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Everything posted by Sir_Godspeed

  1. I mean, I get that - but I'm wary of how deliberately using the Orlanthi/Theyalan name Ernalda creates a false impression that it is literally the Heortling Orlanthi deity that is somehow more specialer and importanter than the conceptions of the same archetype (Earth Queen/Spiritual Earth Goddess) in other cultures. As we've seen on this forum, it can lead to the misconception that Solar Pelorians and who knows else goes around believing that the Storm Barbarians to their south has some kind of divinely accepted dominion over the Earth through the marriage of their storm god to the earth queen, which I think is patently ridiculous. The Earth Queen/Spiritual Earth appears in almost every culture, I'd argue, but she is not by default the Orlanthi Ernalda, nor is it a given that the special relationship between her and the Storm King which is so crucial to the Orlanthi myth cycles has to play any significant role in other mythologies. I know that most of us here mostly use the Theyalan names for the purposes of simplicity and recognizeability, and that's fine, I'm just wary of reproducing Orlanthi ethnocentrism in discussions that are in effect about comparative mythology. It's like trying to discuss the relationship between Christianity and Islam, but then consistently referring to Muhammad as Mahomet, and seeing Islam ("Mahometism") as a Christian heresy, which early Medieval Christians genuinelly thought it was. (or replace this scenario with the opposite, only using Islamic terms for Christian concepts - you get the point). For example, IF (and this is purely a hypothetical one) it DOES turn out that Dendara is released in the Gods& Goddesses of Glorantha as an Earth&Harmony goddess, and she can be mapped onto Ernalda in the same way Oria can be mapped onto Esrola, then that shows that the entire idea of the Earth Queen "leaving" the Sun Court is just true for Orlanthi myths. For Pelorian/Dara Happan myths, she clearly never left at all, and has stayed faithfully by Yelm's side all along. Now apply this to Pamaltela, for example, where the principal candidate for an instance of the Earth Queen (or Earth Witch in this case), Aleshmara, has no particular association with Air/Storm, and her daughter Faranar (the other most likely candidate for the Pamaltelan instance of the Earth Queen, making Aleshmara something more like Asrelia, possibly) is married to Pamalt, a fellow Earth Sovereignty entity. I guess my overall point is this: prioritized usage of Orlanthi terminology in a cross-religious analysis should not be accompanied by prioritized belief of Orlanthi myths. This was one of the limitations/faults of the God Learners, and we do not need to repeat it.
  2. This sort of assumes that the entity named Ernalda is somehow the "true" face of Earth. I think a better reading is simply to say that Ernalda, along with all the other Earth Goddesses are masks/instances/aspects/etc. of the overall Great Earth Goddess, like fingers on a hand, or the limbs on a body or what have you. I also think that some of the divisions we see are somewhat arbitrary. Does Ernalda (spiritual powers of the Earth) need to be separate from Esrola (physical powers of fertile Earth) or Maran Gor (violent powers of the hard Earth)? No, I think these are mainly culturally/mythically produced historical particularities. If you go into other regions, this trinity might look different, and be a binity or unity or something entirely else. This also means that the Maiden-Mother-Crone trinity can also look different, and while you put Esrolia in there, I've tended to put Ernalda in there, partly due to the sovereignty aspect (Asrelia is the former Earth Queen, after all), and Voria isn't necessarily an aspect of any physical Earth, but rather the virgin innocence that both people, animals and places can have - depending on how you look at it. Again, it's not that either is wrong or right, it's just that ultimately the answer you get depends on the question you ask. I've personally had somewhat of a fondness for the idea that Voria, Ernalda and Asrelia aren't so much different goddesses as they are the same goddess in her different age groups, or even that it's different goddesses going through the same roles ("There must always be an Ernalda") - but of course, as with the other trinities above, this differentiation is largely academic and hypothetical. They're fun to think about though. I know there's a tradition of merging Ernalda (or insert you personal choice of generic-brand Earth Queen) with Glorantha/Arachne Solara, but there is of course the issue of elementalism. It feels a bit wrong to limit the representation of the entire cosmos to a specific element. Perhaps it's possible to amend this by saying that Glorantha/Arachne Solara is an entity whose qualities refract in a number of other protective/sovereignty deities... or maybe I'm making a problem where there is none. (I personally also would like to think that Glorantha the deity and the Invisible God and possibly the Cosmic Dragon have some things in common, due to them being arguable transcendental "supra-deities" that arguably represent the collective cosmos, but I digress).
