Cimmerian Timeline Part 2

Previous: Cimmerian Timeline Part 1

Composing the Cimmerian Timeline has an issue that if I do it chronologically I risk missing events that I put into various cities’ backgrounds and later forgot. I’ll do my best to get everything as it comes up chronologically. Inevitably I will make mistakes and need to include events that are in a period of time that I already covered. I’ll just note that in each update that requires it and edit the complete timeline on the menu bar at the top of the site.

1150BCE: The Olympians held a convocation. The Trojan War devastated the greatest heroes of Greece and now the oldest survivors had died. The gods wished to continue their philandering and fun, but the Fates decreed that no such business would occur in Greece. A decision was made to head east, to the land of the Goblins.

The Goblins had a pantheon of their own which the Olympians had to combat with before their rule of Cimmeria could be secure. The Olympians created many new mortal servants to war against the Goblins while the Olympians engaged the Goblin gods themselves. These new mortals organized themselves into a governmental body known as the Conclave. Humans, Elves, Orcs, Dwarves, Halflings, and other races of Cimmeria all worked together in the Conclave.

1149BCE: Threatened as they were, the Goblin pantheon called upon a most terrible weapon, the Phoenix. The Olympians battled with the Phoenix. They defeated the great bird but found that it arose anew from the ashes, stronger than it was before.

1147BCE: After many attempts to destroy the Phoenix, the Olympians turned to their mortal allies. They gave the mortals access to powerful magic and combat techniques in the hope that with their combined force they could vanquish the Phoenix for good.

1146BCE: The health of King Aeëtes of Colchis began to fail without his daughter Medea’s magic. He started feverishly studying to reclaim the arts she once used to extend their lifetimes.

1140BCE: Years of planning allowed the mortals, led by the sorcerer Sadroston, to defeat the Phoenix. A city named after the bird was built upon its ashes. This was the first Olympian city in Cimmeria.

1139BCE: The war with the Goblins and the Goblin pantheon continued. King Aeëtes mastered the unruly magic of the Olympians to immortalize himself. Hades was furious that a subject escaped entrance to his realm. The God of the Underworld began preparations to reclaim the old Aeëtes’s soul.

1118BCE: The war raged on. The Conclave pushed the Goblins out of Western Cimmeria and founded the city of Nox as a center for people living in the west.

1113BCE: Tensions rose between the Dwarves and the Humans over how to coordinate the actions of Phoenix, Nox, and smaller population centers against the Goblins.

1102BCE: Karnafaust, First High King of the Dwarves, stormed off with his army after a disagreement with the Human leader, Drolofo. Karnafaust struck into Goblin territory in Eastern Cimmeria, stopping only when he reached the Black River.

1101BCE: Karnafaust founded the city of Fangaroot upon the Black Mirror Lake. He declared an independent Dwarven state from the Conclave of Humans, Elves, Halflings, and Orcs.

-GoCorral

Next: Cimmerian Timeline Part 3

First Steps of the Cimmerian Timeline Part 1

Greek myths describe periods of hundreds or thousands of years when humans were around and the Titans ruled. And before Cronus was born there was a long time where just the primordial deities were around hanging out and doing whatever primordial deities do.

So how far back does my timeline of Cimmeria go? A hundred years from current events? The Trojan War? The war between the Titans and the Olympians? The birth of Gaia from the void?

I picked the birth of Deucalion as where my timeline would start.

For those of you who don’t know, Deucalion is the Greek mythological version of Noah. A lot of religions have versions of Noah. Archaeologists link these stories to flood events at the end of the last ice age.

Deucalion and Pyrrha threw stones over their shoulders and they turned into people to repopulate the Earth. And that's where babies come from.
Deucalion and Pyrrha threw stones over their shoulders and they turned into people to repopulate the Earth. And that’s where babies come from.

Deucalion is the “Father of Humanity” in Greek mythology, so he is a natural starting point for a timeline about Humans.

But where do I line up Deucalion with an actual historical timeline?

