Atlas   Rules   Resources   Adventures   Stories       FAQ   Search   Links

Goatmen of the Kavaja, some explanation

by Bruce Heard

Okay... This goes way back to when I had been contracted to develop the city states into a Gazetteer (the project was cancelled shortly after I began work, grumble, grumble). If I remember, I had picked some Slavic cultures for each of the city states. For example, the folks in Hojah were more like RW Albanians, Slagovich was more like RW Croats, while Zvornik came closer to RW Hungarians. Nova Svoga was inspired from RW Bulgaria but I chose Slovenian for their language for the sake of typographical simplicity. I had Zagora more like RW Romanians.

This being said, perhaps we can assume that the goatmen speak similar languages. They probably started out with a unique idiom that came from their demonic masters. They eventually got rid of it, only to use it in their rituals as a secret (forbidden) language. As a result, they probably picked what other languages become more predominant in the region -- that of the City States for example, even though the goatmen certainly predate any of these human settlements. Okay, perhaps they speak these languages with a baaa-bad goaty accent! :D

I mentioned in last night's chat that I considered this region of the SC as Mystara's equivalent of "Yugoslavia", not necessarily in historical or strictly cultural terms, but in the fact that all these people do speak different languages and aren't getting along very well. The languages I picked simply reinforce the M-Yugoslavian feel. Yes, I know, Hungary and Romania aren't a part of old Yugoslavia. We can call this instead a pseudo-Balkanic theme, assuming other RW cultures/languages not mentioned here have been gobbled up by Hule at some point. So, where does this lead?

The goatmen are split apart in various ways -- racially (goatlings, ovinaurs, caprines), culturally and linguistically depending on which city state is closest, in appearances (some are black, some are white, others are downright shaggy and wild!), and finally religiously (followers of Eiryndul vs. Faunus vs. "other"). Etc. The result is a fractious society among humanoid bovidaes. :)

In a nutshell, part of the northern goatlings would speak Slovenian and/or Romanian, the more central ovinaurs would have picked Hungarian and/or Albanian, while the caprines would use Croatian and/or Albanian as well. Now that we know this we can come up with appropriate names.

The term "Goatmen of Kavaja" was of course coined by Slagovich travellers, and is assuredly inaccurate when referring to the entire goatman population. The Hills of Kavaja proper are home for the caprines, so they would probably call themselves Kavajans. The ovinaurs would probably opt for something like Pazaria (pazari is the RW Albanian for "market", meaning that ovinaurs see their land as a place of business), and finally I'd choose Crnograd (pronounce CHER-nograd) for the northern goatlings, which means "Black Castle" in Slovenian. The latter refers both to the Black Mountains and the ancient fortress of Bielagul.