Kalid-Ma and Thakok-An


#1

I am sure everyone here is aware of what happened with the correction of the lore with Kalidnay as it appeared in Ravenloft products. The Ravenloft products had Kalid-Ma as a female rather than a male, and her high templar was Thakok-An, a male. Later the genders were switched around because according to Dark Sun lore Kalid-Ma is a male (oops!).

Something didn’t quite strike me as right about Thakok-An’s forbidden love for her Sorcerer-King. I would think it would be totally normal for a subordinate woman to love, in the romantic sense, her king, especially when he is an alpha male like Kalid-Ma.

So why should Thakok-An be female? Why not be a male, and make his homosexual love for Kalid-Ma be both forbidden and unwanted.

This isn’t controversy for the sake of controversy, or for sexual diversity even when it doesn’t make sense (I’m talking Paizo here, now with around 1000+ LGBTPQ+ NPC’s to date). This kind of scenario has real pathos.

So what did Thakok-An do? Thakok-An knew that Kalid-Ma would not welcome a confession of love by Thakok-An, and in fact Kalid-Ma’s own laws are homophobic. So when Kalid-Ma was performing his ritual (and having lowered any immunities and wards), Thakok-An attempted a spell to compel Kalid-Ma’s affection. The result of that is well known - Kalid-Ma’s ritual went awry, parts of Kalidnay were destroyed, and Kalidnay was drawn into the mists.


#2

I actually prefer both of them as women, in large part because “Kalid-Ma” follows the naming conventions of Abalach-Re and Lalali-Puy, but also it adds another woman to the ranks of the champions. From there, you can have Thakok-An be either a man or a woman. If TA is a man, then maybe KM is gay and TA is trying to “cure”/convert her? If TA is a woman, then have KM as straight and simply uninterested in her. Either way, TA’s “forbidden love” involves a perv-creep-tastic element of coercion that feeds in to the original atmosphere of Ravenloft’s function.

Regardless, I’ve never seriously considered Kalid-Ma as anything other than a woman. The name also reminds me of “Kali Ma” and feeds my confirmation bias of thinking that the “core” culture of the Tablelands/Heartlands is South Asian.


#3

And really, the story as written: Thakok-An sacrifices her/his family in an attempt to bolster Kalid-Ma’s ritualistic transformation into a dragon, resulting in the destruction of the city-state? That’s enough to draw him/her into the mists? How is that any worse than the entire group of champions who REPEATEDLY COMMITTED ABSOLUTE GENOCIDE SUCCESSFULLY? Or Kalid-Ma, who LITERALLY planned on sacrificing thousands to the dragon transformation? Or Borys, who regularly sacrifices thousands and thousands?


#4

Adding in an element of forbidden libertine love is very Victorian and gothic, which is what Ravenloft is ultimately all about.


#5

A problem I’ve had with Ravenloft is the logic that the mists draw in people who commit heinous acts, yet if this applies to all campaign worlds we have some truly horrible people that are far worse than a lot of the folks in Ravenloft. I mean in Dark Sun alone we have Rajaat leading to truly nightmarish consequences for the entire world, but no the mists want Kalid-Ma, who isn’t even the most evil of the Sorcerer Monarchs (Dregoth, Kalak, and Tectuctiklay I’d place near the top).

I simply took Kalidnay and separated a lot of the Ravenloft stuff from it since I’m the sort of person that loves everything about Ravenloft EXCEPT the mists and the demiplane of dread. Now the original Kalidnay is a city of the dead and there is a newer Kalidnay built nearby where dynasties of templar pharaohs draw their divine power from their entombed sorcerer king. Thakok-An and Kalid-Ma had a falling out of sorts, but the entombment of Kalid-Ma and the fall of Old Kalidnay are lost to myth and metaphor. (I’m a sucker for ancient Egypt and quickly scrambled for a way to get that into my Dark Sun game.)


