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ShadowJack
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USA
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Posted - 22 Feb 2006 :  19:41:54  Show Profile  Visit ShadowJack's Homepage Send ShadowJack a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
I seek information and lore from the most wise sages of Candlekeep...

Can you tell me if there are any organized or semi-organized groups of Minotaurs in the realms? There have been, I believe, ancient Minotaur (kingdoms?) hinted at, and there was the underground Minotaur area of the Underdark in one of the War of the Spider Queen novels, but are there any existant tribes or groups? I know there is nothing like what appears in Dragonlance, with the Minotaur empire. Just thought I would ask this question before I create a small nation of them myself.

Also, where would a good location for a small nation of Minotaurs in the Realms? I was thinking of the Chondalwood, with them speaking Sylvan, rather than giant, and being more neutral than evil, with a decided "leave us alone or else", kind of attitude...

ShadowJack

Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 22 Feb 2006 :  20:27:56  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ah, a subject near and dear to me... I once played a minotaur in a generic setting, and I have since brought him to the Realms as an NPC...

But... Other than the munch of Baphomet-worshippers mentioned in one of the Perilous Gateways articles on the WotC website, I don't recall a single reference to any minotaur communities. They would obviously exist somewhere, but I do not know of any references to them.

I do like the idea of neutral minotaurs (and in fact, there's one mentioned in the old Moonsea sourcebook), but I'm not sure they'd want to live in a forest. If nothing else, they'd be constantly catching their horns on trees -- minotaurs aren't a small bunch.

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ericlboyd
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Posted - 22 Feb 2006 :  20:54:51  Show Profile  Visit ericlboyd's Homepage Send ericlboyd a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Ah, a subject near and dear to me... I once played a minotaur in a generic setting, and I have since brought him to the Realms as an NPC...

But... Other than the munch of Baphomet-worshippers mentioned in one of the Perilous Gateways articles on the WotC website, I don't recall a single reference to any minotaur communities. They would obviously exist somewhere, but I do not know of any references to them.

I do like the idea of neutral minotaurs (and in fact, there's one mentioned in the old Moonsea sourcebook), but I'm not sure they'd want to live in a forest. If nothing else, they'd be constantly catching their horns on trees -- minotaurs aren't a small bunch.



The only known minotaur community lies in the depths of the Northdark in an area known as the Labyrinth. It's covered briefly in the aforementioned Perilous Portals article, Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide the Underdark, Underdark, and one of the WotSQ novels. Note also the presence of baphitaurs (basically minotaur tieflings) from the Dungeon of Death who now reside in the Labyrinth. They are detailed in Underdark.

--Eric

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ShadowJack
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Posted - 22 Feb 2006 :  20:56:03  Show Profile  Visit ShadowJack's Homepage Send ShadowJack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My thanks, Oh, Great Fuzzy Critter of Dire Portents!!

Where do you see Minotaurs living? On the edge of a forest? Grasslands? You have got me thinking (oh, no) they most likely would not be woods dwellers. So, then, where would you find a fairly civilzed bunch of neutral minotaurs living? I do not like the idea of mountains, too giant-ish... I also do not see them as being solely an Underdark race... Rats!!! Wooly, you raise still more questions...

ShadowJack
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George Krashos
Master of Realmslore

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Posted - 22 Feb 2006 :  23:15:54  Show Profile Send George Krashos a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I like the idea of a minotaur realm. I might put one in the history of the East - the plateau of Thay looks like a possibility.

-- George Krashos

"Because only we, contrary to the barbarians, never count the enemy in battle." -- Aeschylus
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  00:04:57  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I can see a minotaur realm being on a plateau...

You know, it's kinda odd. The mythological minotaur lived in a labyrinth, so in D&D, minotaurs are forever associated with mazes. But other mythological critters that lived in specific areas or terrain types are readily disassociated from them. And some critters that were originally mythological critters are now no longer recognizable as such -- like gorgons.

Anyway, I think minotaurs would want an area that was somewhat open and yet defensible. I can see them living in canyons pretty readily, and Krash's suggestion of a plateau works well, too.

I don't have much to back this up, though... It just feels right, to me.

I'm not cool on the idea of minotaurs living in the Underdark, because that's a little too reminiscent of the whole maze thing, which has become cliché, to me. I think that because of their size, they'd prefer a more open area. Their size and strength makes me think they'd favor areas they could defend easily.

Mountains work for that, but they'd likely stick to the lower portions of the mountains, where living would be easier. Valleys and plateaus would be great.

