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Discussion The Spine of Sotek Mountains, what are they like?

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Scalenex, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Don't worry this one isn't super long like my other ones!

    The Andes Mountains seem to be commonly around 6000 meters, 20,000 feet tall.

    Is this a good baseline for the Spine of Sotek mountains or should they be different? Since the Warhammer world is harsher than the real world, if the Spine of Sotek mountains are different from the Andes, they are probably taller and steeper.

    How tall should they be? How well would Lizardmen cope with the thinner air and cooler temperatures? Is it merely annoying to them or very dangerous? Presumably the lower slopes will still look like rain forests, how quickly will the mountains change their flora and fauna. What would the mountains plants and animals be like. I'm guessing Cold Ones would like the mountains because they are prone to sleeping in caves and they can clearly handle the chilly Naggoroth temperatures. What entirely new animals might dwell there? Would any Lizardmen in spawning pools in or near mountains develop unique traits at birth to make them better suited to mountainous terrain.

    What can the mountains provide to Lizardmen that the jungles cannot. Would the mountains be good for herding llamas. Still enough foilage to eat but fewer predators than the deep jungle or is that an impractical place to herd llamas. Are their mineral deposits that the Lizardmen can mine? Can they quarry useful stones here? What about salt mines? Given the whole cold blooded thing, snow and ice would be a pain, but assuming the Lizardmen have some way around this, they could harvest ice for either a water source, luxury, or refrigeration.

    Does the rain shadow effect of mountains impact the weather in Lustria? The placement of the few Lustrian deserts in the 8th edition book page 24 map places deserts in counter intuitive locations that would arguably get a lot of rain from sea water evaporation. Why? There aren't a whole lot of rivers with mountain sources, what's up with that?

    The 8th edition book covers Slann using elevation to focus their powers, generally the Slann who get the tallest temple perches are the highest status Slann. What about mountaintops, would Slann like to contemplate there? Could a Skink priest manipulate Heavens magic better at high altitude?

    How well would Lizardmen in general be at mountaineering. How easily could a floating palanquin or Terradon rider reach a mountain summit. Would wild Terradons and other flyers like the mountains or would they stick to lower elevations with greater access to prey.

    I will admit I'm asking this to develop my fluff city in general and write a story about them facing looters. My fluff city of Klodorex has been ret-conned to being at the base of a mountain with the Monument of Izzatal on top (which is gold plated and visible for miles causing warmbloods to assume the whole mountaintop is solid gold with predictable consequences). Since the mountain is nominally in the middle of the Spine of Sotek's only real mountain pass, it could be shorter than the average mountain in the Spine of Sotek range, but I need a baseline. it's important for me to figure out how long it would take to climb the mountain, via trails, via stairs, or via mountaineering. If the climb takes a day, it's going to a different type of struggle than say a mountain that requires a month to climb.

    What were the Spine of Sotek mountains called before Tehenhauin brought Sotek into the light? How long did it take for the new name to stick? Did any major event in the Clan Pestilens war take place in the mountains, the cities that were involved according to the 8th edition book seem to be easterly low lying areas mostly. Do any conservative Lizardmen insist on using the original name of the mountains?

    I welcome all opinions, but I'd especially love to plumb the opinions of people who know something about mountains or who have actually been to the Andes Mountains.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
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  2. Crowsfoot
    Slann

    Crowsfoot Guardian of Paints Staff Member

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    Would they build a monument that would be easily accessible to all?, would it be constantly under guard?

    I would have thought it would be easy for Lizardmen to reach it but not for others and there would be a small guard post with a beacon or similar, maybe a horn/gong to warn of pillages.
     
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  3. Aginor
    Skink Priest

    Aginor Well-Known Member

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    This is me completely talking out of my scaly behind, but I would guess the following:
    - On earth nobody likes to be over ~5000m of elevation. There are almost no plants nor animals up there since it is cold and there is not enough air. There is also no water quite often because of the slope. From the top of my head there are only maybe a dozen or so lakes above that altitude.
    - 6000m is considered to be life-threatening for untrained humans, even if they do nothing at all
    - Lizardmen - being lizards - are probably less fond of cold than humans are. I'd put them at 4000m and below. They might place temples up high, but not too far above permanent settlements.
    - EDIT: On Earth there is only ONE known species of reptile that lives above 4500m

    Some elevation examples for comparison
    - Lake Titicaca is at 3800. It is a plateau there so there are actually plants and humans living there. We have similar stuff in the Himalaya.
    - The highest elevation temple in the world (in the Himalayas) that I know of is at 3600 or so, a hindu temple. Logistics to make survival up there possible were immense, since there are only rocks and a bit of grass up there. There were just a few monks living there because of that. No problem today though.
    - Machu Picchu is at a lowly 2430m
    - The highest "town" on Earth is this one, at around 5100m: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Rinconada,_Peru BUT that didn't exist until 2001 because in former times it was near impossible to live there. In fact it is bad even today. Most of the year it has temperatures below freezing so there are no trees there (those need 10°C or so for most of the year in order to grow). It is a barren wasteland, more comparable to Mars than to most of the Earth.
     
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  4. Aginor
    Skink Priest

    Aginor Well-Known Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2017
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  5. Scalenex
    Skink Priest

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Those are the details I'm hashing out. I figured the Mount Klodor would have some epic stairs leading from the heart of the city up the slopes. There'd be some switchback trails cutting across the mountain diagonally to move troops or supplies up and down the slopes.

