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Author Topic: The Hsantex: A New Look at Gnomes  (Read 4299 times)

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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Hsantex: A New Look at Gnomes
« on: August 18, 2004, 08:44:54 PM »
Welcome to yet another New Look, from yours truly. This time, I will be revamping Gnomes, arguably the most boring and pointless fantasy race of all time. Gnomes serve no purpose at all. Don't tell me they're tinkerers, that's just dumb. So I have decided to make them the target of a well-deserved New Look.
Here are the basic ideas:

-The Hsantex (singular Hsantec) have two branches- the huac-Hsantex, or forest Hsantex, and the gnosh-Hsantex, or hill Hsantex. Both kinds of Hsantec are small humanoids covered in silvery fur and cat-like faces. They have short bobtails and hooves instead of separate toes.
-Hsantex of both branches wear cleverly-made armor suits that make up for their physical weakness. The huac-Hsantex wear armor made of pieces of wood that interlock like puzzle pieces; gnosh-Hsantex use similar armor, but theirs is made of cleverly carved stone.
-Hsantex have a very rigid caste system. One can tell a Hsantec's caste by the helmet of its armor, which is carved in the semblance of a creature- from Dog to Dragon.
-The huac-Hsantex and gnosh-Hsantex constantly fight, and their ritualized battles can often be seen in mountainside glades or rocky hills.
-Hsantex swords, made either from wood or stone, are famously sharp and fast. The gnosh-Hsantec use stone swords, while the huac-Hsantec use wood swords.
-Hsantex of both branches worship the Void God, lord of the number zero, the concepts of silence, emptiness, and esoteric concepts which the Hsantex do not relate to anyone but themselves. Both branches of Hsantex believe that the Void God favors them, and not their enemy.
-Every Hsantex has three names- an Out-name, given to strangers and outlanders, the In-name, given to close friends and family, and the Void-name, known only to one's self, a sacred name.

Shall we?
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Offline Michael Jotne Slayer

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The Hsantex: A New Look at Gnomes
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2004, 08:24:38 AM »
I like the three names idea, it represents something in all of us.
Let me explain; In a way we all have three different sides of ourselves.
One in the presence of strangers, one in the presence of friends we allready know and one when we are all alone. We act different in these different settings so I get the feeling that the Hsantex have figured something out.

One thing that makes me wonder though, this stone armor... is it not extremely heavy for a small creature to wear? How is it strapped upon the body? How are the different "plates" of stone connected? And what about the mobilety?

And one last thing that I have been pondering about, it may be stupid but let me ask anyway. It involves all your three posts conserning a new look on creatures. There are many different Orcs, Dwarwes and Gnomes depending on which fantasy world they are from. What I am trying to say is that there is a big difference between Tolkien orca and Warcraft Orcs.
Which creatures are we using as a base when we change them?

                                               Sincerely, Michael
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Offline Scrasamax

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The Hsantex: A New Look at Gnomes
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2004, 12:33:05 PM »
Huac-Hsantex Technology

At first glance, it would seem that a non-metal working culture is severely limited in it's ability to craft arms and armor. This is hardly the case as each non-metal working culture was never robbed of metallurgy, they never had it to begine with. They created their own weapons and armor out of different materials.

Weaponry
First, lets look at the available materials. Wood, stone, bone, and antler. These are all valuable items, each with a certain strong value. Wood makes for good weapons, spears, bows, and clubs that can be adorned with heads made of other materials. Stone can chipped and shaped into knives, arrowheads, and spear heads. Master craftsmen can actually fashion short swords out of stone, but such weapons are more ceremonial in nature and are not intended for combat use. Bone is another great material, easier to shape than stone, but not as durable. Bone can be used for arrowheads, knives, spears, and such. Lastly antler is easily obtained as most antlered animals shed their antlers annualy. This material has the same value as bone, but is more resistant to dryng out and becoming brittle as bone is wont to do.

Thus, archery, and spears are likely to be common weapons among the Huac-Hsantex, with others bearing stone and antler axes, and clubs. Combat is resolved with piercing attacks, and bludgeoning attacks. Knives are tools for preparing meals and ceremonial duties rather than being considered valid weapons.

