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Flintnail Dwarves


GAZZA

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1 hour ago, GAZZA said:

I've been assuming that the Flintnail cult in Pavis consists of apostate dwarves, as they appear to have abandoned the Mostali way (ironically since Flintnail himself was a Mostali, not a dwarf). Am I incorrect to have done this?

That's pretty accurate, I think.  They are extremely heretical, anyway.

 

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In my Glorantha... I haven't decided!

I am considering that Flintnail might have had an Original Idea (dangerous, but not necessarily heresy or apostasy) that "pretending to be" apostate/heretical might elicit different attitudes & behaviors (usefully different... productively different) from the Problem Species...  

Edited by g33k
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They're confirmed heretics, but not necessarily apostates. As I understand it - and correct me if I'm wrong - any dwarf who still works towards the repair of the World Machine is still following the Way of Mostal, even if he's going about it in a way the Decamony brands as heretical, and the proof of this is that they remain immortal, unlike apostates who abandon their task entirely.

The Flintnail dwarves are confirmed to be Openhandists, the heresy that believes non-dwarves can and may in fact be needed to assist in the rebuilding of the cosmos. Ginkizzie, their leader, is the son of Flintnail who has been around since the Second Age, so he's definitely still got his immortality, and is also stated to teach both dwarf and human members of the cult of Flintnail "what they must know to further the Way of Mostal." So, heretics, definitely, but not apostates. Though apparently at least some other dwarves still consider them such anyway:

Quote

Flintnail’s penchant for humans and his proclivity for giving wondrous gifts to human supplicants has effectively barred his cult from direct dealings with most Mostali and dwarfs. The Pavis dwarfs are considered to be heretics or even apostates by nearly all other dwarfs.

Probably because their friendliness to humans and willingness to share expertise and information is probably considered excessive even by the standards of many other Openhandists. I have a sneaking suspicion that this be because in addition to being Openhandists, the Flintnail dwarves are all or at least largely also Individualists.

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Interesting. I was under the impression that once you sac POW to a god, you're no longer following the Mostal way (as RQ3's Elder Secrets says that non-apostate dwarves can't learn spirit magic or rune magic; Flintnail offers both, though that is from Pavis and Big Rubble which predates RQ3's decision that dwarves use sorcery).

So if I'm understanding correctly, Flintnail isn't actually a cult in RQ3+, it's more like just a bunch of dwarfs following a dude with the Openhandist heresy. I was not aware there were listed Flintnail dwarfs that have been around long enough to prove they're not aging (so I'm glad I asked).

Fair enough, I'll have to make a few changes but that will work out fine.

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10 hours ago, GAZZA said:

I've been assuming that the Flintnail cult in Pavis consists of apostate dwarves, as they appear to have abandoned the Mostali way (ironically since Flintnail himself was a Mostali, not a dwarf). Am I incorrect to have done this?

Personally I don't believe they have.

And the reason behind this is maths! (And Pavis: Gateway to Adventure)

In Elder Secrets we have a percentile chart of Dwarven occupations. Of any group, the dwarves are the most likely to hold as firm as they can to these percentiles, because they could.

So we end up with:

Quote

 

26 Rock Dwarves

20 Copper Dwarves

10 Brass Dwarves

10 Lead Dwarves

10 Quicksilver Dwarves

10 Tin Dwarves

9 Iron Dwarves

4 Silver Dwarves

1 Gold Dwarf

 

Pavis: Gateway to Adventure lists there as being 100 dwarves in New Pavis. (It also lists them as still having rock dwarves, gold dwarves, and iron dwarves, but that's not important to the maths)

Gold dwarves dress in ways that impress humans, and are commonly mistaken for leaders, rather than their teacher roles. Even if he wasn't stated to be one, Gizinkizzi the dwarf "king" would be an obvious gold dwarf.

In the encounters section of P:GtA, we can encounter a dwarven construction crew of 13 dwarves. This is an odd number, in more ways than the literal, and would be strange. Except it's half 26, the perfect number of rock dwarves in 100 dwarves -- there's likely two shifts/groups of rock dwarves doing construction work.

