The Dark Ancients (Part 1)

Back during the Mongrel Horde remix, I mentioned the concept of Dark Ancients who would rise up to empower many of the mongrel races in order to make them a greater threat. I wanted to take an opportunity to expand on that concept a bit.

Some disclaimers before we get started:

  • My initial idea for the “someone” who proposes rezzing Ancients to Garrosh was Fandral Staghelm, but I’ll cheerfully admit that “Firelands was merely a setback” would be too silly. However, the Druids of the Flame as a group concept are easy to keep alive; they just need a new ringleader to be the frontman for the operation.
  • While the troggs were in the concept art for the Mongrel Horde, I couldn’t figure out how to link degraded Titan constructs with the Ancients.

With all of that out of the way, enjoy:

Agamaggan the Razormane

During the War of the Ancients, the great boar Agamaggan was petitioned by Cenarius and his students to fight against the armies of Azshara and her demonic allies. Agamaggan agreed, convinced that if the demons were allowed to run rampant, the world would suffer, as would his children, the quillboar. The great Ancient of Valor tore through the demons, until he faced off with the Legion’s field commander, the pit lord Mannoroth. Their duel was so titanic that it crushed all the life from an entire prairie, leaving it nearly barren, until at last Mannoroth stood victorious over the fallen Ancient.

Raised through the efforts of the fallen Druids of the Flame, Agamaggan has been petitioned anew: the Horde have encroached upon the lands claimed by Agamaggan’s children, and slaughtered them in their holy places. The quillboar have been driven to depravity and near extinction. Even Agamaggan’s former allies, the kaldorei and the children of Cenarius, have been a party to this massacre.

The Ancient of Valor hungers for vengeance and will crush whatever stands in his way.

Analysis

Part of the rationale behind Agamaggan is this: I wanted to take a familiar Ancient, one that wasn’t raised during Mount Hyjal, and show that with the proper motivation, he could be turned into an antagonistic character. There are airs of Okotto from Princess Mononoke here: namely that Agamaggan, in his absence, would return to a world filled with beings who had disregarded their pact with nature. His rage at this injustice would be matched only by his outrage over the sad condition of the quillboar; we know that Agamaggan’s spirit disapproved of Charlga Razorflank’s heinous sacrifices, but we also know that the quillboar fought to resist the Scourge in Razorfen Downs. Even if they are a bunch of savage pigs, they are a god’s treasured children, just as Ursol and Ursoc treasure the furbolg and Aviana treasures the harpies.

So to me, it makes a lot of sense for Agamaggan to be pulled back into the living world, get told a particular narrative about who the villains are, and charge off to smash the crap out of the offending parties, especially when those parties haven’t been friendly towards the quillboar.

As for the sobriquet “Ancient of Valor” I wanted to find a way to characterize Agamaggan’s heroism and his ignorance in one word. It helps that Imperius, the Archangel of Valor in Diablo 3, has the same kind of single-minded stubborness combined with matchless combat prowess.

Crokuta the Bonecrusher

Crokuta answered the call of the Ancients to fight against the Legion for a number of reasons; a curiosity for what demonflesh tasted like; a modicum of concern for her children, the gnolls; and mere bloodlust. After a massive battle in the wastelands of Desolace, she remained behind to feast on the remains of the fallen, and in her gluttony ate too much and fell asleep. That was how the demons found her, and in her sloth they made quick work of her.

Upon her resurrection by the Druids of the Flame and a reunion with her children, Crokuta recognizes that the gnoll champion Hogger was a true exemplar of what the gnolls are capable of. With sacrifices provided by her new allies, the Ancient intends to bestow gifts upon her children that will make all gnolls as dangerous as the Gnoll King.

Once it was said that the gnolls could conquer the world if they could only be rallied under one banner. The Bonecrusher’s banner has arrived.

 Analysis

Initially I wanted to call Crokuta the “Ancient of Cunning,” but when I realized that a cunning god wouldn’t have let herself get caught flatfooted after a meal, I figured the term wasn’t necessary.

Crokuta is female principally because of the legendary qualities of hyenas being able to switch genders; since there don’t appear to be any female gnolls in the game, I felt this was a neat way to introduce one, and spotted hyena social groups tend to be female-dominated anyway, so I figured it clicked. I can imagine drawing some lines with Shenzi from the Lion King only because it’s one of the few places in pop culture where a hyena is characterized, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say she’s an inspiration.

The bottom line here is that having a domineering and cunning and greedy Ancient would help to demonstrate that while many of the Ancients are noble beasts, not all beasts are noble. Hyenas play a role in the cycle of nature by culling weaker animals, but are always contained by the existence of more powerful predators. As an example, I imagined a showdown between Goldrinn and Crokuta where the latter would at first put up a strong fight but by the end show her throat in submission to the more powerful Ancient.

Come back tomorrow for two more Dark Ancients.

 

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2 thoughts on “The Dark Ancients (Part 1)

  1. Interesting stuff, some part of me rankles at the idea of Crokuta submitting, but otherwise I found it fascinating and well thought out, with neat world building and understandable motivations.

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