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Women in Glorantha


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2 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

uhhh do you know what the survival rates were like in the ancient world because I feel like you don't when you say this

Death before, during, or soon after childbirth is a significant cause of female mortality, especially in countries and communities without universal access to healthcare.

In fact, in the last 20 years, the WHO showed a 43% decline in infant and mother mortality during birth alone.

So the population skew is going to be massively different. 1/4 of women dying in childbirth is no longer an issue. People aren't having 20 babies. My grandfather was one of SEVENTEEN sons. That's not going to be the case even in a world with ravening trolls because over half of them died before age 6.

Like, there's healthcare, full stop. Yeah, there's warfare. There are going to be bigger families than we have now, but women are not going to die in childbirth constantly, and an healthy adult man won't die because he got a splinter, never mind a sword-blow to an arm.

It really is going to be a very different world to both the modern and the ancient worlds.

I'm very well aware of what pre-modern mortality rates were--I'm a professional medieval historian. While I don't study life expectancy directly, I do study medieval crime and violence, so this isn't totally outside my wheelhouse.

If we start with the baseline of the ancient world, when we add in the various magical factors of Glorantha, do the pro-life factors (healing magic, crop fertility magic, etc) so decidedly outweigh the pro-death factors (killing magics like Sever Spirit, Malia's disease spirits, Chaos in general) that the overall life expectancy and survival rates rise dramatically compared to the real world? If the RW life expectancy at birth was around 30, do the overall balance of pro-life vs pro-death forces raise that life expectancy by 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Are the people of Glorantha vastly better off than the people of the Roman Empire? What impact do the occasional magical catastrophes like the Dragonkill War, which have no obvious parallel in the RW, do to that calculation? 

My sense is that while Gloranthans are better off than the people of Ancient Rome, they don't enjoy anything like a modern life expectancy. I think the average life expectancy at birth is probably in around 40, not around 70. 

But again, YGMV from mine. If you want Sartarites with modern life expectancies, that's great. I get why someone might want to ignore the rather appalling mortality rates of the ancient and medieval world. It just doesn't quite work for me.
 

Edited by Bohemond
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1 hour ago, Bohemond said:

I get why someone might want to ignore the rather appalling mortality rates of the ancient and medieval world. It just doesn't quite work for me.

sooo much of that mortality was 1. childbirth/infancy and 2. disease

in Glorantha, the first is not an issue in the societies with which we are familiar and the second is perhaps comparable to modern healthcare in terms of survivability, being a function primarily of inflicted injuries and accidents on the one hand and on the other spirits sent by hostile tribes (i.e. warfare, spiritual inflicted injuries) and the spiritual equivalent of animal attacks.

The Roman lifestyle didn't lead to a 40y life expectancy because they were always at war, it was because they were infested with intestinal parasites, drank out of lead pipes and glasses, and had no healthcare and barely any sanitation. In contrast, Orlanthis have a better standing of living than many Americans do. (Before you mention the threat of the broo and the Lunars, I'd like to point out we've been at war in Afghanistan for 18 years and there are 18.2 million veterans... and currently we are officially at war in five countries.)

Apocalypses and genocides are a real factor. But those are separate issues. When you have Bless Crops you can feed so many people; when you have actual healers your women don't die in childbirth. Do you know how bad death in childbirth issues are in the United States right now? Because it's bad. It's really bad. And the result on our life expectancy has been frankly catastrophic.

Measles epidemics were one hundred percent lethal a century ago. There's just no parallel.

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True love and marriage: Romantic love in Orlanthi society would probably look different from the stories the poets of the last 2800 years of our history have delivered to us.

Overwhelming mutual desire between two people from feuding clans/cultures which goes contrary to their clan leaders' policy and matchmaking politics is probably as outrageous to their kin as is the mutual desire between Romeo and Juliet to their contemporaries.

The concept of true and pure love out of the meeting of two humans probably is alien to the mindset of the pious polytheistic Gloranthans. It has to be inspired by a deity. And while there is Uleria, there is also Eurmal.

The adventures of Tat and Tol, aka Orlanth Niskis and Yinkin, are in all likelihood the equivalent of the Orlanthi Decameron. And Ernalda may be involved, but not in an active role.

 

Ernalda seeks a husband? Ok, guardians, don't beat all those suitors away...

 

A Gloranthan "Harry and Sally" would be two people between serial marriages with other people having the occasional licit fling with one another when they both happen to be between marriages (and maybe also some hardly licit due to cultic excuses like a fertility pilgrimage or rite) .

