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Everything posted by scott-martin

  1. Nah, this is the mainstream. In Imther, of course, we would say (OE)RML . . . no truth rune per se, something closer to a storm diphthong.
  2. I'll cry a little later. For now the Original Shargash Hypothesis (and the troll encounter therewith) = super sexy, can't see anything else!
  3. Read Shargash For Aether Throughout and it becomes extremely generative as it were.
  4. I think this feint is achieving its goal of disorienting the otherwise stale phalanx and getting the wheel of Lokarnos the beetle rolling again. Pelorian /y/ (solar law / eye in pyramid) looks a lot like terrestrial D (delta) so it's not hard to reconstruct a hypothetical timeline where someone important in ancient times saw the character and pronounced it /d/ . . . maybe there was trouble with the initial semivowel and something more like ð was an easy transition. Or maybe there was confusion with a foreign character and the /d/ usage took over. Either way, eventually a reformer rectified the system and the god we now know as DAYZATAR is handed the modern /d/ character to reflect that we no longer say anything like Jajatar. [Compare "Jaja gappa."] Another god (or phase) either retains or receives the "solar law" character and becomes YELM, but as compensation, The mystic sun receives a kind of doubled internal truth rune: Y (pronounced /z/) and the solar triangle (nominally pronounced /y/ but notably a silent or honorific character here). This doubling between phonetic and typographic (or even ideographic) significance strikes me as happening around a consolidation between an oral tradition with a written one. Some people concerned with the god would have associated him primarily with the sounds of his name. Others would have interacted more closely with the shapes. Meanwhile Y (pronounced /z/, "truth") retains priority as first carver, Number One. Oddly cosmic for what is an obscure cult today, especially when /y/ doesn't even get a number but is wedged in at the back near the "semi-foreign" gods . . . but maybe the Plentonians accidentally preserved something there not even they understood way back when.
  5. Normally I am too, but 1. Paralinguistic games ("over here they say 'Ehilm,' we say 'Yelm'") have been here for decades and are generally generative. 2. The "Y" shaped rune in particular is possibly unique in that it appears in-setting as the Truth Rune and Dara Happan /z/ character while "fortuitously" doubling in terrestrial transcription as a key differentiator between Elmal and Yelmal, ELM and YELM. Of course the Dara Happans wouldn't use Truth at all to write YELM. But we do!
  6. This leads to a side question designed to defuse and obfuscate the usual shield push. Do you think the original ELM name of the sun comes east from Ralios, west from Peloria, parallel origin or something else (perhaps Sairdite diaspora or primeval pony people precursor)? I think a lot of people who adopt the missionary hypothesis assume that the Heortlings have priority and pushed their nomenclature onto the peoples they enlightened / enlivened . . . but maybe not. Likewise, Dara Happan propaganda argues for them as the site of the original revelation, in which case the Ralians and Sairdites are part of a continental "yelmic" awakening . . . but maybe not. In the past my thought was always that the "Y" (truth rune) was added to a primeval E(Hu)LM or E(Hu)LM-aL to create the imperial sun and his friends. But maybe it's worth considering a map where various regional YELMs are stripped of their Y and turn into Ehilms if not Elmals.
  7. Separately, most of the "suffixes" found in troll god names (and reflected in the archaic earth pantheon) aren't so much epithets as pronouns. Darkness has many genders that only tangentially map onto binary mammal biology: argar, umbar, zoran and of course lit[h]or [usually translated "mistress" by the gringos] among others. Argan, for example, is the primary exponent of the argar "gender" within time. Etc.
  8. "The Zorak cult is originally alien even to the trolls, deriving from what we could call the primordial insect complex now dominated by secular Gorakiki and esoteric Aranea. In this model the zombie thing is actually an injection of psychedelic fungus and female larvae that work together to create the illusion of 'undead' animation that responds to (hypnotic) outside command. The corpses themselves aren't coming back from the dead and so don't trigger Humakt agitation or Sense Chaos. Trolls think it's normal. Worse and weirder things happen to them all the time." "Naturally this means Arachne Solara is Zorak Zoran's Zoraunt, which explains his curious quasi-illumination at the sight of the infant sun . . . and his role at Hill of Gold, incidentally."
