BH Questions for the Background Team

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  • BH Questions for the Background Team

    Hey all, for anyone wondering about the fluff for our army - now is your time!

    We have an opportunity to ask five questions to the Background Team about BH so we can get a better idea of the story of the beasts.

    So, if you guys have things you want to know post questions here. Happy to have some discussion around the questions too, as we do only have 5 questions to ask so we will need to prioritise what we need to know.

    For some reference if you guys haven't seen, the information the BH ACS could find was all here. I will cut and paste those snippets below so we are all on the same page about what we already know.

    Unknown Author wrote:

    To the Beast Herds there is a strength to each herd, which is focused upon their totem. The belief of each member of the herd gives the totem a significance which a Soothsayer can tap into and bond to a group. But whether Beast magic comes from totems or the Soothsayer’s own skill, there is always a focus on gaining advantage in the hunt – moving swiftly, ambushing and seizing their prey by the throat.

    Unknown Author wrote:

    Oft depicted as mere lackeys of Chaos, the Beasts have occasionally found themselves used as pawns of the Dark Gods, but their main similarity is the dread they inspire among civilised peoples. Theirs is a distinct history, and perhaps a tragic tale. Though choosing blade over bow, they are the equals of the Sylvan folk with whom they contest for the woodland realms. All the enmity and revulsion of the Elves at the perceived violation of nature has not brought an end to these beasts – on the contrary they thrive and often turn the hunter into the hunted. Shamanic rituals lie at the heart of their culture; their soothsayers are venerated above all others, gnarled and bent, but tough as an old oak. Among the warriors, strength is prized as one would expect, yet their leaders also need cunning to survive. Coordinating packs of ambushers through tangled thickets appears to be an important skill, and a tactic used to great effect against adversaries who think of the beasts as their quarry.

    The Book of the Askar wrote:

    The Sun Maiden came, in our time of greatest need. Let her mighty deeds be written here, that she might not pass out of memory, but be remembered evermore.
    — The Book of the Askar, Chapter One, taken from the Sunna Cycle

    It was in the cold years, when the sun was pale and the summers were short, that the goddess came to us. In that time of darkness, the beasts of the wood, barbarians of the wastes and brutes of the mountains descended upon us, and we were swept before them as reeds before the flood. First to rise from the mass of foes was Bragh, the Black Bull, slayer of a hundred chieftains, shattering armour and bodies with his great mace.

    The people of the Askar lay in the path of his westward rampage. Their King, Warin, saw all hope was lost. Still he marshalled ninety brave warriors to hold a ford over the river Gewache, and buy his people time to escape the approaching doom. The eve of the battle found him in a riverside shrine, deep in prayer. To Ullor, Father of Winter, he prayed for blizzards. To Volund, the Smith, he prayed for strength of arm and steel of spine. Finally, to Sunna, he prayed that his people would see another dawn. The alarm was raised as he finished railing at the silence of the gods; the beasts came as the daylight failed.

    Each defender gave their life dearly. No man fell with his blade unblooded; a score of foes fell beneath their feet. Yet it was not enough, for Bragh then took the field. The Askar died to his mace, until only King Warin stood between the Black Bull and the western shore. Great horns gored valiant Warin’s horse, and a single blow shattered the King’s shield and arm both. The Bull stood ready to deliver the deathstroke, when a lone soldier leapt forward.

    Helm dislodged, golden hair flowed to the warrior’s waist, Warin was stunned to see a woman plant her boots in the bloody water between King and Beast. Dwarfed by the Bull, even a brave Askar maiden could not hope to hold back that enemy. But at this moment, the dawn broke, with a fire not seen in a decade. A blinding blaze of light from the eastern horizon ignited her polished breastplate and sword. The brilliance staggered Bragh as the woman struck. The first blow cut through Bragh’s heel, bringing him crashing to one knee. The second sunk deep into his chest, drawing a roar of pain that shook the earth. The third and final blow drove straight between the monster’s open jaws, and into his skull.

    As the Black Bull fell, the beasts fled. Though only one in nine survived, the King’s men rushed to Warin’s side, pulling him from the river to face his rescuer. All clamoured to know the name of their saviour, yet the King stilled them by falling to one knee. He knew that face, lit by the dawn’s glory, and knew his prayers had been answered. He offered her his sword, even as he spoke: "It is Sunna. She has come."

