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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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I haven't been able to do a lot of work in the last week or so, but slowly I'm figuring out the general lay of the land, and populating it with little oddities here and there. 

I've been able to find a map that extends further north than the ones in the Guide and AAA, however it is less detailed, and so I'll have to do some cross-referencing to make sense of it. 

One thing I've been worried about, but that is slowly becoming increasingly obvious is the odd lack of a glacier in eastern Genertela. While there might've been one there in the Storm Age/Greater Darkness, it's just not there anymore on any recent map (it's there on some older maps, but they're so different from current canon that I don't feel like I can justify going quite so out of the way). This creates a conundrum for me: how exactly does this affect the Muskoxi's relations with Valind, Frost Trolls and Frost Giants? I had initially envisioned them as contesting with their northern neighbors throughout winter, placating North Wind King with sacrifices, and occasionally heroquesting up north to get boons and such. But now that there's no glacier, I might have to rethink that. Sure, it'll be frozen over in winter, but I'm not sure if that's the same. 

On the other hand, North Pent appears to connect to the Kenyiran Sea, which is neat. This differs a bit between the AAA maps and the one I've found (it's the one where each region of Genertela is labeled with big, red letters, I believe it also occurs in the Guide, but in smaller resolution and possible cropped slightly more, not sure), but ultimately this means rivers going northwards, coastline, and all that this entails. 

A second issue is whether the Troll Marsh is an endorheic basin or whether it has an outlet towards the north. The maps are ambigous, I think. Not sure what the ecological consequences are of that difference, besides shifting size more extremely in the case of an endorheic basin (if I understand my geography correctly). Still, it would be nice to know. (EDIT: No, it clearly flows out into the Keniyran Sea through the White River, and an additional river in the northeast. Not sure how I forgot that. Nevermind this paragraph, then.)

Lastly, I've tried to read up on moraines, since this is one of the few landmarks I can throw up on endless plains that will be a proper landscape-defining thing. Granted, realistically a lot of the moraines will be overgrown with grass and mosses, but still, it's nice to have something to put down on the map. The access to many sizeable, loose rocks will also make the moraines a prime vector for cairns, which I'm realizing I'm making kind of a defining cultural train for the Muskoxi (don't worry, this is just a temporary pet name to avoid having to write out Muskox People all the time). I'm considering there to be an overall significant terminal moraine running along the latitude of the Deer Hills, but this is just speculation.

I've also read up on the Guide some more, and things are looking to be potentially interesting: North Pent might potentially see Lo-fak, Huan-to demons, and even Wind Children coming from the north-western Shan Shan mountains. I'm considering making the Muskoxi and Lo-fak be pretty chill with each other and potentially have there be the occasional cultural spillover in the form of "converts" one way or another, by way of intermarriage, adoption, migration, that sort of thing. That might be messing with the "purity" of the Hsunchen bloodlines, but I was never fond of the idea that blood descent determined Hscunchenness anyway. The Wind Children won't exactly have any aeries out on the North Pentan tundra, but I was considering having them occasionally fly over the area and land to have a chat with the Muskoxi, or be drawn there by magic/rituals. Gift exchanges ensue, and such. Huan-to are monsters, so don't really need a reason to go and do bad stuff, I guess.

------

Speaking of moraines, I initially toyed with the idea of making rocks jut out of them to mark fallen, sleeping or dead giants from the God Time (a bit like the Uffington Horse of the Chalk Man in England, or even like the tumuluses in Prax). While this is still in the cards, I went ahead and wrote up an idea I had for a group of surviving giants. I didn't want there to be tons of them mucking about, so I've written up a family of six, living out a kind of twilight existence there. 

Quote

North Pent was once verdant land, a part of Genert's Garden, until the Glacier came and covered the land. It was harrowed further when Chaos came, and melted and ruined the land with its unnatural, warping effects. Where once a gigantic folk herded mighty mastodons in a paradisical, innocent idyll, few are left, and those who still wander the land are often bitter and hostile, although most simply wish to keep to themselves and their few remaining mastodon herds, eking out a melancholic albeit mostly peaceful life. 

d018b3448494eb42d767c11b3fea73a3.jpg
(Image from Skyrim, inspirational purposes only)

The Six Giants:

This is a family of six giants that roam or exist in roughly the same area, though still separated by potentially hundreds of miles depending on their roaming patterns. They are not known by names, but rather by their familial titles that have been gleaned by shamans and priests who've managed to converse or even befriend them.

