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Sir_Godspeed

Aurora in Glorantha

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Mostly the northern lights, but implicitly inquiring about the southern ones as well. 

Basically: does it occur? Do we know of any mentions? What significance does it have, if any, and is it tied to any specific deities?

I am slowly working a little bit on a fan-made story/entry for an isolated muskox Storm People living in the Pentan tundra, and as I was sorting around their myths and social practices, I considered the significance of the northern lights. My current ideas are to associate it either with a celestial goddess (maybe a local version of Ourania, maybe an entirely new one) or with the Altinae (seeing visions of Altinela in the aurora sounded like a fun idea). I guess it's possible to combine them? 

IMHO it would be a great loss not to have such an interesting and evocative phenomenon in Glorantha, so I hope there's evidence, or at the very least room for it. 

Now, as for the south, does it clash too much conceptually with the idea of the perpetually burning Nargan Desert, or does this just mean we need to think more creatively? Glorantha isn't a globe so doesn't have two poles, after all.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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17 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Mostly the northern lights, but implicitly inquiring about the southern ones as well. 

Not a lot of work has been done on the Kalikan Lights or the Lonely Cry so all these ideas can find a home somewhere. Far northern sky/white goddesses are interesting.

The sky is a little ragged on the southern edge so they should be familiar with rips and tears in the night that let the light shine through, especially as you get close to the Nargan and other skyfall zones.

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10 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

The sky is a little ragged on the southern edge so they should be familiar with rips and tears in the night that let the light shine through, especially as you get close to the Nargan and other skyfall zones.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that the light that shines through at the southern tears is a lot less... aesthetically pleasing... than what we think of the aurora. A bit of blinding, burning light and plasmatic fire or something? 

Thank you for the named references, this has certainly given me food for thought. Kalikos (or the White Princess, or whichever name I choose to play off of) seems like the deities to involve here, although there is clearly a bit of leeway given the variety of associations. Think I'm going to go with a feminine association, since that was my first gut-feeling, and to give some more female presence. Valind is involved to some extent as well, who I'm already working to involve with the muskox people more actively than for regular Orlanthi (kinda have to, given the proximity).

I'm still letting the Altinela idea stew around a bit. I had an idea that the muskox people has a legend about an altina living with them for a while and teaching them some things before leaving. Not going to go the full hog an include mixed babies like Loskalm, seems a bit Mary Sueish for my homebrew people, but more like they see them as "the fair folk", inscrutable, beautiful, enviable, unattainable and occasionally charitable.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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On 1/15/2020 at 10:03 AM, Sir_Godspeed said:

White Princess

I like this people already because they remind me of the people Gerda meets on the way to how you say, Snödrottningen. It's one of his sadder stories but has a happy ending once all the tantric sacrifices are added up. This has got me thinking of a myth for them that might incorporate and subvert a few of your edits here. 

I had forgotten who Kalikos was before he was drafted into the Lunar economy. The fragment in the Entekosiad is very evocative in terms of how the decision to push back Valind is coincidentally the moment the old king "decides it is time to retire." Unfortunately Kalikos has no loved ones left to inherit so the rule in the mundane year passes down to more mundane guys. This is probably their Sacred Time ceremony, or one of them: when the cold becomes intolerable, you do something about it so a new generation can thrive.

Ironically this shows us how to best hack the modern icebreaker complex but that's a side story. The important thing here is the characters you have: at least one snow queen (possibly in distinct facets or phases), a cold miser, at least one youth (who might be cold miser at the office or vice versa). Your musk ox people may not have what we consider a "normal" earth mother role for girls to evolve into and through . . . the choice may be more Elsa / Anna, queen or Gerda and how hard you need hearts around you to be. This is a very Altinelan concern.

I forgot to say that classic Greg and Sandy would probably have at least teased an aurora orientis and an aurora occidentalis to light the world's other corners but nobody who sees the former comes back to talk about it and I suspect very few have endured the latter. Other jumpers. But yeah, the south is probably painful . . . although down there you either drink fire for breakfast anyway or you're chaotic. 