  9. Maybe Eurmal is to Nysalor as Lie is to Riddle. Keep casting it on someone and the cumulative effect will drive them out of fact-based consciousness sooner or later. And then I realized (sometimes I'm slow) that illumination serves the Compromise in some ways but undermines it in its radical subjectivity. Young Elementals cults promise something similar.
  10. Yeah, we're all made of everything at this point. If I were sufficiently motivated to get some solar magic, I could probably cultivate a few drops of descent needed to satisfy the cult spirits who are the "examiners" that really matter. The aristocratic gatekeepers will fume but there isn't a whole lot they can do about it short of doing their best to wipe me out and defile my memory . . . standard operating procedure in their world. And of course MGF. If somebody's player aspires to direct communion (or even identification) with Sun Dad, let us know. They will be very useful in a Hero War. As it is, there are all these scattered and busted "other" suns thirsty for restoration . . . "little" suns that want to get big.
  11. What a lot of Yelm people won't tell you is that a lot of the "rules" are social designed to preserve elite status . . . approach the god in the right way and he doesn't seem to care.
  12. I appreciate this narrative but IMG the occupation was a little more complicated than an instant polarizing shock that split Sartarite society (and each Sartarite's consciousness) into rebels and collaborators. For a lot of people, it was business as usual. They woke up, did their duty to their gods and communities, obeyed the observances and carried on. Only the color on the flag changed, as it were. Others saw real compensations in the new regime . . . we can bicker and joke about Lunar colonial incompetence, but there are always relative outsiders who stand to benefit from disruption. They liked it. It was an opportunity. Now these things might be hard to say because we like the idea of Sartarite patriots fighting a doomed cause against overwhelming odds and rejecting all the comforts of life inside empire. It's definitely romantic and feeds thrilling game environments that might give us something we can't get from the everyday grind. But I think they're true. The notion of Sartar as a bastion of religious purity and a kind of brave traditionalism, saying a firm "NO" to innovation and dangerous change . . . it's pleasant but only accurate for some of the people. We know this because Sartar suffered the occupation for a generation even after imperial extremists came within a few steps of permanently killing God. They could have all said "NO" at any moment. Masada is a stirring tale of a people apart. Others participated in all levels of imperial society, experimenting with strange ideas, family relationships and even food. There was an exchange. Who are the people who have least to lose in regime change? Some of the underclass will always react defensively to outside overtures and work harder to preserve their traditions because tradition is all they have. These people initially fought against the Sartar revolution and more recently formed the nucleus of a hardcore anti-lunar resistance movement like in the published adventures. Others see more to gain. The central tragedy is that a lot of the sun-identifying people of Dragon Pass have the hardest choice of all to make. They have the least to lose . . . "what did rex ever do for us, where is our king?" . . . and the most to gain from deeper exchange with the imperial solar north. So maybe it's ironic that this question comes up in this particular thread. I get that a lot of dome people spent the last generation doing the exact opposite of "fighting for the cultural survival" of storm Sartar. It happened. Now that the wind has turned, some of those decisions might look a little hard to justify. They're defensive. It's a defensive cult -- but it's okay. We're all in this together. We're all, as it were, us. The dome doesn't have Change as a core rune. The hand has to come from the other side.
