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"Let's talk a little bit about Your Glorantha Will Vary (YGWV)" by Ian Cooper

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@JonL I must have missed something -- AFAIK most of the revisions were done before SKoH, no? (note that I have the 2nd edition only)

I don't see much contradiction between SKoH/SC and GtG, GS, and RQG. If anything, RQG just brushes the surface, only mentioning basic facts about Sun Dome County and not much else. The other books, from SKoH to GS, seem consistent with Elmal being the previous Orlanthi sun god and having been mostly replaced with Yelmalio by the 1620s. According to Jeff's recent post on what to expect for the upcoming Cults of Glorantha on this subject, Yelmalio becomes the prominent sun deity by the 1550s, actually. Runegate being well older than that, it doesn't seem like it's in danger of being retcon'ed... and since it's not like Elmal's cult has been completely wiped out (he will be a sub-cult of Yelmalio mechanically speaking for RQG), it could be that Runegate is his main worship place in Dragon Pass.

The bit about what "What Sartarites think" about Yelmalions can still be valid, too -- after all, most Sartarites' grand-parents had friends and families worshiping Orlanth's buddy, and then got gobbled up by some weird vegetarian cult and moved away to do entirely un-Orlanthi things. I'm sure that even after less than a century, they still all think that was weird and messed up, and are still grumpy about it because they lost a useful associated cult in the process.

I didn't quite get your problem with population numbers though. Those also look more-or-less consistent, with most Yelmalions in Sun Dome County, and bunch others in Vantaros.

Edited by lordabdul
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About the differences in Runes between publications, I can understand the frustration -- I don't mind it too much because I see runes more as a game-system mechanic than an "in-world" thing (I mean, runes "exist" in Glorantha obviously, but so does "charisma" and "ability to swing a sword", and those end up represented differently between HQ and RQ). If anything, the problem here IMHO isn't so much the change, but the inability to set the runes in stone, so to speak, because they're still partially driven by gameplay considerations.

Edited by lordabdul

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10 hours ago, lordabdul said:

I didn't quite get your problem with population numbers though. Those also look more-or-less consistent, with most Yelmalions in Sun Dome County, and bunch others in Vantaros.

I thought just like you, but now @Jeff has released a sketch of Jonstown for a forthcoming product & it includes a temple to Yelmalio. He has also hinted that each major city of Sartar has got one.

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24 minutes ago, Christoph Kohring said:

I thought just like you, but now @Jeff has released a sketch of Jonstown for a forthcoming product & it includes a temple to Yelmalio. He has also hinted that each major city of Sartar has got one.

And those temples will have shrines or better to Yelmalio in his Elmal role.

And yes, where there are no major Yelmalio temples in the rural neighborhood, you will find a Yelmalio temple in a city. Probably a quite modest place, even though the typical worshipers of both Elmal and Yelmalio tend to be carls or thanes.

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11 hours ago, lordabdul said:

@JonL I must have missed something -- AFAIK most of the revisions were done before SKoH, no? (note that I have the 2nd edition only)

There have been myriad changes to the setting over the decades. What I find frustrating is the retcons that contradict the select works that Moon Design explicitly put forth as the foundation for new materials going forward. 

11 hours ago, lordabdul said:

The other books, from SKoH to GS, seem consistent with Elmal being the previous Orlanthi sun god and having been mostly replaced with Yelmalio by the 1620s...

SKoH and SC are both set only a few years before RQG, and the picture they paint of the Sartarites perspective on the whole thing is materially different from what we are getting now. @daskindt lays it out pretty thoroughly in this post. Whether one prefers the new approach or not is a matter of taste, and Jeff has certainly earned his position as the one whose taste guides what goes in the books many times over, but let's not pretend that contradictions and revisions/retcons to the HQ2/G era materials aren't being made.

11 hours ago, lordabdul said:

I didn't quite get your problem with population numbers though. Those also look more-or-less consistent, with most Yelmalions in Sun Dome County, and bunch others in Vantaros.

