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Sir_Godspeed

Muskox People Dev Thread

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I thought I'd might as well create a proper thread for this instead of making a bunch of different question threads. 

Summary: I'm trying to do some minor worldbuilding for a Storm-worshipping Muskox-herding people in the north of Pent. I've already done some worldbuilding for them in other threads, but it's all pretty loosey goosey still. 

Right now, I've looked into the geography, and I'm considering two different "primary ranges". My main concern is making it in an area that's feasibly the kind of terrain where muskoxen could thrive. Lichen, mosses, hardy grasses and arctic willows (not to be confused with willow trees). I'm not sure if Muskoxen can browse, but at any rate I am also thinking some scattered birch and larches, and possibly some spruce here and there. My other main concern it making it far enough north that this group does not directly compete with the horse-riding Pentans, because, to be honest, that's not a contest they could really win, imho. That being said, I don't expect them to be isolated from each other, and not all contact being hostile. 

With that being said, these are the two proposed main ranges of the Muskox People. I welcome all comments on which you prefer, or if you prefer neither (also note the possible, but unmarked range inbetween them). And of course, with the wording "primary range", I intend to say that they will probably range beyond this every now and then for whatever reason. Pent is not really the land of neatly arranged borders. 

PWRp48n.jpg

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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Range 2 is a lot less cluttered, so I second Nick.

All of the lands north of Genert's Garden are the ancient Ratite Empire, but Musk Ox herders would have immigrated only after the Birth of Umath, or his dismemberment, put an end to their empire, with Rinliddi being just a small remnant of previous glory.

Are your Musk-Ox people pastoralist post-Hsunchen, or are they closer to the Varnaval or Praxian Founder model of beast totem Storm people? Or, given the relatively closer relationship of musk oxen to goats rather than cattle, are your Musk Ox folk some little known Vadrudi group?

There are the Yak Hsunchen holding out in easternmost Pent and highland westernmost Kralorela. Do they interact with the Musk Ox folk? Range 2 would create some proximity.

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7 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

I prefer Range 2. I am also quite possibly the only genuine member of the Muskox Tribe on this forum.

Remind me to never mess with you then. :P 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

Are your Musk-Ox people pastoralist post-Hsunchen, or are they closer to the Varnaval or Praxian Founder model of beast totem Storm people? Or, given the relatively closer relationship of musk oxen to goats rather than cattle, are your Musk Ox folk some little known Vadrudi group?

"Yes." 

 

Jokes aside, the Muskox People were amongst other things inspired by the conversation about the "Bull Belt", with similarities from Prax to Fronela. Similarly to all of these, there's a history of potential Beast Totem and Storm People overlap that I personally would like to keep as vague as it mostly is for other similar groups. Hence the "yes" above. 

 

7 hours ago, Joerg said:

There are the Yak Hsunchen holding out in easternmost Pent and highland westernmost Kralorela. Do they interact with the Musk Ox folk? Range 2 would create some proximity.

Thanks for the suggestion! 

To be blunt, I am intending to stretch the published infor as far as possible to give their environment and cultural context variety and diversity. 

I'm less concerned with staying 100% in line with Chaosium canon, and more taking the approach that this could more or less be slotted into canon and not disturb too much. 

In practice that means I'd like them to have contect with Pentan Horsemen (Storm and Solar), Dark Trolls, Frost Trolls, Frost Giants, Reindeer herders in the far west if possible, Yak people in the far east if possible, Gopher Hsunchen to the south (I'm not sure how far south permafrost would go, but I assume Gopher Hsunchen would live south of that), possibly an offshot/stop of the Etyries Caravan, and I'm working on some ways to justify contact with Aldryami (in the form of half-hibernating nymphs or dryads who survived the Tallgreen's demise), the Altinelans (treading carefully here so as to not diminish the exceptionality of Loskalm's one-off contact with them), and possibly incorporating some ideas I've had about moss/lichen elves (basically "sprites" of a sort). This isn't including lots of spirits and elementals of course. I suppose I might have some minor shards of the Blue Moon here and there, although that might be overkill.

Still working on their pantheon and associated gods (those worshipped and those propitiated only). 

