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Nevermet's Manirian Scratchpad

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This is a thread for me to work through some of my ideas about Maniria in public so people can tell me when I'm going about things horribly.

 

Why Maniria?

I like Maniria for several reasons.  First (and foremost, if I'm honest), I got into Glorantha right before Blood over Gold came out.  As a result, Maniria is "my" Glorantha in a way other people may feel a fondness for Prax, Dragon Pass, or other places.

 

Beyond that, there's a few other things that make Maniria fascinating to me.  First, it is layers and layers of ruins from extremely disparate civilizations.  The doomed Trader Princes, the Maniran Tribes, the Slontans, the Zaranistangi, The Bright Empire & Arkati, the Wenelians, the Entruli, the Pralori, the Helerings.... This is the antithesis of, say, Seshnela, Esrolia, or Dara Happa. 

 

Second, if the past is a mess, the future is too: Maniria is a Hero Wars Blind-Spot.  To the east, Esrolia is involved in all the Agrath vs the Moon wars.  To the west, the greater Safelster region gets sucked into the turmoil of the Five Arkats.  But what happens to Maniria during the Hero Wars?  Maniria is the antithesis of Sartar in this regard.  The written material is relatively scant compared to a lot of Genertela:

  • We know, most immediately, that Greymane manages to throw eastern Maniria into war... and then dies.
  • We know the Elven Reforestation is a big deal in Maniria.
  • We know that in about 2 generations the great flood comes.

...And that's it.  We could plug Magasta's Pool with what we don't know about the future of Maniria.  We don't know...

  • ...who are what fills the power vacuum left by Greymane among the Solanthi, and Maniria more generally
  • ...when the Reforestation occurs, and which humans survive, how.
  • ...what happens to Handra though its talked about in somewhat heroic tones in The Guide.
  • ... how Maniria, a land DEFINED BY FLOODS, reacts to another great flood.  In a region with Elven magic, Helering magic, remnants of Blue Moon cults, and hidden Godlearner wisdom, it is reasonable to expect Heroes will try to respond to the flood.  But how... who knows.
  • ...how the Trader Princes try to survive without the Manirian road.
  • ...what the Weartagi or the Wolf Pirates do to the coast, beyond "probably something bad."

The Result is that Maniria is a massive and confusing pile of lego places, for gaming groups to assemble as they see fit.  That's why I like it.

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Cultures of Maniria

This is a non-exhaustive list of the various cultures of Maniria, organized into categories and subcategories.  I'm not completely sure at what level I would put the "cultural keyword" at.  For example, is a character's culture Wenelian or Solanthi?  Eh... not sure yet.  But here's my listing so far.  As I count, there are 6 cultural "Families" in greater Maniria, according to the guide, and a total of about 15 distinct cultures at the highest level of detail.

 

  • Wenelian (Orlanthi, with Western influence in many cities)
    1. Bastis (Trader Prince Cities: Highwater, Yolanda)
    2. Ditali  (Trader Prince Cities: Staton, Saltcastle)
      • Dokali (Trader Prince Cities: Bath)
    3. Solanthi (Trader Prince Cities: Ferry, Fort Digger, Temple Peace)
    4. Legrosi (Elfriends)
    5. Nimistori (Trader Prince Cities: Jaraz, Selgos, Jubal)
    6. The New Coast (Trader Prince City: Fay Jee)
       
  • Hsunchen
    1. Pralori
    2. Mraloti
       
  • Slontan Remnants
    1. The Old Families of Highwater
    2. Kaxtorplose
    3. Ramalia
      • Alatan (I feel that culturally, Alatan and Smelch are likely more similar to the Ramalians than anything)
         
  • "The Veskarthi (Accordnig to the Guide, these are culturally Calandralanders but politically independent)
    1. Pelushi
    2. Maldrosi
    3. The West Hillmen
       
  • The New Fens & Handra (Combination of Slontan refugees and Ralian travellers following Handra Liv)
     
  • Caratan
Edited by Nevermet
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Frustrations & Confusions with the cultures

  1. I need to get a handle on how different Wenelians are from more familiar forms of Orlanthu (Heortlings &Esrolians)
    1. Related to this is a discussion of how much "Trader Prince" is a distinct culture.  From what I can tell, the Guide tries to claim "Trader Prince" is less a cultural label and more a label for the urban aristocracy of Maniria that is (1) connected to long-distance trade, and (2) engage in a more honotheistic version of religion than the "country" Wenelians.
       
  2. I'm imposing the category of "Veskarthi" to describe tribes in South-eastern Maniria  that worship volcanoes like the Calandralanders.  I'm also including the Maldros, taking them out of the New Coast, because based on the text, they would fit this category more than the New Coast.
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1 hour ago, Nevermet said:

I need to get a handle on how different Wenelians are from more familiar forms of Orlanthu (Heortlings &Esrolians)

Well, they have the cultural background of Entruli, which are tied to the pig god/earth husband Entru. A contrast to the cattle/sheep-herding Heortlings might be a greater focus on pigs, either together with sheep or cattle or some other combination. 

A closer relation to the Aldryami, and thus Aldrya & Flamal might also be applicable, but whether that would be region-wide or just for the tribes residing close to the forest itself I don't know.

 

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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2 hours ago, Nevermet said:
  • ...who are what fills the power vacuum left by Greymane among the Solanthi, and Maniria more generally
  •  

After a generation of war and barbarity, at least some of the Esrolians will work hard to:

1) keep the region weak and disrupted

2) ensure another Greymane does not arise

As of 1625, there are two prominent players in Esrolia:  Queen Samastina of Nochet (leader of the Old Earth Alliance; focused on northern Esrolia, trade with Sartar and abroad by sea including Handra, and the threat of Harrek and the Wolf Pirates); the Demivierge of Rhigos (leader of the Warm Earth Alliance; focused on southern Esrolia, the Vinavale, and the eastern end of the Trade Road). 

However, there are some other players.  The Red Earth Alliance is weakened but not gone and had significant holdings in western Esrolia bordering on Maniria (there's a reason Queen Hendira was so focused on the western barbarians) - and they may want a piece of the Trade Road business to boost their wealth.  Longsi Land, led by Queen Nevaleen of Kosh and Velentru the Wild Man, is meant to be a wildcard here, and with associations with the elves of the Arstola Forest. And farther west there is the Queen of Handra, who wants to keep the sea trade active and diminish the role of the Trade Road.

I'd expect a lot of wealth going to hire mercenaries for factional disputes while keeping the power vacuum amongst the Solanthi active (including via assassination, intrigue, petty wars, long-running feuds, etc).

2 hours ago, Nevermet said:
  • ...when the Reforestation occurs, and which humans survive, how.
  •  

You can expect the Warm Earth Alliance and the Caladrans/dwarves to oppose it.  Perhaps even focus volcanic energy, fire, and other devices against it.

However, it will likely choke off the Trade Road.  Significant quests to ally Yelmalio, Arroin, or other elf-friendly deities are needed to aid in passage.

2 hours ago, Nevermet said:

... how Maniria, a land DEFINED BY FLOODS, reacts to another great flood.  In a region with Elven magic, Helering magic, remnants of Blue Moon cults, and hidden Godlearner wisdom, it is reasonable to expect Heroes will try to respond to the flood.  But how... who knows.