A love that wasn't meant to be would be a love between two people from properly distinct bloodlines but the same clan. That then may result in both marrying outside of that birth clan, getting widowed but staying with the kids, then meet again... and creating a bridge between those clans.

Fulfill three impossible quests? That's how you become King of Dragon Pass.

 

Male earth god, missing...

Entru and the Boar. Reflected in King Drona and the Boar in Fronela.

The name Entru is a variation of Genert, or vice versa. Ga-Entru = Ga-En<urt> = Genert? "The Male Earth", with the inverson of "urt" to "tru" possibly a weird form of declination? In that case, Entru is just "(of) The Male".

Eons back on the digest, Nick Brooke proposed a Storm Boar for the Entruli, which I then named "Mralonth".

Gouger the God Pig was an avenging demon sent to plague the people who had incurred the displeasure of the Earth Queen, and when Aram killed its mortal form and tamed its undying divine spirit, it had already destroyed two cities. (One of those may have been Sedenorshill, at or near the Wild Temple - we don't have any reports on when and how that Vingkotling Star Tribe perished, and this is as good as any other reason).

 

Barntar is the male earth, except that he is also Orlanth. So is Durev, the (short-nosed) Pinocchio who led the first Orlanthi civilization after his meeting with Orane. A "chance meeting" on the Downland Migration, well before Orlanth meets and frees/abducts Ernalda.

But then, maybe that's descriptive of Ernalda: "Wherever you go, there I will be waiting for you." Although "waiting for you" may be in the form of an ambush.

I wish I had an explanation why Greg went for the goose-headed and -footed Imarja for Esrolia rather than the spider woman. But then, the exact shape may not matter that much. Choosing the goose is actually weird - geese are the epitome of monogamy. Although devouring your seed donor and than autodigesting yourself to nurse the next generation could be seen as a form of monogamy, too...

 

On the concept of incompatible runes: According to Orlanthi metaphysics, everybody has five elemental souls. Additional ones may be available through enlightenment, but don't play a role in procreation.

 

The sexual norm of the Orlanthi male appears to be bisexuality. Sharing physical affection with your brothers in arms is the norm, and I bet that's how Vinga got pregnant. Orlanthi life isn't very private, either. Children would definitely know about sex from everyday observations.

I am less certain how the borders between licit, non-sexual physical affections (hugs, kisses, caressing) and sexual advances are defined. Possibly puberty makes things that used to be all-right icky?

And how to stop children's play (e.g. playing house) from getting all too "Brave New World"?

Maybe the children do have imaginary friends, their very own protective Trickster spirit that jealously wards off the advances of other Tricksters.

 

Marriage is not required for procreation in Orlanthi society. An unmarried woman getting pregnant just adds that child to her household's nursery, and if she doesn't have a household, to that of her social superior, or the temple. Same for the rare unmarried man getting pregnant.

I wonder about the definition of parenthood in Orlanthi society. A woman having given birth or not is a definition hard to miss (even if the pregnancy and birth came as a surprise), but how does a man become a father in the society sense? There are cases of adults who fail to become parents by a certain age, who then are sent out on a Wanderlore quest. Sartar was thought to be such a person when he first arrived among the Quivini. The fact that he fathered three children (that we know of) more than twenty years after his arrival in the region makes it clear that he wasn't infertile. I would be interested in how Eonistaran came about, and why he is the only other child of Sartar that we know about.

Orlanth does accept his fatherhood of the children that resulted from the adventures of Tat and Tol, like the cloud hawks he had with Tarhelera. (That famous battle when he led the Vingkotlings against the invading Helerings may have been a mutual "It's You!" moment between Orlanth and Heler as both arrive on the stage of a champions' battle, and may very well have resulted in a wrestling "match".)

Do Orlanthi children interfere with their parents' sex life? Orlanth famously did so when he slew Sh'harkarzeel (The Mover of Heavens, however he may be spelled). (Judging from the locations of the dragon's skull and spine, Orlanth may have interfered with a 69.) Umath even more famously did so pushing his parents apart, but admittedly he had a greater need for the birth canal at the time than his father did.

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14 minutes ago, Joerg said:

True love and marriage: Romantic love in Orlanthi society would probably look different from the stories the poets of the last 2800 years of our history have delivered to us.

 

Curiosity compels me to ask about your dating. Would you, with the numbers provided, be dating modern romance to beginning with Helen as told by Homer? It seems to correspond.

14 minutes ago, Joerg said:

On the concept of incompatible runes: According to Orlanthi metaphysics, everybody has five elemental souls. Additional ones may be available through enlightenment, but don't play a role in procreation.