I'm also still working on their history, though I've got ideas regarding the decimation of the Tallgreen in the First Age and Sheng's Empire (considering having them act as mercenaries/feudatories/vassals in both instances). I'm thinking that Sheng's Empire was a transformative period of time that saw them visit Peloria and bring home some (relatively minor) wealth, but which caused a greater awareness of the outside world and material goods and culture. Of course, if they're in the 2nd Range, Kralorela is as like a place for them to have served - and it brings up possible contant with entities in the foothills of the Shan Shan and even Chen Durel, however rarely. 

I'm not sure if this makes it come off as overly fanciful, and "Mary Sueish", but when I look at published material on other localities, I feel reasonably justified in inserting lots of little "exceptionalities", even if they might not really be there from the Guide's bird's eye perspective, as it were. 

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Complicating things geographically is Glorantha's inexplicable tendency to have taiga forest NORTH of tundra, which does my head a bit in, but I suppose that's neither here nor there.

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I love muskoxen! I wanted to have a few in the Far Place but I figured it might not be cold enough for that... nice to see someone giving them the attention they deserve.

Aren't the two hypothetical ranges super big? I don't imagine muskoxen go very fast, so either your tribe is very big, or their nomadic patterns are spread over a long period?

Frankly between the two ranges it really depends if you want the campaign to be about brushing up against Northern Pelorians (like the Jarasans and their Tall Bird mounts) and the Blue Moon Plateau Trolls, or if you want instead the harsher winters of Northern Pent, with various Trolls roaming the lands all the time, and Kralorela nearby. I feel like there's more stuff to do with Range 1, but it might be because I'm lacking ideas and information about what's interesting around Range 2 (and also it sounds to me like Range 2 is a lot less livable, but I may again be lacking information).

Edited by lordabdul

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I would eliminate Range 1 -- I just don't think it's northerly-enough to be realistic for musk-oxen.

OTOH, as lordabdul says... there's a LOT more adventure/action happening down at the southerly end of things.

 

Maybe they use both ranges?

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10 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I'm not sure if Muskoxen can browse

Muskoxen can definitely browse, and in fact prefer grasses, but given their range generally cannot find the grasses they want and hence eat other things too, specifically lichens, mosses, roots and leaves etc. 

Secondly, the crucial issue regarding which range to choose should be based on the weather systems in the area.  Whichever area has the longer winter should be chosen, and that might not be Range 2, given that Range 1 might be getting continuous ice wind off Valind's glacier.  The range should be chosen due to having a longer winter, as this is where the muskoxen will outcompete the horse'/cattle combination of the Pentans due to the miskoxen's superior cold weather adaptation.  Muskoxen people are unlikely to be able to outcompete Pentans militarily, but General Earth Season, General Dark Season, General Storm Season will do the fighting for them.

Edited by Darius West
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This thread inspired me to read more about musk oxen. According to Wikipedia, the Woods Cree name for them,  "mâthi-môs,” means “ugly moose,” which I love.

Edited by Gallowglass

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What are you doing to make muskox hsunchen be different from Uncolings? Much of the material circumstances would seem to be similar, assuming they herd the muskox in arctic/subarctic climates.

I lean towards area 2 - more northern, inland, and out of the way.

Edited by Akhôrahil

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On 4/29/2020 at 9:29 PM, Darius West said:

...  The range should be chosen due to having a longer winter, as this is where the muskoxen will outcompete the horse'/cattle combination of the Pentans due to the miskoxen's superior cold weather adaptation.  Muskoxen people are unlikely to be able to outcompete Pentans militarily, but General Earth Season, General Dark Season, General Storm Season will do the fighting for them.

^^^This^^^

Emphatically this.

So long as they don't try raiding into the Pentan ranges (such that the Pentans feel the need to reciprocate/revenge when the weather allows), I would expect little conflict.

 

HOWEVER ... if there's unusual pressure on the Pentans -- years of bad foraging, intense raids from other parties, etc -- the Pentans MIGHT want to use this range for temporary/seasonal forage, for retreat by their noncombatants, etc.