Lots of options.  Expanding the Kaxtorplose Bubble.  Reviving Slonta. Raising a new range of volcanic mountains. Calling forth the Wind Gods to blow away the Flood. Rebuilding Ketha's Table (i.e. think of Gata/Ketha as once being a broad table, i.e. a "table" land, perhaps even held up at four corners by ancient giants). Building a new Ark.

It's a generation and a half away - start to give hints or visions and while they are trying to start initial plans, the Elf Reforestation strikes.

2 hours ago, Nevermet said:
  • ...how the Trader Princes try to survive without the Manirian road.
  •  

They got significantly bypassed by the Sea Trade.  Do they bribe the Wolf Pirates to attack the coasts, and encourage their own trade? Perhaps someone can convince the dwarfs to lay down a new roadwork (right in the midst of the Elf Reforestation)?

2 hours ago, Nevermet said:

...what the Weartagi or the Wolf Pirates do to the coast, beyond "probably something bad."

Do either care about the Manirian coast?  The riches lie to the east: Nochet, Karse, and further.

What you do get though is the Noloswal diaspora.  As of 1625, Seshnela pretty much conquers the sea-faring states of the west and unleashes waves of refugees from Nolos, Pasos, etc. They go east.  Some as far as Nochet, but many likely arrive in Handra, Fay Jee, etc. and swell the populations there.  What does that do to life in these coastal cities?

2 hours ago, Nevermet said:

Alatan (I feel that culturally, Alatan and Smelch are likely more similar to the Ramalians than anything)

Alatan and Smelch are primarily pirates.  Some probably joined the Wolf Pirates, but others are locals who simply try to wreck ships and take salvage.  Nuisances as much as anything.

1 hour ago, Nevermet said:

more a label for the urban aristocracy of Maniria

I'm not sure how pervasive this really is.  It's one of the things that felt off in Blood Over Gold.  Likely these are little more than rich Orlanthi clans that claim some local leadership and are perhaps bolstered by money and trade from the Issaries merchants.

 

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I have had thoughts about the Pralori percolating for a while, and as an extension of that, some things that I considered for Maniria in general (based almost entirely on the Guide).

- I suspect that as a long-term consequence of the Goddess Switch and Slontos rolling over that most Manirian cultures have strange relationships with the Earth. We have, in the Guide, the Legros people around Tallcastle who live in accordance with Aldryami ways. I also thought that Maniria would be a good place to have slash-and-char agriculture, as a way to improve soil with poor fertility (and thus providing a very real and material reason for Ditali and Solanthi to be swayed by what few Lunar missionaries would have reached so far- perhaps they have their own version of the Hon-eel rites...) 

- The Solanthi and Ditali are political unions of multiple tribes. However, they are described in the Guide as confederations rather than kingdoms. Greymane is also described as a warlord, not a king, and we know that the two titles can be translated identically. The Trader Princes are also described in the Guide as still somewhat recognizably Malkioni, which suggests that they have hereditary control of the cities, contrary to standard Orlanthi practice which sees the city as deriving its legitimacy from the tribes that contribute to it, plus the Ring of the urbanites themselves. 

- My interpretation of this: the basic political alliance that emerged out of the Manirian Road was that the confederations agreed, as long as the flow of goods along the road continued, to accept that they would always elect one of the Trader Princes to be overall "prince" of the confederation, while retaining the traditional candidacy qualifications for "king"/"warlord", with the two positions somewhat more equal than in, say, the Heortling or Talastari mode. The Opening and the Road drying up disrupted this balance and led to the warlord becoming more prominent again, and thus enabling Greymane's rise. 

- To overanalyze the little information we have about Greymane, he is consistently described as having "retired to his favorite wife's farm," which is an interesting turn of phrase. To build a castle in the air from this, let's presume that the "Entruli belt" shares in matrilineal and matrilocal clan structures, like Esrolians, without having the patron-client structures of Esrolia. Instead, Greymane's ability to marshal Ditali and Solanthi is because he's both- married into multiple different clans across the two confederations and thus providing a kin-based linkage. Even if his sons had survived Pennel Ford (I think the consensus is that they didn't, or at best the pro-Lunar one retreated northwards with other Lunars and is now a guest in Tarsh and soon to be dead or a guest in Mirin's Cross) they would have had a hard time maintaining Greymane's fleeting empire without his network of marriages. 

- This is mostly the past. What does the future hold? Seshnelans. At some point, whether it's Guilmarn or the Great Talar of the West, there's almost certainly going to be Malkioni probing eastwards across Maniria. There's also nothing in the Argrathsaga about them reaching anywhere in Argrath's domains, so let's presume that they didn't. What turns them back? Ramalia erupting like a burst pimple? The Pralori once again pitting the power of the Serpent Beasts against Malkioni logic (assuming that they're not preserving some critical bit of information about the worship of Seshna Likita that the Great Talar of the West will need to successfully copulate with her)? A grand barbarian alliance with the New Coast? And then, of course, apres ceux, le deluge. 

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37 minutes ago, Eff said:

- My interpretation of this: the basic political alliance that emerged out of the Manirian Road was that the confederations agreed, as long as the flow of goods along the road continued, to accept that they would always elect one of the Trader Princes to be overall "prince" of the confederation, while retaining the traditional candidacy qualifications for "king"/"warlord", with the two positions somewhat more equal than in, say, the Heortling or Talastari mode. The Opening and the Road drying up disrupted this balance and led to the warlord becoming more prominent again, and thus enabling Greymane's rise. 

I was loosely of the impression that the Trader Princes themselves (and their families) were basically Talars (possibly self-styled, but who is going to dispute that?), and they ruled over Orlanthi commoners in lieu of Horali and Dronari. 

I'll admit, I had not considered how the Solanthi and Ditali confederations played into the urbanized trader towns. I hadn't considered that there was a continuity between them, I always got the impression that they were separate entities, at least politically (ie. the Solanthi and Ditali were more hinterland "rubes", if you will, compared to the caravan-aligned trader city-states, but that they at least were independent of the Princes). But I could be way off here. 

 

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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2 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I was loosely of the impression that the Trader Princes themselves (and their families) were basically Talars (possibly self-styled, but who is going to dispute that?), and they ruled over Orlanthi commoners in lieu of Horali and Dronari. 

I'll admit, I had not considered how the Solanthi and Ditali confederations played into the urbanized trader towns. I hadn't considered that there was a continuity between them, I always got the impression that they were separate entities, at least politically (ie. the Solanthi and Ditali were more hinterland "rubes", if you will, compared to the caravan-aligned trader city-states, but that they at least were independent of the Princes). But I could be way off here. 

 

Well, the Guide doesn't describe any kind of political boundary- the cities are subsumed within the tribal confederations. And a city can't exist without a hinterland providing it with things, generally speaking, so there has to be some kind of relationship between the Orlanthi tribes and the cities. But the Trader Princes themselves are not described as taking much direct action compared to the Orlanthi confederations as a group, which suggests that such a relationship involves some kind of political integration. 

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11 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I was loosely of the impression that the Trader Princes themselves (and their families) were basically Talars (possibly self-styled, but who is going to dispute that?), and they ruled over Orlanthi commoners in lieu of Horali and Dronari. 

IMG they present somewhere between autonomous Issaries grandees and old-school Talars, which is a Deep Secret of the Hero Wars.