  13. I love it! All hail the Daughter and her works! All of this is great but I just can't be sure that the satrapy boundaries emerge with the Sixth Wane map until someone finds their Pelorian atlas and confirms whether the lines are there or not . . . their absence on the Seventh Wane map, for example, doesn't indicate that they've gone away. And we know Karasal and Oronin are satraps before the mid Second Wane even though they aren't shown on the maps. But of course this doesn't mean the satrapies that emerge in the reconstruction have anything but nomenclature and geography in common with what they had in the Old Empire. While this relatively sudden collapse of imperial identity in the north and west is ominous (who are the Ancient Way Rebels who apparently hang on a generation or two?) the New Empire is presumably tighter knit. Reading a little more closely between the lines, the spokes bend a little here and there after the Dara Happan revolt and the conversion of Henjarl, partition of Raibanth and so on. This would also have been a good moment to adjust the northeast spoke to hand Yuthuppa to First Blessed and cut it off from its hinterland . . . in this scenario, Karasal might have gone through a few capitals in its history before settling on modern Graclodont. [The antiquity of Joranit as a northern port is curious, possibly related to that strange casus belli cited for the DH revolt in the first place. There might have been a thriving cold water trade route here for ages integrated into the Pelorian religious economy. Or maybe the climate has changed.] A fresh Sister is in place in Graclodont before the Nights of Horror and can readily pick up the pieces, possibly even discovering an emperor who will patronize mystical architecture, the Order of Day and so on. Oraya may reflect some combination of Hon-Eel's ambition and the neo-Carmanian imperial system taking its cues from the Reaches. As far as I know the Eels are the only family who ever ran two satrapies simultaneously . . . but there's a lot we don't know about how the far western great families operate, to return to the original post.
  14. This is of course fantastic. Thanks for opening up these early wanes to investigation. Someone with immediate access to the 50-year Pelorian historical maps can confirm or deny (mine are not at hand right now) but I don't recall either the watersheds or the heartland borders shifting all that much, even around the Sheng Era when the imperial system essentially disintegrated and was put back together. While this might be because Greg hadn't heard about any landscape-scale magical projects or cataclysms that needed to be marked, I think it's the default assumption. But this suggests a wheel of six spokes spaced fairly evenly around the central (seventh) hub of Silver Shadow and the high lunar properties within. In theory, something like a Holy Country. Conveniently most of the internal boundaries in this equidistant model are close to rivers as you point out. Draw a line west from the river modern Hylokoth sits on and bend around the northern edge of the Hungry Plateau and you have roughly the traditional southern border of Rinliddi or modern First Blessed. Extend it far enough and you hit the Crater. The upper Oslir is a convenient slice clockwise from there, followed by the Joat as gateway to traditional Suveria and Doblian. On the other side of First Blessed, the "natural" line would go straight from Elz Ast to the Crater but following the lower Oslir instead carves Esvuthil away from Yuthuppa, probably in the interest of practicality, politics or both. And then you have the Oronin lines. All sources agree that the northern boundary goes roughly from Graclodont (while carefully keeping it in Karasal) to the Crater but a more equal southern cut would theoretically go more or less due west of the Crater toward Tawenos and if you squint keep most of Sacred Lake Oronin in the province that bears its name. Instead, a lot of this fractious territory ends up over the Doblian line. I think this reduction of "natural Oronin" was deliberate, whether part of the initial Dance of Returns rites or something that happened later and hasn't shown up in our documents yet. This was probably the most difficult of the early conquests from the Carmanians to assimilate so we can all probably imagine MGF strategic reasons why the Red Emperor would have wanted to constrain them to roughly one geomantic "phase" . . . or why Doblian became the major beneficiary of the tilt. (Karasal also gets minor geomantic concessions to ensure that the supply center of Graclodont and symbolic ruins of Shardash remain in its territory.) Now what do we learn? First, I am no longer convinced that the earliest Lunar Way divided the weekly cycle into seven distinct phases . . . but instead their calendar might have revolved around six nights (one for each geomantic heartland) plus a sacred day of rest and contemplation, the Silver Shadow day when you can't see the conventional phases because the moon is technically always on top of you. This is my heresy. Come at me. However, it's possible that this changed once the Oronin boundaries were adjusted in the interest of heartland security, in which case the penalty they paid for forcing a sixth to become a seventh was accepting what amounts to a second "dead or dying" (1/2 MgF) night in every rotation cycle. Slow karma gonna get you but this means that by definition we're all trapped with your early choices