label/Scarlet%20Brotherhood


    Last edited by TwiceBorn on Tue Apr 05, 2022 12:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3263
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Tue Apr 05, 2022 7:09 am  

    Yeah, they just thought some of the material in Fate of Istus was bad, so they changed it.

    It had become the orthodox position in TSR by the late 1980s that including the monk class in the base AD&D game had been a mistake. Even Gary Gygax mentioned in his introduction to Oriental Adventures that he recommended the original 1e monk be removed from "European-type" campaigns. "Because what is found herein is superior and in its proper surroundings as well!"

    Accordingly, when Fate of Istus was written, they decided it was necessary to rationalize the existence of the Scarlet Brotherhood monk by adding contact with Kara-Turan immigrants, and then immediately remove the monk class from Oerth entirely in preparation for 2nd edition AD&D, which would no longer have a separate monk class in the default game.

    By the late 1990s, when The Scarlet Brotherhood was written, the thinking had changed. AD&D wasn't a medieval Europe simulator, but its own thing, and distinctive cultural elements like the Scarlet Brotherhood monk didn't need to be rationalized with dubious portals from Kara-Tur or removed from the game. So they put a monk class back in and decided that the Suel could have their own martial arts tradition not beholden to Kara-Turans or portals.

    Similarly, they changed the map because they thought the grid in Fate of Istus was boring and could be improved.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 16, 2003
    Posts: 190
    From: Calgary, AB, Canada

    Send private message
    Tue Apr 05, 2022 8:30 am  

    In hindsight, I do kind of like the idea that Asiatic monks may have had an influence on the development of pre-Migrations Suloise martial arts (rather than via portal in 489 CY).

    The pride of the white supremacist SB would be severely wounded if their dirty little secret (i.e., that their martial arts plagiarized liberally from other cultures they likely held/hold in contempt) were exposed... it would be reminiscent of the theory that Hitler's grandfather was Jewish (https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/study-suggests-adolf-hitler-was-a-quarter-jewish-597966[/url).
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2004
    Posts: 563
    From: British Isles

    Send private message
    Tue Apr 05, 2022 9:23 am  

    Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    I agree TwiceBorn, I quite like the element of hypocrisy by having a band of monks from Kara-Tur influencing the martial arts of the Brotherhood. A couple of the Suel deities (Syrul & Pyremius) have levels in monk so I believe that there was an existing style of martial arts in the Suel Imperium already but that this style was secretly developed and honed.

    The background info on the Splintered Mind could tie in nicely with the Kara-Tur influence with its founder learning of this hypocrisy (although WG8 mentions that any monk of 9th-level or above is aware of the Kara-Tur folk). The Splintered Mind developed an offshoot of the SB martial arts style and could have also been influenced by one of the other orders of Kara-Tur monks pushed to the fringes of the Tilvanot.

    I'll probably think about pushing the date of the Kara-Tur arrivals to much earlier though.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3263
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Tue Apr 05, 2022 6:49 pm  

    An idea I've been playing with is that the Suel Imperium was much more multicultural and diverse than the Scarlet Brotherhood believes, including a Hong Kong-like colony in Suhfang/Shaofeng to the west. The actual Suel Imperium, in this premise, wasn't an ethnostate, but a true multicultural empire including many black-skinned citizens related to the Zahindi to the south, immigrants from the far west and the far south, etc., and even in the Flanaess today there are descendants of the Suel Imperium who may not be recognized as such, lacking as they do the typical Suel look.

    The Oerth Journal #1 timeline mentions a "War of Purity" in 4117 SD, when the emperor attempted to annihilate two houses that had long intermarried with people to the west. I think it might be interesting to play with that assumption, and have it be a misunderstanding by the modern Scarlet Brotherhood of what "purity" meant in the context of ancient Suel culture; that it wasn't racial or even cultural purity they were referring to, but something else (my current idea is that this was a cult dedicated to a corrupted star), and the Scarlet Brotherhood's philosophy is ultimately based on a translation error or misunderstanding. Something like evidence that many of the Suel emperors weren't even racially Suloise could be genuinely shocking to the modern Brotherhood.
    Journeyman Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 16, 2003
    Posts: 190
    From: Calgary, AB, Canada

    Send private message
    Tue Apr 05, 2022 7:57 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    An idea I've been playing with is that the Suel Imperium was much more multicultural and diverse than the Scarlet Brotherhood believes, including a Hong Kong-like colony in Suhfang/Shaofeng to the west. The actual Suel Imperium, in this premise, wasn't an ethnostate, but a true multicultural empire including many black-skinned citizens related to the Zahindi to the south, immigrants from the far west and the far south, etc., and even in the Flanaess today there are descendants of the Suel Imperium who may not be recognized as such, lacking as they do the typical Suel look.

