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Bringing the Atruaghin Clans into the Known Worldby Andrew Theisen
Funny that you are posting this, as I was just thinking about doing something with this over the past couple of days. It's something that has been on my mind for quite some time, and some recent other Native American interests just made me return my thoughts this way.
Offhand, one of the things I am thinking of doing is shifting things a bit from how they currently stand; as is, the Atruaghin people are supposed to be completely cut off and maintaining their ways in isolation from the outside world, which continues to expand and modernize around them. Not wholly unrealistic in and of itself (as can be attested to by similar things happening even in our modern technological society- wish I could find some links, but there were some recent stories about this sort of conflict in eastern Africa). On the other hand, it does seem as if the cultures have remained unrealistically static, considering their location.
My idea is to keep the tribes atop the plateau pretty much as is; in isolation (it's a long, long way up that plateau; the only realistic way to get up there is by flight or teleportation, and that doesn't really work too well en masse). These guys can more or less keep their traditions.
Down below, though, I'm thinking of expanding the reach of the Tiger Clan; making them more of a real "nation" in their own right, with cities and such. I'm increasingly dismayed by the fact that the creators of Mystara chose to make the Aztec and Inca analogues- the Azcans and Oltecs- nations that originated in Mystara's pre-Blackmoorian times, when- in the real world- those two nations were among the most sophisticated and modern of the American Indian civilizations, and co-existed alongside the sorts of Renaissance Era nations that more or less match up with the surrounding "present day" Mystara nations.
That's the cloth we're left with, though, without substantial rewrites, so I'll just assume those nations were "modern" at the same time Blackmoor was and equate that time period with the 14th century or thereabouts of the RW, and everything got hit a major setback with the GRoF.
However, in the meanwhile, the survivors of those nations idled and remained static for over 3000 years, while the remnants of Blackmoor and its legacy rebuilt and regrew; pretty unrealistic, even for a fantasy world.
So, back to my ideas: Tribes atop the plateau, remain as is. Tiger Clan expands and basically covers the entire southern and eastern portion of the Clans territory, with some subject nations under them.
I've long considered putting a Mississipian/Mounds style culture in the Atruaghin region; I was initially thinking of having them in the south of the plateau, but maybe they developed along the Elstrich/Arbandine instead, and are largely non-existent now (humanoid troubles from ancient times, diseases, wiped out by Tiger and Darokin groups), leaving only their platform mounds and whatever ancient magics might lay within?
Some other- lesser- subject clans in the south, then? Now largely controlled by the Tiger Clan?
Also, the Turtle Clan will probably largely be subjects of the Tiger Clan. I'm probably going to expand those islands in the seas to have Arawak/Carib style Atruaghin Clansmen on them, and the Turtle Clan will be a bit more modernized due to trading with the Sindhi and other merchants along the coast; the Tiger Clan who largely leave them alone as long as they pay their tributes.
I've also long wanted to do Seminole style Clans in the Malpheggi swamps, but I've since revised that idea based on an expansion of it by someone here on the boards (I forget who) who suggested having the lizardmen in the swamp take on that role instead. So Seminole lizardmen tribes there.
Also, in the northern broken lands portion of the plateau, I've got Red Orcs and whatever sort of tribal culture I decide to tack on to them.
(Slightly OT, I'd also like to really revisit Sind some day, and redo it; it seems very half finished and tacked on in much the way the Clans Gazetteer is; moreso, maybe, since prior to the VotPA series there was nothing to the west of Darokin besides a few villages along the Asanda River. Even Allen Varney initially dropped Sind over on the far side of the Great Waste in his Shahjapur stuff from HWA3; and I'd really love to incorporate what he did in that product more than was done in CoM, which largely just ignored it and gave it lip service. He did so much wonderful stuff in a few pages of that module with Shahjapur that was at least equal to the whole of CoM.)