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Merfolk vs human


Manu

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I wonder how humans can fight against merfolk (at sea)?

 

It is easy for the merfolk to sink a ship, then to slaughter the sailmen (as many of then barely can swin anyway). But I imagine that with the time, human sailors have put in place some tactics in order to have a chance against them.

 

On the other hand, if the merfolk want to keep the boat afloat (to have some prisoners or to loot the ship with probably loosing some of the ship content), how would they do?

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This is a very good point - and the reason that the Watergate dominated the seas for the First Ages. Now what the God Learners did was summon Tanian - the god of Celestial Water - and lit the waters on fire. The Waertagi and their mermen allies were defeated - the Waertagi forced to retreat to the furthest waters of the world, and the merfolk largely avoided the Middle Sea Empire. Until the Closing of course, when the merfolk had their vengeance.

The Holy Country are allied with the ludoch, but have trouble with the malasps and related merfolk. The usual human approach has been to ally with friendly merfolk or to pay tribute to unfriendly merfolk. But no seagoing nation operates in total defiance of the merfolk.

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3 minutes ago, Jeff said:

This is a very good point - and the reason that the Watergate dominated the seas for the First Ages. Now what the God Learners did was summon Tanian - the god of Celestial Water - and lit the waters on fire. The Waertagi and their mermen allies were defeated - the Waertagi forced to retreat to the furthest waters of the world, and the merfolk largely avoided the Middle Sea Empire. Until the Closing of course, when the merfolk had their vengeance.

Is it still possible to summon Tanian (or worship him and gain some power to kight the merfolk)?

 

Is there some myth of orlanth (or other land dwelling race gods) that people can reenact in order to gain some powers to fight the merfoks (here I talking about Heros)?

6 minutes ago, Jeff said:

The Holy Country are allied with the ludoch, but have trouble with the malasps and related merfolk. The usual human approach has been to ally with friendly merfolk or to pay tribute to unfriendly merfolk. But no seagoing nation operates in total defiance of the merfolk.

What kind of tribute malasp would ask?

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Re: keeping a ship afloat, most merfolk are air breathers who can spend long stretches underwater, including the more piscine malasp merfolk.  the malasp specifically are described as having magically maintained 'bubble-nests' beneath the sea.  merfolk probably have all sorts of techniques, magical and otherwise, for making something water-tight, and for shepherding water around. merfolk who'd holed a ship and gotten the surrender of its crew could probably command what water the vessel had already taken on to rush out with magic, then seal the holes.  then it'd just be a matter of towing the human ship to wherever the merfolk expect a ransom from.

Edited by dumuzid
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Tactically: avoid them (use stealth; stay away from known merfolk areas), use speed (fast sailing ships, maybe able to out-endure not-so-fast swimmers), strong hulls/blessings on ship, or draw the merfolk and their marine creatures to the surface and hit them with magics+missiles (if not able to bring them on deck). Nets? Poison for the water?

Not sure what else unless they have elementals, special sorceries (scrying?), sea creature allies etc.

But yeah, people fear the sea for a very good reason, especially since the Closing. Even with Dormal's ritual you're eventually assured to run into merfolk. I like how ?Strangers in Prax? likened being a sailor in Glorantha to being an astronaut in our modern world. People think you're nuts for risking death in such an alien, hostile realm. The odds are against sailors-- but they seem to like it that way.

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On 2/25/2020 at 2:01 AM, metcalph said:

can be worshipped in Sartar as part of the Eleven Lights.(a group of magicians within the Sartar Magical Union).

Not necessarily, or even usually. It depends how your Glorantha’s version of the Red Cow campaign events went. People that haven’t run it can make their own choices. And any further discussion of that should be in spoiler tags for people that do want to run it. 
It definitely implies that Tanian has received no active worship from the end of the Second Age until then at least. And that there are probably other methods of reviving dead religions (including Tanian)

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On 2/26/2020 at 6:36 AM, davecake said:

It definitely implies that Tanian has received no active worship from the end of the Second Age until then at least. And that there are probably other methods of reviving dead religions (including Tanian)

Lets say some heroes want to find a way to worship Tanian in order to fight merfolk. How to worship him? Which pantheon should He be part of? What kind of magic could he provide? Any myth?