Armor
Given the prevalence of piercing weapons, Huac armor is going to be designed to defeat such attacks. Huac armorers developed a rather advanced form of armor as they lacked metal working skills. The basic armor is boiled leather, but it is seldom used as it offers only moderate protection against piercing attacks, and less against crushing attacks. Brigandine is the most common form of armor, a layered suit of leather with shaped panels of stone, or bone barrels. (Think Indians)

The most advanced armor is laminated lamellor. The individual pieces are made of a composite of wood, bone, and antler sealed with resin and lacquer, all readily available in a forest. The individual pieces are woven together with animal sinew, and tough fibers of certain plants to give strength. Such armor worn over and undersuit of animal hide would offer signifigant protection against arrows, spears, and crushing weapons.

Fighting the Huac invariably comes down to one on one combat as volleys of arrows lack the penetration power to defeat their multi-layer armor. The weak points, arms and legs, can slow a wounded warrior, but seldom completely remove them from combat. The Huac make a point of demonstrating their superior armor by routinely plucking arrows from their hides and snapping them in derision of enemy archers.

Metal arrows do fair better against the armor with increased cutting power, but only an arrow designed for penetration, or attacks at very close range have a chance to defeat the protection offered.

Tactics
With a measured resistance to ranged attack, the Huac seldom make an effort to be camoflaged, nd instead display vibrant and loud colored armor. The bright chaos of color combined with the near immunity to arrows often unnerves enemies of the Huac. A swarm of bright red, yellow, white, and blue warriors defing volley after volley of arrows with little to no effect can route most foes.

The Huac are proud, and cunning warriors. Several with work in concert to bring down a larger foe. A popular attack is to draw an enemy, such as an urwhor in combat with a single Huac while his compatriot makes a flanking attack against the rear of the urwhors leg, crippling the enemy.

Scras


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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Hsantex: A New Look at Gnomes
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2004, 02:25:52 PM »
Excellent, Scras, very good. I will use that.

Stone armor? I dunno'. A good explanation would be satisfying, but I was just thinking fantasy incongruity. After all, in the Thomas Covenant book series, the Giants wear coats-of-mail made of stone, and sail in stone boats.

As for what interpretation, I mean the generalized (D&D) incarnations, the generic versions. There were no Tolkien Gnomes, but the Warcraft Gnomes were clever tinkerers, just like the D&D stereotype.
The New Looks are all about breaking stereotypes.
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Offline Michael Jotne Slayer

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The Hsantex: A New Look at Gnomes
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2004, 04:37:14 PM »
I am aware about the fact that there are no Tolkien Gnomes.
I said that there is a big difference between Tolkien Orcs and warcraft Orcs.

Anyway answer given.
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The skeleton hands the man a silver and says: “Fine, I’ll have a pitcher of beer…and a mop”

Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Hsantex: A New Look at Gnomes
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2004, 06:30:24 PM »
By the way-

When I first imagined the wood/stone armor, I imagined the armor as basically looking like a  puzzle, made of variously-shaped pieces of wood and rock. The armor would be taken off by taking apart the puzzle, so to speak.
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Hsantec alphabet
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2004, 07:20:01 PM »
The Hsantex have a complex language with many composite sounds and letters.

A- pronounced "ah"
B- pronounced as in English
C- only in the hard sound (as in "k")
CH- pronounced as in English
D- pronounced as in English
E- pronounced as in English, but at the end of the word it is pronounced "uh".
G- pronounced as in English
GN- pronounced as "N"
GC- pronounced as "guh-kuh"
H- pronounced as usual
HS- pronounced as "S"
I- pronounced as "ee"
L- pronounced as in English
M- pronounced as in English
MN- pronounced as "N"
N- pronounced as in English
O- pronounced as in English
P- pronounced as in English
Q- pronounced as in English
R- pronounced as in English
S- pronounced as in English
T- pronounced as in English
TCH- pronounced as "CH"
U- pronounced as "oo"
UA- pronounced as "wah"
UY- pronounced "oi"
W- pronounced as in English
X- pronounced as in English
Y- pronounced as in English
Z- pronounced as in English

Yes- Mnou (Noo)
No- Taxe (Tahks-uh)