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On 1/15/2020 at 7:53 AM, scott-martin said:

Not a lot of work has been done on the Kalikan Lights or the Lonely Cry so all these ideas can find a home somewhere.

Interesting names, did you make them up or is this part of the implied little bit of work (on Kalikos, I assume but the Lonely Cry?) that has been done. If this is so, where could a pedant (I blame Ian for my use of this term) find more info?

Cheers

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Just now, Bill the barbarian said:

Interesting names, did you make them up or is this part of the implied little bit of work (on Kalikos, I assume but the Lonely Cry?) that has been done. If this is so, where could a pedant (I blame Ian for my use of this term) find more info?

Pedants can consult Guide 651, hipsters will always have Elder Secrets 1.45 although the Kalikan Lights are new to the Guide.

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Basically, there is a strip of the Underworld sky around the northern Jumper star (Kalikos) which only appears in winter, when the sky tilts soutwards. These lights are only seen in the north, when the sky has its greatest tilt (with the Sunpath and Pole Star wandering significantly south of the former Spike, now Magasta's Pool). The winter southward tilt (which re-creates the Fire-spill that keeps the Nargan dry) is stronger than the summer northward tilt.

I find it a bit ironic that the quest is sent out to aid Kalikos. Kalikos pushing the sky dome back too strongly is what causes the fire spill and the cold in the north. I feel that the Lunar "aid" brought to Kalikos is a distraction to keep him from pushing the dome too far and too fast in the summer.

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46 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

Ironically this shows us how to best hack the modern icebreaker complex but that's a side story. The important thing here is the characters you have: at least one snow queen (possibly in distinct facets or phases), a cold miser, at least one youth (who might be cold miser at the office or vice versa). Your musk ox people may not have what we consider a "normal" earth mother role for girls to evolve into and through . . . the choice may be more Elsa / Anna, queen or Gerda and how hard you need hearts around you to be. This is a very Altinelan concern.

 

I was considering having the Aurora goddess incorporate parts of Urelia, Arachne Solara/Glorantha and the various Illumination goddesses but without providing a direct analogue. I like the idea of this light representing something transcendent. 

I have a rudimentary myth of Storm and the Darkness in the works. I decided to crib the "Four Kings of Storm" from the Pentans. I thought this would be appropriate due to the geographical proximity and hint at some cultural exchange one way or the other. At this moment, the myth somewhat conflates Vadrus and Umath as a fifth, or rather "First" king, who tragically dies. His four sons, (ostensibly analogues of Orlanth, Valind, Urox and Gagarth) all make claims to kingship. The Aurora goddess arrives and provides the means to set aside their differences in order to preserve the Muskox People. The story then goes on to the Dawn (or the local equivalent), where the four kings meet at the grave mound of the First King to decide what to do now. Valind makes a bid for absolute power, possibly by attempting to force himself upon the Aurora goddess (only to fail miserably because she is Sacrosanct and cannot be claimed or ruled or bound in any way, and possibly involving some lesson about Valind becoming impotent as punishment or something similarly suitable), and once again the Aurora goddess comes to create a compact. The conseequence of this myth, at least in its current form, is that the Muskox People work to balance worship of the four kings/brothers, but their worship of Valind is mostly propitiatory, since they know he is overly ambitious. I think Urox/Storm Bull is their primary patriarch (as well as for their cattle), making them an extreme eastern tip of a hypothetical Bull Belt discussed elsewhere (although muskoxen are actually more closely related to sheep, so maybe I should switch it up with an Orlanth/Vorio(f/s) expy instead). Orlanth and Gagarth are less essential, but at this current moment, I think the Orlanth/West Wind-analogue has a role that mixes trickery and lawmaking, while Gagarth I am less sure of. Maybe turn him into more specifically a hunting deity, or maybe conflate Gagarth and Humakt in some way. 