The new assertion that "Yelmalio is the Sun God of Dragon Pass" and Elmal is some minor niche cult (in addition to contradicting the many things daskindt sited) is out of step with 1kE:3kY in that if perhaps 2/3 of that ~3k is in Sun Dome County, and half of the rest are in Alda-Chur, that leaves ~500 Y's scattered around everywhere else. If you similarly put half the E's in Runegate, the balance most places that aren't a stronghold of either cult starts to look about 50/50. Change my distribution assumptions and you can reasonably still say 2Y: 1E most places if you like. However, if you then add Redalda's ~1k initiates to the Elmal-is-our-Sun-God side of the scale (because ain't no Redalda daughter gonna put up with Sun Dome misogyny) you've definitely got at least as many E+R  as Y initiates anywhere that isn't a Yelmalio strongold, and probably more.

Who then is the Sun God of Dragon Pass?

Further ~1k initiates across Sartar isn't small for any cult that isn't Orlanth or Ernalda. SKoH also counts Humakt, Lhankor-Mhy, Urox, and Yinkin as having ~1k initiates, and we never hear about how they can barely staff a shrine or are inconsequential to the cultural landscape.

Let's not further side-track the discussion of changes to the setting in general with E:Y particulars though. For the purpose of this thread, it's enough to say that it represents a change to how Sartarite culture and religion had been portrayed in recent materials. (We can awaken the thread I linked to above, if you'd like to go further down the sun god road.)

Edited by JonL
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6 minutes ago, JonL said:

There have been myriad changes to the setting over the decades. What I find frustrating is the retcons that contradict the select works that Moon Design explicitly put forth as the foundation for new materials going forward. 

SKoH and SC are both set only a few years before RQG, and the picture they paint of the Sartarites perspective on the whole thing is materially different from what we are getting now. @daskindt lays it out pretty thoroughly in this post. Whether one prefers the new approach or not is a matter of taste, and Jeff has certainly earned his position as the one whose taste guides what goes in the books many times over, but let's not pretend that contradictions and revisions retcons to the HQ2/G era materials aren't being made.

The new assertion that "Yelmalio is the Sun God of Dragon Pass" and Elmal is some minor niche cult (in addition to contradicting the many things daskindt sited) is out of step with 1kE:3kY in that if perhaps 2/3 of that 3k is in Sun Dome County, and half of the rest are in Alda-Chur, that leaves ~500 Y's scattered around everywhere else. If you similarly put half the E's in Runegate, the balance most places that aren't a stronghold of either cult starts to look about 50/50. Change my distribution assumptions and you can reasonably still say 2Y: 1E most places if you like. However, if you then add Redalda's 1k initiates to the Elmal-is-our-Sun-God side of the scale (because ain't no Redalda daughter gonna put up with Sun Dome misogyny) you've definitely got at least as many E+R  as Y initiates anywhere that isn't a Yelmalio strongold, and probably more. Who then is the Sun God of Dragon Pass?

Further 1k initiates across Sartar isn't small for any cult that isn't Orlanth or Ernalda. SKoH also counts Humakt, Lhankor-Mhy, Urox, and Yinkin as having ~1k initiates, and we never hear about how they can barely staff a shrine or are inconsequential to the cultural landscape.

Let's not further side-track the discussion of changes to the setting in general with E:Y particulars though. For the purpose of this thread, it's enough to say that it represents a change to how Sartarite culture and religion had been portrayed in recent materials. (We can awaken the thread I linked to above, if you'd like to go further down the sun god road.)

SkoH and SC represent my half-way house between the Issaries material and where we wanted to move things. I'd do a revised edition before I'd want to reprint them (they are all long out of print). If I was going to do that now, I would say that in Sartar (which includes the Far Place and Sun Dome County for this purpose) about 5% of the population worship Yelmalio. Humakt about 3%. But 34% are members of the Orlanth cult and another 34% members of the Ernalda cult. Wait - that is exactly what the Cults Book says!

So why didn't we just go whole-hog in SKoH? Well, at the time Greg and I thought that would be too abrupt a change after all the changes introduced by the HW material. The Issaries material more or less eliminated Yelmalio - which was not what King of Sartar's essay on making gods said at all. It also introduced Doburdan as a wide-spread cult in Dragon Pass - which is also gone. In fact, other than on the God Wall, I am not sure Doburdan is even mentioned in the Guide and makes no appearance in TGS or RQG.

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6 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Doburdan

Doburdan has his place in Peloria but he's not appropriate to match against Orlanth. At least Yelmalio v. Elmal is not a case of "one is the asskicking king of the gods and the other is a mild thunderstorm son who would barely make the cut as a Thunder Brother and doesn't even have any myths"; Elmal had (has YMWV) a role and a story and even a rivalry/brohood with Heler over the yearly marriage to the goddess.