Examples of Verbs:
To be- Hsuy (Soi)
To go- Tagnachuy (Tah-nah-choi)
To battle/fight- Chacuy (Chah-coi)
To make/do- Gabacuy (Gah-bah-coi)
To dwell- Hsantecuy (Sahn-teh-koi)
To say/speak/talk about- Chayomuy (Chah-yoh-moi)
To eat- Sowuy (Soh-woi)
To drink- Bexuy (Behks-oi)
To build- Gnacotuy (Nah-koh-toi)
To see- Pechemuy (Peh-cheh-moi)
To hear- Monamuy (Moh-nah-moi)
To smell- Hayarochuy (Hah-yahr-oh-choi)
To taste- Gatchuy (Gah-choi)
To feel- Hasuwuy (Hah-soo-woi)

Examples of Nouns:
Dwellers in the Wood- huac-Hsantex (Hwahk-Sahn-teks; singular huac-Hsantec)
Dwellers in the Stone- gnosh-Hsantex (Nohsh-Sahn-teks; singular gnosh-Hsantec)
Warriors- Chactex (Chahk-tehks; literally "those who battle". Singular Chactec)
Wood- Huac (Hwahk)
Stone- Gnosh (Nohsh)
Armor- Sutchemu (Soo-cheh-moo)
Sword- Gaxtezumu (Gahks-teh-zoo-moo)
Out-name- puy-Cape (Poi-kah-puh)
In-name- hsop-Cape (Sohp-kah-puh)
Void-name- tchax-Cape (chahks-kah-puh)
Void God- Tchax-Umul (Chahks-Oomool)
Zero- Balam (Bah-lahm)
Emptiness- Balamec (Bah-lahm-ehk)
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Offline Scrasamax

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The Hsantex: A New Look at Gnomes
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2004, 02:07:53 PM »
The puzzle armor is an interesting idea but it reminds me of the tinker gnome stereotype. I dont like it in the context of reinventing the gnomes, it feels like a holdover.

A stone ship really isnt that unfeasable, stone is less dense than metal and floating is a matter of displacement rather than weight. A 45,000 ton battleship floats because it weighs less than an equivalent volume of water. As for armor, stone would work for giants, they are stronger and able to carry thinker and much stronger pieces. Gnomes are smaller and the amount of stone they could carry is not nearly so much. Stone is strong, but it is also brittle and prone to chipping, breaking, and shattering.

I liked the Covenant Chronicles. Havent read them in some time, I need to read them again.

Also: in the original drafts of the Silmarillion, the Noldi, or Noldorin elves were refered to as the Gnomes. The only remnant of this is the Elf who first encounters humans is named Nom by them.


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Offline Michael Jotne Slayer

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The Hsantex: A New Look at Gnomes
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2004, 02:36:02 PM »
Argh you beat me to it Scras, I was just about to post that I had actually found something about Gnomes in the Book of lost tales.
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The skeleton hands the man a silver and says: “Fine, I’ll have a pitcher of beer…and a mop”

Offline EchoMirage

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furry gnomes
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2004, 02:26:14 AM »
You know, they seem like a bunch of pissed Ewoks to me...

yub-yub
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Offline Scrasamax

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The Hsantex: A New Look at Gnomes
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2004, 07:14:31 AM »
Furry pissed off ewoks might be better than the absent minded tinker gnomes that have been foisted off on us by Dragonlance.

Did I ever mention that having read alot of Dragonlance, I despize it?
All Kender must DIE :shock: ...ahem,...sorry? :lol:


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Offline EchoMirage

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gnomed to death
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2004, 09:55:29 AM »
I wonder - how do they get along with other forest-dwelling races? Cooperate/Tolerate? Or do impaled elven and sasquatch heads mark the borders of gnome territory?

You know, there should be some reason the midgets are so pissed and territorial...
Perhaps theirs is the belief that for the forest to be safe, or even the world, they must tend to ... something ... that strangers would just fumble up. Stone circles. Holy trees. Sacred springs ... perhaps all the rivers originate under the roots of huge trees carefully guarded by the Ewoks ... eh, Gnomes. And deserts? Why, that is where the gnomes were driven off and the tree felled by some dunce.