I agree that there isn't really a conventional land goddess here. I am currently juggling around with ideas involving a "ghost" of Aldrya that still inhabits the land and is reachable by shamans, and a mythical cycle of how the Muskox People were used as mercenaries in the First Age Elf Wars in the area (or possibly against the trolls). The every day most significant goddess is probably the Animal Mother, aka. a mix of Eirithia/Uralda/Ernalda. Basically, the community-based effects of Ernalda, but with a more bovine focus. I also imagine the presence of a Velhara goddess, which is perhaps the closest thing to an actual land goddess, but more based around the Muskox People's relation to the wild animals they live among, and hunt. I also had an idea for a "gatherer-goddess", who might be virginal like Voria, but more active - then again she would perhaps be associated with both Velhara and "Aldrya's ghost" in terms of plant knowledge, animal knowledge, scouting,  herbalism, etc. This needs tidying up. 

I also have a few miscellaneous things going on. For example, there is their relation to their neighboring peoples to consider. From frost trolls and ordinary dark trolls, to reindeer herders, various Hscunchen groups, Pentans in the south (I'd imagine some Muskox People being dragged along with Sheng's horde at some point, even if they didn't necessarily create kingdoms or anything). I also would like to include the presence of Lodril in the form of hot springs and geysers, even if the area probably isn't that geothermically active as imagined in the guide. Having Lodril be some grandfatherly spirit of wisdom hiding in deep wells and sharing his wisdom with shamans in ritual baths sounds cool. I imagine that Aldrya might do the same - and I might even make something up about isolated thickets of surviving, gnarled birches that hide one or two Green Elf gardeners or nymphs or something (possibly hibernating until awakened, or rendered immobile with age - contrary to canon listed age limits of elves). Nothing major, but just to add some landmarks and variety to the endless fields of grass, heather and lichen. 

Basically, I'm trying to balance having them be interesting, but not overly significant, and having them fit their environments with unique myths without breaking the mold *too* much.

EDIT: I didn't get to cover the Altinae this time, but either as teachers, possibly one of them being seen as a wife (or husband) or one of the Storm Gods, or something similar. I don't want to suddenly make them hugely prevalent here when they are practically absent everywhere else. 

And I was thinking about giving the Muskox People grey foxes as "animal companions" instead of dogs or alynxes. Possibly associated with the Orlanth expy, or possibly a Fox Goddess. This is mostly just because foxes are cool, but also because they fit the terrain and there is a chance to get some interesting interplay of trickery and trusted companionship in there.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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1 hour ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

Six Ages has a goddess of foraging, Inilla. She's a daughter of Ernalda ("Nyalda"). https://sixages.fandom.com/wiki/Inilla

She was my inspiration! 

I am thinking of making her the goddess of skiing as well, to borrow a bit from Norse Skadi (not that Skadi has a very clear portfolio otherwise), to make her a fairly dynamic goddess of foraging, traveling, scouting, etc. The archetype of a young driven, unmarried woman in the mind of the Muskox People. I'm also considering making her the origin of their bond with the foxes, in a manner not totally unlike that of Orlanth-Eurmal, but a lot less "destined for psycopathy", and more Yinkin-ish. But still not sure whether to make the Fox mythologically masculine, feminine or genderfluid (the latter would be neat, albeit even more creeping in on Yinkin-ish territory in terms of perceived androgyny if nothing else). Overall a pretty significant goddess, the way she's evolving in my mind right now. 

I'm also considering tying Gagarth to both Humakt and Waha(/Bisos). Basically, making him a hunting god who is also associated with butchering and Death. I'm not sure if this is stretching it too far, but I feel like hunting-killing-butchering is a natural association in and of itself. 

I'm also considering having the Muskox People being somewhat divided over whether the Aurora goddess is associated with the Red Moon or not. The idea was to have them believe that the Aurora goddess once ruled the cosmos as the rightful queen before she was deposed in some fashion (not unlike the White Queen -> Brightface story from the Entekosiad, or at a stretch, the Verithurusa story from the Reascent), possibly by Yelm and/or by the Umath/Vadrus-synthesis god of theirs. It's my reasoning then, that if they ever come across the story of the Red Moon as an ancient ruler goddess reasserting herself in the cosmos, they might make the connection with their own Aurora goddess, while others find it disruptive to their idea of the compromise (ie the balance between four storm kings and the Aurora goddess as a non-ruling, impartial guarantist above them). 

