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How are Sartarite marriages arranged?

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Are the marriages usually inter-tribal? And how are they arranged? How much do the groom and bride have a say in it? Which people are involved in it apart from them and the family heads? Do all marriages have to approved by the clan chief or ring?

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My guess is most marriages are among clans of a tribe but a noticeable minority are inter-tribal. For most clan members, marriages would be arranged by households and bloodlines, however, for close relatives of the upper ranks, there likely will be clan ring involvement.
Given a clan size of 1,500 I'd guess around 20-30 marriages a year, about 20 of them first marriages (some really nasty back of an envelope calculations :) ). For the clan to be involved in every marriage would mean that at least one person would have to have full-time support from the clan to travel both inside the clan and outside to find suitable partners. However, the clan might well give some guidance to the most senior members of each household about what relationships the clan would like to strengthen by marriages.

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31 minutes ago, Charles said:

My guess is most marriages are among clans of a tribe but a noticeable minority are inter-tribal. For most clan members, marriages would be arranged by households and bloodlines, however, for close relatives of the upper ranks, there likely will be clan ring involvement.
Given a clan size of 1,500 I'd guess around 20-30 marriages a year, about 20 of them first marriages (some really nasty back of an envelope calculations :) ). For the clan to be involved in every marriage would mean that at least one person would have to have full-time support from the clan to travel both inside the clan and outside to find suitable partners. However, the clan might well give some guidance to the most senior members of each household about what relationships the clan would like to strengthen by marriages.

I could definitely see that a matchmaker is a profession in Glorantha. But should it be a job for Ernalda or Asrelia worshipper?

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Ernaldan and Asrelian Matchmakers would be common and might have conflicting goals. I can also see Voria and Voriof Matchmakers trying to make Love Marriages.

If people manage to find matches themselves, then the rest of their families try to see if they are a good match, using Customs, Manage Household and so on.

I can see the Marriage Tour happening as well, with eligible men and women being paraded around the rest of the clans, to see who likes the look of them. That's for bigger clans, anyway, small clans would probably know everyone really well.

The tribal ring would probably only get involved in important or contentious marriages. The clan ring would be a formality, as the womenfolk would already have decided if a match is good or not.

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I believe that in a patriarcal (matriarcal) clan, women (men) come from an allied clan or at least another bloodline.

sometimes by contest (tournament, heroquest, ...) , sometimes by diplomacy (between clans or tribes), sometimes by tradition  (the first girl of XXX is married with the second son of YYY every generation) the majority by status/wealth. And for few of them, by love (to add drama, only one loves the other)

the "only" freedom to marry with someone you choose is to find him/her during adventures (several seasons without contact  with the community) and come back once it is done

 

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6 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

I believe that in a patriarcal (matriarcal) clan, women (men) come from an allied clan or at least another bloodline.

sometimes by contest (tournament, heroquest, ...) , sometimes by diplomacy (between clans or tribes), sometimes by tradition  (the first girl of XXX is married with the second son of YYY every generation) the majority by status/wealth. And for few of them, by love (to add drama, only one loves the other)

the "only" freedom to marry with someone you choose is to find him/her during adventures (several seasons without contact  with the community) and come back once it is done

 

I rather suspect there will be elopements and maybe even bride-raids too.

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Going mostly by the stuff in the Red Cow books:

  1. Are marriages usually inter-tribal? Yes. Most spouses will come from nearby clans you have good relations with to make sure you maintain good relations. It's less common but not especially unusual for a spouse to be from a neighboring tribe, but typically they'll at least be in the same tribal confederation (in which case it was likely hashed out and brokered at least partly from the local city). When a spouse marries into the clan from more distant places, there's typically a story behind it.
  2. How are marriages arranged? Most of the time, the couples' families are neighbors, and they hash things out with each other, and the rest of the bloodline or the clan ring will only be involved if the marriage is politically important or sensitive. Several of the Red Cow clan villages are right across the creek or otherwise a very short trip away from a nearby clan's village, and those villages will be full of in-laws moving back and forth to visit and talk marriage. For marriages that aren't so super-local, there are actual matchmakers, though that's probably not so much a formal title or job description and more just a local woman who's very well-connected with the women of other clans and who accepts "gifts" for brokering marriages. Generally, there isn't a dedicated "go on the marriage circuit and get shown off like a stud horse or a milk cow" thing, it's more that people talk at whatever festivals or other occasions leads to people from other clans mingling, like the races at Larnste's Table and whatnot. Generally at any big tribal feast or major religious festival where a bunch of clans attend, you'll see people talking marriage. It's just one more way these occasions are often used to maintain or strengthen good relations with neighbors. This would also be a good way for the prospective brides and grooms to actually meet and get a feel for each other, of course.
  3. How much say do the bride and groom have? Well, generally the bride and groom are expected to honor the arrangements their families have made, to trust in their wisdom, and not to go off and decide these things themselves. On the other hand, "No one can make you do anything" and a marriage isn't going to happen if one or both parties is resolute in their refusal. The more likely thing to happen if one of them is unsure is that they'll agree to a year-marriage, which can be renewed or ended after the year is up. And even if they go through with the marriage, divorce is generally not stigmatized and is available for both parties. As such, the parties brokering the marriage typically have little reason to try to force a match that just isn't going to work.
  4. Which people are involved in negotiations?/Does the clan or tribal ring need to approve all marriages? As mentioned above, typically it's something the families involved decide on; only if the marriage is actually important  on the clan or tribal level, like if it's a way to end a feud or there's some sacred importance involved, are higher authorities going to actually intervene. Otherwise, I imagine that if there's any involvement it's mostly a formality, more just a way to inform them of what's happening than anything. The chief or king and/or their ring might well have the power to gainsay a marriage, but that isn't a power they're likely to exercise often.
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2 hours ago, soltakss said:

I can see the Marriage Tour happening as well

When one of our PCs became Thane of Apple Lane, two of us, my rowdy Vingan who is his sister, and an even rowdier Storm Bull, did some "looking for marriage candidates".  Our priorities were a good skill at "Manage Household", and large, er, "tracts of land".  🙂

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Another thing to keep in mind is "How Orlanth Wooed Ernalda," which is of course taken as the ideal model for Heortling courtship. Boy meets girl, they hit it off, boy wants to impress girl, girl gives boy some challenges to undertake, boy succeeds and asks girl to go steady with him, girl says they should go to her house because he needs to meet her mom first, etc. So, there's definitely a place in the Heortling conception of courtship and marriage for the parties themselves to make decisions as to who they want to marry, even if they're still expected to involve their parents in that process and hash things out with them.

Edited by Leingod
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4 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

elopements, i will follow you..hum (your idea, not... you)

I ask myself about raid, but I don't know if it is a ragnaglar thing for a sartarite ?

I was more thinking if the brides clan or family doesn't agree but the bride would. I suppose it would be risky though. If someone got hurt it might cause a feud.

I don't think the clan would get too involved in ordinary people's marriages so long as the potential spouse isn't from a hostile clan,

Its not like in a feudal culture where land or herds might be lost. Any dowry or bride price would be fixed by social status and exchanged between families. Perhaps a similar amount to a ransom, presumably paid to whoever is losing a member.

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How does a Humakti fit into this? They are supposed to ritually sever their ties, but (AFAIK) they aren't forbidden from marrying. Would they still be candidates for match makers, or would ironically the god of death's worshippers be the most likely to follow their hearts?

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8 hours ago, Leingod said:

Going mostly by the stuff in the Red Cow books:

  1. Are marriages usually inter-tribal? Yes.

I'm being picky, but don't you mean intra-tribal?  I would assume most marriages would be from clans in the same tribe that your clan is friendly with.  Their might even be marriage rings: Clan A typically gets spouses from clan B who get spouses from clan C who get spouses from clan A.

Another use for the 'friendly clans' in the clan generation. Of course, someone falling for a potential spouse in an enemy clan is great story potential.

Also, SKoH (p34) says "The clan is a social unit, not a geographical boundary. Lands belonging to one clan overlap with those of another, more than one clan often shares villages, and members of different clans interact on a daily basis." So marrying the girl/boy next door isn't out of the question - as long as they belong to a different clan.