    Last words of Gnak Prophet of the Beasts wrote:

    Beat us, burn us, brand us: you only make the Herd stronger

    From The World Hymn Part 2 wrote:

    An Age of Ruin, an Age of Iron
    As split was world so too were we
    Our only hope a foreign truce
    With Avras proud we did ally
    To war ‘gainst fate we did return

    From elves disloyal no aid was found
    ‘Cross endless sea retreat and flee
    Unfit they are of dwarven aid
    Not worth the fire of dwarven rage
    The path they tread is ruin bound

    Of orcs of men of beasts no end
    Now war and siege and misery
    As one we kill so sprout two more
    And flight nor fight avail a dwarf
    Our dominance so too now rent

    Endless foes did split us sunder
    The orc and beast our gates did press
    The hold’s rings split like maille from axe
    No valour won could mend the loss
    As foreign blades took our plunder

    Our kith and kin no longer free
    Our axe and shields unequal were
    Our vengeance sworn forever be

    From The World Hymn Part 3 wrote:

    The Age of Death, the loss of gold
    A time when earth would swallow whole
    Nor fae nor men nor orc nor we
    All lost and toss’d and bent and broke
    A time of pain to each ring Hold

    The beasts did rise and burn and loot
    No wall of shield or hold could stand
    And fickle elves did leave and run
    And men so quick to alter word
    Do promise cut and render mute

    The dead did rise on southern shore
    An empire dead its heart torn out
    No aid to come from human hands
    The hour grew dark, and foes in count
    So press’d were we, like ne’er before

    We call on elves to help us hold
    ‘Gainst all that stood to break us then
    And end the light of dwarven works
    They turn’d their backs on us those days
    Betraying us, with scandal bold

    Now allies old do stand as foes
    As mountains fall so too we break
    And thus bring close this Age of Woes
    (from The 9th Age Fantasy Battles Rulebook 1.3.5.)

    From The World Hymn Part 4 wrote:

    The Age of War, of Ruin the Fourth
    The time our foes do fight betwixt
    We sharpen axe we ready blade
    In dungeons deep we plan and wait
    For chance to move our armies forth

    Each Thane each King each soldier in
    Our people sworn to hold the line
    To march together step in step
    To turn each foeman’s sword aside
    With faith in kin alone we win

    And yet with all in steel and arms
    Our fight was not without its trials
    The orcs had numbers beyond count
    And war thus raged across the age
    With no-one spared its many harms

    For all this though we did win out
    No hope had orcs enclosed by all
    To beasts they fell and feast be made
    No hope had beast whose end was next
    As Vermin Swarm did make them rout

    Yet far kin sorely sought respite
    Did plot to win with daemon fire
    And risk all life in burning blight

    Sigmund Selig wrote:

    The origins of the Beast Herds are lost deep in the Ages of Ruin, and none can say be sure from whence they came. “But I can say with some certainty that they are no daemon-spawn - whatever the Church of Sunna may claim.” The sage believes they are a people shaped by their own will and magic, as much as by their environment and origins.

    Sigmund Selig wrote:

    Q: How intelligent are the Beast Herds? Are they purely driven by primal instincts or is there a grander plan for their herds? Are minotaurs just big wildhorns, or do they have their own tribes and agendas?

    A: In the current day, the herds are found on every continent, and contest those lands with their other inhabitants. The herds are diverse in culture and appearance across the world. Of the two general types of herds, the warherds are led by bestial chieftains. They are autocratic but prone to leadership challenges - sometimes resulting in the death of chief or challenger. Leaders gain favour if they demonstrate martial prowess and accumulate great stories told about them.
    While minotaurs sometimes have their own tribes, most times they are found living in and with the other beasts of the herds. Like all tribal peoples, individual tribes have their own goals, agendas, and concerns. The question of the intelligence of beast-men is a harder one to address, for while the beasts all have similar intellect to humans, their behaviours are governed by their nature differently than that of human people. Beast-men are quicker to violence than humans, and less likely to use missiles because of reasons of biology more than any condition of intellect. That said, it would be a mistake to disregard them as mere creatures of instinct, the beasts and their leaders are very cunning and discerning.