  3. That's one way to look at it. I've also heard her described as a mafioso who gets others to do her dirty work. I think, ultimately, to some extent, we should take some of her defining featured at face value, as naïve as it might seem. She is a mother. She cares for her children. Whatever it takes.
  4. That does seem to be the general gist of it, yes. Or, rather, while genders may have existed, bi-sexual reproduction was not yet the norm, which is arguably also why many of the early Darkness deities seem to procreate through some kind of mitosis or budding or whatever. Honestly, it's not like there's some mechanistic simplicity to this, but more like a general trend. The goddesses of the Ralian lakes are generally quite friendly, as is Choralinthor. There are some lost seas in the East Isles ("lost" as in they used to be more discrete but are now joined with the world ocean) that appear sympathetic in Revealed Mythologies. It seems in general that bodies of water had to be "pacified" though some means or other in order to become friendly/tolerant. No, in this case it means that the origin myth of Mahome describes how she left the Fire Tribe (ie. the Sky pantheon) to join the Storm Tribe, by following Ernalda from the palace after Orlanth killed Yelm. Elmal and Heler are other "adoptive" cults, in the sense that they are neither Storm/Air or Earth. It's.... complicated. On the one hand, Ernalda can be seen as a universal, cosmic goddess of the spiritual powers of the Earth - while in others ways, she can be seen as the local Manirian (Kethaela, Kerofinela, etc.) goddess of those properties. If you ask a Ralian, it's quite likely they'll explain why it is of course Ralia/The Green Lady who is the true cosmic goddess of the Earth. The question of whether this is just another name of Ernalda (or Esrola) is... difficult to ascertain. Certainly the Goddess Switch shows that these can't be messed with willy-nilly, but there is an underlying connection to them nonetheless. I personally don't really consider Ernalda to be anymore of a "superior" Earth goddess than any of the others. The Heortlings certainly do, but then I'm not beholden to their biases. Possibly, yes - insofar as we connect her to Entekos, imho. She is joined by deities like Molanni (daughter of Vadrus and mother of Daga, the Famine God), and Serenha (Umath's daughter, who came into being in his wake - ie. the calmer, swirling air behind the stormwind. She is also seen as the mother of Kolat's wind spirit companions, which is a bit unusual, but that's myths for you), and Brastalos (possible daughter of Kolat or Orlanth, the goddess of the doldrums, ie. the large, windless areas over the open seas in the middle of the perpetual storm around the Homeward ocean - also married to Magasta, whose body is the whirlpool in the middle of the Homeward Ocean, around which the storm circles). There is of course the potential for all of these "Still/Calm/Good Air" goddesses being the "same", in the sense that all those "Heat-in-Earth/Volcano" gods are all the "same" and all the "Land/Crop" goddesses are the "same". (And the question of what exactly that means, as mentioned above and which I realize I keep harping on about, is forever a conundrum - intentionally so.)
  5. The Lunar ideology, theology and cosmology is summarized by the phrase "We Are All Us". In its ultimate form, it's the recognition that the separation between all things, beings and states is a false structure imposed on the mind and matter due to imperfection and limitation. On a social level, it's also a slogan to legitimize Lunar proselytizing and imperial expansion. There is place for everyone in the Goddess' embrace, and within the Empire's borders. As long as you pay your taxes and acknowledge Her as the Lord of the Middle Air, of course.
  6. Chronological order? No. Narrative order? Often, yes, but not always. The Book of Heortling Mythology contains several different version of the Contest between Orlanth and Yelm, and in most of them (iirc), Ernalda is quite shocked at what Orlanth did - but then it's not clear what she thought would happen otherwise. These are from Heortling perspectives though. Esrolian perspectives are likely to present a different view - and indeed the story about Vingkot harassing Esrola and kicking away Harono (the Esrolian name for the King of the Sky) paints the Storm-takeover as Main Husband in a decidedly less heroic light. Which of these are closer to the "real" version (or if such a term is applicable, as we always return to) we can't really know. For whatever reason, the gods of the Compromise tend not to engage too much in rules-lawyering or munchkinnery. That seem more to be the purview of Illumination-centric deities/Compromise-breakers like Nysalor or Sedenya.
