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galafrone

Balazar deities

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Hi all

i am running a balazar campaign and i am in a situation where i need to clarify to myself how to represent some balazar deities in terms of RQG

yelmalio, and foundchild are easy, they are what they are

balazar is a hero-cult (like pavis ? like a subcult of yelmalio ?) there is at least 1 NPC (sylvanti brighteyes, in dykene) that is both a priest of yelmalio and balazar, so this can be the right way to portrait him

then we have Hearthmother. In the gods and goddesses section i asked who she could have been, and i got a couple of answers "she is mahome/she is a lowfire".

But reading both the gods and goddesses preview (from gencon 2018) and griffin mountain (both editions) i cant think at her as a measly mahome

In GM she teaches cooking, plant lore, sewing, first aid, treat disease and the spiritic spells healing, bladesharp, befuddle, glue, mobility, shimmer… . Mahome hasnt priestesses, it's considered an associate deity of some earth goddess (Ernalda, dendara) so i can't reconcile the new mahome with HearthMother. HM is more than Mahome. But … how ?

Votank… [edit] Is a hero/god cult, basically Daka Fal reduced 

and lastly, RIGTAINA, the dryad daughter of foundchild and spouse of balazar.. a spirit cult ?

thanks for any suggestion from you fellas

 

 

Edited by galafrone
Some minor grammar changes
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The land of Balazar has a different relationship to the deities than the Orlanthi, a more Pelorian way with initiates less ubiquitious.

Rigtaina is a quite minor hunting goddess or demigoddess and the source of sovereignty of the Land for Balazar. In this latter role she is comparable to Sorana Tor of Tarsh/Dragon Pass, of the Lady of the WIld. Regular sacrifices, no cult as such.

The lack of the Earth Goddess cult in the Elder Wilds makes Hearthmother take on some of the roles of Ernalda without having all that magic. I would make her cult work analogous to Daka Fal, only with minor household and hearth spirits rather than with ancestors, and the hearth fire the equivalent of the Axis Mundi.

I missed the mention of Mralota, the pig goddess worshiped by the citadel dwellers in a remotely Eirithan manner.

Votank is somewhere between Waha and the tribal Founders of Prax, only without the greater drama of "blasted by the Devil".

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Also remember Granny Keeneye.  Just because she's bad, doesn't mean she isn't local. 

I have always thought her and her counterpart (the blue shaman) as old spirits, not deities

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12 hours ago, galafrone said:

I have always thought her and her counterpart (the blue shaman) as old spirits, not deities

Yes, they were both shamanic figures.

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Ok, here is my take on Balazar Deities, from our old RQ3 Campaign, which had one of the PCs becoming King of Greater Balazar, adopted son of the Red Emperor and Lord of the Stool.

  • Yelmalio - As normal Yelmalio, but with pretty crappy Sun Dome temples.
  • Balazar - Hero Ruler cult and Yelmalio Subcult, grants little magic due to him having been eaten by a Dragon in the Dragonkill.
  • Found Child - Hunter Deity
  • Votank - also a Hunter deity, also found as a child and raised by Hearthwoman. Personally, I think of Votank as being Foundchild, but also the Founder of the Votanki clans. He could have an ancestor-worshipping part to his cult, but I reserve that for Firshala.
  • Hearth Mother/Hearth Woman - An analogue of Mahome, but more a case of the Old Woman or Mother of the Clans. She found Votank after he was Exposed and raised him as her own son. Her cult is quite weak, as she can only teach her worshippers a single cult spell every Sacred Time, in their special rituals.
  • Rigtaina - The Wild Woman is a Nymph of Nature. I remember reading an old description of Genert where it said that Genert had many daughters, including Rigtaina and the Lady of the Wild. Now, we know that the Lady of the Wild is a nature goddess in Dragon Pass and Rigtaina is her equivalent in Balazar and the Elder Wilds. She is the Girl who Runs Away, symbolising fleeing prey animals, also the Girl Who is Caught, symbolising hunted prey, she is also Mother of Animals and the hunted animals go back to her when they are killed with the Peaceful cut ritual said over them.
  • Mralota - The Pig Idol brought to the land by Balazar. The citadel Dwellers raise her pigs in farms, the Votanki Clans hunt wild boar, descended by those pigs that Balazar set free for the hunters to hunt. Her cult is about the raising of pigs, with pig health magic.
  • Brother Dog - Foundchild's Helper, his Brother, and gives magic to help with raising, training, understand dogs and hunting with them.
  • Firshala - A trapped Fire Nymph with Ancestor worshipping spells. She is a mystery and I had her as being the other side of ancestry, with Votank only having power over the Male Line and Firshala having power over the Female Line. She was trapped by Arkat or Gbaji or both and is hostile to Aldryami. I had her as a analogue to Oakfed, who burned the trees of the Elder Wilds down, in the same way that Oakfed burned the trees of Prax.
  • Granny Keeneye - A chaos Spirit who inhabits the bodies of people until they become so corrupted they die, allowing her to pass onto a new body. I have her as being the manifestation of the Primal Chaos of one of the Chaos Nests of Balazar/Elder Wilds.
  • Cacodemon - This was listed as one of the cults of the Balazar/Elder Wilds region, which is odd. I had a tribe of Ogres living in the mountains to the east of Balazar.