    Unknown Author wrote:

    It is said that wherever a human explorer goes in this world, a beast has been already. Even in this great ninth age of humanity, the herds can be found around the world in all their dizzying diversity and savagery. Even in Vetia, they have not been entirely stamped out, with small bands still encountered in the wild parts of the great nations. Because they are cheap and deniable, many are still employed by statesmen as mercenaries - despite the risk to reputation, and knowing full well that the horned ones’ untamed nature makes them a double edged sword once unleashed. Tales of much larger forces gathering in the eastern bogs are known to all. Claims of titanic herds of untold numbers roaming the uncharted regions of Taphria or Silexia are less easily verified.
  • youngseward wrote:

    Sigmund Selig wrote:

    The origins of the Beast Herds are lost deep in the Ages of Ruin, and none can say be sure from whence they came. “But I can say with some certainty that they are no daemon-spawn - whatever the Church of Sunna may claim.” The sage believes they are a people shaped by their own will and magic, as much as by their environment and origins.

    skipschnit wrote:

    1. Are the beast herds a natural race, or were they “created” by mutations, spell gone wrong, or deals with the supernals?
    From the above quote, we might be barking up the wrong tree trying to get more information on this - Im not sure if we can ask for further detail on something discussed as "unknown" like that.

    Ill follow up and see if its possible!
  • 2. Is there a central “kingdom” or are the herds just nomadic communities? If territorial, then is each “tribe” independent with no central ruling class or area? Are the tribes warring with each other or is there an alliance? If alliance, is this natural instinct or intellectually based?
    B. "MF’ing" Jones - CGL Member

    D.L.- ADT - TT

    Campaign Design-Broken Isles

    Adv. Magic & Giants Design

    PlaytestTeam-Mid Atlantic USA

    Vermin Swarms LAB TT

  • Very cool to have this opportunity! Thanks!

    The BH lore as summarized in the fandom wiki is amazing, so I really don't have too many questions, but let's give it a try:

    • If BH value artistic work and wisdom, are there artists or even scholars in their herds?
    • Do hidden herds have some forces on their own or are they only protected by the warherds?
    • Is every hidden herd something like the civil arm of a specific warherd? If not, how come that there is a tribal structure when the children of several warherds are born in one and the same hidden herd? Are they distributed there? According to who might be the father? Or just by chance?
    • What is the relation between the "normal" BH species and the monsters? Are even Jabberwocks and Gortachs mere mutations that some strong soothsayer brought along or are they different? If they are members of the same species, can they communicate? Why can't they lead a herd then? If not, how are they held (like wild animals or slaves or more like friends or even avatars of mighty spirits or something)?
    • If storytelling is that important to BH culture, do all beastherds share a common language? Can a storyteller wander around from herd to herd?
    My blog about my Asian Elves
  • skipschnit wrote:

    1. Are the beast herds a natural race, or were they “created” by mutations, spell gone wrong, or deals with the supernals?
    Its unlikely we would ever get a clear answer on this, as there are no omniscient narrators in 9th and there is noone in the world who would know their origins.

    So basically the answer is "no-one knows how the beasts came to be".
  • Do beast herds have any static settlements? Any industry to speak of?

    Do they make use of captured technology, and if not what prevents them from doing so?

    Could a minotaur manipulate a leadbelcher to effect? Could minotaurs form mercenary troops such as with ogres? What payment or contract would they demand.

    Is there a language of mutual intelligibility between the herds and any other races, such that they could communicate should reason arise?

    Are there any societies an individual could move freely within, albeit with suspicion, or would they be killed on site?

    Are there any concentrations of herds such that they might be said to hold territory, over and above being a random encounter in forested land?

    Do beast herds have any fleets, or have they ever made use of ship-like technology? How do they occur across the world - are they native to each continent, or arrived via a long land migration?

    What is their relationship with sylvan elves, with whom they 'share' the forests? Or with orcs, warbands of which are hunted down maybe similarly to beast herds by other nations?

    Is there any link between the goat and bull men of the herds and the rat men of the swarm?

    Is there any kinship or shared culture between beast herds and any other race? Both orcs, ogres and sylvan elves have strong links to shamanic practices, akin to those of the beast herds.

    What motivates a herd to strike out against civilisation? Have they ever conquered land, or just sacked it?
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