Jump to content
Mirza

Wyter Questions

Recommended Posts

I have a decent understanding (I think) of what a Wyter is in the context of Orlanthi hill clan society, but I have questions about Wyters  if someone is willing to humor me.

How large of a community does it take to maintain a Wyter? While we have examples of tribes and clans with Wyters, can smaller communities have a Wyter, such as a family, or a small town such as Apple Lane and the surrounding area, or a neighborhood within a city? I don't expect them to be anywhere near powerful but since they are communities, it stands that they might have a Wyter.

Do non-Orlanthi have Wyters? Do for instance the Malkioni have Wyters? I think it'd be a complete non-issue for the Arkati but It would seem at odds with Rokari or Brinthini attitudes with regards to worshiping to empower their Wyter, but then again it might not be framed that way in their society and instead as a servant of the community way. How would Dara Happans differ in their treatment and worship of their Wyters?

Is the act of creating the Wyter the foundation of a community, or is it that as a community forms then the Wyter is created? Is sacrificing to the Wyter the defining act of being a part of the community, or do you become a part of the community and then sacrifice to the Wyter? Or is following this line of thought pointless, and really just nitpicky?

While Leika took her tribal Wyter, the Black Spear, with her to Whitewall to keep it outside of Kangharls and the Lunars grip, she continued to sacrifice to empower it, was it still continuing to aid the Colymar from hostile spirits and providing the tribe with magic? I don't think so since there's the whole rule about ranges and POW for the Wyter in the RQ:G book but I just want to make sure.

 

  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A wyter is the spirit of a community; if you can feel loyalty to it, you can basically have one. (Although ruleswise the bottom limit seems to be 50, with examples being a shrine, large family or vexilla.)

The best details on it are in RQ:G pages 286-287.

Even Malkioni would have wyters, although they're more likely to be in a far more subservient role. Known origins can include artificial psychic constructs, which seem a pretty Brithini thing to have as a guardian. Other examples of likely Malkioni wyters (limited to Seshnela as I know that best) would include Loronaga -- the serpent woman who protects Laraness, the Arkati demons of Arnlor, the lion-headed guardian of Fralos (who requires a noblewoman to be her priest/intercessor, rather than a wizard), the great flame of Paliros (a form of salamander?), and the totem beasts of the warrior societies.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that's what the rules of RQ:G say for a number of people to sustain a Wyter but is that actually how many people it takes or is it just a contrivance for the sake of smoother gameplay? That's why I choose a family (not a particularly large one) or Apple Lane, as they're examples under 50 iirc, though in retrospect a neighborhood is probably well over 50 people.

Sorry if that came across as a bit umm brusque, your Malkioni examples of Wyters are helpful, thank you for them.

Edited by Mirza
Adding in that last line.
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, Mirza said:

Sorry if that came across as a bit umm brusque, your Malkioni examples of Wyters are helpful, thank you for them.

Nice recovery, and now a word of warning. A question like yours could conceivably garner a 3,000 word essay on the water buffalo and how it related to other non-praxain animals and their caregivers. How can this occur? I am not to sure whether to blame a fumbled Lhankor Mhy skill or spell, a Eurmali skulking in the shadows or L-space.

In any case, forewarned is forearmed. You have come to the unknown and feared place on maps where one only finds the words, 

“Grognards Be Here”.

  • Haha 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Mirza said:

I know that's what the rules of RQ:G say for a number of people to sustain a Wyter but is that actually how many people it takes or is it just a contrivance for the sake of smoother gameplay? That's why I choose a family (not a particularly large one) or Apple Lane, as they're examples under 50 iirc, though in retrospect a neighborhood is probably well over 50 people.

Sorry if that came across as a bit umm brusque, your Malkioni examples of Wyters are helpful, thank you for them.

Don't worry in the slightest about being brusque, it's a good point.

I imagine it's just for smoother gameplay, and that any grouping where bonds of passion come into play could bind themselves together with a spirit. (Since without one their bonds would fade away.)

Just you don't usually need to worry about each small family's ancestor watching over them, or the ghost the band of thieves propitiates.

And Apple Lane is just weird.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, Mirza said:

How large of a community does it take to maintain a Wyter?

The official rules answer seems to be 'Any community with a Passion associated with it has a wyter', but that just leads to how big a community does it take to have a Passion associated with it? Especially as the rules seem to have quite a few examples of Passions focussed on a single person, so we  then have to ask what counts as a community? 

In the Hero Wars/HQ1 era a lot was made of wyters of herobands etc. I don't know if this is still going to have the same focus, but it is part of the plot of the Eleven Lights and it is clear that Sartar Magical Union regiments are wyter based (and their Lunar College of Magic counterparts). A hero band in practice could include their magical supporters of various kinds, and everyone who participates in their rites, which could easily make it exceed the 50 persons rough estimate. 

I think wyters are a natural phenomenon known through out GLorantha, but some cultures (particularly the Orlanthi, the Lunars, and oddly enough the Rokari) may approach them in an organised and systematic way that is very magically productive, others may understand them less well and it is a bit more ad hoc. A wyter with no 'priest' is less reliably useful to a community. 

