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Maegfolc - who are they, what are they, and what's their history?

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Hey guys! So I'm playing through Pillars again in preparation for Deadfire, and recently I've been doing plenty of White March stuff - including, of course, investigating Durgan's Battery and learning more about the Eyeless.


Now, one thing that's always made me curious is how the Eyeless are referred to by the Pargrunen as a kind of maegfolc. The word is used much like one we ought to have heard up to that point, but although we can roughly decipher what they mean through sound and context, the question nevertheless remains in my mind: who and what *exactly* were the maegfolc? The shortest and most evident answer seems to be that they're the game's term for 'giantfolk' or the likes, and that the Eyeless resembled the same either in size, strength or something else (that something else would, as far as I'm aware, be unknown based on the few info we get on them).


So anyhow... I took the liberty to exploring a little more about where else they cropped up in Pillars and in other internet discussions on the matter. Mostly what I ran across were a few brief descriptions relating to items, as well as the fact that they are mentioned as some kind of rare or legendary sight in the context of one of the plays at Copperlane. Probably the most descriptive text we've found so far relates to the Maegfolc skull, which is as follows:


Maegfolc - or their remains - have been found on most of the known continents of Eora. In the Living Lands, they are rumored to have built cities with great towers that reach beyond the clouds. This helm was recovered by an explorer who claimed to have plucked it from the burial chamber of a maegfolc prince.


The other text, belonging to the Girdle of Maegfolc Might, seems a lot less embellished and mysterious regarding the history or 'legend' of the maegfolc:


Feared throughout the Eastern Reach but rarely seen, the gargantuan Maegfolc are renowned for their awesome strength and destructive fury.


Both of these texts seem to suggest some pretty different ideas regarding the maegfolc's role or history within Eora. The latter, for one, assumes them as a kind of creature that still exists in the present - albeit rarely seen - and presents some kind of threat to the Eastern Reach due to their strength and, more especially, their 'destructive fury'. I underline these aspects because the maegfolc skull seems to indicate something rather different: firstly, that their presence reaches all of Eora and at the very least their remains have been found throughout (initially I had assumed that the "or their remains" referred to the universal sightings of maegfolc, i.e. that the only known or credible evidence points to their remains existing and not to any living specimen having been found - but this could apply to some continents or regions and not to others); secondly that there have been such things as maegfolc civilizations, replete with cities and government structures built and led by the same; and thirdly that what little we know of them are 'rumours' or legends or possible stories opposite to concrete historical fact, beyond their actual remains.


So whilst writing this text I reckon I came across the possibility on how these two texts could overlap and tell of a species that still exists but may have at a different time been *very* different to how we know them now, or at least been very different within certain regions opposite to others (like the Living Lands for example). But all the same I'll be going on a limb and proposing a bunch of ideas about them that came to mind whilst mulling about them and their role within the world of Eora. And of course you can call me a fool or accuse me of reading *way* too much into this little bit of history, so here goes...


So this will be mostly fan-theorizing, so take it with a pinch of salt. Reading between the lines of what is expressed in the *first* text primarily, as well as in the use of the 'maegfolc' term in other contexts like the description of the Eyeless (and their history of course) and plays, I feel like what records there may be of their existence relates mostly to their remains and not actual kith-to-maegfolc interaction or experiences, hence also leading to them being more creatures of 'legend' and looked at with either fear or awe in turn, perfect fodder for wondrous tales within plays and poems and the likes but hardly relating to experience and actual history on their background. Which leads me to question... *Is* there any recorded history relating the maegfolc? Are there perhaps ruins that suggest the maegfolc *did* build such wondrous cities in some distant past? Or were they merely an abnormally large form of wilder, with little else that is special to them, and all other things said about them are just that, tales?


The last bit could certainly prove true, but just because I like the ring of the first one better (and after all this is a fantasy setting of its own accord, where the first would not be unlikely either), I'll delve a little more on that idea. So suppose the maegfolc did exist in greater quantities in a previous era, and were responsible for building great cities and the likes. If we have no history relating to their exploits or to their own development as a culture and as a people, it could very well mean they preceeded the recorded history of kith, or even the memory of kith as such. Maybe their peak as a civilization occured as far back as the times of Engwith, or even earlier, and that is why so little records of them exist. They are not part of recorded kith history, but what if they, in some way, were an original form of kith too?


So a while back I had another train of tought along these lines regarding the mechanics behind souls and the way they split and degrade over time. As far as we know, upon death souls return to the Wheel, some great pool or source of souls, and are then brought back to a new body upon the birth of a new living being; but also so as to accomodate for the ever-growing population in Eora, they split into tinier and tinier fragments, spreading further amongst the great number of living beings that require these. And there's more: based on our chats with/about Rymrgand and so on, every time the souls split a little of them is lost to entropy, so clearly the souls that harbour each new generation are weaker than the one before. So my question initially was: to what extent is the *opposite* true the further back we look in history? To what extent were souls stronger and more unified in ages past, and if we were to look back far enough, would we reach a time where souls were comprised of the strength, size and power of *several* souls in the present Eoran time, and would there ultimately be one giant singular soul at the very start that acts as a root or a common history and starting point to the history of all souls?


This ties back to my thoughts on the maegfolc as follows: what if the maegfolc *were* the original kith in a time back when stronger souls either could fill up or required a stronger, larger vessel? What if they also died out as souls became too weak to sustain such a people, and thus the smaller, individually 'weaker' kith races became more sustainable in the end? Maybe this is a civilization that even predates the Engwithans and we've yet to even touch on it.


Obviously this is all fairly far-fetched and it's probable that I'm just babbling on about very silly things that won't come to pass. But all the same I woke up thinking about them and I figured, why not make a post about them? And experience with fantasy settings tells me that when a certain aspect of the setting provokes mystery, it's because there usually *is* more to it. There's a few other things that could be taken into consideration too, like: maybe maegfolc as more of an umbrella term the same way 'giantfolk' or 'giantkin' would be in D&D. Maybe the Eyeless *are* a form of maegfolc, and maybe the eotens or rathun are as well. Maybe there are kinds that resemble wilder more, and others that resemble kith instead. Another interesting thing to note about the Eyeless themselves is that, upon dying, they do leave behind a bit of vessel flesh, meaning that even whilst looking like constructs there is probably some kind of flesh-based body beneath all the metal and armour.


Anyhow, it's a holiday here, I had some time in the morning and this is how I decided to waste it. Any thoughts? :p

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The Sharmat

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Seems logical. Perhaps the further back in time you go (in this case, very far back indeed) the more the standard humanoid races were demi-god giants simply because so little entropy had acted on the available essence of the world. Lingering legends about maegfolc could be poorly remembered history or even the rare sighting of an unusually static soul.

Edited by The Sharmat, 17 March 2018 - 03:08 AM.

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