Fortunately, there is a event in Greek myths that has a counterpart in reality, the Trojan War!

The remains of Troy have been found with multiple layers of cities built on top of each after the previous layer was destroyed.

Two of the layers are reasonable candidates for what was destroyed at the end of the Trojan War. These two layers are called Troy VI and Troy VII.

Troy VI was destroyed first around 1250BCE and Troy VII was destroyed around 1183BCE.

So which was the Troy the Greeks destroyed?

Luckily the myths give us an easy answer. Troy was attacked and damaged a few decades before the Trojan War by Heracles. Thus if we were to line up mythical and historical events we would claim that Heracles destroyed Troy VI in 1250BCE and the Greeks destroyed Troy VII in 1183BCE.

From there it’s a matter of counting backwards generationally from the Trojan War to Deucalion.

It turns out that Patroclus is the best candidate for counting backwards to Deucalion. Figuring out Patroclus’s age is somewhat dependent on Achilles’s age.

The good news is that Achilles’s age is given in the Epic Cycle. He is eight years old when Odysseus takes him off to the Trojan War. It takes two years to get to Troy and the Greeks are there for ten years. That means Achilles would’ve been 19 or 20 near the end of the war.

Patroclus is meant to be Achilles’s older cousin and pederast. I guessed that he was seven years older.

So we count backwards 27 from 1183BCE and we get 1210BCE as the birth year of Patroclus. Patroclus was the second son of Menoetius. We count backwards for Menoetius, assuming that he had his first child at 25 (typical for Greeks), with a 2 year gap per child. Continue this process until you reach Deucalion and then add a bunch of years to Deucalion because he lived longer than normal Humans do just like Noah.

Obviously, I could use a similar system to date many of the events in Greek mythology, but that’s a huge pain in the ass. It’s enough that you know that all the heroic myths take place over a roughly 200 year period, with most of them concentrated around the 50 years leading up to the Fall of Troy.

And without further ado, here is the first installment in the Cimmerian Timeline.

1421BCE: Deucalion is born.
1339BCE: The Great Flood happens, signaling the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Heroic Age.
1196BCE: Paris steals Helen and the call goes out among the Achaeans.
1195BCE: Odysseus finds Achilles at Scyros and the ships sail to Troy, ravaging almost every settlement enroute to the great city.
1193BCE: The Achaeans arrive at Troy.
1183BCE: Troy falls, signaling that the Heroic Age will end soon.
1173BCE: Odysseus returns home.
1159BCE: Odysseus is killed by Telegonus, his son with Circe. Telegonus takes Penelope and Telemachus back to Circe’s Island. Telegonus marries Penelope and Circe marries Telemachus. This death and marriage signal the end of the Heroic Age and the beginning of the Iron Age for Greece.

-GoCorral

Next: Cimmerian Timeline Part 2

Windows 10 Upgrade

One of the gifts I asked for and received for Christmas was some new RAM for my computer.

RAM is what your computer uses when it’s actually running programs. More RAM means your programs will run smoother and you’ll be able to run more of them (with some limitations).

I wanted the extra RAM to help with issues I’ve had in the past when I’m running programs in the background while playing a game. Things like Skype, my recording software for streaming, or just leaving Chrome open with a guide to the game.

In the past these things have slowed the game down a little bit, but not so much anymore!

I upgraded from 8GB of RAM to 24GB. I should be able to run three times as many programs, right?

Turns out that’s not the case. My current operating system, Windows 7, throttles the RAM my computer can use at 16GB.

Windows 10, however, lets me use up to 128GB of RAM. Far more than I will ever need.

And as you may have heard, Windows is offering a free downloadable upgrade to Windows 10 on all Windows 7 and 8 machines.

Setag liah! Setag liah!
Setag llib liah! Setag llib liah!

I’ve been reluctant to go through with the upgrade for a number of reasons.

First, bad reviews. Most of the reviews of Windows 10 are bad. That’s par for the course when a new operating system comes out though.

My dad has tried Windows 10 out and he hasn’t noticed any serious problems which was encouraging.