 

Edited by soltakss
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8 minutes ago, M Helsdon said:

Durbaddath as Father Lion?

I had Durbaddath as Votank's father, who Exposed him on the hillside. I can't remember why he did it, Votank either had some feature or was missing a feature. The Votanki do not accept Durbaddath as Votank's father, so he isn't part of their pantheon. However, he is Votak's father, so has some power over him.

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the only thing i really not agree completely with you Soltakss is Hearthmother being so weak. It's the only "feminine" deity in the Whole pantheon, and so for the balazaring/votanki women there isnt much to help them in their daily chores. Also, i dont understand why a weak deity should be represented in ANY council of ANY clan (and probably having temples even in the 3 cities). I see her more as a figure of "fighting Ernalda", that helps and protect women in their daily lives, help and protect the hunters (foundchild) and helps and protect the land (in the original she teached the skill "find healing plants" or something.

Hearthmother is my big question mark

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3 hours ago, galafrone said:

the only thing i really not agree completely with you Soltakss is Hearthmother being so weak.

Yes, it is a puzzle. However, both Griffin Mountain and Griffin island have her as a very unclear figure, with societies of women getting occasional Battle/Spirit Magic at Sacred Time.  According to those rules, she doesn't even grant Runemagic.

In my campaign, she was the equivalent of Mahome and granted Runemagic.

Similarly, the Votanki don't have metal weapons, even though they have raided the areas to the West and south for generations. I assumed that something was keeping them tied to their own culture and preventing them from accepting outside technology.

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While Hearthmother covers almost the entirety of motherhood, wifehood etc., she is lacking in earth magic apart from maybe minor plant magic (though nowhere near Bless Crops).

I wonder whether Earth Witch has a role to play in this regard.

The absence of metal weapons is especially weird as the Votanki (and the citadel dwellers) are the only humans the Greatway dwarves deign to trade with. What but metal items would it be that dwarves trade away? Mostali flint knapping ought to be no better than Votanki flint knapping.

One answer would be that the Votanki make regular offerings of metal items to their ancestors or some other such power, but the pantheon listed above doesn't really look like it has a deity specifically receptive to this kind of sacrifice.

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I think it's obvious that balazar (a.k.a. griffin mountains) is a fantastic piece of art, but it has been published in 1981 if i am not wrong, and written before that. In an era where socio-demographical considerations were zero, where the web of religious issues, gods, societies, weren't really needed. Chaosium produced it as a "background place" to roam free and adventure in the world of RQ (yet in glorantha, but that glorantha was so embrional in respect of the one we have now).

Hence all the "minor" religions portrayed there were less useful and less impactful of the mainstream ones (orlanth, yelmalio, issaries)

So probably to give justice to balazar and its complexity we should rewrite it, in the light of what we know and have today in RQG. Trying to get the old stuff working as it is i think it's basically impossible.

 

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2 hours ago, galafrone said:

So probably to give justice to balazar and its complexity we should rewrite it, in the light of what we know and have today in RQG. Trying to get the old stuff working as it is i think it's basically impossible.