... if I'm mad about Elmal being deleted it's because I like Elmal and his myths. Yelmalio and his followers are misogynists, also Lunar- and Solar-adjacent, also tied to Nysalor, and run giant slave plantations. Also, he's BORING. I struggle to understand the appeal to Storm peoples. I really do.

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13 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Also, he's BORING. I struggle to understand the appeal to Storm peoples. I really do.

Pretty, shiny, wargod. Orlanth took his father's wife and pretty much rubbed it in his face. He is the not very dangerous Sun.

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27 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Also, he's BORING. I struggle to understand the appeal to Storm peoples. I really do.

I don't have the 25+ years of gaming history that makes me have any stake in this whole affair, but I partially agree with that statement. I don't find Yelmalions boring (I actually find them super interesting), but I do have problems figuring out how you jump from an Orlanthi society over to the Yelmalio cult. That's fine if Yelmalio is a fringe cult in Sartar, it would be a bit like "hey did you hear? Cousin Fargrar cut his hair and joined those weird people over by the yellow dome temple" -- the Dragon Pass equivalent of learning about somebody you know joining the Scientology or the Rajneeshpuram... but there has to be something more to it if the Yelmalio cult is a lot more prominent than that. 5% is a big chunk of the population.

Edited by lordabdul
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Elmal has not been deleted. The myths of Elmal are still there to be quested in, and there are Yelmalio worshipers who regularly access and use them.

There have always been tribal Yelmalians in Sartar since the arrival of the Dinacoli. The Pelorian Orlanthi had been worshiping Yelmalio when they re-settled Dragon Pass, and only the Quivini and possibly a few Vendref may have worshiped Elmal inside the Pass. I used this fact for a scenario I wrote for the dragonewt issue of Free INT (the first of several fanzines and con booklets which used Dan Barker's great dragonewt image for a cover) and which was later translated for Tradetalk.

There are tribal Yelmalians which can only dream of having slaves to work their fields for them.

The appeal to Storm peoples is limited. They turn to their local sun worhshipers of whichever kind to impersonate their solar enemies from myth whenever they prepare a re-enactment (or This World heroquest), and they don't mind much which one they ritually beat up. They also often are pre-selected as home-guards rather than going forth to join in the taking of plunder, and only their role as horse-thanes may allow them to tag along. (They form the various horse archer units you find in the Sartar Free Army and probably also in the Cavalry Corps.)

These necessary but rather thankless jobs haven't changed since Monrogh emancipated the Elmali.

The horse archer (and light lancer) Yelmalian is as typical for the cult as are the phalangites, everywhere except in Prax where they don't have (enough) horses and make do with nomad allies. Kuschile Golden Bow is almost as present among the horse Orlanthi as he is among the Pentans or Grazers. Maintaining a horse requires quite a bit of resources, excluding your average cottar from this version of Yelmalio more than from the phalangites who may make do with a helmet, some Linothorax and a great shield.

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It's a different thing for everyone.

I love fairy tales and mythology and dreams and sharing laughs. My games reflect that.

Others who are diehard fans skew more toward a rational humanist approach where they deconstruct the more mundane concrete elements of the cultural interplay within the setting.

Neither approach is "correct" because it's a subjective thing.

The way my mind and games work means I would absolutely love books coming out the woodwork that were contradictory and filled with dream logic. I don't care about what kind of food Heortlings eat in the dark months...the players will fill that blank in themselves 99% of the time anyway. I also could not care less if the descriptions of Khorst over two books describe something radically different...it's not like at the game table you are describing only the things you have read in the books and are rigidly sticking to those descriptions. 

One of the ways I come up with Glorantha fun is by flipping to a random section of one of the reference books and zeroing in on something I like. I don't care who/what/when/where/why/how it comes from in the established lore, it will fit nicely right where the characters find themselves currently.  Or I do this with a fairy tale I am reading, or something I saw outside of work yesterday or something a friend told me about a movie they saw as a kid. 

The books are written for the rationalists, and there is no getting around that. The neat thing about this hobby is you can choose to read a book and apply its knowledge in a rational manner and you are doing it right. You can also just randomly pick and choose whatever the hell you want and do as thou wilt. That's the correct approach as well. I would love to be proven wrong, but I don't see any dream logic random contradictory scattershot publications coming down the pipeline any time soon. It's easier to dismantle and rearrange to taste a logical book that's part of a logical line of publications than apply order to a giant mess of thought diarrhea. It's also way easier to sell the books that are linear, and that's the bottom line.