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My old notes about the New Coast and the Trader Princes are linked. An Esrolian folktale about the ancestors of the Wenelians is here: Esra & Entru, and you might be amused by Tim Ellis's kinda related story of The Children of Mralot. There's speculative stuff about Wenelians worshipping the Storm Bull as a Great Boar defending the Women of the Woods against outsiders in my essay The Masks of God. None of this stuff has been revised or updated for decades.

I wrote up more Wenelian notes for Jeff Kyer back in the day (featuring their proposed culture hero Wendel, God of the Lightning-Struck Oak, among others), I'll see if I can dig those out.

Edited by Nick Brooke
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31 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

I wrote up more Wenelian notes for Jeff Kyer back in the day (featuring their proposed culture hero Wendel, God of the Lightning-Struck Oak, among others), I'll see if I can dig those out.

These are from 1994 Digest posts, apologies for formatting but I think everything is legible.

Quote

Me, I think a lot of Orlanthi have Hsunchen ancestors: just think of those 
Bulls and Sheep and Cats worshipped all over the place. This tendency comes 
closer to the surface in Wenelia than in other places I've seen -- not in 
traditional Hsunchen one-animal clans, but tribes where Fox and Lion and 
Boar and Stag people all work together, and intermarry, and worship gods as 
well as totem beasts (like they do in Rathorela these days).

Chief gods of the Wenelians include Vorlan, the raging storm-god who lashes 
the forest with rain and strikes down its tallest trees with his Lightning 
Spears; Oak Woman, worshipped by the mysterious Council of Tree Speakers 
(women who keep peace with the elves, and are rumoured to become dryads); 
and Wendel, ancestral firebringer and culture hero. There's also the fat, 
truffle-hunting Sow Mother, and humble Mani, who I see more as goddess of 
kitchen gardens than a Grain Goddess, a muddy-kneed peasant girl when seen 
beside her sister Queens of the Land. Some of the Wenelian warbands also 
worship Sword, a god of death and war, but as worshippers must own a sword 
to follow this path, the cult has limited potential for growth.
Quote

Also, when I visited Wenelia, I discovered that the locals are 'hsunchen' (animal-totemic) people, but do not live in the 'single-species' groups found elsewhere. So the Solanthi tribe includes clansmen of Wolf and Fox and Badger and Deer and, yes, Lion. Where did you think Greymane gets his name from? The affiliation is somewhere betwixt and between: Wenelians of the Lion clan have more feline attributes than Alynx Clansmen of Sartar, but less than, say, Praxian Basmoli would possess. It's uncommon for them to transform bodily, for example, though it is known. The Wenelians are also interesting in that their ancestral, tribal totemism coexists with worship of a pantheon of Storm and Forest deities: Vorlan the Storm God, Oak Woman, Mani and Wendel: this may be similar to the Fronelan Rathori adoption of (or evolution towards) Orlanthi religion.

Quote

Gods of the Wenelians

A while back I posted my own guesses about the gods of Wenelia. Joerg asked 
a bunch of sensible questions (and a few others), but I was working 24-hour 
days at the time and didn't get round to answering them. So, apologies for 
lateness, and here goes:

> What happened to Entru and Entruli? The Entruli people?

Through speculating about Esrolian origins, I came to theorise that Entru 
and Genert are similar figures (N-T-R; N-R-T; anyone who has tried to read 
books on hieroglyphic decipherment will follow this!). Entru is the First 
Man, as Esrola/Asrelia is the First Woman. The First Man runs around wild 
in the forest and ruts with animals; this is the origin of the Entruli: 
barbarians. The First Woman mates with serpents, or ears of corn, or other 
things (I've only seen the Puppeteer Troupe's comic version of this, as the 
Esrolite women won't let men into their temple), and her children, male and 
female, are the Esrolites: civilised folk.

This is of course an Esrolite myth, explaining why all the people of the 
Manirian forest think they're different animals, but intermarry anyway. It 
also allows them to feel superior: foreign men (and women) are barbarian 
animals, but our women (and men) are civilised people.

"Entruli" would be the former name of the people who followed Wendel and 
became the Wenelians. And "Entru" would be a figure in Esrolite myth, not 
Wenelian. (More on him one of these months).

> King Lalmor and the Vathmai tribe which settled Slontos?

Happened in Slontos. They passed through 1500 years ago. What kind of trace 
are you expecting to find?

> How did the God Learner occupation of Slontos change the Wenelians?

Happened in Slontos. They thought we were barbarians. They were right. Not 
rich, powerful or sophisticated enough to be worth tampering with.

> We see what happened to the Ramalians?

Who were settled/conquered by refugees from Slontos. Not many ran into the 
Dark Forest of Wenelia -- and very sensible, too!

> Why the Sow Mother, and not (male) Mralot? Or are both worshipped?

They're the same person, Joerg: Hsunchen androgyny. But in Wenelia we have 
the Boar Totem clan, who fulfill much the same role as Storm Bulls in the 
rest of the Barbarian Belt. The Boar is the defender of the forest against 
anything unnatural (agriculture is unnatural to the Wenelians); he berserks 
in battle, and can be calmed or commanded by the Oak Woman. So Sow Mother 
is included as a general deity, and not a clan bloodline. Perhaps something 
similar happens with the Stag Clan and the ancestress of hunted deer?

Of course, this makes the Esrolite "Entru" myth rather suspect if Wenelians 
claim their male ancestor was the Boar, Stag, Lion, Fox or whatever...

> Do any of these relate to the Aram-ya-Udram story?

Incidentally. (The First Council story, not the Gouger one). Aram as human 
ancestor was one of the reasons I was so keen on scattering pigs'n'boars 
everywhere in this primitive barbarian setting. Note also that Tusk Riders 
can be found all through the Wenelian Forest.

The parallel between Gouger and the Boar is because they're both the same 
species, which does the same kind of thing. Not a conscious connection.

> Is Wendel more a human hero (like King Heort, inhuman though he appears),
> or rather a Trickster deity? Both?

A bit of both. But his "cult" would be rudimentary, I think: most likely an 
Ancestor Worship variant like Votank, with perhaps an awe-inspiring Fire- 
bringer power (like "Ignite" spirit magic). I don't know his story, yet.

> What makes swords so rare in Wenelia, when the joint forces of the Holy
> Country regularly are beaten by Greymane and his sons?

Not many in those joint forces have swords. The Esrolite infantry don't (I 
see them as a peasant army with spears, clubs, etc: like an ancient Middle 
Eastern levy), and they're the majority of Greymane's victims. Now the 
Heortlendings do, of course, but the "joint forces of the Holy Country" 
ceased to exist in 1616 at the Lion King's Feast, the first time we know 
they encountered the Wenelians. (My assumption is that the earlier "wars" 
are skirmishes between raiding bands and local defenders). Which is to say: 
Greymane and his sons have *once* defeated a Holy Country army in which the 
toughest, most-able-to-flee troops carried swords. And ever since then, the 
Heortlendings have had problems at home to distract them from Esrolia.

So I don't think there's a glut on the sword market in Wenelia.

BTW, the "Esrolian Humakti" from MOB's Lottery Swords are more a product of 
the cosmopolitan urban Holy Country culture than a reflection of what goes 
on out in the sticks, IMHO. The confusion in Gloranthan studies between 
Esrolia and the Holy Country is long-standing; the exaggerated role given 
to Lhankor Mhy is the worst part of it. Like imagining Ptolemaic Egypt was 
run by librarians on account of Alexandria.