Griffin Mountain was way ahead of its time, IMO. And Jennell Jacquais also gave us a glimpse of deeper character development with the Central Casting products to provide deeper character backgrounds (in the mid-eighties), with concepts extremely close to those in the RQ3 Gamemasters Book as far as four of the five civilisatory groups are concerned.

The Votanki are an offshoot of the Pelorian Culture detailed in the Guide, and they may not have profited from the Theyalan missionaries the way their Orlanthi neighbors (including the variant Orlanthi like the Sylilings, Imtherites and Vanchites) have. Likewise, the natives of Jarst and Garsting (also "Blank Lands" in RQ3 Genertela Box) are likely to be much less of participatory initiates and a lot more of congregational theists.

What may be lacking are the ghosts of enemy deities - Pentan, EWF, even Alkoth and Second Council Heortling. Some of the tombs do provide them (Second Council trolls are present).

Jeff and Robin talked about the Big Rubble sandbox and how it is a master class sandbox, but as sandboxes go, I rate Griffin Mountain a bit higher.

What I would re-write are the mostali and aldryami encounters. The citadels - especially Dykene - are possibly the only Yelmalio cult even more backwards than the Praxian Sun Domers, for lack of rune levels to maintain cult lore after the Dragonkill. (The Praxian Sun Dome was affected, too, but maintained some form of literacy for at least a while).

Exploring the roles of Yelmalio and Kargzant in the upper Arcos Valley might be another interesting side trip. Both are Lunar provinces, and probably have Durbaddath and Uryarda in more prominent roles, which sort of relates to the Votanki, and again doesn't. I would expect the Arcos Valley natives to have a way stronger earth cult. Possibly strange in a number of ways, even compared to Lodrilite Oria. But that's one of their marked differences to the Balazarings - both Votanki and Citadel Dwellers.

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i really need to talk with you Joerg, you are a MINE. Also, i think that Griffin Mountain IS a MASTERPIECE. Not only conceptually but also "technically". 

 

Edited by galafrone
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On 10/24/2019 at 1:09 AM, galafrone said:

then we have Hearthmother. In the gods and goddesses section i asked who she could have been, and i got a couple of answers "she is mahome/she is a lowfire".

But reading both the gods and goddesses preview (from gencon 2018) and griffin mountain (both editions) i cant think at her as a measly mahome

In GM she teaches cooking, plant lore, sewing, first aid, treat disease and the spiritic spells healing, bladesharp, befuddle, glue, mobility, shimmer… . Mahome hasnt priestesses, it's considered an associate deity of some earth goddess (Ernalda, dendara) so i can't reconcile the new mahome with HearthMother. HM is more than Mahome. But … how ?

She is Earth Witch, mahome is an associated spirit cult, part of her spirit society. 

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On 10/24/2019 at 1:09 AM, galafrone said:

Votank… [edit] Is a hero/god cult, basically Daka Fal reduced 

Is Daka Fal with Votank as the primary ancestor and access to all the clan founders as well. 

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33 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Earth Witch

Is this Serdrodosa? I thought she was more of a Hero than a deity, inasmuch as that matters for prehistory. It explains her weakness.

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3 hours ago, David Scott said:

She is Earth Witch, mahome is an associated spirit cult, part of her spirit society. 

I beg you pardon, who is Earth Witch ??

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43 minutes ago, galafrone said:

I beg you pardon, who is Earth Witch ??

when Ernalda was dead, Earth Witch was the hero who shamanised and found she could reach her using shamanism. Her name was Serdrodosa. There's still a tiny secret cult of Earth Witches around Orlanthi lands because honestly some people just prefer to shamanise.

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Thanks. But this how is reconciled with the Hearthwomen of Balazar ? are they all shamen ? or else ? Or there is a cult that defines the Earth Witch in a "godlike" way ? because the original stuff in Griffin Mountain led us to think more to a Runic Cult than a shamanistic one  (skill taught, spiritic spells taught) even if no rune spells are given

Edited by galafrone

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35 minutes ago, galafrone said:

Thanks. But this how is reconciled with the Hearthwomen of Balazar ? are they all shamen ? or else ? Or there is a cult that defines the Earth Witch in a "godlike" way ? because the original stuff in Griffin Mountain led us to think more to a Runic Cult than a shamanistic one  (skill taught, spiritic spells taught) even if no rune spells are given

I don't know if they are shamans (the word is from a Siberian language and doesn't actually have a "man" in it, so you pluralise it with an -s) or not.