Second, detailed reviews that talk about the increased bloat of the operating system and annoying default features that spy on your computer for Microsoft.

The operating system bloat shouldn’t be a problem. Even if Windows 10 uses a whole 1GB more of RAM then Windows 7 I’ll still be 7GB up on what I previously had.

The spying is annoying, but since I can turn it off I’m not too concerned about it.

My third and final concern is whether all my programs will continue to run on Windows 10.

Most, if not all, of my games will continue to work on Windows 10 according to this community list.

I’d be shocked if Microsoft Office and Google Chrome didn’t transfer over fine.

That leaves just my streaming software.

While the upgrade was initially to get more use out of the streaming software, I haven’t seriously touched the stuff in about a year. Maybe it’s not so big a deal if it doesn’t work?

Anyways, I’ll be making a jump into Windows 10 tonight. If I don’t update the blog next week it’s probably because Windows 10 caused my computer to go up in flames and burn down my house.

Here’s hoping that doesn’t happen.

Crossed Fingers

-GoCorral

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa

If you’re into comedies where most of the jokes are attacks on Zac Efron’s masculinity then Dirty Grandpa is the movie for you.

Quick plot rundown, Efron plays Jason who has to escort his grandpa Dick, played by Robert De Niro, to a vacation in Florida.

Jason is a lawyer about to be married to his trophy wife fiancee, Meredith. Dick’s wife just died after a decade long fight with cancer.

The one thing on Dick’s mind after being faithful to his wife through ten years of serious illness is, you guessed it, having sex. (Really subtle naming of that character…)

Jason is forced into a wingman position as his grandpa tries to get in bed with a college girl.

Along the way Jason realizes his fiancee is a horrible person and he rediscovers his love of photography.

So the plot is pretty much what you’d expect if you saw the trailer. Shockingly the plot follows Campbell’s Hero’s Journey almost exactly but the doesn’t save the movie from the abyss it falls into.

What about the basic ingredients of comedy? The jokes and the laughs?

There isn’t much.

There are a lot of insults lobbed at Jason as he is the straight man. Most of those fall flat.

Dick’s physical abuse of Jason becomes a running joke. Why the writers thought that was funny enough to make a repeated joke, I don’t know. There’s no slapstick to it. It’s just a grandfather attacking his grandson because he thinks it’s funny.

The funniest moments centered on the unashamed lust shared between Dick and the college girl, Lenore, played by Aubrey Plaza. Everything else was pretty much just vulgarity masquerading as humor.

When I don’t like a movie I try to think who would like it. That’s a hard task with Dirty Grandpa. I’m a fan of South Park which is about as vulgar as it gets and I still hated this movie.

So should you see it? Absolutely not. Too much disgusting nudity, not enough real jokes, and stilted character development makes this one of the worst movies I’ve seen. If you’re going to the theaters see something else instead.

-GoCorral

Cimmeria and Syncretism

Syncretism noun syn•cre•tism: the amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought.

My campaign world, Cimmeria, uses the Hellenic pantheon but Cimmeria is not Greece, it’s Cimmeria. The Greek gods get pretty active in Cimmeria, but why Cimmeria instead of Greece where they’re supposed to be getting up to all their shenanigans?

The meta/out-of-game answer is that I wanted creative freedom for geography and historical events. Tying myself to a real world location would’ve restricted those choices. I still needed Greece around to draw on the myths of the Greek gods, but I didn’t need my campaign to physically be in Greece or the Aegean.

The in-game answer is that the Greek gods wanted a fresh start after the Trojan War. They moved away from Greece, only occasionally interacting with their followers in that region. Cimmeria became the new playbox for the Olympians.

But what does this move from Greece to Cimmeria have to do with syncretism?

Well, do you suppose there might have been gods living and being worshiped in Cimmeria before the Hellenic pantheon showed up?

If you said yes you win the prize!

There are multiple pantheons within my campaign world outside of the region of Cimmeria.