  7. I meant first sacrifice as in "first to officiate a sacrifice". He might not have been the first, but he's apparently acted as priest of sorts, which is interesting.
  8. This could be explained by having an interim between Umath splitting Earth and Sky and the waters invading. In that interim, swidden practice might've been useful. On could perhaps also argue that early-mid Golden Age Decapolians were less urban then their modern descendants would like to believe, but at this point we're reaching into ancient mythic time, so either can be true for all we know. But wasn't that marriage transferred to Alkor? Or am I thinking of Biselenslib? Well, not really, it's a completely different name formed from a completely different root - and in all cases it refers to Shargash in his role as the General of Heaven. It might very well be that Shadzor a different aspect/part/subdeity of Shargash, but at this point I'm equally likely to think that once Shargash returned from Hell, the Vingkotlings did not even recognize him as Jagrekriand. I'm a bit unsure of whether any Dara Happans ever use the term "Shadzor", or "Shadzoring". It's possible that the Hyalorings in Six Ages do use the latter. Am I going insane or is there some mention somewhere of Genert "inventing" theism in that he is credited with performing the first sacrifice or something? A Great Spirit practising theism isn't too farfetched, since we've got Vith, a Great God who practices mysticism (and is hardly the only one).
  9. These aren't silly suggestions at all. The current interpretation from Chaosium's side seems to be that Antirius, Kargzant, Lightfore, Elmal and Yelmalio are all variants of the "Cold Sun" archetype (Which overlaps to some degree with the Little Suns concept, though that is more wide-reaching as I understand it), that supplied light during the Storm Age, to a lesser degree during the Darkness, and the Dawn/Grey Age. Basically, insofar as any "Cold Sun" became the Full Sun, they all did, but while also retaining their Cold Sun exploits as a separate divine entity (ie. Antirius and Yelmalio are still around and can be worshipped) It's not impossible, of course, but I think the shattering of Yelm as a metaphor for the disintegration of the Empire is perhaps more apt, although not all of the Soul Parts neatly map onto any constituent parts of the Empire. Vrimak can be seen as represnting Rinliddi, but what part of the Empire is Bijiif meant to symbolize/represent? Or Berneel Arashagern? Or Kazkurtum? In addition to the portions as possible representations of the Empire's constituent parts, we have the problem that the portions of the Empire already have their respective "City Orbs", which are sometimes glossed as planets, and other times as sort of regional suns. Reladivus/Elmal for Nivorah, Shargash for Alkoth, Verithurusa/Lesilla for Mernita, etc., so it's a bit strange to double up on "regional patron deities". Perhaps a better interpretation of the shattering of Yelm is as a chart for the breakdown of the complete "Sky" rune. That works well for the Warmth, Sight and Bird portions, and even arguably Shadow (as its antithesis), but Beast? Shape? Ehhh, there is something that doesn't quite fit here too. And there is no mention of a "Light" Portion (a common variant of the Sky Rune), although Antirius (a Cold Sun) is identified as the "Sight" Portion, so maybe Light and Sight are synonymous in this case. Anyway, by mentioning this I have inevitable caused us to spin down the long and frustrating spiral of Little Suns discussions, for which I am deeply sorry. Speaking of the procession of Yelms: Is this a case of identifying what god holds the overlordship of the Sky, or to identify which god is currently the big yellow ball in the sky? Are they always synonymous?
  10. I suppose "Anglophone" was a bit too wide, I should perhaps have used "of a particular usage shaped by Medieval English semantics". Glorantha* does not really have royal privilege on hunting, nor does it have organized forestry**, and so post-Norman technical terminology on woodlands isn't hugely helpful in understanding the classification of vegetation and cartographical representation of said vegetation types. (*Nor does Middle-Earth, for that matter) (**outside of some possible cases in Esrola, heartland Peloria and Seshnela, maybe)
  11. Something that's interesting, and not touched on often enough is how the Dara Happans seem obsessed with presenting Yelm as a monogamous husband-pater familias, while we have a good deal of myths that either strongly imply, or outright state (albeit from Orlanthi sources) that he had a harem and many concubines, and may even have been properly married before being with Dendara. I think the whole "Yelm wouldn't be with [X] type of goddess" is a product of Dara Happan religious orthodoxy, and not really evident mythologically. Granted, that doesn't quite open the door for Dendara being a full-on Earth goddess, since ultimately this is a cult that needs to be accepted IN Dara Happan society, whatever kind of goddess she turns out to be. This is a massive aside, but I honestly wish Yelm had been married to Ourania or something. The Day Sky being married to the Night Sky would have had a nice symmetry to it, plus stars are nice and could have captured a basic "motherhood" theme if so desired. A sort of Gloranthan Elbereth Gilthoniel, if you will. Obviously, that's not what happened, so it's pointless to discuss, but it's been simmering in the back of my mind for a while, so I just wanted to put it out somewhere.
