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leaddolphin
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[Changed Title] Discussion about Stanengist

Sun 14 Apr 2024, 13:38

(1) What's up with the orcs?

Legends say that Wyrm told Clay to create the orcs, to address the imbalance between elves+dwarves and the newly-arrived humans. When war happened, elves+dwarves sent their orc slaves into battle against the humans. The humans raised demons in turn and won; the elves and dwarves went away and sulked; the orcs ended up free, and before they could calm down and consider "what do we do about our enslavers?" the bloodmist turned up and made everyone stay at home for 200-odd years.

But the Bloodmarch tells us that on the other side of the mountains, the orcs have always been free. So Wyrm and Clay didn't create orcs as a slave race.

And why would they have? Elves and dwarves didn't want or need a slave race for their everyday life; they'd both been happy doing their own thing for years, and it was precisely the arrival of disruptive, fast-reproducing surface-dwellers - humans - that irked them in the first place. Plenty of wise elves and dwarves would have counselled against creating orcs, because of what might happen if they lost the war: wouldn't the orcs ally with the triumphant humans to destroy their creators?

And given that they did lose the war, we need to ask: (1) why didn't the orcs wipe out the elves and/or dwarves in retaliation; and, failing that, (2) why didn't the elves and/or dwarves try to enslave the orcs again?

(2) What's up with Stanengist?

The first elves turned up, mapped the Forbidden Lands, then decided that they were done and they should retire to the stillmist and park their rubies in a communal thing where they could all be. Fine.

There's a crown called Stanengist, and whoever wears it apparently gets to rule, although if you look at its stats it doesn't let you do anything of the kind, and you're better off keeping the rubies in the sword, sceptre and cloak clasp rather than putting them in the crown.

Also: has anyone actually ever worn Stanengist as a ruler? Yes, the first elves asked one of the first dwarves to forge it, but the whole point of that enlightened time was that dwarves and elves lived in separate harmony. There was no need to assert supremacy.

And: why is it that sacrificing Stanengist can seal the rift that demons currently come through? And not just in a "any sufficiently-powered magical item can probably do the thing" way; Stanengist can seal the protonexus permanently, with the implication that you can't just open another rift later on.

(3) Theory: Stanengist is what enslaved the orcs, and made opening the rift possible

While the elves did indeed build the stillmist as a place where they could rest, and a modest circlet which could hold their rubies when they were tired of the flesh, it was always intended as (1) a home for the first elves where they could rest in peace, and (2) a way for them to advise whoever donned it from time to time.

Faced with the threat from the humans, the elves and dwarves decided they needed something very different, and reforged the circlet into an intimidating crown of power they called Stanengist. Previously elves, dwarves, halflings, goblins, orcs and humans lived separately in their own realms; the creation of Stanengist asserted one single ruler, to have dominion over all. Elves and dwarves agreed to abide by that rule, and as a first act of strength subjugated the previously-free orcs.

This powerful act of cruel magic sent a signal that demons can hear, so when Zygofer was trying to contact demons, the demons were already trying to get to the Forbidden Lands from the other side. The protonexus opened; demons found a cruel and powerful mage on the other side, so assumed it was him they'd heard, and Zygofer wasn't aware of the creation of Stanengist so assumed he'd managed to open the rift all by himself because he's awesome. (If demons ever said "something about this magic feels elvish", Zygofer has already based his right to rule the Forbidden Lands on his elven heritage.)

And the elves and dwarves couldn't enslave the orcs again after the war was over because nobody knew where Stanengist was after Merigall had nicked it.

(4) Why doesn't Zytera know about Stanengist?

This also explains why Zytera doesn't know Stanengist will drive him mad: in truth, he doesn't know much about it.

At some point some elf or dwarf stood at the back of an army and very loudly said "look at me, I wear Stanengist, I'm going to win this battle", and a bunch of elves, dwarves and orcs did indeed win the battle, but that just lead Zygofer to summon more demons (in truth it was the cruelty of Stanengist that summoned them but never mind).

Eventually the humans+demons won the war, Zygofer and Therania turned into Zytera, and only after a few hundred years of doing unspeakable things to unfortunate souls thought "wait, wasn't there a crown?" - and that's all he knows.

As to why Stanengist drives demons or demon-adjacent people mad, maybe it's because it's a symbol of the land that they're not from? Its assertion of legitimacy and belonging is what attracted them, but precisely because - maddeningly - it's one of the few things they can't have. They can destroy it, yes, but never possess it.

Moderator Action: I changed the title to something less mouthfull.

Original title: Theory: turning the previous elf house into Stanengist was what enslaved the orcs, and made demonic incursion possible
 
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Dizzyfugu
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Re: Theory: turning the previous elf house into Stanengist was what enslaved the orcs, and made demonic incursion possib

Mon 15 Apr 2024, 10:06

Lore is always told by the "winners", with lots of propaganda/fake news involved and subjective truth or interpretations. That's a principle you can apply to many (all?) stories in FL, esp. in the Ravenlands. We will hardly know "the" truth, though.
 
