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Guide to Glorantha, page 702

Quote

In the southern lands the Chaos monsters
were led by Gbaji’s brother Jraktal. This war
was fought primarily by Men, including some
newly created for the fight, but the Elder
Races assisted as well. The main contributors
were the Hsunchen, the eldest race of Men.
The Ivamali, plant-men, also helped, but they
were few in number, and the newest race, the
Naga, did not help at all.

 

I have been looking for a description of the Naga, but couldn't find any in any of my various RQ/HQ books. Did I miss anything?

 

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26 minutes ago, GianniVacca said:

I have been looking for a description of the Naga, but couldn't find any in any of my various RQ/HQ books. Did I miss anything?

In archaic drafts the Naga are a race of humans roughly interchangeable with the people we call the "Agimori" today. When Greg pivoted away from the direct South Asian reference the word changed.

Its recurrence here is an enigma. We can all adopt theories.

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17 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

In archaic drafts the Naga are a race of humans roughly interchangeable with the people we call the "Agimori" today. When Greg pivoted away from the direct South Asian reference the word changed.

 

Wow. Did not expect that. So the "South" being spoken of here is not specifically Pamaltela, or is it a throwback to maybe when the southern lands hadn't quite been differentiated yet or something?

I wouldn't exactly mind seeing stereotypical naga (lower body snake people) around in the tropical rainforest regions of eastern Pamaltela or East Isles, although I'll admit I'd imagine them more as chaos beings akin to Genertelan Scorpionfolk than an "orderly" race.

EDIT: Not that the RW Hindu naga are evil, so maybe that's doing them a disservice. It could be a neat way to play with the intersection of Earth and Sea as elements in Glorantha, since snakes are largely associated with Earth in Genertela, but Water in Hindu mythology, so maybe they were some kind of races created by the union of those elements, much like Storm people are Earth and Air... Just thinking out loud here.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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I remember back when I first started playing RQ2 one of my players wanted to play a Naga from WoW. The result was an incredible busted (statewise) earth/beast race of snake people.

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1 minute ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Wow. Did not expect that. So the "South" being spoken of here is not specifically Pamaltela, or is it a throwback to maybe when the southern lands hadn't quite been differentiated yet or something?

I wouldn't exactly mind seeing stereotypical naga (lower body snake people) around in the tropical rainforest regions of eastern Pamaltela or East Isles, although I'll admit I'd imagine them more as chaos beings akin to Genertelan Scorpionfolk than an "orderly" race.

There is a lot going on here to reward questing! All I know is that when I see "naga" or "nagi" I usually strike the "n" to translate to our modern understanding of Glorantha. Pamaltela emerges remarkably early (roughly as fast as Kralorela, only a few years after the West) but at that stage Greg is more interested in figuring out the tribulations of the Artmalites. Even so, we have "nagitori" and "nagimori" from almost the beginning.

In terms of theories to adopt it's interesting that Pamalt is sometimes depicted as a serpent giant. I originally wanted the "naga" to be the earth race that becomes the "serpent mothers" or likiti but they interact as separate groups so if there is a direct relationship it's more complicated. "South" may be the place where the primal snake nation was more successful and remained "naga" (keeping horns, for example, maybe wings) whereas in the Genertan disaster that particular spirit people faded from the landscape. 

Of course people rarely think of Pamalt in these terms in the modern travelogues. Maybe they should but this is a secret. The Pamalt complex is weird.

It's also possible that Therophis got a source garbled or failed to translate the term. I think some have pointed at the pelmre (super old in the texts along with the jelmre and "hular") as an overlooked southern reptile nation too young to help. The informant is also silent on the Artmalites.

Snake people are cool. There were even miniatures. 

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15 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

In terms of theories to adopt it's interesting that Pamalt is sometimes depicted as a serpent giant

I always assumed that this was a God Learnerism, based on serpent-based Earth imagery from Seshnela- but I'm not opposed to it, snake people are indeed cool.

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The slarges probably are the Pelmre of the Pamaltelan creation sequence, and a stage older than the Agitorani.

Now a lot unflattering and negative has been said about the Agitorani, and the failure to participate in the wars against Jraktal might have been one.

However, we know that the mortal descendants of the drinkers, the Agimori, did fight against Chaos. Two migration groups eventually turned up in Genertela, one inside Godtime, the other in the Second Age.

And even Therophis acknowledges the role of humans:

Quote

 This  war was fought primarily by Men, including some newly  created  for  the  fight,  but  the  Elder Races assisted as well.

Meaning the Agimori, and possibly the Men-and-a-Half as the newly created ones? (Always assuming that Therophis is relating reliable sources...)

But there were even more recent additions to the population of Pamaltela, e.g. the Veldang who disembarked from the moon and allied with chaotic forces in the later parts of the Gods War, the Zaranistangi who departed without taking a recorded stand against Chaos anywhere, or the Durba antigods (of whom the Gorgers may be a part).

The term Ivamali doesn't occur anywhere else in the Guide, either. Now embyli and their nymphs are sufficiently different from the green and brown elves the Jrusteli would be aware of, except for those in Eest. That conquest occurred fairly late, though (775). But then Errinoru's circumnavigation occurred between 734 and 751, and may have brought the embyli to Therophis' attention.

Both Gbaji and Jraktal come pretty much as surprise in the enumeration of Chaos enemies of the Gods War. Jraktal the Tap was a foe of Ompalam (Garangordos quested to liberate Ompalam from Jraktal), and the Umathelan God Learners would have encountered Jraktal in interaction with Fonrit fairly early on.