  12. I'd argue that the wetlands around Alkoth did not yet exist when he was a swidden god. Isn't his role in this myth that he fails and then Murharzarm has to step in with water management? Unless Shadzor is just a Theyelan mispronounciation of Shargash. Although I'd agree that whatever happened f**** him up. If we want to call that traumatized side "Shadzor", that's fine. Well, that's what the Orlanthi would say. I'm not so sure the Praxians see it like that, even if they arguably have assimilated some Orlanthi mythology. Again, as RW players and readers we are subconsciously influenced by the fact that the material we read - and which appears to us as the kind of "omniscient narrator"-style information that you'd find in a D&D Gods manual or something - is actually pseudo-in-universe texts, to a large degree based on God Learners research into divine/runic relations by way of studying mostly Orlanthi peoples. And that's not even taking into account how a lot of those God Learner texts have in turn been edited and "made safe" by Orlanthi scholars later. Pretty much the entire written catalogue of Glorantha, as best as I can tell, makes use of an in-universe perspective, even if it isn't explicitly meant as an in-universe text. It's similar to the anthropological adage that "you can't stand nowhere, you have to stand somewhere". A very valid criticism is that you can't expect a newcomer to Glorantha to understand that. It's entirely reasonable of them to assume that most of these texts are, essentially, fairly objective, straightforward texts a la D&D manuals, or even the Ainulindalë of Tolkien. I know that the writers at Chaosium have given this a serious amount of thought, and that there is currently some simplification/straightforwarding going on behind the scenes that we're not privy to. The most obvious, and most controversial one is how Elmal is just straight up identified with Yelmalio now, and done so with a pretty "objective" authoritative voice (similar to how Lodril, Turos and Veskarthan are identified to the point of the names often being used interchangeably by in-universe authors and fans alike) .Some people dislike that (including me, to a certain point), but it's undeniable that such moves will make the universe more welcoming to newcomers, and there is merit in that. You're learning quickly! XD
  13. There's been a lot that's been said, but going back a bit I want to say that I agree with the general sentiment that putting the Lunar superstrata on top of Solar cultures and putting them up against Storm cultures creates - from an aesthetic, marketing, and "optics" perspective - is a bit of a mess. I mean, when WarCraft was released, it had a nice picture of a green orc in pelts and horns pitted against a human in chainmail. Simple. Evocative. Clear. Now imagine if we had this whole thing with how the orcs were actually ruled by an ogre aristocracy that supplanted their symbols with stone-derived iconography and blood sacrifice, and actually the orc warchief was a reborn ogre chieftain whose soul was helt together by a necromantic ritual dedicated to Jim the VP of Sales and and and--- you get what I mean. Now, obviously Glorantha is not Warcraft - nor should it be because it's so much more - but there is something to be said for optical clarity. Glorantha's complexity, and it's tendency to follow the consequences of its own complexity into unexpected consequences is, to be very blunt, its greatest asset and it's greatest flaw, and I have nothing but sympathy for newcomers who feel like tearing their hair out while asking themselves why everything has to be so roundabout and convoluted.
