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Christoph Kohring

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

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7 minutes ago, Jeff said:

And the ransom numbers don't really reflect the personal wealth of the individual - they represent the social importance of that person for their community.

There's also a kind of market economy to it - if your theoretical ransom is set too low, then any people capturing you will ask for more, knowing that your actual value to society is higher than the theoretical ransom says. Similarly, if ransom is set too high, then the community might decide that maybe they don't want to pay that excessive ransom after all - "he ain't worth it!".

Further, if a community has to pay a lot of ransoms in a short period of time, you may have to settle for less - they just don't have the assets to pay you the full amount right now, and what else are you going to do with your captive?

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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

But I totally dig the idea of Gross National Ransom!

Yes, an absolutely fantastic statistic! 🤣

Of course, this will inevitably lead to this situation:

Basic Murder Hobo PC: So, how much if we just kill all of them?

Edited by Grievous
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3 hours ago, metcalph said:

Making a couple of Gini (inequality) calculations, I get a Gini of 65.1% for Sartar, 83.2% for Esrolia, 72.3% for Tarsh and 88.1% for Dara Happa (whereas in the RW 60% is considered quite bad).

We've known for some time now that YGWV also means Your Game Will Vary, but I guess it also means Your Gini (coefficient) Will Vary!

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8 hours ago, Jeff said:

Here's how those numbers break down in Sartar, Hendrikiland, and Esrolia:

A chara, I know Esrolia has city-states, but that's... a lot of unfree people in Esrolia! I'm a little surprised it paces DH. Where do they get them? Are they enlo? Bought from Vadeli? I don't remember Esrolia doing a lot of conquest wars.

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7 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

A chara, I know Esrolia has city-states, but that's... a lot of unfree people in Esrolia! I'm a little surprised it paces DH. Where do they get them? Are they enlo? Bought from Vadeli? I don't remember Esrolia doing a lot of conquest wars.

My thoughts, too. But basically a house's grandmother is an absolute tyrant and has the power to decide the status of any of her subjects, which may end up in serfdom for those who manage to displease her. Lesser houses may be required to provide slaves for their superior houses, whatever the means.

One way to ensure this huge number of unfree people is to punish as many misdemeanors as possible with slavery. And if you add lese majesty to those crimes, it becomes quite easy to end up as property.

One thing I wonder about is the status of the significant minority of Pelaskites living in Esrolia. Do they follow Rightarm Islander proportions, or are they possibly owned (or at least place-bound) as whole clans?

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18 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

A chara, I know Esrolia has city-states, but that's... a lot of unfree people in Esrolia! I'm a little surprised it paces DH. Where do they get them? Are they enlo? Bought from Vadeli? I don't remember Esrolia doing a lot of conquest wars.

Esrolia has always been described as having a population of "oppressed peasants" (see RQ Companion) - about 30% are unfree, and about 25% are semi-free. The semi-free are mostly entire clans who owe service to the nobility and do not even have the rights to the land they work. The unfree are a combination of debt slavery (largely of semi-free folk slipping into outright slavery) and slaves purchased through trade - initially mostly from Maniria and Ralios, increasingly from the rest of the world.  

Of course by terrestrial standards, its is still pretty low.

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11 minutes ago, Jeff said:

The unfree are a combination of debt slavery (largely of semi-free folk slipping into outright slavery) and slaves purchased through trade - initially mostly from Maniria and Ralios, increasingly from the rest of the world

Thanks! I was curious about this for a while now sort of offhandedly.

Debt slavery, though: is that truly unfree? Your children inherit the debt? That's ... direly un-Orlanthi.

9 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Of course by terrestrial standards, its is still pretty low.

there's no ethical consumption under capitalism

those who didn't really understand this principle or thought it was socialist nonsense got it the slow and methodical way step by step by watching The Good Place.

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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Thanks! I was curious about this for a while now sort of offhandedly.

Debt slavery, though: is that truly unfree? Your children inherit the debt? That's ... direly un-Orlanthi.

there's no ethical consumption under capitalism

those who didn't really understand this principle or thought it was socialist nonsense got it the slow and methodical way step by step by watching The Good Place.

Debt slavery was astonishingly common in the ancient world. Entire kinship groups might prefer to place themselves in hereditary service to a richer family, in exchange for protection and access to food. 

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5 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Debt slavery was astonishingly common in the ancient world.

Well, yes. It's not common in Kerofinela or Sartar, which is like... 90% of the setting, though, so you know, let me have a minute to be startled that Kethaelan Orlanthings have inherited debt slavery. It's sort of against the entire Orlanthi ethic laid out in the books that a child would inherit slavery; that's Pure Horse, DH, Lunar, Praxian stuff.