And I know it's not canon any more, but in Thunder Rebels, under Ernalda Allmother, there is the subcult Vela matchmaker, with some very interesting specific abilities.

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12 hours ago, Brootse said:

Are the marriages usually inter-tribal?

Tribes used to be optional during the Resettlement of Dragon Pass. There were groups traveling in mini-tribes, triaties which were mainly for marriage purposes.

Tribal association was the major theme and source of conflict in the first century of the renewed human presence. Warfare did alter some clan allegiance, though, and clans were divorced from their tribes and included in other tribes. There are clans that disappeared.

Lunar decree moved more than a dozen clans following the Starbrow Rebellion. Did that alter their marriage patterns immediately?

 

There will be clans that are marriage partners by convenience. Exclusive arrangements as in the Runegate Triaty in the early centuries seem to be a thing of the past as pollitical marriage to cement alliances of peace treaties are one of the few non-warlike instruments Heortling politics know.

Keep in mind that you are giving away your own kin. They are going to become protective parents in their new clans, and are going to act in the best interest of their children.

Among the male dominated Heortlings this creates a network where the Ernaldan ways are tightly interwoven beyond clan boundaries, and even tribal boundaries. Ernaldan magics will be similar in most clans.

Likewise temporary marriages create children in other clans which may invoke protective parental instincts.

12 hours ago, Brootse said:

And how are they arranged? How much do the groom and bride have a say in it?

Marriages are the subject of inter-clan negotiations and do take into account bloodline dynamics. The grandmother cultists are traditionally in charge of breeding their offspring, avoiding in-breeding where not magically asked for. General negotiations are initiated by the clan trading expeditions. A speaker to the ancestors may be involved, too.

It would be a common praxis for the clan trader to be accompanied by a few marriage candidates so that there can be meetings between future marriage partners, although I suspect that it would be the young men who are supposed to bring in wives who get paraded to their potential in-laws, something like a test-bed to learn about their ways in unguarded moments. And it is always nice to have an excuse for feasting.

 

12 hours ago, Brootse said:

Which people are involved in it apart from them and the family heads? Do all marriages have to approved by the clan chief or ring?

While it is theoretically possible for individuals or even bloodlines to go against the expressed wishes of the clan ring or chief, but those institutions do have their ways to make their disapproval felt, like re-assigning clan-owned herd or land. It helps if you have some backing with another authority in such cases (tribal, greater temple).

That said, "Nobody can make you do anything" and "Follow chosen leaders" (chosen by you, for this decision), so the individuals involved do have the right to say no. But "no" doesn't always mean "no" in such cases, pressure can be quite intense on the individual to overcome personal misgivings. 

 

 

10 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

I believe that in a patriarcal (matriarcal) clan, women (men) come from an allied clan or at least another bloodline.

Or marriages are made to create new alliances, or treaties, or to cement those.

It is a bit of tough luck if your generation is the one to end a long-standing grudge by being married off to your old antagonists, and it is worse for those marrying out, having to face not just the grudges of the living but also of the ancestors of said clan. These stories remain yet untold, also as scenario seeds, although I am working on some.

 

10 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

sometimes by contest (tournament, heroquest, ...) , sometimes by diplomacy (between clans or tribes), sometimes by tradition  (the first girl of XXX is married with the second son of YYY every generation) the majority by status/wealth.

Oh, yes, status is important. Becoming a political "sacrificial" bride may be accompanied by a rise in status.

With the concept of semi-free cottar tenants, I wonder how their marriages are affected. Who will have what say in their interactions?

10 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

And for few of them, by love (to add drama, only one loves the other)

Romantic marriages are well-known among the Heortlings. The involved couple need to build up allies and make convincing arguments how their marriage will further the benefits for all clans involved (including potential other clans having approved of one of the couple as a marriage candidate). Again, this is a plot-hook bonanza even for couples that don't go into complete rebellion.

