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Jeff last won the day on September 18

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About Jeff


  • RPG Biography
    Chair and Creative Director, Chaosium Inc.
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    HeroQuest, RuneQuest. Call of Cthulhu, 13th Age, Pendragon, Nephilim, 7 Seas
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    I'm an international man of mystery

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  1. The Irish medieval law loved their fine gradations of everything. 7 grades of kings, 7 grades of sheep herders, 7 grades of poets, etc. As an aside, I recommend checking out Francis Byrne's book "Irish Kings and High-Kings", and Wolfram's "The Roman Empire and Its Germanic Peoples," but also Trevor Bryce's books on Hittite kingship, Dumezil's "Destiny of a King," Borza's essays on Macedonian kingship, and anything you can find on Vedic India, Leik's Babylonian World, Carol Thomas's paper on the Nature of Mycenaean Kingship, and plenty else. Put it all into a blender until you can't figure out which belongs to which. And then filter that through King of Sartar. But taking any ONE of those as your source for thinking about Orlanthi kingship is likely to end up with you swapping out Greg's material for a real world culture. I've fallen into that trap - heck, Greg fell into that trap many times.
  2. Now poor old Temertain wasn't this. He never performed the final step of his acclamation, to begin with. And the Lunars weren't going to let him be the Orlanth Rex of Sartar - they were much happier with him being the *almost qualifies as Prince* Prince. Sure eventually he'll get around to finishing the ceremony that gives him power. But Estal Donge is so captivating! And look - iron Brithini statuary!
  3. At the risk of gross simplification: An Orlanth Rex needs to be acclaimed by the priests of the tribe, but once acclaimed he has a LOT of power over them. That's Alakoring's magic. You better select the best person for the job, because once he is there, he has the power to compel. Sartar - surprise surprise - was Orlanth Rex, and so are his heirs (including Argrath). You agree to make Tarkalor Prince, and he has the power to give Yelmalio land and let the Yelmalio cultists form their own tribe. A non.-Rex king is just the paramount chief. The chiefs agree that Big Chief gets to be king. But Big Chief is just that - a big chief. The priests can oppose him and even bring him down. Same with the chiefs. The chiefs and priests have the real power, not the king. This was the situation in the First and Second Age.
  4. As an aside, the chieftain can't just go willy-nilly reassigning clan land. He needs to get the sign-off from his Inner Ring, and if anyone complains, he needs the Outer Ring to consent to it as well. Tribal level is different - a Rex king has a lot more tools to get things done his way. He can reassign a clan's lands (which is what happened to Hahlgrim) and if an assembly is needed, it is easier for the king to get his way. Command Priest, for example, is a great spell to force a chief to back down. A tribal king has more resources, more supporters, etc.
  5. Yep, here's what Tindalos is referring to: And if we wanted a purely Gloranthan set of titles, we can guess that the Orlanthi use the following (I am not sure whether Theyalan language is gendered or not, so am just using "man" as the default for person even though that is probably incorrect): Free man - this is a full member of the community, male or female. These households do not need to serve someone else to survive. Unfree man - this is someone who needs to serve someone else to survive. Horse man - this is a member of the martial aristocracy, who is given land and/or livestock by others so that they might be full-time professional warriors. House man or hall man - this is a personal bodyguard of a high status person. I increasingly use "palace" instead of "hall" but the terms are basically synonymous. "Big House" might be best. God-talker - this is somebody who serves as a part-time holy person. They speak "to" the gods. God-voice - this is somebody who serves as a full-time holy person. They speak "for" the gods. Wyter-voice - this is the leader of a clan or kinship group. Also called Chief God Voice for the kinship group. War Lord - this the tribal ruler. Earth queen - this is the high priestess of the Ernalda cult. Storm King's voice - this is the tribal ruler of the Rex subcult. And so on. Some of these terms were around since the Dawn or even the God Time (free, unfree, god-talker, god-voice, war lord), others are later developments (horse man, hall man, Storm King's voice, etc