(Kerofinelan) Orlanthi rebel. They're not, like, idealised - they got half-free people galore - but the children of slaves (taken in war or w/e) are usually adopted into a clan, not kept as slaves themselves.

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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Thanks! I was curious about this for a while now sort of offhandedly.

Debt slavery, though: is that truly unfree? Your children inherit the debt? That's ... direly un-Orlanthi.

My guess is that may be what lead to Hardros Hardslaughter's Tax Slaughter, where he slew the Only Old One and forced the revocation of oaths and obligations. Viewing the dark tax as a way of making the Orlanthi Unfree.

Thus showing those two little maxims of Orlanthi still hold true: "No one can make you do anything," and "Violence is always an option."

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58 minutes ago, Jeff said:

debt slavery (largely of semi-free folk slipping into outright slavery) and slaves purchased through trade 

The reference to "debt" initially roused my ruckus but from what I can intuit about the Esrolian system the Grandmothers have a real MGF decision point on their hands here. On the one hand, the disasters of 1621-3 killed a lot of debtor households outright, but an unusually large number of the survivors are still facing repeat crop failure and default, losing their freedom. However, a lot of the overseers are dead too so incorporating all of these formerly semi-free people into the system at once creates significant strain and raises the odds of at least sporadic revolt. MGF.

Of course the Grandmothers as a group don't need to foreclose all these families. Ty Kora Tek probably manages the bankruptcies so argues for compliance while Asrelia at least superficially counsels forbearance but not everyone acts with their ultimate best interests in mind. Some people need to keep wealth flowing to support foreign obligations, status or simply to maintain urban food security . . . after the disasters people will be either supernaturally serene or completely risk averse. (These are of course the two faces of the Grandmother Goddess.)

I suspect the importation of captives is an artifact of centuries of prosperity in Esrolia proper while the western hinterland deteriorates. (As far as I can tell it derives from the original colonization of Caladra and the Veskarthanites.) Obviously this is in the interest of the Trader Prince network when times are good enough in Esrolia that the Grandmothers don't have a ready excuse to foreclose local labor. However now the labor dynamics have changed and with refugees from elsewhere in the Winter zone streaming into town desperate for a meal there's less incentive to pay for barbarian slaves. Life is cheap and labor is only a little more expensive. 

This is an opportunity for anyone with a little cash and vision to buy and liberate a lot of human potential at a deep discount. I wouldn't be surprised if this is where new armies of the Hero Wars are created. The Grandmothers can go right on doing what they do until emergent realities force them to stop, but at least the foreign trade can be diverted to something more positive. After all, the world is ending and their business is crashing harder than a lot of things. Etyries may well have brought new and seductive accounting systems during the Red Earth era that are crashing the Grandmother credit models too, but that's another story.

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

there's no ethical consumption under capitalism

I hear that! Grower, Maker, Eater, Taker . . . maybe the ethic is in keeping them spinning.

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Just now, Tindalos said:

My guess is that may be what lead to Hardros Hardslaughter's Tax Slaughter, where he slew the Only Old One and forced the revocation of oaths and obligations. Viewing the dark tax as a way of making the Orlanthi Unfree.

Thus showing those two little maxims of Orlanthi still hold true: "No one can make you do anything," and "Violence is always an option."

I always found those rebellions really misguided and unfortunate, because the OOO wasn't building palaces with them, he was building armies and infrastructure and keeping the many races at the table. An early UN to prevent wasteful warfare is nothing to mock. He kept a lot of people alive through the Darkness!

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9 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

The reference to "debt" initially roused my ruckus but from what I can intuit about the Esrolian system the Grandmothers have a real MGF decision point on their hands here. On the one hand, the disasters of 1621-3 killed a lot of debtor households outright, but an unusually large number of the survivors are still facing repeat crop failure and default, losing their freedom. However, a lot of the overseers are dead too so incorporating all of these formerly semi-free people into the system at once creates significant strain and raises the odds of at least sporadic revolt. MGF.

Yep. 1616-1626 witnessed huge social upheavals in Esrolia, on top of the dramatic transformation of Nochet from 1580 to 1600 (during which period the city doubled in size).

9 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Of course the Grandmothers as a group don't need to foreclose all these families. Ty Kora Tek probably manages the bankruptcies so argues for compliance while Asrelia at least superficially counsels forbearance but not everyone acts with their ultimate best interests in mind. Some people need to keep wealth flowing to support foreign obligations, status or simply to maintain urban food security . . . after the disasters people will be either supernaturally serene or completely risk averse. (These are of course the two faces of the Grandmother Goddess.)