    The Oerth Journal #1 timeline mentions a "War of Purity" in 4117 SD, when the emperor attempted to annihilate two houses that had long intermarried with people to the west. I think it might be interesting to play with that assumption, and have it be a misunderstanding by the modern Scarlet Brotherhood of what "purity" meant in the context of ancient Suel culture; that it wasn't racial or even cultural purity they were referring to, but something else (my current idea is that this was a cult dedicated to a corrupted star), and the Scarlet Brotherhood's philosophy is ultimately based on a translation error or misunderstanding. Something like evidence that many of the Suel emperors weren't even racially Suloise could be genuinely shocking to the modern Brotherhood.


    Absolutely brilliant.

    That matches the overall direction I was heading in, but you're much farther along in your research and thought process, Rasgon.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 20, 2004
    Posts: 563
    From: British Isles

    Send private message
    Tue Apr 05, 2022 11:26 pm  

    rasgon wrote:
    An idea I've been playing with is that the Suel Imperium was much more multicultural and diverse than the Scarlet Brotherhood believes.


    Yeah I love this idea too. I've always felt that if the Suel people had an empire it should involve territories beyond what came to be the Sea of Dust. It would be highly unlikely that there was no intermixing of peopes within the empire unless you wanted to go down a central homeland that was off limits to the rest of the empire with trade towns for foreigners along the periphery but it doesn't really make sense on such a large scale.

    The concept of Suel purity sounds like it began as a minor movement/cult established by Kevelli Mak. The modern SB concepts of purity seem to originate from that. It would make sense for Kevelli to obsess about this Suel purity in light of a growingly diverse empire.

    In terms of an older connection to the concept of Suel purity, I've always wondered about some kind of draconic root. A number of the Suel deities have draconic forms, and there is definitely a complicated history with dragonkind later on with the orbs of dragonkind.

    Another theory I've loosely mulled over is with the earliest Suel people being survivors of an aboleth slave race but I can't remember right now what my reasons for that were!

    I think ti was to do with physiologically it's unusual for a people native to a subtropical region to be so fair skinned and light-haired which makes me believe that the Suel are definitely descended from ancestors not fromt he Sea of Dust region.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 22, 2019
    Posts: 77


    Send private message
    Wed Apr 13, 2022 10:09 am  

    I've always looked at the claims of Suel purity as more of what tack the Scarlet Brotherhood took to wrest away authority from the remaining magic-users of the Suel Imperium. Eventually, they reached a point where they had to back up their talk and the practices of the modern Scarlet Brotherhood were established.
    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3263
    From: Michigan

    Send private message
    Wed Apr 13, 2022 6:48 pm  

    Wolfling wrote:
    Another theory I've loosely mulled over is with the earliest Suel people being survivors of an aboleth slave race but I can't remember right now what my reasons for that were!

    I think ti was to do with physiologically it's unusual for a people native to a subtropical region to be so fair skinned and light-haired which makes me believe that the Suel are definitely descended from ancestors not fromt he Sea of Dust region.


    I'd also considered having the Suel be descendants of illithid slaves, making them cousins of the githyanki and githzerai.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Oct 12, 2005
    Posts: 10


    Send private message
    Thu Apr 28, 2022 7:47 pm  

    IIRC, someone asked Reynolds about Fate of Istus and he dryly remarked something to the effect of "For some reason the last chapter or so of my copy have the pages ripped out"
    Display posts from previous:   
       Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion All times are GMT - 8 Hours
    Page 1 of 1

    Jump to:  

    You cannot post new topics in this forum
    You cannot reply to topics in this forum
    You cannot edit your posts in this forum
    You cannot delete your posts in this forum
    You cannot vote in polls in this forum




    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!


    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.41 Seconds