 

But the Naga aren't the only enigma in that "Secrets of Chaos" text.

In Genertela, the author tells us about a victory against Gbaji under Mostali leadership.

The Greatway dwarves were in all likelihood unknown to the author, but the Nidan dwarves and their satellites like Belskan would have been well known. Now the Nidan dwarves as leaders in a fight against Chaos are an unexpected concept, to say the least, but the old friendship between (elder) giants and Nidan dwarves prior to Gonn Orta's mission to liberate the Jolanti might go back to this.

 

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It's a God Learner text and since it doesn't mention Vovisibor probably refers to events in Fonrit during the Great Darkness (simply because Pamalt has already acted and unmade Vovisibor at the beginning of the Age - I think - and Jraktal is not named in connection with Vovisibor).  Hence the Naga/Agi are not helping because they have already acted.  What is happening there is a minor skirmish..

The Ivamali IMO are not elves but Hroolar which would explain there being few in number.  .  

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There's a mention of Nagas in WF15, in the Archive Runequest Miniatures article:

Quote

 

“Runequest/Dragon Pass” 7000 Series

[...]

Snake Mother & Lampressae: Greater and Lesser Nagas. (3 pieces) $2.98

 

@Rick Meints may have a set. So pictures are a possibility...

 

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I was just reading the glorantha.com document "Safelster in the First Age", and came across this deity in the pantheon of the primordial Vustri:

 

Quote

Nagi-Mer: shaman guide and psychopomp(ess). Snake shaped daughter of Hykim and Mikyh.

"Nagimer" does look *very* similar to "Agimor" for course, and the snake theme is there. However, this is not tied to Earth, but rather the whole Animal Totem complex. But then so is the Serpentbeast Society, and Dragons, Serpents and Beasts have always had a complicated relationship in the mythos: We have Serpent Shamans connecting the different Animal Totem people in Fronela against the Malkioni, or organizing a confederation in Ralios, or the very complicated case of Hsunchen prevalence in Kralorela that coexists with Dragon worship and mysticism there, how Hykim and Mikyh are sometimes imagined as dragons or two separate aspects of one dragon, and Langamul/Amuron, the horned serpent god of Doraddi myths, whose nature is vague, but I believe both tied to the creation of the world (Langamul) as well as modern shamanism/spirit magic (Amuron), though I could be wrong).

Personally, I like the idea that dragon/serpent is essentially a kind of "undifferentiated" beast archetype, from which, runically, other forms derive - hence why serpent-totemic groups have been able to act as go-betweeners. However, that is clearly not the entire case. The connection to earth - beyond simple themes such as dwelling underground, being rebirth through shedding, and arguably being "earthy" with thick scales and the likes - should be accounted for. 

I don't want to drag this thread too far from its main topic, but maybe there's something to be gleaned from contrasting the "gross" materialism of creation, animality, earth and serpents, with "transcendental" draconic mysticism. Dragons - both as entities, but also as a generally used term for unfathomably powerful beings, ie. the seas for example - often seem involved with the creation of the universe/cosmos, and opposed to Chaos, but also seek to return to the Void (which arguably is just Chaos unfettered by the limitations of being trapped in the Cosmos). So if there is a "dichotomy" between a (creative?) Material-Spritual Earth-Beast Serpent Complex and a Transcendental Mystic Dragon Complex, that dichotomy disappears upon further inspection.

Theory:
It's Ouroborous all the way down. The Totemic Serpent in some ways explores the creative and procreative material and spiritual aspect of the overall Whole, and so it's tied to life* and earth and flesh (earth and flesh arguably being the same in this case), whereas the Mystic Dragon explores the liberating*, transcendental aspect of the Whole. Head and Tail. Brahma and Shiva. Fuel and Smoke. Headwater and Estuary.

(*Both of these including death also - but in different senses. Or maybe not. After all, dichotomies are usually artificially enforced, which is kind of the point here.)

This escalated a bit during writing, but I was given a lot to think about and tried to put it down in hopefully somewhat legible terms.

All this considered, I'm almost somewhat surprised that the Empire of Wyrm's Friends wasn't based on ERNALDA having a hidden dragon soul instead. :P;) Don't tell the God Learners.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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25 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

the Empire of Wyrm's Friends wasn't based on ERNALDA having a hidden dragon soul instead.

We don't know a lot about what she was doing in the imperial era. It's almost like those records have been deliberately misplaced. 

The "E" in EWF could stand in for just about Everything.

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On 11/6/2019 at 11:20 AM, scott-martin said:

In terms of theories to adopt it's interesting that Pamalt is sometimes depicted as a serpent giant.

As is Genert... Glorantha Sourcebook:

page93image26873712-65.thumb.png.2b1a257eb5418552c912d35e550a54aa.png

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2 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

As is Genert... Glorantha Sourcebook:

Puts a different slither on the cult role Ylream was bred to play, don't it . . . a decent enough experiment for a few centuries but in the end the mythic south is still different.

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15 hours ago, David Scott said:

There's a mention of Nagas in WF15, in the Archive Runequest Miniatures article:

@Rick Meints may have a set. So pictures are a possibility...

 

Here's a photo of them.

IMG_2357.JPG

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2 hours ago, Rick Meints said:

Here's a photo of them.

IMG_2357.JPG

An outstanding collection! But Rick is obviously not one to follow instructions! 😉

SDLeary

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