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Which range has the best cold winter for muskoxen to thrive is a bit irrelevant since, in Glorantha (and especially your Glorantha), you can use whatever explanation you want to do anything... as long as you stick to it and keep your Glorantha consistent. So I frankly wouldn't be able to tell which of the 2 ranges is coldest, but I would surely rationalize whichever I like best by using Valid's Glacier, strange wind patterns carried out by Air Spirits, and other things that can affect weather... this in turns gives more opportunities for adventures since wherever there's magic and spirits, there's action, politics, warfare, and whatnot. Heck, maybe our tribe even has magic they maintain year-round to keep the weather unnaturally cold, and Pentans, trolls, and/or Pelorians have been trying to break this for decades in order to make these lands more inhabitable and invade them!

As for who is raiding who, I originally expected muskox-riding people to be pretty slow, and more of the type of tribe that messes up anybody coming into their lands, but otherwise keeping to themselves... but it looks like muskoxen can reach speeds of 60km/h, which is frankly quite competitive with horses (I don't know about stamina and maneuverability though). So who knows... maybe they have special techniques, magic, or whatever that can actually let them raid event the Pentans. Especially if they have weather magic!

Edited by lordabdul
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On 4/30/2020 at 4:56 AM, lordabdul said:

Aren't the two hypothetical ranges super big? I don't imagine muskoxen go very fast, so either your tribe is very big, or their nomadic patterns are spread over a long period?

Frankly between the two ranges it really depends if you want the campaign to be about brushing up against Northern Pelorians (like the Jarasans and their Tall Bird mounts) and the Blue Moon Plateau Trolls, or if you want instead the harsher winters of Northern Pent, with various Trolls roaming the lands all the time, and Kralorela nearby. I feel like there's more stuff to do with Range 1, but it might be because I'm lacking ideas and information about what's interesting around Range 2 (and also it sounds to me like Range 2 is a lot less livable, but I may again be lacking information).

I initially thought Range 1 would be more interesting, but that might just mean that I'll need to read up on/invent more for Range 2. 

In terms of size, I agree they look big, but this is for a few reasons. 1) These are just generalized areas, not to be taken as exact measurements. 2) Not every group is going to wander all over it, rather it implies the space in which Muskox People can be found, not necessarily the space that all Muskox folk traverse regularly. A bit like Praxians out in the waste. Large distances covered only collectively, not usually individually. Also, similarly, very low population density. And lastly, 3) Genertela is not actually as big as we like to imagine it. It's only about the size of North America, or even just the contiguous USA. These ranges are about the size of... Nebraska? Texas? Just based on eyeballing it. RW muskoxen are found in a bigger area.

sQgHJYY.jpg
 

On 4/30/2020 at 5:05 AM, g33k said:

I would eliminate Range 1 -- I just don't think it's northerly-enough to be realistic for musk-oxen.

OTOH, as lordabdul says... there's a LOT more adventure/action happening down at the southerly end of things.

Maybe they use both ranges?

Maybe both. Maybe I'll just settle on an intermediary that runs roughly parallel to the Troll Marshes (the dark brown area between/intersecting between them).

 

On 4/30/2020 at 6:29 AM, Darius West said:

Muskoxen can definitely browse, and in fact prefer grasses, but given their range generally cannot find the grasses they want and hence eat other things too, specifically lichens, mosses, roots and leaves etc. 

Secondly, the crucial issue regarding which range to choose should be based on the weather systems in the area.  Whichever area has the longer winter should be chosen, and that might not be Range 2, given that Range 1 might be getting continuous ice wind off Valind's glacier.  The range should be chosen due to having a longer winter, as this is where the muskoxen will outcompete the horse'/cattle combination of the Pentans due to the miskoxen's superior cold weather adaptation.  Muskoxen people are unlikely to be able to outcompete Pentans militarily, but General Earth Season, General Dark Season, General Storm Season will do the fighting for them.

Browsing refers to eating leaves off woody plants, iirc. Grazing is eating stuff off the ground. My issue was whether Muskoxen, if they had the opportunity, would eat from leafy plants. Either way, it's not a huge issue. 

I agree on the climactic issues, and indeed I do not envision them being a "serious" competitor for the Pentans, partially for the things listed above, but also partially just because they aren't going to be nearly as many as the Pentans. That being said, that doesn't mean they might not have a state of endemic raiding and counter raiding (mixed with seasonal trading because that's just how it goes) in a local sense. 

