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Women in Glorantha


HeartQuintessence

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20 minutes ago, g33k said:

I'm going to disagree, here.  That "historical skew of male gamers focusing on predominately male cults" hasn't just created a "perception" it has created a reality, the canon.

As a newcomer, I wouldn't say it has made it "canon" because, indeed, that's not how I perceive Glorantha from the lens of the newer material (RQG, GS) which coloured my mental view of slightly older material (GtG, S:KoH, SC). Although you could argue that I'm of course subject to my own biases... But the result is that I do really read Heortling society as a "balance" between Orlanth and Ernalda, with enough Earth priestesses, female warriors, LGBTQ Helerings, etc... to keep the male representation in check.

The best example of an Heortling clan, the Red Cow, indeed has fairly good gender balance, on paper (~45% female NPCs in various important positions plus 1 Helering cross-dresser). I can totally imagine a female point of view when telling a variety of Heortling stories -- but sadly very few such stories have been told so far. That's what I hope/expect from material coming from @HeartQuintessence or @Jane if they ever publish something (unless they'd rather go with Esorlian stories or something else). I'd love to see, for instance, more adventures centered around Earth priestess activities, and some one-shot scenarios where the PCs are a couple of Vingan or Babeester Gor or Maran Gor characters with their entourage, out on some cult-appropriate mission.

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The broad issue is less about social power, which is kind of secondary (people are generally playing heroes or otherwise exceptional people) and more about subtler dynamics like the active/passive dichotomy, where the question is more "Is it possible to be both conventionally womanly and an active rather than passive figure?" In other words, if I'm playing an Ernaldan or a Dendaran, am I supposed to be a passive and reactive figure, someone who takes her actions outside the scope of conventional RPG play, in order to be mythologically appropriate? And if I'm not, or if I want to define my Glorantha so that the femininity of Ernalda and Dendara doesn't forestall being an active presence, how then do I do so, within the mythological context? 

King of Dragon Pass (and the brief appearance of definitely-Ernalda in Six Ages) are of course immediately relevant as examples of how women are and can be active presences while remaining archetypal in their femininity. And, if we look at the cultural stereotypes that are embedded at least back to King of Sartar (and probably a bit before that) then we can by implication see that the typical Humakt and Lhankor Mhy are understood as behaving in a somewhat feminine way, and so we have some basic roadsigns as to how we can construct this presence. And all this is without neglecting unconventional femininity within Gloranthan societal contexts, of course. 

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The Thelxinoë of the Graclodont set.

Eight Arms and the Mask

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50 minutes ago, g33k said:

Tangent to the "masduline POV" argument ...  I still wish more of the major events from family/background (personal history of the PCs' families) involved major magical rituals, curses, &c.  The dominance of "battle" as history-defining material is definitely a masculine POV, and frankly not a very sophisticated or mature one (Esrolian-style "soft power" is at least as influential in RL!), and more myth & magic -- without any armies in the field ! -- would feel much more "Gloranthan" to me (notwithstanding WBRM &c ... ) .

 

Nice

 

52 minutes ago, g33k said:

But, as mentioned:  recent material is MUCH better, and we are only limited by the past if we choose to accept those limitations.

 

Yep, be the change you wish to see.

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

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So all. The above leads me to think...

I have heard it said very often that to be an effective utopian one must design one's society so that one could happily exist in any strata of that society.

We. thankfully, have an easier job, we are not looking at the extremes but what should be a fairly simple duality (men and women) in terms of strata and we are not seeking perfection, simply an understanding that is; if one creates this “cause” one gets this “effect”. Oh, I hope you do not mind my saying we,  @HeartQuintessence, I mean no disrespect to your work... but we are here in the trenches at the moment... with you! 

So, cause and effect simply put. If the “cause" is the result of this myth, what “effects" will fallout as a result. What will the resulting myths be and how do they interact with the reality on the ground (lozenge).under the vast web of time. And of course, what will be the new resulting causes and effects.

Cheers

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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No @Bill the barbarian, I do not this is most definitely a clan effort to come up and smooth out these idea.

Though this does get me thinking mythologically,  at this rate " My Glorantha "that will some very different myths to write and for people to tell. Though I suppose the time,  Orlath cleaned the house would be a funny story indeed.

