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Sir_Godspeed

Muskox People Dev Thread

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6 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

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. 

Skis are not an anachronism, at least, and if any people are likely to have them, it'd be the muskox people!

For a god of skiing, compare Ullr: "Ullr, Sif's son and Thór's stepson, is one [too]. He is such a good archer and ski-runner that no one can rival him." (Prose Edda)

Love the tame foxes - you can use pictures of those domesticated Russian foxes for reference! They are absolutely adorable with floppy ears and everything! (And tame foxes are also period, as found by recent archaeology.)

1920px-Skidmuseet_%2802%29.jpg

5000 year old skis from Sweden

1920px-Alta_Felszeichnung_Elch_und_Ski_%28cropped%29.jpg

Norwegian petroglyph of skier, 1000 BCE

Ullr.jpg

Skiing archer, possibly Ullr, runestone

 

 

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Oh yeah, Ullr and Skadi are both inspirations there, it just sorta makes sense. 

I wasn't so much worried about anachronism as I was about there being some kind of material or lifestyle conflict between skis and snowshoes or something. I don't know, might just be overly cautious. 

Thanks for the pics. Actually those petroglyphs could be something the Muskox People (or their ancestors) do. Not a whole lot of permanent influences on the landscape in Northern Pent, but those might be a neat touch (especially if one throws in a little sacred time magic or even some initiation or Heroquest stuff). Aside from those I also consider them putting up cairns for historical, territorial and mythical purposes. Mayb adorned with animal skulls and the like.

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On 5/4/2020 at 2:08 AM, Sir_Godspeed said:

Lastly, and more speculatively, Muskox People Muskoxen might be a bit bigger than most wild RW Muskoxen, at least on average. 

Praeovibos priscus was larger than modern musk oxen.

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12 hours ago, M Helsdon said:

Praeovibos priscus was larger than modern musk oxen.

And it lived in a warmer climate. Compare the woolly mammoth vs. the Columbian Mammoth (that roamed the southern USA).

Scaling up the musk ox isn't that much of a problem. 

One slight problem with the Gloranthan north vs the Arctic Circle is the difference in available sunlight. All of Glorantha enjoys the long days of summer, but you still get eight hours of night, and that means six hours of real darkness. The sub-arctic regions have light 24/7, and the growth explosion has half more light than the Gloranthan north.

There are bound to be lemmings if you have foxes. I wonder whether the Musk Ox people catch and eat them, too.

Depending on how flat the terrain is, you may have remaining snowdrifts well into midsummer even on the tree border. I would expect much of the Musk Ox range to be north of the tree border. And that former elf forest may have extended across that border.

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On 5/3/2020 at 6:09 AM, Sir_Godspeed said:

sQgHJYY.jpg
 

Has anyone ever made a similar map comparison with Genertela and Europe?

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1 hour ago, Brootse said:

Has anyone ever made a similar map comparison with Genertela and Europe?

Here's something that's at least sorta related: Graham Robinson's old size comparison between the Lunar Empire and Great Britain:

lunar_uk_comparison.gif

@Jeff's old blog about the size and scale of the Lunar Empire is here:
https://wellofdaliath.chaosium.com/home/catalogue/websites/moondesign-com/jeffs-old-blogs/a-sense-of-scale/

Quote

These distances suggest the Bronze Age, early-Iron Age nature of Glorantha. The Lunar Empire is not comparable in size to the Roman Empire, but to the Assyrian Empire or the Babylonian Empire of Hammurabi or Nebuchadnezzar – or to a Roman Empire that conquered Gaul and Spain, but never the Greek East.

 I apologise for these doubly parochial examples - I'm British, and I'm mostly interested in Lunars.

Cheers, Nick

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On 5/5/2020 at 1:17 PM, Sir_Godspeed said:

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. 

Arctic foxes are adorably cute. I thought it was important for someone on this thread to acknowledge that.

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1 hour ago, Nick Brooke said:

Arctic foxes are adorably cute. I thought it was important for someone on this thread to acknowledge that.

It is an important point to make. Sustained.

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5 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

Arctic foxes are adorably cute. I thought it was important for someone on this thread to acknowledge that.

I think we can all agree:

Awwwwww...