This is where my earlier point about the absence/mislocation of the taiga comes in. In the RW, the way it goes is usually that you have a temperate belt of grassy plains (steppe/prairie), then followed by a belt of woodlands north of that (taiga/boreal forest) and finally a belt of plains with permafrost north of that (tundra). This applies to both Eurasia and North America, as far as I know. 

Glorantha is different. Not only is the taiga mainly gone from Pent, burnt down in the Dawn Age, but there forest that's left in both Pent and (the much bigger remnant) in Fronel is shown as being riiiight up by the Glacier and the sea, respectively. This creates a weird scenario where, if I want to keep the Muskox People within the frame of the visible map, I need to place them south of what little forest we see, which means I'll be placing tundra and steppe next to each other. Where there would in the RW have been a buffer between horses and muskoxen, there is none in Glorantha. It requires a somewhat different way of thinking. I've got some thoughts that I hope to share later. The keyword is increased dynamism.

On 4/30/2020 at 6:33 PM, Gallowglass said:

This thread inspired me to read more about musk oxen. According to Wikipedia, the Woods Cree name for them,  "mâthi-môs,” means “ugly moose,” which I love.

That's hilarious! And honestly, not what I'd expect. If anything it's the moose that's the ugly one, and I say that with a deep fondness for the King of the Forest. :P

On 5/1/2020 at 1:18 PM, Akhôrahil said:

What are you doing to make muskox hsunchen be different from Uncolings? Much of the material circumstances would seem to be similar, assuming they herd the muskox in arctic/subarctic climates.

This is worth considering more in detail, but just off the cuff, here's a few: Uncolings are animist Hsunchen with shapeshifting abilities, I believe. Muskox people are not Hsunchen, are mixed animist-theists, with little in the way of shapeshifting except maybe in some exceptional cases. Additionally, reindeer in the RW migrate much farther distances and in much larger herds than Muskoxen, though given some environmental factors mentioned above, I might change that (plus, lengthy migrations make for good story hooks and drama). 
Uncolings are also fairly peaceful, as far as I know, while I intend to make the Muskox People suitably fitting for the Storm worshipper mold and make them quite warlike, albeit within the limitations of their habitat and context of neighbors. 

I hope my meagre answers/comments have been somewhat interesting. Thanks for all the feedback, I am very much feeling my way with this. :)

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17 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

... 

Uncolings are also fairly peaceful, as far as I know, while I intend to make the Muskox People suitably fitting for the Storm worshipper mold and make them quite warlike, albeit within the limitations of their habitat and context of neighbors. 

I'm getting a kind of different vibe than typical Storm, here.  Decidedly Storm/Dark -- the bitter, biting Cold is their chiefest threat and weapon (and defense).

Even the Muskox themselves tend to to the static "huddle" defense, with occasional charges out.  It's much less "stormy" -- more... glacial, Valind-y.

Just an impression, FWIW.

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7 hours ago, g33k said:

I'm getting a kind of different vibe than typical Storm, here.  Decidedly Storm/Dark -- the bitter, biting Cold is their chiefest threat and weapon (and defense).

Even the Muskox themselves tend to to the static "huddle" defense, with occasional charges out.  It's much less "stormy" -- more... glacial, Valind-y.

I could easily see them as some kind of Vadrudi - plus bad-tempered megafauna is one of the things, there. If they take after their herds and use head-butting to resolve conflicts, that’s so Vadrudi it hurts.

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8 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I initially thought Range 1 would be more interesting, but that might just mean that I'll need to read up on/invent more for Range 2. 

In terms of size, I agree they look big, but this is for a few reasons. 1) These are just generalized areas, not to be taken as exact measurements. 2) Not every group is going to wander all over it, rather it implies the space in which Muskox People can be found, not necessarily the space that all Muskox folk traverse regularly. A bit like Praxians out in the waste. Large distances covered only collectively, not usually individually. Also, similarly, very low population density. And lastly, 3) Genertela is not actually as big as we like to imagine it. It's only about the size of North America, or even just the contiguous USA. These ranges are about the size of... Nebraska? Texas? Just based on eyeballing it. RW muskoxen are found in a bigger area.

sQgHJYY.jpg
 

That map is troublesome as it has a lot of projectional shortening in the southern part of the USA. If you placed the USA on top (north) of Genertela, the distances calculate differently.