To play a bit with Krash's idea... I can see a minotaur kingdom having existed there, prolly arising when giants were still top dog. Some war -- maybe with giants, maybe with dragons -- would have devastated the kingdom, causing most of the survivors to flee into the Underdark. Living in the depths of the earth would give them that facility for labyrinths that D&D is so determined to stick them with...

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The Sage
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  00:31:00  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Like Wooly, Minotaurs in the Realms is an concept that I would like to see expanded in the FR setting as a whole.

We know, from Ed, that -

"Faerunian minotaurs are very rarely seen or mentioned for the same reason psionics was downplayed for so long; they’re considered essential elements of another TSR/now WotC product line (minotaurs meant Dragonlance, psionics meant Dark Sun). So while they’re in the Realms (the ‘home of everything’ for 2nd Edition D&D), we weren’t allowed to feature them in adventures or novels, or make more than passing mention of them."

and,

"Capn Charlie. I like both of your minotaur isle ideas, and yes, I have always included a FEW intelligent, refined minotaurs, though most are brutish, barbarian-level “grunting beasts.” I’ve always treated lizard men the same way; most are tribal warriors with much cunning but not a whole lot of inspirational intellect (i.e. they can learn a new weapon, trap, or battlefield danger in a hurry in a fight with PCs, but don’t lead lives of complex culture), but a few are every bit as intelligent and accomplished as most humans. This usually means that they’re smart enough to keep isolated and largely hidden from humans."

So while there *are* of course minotaurs in Faerun, they are not a wholly organised people with a land or nation or their own.

That being said, most of the FR-related references to minotaurs in 1e, 2e, and 3e establish that they seem to fill mostly bodyguard or slavery roles. Fahd yn Ralan el Pesarkhal of Calimport is said to be personally guarded by a contingent of 12 minotaurs. Some Red Wizards utilise minotaurs as personal bodyguards as well. Small numbers of minotaurs are seen regularly in many slave pens of the Drow Houses of Menzoberranzan were they sometimes also double as foot soldiers when the drow go to war.

And then of course there is Taurus, the "famous" Hillsfar arena fighter, who has garnered an impressive measure of fame during his time in the arena.

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The Sage
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  00:40:38  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Anyway, I think minotaurs would want an area that was somewhat open and yet defensible. I can see them living in canyons pretty readily, and Krash's suggestion of a plateau works well, too.

I don't have much to back this up, though... It just feels right, to me.
I'd agree with that, and it's also similar to how the minotaurs have operated in the Blood Isles upon Krynn -- in areas somewhat mountainous or canyon-like that both protect (and isolate) their cities from the rest of the world. I like the idea of isolated minotaur civilisations in the Realms, but not because, like Krynnish minotaurs, they believe themselves to be the chosen children or the gods. Rather, a minotaur civilisation in the Realms would isolate itself because, by and large, they have an understanding that their culture and civilisation on Toril is extremely unique and that it deserves protection from outsiders. Geography and cultural traits can work to ensure this.

However, that is as far as I would take the comparison and I would also further suggest that minotaurs in the Realms have very little interaction with the sea or large bodies of water.

quote:
To play a bit with Krash's idea... I can see a minotaur kingdom having existed there, prolly arising when giants were still top dog. Some war -- maybe with giants, maybe with dragons -- would have devastated the kingdom, causing most of the survivors to flee into the Underdark. Living in the depths of the earth would give them that facility for labyrinths that D&D is so determined to stick them with...
A rebellion perhaps... with minotaurs -- "under the thumb of the giants" -- wanting to pursue an independent existence not wolly dominated by their giant masters. Maybe they were used by the giants to supplement their armies... a fact that nearly pushed the minotaurs to extinction.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  01:33:22  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

That being said, most of the FR-related references to minotaurs in 1e, 2e, and 3e establish that they seem to fill mostly bodyguard or slavery roles. Fahd yn Ralan el Pesarkhal of Calimport is said to be personally guarded by a contingent of 12 minotaurs. Some Red Wizards utilise minotaurs as personal bodyguards as well. Small numbers of minotaurs are seen regularly in many slave pens of the Drow Houses of Menzoberranzan were they sometimes also double as foot soldiers when the drow go to war.



Don't forget about Thud, though. He's a tavernkeep in Thentia, where he runs a place called The Inlet. It says he's polite and softspoken, and will lecture troublemakers on politeness before beating them senseless.

quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

And then of course there is Taurus, the "famous" Hillsfar arena fighter, who has garnered an impressive measure of fame during his time in the arena.



And what an unoriginal name that is... Thud isn't a great name, but it's still better than Taurus...


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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  01:36:29  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

However, that is as far as I would take the comparison and I would also further suggest that minotaurs in the Realms have very little interaction with the sea or large bodies of water.



