GMs' use of Zerhun and Habe

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Re: GMs' use of Zerhun and Habe

#76 Post by MDMann » Wed May 17, 2017 1:30 am

Ignoring nomadic bands. There are 24 gargun complexes. Of these 8 are nowhere near human lands (6 near Azadmere). So, it's only the 16 remaining complexes that might swarm against humans. Of these, the majority disproportionately threaten tribal lands (which makes sense, the realms have pushed them back more). 6 threaten civilised lands, but three of these are in Orbaal and are more likely to hit the Anoa than the Orbaaleese, Jarin or Ivinian (2 of them of Kyani, less liable to swarm as are Ejatus for different reasons). 2 threaten the edges of Kaldor but again they're likely to hit tribals instead and these are regions Kaldor is pushing into, so can expect to have to deal with them if it wants to expand in those directions. All in all, they're a local concern and not a national one (normally). Unless several hit simultaneously of course (Azadmere aside).
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Re: GMs' use of Zerhun and Habe

#77 Post by Targan » Wed May 17, 2017 11:34 am

Well at least that provides one factor to help explain why Harn's human population densities remain so low. Actually I'm kind of being facetious, because if gargun swarms really were a significant factor in keeping the human population down, it would dominate discussion in Harnic society. Also, given the uneven distribution of gargun tribes on Harn, some human populations would be massively disproportionately affected. Then again, it would reinforce the general sense among the "civilised" peoples that the wilderness is full to the brim with ravenous monsters and expanding one's borders is a form of madness.

Not that it would change Eder's (excellent) population calculations, but I expect that a gargun queen's fertility and litter sizes probably varies over her adult lifespan. I think it likely that a gargun queen's first litter would usually be no more than medium-sized, and then she would have a few years of producing litters close to the maximum numbers, and then slowly produce smaller and smaller litters as she reaches middle and older age (possibly becoming less fertile in older age as well) until (barring other morbidity factors) the strain of being an egg-producing machine finally kills her.

That would mean as well as outside factors affecting a given gargun tribe's size, their youngling numbers would rise and fall over the decades in tune with the stage of life their queen is currently at.
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Re: GMs' use of Zerhun and Habe

#78 Post by pfstrack » Wed May 17, 2017 4:27 pm

Eder wrote:
Wed May 17, 2017 12:58 am
Ah, no!

A Gargun queen lays up to 80 eggs 1 month after impregnation. The eggs then take 3-6 months to hatch, and the younglings are fully grown after another year or so. So a queen can easily produce 10 batches of gargun per year, that come to adulthood about a year and a half later. That's 500 new gargun per year, after a "startup" delay of about 1 year and a half!

Actually no, we don't know for sure that a Gargun queen can produce 10 litters a year. The Gargun article only states that the pregnancy lasts a month, not the length of time between pregnancies.

I was assuming an average of three months between pregnancies. You seem to be assuming an average of 6 days between pregnancies. Neither assumption is confirmed by canon, but I don't think my assumptions are any less valid than yours.

You also seem to assume that of the hypothetical 500 children, 90% survive to reach adulthood, something that seems very unlikely to me. Among medieval era humans less than 2 out of 3 survive into adulthood. Gargun have much shorter childhoods, but also have much more violent lives, so I suspect the childhood mortality is at least 50%.

Granted, your proposals are just as consistent with canon as mine, but I was only arguing that you make some pretty reasonable extrapolations from canon and end up with pretty low Gargun population growth instead of the explosive growth people seem to assume is dictated by canon.