My working assumption was that the south coast of Genertela is about the latitude of the Caribbean coastline of the USA, rather than the distances of the Canadian latitude (which would reduce the length of the south Genertelan coast to that of the US Caribbean coast without the Florida handle).

The extent of musk ox habitat in the real world is again subject to projectional abnormalities you get at high latitudes. Norway's easternmost city Kirkenes lies on a more easterly longitude than Istanbul, but the distances in Northern Norway are a lot less than on the latitude of the Mediterranean north coasts.

The Dovre-Fjell (artificial, isolated) habitat of the musk ox population there is probably comparable to the Hungry Plateau.

 

8 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Browsing refers to eating leaves off woody plants, iirc. Grazing is eating stuff off the ground. My issue was whether Muskoxen, if they had the opportunity, would eat from leafy plants. Either way, it's not a huge issue. 

Svalbard has birch "forests" which are less than three inch tall. Bank Island (home to over half of the current population of musk oxen) has three foot tall willows.

 

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17 hours ago, g33k said:

I'm getting a kind of different vibe than typical Storm, here.  Decidedly Storm/Dark -- the bitter, biting Cold is their chiefest threat and weapon (and defense).

Even the Muskox themselves tend to to the static "huddle" defense, with occasional charges out.  It's much less "stormy" -- more... glacial, Valind-y.

Just an impression, FWIW.

Muskox and those herding them will still be absolutely dependant on fodder grown during the warm season, and it is during the warm season they will be fattening up and expending most of their (non-heating) energy. My point is that it's easy to see them as part of the forces of Cold, as it were, but more prosaically they just happen to be exploiting the margins rubbing against Cold better than others. 

This is delving into their mythology, but my idea so far is to have them have a very complicated and ambivalent relationship with Valind and the Glacier. 

And I guess it bears mentioning: Valind is definitely still Storm. Not Orlanthi storm, true, but Storm nonetheless.

10 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I could easily see them as some kind of Vadrudi - plus bad-tempered megafauna is one of the things, there. If they take after their herds and use head-butting to resolve conflicts, that’s so Vadrudi it hurts.

I'll try to outline some mythology later, but my general idea is for them to venerate a dead chief god who is roughly analogous to both Umath and Vadrus. This might mean that they were once Vadrudi, but they might as well have been Storm Bull people too. I personally don't want to make the parallels crystal clear. Or in other words, I'm not really looking to just make Orlanthi with a different coat of paint and some thicker jackets. If I can, which I'm still not sure I'm skilled enough to do. :P 

8 hours ago, Joerg said:

That map is troublesome as it has a lot of projectional shortening in the southern part of the USA. If you placed the USA on top (north) of Genertela, the distances calculate differently.

My working assumption was that the south coast of Genertela is about the latitude of the Caribbean coastline of the USA, rather than the distances of the Canadian latitude (which would reduce the length of the south Genertelan coast to that of the US Caribbean coast without the Florida handle).

The extent of musk ox habitat in the real world is again subject to projectional abnormalities you get at high latitudes. Norway's easternmost city Kirkenes lies on a more easterly longitude than Istanbul, but the distances in Northern Norway are a lot less than on the latitude of the Mediterranean north coasts.

The Dovre-Fjell (artificial, isolated) habitat of the musk ox population there is probably comparable to the Hungry Plateau.

 

That's all fine, but ultimately the point is to show that the Pentan steppe is nowhere near as big as the Eurasian steppe as many people tend to think it is (which is admittedly a far mistake to make given that Genertela tries to be Eurasian in miniature, with its own miniature China to boot).

Also the Dovrefjell habitat is a pretty big outlier, being an introduced populated. I was mostly going off the Canadian arctic range, which admittedly will be distorted by a flat projection, yes, but is still fairly sizeable, covering most of Northern Nunavut except Baffin island and swathes of Greenland. 

And this, it should be mentioned, is the current RW habitat of an animal that is recovering from near-extinction at least partially due to overhunting as well as climatic change. Going back some thousand years, most of circumpolar North America, and a good deal of Eurasia would have had muskox populations. HUGE tracts of land, no Monty Python joke intended. 

