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Everything posted by Sir_Godspeed

  1. Oh, an addendum: In thinking about the idea of sorcery as mathematics and algorithms applied to magics, as it were, and thinking of Earth cultures, I was reminded of the Bamana divination from Africa. It's a bit complicated to just explain in words, but in very short, it's a system that uses fractal patterns to produce binary code, through drawing lines in the sand or dirt. It's absolutely fascinating stuff, and apparently influenced European mathematics (although I'm not a mathematics historian, so I don't know how true that assertion is). Anyway, here's a TED talk on it: https://www.ted.com/talks/ron_eglash_on_african_fractals#t-298588 The TED talk also talks about fractal patterns, and how they can be used to introduce ideas of infinity. Just to tie all of this together: what I'm getting at is that it could be an interesting angle to have a traditional Earth-culture divination or decorative system be the origin of sorcerous practices and outlook. Once you realize that there are certain patterns that recur everywhere in nature, it's not a long shot to wonder whether those patterns can be manipulated and "translated" to each other (a "nicer" way of looking at transmutation and the like).
  2. What if Mostal and Latsom themselves were sorcers... well, not literally, of course, but viewing the universe through a sorcerous/materialist perspective? Then dwarven sorcery would precede the death of Stone and the Maker. Speaking of Cthonic sorcery... One thing that I think does speak against an Ernaldan/Esrolian/Goddess-centric sorcery tradition is that the other sorcery we know of is very objectifying (rendering/analyzing sapient entities down to their constituent inanimate parts/qualities), and often domination-seeking (Zzabur subjugating Britha, etc.). This doesn't sound like the perspective of the Goddess. There would have to be, in my opinion, some ability to recognize a more harmonious, relational perspective on the world and sorcery. Unless you're like the Dwarves who consider the world dead. But the problem is that I'm having problem differentiating such a hypothetical perspective from just shamanism.
  3. Well, they were also hunted down, murdered, and possibly magically lobotomized by the Gift Carriers, weren't they? There's also the possibility that some of their more cutting edge benefits became useless after the God-Learner systems smacked back into their previous shapes.
  4. I like the idea of a quite a few of them being the in-universe equivalent of terribly played murderhobos: just out to get awesome loot and min-max everything. The Jrusteli higher-ups would have had to grit their teeth and work very hard to convince them to make notes and observe better to create a better understanding of the mythography they explored, like a terribly frustrated GM trying to goad his players into doing at least a little roleplaying.
  5. The various dichotomies offered in the Glorantha site write-up of Aldryami myth is a bit confusing at times (the one where Belintar is the narrator, as he lived a life as an elf at some point, apparently). Certainly there's an emphasis on the various forces as impersonal rather than personal, but with a sense of will to some degree. Maker and Grower are an important pair, but in the context of Chaos and the Darkness, Grower and Taker are probably the more important dichotomous pair. The Darkness seems to have been caused by Taker going amok and ruining the balance, although I think there's some reference to Grower being imbalanced before that again. No explicit mention of Chaos, if I recall correctly, and yes, there seems to be more of a focus on barrenness and lack of necessary elements for growth over, for example, personal acts of evil, or social relations breaking down (as is important in both Orlanthi and DH myth). The Earth is emphasized as hard, the sky as dark and cold, and so on. The absence of the sun is a big sticking point in particular. Interestingly, that text, if I recall correctly, seems to hold the opinion that post-Time is a more balanced existence than the God Time, which is a curiously positive attitude for the often future-pessimist Elder Races, imho (especially considering how much the elves get screwed over by basically everyone, the poor guys). It's my general impression that the elven perspective defies the "Four Worlds" notion to a large degree, making the distinction between materialism and theism or spiritualism in particular kind of meaningless to them, as the material is inherently spiritual and vice versa, although that's purely my impression. I'm also tempted to associate High King Elf with Yelmalio/Elmal, but aside from being a watcher in the dark, I don't know how much that holds water. High King Elf doesn't seem to hold any solar or fire associations, and his ability to stay active in the Darkness can just be seen as being due to him being a Green elf, for example (is his type ever mentioned explicitly?) Man, I wish we had an elf or dwarf equivalent of the Troll Pak.