  14. As I've said, I agree about the Orlanthicentrism, and hopefully future texts will expand upon some of this - though texts like Fortunate Succession, Glorious Reascent and Entekosiad does help paint a much more complex and interesting picture of the Pelorians (even if GRoY and FS also betray the chauvinistic imperialist attitudes of the Dara Happans which doesn't make them hugely likeable). I personally think we find "women's goddess" in almost all cultures. Sometimes it's an Earth Goddess, sometimes a Crop Goddess, sometimes it's a Horse Goddess (Gamara seems to have this role in the equestrian cultures), and some times it might be some other animal goddess (Eirithia, obvs., but also Entra/Entrula, etc.). We might have some other cases as well (maybe water or what have you, such as the Enslib godesses), not including the obvious Elder Races ones (ie. Kyger Litor and so on). I also think it's better to think of these godesses less as "the goddess of women", and more as "the goddesses of the things women do/the things that make women women". That's why we so often find a focus on how they contribute to their societies and have sacred activities, in addition to stuff like childbirth and so on. And I agree, so far Dendara has been lacking in this. @Eff, thanks for the Six Ages reference. Interesting. There's a direct quote from Six Ages (which is as close to Chaosium canon we're gonna get on this one, I think:) ""A priest from the <Rider> clan told me of an old tale he had recovered, of how Shargash the Red Demon Sun of Alkoth was once a benevolent god who brought the city fertility by burning away trees and weeds so they could plant their crops. But the storm gods made him crazy. <Interesting if true, but not very useful/This might be so, but it really won’t help us>." I personally interpret this as Shargash indeed being a god of slash-and-burn agriculture, which a) is useful before the coming of the great rivers, and b) fits with his now-destructive properties, but also c) ties into his underworld associations, as someone who uses death to bring life, and also reveals the hidden "good" seeds underneath the "bad" weeds. Metaphor for him being the crusher of rebels is tempting to add as well. If it's okay to associate Shargash with two celestial objects, then I'm all onboard with Shargash being the Sun in the Underworld, though that claim could also be held by Bijiif, Yelm's "Warmth" Portion and presumably the same entity that's called "Maggotliege" in Orlanthi stories. There's also the Egyptian way: where Shargash acts as the Sun's Guardian in the underworld, much like Set/Sutekh does for the Solar Bark. Then there's Shargash's association with Tolat, the god of war AND male fertility/virility, and who is considered the twin of the Blue Moon, which in Peloria is associated with Verithurusa, as @Eff mentions. We can arguably say that Pelorian Shargash shed the fertility and virility aspects over to his son(-aspect) Alkor, and then more purely cultivated a war-death ideal, but the connection to the Moon is a potent mystery, I think. Especially since he's credited with destroying old Mernita, I think. Hm... If this indeed is correct, then my tentative association of Dendara as a "domesticated" Dara Happan version of Ernalda might not be entirely off the mark, though I'm not sure if I like that. There are other, more interesting paths to follow, imho.
  15. I thought the Gamatae Lendarshi *defeated* the Tawari?
  16. I'd mostly chalk it up to, again, the God Learners having an Orlanthi bias in how they came to understand and know theists. The God Learners - who are generally considered to be the makers of these runic lattices and explanation models - were geographically locked off from the Pelorians, and only much later in their conquests met with Pamaltelans and Vithelans, so their primary terminology for - for example - the Storm God tends to be drawn from Orlanthi neighbors, ie. Orlanth, even though they could hypothetically have used West Wind (Pentans), or Worlath (Ralios), and so on. Now, admittedly, I'd go further and argue that in fact deities like Entekos and Ygg also have an equal claim to "owning" the Storm Rune, but again, since the Orlanthi are spread out across a larger area, and have very influential myths and worship, tend to reinforce their own beliefs in their own areas. (I've argued that Doburdun, Entekos' thundering minion/attendant god, is really just a Pelorian version of Orlanth, but tamed and largely neutered, but others insist this is a completely different entitity. Impossible to say.) To put it differently - I doubt an Orlanthi cult could just strut onto Ygg's Isles and proclaim Orlanth's superiority over Ygg with magical supremacy. I know some others disagree with me here, but that's my take on it. I'm not a huge fan of "objective" assesments of "rune ownership", which again I think feels weirdly gamey. He appears as South Rage Wind to the Storm Pentans, and I strongly believe he was the primary god of ancient Fronelan Bull peoples (Tawari, etc.), of which modern Charg is perhaps the last remnant (and will soon be released with tons of Bull Barbarians bearing down on the Lunar Empire once the Thaw reaches it, at least that's the official line). There's some question as to whether he was ever incorporated into Pelandan/Orinini culture, since the Fronelan Bull People were defeated and eventually integrated there, but so far I think maybe the most likely candidate for that - Bisos - has been identified with either Waha (as an animal killer/sacrificer) or Lhankor Mhy/Buserian (or was it Issaries?) due to priestly duties. He might've been associated with the Bull People horde that invaded Pamaltela in God Time as well, but that's also a bit iffy, and at any rate they're not around anymore.