Why would apostates cling so strongly to the perfect numbers for their caste? The dwarves of Pavis may be openhandist, and possibly even individualist heretics. But they still further the work of Mostal, and are almost certainly not apostates.

It's just that humans only encounter three castes above ground, and so only know their golds, their rocks, and their irons.

Edited by Tindalos
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Ian Thompson's old Pavis & Big Rubble expansion zines (sold by Tradetalk.de) include lots of fun hints about the secrets of Pavis dwarfs. 

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"For some years after the founding of New Pavis, the few dwarf experts amongst the knowledge cultists thought that the Flintnail dwarves were immortal heretics, who had remained followers of Mostal as well as worshipping their former leader. However, when they began to request audiences with the dwarves in order to write a coherent history of the old city based on first hand experience, Dorasar himself asked them to restrict their investigations. This act, plus the oddness of their manner, now leads sages to presume (more or less correctly) that the dwarves are fully apostate, and thus mortal."

More here.

Edited by Runeblogger

Read my Runeblog about RuneQuest and Glorantha at: http://elruneblog.blogspot.com.es/

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9 hours ago, GAZZA said:

Interesting. I was under the impression that once you sac POW to a god, you're no longer following the Mostal way (as RQ3's Elder Secrets says that non-apostate dwarves can't learn spirit magic or rune magic; Flintnail offers both, though that is from Pavis and Big Rubble which predates RQ3's decision that dwarves use sorcery).

So if I'm understanding correctly, Flintnail isn't actually a cult in RQ3+, it's more like just a bunch of dwarfs following a dude with the Openhandist heresy. I was not aware there were listed Flintnail dwarfs that have been around long enough to prove they're not aging (so I'm glad I asked).

Fair enough, I'll have to make a few changes but that will work out fine.

In HeroQuest at least, the cult of Flintnail provides no rune or spirit magic; initiates of the cult learn the Secrets of Stone, which they can use as a sorcerer's grimoire but otherwise teaches a lot of dwarven lore about classifying, working and shaping stone. The initiates (and one of the requirements to become one is to serve as a journeyman stonemason for at least five years) make up the construction bosses and master stonemasons of Pavis, and in a lot of ways the cult of Flintnail is as much or more of a stonemason's guild with some heavily-guarded trade secrets than a typical rune or spirit cult.

So this is another thing where not just your own Glorantha might vary, but apparently what the published books have to say on the matter vary between different game lines or editions.

2 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

Ian Thompson's old Pavis & Big Rubble expansion zines (sold by Tradetalk.de) include lots of fun hints about the secrets of Pavis dwarfs. 

More here.

What would that make Ginkizzie, then? Since he definitely hasn't lost his immortality (or if he did, it was recently enough that he hasn't been remarked as aging). A procession of identical-looking dwarves keeping up the conspiracy?

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9 hours ago, GAZZA said:

Interesting. I was under the impression that once you sac POW to a god, you're no longer following the Mostal way (as RQ3's Elder Secrets says that non-apostate dwarves can't learn spirit magic or rune magic; Flintnail offers both, though that is from Pavis and Big Rubble which predates RQ3's decision that dwarves use sorcery).

 

8 minutes ago, Leingod said:

In HeroQuest at least, the cult of Flintnail provides no rune or spirit magic; initiates of the cult learn the Secrets of Stone, which they can use as a sorcerer's grimoire but otherwise teaches a lot of dwarven lore about classifying, working and shaping stone.

 

Of course it's also worth noting that the runespells Flintnail provides: Mold Rock and Support are remarkably similar in theme to the Mostali sorcerous spells of Shape Stone and Stabilize Stone.

Shape Metal's an odd one, as the Dwarven magic tends to be more specific, with Shape Brass, Shape Copper, Shape Iron, etc being separate spells. It's possible that the Flintnail cult just teaches the ones most appropriate to the task.