  6. I've been thinking about the mythic "integration" project of the early Theyalans of the Shadowlands more and more recently, and how it affected the Elder Races. As far as I understand, we know basically zilch about how it affected the dwarves (except perhaps motivating them towards Openhandism and possibly Individualism), very little about how it influenced the elves (Except that apparently the elves seem to have identified their sun god with the "Golden Spearman/Cold Sun/Little Sun" archetype that existed in Dragon Pass (or was this a later innovation, post-Bright Empire and Nysalor inviting Sun Dome temples? The history of Yelmalio always does my head in). What I think we know the most of is the trolls. I've noticed how well their idea of gods fits with the Orlanthi view (as a family unit with internal differences as opposed to the near-mystic emanationist theism of Dara Happa), as well as with cultic practices (individuals initiate to various patron deities). There's also the issue of how well many of their myths fit together in some regards, and how often uz (or uz-equivalent) feature in Orlanthi myths. Veskarthan being crippled and bound by Argan Argar is a notable example of mythic crossover, as is the following love affair with Esrolia. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but I'd like to know if for example the Theyalan Elder Races share the Orlanthi views of the Unholy Trio (The Dara Happans never mentions anything like them, for example, whereas the Orlanthi seem them as former tribe members), or their view of the Spike and the Cosmic Court (The DHs certainly do not see a mountain as the centre of the world, instead focusing on Yelm's Footstool in a seemingly impossible geographic misattribution, unless you consider that Yuthubars wasn't located where modern Yuthuppa is at all... although the DHs do have an equivalent of the Cosmic Court in the Glorantay). Lately I've been looking at how most "baseline" texts (ie. texts not from any obvious in-universe perspective) explain the universe, and I'm wondering if the "default" perspective on Glorantha could best be described as a mostly Theyalan one, which mythically incorporates several races, albeit with a smattering of Dara Happan terms and ideas thrown in for completion. It would be interesting to see if trollish myths from outside the old Shadowland sphere differs significantly in structure and focus. And whether elves simply choose to express their religious/spiritual beliefs in whatever terms their neighbors would understand the best. Sorry, bit of a mixed post this one. Though the "how do we best explain the inner working of a setting where the inhabitants can't agree on its inner workings to newcomers" is certainly relevant to the thread topic.
  7. I'm unsure whether they count as slaves (I've seen them described as both slaves and serfs), but the Vendref have an altered pantheon that aids them in their menial and artisanal tasks, and even one that aids in some form of heroic endeavors it seems, albeit only in the context of defending the Feathered Horse Queen (and, I assume, their homes).
  8. Well, it's either something like that or the DHs and Orlanthi have been holding on to a cultural memory for over a millennium and a half. Which isn't impossible, of course, but would probably entail that no one really knew that there was a mundane animal that the Sky Hippo was based on. The closest equivalent I can come up with would perhaps be how no one today really knows what kind of animal Behemoth was meant to be likened to. I mean, the difference here is of course that it wasn't necessarily based directly on any mundane animal, which is why it's not a perfect analogy.
  9. Seems odd for the term to be so widespread in central genertela, then. Seems like there would be other riverine animals that fit the location better.
  10. Are there hippos in Genertela? Are they in the Oslir or something?
  11. Heck, you could raise this question about Nysalor and the WCF/Bright Empire as well. Is this "falling off before enlightenment" effectively the same as Occlusion, you think? Occlusion is described as essentially being enlightened, but making the wrong conclusions from it (ie. "we are all one" becomes "everything is me"), so it strikes me as a tad different.
  12. Seems interesting, but I'm not entirely sure what made you reach this conclusion, or why it's needed at all? The alynx thing is interesting, but could just as easily be explained by the Lightbringer missionaries not bringing with them alynxes as they converted Manirian, Ralian and Fronelan Hsunchen&others into becoming Orlanthi. There's also the point that Yinkin is associated with the physical landscape of Dragon Pass/Heortland, and so his cult importance doesn't translate that far outside the local landscape - a fate possibly also experienced by Kero Fin. Certainly I would agree that Orlanth and Vingkot are mixed up a lot together. The phenomenon of "gradients" of the same lineage being conflated or divided seems pretty common for the God Time, what with ViSaruDaran-Turos, or Yelm-Murharzam, the various emperors/dragons of Kralorela, the stages of Malkion, the Earth Goddesses, etc.
  13. I must admit, I didn't really consider this event to be quite as literal as it's made out to be. There's a space between the literal and the allegorical that's quite wide and fruitful, imho.
