Characters of Cimmeria: Toffoun

Toffoun was a Dwarven cleric of Ares who fought with twin swords against the Goblins of the east. Along with Amalgami, Toffoun protected and organized the Humans, Dwarves, and Halflings of Zeus’s Canvas during the Goblin resurgence of the late 10th century BCE. He founded the city of Jipangu and passed on his particular code of honor to its citizens. Toffoun joined the other heroes of Cimmeria during the Dragon War. He bound the draconic benefactor of the mortals, Langudina, within the Bronze Orb before entering his slumber along with the other heroes.

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Cimmerian Timeline Part 3

Previous: Cimmerian Timeline Part 2

The first timeline entry where I have to include some stuff that should’ve been in previous timelines! This has to do with Aeetes in Colchis. Originally I had him being attacked by Hades every blood moon; that was until I realized that blood moons happen at least once a year. I was imagining this as an every few dozen years thing. I changed it to every full solar eclipse and I specified to myself, “Only the ones over Colchis!” I then had some fun looking up past eclipses over Colchis and adding them to the timeline. All the eclipses I’ll mention are actual events that occurred over Colchis sometime in history.

1131BC: During a complete solar eclipse, Hades’s army emerged from the depths to attack Colchis. Aeëtes fought them off with his magical power, slaying every undead being that showed its face.

1124BCE: Another solar eclipse allowed Hades to attack Colchis once more. Aeëtes predicted the eclipse and ensured that one of Sadroston’s children was in Colchis at the time. Sadroston rushed to the child’s aid and helped defend the city from Hades. This blatant manipulation infuriated Sadroston. The old hero vowed to never help Aeëtes or allow a member of his family to go to Colchis again.

1099BCE: The Elven leaders became jealous of the Dwarves independence. Constant complaints by the Humans about the Dwarven traitors further frustrated the Elves. The Sylvan people left the Conclave and setup new societies in the forests of Cimmeria.

1098BCE: A series of cold winters caused by the Goblin gods strained the resources of the Conclave and the Dwarves. They began fighting over sheep herds in the region between Phoenix and Fangaroot.

1097BCE: War broke out between the Dwarves and the Conclave. In response the Goblins reclaimed territory around the northern Caspian.

1092BCE: The Elves negotiated a truce between the Humans and the Dwarves. Karnafaust insisted on honorable single combat with Drolofo to settle their personal issues. The duel commenced and Drolofo emerged victorious. Karnafaust’s subjects accepted the peace terms, but were unable to accept the death of their leader. Numerous sacrifices were offered to Hades in the hopes that he would return their king to them.

1091BCE: Hades set down the rules of the Resurrection Pact, allowing beings to return to life if the proper rituals were performed and the ritualist returned a portion Hades’s diamond wealth to the shadowy Olympian. High King Karnafaust was the first to come back to life.

1087BCE: Setting their animosity aside, the Dwarves and Elves united once more with the Humans, Halflings, and Orcs of the Conclave to attack the Goblins. They cleared the region around the Caspian and forays were made east across the Black River into the Goblin heartlands.

1084BCE: The Conclave and its allies successfully contained the Goblins in Eastern Cimmeria. Attacks into the east no longer focused on taking and securing territory. Raids became commonplace. Groups of soldiers would head east and return with booty and a train of manacled Goblin slaves.

A solar eclipse over Colchis allowed Hades to attack the city once more. Aeëtes had prepared by keeping a standing army to fight the undead hordes. These well-trained soldiers along with the king’s own magical prowess won the day for the Colchians.

1083BCE: Expeditions to the south discovered a separate community of savage godless Humans living in the Aractrashan Jungle. The Conclave deemed these people Primitives and elected to ignore them.

1075BCE: Hades sent a larger force against Colchis as a solar eclipse occurred once more. Aeëtes had not prepared for the magnitude of this new challenge. The Colchians repelled the attack, but thousands of soldiers died in the battle.

1073BCE: Raids into Eastern Cimmeria continued. The Orc faction of the Conclave demanded that more serious action be taken to permanently defeat the Goblins, but their protests were blocked by the Human leaders who profited from the Goblin slave trade.

1072BCE: The Orcs took matters into their own hands. They left the Conclave and carved out a region of Eastern Cimmeria for themselves. The Orcs integrated the Goblins of that region into their new society instead of enslaving them.

-GoCorral

Next: Cimmerian Timeline Part 4

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

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