  17. @Joerg can tell you more, but I believe the stories about Hrestol is the first stuff that was written for Glorantha - although it might not have been consciously connected to the "White Bear & Red Moon"-world at the time. I wouldn't know. This is entering a rather big debate on the "essentialism" of divine identity. For example, both Buserian and Lhankor Mhy are bearded scholar gods of their respective cultures, associated with writing and preservation of knowledge and social organization. But are they just different names for the same gods? Are they the different expressions of a shared runic or divine archetype? Are they completely separate entities doing similar jobs? This sort of thing is the source of a lot debates on Glorantha. We have similar stories for Tolat-Shargash, Urox-Storm Bull (almost everyone agrees this is the same, but rules wise they can be presented differently, which can confuse or frustrate some people), and more esoteric stuff like Lodril-Balumbasta-Veskarthan-Turos-ViSaruDaran-MonsterMan, Aether-TarnGatHa, Vith-Yelm, Govmeranen-Murharzam, some of which are generally accepted, others which might be based on in-universe confusion or just faulty reading by us, and of course the perennial thorn in many people's eyes: Elmal-Yelmalio(-Yelm). In many cases, I tend towards a mix of explanations that allow divine archetypes to reappear, but still allows them some particular identities, like the fingers on a hand all being part of a greater whole, while still being different in their own way. This brings us to the notion of "owning runes" which I personally feel is a very "gamey" concept that I've never been very happy with. The best I can say is that the scheme you find in the GtG over "rune-ownership" is that it's a God Learner attempt to chart Runic power and so on, and it's not really meant as a out-of-universe, objective document. A Fonritan or Vithelan would find it absolutely ridiculous, for example. But it might fit with a quick name swap which doesn't necessarily alter the underlying analysis. And yes, the Orlanthi are... diverse. Partly this is because of their very origin myth as being collected from the outcasts of many societies (something that both Umath and later to a larger degree Orlanth had as deliverate policies - hence the Clan Ring and Stranger Adoption as important social institutions), and partly because, well, there's a Orlanthi Player Character bias, so giving them many options is kind of a given. I can only assume that something similar can be done for Pelorians or Ralians down the line, hypothetically. I think it can be useful to think of these gods less as "the Orlanthi gods", and maybe more as "the Orlanthi notion of the Gods", if that makes sense. All fair points.
  18. I would agree for Entekos (although I would argue that a better candidate is Serenha, as a direct descendant of Umath, Primal Air), but the connection between Entekos and Dendara is multifaceted, incomplete, and still mysterious. Not a bad idea. Again, not a bad idea. We might even have two feminine ideals: the Earth Lodrilite peasant women, and the Air Dara Happan urban citizen-women. Yeah, I'm not crazy about Runic behaviour determinism, it seems more like a storytelling straightjacket than a useful explanatory tool. I'm a bit surprised to see Shargash mentioned in relation to Light thought. I know Shargash is shown attempting to usurp the Sun Path in the game, but he is generally associated with literal fire (slash and burn agriculture), or the underworld. Interesting idea, and worth exploring further - though as all things, there's definitely an overlap here, what with Solar transcendental traditions in Nysalor or Yelmalio, or Earth mystic/irrational traditions in Earth Witch.
  19. I feel like this is the version the in-universe people mostly believe, and perhaps the one the rules books give off, but I'm not a huge fan of what is essentially genetical predestination by a different name, personally.