2 hours ago, Mirza said:

While Leika took her tribal Wyter, the Black Spear, with her to Whitewall to keep it outside of Kangharls and the Lunars grip, she continued to sacrifice to empower it, was it still continuing to aid the Colymar from hostile spirits and providing the tribe with magic?

I don't think so, though it could act directly for the spear carrier. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think there is a strict lower limit, you could say that a shaman's fetch is the wyter of a community of one. A married couple could attract a hearth spirit. I think HeroQuest or Hero Wars had a system for creating an adventuring party's wyter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

I don't think there is a strict lower limit, you could say that a shaman's fetch is the wyter of a community of one. A married couple could attract a hearth spirit.

Or the Ernalda spell Summon Household Guardian is actually summoning the very weak wyter of a normal household. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We know of a community of six (the Lightbringers) to manifest a wyter (Ginna Jar). Granted, they may have been slightly more magically powerful than humans, but the lower limit should be in this magnitude. I don't think that a marriage between two individuals suffices to create a wyter, but I'm willing to be convinced otherwise if there is a good explanation. (A harem? sure.)

Edited by Joerg
repairing the consequences of a stuck "g" key
  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I've also been thinking lately about wyters who have worshippers below the 50 people limit. Wolf pirate penteconters can get 50 worshippers with full crew, but what happens if they get casualties? Does the Wyter become inactive? Wink out of existence? Continue as normal? Maybe I'll post about it in the official rules questions thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

A married couple could attract a hearth spirit.

This was an important concept in my Imther work - the hearth spirit is the center of a successful marriage & family (and also of course attended/enjoyed by the family cat).

2 hours ago, Brootse said:

Does the Wyter become inactive? Wink out of existence? Continue as normal?

I would say it weakens as there is less magic going to it.  Wyters, as spirits, likely have particular conditions.  Some expect regular offerings - if the offerings are insufficient then they leave. A family or crew probably makes up for a loss in numbers by having to each sacrifice more.  At some point, the situation is critical, they can't make the offerings/sacrifice, and the spirit leaves (much like if the Crimson Bat isn't fed enough). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a collective spirit of a community less than 50 in size is usually not powerful enough to have all the abilities of a wyter. But it is probably a fuzzy border - a wyter of a group that dips below 50 may gradually lose abilities, perhaps may not be able to forge a bond it its 'priest' dies, but will not suddenly stop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Christoph Kohring said:

Hic sunt grognardi in the original Dara Happan!

See, see, that’s what I have to deal with around here! Zounds and gadzooks!

Which a quick perusal on the 'net will reveal this tidbit...

Dictionary references date gadzooks as far back as the late 1600s as a shortening of "by God's hooks," a reference to the nails on Christ's cross. Zounds appears to date back to the late 1500s as a euphemism for "by God's wounds."

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Dictionary references date gadzooks as far back as the late 1600s as a shortening of "by God's hooks," a reference to the nails on Christ's cross. Zounds appears to date back to the late 1500s as a euphemism for "by God's wounds."

In other words, the Shakespearan equivalent of "Flip you, Melonfarmer".

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Mirza said:

How large of a community does it take to maintain a Wyter?

16 hours ago, Mirza said:

Do non-Orlanthi have Wyters?

16 hours ago, Mirza said:

Is the act of creating the Wyter the foundation of a community, or is it that as a community forms then the Wyter is created?

 

...and all the other questions asked!

 I wish I had answers but like you I await the wise to put in their 2 bolgs worth. Fantastic questions nevertheless, so while I anxiously wait answers I am afraid that my humour might get the better of all of us. 

Sorry.

 

Edited by Bill the barbarian
theis to their

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies and the welcome, and I wouldn't be too worried about being humorous Bill.

So looking at the responses it seems like there isn't really any minimum for Wyter save that it needs to be enough people for there to be a sense of community  (I'm not convinced by the Shaman example), and that it looks like it's more an element of being capable and willing to dedicate the magic and worship towards the Wyter that determines if a community has one.

This is sort of implying to me that the community is the part that comes first, which leads me to wonder how does the community then dissolve if the Wyter is lost? Or is that even before the Wyter is summoned/quested for there's some amorphous spirit of the community that the Wyter takes the place of?

Edited by Mirza
Grammar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Mirza said:

This is sort of implying to me that the community is the part that comes first, which leads me to wonder how does the community then dissolve if the Wyter is lost? Or is that even before the Wyter is summoned/quested for there's some amorphous spirit of the community that the Wyter takes the place of?

Obviously (to me, anyway) the relationship is symbiotic twixt a community and its wyter so perhaps while the community has power before the symbiosis, should the symbiosis be lost or broken the loss of the wyter seems to be even greater on the community than it should in an easy profit loss equation. If this is so, would that indicate that the bond must strengthen over time and possible proximity? 

