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Author Topic: The Harsh Years - What actually happened?  (Read 2221 times)
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Rookie Brownbark
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« on: 30 December 2009, 21:56:34 »

(NB: Please do ask for clarification if you need it, I know this stuff can get confusing but if I tried to explain everything then the post would have been as long as a masterwork :P)

This period of Brownie history lasted from the end of the Birni Era (around 10,000 b.S.) to (apparently) 4013 b.S. although I'm not exactly sure why that year in particular.  Here's what Greybark has to say about it:

Quote
The Harsh Years
...is an endlessly terrible time for the Brownie people, in which they grow few and scattered, coming dangerously close to dying out completely. Only a very few survive, living precarious lives among many of the other races. They are viewed as vermin by all. Elves ignore them, dwarves keep them near their forges in cages as good-luck charms, orcs eat them, and humans do some of all of the above. An old recipe book should be found later that includes a recipe for Brownie pot pie that was apparently considered quite a delicacy. They fare no better among the other races, and long to be free, but are dependent on their oppressors for food and shelter, having for the most part forgotten the skills necessary for basic survival.

And, really, that's all we have about these 6,000 years!  This does make some sense, as I reckon most of the Brownie tribes were probably too busy surviving to write much down, but we as developers should at least have an idea about where they went, which Brownies survived and how/why most ended up as pets or meals.  This will give us a much better idea of what can be changed/adapted and what will have to stay in place.

Azhira made a good suggestion in the history thread, which I shall now quote:

Quote
One thing to note is that it is likely that Brownies spread by following or accompanying the various human and elven migration patterns over the years. Probably after the Great Sundering that some Brownies went with the other races as they moved everywhere. For example, I am thinking of early in the Ghostling's history, they were settled near elven lands, specifically F'v'cl'r, and migrated with the dark elves to Caaehl'heroth. They then settled with them up north in the Cartash woods and witnessed the first opening of the Deep Winds Portal and the subsequent introduction of the Mists.

I don't think all Brownies need to have been hunted and eaten. I think some races, maybe elves, liked the Brownies and considered them their friends. Or, maybe some dwarven tribes used Rat Brownies as scouts and trackers as they dug their caverns below ground. Hence, there could be many Brownies who befriended the larger folk and moved with them in order to survive.

However, I'm a bit worried that this goes against what Greybark set down in quite a few places, and whilst I'm not against adapting/expanding his ideas, I do think there are certain points of his that, if changed, would cause an amazing amount of work to reorder.  These unchangeable points are as follows:

a) Brownies were thought of as unintelligent vermin by most of the population (at least in the Sarvonian Kingdom and places closely associated with it).  If we change this then I can't see people eating them or keeping them as pets for such a long period of time.  After all, if they actually tested their intelligence then surely they'd discover that they are sentient.

b) Brownies who will become Memnoor, Akdorian, Llaoihrr or Aohu'o need to be in Manthria, either caged or living in secret so that Keekoo can free them and form his new civilisation in the Auturian Woods.  Brownies who aren't part of this will not rediscover archery, blowpipes, life magic, the Spiritism Religion i.e. they will be Rat Brownies.

c) Brownies living during the Harsh Years need to be pretty uncultured, practising a little Spiritism but basically just struggling to survive.

(Please note that these have been conveniently numbered to allow for easy discussion - i.e. feel free to disagree!)

These, however, are the questions that really need answering:

1) What proportion of Brownies actually made it into Keekoo's new civilisation?  And what happened to those who didn't?  

2) When did Brownies become pets and snacks?  And why?

3) Why did the pet/food trade continue even when Santharians were settled and comfortable?

4) Do we want to have some groups who aren't in captivity?  How do they survive?

5) How much of this do we want to include in the Compedium and how much should be "developer's knowledge" (i.e. we know it but no one in Caelereth does)
« Last Edit: 30 December 2009, 23:01:23 by Rookie Brownbark » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 30 December 2009, 21:57:56 »

My contribution to the discussion :)

1) What proportion of Brownies actually made it into Keekoo's new civilisation?  And what happened to those who didn't? 
If they became Field Rat Brownies then there are a lot more of these than we previously thought, which could be quite fun to develop.  On the other hand it would mean a lot of work to find places they could be living and write stories/rumours placing them there.  If they became Aohu'o then how/why?  The Aohu'o are far nicer, more civilised, worship the spirits in a completely different way and are very accurate bowmen.  Azhira's idea of them following other races as they migrated would work quite well to disperse them.

2) When did Brownies become pets and snacks?  And why?
After all, it seems ludicrous that this happened overnight.  On the other hand the great F'v'cl'r empire has just broken down, so they'd be pretty hungry.  Perhaps the food trade came first and the pet trade followed later?  We've got 6000 years to play with, so it can be quite gradual if we want it to.

3) Why did the pet/food trade continue even when Santharians were settled and comfortable?
Tradition?  Did anyone (apart from Brownies) oppose this?

4) Do we want to have some groups who aren't in captivity?  How are they surviving?
Personally I've always assumed there were a few, and I think a few are mentioned in Keekoo's biography.  I've always assumed these were living wild though, like modern Field Rat Brownies, and not that they'd had help from other races.

5) How much of this do we want to include in the Compedium and how much should be "developer's knowledge" (i.e. we know it but no one in Caelereth does)
My feeling is that I like to get as much as I can onto the site, although we'd need to find some way of discovering this history, as it probably wouldn't have been written down at the time.
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Ta`lia of the Seven Jewels
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« Reply #2 on: 31 December 2009, 00:31:16 »



Just an idea:

Maybe at some point in history brownies were responsible (or thought of) for the spread of diseases, maybe after the fall of Fa'av'ca'lar. Therefore they were hated and hunted. Knowledge about their sentience was lost. Maybe the cure to this disease was(thought to be)  to eat them (their heart/brain) . Or the 'cure' occurred at a later time, when the disease idea was forgotten, but rumour had it, they were good for anything the humans wanted to have dearly, so that any thought of them being intelligent was suppressed.
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« Reply #3 on: 31 December 2009, 00:38:49 »

That's a great idea Talia!

Perhaps they were blamed for a particular "southern" disease - them living in the south and F'v'cl'r being in the north?  A plague or other suitably icky infectious disease?

Oooo, maybe it could be something to do with rotting skin or pustules, which could start the thing about Brownie Sweat being good for your skin?
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« Reply #4 on: 09 January 2010, 18:33:39 »

*pokes her fellow brownie-developers with a big stick*

Come on, I'm just talking to myself here!  (Which, for the record, I don't do in real life....whatever my work colleagues tell you....)
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« Reply #5 on: 10 January 2010, 11:41:02 »

Sorry, Rooks dear...I've been distracted by elves, Ximax and dragons. I've got my fingers in too many things. My North waits patiently for me to return, glaring at me over the Tandalas. The Ghostlings are on the verge of completion should I ever get back to them.  :P
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