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Glorantha is one bubble of many within an infinite ocean of Chaos. There are doubtless other bubbles of order, some almost indistinguishable from canon Glorantha, some very different.

Every time a GM starts a new campaign set in Glorantha, one of these bubbles emerges from the inchoate void.

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1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

I don't have the 25+ years of gaming history that makes me have any stake in this whole affair, but I partially agree with that statement. I don't find Yelmalions boring (I actually find them super interesting), but I do have problems figuring out how you jump from an Orlanthi society over to the Yelmalio cult. That's fine if Yelmalio is a fringe cult in Sartar, it would be a bit like "hey did you hear? Cousin Fargrar cut his hair and joined those weird people over by the yellow dome temple" -- the Dragon Pass equivalent of learning about somebody you know joining the Scientology or the Rajneeshpuram... but there has to be something more to it if the Yelmalio cult is a lot more prominent than that. 5% is a big chunk of the population.

Yelmalio's myth is a powerful one - he held out against the Darkness and his light never went out. He aided humanity, elves, and others survive the Great Darkness when all other gods were dead. He was no more shiny shield of the god who broke the world - Yelmalio stood fast for what was true and just, and never gave up. He grants his worshipers power and contact with the Sky and the Golden Age. He is one of the husband protectors of Ernalda, and although Orlanth ambushed him and stole from him, Yelmalio willingly aided Orlanth in the Great Darkness. He suffered so we might live, and the other gods acknowledge that. Yelmalio is the Last Light in the Darkness, the friend of mortals when all other gods are gone.

When Orlanth's actions are just and right, we support him. When Orlanth's actions are selfish and destructive, we oppose him. We are constant and true - like our god Yelmalio. 

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Just now, Jeff said:

Yelmalio's myth is a powerful one - he held out against the Darkness and his light never went out. He aided humanity, elves, and others survive the Great Darkness when all other gods were dead. He was no more shiny shield of the god who broke the world - Yelmalio stood fast for what was true and just, and never gave up. He grants his worshipers power and contact with the Sky and the Golden Age. He is one of the husband protectors of Ernalda, and although Orlanth ambushed him and stole from him, Yelmalio willingly aided Orlanth in the Great Darkness. He suffered so we might live, and the other gods acknowledge that. Yelmalio is the Last Light in the Darkness, the friend of mortals when all other gods are gone.

When Orlanth's actions are just and right, we support him. When Orlanth's actions are selfish and destructive, we oppose him. We are constant and true - like our god Yelmalio. 

Personally I find becoming a Humakti to be more like joining the Rajneeshpuram. "All you need is Death!" "I am the End of Things!" "I have no need for my left-arm, for all I need is my sword arm!" "Reject the material world and become the True Sword of Death!"

Man, cousin Sarostip is going on again, isn't he?

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39 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Yelmalio's myth is a powerful one - he held out against the Darkness and his light never went out. He aided humanity, elves, and others survive the Great Darkness when all other gods were dead. He was no more shiny shield of the god who broke the world - Yelmalio stood fast for what was true and just, and never gave up. He grants his worshipers power and contact with the Sky and the Golden Age. He is one of the husband protectors of Ernalda, and although Orlanth ambushed him and stole from him, Yelmalio willingly aided Orlanth in the Great Darkness. He suffered so we might live, and the other gods acknowledge that. Yelmalio is the Last Light in the Darkness, the friend of mortals when all other gods are gone.

When Orlanth's actions are just and right, we support him. When Orlanth's actions are selfish and destructive, we oppose him. We are constant and true - like our god Yelmalio. 

I hope the Gods book contains more insights like this, really useful for GM's and player to grasp the essence of an ideology - not just worship this god and you get these spells...

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1 minute ago, Psullie said:

I hope the Gods book contains more insights like this, really useful for GM's and player to grasp the essence of an ideology - not just worship this god and you get these spells...

In the Cults Book, the main myths of each god are presented. Personally I was surprised how noble Yelmalio's myth turned out to be.

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^ Yeah, I can never quite square all the talk of justice with Sun Domers' misogynistic mercenary serf-oppressor ways.  