    The temple are not very accessible to Lizardmen. The Kahoun of Klodorex has a bunch of groundside temples for everyone to use. The mountaintop temples are epic magical conduits using the magical intersection to let the Slann amplify their power.

    Mount Klodor had zero attackers try to climb the slopes between the Great Catastrophe and the end of the Clan Pestilens. I figure they would have some guards before the temples but the mountain would have been pretty lightly defended until the Black Way opened and Dark Elves started trying to take the Monument of Izzatal/Mount Klodor which they call the Mountain of Gold. But I figure by the time of my last chronological fluff piece Dead Water, Mount Klodor is extremely well fortified with choke points for Saurus warriors to bottleneck attackers and lots of cover for Skinks to harass mountain climbers with hit and run shooting attacks the whole way up. Plus poisonous plants and Skink-made traps that the Lizardmen all know the location of. Fun times.

    Hmmm, I was thinking the Monument of Izzatal sits at an intersection of enough magical power that it would produce some ambient heat that the Slann were able to easily enchant to heat their temples and the temple support buildings where their attendants and Temple Guard live. I still probably want to keep the summit capped at 5000 meters though.

    Since I'm also trying to figure out crops and livestock, this is EXACTLY what I needed
     
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  6. n810
    Slann

    n810 First Spawning

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    Sounds like a nice nesting ground for Terradons and Ripperdactals.
    Maybe have it mostly as and outpost for skink fliers (pilots?).
     
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  7. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

    Warden Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic thread.

    I don't know much about the ancient Incas, but I would assume in the warhammer universe that many of the Lizardmen settlements in the Spine of Sotek mountains (I believe the city of Xhotl was in the mountains themselves?) would take a lot of influnence from them. Something like a cross between Machu Picchu and other sites:

    Machu-Picchu.jpg

    Maybe with a dash of the Potala Palace and the other sky-temples of Tibet thrown in for a good measure? That might be moving in on the turf of the Sky-Titans that the ogres all ate though... but they look soooo good! :wideyed:

    78a5970b7661df124e01cc6f8efd572a-potala-palace.jpg

    ...that is, until I read @Aginor 's post about real-world elevation:

    It would be easy to hand-wave MAGIC in a fantasy universe, but all your points are very valid as to why the Lizardmen might not build at the tops of the tallest mountains (except when magic is involved...). There would have to be a good explanation for a settlements location.

    As far as fortifications go, I always had the idea of making a Lizardmen shrine on the side of a mountain near a waterfall. The Lizardmen could reach the top by using old creaky rope bridges (nice and thematic) and other stone-carved passageways in and out of the falls to reach the top. This concept comes directly out of the old Pitfall game, the level with the Xibalba Falls
    pitfall xibalba falls.png

    pitfall xibalba falls 2.jpg

    pitfall xibalba falls 3.jpg

    Awesome level. If you fall, you are almost always dead. :hungover:
     
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  8. Aginor
    Skink Priest

    Aginor Well-Known Member

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    Ok this is a bit off topic but pitfall was a really cool jump&run game...
     
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  9. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

    Warden Well-Known Member

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    Yes it was :D

    I know you originally guestimated that lizards don't travel up any higher than 4000m, is this just an oddball estimate?

    I would be curious to know how high real-world lizards actually live; are their any species that live up in the mountains anywhere close to that height? What about snakes? Also anyone know if there were mountaintop-living dinosaurs?
     
  10. Aginor
    Skink Priest

    Aginor Well-Known Member

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    As far as I know there is just one species of Lizards mankind knows of that lives at 4500 or higher, and the scientists who found the species were thrilled because that is considerably higher than any other known species of Lizards.
    The highest altitude snake is a species called Bailey's Snake as far as I know. It lives at around 4300m in Tibet but only in the vicinity of hot springs.

    Rattlesnakes are known to live in relatively high elevation areas, but a site I found claimed that areas above 10000ft (3000m) are considered "snake-free". Although there are some people that claim they saw mexican rattlers at 3400m and a bit above that.

    In Nepal there's a snake called "Agkistrodon Himalayanus" that lives at around the same elevation and occasionally up to 4000m. Again there are people who claim they have seen some at up to 4300m but so couldn't find a good source for that.

    So yeah that's what I based my estimates on.
     
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  11. Aginor
    Skink Priest

    Aginor Well-Known Member

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    As for the second part of your question:
    There are dinosaurs that can fly up to 10km of altitude. Vultures and Cranes in the Andes.

    Even common ducks (Mallards) fly at over 6000m if necessary. They don't really "live" there though.

    The highest nests by birds are probably built by Andean Condors at elevations of up to 5000m and those are very tough conditions.
     
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  12. Warden
    Skar-Veteran

    Warden Well-Known Member

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    Some real-world landmarks that wouldn't be out-of-place in a fantasy setting, especially high in some jungle mountains:

    San Cristobal, Mexico:

    Grutas de Tolantongo! San Cristobal- Mexico.jpg

    Parque Nacional Tianmen, China:

    Parque Nacional Tianmen, China.jpg

    Calcite Pools in Huanglong, Sichuan- China:

    Stunning calcite pools in Huanglong‎ , Sichuan‬ - China.jpg
     
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  13. Aginor
    Skink Priest

    Aginor Well-Known Member

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    Those are almost unreal. Great.
     

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