now. This is probably a central feature of modern White Moon mysticism! I also think it would be cool if the early wanes tried to straighten the rivers in order to confirm the geomantic borders but the rivers pushed back . . . and this helps at least partially explain why the modern empire remains antipathetic at best to blue magic. The lower Oslir in particular simply couldn't be adjusted, but in the process Yuthuppa was cut off from its traditional hinterland (this part may well be deliberate, further complicating the river story) and First Blessed is slighted in the process, turning their early satraps' eyes to the east in order to feel whole. This is what becomes core White Moon territory along with modern Karasal. Lunar Karasal, of course, has its own colonial guilt of the Empty Conquest to work through. Speaking of the heroes and villains of the Empty Conquest, there's undoubtedly a much more complicated Tale To Tell of how the Jaranthites, having proved their worth again and again, finally wiped out the clan of Vakthan but decided not to abolish the satrapal system. My current working model is that this is where the Etyries movement really took off . . . and why you don't hear much about it in "mainstream" 7M propaganda. And along with that, it's no shock the Eels are from the Red City of Karantes and never quite lose their grip on Oronin. That's worth noting in itself, all you following the early phases of the Great Lunar Civil War. For me I am looking toward what must have been enormous religious upheavals all around the Sweet Sea as the Syranthites become the Carmanians, Spolites and Chargites ebb and flow, countries like Valmark, Sasasor, the Harangvat culture and pre-Lunar Bindle spin up and down. The fortunate crumbs roll down the Janube. MGF! Finally, the hexagonal overlay on many Gloranthan maps is clearly an in-setting convention, reflecting a sense of the middle world as six-directional. This comment may not be entirely tongue in cheek.
  15. The Ban stopped at the Esel because that's where Sar Syranthir and his followers renounced their Fronelan origins forever and became a new people. Or you might know a better reason. Whatever happened, something made it stop. I don't know why it didn't hit Eron. Maybe the ghost of the nebulous "Eronela" protected the forest in some way. It's interesting to plot land goddess limits like ley lines, a geomantic foundation for competing dwarf/storm mountain systems or the doomed Reaching Moon network.
  16. Looking at the gaps in the sources it's likely that the early Lunar expansion destroyed, moved or hid a lot of Pelorian blue magic, especially where it relates to the Carmanian divine right of kings. They already had trouble with their watersheds and in particular would not have wanted to make it easy for anyone to breed a legitimate "Second Carmanos," although I'm sure the effort involved suggests attempts were made. We're fortunate to have the scraps that survive embedded in Lunar and pre-Lunar sources considered too authoritative to edit or too obscure to register as dangerous. Of course in a Hero War situation someone dedicated and lucky could go out and revive a few details, maybe once the Ban completely clears in the Sweet Sea and whatever persists there can be brought back to its sister lake. (The interest of the Eel faction this far west might be more than it seems, especially in light of the "drive for a warm water port" theory of empire, but that's a side note.) The only non-"Carmanian" name we have is Vyran so that's probably the most archaic aspect closest to the common origin of foreign-but-related blue people, briny and sweet. Any Sweet Sea survivals would recognize her by that name, which echoes in the primeval "[W]yr[i]an" by which the territory is still known today. At some point Sar Syranthir shows and engineers a marital pact with the local mother goddess. I think she was called something like Carman or Charmain (maybe depending on divine/mortal phase) and the land was already called Carmania when the Fronelans arrived . . . however, this could itself be early dynastic propaganda, in which case the land might have been called something else like Vwyrian that the invaders couldn't pronounce. Who is she? If I were doing it right now, I'd lean on hints that she was originally a separate figure more like a land goddess with vague water connections, probably the heart of what becomes Carmanian agriculture, their local "Oria." This is land goddess country. Syranthir's people knew about land goddesses and their nomenclature. A paternal form of Vyran may have actually been her original "husband protector" marrying the land to the lake . . . but there's little trace of that now. Instead we have a more familiar seasonal struggle of bright and dark brothers around the mother. Say I'm Sar Syranthir, one of the arch traditionalists of the sorcerous second age looking for a place to pursue my canonically manichaean beliefs in peace. That seasonal struggle must look mighty inviting. I might have even aimed my exodus at it if I knew it was there . . . or if I didn't, it's clearly a divine sign that This Is The Place. I know there's a "good" or godly brother and then there's a devil. I'm not especially interested in deep water magic. I teach my son to heighten the binary and skip over the blue marriage. Have people determined where the legendary Fronelan dualism comes from? Also, why are the lake and river and satrapy called Oronin? Whom does that serve?