The Uncle is mostly dormant, not engaging in any particularly vigorous activities. He is usually found lying down next to the massive cairn of his deceased wife, which lies along the side of a large moraine. Here he mourns her, but he is also communicating with her spirit within. He is old enough to remember the Sunstop, and considers the current sun "wrong" in some way, but is not able or interested in articulating why or how. He considers the Red Moon "wrong" too, much in the same way. A few decades ago, he was roused to action, and killed a frost giant, and he is generally hostily to invaders from the north, refusing to see the frost giants as kin, instead considering them in terms most unflattering. Every now and then he will move with his mastodon herd to other grazing areas, although he usually returns as soon as possible, making him one of the most predictable giants. He is overall fairly approachable by shamans and holy people, who have the ability to converse with more means than just verbal. He has a particular fondness for a Gopher People shaman, who unknownst to him is currently passing away in a Gor-Un warren.

The Aunt  is the uncle’s wife. She is actually dead, and lies inside a large bulge in a moraine, which acts as her funeral cairn (or perhaps she IS the funeral cairn. It is unknown when or how she died, but it is possible it occured before Time, perhaps sometime during the Ice Age. She is not completely inert, but is in fact approachable in dreams, but is not easy to talk with. Her husband can also be seen in these dreams as he dreams with her.

The Middle Son is the most active of the six, he wanders around with his mastodon herd, taking care of them as any good herdsman would. He takes time to get to know, as he is wary of thieves or raiders, but is largely friendly once no hostile intentions has been made certain. That being said he is somewhat uninterested in the matters of "little folk", instead focusing on his mastodon herd. Of particular note is his issues with his younger brother: he wants his younger brother to come back to the herd so that he can properly train him to start his own herd. In addition, the Middle Son is looking for a wife, but he has so far been unable to find any female unmarried, unrelated female giants in the area. He is overtly hostile to horses and horsemen, considering horse vermin, and finding the little folk who ride them tainted by the association, this he refuses to communicate with Pentans or other horse-riders.

The Youngest Son ostensibly helps the Middle Son, but has a reputation for visiting hot springs and geysers for months at a time, neglecting his duties. He considers himself an “apprentice” of the Hot Earth, meditating in the hot springs to learn deep secrets. He take his responsibilities less seriously than his brother, and has little interest in starting his own herd or finding a wife. Also, unlike his brother, he finds the "little folk" amusing and interesting, and while they have little to offer him, he enjoys good songs, tunes, or stories, which he gathers and is seemingly able to remember perfectly, although his retellings often tend to focus on bizarre parts that are otherwise insignificant to humans. He is, however, similarly hostile to horses and horsemen, although his hostility mainly takes the form of a passive-aggressive standoffishness. 

The Outlaw is the one among the six who is the least known. He is openly hostile to all humans and trolls, and is known to attack herds and people without provocation. He is generally not acknowledged by the other giants when asked about him, except to detest him. He is, however, in some way related to them, though exactly how is not clear.

The Grandmother is mostly stone by now, easily mistaken for an exceptionally large menhir, virtually a solid-piece cliff embedded in a moraine-side. She is very hard to speak to, either being unable or uninterested in responding, and when she responds, her speech can be in languages no one knows, possibly extinct ones. What is known is that she is older than Time, possibly far far older. She remembers before the Glacier, and is not fond of the North Wind King. She does not feel familiar in the world in its current state, and does not take interest in it. Most of all it seems she wants to rest finally, but for her kind, dying takes a lot of time, according to what has been interpreted by shamans and holy people who've managed to listen to her. She is saddened about the diminished fate of her kin, but is ultimately resigned to how things are. The Grandmother is occasionally visited by the other giants, and according to some who've stayed around during such visits,  she's talked about once visiting the World Mountain and the Cosmic Court as a child.

I don't know if this is in line with how Glorantha should be written, or if they're too out of tune, but I had a bit of fun here by mixing the mundane with the deeply mythic in these enigmatic, semi-immortal beings. 

