Goblin Overview

When the Olympians invaded, the Animal Pantheon of the Goblins gave their subjects a blessing. Prior to the invasion, the goblins were a relatively homogenous race. When war started various sub-races were born to goblin mothers. One out of every hundred births was a hobgoblin. One out of every five hundred births was a bugbear. One out of every twenty thousand was a barghest. Various other sub-races came about as well (bakemono, dekanter, tasloi, etc.). Each of these new goblinoids were more powerful than the original goblins and better suited for war agains the Conclave races of the Olympians. The Animal Pantheon had hoped that this infusion of strength would bring their petitioners victory, but it was sadly not enough.

Since before the Olympian invasion the goblins practiced ritual cannibalism. At funerals a goblin’s family would consume portions of their corpse so that the goblin’s spirit would continue to reside with the family. Additionally, the goblins consumed the flesh of powerful foes they had defeated to absorb the spiritual strength of that foe into themselves. This tendency towards cannibalism increased among the sub-races created by the Animal gods, most notably in the bugbears and barghests. During the Goblin War the two sub-races had plenty of Conclave races to eat, but after the retreat into the east they found their dinner selection rather limited. Without enemy races to consume, the bugbears and barghests began to devour those they were meant to protect, the goblins.

In the six centuries since the Goblin War, cannibalism has become common within the Hobgoblin Lands. Bugbears and barghests continue to hunt the lesser races. Additionally the scarcity of resources in portions of the Hobgoblin Lands leads to cannibalism out of necessity. A fresh body can command a decent price among the upper-class. Poor goblin families occasionally sell their children, not as slaves, but as meals for a local noble to eat.

The goblinoids of Cimmeria have a diffuse population distribution. Most of them do not live in centralized communities, but instead in small villages supported by subsistence farming. Each of these smaller communities are typically ruled by the hobgoblins within them. A hobgoblin birth is considered a blessing for a goblin family as their child will be strong and enjoy an elevated position within the community. Bugbear births are more akin to a curse. Most goblins eat their bugbear children or kill them through exposure. If they reach adulthood, they can be an asset to their family, but they’re also a risk. After all, what’s stopping the violent cannibal from eating its parents?

The goblins worshipped an animalistic pantheon before the Olympians arrived. They valued the particular accomplishments of each animal. Through worship the goblins hoped to please the ideal spirit of that animal. If the ideal animal was pleased then it would provide the worshipper with a blessing related to the unique traits of the animal. When the Olympians invaded and defeated the animal pantheon there were syncretic changes that occurred to the pantheon. The Animal Pantheon became associated with the Titans that the Olympians had defeated during the Titanomachy. Now each of the Animal gods shares a prison cell in Tartarus with a Titan as the two personalities slowly merge due to syncretism.

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

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, Abrahamic (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

My Campaign World

20140310-161157.jpg

That’s a map of my campaign world which is physically based in a completely altered landscape north of the Caspian Sea.

Keeping with the theme of D&D Mondays, here is an introduction into the decisions I made while designing the campaign world that my players currently use.

The initial impetus for creating my campaign world came from the gods that are present in the D&D manuals. D&D has a few of its own pantheons and none of them make a great deal of sense to me when compared to real polytheistic religions.

Real religions have gods with relationships between each other. They are often members of the same family with a well known family tree. Stories and personalities exist for each of the gods.

D&D has no such relationships. Each god appears to be its own religion, making the pantheon of gods somewhat irrelevant. There is no well established mythology, and the bare facts that do exist will change based on which edition of D&D is played.

I much prefer the Greek pantheon. They were all related. They had stories about them. I understood why they did things. Best of all, everyone already knows about them! It’s actually required in USA schools to learn about them.

The problem with using the Greek gods in a D&D campaign is all the stuff associated with Greece in the myths. I didn’t want to switch to a real setting, only more realistic gods. So I changed the location of the gods.

Within my world, after the Trojan War, the gods realized that the Greeks couldn’t really handle the gods fighting over them. The gods moved west to the area around the Northern Caspian Sea and created new races to play with.

Elves, dwarves, halflings, and orcs were made for the gods to mess around with along with monsters and more humans. The new races were given far more magical power, so they could survive the gods’ attentions.

I significantly changed the geography around the North Caspian. I didn’t have any reason to do this beyond creative freedom. The name of my campaign world and the area north of the Caspian is called Cimmeria. This is actually what the ancient Greeks called it, so why not keep the name?

The current year in my campaign world is 396BC. The characters wouldn’t actually call it that, but for the sake of unambiguity, we’re using the Christian year system.

I simplified the month system. Every year lasts 360 days and every month lasts 30 days. The full moon is always on the 30th and the 1st of every month and the new moon is always on the 15th and 16th of every month. There are no weeks, instead there are “tendays.” This is just to make it simpler for me, so I don’t have to keep track of months, weeks, and moons. Also, yes, this is the way the world actually works in my campaign. The year is literally 360 days instead of just being measured that way.

Other pantheons do exist in my campaign (Persian, Egyptian, Indian, Norse), but don’t appear very often. Other cultures also exist outside of the ones in Cimmeria, but these other cultures are rarely featured in the sessions of the campaign.

The world is flat and the sun god’s chariot goes around the Earth every day. The other side of the world is inhabited by scary monsters and Atlas, who holds up the world. The planes (those other dimension things) are laid like pancakes on or around the earth. The typical image of Hell below and Heaven above fits very well.

Most of the cities in Cimmeria are city-states, but there are two exceptions. the Xorian Empire and the Aractrash Kingdom. The Xorian Empire has been expanding over the last hundred years. The Aractrash Kingdom has several cities within the Aractrashan Jungle. The jungle was united under one king around one hundred years ago.

That’s all the basic information of my campaign world. More to come later!

-Mister Ed