Other pantheons include the Egyptian, Norse, Sumerian, Abrhamic (more of a monotheon, but whatever), and a few other minor deities that could be represented by the Greyhawk/Faerun pantheon.

Prior to the arrival of the Olympians in Cimmeria a pantheon of Goblin deities ruled the region.

The Olympians engaged these gods in some sort of battle for the region and emerged victorious. The old Goblin religion has all but disappeared.

Each of these different religions contain their own rules about the underworld and the realm of the gods. How can all these pantheons have different underworlds? How does that make sense?

The ancients had an idea called syncretism. That’s when one god is equal to another god in a different religion. Zeus = Thor is a fairly obvious one.

Another one people did was Dionysus = Osiris, because both of them came back from the dead by being sewed together. The problem with that one is it means Dionysus must also be Hades because Osiris is the ruler of the underworld. But Osiris is also the father of Horus who would be Zeus or Helios in the Greek pantheon. Does that mean Dionysus/Hades is also Cronos, the father of Zeus? Or even Hyperion, father of Helios?

Dionysus Osiris Syncretism
All answers to this test must be written in cursive.

It’s my belief that the ancients didn’t really have rules for this. I think that when they contemplated this issue with syncretism they just said something like, “Who can understand the immortal gods?” or more rarely, they expressed a monotheistic belief where every god was simply a reflection of a singular deity. Thus, I believe that even the people who actually practiced these religions in their original forms would’ve found syncretism confusing.

Are there rules for how syncretism works in Cimmeria? Nope, sorry. I went with what I thought worked best in each situation.

There are occasional instances of syncretism, but for the most part each pantheon exists separately from other pantheons. Each rules over its particular worshipers and regions without interfering in the other regions unless some large event precipitates such interference.

What does this decision mean for the cosmology? First, it means that most of the Goblin deities were absorbed by the Olympians through syncretism.

It also means that a character’s access to other planes besides the Material and closely connected planes (Astral, Ethereal, Shadow) is heavily limited.

A Hellenist cannot travel to the Pharaonic afterlife. It simply isn’t possible unless the Hellenist travels with a Pharaonist or is somehow cursed to go to the wrong afterlife.

Another effect is the weakening of divine magic when within another pantheon’s realm. Clerics find their spellcasting powers diminished to those of a cleric half their level when not in their pantheon’s region. This means that Greek priests are weaker than their Cimmerian counterparts, as the Greek pantheon abandoned Greece for a new region, Cimmeria.

That hopefully answers a few questions about how different pantheons work in the world around Cimmeria and provides some background for the move of the Greek pantheon from Greece to Cimmeria (and later on Rome).

-GoCorral

The Choice Movie Review

The Choice

My wife picked Nicholas Spark’s latest movie adaption, The Choice, for us to see. She’d heard it was like the new Notebook which we both liked.

The Choice can best be described as two movies glued together. Let’s dive into it!

Travis, played by Ted Cruz lookalike Benjamin Walker, is a womanizing veterinarian who has a semi-steady girlfriend.

Gabby, played by Teresa “looks like a heroin addict” Palmer, is training to be a doctor and is dating one of her superiors at the hospital, Ryan.

Gabby moves next to Travis and they soon realize they are a terrible fit for each other and that Gabby will never sleep with Travis.

Of course Travis can’t have that! He slowly seduces her. They break up and get together. Yadah yadah, typical romance movie stuff.

Now normally the movie would end there, with the happy couple’s wedding.

The Choice is no ordinary movie though!

Fast forward seven years and Gabby is in a coma due to a car accident.

The movie does not spring this on you suddenly. The first scene was actually Travis entering the hospital with flowers and everything else was a flashback.

Travis has to make the titular Choice, keep Gabby alive in the hope that she will return to him and their two children or remove life support?

I won’t spoil his choice or the results/consequences. The end had many tear jerking moments and that’s all you need to know.

The second part of the movie is great and I’d definitely recommend it. As for the first part…

The first half of the movie suffered from the disease of “all these characters are jerks.”