The two giant females being basically dead was intentional. I had initially intended to just have males, so as to mimic the depopulated rural communities that exist in many places (including my own country, deep in the fjords or up in the mountains) where lots of ageing bachelors are resigning themselves to being the last inhabitants on slowly delapitating farms, but I ended up making the dead wife an actual character and adding the grandmother. I quite like the idea that for giants death is this long, drawn out process that doesn't even really hinder them all that much beyond the grossly physical. They just sorta go rocky and meld together with the landscape and fall asleep and dream forever, or at least until a new age comes to pass when giants can get up and about again. Maybe.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

A second issue is whether the Troll Marsh is an endorheic basin or whether it has an outlet towards the north. The maps are ambigous, I think. Not sure what the ecological consequences are of that difference, besides shifting size more extremely in the case of an endorheic basin (if I understand my geography correctly). Still, it would be nice to know. (EDIT: No, it clearly flows out into the Keniyran Sea through the White River, and an additional river in the northeast. Not sure how I forgot that. Nevermind this paragraph, then.)

As North Pent is pretty cold, a northern outlet may be dysfunctional most of the time.

On the whole, North Pent strikes me as rather dry, with tpp little snowfall to form a glacier, and cut off from the main glacier by the aftereffects of the corridor the invading Chaos Horde left behind, cutting off any input from the main body of the Glacier. That may return gradually, but possibly only glacially slow.

This doesn't stop the annual invasion or awakening of Hollri demons. They might be limited in size without decent snow cover or glaciation, or they might be able to draw upon the frozen undersoil of the permafrost.

I live in a landscape where morraines are the only vertical feature. The morraines forming the Cimbrian peninsula are well weathered, though. A fresher landscape of morraines is full of bodies of open water - the marl that is created when the glacier scrapes up bedrock tends to be fairly impenetrable to water, allowing any melt-off to linger until the winds have taken up all the humidity. Those lakes and puddles don't last long, and become bogs rather quickly, unless they were formed from huge chunks of glacier cut off from the main body, leaving very deep depressions that take millennia to fill up.

What you are describing there is the kind of landscape the Ahrensburg reindeer hunter cultures encountered.

 

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11 hours ago, Joerg said:

This doesn't stop the annual invasion or awakening of Hollri demons. They might be limited in size without decent snow cover or glaciation, or they might be able to draw upon the frozen undersoil of the permafrost.

 

Maybe they cross over the northern sea ice during winter as well? 

11 hours ago, Joerg said:

I live in a landscape where morraines are the only vertical feature. The morraines forming the Cimbrian peninsula are well weathered, though. A fresher landscape of morraines is full of bodies of open water - the marl that is created when the glacier scrapes up bedrock tends to be fairly impenetrable to water, allowing any melt-off to linger until the winds have taken up all the humidity. Those lakes and puddles don't last long, and become bogs rather quickly, unless they were formed from huge chunks of glacier cut off from the main body, leaving very deep depressions that take millennia to fill up.

What you are describing there is the kind of landscape the Ahrensburg reindeer hunter cultures encountered.

Do you think this is a decent fit for North Pent? Lots of small marshes/bogs inbetween rolling hills dotting the more even tundra plain sounds like a fitting image, at least. I guess the further north you get the thinner the soil layer is going to get, but that's speculation on my part. There are rivers laying sediment northwards, and sea erosion might make gravel or something. Still, the northern coast there is probably not very welcoming in any sense of the word - even for North Pent. 

I like the idea of using moraine ridges as traveling vectors, for example, as they'll be mostly dry in summer and snow-free during winter, but they'll obviously be interrupted, irregular, etc. 

Speaking of the Troll Marsh, I've been brainstorming how society there might be. I was thinking that they might have a pretty active Gorakiki cult. Even if the winters might kill most of their beasts off, maybe they rear new ones each summer or something. I was considering having, for example, certain Gorakiki trolls be trading with the Muskoxi, while other troll groups be hostile. Trying to avoid monolithic "trolls vs. humans" simplifications. That being said, there might be some overall Uz cult hegemony in the centre of the swamp. Not a Queendom or anything too fancy, but like a ritual centre, maybe. Just spitballing. Not sure if they'd be culturally distinct from the White Sea coast trolls that live in the limited taiga and shrubland north of the Marsh. 

I'm also thinking about making the Deer Hills a significant cented of the Gopher People Hsunchen. They're the only Hsunchen mentioned in the area, and while their population is quite tiny overall in Pent, I'm trying to justify having them interact with the Muskoxi, even if it's not intensive. Deer Hills struck me as an interesting point, as it might potentially be a wooded highland that's arguably(?) defensible against Pentans, and also far enough south to not have permafrost (which I'm guessing is sort of a hard limit on how far north the Gopher Hsunchen can go). 