Anyway, this is all getting a bit technical. I don't think nailing down a *specific* size of range is necessarily all that important: what's more important is to find some key locations to work out from, and to get a general feel for the landscape, ecology and lifestyle down. Or does that sound too wishy-washy?

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8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Svalbard has birch "forests" which are less than three inch tall. Bank Island (home to over half of the current population of musk oxen) has three foot tall willows.

 

That's good to know! 

I see quite a lot of confusion online about willows in general and arctic willow, which is teensy tiny and barely a nub. The latter being the one I'm previously aware of being eaten by muskoxen.

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Ok, it's arctic willow, and up to 1.5 foot tall on Banks Island. The polar projection habitat map in Wikipedia probably gives a quite good idea about the area inhabited by the species. The leaves are likely as diminutive as are blueberry leaves, but then the muskoxen and caribous are likely to graze the wooden parts, too.

Banks Island itself is 240 miles long and 180 miles across, and home to 47k head of muskoxen, sharing the plant life with caribou. Your areas are both about that size. Even if the climate in North Pent is even worse than on Banks Island, that should be enough habitat for your much smaller population.

North Pent is about 4 pages of the AAA wide, with each page about 86 five-mile hexes across west to east. That's plenty habitat for your woolly horn bearers.

The humans accompanying the herds will likely hunt migratory birds or gather their eggs in summer, and may prey on caribous in winter. I don't see them as riders, but they might use their herds as draught beasts for skis or sleds.

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

I don't see them as riders, but they might use their herds as draught beasts for skis or sleds.

Yes! I had the same notion! This is something I've given some consideration, and my general thoughts are something along these lines: 

- They're not typically ridden except in certain cases, such as by the young, infirm, or perhaps through some partially-ritualistic warrior class for purposes of raiding, counter-raiding or what have you. Not the lengthy pursuits of horses, but short spurts, I'd imagine. Almost like reverse-dragoons, in a way. EDIT: Another, admittedly entirely fantastical idea is to have them act a bit like guard dogs, able to support their human herders on command by headbutting enemies until the humans come in and mop up. Who knows, maybe both could be used. This is firmly in the realm of fantasy, I admit. The main point is that they don't ride around willy nilly on them like some kind of woolly pony, though.

- Much more commonly they are used to pull sleighs or travoises, perhaps more specifically something like the Nordic pulk or ahkio. Native American or Inuit equivalents are probably fine too, but I'm less familiar with them, except stuff like dogsleds and toboggans. The main issue here is wood, so it's possible that the Muskoxen People version of these, instead of having a full wooden body, will be built with a wooden frame (using slender willow or birch, either gathered or traded for) and leather covering, a bit like a kayak. It's possible that the pulk/ahkio is mostly just used for winter, and a travois or possibly even some kind of body-harness is used for summer. The pulk/ahkio might be disassembled during summer, or it might serve as a "boat" (mostly to store items and infirm people) for river crossings or even fishing, if sufficiently sturdy. 

- Lastly, and more speculatively, Muskox People Muskoxen might be a bit bigger than most wild RW Muskoxen, at least on average. Not huge, but to make certain things a bit more plausible, and, uh, Rule of Cool, I guess. Not crucial, but potentially fun?

I'll admit, this is mostly hypothetical, as I don't know the exact practicalities, but it seems generally feasible.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed

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4 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Yes! I had the same notion! This is something I've given some thought, and my general thoughts are something along these lines: 

- They're not typically ridden except in certain cases, such as by the young, infirm, or perhaps through some partially-ritualistic warrior class for purposes of raiding, counter-raiding or what have you. Not the lengthy pursuits of horses, but short spurts, I'd imagine. Almost like reverse-dragoons, in a way.

- Much more commonly they are used to pull sleighs or travoises, perhaps more specifically something like the Nordic pulk or ahkio. Native American or Inuit equivalents are probably fine too, but I'm less familiar with them, except stuff like dogsleds and toboggans. The main issue here is wood, so it's possible that the Muskoxen People version of these, instead of having a full wooden body, will be built with a wooden frame (using slender willow or birch, either gathered or traded for) and leather covering, a bit like a kayak. It's possible that the pulk/ahkio is mostly just used for winter, and a travois or possible even some kind of body-harness is used for summer. The pulk/ahkio might be disassembled during summer, or it might serve as a "boat" (mostly to store items and infirm people) for river crossings or even fishing, if sufficiently sturdy. 