It's also possible the cult's statues that they use for Warrior of Stone may be small Jolanti, with the spell itself activating them.

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General question, because I may be GMing a Pavis Mostali player character in the near future:  I know the Flintnail cult is supposed to be contained in the forthcoming Gods & Goddesses book, but does anyone know of fan ports of its RQ2 or RQ3 versions?

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On 5/19/2020 at 8:36 AM, dumuzid said:

I know the Flintnail cult is supposed to be contained in the forthcoming Gods & Goddesses book, but does anyone know of fan ports of its RQ2 or RQ3 versions?

If you use the Mostali material in the Glorantha Bestiary treat their magic as being knowledge of all the Mostali magic with Stone in the name, and a few extra more conventional sorcery spells mostly about manipulating stone (because it is mean to only give PCs spells useful in large construction projects, and requiring POW every time you cast it), then you should be able wing the rest from either the HQ2 or RQ2 writeup. 

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  • 2 years later...
On 5/19/2020 at 10:36 AM, dumuzid said:

General question, because I may be GMing a Pavis Mostali player character in the near future:  I know the Flintnail cult is supposed to be contained in the forthcoming Gods & Goddesses book, but does anyone know of fan ports of its RQ2 or RQ3 versions?

Working on all this goodness currently in Vol 02 of the Director's Cut of the Pavis & Big Rubble Companion re-release, though a fair chunk of the deeper weirdness won't be revealed until future volumes of course, as the PCs learn and experience more for themselves

At the time we discussed it, Greg was in favor of the general ideas that will emerge. (More than that in fact, he had input.) He abandoned the Great Plan idea though at some point after we had our discussions, so all I can offer is what we discussed and designed way back then. Unlikely to be the same in official publications. For me personally all the complex dwarf weirdness around the Grand Plan will always remain preferential to the more technically/logically accurate ideas

We had some awesome discussions around the dwarfs and what they are really getting up to beneath the Rubble, and how many of them there really are. I think it was actually Andrew Bean (not me or Greg) who came up with one of the most awesome MGF ideas, at least I recall talking to Andrew about it.

Edited by Ian A. Thomson
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------------------------------------

Former Issaries Inc. 'Pavis Expert'

Some of my creations and co-creations: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?keywords=Ian Thomson

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On 5/18/2020 at 2:38 PM, GAZZA said:

I've been assuming that the Flintnail cult in Pavis consists of apostate dwarves, as they appear to have abandoned the Mostali way (ironically since Flintnail himself was a Mostali, not a dwarf). Am I incorrect to have done this?

Actually that is a very unfair characterization of the Flintnail Dwarves imo.  Consider if you will that the whole point of Pavis building a city where he did was to recreate the Green Age, in the hopes of building back some of what was lost when Genert died.  Remember that the Green Age was a time of universal peace and cooperation between people, when everyone who had a man rune was equal. As such, it is unequivocal that the Flintnail Dwarves are serving to fix the World Machine, and even better, they are doing so in the manner of past ages, by cooperation with other peoples.  Some have even suggested that Flintnail and Isidilian of Dwarf Run are the same person, and this Dwarf Hero merely went home to Dragon Pass when his work was done.  It is true that these dwarves are all Individualists, which many dwarves don't like, but are they really apostates from Mostal?  No.  They are very much an assemblage that is fixing a part of the world.  It should also be noted that Flintnail Dwarves are generally not shown as having access to the more extreme technical weapons of the Mostali, likely due to not being part of the warrior caste and not having access.

Edited by Darius West
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I would consider the Flintnail dwarves heretical, but unless we know for sure they age, there is not enough information to consider them apostates. 

The two nearer dwarven outposts, Dwarf Run and Greatway, are openhandists and with a high number of individualists. Pavis most likely received the most extreme heretics and also a fair number of vegetarians, even if they arose in Pamaltela, to fit with the Green Age and collaboration with elves. 