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22 minutes ago, JonL said:

serf-oppressor ways. 

they're slaves, and the field-slavery kind: their children are born into slavery. and they are also a specific ethnic group: the kitori, the human group who lived with the Only Old One when he was the protector of the interspecies alliance (the First and Second Councils). The OOO gifted them with Darkness, although it's unclear exactly how it works, the Yelmalions have declared they are slaves until they are Darkness no more (i.e. forever).

they also have serfs and other kinds of slaves as well.

Like, if you could pick a more obvious target for being an asshole, it's to specifically target and ban the religion of the Hero who saved and protected non-DH humanity before the Dawn and then went on to create and maintain the World Council of Friends, then continue to protect them until Belintar murdered him.

Remind me why Orlanthings would side with the people who literally enslaved the protectors of the first Theyalans, and who continued to protect Esrolia and other Orlanthing regions until Belintar?

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

they're slaves, and the field-slavery kind: their children are born into slavery.

 

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Remind me why Orlanthings would side with the people who literally enslaved the protectors of the first Theyalans, and who continued to protect Esrolia and other Orlanthing regions until Belintar?

Interestingly, RQG doesn't mention any of this, and actually even says that the Sun Dome Templars are "surrounded by hostile Orlanthi tribes" (p108). So maybe the situation is not what we think it is -- although surely that opens up some questions about what exactly made the Elmal cult decrease.

Equally interestingly, the ergeshi (those ex-Kitori people serving the Sun Dome templars) are pretty much only mentioned in 2 places: an "in-character" document from the Jonstown Compendium in SKoH (p254) and an example encounter in SC (p139). Most of the real background on ergeshi is in Wyrm's Footnotes 15 only AFAICT. It seems heavily inspired by the helots, the Spartan serf/slaves. I wonder if this aspect of Yelmalio's cult will be swept under the rug in forthcoming books, or if the story of Elmal initiates converting to Yelmalio will get all the more complicated and interesting...

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On 9/12/2019 at 10:52 AM, Akhôrahil said:

1) While it's inevitable that your setting will vary, the "YGMV" response can be seriously annoying at times. One of the reasons I GM in an established world, is so that I don't have to make everything up on my own. If someone asks a question about something in Glorantha on the forum or in social media, replying "Oh, just make something up, YGMV!" is eminently unhelpful and derailing. I know I can do that - the fact that I asked means that I'm interested in the "actual" answer. 

Does that really happen much? Sure, someone might say such a thing now and then, but usually there are useful answers along side it. And most of the time it's when there are competing theories and someone just says it to cool down the heated debate. I see that as a good thing. Sometimes, there isn't a clear answer. YGWV.

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2 hours ago, JonL said:

^ Yeah, I can never quite square all the talk of justice with Sun Domers' misogynistic mercenary serf-oppressor ways.  

They probably make the same sort of rationalising mental gymnastics that the many idealistic signers of the US Declaration of Independence who were slave owners did.

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3 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

they're slaves, and the field-slavery kind: their children are born into slavery. and they are also a specific ethnic group: the kitori, the human group who lived with the Only Old One when he was the protector of the interspecies alliance (the First and Second Councils). The OOO gifted them with Darkness, although it's unclear exactly how it works, the Yelmalions have declared they are slaves until they are Darkness no more (i.e. forever).

Yes, the Kitori are a different race (at least, IMO a different species).

The very same Kitori acted up all overlordly and oppressive just outside of living memory (the last people with a normal life span who may have first-hand memories of the Kitori wars are dying now).

For comparison, the Kitori wars under not-yet Prince Tarkalor are as far in the past as the second world war is from our time.

 

3 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

they also have serfs and other kinds of slaves as well.

Most Heortlings do - the Hendriki are notable for not endorsing thraldom.

 

3 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Like, if you could pick a more obvious target for being an asshole, it's to specifically target and ban the religion of the Hero who saved and protected non-DH humanity before the Dawn and then went on to create and maintain the World Council of Friends, then continue to protect them until Belintar murdered him.

You mean Big Government, the recipient of those outrageous tributes that would come as tributes in kin when bad times made regular payments difficult?