- Lastly, and more speculatively, Muskox People Muskoxen might be a bit bigger than most wild RW Muskoxen, at least on average. Not huge, but to make certain things a bit more plausible, and, uh, Rule of Cool, I guess. Not crucial, but potentially fun?

I'll admit, this is mostly hypothetical, as I don't know the exact practicalities, but it seems generally feasible.

Don't forget bone as a potential building material for rigid frameworks... Possibly magic-worked bone, to make for extra flexibility at need.

Draft-beasts for skiers?  Oh, yes!

One muskox could probably pull quite a few "assault skiers" to an awesome charge -- they each have a tether to a harness/hardpoint on the muskox, +5' length of tether for each skier.  They pole for a few strokes as the charge begins (to reduce strain on that toughest part of the pull), then the slick skis just glide as the charge picks up speed...  The skiers all inline behind the muskox, or fanning out on either/both sides.  They could either enter a muskox-sized hole in a shield-wall, or spread out in a broad skirmish-line, as needed... and MUCH more rapidly than most such forces could redeploy, faster than the defenders could adjust/adapt...

 

Bigger than RW muskoxen?  I say go for it!  Certainly the Praxian Alticamelus aka "High Llama" is bigger than anything llama-ish RW/today, and IIRC so is the Praxian Bison.  I think the sentient "Baboon" is also bigger than any variety of mandrill (upon which it's based), and "gigantism" in general seems a recurrent Gloranthan theme (Men-and-a-half, anyone?)

A quick Google-search found no oversize prehistoric muskox, but MGF honestly more-or-less demands this!

 

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5 hours ago, g33k said:

One muskox could probably pull quite a few "assault skiers" to an awesome charge -- they each have a tether to a harness/hardpoint on the muskox, +5' length of tether for each skier.  They pole for a few strokes as the charge begins (to reduce strain on that toughest part of the pull), then the slick skis just glide as the charge picks up speed

Doing this pulled by some kind of tractor or tracked vehicle (skis in winter, bikes in the summertime) was done in the Swedish military until quite recently. It's apparently a total mess when someone falls, but I'm sure the Muskox People kids learn to ski before they walk, or something.

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On 5/4/2020 at 4:06 AM, g33k said:

Don't forget bone as a potential building material for rigid frameworks... Possibly magic-worked bone, to make for extra flexibility at need.

Draft-beasts for skiers?  Oh, yes!

One muskox could probably pull quite a few "assault skiers" to an awesome charge -- they each have a tether to a harness/hardpoint on the muskox, +5' length of tether for each skier.  They pole for a few strokes as the charge begins (to reduce strain on that toughest part of the pull), then the slick skis just glide as the charge picks up speed...  The skiers all inline behind the muskox, or fanning out on either/both sides.  They could either enter a muskox-sized hole in a shield-wall, or spread out in a broad skirmish-line, as needed... and MUCH more rapidly than most such forces could redeploy, faster than the defenders could adjust/adapt...

 

On 5/4/2020 at 9:41 AM, Akhôrahil said:

Doing this pulled by some kind of tractor or tracked vehicle (skis in winter, bikes in the summertime) was done in the Swedish military until quite recently. It's apparently a total mess when someone falls, but I'm sure the Muskox People kids learn to ski before they walk, or something.


I hadn't considered any of this, sounds very cool! 

I've been weighing skis versus snowshoes and I'm not sure which of them are more suitable to their lifestyle. Ideally I'd just have them use both, but I'm not sure if that runs into some kind of problem. 

One of the goddesses I have loosely worked out, is their version of the goddess of young, unmarried women (or perhaps she's more of a goddess of young unmarried people in general). She is also the goddess of foraging, and the goddess of skiing, and is mythically attributed the feat of taming the arctic fox. 

Oh yeah, I mentioned in another thread that the Muskox People keep foxes a bit like dogs. Fox is also a Trickster, so there's a potential for some fun dynamic there. 

Now, admittedly, I suppose it would make sense to make the Ski Goddess a goddess of hunting, since winter is not really the time for foraging. 

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