One last word. The stuff I'm rabbiting on about above is all my own work,
part of the background research I did for an Esrolian RuneQuest campaign.
It shamelessly extrapolates from what we've been told, interpreting and 
interpolating and binning the bits I don't like. It isn't "official": you 
can take it or leave it. I get sad when people say they feel "a bit Nicked" 
whenever I open my big mouth, but there's sweet F.A. I can do about it, 
short of shutting up. And that's not an option I'd consider...

====
Nick
====
Quote

Alex on Shanasse:

> We need some glib, amoral sophist to give a superficially convincing
> account of why anyone would confuse Trees and Angels. Hrm. Nick? 

Among my Wenelians, the culture-hero Wendel is the son of Vorlan, the local 
Storm God, and the Oak Woman, mistress of the forest. Born of rape when his 
Lightning Spear hit her tree, he was the first fire given to the children 
of Entru in the Darkness; he taught them all the arts of civilised living 
(all the arts they have in the Wenelian Forest, that is!). A burning 
oak-tree, blazing but not consumed, is his symbol. Does this confuse Trees 
and Angels enough for you?

The thought of a Christmas tree, all lit up, as the DH Shanasse image, is 
too horrible to contemplate.

That's a pint's worth of glib, amoral sophistry IMHO. See ya!

And this is from 1996:

Quote

Andrew asks for

> good info on Wenelia and the Boar tribesmen/worshippers

Further to the summary material Andrew mentioned in his last post, the Boar (one of the animal-totem clan ancestors of the Wenelians) is the defender of the forest. He protects the goddess of the woods (the Oak Woman, a womens' deity arguably connected to Aldrya) by wounding or slaying all those who would despoil her natural bounty. His worshippers obey the commands of her priestesses.

A (very low-budget) God Learner might theorise that he represents the local "Storm Bull", although focusing on pro-Nature more than anti-Chaos. He might be connected with Gouger the God-Pig (cf. Cult of the Bloody Tusk, Ivory Plinth, etc). The Tusk Riders live in and around this part of the world; Aram ya-Udram was a human ruler from the Holy Country; the pig is a sacred animal to the Ernalda cult; the Mraloti are found in Ramalia, just the other side of Wenelia...

I'm NOT saying that Wenelia was God-Learned, BTW: the locals are just too backward and primitive to have been worth the effort. Even the Lightbringers didn't take root there, merely passing through on their way to Ralios!

Note also that the Wenelians do NOT get on well with their Aldryami neighbours, despite this "protect-the-forest" ethos. Their culture-hero, Wendel, was born of a lightning-struck oak tree, and this is still one of the most significant rituals of their religion.

I don't yet know the name of the Boar God, but it could be something like "Mralot". Try grunting that guturally (and fearfully) to yourself a few times, then work out another spelling for your pronunciation and run with that. Westerners would surely call it "Mralot" whatever the natives say; and they may be afraid to speak their deities' names!

 

Related, from 1997:

Quote

Example: the Wenelians. Time was, they were "stock Orlanthi". I ran a game taking players through Wenelia, and cooked up their local mythos and culture -- Monomyth-based and Orlanthi/Hsunchen in flavour, I assure you! -- and now, obviously, prefer this to having yet another "stock Orlanthi" tribe (in woads'n'plaids) throughout the forests of Maniria. But part of the fun of doing this is that, from an Encyclopaedist's perspective, they are "just average Orlanthi". It's only when you get there on the ground and encounter worshippers of wild Vorlan Storm-Father; and Wendel, child of the Lightning-Struck Oak, crazed bringer of divine revelations in the Darkness; and the mysterious Oak Woman of the deeper forests (and her sinister Council of Trees); and the furious Boar, defender of the wild against all who would profane it... well, if you're a dullard, you'd say "Orlanth, a local ancestor, an Aldrya/Ernalda hybrid, and a local variant of the Storm Bull". But if you're there when Greymane summons his Lion Clan warriors to sniff out his opponents, and the Wild Hunt begins to lash the treetops, and there's ozone in the air, and the Dead are starting to stir beneath the trees... well, you kinda wish you hadn't believed in the Monomyth quite so much.

 

Tangentially related, from 1999: rivalry between aristocratic old money from Ralios (inland Trader Princes) and new money from everywhere (boom town New Coast ports):

Quote

Jeff Kyer writes, in a commendable first post:

> If the Trader Princes control most of the ports and harbors
> along that very long reach of coast, they would continue to
> flourish, I think.

My posted material suggested that the Trader Princes and the New Coast ports are deadly commercial rivals. So, while I (and my Trader Princes) would agree whole-heartedly with what you say, the point IMG would be that they don't. (That is, it's a big "if").

In the past, they've made their wealth sponging off the only overland trade route between the West and the Holy Country, not developing the local economy of Wenelia. While they could try and diversify (building up local trade in "Manirian Furs" or whatever, as you suggest), this is a major wrench from what they've done in the past. I don't think the transition will be easy, especially for this bunch of inbred decadent aristos.

Moreover, there are plenty of rampant Wenelian warlords looking to muscle in on anything valuable in their territory, which certainly wasn't the case before the Opening (at least, not to Greymane's present degree). Interesting times.

 

I hope (some of) this helps! Here's the wonderful archive search engine I'm using these days: https://glorantha.steff.in/digests/

Cheers, Nick

Edited by Nick Brooke
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Oh, 1 thing I will say is that I'm going to try to develop a consistent hermeneutic, or interpretive strategy.

The only part I'm sure about is that I'll accept the framework of the The Guide and the Sourcebook as canon, and then I'll take the Stafford Library stuff very seriously.  Beyond that... people's opinions, published zines, etc.... I love ideas and debates, and I love seeing the different versions of Glorantha that can result.

 

ok, i can't say anything worthwhile.  'night y'all

 

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This is not canon, though it's based very loosely on some older canon stuff (we're talking long before the Guide to Glorantha).  I post it so you can collect some ideas you might find interesting but it's probably too crazy for you; this is just how Ramalia is *in my games*.  I hope you find it interesting, anyway:

 

Ramalia, Chaos-Tainted Kingdom of the Primal Unity Wisdom Church and the Boar Hsunchen

During the Second Age, this was the breadbasket of the region, full of endless fields of wheat, barley, rye and wild rice. In the hills, grapes grew and the land flowed with beers, ales, wines, and brandies. Chaos was far away and the land was full of joy and contentment. Most of the populace were Hsunchen, boar-people to be precise, ruled over by a noble class of Malkioni. They quietly tolerated the peasants continuing to worship the Great Boar and practicing spirit traditions as long as they attended regular True Malkioni church services once a week. The fanaticism of the Return to Rightness Crusade was not to be found here, just the desire to have a pleasant, peaceful life and enjoy nature's bounty.

But then the Middle Sea Empire began to collapse. The Waertagi took their revenge, laying waste to this region and magic itself turned on the Malkioni. Most of Slontos blew up or sank into the sea or both. The ocean began to devour the lowlands. And the rulers of Ramalia panicked. They sold themselves to Chaos, performing a great rite which turned the prosperous county of Malsha into a blasted heath and laid waste to the beautiful forests around it. But by doing so, they saved their land, raising it higher so the ocean could not devour it. Krarsht and Thanatar were true to their words, strange as that is for a Chaos creature. The Great Boar was forced to marry Krarsht and bound into a sacred castle.