  17. Love it. The kind of scenario where people get changed into cats or snakes or pigs to reflect on their presumption. "Let the vermin be flung into a pit," said Peter. "But the Dwarf we will give to his people to be buried in their own fashion."
  18. Oh good, I had a long comment here and the draft didn't save, which is just how it goes. I wonder what other fringe rites we could point to as "half troll." To identify as an eater requires an eaten and for Arkat to farm requires a harvest. Within the Carmanian system Spol would have represented the devil and all his works, a beacon to all second age "night side sorcerers" or witches and a wellspring of texts now circulating on the black market. A little far afield but it's interesting that we mostly encounter this material at the far archaic end, close to the origin, and when societies in terminal decline reach all the way back, having exhausted everything else in the repertoire. Presumably every third age society will hit that limit in the near future so it's worth keeping your primordial origins in sight at all times where you can monitor their movements. For the earth people that's cannibal mother. It's worth wondering who exactly built the Shaker complex the pauper found. I guess they died out in the Kill and then in his desperation he reactivated it. Oh! Here's what I was going to say when the draft evaporated. We know Krarsht covets meat.
  19. Love it. The sacrifice of self to self, object and subject united on the shamanic mirror. "On that tree of which no man knows from where its roots run." HMKT works like this in some Gloranthas. Or at least the deep expression of the cult does. And great point, the economy of animism is all about those pareto superior outcomes. The spirits (metaphors) want things. I want things. I have things. I give the spirits my things and they give me spirit things. We are both satisfied. Magic happens. The character sheet is the ledger. Our conversation (around the spirit table, as it were) is the rite. There are traces of pareto destruction in fringe "theistic" cults like Bloody Tusk and Blood Sun. We know they aren't exactly shamanistic because the mirror relationship is usually absent . . . instead the sacrificer provides a surrogate who may or may not be a willing third party. Surrogates become important here in order to defer the ultimate consummation with death. Not a deal with "god." A deal with someone else you're running downhill away from. These hounds almost never belong to "love." But I've never been deep into the road of Bad Man so can't really speak to all that.
  20. Love that. On a long enough timeline every life spent in bhakti yoga is a consecration and sacrifice of one (1) human incarnation. We all make choices and all pay the bill. But one of the insights of lightbringer-style initiation is that the currency that really matters is abstracted as POW and not the commodity fetish of blood, sweat, tears, elemental reservoirs, whatever. POW is a renewable resource. When the POW is willing, you can get more done with metaphor than with rote mechanical exchange. What drops out of this? Well, a monograph on vampiric economy becomes interesting again, but not really. We all really know how a parasite works. On the other hand, efforts to deny the lightbringer sacrifice can get channeled back into the development of what we call sorcery, ritual alienated from narrative. It isn't enough for the sorcerer that we pay the god precious attention (POW) and get the fruits of POW in exchange. The sorcerer focuses on the fire we light, the words we say and the place in the forest we go. The story is just a story. Repeat the routine and something happens. With experimentation maybe you can make it a little portable even if it costs you a little efficiency. Archaic blood magic is like that. The first proto sorcerers may well have been sacrificial mothers making hard choices: something like trolls, something like scientists and something like the ritual killers they are. This is probably a temptation within the zzabur complex . . . only they say "tap." Commodify the quality and render it fungible. Blood is blood. Blood for blood. But who knows what malign psychic parasites they attract, sitting on their POW behind the scenes, hungry for it. EDIT and one of the horrible thing "witches" do is run their magic on non-renewable characteristics. Take someone's SIZ or APP to run a spell, for example, and it won't grow back under normal circumstances. You aren't asking for a few magic points or a little POW. It's cosmically inefficient, a wound in the world. But it gets their thing done. They'll trade for the characteristics they covet. If Humakt hates vampires and the beards hate a headhunter, this is what we hate.