Everyone had some sort of adolescent sexist agenda. Travis is a lady killer. Gabby distrusts all men. Travis’s sister thinks that because Travis and Gabby are opposites that they will obviously get together.

The minor characters get included in the sexist mess as well. Travis’s friends wives say, “Men have more fun if they feel like they’re getting away with something.”

Additionally, the characters have zero problems in their lives except what I already outlined.

As another review I read states, “in the Nicholas Sparks universe, everyone is beautiful and successful.”

While this let’s the audience focus on the plot it did seem odd to me. For example, Travis encounters no racism when he hangs out with his black friends in Carolina. The Confederate flag is also mysteriously absent from landscape shots of the harbor.

I think that would’ve made an interesting sideplot but I understand why it wasn’t included. The movie is about Travis and Gabby, not Travis and his friends. There might’ve even been a conscious choice to leave our racism with the notion that if racism is absent in media then it could eventually vanish in real life.

Regardless of intentions, all these elements disrupted my suspension of disbelief during the film. I kept thinking, “That doesn’t make sense, why isn’t that there?” or “Oh God, another sexist/patronizing speech.”

Adding to that, Walker looks 40 years old in The Choice while Palmer looks 20. This isn’t accidental. The characters they play are actually 10-15 years apart in age. It adds this whole other creepy element of cradle robbing to the film.

Despite all that I’d still recommend the film for its stellar second half. My gripes disappear there and I can wholeheartedly recommend the movie for a Valentine’s Day date with your significant other.

-GoCorral

What next for D&D Mondays?

Yuettencal was the last of the Cities of Cimmeria posts, so what’s next for D&D Mondays?

I’m doing all my Gurutama work slowly on the Gurutama wiki. There will still be infrequent posts about that here but that won’t be my main goal with D&D Mondays.

I’m trying to develop the site into a storage place for my campaigns in Cimmeria. I’ve got a successful campaign log on Order of the Stick Forums. Unfortunately, my presentation of Cimmeria’s background info on the forums is either nonexistent or god-awful.

Instead of trying to improve the presentation there using the limited tools of PHP forums I’ll be presenting background campaign info here. This will help current and future readers of the campaign log as well as my players.

But what remains to be said about Cimmeria?

Three things:
1. Descriptions of NPCs. There are tons of them and with so many floating around its easy to get lost.
2. Descriptions of places on the map that are not towns or cities. What are the Elves of Valor’s Forest like? Who lives in the Dominarie Mountains? What about that Primitive Camp in the bottom right of the map?
3. Descriptions of past events. When I first started my campaign I left the history as a blank slate so it could be filled in later. My players and I have come up with some awesome stuff to fill that space, but the specifics of events and timing hasn’t been ironed out yet.

Since I’m most interested in doing more timeline stuff, so I will be taking on that challenge first.

Future posts on D&D Mondays will be about the timeline, perhaps with the occasional character or place description woven in as suits my preference. These updates will be posted permanently at the top of the website under the Cimmeria tab just like the cities have been.

Looking forward to doing new stuff!

-GoCorral

Lost and Found

Two weeks ago while I was walking through the Davis streets I found a Fitbit on the ground.

$100 for a smart phone peripheral!
$100 for a smart phone peripheral!

It was one of the simple models without any touchscreen, but it did have an unusual piece of metal where a touchscreen would’ve been.

The metal plate had the owner’s name and contact numbers for her family members. Presumably so that if she was found injured and unable to communicate someone would be able to contact her loved ones.

I called her husband’s number and left a message.

Unsatisfied with that I looked up her name on Google and found her Facebook page to message her there as well.

She called me back later that day and came to my house to pick up the Fitbit and say thanks.

I didn’t think much of it until I got letter in the mail that had no address or stamp, just my name.

Inside the letter was a thank you note from the Fitbit owner and a Starbucks gift card!

