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Bohemond

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Bohemond last won the day on November 3 2019

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About Bohemond

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    Senior Member

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  • RPG Biography
    I've been playing RPGs since I was 8, in 1975. My older brother discovered Glorantha in 1981, and I've been playing it ever since
  • Current games
    The Orlmarth Campaign
  • Location
    Milwaukee
  • Blurb
    My blog, An Historian Goes to the Movies, at aelarsen.wordpress.com, deals with film and movie from the perspective of an academic historian.

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  1. Looking at the Quest of the Red Goddess, something struck me. The goddess isn't just doing great deeds here--she seems to be performing a heroquest. So is she following some earlier mythic sequence?
  2. Thanks! That really helpful. So you don't think they try to quest the stories of the Seven Mothers? Does the fact that the 7M are Immortals but not exactly gods mean that their stories aren't questable? On the one hand, that makes a bit of sense, but on the other hand, we know that people quest events from the lives of heroes as well as gods.
  3. I ran a Sartar High Council one-shot a few months ago. Here are a couple pics from that. The duck shaman is my favorite.
  4. I am slowly gearing up to run a Glorantha LARP and one of the things I need to wrestle with is Lunar heroquests. So what do we actually know about Lunar heroquests, apart from the fact that the Lunars are really good at it? I mean, do we know any of the myths they quest? Do they quest incidents in the lives of the Seven Mothers, for example? Or do they mostly do heroquests from the cultures they've conquered, repurposing those stories like the God Learners did? I want to have at least a couple quests available for Lunar PCs.
  5. A bit off topic, but evidence suggests that the mortality rate among Spartan 'initiates' was quite high. Although often presented as a coming of age ritual, the whipping at the Altar of Artemis was something boys underwent every year between age 7-8 and 20. Plutarch witnessed multiple boys dying during the ritual, and since Spartan boys were underfed and the weak ones were brutalized regularly, it's likely that the ritual was part of a strategy of culling the weak boys out. It's one of the reasons the number of Spartiate citizens declined steadily across the polis' existence. I doubt that most Gloranthan initiation rituals are quite that brutal (although perhaps among Maran Gor worshippers they might be).
  6. I just bought this but haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'm definitely excited about the idea.
  7. I'm very well aware of what pre-modern mortality rates were--I'm a professional medieval historian. While I don't study life expectancy directly, I do study medieval crime and violence, so this isn't totally outside my wheelhouse. If we start with the baseline of the ancient world, when we add in the various magical factors of Glorantha, do the pro-life factors (healing magic, crop fertility magic, etc) so decidedly outweigh the pro-death factors (killing magics like Sever Spirit, Malia's disease spirits, Chaos in general) that the overall life expectancy and survival rates rise dramatically compared to the real world? If the RW life expectancy at birth was around 30, do the overall balance of pro-life vs pro-death forces raise that life expectancy by 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Are the people of Glorantha vastly better off than the people of the Roman Empire? What impact do the occasional magical catastrophes like the Dragonkill War, which have no obvious parallel in the RW, do to that calculation? My sense is that while Gloranthans are better off than the people of Ancient Rome, they don't enjoy anything like a modern life expectancy. I think the average life expectancy at birth is probably in around 40, not around 70. But again, YGMV from mine. If you want Sartarites with modern life expectancies, that's great. I get why someone might want to ignore the rather appalling mortality rates of the ancient and medieval world. It just doesn't quite work for me.
  8. But for every priestess with healing magic, there's a warrior with killing magic to make their weapons more deadly. There is magic to fight disease, but there are also Chaos cultists who actively spread it, and wyters who get offended and withdraw their protection. There is fertility magic to encourage crops to grow, but there are trolls with their insatiable hunger. So while the details might shift a little bit, I don't think we should look at the survival rates in Glorantha as being drastically different than they were in the ancient world. And given that I'm actively positing cults that allow homosexual couples to reproduce, I don't think I'm being biologically determinist.