EDIT: I made a dumb math error. You have 800 infants become 500 young adults, so a child mortality rate of 32.5%, not 10%. Still a bit low in my opinion, but not so unreasonable.
Last edited by pfstrack on Wed May 17, 2017 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: GMs' use of Zerhun and Habe

#79 Post by Targan » Wed May 17, 2017 4:54 pm

pfstrack wrote:
Wed May 17, 2017 4:27 pm
Among medieval era humans less than 2 out of 3 survive into adulthood. Gargun have much shorter childhoods, but also have much more violent lives, so I suspect the childhood mortality is at least 50%.
I have to agree. Infant gargun are probably every bit as vicious as the adults, with none of the socialisation. I suspect they inflict infanticide upon one another regularly. Actually I'd be surprised if any infant gargun climb out of the hatching pit without already having some scars.
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Re: GMs' use of Zerhun and Habe

#80 Post by Dogberry » Fri May 19, 2017 7:29 am

Jarin Light Cavalry in Azadmere would be likely, I think, to have armored horses: frontal mail barding to stop the Gargun from killing the tasty horses first, thus slowing the cavalry, and then killing the humans. Cavalry frequently doesn't use such barding, but here the social taboos against targeting the horses are not in play, and the dwarves might supply light mail barding.
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Re: GMs' use of Zerhun and Habe

#81 Post by Krazma » Fri May 19, 2017 10:33 am

I doubt very many gargun would get the chance to kill the horse. Only arak utilize bows, and any melee weapons against a mounted opponent would be at a severe disadvantage.

Not that such barding couldn't exist; it just doesn't seem like a circumstance that would justify the expense.

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Re: GMs' use of Zerhun and Habe

#82 Post by Targan » Fri May 19, 2017 11:41 am

Krazma wrote:
Fri May 19, 2017 10:33 am
Only arak utilize bows...
I did not realise that.
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Re: GMs' use of Zerhun and Habe

#83 Post by Krazma » Fri May 19, 2017 12:25 pm

NB&S, Gargun 4 (or HM3, Gargun 4, with a slightly different wording):
Despite their small statures, the Araki are among the most feared of nocturnal predators. They possess an acute sense of hearing and smell, keen nightvision. They make their own weapons, and, unique among Gargun, employ shortbows.
Not that other gargun subspecies couldn't use a bow, but -- culturally -- they don't have the skill. It would be an individual thing, and thus too rare to be the basis for Jarin tactics.

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Re: GMs' use of Zerhun and Habe

#84 Post by Leitchy » Fri May 19, 2017 2:28 pm

Even light leather or padded barding would be a significant protection for horses against foot-bound gargun, in my estimation. And I don't see it being too expensive or bothersome to make, either. The barding doesn't have to be from perfect hide, so you could use hides that have defects & flaws (what we'd call "factory seconds" these days). And you wouldn't subject the horse to wearing the barding all the time, just during a set piece battle (if you can arrange that), or if you expect a gargun ambush at any moment.

I know if I were a horse soldier fighting gargun, I'd want every advantage I could wring out the situation. It's not like it's honorable combat, after all. It's vermin control.
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Re: GMs' use of Zerhun and Habe

#85 Post by Peter the skald » Fri May 19, 2017 2:46 pm

HM mmm.... I just don't see on my minds eye cavalry and barding and gargun in the mix.

I could argue that culturally the azadmere Jarin descend from a pre armoured cavalry tradition, and like celts rode to battle rather than rode in...

Or cite zerhun which has the riders lite and scouty messengery...

But mostly it is a feeling that gargun fighting is dirty, hilly, Forresty and on foot.
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Re: GMs' use of Zerhun and Habe

#86 Post by Nightly Knight » Fri May 19, 2017 6:45 pm

Peter the skald wrote:
Fri May 19, 2017 2:46 pm
HM mmm.... I just don't see on my minds eye cavalry and barding and gargun in the mix.

I could argue that culturally the azadmere Jarin descend from a pre armoured cavalry tradition, and like celts rode to battle rather than rode in...

Or cite zerhun which has the riders lite and scouty messengery...

But mostly it is a feeling that gargun fighting is dirty, hilly, Forresty and on foot.
I've been depicting the Jarin forces from Habe as being light footmen, light horse yeomen and shortbowmen. Generally acting as skirmishers, scouts, village defense and support for the Khuzdul should their heavy foot and crossbowmen take to the field.

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