 

Too bad, that sounded good . I was totally (our world I know) envisioning star (rune) crossed lovers beyond R & J...

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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RE survivability -- I'm reminded of a debate I met online, back in 1980.  Yes, "online" in "1980" -- Usenet, the nascent internet!  Grog THAT, nard'lings!

Anywhoo ...

"Who will win, a 20th level AD&D archmage, or a Battlemech?"

I entered the fray on Team Archmage -- FWIW, which frankly isn't much -- but quickly realized the real answer was, "whoever you WANT to win!" (or the GM wants).

There are simply too many hypotheticals and imponderables, each of which is constructed of pure IMHO (the opposite of unobtanium) for either answer to be "correct."

So too with Gloranthan-vs-Ancient survivability.  Yes, there's amazing magic, healing, fertility, etc.  Yes, there's monsters, malign magic, apocalypti, etc.

How does it all balance out?  YGWV -- however you want, however it'll be the most fun at YOUR table.

 

I've realized that canon offers a reasonably clear answer (which may not apply to Your Glorantha):  Gloranthan survivability matches pretty closely (overall, that is; with maybe some Wakboth in the details) with Ancient-world survivability... specifically, it's observably close enough for the Ancients to serve as inspirations and as reference-models!

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4 minutes ago, g33k said:

RE survivability -- I'm reminded of a debate I met online, back in 1980.  Yes, "online" in "1980" -- Usenet, the nascent internet!  Grog THAT, nard'lings!

 

Bin dair don dat... started in ’73! using dumb terminals hooked up via modem to university mainframes... using punch cards with CP/M... grog that!

Edited by Bill the barbarian

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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11 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Curiosity compels me to ask about your dating. Would you, with the numbers provided, be dating modern romance to beginning with Helen as told by Homer? It seems to correspond.

Yes - the irrational attraction between well-married Helen and fairly unproven Paris is about as alien to established marriage praxis as is Romeo and Juliet.

Gunther lusting for the valkyrie Brunhild is how desire usually plays out.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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12 minutes ago, g33k said:

bangpathaddy's

So I goes and does a search on (where else) DuckDuckGo and over half the returns are Cyrillic making me think Fortran? P’raps...Remembering anything more specific from 73, well my first junior high school crush and using the schools computers to write golf programs. Oh and being introduced to my still guitar hero Frank Zappa (happy belated Zappadan all) by an older relative as being an orgasmic guitar player.... that of course got my interest... as a young teen!

Edited by Bill the barbarian

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

sooo much of that mortality was 1. childbirth/infancy and 2. disease

And famine, which gave disease an extra entry vector. All three of which have magics (in other words, technology) to deal with, but also have forces of evil working against these magics (the equivalent of anti-biotica-resistant strains of germs or malnutrition due to industrial food).

The age pyramid of the Orlanthi suggests a fairly high child mortality rate. The RQG economy rules support this - for the poor and destitute.

What nobody talks about is the necessary downward slide in status that results from the better survival rate of privileged birth, as those children are taking up a disproportionally large percentage of the next generation. As not everyone of these can remain thanes or wealthy carls, how do they slide into the necessary tenants' households?

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

in Glorantha, the first is not an issue in the societies with which we are familiar

The myths and magics exist because of the danger inherent in birth. Usually, the story-telling dramaticizes the birth by placing the birthing mother in the worst possible environment, like the (nameless) Humakti in the middle of a battle, or the Hollywood rom-com in the backseat of a taxi. (Different degrees of hardship, I admit...)

Troll fertility is the home for birthing going wrong in Glorantha, with humans fairly lucky not to have those experiences.

But then, is there a place for a myth of Ernalda suffering a miscarriage? Or an abortion?

 

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

and the second is perhaps comparable to modern healthcare in terms of survivability, being a function primarily of inflicted injuries and accidents on the one hand and on the other spirits sent by hostile tribes (i.e. warfare, spiritual inflicted injuries) and the spiritual equivalent of animal attacks.

Modern health-care in a country with a civil war (or worse, a proxy war) going on, I guess.

 

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

The Roman lifestyle didn't lead to a 40y life expectancy because they were always at war, it was because they were infested with intestinal parasites, drank out of lead pipes and glasses, and had no healthcare and barely any sanitation. In contrast, Orlanthis have a better standing of living than many Americans do. (Before you mention the threat of the broo and the Lunars, I'd like to point out we've been at war in Afghanistan for 18 years and there are 18.2 million veterans... and currently we are officially at war in five countries.)