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6 minutes ago, Manu said:

Lets say some heroes want to find a way to worship Tanian in order to fight merfolk. How to worship him? Which pantheon should He be part of? What kind of magic could he provide? Any myth?

I haven't read Eleven Lights, so there might be some insights there that others are privy too, but which I guess are spoilerific. 

In terms of general background, however, the general gist of the Jrusteli and Tanian is that they essentially accurately predicted his existence by elemental deduction, and managed to summon him sorcerously, iirc. It's not so much that they worshipped him and had myths on him available, but more than they knew several other myths involving the seas invading the sky and mingling up there, and then worked out that there would be a god of fiery water. The exact details slip from me, but them managing to summon him was a major victory not only militarily, but also for Jrusteli theories and methodology. They had shown that they understood the building blocks and progression of the Cosmos (or so they thought, anyway). 

This is unfortunately a long-ish way for me to say "I'm not quite sure, really, he sorta just came out of the blue for most".

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10 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

This is unfortunately a long-ish way for me to say "I'm not quite sure, really, he sorta just came out of the blue for most".

Thanks ;). I was hoping of some myth to send my player on a heroquest and reconnect to Tanian and that could help them fighting the malasps. But I'll come up with my own myth then (And no I don't have the eleven lights)

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The Free Men of the Seas actually summoned a son of Tanian and then made him call in his parent (Middle Sea Empire p.15):

Quote

The wizards then summoned another sea god that had never been seen in the world. They called it as if it was just a spirit, and they made that god call his father, forcing it to act as necromancers force an act of demonology. The father was Tanian, who is the water of the sky world. The sky world, including its water, is made of fire. Upon the command of the sorcerers, at the will of the clergy, the sky opened and a single drop of celestial fire fell among the Waertagi ships. The waters exploded into flame and burning seas surrounded the Waertagi fleet, even under water. The flames could not be quenched. Ships, mermen, waves and waterspouts all impossibly caught fire and were destroyed.

This makes it clear that summoning Tanian himself was way beyond the abilities of these (early) God Learners.

So how could the Free Men of the Seas have learned about that lesser sky grandson of Lorion? Some celestial trickery? Ancient Veldang knowledge about that distant kin of theirs? (Artmal was a son of Lorion, too.)

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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3 hours ago, Manu said:

Lets say some heroes want to find a way to worship Tanian in order to fight merfolk. How to worship him? Which pantheon should He be part of? What kind of magic could he provide? Any myth?

You would first half to establish a magical connection to him - such as by summoning him like the God Learners did, finding some secret bit of the spirit world, or going on a heroquest to revive him. Its probably not as hard to summon him as it was for the God Learners if you find a place connected to him (like the Puzzle Canal). He has no living initiates or priests, so there is no one to hold a worship ceremony - but if he contact was made, maybe it could be like a spirit cult. At 500 worshippers, he could be worshipped as a sub-cult of an appropriate deity - probably his parents, Lorion the Sky River Titan or the little known Boveluru the goddess of Celestial Waters, but these are obscure deities themselves, or as a friend of Heler. At 2,000 worshippers, his cult can be worshipped as a separate cult. He was also worshipped by the EWF as well as the God Learners - the EWF worshipped him through draconic rites. You probably would also need to learn his old worship rites, maybe from ancient EWF or God Learner sources. 

He is primarily of the Sea pantheon. but the EWF awakened his Inner Dragon, so he has the Dragon rune now. His other runes would be Fire and Water. His magic would be his one big power - to set water on fire, so it burns. If using draconic rites, maybe he ignites the water with fiery breath? These water fires do not easily go out once they are started. A more powerful cult could start to get spells like rain of fire. 

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14 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Another way of doing something similar would be to reproduce the sorcery used by the God Learners to summon Tanian. Sources state that it's about combining the Water and Fire runes in ways people didn't think was possible up until then.

