Carmania and RQ/classic

From: Loren Miller (loren@wharton.upenn.edu)
Date: Mon 12 Jan 1998 - 17:46:36 EET


I still remember when I picked up RQ2 for the first time and read that the
game setting should be reminiscent of greece in the age of heroes, of the
mughal epics, and of the saga of ruric the legendary founder of Russia. The
monsters seemed to fit that promise too, with scorpion men and broos (evil
satyrs) and ghosts. The praxians were more like arabs back in those days,
running about the desert in their burnooses heading from one oasis to
another, and selling each other off as slaves to the neighbors. The
sartarites were ironage greeks, living in their outsized, magically
constructed cities, and constantly feuding with their neighbors, while
fending off the attack of some huge, "pseudo persian" empire to the north.

I don't know when it happened, but sometime in the 80s this world of
ancient arabs, greeks and persians got sent forward 1000 to 2000 years
into its future, and it became a world of native americans, celts and
romans. The trolls were transformed from mysterious dark men with weird
magic into cannibalistic hillbillies out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I
noticed the changes about the same time that RQ3 came out. Others may have
noticed it earlier, with Trollpak.

I didn't mind because all the new stuff that was coming out at the time
was so good. But after a while I missed the ancient greeks and persians and
arabs. Now we know that the arabs of Glorantha have been relegated to
Fonrit and the rest of the north coast of Pamaltela. But the ancient greeks
and persians haven't quite gone away. There are still some elements of
greece in sartar... mostly the princes and the outsized cities. And the
lunar empire still has some elements of persia mixed into the overall roman
feel.

So there I was, missing the ancient greeks and persians, when I discovered
that the Carmanians were supposed to be based on Assyria. You can't get
much more ancient persian than that. Heck, you can't get much more ancient
than that. So how did these ancients from a cold and hostile land conquer
Peloria ages ago, when the dara happans had their breadbasket feeding them
so nicely? A nice little spartan warrior ethic gets added into the
urPersian mix, along with a tribe of sorcerors known as the magi,
brass-coated cataphracts, and suddenly you have something interesting.

Carmania is also cold as hell. The climate isn't much at all like the
climate along the Tigris and Euphrates, so it can't be pure Assyria anyway.
Let's throw in some Russian winters, along with prophetic madmen,
syphilitic and degenerate nobles, outbreaks of ergot fever, and the
cruelest and most oppressive treatment of peasants anywhere. Ahhhh, now we
have Carmania.

Let's continue further. We know from the sources we have to work with that
the Carmanians used to worship Lions and Bulls, and that some used to
worship Gloom. We also know that Carmania was the land of dragonslayers.
Now it is time to decide which monsters dwell in Carmania. The reason for
this is that Assyrian monsters just won't do. The mesopotamian
civilizations combined Scorpions, Eagles, Hawks, Bulls, Serpents, Lions,
Dogs, Men, Apes and Fish to create their monsters. This is where Griffins,
Minotaurs, Scorpionmen, and Mermaids came from. However, there aren't too
many scorpions or serpents in a snowy land like Carmania. Nor are there

Apes. And eagles and hawks are rare and smaller. Bulls are fatter and
hairer, not like the sleekly murderous bulls of the spanish pampas. I'd
think that Carmania would have falcons, owls, mosquitos, lions, aurochs
bulls, elk and moose, bears, pike, biting flies, and wolves. Most other
dangerous animals would have to be imported and kept in zoos. Any of you
who know more about the wildlife of ancient Poland and Lithuania than I
should pipe up now.

Note that we still have to work with Gloranthan zoology, which retains
quite a few animals that died off in earth's last ice age and before. I'm
going to make up a little equivalency diagram. This will help in
translating from the mesopotamian monsters to carmanian ones.

Eagle -> Owl
Hawk -> Falcon
Vulture -> Falcon
Scorpion -> Mosquito
Serpent -> ?
Ape -> Bear
Lion -> Lion (maybe a larger, hairier, white lion)
Bull -> Aurochs Bull
Fly -> Biting Fly
Leopard -> Wolf
Dog -> Wolf
Camel -> Elk
Sturgeon -> Pike
Whale -> Giant Pike
Crocodile-> ?

So... let's translate.

Griffin becomes a creature with a lion's body and an owl's head and wings.
It will also fly silently and hunt by night. If we go by the RQ version of
griffin, which the assyrians called the lion-dragon, then it would also
have an owl's or falcon's claws for rear feet.

Scorpionmen become mosquito men. They may or may not fly. But they have
human bodies and mosquito heads, they swarm, and they suck blood.

Humbaba who guarded the sacred cedar groves is no longer a hairy man or
ape, but is now a huge bear.

Pazuzu had the head of a dog, four eagle wings, and the body of a man, and
was the lord of flies and thus of disease. Our similar demon would have a
wolf's head, four owl wings, a man body, and would be the lord of those
damned biting flies that swarm in the summer. He'd also be a bloodsucker.
Maybe his penis would be tipped with a huge mosquito proboscis instead of
the snake of the original.

Enkidu who was as hairy as an ape would be as hairy and huge as a bear.

And let's also make up some new, likely monsters.

Owlbear, with or without wings

Pikewolf, with pike jaws and wolf body

Lakedragon, with giant pike body, freezing breath, lion head, bloodsucking
fangs, bear claws

Pikemen, swim out of the lake, covered with pike scales, with sharp teeth
and big mouths like a huge pike, are cannibals, and love to eat the
mosquitomen

Got more?
Loren

- --
+++++++++++++++++++++++23
Loren Miller <loren@wharton.upenn.edu>
Applying computer technology is as easy as finding the right
wrench to hammer in the right screw.

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