21 hours ago, Mirza said:

she continued to sacrifice to empower it, was it still continuing to aid the Colymar from hostile spirits and providing the tribe with magic?

I am not sure the Colymar tribe could be considered to be under a guardian angel under Blackmor the Rabid’s (as King Kangharl of the Colymar was commonly known) reign. They did not collapse but they did not prosper which is what made me think of time and proximity mentioned above.

and cheers for the tolerance on humour!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Obviously (to me, anyway) the relationship is symbiotic twixt a community and its wyter so perhaps while the community has power before the symbiosis, should the symbiosis be lost or broken the loss of the wyter seems to be even greater on the community than it should in an easy profit loss equation. If this is so, would that indicate that the bond must strengthen over time and possible proximity?

This makes sense to me, I was perhaps over the course of reading this topic getting a bit too focused on it as a simple transaction of magic and worship between the Wyter and community, rather than thinking of the Wyter as symbiotically a part of the community.

And for the Black Spear and Colymar, I think what's more than likely happened there is that the Clan Wyters picked up the slack for the Black Spear for keeping people safe and working magic for their clans, but since the Black Spear was still the Tribal Wyter, even at a distance, there was still a sense of community for the Colymar, though it would have faded over time as the Black Spear was away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Mirza said:

how does the community then dissolve if the Wyter is lost

you've taken the community and its sense of reciprocal feeling and need - that's what makes a community - and inspired it, literally, breathed it into life as an independent spirit that you nourish quite literally. this is the smartest way to keep things safe and sane: literally grow the good health of the community with sacrifice and enable it to defend itself from attacks by witch-curses and evil spirits that might attack it as a sentient being. a curse meant to harm a community can be struck down by a self-aware being!

problem is that if you decide to use the wyter as a weapon, say, against an enemy tribe; if it dies in that conflict, slain by a sorcerer or eaten by a gibbering chaos monster, well

that's the entire community that's gone. people don't suddenly hate each other, but they have lost all sense of connexion to each other, the human link that is fostered over time as we interact, cooperate, drink together, eat together, exchange gifts, and share things. it's all instantly bleached of meaning because it was bound that spirit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gonna jump on the train of reasoning of @Qizilbashwoman above.

The French social theorist Emil Durkheim phrased religion and religious rituals as something along the lines of "the community celebrating itself." He saw the manifestation of beliefs in culture heroes, patron deities and so forth, and the celebration of these, as a manifestation of the community's fondness of its continued existence, the fondnenss of its individual members of each others (even if only an abstract sense), and effectively a mechanism through which this fondness and investment was created anew. (He put it in very much a more complex and well-reasoned way, but please bear with me).

In Glorantha, with Wyters and other patron entities, this proposition has essentially become objective reality as far as Gloranthans and its players are concerned. The Wyter acts as both the focal point of this expression of self-celebration for the community, as well as the primary mechanism by which this communal mutual goodwill is actualized.

What this means, however, is that if that the wyter is taken out of the equation (dead, incapacitated, or otherwise rendered inaccesible or irrelevant), you also lose this focal point.

This shouldn't mean, in my opinion - and unless there is some very gameified mechanic that just makes it so through magic - that the community suddenly loses its communal, mutual goodwill and cohesion, but in more prosaic terms, it rather loses the mechanism by which all these were expressed. As time passes, there is no longer any reason to gather sacrifices for wyter rituals, there is no longer an occasion to call on the wyter to help out in dire times. The intense interconnectedness of the community slowly becomes looser and looser, and less and less relevant... at some point members might feel like migrating away, or seeking association with other communities that have functional wyters.

It reminds me of something that happened in my family many years ago: back in the day, the oldest surviving grandparents used to invite all their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and their great-nephews and -nieces for a grand family gathering. It was very fun, and as a kid, this was the only time a year I would meet some of my more distant cousins, and play with them or catch up.

Then, after these grandparents passed away, there was a break in the family gatherings due to grief and loss. A half-hearted attempt to continue the gatherings followed a few years later, but it never really took off. The main focal point of the gatherings were gone, and it just didn't quite feel the same, nor did it feel as much as an obligation to turn up. It all petered out. Some were possibly put off by it due to associating the whole deal with the loss of their relatives.

This is how I imagine the less of a wyter could feel like.

The lack of protection against hostile spirits is of course a major part in this as well, but is a bit more straightforward than the social causes I've tried to outline above.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Gonna jump on the train of reasoning of @Qizilbashwoman above.

Now didn’t the both of you just say the same thing I did. Perhaps more prosaically in your case.

Seriously though the main difference entire nous seems to be myth/story and focus added onto symbiosis . Did I read this right?

cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Now didn’t the both of you just say the same thing I did. Perhaps more prosaically in your case.

Seriously though the main difference entire nous seems to be myth/story and focus added onto symbiosis . Did I read this right?

cheers

i wanted to be really clear and explicit and i felt like your answer wasn't laid out in a clear way for a newbie, i really wanted to make a clear argument/explanation

also i think it literally kills the emotions. that's the price in a magical society.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...