Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Pondering the ferrymen

    I have only one type of yugoloth left to revise, the marraenoloth, which are semi-skeletal-looking underworld ferrymen who transport passengers along the river Styx in exchange for money.

    The whole point of their existence is supposedly to make money by plying their trade. The problem is, I'm having a hard time deciding what the monsters do with the money. (This is not a new problem; the ancient Greeks made fun of the idea of the ferryman spending the coins in the underworld.)

    As outsiders, they don't need food. They don't seem to bother with shelter either as they are always with their boats.

    They don't just keep the cash. It's even a stretch to accept that dragons are so much into that sort of thing, but these guys? No way. I don't seem them rolling around in coins in their spare time.

    Sure, they could save it up to buy magic items, the same as anyone else. But they're not really into combat; they don't seem like the types to spend their whole lives trying to get items to give them an edge in combat. They typically avoid fights by teleporting away if they can, and when they do fight, it's mainly with a few spell-like abilities. They could just lay low and probably never have to fight nor want to.

    Here are some options I can think of:

    1. They don't just look sort of skeletal; they're undead humanoids, not outsiders. They save the money to buy a resurrection spell.

    2. They have secret lives. When they're off duty, they disguise themselves as humanoids and party in Sigil, partaking of food, wine, gambling, and so on.

    3. They're drug addicts. They need the money to buy doses of a special drug that they're all addicted to.

    Comments?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    I don't see how these options work with keeping the marraenoloths as yugoloths. Those are some rather pedestrian and boring explanations for a fiendish race.

    The yugoloths themselves have always been about money. Before PS they were just fiendish mercenaries with no real point or personality. making money by being the only ones who can accurately and safely navigate the Styx seems right up their ally. You might add something like how being an M (ha) is a punishment detail, or a special promotion or whatever, but they work fine as they are.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Switzerland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    I agree that they need to be more Yugolotish. Yugolothian. Yugolesque. Whatever.

    I'd say, at the most basic level, they should use the money to buy services. Perhaps from other Yugoloths. The question, then, is what they need.

    Given that other Yugoloths are often mercenaries, that seems a good starting point. Vengenace, perhaps? They could hire other 'loths to kill passengers who annoy them or have the gall to summon them. Or to "convince" any competition that they shouldn't try navigating the Styx, that it is their territory.

    Another idea:
    Yugoloths want to advance as just about any other fiend race does. Perhaps they have to bribe their superiors for promotion? Or pay taxes?

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    Thanks to both for the comments.

    BWR, you haven't suggested anything that they might use the money for. So ... not helpful. They need a reason for what they do.

    Eldan: What they need is the question indeed.

    Most of your suggestions are just costs of doing business, not things to do with the profits. So, if anything, it makes less sense than ever for them to bother working if their take is reduced so much by costs of doing business.

    The one exception to that is bribing other yugoloths to get promoted (to nycaloths?), but I'm not really a fan of that view of how fiends work.

    How about if they buy souls to consume or something like that? It's just the drug idea but with an "eeeevul" twist.


  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    inuyasha's Avatar

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    gehenna
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    Well, think about it. What does a red dragon NEED to buy? For food it can kill animals, for shelter it uses a cave, and for supplies they can just scare someone to get it for them (or use charm person or whatever).

    What does an ogre need gold for? They're content with raw meat, orcish Kragg, and clubs

    What does anything need gold for really... I think they keep it around because it's shiny!
    Jester of The Rudisplorkers Guild!!

    My cool avatar by Kymme
    My homebrew

    .
    Quote Originally Posted by Razanir View Post
    "I am a human sixtyfourthling! Fear my minimal halfling ancestry!"
    trophies
    Spoiler
    Show

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    MindFlayer

    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    near Milan / Italy
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    They have the hobby of ferries customing: they use their spare money to add led and neon light, to improve the hi fi music system, the engine, to add luxury decorations...

    Leaving puns aside... they could be usurers. Being mercenaries, Yugoloth are the center of the traffic of money in the lower planes. While the other Yugoloths, who actively fight, need that money to buy equipment to use in battle, marraenoloths keep them and lend them to anyone in need at interest rates that are monstrous , even for an evil outsider.
    A fiend could ask a marraenoloth a loan of thousand millions GP to raise and equipe an army, a devil to bribe other outsiders or a mortal in the Material Plane (bribing a king could require a lot of money), ecc.

    Behind the ferrymen activity could be hidden one of the mightiest economic empires of the underworld!
    Last edited by MrNobody; 2014-08-06 at 03:38 PM.
    This is not a signature

    My homebrews
    Fallen Guadinals - Pain Wardens[

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    Being interested in money is an issue for all yugoloths (at least of marrenoloth rank and up), not just marraenoloths, so why you decided it was a problem now and not before puzzles me.
    Faces of Evil explains why the focus on money: all yugoloth types teach certain lessons which must be learned before advancing to the next type. Ms are taught the value of money, as a tool for diret use, as leverage over others, as trade good, etc. etc. They also learn the basics of making and breaking contracts and the feel of the Lower Planes as they wind their way along the Styx. It's the final form of Lesser yugoloths.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    Thanks for the comments.

    inuyasha: Dragons liking it for the shiny is OK but as I mentioned I don't see it for the 'loths.