These are all just ideas at the moment, but it's fun to be able to play around. :) 

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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7 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I'm also considering having the Muskox People being somewhat divided over whether the Aurora goddess is associated with the Red Moon or not.

Don't your Muskox People live north of the Crater, and thereby the Red Moon? To them, that's a feature of the southern sky, not the northern sky.

Edited by Joerg

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I confess myself just a bit startled that nobody seems to be looking at Sky/Fire & Cold Fire here.  Aurora is clearly not a "Sun" figure.

But the Sky + Cold Fire elements are simultaneously striking, and strikingly different from a "cold sun."

YGWV of course!

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On 1/15/2020 at 2:29 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

I am slowly working a little bit on a fan-made story/entry for an isolated muskox Storm People living in the Pentan tundra, and as I was sorting around their myths and social practices

Just to ask a curious question, would these musk-ox people be related or separate to the Noyaling Musk-Ox herders of Fronela?

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14 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

She was my inspiration! 

I am thinking of making her the goddess of skiing as well, to borrow a bit from Norse Skadi (not that Skadi has a very clear portfolio otherwise), to make her a fairly dynamic goddess of foraging, traveling, scouting, etc.

That's nice! 
I feel like her and Zarlen would've invented horse skiing together.

("Come with me, I found a wonderful mushroom field while wandering!"

             "I can't ski as fast as your horse runs, brother."

"Hmmmm...let's see about that!")

(after "Zarlen's First Wander", obviously, she wasn't super nice to him before that)

edit: Ooh, you probably meant your aurora goddess. Sorry, I misread.

Edited by JanPospisil

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6 hours ago, Joerg said:

Don't your Muskox People live north of the Crater, and thereby the Red Moon? To them, that's a feature of the southern sky, not the northern sky.

They're located in Northern Pent (at least that's where I thought there would be space for a hitherto unspecified group of cattle nomads), so yes, that's a good point. Direction isn't everything of course, but I might have to reconsider what a perceived connection would entail/be viewed as.

4 hours ago, g33k said:

I confess myself just a bit startled that nobody seems to be looking at Sky/Fire & Cold Fire here.  Aurora is clearly not a "Sun" figure.

But the Sky + Cold Fire elements are simultaneously striking, and strikingly different from a "cold sun."

YGWV of course!

Yeah, I was thinking about how to incorporate the sun in their religion, and I'm still not sure. Sun and Little/Cold Sun are very common archetypes across Glorantha, but I haven't given them much thought in this area.

2 hours ago, Tindalos said:

Just to ask a curious question, would these musk-ox people be related or separate to the Noyaling Musk-Ox herders of Fronela?

Possibly, but I can barely find any information on the Noyalings whatsoever, so there's not much to say from that. 😕 Also, not sure if having two distinct muskox people is too much, but since we have a plethora of cattle people and horse people I'd think there's space.

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8 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

... Yeah, I was thinking about how to incorporate the sun in their religion, and I'm still not sure. Sun and Little/Cold Sun are very common archetypes across Glorantha, but I haven't given them much thought in this area ...

Yeah, but...

Aurora isn't SUN, clearly!  But she sure seems to have "Fire" aspects -- Cold Fire, of course.

 

OTOH, it's also clear that Aurora is somewhere in the Middle Air, not a feature of the Sky Dome.  All the stars and planets -- all the Sky features -- can be seen unmoving "behind" her as she dances through the Air... above all the clouds & most Air features, it's true, but clearly in front of (below) the Sky proper.

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Tossing some more ideas onto your pile; hope some of them prove useful...

 

On 1/16/2020 at 8:23 AM, Sir_Godspeed said:

... I think Urox/Storm Bull is their primary patriarch (as well as for their cattle), making them an extreme eastern tip of a hypothetical Bull Belt discussed elsewhere (although muskoxen are actually more closely related to sheep, so maybe I should switch it up with an Orlanth/Vorio(f/s) expy instead).