King Paruzal and Queen Quezal ruled ever since, for the nobility are immortal, periodically kidnapping healthy peasants, cutting off their head and replacing them with their own immortal heads, a rite learned from Thanatar. Those who defy the nobles, their heads are taken and made immortal tools of the noble they defied, shrunken and hung from their belt. There are two groups of priests: the Axemen who serve Thanatar and enforce the law, and the Taxmen, who serve Krarsht, collecting taxes and controlling the treasury. The knights of Ramalia and the Axemen fight together in war time against raiders and conduct raids against the Dragonnewts of the Trachodon Marsh and against the Hsunchen and Elves to the northwest. Only Quinpolic traders are allowed into the country to trade, for the Ramalians fear the ocean and dislike the Safelesterans, who return the compliment. But even the Quinpolics must come by land caravan from their port inside the marsh.

The peasants obey because the Great Boar has been made the subordinate spouse of Krarsht, but if the rite of marriage, held once a year during Sacred Time, ever fails, there will be hell to pay. The same period also features major festivals of Krarsht and Thanatar; if those fail, one or both branches of government will collapse and the chaos wastes will erupt with angry monsters and there will be another kind of hell to pay.

The beaches of Ramalia are huge; there is a several mile wide strip of sand, for the ocean is pushed back by the annual Sacred Time ceremonies worshipping Krarsht and Thanatar; a wall of upwelled stone tipped with skulls and heads rings the entire coast, fencing the edge of the beach. No one lives close to the ocean anyway for fear of it. The ocean and Water rune creatures take the place of Chaos in the myths of this land, filling essentially the same role. Rivers are only trusted due to annual rites which imprison the spirits and gods of the rivers.

 

