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scott-martin

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Everything posted by scott-martin

  1. scott-martin

    Fate of the ship if all Dormal initiates on it die

    They still had a concentration of badass magicians on the island then. Maybe not enough to completely defy the blue man and his people, but enough to skirt his curse just that once. Which raises the hypothesis that the effect mutated over time under the weight of generations of relentless and increasingly desperate magical countermeasures. The rump God Learners had a century between the tsunami and their doom to throw everything they had at it. While they clearly failed to roll it back entirely, their combined work might well have fragmented the effect, inviting new catastrophes in some times and places while softening others. Either way, the initial phases seemed surprisingly gentle, sending boats back from Brithos or all the way back to the docks depending on their orientation to the "closing wave" or "wall." Maybe you get smashed only if you take too aggressive a tack against what would then amount to a true doom current . . . when your propulsion magic is too strong to fight the standing repulsion, the timbers pop. Our sense of whether the Closing has changed over the publishing history is probably closely connected. A casual search indicates an ambiguous reference in Griffin Mountain . . . while "the oceans were cursed" the only real impact described is "all surface traffic was swept away." Spirits of the Sea in WF 8 is the only previous extended reference I've found so far and focuses on what happened to surviving waertag enclaves. I wonder how much Closing Lore comes from contacts with beached waertagites and how reliable it is. I don't even know for sure how we have such clarity on exactly when Jrustela ruptured.
  2. Arrrrrgan Arrrrrgarrrrr. Breakin' rocks in the . . . hot sun! I fought the [devil] and . . . we won.
  3. Since Troll Gods has been open today I was struck by the little decorative ornaments in the layout. They always worked really well for me to convey a sense of an elder underworld culture's expression of the sacred: archaic, inscrutable, maybe a little brutal. Alien: This time around I know exactly where I've seen them before. They're Clark Ashton Smith rock carvings: How great is that? My guess is that somebody had a copy of The Fantastic Art of Clark Ashton Smith around and ran off a few stencils. Since I only have the Avalon Hill box I can't say if they showed up then (how wild would it be if they were a Dobyski idea) or (more likely) were inherited from the Chaosium side. What's especially exciting is that there's a lot more of this stuff extant so if you like this vision of gnawed troll fetishes, treat yourself. And then there's this character, who I haven't been able to track back to a klarkashtonian source yet and may actually be original:
  4. Fun jokes notwithstanding, pondering whether the Argan Argar Atlas might be a Gloranthan document that reflects the sum total of the Chain Gang's knowledge of the surface world makes me think back to the obscure "frightening armada of pitch-black ships crewed entirely by trolls" the OOO was once said to have launched to consolidate his post-EWF empire. Presumably the archaic troll maritime tradition (Robber being a darkness entity, after all) remains intact but their continued absence from the Ship Types list reveals that they don't sail much any more. Their original design might've been the ancestor of the modern Kethaelan trireme -- I'm sure experts have already weighed in. Is there still room for troll navies Since Time? When did they sail and where did they go? (Was the OOO a party to the conspiracy against EWF and received the protectorate over the north and west as his reward?) Did they (re)establish communication with the Pamaltelan cousins? Where do sea trolls come from? They're apparently omnipresent in the East Isles and Jrustela if the Bestiary can be believed.
  5. scott-martin

    The Krjalk War

    Yeah, I'm pretty mouthy today. I just cleared a month of PowerPoint and got four hours sleep. So while trying to see how far down the coast noted Blue Moon expert (and possible knowledge saboteur) Thorloss the Scribe could've gotten in the early 850s I'm reminded of the 842 invasion of Esrolia, still a troll protectorate within the larger EWF complex. The annotation in MSE is interesting in a larger Malkionite mytho-historical context: The dragons can muster the help of all the krjalki races. Some speculate that those are actually creations of the dragons . . . when pressed, the dragons can muster members of every nonhuman race to their armies, even Aldryami (who have an unbroken history of friendship with us in the West). Now the children of Malkion have fought at least one dragon empire before, whether you consider the Hykimites and the Serpent Beasts as aspects of the same civilization or not. Back then the dragon people were the crown of "beast folk" creation, the kings of the forest keeping all the more profane totemic nations -- lion people, elk people, horse people, bull people, wolf people, bear people, elephant people, maybe eleven beasts in all and more -- in their proper shapes. You could speculate that all of the beast people are actually creations of the "dragons" and when pressed the "dragons" could probably muster members of every forest nation to their armies. This would be when the lore of dragon speaking and dragon slaying entered the Western way. Of course overt draconic influences are extremely rare there now. They've been largely exterminated and their orphaned children converted into today's horals and dronars according to their lot in life. As the frontier pushed east and eastern missionaries pushed back they met new dragons and more exotic krjalks. The pattern was set. By the time the West gets to the Shadowlands they know how to deal with monsters. The question is how the Aldryami and the "dragons" diverged. Hrestol (there he is again) is busy with the children of likita and while there are elves in the forest also they're already aloof, almost as though they'd be happy if all the meat people could be manipulated into wiping each other out. Of course the "unbroken history" is a lie because the elves were some of the Bright Empire's strongest allies . . . along with the beast nations of course. Looking at the map Rist straddles Kartolin Pass in the dawn times, keeping the Hykimites and Serpent Beasts apart or at best managing their contacts. I'm no conspiracy buff but it's a shame that Rist was one of the forests that had to die. Think of what they knew and what secrets they took with them when the survivors withdrew back to Dorastor to brood on the end of the world. And Peloria is interesting because there aren't a whole lot of atavistic hsunchen or draconic influences left there either. Not a lot of elves for that matter, some digijem nations and a dwarf or two but short on krjalk. Were there once elders here and they just got absorbed into the human mob or drawn out into other people's wars? Can we bring them back, or is that just what the Chaos/Monster Empire is all about?
  6. scott-martin