The dwarves have set up false gods for their human slaves helpers before, so what happens with the human part of the cult has little to do with what the dwarves really do and worship.

I also think it is deliberate there are no / few iron dwarves in Pavis, both as they were unknown in the Green Age, and also because humans fill that position in the city.

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I'm a fan of the idea they are heretical, at least from the POV of other dwarves, but they also don't age. If Glorantha can simultaneously contain contradictions like Elmal and Yelmalio, why not multiple contradictory visions of the correct adjustments to fix the world machine?

Obviously this would be deeply troubling to establishment dwarves, because how could they be sure their path was the correct path, if there are a multiplicity of divergent solutions which pass validity tests, and which may or may not lead to the same objective?

The need to study these divergent but disturbingly coherent solutions might be the only thing preventing a murderous "correction" of Flintnail's heresy.

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Trying to correct "deviations" almost destroyed the dwarves in the Second Age, and allowed the God Learners to loot many secrets from them. Now the Decamony is more tolerant, at least till other urgent problems are solved.

As I said above, the neighbouring dwarves are all heretics as well, so a small enclave like Pavis is at little risk of Decamony retribution. It is likely they ignore what is happening there.

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35 minutes ago, EricW said:

If Glorantha can simultaneously contain contradictions … why not multiple contradictory visions of the correct adjustments to fix the world machine?
Obviously this would be deeply troubling to establishment dwarves, because how could they be sure their path was the correct path …?

Heretic Mostal-i-Crowley says, “Everything is true — or nothing: what’s the diff? — so everything is permitted. Fix it as thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” They claim to have the synthesis route for the active ingredient of hazia. Others say the Krarshti have gotten to them.

Which would worse: (a) option paralysis; (b) rival work gangs manically overwriting their rivals’ repairs?

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3 hours ago, Erol of Backford said:

Crazy thought but Illuminated Chaos Dwarves might be fun to have in the game?

They absolutely are a fun thing to have in the game, and they make awesome villains. Some dwarves were allies of Nysalor. And I think Chaos dwarves may have turned up in Sandy's game on top of the Plateau of Statues? In my 13th Age in Glorantha game I used Derros as Chaos dwarves, worked well. 

But I don 't think that the Flintnail cult have anything to do with it. But if you want to go that route in your game, go nuts. 

The Flintnail cult seem to use mostly Rock dwarf magic. But they also seem to have a lot of knowledge of Jolanti, which suggests Tin? In any case it suggests that Flintnail is not the same person as Isidilian, who is generally taken to be The Dwarf of Dragon Pass (who is a Quicksilver dwarf). Or they could include both, or the caste magics overlap a little - they don't seem too be able to create Jolanti, but they do seem to be able to understand their physical construction if not their sentience. 

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2 hours ago, davecake said:

[Flintnail and Isidilian] don't seem too be able to create Jolanti, but they do seem to be able to understand their physical construction if not their sentience.

My Mostali informant says, “Heresy! If the physical construction is completed to plan, an item will have all designed-in features, including ‘sentience’ — if there is any such thing: the category is likely delusional, like ‘growing’.”

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5 hours ago, dumuzid said:

I used that as a horror story for the Pavis Dwarf player character in my campaign

Maybe they also have magic, a Jolanti wizard?

17 hours ago, davecake said:

But I don 't think that the Flintnail cult have anything to do with it. But if you want to go that route in your game, go nuts. 

Could just be one disenfranchised Dwarf he made one to many deals and is now in over his head working for Chaos in lieu of the entire Flintnail Group? 

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20 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

My Mostali informant says, “Heresy! If the physical construction is completed to plan, an item will have all designed-in features, including ‘sentience’ — if there is any such thing: the category is likely delusional, like ‘growing’.”

