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Bohemond last won the day on November 3

Bohemond had the most liked content!

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About Bohemond

  • Rank
    Senior Member


  • 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
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  • 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. Clearly, they failed to properly perform Ernalda's community-weaving rituals. One day, everyone just decided to move away.
  2. That is a GREAT idea. I am totally going to steal that at some point.
  3. The feminist element of Moana is one of the things I really loved about it. The Princess and the Frog has some nice bits to inspire shamanic Glorantha, btw. It's very clear that Dr Facilier is bargaining with his 'Friends' and not commanding them. As a kid, I always loved the fairy tales that featured girls, like East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Somehow those stories always seemed more heroic to me than the ones like Jack and the Beanstalk, maybe because since girls weren't supposed to be warriors, they had to be extra clever instead. As a nerdy kid from an early age, I think the idea of winning purely on wits appealed to me. A lot of fairy tales have very heroquest-y elements to them,
  4. One thing I've done in that vein is create the Troublesome Ewes, three of Navala's daughters who refused to come when their mother or Ernalda call them and so Ernalda cursed them to be trouble-makers and always unhappy. They plague the Orlmarth flocks because you cannot easily see which of the ewes are descended from the Troublesome Ewes. They wander off, they get themselves hurt, they lead stampedes (basically,. they're Sheep Juvenile Delinquents). Even their wool is difficult to work and requires special songs to be able to card and spin and weave it easily.
  5. Thanks! I was fairly satisfied with the way it all worked out. What I mean is that traditional gaming has tended to privilege masculine adventure stories over other possible options. It draws off fantasy tropes that involve the (male) Hero's Journey, Conan, Tolkien (esp. given the way TSR rampantly violated copyright in the 70s), and similar material. And while Glorantha has made huge strides toward gender inclusion, there is still a tendency for the new material to tend to favor the masculine adventure format. Yes, I agree that in the past decade or so many new approaches to game have opened up. And I agree A Quiet Year is an awesome game, though not an RPG in the traditional sense. Canonically, Barntar has Air rather than Earth. I like the idea that Barntar is the Earth equivalent of Vinga, but that's what the consensus is, The idea I'm contemplating is how you make the the act of weaving as dramatically interested as fighting broo. We have lots of examples of how to combat dramatic, but few examples of how to build a scenario that climaxes in weaving (or a similar 'domestic' activity like that). There is a lot of emphasis on Ernaldan weaving, both in terms of the Mundane World and the God Plane, but we're given no scenarios to translate that into game play. The Chalanan myth about the Hundred Healing that I posted half a year ago was my attempt to make the act of healing dramatically interesting enough to center a scenario on it.
  6. Speaking as a professional historian (medieval Europe with occasional excursions into classical Greece and Rome), I do think women's reproductive capacity and the things connected to it were the central element for society's understanding of women in the Classical and Early Medieval periods--women tended to be defined by qualities relating to reproduction (virginity, marriage, loyalty to husband and children, etc). Women who were infertility or whose sexual history made control over their reproduction problematic were generally lower status. One simple example--in the first written English law code (Aethelberht of Kent's), nearly every mention of women has something to do with sex or marriage. That said, it wasn't their only function--cloth production is heavily emphasized across almost all these cultures, for example. Women in early Greek writing are often discussed in conjunction with housework. And one can always find examples of women who broke the rules through adultery, public protest, doing things only men were supposed to do, etc. (And my female students are always startled and kind of excited that I give whole lectures on women's experiences in the ancient and medieval world.) There is a small amount of evidence from Norse culture of women using weapons and Roman gladiators were at least occasionally women. I think for me, the biggest challenge is finding ways to write scenarios that center on women that A) don't just treat the women as substitute men--the violent hero is a Vingan! B ) find ways to make non-martial challenges interesting to play through--"Ok, I made my Heal Wounds role, now what?", and C) are stories that female players would find fun and interesting--sure, reproduction is a hugely important concept, but do women want to play through stories about being pregnant? Is Ernaldan spirituality actually something women want to explore in a game, or is likely to make them feel