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My previous Manirian Scratchpad thread focused primarily on the Trader Princes, especially their potential Malkioni influences. This thread will be about the Pralori, the Elk Hsunchen that mark the boundary between Ralios and Maniria. This first post is going to basically be a "lit review" where I summarize what I know or can find about the Pralori in Glorantha products. While interpretation is inevitable, the amount of extrapolation in this post will be minimal. Commentary beyond pure attempts at summary will be italicized. Here is what I know from the Guide to Glorantha and Blood Over Gold. Is there anything else from Glorantha I should make sure I read / know. I don't pretend to have a comprehensive uderstanding of the Hsunchen. The Guide to Glorantha (I am treating this as the hard parameters to work within) General Hsunchen Culture Chapter All Hsunchen are hunter gatherers Many Hsunchen believe they were once animals or have animal souls A core shamanic responsibility is help people reconnect with that spiritual heritage Hsunchen have no hereditary status; at least in principle, one's success in life is about their personal actions. Matrilineal extended family networks are the primary form of social structure Social structure mirrors their animal Law has not been formalized Raiding is common, full scale war is very rare. Religion focuses on great spirits, local spirits ,and ancestor spirits Maniria Chapter The Pralori conquered the Entruli that survived the sea's sinking of The Sweet City I THINK this occurred before the Dawn? The Vathmai / Theyalans "liberated" the Entruli in 115. They sell their services as elite cavalry to the Trader Princes During the Second Age, they ruled Gualal and they were allied with the Lopers They are viewed as proud, arrogant, vicious, and fearsome. Both their warriors and shamans have a reputation for being powerful. This chapter tends to frame the Pralori as villains. The Pralori collect a toll from the Trader Princes at Highwater, and Highwater is the primary place to find & hire Pralori mercenaries The Pralori have grown wealthy off caravan tolls While they are nomadic hunter-gatherers, they use bronze and other goods from "civilized" societies much more than most Hsunchen. A Praloran Serpent Dancer (Shaman?) kidnapped Castelein's half-elven daughter, who was then rescued by Stephon. The motivations here will be fun to unpack The (human) Pralori ride their elk Other Chapters Time chapter Maps suggest Aldryami controlled what is now Pralorela at the Dawn, with the Pralori being in control of what is now Ryzel and sunken lands. There was a brief period of time where the Middle Sea Empire controlled Pralorela, creating a continuous overland route from Ralios to Maniria within the GL Empire. Ralios Chapter Pralori are confused with the Alekki Moos People, Cuz Big Mammals with Antlers? Pralori are less secretive than most Hsunchen Blood Over Gold (potentially useful non-canon) Pralorela also has a Damali Deer People population Elk totems among Wenelians suggest virility, dignity, and sensing danger Their shamanic tradition comes from Desdoval Antlerman Rites of passage involve awakening the Elk within, and symbolically integrating hunter and pray into the one, human Pralori I have NO idea: Is the hunter-hunted unification a common trope among other Hsunchen? Pralori can become elk. The unit is the herd gender egalitarian, until there's a formal meeting, and then the dominant male stag has final say Each herd has a bachelor herd of unmarried, young, male warriors Goal: win acceptance into the herd proper, or capture enough women to start their own herd Pralori mercenaries and bandits are usually bachelors Each herd has its own territory Pralori wander well beyond Pralorela Saint Caselein originally set out across Maniria to acquire a "Falangian Diamond" as a ritual tribute to "The Iron Elk." This doesn't really make sense given what is in the Guide regarding Castelein and the Pralori The Pralori supported Palangio / The Bright Empire / Nysalor / Gbaji Bastis is presented as being allied to the Pralori The Pralori conquered the Entrulings during the Silver Age Castelein was a master of ritual gifting / trade, and this is how he got through Pralorela
In the Kitori thread, I voiced my disagreement about how the Hsunchen magic is treated in RQG, but I think this warrants a thread of its own rather than cluttering the Kitori discussion. According to the Bestiary, a complete wolf run (outside of the mandatory, chaotic change on Wildday) for exactly one hour consumes eight rune points. Even if all of these can be regained each Wildday, that is an awful lot of Telmori (or Rathori, Damali etc.) completely unable to take their animal shape at all.The partial transformation rule makes sense for the Basmoli, since they worship a dead god (spirit) and have a harder time to be like their ancestor. There are Hsunchen who probably don't make much use of the full transition, like the stag-riding Pralori. I would expect quite a lot of the smaller beast-totem Hsunchen like the Damali or the porcupine ones to rely on their beast shape as a way to escape dangerous situations. Doing so with a partial change might apply in some cases, but doesn‘t really capture their two-shaped nature. How could this be done differently, and preferably without breaking the rules in the Bestiary? One way might be an additional animist method – an allied (ancestral) spirit or a charm able to provide the toggling effect. Possibly limited to a magically attuned environment? The average Pujaleg visiting a Fonritian city shouldn’t be able to take off as a bat on a moment’s whim at low cost, unless it is one of the cities under their control in Laskal. I would like to see other suggestions or work-arounds.