  • Fenwatch: The Alligator Hsunchen like to raid the area and basically, there's nothing to do but wait to be raided and make counter-raids which go badly in the swamp. It's easy to almost forget you are in Ramalia here as the air is often fresh and the world less oppressive and the chaos forces rarely come north of the Price. Peasants live in small timbering and farming villages in the woods and somehow never get hit hard by the Alligator Hsunchen. Custom: Baron Markov von Fenwatch suspects treason is afoot and forces the peasants to do double church services to keep them too listless to revolt; this also ensures his coffers are always bare as they don't seem very productive and keep trying to waller instead of work. Damn boar-people!
  • Forssaa: This village is the market for shepherds and boar-herds in this area; it is almost entirely Hsunchen with a handful of human Malkioni nobles and craftsmen. It would probably be a town by now if not for raids from the ruins of Loimaa. Custom: During Sacred Time, someone who has caused trouble to the Baron is picked as the victim and the nobles and the peasants join in hunting them, killing them, and eating them; whoever is the chosen victim is turned into a deer with magic.
  • Harjoki: This town lives by a mixture of wine production, grain production, and fishing. Custom: Once a year, at the start of Sea Season, the lake god/spirit is reborn and the Slaying of the Lake takes place in which Duke Jalmari enters the lake with a few men in a boat and fights the lake god/spirit, killing it until next year. Its corpse becomes plentiful fish. Once upon a time, the locals chose a Queen to marry the Lake God, but now she is just used as bait. Sometimes the Queen dies but usually she becomes a handmaiden for the Duke's wife now.
  • The High Boar Castle: This fortified temple is where the Great Boar is kept in a pen and then married each year to Krarsht as her subordinate. His submission chains his aggression and that of the peasants; this power contributes to defending the land from the sea, and gives power to the nobility as well. The castle looks like the beast rune overlaid with the chaos rune. Custom: The annual Krarsht-Great Boar marriage.
  • Kankaanpaa: In some parts of Ramalia, it's less obvious the country made a deal with Chaos. But here, chaos creatures walk the streets, coming to trade with merchants who can handle dealing with broo and scorpion men and other freakish things. The wealth they gain is incredible, and some nine thousand people dwell there, enjoying a high lifestyle but risking their lives, minds, and souls. But since even the crate-haulers live here the way a wealthy merchant lives in other cities, it's the same. The King has a rarely used residence here; this is where he starts from to head into the Price for the Sacred Time ceremonies and where he and the Queen rest afterwards. Custom: Everyone in town must consent once a season to sex with any Broo who asks. Anyone who assents becomes immune to Broo diseases until the start of the next season; those who refuse are given to the Broo to do as they will.
  • Kauhojoki: This is a hunting lodge for the King, who comes here to hunt in the nearby forest. A wizard named Maari (a noted master of the Beast rune) normally runs the town, keeping the forest healthy and replenishing the game with magic. Herders come here to trade wool and hides for food and tools and a small group of craftsmen and merchants have built a village. Custom: Anyone caught poaching is kept until the king arrives and then the King hunts them and kills them; their bodies are salted and traded to the creatures of the Price in Kanaanpaa.
  • Kyroskoski: This is a mining community which digs up a lot of bronze and firebone; the castle has three ancient machines made by the God-Learners. One of them turns firebone into lightning by burning; the lightning powers a second machine which empowers lights, running water, and giant lightning wands on the walls. Further, the last of the machines can be used to produce bronze tools; the main limit is that sometimes the tool machine sucks people in and... no one is sure what happens to them. It means the tool machine is not used to full capacity, though. You get the best tools just after it feeds. Custom: Beyond the machine eating its operators, the town must follow the custom that all babies must be left next to the small chapel of Krarsht and Thanatar, untended, for one day, when they turn six months old. Sometimes Krarsht takes the baby to raise as her own. Sometimes Thanatar claims the baby's head and leaves the rest behind. Most of the time, the baby is taught the secrets of the machines. Only a person whose parents followed this custom can use the God-Learner machines without disaster.
  • Kuopio: This town of 8,000 is home to perpetual smoke and ash from the bronze production and metal-working which dominate the city. Baron Oskari is a cruel, oppressive man who always carries a bronze-tipped, rune-carven spear which can be thrown and always returns to him. When it strikes someone, it drains their life force and gives it to him, healing his wounds and ailments. This city is noted for the use of enchanted bronze pillars which reinforce buildings, making them much stronger. There is a school of wizardry here, the Kuopio Earth School, which studies the enchanting of metals. Custom: Whoever commits the worst crime in a year is ritually bound to a rock during Sacred Time; they absorb the town's Chaos, turning into a hideous monster. The Baron must slay them in ritual combat during Sacred Time; if he wins, the bones of the twisted monstrosity turn out to be pure, refined bronze which can be made into magical weapons and armor. If he fails, he dies and Chaos devours his soul. The prisoner turns back to normal and now the Baron is deposed and chained to the pillar to become a monstrosity to be slain by the next Baron. Baron Oskari is the fifth Baron. His weapon was made out of the bones of the Fourth Baron.
  • Kurikka: This is the market town (4,000 strong) for the cattle raised in the local area and is a major center for production of leather goods. Custom: The annual leather festival, held in Earth Season, draws many nobles to watch the annual bull races and bet on them. Convicted criminals are required to race in front of the angry bulls. Any who die are slaughtered and consumed like beef. They even taste like beef. Very high quality beef.
  • Latilla: This city of 6,000 was settled by people fleeing Harjavalta; it continues the tradition of an annual music festival; the rest of the time, the city quietly produces pottery, baskets, and alcohol; endless fields of grains surround it. Custom: The annual music festival is held during the gentle rains of the Sea Season. There are separate contests for best composition, best performance, and best morality play set to music. There are five judges: the baron, his wife, the head of the chapel of Krarsht, a broo, and a Boar Hsunchen chosen by lot. The winner of each is crowned with laurel, gets a cash prize, and has free housing if they stay and periodically perform for free in the town. The worst loser of each is handed over to the broo to be taken back to the Price and no one wants to know what happens to them.
  • Mantta: Baron Noaa is slowly turning into stone all the time; his castle is haunted and most of the inhabitants are now statues or ghosts. No one comes here if they can help it. Custom: Once a year, the Baron randomly stops passers by and instead of collecting a tax, he beats them to death and their friends must help, then he drinks their blood and most of his flesh returns to normal. Anyone who doesn't help will generally die at his hands and also get drunk. Those who do help will have great skill at attracting money to themselves for the next season.
  • Nurma: Most of the rivers of Ramalia flow out of the subjugated Boar Mountains; they are already partly under the will of the nobility. But the Hsunchen River has a powerful god and most of his body is beyond their control; this area floods frequently and the chains have to be reinforced every seaon; even then it's hard to live around here. Rice and other crops that handle water are grown here and rice wine is a popular drink. The city is on elevated artificial hills which will shatter if the rites to reinforce them are not done every season. Count Niko spends most of his time drunk and bitter while his wife Solia runs the place in his name; she is hard-working and effective and extremely cruel to the Hsunchen raiders, whose dead bodies she hangs from the city walls, enchanted to rot the flesh of any living jaguar hsunchen who approach. The city has a large trading station as it is the point at which the Quinpolic league's caravan route links to the nation's road system. The Quinpolics build their own distinctive pentagonal houses on one of the hills. Custom: Each season, the chains must be reinforced by sacrificing a merman and a jaguar Hsunchen. If one or the other is missing, a randomly chosen child from the town is sacrificed. Jaguar Hsunchen are rarely in short supply but getting merpeople when you fear the sea is rather harder.
  • Orivesi: The road runs past this castle but no one goes in or comes out; there are rumors of treasure and glory but no one has ever come back and proved it. What's going on remains unknown. Custom: Unknown.
  • Castle Piekajoki: Duke Petteri and his wife Amalia dwell here, guarding all approaches to the High Boar Castle, their highest responsibility. They also shield the grasslands against the jaguar Hsunchen raiders. The Duke is paranoid about someone getting to the High Boar Castle but afraid to live there either. He never sees peasants if he can help it; they remind him of his fears. His wife is calmer and keeps him in check; she is obsessed with chess instead and has decorated the castle with chess themes. A strong force of boar cavalry are kept here for rapid response to the Jaguar Hsunchen. Custom: Duchess Amalia holds an annual chess tournament; the final game is held with live pieces who are killed if taken; criminals and Jaguar Hsunchen are the first choice but otherwise, anyone who has angered the Dunchess will be made into a piece. The winner of the last game is given an enchanted self-playing chess set, a silver tiara, and a substantial sum of money. They also become the Duchess' 'chess champion'. Chess replaces trial by combat in this city.
  • Piekasamaki: This city of 6,000 is the market for all the sheep raised in this area. Wool is then turned into cloth and lots of mutton is eaten here as well. Boars are trained here to act as sheepdogs. This goes better than you would think due to the magical taming. Every year, they build a shrine to the river-god out of wool, then burn it to help keep him under control. The city sits on the east side of the river on magically elevated ground for defense against the floods that happen even with magic to suppress them and against raids by the Jaguar Hsunchen, who find the herds of sheep to be the best prey ever. Jaguar leather boots and furs are a sign of prestige in this town. The town is governed by the Ducal Steward; the Duke lives nearby in a major castle. Custom: Each year, one of the sheep sheared in this area always turns out to be a monstrous jaguar in disguise; once sheared, it is revealed and rampages, killing people until Duke Petteri hunts and slays it; if he wins, the quality of the sheep wool improves; if he was to die, the sheep would rampage murderously. This has never happened yet but the Duke's growing paranoia is partly linked to this duty.
