Kara-Tur/Maztica Crossover?

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Big Mac
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Kara-Tur/Maztica Crossover?

Post by Big Mac » Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:36 pm

I just stumbled onto an author called Aliette de Bodard who has written a number of short stories set in an alternative history called The Universe of Xuya:
The Universe of Xuya wrote:Xuya is a recurring universe in my alternate histories, the premise being that China discovered the Americas before the West, and that the exploration of this new continent prevented China from sinking inwards (not to mention being invaded by the Mongols, who later founded the ill-fated Qing dynasty, China’s last imperial dynasty).
This seems like something that could be used for inspiration for a connection between Kara-Tur and Maztica.

However, The Universe of Xuya is set in the modern day era, rather than the era similar to the one that Maztica and Kara-Tur are both based upon. So it would only really be Aliette's set up that we would want to look at:
The Universe of Xuya wrote:CHRONOLOGY

Discovery

1411 (reign of the Yongle Emperor in Ming-dynasty China): the power struggle between the eunuchs and the Confucian scholars at the imperial court resolves itself in favour of the eunuchs (the Confucians wanted to look inwards in order to rebuild a country purged from Mongol influence, the eunuchs favoured trade as a way to enrich themselves). At the same time as Zheng He‘s ships sail towards Ceylon, another fleet, headed by the eunuch Sijian Ma, heads east along the coast, with the avowed aim to fight off Japanese pirates. However, struck by typhoons, the fleet finds itself drifting further north than foreseen, and crosses the Bering Strait, landing in Alaska. Fortunately for Sijian Ma, his crew include Mongols, more used to rigorous winters, which allows him to survive, repair his ships and return to Nanjing.
Over the next decades, other ships explore the new land, which is christened Xuya [1]. Not finding any nation worth speaking to (the Chinese, used to central government, deem most native populations barbarians), the explorers move south along the West Coast, until they finally meet the expanding Mexica (Aztec) Empire of Moctezuma I. A trade alliance is struck, and gunpowder is imported to Xuya in exchange for jade and semiprecious stones.

1492: Colombus reaches Hispaniola. However, his successors will not find easy pickings on the continent, which is now defended by the loose alliance between Chinese and Mexica. The Spanish colonial empire will be limited to the islands of the Carribean, and Florida.

Meanwhile, in the north, exploration progresses on much the same schedule as in the real world, leading to the establishment of French and English colonies in the northeast of America.

Independence and territorial expansion

Circa 1770: the US declare their independence from England.

Circa 1810: Political and economical troubles in China. Xuya declares its independence from the motherland.
Even the setup does not fit in with the Amnian invasion of Maztica, but I wonder if there could be a colony from one of the Kara-Tur on the western seafront of Maztica (or maybe the the land north or south of Maztica).

What do people think? Would it work?
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Re: Kara-Tur/Maztica Crossover?

Post by Seethyr » Tue Sep 20, 2011 11:40 pm

I haven't seen a good worldwide map in a while (I used to have the electronic Atlas but lost it). This makes me wonder what the sailing time would be between Kara-Tur and Maztica in order for this to be a reasonable possibility. Then again in a magical world, of course there really are no limits.

Just as a side-note. One of the creatures in the bestiary I created has a background from Kara-Tur. The "tigremoth" was created when invaders from Kara-Tur arrived on Maztica. Hishnashapers (the arcane magic users of Maztica whose magic deals with fang, beak, claw and venom) attempted to dominate the invaders' pet tigers and the interaction of strange foreign magics created the beasts. The tigremoths proceeded to kill both groups and then fled into the swamps and jungles. I had fun with that bit of homebrew.
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Re: Kara-Tur/Maztica Crossover?

Post by AuldDragon » Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:41 pm

There are two continents between Maztica and Kara-tur. That will certainly limit crossovers unless you also detail those continents.

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Re: Kara-Tur/Maztica Crossover?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:41 pm

AuldDragon wrote:There are two continents between Maztica and Kara-tur. That will certainly limit crossovers unless you also detail those continents.
Not necessarily, if you assume that FR "Zheng He" hugged the northern/arctic coastline somewhat in order to stay within land's reach. It's been a while since I've read 1421, but I seem to recall that was actually close to where Zheng He's theoretical journey took him.