It is a significant difference whether you are at war in some other country or if someone else is at war with you (or with someone else) in your own country. Most of the USA hasn't seen a war since the native population was killed or driven away.

 

 

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Apocalypses and genocides are a real factor. But those are separate issues.

 

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

When you have Bless Crops you can feed so many people;

Bless Crops won't save you from enemies burning down your fields or blasting them with hostile magic, and neither did it help to harvest anything in 1622 even if some winter grains were planted before the Fall of Whitewall.

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

when you have actual healers your women don't die in childbirth.

As long as you manage to have these actual healers on call and beck for your birth, or your birth where these healers are.

At least the influence of iatrogenic germs will be a lot less in Glorantha.

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Do you know how bad death in childbirth issues are in the United States right now? Because it's bad. It's really bad. And the result on our life expectancy has been frankly catastrophic.

No available/affordable treatment is a major issue everywhere it occurs. Over here, self-employed midwives go out of business because they cannot afford paying the professional insurance rates any more, leading to a similar lack of coverage of professional treatment.

 

But that's a heroic class of healer that is massively under-represented in Gloranthan roleplaying: midwives. Each complicated birth is a challenge equal to a boss fight or a minor heroquest, but we lack rules which are somewhat fun to play.

But then, without having experienced any birth but my own (and thankfully having no memories of that), I guess I am not qualified to even start to write something about that topic.

 

1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Measles epidemics were one hundred percent lethal a century ago. There's just no parallel.

Really? With the old-fashioned way of immunisation by victimization, I would have expected a sufficient portion of the population to be immunized to do minimal sick-care, which usually should lower the death rate significantly. Epidemics are lethal when the healers are among the second wave of the victims.

Inflicting the measles on a population without prior exposure is deadly. Inflicting a measles epidemic anywhere in the Old World in the 19th century will have a death toll, but far from hundred percent lethality.

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17 hours ago, g33k said:

I have been (trying to) give Special and Critical and Fumble results to ALL RQ skill-rolls (not just combat ones) for... hrmmm...  At least 25-30 years now.

There isn't much for MOST endeavors to match combat's HPs and armor and hit-locations, however.  😞

"Dude!  You got a Crit to the Meringue!!!  You totally just won the Feast!"

Wait, you mean there are GMs who don't handle special/critical/fumble results on non-combat rolls? That doesn't seem right. Most (if not all) RPG systems have crit/fumble results as part of the broader game system -- not just the combat mechanics.

As for matching combat HP/AP/hit-location to non-combat things, that's exactly what I meant with "social combat" for political discussions or complex trade negotiations, for instance. Check out the optional rules in the Mythras companion, they do exactly this: "hit locations" are for "attacking" someone's passions or personality or logic or whatever. And then you can counter or deflect the argument, like dodging vs parrying. I haven't used anything like this yet in any game but it has been on my mind for the past 15 years or so.

In other cases, yes, a bake-off at a ceremonial feast would probably warrant multiple rolls at my table. Something in between "combat crunch" and "just 1 roll", similar in feel to, say, CoC 7e chase rules, where there's still a little bit of resource management, just enough to have between 2 and 8 rolls at the table, and would amount to 5~10min of gameplay.

Anyway... please resume gender related discussions, those are super interesting :)

Ludovic aka Lordabdul -- read and listen to  The God Learners , the Gloranthan podcast, newsletter, & blog !

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1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

... Anyway... please resume gender related discussions, those are super interesting :)

I am sorry to report that of all the RPG's where I have been a player, RQ (and in fact the entire BRP family) is IIRC the ONLY one where I have never had a female GM (or in fact anyone other than white/cis/heterodude, so far as I could tell).  I exclude the large-ish number of "only ever played once" games from Con & game-day and such, where there's easily a dozen game-systems I've played.

I'm aware of there being other sorts of GM's for BRP out there... and I've even seen them (e.g. at a Con table where I wasn't a player); I have just never had any of them GM for me...  😞

 

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3 hours ago, Joerg said:

But then, is there a place for a myth of Ernalda suffering a miscarriage? Or an abortion?

Good question. On one hand, people emulate the good goddess because she gets the good outcomes . . . her children are all wanted and they all live. When you need to mourn or rage or make tough decisions the sisters and the crone are there to take your hand. 

But this also means that everything bad that happens around Ernalda is passively suffered (there's that gender dichotomy again) and turns into a happy ending with the right attitude. I don't think this captures the real complexity of a fully lived life, Luck and Fate. Bad things happen to good women and bad women happen to good things. 