    MrNobody: Funny. Though if they are so rich, it has lots of implications. They must bank with the Baatezu. They would also be frequent kidnapping targets I would think. And it still doesn't explain what they do with the money; in that respect you first suggestion is better :)

    BWR: For warrior types, money means better weapons, better magical protection, more troops they can hire, etc. For arcanaloths, it's all about buying more magic.

    But for the boatmen? Faces of Evil actually doesn't explain it at all. Being a marraenoloth would be a terrible way to learn the value of money, because they have no use for it. A tool for direct use? They have nothing to buy! Leverage over others? Well, maybe, but to do what?

    Besides, the whole idea of spending hundreds of years to learn a minor lesson in order to earn advancement is just plain stupid. I like several things about Planescape, but not the way it handles fiends.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Debihuman's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Elemental Plane of Purple
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    Quote Originally Posted by kinem View Post
    I have only one type of yugoloth left to revise, the marraenoloth, which are semi-skeletal-looking underworld ferrymen who transport passengers along the river Styx in exchange for money.

    The whole point of their existence is supposedly to make money by plying their trade. The problem is, I'm having a hard time deciding what the monsters do with the money. (This is not a new problem; the ancient Greeks made fun of the idea of the ferryman spending the coins in the underworld.)

    As outsiders, they don't need food. They don't seem to bother with shelter either as they are always with their boats.

    They don't just keep the cash. It's even a stretch to accept that dragons are so much into that sort of thing, but these guys? No way. I don't seem them rolling around in coins in their spare time.

    Sure, they could save it up to buy magic items, the same as anyone else. But they're not really into combat; they don't seem like the types to spend their whole lives trying to get items to give them an edge in combat. They typically avoid fights by teleporting away if they can, and when they do fight, it's mainly with a few spell-like abilities. They could just lay low and probably never have to fight nor want to.

    Here are some options I can think of:

    1. They don't just look sort of skeletal; they're undead humanoids, not outsiders. They save the money to buy a resurrection spell.

    2. They have secret lives. When they're off duty, they disguise themselves as humanoids and party in Sigil, partaking of food, wine, gambling, and so on.

    3. They're drug addicts. They need the money to buy doses of a special drug that they're all addicted to.

    Comments?
    I like them better as Outsiders than Undead Humanoids.

    Here are other ideas

    They are stockpiling their money to restore them to their former glory. Yugoloths were originally from Hades. After the Blood War, they intend to make make sure they will rule BOTH planes (Hades and Gehenna). Clearly they have a lot of obstacles in their way, but this is a long-term goal and they have all the time in the world.

    One of the things they do with the money is the upkeep of their boats. The Styx is not kind to wood and any boat not regularly maintained tends to rot.

    They are also responsible for ferrying all the black market and exotic goods to the market near Teardrop Palace and need the money as insurance should the goods not arrive in the proper condition (See Manual of the Planes page 113).

    Debby
    P.E.A.C.H. Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly. Being nicer and kinder doesn't hurt either.

    Please, please, please when using non-core material, cite to the books. There are too many books to wade through to find the one with the feat, special ability or spell you use.

    I've got a red pen and I'm not afraid to use it.

    my creations

    Thanks Gurgleflep for my new avatar!

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Feb 2014

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    Odds are they're beings of greed. They don't want it for any other reason than to have it, more so in that it takes it from someone else. A very neutral evil concept.
    "Dying like dogs. Is this our legacy? I say no. Today we will etch our names in the tomes of history as HEROES! Once more unto the breach!" - General Nike of the Tawnosian army

    Homebrew

    You're a special snowflake, just like everybody else.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Milo v3's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    Maybe they aren't as immune to the effects of the river as people say, where they all are just affected in a different way. Instead of complete amnesia they have slowly lost all of themselves except for their purpose, a profession, they know it's a profession and expect to be paid as it is one of the only things they know.

    But like you, they don't know what they are meant to do with their pay, so they throw it away and just do they only thing that remains in their cloudy minds.

    EDIT: Also, magic items don't just exist for combat. I wouldn't be surprised if outsiders wanted to put enchantments on their vehicles, boats included.
    Last edited by Milo v3; 2014-08-06 at 09:21 PM.
    Currently Holds the Title of "Earl of Innocence"

    My Homebrew (200+) Not up to date

    Previous Avatar
    Spoiler
    Show

    By Aruius.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    LordErebus12's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Oldhelwyn Wilds

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    Perhaps they are creatures of pure greed and exist to collect the toll, but as a twist, after collecting it and placing it in their treasure room or horde or whatever, they can never again touch it. They exist to collect it, but to never spend it or enjoy it. It is an eternal torment that only they endure.

    I seen something of that sort on the show lost girl. Whenever the creature touched it after the initial time, it turned to dust. Furthermore, the dust itself held the same property to turn creatures and objects to dust.