10 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

the "only" freedom to marry with someone you choose is to find him/her during adventures (several seasons without contact  with the community) and come back once it is done

Proven worth, and bringing back some kids... yes. Although having children outside of wedlock is a common occurrance and perfectly fine if  you aren't currently married, or if it happened during a religious rite. By default, such children belong to the mother's clan. Which may even be the clan of her former marriage, where she continues to live to remain with her children after being widowed or her husband being exiled.

Exile would be a suspension of marriage, I believe. It is fine and admirable for couples to continue to obey their marriage vows during exile, but not mandatory IMO.

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12 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

I ask myself about raid, but I don't know if it is a ragnaglar thing for a sartarite ?

No, Orlanth did it as well. The Scarf of Mist is effectively Orlanth taking a concubine from the water tribe, for example.

Historically, it happened quite often. Genghis Khan's first wife was stolen by a rival and he had to steal her back again. In the Middle ages, heiresses were often abducted and married against their will.

 

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15 minutes ago, soltakss said:

No, Orlanth did it as well. The Scarf of Mist is effectively Orlanth taking a concubine from the water tribe, for example.

Historically, it happened quite often. Genghis Khan's first wife was stolen by a rival and he had to steal her back again. In the Middle ages, heiresses were often abducted and married against their will.

 

Bridesmaids were there to protect the Bride or at least try to confuse the bandits.

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36 minutes ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Bridesmaids were there to protect the Bride or at least try to confuse the bandits.

Exceptionally violent bridesmaids, and men wearing dresses, immediately spring to mind. But I'm funny like that.

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

No, Orlanth did it as well. The Scarf of Mist is effectively Orlanth taking a concubine from the water tribe, for example.

Historically, it happened quite often. Genghis Khan's first wife was stolen by a rival and he had to steal her back again. In the Middle ages, heiresses were often abducted and married against their will.

While recognising that there's a place for source fidelity, ancient and mediaeval sources, etc., I don't want to make Gloranthan marriages or courtships inherently rapey just because "that's the way it was in the real world." YMMV.

(NB: In my old Carmanian History, the "Rape of the Pelandan Women" (when a bunch of them were married to Carmanians against their will) was a shocking one-off event, and didn't reflect or establish any cultural norms)

Edited by Nick Brooke
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Source ref: Surandar the Warleader

Quote

The Rape of the Pelandan Women

The collapse of the Spolite Empire of Gloom is over by the end of this reign: Surandar gets to sack Enthyr, though perhaps not too badly. Some troubles with Brolian and Baloris barbarians. Carmanians expand through Naveria and Suvaria to meet the Dara Happans, but peacefully (Surandar's son Carshandar is sent as envoy, and shows his character early on by bringing back peace not confrontation)

Ritual Theme: Surandar as military founder must commit the three functional sins: treachery, cowardice/laziness, and rape. He then dies horribly for his impiety.

Rape: the "Rape of the Pelandan Women"!! (c.810). Except there is no reconciliation after this one. The polite fiction that Carmanians are allies or servants of the Pelandans perishes.

Death: probably consumed from within by worms while he still lived, though this may change.

The ritual theme etc. are lifted from Georges Dumezil's pioneering work on Indo-European mythology.

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Wasn't specifically mentioned by name, but the Adventure book states that the Enhyli clan men exclusively take their wives from the Narri clan (although the women are not so restricted, but would obviously mean they can't marry someone from their own clan). Similarly, the women in the Narri clan can only marry Enhyli men (and their men are unrestricted).

I'll just point out that this is explicitly mentioned, and thus probably represents an exception to rules.

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34 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

I'll just point out that this is explicitly mentioned, and thus probably represents an exception to rules.

They were part of a triarchy (i.e. clan A marries into clan B, clan B into clan C, clan C into clan A).  The Taral Wars rose out of one of the clans marrying outside the three.  

The Maboder tribe are another noted as being a triarchy.

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On 5/27/2020 at 7:44 PM, French Desperate WindChild said:

I believe that in a patriarcal (matriarcal) clan, women (men) come from an allied clan or at least another bloodline.