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leaddolphin
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Re: Theory: turning the previous elf house into Stanengist was what enslaved the orcs, and made demonic incursion possib

Tue 16 Apr 2024, 01:41

"History is written by the victors" is a useful phrase, but my theory, in a GM-only forum, was about what actually happened. That's what I particularly wanted feedback on: do my ideas about the underlying metaphysic make sense?

But OK, let's think about why the stories the PCs will hear are different.

(1) What's up with the orcs?

This one is easy: "the God(s) made you our slaves" is more convincing than "we used a magic item", because you can steal or destroy magic items but it's harder to steal or kill gods. Add on "you have always been our slaves; don't you remember?" to legitimise it further, which is the obvious thing to do, especially if your audience isn't too smart and dies early.

So maybe there are Viraga who have handed down memories of the before-times. That would be interesting.

(2) What's up with Stanengist?

There's not many that remember the previous version of Stanengist. Gemelda, Neyd and Nebulos inherently remember 'cos they're in the crown; Viridia knows, but she went mad and is in Maligarn; Algared probably doesn't know, because he put himself in Nekhaka before any of this happened; Iridne knows because that's her reason to nope out and become a cloak clasp; the Shardmaiden was already shards when this happened.

Merigall knows because Viridia told him, and/or he thought about putting Stanengist on his head and realised it would be a bad idea. Kalman Rodenfell knows because the only interesting thing about him is that he's old and knows stuff.
 
Broadsmile
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Re: Theory: turning the previous elf house into Stanengist was what enslaved the orcs, and made demonic incursion possib

Fri 03 May 2024, 10:35

This was a really cool post. I've been running with the notion of Stanegist being a romantic sort of power of the land crown marking the wearer as the rightful ruler of the Rivers, Plains, Forests, Winds and Hills. But I think I might switch over to this more ominous Interpetaition as the Grim truth behind the legend.

I also think the enslaving of the orcs probably took place with the beginning of the wars and before that they were just a sort of younger people of limited Intrest to Elves and Dwarves. But thats probably my preference i think "the orcs have alway been slaves" makes Dwarves and Elves a little too evil.
 
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leaddolphin
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Re: Theory: turning the previous elf house into Stanengist was what enslaved the orcs, and made demonic incursion possib

Mon 27 May 2024, 02:21

Here's when I think the important events need to happen.

825 AS is when Zygofer turns up with a significant army, and the dwarves realise they can't be defeated as easily as in the First Alder War. By 826 AS orcs are mentioned, albeit only on the side of the dwarves; it'll take the Third Alder War in 833 for the elves to also have orcs. (Maybe they took time to work out what orcs were about? Elves are famously not hasty.)

So I think that Iridne leaves Stanengist some time between 825 and 833, just before Stanengist is turned into a crown of domination and subjugates the orcs. To make him more interesting, let's postulate that it's Kalman Rodenfell who changed Stanengist, possibly on instruction from Gemelda?

Merigall and Viridia go to the Stillmist in a parley, Viridia gets jumped by elves, Merigall takes her emerald and puts it in Maligarn, grabs it and Stanengist, and is eventually ambushed by Redrunners, at which point he spirits the two magical items away before being dissolved. Zygofer eventually recovers him from Lake Harga / Blaudwater no later than 872 AS, because that's when the fourth Alder War starts, and Zygofer desperately needs more demons than he has, opening the nexus wide, reaching a deal with Krasylla almost immediately (which you know must have involved Merigall) and then sealing the nexus to basically a trickle in 877 AS.

Merigall is clearly involved with stuff between 850 (Zygofer and Merigall investigate the nexus) and 852 (Martea, Marga and Zertorme flee), but after 852 Zygofer has no family matters or external pressures, so it makes sense that it's at this point that Merigall starts thinking about the woman they love and goes to the Stillmist.

So Stanengist as a crown of domination exists between 825 AS and 855 AS, for the Second and Third Alder Wars. That's not very long at all, and it's slap-bang in the middle of Zygofer deciding that maybe having a wife and being happy was better than scheming, waging war and raising demons (spoiler alert: he got better), which explains why he doesn't really know about Stanengist at all.
 
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Konungr
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Re: Theory: turning the previous elf house into Stanengist was what enslaved the orcs, and made demonic incursion possib

Wed 29 May 2024, 22:52

You are missing some important and pretty vital lore because you are apparently not citing anything from Bitter Reach. The Orcs WERE enslaved by the elves. Specifically the Winter Elves under the rule of Farrenblaudd who claims to have manufactured the Orcs himself. I doubt his manufacturing of the Orcs is true (as proven by Bloodmarch), but the enslavement certainly is. The winterelves enslaved or killed all that they saw including the dwarves.

It was the elvish civil war roughly 2 thousand year ago that killed or sealed away the winter elves and sent many southward. There the remaining elves who won the civil war did the things in the raven lands myths. Blaudwedd made the still mist (and probably took on a new identity). One of the elves become the blood star clasp and attempted to help guide the Orcish civilization (likely to help them after their thousand years of slavery). One went south to Alderland to help rule and lead the humans. Eventually becoming the scepter. Likely to prevent the Humans from forming an empire that repeated their mistakes. The Stanengist Crown was likely a gift from the dwarves to the elven rebellion who destroyed their kingdom in order to seal away it's evil and free it's slaves.

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