  • Pori Castle: This is a major center for the Kingdom's Wizards. Many different schools of wizards train here, especially in Earth, Fire, and Stasis magics. One of their goals is to find some way to further raise the land, ensuring the sea never consumes Ramalia. Wizard Jorkki is the head of the school; he is a brilliant man but has been working on this for centuries (see the local custom). Custom: Each year, the wizards of the school search the surrounding countryside to find three special Hsunchen with the Earth, Fire and Stasis Runes hidden on their bodies; they then sacrifice them and melt them down into a tiny gemstone which conveys additional power over that rune. The gems are integrated into a giant lattice Wizard Jorkki is building. There is a matching lattice in Renko; the land between them is slowly rising as more gems are added. Experiments continue to find some way to encompass the entire kingdom with this but Jorkii is immortal and patient. He won't rush this and risk some surprise that takes the whole kingdom down.
  • The Price of Survival: Bands of scorpion-men, broo, and chaos-twisted boars roam this blasted heath restlessly year round, then stream to the Nameless Ruins for the annual Sacred Time ceremonies where King Paruzal and Queen Quezal lead them and the major nobles in worshiping Chaos gods; this drains off most of their built up aggression and restlessness and ensures the waste remains quiet. The energy then reinforces the land's defenses against the sea. The land is marshy but sometimes changes in unpredictable ways; it becomes wetter and wetter as the time for the ceremonies approach but also livelier as plants come to life and animals spread. The heat levels also rise as the ceremonial time approaches. Then it plummets down to cool afterwards.
  • Ramalborg: Home to some 22,000 people, the city is a stark contrast between its three sectors: the nobles live in ancient, giant palaces of basalt with towers topped with human head-designed domes, the craftsmen live in humble but comfortable stone houses, and the poor live in ramshackle wooden slums. The homes of the craftsmen, who are lesser Malkioni who don't get to be immortal but don't have to be oppressed peasants either, are two stories tall with the family living over their workshop. The highest points in town are home to the nobles, the middle slopes to the craftsmen and the lower class are stuck just above the riverbed. Bridges made out of chains cross the river here and every mile along the river, there is a great rune-carven chain. The river is utterly, unearthly placid. But if the chains break during Sea Season rains, then the lower city will flood; this has only happened twice when the great rites which keep the waters enslaved have failed. The city is constantly paranoid about mer-people even though few ever try to come this far inland to cause trouble. King Paruzal and Queen Quezal live in a high castle with golden domes shaped like skulls at the top of the towers. Their castle serves as the focus for a substantial amount of the weekly worship, though there are cathedrals to Thanatar and Krarsht as well. Boars take the place of horses, pulling carts, grinding grain and doing other labor, with remarkable docility. Should the Great Boar ever burst his chains, though... Custom: During Sea Season, the King and Queen lead the rites which keep the Ramal River enslaved. This requires sacrificing a single Malkioni (who doesn't have to be Ramalian), five Boar Hsunchen, and twenty-five mermen. If there are not enough mermen, more Malkioni or Boar Hsunchen must take their place. When the chains do break, King Paruzal and Queen Quezal have to successfully birth a child, then sacrifice him or her as part of the restoration ceremony. This has happened twice.
  • Rauma: Baron Mauri rules from this castle; there is an attached town of four thousand; there is mining in the hills for stone and a small community of statue makers. Bronze and other metals are dug up here as well and shipped elsewhere. The Baron has extensive boar-herds which graze on the plains to the northwest and east of the chain of hills where the castle stands. He breeds and trains expert steeds for other knights. Custom: There is a deep shaft near the mines. Once a year, there is a lottery and a random person is selected and stripped naked, covered with beef, and thrown down the shaft. Something eats them alive and everyone must listen to them scream. If they don't do so, the earth cracks and gorp erupts, running wild for three days and eating everyone it can find.
  • Renko: Founded by refugees from the wreck of Turenko, this would be a totally normal Knight's holding with little to interest outsiders unless they really like timber, grapes, or copper mining. However, one of Wizard Jorkki's machines is here and a handful of wizards stay here to tend it and add more gems; as it grows, it is slowly raising the land. Custom: Each year, the wizards of the school search the surrounding countryside to find three special Hsunchen with the Earth, Fire and Stasis Runes hidden on their bodies; they then sacrifice them and melt them down into a tiny gemstone which conveys additional power over that rune. The gems are integrated into the giant lattice.
  • Ruins of Alavus: Alavus was a port in the old days but the gulf was much narrower; parts of the city have fallen into the sea and the rest floods frequently and much of the city is covered with layers of thick fungus, seaweed and other growths. At times, hideous amphibious monstrosities wander out of the ruins and have to be put down by local knights. A squad of boar-riding cavalry watch the ruins. From a safe distance.
  • Ruins of Harjavalta: This city was once noted for its entertainment and an annual musical competition; now only the ghost of music can be heard echoing across the land at night. Unusually, the land has not sunk here so the city is intact but ghosts haunt it.
  • Ruins of Kouvala: During the Sea Season, this region floods; this ruins is covered with water-plants and fungus several feet deep but the upper layers are plant free. Anyone who enters these ruins forgets the last season of their life; no one is sure why as explorers of the ruins end up unsure what they did or found.
  • Ruins of Loimaa: Half-flooded like many ruins, this is controlled by merpeople, who unleash monsters from it to raid the area. When counter-attacked, they retreat to the sea, wait, and come back. During Sea Season, the raids are most frequent.
  • Ruins of Sysma: Everyone in this city died; the locals talk of angry clouds of hungry darkness; the city seems covered in smoke all the time now. The city is largely physically intact; the darkness just killed living things. It's not clear where the smoke comes from without the city burning away.
  • Ruins of Tampere: This city was once a site of fruit processing but the inhabitants evacuated when the God Learners fell and the land south of the city cracked open wide, creating a gulf. Half the city has fallen into the sea and the rest is abandoned; fruit trees are busy destroying the ruins, inch by inch. It had not been a port before the fall, just a riverside market town.
  • Ruins of Turenko: As the land slowly rises north of Renko, sometimes the land rises here too and the ruins are now fifty feet above the ocean. Plants grow over everything and wild animals squat in the ruins. A hermit lives here, rumored to have once been a God-Learner. He seems content to keep to himself and drives off anyone who comes too close with powerful fire and luck sorcery.
  • Ruins of Virrat: Abandoned when the God-Learners fell; the Hsunchen and the sea flood the city 10 feet deep every Storm Season and the waters then bury the city until Fire Season, which forces a retreat. This was once a major center for metalworking but most things have rusted by now.
  • Ruins of Vyborg: When Ramalia sold itself to darkness, the inhabitants of this town/castle refused to cooperate and were basically slaughtered / raped by a horde of angry broo. Then the ocean drowned the town, killing the broo. But now the ocean has retreated and the ruins are haunted by ghosts of townsfolk and sea-creatures and dead Malkioni. There is said to be many treasures of the old university but you have to survive the dead to find them.
  • Sahalahti: Baron Tahvo quietly governs the area which is mostly Boar Hsunchen forest communities; the castle is oddly rich despite his poor subjects. Custom: Baron Tahvo has an enchanted crown; any woman who passes through his castle must try it on and marry him for a year if it fits. If she refuses, she must die. If another woman shows up who it fits, the old wife is killed. Any wife who makes it a full year is released with copious rewards. Some years, he goes through four to six wives, sometimes he has a several year streak of survival. Chaos can't be predicted.
  • Sastamala: Duke Jalmari of Sastamala rules from this castle, which has an attached town of 6,000 people. The Duke is known as the Helmet-Warrior, for he never takes his magical red helmet off which gives him power over fire. He has a hall with a large display of stuffed and mounted Jaguar Hsunchen; he honors anyone who gives him a good fight by making them part of the gallery; he is hundreds of years old and still clearly remembers every fight. He spends much of his time on the frontier, raiding the Jaguar Hsunchen and defending against raids and has four bodyguards who have human Malkioni heads but Jaguar Hsunchen bodies. Once a year, he rides down to Harjoki for the yearly Slaying of the Lake. The town itself is a major center for brewing, as the hills are riddled with vinyards among the trees. There are many orchards around the city as well. Custom: Once a year, one of the Duke's prizes comes to life at a random time and begins killing his servants until he kills it again; it then reverts to the status of a trophy.
  • Ylistaro: Count Larssi, vassal of Duke Jalmari of Sastamala, rules this town, which sees itself as the first line of defense against INVASION OF THE MERMEN! It is a frequent target of mer-raids coming up the Pieka River, so this is not just paranoia. The town is walled and up on a hill but they have to guard a high bridge which the mer-men love to destroy; chains keep the river quiet but those are targets too. As always, higher status lives higher up but it would take a really huge tide to even reach the poor tenements here. The poor Hsunchen who live here live in tenements, four to five story apartment buildings with a well in a room on the ground floor. Many also have a bakery on the ground floor with rye and barley breads, subsidized by the city. Count Larssi wants to ensure no one goes traitor and sells out to the MERPEOPLE MENACE. Hsunchen families jockey endlessly to get top floor apartments because they have small balcony flower gardens and in this society, living higher off the ground = more prestige. Lots of fruit is grown in the area and processed here; the town was founded by refugees from Tampere. Custom: Every year, there is an annual search for merman infiltrators. Someone always turns out to be a mer-man or mer-woman in disguise; they are then roasted alive and eaten by a lucky family chosen by lot.
  • Yorijoki: This small market town of 4,000 mainly caters to lumberers and hunters working in the woods and provides services to the small villages of Hsunchen who live in the woods. It's main point of interest are the skilled woodworkers dwelling here and the extensive cherry orchards; the blossoming of the trees is an annual festival for the nobles; peasants, of course, are expected to work. Custom: Every Malkioni must sleep under the cherry trees for three nights during the festival. Those who do so are drained of their guilt and remorse and emerge refreshed. But on the last night, one random person gets all the guilt; this generally leads to suicide, a rampage, or both. For many nobles, it's a gamble they are willing to take.