 

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 I had a bit of spare time in the last few days, and I tried putting some things together. These are summaries of stuff I've written in other threads and earlier post, some stuff I've never mentioned, and some new stuff. Nothing is really set in stone, except the Four Wind Kings concept, which I really like. It's obviously inspired by the Four Winds of the Storm Pentans, and the in-universe justification for it would be something like that the Storm Pentans and Muskox People have had some cultural exchange over the several centuries they've lived in proximity. The Four Wind Kings of the Muskox People don't entirely map onto the Four Winds of the Pentans though, with North Wind not being their analogue of Humakt, but rather their analogue of Valind. 

On the topic of analogueness, I am following the philosphy that while I am inspired by Heortling, Praxian, and other mythologies, I do not consider myself entirely beholden to the monomyth. There will be stuff here that does not quite fit, and honestly I think that's mostly a good thing. (That being said, I don't think I veer drastically away from it either). 

The first quoted box is an attempt at summarizing their pantheon. I haven't differentiated spirits from gods in it, so it might be a bit unclear which entities are more or less significant, but I suspect most will intuitively know (if it has to do with livestock, food, clothes, procreation, community, etc. it's probably more commonly worshipped/venerated than if it's not, you know how it goes).

The second quoted box is an attempt to outline the beginnings of a mythical cycle for these folks. There are currently only two: the first one is a snippet of an origin myth, one that I don't expect to get too complicated, the sort of thing you tell your kids and maybe there is a more complicated version that's part of initiation rituals - and another that's their Darkness Survival Myth which also lays a lot of the groundwork for their current pantheon and social structure. 

Anyway, I hope this is interesting to folks. And feedback is always appreciated. 

 

Quote

Pantheon:

-        Four Wind Kings:

o   West Wind King: crafty, sly, inventine, cunning, relatively mild, humid.

o   South Wind King: brutal, direct, virile, stinging, warm, dry.

o   East Wind King: cold, dry, usually relatively slow, but occasionally wild and impetuous, hunting, war.

o   North Wind King: domineering, imperious, very cold, strong, dry, occasionally humid.

-        The Lady of the Land: mistress of all the plants and wild animals living in North Pent. Cannot be captured. Forbids agriculture. Unpredictable and untamable, but does offer bounty for those who respect her.

-        Mother of Herds: Mother of the muskoxen. Married to South Wind. Bountiful, fertile, caring, kind, strong, hardy.

-        Wood Lady: hidden goddess, only occasionally found in small thickets. Goddess of woody plants. Queen of the Elves. Offers secret gifts for those who help her. Can poison and kill those who betray her. Shy. Alien.

-        Striding Goddess: Goddess of Youth. Skier. Tamer of Foxes. Gatherer in summer, hunter in winter. Messenger. Scout. Brave, but sometimes too foolhardy. Open to new things.

-        Snowfox: Helper and Trickster. Bound to the Striding Goddess. Roots out small prey. Keeps pests away. Offers warmth. Playful, sometimes mischievous. Teaches hunting skills. Can seduce, but failed with the Striding Goddess, who outwitted him and won his allegiance.

-        Campfire: Offers shelter and food. Needs daily sacrifice, usually of tinder and dried dung. Eases the weary, feeds the hungry. Needs protection. Without them life would be unbearable.

-        Sprite Queen: Mother of mosses, lichen and wortplants. Is spread over all of North Pent, but us usually shy and hidden. Her children are the Will’o’Wisps, Sprites and others, and they are mostly plenty in the marshes, where they can trick people into danger. She offers many small mercies. The muskoxen graze on her, and offer fertilization in return. May offer services or gifts in return for services, but are mischievous too. May dwell with Wood Lady.

-        Deep Heat and Rumbler: Married couple of the chthonic powers. He is the heat below, rising as hot springs or geysers. She is the moving powers of the earth, sinkholes and heaving after frost. They are passionate and argue a lot. Both of them can take mortal lovers, but they can also offer secret gifts in other ways. Hot springs are good for mind and body. They can also kill, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. Source of many ribald tales told around the camp fire to great amusement.

-        Horned One: shaman, inbetweener, both male and female and neither. Has not only horns, but antlers, as well? Came in the Darkness and helped? Associated with Eolians?