relegated to the traditional domestic role that a lot of them get pressured into in real life? Obviously the answer will vary from player to player, so asking your female players what they want is important. The Odaylan who get pregnant (mentioned above) was a male player's PC, and initially he was a bit iffy about playing a temporarily female character. But he rolled with it and after the PC got pregnant, we had some fun with him trying to get insight into what having a Sky godling's baby might involve. He had to track down a Redaldan known for her skill at foaling who gave the character some decisions to make--did want this baby to take after its mother or its father? The PC decided she wanted it to take after her, meaning it would be a physical being, not a disembodied deity to be worshipped. During a quest into the Underworld, a Darkness deity tried to demand the baby in exchange for passage, and the player had to decide just how important the baby was. When it came time to give birth, the male characters had to fight a Hollri that was assailing the Loom House (spirits of cold wanted to destroy the baby, which was after all associated with Fire) while the Darkness deity reappeared in the Loom House and tried to take the baby, which allowed the PC to defy it again and then gave the Babeester Gori a chance to fight to defend her. And when after birth the PC was able to decide which sex they would be, the player chose to stay the baby's mother. It was a fun sequence to play through and it felt like I was making the process of childbirth feel as important as fighting a battle. But whether a female player would have enjoyed it as much as a male player, I'm not sure. He enjoyed it in part because it was a very different experience than he as a man was used to having in an RPG. I think one issue is that it's easy to satisfy male players because they have a lot of models for male-centered storytelling--most fantasy stories they've seen are centered on male and feature traditional male preoccupations. And the vast majority of scenarios offer a wide range of models. Nor does society button-hole and restrict them in ways that make these stories seem dull ("Aw man! Another story where I have to kill the trolls and rescue the kidnapped woman?") But women are much more limited in the range of stories we've traditionally told about them. Some women respond to those limits by wanting female characters who get to be the violent protagonist. Others want stories that feel distinctly different from violent confrontation because violence feels too much like male preoccupation that doesn't connect to their interests--some women are genuinely interested in stories of heroic motherhood or community-building or Jane Austin-style romantic concerns. But we don't have a lot of models for how to translate those concerns into the fantasy RPG, and just making the stories about reproduction is going to make some female players feel button-holed into the traditional female role. So how do you make a task like weaving a tapestry as interesting as fighting a band of broo? I haven't tried to tackle that yet, but I have a few ideas. (Sorry, it's early morning, I haven't had my caffeine yet, so I'm at risk of just letting my brain meander through everything that's bobbing to the surface. I'll be quiet now.)
  7. Thanks for all the good suggestions! I'm not entirely against the idea of the Vibrant Womb--one of the PCs is an Ernaldan and another is an Odaylan man who accidentally got a sex change as the result of a quest, then got pregnant by a minor Star-godling, gave birth and could have chosen to return to being a man but decided to remain the child's mother. Both of them might well grove on the idea of a Vibrant Womb. But the third PC is a Babeester Gori, who clearly needs something else. On a deeper level, though, I think having female PCs default to their womb as their source of greatest strength is problematic because it centers them on their reproductive capacity. That might be historically appropriate, but Glorantha isn't historical and while some female gamers would really grove on that, others will find it a tired fantasy trope and want something quite different. What I found surprising when I ran into that detail in the campaign is that the Star Heart is essentially a men's principle (Vingans counting as men mythically), which means that the scenario is assuming all the PCs are male (though not necessarily all the players). That's a problem I think the campaign has already--the Orlanthi hero gets to do great deeds for a woman, and some male PC gets to sleep with Estel Donge. It would be really nice to see a campaign, or even just a solid scenario, that is written with the assumption the central PC is an Ernaldan and that the adventure is aimed at female players/characters.
  8. I'm currently running the Colymar Campaign and I'm preparing for the Third Impossible Task. When the characters are alone in the dark of the Hell Pit, they need to find themselves by finding their Star Hearts. But only Sartarite men have Star Hearts. Sartarite women have their Secret Souls, but that's a rather different concept. Is that how female PCs (of which I have three, so I need to figure this out) deal with being alone in the Pit?