  21. I'm sure the toxic economy ("trickle out," as it were) is a great temptation for some people, especially in the wake of the Great Winter failures and in the face of superficially compelling maize rites. If nobody is agitating for its return now, the reason might be really simple. Somebody already tried it and it didn't work. The rites needed a live Ernalda to function. She's part of them. They're part of her. Sublimated, deferred, subverted and latent in normal times, OK. But in her absence, the seeds just didn't sprout no matter how they were watered. There was no reversion to pre-ernaldite agriculture. It just broke no matter how desperate they got. They broke the law anyway and nothing happened. And now that she's back (for the time being?) the people who ran those rites are unspeakable and probably accursed. It's an interesting story that someone could tell. It tells us an awful lot about deep Ernalda. And I wonder now what strange and febrile earth cult they have in Ignorance.
  22. Within a heroquest environment there must be a theoretical Ernalda who dies and kind of relishes the relief, a kind of Bijiif or cold queen who rules in maggot country like Persephone in winter. Her economy is destructive, vampiric, toxic. In that season the Nontraya wins. She's a little bit TKT and a little bit Frozen . . . secrets of why Inora is essential to the compromise, all along in plain sight. White Princess and Snow Pixies. Of course this particular anima menace is not in vogue these days. The earth can act up all it wants, we love it, but wire mother is different. Deezola may have been the last person to struggle with this complex and what she couldn't digest stayed behind as the Spindle Hag. I don't think Great Hon-Eel even thought twice. Not her style. Where are the gorgons?
  23. Now there's a thrill factor. Sure. Anyone outraged over What Monrogh Did can always learn from the experience and do it again. A sufficiently vast POW pool is all the proof anyone needs to enforce their own canon until the cosmic-magical tide turns again. Layer enough duration on that and the tide becomes someone else's problem. This is what we call illusion magic or "glamour." So Arkat was Orlanth. OK. Is Orlanth Arkat?
  24. IMG this is the deepest of the lost mysteries of the Baroshi complex. We don't actually know a lot about archaic "Varalz" but identification of the female statues is pretty easy. I like the notion of the father being ritually dismembered after the annual rite (john barleycorn is dead) and the first man to survive was a local eurmal, who reportedly enjoyed the experience so much they never tried it again. This is an aspect of Dismember known vulgarly as the detachable penis . . . itself another deep earth mystery open to the initiated but rarely discussed. And thus Sir John in each respect, so paid them all their hire That some lay sleeping by the way, some tumbling in the mire There's a lot of eurmal drifting around the Mirrorsea. The hangover propitiatory superstitions reflect and distort these fragments like ghosts in a haunted skull.
  25. We have a game up here called "count the crosstreks." Love the talk about midnight angels and the GA analogues. Interesting how at the most "malign" depths of the witch's craft, down below all the cottagecore friendly friendly about healing herbs and the return of repressed feminine power, you get access to the Queen of Hell and she'll hand out curses like Asrelia rummaging for scraps to distract starving grandchildren. We don't talk a lot about savage earth nowadays but maybe it makes a comeback. One more footnote on Styx, I'm reminded that Subere is a big deal in the Dashomo, which must be a great story about the ways the wet and the dark interacted close to the beginning of things. Elsewhere it seems that her cult is mostly intellectual, insisting on high levels of literacy and ritual expertise. That's interesting.
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