Not sure that I'd take my lead from real-world biology here.  Not sure I WOULDN'T, mind you, but...

For Glorantha, I always want to put the mythology forward first, let it lead the way, and have the facts of the world fall in line.

Musk oxen do a better collective "shield wall" than any animal I know; I like the idea that Aurora "unified" the 4 storms, makes for that shield-wall effect.

 

On 1/16/2020 at 8:23 AM, Sir_Godspeed said:

... I agree that there isn't really a conventional land goddess here. I am currently juggling around with ideas involving a "ghost" of Aldrya that still inhabits the land and is reachable by shamans, and a mythical cycle of how the Muskox People were used as mercenaries in the First Age Elf Wars in the area (or possibly against the trolls). The every day most significant goddess is probably the Animal Mother, aka. a mix of Eirithia/Uralda/Ernalda. Basically, the community-based effects of Ernalda, but with a more bovine focus. I also imagine the presence of a Velhara goddess, which is perhaps the closest thing to an actual land goddess, but more based around the Muskox People's relation to the wild animals they live among, and hunt. I also had an idea for a "gatherer-goddess", who might be virginal like Voria, but more active - then again she would perhaps be associated with both Velhara and "Aldrya's ghost" in terms of plant knowledge, animal knowledge, scouting,  herbalism, etc. This needs tidying up...

You may also wish to consult the Balazaring model of Rigtaina and/or Dragon Pass "the Lady of the Wild" (conceptually similar).  See this thread:  https://basicroleplaying.org/topic/10613-balazar-deities/  for some brainstorming on that front.  TLDR :  What evolved there was the  idea that Balazar's "Land Goddess" was a mainly a Wilds/Hunt goddess, not at all a grain or agriculture figure.

 An Eiritha-like "Herd mother" figure (with Reindeer & Musk-Ox daughters) is an interesting notion.  No real Waha-figure, the critical male looks to me more like a Foundchild-ish hunter-cult.  Gender-swapping in a Diana/Artemis figure seems eminently do-able; or more-likely the northerly exemplars like Skathi & Mielikki...  The Inuit have a LOT of female hunt-deities!  See here for further exploration:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hunting_deities

 

There could be something along the lines of a Prax-style Survival Covenant -- the Cold can be even more swiftly hostile & deadly than the Wastes!  I might go with some sort of Crafter-deity, curing hides and furs, making the tools needed to cut snow and ice (form walls at need), hunting weapons, etc etc etc.  This could be a much more important figure than in many places, because without the right clothes/shelter in a winter storm, you DIE in mere minutes.  Faster than heat-death, dehydration, starvation, etc.

===

Also loving your fox idea!  I'd go explicitly with the Arctic Fox (Vulpes lagopus) not the Grey Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) for the Muskox people's partner-animal, though.

Last but not least... something about Polar Bears and their -- AIUI -- extinction; a remembered terror?

 

 

Edited by g33k
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On 1/16/2020 at 4:23 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

I think Urox/Storm Bull is their primary patriarch (as well as for their cattle), making them an extreme eastern tip of a hypothetical Bull Belt discussed elsewhere (although muskoxen are actually more closely related to sheep, so maybe I should switch it up with an Orlanth/Vorio(f/s) expy instead).

 

2 hours ago, g33k said:

Not sure that I'd take my lead from real-world biology here.  Not sure I WOULDN'T, mind you, but...

For Glorantha, I always want to put the mythology forward first, let it lead the way, and have the facts of the world fall in line.

The imp of the perverse begs me to suggest that the Musk Ox is actually the child of Storm Bull and Thed.

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3 hours ago, Tindalos said:

 

The imp of the perverse begs me to suggest that the Musk Ox is actually the child of Storm Bull and Thed.

A curse upon he who fathered thee, oh son of infamy, spawn of the Jrusteli!!! 

On the other hand, you might be right... 😜

Seriously though, even though they are IRW classified as Caprinae, muskox are Ovibos. This would tend to imply Nevala rather than Thed. 

Edited by Ali the Helering
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