  9. On the issue of indexing, keep in mind that this is very hard to do with scrolls, because no two pieces of paper (I'll just use that as the general term for the various writing surfaces) are exactly the same size and shape, and scrolls are made by sewing or gluing pages together. This means that no two scrolls will be identical, especially because hand-writing will cause the amount of text per page to vary from one copy of a work to another. One copy of a text will run to 30 sheets of paper while another may be 28. Some scrolls will be written continuously on one side (the recto) and then flipped over to write on the other side (the verso), while others will be written on the recto of a sheet, then the verso of that sheet, then the recto of the next sheet, which gets sewed on as needed. That's why the ancient world never developed this concept. It just wasn't something that makes sense with scrolls. Indexes more or less require codices (what we call books, rather than scrolls). The first indices weren't used until the 13th century, and they were invented to help inquisitors keep track of whether people had relapsed into heresy or not. So they had a very practical use, rather than a scholarly use. Scholar indexing wasn't invented until the printing press had allowed the production of dozens of essentially identical copies of a particular book. That meant that when a scholar made a note to check p.42 of a book, every copy of that book would have the same info on page 42. So while indexing books seems an obvious thing to us, it's not an obvious idea to pre-modern people.
  10. My PCs found a heroquest that enables an Ernaldan to get the ability to purify something of chaos. They're building a plan to invade the Marsh, located the corrupted dryad who produces the Blackthorn trees, purify her of Delecti's corruption, and then kill her so that Delecti cannot produce any more of the blackthorn trees. Then they can attack the trees one at a time to shrink the Marsh.
  11. If anyone in popular culture is a Eurmali, its Bugs Bunny.
  12. My Orlanthi PC has a bonded Trickster that was more or less forced on him. For many sessions, the Trickster, Gisli, was mostly just a pain in the ass, like any good Eurmali. Eventually the player said "what good is this? I feel like he's just a troublemaker." I pointed out that the player was mostly trying to keep Gisli from causing trouble, so Gisli was mostly causing trouble FOR HIM. He got this surprised look on his face and realized that he could use Gisli to cause trouble for other people, which makes Gisli a lot less of a problem. So he started having Gisli use his Outrageous Lie ability to make trouble for Lunars (like the time Gisli spread a rumor that a particular Lunar convert ate babies). Then at one point he threatened to punish Gisli for something. Gisli said "If you do that, I'll lie to everyone in the clan and tell them that you ordered me to do that thing that got the chieftain really injured so that you could try to become chieftain yourself." Live by the Trickster, die by the Trickster...
  13. My general rule is that a god knows everything or nearly everything that his worshippers do. Although gods are not omniscient, initiation creates a strong bond with a god that allows Him/Her to be aware of the initiate and their actions. So in the case of breaking a geas, I think that the god knows automatically that it's been broken, even if the worshipper doesn't.
  14. The gods move in mysterious ways. Given that ducks are so often tools of Humakt, who's to say exactly what moved them to betray Indrodar...
  15. In my Red Cow campaign (HQ), the PCs discovered a spot in the Staglands where healing magic was a bit easier. The CA player declared that it must be a Chalanan holy site, and set about trying to figure out what Chalanan myth happened there. One he found a myth he that he thought had happened there, he decided to build a shrine there. It's turned into a major plot thread in the campaign. He had to get the support of the clan ring for the project, and one of Queen Ivartha's household indicated that the queen might support the project with resources. But other clans will not be happy about the Red Cows just trying to annex part of the Staglands, and the Telmori will obviously oppose it, which is a problem since they don't respect the White Lady. So there's a lot of diplomacy happening. Most people have told him he needs to do a quest to prove that the myth took place there, and if the quest succeeds, they will think providing the resources for an actual shrine. The big challenge is figuring out whether the Red Cow Tula will get extended into the Staglands or if the shrine is just going to be out there on its own. The former is more controversial, but the latter is more risky. Obviously HQ makes the issue of creating a shrine much more about the story and less about the mechanics and technical requirements, but this might at least give you things to think about as you're doing campaign planning.
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