    It was a Preta, from season 2, episode 12 (Masks). Pretas are believed to have been false, corrupted, compulsive, deceitful, jealous or greedy people in a previous life. As a result of their karma, they are afflicted with an insatiable hunger for a particular substance or object.
    Last edited by LordErebus12; 2014-08-07 at 06:44 AM.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Imp

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    Thanks for the comments.

    Debby: Upkeep for the boats is a good point since presumably they like to go out on their boats and would do so even without the ferry business, so it's not just a cost of doing business. However, it wouldn't be their major expense.

    atemu & Erebus: To be greedy for something, you must want something that benefits you, I would think.

    Scrooge at least could keep score with other rich folks and lord it over poor folks; these hermits can do neither. If it were a way of keeping score among themselves then they would have competition, branding, advertising, different ways to summon them, different kinds of boats; when in fact they are described as pretty much interchangeable. There is no glory in being the one to collect a fee when that is purely random.

    Milo: Cloudy minds? Maybe. It could work. More sad than evil. But it seems ... not to my taste. I want them to be greedy. Greedy for something that benefits them.

    How about if they are saving the money to become lich-like? Not to become nycaloths; that may be Planescape canon but it seems too big of a mental & physical change, & not something they would even want. But liches? I could see that. They're halfway there already. So then I'd just need to create a new monster for them to become. I know that some people don't like the idea of undead fiends, but there have been examples already, and I've never had a problem with it.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Avaris's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    The New Castle
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    They eat them?

    The dead don't have 'coins' per se, yet that is what they pay the ferrymen with. Therefore, although it appears to be a literal coin, the coin that is paid by the dead is something much more valuable: their mortality. Only by giving it up can they cross the styx and pass into the next life. Once you have paid the ferryman, you become much harder to restore to life, and your soul starts to lose it's connection to your former life. The ferrymen survive by consuming the life inherent in the coins. On occasion, one of these coins ends up in a demnic market, and fetches a fine price!
    Evil round every corner, careful not to step in any.

    I'm a world builder, but have no worlds of my own. If you have a basic concept and want ideas to flesh it out, I can help! Pm me!

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Debihuman's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Elemental Plane of Purple
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    I always thought it was stupid that the ferrymen didn't transport cargo. After all, most demons and devils are limited to 50 lbs of gear when teleporting. On the other hand, demons and devils spend a lot of time coercing creatures with the swallow whole ability to carry bags of holding in their gullets to take to the black market. The image of a creature vomiting up a bag of holding is rather gross but it's effective.

    Debby
    Last edited by Debihuman; 2014-08-07 at 03:50 PM.
    P.E.A.C.H. Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly. Being nicer and kinder doesn't hurt either.

    Please, please, please when using non-core material, cite to the books. There are too many books to wade through to find the one with the feat, special ability or spell you use.

    I've got a red pen and I'm not afraid to use it.

    my creations

    Thanks Gurgleflep for my new avatar!

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Milo v3's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Australia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    I want them to be greedy. Greedy for something that benefits them.
    Then what about my second suggestion, where they use the money to improve their boat. Even just adding Boat of Holding style enchantment would be a great improvement, then add things like increased swim speed spells to make it faster, sanctuary so no one on the boat can attack you, things like that.

    So then I'd just need to create a new monster for them to become.
    Why do ya have to make something new? Just use the normal lich template and ignore the thing that says no outsiders.

    Quote Originally Posted by Debihuman View Post
    On the other hand, demons and devils spend a lot of time coercing creatures with the swallow whole ability to carry bags of holding in their gullets to take to the black market. The image of a creature vomiting up a bag of holding is rather gross but it's effective.
    Strapping the bag onto the creatures back seems much easier and doesn't incur the whole Acid Destroying Your Bag Of Holding problem.
    Currently Holds the Title of "Earl of Innocence"

    My Homebrew (200+) Not up to date

    Previous Avatar
    Spoiler
    Show

    By Aruius.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Debihuman's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Elemental Plane of Purple
    Gender
    Female

    Default Re: Pondering the ferrymen

    Oh, now you took all the fun out of it!

    Depends on what you can consider "cargo." I suppose if the items are held or carried at all times, they wouldn't be considered cargo. This could limit what passengers can take too. Still not a fan of these limitations. Continuity was never one of WotC's strong points. I suppose it's up to the individual ferryman to decide if something is deemed to be cargo or not.

    How is there a thriving black market near the River Styx if ferrymen aren't transporting the goods? Well, apparently they can be forced to carry cargo: "Marraenoloths carry passengers but never cargo, always demanding immediate payment for their services. (Greater fiends may ignore this, forcing the marraenoloth to serve them.)"

    That might explain the black market and why the yugoloths are saving up for coup.

    Debby
    P.E.A.C.H. Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly. Being nicer and kinder doesn't hurt either.

    Please, please, please when using non-core material, cite to the books. There are too many books to wade through to find the one with the feat, special ability or spell you use.

    I've got a red pen and I'm not afraid to use it.

    my creations

    Thanks Gurgleflep for my new avatar!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •