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scott-martin

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Everything posted by scott-martin

  1. Love it. My long rune list font deinstalled itself, am I looking at the Bat here?
  2. One angle is that I suspect they've taken on "converts" historically . . . both individuals and even whole societies . . . and sometimes the process just doesn't take. This would be a way to bring outsiders in, get a taste of their sad lifestyle and then for whatever reason get out again with a tale to tell. At some stage these would-be dwarves can be put to work as contractors or bounty hunters. It's a good test of their acculturation (maybe some big brain in the EL caste is trying to engineer human-dwarf hybrids as a more efficient exploit of ambient resources) and besides, it's not like they're all that good at anything else. Of course Glorantha having the bias it does, 93% of these would-be "half dwarves" probably end up failing, going rogue, defecting, backsliding toward meat behaviors. It happens and the real dwarves never forget. But necessity or some other reason keeps them trying.
  3. Even if Greg Himself "disliked the Mostali," an enterprising heroquester should be able to get in there and loosen them up. The mere fact that we know about their historical heresies suggests that a much more diversified experience is possible even though propaganda out of Nida and/or Slon argues against it in the here and now. The dwarves are not necessarily united. The Hero Wars are for them too, even if those that emerge need to sacrifice just about everything that has supported them in the past.
  4. It's a great question. While I'm no expert in either folk Scandinavian or "Sartarite" magical social vocabulary it seems to evolve out of his sense of the bygth / thing / wapentake complex, only invested with something like independent operation. Since then, of course, the concept has developed within fandom over the years. Early on he would have simply called the tutelary / patron an "advisory spirit" that can play a role in enterprises as well as private life. Harald Hardrada, for example, was the "advisory spirit" of Wyrd magazine while Corporal Zen looked out for the Chaosium. For all I know there's a word like "wyrd" in the terminology that embraces this as well as the totemic aspects. Coincidentally recent archival discoveries have me reconsidering the details of his intellectual timeline . . . he was apparently still engaged with the Eddas in the '90s so there might be something in there feeding into King of Sartar. His immersion in the world of Burning Man "camp" culture could also have been a factor. EDIT oh what I WANTED to say was that Malkionite City is amazing
  5. In Peloria I was always fond of the notion that magically important families have collective relationships with daimones as "guardian angels" and intercessors. You can get adopted into the bond. One exciting thing that drops out of this is that some of these angels would be classic sky entities (certamites / arrazites) while others might have archaic forest characteristics (shannass/ae), relieving a little pressure on the canon there. You can tell where a family ultimately came from by interviewing the daimon. In general the vestiges of suppressed religions persist at the wyter level, for what that's worth.
  6. Love it. "City God" does a lot of work in this collective effervescence context and the category might've been developed by some Jrustelan Weber or Durkheim back in their glory days. In the West as it likes to represent itself, the caste types carry a lot of this collective magic, only so dilute that most people only interact with stories of Horal, for example, in the most abstract contexts. Most of the Founders who support the ancestral system of inheritance and the division of labor are either dead or alienated from everyday life. Intermediate ancestors have moved on. A lot of symbol-making energy (POW) is also invested in the authority of the local talars, the Prophet and ultimately the Creator, but by that point we're a little far from the clan wyter in terms of scale. To recover the magical compensations of the wyter, Westerners have historically developed various forms of intentional community-forming ritual and praxis: saint cults, magical schools, beast societies, knightly fellowships, craft leagues, city founders, trade unions, merchant networks, "guilds." You aren't necessarily born into these corporate entities, although it happens. Magical specialists may know how to interact with the mechanisms directly and deliberately, killing a god with silver feet, for example, or reintegrating the landscape as the ban recedes . . . after all, the Hero Wars Are Everywhere. Because I'm lazy my Western experimental theoreticians call these entities "egregora" but I can't speak for anyone else. You could just as easily name and represent them as "unicorns," which is interesting given previous interpretations of that magical animal as a sorcerous entity. (It also casts yet another light on Ralzakark.) I would like that but doubt it stretches far enough.
  7. Baited! My working hypothesis remains in place: old Gringle runs "Apple Lane" less as a working trading post (obviously) and more of a demonstration of a certain esoteric Weltanschauung, a microcosmic Pavis or other grand project. As such every monkey is curated or at least magically significant and every duck may be the one Gonn Orta wants. On the other hand half the time I think Gringle and Quackjohn are at least de facto life partners so what do I know. That's between them. But may be relevant to this thread . . . on the original topic I think if a Vingan wants a baby there are ways. If she doesn't, there are ways.
  8. I always figured this made a space for the dragonewts as either simultaneous or serial hermaphrodites. A case can also be made for "bachelor" newtlings as neutrals if they had a prominent role within IFWW at the Dawn Age. Gold Wheel Dancers may never have been important numerically but I can think of ritual contexts where their "gender" classification would need to be spelled out within a mostly mammal society. "Mostalite" might also have functioned as a gender and/or sex at various points, especially early on when the world was new. They might've been the archetypal "neutrals" before their embarrassing secret got out. In terms of desire and how it's expressed this is where things like extrapolating from Best Friend rules in WBRM can become super interesting.