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3 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

I can totally imagine a female point of view when telling a variety of Heortling stories -- but sadly very few such stories have been told so far. That's what I hope/expect from material coming from @HeartQuintessence or @Jane if they ever publish something (unless they'd rather go with Esorlian stories or something else). I'd love to see, for instance, more adventures centered around Earth priestess activities, and some one-shot scenarios where the PCs are a couple of Vingan or Babeester Gor or Maran Gor characters with their entourage, out on some cult-appropriate mission.

Um, I've got a website full of material, all free for everyone to use. I used to fund my "Tales of the Reaching Moon" habit, and my "Hearts in Glorantha" habit by making sure I got as many "free authors' copies" as I possibly could.  How much more "published" did you want?
Earth priestesses? I'll give it some thought, but apart from the randomish additions to the novel, the next story I ought to finish is a continuation of "The Widow's Tale", with three female protagonists (two of them healers), a female viewpoint, and one bloke looking a bit lost, not to mention oblivious to at least half of the plot. (The one I'm finding rather more interesting features Kallyr age 18, being about as mature and sensible as you might expect.) Hmm, I wonder what an Earth priestess' view of Kallyr might be? Not all that flattering, I expect. I'll give that some thought.

Scenarios - I don't really "do" scenarios, except for at conventions, with pre-gen PCs. Don't see the point: in a campaign, everything's driven by PC backstory or decisions. But I did say I'd try to get "In Pavis Fair City" written up, and that's investigative, driven by relationships and erm..... spoilers. Typically female skills, yes.  I'm pretty sure one of the PCs is an Earth priestess, or senior initiate.

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4 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Maybe it's already there :D  I just learned about your website on this thread, and haven't gone through it yet. I'll do that during the holidays!

Now you are beginning to see the the madness to my method, I was hoping Jane and a few of the other great old ones (hint, hint) would get involved to demonstrate that the Chaosium has been doing it right (well righter, anyways) for a long, long long time!

Cheers

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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35 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Now you are beginning to see the the madness to my method, I was hoping Jane and a few of the other great old ones (hint, hint) would get involved to demonstrate that the Chaosium has been doing it right (well righter, anyways) for a long, long long time!

Cheers

They may well have been, but that's two very different things. I am not Chaosium, and they are not me. 

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Just gonna throw a concept out there, "the Dark Mother," dark Earth.  Understanding the whole cycle of life; death giving rise to life leading inevitably to death giving rise...  The cycle eternal.

The Dark Mother says, "I love your life, I love your death.  They are both my children, and I do not play favorites!" 

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Reading through this lot, a few more thoughts occur. The ambition of many Princes of Sartar, and of Tarsh, and of a few other places, is to be King of Dragon Pass. How do you do that? By persuading the Feathered Horse Queen to marry you. How did Orlanth become King of the Gods? By persuading Ernalda to marry him - well, to accept him as one of her many husband-protectors. The idea of "Orlanth is the King, and he has his wife's permission to say so" is no joke, it's hard fact.

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9 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

well, in that case the tribe....

Yes. The tribe as a whole has done well, with built-in self-correcting mechanisms. If someone comes out with some daft brain fart like "only men can be Orlanth initiates" plenty of people can and do point to the existing female Wind Lords and Priestesses of Orlanth Thunderous, both PC and NPC.

Also, you may notice that when I was pointing at good sources for female-based material, I was recommending male authors. We have a lot of good blokes around here, much more so than in the average RPG community.

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14 minutes ago, Jane said:

The idea of "Orlanth is the King, and he has his wife's permission to say so" is no joke, it's hard fact.

Indeed. I always saw this as Ernalda being the one really in charge, pulling the strings... there's a reason Earth priestesses are known for being scheming masterminds. It strikes me as a clever move to keep the loud, reckless bearded guy in the front, taking all the hits for you, and getting all the attention away while you do some more scheming.

It would probably be an interesting mental exercise to see what it would look like to re-invent Glorantha with a different original dynamic between Yelm/The Emperor, Ernalda, Orlanth, and the other main deities (maybe even gender-swapping a few of them in the process). Although I'm not sure it would make much difference beyond worldbuilding fun and scholar studies -- the PCs would probably end up having similar play experience.