That would be matrilineal (counting descent through women) and patrilineal (counting descent through men). These are not always synonymous with uxorilocal (man moves to his wife's location) or patrilocal (woman moves to her husband's location), but in Heortling culture they appear to be. 

Patriarchal (rule by fathers) and matriarchal (rule by mothers) is a whole different kettle of fish, and Sartarites seem to tend more towards a certain sense of gender-equality in terms of political and legal rights. 

 

Also, I am not entirely certain that the options of Sartarites are so limited as you set them out to be. Certainly politics and tradition are important, but those will matter the most for high-ranking nobles and potentially also the absolute desperately poor (giving away child-brides to make sure they at least are fed and housed, f.ex.). 

For the Sartarite "middle class" (anachonistic term, I know, but carls/free, etc.), I think bachelors and maidens have a larger room for self-determination as long as they choose among the pool of socially acceptable partners (ie. mostly other carls/free, etc.), a trend that, to be frank, most modern Westerners follow as well, for all our notions of romance and love winning over social differences. 

Basically, I'd imagine there to be a mix of social pressure from family, goading, guiding, help, and variosu degrees of drivenness and obstinate behaviour from the young. Heortling culture has lots of traditions, sure, and life isn't fair, but they're also notoriously strongheaded and there's this cultural ideal that promotes willful individuals, I think ("No one can make you do anything", "There is always another way", etc.). Depending on the family and family situation, the unmarried person might win through, or fail. There's no automatic direction it goes in.

That being said, Heortlings definitely view sexual dalliances and flirts as conceptually different from marriage, this much we know. Like some pacific islanders, they seem to be perfectly fine with unmarried adults hooking up and fooling around (wild oats, etc.), but when time comes to marry, that's about securing a safe, stable prosperous household, not just sentiment. 

These kinds of opposing cultural ideals conflicting and creating drama is very prevalent in the RW as well, so I think it's perfectly applicable for Sartarites. 

Sorry if most of this has already been covered.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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9 hours ago, Nick Brooke said:

Exceptionally violent bridesmaids, and men wearing dresses, immediately spring to mind. But I'm funny like that.

You gonna mess with a Babs Gor Bridesmaid?  🙂

A little more seriously, in our game, my Vingan PC was Brightflower's Bridesmaid and I was kindof hoping for some violence, or at least roughhousing.  Was thinking of running a scenario where she got captured by mistake by a rival clan.  She was also sister of the Groom, so would be interesting.

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14 hours ago, DrGoth said:

I'm being picky, but don't you mean intra-tribal?  I would assume most marriages would be from clans in the same tribe that your clan is friendly with.  Their might even be marriage rings: Clan A typically gets spouses from clan B who get spouses from clan C who get spouses from clan A.

Another use for the 'friendly clans' in the clan generation. Of course, someone falling for a potential spouse in an enemy clan is great story potential.

Also, SKoH (p34) says "The clan is a social unit, not a geographical boundary. Lands belonging to one clan overlap with those of another, more than one clan often shares villages, and members of different clans interact on a daily basis." So marrying the girl/boy next door isn't out of the question - as long as they belong to a different clan.

And I know it's not canon any more, but in Thunder Rebels, under Ernalda Allmother, there is the subcult Vela matchmaker, with some very interesting specific abilities.

Yes, I meant intra-tribal.

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16 hours ago, GAZZA said:

How does a Humakti fit into this? They are supposed to ritually sever their ties, but (AFAIK) they aren't forbidden from marrying. Would they still be candidates for match makers, or would ironically the god of death's worshippers be the most likely to follow their hearts?

Death and Life are not likely to mix long term. To become one, they get divorced (severing from their old life), but they can after becoming initiates go through the Resheathing ceremony to remain within society which could include marriage. (Storm Tribe is where this is described) There's also the fun bit about are children from a Humakti, because they embody death, undead? I can't remember where that is from. :D But they do mention no find undead ever lock onto the kids. I would imagine if a follower of Humakt wants to marry it's on their own without a match maker. After all, they have no family status for someone to marry into. They are more likely to just enjoy the company of favored partners, imo then to marry. If they retain any desires of such things at all.

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