Outside Thank You Inside Thank You

A happy little surprise for my good deed earlier and a free coffee! And also a reminder that I have yet to pen my Christmas cards. >_<

-GoCorral

Yuettencal

Yuettencal.png

Yuettencal has a population of close to 150,000 and is the capital of Aractrash. Satronwook, Tetalya, and Lordodo are all vassals of Yuettencal. Yuettencal fits perfectly within the jungle. All but the most fortified buildings are made of wood, dirt, or underground entirely. Fire prevention would usually be a problem, but the moist conditions of the rainforest and numerous spellcasters with create water at the ready prevent the spread of any blaze. Starting a fire without magic or tindertwigs is a bigger problem than preventing them.

Yuettencal’s production is mostly tropical fruits, tropical wine from tropical fruits, tropical art, tropical animals, and spell components you can only find in the jungle. Jungle trees produce poor quality wood and the surrounding soil is also poor. Yuettencal’s economy would fall apart were it not for the gold mines to the north that belong to the royal family.

The gold mines are controlled by the king and are not allowed to be traded or even worked on by contractors or other interested parties. The king doesn’t want any of the gold being stolen or given out as a finder’s fee. The gold is mined entirely with slaves and sorcerer guards. The sorcerers have found numerous uses for a detect gold spell. They use it on slaves to ensure no thefts occur, On a rich vein to see the best way to dig, and to find out if a vein is done. The sorcerers have plenty of spells for their most important duty, preventing riots and revolts. The conditions for the slaves are brutal, but after five years they are freed and allowed to work for one year in the mines earning 3% of what they find.  Once a slave no longer works in the mines a geas/quest is cast upon them to prevent discussion about activities in the mines. Most slaves do not make it through those five or six years dying from exhaustion, a broken limb, or poisonous gas. Very few clerics are posted to help the slaves.

Yuettencal has the largest slave market east of Xoria. Any type of slave can be purchased here, but mostly the ugly races such as Orcs, Goblins, and Gnolls. Very few Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings are up for sale. Their kind does not usually commit crimes or go to war. Imprisonment is a much worse punishment for a race that is close to immortality as well. Suicide is a common cause of death for the enslaved elder races. The slave market is located in the west of the city in a plaza known as the Merchant’s Domain.

The selling of sentient flesh at the slave market fostered a thriving market for animals as well. Alongside mundane animals many exotic pets or mounts can be purchased in D Park, north of the Merchant’s Domain. Venders sell griffons, hippogriffs, and pegasi for riding; moon rats and pseudodragons for familiars; and trainers and caretakers for teaching how to ride and take care of all the beasts. Rarer animals for sale include dragons, nightmares, and pretty much any mystical animal, but only with a special permit. Dragons are usually only sold as eggs. Live ones are considered too dangerous to be kept inside the city and must be sold outside the walls.

Yuettencal is ruled by King Staynard. He recently took the crown upon his father’s assassination. Prior to becoming the royal family, Staynard’s ancestors discovered the gold mines and slowly grew to a position of power. They were crowned as royalty by the priesthood of Zeus when the first King Gollard married a nymph. King Staynard is inexperienced and afraid of the power that comes with his position. He relies heavily on his advisers and the counsel of his family’s silver dragon mount, Kinderax. The people of Aractrash believe that Staynard’s father, Ballard, was assassinated on the order of the Xorians. Staynard plans to join the Second Alliance and enter the War, but he fears he may regret this decision.

A particular type of spider lives in Yuettencal called Redwire Spiders. Their webs are red and cannot be cut by a sword without a few seconds of vigorous sawing. The spiders are domesticated and trained to spin their webs in long lines of thread. This red cloth is very comfortable and has the strength of studded leather armor. The spider is the crest of the king, is on the Aractrashan flag, and is worn on the armor of the Aractrashan soldiery. The Redwire cloth is highly valued by civilians in the city and by foreigners, but the king keeps a monopoly on it and does not sell it to anyone. A black market does exist, surviving off of Redwire cloth taken from bribed or mugged soldiers. The punishment for losing or selling Redwire cloth is severe, 50 lashes and expulsion from Yuettencal.

-GoCorral