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Savage Coast Real World Cultural Inspirationsby Bruce Heard
Oh sure! Now you're tempting me! Actually, I don't believe we've ever posted a list of the main cultures of the Savage Coast and what they were inspired from. Some lend themselves very well to firearms & fantasy-fencing (as described in recent posts). Others still linger in late medieval styles, but I think we'll have them "evolve" in the upcoming campaign book revision to better fit the swashbuckler flavor. I'm thinking in particular Eusdria, Renardy, and Bellayne. The others are just too "monstrous" to be adapted in any elegant fashion.
In a nutshell we have:
Eastern City States (Slagovich, Zvornik, etc): originally inspired from late medieval balkan kingdoms (Serbia, Albania, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, etc), these will naturally evolve to "embrace" the fencing & firearm era (F&F?).
Vilaverde: Mostly a kingdom of pirates and adventurers. Portuguese in flavor. Definitely swashbucklers. They have colonies throughout the Savage Coast and control most of the local seas.
Texeiras: Inspired from Portuguese sea explorers and merchants. Swashbucklers and rivals or the Vilaverdans. As their rivals, they also have colonies throughout the Savage Coast and compete against Vilaverde for the control of sea routes.
Torreon: Inspired from Spanish conquistadors, mostly swordsmen for hire and mercenaries. Everybody has Torreoners in their pay.
Narvaez: Inspired from the Spanish Inquisition (knights and priests, early 1600's). A place to avoid for heretics, non-humans, and wizards. They would love to compete against Texeiras and Vilaverde.
Saragon: Inspired from Moorish Spain. Also a magiocracy.
Gargona: Mid 1600's Spain, a place for artists and diplomats.
Almarron: A place that strangely looks like Los Angeles at the time of Zorro!
Guadalante: More like the gauchos of the Argentinian Pampas -- gentlemen cowboys-Spanish style.
Cimarron: American west, complete with The Duke (Sir John of the Wayne) ;)
Robrenn: A druidic society under a king, inspired from Celtic Gaul. Definitely NOT a swashbuckler's paradise, although it has a class of warriors that look like druidic paladins.
Eusdria: Inspired from Charlemagne's empire, these may be modified to adopt firearms and fencing as opposed to plate armor and lance. Could require a stretch of the imagination!
The Free Tortles of Zul (turtle men and their evil aquatic cousins, the snappers). These mysterious wanderers seem to quietly exist almost everywhere on the Savage Coast. Their origin and destiny remain shrouded in the mists of time.
Renardy: A kingdom of French-sounding dog-men (lupins), originally late medieval, now probably late 1500's.
Bellayne: A kingdom of English-sounding cat-men (rakastas), as above, and rivals of the lupins. ;)
Herath: A strange empire where most people aren't truly what they appear to be. Sorry, that's for DMs to know.
The Lizardkins: intelligent lizardmen, gatormen, and cayma (hobbit-sized caiman-men). They all hate each other fortunately.
Wallara: chameleon-men inspired from Australian Aborigenes. These are good guys.
Jibaru: Flying, raccoon-faced, hobbit-sized squirrels (he, he), inspired from Amazonian head-skrinking Jivaros.
Nimmurians: evil, translucent, manscorpions inspired from ancient Assyria. These are *REALLY* baaaad. Fortunately, they catch fire when exposed to sunlight or moonlight, or any natural or magical reflection of sunrays -- resulting from a great offense to their Immortal ex-patron (Ixion).
Orc's Head: your regular orcs, trolls, and goblins, under the control of a truly butch dragon (see vermillion dragon description in TSR Download of the month).
Ee'aar: These are winged elves living in mountains lining the Arm of the Immortals.
Enduk: These are lawful good, flying minotaur, ancestors of the evil, wingless (fallen) minotaurs. They are the Ee'aars' buds and hate the Nimmurian manscorpions who conquered their ancestral lands.
I forgot what Bruce based Hule on. I've misplaced the paper he gave to me. I think it was sort of like the Ottoman Empire as it would be if taken over by a super-powerful evil character. I've also heard Hule compared to a very hostile Iran by some. The Yazak Steppes humanoids had some background with mounted plains peoples, in part American Indian (with none of the latter's good qualities).
Roger Moore, TSR, Inc.
This may end up how we do in the long run. Another possibility unveils the fact that many different cultures fit under the Hulean label, from previously conquered lands. One thing is sure, however, the southern half of Hule is very loosely inspired from the late 1500's Ottoman Empire. Throwing bits of modern day Iranian politics sounds OK with me!