Someone right now might be heroquesting a way to integrate the light and shadow earths. On the other hand this may simply look like the Moon, cycling from princess to bitch and back again. No wonder the Shakers are so upset with the Hon-Eel reforms . . . they invested a lot of identity into Terrible Mother and if that simply becomes another phase of Every Woman they've wasted their lives.

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52 minutes ago, g33k said:

I am sorry to report that of all the RPG's where I have been a player, RQ (and in fact the entire BRP family) is IIRC the ONLY one where I have never had a female GM (or in fact anyone other than white/cis/heterodude, so far as I could tell).  I exclude the large-ish number of "only ever played once" games from Con & game-day and such, where there's easily a dozen game-systems I've played.

I'm aware of there being other sorts of GM's for BRP out there... and I've even seen them (e.g. at a Con table where I wasn't a player); I have just never had any of them GM for me...  😞

 

 

I've never had a male DM for Runequest (or any of Chaosium's games except CoC). Then again I've always been the Chaosium fan in our gaming group which has had the same core membership for over 30 years now.

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15 minutes ago, JustAnotherVingan said:

I've never had a male DM for Runequest (or any of Chaosium's games except CoC). Then again I've always been the Chaosium fan in our gaming group ...

It's not clear to me if you're saying that you YOURSELF are the primary GM for RQ (and therefore have a very low incidence of RQ-GMs to your RQ-player).

So I'll offer specific numbers -- I have played PC's in games with 3 different GM's across the years & the RQ editions, and 1 GM for CoC.  Of all the games where I have played in "campaigns" (and similar multi-session play), RQ/BRP games are oddly skewed this way.  I don't know why, and presume a quirk of happenstance:  anecdote not data.

 

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4 minutes ago, g33k said:

It's not clear to me if you're saying that you YOURSELF are the primary GM for RQ (and therefore have a very low incidence of RQ-GMs to your RQ-player).

So I'll offer specific numbers -- I have played PC's in games with 3 different GM's across the years & the RQ editions, and 1 GM for CoC.  Of all the games where I have played in "campaigns" (and similar multi-session play), RQ/BRP games are oddly skewed this way.  I don't know why, and presume a quirk of happenstance:  anecdote not data.

 

In my case I was pretty much nearly always refereeing. Even the game where I got introduced to RQ was a weird amalgam of D&D, C&S and RQ  so I've only refereed apart from solo adventures :(. Nowadays we have more referees, mostly male, but not for RQ. I suspect the sheer amount of unique lore makes it more intimidating than Pendragon or CoC to referee.

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2 hours ago, JustAnotherVingan said:

I've never had a male DM for Runequest (or any of Chaosium's games except CoC). Then again I've always been the Chaosium fan in our gaming group which has had the same core membership for over 30 years now.

Ah a newbie to BRP central, cheers and welcome (gentle nudge, we don’t call them DMs around these parts ma’am or sir, gets the grognards riled, DOWN OLD TIMER, down, supper will be served at the regular time, would you like to go back to nappie? That was close, see what I mean?).

Cheers

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22 hours ago, scott-martin said:

This is outstanding. Say more about pig father please.

I wish I could. Pig or Boar are sometimes conflated in terms of deities, but other times separated, and I forget specifically where. 

There's a story from History of the Heortling Peoples, I believe, where Pig-herding and Cattle/Sheep-herding Heortling kings quarrel over control of Arrowmound, and the pig-herding Harandings lose. 

The Orlanthi of Maniria (sometimes called Entruli) are likely at least in part converted pig/boar Hsunchen, and appear to preserve some cultural substrata. Entru is perhaps more a Dawn Age culture hero than a god (but differentiating those can be difficult without firsthand sources) who was married to Ketha (which might be the local Dawn Age name for who we would consider Ernalda or Esrola nowadays, or specifically the local land goddess, it's hard to say).

We also have Bakan the Boar in Fronela, considered the brother of Frona, and her guardian. 

Generally, male Boar/Pig gods seem to often have this sort of brother/husband-protector (possibly both, knowing how Earth has a tendency for sacred incest) for the Earth goddess. 

Similarly, perhaps they act as avengers for the Dark Earth. Joerg goes into more detail below:

15 hours ago, Joerg said:

Male earth god, missing...

Entru and the Boar. Reflected in King Drona and the Boar in Fronela.

The name Entru is a variation of Genert, or vice versa. Ga-Entru = Ga-En<urt> = Genert? "The Male Earth", with the inverson of "urt" to "tru" possibly a weird form of declination? In that case, Entru is just "(of) The Male".

Eons back on the digest, Nick Brooke proposed a Storm Boar for the Entruli, which I then named "Mralonth".