#6

Star-Sage, exactly. I’m not a mega ravenloft fan and I don’t know the minutiae of the campaign detail like I (sorta) do for Dark Sun, but . . . I guess one could make the argument that the Dark Powers of Ravenloft have a more varied criteria for those they draw into the mists than simply “horrible people who do horrible things.”

Although it’s important to note that Kalid-Ma is NOT the one the mists drew in. It’s Thakok-An that they chose.

I think the official TSR line was that Thakok-An got drawn in, and (maybe) the people of Kalidnay. Kalid-Ma, however, did not. The body of “Kalid-Ma” in Ravenloft is just a facsimile the dark powers provided. The real Kalid-Ma turned into a 27th-level dragon and rampaged until being put down by (iirc) Kalak, Hamanu, and Borys. His/her mind is currently splintered among the Orbs of Kalid-Ma artifact. Thakok-An still draws power as a templar, but the source is the Dark Powers, not Kalid-Ma. I might be futzing a couple of the details, but I THINK that’s accurate.

As of 4e, I think there was an article stating that Kalidnay DOES still exist, but as a city trapped within the Gray (instead of Ravenloft), out of phase with Athas proper.

I DO like the idea of a dynasty of priest kings drawing power from an incapacitated sorcerer-monarch, though. That DOES smack very nicely of the Egyptian mythos.


(Stuart Lynch) #7

I too preferred Kalid-Ma to be a Sorceror-Queen rather than a Sorceror-King for exactly the reasons you stated Naggaramakram. The gender of Thakok-An I’m not fussed over. Make them a woman. Make them a man. Doesn’t make that much difference either way tbh (any relationship between a SQ/SK and a mortal is technically interspecies so what does sexual orientation really add to that particular mix).

One idea I’ve always had for a campaign (but never put into practice) is the Orbs of Kalid-Ma being reunited and the Queen of Kalidnay returning as a 7th Stage Dragon, albeit utterly sane and not in animalistic rage. This aligns with a Conjunction on Ravenloft and the Kalidnay Isle of Dread returns to Athas. Kalid-Ma’s struggle to reassert her dominion (House Tomblador, kiss goodbye to Walis!) would then form the second part of the campaign. It gives a counterweight to Dregoth in terms of raw power and shakes up the Southern Tablelands to boot.


(Felix Gonzalez) #8

From what i have read, the mists only take villains that have two things in common. 1) They betrayed/wronged some one, and 2) there was a strong emotion involved, normally love. As seen with Count Strahd, Lord Soth, Eli van Hassen, Arantor, Lord Durven Graef, Ivania and the Ghoul, The Rag Man, Silvermaw, and Thakok-An. To give a few examples. Rajaat and the Champions do not have both prerequisites, could be wrong, but even so the Dark Powers do not take them all. They are quite fickle, not to mention mysterious.


#9

That is exactly right. The Dark Powers DO have a different criteria. Being a bad mofo isn’t enough.

Fundamentally those that get taken by the Dark Powers have committed a transgression, or more appropriately, are transgressive (according to the social norms of their society). Just killing people during a race war like the champions were doing isn’t going to cut it.

This is precisely why I suggested that Thakok-An should be a homosexual. 1. He violates the social norms of his society, which did not permit homosexuality and 2. Attempted to use magical persuasion to violate the free will of another person. Note that in a society that accepts homosexuality then point one would have not been a trangression at all.


#10

The “tragedy” of Thakok-An is primarily that she was secretly sacrificing her own family members to aid KM’s transformation. That was the big betrayal that drew the attention of the Dark Powers.


#11

Honestly it doesn’t really make sense that Thakok-An would think that he could help with the metamorphosis by killing his family. How about this instead. Thakok-An used a spell that would trade love for love - the death of his family members and the sacrifice of their love, to force Kalid-Ma to love Thakok-An.


(Stuart Lynch) #12

People don’t make sense. We do crazy things for all sorts of reasons, love being one of the big ones.