The Kingdom of Night wasn't much of a centralized state when compared to Dara Happan emperorship, but it claimed quite a big portion of the production of the constituents - some of it for re-distribution, as forced trade, but quite a lot to maintain the tribute-collecting Kitori shape-shifter tribe. The Heortlings had a quite passionate exit from the Union headed by the Only Old One. The Hendriki maintained their independence from the Kingdom of Orlanthland by continued payment of at least some of those ancient obligations, and avoided being caught up directly in the EWF, as did Dark Esrolia, but the OOO wasn't that much of a help against the invaders/conquerors from Slontos.

 

3 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Remind me why Orlanthings would side with the people who literally enslaved the protectors of the first Theyalans, and who continued to protect Esrolia and other Orlanthing regions until Belintar?

Yes, why would the GOP not receive the full support of the descendants of the slaves they liberated? Why don't the descendants of the Anglo-Saxons maintain free migration from their ancestral homelands into their current ones? And why are the once most ardent defenders of the Roman papacy in England no longer the model state of catholic christianity in Europe?

Because of history going on.

Good things happened from interaction with the Kitori, but bad things happened, too. After the Gbaji Wars, the Heortlings had to deal with unreasonable Shadowlords, and the Tax Slaughter was the quite justified reaction to accumulated cleptocratic oppression by those who wore the lead masks and dark cloaks of the Kitori. They also used foreign (Arkati) magics.

Paying the Shadow Tribute never was popular. Nobody likes trade deals rammed down their throats, obligating them to let stuff into their communities that they have no real interest of receiving.

Esrolia doesn't matter that much to Heortlings, except during the times they managed to rule parts of it (the Adjustment Wars that followed the collapse of the EWF and the Closing). And why should the tribe that betrayed the Vingkotling dynasty and destroyed the last great Chaos-foes in the Greater Darkness through foul murder invoke feelings of friendship with the descendants of the Vingkotling tribes?

 

The Theyalans share some united history and culture, and Esrolia is about as populous as the sum of the Heortling tribes (including the Lunar Provinces of Heortling descent). The Quivini have a more recent reminder of the Esrolians being murderous to their heroic dynasties, with the death of Sarotar. They probably cheered at the news of successful assassinations of the queens and grandmother of Nochet.

The Kitori wars fell into this period of enmity between Sartar and Esrolia. Every clan that had made the migration into Quiviniland had a story of having to pay a hefty tribute to be allowed through the Marzeel Valley. Tarkalor's involvement in suppressing the Kitori didn't result in any resentment by the Sartarite tribes, the general reaction would have been "serves them right."

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22 minutes ago, Joerg said:
Quote

they also have serfs and other kinds of slaves as well.

Most Heortlings do - the Hendriki are notable for not endorsing thraldom.

 

Joerg, help my memory here. I thought that the Sambari were the thrall keepers. Not saying thralls are not found elsewhere  but the Sambari are out about it and make it a trade. Now as to @Qizilbashwoman’s comment I would imagine many of the tenants and a few cotters are little better than slaves or serfs depending on their quote unquote betters in the clans, throughout Sartar. I can imagine that for many abandoned Lunars, life is not too happy either.

.I am sure there are also many clans that actually eschew such frippery whether due to a sense of fraternity (in the minority I am sure ) or honour: A man or woman true to the gods need no thralls or near thralls. 

Can’t finish with my usual cheers in this topic, so... later!

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1 minute ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Joerg, help my memory here. I thought that the Sambari were the thrall keepers.

Yes, the Sambari are notable for not only keeping thralls, but for promoting trade with them.

To me, this means that the Sambari founding clans weren't of Hendriki descent, but descended from some of the Foreigner People of Aventus' Laws, or otherwise from clans who successfully evaded the Dragonkill by fleeing southward.

Whether a clan keeps thralls or not is rooted in the ancestors' collective memory. It is not really a tribal feature, unless the tribe's clans predominantly result from common ancestry, like the original five clans of the Colymar.

There is little official information on the Sambari. Their tribal lands lie to the east of the Balmyr lands and were taken from the Torkani. They were allied with the Balmyr when the Locaem and Kultain entered Dragon Pass in the last wave of the Quivini immigration. The Firebull Clan of the Sambari launched a famous rebellion against the Lunar occupation (and may have been destroyed as a result).

 

1 minute ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Not saying thralls are not found elsewhere  but the Sambari are out about it and make it a trade. Now as to @Qizilbashwoman’s comment I would imagine many of the tenants and a few cotters are little better than slaves or serfs depending on their quote unquote betters in the clans, throughout Sartar. 