-        Weaveress: Weaver of clothes, sewer of skins. Generally a daughter or follower of Mother of Herds, but may also be seen as just another side of her.

-        The First King: The First King of Winds, who once led the people to North Pent from their primordial homeland. He died fighting terrible enemies, and his winds were scattered in the four cardinal directions. He rests in his Cairn now, never to reawaken until perhaps the end of the world. 

-        Last Wind, Cairn Keeper: Protects the treshold to the inside of the Cairn and the Underworld. 

-        No-Wind, Windstill: The goddess of still air. Is permanently around the area around the Cairn.

-        Creek Singer: Androgynous, youthful being who lives in creeks and has a beautiful voice. Potentially dangerous, can seduce or drown, but can also be bargained with. Associated with fish as well.

-        The Lady of Many Colours, Aurora: The High Spirit of the World. The aurora is either her flowing hair or some other manifestation of her. She keeps the balance and ensures the Compact.

-        Uncle and Aunt Mastodon: The most powerful in the land, makes the earth rumble, and are fiercely territorial and potentially hostile, but can be bargained with.

-        Suns/Stars/Planets?

-        Dawn & Dusk: Twins, opposite in temper.

-        Various Troll-related deities related to night, shadow, darkness, cold, underworld, fear, ice, etc.?

-        Separate rain and snow deities? 


 

Quote

 

Key Myths:

-        Arrival in North Pent/Muskox Partnership Origin Myth (actually several myths)

o   Out-of-universe inspired by “Descent from the Mountain”

o   Mythical homeland where everyone are children. The First King return, he is the only adult. He takes them out of their homeland and out into the wide world. They mature and become adults. (Difference between people animals kept vague, but becomes clearer once they leave the homeland?)

o   The First King Takes them north, and they become conquerors and win fame far and wide.

-        Surviving the Darkness

o   Enemies come from beyond the world to undo it.

o   The First King goes to take them on, unafraid.

o   He is killed utterly, unable to come back.

o   The world is plunged into darkness and wrongness, most people, animals and plants die. Monsters range freely and subjugate or hunt those few left.

o   The Four Younger Brothers of the First King put their eldest brother, the First King in a massive cairn, then go back to quarrel among themselves.

o   They also need to convince the people to follow them (charismatic Big Man style, not autocratic monarchy)

o   West Wind is cunning: he offers ambushes and traps, but also to codify laws between bands.

o   South Wind is indomitable: he offers berserker rage, but also fertility for the herds.

o   East Wind is wild: he offers tracking and slaying like a wild beast, but also living on even the barest sustenance when things are hard.

o   North Wind is ambitious: he offers discipline and clear goals, but also demands subjugation to him.

o   In the Centre of the World lies the First King’s Cairn. It is guarded by the Cairn Keeper, also called Last Wind (last breath), who guards the secret path to the Underworld, and slays any who disturb it. There is also No-Wind, the Windstill Woman, who is the goddess of still air. Out on the plains she is around occasionally, but around the cairn she is always, for the First King’s eternally raging storm has died. There are others there too. Inside the Cairn lies all the other dead things, hiding around the remains of the First King.

o   The Four Younger Brothers meet at the Cairn, they quarrel as usual.

o   Then comes the Lady of Many Colours, Aurora. She was the one who called them there. She wants them to join forces against the unmakers. The fate of the world depends on it.

o   The Four Younger Brothers quarrel more.

o   The Lady of Many Colours shows them a vision of the world unmade in her flowing hair. The vision is unbearable.

o   The three youngest brothers agree reluctantly.

o   The North Wind rejects it, but wants to capture the Lady of Many Colours to marry her, like he once forced the Lady of the Land into submissive concubinage before the unmakers killed her.

o   He is violently rebuffed by her aura and is burnt and disfigured, because the Lady of Many Colours is sacrosanct; she is the ghost and high spirit of all the world, and cannot be claimed by anyone.

o   Humiliated, North Wind agrees to join them, sulking and promising vengeance.

o   The Four Younger Brothers become the Four Wind Kings, each ruling a cardinal direction.

o   They form a defence around the Cairn in the Centre of the World, and gather all survivors there. They conduct a great ritual.