Keep in mind that Esrolia is fundamentally Earth. And Earth accepts bondage. Lodril was enslaved beneath the Earth to build the Palace of Black Glass. Mortals were made to serve the gods - and most mortals are in bondage to the Earth. Plow, seed, weed, harvest, repeat. Several times a year. Those Asrelia bean-counters can drive a hard bargain for those who want access to the public granaries. For the enfranchised, that is a matter of right. For disenfranchised. Whereas Ty Kora Tek reminds us that we are all equals in death and sleep.

But the toughest ones those Ernalda temples that own all the land, and get contributions from everything going on. The Earth Mother is benevolent, she is generous, she is life-giving, but she can also sure be demanding! And you better meet her demands if you want to eat. Always remember, unlike Orlanthi or Lodril or Storm Bull, Ernalda doesn't have to do much to destroy mortals. She just needs to withhold her blessings.

9 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

I suspect the importation of captives is an artifact of centuries of prosperity in Esrolia proper while the western hinterland deteriorates. (As far as I can tell it derives from the original colonization of Caladra and the Veskarthanites.) Obviously this is in the interest of the Trader Prince network when times are good enough in Esrolia that the Grandmothers don't have a ready excuse to foreclose local labor. However now the labor dynamics have changed and with refugees from elsewhere in the Winter zone streaming into town desperate for a meal there's less incentive to pay for barbarian slaves. Life is cheap and labor is only a little more expensive. 

Yep. Nochet had food during the Great Winter. A lot of food. And no obligation to give it to non-citizens.

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27 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Yep. 1616-1626 witnessed huge social upheavals in Esrolia, on top of the dramatic transformation of Nochet from 1580 to 1600 (during which period the city doubled in size).

 

Oh definitely. Nochet has grown into an empire in itself but it's only a literal needle in the great haystack of the latifunda where most of the slaves of all types toil off the adventuring path. I wonder how a LARP gathering of the grandmothers out there would play out. Meet the ladies from the provinces, record the machinations, see what if anything they decide. I suppose the challenge is luring adventurers out there in the first place to drum up the MGF.

Either way the rate of social change lurching into the Hero Wars period mandates YGWV simply because the stickiness of "canon" itself is starting to slide. Assumptions we had 40 years ago about how characters live in this world have been tested again and again. Some of it persisted. Other parts have evolved and will continue to evolve. And when characters go off the published map, the map has had to catch up with them. Ten years from now the survivors will be in a very different world. That's okay. A Hero War gives every traveler a chance to influence the outcome, the ideal Glorantha to come. The world is heavy but find the right point and it will budge. Your game, whoever you are reading this, might be that budging point.

Of course that's the kind of thing those apocalyptic lunatics who went into Malkonwal said and they were at best "kind of out there" philosophically. 

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11 hours ago, Jeff said:

I try to avoid terminology like "thrall" or "cottar" in favour of a much more neutral semi-free and unfree. 

With all due respect, Jeff... please PLEASE reconsider!

 

I'm not asking for a return to the thrall/cottar terminology (I understand you want to move away from older anglo/nordic views of the Orlanthi!)  but SOMETHING with cultural flavor!

Something to immerse ourselves into.  Something NOT "neutral!"

Go to Hindu, Persian, Aramaic, Mandarin... or any source(s) you'd like.  But keep color and the flavor in place!

 

Really... this could be a chance to expand some of the ideas of Glorantha, as different scopes of "semi" occur in cultures with "semi-free" persons (even "slave" / "non-free" can mean very different things).  Maybe you CAN use "cottar" and "thrall" in one out-of-the-way (likely non-Orlanthi?) context; but the Hindi terms "daas" and "dive," or the Japanese terms "Dorei" and "Sabanto" (grabbed from Google Translate, hopefully you'd get an expert to check precise terms & connotations) in other contexts where they have different meanings/implications.

 

Just... please... don't give us neutral anthropology  <shudder> in our Gloranthan sources.

Please.

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1 minute ago, g33k said:

Go to Hindu, Persian, Aramaic, Mandarin... or any source(s) you'd like.  But keep color and the flavor in place!

There's also all kinds of proto-Indo-European reconstructions to seed a "core Gloranthan vocabulary." Say these artificial words look uncannily like Trade, recognized by sophisticated people across the lozenge, and the translations into the blandish are such and so. The bland terms are probably still required to protect the learning curve though. 

(I hear the strategy around distance from the Teutonic terms. Das tut, meine Freunde.)

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1 hour ago, g33k said:

Go to Hindu, Persian, Aramaic, Mandarin... or any source(s) you'd like.  But keep color and the flavor in place!

that's... yeah, absolutely do not do that.

look, we've got gini for weregild. that's fine. it's an invented word.

but if you start using real people's languages - that's literally Orientalism. it's racist as hell. you can't just colonise living languages for your role-playing game. that's a terrible idea. On top of which: there are a billion Hindustani speakers in the world, do you think people aren't going to notice? (Also, the Hindustani terms for these things are largely Persianate loans.) Chaosium products are available around the globe in many languages.