We literally know how they did it - they summoned a child of Tanian, then forced him to summon his father so he manifested in the physical world (until then, Tanian had probably never manifested outside the celestial world. So all you need is thorough knowledge of obscure celestial magic to know of a son of Tanian (probably not called that at all) who could be contacted (and so probably had manifested in the world before, maybe had at least a spirit cult), know enough sorcerous techniques with at least some early God Learner techniques to summon such a god as if they were simply a spirit or demon, enough power to summon and control not just them, but the minor god Tanian, presumable by enormous massed sorcerous ritual, and you are off to the races.
So that’s the plan, from there it is just a simple matter of some deep research, the sorcerous resources of probably the equivalent of at least a small nation, and a lot of project management! Oh and maybe people learning what you are up to, and trying to stop you (for any number of reasons). 

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15 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Another way of doing something similar would be to reproduce the sorcery used by the God Learners to summon Tanian. Sources state that it's about combining the Water and Fire runes in ways people didn't think was possible up until then.

I think it more likely that the God Learners who summoned Tanian lied about how they did it because Tanian involves the Dragonewt Rune rather than Fire and Water.

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6 hours ago, metcalph said:

I think it more likely that the God Learners who summoned Tanian lied about how they did it because Tanian involves the Dragonewt Rune rather than Fire and Water.

The Dragonnewt Rune in Eleven Lights is due to later EWF contact with Tanian revealing his Inner Dragon. Almost everyone has a Dragonnewt rune if you ask the EWF. Orlanth? Dragon. Ernalda? Dragon, Yelm? Dragon. But then, that is the only way the Orlanthi ever really contacted him, so he has a Dragonnewt rune for them. The God Learners used different methods. 

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5 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Dragon-Eurmal, that's got to be something!

It would drive the Eurmali crazy as a (true) dragon's mere presence destroys any illusion...

Edited by Joerg

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

It would drive the Eurmali crazy as a (true) dragon's mere presence destroys any illusion...

Considering Dream-Dragons are Illusions, I don't think Dragons are inimical to it as a power - rather, it is natural to them and intrinsic to their nature. 

Eurmal was intrinsic to the EWF. Who do you think came up with that hilarious brain splitting gag?

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3 hours ago, davecake said:

Considering Dream-Dragons are Illusions, I don't think Dragons are inimical to it as a power - rather, it is natural to them and intrinsic to their nature. 

Dream dragons are more than mere illusions, they are detached pieces of emotion that have an awareness no ordinary illusion has.

3 hours ago, davecake said:

Eurmal was intrinsic to the EWF. Who do you think came up with that hilarious brain splitting gag?

All advances are accompanied by the Trickster, but this (ritual?) splitting of the brain may be an ancient draconic initiation rite. Some ritual mutilation is common, and mere tattooing or scarification may be insufficient to awaken the ability to think in harmonies.

You might as well blame Eurmal for the troll ritual of Rebirth, which is a way to pickle volunteers as especially spicy food for all the (many!) failures.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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4 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Dream dragons are more than mere illusions, they are detached pieces of emotion that have an awareness no ordinary illusion has.

More than? If you think having separate emotions or awareness means they aren’t Illusions, you might be lacking draconic insight. It’s alll illusion.... 

 

4 minutes ago, Joerg said:

All advances are accompanied by the Trickster, but this (ritual?) splitting of the brain may be an ancient draconic initiation rite.

Sure it could. But Heortling mythology specifically blames Eurmal, entirely up to you how seriously you take it. Definitely a good trick, though. 

Edited by davecake
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33 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

But, like, some illusions are more illusionarier than other illusionisms. *cough*.

Iphara's fog seem to have led us adrift from the OP.

On 2/24/2020 at 9:00 AM, Manu said:

It is easy for the merfolk to sink a ship, then to slaughter the sailmen (as many of then barely can swin anyway). But I imagine that with the time, human sailors have put in place some tactics in order to have a chance against them.

As Jeff noted, allying with friendly merfolk is a start.

Propitiating the Sea Gods with offerings, sacrifices, and the like is a second option.

Wind and air magics may have some limited capability: bubbles of air around a ship, strong winds to hold back waves, or perhaps depriving merfolk of the air to breathe.

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