  6. So did the Roman Princeps, who ruled over kings, queens, and client republics. Personally I currently think the Orlanthi have the following words: Chief: this is the big man of a clan, and also the chief Orlanth priest for the clan. This is used in one version or another in every Theyalan culture. King: this is the Rex of a tribe. This is the main title of a tribal king in Dragon Pass, Peloria, Ralios, and Fronela. King: this is the paramount chief of a tribe. This is used mainly in Heortland, Maniria, and Umathela. Queen: this is the priestess-leader of an Esrolian city or tribe AND the ranking high priestess of Ernalda. Prince: this is the "first leader" of a group of tribes or clans. A prince can also be a Rex "over" all the other tribal rexes. And each is a different word. And to get more complicated, the same word gets used regardless of whether the office holder is male or female (Prince Kallyr, King Leika, etc.), and there is another word that means consort-of-<office>.
  7. Nope. Just a literal translation of "Princeps" or "First".
  8. Other than Sartar himself, only Dorasar and Terasarin managed to found cities. New Pavis in 1550, Alone in 1583.
  9. It is something all of Sartar's cities used. It comes from the Holy Country (see Pavis City Guide page 14).
  10. As an aside, all of this helps me keep in mind that New Pavis is Sartarite city. Want to see how Sartarite cities operate and don't want to wait until Boldhome and Jonstown descriptions get published? Look at the Pavis materials for RQ2 or HQG. New Pavis is also architecturally more Sartarite than folk give credit. The main adaptations the Sartarites made in New Pavis are: 1. the roof is flat so that water can be gathered, instead of thatched or with tilted roofs of tile or wood; and 2. timber is much more expensive in New Pavis so it is not used as much for support except in public and wealthy buildings. But Swenstown and New Pavis probably look a lot like each other except for the roofs.
  11. And that's part of the problem. I'm not saying anything new here - all of the stuff in that original post comes from either WBRM or the history of Sartar Greg wrote back in 1981 (which became the CHDP, but was actually written long before). New Pavis is a Sartarite city - and its institutions, architecture, etc are Sartarite. It has some adaptions to being in the River of Cradles - just like Roman colonies in Syria or Britain made adaptations to the local environment. But a Sartarite who comes to New Pavis will find that city surprisingly familiar - even if the landscape, weather, and the animals are not.
  12. Source: Pavis. A middle class freeman’s dwelling is a common building. This house measures from 10-20 meters on a side. If square, a shape popular among Earth worshipers, 15 meters to a side is common. This rectangular style is a carry over from the hill dwelling barbarians and reflects some rustic throwbacks among some of the most conservative families of the city. Those "hill dwelling barbarians" are of course the Sartarites who settled New Pavis and Pavis County.
  13. KoDP (and for that matter, our Taming of Dragon Pass campaign - which had a big influence on both KoDP and the HW material) doesn't describe Sartar. It describes PRE-Sartar. The game is set prior to Sartar's roads, cities, and trade. With perfect 20/20 hind-sight, KoDP had more Anglo-Saxon window-dressing than was appropriate. A great game, but we know the Sartarites look different and dress different from that. But it is a computer game and it is perfectly fine for some of the window-dressing to be different. If you find it helpful to throw on an Anglo-Saxon/Norse veneer on the Orlanthi - by all means, do it!
  14. To be honest, I find "Koschei, a Free Carl man of Culbrea" equally flat. It seems as wrong as saying "Koschei, Pleblian gens Culbrea." In HQG, we dropped carl, cottar, and thrall. I wish I had done that in the Guide to be honest. I don't think those are even good translations of the Orlanthi terms. Carl just means "free man" - which is fine, but that already exists in English. I suspect the Orlanthi word for "free person" is a pretty important word for them. Greg and I hypothesised that it is something like Karling, but honestly that's just a cheap use of Old German. And I agree that Theyalan is not PIE - for one thing the names we have don't come anywhere close to it. Cottar means "someone who lives in a cottage" - which isn't quite what a semi-free landless tenant in Sartar is. I like semi-free because ties into Free. Also I think that is the Orlanthi word. Thane - Greg operated on the belief it meant "horse man" when actually it means "servant" - which is not the basis of the title. Thrall - another Norse word when we have a perfectly good English word "slave", "Unfree" might work better though as I suspect that is the Orlanthi word. So until I find a linguist I enjoy working with who doesn't just want to make PIE but creates something that sounds Orlanthi - I am happy mainly using good English words.
  15. And what they are really useful for is as a spell-casting platform. It is a lot easier casting an active spell while riding on a chariot than on a horse. Not to mention that it is easier to augment while atop a chariot than on a horse!
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