  14. Well, one instance of it.
  15. There's also the "combat-transport" usefulness for flying chariots. Let's for example say that they can transport two or three warriors in addition to the charioteer, and put them at a place where they can ambush enemies or the likes, or exploit a weakness, or even night raids. Might be a distinct role beside the flyers the Orlanthi already have.
  16. Him being a particularly potent protector against grain rots seems plausible also. Less heroic, perhaps, but arguably more useful. They might become the Orlanthi equivalent of the Roman/Byzantine Greens & Blues chariot racing teams/ hooligan gangs/political parties Lokamaydon rode that huge lightning ram god, and he's probably not the only Orlanthi with a flying mount, so it doesn't seem without precedent. Plus, it would be pretty damn cool. Might catch on with the Charg, maybe? In addition to their overall Urox fanaticism.
  17. True, but Glorantha does run a bit more on Rule of Cool, err... I mean, Rule of err, The Myth Says Do It. Maybe the charioteer gods have some particularly potent magics to make chariots competitive. I mean, the Lunars have flying boats (Yeah, I know that's not really comparable, but hey).
  18. Great thread! Especially because it features one of my favorite themes, potential-pre-Vingkotling Orlanthings/Umathings, and Male Earth deities. There's an excellent image of Baroshi* fighting a massive chaos worm-thing inside the temple of his mother in the Guide to Glorantha. I tried looking for it online as I thought it had bee released as a preview, but regardless, the little guy is a personal favorite of mine after reading about him. Just a tenacious li'l guy holding out in one of the most chaos-ridden places. His weapon of choice, the volcanic/charged stone, is a nice touch too. (* I have a headcanon that his full title is Baroshi Barleyseed, and that Baroshi actually just means barleyseed in some ancient language or early Theyalan. Purely my own fantasy, of course, but it scratches my desire for alliteration, or redundancy-doubled names like Legolas Greenleaf) I feel like this description fits for Orlanth himself, too. His great ability is to to gather around him greatly skilled people to whom he can give specialist responsibilities. Beyond that he is good at many things, but not the best. This also applies to Pamalt as well, but that's neither here nor there (although there are a few similarities between Orlanth and Pamalt what with the ring/necklace as well). Could that be Vadrus, or some other prominent Umathing warleader, like the Chief of the Andam Horde? Or do these stars all have to be Lightbringers? Sorry, I'm not entirely knowledgeable about the Ring, and whether it's supposed to be based on Umath's offspring in general, or specifically the Lightbringers. Well, both Orlanth and Vadrus are noted dragonslayers, and Orlanth carries a Dragon's Head in many depictions, especially the newer ones I've seen. (I have a pet theory that Orlanth "stole" the dragonslaying story from Vadrus after the latter died in the Gods War, but maybe they weren't conceptually/runically separated at the point of slaying or something similar.)
  19. True. Or, well, sorta. I did my Master's fieldwork in Tamil areas, and the traditional cosmology (at least the ones usually written down: most people aren't theologians and so would struggle to give a holistic overview) has a mix of both immanent pantheism and transcedentalism. That being said, the dominant goddess in Tamil Nadu, Renuka/Yellamma (known locally where I was as Redugadevi), has a lot in common with Sedenya, having at least two separate origin myths as having been a normal mortal person. She also has Kali/Durga-esque imagery of dancing on her enemies' skulls (in the case where I was, the enemies represent diseases and evil spirits she's vanquished). In her more benevelolent aspects, she is associated with fertility and the local landscape, yup. Of course, we see a lot of other goddesses associated with Indian imagery and conventions. In fact, if I were to have a criticism against the current art direction of the Glorantha books, it's that if every goddess looks like she's been ripped off an Indian temple steeple, then it kinda a bit bland after a while. I miss the Heortlings having a more Bronze/Iron age European bronzework or woodcarving style, for example, but that's just my opinion.
  20. The Carmanian religion is essentially a mix of Malkioni and Pelorian (specifically Jernotian Pelandan) beliefs. But beyond that, if you look at the maps in the Guide to Glorantha, there is a wide belt of Orlanthi that lies next to most of the Malkioni lands. There is of course the Eight Worlds of Ralios, which I'm going out on a limb and argue were either heavily influenced by Malkioni beliefs, or influenced them in turn, since they seem to use some of the same names - but by the time of the Third Age, they've largely been eradicated or absorbed into mainstream Western beliefs, or otherwise survived as folklore. The question of Ernalda is a good one. I'm again going to go out on a limb and say that Western cosmology is pretty patriarchal and chauvinistic, so elevating a female deity to supreme godhood sits ill with it, culturally speaking. But then Hrestol introduced a fairly gender-equal structure, so I could be wrong. There's also something to be said of the association between winds and invisibility, as opposed to the very solid earth, just on a very intuitive level, hidden cthonic entities notwithstanding.