    The Krjalk War

    I think you've got all the facts. Where this has taken me at least is trying to figure out what the broos were like when they were just another tribe of beast and who would develop magic to interfere with Hykimite gifts. Once upon a time at least a few of the chaos array were Bright Empire gods who fell in the wars were revealed to have always already been evil. I usually consider broos as awful as far back as anyone can remember but now I'm wondering where and when a nation failed the sex pit. EWF was interested in engineering the beast rune too . . . an innocent observer would see the Dorastor cover as another idyllic satyr picnic and yet the Wild Temple rite gets pretty bloody, just like the Serpent Beasts are noted for their "cruelty." I also wonder at the Praxites as a multi-totemic society apparently bereft of draconic tutelage. Herbivore riders as opposed to carnivore lycanthropes. Is that the difference? But if anyone remembers the Serpent Beasts, it's the Elk Riders. It's not hard to envision a scenario where the expanding Malkionite civilization pushed various sylvan neighbors to opt for "cruelty," effectively corrupting everyone around them. They have a whole technique for evoking the worst in everyone they meet. Solve et vincere. They got better and better at making monsters, eventually ensuring that every time they met dragons it was fearsome.
  7. scott-martin

    The Krjalk War

    Could practically be a quiet moment at the Wild Temple. While I wouldn't plan any picnics with them either way (people drink too much and get crazy) a close look reveals at least four beasts present, including what might be one of the Damalite people who formerly ranged southern Peloria. He's probably a beast collector, has his own flesh zoo.
  8. scott-martin

    The Krjalk War

    And the forests will echo with something! Does anybody remember "something?"
  9. scott-martin

    Black Sails (The Argan Argar Association)

    Even if he made it out there, he doesn't seem to have put the pieces together, citing only two known human cultures with significant Blue Moon contact. The Veldang were far away and everyone in the texts loves to remind themselves that the Loper People are extinct. Classic Greg tell. Once you take your eye off your enemy you are doomed. They were probably working in secret against the Empire all along. I wonder if Locsil acknowledged Moon as a Core Rune let alone Blue Moon. She bends just enough of the standard taxonomy that she might not have registered on even a specialist visiting ethnographer's radar, omnipresent but always invisible.
  10. scott-martin

    Black Sails (The Argan Argar Association)

    I keep coming back to the "tide-wracked" nature of the Holy Country. If there were uncharted Blue Moon contacts left in Genertela you would think they would be concentrated here . . . but Thorloss comes from Jadnor and doesn't see any of it. He may be foolhardy if not lying. If any Blue Magic did wash up on the beaches of Slontos a "troll civil war" may have been fought on multiple fronts.
  11. scott-martin

    Fate of the ship if all Dormal initiates on it die

    It's almost easier to recalculate the chronology than it is to force someone so prestigious (and probably caste-bound in more ways than one) to take Jrustelan transport but the Svagad Fleet was evidently good enough. The Triosos wave is probably more of a problem in a post-waertagite environment but they might be a deliberate sacrifice coming in from the island to consolidate "the alliance" as the sorcerers become dominant and history repeats. They suffered our wooden boats in order to achieve the greater mission. I would love a Dormal's Journeys at some point to go with those Unfinished Tales editions. EDIT of course in my deepest fantasy he's looking for Brithos in order to assassinate the blue man and liberate the peoples. But when he gets there it's all just these tragic huts, reds and browns in squalor. And he realizes Time has already had its revenge on the sorcerers, there's nothing more he can do. So he teaches the natives how to sail.
  12. scott-martin