Depending on the society, the status of a slave or serf needn't mean abject misery, but it always implies limitations of liberties. There have been societies where slaves received better treatment than free paupers.

Children of thralls are born as free but poor clansfolk - they are automatically of Cottar status. It isn't quite clear whether children taken in raids may be made thralls by their captors - there is one scene in King of Dragon Pass where a refugee core family can be taken in - among other choices, as thralls. In that case, the children of the arrivals get thrall status, too, although any children born to the family will be free clansfolk.

 

We don't know about any precedents of chieftains being empowered to sell clan members into slavery, but we don't have evidence for the absence of such precedents, either. The Shadow Tribute has a provision to demand clansfolk as a (still rather mild) penalty for failure to pay the full amount of the tribute, so that may serve as a legal precedent. The demand to round up sacrifices for the Crimson Bat is another such precedent.

 

Whether life as a tenant or a non-tenant stickpicker is better or worse than that of a thrall is another question. Thralls provide a labor force for jobs that are undignified or possibly harmful in the long term. Thralls with special abilities may find themselves in a tenant position, like Willandring the giant smith of the Red Cow clan.

Thralls assigned to a thane's household may thrive on scraps which free tenants of the clan would envy.

1 minute ago, Bill the barbarian said:

I can imagine that for many abandoned Lunars, life is not too happy either.

The clans that have lunarized clansfolk are faced with the decision whether to outlaw them after the Dragonkill or whether to keep them (and risk retribution from fanatical anti-Lunar rebels returning from exile/outlawry).

What happens to Wulfsland is a chapter of Sartarite politics which hasn't been highlighted yet, but which definitely should be. I suppose that Ian Cooper has plans for the Red Cow Clan and their neighbors for the post-Dragonkill period, and that will involve the fate of Wulfsland and the Telmori tribe, but I have no idea whether this is anywhere near the publication queue of Chaosium.

This is pertinent to the question of slavery as the Wulfsland veterans lord over a population of Maboder-born slaves or thralls. Jomes Wulf himself is a career officer of the Lunar Army, a commander of Peltasts from Aggar. His veterans may include a core of his peltasts who participated in the wolf conflict of 1607/1608. Eighteen years is ample time for them to go native, or to return to their hillman ways of their youth.

It isn't quite clear whether Jomes had any land in reserve to take in veterans from his regiment who mustered out later than 1608, or whether than 1608 batch included mustered out veterans from other units than his peltasts.

The year of the Dragonkill will have seen the first initiations of the second generation of Wulfslanders, and also a significant number of children fathered on Maboder widows who did not manage to become a de-facto wife of their new owners.

This could be a fun campaign, actually - the heirs of Wulfsland, children of the Lunar veterans, struggling to find a place in the liberated Sartar. You'd start with very young characters, using a blend of Sartar and Tarsh events for parental involvement as per RQG character creation, and might end up as a new bodyguard unit of Argrath, or a Fazzurson, or as a Lunar strike team against the Sartarites. Or possibly all of these, with siblings undergoing different experiences.

Anybody willing to tackle campaign concepts like this collectively? I miss the productive days of the Wilmskirk mailing list or the Whitewall project collaborations.

 

1 minute ago, Bill the barbarian said:

.I am sure there are also many clans that actually eschew such frippery whether due to a sense of fraternity (in the minority I am sure ) or honour: A man or woman true to the gods need no thralls or near thralls.

That's a very Hendriki sentiment, and probably quite un-Orlanthi in and around Esrolia or the Lunar Provincial King- and Queendoms.

There are quite likely dozens of stories how the Vingkotling kept thralls, or captured them on their raids - the list of refugees in the Flood Age names several sources of thrall populations. We don't have explicit myths of Orlanth taking thralls - yet.

Argan Argar enthralled Veskarthan to build the Obsidian Palace for him. The places of human and troll conjoined survival had the human Dawn populations as slaves or thralls. All of this points at least towards Dark Orlanthi to have a long standing tradition of having slavery.

The enslavement of the Kitori by Monrogh and his formerly Elmali followers indicates that the Light Orlanthi are anything but strangers to keeping thralls, too. The Berennethtelli as former Hyalorings are quite likely to have been thrall-takers, and the similarly descended Orgovaltes too. And I have little hope for the other three husband leaders of the original Vingkotling tribes (Goralf Brown, Kastwall Five and Porscriptor the Cannibal) to have been of more lenient origins, either.

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