For a less world-defining role, they might just consider their worship a highly private matter where strangers are not allowed within say 30 miles. That is why all Gnome territories are circular then ...  :lol:

Their culture might also just say that "he who brings the most ears/scalps/buttocks of foreigners shall be boss", or the aggressive chaps might just be youngsters testing their mettle and the old Hsantex (you know, the name sounds just like Semtex ... so explosive :D ) are contemplative and sagely....
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Offline EchoMirage

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a-void gnomes
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2004, 10:03:07 AM »
of course, as they worship the Void Master (or is it worship? don't they just appease him so that they are the ones who don't get squished?) they might just follow the philosophy that to kill a foe means to bring void into his life, and giving him to the Void, thus killing in battle is just a kind of worship?

another philosophic branch might say that by bringing void into you - e.g. being free of emotion, is an act of worship

another sect might believe that certain individuals are very FULL of whathaveyou, and thus they are pampered, raised in comfort, and then given to the void upon reaching maturity...

yet another philosophy might state that saints must not mate, for by siring a child, one fills the void within a woman... so, perhaps the only saints might be women, preserving a piece of the Void within their own bodies...

a Void-cult might try a different approach - removing organs, and replaciong them by magical means, thus making a small place of Void where the organ should be, where creation wanted it to be.

you know, the way I write them the Gnomes sure seem sick... :twisted:
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Offline CaptainPenguin

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The Hsantex: A New Look at Gnomes
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2004, 06:26:51 PM »
Evil gnomes... They could be interpreted that way. Might be interesting. :)

But yes, they are very warlike. I like the idea that all rivers originate under trees is an interesting one, but difficult to integrate into a world. Still, I like it.
An idea that came to me was that they were somewhat samurai-like. Y'know, with Void to replace Zen.

Forest folk relations- I imagine that they are quite territorial and generally hostile to other races. After all, they do war between their two tribes of people, simply because they live in competing ecosystems. I can imagine hauc-Hsantex marking their borders with staked heads- it would fit well with their general pissed-off Ewok samurai theme.

I'll have to think about that Void-as-Zen idea, though, most likely, MoonHunter will think of a way that that would be absurd.
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The Hsantex: A New Look at Gnomes
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2004, 06:28:53 PM »
The female priests (with Voids in their bodies) is a great idea! That's officially canonized!

As for the replacing organs thing... I dunno about that. That's almost too weird.
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The Hsantex: A New Look at Gnomes
« Reply #15 on: August 27, 2004, 06:29:27 PM »
Yub-yub!
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Hsantex leaping to life!
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2004, 08:28:11 PM »
The Hsantex religion/spirituality, the worship of the mysterious Void Master, is practiced by huac-Hsantex in hollowed-out trees ("voids" in trees), or by gnosh-Hsantex in large pits, or in some occasions, caves.
The void-temple is kept absolutely empty. The Hsantex sweep it clean, wash it out, scrape it, and priestesses make sure that it stays as empty and clean as possible.  The doorway of the temple is flanked by wicker lanterns or torch-bowls. The temple entrance is surrounded several feet out by a half-ring of stones, and then the temple houses, where priests live and sacrafices are conducted.
All Hsantex religious workers are female- the priestesses, the temple guards, the cleaners, and whoever else may conduct temple business. The reason for this is that females have a natural "void" in their bodies, which, naturally, makes them physically holier than Hsantex males.
{Sidenote: The Hsantex are very squeamish and sexually repressed- their religion states that sex is wrong. Sex fills the "void" of the female, polluting her holiness with male "thereness".)
Sacrafices generally take the form of animals (birds or lizards) which are caught with a spear and burned to ashes in the torches flanking the shrine door. The ashes are collected and spread throughout the forest (or the hills). Long, wailing prayers are sung by priestesses and sacraficers, while visiting prayers at the temple look on. Warriors are given the special honor of casting the sacrafice into the fire.
Most religious activity, however, takes the form of meditation, or seeking the Void. All Hsantex meditate- some Hsantex workers meditate while they work, using the repeated monotonous activity to aid in this.
Hsantex from castes Dog to Sparrow are not allowed to go beyond the ring of stones around the shrine, and are not allowed to enter any temple building, though they may stand at the doorframe. Castes Owl to Wolf are allowed to enter the stone ring, and Dragon Caste Hsantex are allowed to enter the shrine, where in most cases only priestesses may go.

That's all I've got right now. Anybody want to help?
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