  9. The "way with words" and cascade of sometimes factually incorrect or simply extraneous detail always makes me suspect this is a cipher document where the key has been lost. Of course this doesn't preclude any of the anecdotes from having at least symbolic importance . . . his itinerant and often fatherless boyhood feels authentic for an obscure prophetic figure, maybe one raised by a religiously atavistic mother or wanting to attribute magical significance to her life. Blue may be a Matthias Stormberger figure. Which again doesn't preclude historical truth but forces us to take a slightly more cautious approach. For all I know the entire Minaryth/a/ius complex is a complicated steganographic hoax. Who, what or where is Estkepo really?
  10. There's a fanzine review he did around the era when WBRM was germinating that demonstrates his admittedly conflicted engagement with its totemic symbolism. Somebody remind me if I don't track it down when the world slows a little.
  11. Huge shout out to JAS. Friend Of Greg. One fiction title that doesn't come up much is Richard Adams' Shardik. Apparently made a big impression.
  12. Lanbril in particular has a deep relationship to Man Rune in terms of his ambition. You don't need spirits, you don't need gods. Little people can take what they need. I think this is perfect and will be very interesting.
  13. I like the thea-sophical (theya-sophical?) note for raising the question of whether there were Goddess Learners circulating out of the Jrustelan academies and if so, where they went to ground. MGF as you point out, even if it was only a trouser role. For all we know "the historical Menena cult" is a political reconstruction engineered by some very smart and very brave witches and that's great. Ditto esoteric feminism in Esrolia and places like that. I suspect part of the friction between the Lunar Empire and Theyalan esoteric feminists is that while the Entekosiad and similar arguments are compelling, the conclusions aren't always comfortable. Old Tarsh violently rejected the Hon-Eel argument, etc. This provides a narrative opportunity for thea-logians to determine whether all "women's spirituality" converges or whether the girls can be as fractious as the dudes despite the reductive Earth Rune left over from Robert Graves. For me I love a world with as many women as possible and I adore variety but I have a hard time following more than one local land goddess at once. That said, she has a crowd of friends, all ages, attitudes, shapes and skin tones. Some of them get a little mixed up in my head because I'm not paying perfect attention. Others distinguish themselves constantly. The one who runs Zoria isn't the one who reigns in Nochet or even the one up in Cliffhome, for example. That's great. Thankfully "Orlanthi all" of them are obsessed with yarn, which is how the weaver goddess stays in the picture.
  14. Heh. At some point sufficiently advanced Shield skill is indistinguishable from magic and frees up community POW for other things. "Why such consternation seeking spells," Belonni Mo Baustra asked. "A shield is eight clacks and your days are for training." And with that Farrar Drushkenee was enlightened. - Manual of Tactics
  15. Also awesome. Will need to digest but who is Ralian Yelorna? Did she come West with the Riddlers or was she already there among the pony people?
  16. She can be widowed endless times. Arguably she steals all the husbands sooner or later. IMG all the dead are her foster children and IMG she treats them with true grandmotherly kindness.
  17. Everything after this is great but this early note is what brought my seat to full upright position. Could this be pronounced something like Orlanda, Orolanta or Eurlanta in the right corner of Saird, I wonder? A mother goddess of the sky or at the lowest Middle Air, a woman with her own portfolio that overlaps the god of Heortland. Did they ever find a father for Yelorna? Might he have been the masculine earth to combine with feminine air (again, inverting the elemental hierogamy we see in the south), for example? I wonder if you ever see esoteric representations of Orolanta in a fake beard. Obviously nobody wears pants in the low country or she'd have that going on too.