As you can see, this whole country is a bomb waiting for the PCs to set off; the 'Custom' entry is some local practice which can serve as an adventure hook for the location.  

Hope you enjoy it!

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I dont know why but I always thought that reforestation and the flood happen at the same time, so Manira ends up in a free for all in mangrove swamps, with wailing of drowning pigs heard everywhere, humans escaping north to the sacred mountains, and a few helerings trying to save as much as possible while sailing through the skies on the last remaining cloudship.

Also Handra means something between depression and longing in polish, so it must be a really gloomy place, though in a good way. Unlike Slon (it means elephant) and Maslo (it means butter), Handra is actually a great name .

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11 hours ago, Nevermet said:

Alatan (I feel that culturally, Alatan and Smelch are likely more similar to the Ramalians than anything)

The Ramalians have a deeply rooted paranoia against anything related to the sea, making a sea pirate offshoot extremely unlikely.

I don't have any clear idea what subjects of the Middle Sea Empire would have been trapped on Alatan by the Closing, or whether they would have made contact with the rest of the former empire through coastal waters or overland.

Their early pirate fleet would have been copies of Dormal's ship, which I take to be a swift merchant sailing vessel (a courier type ship, not bulk cargo) rather than a galley. We don't hear about Dormal's rowers acting as backup fighters, or anything like that.

I wonder whether these Alatan pirates were Malkioni, and rather organized soldiers rather than an undisciplined rabble. Their initial success against the retaliatory fleet from Kethaela and their ability to field more vessels than the Kethaelans indicates a fairly high level of organization.
In my mind, Alatan always calls up imagery from Malta, whose templar knights were feared as pirates by the muslim sailors. If the island harbored stranded marines, maybe they may have maintained a tradition of ready-for-war men-of-all (a bit similar to Sun County) that the Kingdom of Smelch was able to mobilize at rather short notice. The only question is, what minor warfare or mercenary service would have kept their fighting abilities from rusting.

8 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Expanding the Kaxtorplose Bubble

Erenplose, not Kaxtorplose. But yes, going underwater is a good way to sit out the Flood, if you can do so. The Fish Roads in Kethaela offer a similar refuge.
Aldryami floating copses are possible, and elf friends might hitch a ride if they serve as marines.

1 hour ago, John Biles said:

Ramalia, Chaos-Tainted Kingdom of the Primal Unity Wisdom Church and the Boar Hsunchen

Interesting to see all those Finland references in your place names - it wouldn't have occurred to me to transplant this much from that subarctic country to the mostly mediterranean climate of Maniria. The Finnish forest leaves a different impression than what I expect in Maniria (maybe the Spanish interior prior to the vast deforestation due to the demand for ship-building as the Reconquista was done). The mosquitos might be on spot, though.

 

Speaking of Greymane and the Pendali-descended Orlanthi of the region on both sides of the watershed to Safelster: I have come to think of them as a variant of Yinkin, based on lion pride behavior rather than randy house-cat behavior. Thus there will be bachelor groups that may follow an established war leader hoping to amass enough experience and wealth to challenge an alpha male and become one themselves, then leading a life of glorious polygyny until the next challenger takes over. The females practice something like serial monogamy. Since they are the constant, farm administration falls to them.

This model only works for a noble top layer above a farming population, presumably of Entruli stock in the Solanthi valley. But then that isn't that different from how I envision Dawn Age Pendali rule in Old Seshnela, parallel to Basmoli retaining the full Hsunchen way supporting the Pendali as a priestly caste. How dead was Basmol that far west? Presumably a lot less than in Prax, possibly through Pendal himself.

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1 hour ago, Borygon said:

but I always thought that reforestation and the flood happen at the same time

Reforestation - 1630's

Flood - ~1652

Roughly a generation apart though obviously the Reforestation is an ongoing event / extended war vs. the elves.

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This is so awesome! I've been thinking about doing a very similar "notepad" thing about Maniria for quite a while, but something always distracted me. My vision of the region is both much less well-informed and much closer to Blood and Gold, with all the Ashara stuff left in, but I will be reading with keen interest!

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Interesting to see all those Finland references in your place names - it wouldn't have occurred to me to transplant this much from that subarctic country to the mostly mediterranean climate of Maniria. The Finnish forest leaves a different impression than what I expect in Maniria (maybe the Spanish interior prior to the vast deforestation due to the demand for ship-building as the Reconquista was done). The mosquitos might be on spot, though.

 

 

 

I generally pick a country and use elements of its place names to build the names of places, though I'm sure it probably means I end up with cities that would translate as 'potato head' and so on.  

 

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4 hours ago, AndreJarosch said:

And there is TRADETALK # 10 and # 11... still available via DrivethruRPG...

I have them, and they are well worthwhile.  Especially for the Caratan stuff, since there is nothing on them elsewhere.

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5 hours ago, Ufnal said:

This is so awesome! I've been thinking about doing a very similar "notepad" thing about Maniria for quite a while, but something always distracted me. My vision of the region is both much less well-informed and much closer to Blood and Gold, with all the Ashara stuff left in, but I will be reading with keen interest!

As I said in my OP, Maniria is "my" Glorantha because of Blood over Gold.  I realize it has some problems with sometimes having too much medieval art, having some continuity problems with teh Guide, and inventing another son of Umath, but darn it... its where I started :)

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There is too much in this thread for me to genuinely react to at this moment, but there are two things I want to touch on, as I feel they're probably very "immediate' for understanding the setting and what happens in the near future.

 

I want to deal with Entru, but that's going to take study, especially given how many cataclysms reshaped the population of the area (To put in modern language, I suspect the DNA of current Wenelian tribespeople have more in common with Esrolia than Dawn Age Entrulings).  And in general, I want to try to do as close of a reading as I can when it comes to the variant Orlanthi mythology of the Wenelians.

 

I also feel like Ramalia is just gonna be a mood at some point, and I'm not in the mood at the moment.

 

But things to talk about?

 

#1 Esrolia

19 hours ago, jajagappa said:

After a generation of war and barbarity, at least some of the Esrolians will work hard to:

1) keep the region weak and disrupted

2) ensure another Greymane does not arise

As of 1625, there are two prominent players in Esrolia:  Queen Samastina of Nochet (leader of the Old Earth Alliance; focused on northern Esrolia, trade with Sartar and abroad by sea including Handra, and the threat of Harrek and the Wolf Pirates); the Demivierge of Rhigos (leader of the Warm Earth Alliance; focused on southern Esrolia, the Vinavale, and the eastern end of the Trade Road). 

However, there are some other players.  The Red Earth Alliance is weakened but not gone and had significant holdings in western Esrolia bordering on Maniria (there's a reason Queen Hendira was so focused on the western barbarians) - and they may want a piece of the Trade Road business to boost their wealth.  Longsi Land, led by Queen Nevaleen of Kosh and Velentru the Wild Man, is meant to be a wildcard here, and with associations with the elves of the Arstola Forest. And farther west there is the Queen of Handra, who wants to keep the sea trade active and diminish the role of the Trade Road.

For some reason, and I'm not sure it's justifiable, I had been working off the assumption that most of Esrolia's attention would remain focused on Argrath and the Lunars.

That said, I agree that the Ditali are going to feel a lot of retribution from Esrolia.  Staton is probably going to be the subject of a very nasty seige.  A full march into the Solanthi lands of central Maniria, though, sounds like it would take a lot of effort for little reward.

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I'm not familiar with Blood over Gold or Ashara. Would anyone be up to just give me a little primer or something on it? I understand it's no longer in line with Chaosium's vision, but hey, I'm curious. :)

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