Agreed... Can you imagine the ropes it would take to support a bunch of minotaurs swarming around in the rigging?

I can easily picture a minotaur serving as a first mate or captain on a sailing ship, though. Their sheer bulk and strength would gain them a lot of respect from the sailors.

quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

A rebellion perhaps... with minotaurs -- "under the thumb of the giants" -- wanting to pursue an independent existence not wolly dominated by their giant masters. Maybe they were used by the giants to supplement their armies... a fact that nearly pushed the minotaurs to extinction.




Ah, a good idea indeed!

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Reefy
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  02:00:21  Show Profile  Visit Reefy's Homepage  Click to see Reefy's MSN Messenger address Send Reefy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

You know, it's kinda odd. The mythological minotaur lived in a labyrinth, so in D&D, minotaurs are forever associated with mazes. But other mythological critters that lived in specific areas or terrain types are readily disassociated from them. And some critters that were originally mythological critters are now no longer recognizable as such -- like gorgons.


That may just be because more of the public at large has heard of minotaurs and can associate them with labyrinths.
And in my campaign, Kaladorm had a PC meet a nasty end at the hands of a minotaur that came crashing through a door. That doesn't have any real relevance, just something I remembered on the subject.

Life is either daring adventure or nothing.
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  03:01:49  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Reefy

That may just be because more of the public at large has heard of minotaurs and can associate them with labyrinths.


Well, the concept of the winged horse is far more common... Yet who associates it with Bellerophon and his slaying of the Chimera? Many people don't even call a winged horse "pegasus"...

In fact, I once did this thing in high school... Several people in the creative writing classes went to the nearby elementary school, to help kids there do some writing. The kids were organized into groups by animal. There was a group whose animal was a horse with wings -- but everyone called it a unicorn!

It's quite a challenge trying to come up with a story featuring unicorns and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (who were popular, at the time). We did not include the enthusiastic suggestions of one of the little boys in my group -- it would have been more difficult to incorporate "naked ladies"!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled topic, already in progress...

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 23 Feb 2006 03:02:22
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The Sage
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  03:47:01  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I can easily picture a minotaur serving as a first mate or captain on a sailing ship, though. Their sheer bulk and strength would gain them a lot of respect from the sailors.
Oh, definitely. I can see them as suitable mariners or successful sea-going merchants -- running a trading company between slaving groups in the Vilhon and into Sembia -- just not to the point where every single minotaur is known for their love of the sea.

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The Sage
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  03:49:17  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Don't forget about Thud, though. He's a tavernkeep in Thentia, where he runs a place called The Inlet. It says he's polite and softspoken, and will lecture troublemakers on politeness before beating them senseless.
Hmmm... we may learn more about what Thud has been up to in the upcoming Mysteries of the Moonsea.

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Edited by - The Sage on 23 Feb 2006 03:49:59
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Gray Richardson
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  05:05:09  Show Profile  Visit Gray Richardson's Homepage Send Gray Richardson a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In my game I put a settlement of minotaurs in the Silverwood north of Olostin's Hold. They were a small group of less than 200, living in a fortified hamlet consisting of only a few communal lodges surrounded by a tall stockade fence.

They called themselves the Uluhalar, and they were recently escaped slaves from Shade. Unlike most minotaurs, these were somewhat civilized and gentle folk, the brutality bred out of them from centuries of slavery and selective breeding.

Sadly, the population had been demoralized and broken by a vile necromancer that had taken up residence deeper in the woods. He was making zombies out of the forest creatures, who assaulted the village in the night. When the bull males went to hunt him down, they never returned.

The village was left with only about 30 adult females, and the rest children of various ages, all led by a bull-mother who was working hard to ensure the survival of the community in the absence of the males.

Fortunately, the PC's slew the evil necromancer and saved the village. Ever the concerned samaritan, the paladin of Sune in the party did his best to help the women repopulate before the party moved on to seek further adventures in Everlund.
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lowtech
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  10:23:36  Show Profile  Visit lowtech's Homepage Send lowtech a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gray Richardson
Ever the concerned samaritan, the paladin of Sune in the party did his best to help the women repopulate before the party moved on to seek further adventures in Everlund.



Dare I ask how he does that?
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  11:25:13  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Don't forget about Thud, though. He's a tavernkeep in Thentia, where he runs a place called The Inlet. It says he's polite and softspoken, and will lecture troublemakers on politeness before beating them senseless.
Hmmm... we may learn more about what Thud has been up to in the upcoming Mysteries of the Moonsea.




That was one of my first thoughts when I heard about this sourcebook.