It is possible that here, Earth Witch is just the name of Ernalda. She might be approachable as a Rune cult and as a shaman (like Ernalda is in Orlanthi culture) but because Earth Witch doesn't have the sort of agricultural association Ernalda does elsewhere, the usage of "Earth Witch" was kept to keep Her separate. The weird Balazari lack of agriculture means Her role is really different.

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34 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

I don't know if they are shamans (the word is from a Siberian language and doesn't actually have a "man" in it, so you pluralise it with an -s) or not.

Sorry, nice catch, not being english native speaker has me prone to this kind of mistakes

 

34 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

It is possible that here, Earth Witch is just the name of Ernalda. She might be approachable as a Rune cult and as a shaman (like Ernalda is in Orlanthi culture) but because Earth Witch doesn't have the sort of agricultural association Ernalda does elsewhere, the usage of "Earth Witch" was kept to keep Her separate. The weird Balazari lack of agriculture means Her role is really different.

In balazar the feminine goddess is called HearthMother, and she has more the function of "preserver, healer, gatherer" than Ernalda has. She seems a very distinct entity, something i can't reconcile with. Because is Ernalda less the agricultural (so the fertility part) but has the healing capacity of Ernalda, but also the "defending" part that Ernalda misses (she teaches shimmer, bladesharp).

Edited by galafrone
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Warning: some Gloranthaphile meanderings intruding into a gaming thread. I swear I have a point, though.

Ernalda - or really, to put it into a wider perspective - the Great Earth Goddess(es) isn't/aren't going to manifest in the same way in all regions.

Clearly, Balazar has its own peculiarities, and the various powers and aspects of the Great Earth Goddess (whether you call her Ernalda or Ernalda-Esrola-Maran, the Land Goddess or whatever else) are "filtered" through mythic influences and geographical features.

It's pretty clear that *some* form of the Great Earth Goddess is active in Balazar (things grow there, after all), but what manifests, and what is reachable for people is clearly different, and arguably more limited, than in most surrounding regions.

So, does that mean that Hearthmother *is* Ernalda, or that Hearthmother is an idiosyncratic, localized manifestation of the Great Earth Goddess Archetype, or some other thing? Tough to say. And honestly not necessarily all that pertinent to us.

I'm tempted to argue that it's useful to consider Hearthmother as a particular manifestation of the greater Earth Goddess complex of deities, but filtered and put togethered according to local particularities. What this means, is that Hearthmother has very little of Esrola (the physical bounty of the earth, including farming) about her, but more Ernalda (the spiritual powers of the earth, ie. powers of marriage, love, togetherness, community, sexuality, etc.) Mahoma (the hearth, a form of earth-tamed fire, as it were), and the Lady of the Wild (imho some kind of manifestation of earth powers, whether separate from the Trinity of Ernalda-Esrola-Maran, or a part of them - focus on gathering and prey beasts, aligned the beast rune probably, and therefore tying into that whole Hykimi/Hsunchen thing as well - stuff overlaps).

I hope this made some sense. The "tl;dr" of it is that even if we identify two entities with each other, and argue that they are in fact the same, they can still manifest in pretty significantly different ways.

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your thought is very near mine. I am thinking to a sincretistic way to "put all those aspects in one" of Ernalda.

In any way, the fact that the Earth pantheon is subdivided in many goddess is just a way to represent it, expecially in very elaborate and advanced cultures. 

I will try to explain my idea. In sartar and even more in esrolia, the different aspects of the earth pantheons have given Birth to many "view" of the Earth, because those cultures are very stratified in terms of "things to do". 

In balazar the culture is neolithic, so the Earth pantheon has never developed in something "particular or elaborate" as in other places. and it' has just become the HearthMother, a one-in all deity that encompasses the function of the feminine in balazarian culture: fertility, nurturing, healing and even defending the "hunters-child" (foundchild)

 

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