  20. There are some who will be ready to tell you that actually the West was developed first - but that was a very, very long time ago. And while plenty of places in Glorantha are surprisingly old in terms of real-world-development, it's pretty obvious that it's Central Genertela, and the Orlanthi in particular, who've been given the most attention, and that the setting to a large extent revolves around them and their plights and ambitions. This is perfectly fine, of course, and has given us a lot of wonderful material, but that doesn't mean we can't be hungry for similar details for other cultures, however voracious that might seem. I think a useful thing to consider is this: the reason there are so many gods for the Orlanthi is because the gods of the Orlanthi have been fairly exhaustively detailed (some might say overly so, what with the scaling back of subcults), and other pantheons are likely to have not only a similar amount of gods (or more), but also have many analogous deities. We can discuss whether these deities are the same under different names or not all day, but ultimately the point is that we tend to see the same archetypes appear and reappear around the map, as it were - we just don't necessarily have as much detail about how they and their worshippers work yet. But yeah - there's a lot of female grain goddesses and earth goddesses of female femininity of womanhood gallavanting about, and it can get a bit repetitive. The Old Norse and the polytheistic Japanese had female sun goddesses, and the Egyptians had several male earth fertility gods (Geb, Min), so it's okay to switch it up. To some extent, Flamal (the Seed Father) and Lodril (The Phallic Heat-in-Matter God) serve the purpose of (earth-adjacent) male fertility deities (and then there's Baroshi, who's a grain-based godling who might become important later on, but not so much right now), so there is some variety there, but imho there's room to play around with it more. Agreed, and I strongly suspect that a) there is a lot more to her than the patriarchal "public culture" of Dara Happa might let on, while also b) some of the more ancient roots of hers are suppressed. Just some personal impressions. There are likely to be more female deities associated with Dendara or Oria about, but probably not quite to the same martial extend as for the Orlanthi. The Orlanthi, while a gendered society, does value heroism to the point of deliberately making room for female fighter heroes, but the same isn't really true for urban Dara Happa, and rural Lodrilites don't seem too into violent heroism as a cultural ideal in general (though Turos in Pelanda does provide a more active Lodrilite ideal). We do have Gorgorma (sp?), who is sort-of-similar to the Orlanthi "Gor" goddesses, in that she is a goddess of female reprisal against male wrongdoers, but she's not quite the bruiser Babeester is, and not really the domineering matron Maran is, being some kind of hooded crone with a terrifying vagina dentata if I remember correctly (and I might be remembering this wildly wrong, it's been a while). Then again, even followers of Ty Kora Tek get to smash stuff if there's undead or vampires nearby, so you could probably write up something for a Gorgormite adventurer as well. We also have Yelorna, who is either the sister of, or the female aspect of Yelmalio, but I'm not sure if her cult is active in Peloria anymore, and even so, I feel like it's one of those weirdo cults that players love talking about, but that probably does not have a huge societal impact. And then we have the river-based goddesses like Oslira herself, and the Heron Goddess. They seem like they could be a bit more proactive and arguably adventurous - and even if we look away from trying to fit every deity into an adventuring-shaped hole, we can still probably argue that these goddesses are less prone to answer to male authority. We could talk more about local deities like the Darsenites, but I get the feel that this isn't quite what you're looking for - and in all honesty, this is one of the things I don't really like about Peloria, where you have all these mentions of local deities, but with not a huge amount of unifying traditions that you can draw on for storytelling, aside from the overarching "Yelm is the Emperor" trope. All in all - for female empowerment and agency, the Lunar religion acts as the enabling trope, I think. It upends or at least lessens a lot of gender-based restrictions, and allows women to reach for positions of power and freedom to a much larger degree than before, and to make this thematically important, pre-Lunar women of the Dara Happan heartland at least, arguably have to be oppressed, which means the same goes for those cults. (or if not oppressed, at least, uh, "domesticated", which arguably is just a euphemism anyway). And before I completely forget it in this rambling about Pelorian opportunities for adventuring women: I fully agree that more details on the "lived reality" (as anthropologists put it) of Dara Happan women would be great. Their daily chores, their rituals, their hopes and ambitions and their fears and worries. Do we see great public festivals celebrating Dendara, or are these domestic, private affairs? Does the Cult of Dendara act submissively, or is it in fact a gathering place for powerful women to make influential decisions behind the scenes? Do they hold important ritual statuses that make them inviolate? Does the cult provide some societal service like charity, shelter, some cosmically important ritual that must be performed every year, can the cult be used to bring other gods in line (maybe it's the only cult that can alleviate the wrath of Yelm or somesuch notion). Are there sub-sects that have entirely subversive ideals, or is it a factor of social conservatism and fiercely competitive with Lunar deities? Do men give thanks to Dendara before eating a meal, or before putting on new clothes, or are they required to ask a woman for permission to enter the house so as to preserve Virtue? Does she help with midwifery, or does she bless tools like needles and spindles, or can she keep disease away, or increase fertility (I know Oria can), does Dendara have agents of reprisal? Does Dara Happa have some kind of pseudo-medieval chivalry thing going on where men dedicate themselves to Dendara to uphold some kind of chastity ideals until they are married, or can Dara Happan women bare their breast in moments of outrageous protest to remind their men that they have acted unvirtuous against their women, like Roman women allegedly did? The answer to lots of this is probably "no", but I've got questions, and it's good to ask them at least. I don't want Dendara to be an Ernalda-clone though. I haven't been able to see this anywhere, so I wouldn't know. This is interesting though, since we don't really know where she came from. For all we know, Yelm emanated his own wife specifically for that purpose. (Warning: heresy). Not to worry! Mine is more long-winded, and I'm not even the worse one around here, so don't think about it.