    Black Sails (The Argan Argar Association)

    Thanks all. Over and above the self parody aspect of wondering whether these really are Argan Argar maps (in which case I need to pay the Chain Gang a black nickel to maintain my subscription) the paracanonical nature of the Black Fleet does open up angles on the Shadowlands that might otherwise be lost or suppressed in the Belintar histories. For me one of the most interesting is the western thrust. As the Empire crumpled on that front, OOO was apparently either happy or as promulgator of IFWW ritually obligated to absorb desolate populations out that way. As we know that coast is still a mess. Maybe early Shadowlands outreach contributed to that mess, manipulating pig people populations (the troll wars of Dragon Pass as proxy between Argan and Aram?), raising or wrecking weird cities and so on. And of course if there were useful opportunities to loot / suppress occult secrets, OOO wouldn't mind a chance to clean up around Zistor. Many of these would probably be "Pelaskite" sites and so play into the tension there. Does he need ships to do that? Does their timeline respect the modern Closing dates? (Is a century or two missing from some archaic calendars and a lot of our hobby year dates are wrong? Don't shudder.) It's also always nice when we can find room for a neglected culture in the niches of the historical maps. I love what's happening with Teshnos. Here's textual evidence for the Shadowlands engaging with its neighbors. Also selfishly the northern expansion is interesting because it fills the narrative hole in the 1042 coup left as the Blue Moon recedes from the canonical stage. (As is her nature.) OOO can step up and play the troll role closer to home. Finally the estrangement of Pamaltelan trolls has always nibbled on me. I get that all kinds of people took all kinds of tunnels up to the surface and ended up in all kinds of situations. But Within Time there are clear efforts from someone to routinize "troll gods" into a somewhat cohesive system. This person might have been a God Learner with deep dark contacts. Might be Arkat or one of his sisters. Might be OOO because that's his thing. Either way, to bring the Moorgarki / Qualyarni complex into the KL framework requires a way to reach the southern continent. Could be imperial boats and then the texts get redistributed. Could be black boats on OOO's personal imprimatur. And since Robber is the mythic patroness of sailor trolls (maybe distinct from sea trolls, who can say) and also the mother of one of the premier naval war gods of the Empire, maybe the deep truth of how OOO and GL interacted is both simpler and more complicated. Guy just kept saying he wanted to get along.
  13. scott-martin

    The Many and the One, or has there always been a Yelm?

    Dazzling fore and aft but this bit triggers a Recognition that's been emerging throughout the thread thanks to the 6A material, etc. In a planetary environment "little suns" behave a lot like "storms" wandering freely and struggling for a place in the sky's lower reaches. As we know one of the siblings is enthroned, some are subjugated, others exiled, a few killed. "Umath" is another child of the sun from a different mother. Call him a "little sun" too or call him a storm. He aims high and is brought low. One of the "little sun" peoples develops a little differently in his memory shadow. Maybe they were raised in isolation, unconnected with their cousins until later. This has all happened and the copper records, being flat circles, imply that it will all happen again. The Dayzatar cult remembers and is gently elevated to irrelevance, leaving dirty buserians behind. Lodril is more complicated. Weird vestiges persist on the fringes, places like Pent where archaic sun and storm are still at war, the vestigial elemental cults of Ignorance, whatever they had in "Umath"ela before their mythology was combed out. Put an umath back together, find a lost city (did he ever have a city or just need one of his own when there weren't enough), be a lost tribe, raise a planet.
  14. Looking at it all with a strategic eye (guten abend Max) I start to suspect that the Hrestol Saga we have is actually a propaganda document of the Saval faction. Whether the Saints ever went to that island and did those things in that way in their mortal lifetimes is less important than the story of how autonomous sorcery overreached. Whether all the archaic documents can be placed with Gloranthan ownership (probably in those dreary centuries of schism and reconstruction) remains a work in progress.
  15. scott-martin

    Black Sails (The Argan Argar Association)

    Only Old One, not a complicated lacanian pun on the AAA, although it might have been one accidentally.
  16. scott-martin

    Fate of the ship if all Dormal initiates on it die

    I love it. If only more people could expect any form of accountability at all from that one! From the scattered notes on Dormal's logs we have, his larger mission was at least compatible with piecing together the tale of the doomed Empire: old ruins, new cities, new coasts. I wouldn't be surprised if much of what we have now (maybe even the MSE manuscript) derives from his travelogue. If people are looking for a Gloranthan bestseller this is probably one, unless of course it remains a Holy Country state secret instead. That would be a tale to tell after the nominal end of the waertagites. Of course they wouldn't tell it to me, especially if it involved them riding profane wooden boats like everyone else.
  17. scott-martin