Gouger the God Pig was an avenging demon sent to plague the people who had incurred the displeasure of the Earth Queen, and when Aram killed its mortal form and tamed its undying divine spirit, it had already destroyed two cities. (One of those may have been Sedenorshill, at or near the Wild Temple - we don't have any reports on when and how that Vingkotling Star Tribe perished, and this is as good as any other reason).

Barntar is the male earth, except that he is also Orlanth. So is Durev, the (short-nosed) Pinocchio who led the first Orlanthi civilization after his meeting with Orane. A "chance meeting" on the Downland Migration, well before Orlanth meets and frees/abducts Ernalda.

But then, maybe that's descriptive of Ernalda: "Wherever you go, there I will be waiting for you." Although "waiting for you" may be in the form of an ambush.

I wish I had an explanation why Greg went for the goose-headed and -footed Imarja for Esrolia rather than the spider woman. But then, the exact shape may not matter that much. Choosing the goose is actually weird - geese are the epitome of monogamy. Although devouring your seed donor and than autodigesting yourself to nurse the next generation could be seen as a form of monogamy, too...

On a somewhat related note: sows are infamous for eating their young if they are stressed or feel unsafe. While the motif of female filicide might be considered misogynistic, it is undeniably a common theme in lots of mythologies around the world, and they do starkly highlight the power of women in a deeply disturbing way (the male equivalent, in terms of taboo, seems to be father-murder, which isn't a direct mirror image, but appear to have shocked the ancient Greeks and Roman at least, just as much). 

Anyway, in the Green Age such devourings might've had a completely different context. A mother gives birth to her son, who is also her brother, her guardian (not in the superior sense, more likely in a "sanctioned personnel" kind of sense), and her husband. Then, when he becomes old and weakened, she devours/sacrifices him, and rebirths him strong again. (mirrors the themes of Seshna Likita "swallowing" the early Seshnegi kings (ie. as they went down into the earth), and then as their sons miracuously emerge to rule anew.)

Speculating here. It would be interesting to see a take on this dynamic that's explicitly from the female perspective - given the topic of the thread. The closest we get to this is the stories in the Entekosiad about the White Queens and the Red King, but these seem more like celestial entities than cthonic ones. Perhaps the dynamic was more common that just Earth. 

(It does sort of make Earth feel a bit like a pokemon trainer throwing out her best sons to fight pokemon battles and watching them level up. Hrm, I mean, uh... serious mythology talk, serious mythology talk grumble gramble...)

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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6 hours ago, Joerg said:

The age pyramid of the Orlanthi suggests a fairly high child mortality rate. The RQG economy rules support this - for the poor and destitute.

A thought I had while dozing this morning is that intitiation can be a significant contributor to pre-adult mortality.

Cultures are not doing the initiation because it's easy or safe, they're doing it because it's mythically necessary. IDK what the mortality rate among Spartan initiates was, but I'd posit that it was lower than among Gloranthans. This is simply because Gloranthan initiations can have genuinely hostile entities participating (ala Red Cow).

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10 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

On a somewhat related note: sows are infamous for eating their young if they are stressed or feel unsafe. While the motif of female filicide might be considered misogynistic, it is undeniably a common theme in lots of mythologies around the world, and they do starkly highlight the power of women in a deeply disturbing way (the male equivalent, in terms of taboo, seems to be father-murder, which isn't a direct mirror image, but appear to have shocked the ancient Greeks and Roman at least, just as much). 

Anyway, in the Green Age such devourings might've had a completely different context. A mother gives birth to her son, who is also her brother, her guardian, and her husband. Then, when he becomes old and weakened, she devours/sacrifices him, and rebirths him strong again. (mirrors the themes of Seshna Likita "swallowing" the early Seshnegi kings (ie. as they went down into the earth), and then as their sons miracuously emerge to rule anew.)

This is HOT stuff since Odysseus' mysterious "thigh" scar (i.e., near miss) was on the boar hunt and IIRC the pig goddess was the Lady of the Wild. I had forgotten that. The lady was eternal and the boys were completely ephemeral and expendable . . . the earth king was supposed to run his term and retire into the temple, so coming back from the wars to challenge the suitors preserves the ghost of a profound revolution in consciousness.

In our hobby we might postulate a boar father emerging at a certain historical / mythic moment and building nations, only to fade from view. Slontos is a strange place. Also can anyone remind me who the Udram the Aramites ultimately descend from was? For Aram to have a distinct identity as the "son" (child?) of anyone is noteworthy. For them to be "Aramites" and not "Udramites" (Yudramites?) says even more. Maybe the first King of Dragon Pass was also the last king to die by sacrifice. Where does it get us? Back to the furries. 