Your Mostali informant can spin it how they like, but I believe the account of Jolanti creation given in the Glorantha page 63 to be essentially correct - while refinement of the physical form, including sensory organs, limbs and communication organs are the work of stonemasons and sculptors of the Rock caste, creation of the Jolanti Tamestone consciousness and ability to act as independent servants, capable of carrying out orders, aka sentience, requires the participation of a Diamonddwarf of the Tin caste. Of course, ability to reason independently in ways that demonstrate goals independent from Mostali direction (aka sapience or intentionality) is an undesirable attribute, and attributable only to the interference of non-Mostali with Mostali Tamestones. 

Other castes are involved in the process, for example the great Iron-coated vats that the Jolanti are created in obviously involve Iron dwarves usually (though other metals are possible, probably resulting in less robust Jolanti), and melting that amount of stone probably involves Brass dwarves to manage that level of heat. The Jolanti are often enchanted by Silver dwarves, etc. Involving many castes and a Tin diamonddwarf, creating a Jolanti is a serious undertaking that most smaller communities may not be capable of, and it is quite understandable that creating the huge Jolanti of the past is beyond the capacity of (as far as we know) any modern dwarves (or at least the vast majority). Creating a Jolanti the size of the Faceless Stone statue requires a smelting facility that is even bigger than that, and hundreds to thousands of dwarves to rapidly sculpt such a huge being (no wonder they didn't have the capacity to give it a proper face). If one existed into historical times it is also certainly destroyed (the most likely candidate would be beneath Nida, and if so it was destroyed by the giants including Gonn Orta in the second age).

In RQ3 terms, because they allow making a distinction RQG doesn't, the work of Rock dwarves gives the Jolanti their STR, SIZ, DEX, and their ability to speak at least, and the quality of their sense organs. But the Tin dwarves deepest magics are required to grant them a Fixed INT. It is probably Tin dwarf magic that grants them magic points that empower their permanent ability to move. Mostali have no desire for Jolanti to have true INT, and probably the only Jolanti with true INT are the result of Aldryami meddling, and this probably grants them CHA as well. 

Personally I also believe that:

Nilmergs, in a terrible Mostali secret, may be a form of dwarf that is deliberately stunted and does not receive the Alchemical processes that grow the protodwarf into their adult, caste optimised, form. Gremlins are then nilmergs where the process of deliberate neoteny/mental retardation fails and an adult dwarf mind grows but without appropriate training. This would explain why they are able to develop, even by accident, the independent intelligence that Mostali methods are incapable of creating in the Jolanti. 

The various stone and metal animals documented in sources such as Anaxials Roster IMO are an emergency stopgap method, and not true independent creatures that can reproduce - they are when Mostali wanted emergency reinforcements to assist them in their wars, but lacking the resources required for Jolanti (in particular, there are a very limited number of Tin Diamonddwarfs) they resorted to a shortcut, perhaps taught to them by their Vadeli allies. The Granite Rhinoceros, Bronze Goats, etc probably are created by making bodies by normal Mostali processes, but then transferring the consciousness of animals into the constructed bodies. 

Though mineral species such as gargoyles may have a Mostali origin, perhaps long ago before Mostal had learnt to hate Growth, and before elves had killed Stone. 

Where Gobblers fit into this mess is another question entirely. Perhaps a rare gargoyle species then mutated by Alchemical processes? 

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I like the idea of shameful mostali secrets, using Grower Methods for clay mostali, nilmergs / gremlins and gobblers, as they are the most frequently encountered, so they should be made easily and accessible even for small enclaves (probably requiring just two compatible dwarves, a vat of the right size and some alchemical modifications). As they are so frequent, I would have Gobblers as another result of protonodule tampering, with the imprint of a particular substance during manufacture.

I see the stone and metal creatures as precursors of Jolanti, possibly using animal spirits to imprint the molten metal or rock. Jolanti will be considered superior as the mind is also manufactured.

I consider the Faceless Statue as an example of what True Tin Mostali could do, compared to the dwarves, and probably it was a relic of the Green Age, that later dwarves had lost the control protocols, but Pavis somehow discovered. Activated during Time, logical errors started to accummulate and it could not run indefinitely, but as a Green Age relic it was perfectly suited to beating Waha.

 

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