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5 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Please take that discussion to the Call of Cthulhu area...  🙂

As note by @Jane, its clear that FHQ / Ernalda really run Sartar / Glorantha, all this talk about a missing female voice somewhat confuses me.

 

It's because we let the children men imagine they're important, when they're really just expendable. They're happier that way :)
http://www.jane-williams.me.uk/glorantha/stories/elbq.cfm
Read the last paragraph.

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17 minutes ago, JonL said:

Everyone looking for an actively protagonistic Ernaldan should take a gander at Samastina, the Esrolian noblewoman who leads the party of signature characters in HQG. 

Indeed, Delaeos Samastina in HQ terms is Earth, Life and Movement and has two powerful abilities that stem directly from her Earth rune: she can cause the earth to swallow things up and she has an ability called "Earth sovereignty". In HQ: Glorantha she uses her Earth sovereignty in a contest against Cragwitch and wins.

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8 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Indeed. I always saw this as Ernalda being the one really in charge, pulling the strings... there's a reason Earth priestesses are known for being scheming masterminds. It strikes me as a clever move to keep the loud, reckless bearded guy in the front, taking all the hits for you, and getting all the attention away while you do some more scheming.

Yes. It reminds me of a "joke" (too potentially true to be really funny) about Afghanistan. Under theocracy rule, women were forced to walk behind their husbands. After they'd been freed, it was noticed that they still walked behind their husbands. Asked why, they said "Land mines".

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1 hour ago, Jane said:

Yes. It reminds me of a "joke" (too potentially true to be really funny) about Afghanistan. Under theocracy rule, women were forced to walk behind their husbands. After they'd been freed, it was noticed that they still walked behind their husbands. Asked why, they said "Land mines".

This is a quite good example for the wisdom of women.

And it's fun, how coincidences happen sometimes ... currently I'm doing a very deep dive into King of Sartar and just now I've come to the myth How Peace Was Made, which is another good example for women's wisdom, as this tells (beside other things) the story about the two main rules in Orlanthi society:

"Violence is always an option."

"There is always another way."

And this was part of Glorantha from the beginning ...

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15 hours ago, g33k said:

I'm going to disagree, here.  That "historical skew of male gamers focusing on predominately male cults" hasn't just created a "perception" it has created a reality, the canon.

Yes, Esrolia/Hendrikiland are (much MORE) polarized.  But Sartar has a LOT of patriarchal stuff in play; SOME more balanced; I've seen only a little that's genuinely "matriarchal" or feminine-centric (though recent efforts are better, there's a LOT of that older POV embedded into "the canon").  I'd assert that there's a bunch of systemic/institutional issues which people can squint-and-pretend aren't there, but REALLY are there (not unlike most real-world RPG'ing cultures such as USA, UK, etc...).  

 

15 hours ago, g33k said:

It's "Orlanthi" culture to begin with. 

Yes. There may be an Ernaldan culture, without Orlanth, somewhere (e.g. in Caladraland?). One celebrating the concubine of the Emperor prior to her abduction by that Storm barbarian, or one celebrating the ruling Earth Queen before Sky usurped rulership.

I often use "Theyalan culture" instead. (While named after the goddess of Dawn, this doesn't mean that the culture worshiped that goddess in any prominent role.) That term includes outliers like the Pelaskites of the Rightarm Isles and other Choralinthor Bay shores and the Ingareens and Esvulari of God Forgot and southern Heortland, the Aramites (even though they aren't human any more), the Kitori (whatever species you may assign them), and in a somewhat laxer interpretation even the Elder Races of Kerofinela and Kethaela (aldryami, mostali, trolls, dragonewts, wind children, newtlings, ducks, beastmen, though not the local Ludoch). The Praxian Beast Riders are not a Theyalan culture. The Zola Fel riverfolk are converts, much like the Pelaskites, Esvulari and to some extent even the God Forgotten Ingareens.

There are groups counted among the Orlanthi who are actively hostile to at least some aspects of the Heortlings, like e.g. the Jajalarings of Saird who are foes of Yinkin and his kin (which includes human and Storm Tribe adoptees).