o   The unmakers attack, but are miraculously rebuffed three times, even as the world grows worse.

o   The oath of community and fellowship is made with all the people gathered. They travel down into the Cairn to make the same oath with the Dead.

o   The oath is made. The Dead gods emerge from the Cairn, including the Lady of the Land, the Sun, the Stars, Dawn and Dusk, the Mother of Herds, Wood Lady, and many others.

o   The world is saved.

o   The Lady of Many Colours rise to the sky to mark the beginning of Time, and the compact that was made. All must respect it.

o   The First King remains dead, he is gone, but his legacy is not.

o   His Cairn is always in the Centre of the World, but can be found many places for those seeking it. All who die must go into it to rest.

 

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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I've been looking up some visual references, mostly from Siberia and Indigenous North Americans, or circumpolar peoples in general (though admittedly I have some Inuit/Aleut research to do). 

I think it's becoming clearer and clear that it's not like I can just base their look entirely off one culture, since there's no real culture that clearly matches their lifestyle. Reindeer herders are perhaps the closest. 

There's a few observations on their material culture I'm thinking about: it depends on the kind of resources and technology they have access to, and to what extent they are able to refine/store/trade, etc. 

So first off, probably no native metals. I suppose in the RW they could've been able to dredge for marsh iron, but that doesn't feel quite right for Glorantha. So, like the Praxians, the metal they have is traded for with external partners. That makes sense, right? 

Tools tend to be made from bone, horn, stone and wood, with sinew and other animal byproducts to bind them together and such. Probably not very controversial either, but I'd love some input here in terms of specifics. They obviously have their muskoxen, but what other animals do they have access to, and what can they make from those that you wouldn't be able to make otherwise? A few of them might be able to hunt seal, but I don't think most of them will. Reindeer is probably pretty widespread, with some being wild and others being herded by their neighbors. Mastodons exist in North Pent, and a few of those every year might provide some resources, but it's probably not something you can subsist on. Prestige prey,  or for annual feasts or trading perhaps. There are a few rivers around, so fish is available to some of them, but not all probably, though given the nomadic nature it might be a fixed stop on annual migration to get some... arctic salmon? Perch? I'm gliding over into foodstuffs now, I guess, though they're clearly related topics (foxes, wolves, lemmings, groundfowl, beavers(??), otters, etc.). Plant matter is also a good question, aside from sticks, what else is there to use? Dried lichen is useful for tinder and for shoe-fillings, for example. Speaking of fire, I am assuming that most of their fires will be burnt on dried dung from their animals, but if there's a problem with that, feel free to say so. 

One thing I've been thinking about quite a lot is skins/furs versus woven wool. The reason for this is that most of the circumpolar and Siberian people I can find make liberal use of fur and skins for their clothing, for many good reasons (seal skins are very waterproof, iirc, reindeer skins also have great properties), but for the Muskoxen people, there is one advantage they have that most RW people do not have: qiviut, or the molted Muskox underwool. Every spring this underwool molts off, and can be freely taken and used for clothing. It is perhaps the warmest textile in the entire world, and is extremely soft as well (though it needs to be woven, as it can't be felted). In my mind, this would mean that they're a culture that perhaps wears clothing that looks more like Sami (Lappish) tunic, or even that of the Norse peoples, ie. woollen-looking, rather than skins, like those of inuits. However, it's also clear that there's nothing inherently preventing them from mixing these two products. I'm open to suggestions.  EDIT: I kinda neglected the effect of wind, which skins are probably better as stopping than woven wool, however dense. This makes the case for mixed clothing stronger, perhaps, though the exact form it'll take might vary.

I've also been thinking about the qiviut (underwool) and how it could form the basis for their trading economy perhaps more than anything else. It is an annually renewable resource, and if there is more of it than is strictly needed for the band to maintain their clothing, then it would probably be a highly valuable good, selling it to the Etyries Caravan (or rather, in my mind, a minor offshoot of it) and local Pentan neighbors, Reindeer herders, and even trolls. This is part of me trying to balance the mix of endemic raiding and hostility with one that allows from relatively peaceful interaction as well, which I think is a lot more interesting than just the former. 