You need to get some perspective and remember this is the terms used for the generic. As I pointed out, we know local cultures have their own terms; this is for cross-cultural comparison, because Alkoth doesn't have cottars, the Weeders don't have Thanes, and Orlanthings don't have Sixths or Fifths.

1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

There's also all kinds of proto-Indo-European reconstructions to seed a "core Gloranthan vocabulary."

bleah, PIE is terrible, I pee on your camel's elbow

 

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
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2 hours ago, g33k said:

Go to Hindu, Persian, Aramaic, Mandarin... or any source(s) you'd like.  But keep color and the flavor in place!

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

that's... yeah, absolutely do not do that.

look, we've got gini for weregild. that's fine. it's an invented word.

but if you start using real people's languages - that's literally Orientalism. it's racist as hell.

Who speaks Aramaic nowadays? Surely no more offensive than raiding Old Norse. Perhaps you are right, invented terms might be better. Aramaic is a little odd sounding to the modern western ear anyway, words like Khaoba and Akara don't really work for me in Dragon Pass.

I don't think that using Saxon, Old English, or Old Norse is a problem anyway. These are words that we know from our history and literature, but that doesn't mean that the culture is a transplant of that historic culture. It's just an ancient term that is familiar or resonant to English speakers. It's easy to figure out what cottar, thrall, and serf mean.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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47 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Who speaks Aramaic nowadays?

Aramaic is the holy language of the Mandeans, gnostic dualists who venerate John the Baptist rather than Jesus. I don't think the Mandeans speak Aramaic in their day to day life, but they are still around. And in CREDO.

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

Who speaks Aramaic nowadays?

There's towns in the Levant that still speak (modern) Aramaics, and there are large communities in Europe, particularly Scandinavia. The Syriacs are Aramaic languages. Aramaic languages, Classical and Modern, are spoken by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Classical Syriac is used in many Churches for services and the oldest New Testaments are in Greek and Syriac; several kinds of Aramaic are used by Jews (much much much more than Hebrew, which was a dead language when Rabbinical Judaism formed).

I've used Aramaic for my home games for DH because uh I know Aramaic and Aramaic was literally the Koine for the Mediterranean and Persianate lands before Greek ousted it thanks to Alexander. It makes the shift to New Pelorian as Classical Syriac painless, because Classical Syriac has a shedload of Greek loanwords and grammar shifts that makes it like ... 1/5 alien, and also neither were associated with a specific people.

I've also used Yiddish for Kerofinela, because I'm learning it, it sounds like a hybrid of Norwegian and Standard German with a rolled Italian r, and it's fun. I'm not a Jew (I'm Muslim) so I'm 100% never gonna publish anything with that in it - it's within the boundaries of personal space and understanding that I'm comfortable playing with my friends, who are Jewish and amused.

But I would never use it in a book. I might play a game at home where the elves speak Tagalog because my friends and I are trying to learn Tagalog but I'm not going to publish it. And I'm certainly not going to have them act like Pilipinos.

44 minutes ago, MOB said:

I don't think the Mandeans speak Aramaic in their day to day life

There are several Mandaean-speaking communities, actually, although they are small.

Edited by Qizilbashwoman
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On 9/11/2019 at 10:51 PM, Christoph Kohring said:

A short time ago on Facebook @Ian Cooper wrote something that might be worth preserving & commenting here as well (also for those who are not on FB):

I don't know how & when YGMV came up, but I always detested it. I don't remember it coming from Greg himself, by the way. For me, it was always WILL & not MAY... as in Your Glorantha Will Inevitably Vary & Cannot Do Otherwise (YGWIVACDO)! Anyway, Ian really nails it & says it very, very, very nicely.
 

Yes, it is YGWV - WILL.

However, YGMV ("MAY") definitely also has it uses, specifically here and in other discussion forums where Glorantha is a collaborative creation. If someone makes a proposition about Glorantha, about how they see certain things, others may or may not agree, and so may or may not want to want to use that in their Glorantha too. E.g. "In my Glorantha, the durulz have teeth, all the better so they can chomp on their cigars. YGMV."

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13 minutes ago, MOB said:

However, YGMV ("MAY") definitely also has it uses, specifically here and in other discussion forums where Glorantha is a collaborative creation. If someone makes a proposition about Glorantha, about how they see certain things, others may or may not agree, and so may or may not want to want to use that in their Glorantha too. E.g. "In my Glorantha, the durulz have teeth, all the better so they can chomp on their cigars. YGMV."

I have not had a good cheroot in over a decade, my ducks on the other hand are not of such temperate a disposition and do like having teeth to assist in keeping the cherished cigars in mouth. er bill.

Cheers

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