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I have checked my books and I have not found anything about Udram her/himself. The History of the Heortling Peoples (page 55) tells that Aram-Ya-Udram means "Aram Soul of Udram and that he was fully mortal, but lived almost two-hundred years. He was a civilized statesman, experienced general and religious adept. Among other deeds he conquered the giant boars of Dragon Pass and forced them to serve as mounts for his elite warriors." The Guide to Glorantha confirms that Aramites were members of the Unity Council and worshipped Orlanth.

There are a lot of conflicting versions of the Tusk Riders origin. I have read somewhere that they consorted with a darkness demon to survive the Darkness while The Guide to Glorantha and other books like HQG, Pavis: GtA or Sartar: KoH clearly state a mixed Troll and Human ancestry and date their creation to the Second Age. Sartar KoH also suggests that some people believe that the Tusk Riders were created by the Empire of the Wyrms Friends. Hero Wars Anaxial's Roster also evokes an EWF experiment and adds that the "Arimites worship the god-pig Gouger together with the hero Aram-Ya-Udram and an unnamed darkness demon." HeroQuest 1 exposes a different version of the Tusk Riders creation, it would date from the first age (HQ1 page 262). The High Council of Dorastor would have doomed Aram to a tortured worship by hybrid inhuman things because he compromised with the Trolls who opposed Nysalor.

RQ3 Elder Secrets states that the "Tusk Riders apparantly originated in the Second Age, perhaps from some abominable EWF fertilization program which crossed trolls and humans. The Tusk Riders however claim that they were made from the blood, the spittle, and seminal fluid of their God of the Bloody Tusk. The Tusk Riders claim that they have an emperor who once ruled the world, but who now rules from pig-back exile since being betrayed by the Dragon King in elder days. They say he rules over twelve tusk rider kings, each of whom rules 50,000 subjects". The Bloody Tusk is supposed to be the god who created them and fathered their ancient emperor on the swine goddess and the 12 kings on his granddaughters. This version is reprinted in RQ: RiG Bestiary.

The Book of Heortling Mythology has yet another version of the Tusk Riders creation (Appendix C : Orlanthi Heroes and Hero Cults, page 174):

Aram-Ya-Udram

Status: Ancestor

Date: Darkness Age

Place: Kerofinela

Worshippers: Tusk Riders

Cult: Bloody Tusk

Aram was a great leader and hero at the Dawn. He represented the human species on the Fist Council. His fame and prestige diminished as the Heortlings gained control, largely through their greater population growth. During the Imperial Age his descendants merged their blood with the fierce Tusker boars of Kerofinela, so that now he is worshipped as their ancestor and as part of the Cult of the Bloody Tusk. So different is his reputation today that many people imagine Aram of the Dawn Ages to have been a different person.

In The History of the Heortling Peoples, it is said (page 5) that "[the Tusk Riders] are human beings, led by Aram Ya Udram, who is the human being serving on the Unity Council, [and that] later, after Aram's death, during the Second Council, these people turn to worship the darkness demon guardian of their temple [aka "Gouger"], and become the "halftrolls" of later times."

As always, there isn't a simple answer when it comes to Glorantha. I must admit it was a very long post just to say I know nothing about Udram, but it was fun to make some researches as if it were a real historical subject.

Edited by Corvantir
RQ3 Elder Secrets reference
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17 minutes ago, Corvantir said:

I have not found anything about Udram her/himself.

Thank you. It is funny that all this time we didn't ask.

Taking that linking particle first, I'm intrigued with theories that the "ya U-" is cognate for a "Yu-" which would have marked him as one of those sky survivors at the beginning when he tamed the pig. Otherwise it's too easy to read and dismiss as a Welsh "yr," which is fun when you're engaged with the Mabinogion trying to figure out how pigs were tamed in Britain but it gets distracting here in our hobby now that we've grown beyond all that.

Whoever Udram or Dram was, we'll find out eventually. Maybe it's related to the rehabilitation of the Plinth people and other piggies elsewhere. In Wales they might have said "Mabon ap Modron," which is as simple as "the son of the mother," relevant to talk about how archaic male consciousness emerges as something expendable and then gets a chance to live out the harvest.

piggy.png.c10c478c5e941c6d1c9f743d06866627.png

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18 minutes ago, Corvantir said:

I have checked my books and I have not found anything about Udram her/himself. The History of the Heortling Peoples (page 55) tells that Aram-Ya-Udram means "Aram Soul of Udram and that he was fully mortal, but lived almost two-hundred years. He was a civilized statesman, experienced general and religious adept. Among other deeds he conquered the giant boars of Dragon Pass and forced them to serve as mounts for his elite warriors." The Guide to Glorantha confirms that Aramites were members of the Unity Council and worshipped Orlanth.