The latter point brings up their Vadrudi heritage/mentality, and is something I should perhaps touch on more later, but I've been considering how to mix the stereotypical and usually negative idea presented by Orlanthi myths with the realities of living in these conditions, and my general idea is something like this: the Muskox People are raiders, and value strength and all that, and are rough and brutal folk in many aspects, but they usually live in relatively small extended family units where the whole idea of tyrannical despotism is basically impossible. If a leader acts beyond their authority, people will literally just pack up and leave and join another band, and there isn't a whole lot the would-be tyrant can do about it. Their leadership model is based more on personal charisma and evident competence rather than institutionalized descent and the like, imho. I am using the word "band" deliberately, since I imagine these groups to generally be smaller than an Orlanthi clan (though how big I can't say yet) - this is especially true in winter. I imagine there being a seasonal dynamic, where groups split up during winter in order to make better use of the widely dispersed grazing grounds on the higher points which are less snowy (this is the RW practice of Muskoxen), and in summer they can congregate in larger numbers in the river or marshy valleys, allowing for increased social interaction with kin and neighbors and even other Muskox strangers (a bit of an extrapolation and exaggeration of RW Muskox behavior). In winter the weather mostly provides them protection, while also allowing them to do winter raids with skis/snowshoes and their muskoxen, while in the summer their larger, more concentrated groupings allow for increased defense against retaliatory attacks. Of course, there is still the issue of troll or ice demon/giant raids in winter, and that's something I think I need to think about more. I've also thought about anti-horsemen tactics, and I've seriously been considering pairing the RW Muskox tactic of creating an outward circle of bulls with the "wagon circle" tactic seen in many RW cultures (notably Hussites and American colonizers, but also Romans against Huns and so on). This opens up for armoring the flanks or necks of the muskox with pavise-like shields of leather, to stop incoming arrows, stones and javelins, for example. It's pretty high concept, so might not be the most realistic thing in the world, but hey, I'm trying out some ideas. :P

I've also got some thoughts on moraines in the landscape, and their significance (anything to add some diversity and points of interest to their lands which are mostly tundra and steppe). I was considering involving some giant stuff (it's very unformed still, but something about moiraines also being the lost fundaments of giant houses, or giant herd enclosures, or even outlines/cairns of dead giants) or something shamanic (travel lines for fetches, ritual defence against the glacier or even southerners, that sort of thing).

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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Fish could be seasonal in the rivers.  Lots of arctic salmonid species run the rivers up in the arctic... char, keta salmon, etc.

Do these people ever get into boats... kayaks or such?

Edited by g33k
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Just want to apologize for not commenting at all.  I'm reading, and enjoying following the thread but... I have nothing interesting to add 😕

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20 hours ago, g33k said:

Do these people ever get into boats... kayaks or such?

I speculated earlier that they could be using their winter-time pulks as boats during summer. 

Generally speaking, most of them will be landlocked, so boating will probably be mostly in creeks and rivers, with probably some flooded plains during spring and such. There IS also some large bodies of water north of North Pent. These bodies are not visible on the closeup maps in AAA, but on the large-scale Genertela map they can barely be seen. I don't know if these are saltwater and connected to the White Sea, though it's certainly possible, perhaps even likely.  EDIT: Troll marsh also likely has some open bodies of water. Not sure how dangerous/hostile that area is to outsiders though.

4 hours ago, Nevermet said:

Just want to apologize for not commenting at all.  I'm reading, and enjoying following the thread but... I have nothing interesting to add 😕

Eyh, no worries. I'm glad you enjoy it. I'm not sure how much of what I'm putting up is really interesting to anyone except myself, but I thought, what the heck, I'm in the company of esteemed worldbuilders, so might as well. :)

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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On 5/16/2020 at 6:08 AM, g33k said:

Fish could be seasonal in the rivers.  Lots of arctic salmonid species run the rivers up in the arctic... char, keta salmon, etc.

With the Sami, fishing was a big deal. 

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Got some inspiration from this conveniently released video. It's mainly on linguistics, which I'm not quite up to the task of tackling yet (and which I'll only loosely handle anyway), but it provides a good summary of relevant peoples in addition to those I'm already loosely familiar with (I mean, I was aware of a few of these already, but not in a systematic way). 

 

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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