I'm still not quite sure on whether the reindeer people from the west will be Hsunchen or not. Any suggestion is welcome. I like the idea that they are magically powerful, though. Perhaps seen as particularly so by the other groups - although I might be projecting some Scandinavian stereotypes/literal archetypes of the Saami onto them. 

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About a month has passed, and while I've done some reading and some thinking/noting, I did get sidetracked quite badly. I also waited until I got permission from MOB to alter one of Chaosium's maps. 

Below is a tentative attempt, or sketch if you will, of the general area where Muskoxi would live - though not over all of it, and certainly not in any compact sense (the population density here is absolutely, abysmally, low.). It's a rather large area too - compared to Southern Genertela, the area showed in the map is basically the equivalent of Kethaela, Prax and Parts of Maniria and Dragon Pass. It's quite big. Inquiring eyes might also spot that it goes further north than the AAA or Guide maps, which has been a great boon for me.

The map mixes canonical and fan-made place names, and is a part of the process I'm going through where I'm trying to figure out the world from these Muskox folks' perspective. I've therefore kept the fan-made names mostly straightforward English. Some smaller landmarks might not fit 100% with canon locations. That can be fixed in later iterations.

RJf4Pbb.jpg

Lots of work remains, such as trying to get a general feel for demographics/social geography, getting a better understanding of the Glacier/Ice Age so as to know where to finalize the moraines, as well as to determine the extent of permafrost (including attempting to distinguish those areas with continuous permafrost from those with discontinuous).

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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2 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Lots of work remains, such as trying to get a general feel for demographics/social geography, getting a better understanding of the Glacier/Ice Age so as to know where to finalize the moraines, as well as to determine the extent of permafrost (including attempting to distinguish those areas with continuous permafrost from those with discontinuous).

Looking good!

One thing to contemplate is whether there are scars about the land beyond the glacial moraines where Chaos came through as it slithered, slimed, and melted its way southward.

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23 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Looking good!

One thing to contemplate is whether there are scars about the land beyond the glacial moraines where Chaos came through as it slithered, slimed, and melted its way southward.

And leftover bits of Chaos, active sources of current problems/monsters/etc.

I envision a sort of solidified gorp, icy rather than liquid-ish.  A living (or at least Chaos-energized; maybe not "life as we know it") microglacier.

Edited by g33k
Chaos
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1 hour ago, g33k said:

And leftover bits of Chaos, active sources of current problems/monsters/etc.

Yes, I'm sure some of those remain.  The icy, or perhaps solidified, gorp would be interesting.  Just looks like a large ice crystal - but if you touch it, you stick to it (like your skin sticking to frozen metal) and you have to rip your flesh to get away before it "flows" into your ever-colder body.

Some useful things to consider in mapping this area are the Trollpak maps.  First, there's the Storm Age migrations of the trolls.  The Black Sea Monster that ate many trolls, luring them all in, should be in this part of the White Sea (or its spawn).

image.png.0dde8ac194877f3e8bec31c2c4f21bb6.png

And then one interpretation of the Chaos invasions where:

1) Stormfall - The Devil and his minions fell upon the Castle of the North Wind and destroyed all who opposed them. Trolls there fled after their windy leaders were killed.

2) Boztakang’s Victory – The Devil Wakboth and his slimy army moved in a wide arc and tried to surround the craters and peaks of the Blue Moon Ruins. The trolls’ magic and courage fought them off. [I'd probably place the Chaos army all around the Blue Moon Plateau and moving in from multiple directions.

10) Winter Win – A major chaos army moved northward from Peloria and onto the ice. Himile-worshiping ice trolls, Boztakang’s Blue Moon Army, and followers of the Black Sun converged and destroyed the enemy. [Clearly there is some gathering atop the ice that for a time was over this region.  Likely the battle marked the retreat of the ice as well. ]

image.png.ee3cedf96929175b24eb820fc56e31aa.png

The Winter Win might tie into the Sekever Conquest noted in the Guide p.691+: Sekever - This evil false emperor is the ruler of Dozaki and conquers Kerandaruth with an army of demons and corpses. He was accompanied by the Black Sun, which sent rains of blood against the world.

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