  9. I feel like saying that Ernalda has the same cool things makes them less interesting and sort of collapses the differences between them. Canonically, she's not shown reciting poetry, whereas Orlanth produced short verses a lot, especially in the earlier phases of Glorantha's evolution. Orlanth's Six Virtues are Courage, Wisdom, Justice, Generosity, Honor, and Piety. (I thought Hospitality was in there, but I just looked up the list and it's not. Hmmm...) Wisdom and Generosity are as appropriate for Ernalda as Orlanth, and maybe Piety as well, although I don't really know why the gods need piety. But Courage is a martial virtue, so I think whatever Ernalda has would express bravery in a very different way, like Steadfastness. Ernalda doesn't seem concerned with Honor to anything like the degree Orlanth is--the sort of thing that gets men angry when it's affronted and makes them willing to fight over it. What is the feminine equivalent of that--what idea gets women willing to compete because some deep principle is involved?
  10. One thing I've wrestled with in terms of making women's stuff dynamic and interesting for players is the fact that Orlanth has lots of 'cool bits'. For example, he's associated with poetry (and I wrote a myth about how Orlanth Stole the Ale of Poetry from the Bright Emperor). One can do a variety of neat things with the idea of Orlanthi poetry--like Bronze Age rap battles and so on. Orlanth has his Six Virtues--Hospitality gives us a chance to do the Greeting Ritual. Generosity allows things like Beowulf-style ring giving. But Ernalda doesn't seem to have a lot of comparable things to that--things that would make players say "wow, that's neat! I wanna be able to do that!" For Ernalda to be really equal in terms of playability, it seems to me that Ernalda needs similar cool bits. She doesn't, for example, have a comparable list of Virtues and practices connected to them. In other words, stuff that adds to 'on-stage' play and makes an Ernaldan player feel like she's in a Norse saga or something comparable. So what cool bits does Ernalda have? Any thoughts?
  11. I LOVE it when stuff like that happens, when players really get the mythic side of things and integrate it into their play!
  12. Does Sartarite society even have much information about Genert? Are there any male Earth-rune cults other than Nandan in Sartar? I don't know of one. And I'm not trying to suggest that all of Glorantha thinks this way. It's what makes sense to me in terms of how -Sartarites- specifically think. Nearly all the major fertile divine couples that actively figure in Heortling mythology seems to be Air rune/Earth rune pairs. Or a Water rune with either Air or Earth. Is there a fertile divine pair who are both Air rune?
  13. In any society in which fertility (crops, livestock, children) is a primary concern, heteronormativity has to be the standard. Given high rates of infant mortality, high rates of death during childbirth, high rates of violent death, and high rates of death from disease, most people have no choice except to procreate, and society needs to mandate procreation. If the vast majority of people aren't reproducing, there's a good chance the community will either die out or be overwhelmed by their enemies. The ancient Greeks, who were probably the most 'gay-friendly' (to use an anachronistic term) society in human history, still expected all men to get married and procreate. Had I been born back then, I fully accept that I would have been considered a freak and I would have had to marry a woman against my inclination. I'm a gay man, but I'm also an historian, and I need my fantasy cultures to make sense to me sociologically, economically, and so on. It's another reason I hate Generic Fantasy Europe. And I'm not saying that everyone's Glorantha has to work this way. It's what makes sense -for my Glorantha-. Edit: Also, I'm way more interested in obstacles as story-telling aids than letting everything run smoothly. A story where true love gets what it wants without any difficulty is a story people won't tell for generations.
  14. Both terms are used. They are two different ways to conceive of what is essentially the same thing, a series of marriages with one spouse at a time but which result in a sequence of spouses over a lifetime.
  15. Yes, Nandan is the god of men with Earth rune souls. Whereas most men have Air rune souls, a small number will have Earth rune souls and will therefore be drawn to traditionally feminine roles, just as Vingans are women who have Air rune souls and are drawn to traditionally masculine roles. We know that Nandani are men who give birth. So as I see it, this is one way that homosexual men can establish a marriage. And if both men have Air rune souls, one must quest to change his soul. I agree--Nandani might be the equivalent of a trans woman today, but they can also be masculine-presenting but still have a feminine soul. I don't think Sartarite concepts of gender and sex directly map onto our concepts. I don't see Sartarites as polygamous, although I'm pretty sure that powerful Esrolian woman are polyandrous. Rather I think they are serial polygamous--one spouse at a time but divorce readily available so they can have several spouses over a lifetime.
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