  21. Trust me, I know. EDIT: It's been pointed out to me that this response was overly defensive and snide (my description, not theirs). I apologize, I was in an overall bad mood that day, and it colored how I read the above message.
  22. I think there is an undue amount of focus on the concept of "problematicness" in this thread, at the moment. It looks to me like some people are getting down into well-worn foxholes of the contemporary American Culture Wars and shooting out pre-prepped arguments, and I don't think much good comes from just going through the motions like this. Rather, I posit this: this is fiction for a game. It's a spare-time activity we do for fun, for amusement, entertainment, and personal edification. My simple proposition is this: does the myth contribute to the entertainment and enjoyment of the people partaking in the RP-session? If it doesn't, then as a DM, I'd just axe it. I have no obligation to "faithfully represent" made-up aspects of a made-up world that acts as a bummer for people joining me in a hobby. I know some people will argue that it is important as it serves show that Orlanthi values differ from real world values - and I agree, but I'd counter by saying that a) to quite a few people familiar with history or ethnology (including RPG gamers or fantasy readers) this will be obvious already, and b) it's a made up setting, their values can be whatever the GM and players agree them to be. Now, don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying the story is bad or corrupting or will turn people into women-haters and must be censored or anything of that. All I'm saying is that if you know you have some people onboard who'd be bummed out by having to go just accept stories like these as part of their cultural canon, then ditch it. You're under no obligation to satisfy the expectations of online make-believe geeks like ourselves. Personally I think the story is interesting, and I personally think it serves an interesting purpose of showing how the Storm Gods can be assholes, and that Heortling culture is no stranger to emphasizing force over other considerations, which also highlights a lot of the other clearly brutalizing practices of the Orlanthi as a whole. But that is me as a literary and world-building fan. Again, I don't think anyone is beholden to go with my impression. To reiterate: my point isn't whether it's "problematic", but whether it promotes fun and good times for the participants, which I would think, even as an RPG novice, is the most important aspect of it. Strawmanning isn't very productive or nice. I think we both know the OP did not mean nor intend any of what you just wrote, and I think it's intellectually dishonest to pretend so. For whatever it's worth: an over-emphasis on masculine narratives and perspectives plagued anthropology and history for decades, and academic researchers spent much of the 80s and 90s trying to work out how to get better at finding female voices (it didn't magically change by getting more female anthropologists, but it's a long story). It's better now, but it's still an area that's difficult to navigate for various social and cultural reasons.
  23. Not sure about Glorantha, but there are a number of groups in the RW that practice celibacy after parturition, partly to avoid overpopulation, partly to protect the health of the woman - although it's of course expressed in mythical and allegorical terms. A fairly common practice is celibacy until the most recent baby is (at least partly) weaned, so anywhere between 6-24 months, with 12-18 months being a nice middle ground. Having several sisters who've all been pregnant multiple times and had to care for both baby and toddler - I'd personally prefer thinking that Gloranthan women get a breather too, especially if we consider a lowered rate of infant and child mortality due to magic. Aunts, grandmothers, wetnurses and thralls are all well and good, but that stuff is rough no matter the circumstances. There are also several cultures that promote a lot of intercourse during pregnancy to help the development of the child, but that's neither here nor there.
  24. Slavery and conquest aren't mutually exclusive. I know this isn't an historical example, but the Hebrew enslavement in Egypt is pretty much presented exactly like this, although the start of their (alleged) enslavement there is a bit more complicated than just being conquered. EDIT: Anyhow, there are plenty of mundane, cost-effective ways to keep slaves. Terror tactics, public torture, decimation, branding, normal (unenchanted) collars, social stigma, hostages, removal from local area, etc. etc. have all been used in real life to great effect. The odd spell here or there isn't going to make much difference, much like the odd shiv here or there doesn't dismantle the entire prison system. However, there will always be slave rebellions, and more commonly just riots. Most commonly, however, is the so-called "weapons of the weak", which is dragging your feet, purposely screwing up tasks, faking injury and so on. These are less effective in the hands of particularly brutal masters.
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