  21. Sir_Godspeed


    Weekly sounds a bit disruptive to me. Speaking as someone who's seen this kind of thing before from video game developers, it can quickly devolve into people thinking that because a week was light on news nothing was done, which is a stupid attitude, but one you have to expect. You also have to make a member of staff do this, which of course will take away from their usual work tasks, and while not necessary a huge job, can get a bit involved if it involves having to get info from different teams and different departments working with different schedules, etc. If anything, a monthly newsletter (and a short one at that, like a blog or forum post or whatever, unless there's something to actually say in length) seems more appropriate, useful, doable. EDIT: Unless someone at Chaosium who actually knows their stuff disagrees. It's not like I have any practical experience on putting this together myself.
  22. I have similar feelings on the matter, if it's any consolation. For the Emperor of the Universe, he does have a habit of being sidelined by other deities that take the limelight. Also, saying "the Storm and Solar pantheons have an ongoing rivalry" is more catchy than saying "the Storm and Solar pantheons have a rivarly, but they also settled some differences on a cosmic scale and abide by certain principles, until the Solar Pantheon was largely coopted by a Lunar pantheon that broke said principles and uh, now there's a Storm-Lunar rivalry with the Solar pantheon in tow". Okay, I'm exaggerating, but I'm thinking marketing, gosh darn it! This might very well be the point, but it does feel a little anticlimactic. Pent is the Great Genertelan Steppe. It's not an empire or state, just the wide plaines between Kralorelan and Peloria, where the horse nomads dwell. The horse nomads (Pentans) are divided into a number of tribes and tribal coalitions, and most of the hold Solar beliefs, with a strong, patriarchal Sun God in charge (usually named Kargzant, or Yu-Kargzant or whatever). The Grazers of Dragon Pass are descended from them. The people who are the Pentans in the Modern Age ruled Peloria at the Dawn, but were driven out by the Dara Happans and the Unity Council (Orlanthi+allies) allying. The Dara Happans and most modern Pelorians tend to present them as unjust invaders (and associate them with wanton murder and cannibalism) who were driven out, but if you look closer at the God Time events, the details seem to very strongly suggest that Pentans were in fact very much native to Peloria (people who escaped from the cities during various catastrophies when urban life collapsed). Since then, the Pentans have kind of been looking for ways to re-invade Peloria, and turn its fertile river valleys and irrigated fields back into grazing grounds for their horses. Sheng Seleris is the one who achieved this, for a while, and it's arguably relevant that Sheng Seleris also promoted a kind of mystic, self-torturous interpretation of Solar ideas which made him and his followers to extremely powerful, but extremely brutal, demigods. There's a minority of Pentans who worship a Storm Pantheon (the Four Winds, which includes analogues of Orlanth, Valind, Urox and Gagarth(?)), but I don't think they are politically too different from their Solar neighbors. Pentans also have a rivalry with the Beast Riders of Prax, mostly over grazing rights, and mythologically over the role of the horse. Praxians consider the horse unclean, while the Pentans consider the horse the best animal, and some Pentans go to the point of only herding horses and no other animals, whereas normally Pentans will herd cattle and (I think) goats or sheep. This rivalry is less mythologically potent than the rivalry with Peloria though, imho. I probably repeated stuff you already know, but I thought I'd lump it together for a handy quick overview in case you wanted to get a reasonable feel for them.
  23. I like this a lot. There's a saying my anthropology supervisor used to say: "Culture works a bit like this: you can try to do whatever you want, but you can't *want* whatever you want." This is obviously a generalization, but main point still stands. Basically, kids in different cultures probably grow up with a fairly good idea of what the different runes entail personality-wise, and so upon initiation, it sort of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Like Harry Potter and the Sorting Hat or whatever
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