 

15 hours ago, g33k said:

The defining cultural god, and the defining & controlling ethos, is the male. 

The naming cultural god. In reality it is the culture shaped by Ernalda, by manipulating her husband, allowing for some of his passions. Much of the culture was defined in the Silver Age by the husband-and-wife team Heort and Ivarne, who re-defined pre-Greater Darkness behavior for the world salvaged by the Ritual of the Net and the I Fought We Won battle. And the core magical practice of the culture, involving sacrifice and widespread initiation, was spearheaded by Heort's (divine?) god-talker Hantrafal.

Which is how Thunder Rebels arrives at the formula "Heort, Hant and Hara" used in blessings (with "Hara" meaning beloved, and usually implying an avatar of Ernalda).

15 hours ago, g33k said:

The Kingdom of Sartar was male at the founding, and most of the main actions defining the history are male actions, or -- even if performed by a woman -- are "masculine" actions:  warfare & raids, etc; violence-centric, strength-centric, etc. 

Yes. The (undoubtedly Ernaldan) Esrolian culture has no such concept as a single ruler over various kings and queens. Esrolia has a council of Grandmothers of the Enfranchised Houses who are absolute rulers over their houses but form an egalitarian council that needs to decide unanimously. While there is an occasional Reverend Grandmother who is allowed to make decisions for an assume consensus, this assumed consensus can be questioned by any other Grandmother of an Enfranchised House (at the price of attracting the ire of the incumbent Reverend Grandmother). The Prince of a confederation or (Orlanthi) Kingdom on the other hand is defined by Orlanth Rex magics or even more ancient (and patriarchalic) Vingkotling magics, including the magic to Command Priests (neutralizing the magic of priests targeted for a day).

The job of "King of Dragon Pass" was actually open for gender at the time of the conquest between Sartar and the first Feathered Horse Queen.

15 hours ago, g33k said:

I mean...  "Prince" Kallyr Starbrow... really?

Really. "Prince" here is a shorthand for "Orlanthi king (or queen) ruling a tribal confederation", and Queen Kallyr describes the queen of the Kheldon tribe, whereas Prince Kallyr describes Kallyr as Ruling Queen of Sartar (as in Orlanth Rex ruling, rather than "married to the ruling king").

Consider the alternative "Princess Kallyr". Would you associate this with a ruler and military leader?

 

 

13 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

So all. The above leads me to think...

Let's hope it didn't hurt the tiny Barbarian brain... :P

No quibbles with the result of that process, though.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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35 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Really. "Prince" here is a shorthand for "Orlanthi king (or queen) ruling a tribal confederation", and Queen Kallyr describes the queen of the Kheldon tribe, whereas Prince Kallyr describes Kallyr as Ruling Queen of Sartar (as in Orlanth Rex ruling, rather than "married to the ruling king").

Consider the alternative "Princess Kallyr". Would you associate this with a ruler and military leader?

Depends on how into Star Wars you are :)

Seriously, though, we're being misled by the limitations of the English language, normally used to describe a very different culture. "Prince" comes from "Princeps", first among equals. Which still isn't an accurate description of the role played by the House of Sartar in forming and leading the "kingdom", but English simply doesn't have the right word for the job. Welsh gets closer, but that doesn't help much. In fact, describing Kallyr as Queen of the Kheldon is odd in itself: the role she's usually described as filling is that of tribal King. Back in the "Sartar High Council" scenario in "Wyrms' Footprints", she's described as "Chieftain(ess) of the Kheldon, Priest of Orlanth Thunderous. .... appears to be the next in line for the kingship after the present king dies." So not only is she not yet the leader of the Kheldon tribe (in 1613), the title she may get is King, not Queen. I think we simply have to assume that titles are in Sartarite (obviously) and the various translations into English have varied in quality, and never have access to a word that really carries the required meaning.

It's rather like looking at the leaders in Britain in "Arthurian" times - "kings" of various tribes can be identified, and then we have to look at who was getting them to fight together under one leader. "Dux Bellorum", among other possibilities, but one thing we can be fairly sure of is that whatever title "Arthur" held, it wasn't "King".
(Insert detailed and very knowledgeable rant by Chris Gidlow, I expect, but as a rough analogy, I hope this works.) 