The oldest published mention of the leader of the Tusk Riders (White Bear and Red Moon) has his name as Yu-Adariam.

I find it highly likely that he came from the Manirian/western Esrolian Harandings or rather the tribe of King Drorgalar whose daughter Harand's father had married. The Harandings would be the obscure side lineage which happened to survive, while the majority of Drorgalar's descendants followed Aram when he undertook to end Gouger's rampage.

For Gouger to have destroyed cities, he must have started his rampage in Esrolia - possibly in a style similar to Ethirist's Hound. WBRM was Greg's game system at that time...

Near the location of the Ivory Plinth, Aram caught up with the rampaging Earth Avenger, and tamed its spirit. His fellow tribesmen followed him to the Plinth, and derived the ability to ride their totemic beast from Aram's exploits (something no Wenelian or Esrolian boar worshiper has mastered).

(All of this IMO.)

18 minutes ago, Corvantir said:

There are a lot of conflicting versions of the Tusk Riders origin. I have read somewhere that they consorted with a darkness demon to survive the Darkness while The Guide to Glorantha and other books like HQG, Pavis: GtA or Sartar: KoH clearly state a mixed Troll and Human ancestry and date their creation to the Second Age. Sartar KoH also suggests that some people believe that the Tusk Riders were created by the Empire of the Wyrm Friends. Hero Wars Anaxial's Roster also evokes an EWF experiment and adds that the "Arimites worship the god-pig Gouger together with the hero Aram-Ya-Udram and an unnamed darkness demon." HeroQuest 1 exposes a different version of the Tusk Riders creation, it would date from the first age (HQ1 page 262). The High Council of Dorastor would have doomed Aram to a tortured worship by hybrid inhuman things because he compromised with the Trolls who opposed Nysalor.

The Book of Heortling Mythology has yet another version of the Tusk Riders creation (Appendix C : Orlanthi Heroes and Hero Cults, page 174):

Aram-Ya-Udram

Status: Ancestor

Date: Darkness Age

Place: Kerofinela

Worshippers: Tusk Riders

Cult: Bloody Tusk

Aram was a great leader and hero at the Dawn. He represented the human species on the Fist Council. His fame and prestige diminished as the Heortlings gained control, largely through their greater population growth. During the Imperial Age his descendants merged their blood with the fierce Tusker boars of Kerofinela, so that now he is worshipped as their ancestor and as part of the Cult of the Bloody Tusk. So different is his reputation today that many people imagine Aram of the Dawn Ages to have been a different person.

In The History of the Heortling Peoples, it is said (page 5) that "[the Tusk Riders] are human beings, led by Aram Ya Udram, who is the human being serving on the Unity Council, [and that] later, after Aram's death, during the Second Council, these people turn to worship the darkness demon guardian of their temple [aka "Gouger"], and become the "halftrolls" of later times."

As always, there isn't a simple answer when it comes to Glorantha. And I must admit it was a very long post just to say I know nothing about Udram.

I am a great fan of the explanation in Heortling Mythology, and despite all the recent reprints of the half-troll rumors, I think that this one is the correct answer to their ancestry.

In the Freeform "Between the Dragon and the Deep Blue Sea", apparently that's what Jeff and the other authors of the freeform thought, too, as Varankol the Mangler, the Great Living Hero of the Boar Riders of the Ivory Plinth, had his head removed and exchanged with that of his favourite steed. Probably at the needle of the masters of Remakerela, and then doing a quest similar to Joraz Kyrem to establish this as an inheritable or even transferable trait. (Joraz transformed an entire herd of his Goldeneye horses into war zebras, too.)

There is also the implication of a Tusk Rider adoption rite that makes a captive clansman into a Tusk Rider in King of Dragon Pass able to pass on this trait to his offspring. Quite the nice story line...

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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9 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Yu-Adariam

We'll go back to Wenelia now that I'm back with the books. I wonder if this is more properly expanded "Aram Yu-Ud-Ar(i)am" or Aram Yu [translated "soul of" in the Bestiary] Ud [unknown particle] Aram [repeated] . . . depending on the Ud this might be a "Son of Mother" construction or something more like Popeye's (or YHWH's) tautological "I yam / what I yam."

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