In any event, I like this idea, and I'd recommend using the above mentioned book as a reference of sorts for anyone exploring this idea (particularly since it is kind of fantastical itself).
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Re: Kara-Tur/Maztica Crossover?

Post by Big Mac » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:28 pm

Seethyr wrote:I haven't seen a good worldwide map in a while (I used to have the electronic Atlas but lost it). This makes me wonder what the sailing time would be between Kara-Tur and Maztica in order for this to be a reasonable possibility. Then again in a magical world, of course there really are no limits.
According to Spelljammer, the Kara-Tur region has Shou Lung dragonships and junks in wildspace. And Wa has six tsunami ships in the sphere, each of which has 36 locust ships on it.

Perhaps some of them could have trouble landing on Toril, come down on the wrong side of the world and end up in western Maztica.
Seethyr wrote:Just as a side-note. One of the creatures in the bestiary I created has a background from Kara-Tur. The "tigremoth" was created when invaders from Kara-Tur arrived on Maztica. Hishnashapers (the arcane magic users of Maztica whose magic deals with fang, beak, claw and venom) attempted to dominate the invaders' pet tigers and the interaction of strange foreign magics created the beasts. The tigremoths proceeded to kill both groups and then fled into the swamps and jungles. I had fun with that bit of homebrew.
Looks like you have already done my work for me. :lol:
AuldDragon wrote:There are two continents between Maztica and Kara-tur. That will certainly limit crossovers unless you also detail those continents.
Thanks Jeff. How about that continent to the west of Maztica? Perhaps that could be a good place for a Kara-Tur/Maztica crossover setting to be located.

I love that pair of mountain ranges that create a small area of land on the north west side. Imagine if there was an oriental society on that side of the island and they fortified the pass between the two mountain ranges with a "Great Wall" and built similar fortifications at the ends of both mountain ranges. The society could even be a lost colony founded by ships that got lost and could not find their way back to Kara-Tur.

The much larger area to the south east could have a Mezo-American culture. Perhaps it could be a slight re-imagining of what you have in Maztica or the sort of thing that Hollow World has in the Azcan area.

You could perhaps use the isolation of the island continent to give it dinosaurs or other dangerous critters. (Perhaps some inspiration could be taken from Isle of Dread or Jurassic Park.)

D&D has half-elves and half-orcs, but I've not seen too much about human/human hybrids. Perhaps some oriental communities could be pure and others could take over Mezo-American communities and you could have a racial mix. That could give you the ability to have things like a "Celestial Bureaucracy" of Maztican gods (the same gods, but put into an Oriental context). You could also have Mezo-American monks living in the mountain ranges between the two sides of the island.
Cthulhudrew wrote:Not necessarily, if you assume that FR "Zheng He" hugged the northern/arctic coastline somewhat in order to stay within land's reach. It's been a while since I've read 1421, but I seem to recall that was actually close to where Zheng He's theoretical journey took him.

In any event, I like this idea, and I'd recommend using the above mentioned book as a reference of sorts for anyone exploring this idea (particularly since it is kind of fantastical itself).
Zheng He looks pretty interesting. I love the talk of giant ships in his fleet. It is disputed as an exaggeration in real live, but imagine if we made that "real" for Kara-Tur. The treasure ships could be the largest ships on Toril. The story of Zheng He even gives you a mechanism to create an isolated Oriental culture on a Mezo-American island. If the treasure ships help found a colony on the north west side of that island and then a new emperor, back in Kara-Tur orders them to be destroyed when they travel back home to fetch supplies, that could give you a culture that grabs land, but suddenly looses the support of its homeland. Maybe they could take control of more than half of the island, before being forced back to the north western area.

Was the book you were talking about 1421: The Year China Discovered the World? That looks like it could be pretty useful as a sourcebook.

1434: The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance also looks interesting. Perhaps a Kara-Turan version of Zheng He could make a voyage to an area of Faerun and be retconned into some past events. Maybe Lantan could be a good area for him to visit.
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Re: Kara-Tur/Maztica Crossover?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Fri Sep 30, 2011 2:34 am

Yeah- 1421 is the book. I couldn't remember the title and didn't have time to Google it. It's an very interesting read, albeit extremely theoretical. I actually plan on borrowing elements (particularly the treasure ships you linked to above) for pre-Landfall Alphatia/Ochalea if I ever get around to doing more with it.
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