When discussing the Rhino tribe of Prax, I noticed that there are a number of beast folk forming human-shaped societies rather than their totemic beast's solitary life-style. For the Rhino Tribe of Prax, the problem is solved by the magic of Waha's covenant. According to @David Scott, by entering a Covenant herd the rhinos stop behaving like the solitary behemoths they are and become a flock of bad-tempered individuals tolerating others of their kind within looking distance (i.e. very close by). Which places all of the concerns of how the society adapts to the human/beast bond on the herds. How is herd leadership arranged? What about mating rights? Do you get bachelor herds for excess males and "queen cow"-led herds of females with a stud? Another difficult case are the Rathori. Bears are solitary beasts requiring quite a bit of territory to feed their bulk and get some fat for the winter. The only occasions that bears come together are salmon season or (in case of the non-Gloranthan Polar Bears) waiting for the sea to freeze over. If the Rathori pair up with bears that don't change into humans, they'll need lots of territory. Even the few people sharing a tent are way more social contact that a wild bear would tolerate. Both with Rathori and Telmori, the human organisations appear to institutionalize the pup groupings under a mother (bear) or a mated pair (wolves). (The old myth of wolf packs having alpha males and non-related adults accepting that leadership results from observations of an artificial pack in captivity.) Pup behavior allows adults to remain with their leaders instead of taking off on their own. The result of this behavior of wolves in our world was the domestic dog - with some selective breeding to adapt the dog to the human signals, which isn't required among the Telmori because they have learned the wolf signals. Still, a pack of non-man-shaped wolves accompanying a Telmori group will behave much different from feral wolves. A group of bears in Rathori company must be in it for the salmon, or whatever other goodies the humans have to offer. The human-beast bond with one specific totemic beast is another unusual relation. For most Praxians this is their personal mount, which may be awakened as an allied spirit by those strong enough in magic. Praxians, Pralori, Mraloti (?), Galanini and presumably the moose-, yak- and reindeer hsunchen form a rider-steed connection. (Thankfully the Telmori don't...) The steed benefits from an extra pair of eyes and weapons to defend it from predators. (Benefits for the riders should be obvious.) Communication between rider and steed is mostly tactile. A Sartarite riding a Praxian herd beast will have a lot less control over and communication with his steed than a Praxian riding his totemic beast - something of a problem for the mothers of the unicorn tribe, too - they get to ride the (step-?) mothers of their unicorns, or prospective heifers for mating. Makes me wonder how a "cattle" raid by unicorn riders works out - the unicorn stallion singles out a heifer, impregnates it, and makes it follow him to the waiting women who welcome it into their herd? Steeds (or beasts of burden) don't get to exhibit much of a feral beast's behavior while serving their humans. How much of a nomad's day is dedicated to letting his steed vent out it animal instincts, rolling in the dust (or mud), lazing around chewing cud or socializing with the other herd beasts? The Telmori brother bond between human and wolf is another highly artificial behavior. The Basmoli of Seshnela appear to have had a similar bond, so I would guess that the same pattern can be found with leopard, tiger or Andrewsarchus hsunchen. The term "brother" indicates a litter-mate relationship without any of the partners in a superior role, or a situation where yearling or older siblings take care of their cubs (which role division may flip back and forth between four-legs and two-legs depending on the challenge they face), at least with pack predators like wolves or lions. With tigers, it could be an emulation of the mate bond. I wonder what visiting a camp of wolverine hsunchen (after befriending at least one of them) would feel like.