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ShadowJack
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  13:31:20  Show Profile  Visit ShadowJack's Homepage Send ShadowJack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
O.K., O.K., How about lightly forested canyons? Great ideas! Sages, you have given me many good ideas. I was already thinking of keeping these Realmsian Minotaurs away from the water, hence the reason I did not choose one of the "Unknown Lands" out in the Trackless Sea...

I was kicking around the idea of a small nation/group that would hire mercenaries out on a regular basis. They are not evil, but know that their size, agression and strength makes them good warriors and it is an easy way to bring money into their community. Their nation would have to be remote enough to explain why it is not well-known, but not so far away as to preclude interaction. Maybe this group is the remnant left from the giants domination, which explains their isolationist tendencies...

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  14:27:54  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Works for me... Have them living in a bunch of possibly interconnected canyons in some remote mountainous area... They'd likely occupy nearby caves, too -- maybe saving their largest communities for large, near-surface caverns, readily connected to the canyons but not connected to the Underdark.

I can see them using the mercenaries to not only earn extra money, but to also give them access to needed supplies. They might even have an outpost or something which is where all of the nation's dealings with the outside world happen.

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ShadowJack
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  15:24:46  Show Profile  Visit ShadowJack's Homepage Send ShadowJack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am very curious now... Where would you Sages place such a kingdom of Minotaurs specifically in the Realms. I have an idea, but I need to get home and check my maps first. I am interested in comparing my thoughts to yours. Thank you for the great help! On a smaller, non-magical scale, I can see an Evereska type, hidden valley, where only Minotaurs are allowed, with the small trading village/outpost being outside of this valley. Here is where outsiders would come to barter for Minotaur mercenaries and goods and the minotaurs would acquire necessary goods...

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The Sage
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  15:44:01  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, I think George's original idea about the plateaus of Thay is definitely a good place to start. And it's isolated enough so that it doesn't have to have an immediate impact upon the "heart" of the Realms setting itself -- doing away with messy questions about "why this minotaur nation was never discovered or mentioned previously".

Which is why I also think Gray's suggestion about a settlement of minotaurs in the Silverwood works so well. Olostin's Hold has little to attact travellers and/or most traders to the area... so again, it's in keeping with the whole "isolation" concept.

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The Sage
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  15:49:51  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
However, isolation for a minotaur kingdom might not be what you're looking for.

As such, why not establish a city among the always in-flux political chessboard that is the Border Kingdoms, around the Lake of Steam. Powers are always on the rise and fall here, with new regimes and rulers springing up in the time it takes for the previous ones to collapse.

Running with the general ideas presented so far...Perhaps a minotaur mercenary company (once in the employ of the giant armies), refugees from the collapsing giant kingdom on the Thayvan plateau, long ago conquered one of the city-states instituting a regime of their own... a welcome refuge from other refugees from the giant kingdom and far enough away to ensure that they were "free" from giant influence and control.

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Edited by - The Sage on 23 Feb 2006 15:51:47
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  16:05:45  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ooh, now that's an idea I like!

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ShadowJack
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  17:20:28  Show Profile  Visit ShadowJack's Homepage Send ShadowJack a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sage,

Great suggestion! Being on the Lake of Steam also provides another method of moving mercenary troops around the area. It could also be a tie-in with the Calishite Prince that has the bodyguard of minotaurs. I can forsee these minotaurs having provided a safe haven for the gnome refugees from Nehteril, as they needed armorers and weaponsmiths. (I am not sure when the Giant Kingdoms existed, check tonight) A city (not huge) that has a population of Minotaurs as the majority and power, with a smaller group of gnomes (despite the possible racial prejudices)that are the crafters and spellcasters. There would also be a few human merchants that have made a place for themselves... These neutral minotaurs would not share political power with non-minotaurs as they would not want anyone else to control their destinies...

If this was to be created and written up, would the sages of Candlekeep be interested in a copy?

ShadowJack
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  18:08:10  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ShadowJack

If this was to be created and written up, would the sages of Candlekeep be interested in a copy?



Indeed! And Big Al would likely be interested in hosting it here, as well.

I'd be willing to edit this file, too -- but not until the next volume of the Candlekeep Compendium is published. That's the higher priority, at the moment.

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Beirnadri Magranth
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USA
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Posted - 23 Feb 2006 :  20:42:18  Show Profile  Visit Beirnadri Magranth's Homepage  Send Beirnadri Magranth an AOL message Send Beirnadri Magranth a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think it would be interesting to have yak-folk and minotaurs interact... like a community of taurens (no reference to Warcraft intended). it would be similar to elves and humans living together.

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::moussaoui tries to interrupt::
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