  18. First, I see that three of the "rainbow" softcover first state Roots of Glorantha books went on eBay today (easy search) so let the competists shudder and the lustful sigh. Here in the Castle Coast where we drill every day for the war with the blue man that never comes I rarely get even an hour away from the screen so a deep dive through the archaic materials has been elusive. I apologize to those who have been counting on me to assimilate and translate the waking dream history they reflect. It will happen in our lifetime, more or less. But today I got that hour and a few broad notes strike me: A. The Lifebringers may not have been the only missionary civilization bringing a god from Central Genertela. By circa 100 a religion identifiable as "Yelm" is making inroads among the Pendalites, complete with chariots and archery. Imagine a dawn age where sons of the Sun are racing to spread their gospel ahead of the storm pantheon: the dark is over, make way for the day. Obviously given the dating this is not under the auspices of what becomes the Bright Empire under the god Nysalor, although "Yelm" may in fact come to other lands after the Sunstop. B. Seeing Damol in action gets me looking for "theyalan" storm people who evolved independently from the Heort / First Council and were only later attached to the god we call Orlanth. Wild brainless Damol is of course a son of "Aerlit" and so at least considered a brother to a historical Malkion who does not appear in these sources. If I were a gambler I'd bet a little money on aspects of Damol emerging in the "Malkion" legend that becomes useful at various times and places. C. The unassimilated Pendalite remnant devolves in diaspora into the miserable lion people we now know. The historical experience of some if not all other "hsunchen" nations may be similar. Meanwhile Pendal's curse forbidding his children to ride horseback can be rehabilitated as a way around contradictory information about which castes can ride: for converts with Pendalite blood, it's not a good idea. (Greg's hatred of the horse is once again on display here.) D. Triolini were also interbreeding with our nations in those days, creating hybrid peoples whose provenance is now lost to Time. This is likely where knowledge of the Sea enters land lore. The children of Waertag may or may not have succeeded in suppressing the results to pursue their putative monopoly. "Malkion," for example, is also a child of ocean on his mother's side. E. Arkat's War undoubtedly altered the mythic landscape of the West as much as it did in Central Genertela. New gods rise and old gods are suppressed. This means that, for example, these archaic materials may either reflect their redaction of history (and so are completely anti-canonical in the Hero Wars era, a fiction promulgated by the losers of history and preserved by eccentric dilettantes) or the history that prevailed before the Autarchy and its own collapse. Given the wealth of detail here I tentatively favor the latter case where it doesn't explicitly contradict objective sources. F. Before the totemic nations, the Elves. There were also darkness people early on who may or may not have been what we would call trolls. G. The archaic West became relatively rich with dead mythologies within a short period of time as nations were exterminated and their gods lost, converting their material apparatus into anonymous metal. Third Eye Blue may recall how some of this is done. The presence of Third Eye Blue in some phases of the Apple Lane experiment is interesting. H. I'm sure I'm at best wrong everywhere but this stuff can only be made meaningful to those who need it. When the war with the blue man comes we need every weapon from history we can find.
  19. This is a fantastic strategic point. "Unfinished" has different connotations now for the fiction in particular. It might be the medications talking but your insight into current lord of the red planet as an underworld entity who traverses the sky got me wondering whether the Shargash rune is more accurately an upside-down inversion of Truth and Alkoth is a city where the bijiif still rules, "Dara Happa After Dark." No idea where that ends up though.
  20. This is all exquisite. I like the Imtherite echo. Would he take the bat rune as his initial in Dara Happa or the foreign KH . . . or even CH? (This last probably unspeakable in various contexts and so bowdlerized to become Z/"Truth.")
  21. I wonder if their masters feed them on a ghastly slurry rumored to contain "herd meat" and even the flesh of fallen tribal hostages. "Two-Feather Bob never came back from that raid but we found finger bones in the herd droppings that season." It sounds a little easy but restores the evidence behind the Tapir Tribe's bad reputation. They still survive on endemic "cannibalism," just not personally . . . the herds are the ones with a taste for bipedal fare. For all I know a Glorantha where this applies would have hidden structural parallels between herd culture and spontaneous outbreaks of ogrism. EDIT also this program of "new riders for renewed herds" is astounding. Although I suspect the Moro would complain bitterly to have their "mounts" taken away . . . what is a Praxian without a steed? Practically an animal again.
  22. Yeah, this goes back to Dragon Pass: "A vacancy in the throne of the Pharoah to the south drew off many of Sartar's best swordsmen and seekers, and the Lunar Empire seized the opportunity to invade the kingdom and sack Boldhome."
  23. Most exciting phrase of the week. Maybe that says too much about my week.
  24. If anyone has completed the full Da Vinci Code analysis of the Wall's profundities this would be a good time for them to step forward. For me the Wall contains all the lapses and innovations of Time and so from a certain perspective reflects the moment of Umath as well as more conventional golden age that came before. This is the snapshot that shows us the hidden cracks that would later become the world. It's literally the primal scene from the Copper Plates told in a different language. Now at that moment you have a lot of people and forms that aren't necessarily important yet, people who will go on to become templates for creatures like bears or goats or lions. Within the golden age, nobody knows that bulls will become their own tribe. They just know Urox is the shape he is. Some people on the Wall become patrons of tribes. Others have not done so or their people died out. (Side note: a surprising number of Wall entities survive and have reproduced in one vestige or another. This isn't really a map of the world before it broke, only the pieces that come down to us.) Within the true Golden Age there may be a whole ecology of marvels that have since degenerated or gone extinct, flying horses and griffins, snakes of fire, predators and prey born when Earth and Sky were married. Before that, a whole ecology of marvels from Earth and Water, but they have their own empire and so the sea is still full. Mythologically I suspect the difference between mammals and birds is that real flight is mostly barred to the fleshy children of Umath (or Aerlit) and may actually be the condition of our bastard birthright. We breathe. We aspire to the heights and make great running leaps. We innovate also. This may be why a certain faction within the empire hates ducks as an embarrassment and a profound disappointment. They're almost birds but don't even have the dignity of being born in a proper egg.
  25. The tradition of Looking For Soma goes back to the philologen and remains fractious. I like the "cocktail" hypothesis (see also Gods Wall II.23) and the recent "mushroom honey" angle is also interesting. Mysteries of Minlinster, secrets of the hive. Where the bee gorakiki went.
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