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2 minutes ago, Jane said:

Depends on how into Star Wars you are :)

Haven't watched one of those in almost four years.

 

2 minutes ago, Jane said:

Seriously, though, we're being misled by the limitations of the English language, normally used to describe a very different culture. "Prince" comes from "Princeps", first among equals. Which still isn't an accurate description of the role played by the House of Sartar in forming and leading the "kingdom", but English simply doesn't have the right word for the job. Welsh gets closer, but that doesn't help much. In fact, describing Kallyr as Queen of the Kheldon is odd in itself: the role she's usually described as filling is that of tribal King.

 

2 minutes ago, Jane said:

Back in the "Sartar High Council" scenario in "Wyrms' Footprints", she's described as "Chieftain(ess) of the Kheldon, Priest of Orlanth Thunderous. .... appears to be the next in line for the kingship after the present king dies." So not only is she not yet the leader of the Kheldon tribe (in 1613), the title she may get is King, not Queen. I think we simply have to assume that titles are in Sartarite (obviously) and the various translations into English have varied in quality, and never have access to a word that really carries the required meaning.

Barbarian Adventures (and subsequent publications based on that) name her the Queen of the Kheldon in Exile. (That means, unlike Leika who lost her title as Queen of the Colymar when she was sent to Exile (by whom, btw?), the Kheldon have not replaced her or her claim to the office as chief priest of the Kheldon tribal temple and wyter.

Interesting aside: Did Leika yield her office as priest of the Black Spear to Blackmor? Was Blackmor able to attain that priesthood, or did Leika carry the Black Spear with her into exile?

Does an Orlanth Rex cultist have to be (in control of) the Chief Priest of the tribal wyter? Are there other conditions for becoming able to cast Command Priests or Command Worshipers?

 

2 minutes ago, Jane said:

It's rather like looking at the leaders in Britain in "Arthurian" times - "kings" of various tribes can be identified, and then we have to look at who was getting them to fight together under one leader. "Dux Bellorum", among other possibilities, but one thing we can be fairly sure of is that whatever title "Arthur" held, it wasn't "King".

Other than "King of Camelot", I suppose, if you go for a Malory interpretation of the myth rather than for anything approaching a hypothetical historical Art(ori)us. But then, the (or at least a) historical version of "Siegfried of Xanten" (and derived from that, the Sigurd of the Icelandic saga rewrite of that Nibelungenlied myth) might have been Arminius for slaying the "dragon" made up of three Roman legions.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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7 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Barbarian Adventures (and subsequent publications based on that) name her the Queen of the Kheldon in Exile. (That means, unlike Leika who lost her title as Queen of the Colymar when she was sent to Exile (by whom, btw?), the Kheldon have not replaced her or her claim to the office as chief priest of the Kheldon tribal temple and wyter.

CHDP has her as "queen of the Kheldon tribe council" in 1613 (odd phrase in itself, but then Denseros wasn't Sartarite) in contrast to "Hofstaring Treeleaper, king of the Culbrea Tribe". Then in 1625 "they forged a new ring of Sartar. Kallyr Starbrow was named queen and warlord". Which still isn't either Prince or King. And then "Kallyr was queen of the Kheldon tribe in her own right". I'm beginning to think he or his translator was picking titles at random :(
 

But yes, the Kheldon seem to have been very stubborn and refused to give her up. Leika, sadly, lost the backing of her tribe: Kallyr didn't. Which implies a whole load of fun adventures as she tries to sneak back in to keep the tribal magic going. I should think about that. After all, while she could use her standard team(s) for the purpose, she'd be better off with people who aren't known to be Kheldon, aren't on the Lunar Most Wanted list (yet) and aren't known to be her associates. Like, say, some group of PCs or other....

 

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25 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Was Blackmor able to attain that priesthood, or did Leika carry the Black Spear with her into exile?

As I recall it was stated somewhere that she carried the Black Spear into exile (or that it was hidden away by the Black Spear clan). Either way Kangharl doesn't have it.

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