    Fate of the ship if all Dormal initiates on it die

    Navigationalism is its own faith with Abiding dispensation but the official rokarite position seems to be in flux . . . before 1618 Guilmarn felt comfortable enough with the rite to support at least a small navy without fretting too much about offending Leplain. In the very near future they'll have more traditional maritime partners and the League is in trouble. I doubt the people of Arolanit have traveled by sea in 900 years. All of this does beg the question of what Dormal was hoping to gain in finding Brithos.
  18. I believe the first part. Not going to presume to share Illuminated Argrath's understanding but the West takes pride in having a different devil, I'd look for his hoofprints on their wreckage. The Dragons may not have even seen the end of EWF as a failure at all. Who banishes the Western Devil? Hard to say. From a theist POV the West was the devil (see also: "I believe the first part") and everyone who helped end the empire played a heroic role. The Second Age Collapse may not really even end in the north until Snodal so his role is interesting.
  19. scott-martin

    Sun Domers back up weapon

    I like it. Whoever pursues these lines of inquiry might end up with something like the abortive Shadows Dance board game, which was apparently all about elf versus troll, grower versus taker. But the interesting thing was the rumored mechanics for chopping a heroic individual into "parts" or relics that could then be simply consumed or preserved to grant some measure of the sacrificial victim's power. Maybe that's what Axe does as opposed to Sword. The labrys people are definitely one of the most prominent human sacrifice cultures in the literature. And of course the process could be reversed to put "parts" back together and resurrect a hero like Flamal resurging at the climax of the Dangan Rites or any elf when the sap rises. In theory, at least . . . of course the game was never made.
  20. scott-martin

    Sun Domers back up weapon

    When Brother Stone was alive he was evidently something like Flamal's own body. Then the murder estranged them. Stone would never Grow again.
  21. scott-martin

    The Lore of Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind

    That's really interesting! (No time to install it yet.) Does she take your fire?
  22. scott-martin

    Why are Pelorians so (comparatively) culturally diverse?

    If I were a gambler I'd bet that their "omnipresence" is another Carmanian import aimed at giving the conquered urban lowlies something to do. The original gods of the teeming Dara Happan underclass are probably deep buried now . . . and since every family came into town carrying strange gods, that's other angle on the diversity you see. Empire of immigrants, imperfectly unified.
  23. scott-martin

    Why are Pelorians so (comparatively) culturally diverse?

    For me it boils down to different historical choices. As you point out, Theyalan missionaries syncretized a wide "barbarian belt" of storm-compatible communities and then the Dark and Silver Empires each helped finish the job in their own ways. On the other hand Peloria was largely free to evolve in isolation, like some landlocked darwinian island in a sea of storm and others. Yelm (as opposed to Nysalor) didn't really send missionaries as much as "recognize" lost tribes. Militant Carmania evidently kept the God Learners out. (Strikes me there's an untold epic there.) And even Arkat evidently had no interest in this part of the world when he was done. (Ditto.) So you get a world where storm people are quick to acknowledge similarities when they find them far abroad (we are orlanthi all us) whereas sun people at home revel in the narcissism of the relatively small differences that were omnipresent at the dawn. Take the sun out of the picture and the world reverts to local rites. I don't know if Peloria has IFWW except through solar worship or smaller "city gods," for example. (And yeah, textual priorities. Much of what we have is an effort to "make Peloria interesting" and that means emphasizing difference behind what would otherwise be a hierarchical monolith eternally opposed to the urban mob. Neither produces history in the classic sense.)
  24. Now we know why Cults of Prax era LM had all those forensic detective spells.
  25. scott-martin

    The Gloranthan "Astral"

    Talk of Gloranthan fiction sends my mind racing again toward the intermittent question of how people in the lozenge categorize the imagination (khayâl) and its works, whether they play out as personal fantasies, deliberate evasions of Truth, meditation experiences or quasi-objective illusion magic. I could footnote this to luxuriant length bringing in people like Ibn 'Arabi but would rather focus on how you relate various specialist explanations of spirit planes, short worlds and sorcery nodes to the more intimate microcosmic realities our characters presumably inhabit when they close their eyes. Does god talk to your character in dreams? Every dream? Even if you never sacrificed for a true divination? How can you tell? Is it possible for a riddler, trickster, illusionist or plain old free-floating spirit to slip counterfactual information "under" the gates keeping my dozing mind from reality and (normally) from direct communication with yours? Language helps to bridge our subjectivities when we're awake and chattering online, but language can be exploited to mislead the unwary. Are all false dreams the domain of the red goddess and her associates? Whose games have explored this? Dragonewts and dragons "dream" and so do some of the people of the farthest East, piping at the gates of dawn. Is there a connection or just the seductive appearance of meaning here?
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